JenLinks

389th Penny Pinching Party

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Is anyone else extremely frustrated when it comes to mattress shopping? I've tried a lot of mattresses over the last 2 years and finally found the perfect one! FYI: I'm not an affiliate and was not paid to write my mattress review; I'm just thrilled to have finally found a comfortable mattress that is inexpensive and non-toxic.

At the end of my post, I reviewed my favorite pillow because even the best mattress is no good without the right pillow.





The Best Non-Toxic, Affordable, and Comfortable Mattress (non-affiliate review)

Monday, May 22, 2017

My 20 year search for the perfect mattress is over!!!
2 years ago we bought into the sales hype that you need to spend a lot of money on a quality mattress because you spend one-third of your life sleeping. We made a huge mistake and invested in a $3,500 gel mattress that ended up being more uncomfortable than any of our previous cheap mattresses. I learned the hard way that blog reviews of mattresses are unreliable because they are mostly affiliates (If a blog is offering a discount code for a mattress, they are making money off the deal). After discovering this deception, I vowed that I would find the most comfortable mattress and write an unbiased review. It took 2 years of buying and returning mattresses, but I finally found a super comfortable, supportive, affordable, non-toxic mattress!

Drumroll............
3" Latex Foam Topper!

All you need is a 3" latex foam topper for whatever mattress you already have. I bought a 3" soft King latex topper for $349 from Sleep on Latex because they are locally made here in the USA, organic, and non-toxic (no fire retardants) with a great return policy and free shipping (I'm not an affiliate and was not paid to write this post). This solution should work for almost everyone because you can get soft, medium or firm latex. You can even buy 2 different twin toppers and put them together to make a King bed with one side soft and one firm. No need for an expensive air mattress with adjustable sides!

 Don't even bother with the 1" and 2" toppers they sell since most people who buy them end up wishing they got the 3" (read the reviews on their site).


I originally bought the 3" latex topper to make the expensive gel mattress I bought (and hated) more comfortable and it worked great! We got the benefits of the supportive gel without our limbs falling asleep. However, I decided that any supportive mattress would be just as comfortable under 3 inches of latex and returned the overpriced gel mattress. Because we threw out our 10 year old Beautyrest when we bought our $3,500 gel mattress, we had to find an inexpensive, yet supportive mattress to put under our latex topper (I'm still kicking myself for getting rid of our old Beautyrest prematurely).

In 2007 laws changed requiring mattresses to be dowsed in even more flame retardants than before, creating a toxic sleeping environment. I bought an IKEA mattress because they use the less harmful fire retardants, while cheap mattress companies use extremely dangerous inexpensive chemicals that should be banned. I also bought from IKEA because they have their "Love it or Exchange it" mattress return policy which we ended up using when my husband thought the IKEA mattress was hurting his back. Later we discovered that his back hurt because he had injured it and he would have been fine with the IKEA mattress, but I was okay returning it since it technically wasn't non-toxic. I loved the set-up of a cheap IKEA mattress with a 3" soft latex topper and my back felt great sleeping on it. It didn't jiggle when my husband moved like the expensive gel mattress had. 

 IKEA was great about taking back the mattress and giving us store credit (maybe buying and returning mattresses is what hurt my husband's back, lol).

Since we already loved the 3" latex topper from Sleep on Latex, I decided to order their 9" King Pure Green Natural Latex Mattress. After doing tons of research on non-toxic mattresses, I decided that $1,499.00 was a great deal compared to what others sell for.

From their site, "Made of 100% Natural Latex Foam, 100% Organic Cotton and Organic New Zealand Wool this mattress marks a new standard in Latex Mattresses. Our design team carefully crafted this natural latex mattress for comfort, beauty, durability, and ease of use! Each mattress is hand sewn, assembled, and packaged by our highly skilled production team."



The only downside of this mattress is how much it weighs. After dragging the mattress upstairs, we unrolled it and prayed that we would like it since it was too heavy to get back out of the house once unrolled.




Inside of the 9" latex mattress.


We slept on the mattress alone for a week and I loved it (my husband's back still hurt from whatever he did to injure it). Since we had the 3" latex topper, we decided to add it for height, but it also added a little more comfort. The mattress itself is extremely comfortable, but I like sleeping a little higher and think that might effect my perception of comfort.

I bought a cover for the 3" latex topper, but discovered that it takes away from the comfort, so I don't recommend spending extra on a cover (If anyone wants a King size cover, email me and I'll sell you mine ;-)

We have now been sleeping on this mattress and topper for over a month and my husband's back is better! I held off writing this review to make sure the mattress was supportive and comfortable for his back and it is. He loves it which is saying a lot because his back is really sensitive and he's super picky.


Our 3 kids needed mattress upgrades so I bought 3" soft latex toppers for each of them. I paid extra for the covers so that my teenagers can easily take their toppers with them to college dorms or wherever they end up. Adding one of these on top of a cheap dorm mattress is simple, inexpensive, and sanitary (who knows what's in those dorm mattresses). They each have 3 completely different crappy mattresses, but the latex toppers work great on all of them and saved me a ton of money since I no longer need to buy them new mattresses (the teenagers had really bad ones and were complaining). My kids don't know that the latex is more comfortable without the cover, so I'm leaving their covers on for obvious reasons (kids are gross, lol).



In addition to the covers, I bought hypoallergenic mattress protectors to save them from liquid, dust mites, and general kid and teenage grime. I paid $14.99, but Amazon's price seems to fluctuate on this item.












We love our King latex topper so much that I bought another one for our pop-up tent camper. Now we'll be just as comfortable camping as we are in our bed at home!


I ended up buying two 3" King latex toppers, three 3" Twin latex toppers, a 9" latex mattress, and two latex pillows for less than what I paid for the overpriced gel mattress!

Now let's talk pillows!

As a side sleeper, I've never been able to find a comfortable pillow that doesn't leave me sore in the morning. My husband has the same problem and together we have tried every type of pillow. The only pillow we hadn't tried was the latex because they are so expensive. A Queen high loft latex pillow from Sleep on Latex was only $69 (compared to $100+ we had seen at other stores), so we decided to try a couple since we loved all of their other products. It feels like a cloud and is extremely comfortable, but caused us both sore necks in the morning. I'm still keeping the pillows because we love using them to prop up and read in bed at night. They are extremely comfortable to lay on, but not to sleep on. Other people seem to love sleeping on their latex pillows, so I'm not sure what our problem is. According to the reviews I read, the one complaint that everyone agrees on is that they smell like bandaids, which isn't a bad thing if you like the smell of bandaids. The bed and mattress topper also smell like band-aids, but your face isn't up against them like the pillow.



The most comfortable pillow we have been able to find that we both like is "My Pillow." My husband didn't like his as much after a few weeks so they sent him out a new one for free (they have great customer service). After another couple of weeks, he hated the new one even after washing it. I sewed up the side of his pillow to make it a little bit more compact and now he likes it a lot more. I like mine "as is" without modifying it. It's not the perfect pillow and we both find ourselves punching and adjusting it in the middle of the night, but it's the best we have found and provides great support once punched and adjusted into a supportive shape. I love that I can wash them and have them come out of the dryer just like new (the company encourages regular washing).


Once we got on their mailing list, we started getting these flyers in the mail. We paid $50 each for ours, so I'm wishing I had been on their mailing list before. I'm posting this picture of my last flyer so you don't overpay if you decide to try one. $35 for a "My Pillow" is a good deal and they really do have great customer service (I'm not an affiliate, just a woman who has tried way too many pillows).


Thanks for reading my incredibly long post and please leave me a comment. Do you have a latex mattress or topper? What do you think? Do you have a different mattress that you love? Do you have a pillow that you love? I'm still searching for the perfect pillow, so I'd especially love to hear pillow recommendations. I like "My Pillow" but I don't love it like I do my latex mattress.
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388th Penny Pinching Party and Graduation T-shirt Quilt

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

It's that time of year! Graduation!!!
For my son's graduation last year I made this T-shirt rag quilt. You can read about it and see more photos here:

Easy Graduation T-Shirt Rag Quilt







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Easy Graduation T-shirt Rag Quilt

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Last year for my son's High School graduation, I made him this T-shirt rag quilt.


I didn't save all of his T-shirts for 18 years planning on making a quilt out of them; I saved them because he was extremely sentimental and wouldn't let me throw anything away. I didn't even get the idea to make a quilt out of them until about one month before his graduation when I was cleaning out the basement and came across a very large tote of his shirts. Now I'm so glad he was sentimental and made me save these (don't tell him this, I still hate clutter).


I bought a cutting mat, rotary cutter, large square ruler, small square ruler, and rag quilt snip scissors from Jo-Anns (Of course I used a coupon for everything). 

The large square ruler worked for most of the t-shirts, but some had small designs that I used the smaller square on and sewed 4 together to make one big square. If there wasn't a design on the back of the t-shirt, I cut through the whole shirt and used the back. If there was a design on the back, I used some of my son's tie-dye shirts we made over the years as the back.


After cutting all of the t-shirts, I cut a bunch of different colored flannel to insert into the middle, then sewed an x onto each sandwich block consisting of the top t-shirt design, middle flannel piece, and back.


After sewing all of the blocks, I laid them out and played with them to find a good mix of colors. I also turned them over to make sure the back of the quilt looked good.


Once I had them laid out the way I wanted, I began sewing rows together leaving a big enough seam to snip.




Once it was all sewn, I used these Fiskars snip scissors to clip all the edges.


This was a very inexpensive quilt to make since the only fabric I needed to buy was the flannel for the middle of the squares. It only took me a couple of days to make and was super easy. My son was thrilled when I gave him the quilt for graduation and uses it as a bedspread. I'm afraid that making this quilt taught him that it pays off to keep stuff and be sentimental, but it turned out so great that I can't help but be happy about his sentimental ways. Keeping a box of original Pokemon cards and Lego Bionicles will also probably pay off for him.
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