Monday, April 30, 2018

Monday's Motivation

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Galatians 5:9)
I'm still learning, thankfully, and one of the things I'm realizing is that being consistent and persistent in pressing forward is about the only way we get to where we want to be. And we only see progress when we look far enough back to see where we once were. That's one of the reasons I like keeping a journal--so I can see where I was and realize how much progress I've made toward my goals.

The law of the harvest is always at work in our lives. Make sure you're planting the right seeds to be able to harvest what you truly desire.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday's Frugal Roundup

Weather here has been much better and almost all of the snow is melted away; there's just a little bit on the north side of the house where the sun doesn't shine much.

This week's frugal roundup isn't extensive; some things are just so habitual I forget to write them down. But I did manage a few good frugal practices this week.

Purchased the DVD Jumanji with a $10 loyalty coupon at Shopko.

Made my own condensed cream of mushroom soup to use in Porcupines in Beef and Mushroom Sauce. (Next time I'll just do plain meatballs, but the sauce was very good.)

Made a large pot of Taco Soup and froze three containers for future use.

I ate supper leftovers for lunches all week. (Various meals)

Made a summer nightgown for myself from a $5 sheet purchased at a thrift store. (I'll blog about that next week.)

Purchased books at for a fraction of new.

Today I discovered some tulips growing in the yard, in a weird spot to say the least, but I can transplant them to a more suitable spot. I was hoping I'd find some remnants of a garden or bulbs or something.

What frugal, thrifty or provident things did you do this week?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tuesday's Treasures

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:19-21
Here is where my heart and treasure is:

Noble in the Easter outfit I made for her.

PFCMom and Noble

Miss Pasta and Lt. Lehi


Mr. Movie (right in red)

Dandylion with Calico the Cat
 These are my true treasures!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Monday's Motivation

Could it be that Spring is here?

The snow is shrinking!

Almost gone!

Buds on the Lilac

South side of the house is completely free of snow.

After I took these photos I did some clean up and took most of the downed branches to a pile for the county compost.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Saturday Sillies

A recent conversation between the two senior citizens living in our home went something like this:

She said: I'm going to the kitchen, can I get you anything?
He said: No, I can do for myself.
What she then said: I'm happy to do for you.
What he heard: I'm happy to toot for you.

And that's how family folklore is born.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Thursday's Thrifty Thimble and Thread

(Is that enough alliteration?)

What is the number one reason given for not sewing ones own clothes?

It's too expensive.

Well, it can be if you buy everything new. Just like other areas of our lives, sewing can be affordable if you know how to get the best deals.

Do you go to thrift stores for other things? Expand your search among the shelves and bins and you can find some dandy treasures.

Here's one story from last fall:

Lt. Lehi asked me to make his wife, our daughter-in-law, Miss Pasta, a warm skirt for Christmas, so I looked in my vast collection for something suitable. I found this pattern:

Which I had purchased for this much:

Then I looked in my stash of wool fabrics for something to make it with and found these pieces:

That I had paid this much for:

With a zipper pulled from my stash that I paid probably a quarter for, the total for all materials was $8.75, plus thread which I already had.

So for less than $10 I made a fully lined, 100% wool skirt for a Christmas present. (I'm still waiting for her to send me a photo of her in it!)

Someone either died, or was downsizing, because I purchased several large pieces of 100% wool fabric on that visit to the thrift store for way less than one yard of the same fabric costs at a place like JoAnn's.

The trick is to look for fabric every time you shop at the thrift store and buy it when you see it, as it probably won't be there the next time. Besides looking at the cut pieces of fabric, I look at the linens, such as sheets, tablecloths, shower curtains, window curtains, etc. and have found wonderful fabric that I can reuse as something else for very little money.

The other place I've gotten fabric is from "little old ladies" at church who are either moving, or have quit sewing and want to get rid of their stash of fabric and sewing notions. Never refuse anything! Even if you personally can't use all of it, take it, sort through it, keep what you want, and either sell or share the rest. If you say no, you might not get another chance. Ask around and you'll be surprised who's willing to share with you.

Want to learn to sew? Ask those same little old ladies to help you learn. Lots of YouTube videos and online classes are out there, but it's nice to have someone to ask and demonstrate also.

The thing I like most about making my own clothes is that I can get what I want, when I want it. I'm not at the mercy of retailers and their immodest junk in all the wrong colors for me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wednesday's Wisdom

What to Do When You Can't Do What You Want to Do

Redecorating, refurbishing and remodeling all take some money, sometimes lots of money, regardless of what the optimistic magazine writers say. Plus it all takes time and energy. Often those three elements don't come together at the same time. I have money, but no time. I have energy, but no money. You know the scenarios.

So what does a homemaker do? What do we do when there isn't any money or time or energy for the big project I'm longing for?

1. Declutter - free up some space, uncover the horizontal surfaces, un-crowd the rooms. This alone can be a big spirit booster; especially at the end of a long winter when I'm struggling with cabin fever and Spring fever and whatever else ails me. 

How to: Let's pretend I want to improve the living room, the room where I receive guests. First, I stand at the door of the room and look at it critically, as if the guests will be arriving tomorrow and I want to make a good impression. I analyze the elements in the room, what makes it look crowded, what makes it look inviting, what could improve it (without spending any money). Second, pick up any trash from the floor, the tables, the mantel, the window sills, the bookcases, the . . . wherever it is. Trash is junk mail, candy wrappers, notices from the school, children's art or craft work (not the actual piece but the leftovers from making it), and anything else that needs to go into the trash bin. Third, put away anything that doesn't belong in the room: clothes, shoes, toys, dishes, games, sports equipment, etc. Fourth, can I take out anything, a table or chair, to make more room and help the room feel more spacious? Can I remove some of the permanent residents on the tables (end or coffee), the mantel, the window sills, to reduce the clutteredness of the room?  All of that is decluttering and costs nothing.

2. Clean - I find I can be more patient in waiting for redecoration if I keep the room clean. That means clearing out the cobwebs in the corners, dusting the ceiling fan blades and washing the light fixtures; washing the woodwork and moldings, dusting the furniture, sweeping or vacuuming the floors/carpets, shining the windows and mirrors, laundering the curtains, shaking out area rugs and spot cleaning the carpets. "A clean room is a happy room!" When a room is clean top to bottom it feels better, looks and smells better, and is easier to live in.

3. Rearrange - Can the furniture be moved around into a more pleasing arrangement? How about just another arrangement for variety and newness? Some people like to rearrange frequently, my mother was one. I'd come home from school and the living room would be completely different than when I left that morning. While my husband was in the Marine Corps he frequently rearranged his office, as in every other week (it seemed like!). Our daughter is very much that way too. She lives in the same apartment, behind my parent's home, that I lived in thirty-five years ago. Once I got my furniture in and arranged it stayed like that. Noble is always rearranging things, just for variety, I guess. Anyway, it is a way to have a new look without spending any money.

4. Shop in your own home - Can I swap a pair of lamps with another pair from a bedroom? Is there a bookcase or bureau or table that can be swapped from one room to another for a better look? Can I edit the artwork and photos on the wall to be more focused, more cohesive a grouping, more like a fine art gallery? What's hiding in my cupboards, drawers, totes, closets, basement, attic, spare room, etc. that could be put to use and brighten things up? Sometimes just one new thing can make a big difference in how we feel about our home. And new doesn't have to come from a store with a hefty price tag.

After doing all these steps I can live a while longer with my rooms, until the magical moment when time, money and energy come together and I get the room I see in my dreams! It really does happen.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tuesday's Treasures

Here's a sampling of recent treasures from thrift stores.

Another blue transferware plate for my collection; a Sandra Boynton mug; a yellow octagonal bread plate.

Label on the blue plate

The yellow plate matches a luncheon sized white one I had picked up previously.

Label from the octagonal plates
Now I have matching mugs!

A luggage rack for a guest bedroom

Another view of luggage rack.

And a couple of new books to read! (Can't have too many of those.)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Frugal Round Up

I could keep posting pictures of our weekly snowstorms, but that's just boring. I'm not sure what the date is; the calendar says April 16, but the weather and landscape say "February 75th".

I kept a list of all (or most) of the frugal things I did last week so I could at least feel that I was making progress.

In no particular order:

Combined errands on one day: bank, store, P.O., etc.

Used the end of the pot roast, and rinsed out a finished salsa bottle to simmer in the crock pot to make beef burritos.

Made cards from card stock and pages from last year's Sandra Boynton's page a day calendar.

Took drinks (water for me, Cokes for TopDad) with us on our trip to the Twin Cities.

Stuck to my menu plan.

Stuck to my grocery shopping list. Took my own bags for $.05 off each bag.

While the temperature was well above freezing I turned off the space heater on the enclosed porch where Calico the Cat lives. (I had to turn it back on when the temps dropped.)

I didn't renew my Amazon Prime.

We didn't renew our Sam's Club membership because we don't use it often enough to justify the cost.

Added leftover canned corn to a pot of chili. (Yummy!)

Since the New Year I have attempted to get into a good weekly routine but even with all our children gone there seem to be plenty of interruptions that get me off schedule. I'll keep trying!

What have you done lately to use resources wisely, save money or otherwise be frugal, thrifty, and provident?