Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Frugal Quilt - "Party Hats"


This is another quilt that was made using old blue jeans that belonged to my son. The name of the pattern I used was called Party Hats. The denim was used in each star and for the borders and binding. The blue checked, striped and plaid fabrics were a set of coordinating fat quarters I had purchased in the mountains of Tennessee at a little country quilt shop. The beige fabrics were also a coordinating set of fat quarters.

The thing I like about this quilt is that its just right to cover up with while watching T.V. and its heavy. The denim makes it heavy and it feels like an old "timey" quilt that my grandma would have made using real cotton that she had gleaned from the cotton fields. She had a device that would strip the seeds from the cotton balls. She also would dip twine in flour and stretch it over the quilt top, one person on each side, and "pop" it to make straight quilting lines. The quilt tops were made from flour sacks of course. The winter time was quilting time for her. Now those were frugal quilts!!!

I get my love of quilting from my Grandma, whose house I was at in the baby picture in my previous post. She quilted, gardened and cooked. She was much better at all three of these things than me, but I strive to be as good as she was. She was also THE most spiritual person I have ever known. I remember her best sitting in her chair reading her "prayer book". That prayer book was falling apart by the time she died at 92. She raised 11 children and did it oh so well! I come from good stock!!!

Baby Picture





Penny of Little Pen Pen posted the cutest baby picture of herself and asked if anybody else wanted to post a baby picture. I don't have one as pretty as hers, but this is me at my Grandma's front porch, after church one Sunday. I was the baby of 5 children. 3 older brothers and 1 older sister. I'm told I was walking at 8 months because my brothers and sisters taught me.
I look a little mischievous don't I? In fact there might be a little resemblance to my grandbaby on the left!
There's a picture of me somewhere standing in the yard at about 1 year old with the chickens, but I couldn't lay my hands on it!!!
I'd love to see baby pictures of some of you!!! If you post one, leave me a comment so I can go see it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Frugal Books

Today I ordered the remaining Tightwad Gazette Book that I had been wanting. I have had Tightwad Gazette I and III for years and had checked out the Tightwad Gazette II from the library. I have been seeing it on Amazon for a while. I kept putting it off, but went ahead and ordered it today. So now I will have them all 3!

I also ordered "More With Less Cookbook". I saw that it was a frugal favorite with many bloggers and wanted to try it for myself!

I have the "Not Just Beans Cookbook", "Miserly Moms" and a Rodale book called "Cut Your Bills In Half" , but was wondering what other favorite frugal books do today's homemakers need in their reference library?

I enjoy reading all the frugal hints on blogs!

I will have to say that the Tightwad Gazettes changed my life. When I first bought them all those years ago, I desperately needed the information they contained and still read them regularly today!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Babysitting and Sewing Update

GRANDMA, I LOVE YOU THIS MUCH!!!







My first babysitting experience with my new grandbaby was great. He is so sweet! He's two months old and is smiling and cooing constantly! He's just the right size to snuggle up in your arms while you rock him and just plain old love up on him, which I did the whole time I was there!!!

I haven't done any sewing this weekend. I just haven't been motivated enough to do any today. I've already had a nap, and I'm still hoping to do some sewing this afternoon!

Chicken Thief Stew

For dinner today we had a variation of "Ernest T. Bass's Chicken Thief Stew". That's a recipe from my "Aunt Bee's Mayberry Cookbook". The original recipe is much more trouble than the way I made it. Here's how I made it.

1 whole chicken. 3 to 3 1/2 pounds
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup of water
salt to taste (you won't need much)
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp sugar
1/2 medium onion cut into slices, separated
1 14.75 oz can whole kernel corn
1 14.5 oz can cut green beans
1 29 oz can whole potatoes

I bought a whole chicken on sale for .69 per pound and cut it up. You could use any kind of chicken you want. I put the chicken pieces (2 breasts, 2 leg quarters and 2 wings) in my crock pot, sprinkled a little salt and pepper and poured the can of crushed tomatoes on top. Add 1 cup of water. I cooked this on high for one hour and then turned it on low until I got back from church.

If your crock pot cooks as hot as mine, 4 hours on low should be long enough for the chicken to be tender. I usually turn the pot on high for the first hour and then turn it down to low before leaving the house at 8:00. Remove the chicken onto a plate to cool so you can remove the meat from the bones. While the chicken is cooling add the 3 cans of veggies and all other ingredients. Recover and turn crock pot on high so it can be getting hot again. As soon as the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, tear into pieces and return to the crock pot.

Let this cook for about an hour and serve. We put ours in soup mugs and had saltine crackers. Corn muffins would be great or home made bread! YUM. I wasn't quite that smart today!!!

I didn't want to waste any of the chicken, so I put the remainder of the chicken, the back and any pieces of fat, in a stock pot on the stove and boiled it for about an hour to make broth. I removed the chicken parts, picked off any meat and returned this to the broth. There is some good white meat on the back! I will refrigerate this and add noodles to it later or make some chicken soup.

The only waste from this chicken will be the bones and his tail. LOL

Of course Ernest T. Bass uses stolen chicken and the recipe says stolen chicken is cheaper, but sadly I didn't have any and since I just got back from church, I don't plan on stealing any!!!

If the canned veggies are purchased as cheaply as possible, or especially if you can your own veggies or make this from fresh veggies in the summer time, this recipe is very frugal. I purchased the 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes on sale for $1.00, the 29 oz can of whole potatoes on sale for $1.25, the whole kernel corn and cut green beans were the store brand and cost less than .50.

So for about $6.00 my family can have several meals. Even if we only got 2 meals out of it, it would only be $.75 per person. Actually there are probably 3 meals here, especially if you include the chicken broth, so that would only be $.50 per meal per person.

This made a HUGE pot full of stew. I told my husband, "I sure hope this stew is good because there is so much we'll be eating it all week!

It turned out great, so we now have two bowls full in the frugal fridge labeled with post it notes (free of course), "Chicken Thief Stew". Wonder what the boys will think tonight when they see that label!!!??

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Saturday Sewing

Good Morning!

Today I am going to go to my daughter's house to babysit my grandbaby for the very first time!!! He is 2 months old and they have not had a babysitter until now. They plan to go to a matinee movie and a little shopping. It's a little over an hour away, so I am leaving around 9:00 A.M.

I still have sewing on my mind, so I am taking with me the tea towel pattern kit and quilt pattern that Elizabeth sent to me a couple of weeks ago. If the baby is sleeping I plan to study the instructions to see what supplies I will need. I especially want to get started on the tea towels because I would love to have some handwork to work on when the opportunity presents itself, such as when babysitting grandbaby or watching tv, etc.

I am also going to make a cloth wallet to match the new pocketbook I made last weekend. Penny of Little PenPen alerted me to this pattern and it looks so easy. The only thing I don't have on hand is the little snap. I do have velcro. If I don't get to a craft store, I might try that!
I'm also dying to make another pocketbook.

I have also been asked to make another set of placemats, napkins and coasters with a natural theme with deer, etc. and found this fabric. I have already pre-washed it and just need to get started on it!





Before I leave this morning, I plan to vacuum, wipe down and swish the bathrooms, vacuum the kitchen/laundry room with my little yellow vac and damp mop. That'll hold the house cleaning for now! I'm also washing and drying clothes. Its too wet here this morning to hang any clothes!!!

I hope your Saturday is as great as mine is shaping up to be!

I'll update you later on my first babysitting experience with grandbaby and any sewing I'm able to get done.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Frugal Friday

THE FRUGAL FRIDGE

I thought this week I would spotlight what we have in our fridge that makes it a FRUGAL FRIDGE!

First a question: Do other people leave notes all over their food in the fridge? :o)



We do! Our boys, now young men, almost always come home from school, work or other places (lol) after we go to bed. This is partly because of their schedules and partly because we are old and have to go to bed early because we wake up really early!

So its not unusual for my sweetie (who cleans up the dishes most of the time) to yell from the kitchen, "Honey, how do you spell souffle?!!!". We label the food with the free sticky notes I get from sales people where I work. Each leftover is labeled with the contents. Sometimes a plate of food is made for each boy, (I mean young man). So one plate will say "Jacob's" and one plate will say "Justin's". Sometimes an item will say, "Do not eat, this is for tomorrow night" or "Don't eat, this is for Jacob's lunchbox tomorrow".

The point is this seems to make the leftovers disappear faster and therefore we save money on food. If you just look in the fridge and see a bunch of bowls of food, and you weren't sure what they were, they'd likely just sit there. When you are 20 something, its easier to just go for the convenience food. With notes on there, they seem to think, "yum, london broil", or "yum, sweet potato souffle", or "I wish I could eat that, but its for tomorrow". LOL. Even with see through containers, it would be beneficial to label them! This is helpful to me also in planning meals. At a glance I can see what's in there that can be used. A date would also be a good idea. I'll have to suggest that to sweetie!

These are some more of the frugal things you might find in our fridge at any given moment:

1. Upside down bottle of store brand ketchup bought on sale, or name brand ketchup bought on sale with coupons. Even when it seems to be empty I will put a little water in it, shake it up, and add to pasta sauce or vegetable soup. Same principle applies to salad dressing, bbq sauce, and mustard, etc.

2. A Brita water filter pitcher bought at a yard sale for $1.00, full of tap water.

3. A 2 pound bag of Food Lion brand mozzarella cheese purchased on sale for $4.99.

4. A half used jar of Mama's home made sweet pickles. :o) yum.

5. A plastic container of leftover pizza, with 2 pieces left, just enough for my son's lunchbox today.

6. Home grown sweet green bell peppers.

7. Water bottles refilled with tap water over and over.

8. Three boxes of my favorite margarine found on sale.

9. A package of cubed steak purchased at lunch yesterday on sale to be used for supper tonight to avoid eating out on Friday night.

10. A gallon of milk purchased on sale at Walgreens.

11. A canned drink found in my son's room, still 3/4 full, with a note on it that says, "Drink this Jacob". (yuck, will be flat, but he doesn't seem to care)

12. A whole chicken purchased for .69 per pound on sale to be used for Sunday Dinner. I can cut it up or roast it whole. This chicken will make at least 2 meals, and produce chicken broth.

13. Reused margarine or sour cream containers filled with leftovers for sweet daughter and family to take home that don't need to be returned.

14. 1/2 can of dogfood with doggie lid. Much cheaper than the small cans, but my elderly small dog can't eat a whole big can. (without having problems!:o)

15. Sandwich meat. A sandwich made with ham or turkey taken for lunch is so much cheaper than eating out at fast food restaurants, even if I need to purchase something to go with it.

16. In the freezer compartment: re-freezable lunch box cooler thingies, bulk on sale meats broken down into smaller portions and frozen, frozen chicken broth, high quality frozen pizzas purchased on sale for $2.50 each. 2 of these feed us four for $5.00 with leftovers for son's lunch the next day. Frozen home-grown vegetables.

17. Yeast. It will last much longer in the fridge and can be used to make some frugal bread or pizza crust.

18. Packets of seeds in a gallon size zip lock bag. They will last for years this way.

Let's not forget the outside of a frugal fridge:

1. I try to always have a running list of groceries needed.

2. Menu plan for the week.

3. Picture of Grandbaby for free entertainment!

A biggie: When was the last time the coils under your fridge were vacuumed? This needs to be done regularly. It makes the fridge run more efficiently, saving electricity, and will make the fridge last much longer!

Please go to www.biblicalwomanhood.blog.htm for more Frugal Friday tips!

Sew Crafty Friday

THE FABRIC FAIRY HAS BEEN TO MY HOUSE AGAIN!

These are the contents of several bags of goodies I received from my generous fabric fairy. There are rolls and rolls of satin ribbon, ric rac, yards of all kinds of accents to be sewn on purses, garments, blankets and quilts, and notions and embellishments of all sorts. I can't even think of the words to describe this treasure! My mind is whirling with the many different craft ideas that these things can be incorporated into!




Its like having my own craft section at Walmart! Some (most!) of these things are vintage/retro. I see store tags on some of these rolls that really date them. If you grew up in this part of the South, you will know that Belk Department Stores haven't sold fabric or notions in many, many years! In fact, I forgot that they ever did, but the memory of going there with my Mama is coming back to me. I can see the bolts of fabric standing up on tables in my mind's eye.

I can imagine all kinds of future Sew Crafty Friday ideas!

I bet you are thinking, "Where is she going to put all that junk?". So, I am already planning a future post on how I am going to organize my fabric stash, scrap fabric stash and my new "craft section"!!!! (once I figure out how I am going to organize it! :o) )

Earlier this week I have already posted pictures of my Sew Crafty Friday project, but here are some more! I couldn't wait until Friday!

VINTAGE SIXTIES FABRIC



VOILA! 2007 MODEL POCKETBOOK




Be sure to visit http://w8ng4him.blogspot.com/ for more Sew Crafty Friday ideas.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Small Town America

NOT FRUGAL SIGHTINGS:

1. A large Gas Guzzling SUV with a license plate that said "BORNTOSHP". :O)

2. The person in front of me at the drive through at the bank, the lane that has the plastic tube to send your deposit through, left their deposit, including cold hard green cash, in the thing, without waiting for a deposit slip or even pushing the button to send it over. I drove up and pushed the button, afraid to touch it. They are so lucky that someone didn't drive up there and just take the money. There would have been nothing they could have done about it.

3. The first advertisement on my Google Ad that I saw this morning was for condos in Hawaii. Now the last three posts I made were about clipping coupons and getting deals at CVS and Food Lion. Does that make any sense to you? :o)

NOT FUNNY SIGHTING:

1. A very realistic, bloody fake leg hanging out the back of a SUV as a Halloween prank. That scared me, not to mention what an elderly person or child would think!

SWEET SIGHTINGS:

1. A middle aged couple in short shorts, going hand in hand into a jewelry store. You could just see the love spilling over!

2. A very tall Dad walking down the sidewalk with his little boy about 3 years old, riding on his shoulders.

WONDERFUL SIGHTING:

1. Rain, glorious rain! Water standing in my front yard. Using my NC State Red umbrella to take the dog out!

2. Comments and Emails from sweet blogger friends. Thank you!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pantry Stocking Update

The rural area I live in has pretty limited grocery store choices: Food Lion, Piggly Wiggly, and Walmart Super Center. But if I work these three places, along with the drug store chain specials, I can do pretty good with our grocery shopping. Its something I have to stay on top of. It means checking the sales papers every week, organizing coupons, making grocery lists for menus based on sale items and coupons, and knowing what the best price for each item is. If I want to travel 25 miles or more I could go to a Kroger or Harris Teeter, but the cost of gas would offset any savings, unless I was already in that area.

There are certain items I always try to buy at Walmart because they are consistently cheaper there. Usually their store brand. Meat is usually cheaper at Piggly Wiggly. Food Lion has the best sales and marked down meat.

Today I purchased enough laundry detergent to last about 9 months at Food Lion. Purex Laundry Detergent was on sale at Food Lion for buy one get one free, including the "new" Natural Elements Concentrate, 32 load size. I had six $1.00 coupons for these, which brought the price down to $1.19 each. I also had several coupons for $1.00 off two of the regular Purex 24 load in the blue jug. This wasn't as good a deal, so I only bought 4 with a final cost of $1.69 each.



I have also found that you can use less of the detergent per load, especially if the clothes aren't that dirty, so this laundry detergent may last me even longer than 9 months.

All of the laundry detergent fit on the bottom shelf of the table in the pantry/laundry room nook! In the basket underneath are sweet potatoes. I cooked sweet potato souffle yesterday! Yummy!




I also bought 2 gallons of milk on sale at Walgreens for $3.69 and have frozen one of them. I've never frozen milk before and would like to see how it works out before investing in any more

An anonymous commenter reminded me that batteries are a good thing to have on hand in the winter. So hopefully I can purchase a supply of batteries, especially "D"s with coupons and on sale.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mission Pocketbook Accomplished!






I finished the pocketbook and I'm very pleased with how it turned out!Everything went right with this project and even the sewing machine cooperated. The pattern came from a pocketbook/tote bag book. I was very careful to follow everything to a "T". I even measured and marked the seam allowances. I was especially pleased with the quilted diamonds on the outer fabric.

I was determined to finish yesterday and worked on it until it was complete. This morning I took the new pocketbook to church. :o)


I enjoyed making this project very much. I've made pocketbooks before, but tried to make them with my own patterns. Following the directions and patterns in the book was so much easier and the project turned out so much more professional. That's a lesson I've learned the hard way. But, making the other pocketbooks gave me some experience that came in handy making this one.

This is the inside of the pocketbook.




I'm ready now to make more pocketbooks. I envision a Christmas pocketbook and pocketbooks that I can give as gifts. I have enough of the fabric used in this project left to make 2 more smaller bags.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Saturday Sewing

Today I have made a to-do list that has so many things on it, there's no way to do it all. But I can think big, can't I?

I plan to do the "work" part this morning which includes laundry, bathroom cleaning, mopping, vacuuming, cooking, putting things in the attic, bookkeeping for hubby's business, and serious deep cleaning of our bedroom.

My sweetie is buying some groceries. I made him a list based on sale items and sent coupons with him.

In the afternoon I want to pay a little visit to my elderly neighbor across the road, who I know is lonely and could use a visit. She sits on her porch and sees all our comings and goings. I have some devotional books that I purchased at a library book sale with her in mind that I would like to deliver.

Now for my sewing plans!

I am going to start on a Fall and Winter pocketbook. I decided to use some of the 60s vintage/retro fabric in my latest gift box of fabric, that I posted a picture of yesterday. At first I thought it was ugly, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. Last night I washed it and the lining fabric (also in the free box) and dryed them.

This is what the fabric looks like. The brown, orange and teal in it are great fall colors. This fabric is kind of stiff and thick which is great for a pocketbook. I don't know what the fabric content is, but it washed VERY well. It will definitely be a one of a kind pocketbook, although I have enough of the fabric to make two!



If you click on the picture to make it bigger you can read the writing on the selvage that says: House N Home Fabrics and Draperies, Inc. Guaranteed to be Vct Prints Preshrunk-Residual shrinkage does not exceed 3% Test CCCT 191A Screen Print.

I plan to use quilt batting in the outer panels and machine quilt a grid design on them. The lining fabric is a matching brown and I plan to include an inner pocket made of the outer fabric. The top will have a button loop closure.

This is the pocketbook I use now. I have thoroughly enjoyed it all summer, but I think its time to put it away until next Spring! I like the way I can clip my cell phone on the end of it and when I am trying to get stuff out of it, it stands up straight. The only thing I don't like is the fact that it has handles and not shoulder straps.



My new pocketbook will have nice long straps so I can just wear it over my shoulder when grocery shopping instead of having to place it in the child's seat part of the grocery cart and buckleing it in with the child safety seat belt!

Small Town America

Seen at the post office in a small town on Friday:

A little old lady wearing a floppy hat and a smock covered with multi-colored cats in rowboats. She was happy and cheerful, even though she seemed to be hard of hearing or in the early stages of Alzheimer's.

There was one lady in line between me and the little rowboat lady. This lady in front of me had on a blouse with a big tag sticking out the back. That tag was driving me crazy, but you just don't touch strange people's backs in the line at the post office.

I stood patiently in the rather long line, watching the people in line in front of me. When the line was supposed to move forward the little rowboat lady didn't notice and just stood there. The tag lady just walked around her and jumped in front of her. I was a little irritated that someone would jump in front of a nice little old lady like that.

So now the rowboat lady was directly in front of me. The tag lady was at the counter being waited on by the postal clerk (who always wears a surgeon's mask-that's another story). The adjacent postal clerk said "NEXT!" and the little old lady just stood there in her own happy little world. Finally she realized it was her turn and started to go forward when she noticed the tag lady's tag. She very sweetly went over, tucked it in, made a soothing little comment to the tag lady and then went to be waited on........

Its amazing what you can learn about people just by watching their actions in a line at the post office on a regular old Friday morning in small town America!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

SEW CRAFTY FRIDAY

I have completed a couple of projects this week, but wasn't patient enough to wait until Friday!!! I posted the red checked kitchen accessories I made for my daughter and the froggie diaper wipes and cloth baby book I made for my grandson earlier in the week.


But, I have been working diligently on a Wolf Wall Hanging quilt I posted about before here. This week I finished quilting the diagonal lines (even though they aren't exactly even), clipping all loose threads, made the binding and sewed it on.


SEWING ON THE BINDING



Did you ever start a project that seemed doomed from the beginning? This is just one more thing that happened! See how close I was to having enough binding. I only needed about 3 more inches! Oh well, I had more fabric and was able to fix this!










DAVE, THE DOG, WITH HIS NEW DOGGIE QUILT! (He hates to pose for a picture!)





Be sure to go to the Waiting For Him blog to see many more crafty ideas!

Frugal Friday



MY NEWEST BOX OF SCRAPS!

As I have mentioned several times on this blog, I have a friend who gives me lots of bags and boxes of scrap fabric. Sometimes there are scraps from fairly new fabric. Sometimes there are large pieces, enough for a large project. I also love the tiniest scrap of one design. Sometimes there are really old (kind of ugly) scraps that I would call vintage or retro, in the boxes. Some of the above fabric still has a yellow tag stapled on it that says Sears Roebuck and Company. I wouldn't be surprized if some of them are from the 50s or 60s. Some of it looks like "feed sack" material like my Grandmother used to make quilts!


Everybody has access to scraps, even if you don't sew. There are scraps to be had from old clothing, curtains, the remnant bin at the fabric store and friends who do sew!

But there are many other ways to make frugal use of those scraps besides quilting, even if you don't sew!

I found two great sites here and here that give GREAT ways to use those scraps!


Some of them include:

1. Of course, scrap quilts

2. Napkins, placemats and coasters (See these Coasters)

3. Fabric covered boxes (I plan to do this!)

4. Aprons

5. Pillows

6. Rice Filled Heating Pads (See my post here)

7. Gift wrap (I plan to do this!)

8. Making bags such as laundry bags, grocery bags, gift bags

9. Making purses

10. Children's wall hangings.

11. Pillow Cases

12. Pet Beds

13. Table Runners

14. Draft Stops

15. Braided rugs, coasters and trivets. (I plan to do this, too!) (see this post)

16. Mouse Mat Covers (Gotta do these)

If you have an idea that I haven't listed please leave a comment telling me about it!

I can hardly contain my excitement thinking about trying some of these things.

Be sure to go to www.biblicalwomanhood.com/blog.htm for many other frugal ideas!
Also don't miss my daughter's new blog, Super Mommies Unite, where she is going to share the joys of being a new wife, mother, and frugal homemaker.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New Blog

My sweet daughter has started her own blog. I'm so happy to get a peek into her day to day life now that she's a new Mama. I would love for you to visit her at Super Mommies Unite. There's a really cute picture of our sweet baby, Little "D" there already. She posted her first entry today!

Heart Strings




I have the sweetest husband in the world. Just in case you didn't remember me telling you that before!

His eyes rove to and fro looking for gifts for me.

He came home with this table/shelf Saturday. He saw it at a moving sale. The people were moving to South Carolina and were getting rid of as much of their stuff as possible. This is absolutely perfect for my laundry room/pantry nook.

It can be used as a place to put folded laundry or I can use it as an extension of the pantry.

Here it is pictured with some of my 82 year old Mama's home made sweet pickles. If you haven't had potato salad or chicken salad made with Mama's home made sweet pickles, you haven't really tasted potato salad or chicken salad. I don't expect that she will be physically able to make any more pickles, although I'm sure she will try. She has 20 or 30 jars left in her storage room, but that may be the end of the home made sweet pickles. I am planning to get her recipe and start the tradition at my house.

The ceramic pitcher with kitchen tools in it was made by my husband's Mama many years ago when the ceramics hobby was so popular around here. She passed away long ago, before I had a chance to know her. Her reputation as a wonderful lady is still famous in this area. If she was anything like her son, she was great!

There are also a few of my favorite cookbooks, "Aunt Bee's Mayberry Cookbook", "Not Just Beans" and "Heavenly Dishes". "Heavenly Dishes" is an old cookbook published by my church as a fund raiser at least 20 years ago.

The basket was hand made years ago by my elderly aunt and uncle. That was one of their many hobbies.

This picture reflects my husband's love for me and holds many memories and therefore qualifies for a HEART STRINGS post.

Thanks Blake, Mama, Ms. Florrie, Aunt Patty, Uncle Phillip, and the church ladies! I love you all!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Red Checked Kitchen Accessories




My daughter has a red theme in her kitchen and so I made her these red checked napkins, coasters and the bow on the wooden spoon. The wooden spoon is one I have had for over 30 years. This fabric was in one of my surprise scrap bags a friend gives me. Its 100% cotton and has a weave in it just like "real" napkins. Its so much fun to go through the bags and see what I can come up with for absolutely nothing.

I've haven't used the zigzag feature on my sewing machine very much, but I'm really beginning to like it! My machine is old, but well made and solid. It only has a straight stitch and zigzag stitch. Here is a picture of my machine posted a while back.

I'm still machine quilting the wolf wall hanging that we're going to use for a dog bed. I've committed to working on it a few minutes every morning before work. I don't have too much left to do. It bothers me to have to many UFOs/WIPs around.

I have so many ideas in my head for projects that I can't sleep sometimes at night!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday Sewing



This wonderfully cool October day began at my house early, as usual. My husband and I went to eat breakfast at a family owned small town restaurant like you would see on the Andy Griffith Show or read about in a Mitford Series book. The people who eat there see each other almost every day and its like a big family. There certainly are some unique personalities there.

After eating my breakfast of a huge pancake and huge link sausage, I went to a grocery store to purchase some sale meats and came back home. I roasted some chicken in the oven and made meatloaf, string beans and mashed potatoes. The chicken is for tomorrow. We ate the meatloaf for lunch today.


I hung out three lines full of clothes, mostly every body's sheets, and did some basic cleaning until after lunch.

I wanted to make some cloth diaper wipes from some new flannel fabric I purchased this week. The fabric is camouflage with frogs on it. The colors will camouflage any stains!!! LOL. Dylan has a froggie theme going on.

I discussed the wipes with my daughter and we decided that 8 inch square would be a good size. I experimented with different ways of sewing the edges to keep them from raveling. I considered making the wipes double layered, but felt the thinner ones would be better and I would be able to make twice as many with the same amount of fabric.

I tried to zig zag close to the edge, but that didn't exactly give me the desired result. Then I turned under the edges 1/4 inch and just sewed it all around. I wasn't sure if that would keep the edges from raveling either.

Then I pressed under 1/4 inch all around and zig zagged it down. I liked it!!! The test will be how well they wash and dry!!! We'll see.

Here is a picture of the ten I made this afternoon.





I also worked on a fabric baby book using scraps and left over quilt batting. Its a wild animal book with bright colors for the baby to look at He can chew on it, roll over on it or what ever and it can just be thrown in the washing machine.

This is the front of the book and a couple of pages in it. You might recognise the Jungle Babies fabric I used on the front:o)







I think a cute baby gift would be to make a baby quilt and either of these projects in a matching fabric. Or a Couple of matching burp cloths, some baby wash cloths and a baby fabric book would be really sweet.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sew Crafty Friday




MORE CHICKEN STUFF!

I have shown chicken napkins and coasters on this blog before, but this week I added placemats. A friend of my husband put in a special request for 4 chicken napkins, 4 chicken coasters and 4 chicken placemats for his sister who was redecorating her kitchen in "chickens".

Next week I hope to have grandbaby Dylan's "wild animal fabric baby book" completed for "Sew Crafty Friday.

Please go to http://w8ng4him.blogspot.com/ for more Sew Crafty Friday posts!!!

FRUGAL FRIDAY

The Pantry Principle, Part Two



I have continued to plan and organize the stocking of my pantry in preparation for Fall and Winter. This is the shelf located on the wall adjacent to the pie safe shown last week in The Pantry Principle, Part One, where my canned goods, etc. are being stored. This shelf is a work in progress. The bags hanging on the pegs will contain pastas, beans, and various other items. Its a great place to display home canned jars of pickles, jelly or tomatoes. I would like to place a bench on the floor underneath the shelf. I can think of so many ways to take advantage of this little pantry nook I have started!


My plan for this week’s pantry stocking was to purchase the following:

2 boxes lasagna
2 more 2 lb bags rice
2 ten lb bags sugar
2 five lb bags flour
2 large fat free creamers
2 bags navy beans
1 bag black eye peas
1 box of 100 tea bags
1 large canister of hot cocoa mix
2 boxes shells and cheese
3 boxes corn muffin mix
1 more large canister of coffee
1 box coffee filters
1 3lb box macaroni

These are some of the strategies I am using to continue stocking up:

I hope to buy extras every week for the next 2 or 3 weeks until I feel we have enough supplies on hand to make the fall and winter easier. One good way to stock your pantry is to set aside a small amount of money each week for this purpose. With only $5.00 or $10.00 a week you could make progress over time.

Any time I see a really good deal on a staple item I try to buy several . I recently bought 10 sixteen oz packages of spaghetti marked down to 25 cents at the grocery store with a year still left until its sell by date. Also not long ago Tetley teabags were on sale at my grocery store for $1.50 and right underneath the shelf was a coupon dispenser for $1.00 off the Tetley tea bags. I bought several .

Don't forget to use CVS's extra bucks or Walgreens or Rite Aid's rebate program. A drugstore is not the best place to buy groceries, but if you watch the sale papers and use coupons and take advantage of each store's promotional programs, you can get some really good deals.

I especially enjoy not having to buy everything every week at the grocery store. Usually I only have to buy a few things each week and this allows me to have money available to stock up on what’s on sale and/or with a coupon .

I have been working in my pantry area to make it more organized doing things such as placing small boxes of pudding mix and corn muffin mix in a plastic basket and placing bags of rice and beans in a plastic bin to prevent them from sliding around. I ‘m also working in my kitchen food cabinets to throw out old food and organize everything. When the pantry is organized it reduces waste simply because you are aware of what's in there.

It’s a good idea to place flour, rice and pasta in the freezer for 2 or 3 days as soon as you get it home to make sure any little critters and their eggs have been killed. I plan to store my flour in the freezer.

This coming week my husband is planning on getting two bushels of sweet potatoes for our pantry and I plan to purchase sale meats in bulk to freeze. Taking advantage of what ever is in season is one good way to stock up. For example, n July and August, freeze or can tomatoes.

I also want to start purchasing some of the things I’ll need for Thanksgiving and Christmas cooking. If you purchase 1 or 2 items a week it won’t be such a huge undertaking to buy groceries for holiday baking.

Also last, but not least, I plan to purchase some food for our church’s food pantry. The same principles apply when buying food for a food pantry. Use coupons in conjunction with sales and buy store brands if they are of good quality. Its nice to remember something an old friend once told me: "You can’t out-give the Lord". Give to a food pantry for the needy and I’m sure He’ll bless you twice as much!
There are many great Frugal Friday Tips at www.biblicalwomanhood.com/blog.htm . Be sure to check them out!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Gifts From Afar




I received these wonderful craft patterns in the mail from my blogger friend, Elizabeth. It was such a nice surprise. I love the quilt pattern and I am also excited about the tea towel pattern. I've never made one of those, but see them on Elizabeth's blog all the time. I can't wait to work on it while watching TV with my husband this Fall.

Elizabeth has two blogs now, a kitchen blog and a simple journey blog. You should check them out.

Thanks Elizabeth!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

OUR YARD










Our day lillies are blooming again as you can see from this picture. My husband brought me this pumpkin, the rust colored mums below and added the orange bow to the arrangement he had already made last week.





Don Juan, the red rose bush, is blooming.





This is what you would see if you drove up our driveway.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Gentleman's Quarters

***UPDATED*** The on line pattern for this quilt has been removed. But, if you are interested, I have posted a tutorial for the pattern HERE


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This is a quilt I made for my son, Jacob, from his old blue jeans and flannel. I used his out-grown boxers for some of the squares. (Is that bad?) He loves this quilt. Its kind of heavy and he can't hurt it because all of the fabric has been washed and dryed countless times before it ever evolved into a quilt. I just throw it into the washer and dryer or like the picture, hang it on the line.


Its handquilted, which was kind of hard since the jean material is so thick!

The pattern came from here .

There is also a great tutorial for this quilt here.

An update on the Wolf Wall Hanging. I took out the puckered stitches and have been machine quilting diagonal lines 2 1/2 inches apart. It looks pretty good, but I seem to never learn that the lines printed on fabric aren't straight. I've been wanting to make a doggie quilt bed for Dave, our dog, and it came to me that this is the perfect doggie quilt for him. It has wolves on it, its a dark color, and it can be washed easily. Best of all, Dave doesn't care if the lines are straight or not, or if there are any puckers!!! Great solution for how to use this quilt. I still have another panel just like this and believe me I'll know how to make it the right way!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER THING

THIS

Yesterday I went to a small church thrift store to just look around. I thought I might run across some treasure and also to check out the selection of baby clothes. I knew that sometimes the selection of baby clothes can be nice and thought maybe I could pick up Dylan some winter play clothes in a larger size than he wears now. You know how fast babies grow!!! I found these for 25 cents each for a total of $1.61 including tax. The brand names include "Baby Gap", "Little Me", Osh Kosh and "I love you this much". The short overalls are big enough for next spring when the weather warms back up and the long sleeve onesie will be perfect with some little pants or overalls this winter. I would like to go back when I have more time to pick up some more items. I washed and dried these clothes inside yesterday (it was rainy) but thought the picture would turn out good outside on the clothesline.



THAT

Our football team isn't doing well at all this year. In fact its doing kind of bad, but we are standing by our team. Hope springs eternal!

This is Dave, our dog, helping support the Wolfpack!





THE OTHER THING


Yesterday I made a big pot of Great Northern Beans seasoned with a ham hock. I also made an extra big pan of lasagna. The lasagna was for lunch and also for Jacob, my son, who won't eat the beans. My husband and I had already eaten our lasagna portions, but when Jacob was serving himself a loud crash of broken glass came from the kitchen. The lasagna was baked in a glass baking dish and was sitting on the counter underneath the cabinet where the drinking glasses are stored. When he got himself out a glass he accidentally dropped it on the lasagna dish which splattered into millions of pieces on the counter and the floor around Jacob's bare feet. He wasn't cut, because I ran and got him some shoes and we cleaned it up as quickly and as well as we could. The remaining lasagna had to be thrown out, much to Jacob's dismay. He was really looking forward to eating it and having left overs for a couple of days!

So today I made him a big pan of cheeseburger rotini. Hopefully that will make him feel better.

Needless to say I'll never place a glass baking dish underneath the drinking glass cabinet again!

Friday, October 5, 2007

FRUGAL FRIDAY

THE PANTRY PRINCIPLE, Part One

The name of this Frugal Friday post is straight out of the Tightwad Gazette, II and is updated in the Tightwad Gazette III. The lesson is "to save the most money and time when buying food, you should shop to replenish your pantry, not to make specific meals". In the Tightwad Gazette III there is a list of what the author keeps in her pantry. I have also seen Pantry Lists on other blogs. My plan is to read several of these pantry lists and include the things I would use in my pantry.

One point that I'd like to make is that you don't have to have a special room or closet for your pantry. You can make a pantry anywhere that you can put up some shelves or use a closet or even under a bed! I have made my pantry in a corner of the laundry room in an old pie safe that was on the way to the landfill, but was rescued many years ago. This is a picture of the outside of it. As you can see there are baskets on top and underneath is a wicker picnic basket, plastic bin and beside it is a potato and onion storage box. It is full of buy one get one free potatoes and waiting for the sweet potatoes that are being harvested around here this time of year. In the picnic basket I sometimes "hide" items I don't want my family to find and go through too fast! LOL. The plastic bin is great for produce items, etc. There are also hooks on a shelf on an adjacent wall that has a recycle bag for plastic grocery bags. I am planning on making some cloth bags to hang on some of the other hooks to store food items.




My pantry had gotten bare and so I started working on restocking it in preparation for fall and winter at lunch yesterday and these are the things I've gotten so far:

4 cans of mixed vegetables
2 cans of cut green beans with whole potatoes
4 cans of cut green beans
2 cans of cheddar cheese soup
2 cans of light red kidney beans
3 2lb bags of rice
2 cans of spaghetti sauce
1 can of sweet peas
1 large can of Folgers Coffee

That's a pretty good start, don't you think! Next week I plan to stock up items other than canned goods, such as flour, sugar, teabags, etc.

This is a picture of the inside of the pie safe with some of the products I purchased already stored there. There still room in there and definitely in the baskets, etc.


All of the national brand items were purchased on sale and/or with a coupon. Some of the store brand items are tried and true favorites. I'm not brand loyal. But, if a store brand isn't of good quality, I definitely won't buy it just because its cheaper. I have experimented with some store brands and have found some good ones.


Please visit www.biblicalwomanhood.com/blog.htm. for more Frugal Friday ideas!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Fall and Winter Pantry Stocking

Thank you Coleen for your question about stocking my pantry for Fall and Winter.

My pantry has gotten a little bare lately as I've been trying to spend less at the grocery store and have been using what I already have on hand. The only problem with that is not having a stash for emergencies, etc.

I plan to make a special trip to the stores that always have the best prices on certain products I use,as well as stocking up on what is on sale for the next few weeks at my regular grocery store, Food Lion. This includes meats for the freezer.

We are still in hurricane season here and we need to keep a food supply on hand for that type of emergency. Then when cold weather comes, its a good idea to have all kinds of foods on hand so frequent trips to the grocery store aren't necessary. I know those of you that live in really cold weather areas will laugh at this, but where I live if there is even a hint of the "s" word (snow) in the weather forecast, the grocery stores are the last place you want to be. I'd like to have everything we would need so we can just stay home and enjoy ourselves by the fire! In years past I was one of those people at the grocery store looking forlornly at the empty bread and milk shelves!!! I don't want to be a part of that frenzy ever again.

Some things I would like to stock up on are: Dry milk powder, all kinds of canned beans and vegetables, canned soups, sugar, flour, tea bags, coffee, cooking oil, bottled water, batteries, hot chocolate mix, etc. I'd also like to have some milk and bread in the freezer. When I am shopping I am going to think about what we would like to have on hand if we were snowed in or didn't have electricity for several days because of a hurricane or natural disaster.

It would be a good idea for me to look at some of the websites that are available with information on being prepared for a disaster or other emergency situation.

I would like to do a more detailed post on this subject at a later date.

Thanks!

MY LITTLE YELLOW VAC



This is one of my favorite cleaning tools. Its my little yellow vac. Its the best thing for vacuuming all of my hard surfaced floors, especially the kitchen, laundry room and front entry way. I could sweep until the cows came home and I couldn't get up all the dirt, pet hair, and dust like this little machine.

I like to keep it plugged in and out of the way in the laundry room so I can just grab it anytime and go. If I want to do an especially good job, like right before mopping, I will take the broom and just sweep out from under places the little yellow vac won't go, like between the fridge and wall, under the edges of stuff and then vacuum. I move light weight things like chairs and plants over and vacuum under them as I go. It gets the dirt up right up to the edge of the walls.

It has a little filter that you clean out after about 2 or 3 vacuumings. Sometimes I clean it every time I use it. I am always amazed at how much stuff it picks up after just one pass through the kitchen,when the floor didn't even seem dirty. I just pour the dirt from the plastic container and throw the biggest hair/fuzz/stuff from the filter in the trash can and take the filter outside and beat it on a wall. This cleans it very well and then just return it to the vacuum and you are ready for the next cleaning.

Its also so easy to get out and put away. My big carpet vacuum is just too much trouble to get out on a daily basis. The little yellow vac is small and the handle goes back inside the machine so it will fit in a small space like in the closet in my laundry room here:




My friend has an older home that has hard wood floors throughout and she was the one that told me about this little machine. She loves hers too!

This little yellow vac isn't meant to vacuum big carpets. It will vacuum the lent and dirt laying on the top of the carpet, but isn't meant for deep carpet vacuuming. For hard surfaced floors like your kitchen it is great!

Monday, October 1, 2007

SPEED CLEANING AND 15 MINUTES A DAY CLEANING




These two books changed my life.... Well sort of.


I checked both of these books out from the library a few years ago and then later was lucky enough to find them at a library book discard sale. They are two of my favorite reference books.

Working away from home and dreaming of being a homemaker requires some planning and organization to do it all, or to make a good attempt at doing it all.

So since cleaning and de-cluttering are a big part of homemaking, but not the fun part, I’ve tried to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible.

I’m sure anyone reading this has heard of Flylady. Her website and book are wonderful and I use a lot of her ideas all the time. But before I even heard of Flylady or "baby steps", I was a fan of Emilie Barnes. Her motto is “It only takes 15 minutes a day and you’ll be on your way to becoming a creative home organizer.”

This 15 minutes a day concept changed my outlook on housework. Suppose you have a job that you really don’t want to do. Well, its not so bad to just do 15 minutes, if you know ahead of time that is all you have to do. Do 15 minutes a day and after a week, you’ve spent 1 hour and 45 minutes and may have finished that job or make a big dent in it!

I’ve even applied the 15 minutes a day concept to fun things. As much as I love to sew and quilt, sometimes after a day at work, I’m just too tired. I was hand quilting a quilt once that was just sitting there in the quilting frame with no progress. I committed to quilting just 15 minutes a day and before I knew it, it was done!

This book by Emilie Barnes is loaded with so much great information on being organized, cleaning, and raising families. Emilie Barnes is one of my all time favorite christian authors. I highly recommend her books to you.

Now for the speed cleaning book. Speed cleaning may seem to be the opposite of my other favorite cleaning concept of 15 minutes a day or as Flylady would call it, “Baby Steps”, but on Saturday morning or during that 15 minutes a day, there are quicker and better ways to clean. The faster I get through with the house cleaning, the sooner I can start sewing, yard saleing, gardening or cooking, the fun homemaking stuff.

I don’t follow the Speed Cleaning Book word for word, but I have taken from it many, many things that work for me in the cleaning area. I don’t remember really being taught how to clean. I just started cleaning when I was old enough. I was doing many things the hard way or the wrong way. It goes against every fiber of my being to do unnecessary work. I want to do a job well, but I hate to do it the hard way or drag it out over a long period of time. I just want to do it, do it well, and move on.

I have also come to realize that I only need a small number of cleaning products. I have a few standbys and the rest are just clutter. I also realize that I need to use natural earth friendly cleaners. I haven't really explored this concept too much yet, but its on the mental list!!!

These are a few of “The Clean Team Rules” from the book: Make every move count; Use the right tools; Work from top to bottom; If it isn’t dirty, don’t clean it; Don’t keep working after its clean.

I don't know about you, but I just don't have time for unnecessary work!

Have a great Tuesday!

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