Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Practice first.... Sew once!

I worked on the monogrammed bags I am making for Christmas gifts over the weekend.  I had already been successful with one bag.  The monogram came out really well.  So I continued on with working on some more bags.  I was not happy to discover that different letters of the alphabet need to be spaced differently, depending on the shape of the letter!  I'm afraid I messed up two of the panels that would have become bags.

Here's the one that I made weekend before last came out great on the first try.



But this one is Bad!  That "W" is way too close to the center "S".


It turned out much better on this practice piece.  I wrote down the numbers and can now monogram the bag correctly.


This one is kind of hard to see, but the "J" on the right is just not right.



This practice piece is much better and I did write down the numbers for future reference!




This one came out ok the first time, thankfully!


Here the machine is set up to go.  Hopefully the practice pieces and numbers I have written down with make this bag a success!


I will definitely do practice pieces from now on before sewing on the fabric I planned to use!

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Tiny Frugal Tip# 5 - Play The Games



There are so many stores out there and ALL of them want your money!  There are all kinds of gimmicks that they use to achieve their goal to get you into their store and to spend your money there.  But you have to be smarter than they are!

One of my best frugal tips is to decide on a select few stores, learn their "deal games" and then play the games well.  Just focus on a few.  For me, I have chosen CVS, Dollar General, and Food Lion, as far as brick and mortar stores.  These three stores are convenient for me.  I also love Amazon Subscribe and Save.



I know their prices.  I know how to play their games.  I have their MVP card, Extra Care card, and and have signed up for their digital coupons.  When I go to CVS, if it isn't on sale, or I don't have a coupon, I don't buy it!  At Dollar General, I know what is a good price and I leave the other stuff there.  

A price book is a great tool to help you play the games well.  I like to bring the price of an item down so low, using a combination of sale prices and coupons, that there's no doubt that the price is the best I can find.

My "old lady" brain can't keep up with too many stores at one time.  Sure, there are some great deals at Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Walmart.  I'll visit these stores from time to time, but they just aren't my "deal stores".



There's only such much time to spend on getting the best deal.

So that's my tiny frugal tip for today.  Play the Games ...... and play them well!


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Fall Around The Farmhouse

Good morning! Fall is my favorite time of year and so the Fall decorating at the farmhouse has begun!

Door mat from Dollar General.  Love the few scattered leaves already at the top.

This flag is perfect because my hubby has a red truck and lots of times there are pumpkins in it!

This is what you see when you come in our back door.  I made the runner a few years ago.  The only thing new is the "harvest" sign which came from Dollar General.

A yard sale find a few years ago.
I love using what I already have on hand.  However, I would love to add some Fall dishes to my collection, so I'll be on the look out for them, especially when they are put on clearance after the fall season is over.

I grew this sunflower.

If you look close you will see that the dishes in the china cabinet are Christmas dishes!

Another red truck with pumpkins.

This is old but I bought it at Family Dollar.

The Fall quilt I made many years ago.

I love this leaf shaped bowl my daughter gave me a few years ago.

I love anything with sunflowers on it!

Fake gourds.

This is a runner I made a few years ago on the kitchen counter/bar.


This picture has battery operated flickering lights.  I bought it on a deep clearance at Family Christian Stores a couple of years ago.  Its one of my all time favorite fall decorations. 

Dollar General scare crow girl and mini stool. 

Mini stool from Dollar General.

This is what the stools look like without the items sitting on them.

An old yard sale find.

Dollar General..... again.


I'm the first person in the neighborhood with pumpkins on display.  There will be more to come!

I hope you enjoyed this little Fall tour! 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Christmas Sewing!

I was able to  finish one of the Christmas gifts I have been planning and love the feeling of accomplishment!  My plan was to make monogrammed bags and to purchase items on sale, with coupons, etc. to go in them.


I went "shopping" in my stash and found enough of this fabric to make four bags.  I am choosing the monogram color based on what I "think" is the recipient's favorite color.  Not really sure about a couple of them.  The colors are blue, red, green and purple.  I am choosing the lining fabric to coordinate with the monogram color.


Some colors to choose from.



Several years, in the early days of my blog, I posted a 5 part "pocketbook" tutorial, and also a "fabric reusable grocery bag" tutorial.  I  went back and read the posts and this bag is a combination of the two tutorials.  The tutorials are listed on the bottom right hand side bar of this blog, if you are interested.



So far the goodies in this bag are shaving cream, razors, body wash and two lotions.  I also have several candles and will add one of those.



My "dream" plan if time allows, is to also make a small, zippered, monogrammed cosmetic bag to go in the bags.  In the zippered bag I plan to include small items such as chap stick, lip gloss, etc.  The possibilities are endless for ideas to fill the bags.  A personalized key fob would be a nice touch also!

 I ordered lotions, body washes and candles from Bath and Body Works when they had a big clearance sale a couple of months ago.  It was a great sale!  I had some high value coupons that I applied to the shaving cream and razors at CVS and through Amazon Subscribe and Save.

Are you making any plans to make any Christmas gifts?  I hope this post has given you some ideas!






Friday, September 8, 2017

A Tiny Frugal Tip #4 - Misfit Cleaners

Welcome to my Tiny Frugal Tip Series!
 
My last tip was about saving money on clothes by loving the clothes you already own. Today's tip is about saving money by USING the cleaning supplies you already have on hand.  Are you like me in that you have some cleaning supplies you thought were going to work, or you bought them because you had a coupon,  and then you never really liked them?


This the basket that holds my misfit cleaning supplies! 




I've tried to use them, really I have!  I almost threw them away just a few days ago.  Then I decided that there must be some way to make use of them and save money.


Here are the ideas I came up with:


1.  Organize the cleaning supplies by category.  Begin by wiping off the containers and combining any that are the same.  Use the ones with the smallest amount left in the containers first.  It helps with decluttering if you can throw away some empty ones.  This creates a sort of "snowball" effect in getting rid of the cleaners.  Kind of like when someone is trying to pay off debt!


2.  Make a list of what you have on hand and areas of the home in which you plan to use them.  If you have some kind of household binder, that would be a great place for the list.  


3.  Brainstorm ways you could use the cleaners.  There are multiple uses for many of them.  Could you use one of them for washing the outside of the car or cleaning the inside of the car?  Can you use one of them for cleaning outdoor items, like lounge chairs or flower pots?   Would any of them work for spot cleaning laundry?  If you use your imagination, you might just end up really loving a misfit cleaner!


One way I am using some of the cleaners comes from an idea I got from Flylady.  I put a little cleaner in the toilet brush container, along with a little water.  Then when I swish the brush around in the toilet, the cleaner is already on there.  This works great for the light daily swishing that often needs to be done.



Search on line to find ways to use certain products.  Also on the back label of the product, there is usually a list of uses that you haven't even considered.


4.  If you have a cleaner that doesn't work as well as you want it to, save it to use on an area that isn't as dirty.  Save your heavier duty cleaners for the extra tough cleaning jobs.


5.  Could you donate the items?  Do you have a family member or friend, who could really use some of the cleaners?  Different people like different things.  Even if you hate a cleaner, someone might be glad to save a little money by not having to buy some cleaners.  There might even be a need at a homeless shelter, or animal shelter.


6.  Promise yourself that you won't buy any more cleaners until the ones you have are used up!  You can probably accomplish this by getting creative and making some of your own cleaners. to supplement them.  Vinegar is a great base for making homemade cleaners.  You might be able to create a new cleaner using what you have by adding vinegar, baking soda, etc. to it.  Just don't cause any explosions!


7.  If you are like me, you have certain cleaners that you use all the time.  Make a list of those and only buy those in the future.  Even if a cleaner is on sale and you have a coupon, its a waste of money if it doesn't work for you.

This is the shelf in my laundry room.  The basket on the left contains my misfit cleaners.  The one on the right contains the cleaners I use regularly.  My plan is to empty the one on the left and simplify all my cleaners so that there are only a few basics up there, eventually.



Lets give our misfit cleaners some love and put them to use.  Stay out of the cleaning supply aisle until you have used them!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Speed Clean With Me!

(The links in this post are affiliate links.  If you click on them and make a purchase, I may earn a small fee.  Thanks!)

I had a nice long Labor Day weekend with lots of plans. But, I didn't want to spend a lot of time doing house cleaning.  So I decided to clean for one hour, loosely based on the Flylady's Home Blessing Hour.  For my own home blessing I decided to spend 15 minutes on 4 different chores.  Here's what I did.

It was a gloomy, rainy Saturday morning.  Perfect for staying inside!



 The laundry was already in progress.



At 8:00 A.M., I set the timer on my stove for 15 minutes.  I was still drinking coffee and constantly losing my mug.  Do you do that?  I have to look all over the house to find it.


My first chore was dusting.  I didn't do a detail dusting, just a light dusting.  I cruised around the house with my fluffy pink duster thingie and dusted hither and yon.   This is a static duster and does a pretty good job.   I started at the back door and worked my way around the house.   I spent a little more time in the living room and master bedroom, since those two rooms were the dustiest of the house.  I went outside a couple of times to shake and tap the duster on the back steps.  Detail dusting is reserved for the time when I am working in a particular zone.



After the 15 minutes was up, I stopped and proceeded to the next chore:  Dust Mopping.  We have hard floors in every room, no carpet at all.  I dust mopped a lot like I dusted.  I started at the back door and dust mopped around the edges of each room.  The purpose of this was to prepare the floors for vacuuming.  The dust mop pulls crumbs from under the bottom edge of the kitchen cabinets.  It gets the dust from under the edges of furniture.  I had to go outside and shake and tap the dust mop just like I did with the pink fluffy duster thingie.



The third 15  minutes was a  speed vacuuming of the floors. I didn't move any large pieces of furniture and I made sure I got up everything the dust mop pulled out.  I vacuumed small rugs, quickly pulled the chairs from the dining room table and vacuumed under there.  

I love this battery operated vacuum.  No wires to plug in.  Just grab and vacuum.  Its a Shark Navigator.  I bought mine a couple of years ago on Black Friday.  Click HERE to check it out!



Finally, the last 15 minutes of the hour, I did some quick mopping.  I started at the back door, mopped the mud room, laundry room, kitchen, dining room and living room.   During my next home blessing hour,  I plan to mop some other rooms in the house.  Of course the kitchen and mud room will need mopping again.  This mop is nice because the cover is machine washable.  I just spray the cleaner on the floor in sections and move fast.
 

Here's a picture showing the mop without the cover.  I've had that bottle of concentrated cleaner forever.  It lasts a long time and I don't remember where I got it.  I checked Amazon and they sell it HERE.


After only an hour, I was really pleased with the results!  You'd be amazed at the progress you can make in an hour.  Not included in this hour was cleaning the toilets and the tub/shower, but that didn't take too long. 

I love using this speedy method in doing other work around the house also.  For example, I had some yard work that needed doing.  This included trimming some scraggly summer plants and bushes.  Every now and then, over the weekend, I would run outside and trim just one potted plant, or one bush.  Or I would run out and spend 5, 10, or 15 minutes at a time, depending on what was going on.  I got it all done without  doing a marathon of yard work.

Getting some things accomplished like this is very motivating to me.  I'm ready to take on the next home blessing!

Practice first.... Sew once!

I worked on the monogrammed bags I am making for Christmas gifts over the weekend.  I had already been successful with one bag.  The monogra...