Monday, April 22, 2024

Monday Message

"The best food storage is not in welfare grain elevators but in sealed cans and bottles in the homes of our people. What a gratifying thing it is to see cans of wheat and rice and beans under the beds or in the pantries of women who have taken welfare responsibility into their own hands. Such food may not be tasty, but it will be nourishing if it has to be used." (President Gordon B. Hinckley)

It sure has benefited our family to have storage

I have still been working at some Spring cleaning. Trying to work smarter by being more organized.

I wanted to use a table we got years and years ago for three dollars from a college salvage store for my sock machine as I wouldn't have to scrunch over the machine as I was with the other table. However, the top was too thick for my sock machine to clamp onto so my husband helped to grade the section to come down to the right thickness. So now it is perfect.

I also switched a few things around on the watercolor desk to have a bit more space.

I was given this really odd wire setup. It took me a few times trying to use it then I noticed someone put it together with zip ties. I cut those to reveal these three wire baskets I used to put my tubes of watercolor paint in and they fit perfectly in this tray that I had. Note - lots of orange stickers, lots were clearance finds over a couple years.

This picture, if you look closely at it, you will see white wire legs. This is the rest of that weird wire concoction. These are two shelf things that stand up tall to have things slide under them which they do. So I used all but those ratty zip ties. I am trying to use what I have on hand and make them work. I was going to get rid of that wild wire thing but I gave it thought and studied it. I truly do not know how or what they were using it as but this is now its new use. So just think of the item for a bit before you toss it out and you just might find the best ever use for it.

If you go back to the sock machine picture, the top piece is a shelf. I took out the two drawers and sat them under it and put the other two cylinders in them they do a smaller size sock and a larger size sock than the one I am using in my machine at the time. But I got more space by doing this with the drawers.  So just see it at a different angle to get ideas.

It helps to save money and not running out to buy something. Shop your house and see what you have.  

When I need to rest, I have been watching videos on people reorganizing their craft rooms, looking for ideas. While I have gotten some ideas, an awful lot have Ikea systems which I have no budget for so I find myself looking at the others to see how they came up with what they had. Some really were messes before they did get it organized. It always has to be a mess while you organize but some made me glad I wasn't the one who had to do them.

This weekend is our general conference. When you read this it will have been two weeks ago.

We have chili and cinnamon rolls on this weekend. It is our family tradition. Growing up here in Iowa my favorite lunch at school was chili and cinnamon rolls. So this continues to be a favorite. - this little fella making grandma's cinnamon rolls look good will graduate next month. Wow! I have done this blog a long time but the chili recipe is in this post. Often I save some taco meat to make chili but both ways are terrific. For the cinnamon rolls I just use the bread dough to make them from this recipe.

I use vital wheat gluten to make my bread flour. My recipe calls for three cups flour, so I add three tsp. of vital wheat gluten - perfect every time! If you do not have a bread machine, don't worry. You can just do it by hand.

Whether you feel ahead...

Or whether you feel behind...

Or you are having a hard time getting a grip...

Missy and Tippy Longstockings say to keep working on frugal ways and skill building, and stocking up on gibble is worthwhile.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Monday Message

"Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program. We could refer to all the components of personal and family preparedness, not in relation to holocaust or disaster, but in cultivating a life-style that is on a day-to-day basis its own reward." (President Spencer W. Kimball)

It is a good practice to make it a way of life rather than a one time event. Life is a roller coaster ride up and down. Putting this in practice won't take that away but it helps so much to weather those lows.

I feel we all need to be kind and be the best US we can be and set examples for others and our children.  They are having so many negative examples right now that we need to step up.

We moved to the east when our children were in second grade and kindergarten. We went as a job took us there. My heart has always been in Iowa but I tried to bloom where we were. The kids would come home with words for spelling etc. and they would say "caa" and "potty" for car and party. I would tell them, we are from Iowa and we say "car" and "party." We were only there a few years. Not that New England accents are bad, I rather like them, but it felt like cutting ties with Iowa.

I tell you this story to say that we are influenced by our surroundings. Probably not a good analogy but as this wasn't negative, it just shows how fast we can be influenced.

We have to fight hard to not let the negative that surrounds us at this time creep in. Negative things are louder right now. We have to fight the creeping in. Remember who we are and not let good slip away.  So being kind to each other is so very important especially now. We need to be good examples.

Garden time is getting closer. Seeds need to be put in pots here at our area to be plants by the time May 15 comes around. I have dirt in my little pots. I find I have to spread out the tasks now as I am not getting younger.  

I found this site has many mixes. I like how she says core spices because I have stored my spices just so I could make my own mixes as well. - this has other related mix recipes, so click around on them too. - she has lots of great mixes as well. - I use this all the time, worth repeating, it is crazy the prices in the store. I once wanted to know if I made this and made canned soup if it would take longer. Well, it took exactly the same time. The big differences was the taste was so much better than the can and way cheaper was the other difference. - you will recognize her site because I put this great post in for hamburger helper. - this is such a great one, I often repeat here as it is so much better than its store-bought counterpart.

This week I was going by the thrift store and stopped in, they have rubber stamps that are a quarter. So I thought I would look to see what was new and they had one more rag ball, the yellow one on top so I was glad I stopped in.

We had to add some washers and tighten some bolts this week on the rug loom. She was happy. You can see what those balls turn into as I weave using them. This loom is a weaver's delight. I got it at Goodwill. They had it on their floor and I would go drool over it every time I went there. They had a price of $350. There was no way I could afford it so I would visit it and drool on it. 

Then one day a friend called and said she was there, I asked her to go drool on it for me she said, no, come. They put it on half price. I said no, I could not even afford that price. She said no, then they slashed it again. It ended up being $60. We had a truck then and we were able to get it though I had to take it apart to get it in and the neighbor came and helped to unload it minutes before they were leaving for a week. We appreciated their help. It took me a long time to restore it and learn it.

When my husband was in the military we lived in Rapid City, South Dakota, before we had children.  We would go for walks and we would walk by this little house and I loved it. She had a sign out that said rug weaver. I always loved the idea of being a rug weaver so I feel blessed to now be a rug weaver.  

It is hard to learn without having access to a teacher in my area but I am proof that you can learn by researching. This loom has a part that I do not have hooked up. I could easily do it and some day I might but for now I only wanted to do it manually. The part shoots these metal boat looking things across that hold the bobbin of fabric that you just have to pull the beater and it goes back and forth. It has the nickname of window breaker cause sometimes they would jump off the rail and break windows but I like to just do it by hand. No broken windows that way either.  

But weaver's delight looms have numbers stamped in the wood. They were made in Davenport, Iowa. They are all kept track of so you can access the history and who owned the loom before you, very neat. Veterans made rugs on mine, then it was in a home in a basement for a time. Then they lost track of it till I got it. I think that is very neat. We call the rug loom big Bertha.

Getting this loom was around the time I got the yarn haul I talked about in the last post as we had the truck at that time as well.

Also, this week I finished the project on the table top loom aka baby Bertha and warped her up to start these quarantine coasters is what the pattern is called.  

So off on this next project, this first one I am doing with half inch strips of fabric. The next one I do will be with 3/4ths inch strips to see which I like better, both were suggested. I wasn't sure she could do it but yes she can and it's turning out wonderful. I held my cup of water up to show the size better for you to see...yes, mini rugs, so cute.

I have done other things than weaving but these were the most interesting

And before you ask...

Yes, this loom is called Bertha. She has dish towels going on her at the moment. And no, I haven't named the inkle loom but she would have to be called skinny Bertha.

Weaving is just one of the skills I am working on. It has been fun learning but so much more to learn. I have many things I am learning research, research, research teaching myself. At least as the student I don't have to pay myself the teacher, it takes longer but free fits my budget.

How are you coming with your skill building? Share what you are learning below in the comments.

At the time of this writing, in two days it will be Easter weekend. So to those who celebrate Easter, have a happy Easter. Remember, to be kind and to be the example that you would want for yourself.

Missy says she wanted you to know she does come out of her bag and that she wishes all a Happy Easter.

Tippy Longstockings wanted to say that she could have a skill in hunting Easter eggs.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Monday Message

"Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to ‘prepare every needful thing’ (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors, and support bishops as they care for others." (All is Safely Gathered In pamphlet)

Well, I am writing this post March 22 and this morning woke up to a couple inches of snow. We were to get rain but nope, it was snow.

So I made you another jolly snow person especially for those in hot weather at this time. - I thought this was a fantastic idea.

The better we plan, the more it will save us in money and time.

I decided to switch out baskets on the embroidery cart this week.

This week has flown by so fast.

But I have measured off the warp to put on the tabletop loom.

I was able to get it out of a little leftover so that was great - a frugal thing for sure. I am almost ready to warp it up for the next project.

I am still working on the dish towels.

I am still spinning on project.

This week I happened to stop in at a thrift store. I was going by and found these giant rag balls someone cut into strips and sewed them all into one long strip and rolled them into balls.

Do not be fooled by the pictures. I put them in a bushel and a half bushel basket. The balls are the size of bowling balls, maybe bigger.

I then sat down to wind one on a shuttle, you can see I had help.

I then added to the rug I am making...

These balls will make many rugs so a very thrifty find indeed.

I brought down some yarn and put it into a basket. It inspires me so this is how it looks. I had it in drawers but the basket was free of stuff, so in it they went. This yarn was part of the yarn haul I got a long while back when our kids were still at home. That hundred dollar yarn haul has blessed me all these years and still is.

So these are some thrifty things that have had huge blessings.

Don't rule out your thrift stores and yard sales. I know we don't always have the few dollars to spare right now. But if I were given a choice to go to a new store or a thrift store, I choose thrift over the new every time as what little money I might have goes way farther at the thrift store. Plus, I look for things that are going to be most helpful.

I don't always get to go but when I have, there have been good things like the rag balls. In all my years thrifting I have never seen rag balls, so a first I say.

Again I urge you though to have a list of things you need or are looking for so you stay on track and don't be lured into a minefield.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with beautifying our homes. We just do not want to go into debt doing it.

We can do things frugally and stretch our budgets.

Missy says we need to keep our eye on the goal - to keep working on skill building.

Tippy Longstockings says the main thing is we need to be content.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Monday Message

"Start now to create a plan if you don’t already have one, or update your present plan. Watch for best buys that will fit into your year’s supply. We are not in a situation that requires panic buying, but we do need to be careful in purchasing and rotating the storage that we’re putting away. The instability in the world today makes it imperative that we take heed of the counsel and prepare for the future." (L. Tom Perry)

I feel with all that is going on, things are a bit not steady. It is a good time to have some ahead in your storage. But more than that, it is just a frugal thing to do. When unexpected things pop up (and they will) you can move funds to cover the unexpected and still run smoothly fixing meals.

We need to have yummy meals that we can make for our family in our storage.

Watch for sales. If you have meals in storage, you can be open to in store sales...for example, when hamburger goes on sale - I change my menu plan and stock up on hamburger. That will make many more meals. It is hard to repackage those ten pound tubes but saves lots of money.

Being frugal means we have to be willing to push ourselves to work a little harder. Would it be easier to pay more? Yes, but my money would not go as far. So even though I am tired and hurt from fibromyalgia, I repackage and freeze it.  This way I am able to next time get things that aren't hamburger.

Another thing I  do is I don't purchase ready mixes and make my own from scratch. I also don't buy name brands. I just think for me green beans taste like green beans unless you can them.

And that brings me to canning things - it's another way I save. I one time read that you should look at the things you purchase in way of things you can grow. Decide which is the most costly and grow those things. Like at the time, potatoes were cheap. They said don't grow those, put your energy into more expensive things like pizza sauce, lets say.

I know it is tempting for example to purchase flour shells or pita bread or even bread instead of making your own, but you save a lot and eat better and tastes so much better.

Do the math and do what you can.

I have been weaving, trying to get this warp used up so I can start another project.

I have continued with spring cleaning trying to do smaller projects at a time.

I put some of my serger thread in these boxes and put tags on for fast finding when needed.

I swiped around the carts - I know, sounds like busy work but I needed to put my unmounted stamps in the light colored cart as it is just a bit bigger and that meant my embroidery stuff is in the turquoise cart. It all worked out but was a bit of work. I did use what I had and thought just how can I do those unmounted stamps better? At first I wasn't sure this would be okay as things go into the tray shelf and meant I would not be able to easily access the two shelves on the bottom.

So I mulled it over. I am trying to make things easier for myself so I don't have to stand on my head to do things. This is why you see so many reorganizing things on the blog. As I am aging with fibromyalgia I need things to be way easier.

So I thought what would help. I had these two plastic drawers from somewhere so I put the unmounted stamps in the drawers that fit good and would work but still too hard to pull out. So I had these two wire drawers I used before - is the only reason I still had them. I took them and turned them upside down  -perfect! Now the drawer sits up high enough to pull straight out, problem solved.

So you can see I can pull it out now for easy access. This is a huge thing. I am happy I hung onto these things. I no longer have the cart to the plastic drawers and had the shelves to a broken cart. So mull things over in your head. Look for things you already have. See how you can make them work. It took me a couple days of thinking what I could do then trying different ways. Now this works so much better.

This week I was given this white plastic drawer and this basket, so I added them in. And on this little wooden shelf, markers have to be stored on their sides for longer life - these, too, have to be at easier access. I need things to be in arm's length and I don't want to hunt for things I need.

So I will continue to find ways to make things easier on my body and conserve my energy.

Missy says take time to ponder it is so helpful.

Tippy Longstockings says match the Kleenex box as a reminder one needs those as well, so put them in storage.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Monday Message

"Those families will be fortunate who, in the last days, have an adequate supply of food because of their foresight and ability to produce their own." (Ezra Taft Benson)

We need to keep working on getting storage and supplies.

When I was young and could go to yard sales to get needed items, I would make a list. Canning jars were always on the list as well as other things we needed...popcorn popper, soap, blender, food processor, and toaster, canners, dehydrator.

...Christmas gifts that I could clean up and fix up and have nice gifts for our girls and others, sewing supplies and fabric, knitting supplies yarn, and crochet supplies.

...School clothes and snow suits and winter coats, church clothes. Books on teaching sewing and knitting and crochet. Cookbooks, school supplies. Sheets, things that would beautify our house. Whatever I felt we needed.... And now I'm still using these things and I am sixty-eight.

Having not the money we had back then, these things are serving us very well now, because I can dry and can foods, sew my clothes and make gifts.

I worked very hard back then to take care of us now.

Thinking ahead and having a list when you go to thrift stores and yard sales helps you stay on task.

I think how much it costs to eat out. That amount of money could buy many meals for your storage.

When I would have five dollars free to spend, I might want something but I ask myself what would I had wished I had spent it on instead if we had no money?

Also, you have no idea how bad I hate gardening - utterly hate it, but I do it so we will have food to eat in our pantry. So you may stretch what is in your pantry by growing food too. You can put tomatoes in your flower beds, green beans too, things that can stretch your pantry items.

With the way things are you might like to go through your recipes and pull the cheapest ones your family likes. Get those for groceries but take the difference and use it to put in storage. I try to do this when I can.

If you get taxes back, use part to build up your storage.

Any windfalls you get, do the same.

Would it be fun to spend on fun things? Yes, but it would be better to be able to care for your family.

That said, I stocked what we needed plus nonfood items as well, but I too stocked items like when I would see basket supplies or fabric and sewing supplies and yarn and supplies.

At yard sales I would get those as well.

I accepted things that were offered to me, which this sewing machine was and still works.

Now you might be saying, but then you have to store this stuff. The answer to that is yes, hence I shift things about to make it organized. At today's prices I could not buy one cone of yarn.

So to me it was worth hanging onto things I knew I would need.

Not everyone has my interests but think what yours are. I would add my interests to the lists as well and when I saw something at a yard sale, I would buy it. Back then things were a quarter or even free box items.

I even got this serger at a yard sale though I paid ten dollars for it. As I did not know if it worked and they could not tell me, only that it was their mom's machine. I took a risk the motor worked but it wasn't threaded and I did not have four cones of thread with me as I was yard sailing. As it turned out, it works terrific! I am glad I purchased it. Was yard sailing lots of work? Yes, it was. For every one that was good there were four that weren't. But oh how blessed to have gotten what I did then.

I am grateful for things people have given me when they downsized and places like freecycle. There was a class at church one time about decorating your homes inexpensively and that was where I first heard of freecycle. The fabric in the picture was freecycle. I needed fabric and she needed to get rid of it and we helped each other. Then I was able to get this knitting machine at a yard sale...

I am still learning it, and many things, but I did take a few classes on this which helps.

That knitting machine has to have thin machine yarn. One day I was at the class and my teacher asked if I could take her to this auction house. They wanted her to purchase some used machines. So I took her. They had several but what caught my eye was cones and cones of this yarn. They got a fiber studio of stuff. They only wanted the furniture but they said all or none, so I offered to purchase all the yarn and fifty-two knitting books for a hundred dollars, which they said yes. So I ended up with a pick-up load of yarn and books and she did buy one of the machines.

These are my stories on how I have been frugal. Tell us some of your stories in the comments below.

Missy says all those knitting needles behind her came from yard sales too. She wants you to know though that she was free but her cuteness is priceless! :p

Tippy Longstockings says find joy and contentment in all you do.

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