Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Finishing up the holiday baking and canning and have never been done this far ahead of the holiday. I've had so much fun trying new things and at my vintage age am learning so much. In the past I would stress the time to get things done, but this year I just let it go and it got done. Of course I worked all summer on my jams and jellies for gift giving. It feels good to know that I am NOT going to be up late nights finishing.

These are new to me this year. A young friend and I got together and made six batches of these no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies. They are so good and the recipe stretches to make plenty. After this day of cooking I discovered that the official name of these cookies is "Gorilla Poop Cookies". Of course we had the time of our lives laughing about it. I'm not only teaching but learning. Young people keep you alive.

Also new this year, yep never made candy before, are the crock pot peanut clusters, peanut butter fudge and peppermint bark. Now let me explain that we started shopping for some of the ingredients last spring. I was able to vacuum seal them so they'd be fresh when I wanted to use them. Our holiday budget was spread out over months instead of one big bill at holiday time.

I made one last batch of holiday canning (can't tell you what it is) and what we are doing for decorating is done. I will be getting to some sewing to make myself a few new things for this new chapter in my life and relax while doing it because I've planned well and can enjoy the holidays.

For freebies and almost freebies this week I have a sample of hair elastics with a coupon toward a purchase, more salt to bake with, two boxes of Jell-o pudding (one was given to me), and Eucerine hand treatment. I received a coupon for a free tube and when I got to the store it was buy one get one half price, so I got two for $3. At a regular price of $12 for both I think I did okay. It all adds up and I am grateful.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Thursday Threads

With the holiday season in full swing and the madness of it all lingering over everyone it was with great pleasure that I accepted the invitation to spend some time out with my younger daughter. She invited me to go to a tree lighting festival and for a couple of hours we walked the street, enjoyed the lights, had hot cocoa, ate roasted chestnuts and candy canes and stopped for a slice of pizza. There were people singing Christmas carols and policemen on horseback. The firefighters decked out their truck with a multitude of lights and cherished the children's delight for it all. There were horse drawn wagons for riding around town  and decorated trees along the canal. Although it was rainy and a bit chilly we watched the tree lighting and enjoyed the music from a local radio station and it was then that the holiday to me got started.

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family and friend and the food was bountiful. We played games, watched the parade and a long lost movie I hadn't seen in years called Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas.

In my efforts to try and use up fabric and make new decorations for the new chapter in my life I finished these origami folded fabric wall hangings to match some previous Thanksgiving decorations. I'm addicted to folded fabric.

These vintage quilted squares I reclaimed after I fell in love with the bright colors. Although there are wear spots I managed to retrieve enough to make four vintage 16 inch napkins to add to my eldest daughters vintage decor collection.

I've been making some folded star Christmas ornaments for the girls to sell at a craft show and have found myself with this great abundance of leftover scraps. I cut strips down to clean 1 and a 1/2 inch pieces and began to just sew them together until I had four festive quilted coasters. I made a candle cozy out of a reclaimed linen by weaving velvet ribbon in it and hemming it. My candle likes to be involved in every holiday it can.

The only freebies this week was a coupon for a Jif Dipper and some Pantene shampoo and conditioner samples. I am grateful too for a gift of apples to cook with. I hope everyone finds joy in this holiday season and remember to see the blessings that you have. Thank you for visiting and have a wonderful week. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thrift finds, freebie economics, trying something new and the simple things.

On a recent adventure to do errands my daughter and a dear friend and I stopped at a thrift store. One we hadn't visited for quite a while. We have cut back on our trips to hunt because we've set a new goal for moving in a year and have been thinking and learning about what we would like to have as far as living quarters. This stop however was quite a great one and we got to pick and choose a few good things.

The best find was a large green Pyrex Cinderella bowl. This is a keeper and the price was $2.99. We found a bright floral table cloth and a double yellow daisy sheet and some vintage blue Christmas ornaments.

We found some other odds and ends that are always on our list. Canning jars at 49 cents, another small Pyrex Cinderella bowl, a terra cotta plant saucer, a basket for a gift basket and a pattern for a men's tie. The most exciting find for my daughter was a new with tags Holly Hobby doll. We left behind a lot of Pyrex that was not in good condition and some with bad chips but it was wonderful to find and be able to choose what was good. 

On our adventure to try something new the girls made honey oatmeal soap. I stayed out of the way for this one, but it seemed to be a simple procedure and look at the results. It's curing and will be ready for use soon.

Now getting to the freebie economics for the week. It wouldn't be a good week without candy and this week was a free York peppermint. I accumulated $34 in Staples rewards and cards over the past month and had my daughter take me to pick out a few items. We had no idea what we'd get. Our printer died and we didn't need ink so until we can get a new one I couldn't let this money go to waste. I purchased a 20 roll package of Scott bathroom tissue, two large containers of coffee and a three roll package of tape. In the end the total was $3.23. I had to split the order in two because I couldn't use them altogether on one order and that was fine. I think I did well. Then on the way into the thrift store I found a wrinkled up dollar bill on the ground and felt even better. Since I have little to no income at this time my daughter covers the overages for me and the dollar went straight to her piggy bank.

The most exciting thing for me this week was the blossom on this Christmas cactus. Three years ago my sister-in-law gave me a cutting. She was sure it was from her white cactus plant. I loved and watered and tended to this plant with such care and was rewarded with the proof that it sure is white. When I was working at The Home Depot a few years back I had seen one and didn't get off work in time to make it mine and had wanted one. The universe gives gifts in such special ways. This plant is named Junior. You see I have a larger pink Christmas cactus plant she also gave me as a cutting many years ago and on one of it's bad years I salvaged a cutting from it and got it to come back to all it's glory. In my small room on a very small table I have three plants. There is Senior, the larger pink cactus that made a miraculous come back, Junior the white cactus and "the third" which is the salvaged cutting from Senior. My happiness is in the simple things.

Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week everyone.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday Threads

It seems that as the end of the year approaches and the holidays get closer and closer we take more time to do the things that "need" to be done and not the things we "want" to get done. As I'm maturing I am wanting to spend more time enjoying my sewing, cooking, gardening and learning. It's a different time and I have discovered what makes me feel alive. I don't need to compete with anyone. I need to let go and enjoy the world around me and be grateful for all things. I know that I'm not going to do everything perfectly and that too is alright. Nothing is a mistake. It's all a lesson. I am now taking the time to do those things that I want to do. 

I have many things that I want to sew. My daughter has mounds of fabric that are available to work with. I have some too, but her collection is larger and more vintage. I made this collection for our little space. I'm not quite ready for Christmas although I have been working on home made items all year for gifts. This is for Thanksgiving. More seasonal than themed. It's a table topper, four mug rugs and four napkins. Just a little something to dress up the counter for Thanksgiving and get a couple of yellow ware bowls out for goodies.

This project is a round table topper and two dinner size napkins along with two small mug rugs and two tea size napkins. All from about 1 1/4 yards of fabric, a package of bias tape, and some leftover pieces of cotton batting. 

I got my little sewing bag out and have started making folded stars for my daughters craft show that is held annually at her college. It's fun to have the little things to offer for sale to students on a budget and it uses up all the pieces and scraps from the sewing studio.

On the gardening side all that is growing now is a celery stump and green onions. They regrow well in water but after a while they wash out so I put the onions in soil and as soon as the celery gets stronger roots it will go in soil. We have so little light in the townhouse so having an herb garden inside has proven to be tough. I'll keep trying until I get it. The top of the refrigerator has become the best spot so far. We think about and are planning our next living space and one of the features is going to be large windows and just enough space to grow more of our own food.

To make ends meet I try to take advantage of free offers and coupons. This weeks freebies included a sample of Gevalia coffee that makes four cups, two samples of tums, two packages of Ovaltine, some granola and an oil hair treatment. The supermarket had a promotion and we got a free cake mix, 2 litre bottle of ginger ale, a loaf of Italian bread, 3#"s of potatoes, 3#"s of onions and 1# of carrots. I also cashed in a coupon for a free can of tuna fish. I'd rather be growing my own, but until the time is right this is what I'll take advantage of. I'm already thinking about next years canning and I hope I can take better advantage of the farm markets. I want to thank you for stopping by and visiting and I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Just a lot of little stuff going on here. LOL Did some cooking.

Donuts for Halloween. Eight people shared two and a half dozen donut holes and six donuts. They were good.

Made some Pita bread for cucumber sandwiches, white garlic pizza and chicken wings and it may look like a lot of wings but if these guys were two inches long we got lucky.

Roasted up some winter veggies to go with chicken for dinner. Here I have butternut squash, potatoes and beets with olive oil and rosemary.

Harvested another bowl of spearmint and yielded two cups of dried leaves for tea BEFORE the complex without notification came through and chemically treated the gardens and all of my plants are now contaminated. 

I bundled up in four layers this past Saturday to join my daughter at my grandson's football game. They lost, but played hard.

Did a bit more sewing for the store. I just love mug rugs.

And the freebies just keep on coming. This is the past weeks goodies.
Candy, gum, cat food, oatmeal facial mask, Halloween stencils, toothpaste, earplugs and some personal care items. There were others but I ate them. :)  So for not much going on there sure was and will be. We grow and learn every day and let go of what we can't change. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thursday Threads

Happy Halloween!

Been very busy this week and am looking forward to a quiet Friday. Most gals who sew end up with a stash of bits and pieces of left over fabric. I have made up my mind to try and use as much as possible. I enjoy sewing and after a long day it's always a treat to have an hour or so to sew.

This is a set of mug rugs that I practiced with some new stitches on. Need to practice a little more. I'll put these to use here in the townhouse. 

This is the next set still in progress, but the stitching is better. This does not even represent 10% of the Halloween scraps I have to use up but even the batting is left over pieces. I am actually looking forward to cooler weather moving in so I can do more of the indoor things. It's become a challenge to myself to use as much as possible. 
Have a great weekend everyone and thank you for stopping by.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Today is going to be in the mid 70's but we're expecting snow on Halloween. It's been cool, no cold off and on so far this fall so this is a welcome day. With the change in the season comes changes in what we eat and the blessings of winter vegetables. I don't grow my own, but the farm stands and super markets are loaded with deals.

I have a hanging basket of spearmint by the front door of the townhouse that just doesn't want to quit. I harvested it and set it back outside to do it's thing. I yielded two more cups of dry leaves for winter tea. I may get one more harvest before it goes dormant for winter.

At the market I got a four pound four ounce head of cabbage for 99 cents and I was curious about what I could do for meals from one head and a few vegetables and a little meat. I got ten servings of stuffed cabbage using ten leaves, 3/4 pound ground beef, 1 cup of leftover rice, an egg, a little onion and some home made bread crumbs. Then on to cabbage soup. I got four servings of soup and used one can of stewed tomatoes and 4 ounces of polish sausage.

I made a pot of boiled potatoes and cabbage that I'll reheat with some butter and pepper and there are about six servings there. Last but not least is fried cabbage in olive oil a small amount of butter, salt and pepper. About three servings there. So all in all I yielded about 23 servings from my four plus pound 99 cent cabbage.

Butternut squash was 99 cents each this week and I got two more to try some soup. I just made up my own recipe because all those I found added more than I was willing to use. I used two cups of cooked squash, not pureed, two cups of home made chicken broth, two tablespoons of my sage/pepper butter made earlier this summer and salt to taste. Served with a biscuit and it was gone in no time. I was getting tired of pumpkin everything so I made gingerbread biscotti. We like it more than pumpkin. I needed bread so I baked up a couple loaves of sandwich bread. It went well with all the soups. I was able to harvest a few more sprigs of fresh rosemary and I think I will get some more sage before I let them rest for the winter.

Finally I made some three cheese tortellini soup. I used 8 ounces of tortellini two cans of Italian style stewed tomatoes and 4 ounces of sausage. Served this up with fresh from the oven garlic bread made with home made french bread and it was a delightful meal on a cold evening.

This weeks freebies included a Biscoff cookie coupon, a cat food coupon, samples of Scotch brand products and taco seasoning. I spent last evening with my younger daughter just running errands and she brought me onions because there were to many for her and she paid for four pounds of carrots for me. I am so grateful and can see the veggies in my stir fry, stews and carrot cake. It's going to be a wonderful winter. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Thursday Threads

Every good Witch needs to brighten her kitchen and what would life be without some home made Halloween sewing projects.

First she starts with an apron. This may have been some tablecloth fabric, but it made better decorations.

Enough left to make a simple table cover. She also needs to protect her candle with a cozy and while she's at it why not a jar of fun cookie cutters to lift here "spirits".

She added a few decorations to the bland townhouse cupboard doors and what Witch's kitchen would be complete without enough pot holders (large enough to be hot pads for those cauldrons) and an oven mitt. 
Yes, this kitchen is getting it's Halloween on.

Happy pumpkin season everyone.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Signs of colder weather moving in. Putting the garden to bed.

Empty containers that are in need of preparation for winter storage. I will miss you until next Spring.

Down to the wire harvest of peppermint and rosemary. Some day we will have a place to grow herbs inside over the winter.
It has been the most wonderful summer adventure here at the townhouse. Hopefully I can still keep clipping the rosemary and I know I still have peppermint and spearmint growing. I will dry leaves for winter tea until it's time to put the plants to bed.
Whatever comes my way at this point in the season will be a welcome blessing.

I can't forget the freebies for this week. Nesquick samples and a great coupon, Hunts tomato sauce for that home made pizza, Dove body wash for the travel bag and another coupon for a free can of tuna fish from Tops Market. When the tuna is $2.19 for a 5 oz. can we won't do much complaining. 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope everyone has a wonderful week.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

Autumn has officially arrived!
The days of soup with garlic bread and warm oatmeal apple crisp.

The days when trips to the farms brighten the days of we city dwellers who dream of the farm.

On a breathtaking day when you can pick your own raspberries and pumpkins and watch the silly goats walk the planks above the barn.

When you can see the most majestic blue sky behind a windmill, walk the corn maze, see the leaves turning and enjoy the bright colors of nature.

But best of all getting to try and purchase new kinds of apples (sweetangos) and produce which is the reason we visit the farms and support local farmers. 

I love the squash this time of year. I start thinking of all the things I can make. I purchased two butternut squash at the farm. It's still early here so I know there will be plenty more. From these two I got seven servings. As you can see I prepared some for oven baked squash fries and some for future cooking and baking. I see a squash pie coming.

Harvesting at the townhouse itself this week included the sweet potatoes. I was hoping for better, but I tried and there's the results. Once they've cured a while longer I'll peel them up and enjoy the fruit of my labor. There's a good amount for a side dish of mashed with the sage butter I froze earlier this season.

I was gifted a bag of green tomatoes this week. I am blessed  to have had two ripen to red, one going on the top of a white garlic pizza and the other still waiting for me. We enjoyed for the first time ever fried green tomatoes and I managed to put the remaining tomatoes up. I have four pints of garlic dill pickled green tomatoes, two pints of sliced tomatoes for future frying and three pints of pickled green tomatoes with jalapeno peppers and onions. Thank you Nannette for your gift.

To add to my freebies this week, although not as exciting as the tomatoes, I got a corn bread mix, Milano raspberry chocolate cookies, and coupons for free organic mac and cheese, yoplait yogurt with Hershey's toppings and from my super market a free can of tuna.

I have to admit that I don't have gardening fever any more. I have barnheart which is just the desire to have a barn. I would settle for a large garage that looks like a barn right now. This has been a wonderful learning and doing summer for this townhouse farm girl. I still have peppermint to harvest along with rosemary and sage so that I am sure that I have plenty for winter. From here on it will be what I can get from the farmers markets, but I have gained so much respect for where my food comes from. Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week everyone.