Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

This is going to be one of my shortest posts, but I tend to create a lot of stuff to do for myself and getting my pictures taken and edited is taking to much time. So here's the update. One of the new goals (I only made two) that I wanted to achieve for 2015 was to learn how to knit socks. I'm a veteran knitter so I thought since I've knit just about everything else why not try socks. I hadn't knit with four needles in at least a decade if not longer so I was happy when it came right back to me. I don't know how it will be when I get to a smaller size needle.

I am working with a larger needle and medium weight yarn so I can see how it's done and let it sink in as a pattern. So far so good. I got the leg portion done and now on to the heel. This is the part I totally had never done before. The pattern I am using is one that starts with the cuff and works to the toe.

This is where I am today. After three attempts, I figured out how to "turn the heel" and I have picked up all the stitches I need and am ready to begin the foot part. It is a matter of following the pattern and decreasing to form the gusset and then on to the foot. The weight of this yarn means I will have a nice comfy wear around the house pair of socks. Hopefully I can get back to this over the upcoming weekend, but I'm feeling good about knitting more socks. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Thrift finds and "freebie economics"

This past weekend after a pleasant visit to the library and finding a few good knitting books to check out my daughter stopped at a thrift store we hadn't visited in a while. Something told her to take a few minutes and go look around. She struck gold with the blue tags making merchandise 50% off. She filled the cart with as many canning products as she could find. There were 33 various sized jars, four boxes of rims and lids, and five boxes of just lids. The pink tags were not 50% off but still a good price. I know some are old stock with all the BPA stuff in them, but I've been canning with these for about 40 years so any damage is probably already done if any. I will continue to take my chances at this point.

As you can see it was quite a find. There were more jars but those were left behind. At full price we'll let some one else find them. She also found a vintage new in package donut cutter. Now I know there are two already in the stash here some where, but it's hers and it's new and what can I say? That was all she purchased thrifting this week and as you can see by my prior post I have already filled 17 of those jars and it wasn't like there weren't any other fabulous items she could have purchased, but she chose to leave them behind. As she said they were wants not needs.

Moving on to our freebie economics she also cashed out her Walmart rewards money. This is an app that gives you money on an e-gift card if the price is lower at another store than it is at Walmart. She accumulated $26.53 and she purchased two cases of pint size jars and two packages of lids. All free just for a little bit of time on her fancy phone. LOL I give her a hard time because I live without a phone but I believe it was worth the time. 

The other freebie this week was a box of 42 boxes. Yes boxes. They are card or stationery boxes that some one at work gifted my daughter. They are 4x6x2 inches in size with a lovely clear cover. Can you see the small canning jars of home made jam and home made biscotti packaged in them for gifts all wrapped with beautiful ribbon? Anything for that matter would look lovely in them. Even some home sewn, knit or crochet gifts. Every little bit helps and we just keep on going and sharing. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

This week was a shop at home week. Although we did pick up some groceries for my daughters lunches and things to cook with we are shopping at home first. It's becoming a waste not want not kind of life we are living but with the high cost of "everything" these days how can a person not become frugal. In doing so I think we are eating better and eating a better variety of good food. 

This is turkey noodle soup made of turkey and stock from Thanksgiving. I used no yolk noodles to make it a bit healthier and I have control of the salt and yes that is a home made roll. I like knowing what's in my food even though it's not always easy these days.

Over the weekend we had breakfast for dinner. From scratch home made waffles with home made triple berry syrup. Oh such a luxury.

I had a large bag of clean vegetable scraps in the freezer that needed to be boiled down for stock. With my new pressure caner I could now can it and not use my valuable freezer space. I knew I wouldn't have enough jars to fill the caner so I got to work preparing potatoes too. The clean potato skins were added to the stock pot. I had a great abundance of them because I bartered for them over the holidays for a sewing project. I also had a small amount of beef stock taking up space in the freezer that I knew I could cook down a bit and also put it up.

In the end I had seven pints of vegetable stock, two pints of beef stock and eight pints of potatoes. There was one pint of vegetable stock that wouldn't fit in the caner, so it will be vegetable soup one night this week.

This is a jar of ground dried orange peels. I have been working hard at including fresh fruit in our diets, but since I can't compost in the apartment I am always searching for uses for my scraps. These I will add to some soups and smoothies or make a citrus tea. I added some to sugar and made citrus sugar for my friends to add to their tea. In a special bottle it would make a lovely gift. 
I am enjoying my frugal life, having less yet having more.
Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful week. I hope I'm inspiring you to be frugal and thank you for inspiring me to live better.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Thursdays Threads

My favorite thing to do is sew. I think in front of a machine is where I am meant to be. My daughter is also quite a seamstress. We both find it very relaxing. Lately we've been trying to use up the multitude of scraps that every seamstress accumulates. It seems endless some times and the scraps range in size from half a yard to one inch pieces. Believe me when I say there are piles and containers and bags of them. 

I used a lot of red pieces of reclaimed sheet and one inch pieces to make this quilted library bag for my younger daughter. She likes a bag for holiday time. The lining is also remnants as is the cotton batting used to quilt it.

My eldest daughter made these sets of up cycled fabric napkins over the holidays. They are listed for sale at poetcharms.etsy.com. You can stop by and see all the wonderful items she makes. These were made from reclaimed fabrics and linens and they are 13 inch square. I'd show you the piles and bags and containers, but it is a bit overwhelming so I stay away until I have time to work. It is our goal to keep using and sharing the bits and pieces throughout 2015 so stay tuned for updates. For now I've got to go take care of conversation threads. Thank you for stopping by and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Thrift finds and "freebie economics".

Not a lot of thrift shopping and picking going on here. We look mostly for things that are actually needed and it has to be special for us to want it. We have set a goal to re home in the next few months so my daughter is setting aside as much as possible to achieve that venture. We went out once for a day with a friend and my sister-in-law between Thanksgiving and Christmas and had a wonderful day. We found a few good deals. It's getting easier to hunt and pick just what you can get the most out of.

At one thrift store we found a package of orange ornaments that adorned our tree this past holiday season, an almost new pair of LL Bean low cut hiking boots for $5.99 that fit just right, a pair of mens Clark's saddle shoes that only needed the white laces changed out, one 1/2 pint canning jar and a darling leprechaun.

This pile of goodies was so cheap. I believe a couple dollars for it all. There was a Vera scarf, 18 tart pans, a resin bird, miniature Christmas ornaments a Kokeshi doll and a package of bristle brush Christmas trees. The resin bird went here:

We found a set of four glass spice jars and a beautiful vintage orange and gold floral table cloth and we are always getting orange and yellow towels for our retro bathroom.

After Christmas we dropped off donations and looked around the thrift store and found two sets of these wonderful floral sheets and the only other purchase we made was for this lovely Ben Seibel sugar bowl size vintage covered dish. 

Some of the purchases will be kept and some have been or will be added to the store inventory but all in all we just wanted to get out and have a great day with friends and family. Thrifting is more fun when you're in a group.

My quest to keep going with as many free items as I can has become more fun than challenging and this pile of goodies (a 20 roll package of Scott bath tissue, two large Folgers coffee, three movie boxes of M&M's and one lollipop) came to a total of $1.50 which was mostly tax. I was armed with coupons for free merchandise and rewards vouchers and I couldn't have been more satisfied. I will continue shopping this way until policies change or they just don't let me any more. Twice now I've used my rewards for this kind of shopping.

In the mail I received a free sample of Dove hair oil treatment and on Savingstar the freebies this week were corn muffin mix and hot cocoa.

Also received free this week were these metal display stands. Five are heavy metal stands and adjust in height and one is a sign stand. They nicely come apart for easy storage and my daughter will use these when she does her craft shows. A few more items out of the landfill. Being green and using "freebie economics" to help the budget has proven to be a positive change for us. I hope you all are doing as well as we are and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Townhouse Homestead Tuesday

I don't know where to start today. It's been a busy first week to the new year. We've been organizing to make it a good new year and more efficient. The holidays were wonderful. My daughter gave me a Presto pressure canner. This has been on my wish list for almost two years now so imagine my surprise when I opened this gift. When I was raising my family I always canned and preserved and when I down sized I gave away my canner and most of my equipment. We took a trip to the store for jars and it was immediately put to work.

New years eve day was quite a productive day. After eating our share of Christmas ham and serving company ham and cheese sliders I began by making a pot of split pea soup from the bone and leftover ham. The result for this day was three pints of ham alone and nine pints of split pea soup.

Since it had been many years since I had pressure canned anything I was a bit nervous about my results. The worry was for nothing because everything sealed and I felt good about not wasting food. I couldn't fit any more in our tiny freezer so I would have ended up throwing or giving it away.

On new years day the canning continued and I put up nine pints of ham, bean, and carrot soup. This finished up most of the ham leaving a few pieces to put in breakfast sandwiches. So moving on to the small freezer and how full it was it became clear that I needed to keep going and use up what I had been tossing in there. 

I made triple berry pancake syrup as Christmas gifts and had plenty of fruit stored up to make more. I wasn't aware that it would make so much, but I ended up with seventeen (17) cups of triple berry syrup. I know it's a lot, but it is preserved and will keep. You must understand that my daughter and I are always taking trips to the wonderful state of Vermont and we have always purchased a bottle of this syrup at $8.99 for 8oz. It is wonderful that now we can use our adventure to discover something new in Vermont.

It was a busy three days, but it is all labeled and put away so we can move on to the next adventure.

I also received for Christmas my favorite book to take out of the library. How excited I am to have this in my personal library and to be able to take it out and just glance through it whenever I want. 

I know that a lot of us are on tight budgets and trying to eat better and this butternut squash soup has become one of our favorites. Easy to make, simple sage butter seasoning (made with the sage I grew this summer) along with salt and pepper to taste then add a few home made croutons from that leftover bread and you have a wonderful and inexpensive winter dinner. 
This is what's been going on here in the townhouse and 2015 is starting out in a very positive way. I wish you all a very good new year and thank you for stopping by.