August 31, 2013

Frugal Friday #2 - Grow Something

Experiencing computer problems.  Arghhhh  have I told you lately how much I hate Windows 8?

Anyways, rant over and onto a late frugal Friday.  Good advice?  Grow something.

Whether you have a sunny windowsill in your apartment or acres of rich soil, grow something.  Anything!

Even if you just have a few herbs on your windowsill, you have the sense of accomplishment gained from growing your own food.  If you are able to plant a vegetable garden, you can save some money by eating homegrown produce.  Ten dollars spent on tomato plants has allowed us to eat fresh off the vine fruit every day for the last month and to freeze tomatoes for the winter.

My Swiss chard will keep producing until the first frost and packages of rhubarb are frozen for muffins in the winter.

Start small and keep going.  Growing some of your own food means your grocery bill is cut down and you get organically grown food that is better for your health.  A little effort yields great results and you will be seduced by the fresh taste of your own veggies and fruits.  Give it a try and you won't be sorry.

These little beauties have already been blanched and frozen.  I'll add them to fried rice, tuna casserole and soups and stews during the winter.  Have fun and if you didn't grow anything this year, plan for next summer.


August 29, 2013

Typical Thursday

1.  Fix the ceiling in the new dining room...check.
2.  Lunch with the girls...check.
3.  Stop at Chapters to buy latest issue of Country Living UK...check.
4.  Order a new couch for the living room...check.
5.  Make a margarita and stretch out in the air conditioning to read my magazine...check.

Life is good.

August 28, 2013

Pay It Forward #1- Luscious Lavender

You may remember that I am participating in a Pay It Forward this year that my friend Sharon began on Facebook.  She was on the ball and sent me a gift in February.  I've started a couple (because I decided to make mine) but then changed my mind.  I knew that for my friend, Cindi I was going to make crafts from my homegrown lavender. Lavender is a natural moth repellent and Cindi is a great knitter so I wanted to help protect her "stash".

I have always been interested in these lavender wands and really wanted to learn how to make them. I looked up instructions on the internet.  You cut a bundle of lavender stems and tie them together right under the flower heads.

and then you bend the stems back over the flowers.  It ends up looking like the flowers are in a cage and you start weaving ribbon through the stems.

You can see that I'm still getting used to my new camera and trying out new photo effects.

There's Miss Eilish. She is so inquisitive. Her nose is always in the middle of everything going on.  I am afraid her help won't be so welcome when I try painting again.

For the second part of the gift, I thought I'd try something I saw on Pinterest.  It's from a great blog - What. No Mints?

So I got some fabric and cut out a circle.

and sewed them up

turned them inside out and hand basted around the top

filled them with dried lavender from my garden

I pulled them tight 

and tied them off and added green felt leaves

two groups of three packed up in a green plastic berry box

for my friend.


August 26, 2013

Happy Monday

I thought I'd share some flowers from my garden to brighten your Monday.
That is one of my Mother's paintings in the background


August 25, 2013

The Vintage Junction

For all the lovers of prim out there, I found a wonderful store in Stirling, Ontario called The Vintage Junction.  They have a Facebook page you can visit but if you are in the area, I would really recommend a personal visit to the store.  I was there in July and the stock is wonderful and the prices are reasonable.  You would really love it.

I bought myself a sweet vintage little chopper in a jar.  Just like the one my Mom had when I was growing up.  Also, I got the most incredible little candles.  They look like handmade pioneer wax dipped candles and feel like it too but the bottom screws off and you put batteries inside.  They light up with a soft glow but don't get hot.  Now I just need to find the right candlesticks for them ;)  They are such a novelty and I only paid $7 for two of them.

Aren't they cool?

August 24, 2013

Frugal Friday #1 - Homemade Laundry Detergent

I am setting a challenge for myself for the next 52 set up a budget and live within it.  You may know that I have been off work since November 2011 due to illness (I suffer from bipolar disorder).  Well I was recently given an ultimatum from my employer.  I had to return to work or retire.  As I am unable to work, my only choice was to apply for medical retirement.  So I have started that process and hopefully, it will all work out.

What it means to me is living on 70% of my regular earnings now with a great reduction at age 65.  While I have been receiving a reduced wage since November 2011, I haven't been living as if it is a permanent state.  Now that my savings are depleted, it's time to take control of the situation and become a little creative.  I have enough money to pay off the essentials each month but we all need some of "the nice to haves as well"; a little treat now and then so I'm going to see what I can do to cut the costs wherever possible.

To that end, I am going to share every Friday a frugal tip that I am using to save money.  Please feel free to add any of your suggestions too.  I'm not sure that I am creative enough to come up 52!

My first tip came from Elaine at Sunny Simple Life.  It didn't actually start out as a financial incentive but that was a nice added side benefit.  I'm allergic to most laundry detergents and the local store stopped carrying the one I could use.  I tried buying 2 or 3 "sensitive" detergents but they were just a waste of money.  I remembered Elaine mentioning one her kids had allergies so I tried her laundry detergent recipe and bingo, it worked.  It cleans really well, it's easy to make and it's cheap!!!

Here's the ingredients.  Eilish is checking them out.  One bar of a pure soap like Sunlight, Borax and Arm and Hammer detergent.

Grate one bar of soap into a bowl.
Add one cup of Borax and 2 cups of Arm and Hammer detergent.  Mix well.
I like to store mine in an old Mason jar.
I use 2 Tablespoons for each load of laundry.  I estimate that a year of laundry will cost less than $35 for a family of two.  Doesn't take long to spend that on ready made detergent from the store.
See you next Friday for another frugal tip!

August 21, 2013

Fan Decks

One of my girlfriends gave me a set of Benjamin Moore fan decks.  Oh my, just like a candy store to me.  I can see some more painting in my future.

"Forget-me-not" - that's the colour of my bathroom.  It's so pretty and peaceful.  I wonder which colour will be next!


Magical Mystery Tour

I took my Mom and my cousin, Dot on a Sunday drive through the country.  We drive around to those places my mother holds dear in far off memories; by the land that was the site of the log cabin where she grew up.  She was a farm child so she always had food to eat but she was young during the Great Depression and didn't have electricity or running water.  She attended school in a one room schoolhouse that she walked to through the dark woods; a sometimes scary situation for a young girl.  She tells me all the stories of her youth as we drive along dusty country roads and she points out places where friends and relatives lived. I call this our magical mystery tour and to me, it does seem other-worldly.


My cousin lives in a retirement home which is beautiful but Sundays are boring around there so she was game to get out.  After our drive, we stopped at Rogers' Cove to see the new waterpark the city has put in for the kids.  It looks like a lot of fun and very tempting on a hot day!  I didn't take any close up pictures because it was full of kids and I wouldn't want to put that on the internet.

It's a beautiful spot where you can bring the kids to enjoy the waterpark, the beach, or the playground. The path through the park is part of the Trans Canada Trail, a walking trail that is being built across the country that is 72% complete now.  We can walk across our city on the trail.

It's a beautiful spot and Little Lake sits like a jewel in the middle of our city.  I've shown you pictures before taken from the other side of the lake.  You can just see the fountain in the middle of the photo.

Thanks for joining us on our magical mystery tour ;).