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Frugal Yarn Shopping and other stories

June 30th, 2019 at 11:42 am

First of all, I'm going to brag on a couple of ladies at my church. Bluebird generously sent a donation for my church group to buy yarn for the hats and scarves we make and donate to area schools and non profits. These two ladies combined a phone app as well as paper coupons to buy some very beautiful yarn for us to use. When they presented it last Thursday, people said it was like Christmas and they were choosing the colors they wanted to work with. Again, thank you Bluebird for your kind gift. Please know the money is being carefully used. They haven't used it all, so they can go shop again when they can get another big sale.

Our totals for hats as of last Thursday was 1, 142 hats, 33 scarves, and 58 baby hats. Not bad for a small group of ladies. Here it is the end of June so we will be handing out hats before we know it!

We haven't been doing a whole lot stuff other than working around home. DH spent a big part of the weekend watering his garden and then putting mesh around his plants so the chipmunks don't feast. I have been cleaning and trying to get ahead of the papers. Between crocheting scarves and reading, I have also been using up leftover yarn to make dish cloths. Last year I donated a 100 to a food pantry to put in their Christmas baskets. I have 74 completed so far. I know they aren't fancy, but hopefully they can be a blessing to someone. I try to make them with pretty colors even if they are leftover yarn.

About a year ago I bought a pillow kit to embroider at a thrift store. It was an unopened package. I spent many hours doing the embroidery and finally could sew it together. It will be a Christmas gift for a friend who appreciates handmade items. I bought a new pillow form on sale so another Christmas gift is checked off my list.

I sometimes forget how people view money and possessions. We are very careful with our money. I'm not saying we don't spend money because we do, but we save and plan mostly. A friend of ours has a bigger house, nicer cars, and draws more money than we do. Whenever they get new stuff, we rejoice with them because we know they are happy. Sadly, I guess it is one sided. We had saved up to do some things on our house -- we put new vinyl in our sunroom, bought a new storm door, and had some painting done on the outside. In the greater scheme of things, not huge amounts of money -- probably far less than what they probably spent on some new stuff they bought. However, since we have had this work done, she's been snippy. I don't know if she's jealous or what, but it makes me melancholy that they cannot share our joy as we have shared theirs. I guess the love of money is truly the root of all evil.

A little paint goes a long way

June 26th, 2019 at 12:47 pm

Recently we hired a painter to paint the bricks on the front of our house that were trim, and to paint our front door and side garage door. What a fabulous job he did and everything looks so fresh.

Yesterday, I painted the foundation in the back of the house that had been peeling. I had to take a wire brush first to get the peeling paint, but after that and cleaning it off, I painted and what a difference that made. I put a second coat of paint on the shed doors, painted around the front door trim and the side door trim and then the mailbox. I had to repaint the black numbers on the mailbox as well as the light pole and address numbers there, but everything looks so much brighter.

DH hates to paint. I don't mind doing it, but I know I'm not as good as the professional we hired. But, a nice coat of paint sure spruces things up. I had the paint for my little projects from doing them before. I did buy a new brush for the foundation because I didn't want to tear up the good brush that I clean well each time I use it. I guess I saved money by using up the paint I already had and trying to keep things going instead of replacing things.

Re: Soggy Saturday Comments

June 15th, 2019 at 04:19 pm

In my email, I've seen three comments on my blog from today from Wink, CB in the City, and Lucky Robin. However, when I try to go to the blog, it says there are zero and that I'm not logged in and it says when I try to log in, I'm already logged in.

Anyway, thank you, Wink, CB, and Lucky Robin for your nice anniversary wishes! I appreciate them.

Soggy Saturday

June 15th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

This weekend it has been forecast that we can get over 2 inches of rain. If last night and this morning is any indication, we are going to be "soupy." We needed some rain because the ground was getting dry, but like usual, it is either feast or famine when it comes to precipitation.

Today is our 29th wedding anniversary. I posted some photos on Facebook. DH wanted to get married in his mom's back yard under a huge oak tree. We didn't have a lot of money for a big, fancy wedding. Anyway, 4 years ago we had the chance to renew our vows under the tree. It was torn down a couple of years ago for a business to go in. One of my college friends asked why we did the back yard wedding and I said we could either pay for a fancy wedding or put a downpayment on a house and we chose the latter. So, 29 years later, we are still happily married and own our home.

Speaking of the home, when we bought this house 21 years ago, there was brick trim on the front of it. We always thought the color didn't match the siding or the roof, but it wasn't a priority. But, after having fixed up other things that had more importance, we paid a professional to prime and paint the brick. My DH has watched way too much HGTV because he says it "pops" now. It does look a lot better. We are going to have the same painter paint the front door to go along with it. Cheaper than replacing it and it should freshen up the front of the house. We have a savings account we put money in each month and we call it our home improvement account. The painter is getting paid from saved money.

No big plans for our anniversary. We did go through a local Chevrolet Museum. We have different places here in our little town and we decided that since we go to museums when we are traveling, we should also visit the local ones. I never realized there were so many Corvair models. So, I learned something new today.

Whirlwind Week

May 23rd, 2019 at 08:38 am

Ever since I retired, it seems like the days and months go by very quickly. This week especially.

We reconnected with a teacher I worked with a number of years ago. He and his wife and another couple and my dh and I went out to eat and then back to their house for dessert. Two of us provided dessert as a way to save a little moolah. I imagine we will get together more often and take turns cooking as the summer progresses. Anyway, they gave us a tour of their home. it's beautiful and large. They have a condo. Newish cars. As well as lots of hobbies. Long story short -- they are retired, but still working and didn't plan for retirement and now worry how they will make ends meet. Ouch.

The next day we met another couple to celebrate her birthday. We decided years ago to quit giving gifts. They buy whatever they want when they want it and how can you deal with that.

Last night we invited a friend to join us for supper; his wife and daughters were out of town. It was nice catching up.

In between this, I canned some green beans, crocheted and knitted, and did some house cleaning.

The weekend is soon upon us. We don't do big stuff for the Memorial Day weekend, but do put flowers on the graves of our loved ones. I was concerned because our peonies looked like they would b open and gone before this weekend, but it looks like we might be OK. My family always used flowers from the garden when we could. DH's mom would buy a big live display for her husband's grave, but didn't decorate anything else. So, DH wants live stuff on the graves.

I can't say this was the most frugal week, but we don't go out that often with people so it was a nice way to catch up.

DH has two small bell peppers already on two of his plants and the tomatoes are have blossoms. Here's to hoping for a good garden. Our damp, cool weather hasn't been good for the garden and the lettuce, radishes, and onions haven't grown much because of all the rain. Hopefully things will dry out by next week (we received rain the last two nights).

Snow? Really?

April 14th, 2019 at 02:26 pm

Sitting here looking out the window and seeing snowflakes.

It seems like every Sunday we have bad weather. Last Sunday was dreary rain. Today it was a potpourri -- rain and now some snow. It doesn't look like it will stick and I'm glad.

Not a whole lot going on otherwise. Today is Palm Sunday and we have Holy Week Services throughout the week and then next Sunday is Easter. I already bought a small ham because for just the two of us, we do not need a huge ham. I know you can freeze it, but even then, that's a lot of ham to deal with.

I went grocery shopping on my own this week. Normally DH goes with, but we had a schedule change and he was volunteering. It was an easy and cheap week -- didn't spend a whole lot. I did not buy any meat. I'm trying to use up what we have in the freezer.

Last fall when I was at Walgreens, they had on the clearance rack those things you boil eggs in instead of making boiled eggs the old fashioned way. I figured for $5 I would try them, but never got around to using them. I thought of them yesterday and so I decided to try two of them. I read the directions and it cautioned to make sure you grease the inside so I did. Well, I'm happy to report they work. The only thing is the end is flat at the top, but they were a breeze to use. I get so frustrated when I boil eggs and have a hard time peeling them and I will even keep eggs to get older ones having read that helps. It didn't. I think I will be using these more often. Wish I had tried them before.

I had some overripe bananas so I made banana bread yesterday -- 4 small loaves. I gave two away and DH had part of one. I will save the other one for him as well. He likes a snack so I figure as far as sweets go, it isn't laden with preservatives and such.

Paid the water bill today. That should be it for awhile for this month as far as bills go. That's good because it seemed like last month was laden with insurance and extra bills. Property taxes will come up in June. I always like it when we end the month with extra in the checking. I try to move some of it into saving over and above what we normally save.

Go Away, Murphy!

April 2nd, 2019 at 12:13 pm

Murphy apparently thought we invited him for an extended stay. He can leave at any time. Nothing super major, but nothing minor either.

A few weeks ago DH noticed he has a low tire pressure. He thought it was from the constant temperature changes so he filled it up. But, it kept going down, slowly.

So, we made an appointment at a tire place to get it checked. I took it in since he had was supposed to volunteer at a class. The guy said the vehicle was done and it was $62 and some change. I asked incredulously "to fix a tire?" He said they didn't fix a tire, but changed the oil and rotated them. I was chagrined to say the least because we had just had the oil changed and tires rotated three weeks before and they should have noticed that when they went to put the sticker there. I said we didn't ask for that, but to check a tire. He asked did I still want them to check the tire? I wanted to make a snarky remark at this point, but held back and said that was the real reason we brought the vehicle in.

So what should have taken 30 minutes according to the original estimate appointment time was over 2 hours. He acted like he was doing me a favor for not charging me for anything, but I had news for him, I wasn't paying for the oil change and tire rotation since I didn't order it.

And the tire still has a leak. Grrr.

Then a couple of weeks ago my headlight burnt out and it cost over $450 to replace.

Now our 8 year old dishwasher has decided to leak. Not truly unexpected because we've read that appliances don't last long and 8-10 years is a typical lifespan and I use my dish washer a lot since we eat at home a lot. At least it didn't ruin the kitchen flooring.

So, for awhile I'm going to do all dishes by hand why we figure out our next step. I imagine a new one will be on the horizon. I can live without one, but it just didn't come at a good time. A lot of our normal expenses came due last month and this month like homeowner's insurance, car insurance, home health care insurance, and then I had a big bout with Vertigo. Couldn't see my doctor so had to see an Express Care and then do a follow up with my doctor. Fortunately, the Vertigo was short lived, but still an added expense.

I think Murphy has overstayed his welcome!

Busy Tuesday

March 26th, 2019 at 08:50 am

Today has been a busy place at our homestead. Three different folks came by. One was for the annual termite inspection. Glad that is over with. One was a guy to measure for a new storm door. And the other was for a painter to do some small projects. All of these items come from our home maintenance savings account. Looking forward to having some things fixed up or touched up.

Yesterday I had a bad bout of Vertigo. Very scary, and glad today I'm better. I did go see the Express Care place to make sure and she gave me some medicine. It made me sleepy, but at least I'm not dizzy.

Started some laundry and we also have to go fill the candles at church. No expenses today so that's good.

It is sunny so maybe spring is starting to wend its way.

A great afternoon for a cup of tea and a book

March 21st, 2019 at 11:49 am

Here it is the official second day of spring (first full day if you want to be accurate) and it is gloomy and cool. I'd say cold, but I guess 41 is a lot warmer than it has been this winter.

One of my favorite things to do is go to the library and we did. I returned 4 books and checked out 5. So, after I finish here, I'm going to go back to reading.

Amber asked for a list of books I've read so far and here it is:

Title & Author
The Christmas Wedding James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
The Skeleton in the Closet M.C. Beaton
Amish Promises Leslie Gould
Amish Sweethearts Leslie Gould
Standing in the Rainbow Fannie Flagg
This is the year I put my Financial Life in Order John Schwartz
The Next Millionaire Next Door Thomas J. Stanley and Sarah Stanley Fallaw
Christmas Cake Murder Joanne Fluke
Plum Tea Crazy Laura Childs
A Highland Christmas M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came M.C. Beaton
Raspberry Danish Murder Joanne Fluke
The Dead Ringer M.C. Beaton
An Amish Family Reunion Mary Ellis
Waking Up in Dixie Haywood Smith
A Plain Man Mary Ellis
Agatha Raisin and the Busy Body M.C. Beaton
A Christmas by the Sea Melody Carlson
The Essential Tea Companion Kim Waller
Winter in Paradise Elin Hilderbrand
You Don't Own Me (#6 Under Suspcion) Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke
As the Pig Turns M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener M.C. Beaton
The Blood of an Englisman M.C. Beaton
Winter Stroll Elin Hilderbrand
Winter Solstice Elin Hilderbrand

I tend to get on an author and try to read everything they have. I did the same with Grisham, except for his non legal ones. I also tend to like the Amish fiction because sometimes I need something easy, even if it is predictable.


I finally finished up all the teas that were given to me that I wasn't particularly fond of and I did splurge and buy a box that was a holiday tea that was on sale. It is a sugar cookie flavor and it has a hint of it and is a nice change when I don't want regular tea. Today is just plain hot tea and I'm getting adventurous and having some with some milk.

There is something immensely gratifying about having a cup of tea in a china tea cup and saucer and have a pot of tea brewed. I've done the mug and tea bag bit too, but every once in awhile I like to treat myself to a fancy tea cup and a pot of tea. I collect blue willow dishes. Well, I should say I have collected. I won't buy anymore because I have more than enough, so I have plenty of tea cups and saucers as well as tea pots. Why have these things if I don't use them?

I have always wanted to go to a real tea room and have a pot of tea specially brewed, but never had that opportunity. There is an author by the name of Laura Childs who writes a mystery series based in Charleston, S.C. and the owner of the tea shop solves mysteries. Every time I read one of her novels, it makes me wish I could go to a real tea room.

Potpourri

March 18th, 2019 at 07:58 am

First, I want to thank everyone who responded about my last entry. I appreciate the support. I guess I'm sensitive, but it really bothers me when someone posts hurtful comments. One thing I wonder is, does this person or persons realize that those of us who wrote the blog can see their email? And if so, do they know you can research who they are by the email? Anyway, I appreciate the support of those of you who kindly responded.

It was an expensive week last week. My headlight went out and knowing how car places work, we made an appointment to get it replaced. I guess with modern cars, you almost have to take the darn thing apart to get to the headlight. It was high density and the cost was $455 for the very expensive bulb and the hour and a half it took to replace it. Yikes! We had the money in savings so that wasn't the case, but it sure is hard to part with it. A friend teased me I could have just opened the car window and used a flashlight. Now, that would have been a sight, and I'm sure the police would not have found that a bit amusing.

Also in the expenses was the home care insurance policy for DH. Fortunately we have not had to use it, but It seems the spring is fraught with lots of insurance since we have homeowner's, home care, flood, and then both car insurances coming due. Again, we have the money, but it is tough seeing it go out at such a fast pace.

We did get our taxes done. We didn't have to pay either the feds or the state, but not sure about next year. I say this every year, but I honestly feel like if you live below your means and you save and are honest, the tax laws really zing you.

One thing that wasn't as expensive was groceries. We bought some fresh fruit and vegetables and some milk, but we ate from the freezer and pantry which helped a lot. We tend to have a couple of weeks of large grocery bills and then a couple of weeks of cheaper ones. I like it when Kroger has a buy one get one free when it comes to meat because I take advantage of it and then freeze one for later consumption. Guess it evens out. Tonight I'm going to use some chicken and I'm going to trim it and use it and some chicken I have in the freezer that I did the same with and make some chicken broth. I like keeping it on hand to make chicken and noodles as well as soups.

DH and I continue to make good use of the library. I have read 24 books so far in 2019. According to the library receipt, I have "saved" $855.27 by using the library. It looks good at least. I know we get our tax money's worth out of the library anyway.

It looks like spring is finally coming here in Central Illinois. It has been a harsh winter. DH spent part of the weekend working in the yard cutting back stuff that he didn't get to in the fall. He said all the garlic he planted is starting to come up and some of the herbs that come back each year are showing they want to come back. Yay! I'm ready for homegrown stuff. I know we have enjoyed using the stuff I canned this winter.

Hope you have a delightful week and can find some economical ways in your days!