Cheerful Frugality

First, for a chance to get a nice package check out Ain’t No Place To Put A Sticker.

In these days with so many losing their jobs I think we all think more frugally. Ladies, I know for some it is a hard thing to do and not complain. Some of you have not been forced to make changes yet, at least not to any big degree, but why wait?

For us, my husband had to change jobs that resulted in over $100 less per week pay. Until the January he was able to make some of it up with some overtime and we could also make a bit of it with my cleaning job. First, his overtime was cut and then they cut the extra’s on my cleaning job. This has left us hurting.

When the handwriting was on the wall that the US was going to have a real turn in the economy and things began shaping up for a set back I began to make more changes in our budget.

Right here I would like to say that attitude makes a big difference. Your husband feels bad enough about things when he loses his job, or takes a cut. Or you, if you are the one bringing in the income. Don’t complain and make things worse. Make the changes silently and with a smile.

What changes?

  • Think waste not. I try to have as little waste as I can. Now, I am not one to waste to begin with, but I checked to see where I was wasting, how I can use things for another purpose and can something that really will not make another meal be used for part of my dog food. (yes, that helps cut down the food you need to buy)
  • Make from scratch. I am not a box person, or a ready made meal person, but there are some things that I would buy. HOWEVER, sometimes the box will work and the price will be less. For instance, mashed potatoes. The price of potatoes here went up and the packaged was on sale. I made potato soup with some boxed and a few fresh thrown in.
  • Toilet paper rolls. Yes, those brown cardboard things inside your toilet paper or paper towels.  They work well to make small pots to start your garden seeds in. Save them up, the collect fast.  pack together in a tray, meat tray or something, fill with dirt and put in your seeds. Planting time you just stick them in the ground and they fall apart. Green, cheap and works!
  • Craigslist and Freecycle. I have freecycled for some time, and have done the craigslist before too. However, I do not always think of it. Now I do. We needed to get a buck for our goats. I found one on Craigslist for free and he is a sweet (but stinky as all bucks are) goat. BE CAREFUL! But, free is good and many things can be found for nothing.

This is just a handful of ideas, I am sure you have more and I would love for you to share them with me also. I do want to stress again, attitude. Be cheerful and build up your husband as well. We are all going through a lot as a nation and need to stick together and get through.

For more ideas on being frugal check out Life as a Mom for the Frugal Friday edition.

Sewing with a 2 year old

For those of you that sew and have little ones around you know the challenge it can be.

My sewing “center” is my Dining room. Right in the middle of everything.

I have my sewing machine on an old sewing cabinet against the wall

and my serger on the table. Patterns and fabric are also on the table

I do my cutting out on a cardboard cutting board set up on my chest freezer.

The highchair sets next to the freezer with the fabric that hangs over or the next project on it.

(I was told that she was “too big” to use the high chair, so I use it for other things. Yes, she just turned two last week,  but she informed me over a month ago.) Here she is at her Birthday Party last week

Now that you have seen my set up and how inconvenient it all is to work with a 2 year old, I will give some hints.

  1. make sure you have no needles, pins etc. within reach
  2. also make sure there are none in the small thread/serger scrap basket. These scraps have a tendency to walk away to the living room floor
  3. Do not fret about scraps all over the floor. It keeps them busy playing with something safe. (As long as you followed  suggestion #2!)
  4. Be sure to have pieces of fabric that is large enough for them to use and play with, but not large enough to upset you about letting the scrap go. (If you are like me almost all scraps are saved for something someday so parting with any for play is hard, but a must)
  5. Do not fret about scraps all over the floor. It keeps them busy.
  6. Find ways they can “help” with things, like carry a piece back to the ironing board with you.
  7. Turn on the TV to their favorite show and duct tape them to a chair

So far these hints have worked for me. I find that while sewing in the Dining room may not be ideal and I wish I had a nice sewing center, this really does work best with her around. I have space, who eats at the table anyway?, and I can see what she is up to. A blessing in disguise!

For more works for me ideas check out Rocks in My Dryer!

Homemaker Monday: Getting Fabrics!

Welcome to a new carnival! I am hoping we can all learn as weshare in Homemaking tasks.

I love to sew. In fact, this year I am taking on a big project for Christmas. With 8 kids, their spouses and 19 grandchildren by then I have a lot of gift giving. This year I am starting now to get on to it and am making much, if not all of the gifts.

Yes, I do realize that makes 35 gifts before I even go into any one else!

I thought I would like to share some fabric resources that I use and see if you have any you can share with me.

  • Freecycle: I have got bags of fabric from freecycle. Not always what I want, but when I take it I go through and then pass on what I do not like or know I would not use. This is a free source and one time someone was actually putting out huge lawn and leaf size bags of fabric. I am talking at least 15 -20 or more. I was not greedy and took 4. I got home, it was all new fabric, most with still having the yardage and price per yard on. There was a lot of the old polyester knits that I do not use much of so those were passed on. However, I got some really nice cottons, cotton knit, cordoroy and flannel out of it. Put away for future use.
  • Thrift stores: dig around and look. I got 5+ yards of a heavy fabric like placemats and some tablecloths are made of. It is a pretty plaid and was about $3 for the piece.
  • The Fabric Club: This is an online store that has some good specials. Sign up for their notices and you can see for yourself!
  • Yahoo group coops: I just found these recently and have just placed my first order. Look through the groups and check it out. I am in a number of them. Be warned, they are busy and you may want to subscribe to the digest view as there are a lot of emails. NewestablishedCoops give a heads up on what is going on out there also.  Colormeflannel, diaperfabricscoop, diaperfabricsupplies and HSBS are a few I belong to. You may wonder about the diaper sewing, I was going to make some cloth diapers, well was looking into it, and found these have other fabrics that are usefull for other things as well. There are other, many of them just do a fabric, sewing search. I am in ones for notions, thread etc. They are great.
  • Warm Biscuit: This is a great shop for some  vintage and unusual fabrics. While their prices are a bit higher on some things, they have great sale fabrics and fabrics you can’t find anywhere else. Have you ever heard of chalkboard fabric? Me either till I found some there!
  • Blog giveaways: I have given fabric as well as gotten fabric on giveaways. Just look around.
  • ebay: I saved this one for last, as I would imagine many people use it. If not, get in there and see what you can find! I have found some beautiful pieces on there for next to nothing. Also, when I was looking for Suzy Zoo fabric when my one granddaughter was on the way I found it there. Do not be afraid to ask sellers if they can get some other pattern for you. Some regularly sell fabric on there and I bought some from them and then asked if another one was available in their area. Different areas of the country have different prints and prices. I found everything I needed for that layette that way.
  • There is always Walmart, fabric stores etc. For me they are far away and the selection is not great, but when I am near I do look. I have been burned often by Walmart, so really check it over. Only once have I had a problem with a fabric on ebay. The print was crooked and would not line up right no matter what, but out of all I purchased online that was the only piece with a problem. Walmart did me in good one Easter when I was trying to make 11 dresses and a few boys vests. Check it over!

I hope these help you some. One more idea, check your mom’s, neighbor’s, friend’s stash! Maybe you can mooch!

For other homemaking ideas go to 11th Heaven Homemaking Haven.