Sunday, September 8, 2013

Rags to riches

I've been a little nostalgic lately.  When I am surfing pages on upcycling, recycling, and reusing in general, I come across a lot of posts about saving money, making your own detergent, reusing your pantry packing (cereal boxes, bread bags, spaghetti jars, etc.) for other things, stretching your meat using beans/rice/carrots, canning your garden know all that stuff that poor people do.  Wait a minute!  Don't judge is also stuff that I do.  It is right up my alley.

Without going into too much detail, we are a two income family, probably over educated and make plenty of money.  Now we do live in an expensive area and have probably made some life choices that have an effect on how well off we may appear (for example, we do not choose to drive fancy cars, could care less about the latest name brand clothing, etc).  And anyone that saw the amount of time I spend in thrift stores and scoping out the garbage bins for used furniture, would assume that I am not very well off.  But to put it plainly, we make plenty of money and don't do without. I do what I do because I enjoy it and it is part of my DNA.

Now having said that, let me get back to the nostalgia.  We may fall in the upper middle class now, but we both came from the working poor.  And even if my family could have been argued to be closer to middle class because they actually owned some land, they still were very frugal because they were both self employed.  And that frugal mindset is probably why I am the way I am.

So when I say I have been nostalgic, I've been doing a lot of thinking and not a lot of doing.  It's called "pining".  Not pinning, as in Pinterest, although that has been in the equation a lot.  Pining as in wistfully pining away with want.  Desire.  Coveting.  Wishful thinking.  Again, not doing.  Pitiful pining.   :

- I've been wanting to can some produce, even though I know if is not a true cost savings if it isn't from your own garden.  I am wanting to find a produce stand and ask to take their "rotten" box so I can cut the spots off the fruit, save the good and make jelly.  I actually bought a canning sieve in the thrift store the other day.  When someone in line asked me what it was, I could tell they thought it odd that someone my age knew what it was for.

A pantry like this would be an absolute dream for me.  I would love to have the time to do this amount of canning. But, I did do much more this year. We have salsa, tomatoes, tomato juice, peach jelly, apple jelly, canned apples, apple butter, pear butter, pear halves, dill pickles, bread butter pickles, pickled peppers, corn, stuffed bell peppers, green beans, and blackberry jelly. I am worn out but well worth it! I love this kind of life!

I have all the supplies for canning, just no cheap produce source.

- I want to put raised beds in my back yard to grow my own vegetables......a little late in the summer for that.  And my yard is so small, I'd never grow enough for canning.  I am on the look out for free pallets so I can attach them to the fence to make an upright garden for herbs.

Gardening with Arthritis

Got any pallets lying around? Look what you can do with them!

But then I read that you need to know the source of the pallets because some are sprayed with pesticides and such.  I had wanted to take a few apart to see it I can cut them and use them like a picket fence for some circular raised beds, but then saw how easy this would be.

Got Pallets?  Hate weeding?  Don't feel like turning up a bunch of grass? Use a pallet as a garden bed - staple garden cloth on the backside of the pallet fill with dirt and start growing!    Courtesy of:  Backyard Diva
Courtesy of: Backyard Diva

I even saw someone use painted old tires as a raised bed but those are toxic to grow food in.  Maybe just for flowers?

Love the color

Then I saw this.....on a smaller scale of course.  This is totally doable and I can build it as I drink :)

Glass fence

-Since I am not much of a gardener, I don't want to waste money on things that I'll likely kill anyway.  So back to my frugal roots, I want to get plants from kitchen scraps. Sweet potato vines, onion sprouts, potato sprouts, carrot tops, avocado pits, pineapple tops, beansprouts from beans, etc.


I was thinking that maybe I'll use thriftstore cups and kettles to do it. Since fall is coming soon anyway, it will have to be indoors.

herb favors stamped spoons

tea pots @Alyssa Eckley instead of giving away the teapots use them like this!
facebook group: upcycle

- I want to bake desserts instead of buying store bought cookies.  Not a good idea when I also exercise daily and actually want to see the results.  We've made two batches of chocolate chip cookies so far.

- I want to find a butcher so I can get some decent country sausage!  Nothing in the stores here in MD comes even close to the country sausage I grew up with.  Shout out to Conecuh Brand Sausage back in Alabama....but they don't ship it.  Has anyone ever tried the brand below?

Country Sausage - Four 1 lb. Packs. $35.95

And while I am at it, I want to get lard from the butcher.  Dirty lard for flavouring and leaf lard for baking.  I've been researching it and it NOT bad for you.  I want to fill my freezer with meat and some lard. According to this, I can even can it.

Canned lard
Pinterest photo

 And speaking for freezers, mine is way too small.

- I am on the lookout on Craigslist for a BIG chest freezer.  Mine is only midsize and a real pain.  I want one big enough to section off and really organize for use.  Which will mean less room in my already tiny laundry room.  Maybe I should just organize mine better.

This blogger is right up my alley with reusing boxes to organize it.

organizing a chest freezer for little to no cost

This cloth bag organization is a something I had never even thought of....but should have, with all my cloth.

use fabric shopping bags to organize deep chest freezer- it's nice & super helpful because you can pull out the bag, look through it and set it back inside.

- I want more vignettes everywhere in my house.   That's a fancy way of saying I want knick-knacks.   Which makes me realize how little furniture I actually have compared to my mom's house to put knick-knacks on...  And how few knick-knacks I actually my house too cold?

great vingette

- which makes me want to buy some more furniture.  More antique, substantial pieces.  Quality stuff that looks like its been loved.  So I am back to wanting to start finding those great pieces now for when we buy a bigger house.....I know I should wait, but I still want.



- I bought mostly t-shirt type stuff for my daughter for the new school year.  It makes me realize that I want her to actually dress nicer and that there are dresses in her closet that aren't being worn.  Why?  She loves the dresses I sew for her.  Why?  Because they need to be ironed.  Kids are just like adults, they don't want to wear it if its not ironed.  So yes, nostalgia means I actually want to iron some clothes.  I am going to put an ironing board and iron in their excuse for me to not want to drag their clothes downstairs.

Boutique kid clothes sewing patterns

I sew a lot of patterns from createkidscouture since I bought their once a month patterns.  I am ready to bust out some sewing again.

- I've been trying to years to get my family to use less paper towels.  I have huge stack of dinner napkins for use during meals.  For some reason the hubby just hasn't bought on.  He is a convenience type person and prefers paper towels.  Well, he'll get over it when there are no paper towels in the house.  To achieve this, I also have to go back to my roots in using rags for cleaning and clean up.  That means cutting up old clothes to have on hand for spills, and general cleaning.  And how convenient that I just cleaned out the kids closets for school.  I'll also need a small container in the kitchen to hold dirty rags and napkins until laundry time.  Otherwise, he'll wash greasy rags right along with the colors.

So anyway, that is where my mind has been lately.  What the heck is happening to me?  I'll be 40 that what this is?  OMG!  Okay, that wasn't real nostalgic.  I should have said DANG!

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