Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Christmas & Winter Themed Blank Journals

Two more journals completed and up for sale.
A Christmas / Winter themed blank journal with a few pages with Christmas images.  Lovely red berry fabric cover and 164 pages sewn in with peppermint twist butcher's twine.
A Winter theme blank journal with a starry fabric cover.  This one has 232 pages of various paper and star punch outs throughout for fun.
Both are ready for someone to fill with their thoughts, drawings, photos & mementos.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Economizing Measures ~ Saving On Heating Costs Part 1

Everyone knows to keep your thermostat set low, as low as you can 
stand it.  But how do you keep warm enough to not complain?

1- you must dress for the weather.  Layering your clothes is a 
great way to go.  And make sure they are loose layers.  I'm usually 
ok in slacks, long sleeved shirt and slippers at home.  If it gets 
colder I add fuzzy socks and a sweater.  If it gets to freezing 
temps I can add sweat pants and sweat shirt over regular pants 
and shirt and a sweater on top of that.  

2- decide what rooms you really use and only heat those.  
Close off the vents and close the doors to unused rooms.  I have 
a bath and 2 bedrooms that are rarely used and they are off their 
own hallway.  All vents and doors are closed  and I put up a curtain 
at the end of the hallway that enters my living room.  That also 
saves on cooling those rooms in the summer.  Just a simple 
curtain will do, make it match your window curtains if you want.  
A great Victorian idea we need to bring back!

3- if you have ceiling fans you can set them to reverse at a 
slow speed to push the warm air back down to the area you are 
sitting in.  This means it will spin clockwise in winter.  A good 
way to remember is clockwise while we are on regular time and 
counter-clockwise while we are on daylight savings time.

4- you can utilize space heaters to only heat the room you 
are in.  I have a small electric oscillating heater I bought at 
Dollar General for less than $20.  I only use it in the room I am 
currently in and it keeps me pretty toasty without using a lot of 
electricity.  Please be cautious as to what kind of space heater 
you use and make sure to use it properly with any required 
ventilation.  If you need to crack a window for ventilation then 
choose a south facing one to avoid the colder winds coming 
from the north.

5- use a quilt on your bed!  Grandma wasn't just saving 
money by making her own quilt and re-using those fabric scraps, 
they are much warmer than blankets.  You need it to be loose 
over you and not pulled tight, your body heat will fill the space 
between bed and quilt with warmth and you will be toasty all 
night.  I believe it has a lot to do with the insulation quality of 
the quilt which is made of fabric, batting and fabric.  Heavier 
is not always warmer.  If you have no quilt but you do have a
sleeping bag, use it!  And flannel sheets are much warmer feeling
than cotton. 

6- but maybe this should have been first, add insulation.  
Check for drafts and insulate and caulk where you can and add 
weatherstripping if needed to doors and windows.  If you have 
no restrictions in your neighborhood then spritz your windows 
with water and cover them with cut to size bubble wrap for 
insulation.  You can often get bubble wrap for free from sites 
like craigslist or freecycle.  Alternatively you can pull down 
your shades at night to keep out drafts and raise them during 
the day to let in the sun's warmth.  Grandma used to swap out 
her light and lacy summer curtains for heavy and lined winter 
drapes for good reason and we can do the same.

7- if you are going to be home, make it a day of cooking 
and baking.  That extra heat will be welcome on a cold day, 
especially if it came from a pot of homemade stew and home
baked bread or cookies.  When you are done baking leave the 
oven door open to utilize that heat as well.  I used to live in an 
apartment that had no heat source in the kitchen so I just 
turned on the gas burners.  No worries about ventilation, the 
place was 80 years old and very drafty, but do take care if you 
need to do this and never leave the room unoccupied with burners 
on, especially if you have children.  If you have an electric stove 
you could turn on the oven and leave the door open but I'm not 
sure how frugal that would be.  Also you can boil water in a pot 
to add humidity which makes you feel warmer.

8- if you have a pet like a dog or cat and they like to 
snuggle, indulge them.  A dog or cat's body temperature is much 
higher than a human's (100-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit) and they 
are portable heaters that cost very little.   I used to have one 
cat that would sleep under the covers with me so I stayed nicely 
warm all night and so did he.

9- try a heating pad to warm up your bed 30 minutes before 
you crawl in, just like a bed warming pan of hot coals like your 
great grandma used to use.  A hot water bottle at your feet
works well too.  If you do use a heating pad, only use it for a short 
period of time, it is not meant to be slept with, would save you no 
money and could cause a fire. 

10-  don't be afraid of looking silly wearing clothes to bed.  A 
sweatshirt and sweat pants are much warmer than a cotton gown.  
Also wear your fuzzy socks to bed.  A knit cap on your head in 
frigid weather  works nicely too, we lose a lot of heat out the top 
of our heads and it's a good old idea we have lost sight of.  
Remember the line from 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' about 
"Mother in her kerchief and I in my cap had just settled down for 
a long winter's nap."

11- some other ideas I have read about.  If you have 
radiators you can add a metal panel behind it to bounce that 
heat back into the room rather than letting the wall soak it up.  
For fun put up a tent in the middle of the room and only heat 
that.  Think your house is cold? go outside for a bit and it will 
feel heavenly when you come back in.

So there's 11 ways to stay warm while trying to save some 
money on heating, at least for those of us without a wood
burning stove or fireplace.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

New Journals for the Holidays

I've gotten 2 more journals completed and up for sale.  One is a gratitude journal with an autumn color theme and the other is a Christmas journal.  I have left a lot of blank space for the buyer/receiver to add in all their own journaling, keepsakes and photos.
Yes, this is a shameless plug for my items that are for sale.  It's how I earn money right now as I search for work outside of home.  You can find all my journals in my Ebay store, Etsy shop & Poshmark closet.  The links are in the sidebar.

For those just interested in seeing the journals, enjoy the photos and thanks so much to everyone for stopping by.

Gratitude Journal

Christmas Journal

Friday, October 25, 2019

A Small Quilt Repair

I just moved from Texas to Colorado, a big change for me.  Part of the family treasures are the quilts my Nana made.  This one pictured below is a twin size made in the 1930s at my best guess.
So here's my sewing for this week!
Sorry the photo is not better, the sunlight was filtering through the window, which is tinted.
This quilt has had much use and I remember sleeping under it many a time.  You can't see from this photo but some of the fabric is threadbare  and some were just in shreds with holes where the cotton batting was poking through.
The top center dark square, the 3rd row center dark square, the 4th row center square and a bottom one you can't see in this photo, were appliqued over the shredded part to keep it from getting further damaged.  I only found 2 fabrics here at Walmart that sort of worked.  The dark has red cherries but I know the background is too dark.  The 4th ros center square was a bright red with black polka dots, I used it wrong side out and it worked very well.  That's a trick I have used a lot in the past.  It gives the right amount of fading.
The edges are all frayed but I really don't want to 'redo' this quilt as hanging on the wall is the only use it will have besides being folded on a shelf.
I also used a piece of an old cotton sheet to make a sleeve to hang it up, all that I added are easily removed should I choose to.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Hallowe'en is Coming! Goth Journal

I've been working on 2 goth / Hallowe'en journals, really more like scrapbooks for someone to add in their own mementos, drawings & thoughts.
Here's the first one done.
Spiderwebs!  Beaded spine in black of course.  The elastic bookmark has a silver circle charm.
The edges of the signature covers have cobweb looking vintage lace.
Looks cool when the book is closed.
I even had a piece of spiderweb embossed paper, though you probably can't tell very well, it's the small piece laying on the red.
I'm working on another with a sugar skull cover!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Journals for an Artist's Work

I have spent 4 days working on 3 journals as gifts for someone.  The journals are not fancy, they are mostly just functional, it's what's inside that's important.
3 sizes to suit the items inside and note how thick the red one is.  It has 5 signatures.  The blue one, the largest is 9 x 12" and had to be to accommodate what went inside.  The person these are for inherited artwork drawn by his grandfather and they haven't been stored very well.  So I took them out of the ziploc bags and envelopes and out of the shed they had been in and gave them new homes that hopefully will keep them safe for years.
I want to show you some of the artwork done by a man who did them in his spare time as a hobby.  The blue journal holds drawings from the 1940's, WWII era.
He used whatever he could find to draw on and used mostly no.2 pencils with the occasional ball point pen, some colored pencils and even a couple with crayon.  On this portrait he used tracing paper and it is so fragile the edges are shredding.  In case you are wondering about the little strips of paper, they hold the drawings in place without having to glue anything but the strips.
click on the images to see them larger.
He seemed to have loved humor judging from some of his drawings.  The cartoon is on a scrap of writing paper, Gussie and many other pieces were drawn on the back of pasteboard signs from the railroad company he worked for.  Most of his work from the 40's is full page size and there are a lot of female nudes as well.
The red journal is filled with drawings from the mid 1970s and they are mostly ranch scenes.  And it's the same ranch and same lake in each one.  The full page drawings are mostly on some sort of cardstock that looks like it might have been the backing to a notepad or something. I believe these were done after he retired.

A handsome cowboy on a random sheet of blue paper.
Some smaller pieces done with colored pencil.  You can see here how many pages I had to use.
The green journal is novel sized and I believe they were all done in the mid 1970s also, with a ballpoint pen.
A couple of caricatures.
Neighborhood cats.
And a jogger.
Check out the texture on these and see if you can guess what he used to draw on this time.  The answer will be below but try to guess first.
It's the cut out tops of styrofoam egg cartons.  I wish I had met this man.
I know his grandson is going to appreciate the journals which make it easy to look at the art without it falling to pieces anymore.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Economizing Measures ~ How to Save Money on Groceries

I've always been careful when it comes to buying groceries.  I check the sale papers, the clearance sections and know that things like rice, potatoes and pasta can stretch one meal into 4.  I've also canned my own food for many years.   However I rarely use coupons because they are usually for items that are more expensive and for processed foods. 

I made a major change in the way I buy groceries some years back and it has saved me a lot.  I started out by buying a bit extra if something was on sale, whether it was peanut butter, fruits & vegetables or meat, etc..  I would can or dehydrate the extra if it was called for.  Many items can be frozen too if you have the room in your freezer.  For example if you are buying one bag of rice because it's on sale, get a couple extra and store it in containers, food saver bags or those mylar bags you can find pretty cheap on Ebay.  

I have bought chicken breast when it went on sale for 99¢ a pound, boiled it and canned it and the broth.  Ready to eat meat in a jar for making  sandwiches, casseroles, tacos, soups and more.  I have bought beef roast when it went on sale for $1.99 a pound.  I slow roasted it and canned it just
like the chicken.  I can leftover turkey and broth.  When those large bags of frozen vegetables are on sale I pick up some extra and dehydrate them. When I buy celery I chop up and dehydrate the stalks from the old bunch and store them in a jar to use in soups and casseroles.  

No matter what you are buying on sale, if you pick up one, why not pick up two or three if you have enough cash.  You will soon have a little stockpile in your pantry and you can now go shopping right at home.  What happens after a while is that you are now pretty much only buying sale items, so the $100 a week you used to spend on 50 different things is now more like $50 on multiples of a few items that are on sale or clearance.  Because you have a nicely stocked pantry you can still put a balanced meal together.

You can do this with any item, canned veggies, flour & sugar, coffee, etc. Even one extra will help you to save money in the future because prices will go up and you are buying at a discount today.  Don't be afraid to check out the dollar stores in your area.  I buy a lot of canned goods and fruit juices as
well as cat food at Dollar General, Dollar Tree sometimes has great deals on canned items.  Many of the chain dollar stores take coupons too.  A 13 pound bag of cat food at $8.99 is already less than Walmart, take off the 75¢ coupon I had and I now have a great deal.

Though I rarely use coupons, I have gotten some on Ebay, like for the cat food.  I paid $1.75 for 20 coupons and I bought cat food to stock up for almost a year.  There are many sites online where you can print out coupons for items you like though some stores will limit how many you can use and some
will not take them at all.

One last thing, you can save the most money by cooking at home rather than eating out.  I love eating out, but if I choose to eat good food and not fast food I have to limit how often I eat out, that means cooking at home most of the time and taking my lunch to work.  And I don't have to deal with lunch time traffic!

Christmas & Winter Themed Blank Journals

Two more journals completed and up for sale. A Christmas / Winter themed blank journal with a few pages with Christmas images.  Lovely ...