Friday, January 30, 2009

My friend Carrie has told me that I need to get over the fear of my new sewing machine and just get to work on it. I was even given homework to complete. I didn't get a chance to do any homework yesterday so today she doubled the load. I need to practice one new stitch on my machine each day.

Today I did well. I practiced a few different stitches. I have some mini aprons I need to finish for a swap and I didn't want to hand sew them. Today I got the machine out set it up and got to work.

 I guess for better viewing you could just tilt your head a little to the right. There you go~now you can see them better.
I don't have a clue how to correct this.
Here are some mini aprons in progress. These have been hemmed and I have stitched the top to gather them.

There is the stack of mini aprons all cut out that still need to be sewn.

I know~I have a long way to go yet until these babies are done and ready to go. I promise to be very busy on them next week.

Last but not least here are the minis I have completed.
It's only four but it's more than I had done yesterday.

I also crocheted the hats to make two more owl hats, today. But most importantly the kids' progress reports for the school department were completed and mailed today. HOORAY~I always put these off until the last minute. I just never want to do them and then the day comes and they are due. Well, I hope they make it their by their February 1st deadline. If not, they are pretty close to it. I will try to do better next time.
That's all that's happening in these parts. Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tips for Frugal Living

We are all aware that the economy right now is very scary. We don't know what tomorrow will bring. Everywhere companies are closing down or laying off workers by the thousands.

I believe that we have forgotten our roots in this country. We, myself included, have become a nation of I want it, I like it, I deserve it and I'll buy it even if it's on credit. It is so easy to get sucked into that lie. When we turn back we realize that we could have lived without whatever it was we wanted.

I am a stay at home, homeschooling mom. We have two children and are living completely on one income. As the prices for everything have sky rocketed in the last couple of years, I have tried to find new ways to save money. I think these are all very easy things to do and anyone can do them.

One of the first things I did for saving money was to make my own laundry detergent. I think that you can find many different recipes if you Google it. One is bound to be to your liking. The recipe I use is very easy and it lasts me about 6 weeks. The total cost for one batch of detergent is much less than I would pay for a commercial detergent, even with a sale and coupons. An added benefit is that it is green. Being made with all natural ingredients makes this easier on the environment than commercial detergents. If you would like me to share the recipe I use, let me know.

The second thing is to stop using fabric softener and use white vinegar in the rinse cycle. This helps to cut static cling and it also removes the residue from the detergent. Don't worry, your clothes will not come out smelling like a plate of fries. There isn't any smell of the vinegar left on the clothing. I do like my laundry to smell nice and purchased some essential oils. I add just a few drops to my laundry detergent and it makes the wash smell wonderful.

It is easy to get caught up in the bonus buying and coupons that many stores advertise now. The deals are great but the plan for the store is to get you in the door and then spend more than you intended. When you are shopping with coupons or for special sales, make sure to only purchase those things on your list. Try not to browse through the aisles because this will most certainly result in impulse buys. Today I went to a local supermarket that was having a wonderful sale. This market happens to be in an affluent neighborhood and near a very busy shopping center. They have many foods available that you don't find in other supermarkets, even their own in the chain. When we walked in we were immediately filled with wonderful scents and aromas. They had huge displays of all ready prepared meals and snacks that were fantastic. Through out the whole store you were surrounded by the most wonderful products. I had gone to purchase only a few things on my list, that were on sale. I went immediately to where the things were located and to check out. I knew that if I lingered in that store I would spend more than I intended. Because of their great sale I was able to purchase:

a pot roast
2 packages of split chicken breasts (buy one get one free)
a 5 lb. bag of potatoes (free with purchase of roast)
a bag of carrots (free with purchase of roast)
a 2 lb. bag of onions (free with purchase of roast)
grapes (on sale for $1.79/lb)

My total was less than $24 and my savings were $23. I was thrilled.

The last tip for today is reuse. Don't throw things away right away. Try to find other uses for them. I reuse all my plastic food storage bags. It is very easy to wash them out. I just hang them right over my utensils to dry. Don't throw away those jeans if they don't fit or have a hole. Try to find another use. Maybe an apron or a bag. There are many different things you could use them for. Search the internet for ideas. You will be amazed at all you find.

This tips are also green tips. You will be saving money and the planet. We need to take good care of this earth we have. We need to be good stewards and protect the earth.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Owl Hats, Owl Hats Everywhere!!

The orders are in and I have been crocheting my hands off. Two orders have been completed and sent out. Two more will be on their way Monday, even if it means I have to stay up all night Sunday. The hats are so cute and I have had so much fun making them. So far I have made a total of 17 hats and have 4 more to make.

While in the process of finishing orders I have been trying to pick up the supplies for the swaps I signed up for at MaryJanes Farm. I need to complete a set of embroidery pillowcases, a teapot cozy and mini aprons all by the second week in February. No pressure. I can do this. There won't be much sleeping or cleaning going on but I will complete my swaps.

Can't wait to share more pictures once everything is complete. I have always loved making things and didn't really have anyone to give them to. I don't know many people who appreciate handmade things. Now I have found a group of wonderful gals who love to make and share things as muc
h as I do. I am thrilled!

This is where I keep my stash of yarn while I work on the hats. It was much bigger at the beginning of the week but I have been chipping away at it while I finish the hats. The bag has more yarn, crochet hooks, scissors, needles and everything else I need. It helps keep it all together so I don't lose them.

Can you tell we homeschool. Those are all our books and binders there. There are more in the drawers. I'm really not fond of this set up and hope to purchase a tall bookcase to put there and get rid of that bulky desk.

These are the last hats I have finished. Jess and Teresa~these are yours girls. They will be on their way Monday. YEAH!!!
Not to brag but they are cute!!!

Wishing all of you a very happy weekend!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Crochet and Treasures!

The long days of winter are here and I've been trying to fill them up with things I love. One of my favorite past times is crochet. I have been busy making up owl hats to fill orders. They are so much fun to make. I am hoping that those who receive them will enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed making them.
I received a little money and gift cards for Christmas and I love books. Of course, that obvious thing to do with that money is buy some crochet books and magazines. I am also very frugal and the prices of some of these books are high so I use coupons. I bought all of these for 30%-50% off the original price, including the magazines. It makes it easier to enjoy these with a good cup of tea when you know that you've saved so much on them.

Each one of them is a treasure. There are so many projects I want to try. I will be busy for a long time.

I wanted to share some treasures with you. There was a wonderful, little antique store here in the city where I live. It was always full to the brim and looked like it could pop with all the treasures that it held. Right before Christmas I decided I would make a trip there to see what new treasure I could uncover. I was so saddened when I saw the sign on the door saying the store would close by the end of the month. I was not prepared for this disappointing news. I tried to gather up as much as I could afford. These are some of the beauties I came home with that day.

The proprietor is in her 90's and needed to pass this on. I know that some of her things will be at another local antique mall but it won't be the same.
She took such great care with all the items she had in the shop. There were two ladies that came in once or twice a week to iron the linens for the ship. Everything was neat and orderly. There were different little rooms holding vast amounts of goodies. She had the largest selection of linens that I have seen. I could spend hours there and not even look at 10% of what that little shop held. I was, and still am sad to see it go.

Jocelyn at A Pondering Heart is having a great giveaway. There are countless goodies that have been donated for this giveaway. Unfortunately, it ends today so make sure you go over quickly.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I cannot believe that this law may actually go into affect. Everyone one of us needs to be alert and taking action against this. As a homeschool mom who buys and sells used curriculum I think it is absurd. Please join in and pass this along.

The Sale of Children's Books to be Banned

Oh, how I wish this were a joke! But it is a grim and looming,

almost Orwellian, reality.

Effective February 10th, in the United States, the sale of

all children's books (books intended for children ages 12 and

under) is to be PROHIBITED. Every single book printed prior

to the ruling is affected, whether new or used. New books in

production are required to include a "lead-free" certification

and will be the only books that are legal to offer for sale.

What does this mean to the homeschooling family?

Well, or one, curriculum fairs across the country will be

cancelled as book vendors scramble to figure out how to comply

with the new ruling. Complete book inventories will have to be

destroyed -- the ruling even prohibits giving away the books!

Local thrift stores will be hard hit -- most will likely have to

close their doors -- yes, even Goodwill and Salvation Army.

Clothing, toys and books -- even CDs and DVDs are included in the

ruling. Thrift stores will no longer be able to accept or process

anything (including clothing) that would be intended for a child.

No more library sales. Libraries will not be permitted to give

away or sell book donations. It is unsure yet, however, how

the libraries' shelves themselves will be impacted (the ruling

doesn't explicitly mention "loaning" books, just selling or

giving them away). The key word, however, is "distribution" --

libraries may well be required to destroy books from their shelves.

(The ruling that originally passed was about toys, but the EPA has

since made a statement that clothing, books and media are included

in "children's toys".)

Just how serious is this new law? has already notified all vendors of their need to comply.

No book can be sold at the Amazon site that was printed prior to

compliance. And the "compliance" must be coordinated at the manu-

facturing stage. At the time of this article there is no clause

to be able to grandfather-in older books or even rare out-of-print

books. It can cost between $500 and $1500 to test a book for lead.

I happen to own a children's bookstore specializing in living books

from the 1950s and '60s. My punishment for selling a book after

February 10th? Up to $100,000 and 5 years in jail. And yes, it is

a felony charge. For selling a SINGLE book.

(Although I don't think the S.W.A.T. team scenario would become a

reality overnight, at the same time I would be leery of blatantly

violating Federal law.)

So what can you do to help save your local used bookstore that

sells children’s books? Or that homeschool curriculum business?

Or your EBay business selling children's items?

ACT NOW before the quickly approaching deadlines:

1) Email or call the CPSIA - the office of the CPSC ombudsman at


Comments on Component Parts Testing accepted through January 30,

2009. Or email:

2) Contact your local representatives. For their contact informa-

tion, just enter your zip code.

3) Make your voice heard by voting on this issue! The top 3 in

each category will be presented to President-elect Obama.

4) Sign the petition.

5) Spread the word! Forward this article. Send an email. Write

about this on your blog. Tell others about this issue and

encourage them to do the same.

This is a recent update to the law.


U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Office of Information and Public Affairs

Washington, DC 20207

January 8, 2009
Release #09-086

CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

CPSC Clarifies Requirements of New Children’s Product Safety Laws Taking Effect in February
Guidance Intended for Resellers of Children’s Products, Thrift and Consignment Stores

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In February 2009, new requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) take effect. Manufacturers, importers and retailers are expected to comply with the new Congressionally-mandated laws. Beginning February 10, 2009, children’s products cannot be sold if they contain more than 600 parts per million (ppm) total lead. Certain children’s products manufactured on or after February 10, 2009 cannot be sold if they contain more than 0.1% of certain specific phthalates or if they fail to meet new mandatory standards for toys.

Under the new law, children’s products with more than 600 ppm total lead cannot lawfully be sold in the United States on or after February 10, 2009, even if they were manufactured before that date. The total lead limit drops to 300 ppm on August 14, 2009.

The new law requires that domestic manufacturers and importers certify that children’s products made after February 10 meet all the new safety standards and the lead ban. Sellers of used children’s products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits, phthalates standard or new toy standards.

The new safety law does not require resellers to test children’s products in inventory for compliance with the lead limit before they are sold. However, resellers cannot sell children’s products that exceed the lead limit and therefore should avoid products that are likely to have lead content, unless they have testing or other information to indicate the products being sold have less than the new limit. Those resellers that do sell products in violation of the new limits could face civil and/or criminal penalties.

When the CPSIA was signed into law on August 14, 2008, it became unlawful to sell recalled products. All resellers should check the CPSC Web site ( for information on recalled products before taking into inventory or selling a product. The selling of recalled products also could carry civil and/or criminal penalties.

While CPSC expects every company to comply fully with the new laws resellers should pay special attention to certain product categories. Among these are recalled children’s products, particularly cribs and play yards; children’s products that may contain lead, such as children’s jewelry and painted wooden or metal toys; flimsily made toys that are easily breakable into small parts; toys that lack the required age warnings; and dolls and stuffed toys that have buttons, eyes, noses or other small parts that are not securely fastened and could present a choking hazard for young children.

The agency has underway a number of rulemaking proposals intended to provide guidance on the new lead limit requirements. Please visit the CPSC website at for more information.


Send the link for this page to a friend! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC's web site at To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC's Web site at

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dreaming of Spring

Although we are in winter and this week proves to be one of the coldest yet I have begun to look forward to spring. It will keep me going through these long cold winters. One of the farmgirls at MJF has begun sewing spring/summer dresses and is encouraging us to join along. Bonne has begun sewing up some new dresses and I have been looking for some inspiration. Etsy is a great place to find inspiration. It is filled with so many talented people and the best part is if you don't know how to do it you can buy it already made for you.

I would like to dress a little more feminine, a little less frumpy. I also love the vintage, prairie girl meets funky style.

Here are some of my favorites from Etsy:

Cute garden dress in blue

I like the cut on this dress, not too sure of the fabric: Swiss Dot Dress

This is too cute for summer: Cherry Sundress

Cute black dress

Organic Shakespeare~so cute and I love the description's suggestion to wear it to a country fair or ice cream social.

For something a little funky and a little farmgirl check out Sarah Clemens. I love everything!!

I hope this inspires you to bring out those sewing machines, dust them off and begin sewing up a spring wardrobe that will be wow. If you can't sew then you can always peruse the many pages on Etsy featuring spectacular outfits.

Visit Bonne's blog for some cute patterns and take a look at the dress she's already made. Stunning!

I'll be dreaming of spring!

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy Belated New Year!!!

Christmas came and went so quickly that I can hardly believe it. We had a very nice time. Dh was home for most of Christmas break. It was great to hang out, play games and watch movies. The time went quickly and I ended up with a pretty rotten cold. I am feeling much better now.

Right before Christmas our computer monitor died. One of the dear farmgirls I met at MaryJanes Farm has been so kind to send us one. We are just waiting for the power cord now. The nasty weather has held things up. The monitor I am using is incredibly old and not capable of keeping up with todays technology. But it is still plugging away. The only problem is that I think I will be blind soon. It is very difficult to read.

I have met some of the sweetest ladies over at MaryJanes Farm. So many kind hearts and thoughtful farmgirls. MaryJane herself is so sweet and it comes through in her videos on the site and in her books and magazines. I can just read and reread it all. It takes you back to a much simpler time and leaves you longing to bring that into your own life.

We are back into our school routine here and the kids were actually glad to be back. Things have gone smoothly.

I have been keeping busy, too. I have a mission to reorganize my work space this year and make it look like a wonderful studio. I have just let too many things accumulate and now realize that I need to get rid of those things that are not necessary for my creativity. No more holding on just in case.

I have made some little owl hats that most of the farmgirls have fallen in love with. Below is a picture of some of the ones that I have finished. These will be for sale and if you are interested leave me a comment with an email address and I will get right back to you. They older childrens/adult hats will be $20 plus shipping and the infant/toddler hats will be $16 plus shipping.
Once I started making these I fell in love. They are just too cute!!

I hope you are all on your way to a good new year. I know that times are tough but we need to hang in there and know that things will work out. We will stay strong and come out even stronger in the end.
Good wishes to all of you!!