9 posts categorized "frugal tips" Feed

Stocking Up For Autumn and Winter


    I know it is not quite fall yet but it is only 5 days way! At this time of year I have one thing on my mind, stocking up! I think it is because I am secretly hoping to be snowed in for week. Which sadly never happens here but it is my idea of heaven: home, baking away, nowhere to go, knitting by the wood stove. Anyways I am busy stocking up. Here is what is on my list so far.

Fall pears

Lots of wood to feed the wood stove.

A 50# bag of flour as I am baking bread almost every day. Baguettes are my new favorite thing to bake.

3-20# boxes of organic apples

1-20# box of pears to make Roasted Pear sauce, which I will freeze in glass canning jars.

Ingredients to make elderberry syrup in case we get sick.There is a recipe in Wren Bay.

At least 30# of dark chocolate. At Christmas time the stores have bigs sales on chocolate, so I stock up for the whole year.

Making sure all my spices are fresh for baking.

Checking my flannel sheets and ordering new ones if needed.

Same with my SmartWool socks.

Bone broth for the freezer.

I am hoping to make a wool petticoat out of a wool skirt. I will straighten the skirt and add a ruffle to lengthen it from another skirt. I have so many dresses and would like to wear them in the winter but with only hardwood floors, my legs get cold.

A new puzzle.

Collecting pine cones on my property for kindling starters.

6# of tea  ordered (we drink 12# a year!)

Oil for my oil lamps and a new box of matches.

And I am sure there will be more I will think of. I would love to hear what you are stocking up on?


Homemade Hair Care

Chloe hair2

    Besides looking at all the additives and chemicals in the food my family is eating, I am also looking at what is in my hair/skin care. I guess I want simple, simple food, simple body/hair care, simple life! The simpler the more my body seems to likes it. The simpler, the happier I am! I have been using a homemade shampoo for a couple of months now. It took a few tweaks to find a blend I like (I started with this coconut milk shampoo and tweaked the recipe. I encourage you to play with it and find what your hair likes). I have to say I LOVE my homemade shampoo. I can actually see my hair healing itself. It is shinier, has more of a curl and less frizz. Both my mother and a good friend have tried this shampoo and love it also.

    BUT I will be honest and tell you both my girls hate it! Now for Auberne` it is understandable. She has totally different hair than me, thick, curly, almost wiry. She should probably do the no-poo method but she is not ready for that. Chloe, who has hair just like me (thin, fine and wavy) hated the shampoo too. I think it is because your hair does not have that slick feel when it is wet after washing. It is a bit hard to comb through but very soft when it dries. I am assuming that slick feel comes from chemicals they put in shampoo. So the shampoo does take a bit getting use.

    For conditioner I rub raw coconut oil on my hair (but not near my scalp). Also every three weeks I do a super shine. Also I should say we do not wash our hair every day, more like every 5-6 days. But I encourage you to try it. It make a small batch so if you hate it, you have not waste a lot. The next product I want to try making is my own anti-frizz serum! I have to say, that I like that I can make things myself. It makes me less dependant. Also I want my daughters to not be dependant. When they live on their own, I am sure money will be tight. The more that can do for themselves, save their pennies and be healthier for it, is a simple win-win in my book!


Homemade Shampoo

1/3 cup Dr. Bronner's soap

1/4 cup canned coconut milk, I use regular, you could try light and see if it has enough fat to moisturizer your hair

2 TBL. baking soda

1 TBL. vinegar, I use raw apple

1/8 tsp castor oil

you can add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance if you want.

Add all ingredients in a container and shake together. Keep in fridge and give a good shake when you use it. I keep mine is a plastic squeeze bottle. I use an amount the size of a quarter. Since I have long hair I wash my scalp, rinse, then wash all my hair and rinse again well.


Frugality is Not a Killjoy

Furgal post 

I am in a writing mood (although I should be working on Wren). I hope you enjoy my take on frugality!!


“By sowing frugality, we reap liberty, a golden harvest” ~Agesilaus


    I love this saying! I have it written on my chalkboard, which came from the old school house down the road. When I was young though, I hated the word frugality. To me it meant NO fun, no adventures, no joy! I thought frugality was just about the things you lose. It was all about self-denial and I will be the first one to say, I am not good at self-denial.

    I was pretty pampered as a girl. Life was about more and I liked it that way. Instant gratification worked for me ;- ) Well until it did not but I am getting ahead of myself. Life was always one expensive adventure after another. I will be honest and say it was fun. I loved seeing new places, trying new restaurants, buying new outfits. But the thing is I had all this fun because I have a father who worked hard to buy those things and I did not appreciate that fact. My father was a workaholic and I took it for granted how hard he worked. Plus my father likes to shop, dine and travel even more than I do. The interesting detail is when I wanted to get married I did not want to marry a man like my father, who lived for making money. I love my father but I could see how lacking the other areas of his life were.


“I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for joy.” C S Lewis


    Well one day my knight in shining armor came galloping in (who scrubbed my coffee pots at work, so I did not have to, without even being asked. Now if there is ever a way to win a girls heart, especially a pampered girl like me, that was it!). He did not live for making money. He is hard worker but is much more interested in his family, his life, his wife and children. This means he was never going to make the kind of income my father made

    I was torn in half; I wanted to be a fulltime homemaker. I loved the challenge of making the most around me. Like our first Christmas, when I decorated the house with the pine boughs from outside with gold painted stars. BUT I also love Paris and the thick hot chocolate I had that could barely be poured. Sadly I could not have both. I was going to have to choose, I was going to have to be frugal. Well if I was going to have to be something, I would have to find the fun in it. I had to embrace frugality and as I did, I started see what it added to my life. I was wrong as a girl, frugality was not a killjoy, it was a liberator. Now it can be a killjoy but anything can be. It is all how you use it. Before embracing frugality I struggled with:

  •      Depression (Depression, from all the things I wanted and could not afford.)
  •       Worry (Worry, from the money I spent on things, I should not have.)
  •       An unhappy marriage (Unhappy, because of the fights with hubby over the  money I used.)
  •      Disregard (Because when you just buy something and never make anything with your own two hands, you do not understand and appreciate all the work that goes into it. I will never take a loaf of bread for granted after trying to hand grind wheat!)
  •       Un-creativity (Well actually I was pretty creative when I had money BUT I was way more creative when I did/do not.)


  “Joy is not in things, it is in us.” Richard Wagner


    This opened up a whole new world to me. Not having money forces you to think out of the box. Make the most of what you have. See things in a new light and you know what? It is fun! I have made candles, picked grass for salad (well dandelions), shoveled goat manure for a raspberry patch so I could make yummy, homemade ice cream, cut up an old flannel nightgown to make a pretty rose covered petticoat, scented baking soda for homemade cleaners and a zillion more things. I am so much better for it. I do things with more thought and care now. I see the world around me in more detail and appreciate it. I admire and have a bond with others who create. I think the big thing is I am not so me, me anymore. I will not say I am not that way at all because we all know that’s not true ;- ) But I have learned that more things do not equal more happiness. Actually less things, means I love the things I have more. I am not looking for the world to fill me up; I am busy filling myself up.

    Also being frugal does not mean we have to think small. Making frugal choices, does not mean the choice has to be frugal. I am all for making your dreams come true. It just means you do not run off with every whim. Especially if you are like me and have expensive whims. No, it means thinking long and hard before deciding what is really important to you. It might be some over-the-top thing like hundreds of paper butterflies tacked to a hall (which I was considering). But by being frugal it will also mean saying no to a lot of other, less important things. Frugally is not about loss, it is about making choices, owning those choices and being better for them. And that my dears, adds to one’s life, not takes away!


“I was wrong as a girl, frugality was not a killjoy, it was a liberator.” Me


Thank you Karen romantic vintage home for the beautiful image above. Stunning xoxo

Linking up to Raising homemakers

Frugal Beauty


I do not know if I have mentioned this but when I was young I was into make-up and skin care. I was a make-up artist at departments stores and gave facials for a while. I love the subject. I think because I love bringing out someone's beauty, letting their strengths shine. A good make-up artist will make you look like a better you, not someone else, no matter how beautiful that someone else is. But it is sooo expensive and I honestly do not want to spend a lot of money on beauty products. I would rather save it for clothes, an even bigger passion ;-)

I have wanted to write this post for a while but hesitated because each of us is soo individual and all have different needs. I have been complemented a lot on my skin but that is mostly thanks to my mother. She has amazing, delicate, English rose skin. So good genes does play a part.

Mostly I use natural products because I like that there is no chemicals, dyes, etc. It is simple, easy, cheap and good for my body. Here is a few frugal items that work for me.


This is my favorite skincare item. I LOVE it. I have mentioned this before, I wash my face with honey everyday. I spread it on, let it sit about two minutes, then wash it off with barely warm water. I try not to use really hot water on my face. I have found it is wonderful for both dry and oil skin. It leaves skin feeling soft and moisturized.

Also it is good for zits. If one of the girls have a bad one, we will put  a dab of honey on it.  

Sugar body scrub:

I mix one cup of sugar to 1/3 cup olive oil and keep in a jar.

I use this on my body twice a week.

olive oil or mayo:

I have really long hair and I try to keep the ends from being dry and split. Every other time I wash my hair I coat just the ends of my hair and let sit a half an hour, then wash with shampoo. 

Castor oil:

Besides honey this is my other favorite skin item. I got a container of roll-on castor oil for something else and started looking up all the amazing things it is good for. Now I use it as an under eye cream. I could see a difference in my wrinkles around my eyes in a week. Also the darkness under my eyes. If I have any really dry spot on my face I will dab some castor oil on. But I do not put this on my whole face, like moisturizer. It is too heavy and thick.

The only warning I will give about Castor oil, is it is very thick and sticky, it takes an half hour to really soak in, so I do not use it just before I am going to put on makeup.

Pin Curls:

I do not wash my hair every day. Actually I only wash it about every five or six days. I find this works best for my hair and helps keep it from drying out. Also I do not use a blow dryer and only a straightener for touch ups. I usually pin curl my hair wet and it hold most of the week. If I did my hair everyday pin-curls would be a hassle. It took me a few times to figure how to do it. It is not easy pin-curling long hair. Now I can do it, blind folded !! Also I have found it is the only curl that my hair will hold more then a day. My hair is very fine.There are great you-tubes on the subject.

Lastly, I only wash my face once a day, usually in the evening. I have found washing it more dries it out. Basically I find less is more. I would love to hear what frugal, natural beauty ideas you have xoxox

PS. I am sorry if I am not around much, commenting on your blogs and posting. I am lost 24/7 on a secret project. Hopefully in a week or two I will see the light at the end of the tunnel. I will share soon. Thank you for being patent with me.

Frugal Things I Love


    I am starting to think fall/winter and what I can do to prepare, to do ahead of time. For example this last winter my feet really froze (we have no carpets) so I plan to knit (and buy) a few pairs of wool socks. There is nothing like wool to keep you warm. I have a wool shaw I knitted two years ago and it kept me sooo much warmer, then my polar fleece one. Yes, the wool is more expensive but it does the job.

    I also read in a Mary Jane Farm mag, the idea of taking veggies that are starting to go and drying them in my dehydrator. I just set up my dehydrator in my pantry, so I can add bits and bobs to dry. Here a few more ideas I am doing

Make your own elderberry syrup youtube

Here is another youtube on the subject

To help build up our immune system this winter. It only takes 1/2 to make, so it is easy to always have elderberry syrup on-hand.

Homemade Natural Deodorant

Sharon just posted this recipe, so I had to post it. Thank you Sharon xoxo

Make your own oil lamps

Last winter, I pulled out my two oil lamps and I loved them. Not only do I like the light but they put out heat (can you tell I was really cold last winter :-)

Simple Windowsill Chives

Tracey had such a brilliant idea of using broken stemware and a sprouting onion. Your soo smart Tracey xoxoxo

Make your own old French Grain Sack

Well okay this have nothing to do with winter, but it is just a rocken idea I had to throw in !!!

Parsley, Peppers, Potatoes and Peas

I am trying to be better about harvesting and preserving this summer. This is a book I really love. She covers a lot of veggies and fruits, beside the typical ones you always read about. Like celeriac, chestnuts, dandelions, herb roots, kohlrabi. She tells what does best canning, freezing, dry, etc. She even has ideas of what to do with corn husks and cobs, after you cut the corn from them.

Onion, Garlic Soup for Colds

This is a soup I am going to have in my "fight the cold" arsenal. I plan to have a nice batch in the freezer. Because once you get sick, who wants to make a complicated soup. I will add more garlic, when I serve it.

Make your own sprouts in a canning jar

My mom and I were saying sprouts are a cheap, easy green veggie to have in the winter.

I have more ideas, I will post soon. If you have any ideas, I would LOVE to hear them xoxoxo

Outdoor Washing Station

Washing station 

I am always looking for ways to make the most of what I already have. I am blessed with a beautiful piece of property and feel sometimes I do not make the most if it.  I have been so inspired by Mary Jane Farm, (her mag is been soooo good lately, hasn't it ? ) and her outdoor kitchen. I am not ready (nor can I afford to) set up an outdoor kitchen but I like the idea of a summer kitchen. I also like the idea of using my property more. In WA we have so much rain that when it is nice outside you want to take advantage of it.

I decided to set up an outdoor washing station. I just keep an old enamel bowl filled with water and a dishtowel. When it gets dirty I throw the water on my veggies and fill it up again. Yesterday, I took out a cutting board, cut all my vegtables, rinsing everything right there. I am loving it! I am thinking if I can find a cheap utility sink, I might set it up with a hose and have a outdoor sink. A nice, simple (meaning cheap  ;-) use of my outdoor space.

Thank you by the way for all the feedback on my banner. You readers are so sweet! I took what you said, what I loved and what worked and tweaked it. I am still not sure. So you might find that things keep changing for a bit, we will see xox

Homemade Feminine Pads


I do not like the ideas of my girls using plastic feminine pads, so I thought we would try making some and it was sooooo easy. Now there are a zillion tutorials on the subject (many much better then mine) but I wanted to make these as easy as I can. I took out any extra unneeded step. So if you do not really like to sew, these are about as easy as you can make.

You will need

flannel fabric (I used the skirt of the girls old dresses)

an old towel

snaps, *read more at the bottom of the post

Pads 1

1: To make a pattern, I just traced on paper a pad we wear (it is the kind with wings) and just made the wing part a bit longer for the snaps. Cut out two.

2: Take a old towel and cut a narrow piece for the center of the pad. You can cut several towels if you want a thicker pad.

Pads 2

3: First take one flannel piece and set towel piece in the center of it. Just sew a straight stitch down the center of the towel, this is to keep towel (s) from moving around. This is the side of the pad that will be against you. Now pin the other flannel piece on top, so the two flannel pieces match. Just sew all the way around the edge, so the towel is sandwich between the two flannel pieces. You will have a raw edge, but we did not find this to bother us.

4: Then you just add your snaps, you set your pad so the side with the sewn towel is against you and the wings wrap around your underpants and snap.

These can be washed and dried in machine. We keep a bucket of cold water in the bathroom and when one is dirty, we set it in the cold water, till we can wash it.

I made 8 pads in 20 minutes. Chloe cut the flannel pieces, Auberne the towels, I sewed them and we all added snaps. Do not stress about sewing them. They do NOT have to be perfect, after all you are the only seeing them. Just follow the edge line of the fabric.

For the snaps I really recommend Snapsource, Snapstter . It is soo easy to do, you can get fun colored snaps and you will find you can add snaps on so many thing. More, then I realized before I had Snapsetter.

Lastly if you still do not think you want to try making pads but are interested in buy some I highly recommend Crea*tiveMama. I originally bought two for the girls to see if they like them before we tried making them ourselves. Crea8tiveMama's are really well made and a very good price. Tell her Storybook Woods sent you xoxox 

But I Do Not Want To Throw The Cup Away


I love this antique wedgewood cup but it has a fine crack that leaks liquid. I did not want to throw it away. I realized it works perfect as a scoop in my big flour bucket.

Speaking of flour I have to say I have been doing the 5-minute bread for over a year now. I bake a loaf of bread just about every day and it has changed my world. If you have not looking into 5-minute bread I encourage you to do so. Thanks to Paula, I found out there is video showing you just how easy it is.

Also thanks to Jody, I found another video showing how to shape different styles of bread. Thank you ladies xoxox

Really it is all so easy but seeing someone do it can really help. I wish I could just have all of you over and we could bake bread together. This will have to do instead.

Have a wonderful weekend. I know it is a holiday for most of you. My hubby works, so it is not really a holiday for us but we are having a weekend of sun, so that alone makes the weekend feel special. Thank you also thank you for your kind comments about my jewelry and Bessie bag. Eat something yummy and think of me  xox

Espresso Sugar

Espresso sugar

When I was a child my favorite treat was cinnamon toast. Taking squishy bread, adding nice thick layer of softened butter and a sprinkling cinnamon sugar over the top . Then put the whole thing under the broiler and watch the sugar get all carmel'ly. I made sure to pull it out just before the bread burns, heaven!

I wanted a "grown up" version of this treat, so I came up with espresso sugar. It is just like cinnamon sugar but with espresso.


Esp sug2

Espresso sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 TBL instant espresso powder

mix together and store in ajar with a tight lid.

Take a slice of lovely boule, of course still slather it with softened butter and sprinkle a thick layer of espresso sugar. I will say you can adjust the amount of espresso powder to you liking. 1 TBL. give a light coffee flavor, 2 TBL has intense, almost bitter flavor (this is my fav.) I posted 1 1/2 TBL for a middle of the road but like I said play with the amount until you find what you love. You can also use ground coffee, just make sure it is a very fine ground.

Because the coffee can burn easier, do not let it caramelize too long under a broiler. This is soo good. I made a tag you can print it up if you want to make this as a gift  xox 

ps. make sure you check out my espressodoodle, made with the espresso sugar !!