Thursday, November 22, 2012

Penny Rugs

I have made several penny rugs and it would be hard to put all the pictures on this site. Below is a picture of one I made for my brother and his family. Here is how I do this.
  • I buy 100% wool. I try to get thick coat wool. If you can't find different colors, you could buy just plain white or off white wool and dye them. My idea was to dye them in natural colors using such things as beet juice, mustard, blueberries, strawberries, and so on.
  • First I felt the wool by boiling it in water separated by color. Yes it smells like wet dogs. This packs the wool and it wont fray as much.
  • Dry the wool in a hot dryer. Make sure it's pure wool or you will mess up your dryer.
  • Some of the shapes are 3D for effect. The flowers on the tree are two-three flowers from a large shape to a smaller shape blanket stitched on in either contrasting thread or the same color. You could just blanket stitch around the outside of the flower and attach in the middle for a different effect. Now don't use embroidery thread. My thread is a bit thicker. Use size 5 (regular embroidery is size 2)
  • Cut out your shapes and pin to a larger piece. I sewed a contrasting wool frame around the main area.
  • Blanket stitch your pieces on and add things, if you want, like buttons or different kinds of embellishments.
  • I then put a cotton backing on it by sewing it right sides together then invert and iron.
I found a blog that is amazing. She has such unique stitches. These are the kind of stitches you can put on a penny rug.  Paper Napkin Poetry.
Since we still live in a travel trailer making these large items are not possible. Today I am working on a felted cupcake used for a pin cushion. Wish me luck. I saw one on Etsy.
Any craft is soothing. With this economy and the troubles it will bring crafting, sewing, knitting and such could become like yoga, soothing and relaxing.

Two lions under a tree with stars and birds

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Keep Your Grocer Honest

I was reading an article about how some smaller grocers are nickel and diming customers at the checkout stands. This isn't new just more apparent now.

This is how I outsmart grocery stores:

1) Buy small plain stickers at the Dollar Stores. The kind you would use for labels. Remember to look for the best deal. You don’t need a lot large or long sticker, just one you can write 4 numbers on.

2) Write the amount per pound on your sticker and put it on the plastic bags you put your produce in and also on frozen items. If they won’t stick mark the price on your shopping list. I hope you brought your shopping list. SEE TinCanCooking.

3) Keep a felt pen with you and mark the price on the top of a can or box.

4) Be aware of what the item scans in at the checkout stand.

5) ALWAYS check your receipt with the items you buy BEFORE you leave the parking if you didn’t see the cashier scan the item.

Sometimes the Dollar General or other discount stores are not the cheapest place to buy certain items. I have been very frugal lately and write down the prices of my favorite items in the discount stores, excluding Wal-Mart, and compare when I am grocery shopping.

One time I compared a large discount store to my local grocery store and found out they were not the lowest over all. Some things were. I compared by item or by ounce whatever it took. I know that sounds silly, but it was useful.

I am a very frugal shopper because I mainly shop at Whole Foods, which is pricey. I shop for the best deal between the discount stores and my local "other" grocery store for some items. Make sure you compare by ounce. More and more items are the same price but have less ounces. Comparing coupons with store brands is a good idea too, unless you are a specific label buyer. I am on a couple items. I definitely don’t buy batteries or electronics at ANY discount store.

I hope this is a good article. As time goes on and our economy really tightens up you will need there tips. Stocking up.

Friday, June 29, 2012


Yes, it has been some time since my last post. But, I do have good news. I now have a 3/4 permanent job with a local dealership in my town 8 MILES FROM OUR HOME. Wow, miracles can happen.
This particular dealership is a very busy place. My 6 hour days go fast.

I have worked many receptionist jobs in my life, especially here in Texas. Most of those jobs are VERY BOREING. You just answer the phone and take messages. Not many allow you to use their computer to do any extra assignments. One of the clients let me bring my computer. At that job I think I got a maximum of 3 phone calls a day. This was for an attorney who mostly worked out of his house and communicated with his clients via email. I truly believe you need to use your brain or you will lose it. SOOO this new job has me hopping. There is a lot to learn about a dealership. Making paper plates, assigning keys in a computer for the salesman, Fedex, mail, contacting customers and answering THAT BUSY PHONE. In Texas after you buy your car you get a paper plate for 60 days while waiting for the hard plate. The dealership inspects the vehicle  (Texas requires annual inspections), registers it with the state, and issues plates. The registration and inspection sticker are INSIDE your car facing out. No way for someone to steal you stickers off your plates. I did, however, email Govenor Perry about how he could save some money. ISSUE ONE STICKER. I was told that it was to expensive to pay for both of them at one time. sheesh Okay I guess that will have to do.
Let me know how other states deal with plates, registration and if you have to have your vehicle inspected.
It has been so hot here that we get what is called "Heat Lightening" Yep no rain. Although the last couple of days we did get a shower. The corn and cotton are getting real big.

SOOO, things are picking up This makes it harder to keep up with three blogs, but I will.

Today hubby had to do some extra blood work for his annual physical so I am using that quiet time.

I need to make bread and get dinner ready as I work at 3pm. I TAKE A NAP before going to work.

Yep, getting older is hell. Believe me a short 1/2-1 hour nap really helps.

Meanwhile, I am working on my last knitted dish cloth. Next I sort out my yarn and start making granny squares and mix matching what squares I have together with the new ones. They don't have to be the same size. If one strip is longer I just make a small square to match it up. Now this project will take some time and when its over I will store it in those airless bags you can buy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Big Hills in NE Texas?

Today we took a road trip to NE Texas in search of possible retirement property. With homemade muffins, fruit, water, and coffee in hand we set off for our long trip. Fortunately, hubby is all right with a long trip.

Last week we were looking at property, with houses, on Property in NE Texas was not very expensive. Out budget is around $200k. We do have requirements and here is our short list:

1) House must be in a hilly area. (Can’t afford to live in the Austin Hill Country)

2) Not to many trees around the house, but enough for wood in the winter.

3) Prefer to be on well and septic tank.

4) Ranch-style home. Remember this is our last house and we prefer to have a one story home.

5) Garden and green house area

The house does not need to be perfect so a fixer upper would be fine also. We do have a travel trailer to live in if needed.

Our objective was to get to De Kalb early in the first day so hwy 45 was our route. Yes, on hwy 45 you are sure to find some construction. As soon as we were out of Houston/Conroe area we started to see some hills. Being from Nevada, we miss the mountains. Moving to the Houston area was a shock, not only living in a flat area, but with the humidity. We heard it wasn't as humid in the NE part of the state.

The first part of our trip was so-so, THEN after we passed Athens, TX things picked up. We drove through hilly areas that were so open and lovely. There are more ranches here with hay fields along with cows and horses. SW Houston has cows and horses, but mainly farming. If you till the ground, you are a farm. If you grow hay and have critters you are a ranch. Hubby knows all this as he was raised on a farm with cattle, pigs, corn and grain fields, and a large garden. WELL, someone has to have a green thumb, it is not me. My job is being a domestic engineer not gardener. I will help pick the produce and weed. Sewing/crafting is relaxing for me. Gardening is relaxing for hubby.

We did not like De Kalb. It’s pretty beat up. We traveled on a different road on the way back going through Tyler, TX. Just above Tyler on hwy 19 there were a couple towns we were interested in. Quitman, TX and Winnsboro, TX are on our short list to visit again. Then south of Tyler, TX on hwy 69 we almost lost our breath. Yes, hills that could very well qualify for mountains they were so large. Jacksonville, TX was wonderful. Just driving along the highway is not a good judge of the area. We will make another trip as soon as I have Friday and Saturday off again and concentrate on the Jacksonville area. We did not see the lake but know it is out there. We really do not want any house that has restrictions. I do not want to ask for permission to paint my house or build anything on the property. As long as we are miles from another house, who really cares.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stock Piling for Retirement

Well, I finally bought some cotton yarn to make dish cloths. I decided on a variegated skein. We have such hard water here which tends to make light colors dingy no matter what you do.
I have a lot of left over yarn and fleece so I am off to make what I can. All of these items are goinig to be stored away. Its my sanity while living in this small travel trailer.
Planning our retirement keeps me busy. I scan the blogs and take notes. There are so many good bloggers out there that have so many great ideas. It's an amazing community.

1. Dish cloths (cotton yarn)
2. Material napkins from thrift store materials.
3. Use up all my yarn on an afghan.
4. Crochet lace on dish cloths

This is a start. I am sure hubby will wonder if I have lost my mind. He has a choice a sane wench or a crazy wench. I do have my moments though.
I really need to take knitting/crochet classes. I know the basics, but would love to have more skills. This activity will be on my "TO DO" list before retirement.

I will take pictures as I go.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Flowers Abundant

We took a drive NW of Houston to look at the flowers and all the new calves. Last time we went on this drive it was dry and dead. Boy is it alive now.
Joe Lowery Photography

Cows and BlueBonnets..Must taste good
Texas State Flower the BlueBonnet

Looking for retirement areas is another reason for our drive. I know you are thinking wow why drive when gas is so high. This is our recreation. We love to look at different area finding new restaurants. We had lunch at a restaurant called

Warrenton, TX will be very busy the next few weeks. It's ANTIQUE WEEK. OMG there are at least 100 tents in just that town and I expect there will be more. I found the info online.

After retiring, I want to buy a large old antique china cabinet. Before our move to TX, we sold all our things and only stored what we wanted to keep. We kept our antiques, bedroom and dining room set. I will not buy any new furniture when we finally settle down. I want furniture with character. Actually, estate sales and auctions could be fun also.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring has Sprung in Texas

Yep, I think winter is over, if you could call that short cold spell winter. The difference between a winter in our previous state, Nevada, is that the bugs freeze in the winter. Here in Texas they are around all year long. This can be hard on those who have allergies or have a poor or low immune system. Without good health, you are susceptible to colds and the flu.

All the calves were tagged and moved across the field with their mothers. This field has been growing long green grass for about a month. They must be in heaven and producing a lot of good milk.

Unfortunally, they missed one calf and after two day of calling for his Mom and lots of phone calls from residents at this RV park, they moved him over. The only ones left on the other side seem to be getting fat to butcher.

Here are some pictures of our new calves in SW Houston, TX.

Part of the nursery
Okay so how do we get over there

More cute

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Art of Storage in a Small Space

I am truly amazed at how many frugal Blogspots and web pages there are on the Internet. I thought I was frugal. Heck there are folks who recycle 90% of what they would throw away. Of course, it helps to have children, but most of the throw always are recycled for kids toys and clothes.

 Yesterday my husband was going to throw away an old pair of jeans. I grabbed them thinking I could make a purse out of the good parts of his jeans. He took them back and decided to use them when working on the RV, cars, or truck. Good choice!

 It’s hard to collect recycle items in a 30' travel trailer. We broke down and bought a tall glass vase from the Dollar General Store. Actually, it was a cookie container, but I used it for my Valentine flowers from hubby. Guess I need to make more cookies after the flowers die. Ummm wonder if that was hubby's intention.

 We left a 1800 sq ft house in Nevada and now this 325 sq ft travel trailer, after 3 years, is getting real old. I am sure glad hubby and I get along.

 Our kitchen stove is propane, which is almost worthless. It does not cook well. Now I use it to store my cooking pans and lids. The top of the stove has burners. I didn't use them much so I put the cover over it and I use if for the things I need daily: butter dish, salt/pepper, hot tea holder, and lemons. I now cook on one portable burner, slow cooker, toaster oven, and of course my brand new bread machine. Since I only cook for two, I bought glass dishes that fit in the toaster oven. Someday we will give that away (or save it in case I need it to make polymer clay jewelry) and buy a larger toaster over/convection oven. Wal-Mart has a nice size one that fits in my cabinet.

 Inside this RV, storage is a premium. Each item has a designated place. Sometimes you have to take one item out to get to the one you want. It's a pain, but this life is temporary. I don't know how hubby will handle me if we ever design a kitchen. As a contractor, he may send me to my Mother's house if we build our own house. Then again, remodeling a home sounds more fun.

Small Frig and Freezer

Dinning Room/Office

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Life On My Adopted Ranch

With all this rain in SW Houston there will be bigger bugs and skeeters soon. I am sure the fire ants are ready to harass us soon. It’s true, things are bigger in Texas. We love our friends in Texas, but truly miss the snow and Sierra Nevada Mountains in northern Nevada.

Sierra Nevada Mountains

We currently live in a RV Park in SW Houston in the middle of a Black Angus Ranch. We sure love this set up much better than most RV parks. Our RV space was originally in between other RV rigs. Hubby said he hated it and asked the owner if we could move to a corner spot. Now we have fields and cows on two sides. We don't have to look at RV's anymore. Our travel trailer on the RV parks side has no big windows. Good thing, hubby was not happy. Always keep hubby's happy! This picture is an old one. I will post a better one later.

Black Angus Cows

The cows and calves have been like family. Lots of birds here too. Of course, the Mockingbird (Texas state bird) is king and quite the bully. We had Cedar Wax Wing birds one year. OMG they are just so beautiful. They look like they have suits on. Anyway, the Mockinbird's chased them away every time they tried to eat the red berries off the bushes behind us. Those birds never came back after that. In addition, we put a feeder out for the Hummingbirds. We have a window that faces the feeder and I take pictures and video of those wonderful birds.

Last Years Hummers out my window
Cedar Wax Wing

The winter Mockinbird

Friday, February 10, 2012

Preparing for Retirement

Currently I am gathing information from the Internet and fellow Bloggers for the next step in our life.

We are waiting for our IRA's to pan out by the end of this year or middle of 2013 in order to retire earlier than most. Yes, the market is a roller coaster, but we are invested in commodies... real items not monitary debt.

This site will be for blogging about our new life away from the hussle and bussel of the fast-pace life in a city and the sales of my hand made items ranging from bird covers to gift cards.

Both my husband and I grew up in a simplier time and aquired many skills for us to become self-sufficient on a mini-farm in Hometown, USA.My husband was raised on a farm and has learned about growing gardens, maintening equipment, and taking care of farm animals. As for me, I learned domestic skills such as knitting, crocheting, sewing, canning, cooking, and mainly being raised in a family where being frugal was how it just was then.

Our new adventure will be just that, an adventure. We will start out small and grow GOING BACK TO BASICS. The slow easy life with some hard work.

I hope to get some good feedback on my blogs. I have never written a blog before only designed small web pages.