Sunday, June 14, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments, Blessings and Summer Fun!

I did some sewing for Daughter's Paddington Bear - this is his coat.  I had to make a pattern first, but it went fairly well and turned out nice!  She got the bear and the hat (separately)  at Goodwill and combined them for her own Paddington.  I used three sheets of felt (about 75 cents), and had the rest of the supplies (thread, jute, button, etc.) on hand.  I made the pattern from newspaper, so the cost was quite small for the coat.

Daughter and I sat down one day and looked through some photos I'd pinned on Pinterest.  We went outside and chose some rocks for painting, washed them well, and then made these.

She made the green kitty with sunglasses for me (green because she knows it is one of my favorite colors.)  The owl has glow in the dark varnish on the eyes.  All of them have been sprayed with a spray-on clear coat to protect them from hail.  We put them in our gardens.  There is also a smaller ladybug that Daughter made, but I couldn't find it when I was taking photos.

I picked the left side of the patch a few days ago and got a huge bowl of lettuce.
After I took this photo, I picked the right side - another huge bowl!
It will be enough for the next 4-5 days.
We are getting more from our garden now, which is nice!  I'm still picking green onion tops, asparagus and radishes, but now we are also getting cilantro, lettuces and spinach in great quantities.  There are herbs that are large enough to pick too.  I'm happily finding lots of little sprouts for beets, baby bok choy, carrots, beans, pumpkins, squashes and herbs.  The weather has been cooler, so I have pieces of glass resting on top of the protectors that the tomatoes are growing in - this makes each of them into a mini greenhouse.  I can see that they are growing more quickly now.

Tomato plants (Oregon Spring) I started from seed.  THey are about a foot tall now.

In my flower beds, I keep finding new, exciting things.  I assume that most of them are perennials we have planted over the years that were dormant (or too small to bloom) during the last several years of drought.  In any case, I have a lot of flowers that feel like they are 'new' this year.  I hope to divide some and move others, if we continue to get rainy weather.  I also discovered some beet berry in the old herb garden.  I thought it had died off over time, so I will (happily!) move it to the new herb garden so it does not get trampled.  (The old herb garden is now under my clothes lines.)

I picked flowers and sprigs of lemon balm to make a bouquet for the kitchen table.

bunny program bunnies

Mrs. Patmore, an English Angora rabbit.
We did not do a lot of grocery shopping this week.  We are getting more of our vegetables from the garden now, but we did pick up a cantaloupe for 88 cents, some apples for 88 cents/lb. red and green grapes for 88 cents/lb.  There was a sale/coupon combination that made 3 Musketeers candy bars 25 cents each.  We purchased a 2 liter of olive oil from Costco as well.  I have a couple of things on the list for 'soon' but I'm watching for sales and deals in the mean time.

We were able to get our truck repaired this week!  It was making a strange howling noise for a while.  The mechanics who heard it did not know what it was....or tried something that did not fix it.  The howl turned into a low growl (it sounds like we have a wolf in there!), plus a couple of people recommended that we take it to Al and have him check it.  Al determined that it was the carrier bearing, which is a doohickey that is behind the U-joint.  He replaced it, and our truck is quiet again.  I looked it up - if we had not persisted and found someone to fix this, it could have been a much more serious (and costly) repair in just a few weeks.  We bought our truck new...21 years ago.  It has been very reliable and has needed very few repairs.  Everything still works - even the air conditioning! - and we hope to keep it going for a long time.

I was able to pick up 100 feet of flexible drainage pipe that someone listed on a local freecycle page.  We have some drainage we want to install and this is one of the things we will need to complete that project.  Free is a great price!  We also talked about some improvements we want to make in our back yard.  We have some of the supplies on hand, so we may be able to get started soon.

We have some large stumps that were removed from the front yard last summer.  Husband removed as much as he could for firewood, but Daughter wanted to keep them, because she likes playing in and around them.   This weekend, we used some rope and plywood to make a 'sled', and rolled them onto that to relocate them to a space out back.  Moving them felt like a Redneck Cautionary Tale waiting to happen, but it acutally went well.  This became Daughter's "camp".

There are spaces beneath some of the logs that she can use to cache her supplies.

'Wild game' (a fish and a bunny) on a line in camp, to keep bears from taking it.
We got some nice things in the mail this week, including a $10 Kohls coupon and a Penzey's catalog with a coupon for a free item on the front.  I received my first free issue of Weight Watchers magazine as well.

We borrowed books and media from the library.  Daughter completed the first level of the summer reading program and got her coupon sheet for that.  We attended a free library program as well, and had our first bunny program of the season.

My friend lent us some items we will use to help create Daughter's costume for the Renaissance festival this summer.  She also gave me cuttings for coleus and spider plants, some cranberry beans (to grow or to eat?  I still haven't decided).

We spent a lot of time outdoors, enjoying the nice weather.  We had some rainy days that saved us some water as well.  We have been busy mowing, moving plants, trimming trees and swatting mosquitoes.

How about you?  What did you do this past week to spend less, save more and make do?  What did you do for fun, and how were you blessed?


  1. You did an amazing job with Paddington's coat! It looks like this is going to be a great year for the garden here, too.

  2. Your rocks look great! I do not have a steady hand for painting details like that so I will leave that to you! Daughter's camp makes me smile!

    I did one grocery trip to Aldi and got everything for the week for $42. It has been so hot here that it is best to avoid going into town if at all possible.

    We had to have our transmission repaired in our mini van this week. It was $900. I was able to look around in the budget and find all of the money. Some areas will be slim for the rest of the month but it was worth it to pay without touching savings. Hopefully we can drive that van for many more miles.

    We finished painting our deck railings and put another coat on the front door. One more coat on the front door and I think it will be done. Hubby will stencil our house number and paint it afterward. He has a steady hand and is good at detail work. The house is looking good.

    WHile waiting for our new heat pump we have been toughing out the heat upstairs and did not spend any money for a window A/C unit or staying somewhere else. We have the savings to pay cash for it and will save 3%.

    We had a nice dinner out for our anniversary and used a coupon for a free dessert. Way too much food!

    Sunday night we used some coupons for free hotdogs and bought a drink for 69 cents. We drove to a nearby park and had our little picnic dinner lakeside. The lake breeze always feels cool there no matter how hot it is. That was a good reminder to get back to simple summer pleasures that we often don't make time for in all the busyness.

    We think my laptop problem is a completely dead battery that will not even charge up enough to be able to turn it on. We ordered a new battery for $12.39 and free shipping. We expect that to arrive on Wed this week. Hopefully that will take care of the problem. If not, I have enough Amazon Swagbucks gift cards to cover a new one..

    Hubby dug a bucket of our homemade compost out of the pile for me. Free black gold! My deck pots are all planted and I only spent $16 this year. My volunteer tomato plants are doing great and I have baby tomatoes!

    Have a good week!

  3. I love the bear coat! That is beautiful!

  4. You and your daughter did a great job on Paddington! The coat just completed the bear so well and the hat was a great find. Well done to you both :).

  5. You did a great job sewing the bear coat! The library is so useful in the summer for the little ones! Have a good week!


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