Monday, February 20, 2017

The Art of Home-Making Mondays ~ Please Join Us ~ Link Up 145


"If—and the "if" is broad and deep and long—the little ones are faithfully trained by the parents in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (dear, quaint old phraseology, fine, subtle and pervasive as lavender scent!), if sacred songs and Bible stories and tender talk of the Saviour's love and the beautiful life of which this may be made a type and a foretaste, keep in the minds of the little ones at home the sanctity and sweetness of the day of days, there is a shadow of excuse for the failure to make room for them in the family pew. Even then the tree will grow as the twig is inclined.

The mother whose knee is the baby's first altar, who gathers about her for confession, for counsel and for prayer sons and daughters who will, in older and sterner years, call her blessed for the holy teachings of their childhood, will teach them to find, with her, the tabernacles of the Lord of Hosts "amiable," i.e., worthy of all love and fidelity. The chrism of motherhood consecrates a woman as a priestess. Neither convenience nor custom can release her from the office. Let not another take her crown."

~ The Secret of a Happy Home, Marion Harland (1896)

 
There are so many wonderful features in the making of a home. This is a place where I would love for you to share your love for anything home-related. Homemakinghomeschooling and homesteading are all a part of the lovely art of home-making!

~~Please link up posts in the spirit of Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 (such as recipes, godly encouragement, DIY's, frugal living, child-raising, medicine making, preparedness, gardening, home decoration, school lessons, sewing, crafts, etc). ~~ You are welcome to share as many posts as you like!


Here are some lovely features from last week's link up!

Please visit a few and leave some "comment love":








Make Your Own Parisian Shopping Bag by The Sportina


And finally, congratulations to Joanna P. for winning the Lila Rose Hair Accessory Giveaway!

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On to this week! For the sake of our readers, please link up appropriate and wholesome home-related articles and leave out any giveaways, advertisements, etc. Thank you for understanding! I can't wait to see what you all have to share! 

**Please also note that the posts shared on this link up from other bloggers do not necessarily reflect my own personal views or opinions (meaning I do not condone every article that may appear here). Like all literature, please discern everything you read with the Holy Scriptures as your lens.**

Please copy the button below (html code is in box below it) and share on your blog post or side-bar so others can come and join in the link up as well!


Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Budgeting and Beautifying in the Bathroom ~ A "Shabby Chic" Frugal Farm Lifestyle ~ Entry #5


"Every wise woman buildeth her house..."
~ Proverbs 14:1a

Good morning, afternoon or evening, ladies! Thank you for joining us for the next installment of "A "Shabby Chic" Frugal Farm Lifestyle. Today we are sharing our pretty and not-so-pretty (but all very practical) ideas in the bathroom -- from beautifying your space on a budget, to bath and body care and all the little fun and frugal details in between! Why do we call this thrifty series "shabby chic"? It is because we want to share that you can take a "shabby" economy and make it quite "chic" in your home with the right set of eyes. Let's glean from the Proverbial homemaker and start "building" up in the bathroom!

I wanted to show a peak into our bathroom so that you can see it is not state-of-the-art. There is nothing new about it but it is still pleasing to our family because we keep it nice, clean and with little touches of love.


"Every room in the home serves a specific purpose, so the decor of each must be approached individually. Focusing on the particular function of the room, is an important first step in deciding how to decorate it."
~ Rachel Ashwell, Shabby Chic
The idea in our "shabby chic" frugal farm lifestyle is to focus on displaying the utilitarian items in a room to the best advantage for a simple but serene setting. Oftentimes we think we need mounds of money for an attractive home but in truth, it is just a few artful arrangements that make the coziest home. As I mentioned before, when we first moved into our old farmhouse, we did not remodel anything but simply began with a fresh coat of paint. That does wonders! We also removed an accordion door from a little closet area in our bathroom and allowed the pleasant contents to be seen and be more accessible (such as the piles of freshly laundered bath-towels).  The remaining undesirable toiletries such as personal products, razors and so forth were placed on the lower half of our shelves and were covered with a curtain to block the clutter. This didn't cost us anything but changed the whole look of the outdated bathroom. Perhaps there is something simple you can do to spruce up yours?


Taking our cue from Ms. Ashwell, we can see that the ordinary, needful things in each particular room make for the best decoration! This eliminates the cluttery feel while still making things pretty and "shabby chic". For instance, your cotton balls, q-tips and band-aids can be placed in these easy-to-make (and practically free) apothecary jars and can be adapted to any personal style. This allows you storage space for these items while making your bathroom attractive.


Fresh flowers and herbs from your backyard make the most loveliest (and free) accessories! We are always able to find something outside to use in a humble bouquet such as wildflowers, mint, lavender, roses or rosemary.

The only true "purchased" decoration used in our bathroom is this painting. Everything else is a useful necessity. I think the lack of clutter is beauty in itself. You can also see that our toilet is quite a relic! :) 

"Clean, simple, private, luxurious, and practical: These are the words that best describe a Shabby Chic bathroom. The basics of any bathroom should be functional fixtures that provide plenty of space for displaying toiletries, towels, and other bits and bobs."
~ Rachel Ashwell, Shabby Chic

Another idea is to display what Rachel Ashwell calls "bountiful piles of pretty soaps". We keep a good stock in our home as they have a long shelf life. Soap can be stored beautifully in baskets, decorative bowls, large jars or wide vases. If you have perfectly rectangular bars, they can be cut in half as there is a luxurious feel when you have a large amount displayed. When storing bulk soap for "show", I like to remove any commercial wrappers to give it a classic, clean look.


A few "chosen" bars can even be wrapped with scrapbook paper, wallpaper scraps and/or ribbons and presented in a dainty tea dish for added appeal. I love to use my vintage milk glass dishes but you can use discarded candy dishes or any other special item that you may have stored away. I also enjoy printing out vintage soap labels and wrapping excess bars with them for an antique feel. For rustic decor, you can decorate soaps in recycled brown paper-bags and add some natural twine for a final touch.   Any way you do this, you can create an attractive vignette for pennies while keeping a good supply of soap in your Proverbs 31 preparedness stash!


The same principle can be applied to other toiletries. Recycled glass containers can store mouth wash, homemade bath oils, bubble bath, toner, astringent, etc., while looking darling! Just apply pretty stickers, glue on some lovely clip art or decorate the bottles with beautiful lace. I also like to apply corks for an old-fashioned feel. These can be useful and attractive displays! Here is a gorgeous romantic printable page (shown above) which is courtesy of The Graphics Fairy. You will find a botanical inspired label page here, a French inspired page here, a dainty floral bathroom label set here and an apothecary set of spa labels here. With a few recycled bottles and jars, you have a frugal yet fancy toilette!



Shower curtains are also a wonderful way to dress up and remodel a bathroom on a budget. Perhaps your shower area is undesirable to look at? Simply place a curtain rod across and hide the whole thing! Even though you have shower doors and so forth, there is still no reason why you can't cover the whole operation with a pretty piece of fabric! Whenever I see an inexpensive and pretty shower curtain, I scoop it up and am able to change my decor according to the seasons.  I use the pastel prints for spring and summer and the darker patterns for fall and winter.



I have also re-purposed twin flat sheets (these are found in abundance and very inexpensive at thrift shops) into beautiful shower curtains with a simple hem and some button holes. Curtain panels can be reworked to obtain the same goal. With clean walls, a fresh piece of lovely fabric and attractive displays of your toiletries, you have yourself a pleasant organized room for pennies! 


Now, moving along to the nitty-gritty! Let's start with the towels. In our home, we have a rack behind the door and a few hooks hung around the bathroom. Everyone in the family has a designated hook to keep their bath-towel and knows to use it for a few days. The concept is that you are technically "clean" when you come out of the shower. This means less laundry for the household, less detergent used, less on the electric bill and less water consumed from constant wash loads. Bathroom towels can really add up! It may gross out some of you but I assure you, you can get used to it if you really want to shed expenses and your workload -- not too "shabby" if you ask me! :)


"The biggest mistake that people make with their locks is over-washing them. There are plenty of good hair-care products available these days. But even the best shampoo, if used too often, will tend to dry your hair and wash away important natural oils, no matter how much conditioner you apply afterward."
~ Rosemary Gladstar, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health

Another way we stretch money which is also healthier for your hair is to shampoo and condition less. Yes, less ladies! Shampoo (and conditioner) do add up and e$pecially with all the long hair in our household! (I cringe to put all this personal information out there but if it helps someone to free up their finances via micro-managing, then I will take my chances.) In the summer when it is stickier and greasier due to heat, I wash my hair twice a week. In the autumn, winter and spring, it is generally once a week. As Rosemary Gladstar further explains, "at first this will feel uncomfortable. But the "squeaky clean" feeling we have been taught to achieve is, in essence, hair that has been stripped of its natural protective oils." So you see, by being frugal, you are also being very beauty savvy and "chic"!  I know there are also methods to keep clean hair with baking soda and an apple cider vinegar rinse. These are thrifty options you may want to consider. I am keeping these ideas in my back pocket and may try it one day.


Besides shampoo and conditioner, we don't buy any fancy body products but keep a simple bar of soap in the shower. While body wash is nice, it is not necessary and does add up. When you squeeze the contents out of the container, you are using up mounds! A bar of soap-in-hand is less waste. Even legs can be shaved with a simple bar of soap and lather.


Other bath and body items can easily be made yourself! I used to buy so many products until I was forced to clip the budget. It was amazing how "fine" I lived without them all! Your face can be washed gently with ground oatmeal (just mix a bit with water or milk each time you wash to form a paste and gently rub into your skin -- for extra luxury you can mix in dried rose petals, calendula, chamomile or honey). Follow this with a simple astringent/toner (i.e. inexpensive witch-hazel) and finish off your beauty routine with a dab of coconut oil (and if you are able -- a few carefully chosen essential oils based on your skin type).


We also make our own room sprays, body scrub, bath salts, lip balms, deodorant and so forth. Though I only use hairspray on Sundays, you can easily make up your own for pennies if you wanted to (visit Our Simple Homestead for the recipe)! We share all of our bath and body tutorials here if you are interested and there are many frugal recipes in our Ebook too. These products all add up and you will be amazed at how much you are able to save if you choose to simplify your beauty routine. This often means using more natural products which is an overall blessing to your health and quite chic these days! 


Regarding the rest of the expenses, the toilet paper, q-tips and cotton balls are purchased in bulk for the price discount. The bathroom cleaning products are all made frugally (you can find a variety of our recipes here) and instead of purchasing tissues, we use handkerchiefs (there is a stack sitting in a basket in our bathroom at all times). I know that many of you have excellent ideas to save money in the bathroom and I would love for you to share them! And I hope I haven't frightened you all away with all the gory details! It is just that I promised to be real descriptive in this series because in my experience, the $avings are all in those little things called detail$! Happy homemaking!

All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou Friday, and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them). Rose label clip art is courtesy of the Lilac and Lavender blog.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Art of Home-Making Mondays ~ Please Join Us ~ Link Up 144


"Again let me say, that no wife can over-estimate the influence she wields over her husband, or the measure in which his character, his career and his very destiny are laid in her hands for shaping. The sway which she holds over him is the sway of love—but it is mighty and resistless. If she retains her power, if she holds her place as queen of his life—she can do with him as she will! Even unconsciously to herself, without any thought of her responsibility, she will exert over him an influence which will go far toward making ormarring all his future! If she has no lofty conception of life herself—if she is vain and frivolous—she will only chill his ardor, weaken his resolution and draw him aside from any earnest endeavor. But if she has in her soul noble womanly qualities, if she has true thoughts of life, if she has purpose, strength of character and fidelity to principle—she will be to him an unfailing inspiration toward all that is noble, manly and Christlike!"

 
There are so many wonderful features in the making of a home. This is a place where I would love for you to share your love for anything home-related. Homemakinghomeschooling and homesteading are all a part of the lovely art of home-making!

~~Please link up posts in the spirit of Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 (such as recipes, godly encouragement, DIY's, frugal living, child-raising, medicine making, preparedness, gardening, home decoration, school lessons, sewing, crafts, etc). ~~ You are welcome to share as many posts as you like!


Here are some lovely features from last week's link up:



This looks delicious! 

P.S. I personally would use unsweetened cocoa powder in lieu of the Nesquick
for a darker chocolate, less-sugary indulgence :)


Let the Children Play by Rejoicing in Christ Daily

Yes, please do!



We do something similar with our year-round school work and I love the collection of memories!


In other news, if you haven't yet entered our Lila Rose Hair Accessory Giveaway,

you have 48 hours to do so! It is open to readers around the world! :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On to this week! For the sake of our readers, please link up appropriate and wholesome home-related articles and leave out any giveaways, advertisements, etc. Thank you for understanding! I can't wait to see what you all have to share! 

**Please also note that the posts shared on this link up from other bloggers do not necessarily reflect my own personal views or opinions (meaning I do not condone every article that may appear here). Like all literature, please discern everything you read with the Holy Scriptures as your lens.**

Please copy the button below (html code is in box below it) and share on your blog post or side-bar so others can come and join in the link up as well!


Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Our Pantry Rotation Strategy and Food Storage Tips ~ Proverbs 31 Preparedness Series


(Note: This is part 3 in our Proverbs 31 Preparedness Series)

Our Pantry Rotation Strategy: 

As we don't have the means to purchase buckets of freeze dried food and other such specialty items for long-term food storage, the concept of "rotation" is the solution for our household. It features the classic inventory method -- first food in, means first food out. With this strategy, you will be able to store more bulk food knowing it will go into your meal rotation before it goes bad. This is not rocket science but I know that some of you may be overwhelmed and don't know where to start! Thus, I thought to share our simple system and goals.


We keep most of our bulk foods (grains, beans, flour, sugars, etc.) in the kitchen in large 2.5-gallon glass canisters and Tupperware containers. Our latest strategy was to keep an additional supply (of the same amount) of each of the "popular" items in our storeroom pantry.  I have these nice stackable containers that can house a decent amount of food while being easy to store on the upper shelves. When the kitchen containers start to empty,  I refill them with my back-up storeroom supply.



Now, those items we refilled from the storeroom pantry will be added to a monthly grocery list (and technically, my goal is to have a refill ready before I empty out the storeroom stash!). This way, I have at least an excess month's worth of food on hand at all times. While I can't buy a back-up supply for my basic pantry staples all at once, I have been adding the least expensive and most consumed pantry items as I can afford to each week or month to build up a reserve. That would mean beans, rice, oatmeal, sugar, flour, and popcorn for our household.


My next goal (when we have more funds to work with), is to start adding a 3rd rotation into the ring with 5-gallon bucket containers full of our most used food items which boast a long shelf-life (such as the items listed above). This will hopefully boost us into the 3-6 month food supply arena when you consider all our home-canned goods and year-round garden produce.

Once we achieve the third goal, we will assess the success of our system and our financial budget. If all has worked out well, I would love to be able to store a year's worth of food! So you see, I am quite the beginner and an ambitious dreamer perhaps!  But like they say, "don't despise meager beginnings".


How Much to Store:

How much food to store depends on how much you can (and want to) store! To make it simple, here is an easy method to calculate your family's needs.

"Easiest way to calculate a year’s supply worth of food: Put a date on an item when you open it and see how long it takes you to use it up and then multiply that out for 12 months* Be sure to account for holidays or preserving times when you may use more of a certain ingredient like canning salt or sugar." ~ Melissa Norris

* Obviously this time period can be decreased or increased depending on your food storage goals.

Before we get into the foods that we will be purchasing in larger-bulk for our pantry (as a part of our versatility strategy), I wanted to share some food storage tips. Without the proper care, all your precious investment can be destroyed!


"Temperature, moisture, light, oxygen, rodents, insects, and bacteria are the enemies of stored food, and all deserve careful consideration when you are looking for space for your supplies."

Food Storage Tips:

Here are some basics tips on storing food. I know there are many ideas in this arena but I am including the most practical and "doable" concepts that we use in our household:
  • As there is no way to spot eggs or larvae in your purchased grains, seeds and beans, assume the worst and treat it accordingly. There are many ways to "fumigate" your foods but the simplest method that we use is to freeze grains, seeds and beans for 7 - 10 days prior to storing. This will kill any critters that are lurking in the bags. 
  • Once you have "fumigated", repack anything you purchase in plastic bags, paper sacks, or cardboard boxes and re-store these items in sterilized, bug-proof glass or airtight, food-grade plastic containers. 
  • Now that your food is free of pests and stored properly, tuck a few bay leaves in your containers of grains, seeds and beans (bay acts as a bug repellent). 
  • Foods should be stored in a cool, dark, dry area (like a pantry or closet). For example, do not store food near warm places such as by wood stoves, furnaces and ovens.  Keep food out of direct sunlight for best results as it will compromise the quality of your food. Moisture and humidity are also enemies of proper food storage. Keep foods airtight and in dry areas.  Keep an eye on any dried food items kept in a basement for this very reason. Kathy Harrison suggests adding grains of rice (wrapped in cheesecloth) to your bulk food in humid-prone areas and rotating with fresh rice every few weeks to absorb any moisture in your containers. Basically, food should be given the best storage in the home while things like toilet paper can be stored in less climate protected areas such as hot garages, attics, etc.
  • Practice food rotation. Try and put a date on everything you buy in bulk or at least place the older items up front so they are used first. Place the newer items in the back to keep your inventory fresh.
  • And once again, for practical reasons, store only the foods that your family already loves and eats!

Do you have any basic rotation and food storage strategies you would like to add? I am in no way an expert in this area, but am sharing what is workable for my family (and on our budget) and what I have gleaned from Just in Case: How to Be Self-Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens.

Your homework for the week:
  • Decide upon a system for food storage and organize it. Make sure to date the bulk items you purchase so that you use up those items (via rotation) before they go bad. 
Extra Credit:
  • Start collecting extra food storage containers. You will find some prudent pantry storage solutions here.
All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersThe Homesteader HopWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou Friday, and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).  Graphic courtesy of Little Birdie Blessings.

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