Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Frugal Health Spa

When we first moved here we had no riding lawn mower. We had to mow about 3/4 acre with a push mower. Because I didn't want Bill to have to mow it in the evening when he got home from work and take away from our family time, I mowed the lawn. There are three rather distinct sections to our yard. Each section took about 45 minutes to mow. I would mow one section of the yard Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (unless it rained, then I would have to adjust my schedule) In this manner, I got an aerobic workout three times a week and the whole yard was cut each week, and I didn't mind cutting it in the least.

Then around five years (or so) ago, my father-in-law found out what I was doing and decided we needed a riding mower. No matter how I tried to explain that this was like a cheap substitution for going to the gym for a workout, he just couldn't accept my explanation. Nothing would do until he took Bill to buy a mower. I know he was just being kind and generous, but it was my downfall. Once we had it, I felt ungrateful if I didn't use the riding mower. I didn't want him to have wasted his money. Pretty soon our son was old enough and took over the lawn chores.

This all sounds great I know, but there was a down side. Over the past couple years I began picking up a few pounds of extra weight each year. I finally realized that my summer mowing routine had been keeping at bay those couple pounds I would gain over my more inactive winter months. The cycle went like this: pick up a few pounds over the inactive winter, lose the weight over the summer from my "frugal health spa" (a.k.a. mowing the lawn). In this manner while I certainly wasn't thin, still I was not gaining accumulated weight. Once the mowing duties were relegated to riding mower and son, I began to add on just a couple of pounds each year. Multiple that times 3 or 4 years and well, you see where this is going.

So this year I am back to mowing the lawn with modifications. I mow the back section once a week, my son does the rest of the yard because he needs to know that he is helping with the upkeep of our family's property. I'm a firm believer that kids need chores, because everyone one needs to know that they are a contributer and not a taker. God has designed us for work. Don't worry mowing the lawn is NOT his ONLY chore. . . . Okay, back to me now. . . The days I don't mow,I have been going for a 40 minute brisk walk.
Hopefully, this will begin to reverse this weight gain. I couldn't find a cheaper "health spa".

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pattern Sale - First Half of July 2010

A lot of sewing projects are in progress here at Brambleberry Cottage. I love it when summer is here and I have lots of opportunity to sew. I hope you, too, are having time to work on all those sewing projects you have been planning.

Patterns are not on sale everyday, but for a few days each month JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores usually has certain manufacturers' sewing patterns on sale. Buy your patterns when they are on sale, and you save a bundle.

July 2 - 5, 2010

McCall's Patterns - 99 cents each
MSRP $6.95 - $19.95 each
Limit of 10
No Special Orders
Excludes Easy Stitch 'N Save

Vogue Patterns - $3.99 each
MSRP $8.95 - $30.00 each
Limit of 10
No Special Orders

July 8 - 10, 2010

Butterick Patterns - $1.99 each
MSRP $7.95 - $19.95 each
Limit 10
No special orders
Excludes See & Sew

July 15 - 17, 2010

Simplicity Patterns - $1.99 each
MSRP $6.95 - 17.95 each
Limit of 10
No Special Orders
Excludes "It's So Easy", New Look, Burda
& Simplicity Books

Be sure to check their in-store flyer this week. The one at our local store had coupons inside.

Monday, June 14, 2010

First of Summer Sewing Projects Completed

This is my first completed sewing project for the summer. You might remember that I introduced this little one way back at the end of April. She is the youngest of twelve children and the first daughter in the nearly fifteen years. So believe me when I say that she has made quite a stir in that family. You can see why I had to make her something VERY feminine. But, at this busy end-of-the-schoolyear-time, my progress on it was very sloooooooooow. I was getting fearful that if I didn't soon complete it, it would end up being too small for her. Babies seem to grow at an alarming rate. However, when I gave it to her on Saturday, it was still too big for her. I am so thankful.
Okay, now on to the outfit.

The front of the dress and headband.

The back of the dress. The back is shirred with elastic to give a little "grow room."

The Sunbonnet Sue on the apron is hand appliqued and embroderied.

I usually make the headband from the same material as the dress and add the large blossom, but I found this wonderfully soft, wide headband and thought it would be just perfect. I added the flower and was very pleased with the result. I have a feeling I'll be going this route again.

A pair of ruffled pants add versatility to the outfit. In addition to the elastic waistband, I add a fabric drawstring for adjusting the waist size.

Front view of the complete outfit.

Back view of complete outfit.

Please forgive me if you saw more views of this outfit than any one person would care to see. However, my memory is not what it once was (not that it was ever REALLY that good). So I've realized that if I post several angles of a project here on my blog, I can use it as a reference if I decide to make a similar outfit in the future. This is especially helpful since I make so many changes to the original pattern.

Next on the sewing docket: An overdue outfit for a little boy baby. (I suppose that instead of sitting here writing about it .... I'd better get sewing :-)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

All The News That Is News

I've been meaning and meaning to post a little something, but each day I seemed to put it off and put it off. I was flabbergasted when I realized that my last post was on May 20th. I guess I have just been too busy living life to write about it.

We are at last finished with school. Daily logs are in order, portfolios completed, and the kids have been to our evaluator for their interview and to have their portfolios reviewed. All that's left is a medical exam and eye exams that are required by the state. On June 30th, all the paperwork, portfolios, daily logs, and evidence of medical, dental, and eye exams must be turned into our local school district. I always heave a big sigh of relief when that day rolls around.

Next year our little homeschool will have a freshman and a senior. They have both decided that they would like to get a jump on their school work over the summer and get a subject or two underway. That will lighten their day some once September comes 'round.

The last couple of days has found me trying to catch up on the housework that gets behind during the school year. Babies are arriving all around us, and I have been working on an outfit for a little princess that was born over a month ago. (If you think that is late, I have to complete a little boy outfit for a little guy that was born 3 or 4 months ago). But at least now there is more time to work on these things.

I have had so many gifts to make lately, that I am afraid my Etsy shop has been neglected as well. So, I need to get things moving on that as well. It amazes me that it has almost been a year since I began that little venture. Although it has not been as well stocked as I would like, it has still been plugging along. I am so excited because I have 14 people who have marked my shop as a favorite (and only 1 of those people is someone that knows me). So that is pretty neat when I think about it.

We (I use that term loosely) have put in a little garden. We have some roma tomatoes, sweet green peppers, jalapeno, habenero, and chili peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, bush beans and onions. Oh yeah, and 2 volunteer pumpkin plants. Well, there were about 30, but we pulled out all but 2. Our garden just isn't big enough to accommodate that many pumpkin vines. I have to admit that the only thing I was responsible for was planting the beans and the marigold seeds around part of the perimeter.

I hope we have a better harvest than last year. The local wildlife apparently thought we were the farmer's market because they helped themselves to most of our small, pitiful crops. And what should I see today, but deer tracks in the garden? Let me tell you, I am no fan of Bambi when he starts pilfering my produce and destroying my plants.

My daughter's dearest friend has graduated this year. She's been home-educated all her life. (She is the sweetest, gentlest girl you'd ever want to meet. I think of her like my own daughter). She is an accomplished cook and baker, a budding needle woman, and her homemaking skills are outstanding. So this weekend is her graduation party. I've been baking a batch or two of spritz cookies everyday this week for the party. My oldest gave me a cookie press for Christmas last year. It was a Pampered Chef cookie press, and I love it. I've heard a lot a people complain about working cookie presses, but this one has worked like a dream for me. I've been concocting all sorts of flavors, and it's been a lot of fun. I came up with a Hazelnut coffee flavored cookie dipped in chocolate. I've got to admit it is pretty good.

The picture at the top of the page is of a plate my oldest daughter picked up at a tea shop. She said she saw it and just knew I would love it (AND I DO!) She had planned on it being a Christmas gift for me next year, but couldn't wait to give it to me. In case you can't read the writing on it. . .

Enjoy the little
things in life for
someday you'll look
back and realize they
were the big things.

You just have to thank the Lord God for all the "little things" with which He has blessed us.
And one of the little things that I am thanking Him for and looking forward to is a couple of months of sunshine and following my creative spirit.

Well, I hope that I haven't "bent your ear too much" or bored you. I hope to be able to post a few of my sewing projects here for you over the next few weeks and maybe I can even add another tutorial in my "sewing lessons for the young" series. I haven't added anything to that since last summer.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Foto Friday Challenge - This One Last Time

Well, today is that last Foto Friday Challenge for . . . I'm not sure how long. I have truly enjoyed challenging myself to photograph the world around me rather than just taking snapshots. It's been good for me. . . I'm seeing my skills grow slightly as I've looked at the participant's photos and tried to analyze just what it is that draws me into a particular photo. It's been a great learning experience for me.
An added plus is that I have met some really neat people and been introduced to some really great blogs.
The following are from photos from my archives that please me, and are the direct result of the challenges. I'm sure I wouldn't have "stretched" myself without Rebecca's influence.

Thanks, Rebecca, for sharing your love of photography with all of us and encouraging us to try to make our photographs artistic.
And now YOU have one last opportunity to join us by clicking the Foto Friday logo below

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