Tag Archive | lifestyle

Candle Scents Continue Burning

Keep the candle incense burning even when the wick stops burning.  NOTE: Be sure to keep safe from little curious hands. Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

Keep the candle incense burning even when the wick stops burning.
NOTE: Be sure to keep safe from little curious hands.
Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle
www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

If you are one who enjoys the quality candle scents one finds at shops that sell Yankee candles or even the candles sold at Bed and Bath, you are keenly aware that these candles continue to provide a scent much longer than most inexpensive candles.

As the candle continues to burn, yet flickers out with candle left in the jar, one might consider throwing the jar and candle completely away. Personally, since these candles are not inexpensive, I have a hard time tossing what remains.  So instead of tossing, I continue to burn the scent. How might you ask?

1st – you need to remove the candle wax from the glass jar. I do this by putting the cooled candle and jar into the freezer for a day or two. This process makes it easier for you to break the wax apart, allowing you to remove it from its glass container. Sometimes the wax is already cracked for me, yet if not, I take a dull knife and put pressure on the wax until it breaks. Finally removing the chunks of wax.

2nd – place a few of these chunks in an oil burning unit, where you would normally place the oil, then below place your tea light. The tea light warms up the wax, making it liquid, allowing you to continue enjoying your favorite candle scents.

NOTE: The scent in the picture was that of Chocolate Mint, so the chunks look like chocolate chunks…BE SURE to LABEL your container or storage bag and KEEP AWAY from little curious hands.

Now, what about that beautiful glass jar that your candle arrived in?

1st, you need to clean this out, using hot soapy water. Let it sit for a bit if necessary, understanding that you might need to repeat.

Two Options:

  1. Personally, I take the jars and use them as storage units. NEVER for preserving foods, but have used them for gift containers for covered candies. I use them for paper clips, sewing supplies, etc. Once the labels are removed, they are clear containers with lids, that are functional as well as decorative.
  2. Use as gift containers.  NEVER for presenting preserved foods such as jams, jellies, etc. You can never be too sure that you have removed all the wax. I have used them as gift containers for covered candies – consider hiding a gift card within the candles. A sweet treat for any recipient. If you bake cookies (for the larger jars) be sure they are in those cellophane food bags, that not only protect the taste from potential wax residue, but also gives the jar a decorative look as well.
  3. Make new candles – this is an easy craft, but can be dangerous if you are not careful. Instead of using the wax chunks as burning chips, you can save them to reuse in new candles. Use new wax, creating your own candles. Ask friends who typically burn candles if they toss their jars, if so they might provide you the containers to work with. Craft stores provide incense oils that can be added to your wax, along with a variety of supplies. In a future post I will share how I have made candles in the past.

NOTE: For those who decide to make new candles, you might be able to reuse the wick holders that are left if you are careful in removing them from the bottom of your glass container. If not, they are not very expensive and can be found in craft stores.

Laura – Frugal Value Lifestyle

Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor

Taking Natural Birch and Lighting Things Up

 

One of the different candle holders my husband made using a fallen birch. This is a set of three which I enjoyed displaying together as a unit. Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

One of the different candle holders my husband made using a fallen birch.
This is a set of three which I enjoyed displaying together as a unit.
Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle
www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

Other than Oak, one of my favorite trees, regardless of season is that of White Birch.  It has character that shares strength with delicate features. I love the white that is shadowed with black from wounds created by nature.

This past spring I started to look for fallen white birch along my path, yet when I spotted any, it was rotted to the core. My husband and father’n law knew that I wanted this for some project, not quite sure what, but set in hopes to locate some in their travels as well.

Upon a visit my husband made to his dad’s house, he was gifted with some beautiful pieces of birch that had fallen along the paths that my father’n law frequented. He was not sure whether it would work for what I had envisioned, but felt it was worth picking up and carrying home. My husband told his dad that although he did not know what my plans were, he was pretty confident it included some of his help.

One of the different candle holders my husband made using a fallen birch. This piece fits nicely on a bookcase as one enters into our living room.  Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

One of the different candle holders my husband made using a fallen birch.
This piece fits nicely on a bookcase as one enters into our living room.
Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle
www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

He was correct. There are two gifts that he is working on for me, one which is completed, while the other gift item we are waiting a spell to see how the birch dries. After he completed these two gift items, there was plenty for him to  use his own creative mind to make some projects he felt I would enjoy during this season of holiday decorating.

So, with a little time to set-up, cut, and drill, these candle holders were made. I am thrilled to no end, appreciating his thoughtfulness in making me something out of nature he was sure I would enjoy. He chose to use the battery operated candles, so that I did not have to worry about making sure the candle did not burn too low, plus one would not want to put an actual burning candle in a piece of wood.

One of the different candle holders my husband made using a fallen birch. This log piece has five candles and my preference was to have it in my window sharing a more natural, flickering display. Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

One of the different candle holders my husband made using a fallen birch.
This log piece has five candles and my preference was to have it in my window sharing a more natural, flickering display.
Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle
www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

Using nature with added love, time and talent, a warm and inviting decor has been added to our home.  The only cost was the battery candle lights, that were purchased at a reduced price.

One can purchased fallen, cut birch at Michaels now.  My husband and I were surprised, yet we are grateful that we were able to do this with natural resources that we already have available to us. The battery tea lights can be found at a multiple of craft stores, but use your resources wisely, and take advantage of sales and coupons that your store might offer.

One of the different candle holders my husband made using a fallen birch. Here I have the set sitting in our kitchen window. Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

One of the different candle holders my husband made using a fallen birch.
Here I have the set sitting in our kitchen window.
Laura of Frugal Value Lifestyle
www.frugalvaluelifestyle.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

Laura – Frugal Value Lifestyle

Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor

Is the Coupon Worth It? – Chips

Every now and then I will share my experiences and thoughts on coupon usage.  You will find that I do use them, but I am not a huge fan of them because sometimes they are simply not worth the fuss.  Yet, I still browse through the Sunday flyers as well as online sites.

Much of my focus with coupon use is for products we actually use, and yet I will sometimes cut a few for what I consider “luxury” items.  Today I saved $5.55 on my trip, a 7% savings.  Certainly not as much as I would like, but in reality, it wasn’t just about saving with an available coupon but also in value.

Our goal today was to purchase only the items we needed, which was some dairy, fruit, veggies and water.  Yet, considering I had a craving for chips last night, my morning list included trying to use a coupon for pringles.  Two things caused me to avoid using that coupon:

Choosing the healthier option with a cost savings over the coupon option. Pringles vs. Lays

Choosing the healthier option with a cost savings over the coupon option.
Pringles vs. Lays

  1. Since I am focused on remaining gluten free, I found as I read the label that Pringles is made with wheat starch.  This does not bother my husband, but for me it makes a difference.  Okay, maybe I do not need chips this time around….
  2. Well, lets compare prices.  Pringles was at a price of $1.50 and next to them was Lay’s Stax at a price of 99 cents.  Okay, frugal momma here.  The coupon for Pringles is $1.00 off 4 containers.  Seriously??? I need to purchase 4 canisters to use this coupon?  basically 25 cents off each container.  Let’s do the math…25 cents off one canister makes them $1.25 each, still more expensive than Lays Stax at 99 cents and no pressure to purchase four canisters at once.

As a frugal shopper, my goal is to purchase what we need, at a fair price, use a coupon is available, with a focus on quality.

  • Did I need four canisters of chips?  No.  This purchase was to satisfy a craving but not a need.  To purchase extra canisters in the house would first require that I spend more than planned and also meant that there would be the temptation to consume more than necessary throughout the week.
  • Did I look for a fair price?  Of course.  I know that in the past that Pringles is a chip that our family enjoys.  But, when they are suggesting a higher price than its competitor, and requiring a bulk quantity to tempt me into purchasing their product, then I do not consider it a great deal.
  • Access to a coupon?  No coupons were in my coupon file of products we use, yet I still saved by not being drawn into having to purchase four canisters in order to use a coupon.  Sure, coupons can help save on the groceries, but only if used on products you will consume.
  • Looking for quality:  In reading the ingredients, I found that not only did the Lays Stax have healthier ingredients, it fit within my need to stay away from milk and gluten.  Plus, I personally find that the Lays brand has a thicker chip, and a better flavor.

NOTE:  We only purchased two cansiters of Lays Original.  I did not look at the labels of their other flavors to see if they contained milk or wheat, but my comparison “original to original” to each brand, scored with Lays as having the better nutritional value.

NOTE:  Soy is contained in this product.

~ Enjoy ~

Laura

Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor

Making Use of Worn Out Shirts

A tear, wear and some fading just means the shirt needs to be upcycled to another useful purpose.

A tear, wear and some fading just means the shirt needs to be upcycled to another useful purpose.

You can always tell a person’s favorite shirt by how often it is worn and the shaby look it acquires after constant wear.  Fortunately, when shopping for my husband, I focus on finding clothing that is made with quality fabrics so that he can wear them as long as possible.  And, in keeping to a budget, many times I am able to strike a great deal when puchasing them on clearance at the end of a season, yet, unfortunately with most of them being long sleeved.  The only drawback to the long sleeved shirts is that I need to shorten all the sleeves, as my husband finds them to be uncomfortable.  Not really a terrible situation for a wife who has been a seamstress and sewn since her early teen years.

As time passes, after continual wear and washings, the shirts present this tiring look with worn collars (that I will reverse if it is a favorite shirt), fading beyond my liking, with holes beginning to form at the corners of pockets from constant use.  

This weekend I equipped myself with scissors in hand, as I share with him the two shirts that were in the category of “must go”.  Soon after, he came to me with a third shirt that simply torn at the pocket as he began to button it up.  I smiled bravely as I graciously took another one of his favorite shirts with me to my secret place with seam rippers and scissors.  Off came the buttons first!  Then, I bravely proceeded with the sharpest shears in the bunch, and cut the shirts into large pieces of rags and piled them nicely for future use, with very little being trashed.

I realize that I could have given these shirts to a charitable organization, but I do not find it very charitable to give worn out, ripped or even stained shirts to the less fortunate.  We prefer to give these organizations items that are still in very good condition and excellent repair.  If the only reason we want to move them out of the closet is because we found we were not wearing them  because we did not like the style, then that is when the act of charity of most appealing.  Buttons in tact, zippers all working, snaps functionable.  i find it rude to give away something that we ourselves would not wear because a button was missing, a zipper stopped working, a rip in the seam, etc.

Anyway, as you can tell, these three shirts were not something I was willing to give away, and certainly not because of greed.  So i decided to take the buttons off and save them for future use, either on a shirt (or two) that I will make for my husband, replacement buttons on aother shirt (if needed), or possibly a craft requiring buttons.  I do collect buttons, but I do not find buttons on a mans shirt to be  very exciting.

After removing the buttons, I proceeded to cut the shirts into rags.  These shirts were going to be perfect for my husbands use in changing the car oil, cleaning up paint, stain and oil spills, and whatever else he can use them for. By using worn out clothing for rags, we are saving ourselves from purchasing rags (yes they sell them in auto repair stores) and making good use of them.

I also use rags from clothing that is no longer useable, for cleaning around the house, either dusting or other damp cleaning.  Although one shirt was an ideal cotton fabric for my use, my husband was out of rags and was very receptive to having a new supply to work with. I sometimes find that the fabric is perfect to use as backing for securing buttons onto other work shirts, adding patches to the inside of jeans, and other sewing purposes.  

Whatever the purpose, I make an effort to save from filling up our landfills, by either giving and sharing with others the clothing items that are in very good condition, or utilizing the worn out items in a way that will benefit our needs without having to spend our financial resources.  Paper towels are nice and convenient, but rags are always needed, and in some cases can be washed along with the rest of the laundry to be reused again.

Please consider giving to others what you tired of, not what you wore out.  And, the items you wore out, consider using them for another purpose.

Living within our means by not wasting what we have,

~ Enjoy ~

Laura

Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor

Frozen Dessert Molds – Finding Value at the Register

Frugal Value Lifestyle Frozen Pop Molds 1

This summer I made the decision that I wanted to make my own healthy ice pops and frozen non-dairy dessert bars.  To do this, it meant that I needed to purchase some molds.  Although the time frame in which I was looking to do this was late summer, after picking a variety of berries, I still felt I would be able to find what I was looking for locally, and hopefully on sale.

Unfortunately, what I thought would be an easy find turned out that the opposite was true.  As I scanned the housewares and summer season aisles of our local stores, there were none to be found.  As I gave up the search for purchasing locally, I decided to scan what might be available online.  I must have had a 70’s mindset of price, because what I found for pricing was a bit more than I was willing to spend.

When I shop, I first look for quality followed by a price-point value system.  I inspect the product to determine if it will work for what I plan to use it for.  I rarely ever impulse buy (I will either walk around a store for a bit or wait a day if shopping on line to really evaluate whether it is a need vs. want item).  And with the evaluation, I determine if the price will benefit the intended purpose of my purchase.

A few weeks passed when my husband and I went out to shop for a needed sneaker replacement.  While he browsed the shoe department, I decided to browse the housewares clearance area.  As I turned the corner I was delighted to see exactly what I was looking for.  Yet, I was braced for that “clearance price” that is usually 20-30% off (normal sales pricing which never grabs my attention and in this particular store their regular pricing is usually overpriced by the same).  I was delighted to find that the exact freezer pop molds I was looking for was marked down 80% and with a $10 birthday coupon combined with a 30% off coupon, I scored what I was looking for at a phenominal price.

Of course the accountant in me was tallying up my prized find, fumbling with them in my arms as I carried them over to my husband with the biggest grin saying “Look!!  I found exactly what I was looking for!!”  His response was, “Do you really need four sets?”  His excitement was not quite the same as mine, but I will contribute that towards his earnestly trying to find a pair of sneakers that not only fit but had good arch and ankle support, while staying within our budget for sneakers.

Of course I rattled off the reduced price from the overpriced SRP of $16.99 that was marked down to $3.39, reminding him that I had a $10 coupon and my 30% off coupon (which of course could have been used for his sneakers) I would spend less than $10, still $7 less than the original price for one set.  If I did not use the $10 coupon, I would have still been able to get the four sets for $15.10, still less than the SRP of one set.

Knowing my rationale, length of time in searching and frugal spirit, he supported my smile as I put them in the cart.  Of course, they had two more sets on the shelves.  I was definitely tempted to go back and pick them up, but I knew that it would be stretching the “need vs. want” category. In all, I obtained 4 sets of 6 frozen dessert pop molds for a final cost of $ 8.07.

To make my own, individual frozen desserts, I scored a great find!!  Purchased 4 sets at $3.39 each, with a $10 coupon and 30% discount resulting in $8.07 for four sets!! Even if I did not have a $10 coupon the final cost for the set of four would have been $15.10 which was still less than the original SRP.

To make my own, individual frozen desserts, I scored a great find!! Purchased 4 sets at $3.39 each, with a $10 coupon and 30% discount resulting in $8.07 for four sets!!
Even if I did not have a $10 coupon the final cost for the set of four would have been $15.10 which was still less than the original SRP.

Since this purchase, I have made a few healthy frozen desserts, one of which was shared on my Gluten and Milk Free Lifestyle Blog  

Living within our means, stretching the dollars, and still having nice quality items we will use,

~ Enjoy ~

Laura

Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor

Please feel free to comment, follow this blog, my facebook page and/or share!!  Love hearing from my readers 🙂

Unlocking the Music in Chimes

Love my new windchime made with what we had on hand utilizing the old keys from my collection!!

Love my new windchime made with what we had on hand utilizing the old keys from my collection!!

Listen to the Chimes here –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWXjIQZipwI&feature=youtu.be

For a couple of years now I have been collecting old skeleton keys, and although I have not accumulated many, I had enough to ask my husband if he would be willing to make me a wind chime out of them.  I really love the heavier old keys.  The history behind them is a mystery, and although I have an idea to display the older keys as I find them, I thought since I had a love for wind chimes that it was possible these would create a mysterious musical tone when used within a wind chime.

The selected keys to be used on the chime

The selected keys to be used on the chime

I had to wait until I had plenty of keys, as well as deciding what we would use as a top.  We did not want to purchase a kit as we wanted to use what we already had on hand.  This meant being patient as we came across items that would make a lovely sounding chime, blending in the sounds of the keys as they blew in the wind.

These past two weeks, we have been enjoying a very relaxing vacation, taking a few day trips, picking berries, hiking and enjoying some different projects we never seem to get around to.  This past week he had discovered that we had a few items on hand that would create a beautiful wind chime using the keys that I had collected.  It was a project that we had no idea of what the outcome would be.

Items used:

  • The bottom of an old bird feeder that broke, yet we kept it on hand for possible future repair needs.
  • Bolts and nuts (David’s shop of odds’n ends)
  • Spray paint (left over from another project)
  • Glass beads (Laura’s bead supply.  David was going to use plastic ones, but Laura really liked the glass ones and since she hadn’t used them yet, well, why not?)
  • Old keys found here and there as well as some that were given to me by those who knew I was collecting them.
  •  Fishing Line
  • Heavy duty string
  • Copper tubing
  • Two pieces of a branch
  • A piece of mahogany wood that was used for the center piece that catches the wind
FrugalValueLifestyleKeyWindchime6

This is actually the bottom of an older bird feeder. Cleaned and repainted with Rust-O-Leum Hammered Brown paint. The inside center is that of a branch that was cut and sanded, using bolted ring that David had in his stash of odd’n ends he had in his shop.

This is the underside of the bird feeder base that he used a hook that screwed into the bolt.  Basically this hardware is designed to screw together in the manner we used.  It was great that we had this on hand as it worked out perfect for  our needs.

This is the underside of the bird feeder base that he used an eye bolt and an eye nut (top) that screwed into the bolt. Basically this hardware is designed to screw together in the manner we used. It was great that we had this on hand as it worked out perfect for our needs.

As we were going through his shop of items that we were going to throw out, I saw this bird feeder piece and asked my husband what his thoughts were.  As we both looked at it, we thought that it would be perfect, then we had to keep in the back of our minds what we might be able to use to put this all together.

FrugalValueLifestyleKeyWindchime2

FrugalValueLifestyleKeyWindchime3

FrugalValueLifestyleKeyWindchime4

FrugalValueLifestyleKeyWindchime5

After a few days of laying things out and working on preparing the pieces, today was the day that my husband finished this project, using what we had on hand.  I am thrilled with the results!!  Of course, I have a new idea for another wind chime.

FrugalValueLifestyleKeyWindchime11

In case you had not figured it out, I am a huge fan of quality wind chimes, and today my husband presented me with my newest, and now my favorite one that I will enjoy for many years to come.

Listen to the Chimes here –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWXjIQZipwI&feature=youtu.be 

FrugalValueLifestyleKeyWindchime12

Listen to the Chimes here –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWXjIQZipwI&feature=youtu.be

This wind chime sounds beautiful when the wind moves it.  The blue glass beads add a hint of color.  And each copper tube makes a different tune as it meets with the others creating a gorgeous sound.

May your creative ideas mix with what you already have on hand, in order to create something unique and beautiful for you to enjoy around your home.

~ Enjoy ~

Laura

Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor

…who is already planning the next themed wind chime

Homemade Household Cleansers That Work!!

Cleansers that I have personally made and used, producing non-toxic fumes while actually cleaning our home.  ~ Laura

Cleansers that I have personally made and used, producing non-toxic fumes while actually cleaning our home. ~ Laura

There are two things that are frustrating while attempting to keep a home clean.  First, the products available on the market make each of us in our family feel as though we are going to die!!  Windows must be open, fans must be running, gloves must be worn and if we have them, a mask to prevent the fumes from reaching our lungs.  After the victim who is subjected to the task of cleaning the bathroom completes the job, they leave closing the door behind them as they keep the fan running to remove the toxic fumes.  Having to run a fan for 30 minutes or more, is another waste of resources.

The second frustrating aspect of many of the store bought products is that you spend a lot to get something that does not work.  For me this is a waste of my resources in an attempt to have a product that produces a clean result.  Even if the product only cost $1.00 after using a coupon, if it does not produce a clean result, it is not worth the $1.00 I spent.

I have found a few things that I have made that work for our needs.  I am still trying to find a good floor cleaner for our old kitchen tiled floor, but after creating a solution for our tub, I think I might be closer to creating something that works.  Until I figure something out, or someone directs me to a product that actually works or possibly a manufacturer that wants to send me a sample that works without killing my lungs , I will have to hold off on sharing until I find something that works well on my tiled floors.  For now, I would like to share what I use for my windows and mirrors, an all-purpose cleanser spray, a scouring powder and my new solution to cleaning our tub.

A few of the products I have at home that I use in my homemade cleaning products.  Other tiems include rubbing alcohol, amonia (only use in my window cleaner) and Dawn Original Hand dish detergent.  ~ Laura

A few of the products I have at home that I use in my homemade cleaning products. Other tiems include rubbing alcohol, amonia (only use in my window cleaner) and Dawn Original Hand dish detergent. ~ Laura

Ingredients used in the varying solutions are things that I typically have around the house, and generally inexpensive.  Containers are 1 quart spray bottle (you can get these are hardware stores, in bulk at warehouse stores, or re-using a bottle you might already have on hand).  Make sure it is clean before using, if it is an empty container you have from emptying other products.  For my scouring powder I have been using an old peanut butter jar.  Brand of peanut butter does not matter 🙂

Window Cleaner:

  • 1 quart spray bottle
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 Tbsp. Amonia

Mix items together and you are ready to start cleaning your windows and mirrors and seeing your beautiful smiling reflection as you wipe it clean.

NOTE:  I personally do not, but if you are one that likes the blue color in your window cleaner, just a dab of blue food coloring works.  Personally I do not find a need for this as it does not increase the cleaning power of your window cleaner.

Scouring Powder:

  • 1 small jar, recycled from peanut butter, jam, etc.  I use a small plastic peanut butter jar.
  • Ratio is 1:1 of the following two ingredients
    • ½ baking soda
    • ½ Borax

My particular jar holds about 2 cups, so I mix 1 cup of each and mix it up in the jar.

To use:  Wet down your surface, usually your tub, sink, etc. then sprinkle over the surface and let sit to allow the cleanser to work.  Follow with some elbow grease to see some clean results.

NOTE:  For tough cleaning jobs, maybe surfaces that are used seasonally, rust stained, etc., consider spraying over this with the Tub Cleansing Spray that I have listed below, then apply  a little elbow grease (a.k.a. an idiom for hard work, effort and human energy).

 All Purpose Cleanser Spray:

  • 1 quart spray bottle
  • 1 qt. warm water
  • 2 Tbsp. Dawn Original Dish Soap
  • ¼ cup Vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. Baking Soda

Mix the vinegar and baking soda together first.  Then add remaining ingredients to bottle.  Mix (shake bottle gently) making sure there is no baking soda residue at the bottom of your bottom.  This spray has been a huge success in cleaning my kitchen counters, my stove top, doors, kitchen cupboards, bathroom sink, etc.   I always shake before using.

NOTE:  My kitchen cupboards are painted, and this has helped remove those dirt marks we do not always notice until company is in the house 🙂

Tub/Sink Cleanser Spray:

  • 1 quart spray bottle
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup hot vinegar
  • ¼ cup Dawn Original Dish Detergent
  • 4 Tbsp. Baking Soda
  • 4 Tbsp. Borax

This is a fun mix for the one in your family who always enjoyed making volcanoes as a child.  Hence, this should be made in your kitchen sink, unless of course your kitchen counter needs a good scrubbing 🙂

  1. First, put the dry items of baking soda and borax in your bottle.
  2. Follow this by adding in the warm vinegar and watch the volcanic eruption of foam that is created.  No serious harm will happen, just messy if you do this on your counter top.  How do I know?  Yes, I made my first batch on my kitchen counter.  Made for an easy cleanup and a very shiny counter after 🙂
  3. Add the Dawn dish detergent followed by the warm water.  This will neutralize the foaming action.
  4. Now, gently mix the ingredients until there is no residue of powder on the bottom of your bottle.  If your sprayer does not work, it is because you did not mix it well.  You can clean your nozzle by removing it from the bottle and spraying it while the end sits in a cup of warm water.   I make sure I shake it a bit before using, just to be sure there is no residue at the bottom of the bottle.

To use this cleanser on your tough areas in your tub or sink, spray it on and let it sit for an hour.  Do this at the beginning of your chores, so that when the hour has passed, the tub is ready for you.  I personally sprayed another time, just to get the tub wet again, I then scrubbed the tub.  Even my husband was amazed at how well this worked.  It did not leave a gritty feel to the tub as many other cleansers have done in the past.

NOTE:  If you have some hard water and rust issues, or you have a camp that you return to with a need for some “tough love” consider using the above scouring powder on a wet surface, let that sit for about 15-30 minutes, then spray over with this solution and allow it to sit before putting your elbow grease energy to work.

Enjoy housework again without the fumes that cause you to run for an inhaler or the fresh outdoors, even if the temps outdoors are below freezing 🙂 .

~ Enjoy ~

Laura

Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor

Cookie Sheet to Serving Trays

Upcycled old cookie sheets into new serving trays.  Just love the colors!!

Upcycled old cookie sheets into new serving trays. Just love the colors!!

We all have cookware that eventually needs to be replaced.  In my case, a few months back as I wrapped one of my cookie sheets in aluminum to bake some chicken, my husband asked why I still had them.  I do have two really nice cookie sheets that I use for baking cookies, but they do not have the flat edges all around.  So I explained to him that these flavored items were still quite useful in my baking with no need to be replaced.

This past spring while we were out shopping, he placed a new set of cookie sheets with edges into our shopping basket.  I hesitated, thinking that it was a waste, but he was rather insistent that I have nice cookie sheets to work with.  They were not the top of the line, but as I looked them over, I could see that they were a good quality and would last me for quite some time, so this new set was not put back on the shelf.  In all honesty, I was thrilled to have shiny new cookie sheets, and have sinced used them often (and they still look new!!)

The trays are cleaned and prepped, the color choices selected from what we already had on hand. - Ready to transform the old into something new and useful.

The trays are cleaned and prepped, the color choices selected from what we already had on hand. – Ready to transform the old into something new and useful.

I am pretty good about getting rid of items that have no useful life but I did not immediately toss the old ones out.  Yet, as the summer season began to approach, I pulled these three cookie sheets out with the intention of finally getting rid of them.  Of course the time frame in which I was doing this, was also when we started to use our grill more frequently.

Everytime we had things to cook outside, we were making multiple trips to bring things outdoors.  Those cookie sheets were leaning up behind a table we have by our backdoor until we had a chance to bring them in to recycle.  As I passed by them, while bringing out another armload of things, I started to think that they might have another purpose.  So, as we were waiting for the food to cook, I asked my husband if he had any leftover rust-o-leum spray paint that he did not plan on using.

This weekend I was finally able to tackle this quick, simple project, as he presented me with a variety of beautiful colors we had.  I was thrilled to have options, but I also knew that they were not full, so it would be one can per tray.  That’s okay, because who wants to be boring with only one color?  Well, typically I like things to match, but I was fine with these options, as the color tones went well together.

Three beautiful trays, fitting nicely within each other, waiting to be used to serve others.

Three beautiful trays, fitting nicely within each other, waiting to be used to serve others.

So…three cookie sheets, that fit within in each for storage have now been transformed into three serving trays.  They will never again be used in the oven, but can be used for bringing larger amounts of items to the eating area outside, a tray of items to cook on the grill, use to bring cookies or “whatever” to share at social gatherings, etc.

My process of transformation

  1. Clean and wipe down your trays.  No sense trying to scrub all the flavoring off.  If you were unsuccessful before, why waste your energy.  Just be sure to remove anything that would cause your paint to peel in the future
  2. Select your choice of Rust-O-Leum paint.  I prefer to use what I already have on hand, but if you do not have any, the options are limitless at your local hardware store.
  3. On a dry sunny day, lay your trays out on cardboard, unless you like temporarily changing the color of your grass.  Eventurally it grows so it needs to be cut 🙂  Personally I would rather use old cardboard from an old box.
  4. Start by painting one side completely, being sure to reach every corner (otherwise you will have to do another coat).  Let this dry for at least an hour to be sure it is dry.  If it is tacky, let it dry another 1/2 hour or longer, until it is completely dry.
  5. Turn over, and repeat the process so that your trays are now completely covered.  Again, let them dry for an hour (or longer if necessary)
  6. I would recommend not using for at least a day, allowing them to completely dry overnight before using.
I am thrilled with how the set of three cookie sheets are looking with their new coat of paint.  I also feel great that I had everything on hand to transform them for practical use.  Sure, I love the pretty (expensive) trays one can find in the stores, but for outdoor entertainment, or other occasion, these are going to work out great!!

I am thrilled with how the set of three cookie sheets are looking with their new coat of paint. I also feel great that I had everything on hand to transform them for practical use. Sure, I love the pretty (expensive) trays one can find in the stores, but for outdoor entertainment, or other occasion, these are going to work out great!!

My cost:  $0  Hopefully you will have some left over from a previous project, if it not and you need to purchase spray paint you will be looking at $6 – $8 which should be able to cover at least two trays.  To be frugal, do not purchase a variety of colors, select one that pleases your eye.

Enjoy your new serving trays!!

~ Enjoy ~

Laura

Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor

Feeding the Hummingbirds

Capturing one of our visiting hummingbirds in flight - Photo by Laura D. Field

Capturing one of our visiting hummingbirds in flight – Photo by Laura D. Field

One of our favorite past-times that both my husband and I enjoy, is that of feeding the birds that frequent our home.  Over the last couple of years, we have discovered that the hummingbirds have found comfort in our backyard.

A variety of things that we have done in our yard has created a safe haven for these tiniest of birds.  We have planted plenty of flowers in areas that provide shade, shelter, water, food and security (a safe place to escape if needed).   In addition, we have varying trees that include honeysuckle, lilacs, low bush plants such as holly and a variety of plant height.

Plenty of space is provided so that they can hover and navigate the different flowers.  Among the flowers we have hummingbird feeders at different levels as well.  In addition, we have different height bird baths as well as a running water within a small pond.

Capturing one of our visiting hummingbirds in flight - Photo by Laura D. Field

Capturing one of our visiting hummingbirds in flight – Photo by Laura D. Field

Today as I was out taking pictures, they often came close in flight, allowing me to take some great photo’s of them.  This was unusual, but then I realized that my fushia blouse might have been the cause of this attraction.  Bright colors attract these amazing birds with them being mostly attracted to red, which is why you will see red on most hummingbird feeders.  These bright colors help them find their food, as they do not have a good sense of smell.

Capturing one of our visiting hummingbirds enjoying the natural nectar of Bee Balm - Photo by Laura D. Field

Capturing one of our visiting hummingbirds enjoying the natural nectar of Bee Balm – Photo by Laura D. Field

Flowers that we have in our gardens include bee balm, columbine, daylilies, and lumpine.  We also observed that they were attracted to our red roses that I keep pruned, which was exciting to see.  Additional flowers that they are attracted to are foxgloves, hollyhocks and many other annuals with bright colored flowers such as petunias, impatiens and cleomes.

I do enjoy having the feeders available for the hummingbirds, but one must replace the feed every two weeks, in order to keep it from going bad.  There are products available that one can purchase with the red color, but we have found that it is much more affordable to make our own sugar water feed.

FrugalValueLifestyleHummingbirdFeed2

Ingredients:  Water and sugar – that’s it!!  It is not recommended to add red food coloring as it is not a healthy product for the hummingbirds or orioles.  Yes, orioles are also attracted to this sugar water.

  • Hummingbirds:  4:1 – water:sugar
  • Orioles:  6:1 – water:sugar

NOTE:  Do NOT use honey!!!  Honey attracts bees and can grow black fungus that will cause a fatal liver and tongue disease in hummingbirds.

2 cups water: 1/2 cup sugar. Boil water then add and stir in sugar until clear. Cool before filling Hummingbird feeders.

2 cups water: 1/2 cup sugar.
Boil water then add and stir in sugar until clear.
Cool before filling Hummingbird feeders.

  • Boil 2 cups of water (we use the microwave)
  • Add 1/2 cup of regular sugar to the hot water, stir and mix until it is no longer cloudy.
  • While mix is cooling, throughly clean the feeders, removing all dirt and any mold.
  • After it has cooled to room temperature, stir again.
  • Pour into the feeders.
  • This mix fills two feeders.  We do not fill the feeders to the top, but 1 cup provides plenty for each feeder.
  • Watch over the course of a month, changing every 1-2 weeks, to see how much is consumed.  If you find that more than half is left in your container, consider reducing the amount you put in your feeder to save the cost of sugar.
  • Unused feed can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Frugal Value Lifestyle Hummingbird Nectar 4

We have been at our current home for 27 years, and one of the things we have enjoyed as the plants, trees and shrubs have filled in, is the comfortable space for our own enjoyment, but also that of the birds.  It is rewarding to hear the sounds of nature, abundantly making music as we step out into our backyard.

~ Enjoy ~

Laura

Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor

Thorny Rashes and Scratches – Home Healing Remedy

 ReflectiveTapestryBlackberries

Recently I have had the ultimate pleasure in being invited to pick blackberries, for FREE!!  I love it!  To have an unlimited supply of berries to make jams and desserts was a huge blessing, as the cost of such berries can limit ones ability to enjoy their flavor throughout the upcoming year.

The one thing that I did not prepare for was the abundance of thorns that blackberries have.  Most especially in the field in which we picked, as it had not been maintained in a number of years, creating a nest of blackberries vines we had to work our way through.

Still, the day was young and the berries were delicious and inviting.  After battling the vines and filling my berry baskets, I wiped off the sweat and headed home.  It was not long before I realized, actually remembered, that the scratches from the berry vines would cause a dermatitis reaction along with the potential risk of infection where I was scratched by the thorns.

This no longer alarms me, as I have discovered that four items I always have on hand are natural remedies that work well for me.  It is inexpensive and heals quickly.

  1. Antibacterial soap, such as Dial
  2. Witch Hazel
  3. Vaseline
  4. Baking Soap

How I use these products:

  1. After berry picking, once I am home, I immediately clean my hands and arms with warm soapy water, using antibacterial soap.   Depending on the heat of the day, I will possibly take a refreshing shower, using the antibacterial soap on all areas exposed to the vines.
  2. Once dried, I take cotton balls soaked in Witch Hazel, and gently apply to the scratches and any area where there is a rash.
  3. I then cover my arms and hands with a modest layer of Vaseline.  It will leave a greasy film on you, so be cautious of where you put your arms and hands.  I leave this on for as long as possible, then if necessary when you have lots to do, use a soft towel and rub in while also removing any excess.  If the greasy feeling really bothers you, you can again wash with the antibacterial soap.
  4. Later, as the day is coming to a close, I will fill the tub with warm water and ¼ – ½ cup (I use a ½ c) of Baking Soda.  I will make sure all parts of my body that were exposed to the thorns are covered as I relax for at least 10-20 minutes.
  5. Once dried off, I reapply the Vaseline like a moisturizer, rubbing it in as best as possible.  I do not completely remove the Vaseline while rubbing it in, as I want it to heal my body during the night.

This remedy has worked for me each time.  It heals the scratches and takes the rash and itch away.  I have woken the next morning with very little sign of scratching, and by the second day (if not gone the first night), the scratches are completely gone.

Why Antibacterial Soap:  These soaps are designed to kill bacteria and microbes.  You do not need to buy an expensive name brand in order for it to work.  You are basically cleaning out the dirt and chemicals within the berry thorns that are causing the dermatitis reaction.

ReflectiveTapestryWitchHazelWhy Witch Hazel:  Witch hazel is made with the hazel leaf extract, bark extract and hazel water which when used as an astringent, tightens the skin.  It also contains chemicals called tannins, which when applied directly to your skin, has the ability to reduce swelling, repair broken skin and fight bacteria.

 

 

ReflectiveTapestryVaseline

Why Vaseline:  Vaseline has been around for many years, being used as a skin softener and repair of cuts, scraps and chapped lips.  The properties that include paraffin, microcrystalline and mineral oil have healing properties that prevent water from escaping the skin.  Water escaping causes ones skin to dry out and create the scabs that many end up picking at.  Vaseline keeps impurities from entering the wounds, softens the skin, while allowing the body’s natural healing properties to work without interruption.

Why Baking Soda:  Baking Soda is a natural remedy that neutralizes acid and alkaline, regulating pH levels.  Utilizing this amazing natural product in ones bath promotes healing while also softening ones skin.  It is recommending for infant diaper rashes, women suffering from a yeast infection, among other ailments.

How does this relate to frugality?  It keeps me from buying multiple lotions, ointments and powders from large companies toting the most effective remedy.  Since I know that this works for my family, and I always have these products on hand, I am saving our resources on the many products as well as the transportation in obtaining them.

Living a frugal life, regardless of income class, utilizing ones resources wisely.

Enjoy your summer pickins’

~ Enjoy ~

Laura

Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor

Disclaimer:  Although this method for healing works for my family and I, it might not be the ideal remedy for all people.  One must know their own skin tolerances and allergens in order to be sure they will be effective.The information that I have shared is done as general information without expressed or implied guarantees or warranty.  Always seek professional medical help when you are in question about your personal health.If your situation is that of a medical emergency please seek medical attention.