"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land."
-Abraham Lincoln

I Still Exist

I haven't posted in awhile but to be honest, I haven't had anything to post about.   I was suffering from project overload and took a bit of a break from crafting for a couple of days.   I started back up this afternoon though and am currently working on another preemie hat to be sent with the previous preemie hat (I had originally planned to send that out awhile back but the snow and bad weather has prevented me from venturing out any more than necessary).

And in other news, we've finally ordered the last of the seeds.  We were collaborating with my FIL to find some more interesting, exciting things to plant this spring.   So far we've ordered Cherokee White Eagle dent corn, which is a really deep blue color kernel.  The neat thing about this particular type of corn is that some people claim they can see a white eagle image in the corn kernels.   It sounded to intriguing to pass up.  We also ordered Daymon Morgan's Kentucky Butcher corn which has huge, multicolored ears and stalks that can get up to 18ft. high!   

However, out of all the seeds we ordered, I'm most excited about the cotton.   Yes, you read that right, cotton.  In Ohio.   We purchased Erlene's Green Cotton.    I was reluctant because I was under the impression that you cannot grow cotton as far north as Ohio.   BUT, my FIL reassured me that he has indeed grown cotton here in ohio.   Apparently you can grow cotton as long as it has one of the shorter (relatively speaking) growing season.  

I figured that, living in the midwest, I would just have to accept the fact that I wouldn't be spinning cotton unless I purchased cotton roving.  So you can imagine my delight when I find out that it can be done.   If all goes well, by this time next year I will have spun a bit of my very own homegrown cotton fiber. 

Middle's Stocking Cap

I finally finished Middle's stocking cap.    It's a variation of the pattern seen here.

It's a little big on him but I like it all the same.
It gives him room to grow into it, I guess.

Thrifty Thursday

10 Tips for Saving Cash:

Some people who know me will tell you that I can "pinch a penny so tight, I squeeze the boogers out of Lincoln's nose."   
Now, I'm not cheap but I am frugal (yes, I firmly believe there is a difference).  I like to pinch pennies in many areas of my life so that I have enough money to indulge in other areas.  Frugality is also important when you have to save for things like your children's college education.  
So, for all you other frugal folks out there (or those who aspire to pinch Lincoln's head a little tighter), I give you...drumroll please....10 tips for saving money.

Tip #1: This may seem obvious but you would be surprised how many people miss this one, ditch the brand name items for store brand especially in the case of groceries.   The idea that store brand is not as high quality as name brand is absolutely not true, at least in the vast majority of cases.   Most of the time the store brand options are made from the same manufacturers and with the same or comparable ingredients as the brand name items.  In fact, in all my years of buying store brand I've only found two store brand items that flunked the taste test against the national brands.   The first was Kroger's alternative to Captain Crunch.  That stuff was truly awful.   The second was the early Meijer's version of Manwhich, and that problem appears to be resolved.   And the savings is definately significant.  For example, we bought a bag of store brand "Cocoa Puffs" for $1.50.    A box of national brand Cocoa Puffs cost double that and with less cereal in the box to boot.
You haven to be careful though, I have run into a couple of occasions where the store brand cost more than the national brand so always compare prices and check sales.  

Tip #2: Brown bag it.   Whether you are going to work or going on vacation you can save a lot of money by packing as many of your meals and snacks as possible.   That way you can cut down on your trips to restuarants and fast food joints.

Tip #3: Use a cash back credit card and resist the urge to carry a balance.   I use our cash back credit card routinely for gas.   As a result I get a 5% refund everytime I fill up.

Tip #4: If you don't have your cell phone surgically attached to your ear, try switching to a pay as you go plan. If you only use your phone sporadically then you probably don't need that $80 a month unlimited plan.  You could easily save $30 a month this way or more depending on how much you talk.

Tip #5:  Looking to redecorate?  Start with items you already own.   Pull some of that furniture out of the attic.  Spruce it up a bit.    Add some new touches.   You'll save hundreds of dollars by reusing your old items.  

Tip #6: Think big when it comes to cooking.   Buy your meat in the more economically priced "family sizes" or you can find a local butcher or farm that will sell meat in bulk sizes by the cow.  Then, double your recipes when cooking at home and freeze whatever is left.  You'll pay less per pound for the meat and you'll have a meal for hectic days when you would otherwise go out or order in.  

Tip #7: Get free firewood.   Call around to your local tree service companies.  Many times they will let you come to the cleanup site and take the smaller limbs and branches.   Also check your local landfills or city run yard cleanup sites for free or very inexpensive mulch.  

Tip #8: Postpone your purchases.   You know that item you see on the shelf while your out shopping...that one you didn't plan on getting but it just seems to be begging you to take it home...well don't.  Wait.   Postpone purchasing the item for a week or until your next shopping trip.  Chances are you'll have forgotten all about it by the time the week rounds to a close and if you find that you're still longing for it after a week has passed then it's probably something you actually can use.  

Tip #9: DIY (aka. do it yourself).   You don't need to hire a professional for most of the smaller projects that need done around your house.   Have a leaky faucet?  Head to the library to get a few books on how to fix the problem.   Want a new color paint on your walls?   Head over to lowes or home depot for a brush and some free tips from their knowledgeable associates.    There are a wide array of projects that are easy enough to do yourself with a little research and that can save you hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars.

Tip #10: This is an important one for all parents out there.   Just say no.    It's easier than it seems.  N-O.   When your kids say they will just "die" without the latest video game system or the newest $50 doll (complete with pooping mechanisms) give a nice, simple, firm "no".   Trust me, your kids do not need all the latest toys.  The will live without that $300 power wheels car.   Their heads will not really explode if they don't get a trinket everytime you stop at the grocery store.   Save your toy purchases for Christmas and birthdays and for those occasions utilize the clearance rack, second hand stores and craigslist/freecycle as much as possible.   You can get your kids some nice stuff without completely blowing your budget.  

Nowgo out into the world a more confident, wiser, stronger, and more frugal person.

They just keep getting bigger and bigger...

The puppies are now almost 4 weeks old.

All their little eyes and ears are open.
They are a curious bunch as you can easily see.

These guys were the first to crawl out of the crate by themselves.
They were doing a little "seek and destroy" around middle's toy train.

I love having puppies around and would keep them all if I could.
However, I don't think Chandler feels the same way.
He wouldn't budge from the couch until after I had collected all the puppies that were wandering around and put them back to bed.
The poor old fart...

Time for another funny video

Ok, so this video has been circling the last few days or so and many of you have probably already seen it.  BUUUUUT, it cracks me up so much that I found the need to post it here.  Enjoy it folks.

and more snow.....

When I'm in the kitchen making dinner or doing dishes I prefer to look at my windowsill because when I look at the window sill I see this,

But when I look out the windo, I see this,

And this,

and of course I see this guy,

I think he's mocking me...

I'm beyond ready for spring.  Don't get me wrong, I find the snow beautiful, but I'm so over it right now.
I'm ready for warmer weather.

But, I don't control the weather, so I'll just have to wait patiently like everyone else.
Doesn't mean I cant dream of warmer weather though, so in that spirit, I'll leave you with this cute little quote about Springtime.

"I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden." ~Ruth Stout

Ahhh the Snow.

I was watching the news last Thursday and caught the weather report: an expected 6-8 inches of snow for Friday night and into Sat.
By Friday evening we had 8 inches of snow and by Saturday morning we were shoveling 12 inches of the white stuff.   Still, I realized we had alot to be thankful for.   For one thing, we are in the Buckeye State, not the Mid-Atlantic, so even though we got a foot of snow, they were slammed with 2 feet of snow.  
Secondly, there were, as of yesterday, 2,000 people out of power in our area.  Fortunately, we were not one of those families.   We would've been, Lord knows, had they not spent a few days this last summer clearing trees and branches away from our power lines and our transmitter.   I'm especially grateful for this because after having spent 10 days without power 2 years ago, I'm not keen to going through it again although I would be much more prepared for it now if it were to happen. 

But, alas, there is more to come.   Watching the news again today, we're expected to get yet another 10-14 inches of snow tomorrow evening/ tomorrow night.  At least it makes for a beautiful display.   Hopefully, if I can still get out of my house, I'll be able to get some pictures and post them up here.   

Micro-preemie hat

I made this cute micro-preemie hat for the local Children's Hospital.  
It's made with 100% cotton, Lily Sugar n' cream yarn.

I tested it's fit on Youngest's teddy bear, "Mr. Cuddlebear"

The pattern is simple:
but I'm having a little technical difficulty with the website so I'll have to post the link to it later.

EDIT:  Technical problems resolved...here's the link to the hats.


Happy Groundhog's Day!

Happy Groundhog's Day!
I decided last night that I would crochet a wrist warmer in honor of the event.
You may be able to tell what outcome I was hoping for by the "springtime-y" colors I used.

And if the colors didn't give it away, the giant spring flower should've.

But, alas, the groundhog has failed me yet again.

So, I made my own groundhog (or ambiguous, egg shaped, brown creature).
You will notice that his shadow is BEHIND him.
Therefore, he can't see it.  Well, that and the fact that his eyes are glued on, as in not real and therefore completely useless.

Spring is on it's way!