Thursday, April 10, 2014

Frugal Project: Cat Toy Repair -and- A Quick Update


Spring is coming, finally!  It's been a crazy, long Winter, and now that the weather's warming up, I'm sincerely hoping that Mother Nature has made up her mind.  With Spring on its way in and the shock of my job loss behind me, I'm starting to feel a bit more alive, myself.

For me, part of waking to Spring is getting old projects wrapped up.  The first of these was to repair yet another cat item.  The toy is a mat, called a Boogie Mat (TM).  It's a bag with a zipper and an insert.  The insert makes it soft, and you put catnip inside the bag.  Some time back, the zipper stopped working, and the original liner got ruined.  Since I'm frugal and green, and my cat, Sam loves this toy, I decided I'd go ahead and fix it.  

The fabric itself was fine and barely even faded, and I make harvesting buttons, fasteners, etc. from old clothing a habit, I had a zipper on hand I could use.  The liner is from my fabric stash. Polar fleece was the perfect thing to use for this.  I simply measured out a rectangle about an inch shorter than the toy and twice as wide (minus about an inch, so it would fit inside.)  I folded the fabric in half and sewed it to make a nice, cushy mat.  I sewed in the new zipper, and voila!  The cats were quite pleased when I finished it up and brought it back downstairs last night!  (Part of the reason is that, when I pull out the canister to refresh the catnip toys, that means everyone gets a little!)

***

Surprise carrots!

We had a nice surprise yesterday.  My boyfriend came into the kitchen and shoved this beautiful bunch into my face!  It actually took me a second to realize what he was showing me:  Surprise carrots!  Turns out these beauties made it through all of the snow and cold that we had this  year in the DC area!  Most of them are smaller than normal, but even those are plenty big enough!  This little blessing could not have come at a better time!

These will be used for snacking and juicing and will probably last us 2-3 weeks.  Happy Spring, indeed!

***

The beds are in!

We've finally been home enough and the weather has been warm enough to get our beds in for the year!  For a couple of days, it has smelled like we live on a farm, but I just remind myself that it's for a good cause and keep the downstairs windows closed.

Everything is in but the peppers and tomatoes, which have been started inside.  I think it's still too cold for them at night.  The greens, carrots, and kohlrabi were planted today.  My stone (which you can see in this photo) was moved to the corner to make things flow a little better.  It will be easier to get to the plants and to the clothesline without having to step around it.

I'm really hoping for a good growing season, due to our current circumstances!

We've also changed how we compost.  Before, we were using 5 gallon buckets, which we had hidden away (from the HOA) behind our HVAC unit.  My boyfriend used up all of that for this year's garden, and instead, we're using a more open compost bin.  It's more visible to the HOA, but they'll tell us to get rid of it, and we will...for a week or two...then we'll put it back.  It comes apart easily.  We like this setup better, because it's more open.  Air circulates through better, and we can access it more readily.  More fibrous pieces can act as mulch, while the rest simmers.

That's about all I have for you now.  I hope you'll check back often!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Times are Tough







The photo accompanying this post is not meant to make any kind of political statement.  I simply feel it is appropriate for illustrating the content of this post.

Times are getting tough at the Little Stone House. You see, back in December, I lost my full time job.  I have some severance, but that will run out in mid April.  My insurance will end at the end of April.  I will go on unemployment.  I am hoping to start picking up work, but it's tough out there!

My boyfriend and I are preparing the best we can. Luckily, he still has an income, so he'll be able to help out with the bills; however, things will be tight.

We can make some small cuts, and having our little garden will help.  Our tendency to thrift, recycle, and barter will also help to some extent.  I will be putting any found money (unexpected windfalls, tax refunds, etc.) that I can into savings to try and keep my cushion going (It's not a large one. Hopefully I can grow it.)

Even though the job market is really tough right now, for some reason, I am not terribly worried.  I'm simply doing the best I can.  I am hoping to piece together a living from temp work, freelance work, and selling stuff.  I need flexibility in my life right now, due to some health issues in my family, and I feel that, as long as I have a little more than enough to cover the mortgage and bills, I will be OK.  I am not as frightened by my job loss as I would have been in earlier years.

I am volunteering, taking some time to care for myself, and trying to pursue some creative projects.

I really think it will be OK...

Photo Credit:  source unkown