Sunday, December 10, 2017

Five Reasons I'm Loving My Gift Trunk This Time of the Year!

If you’ve been reading A Working Pantry long, you’ll know that I consider, as part of my well-stocked pantry, a gift trunk to be essential.  It has come to my rescue many times when I needed a gift throughout the year.   Instead of heading to the store or a shopping mall, I shop from my gift trunk instead.  

This time of year I’m really loving my gift trunk and I thought you might like to read why …

1.      I don’t have the pressure of ‘having’ to go Christmas shopping.  There’s nothing like killing the Christmas spirit when you can’t find what you’re looking for and you have to go shopping again because you have to have it ASAP and you’re so tired that you just want the holiday season to go away.

2.     It’s budget friendly.  Often times I can give a gift that I would not have been able to afford had I not gotten it on sale/clearance.  I really try to keep my eye out for good quality items on clearance to add to my gift trunk.

3.     It makes for a LESS stressful holiday season and saves my sanity!   Did I mention that I don’t like the crowds and some of the attitudes that you encounter when shopping this time of the year???  Enough said!

4.     I don’t have to make any last minute shopping runs for an unexpected gift need.  My gift trunk has rescued me from this dilemma on more than one occasion!

5.     It saves time and frees me up to do other holiday related things I would like to do.  Things like watching a Christmas movie at home with the family or taking a drive to see Christmas lights.

My gift trunk is never empty, it get’s low sometimes, especially after the Christmas holidays, but it is never empty and that’s because I shop clearance sales and make things to keep it stocked all year long. 

Do you have a gift trunk, closet, box or drawer?

With this post I'll be starting my holiday break from blogging.  I'll meet you all back here the first week in January.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

How to Make a Simple Pillow Case

I had a request from a reader wanting to know how I stitched up the Christmas pillow cases I've been making so I took pictures the next time I made one and turned them into a tutorial.

It takes 1 yard of fabric to make this pillow case!



On the fold I cut the fabric 21 inches wide by 33.5 inches long.

Tip:  To get a straight cutting line for the length I took a yardstick and measured across the top 21 inches from the fold and made a mark, across the middle from the fold and made a mark and across the bottom from the fold and made a mark. Then I took a yardstick and drew a straight like vertically connecting all three marks and used that line for my cutting line.

These are the measurements for a regular size pillow case.  If you want to make a queen or king size, look up the size and cut your fabric accordingly.

I did press this fabric before cutting, it had alot of folds and creases, and I needed to be careful when measuring and cutting to make sure the measurements were accurate.


With wrong sides together and right sides on the outside, stitch 1/4 inch from the edge and press the stitching. Trim the seam down to an 1/8 inch.


Turn it so that the wrong sides are on the outside and the seam on the inside, use a point turner to push the corners out and press the seams again.


Stitch approximately 1/4 inch from the edge and press.  (You're making a french seam!)


Turn so that the right sides of the fabric are on the outside, push out the corners and press.

 

Turn it inside out agian, put it on the ironing board and measure, fold down and press 1/2 inch from the edge.  I used a sewing and knitting guage to measure.


Next, fold down 3 inches for the hem and press.  
(I don't generally pin this hem, but if you would prefer, by all means do so!)


Stitch about 1/4 from the hem edge.


Press the hem.


For the final step I gave it a good startching and ironing and now it's ready for gift giving!

If something is not clear, let me know and I'll try to explain it better.  These pillow cases really are quick and simple to make and make great gifts!

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

How To Dehydrate Carrots

I had carrots left over from some Thanksgiving baking I did (as in left over from baking a carrot cake).  We used some in a meal and this is what we had left.  It was not enough to do a canning and I didn't want to freeze them so I dehydrated them.


Carrots before peeling and chopping.


Chopped using a chopper like this one.


Steaming for 3 minutes ... I had a lid on it but took it off to get the picture.
After the 3 minutes were up I ran cold water over them to stop the cooking.  I cooled the carrots down by running water over them in the kitchen sink while they were still in the colander.

Please note:  This carrots are steamed, not put in boiling water.  I never let the carrots touch the boiling water in the pot, they sit suspended just above it in the colander with a lid on them.  The steam from the boiling water gets to the carrots through the holes in the colander.  I steam the carrots instead of dropping them in the boiling water for 3 minutes because I don't want to lose any of the nutrients that would leach out into the water if the carrots were actually in the boiling water.

I used the same metal colander throughout the whole process.  It fit nicely over/in a pot I have while keeping the carrots out of the water in the pot.  The pot lid covered the carrots perfectly while they were steaming.   


Spread out on the dehydrator sheets.


Vacuum sealed in a jar and ready for my pantry!

Update:  A reader shared how she dehydrates carrots that I had not heard or thought of and I asked her if I could share it.  She agreed so here you are ...  (Thanks Penny!)

Cubed, sliced and shredded for cakes and muffins. Shred carrots in food processor. Place in large zip lock bag with some water . Microwave one minute each side, drain and dehydrate.

That's certainly alot less messy isn't it and quicker too? I'm going to try Penny's method the next time I have carrots to dehydrate!

Do you have questions? Is something not clear?  If so, let me know and I'll try to explain what I did a bit better!

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Ways of My Household: 12/3/2017

(The picture is from a section of our Christmas tree this year!)

Christmas preps are in full swing at my house with a little pantry stocking on the side!

Read on to see what I mean ….

I had some bananas that were getting to the over ripe stage so I peeled, sliced and dehydrated them.   I’m trying not to let anything go to waste!   

I added a case of green peas to my pantry after having found them on sale for $.38/can.

I completed 5 days of at least 15 minutes of sewing in my 100 day sewing challenge, which makes me sitting at 44 days.   I finished clue #1 in the On Ringo Lake Mystery quilt project by Bonnie Hunter and started on clue #2!  I am really enjoying doing this mystery! 

I also stitched up these 'Frosty the Snowman' Christmas pillow cases for the little girls who attended our church’s annual ladies Christmas party this weekend.   

And then I stitched up these Christmas pillowcases  ...   









 I was in charge of doing a Christmas game at the above mentioned party and raided my gift trunk for prizes.  (Everything in my gift trunk has been either made by me or purchased on clearance.)  That makes being ready for gift giving or providing prizes for a game easy, stress-free and budget friendly.

I continue to enjoy living my Fall Bucket List that can be found HERE.

I added lesson # 3 in the series on Dorcas I'm teaching teenage girls at church.  You can find it HERE!

This week's featured post from the archives is ...  This is Why, part 8!   

That’s it for me this week, what did your week look like?

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Ways of My Household: 11/26/2017

I snapped this picture of some of the harvesting going on all around us this week.

Last week I was blessed to spend several days at home and was able to get some things done ….

I started working with my herbs, getting them ready to make tinctures and salve.

I added fresh dried cayenne peppers to the ongoing cayenne tincture I keep going.

I started a jar of comfrey oil using dried comfrey leaf and dried comfrey root.  I’ll use it to make comfrey salve.

I started a jar of plantain oil.  That too will be used in my comfrey salve.

I started a jar of garlic tincture that I mentioned in last week’s post.   

I harvested the last of this year’s sage.  I have it drying in a bowl on my window shelf.

I baked a German chocolate cake for a gentleman in the community.  A little extra money is always welcomed. 

I baked another German chocolate cake for my husband whose birthday is Monday. 

I planted 29 cloves of garlic.  If I have time, I want to plant some more but at least I’ll have some of my medicinal garlic planted. 


This is a picture of one of four boxes of quality fabric that I GRATEFULLY received from a reader.  Thank you again Bobbi! 

I spent an afternoon, sorting and adding to my stash.  What fun! I also cut some of the smaller pieces into sizes that I use in quilt making.  Here’s a picture, on the right, of a couple of my ‘scrap boxes.’  Shown in the picture are 5 inch squares, 2.5 inch strips, 2 inch strips and the makings of a jelly roll.

I made these ‘Thanksgiving’ treats for the local little people in my life using candy corn I got on clearance at the after Halloween candy sales.   I used what I had on hand to package them including chalking the homemade tags.

I continue to enjoy living my Fall Bucket List that can be found HERE.  (I continually update it, so check it often!)

I completed 2 days of at least 15 minutes of sewing in my 100 day sewing challenge, which makes me sitting at 41 days.   I started working on clue #1 in the On Ringo Lake Mystery quilt project by Bonnie Hunter.  I don't have all of clue #1 completed yet, but I'm pretty close.  I also started stitching up some more bowl covers.

I took the fall decorations down and put up the Christmas ones.  We’ve gotten to the point in life where we prefer our decorations to be simple.  Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy the big elaborate decorations that some others do but for us, in our season of life, simple is best.

I switched out our fall smelling candles for Christmas smelling candles.  The one I’m enjoying now is Christmas Cookie by Yankee Candle, which is my absolute favorite!

I hand delivered Christmas cards to the members of our church Sunday.  The members of our congregation bring their Christmas cards to church and distribute them. This saves everyone the cost of postage.

I emptied out my gift trunk and started assigning gifts to people, wrapping them and getting the ones that have to be mailed, ready to go to the post office.  Can I just say that I love having a gift trunk!

I pulled out my Burl Ives Christmas CD’s and got everything ready to start listening to them.  I love, love, love to listen to these CD’s!   

I watched “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” curled up on the couch with a blanket!  It’s the little simple things that make the holiday season for us!

I changed out our regular pillow cases for the Christmas ones I made earlier.

We continue to cook from scratch, feed the compost bin and do all our normal money saving things that are second nature to us.

I added lesson # 2 on Dorcas to my other blog, She Hath Done What She Could.    

This week's featured post from the archives is ...  This is Why, part 7!   

That’s it for me this week, what did your week look like?

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders.  I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay and it helps me keep my pantry well-stocked!

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 


Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Ways of My Household 11/19/2017

It’s the time of year when our pantry building slows down and we start enjoying the benefits of all our preserving work throughout the harvest season.  I will keep an eye out for sales of items we use and work on the non-food parts of my pantry, but for the most, its rest time from intense pantry building for a few weeks!!!   I make it my goal to never let my pantry get depleted if possible, but enjoying a few slower weeks sure is welcome!

Here’s what I got done last week …

I added this flat of corn to my pantry at $.38/can.

While at Sam’s Club one day I noticed that one of the samplers was giving out samples of Yoohoo chocolate drink.  Neither my husband nor I care for the drink but a light bulb went off in my head and I asked the sampler what she was doing with the empty GLASS bottles.  She told me she was throwing them away.  I asked if I could have them.  She said yes and gave me 5 empty bottles.  I was thrilled.   I’ll use them to make my essential oil flavored waters in since it is not recommended that you put the essential oils in water in plastic containers.  Some of the varieties I like to drink are lemon and wild orange.   For these size bottles I’ll add 1 – 2 drops of oil along with a little non-caloric sweetener …. yummy good and it helps me get my  water down not to mention it’s good for you!!!

My husband gleaned sweet potatoes from a field near us.  I will half bake them, let them cool, then vacuum seal them and add them to the freezer part of my pantry.  These two buckets will be enough to last us until sweet potato gleaning time next year.  

A group of us were talking about substitutions this week and we talked about a substitute for buttermilk in our cooking.  I found this link on 5 different ways plus a DIY method for making buttermilk.  I used to do the DIY method all the time, but had forgotten it. 

I baked 3 cakes this week for a lady in our community … a pound cake, a carrot cake and a 16 layer chocolate cake.  A little extra money is always good!

We continue to cook from scratch, feed the compost bin and do all our normal money saving things that are second nature to us.

I worked some more on getting the raised bed ready that I’m going to plant garlic in.  If I don’t hurry up and get it ready, it’s going to be too late to plant the garlic before long!!!

Speaking of garlic, I found a method for making garlic tincture that I want to try.  The link is HERE

I continue to enjoy living my Fall Bucket List that can be found HERE.
I completed 2 days of at least 15 minutes of sewing prep work in my 100 day sewing challenge, which makes me sitting at 39 days.  I’ve been prepping fabric for the upcoming Bonnie Hunter/Quiltville mystery quilt that starts Friday.   I finished the preps for the browns, corrals and aqua’s.  I need to do the neutrals and I’ll be done and ready!  Update:  I've finished the neutrals now and I am ready for this mystery quilt project to begin!!!

Update:  I've been asked about the boards the fabric is wrapped on in the picture.   They are comic book boards that I ordered from Amazon HERE.

My husband and I finished the Bible class on Acts that we were taking at a biblical school in another town.  The next class starts in January and will be on Revelation.  I’m looking forward to that class too, but I’m also looking forward to some down time and a slower pace for the next few weeks!

I set myself the goal of having all my Christmas shopping completed and the things that have to be mailed, in the mail by the end of the month.   That way I can concentrate on enjoying the sights and sounds of the season and not have to fight the ‘crowds of Christmas’ during the holiday season.

I updated my Christmas card list and enjoyed a time of working on getting the cards ready for delivery or mail, whichever is applicable.  We only mail the cards that go out of town, the rest we hand deliver.

I added this lesson on Dorcas to my other blog, She Hath Done What She Could.

That’s it for me this week, what did your week look like?

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Be sure to check out this week's featured post from the archives ...  This is Why, part 6!   



Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders.  I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay and it helps me keep my pantry well-stocked!

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Ways of My Household 11/12/2017

We went from beautiful fall weather to really cold for us ‘freeze warning’ weather.  Yikes!  This is a bit early for us to be having ‘freeze warning’ weather!  Here’s hoping it doesn’t hang around too long! 

This is a picture of the tree I’ve been enjoying and sharing photos with you of over the past several weeks. It was taken before the wind and rain started and the temperatures started dropping.  The picture doesn't do it justice, it was quite beautiful!

Besides watching this tree transform its beautiful fall foliage to almost winter bareness, here’s what else I’ve gotten done this week.

I worked on finishing harvesting the last of the cayenne peppers and jalapeno peppers and I am officially done with the peppers for this growing season!

With the cayenne peppers I harvested I refreshed the pepper vinegar that I keep in the refrigerator year round.  My husband loves this on collards and it’s so easy to make and keep on hand.  From start to finish I gather the cayenne peppers, wash and let them dry completely (you don’t want any moisture on the peppers), loosely fill a quart jar to ¾ full, fill jar with apple cider vinegar, put a plastic screw-on lid on the jar, give it a good shake, refrigerate and use when needed.  It’s one of the easiest things to make and a good way to use cayenne peppers.

I harvested the last of the comfrey for this growing season. I plan to take part of it and start a batch of comfrey oil.  When it’s ready I’ll make some comfrey salve to use on bruises, ligament/tendon strains and injuries, etc.  The rest of it I’ll dry to be used later. 

We continue to cook from scratch, feed the compost bin and do all our normal money saving things that are second nature to us.

I continue to enjoy living my Fall Bucket List that can be found HERE.
I completed ZERO days of at least 15 minutes of sewing in my 100 day sewing challenge so, I’m still sitting at 37 days.  I did however, cut out 4 more bowl covers that are now ready to be stitched up and I purchased the rest of the fabric I needed for Bonnie Hunter’s ‘On Ringo Lake’ mystery quilt project starting the day after Thanksgiving. 

It pays to be a smart shopper!  When I went to purchase the rest of the fabric I needed for the above mentioned mystery quilt project I looked at several fat quarters.  There was no price on them so I asked … they were $2.49 each!  Gulp!  I needed several!  Then I noticed that the 100% cotton fabric was on sale for $5.99/yard so I did some quick math in my head.  If I purchased half a yard of the fabrics I needed instead of buying fat quarters I would be spending $3/half yard (there are 2 fat quarters in a half yard of fabric) instead of $2.49 per fat quarter  … $3 versus $4.98 per fabric color … hmmm … not a hard decision to make!   By purchasing my needed fabric in half yard increments instead of fat quarters I walked out of the store with what I needed for a lot less money!  It pays to take your time and shop smart!

I needed a baby shower gift this week so I shopped my gift trunk.  Then I needed some appropriate paper to wrap it in … I didn’t see anything in my stash that would work until I came across some solid white wrapping paper. A light bulb went off in my head and I got to work.  This is what I came up with … I used my Sizzix to make the tag.

This is the time of the year that I can usually find Land O Lakes butter on sale for $1.99/lb.  This is my stocking up price and this is the time of year that I usually stock up so, I’ll be checking prices this week … wish me luck!


I had one complete day at home this week so I emptied everything out of the master bathroom except the furniture and did a deep cleaning. As I put things back in I reorganized, put like things together and did inventory.  I was exhausted by the end of the day but it felt so good to have this 'fall cleaning' job done!

That’s it for me this week, what did you do to save money, live frugally or build up your pantry this week?

patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

Thank you for using my Amazon affiliate link when placing your Amazon orders.  I earn a small percentage that doesn't increase what you pay and it helps me keep my pantry well-stocked!

Be sure to check out this week's featured post from the archives ...  This is Why, part 6!


Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and place an order, etc I earn a small fee at no increased cost to you. Thank you for your support through these means. 
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