Category Archives: Frugal Tips

Several months ago I wrote a post about safe stripping in regards to refinishing your wooden antiques. So called “safe” strippers are a good place to turn for refinishing your wooden antiques. Safe Strippers don’t irritate your skin, their fumes aren’t damaging to your health, and their contents aren’t flammable or explosive – though, of course, rags and residue must be disposed of safely.

At the time we had two projects in the works. One was an antique fireplace mantle that we still plan the turn into a headboard for our queen-size bed and the other was a set of antique wooden twin beds that had been once been painted pink then painted red. The beds were maple and in dire need of refinishing. The twin beds were our first project.

To be safe the entire project was completed in the garage, we had an empty bay where we set up and workstation to complete the project. To read more about the beginning stages of the safe stripping project click here.Tools assembled. ready to start!

It took awhile to get all the paint removed especially on the spindles.cleaning the spindlesWhen the paint was all removed a final cleanup was done using fine sandpaper. Finally the beds were ready for stain.bed frames

My husband used a cloth to rob a stain into the wood.safe stripping, staining To match the other bedroom furniture we used a dark stain, which would cover up the tiny imperfections, while at the same time reveal the grain of the wood.safe stripping The finish coat was a satin polyurethane to protect the wood. The end result was perfection! The beds look great in the bedroom. You would never have a clue that they were once painted pink and then red!safe stripping This top coat of polyurethane should last for many years. Any future projects on these beds will not be done by us, we’re going to enjoy them just as they are!safe stripping

Next project for this winter will be to turn the antique fireplace mantle into a queen size headboard!

The house is on the market or perhaps you are downsizing and you’re wondering about yard sales and how to be successful?house for salePricing:

The first thing to do to is to label everything you are selling with a price. Most people aren’t comfortable with haggling and would like to see what the price of an item is. They still might try to make a deal, but at least they know what you are hoping to sell an item for. Many people shopping at yard sales expect you to know what your items are worth.

You can also have tables where everything is one price, for example rather than labeling each book you could say, “all hard cover books are $2.00”. The items you are selling should be displayed nicely so people can see clearly what you have to offer.

If you have collectables the best place to sell them is on eBay not in a yard sale. If you live in a rural area and don’t expect to have a lot of people show up at your yard sale them you might want to try selling the higher priced items in the local paper or on Craig’s List.

There are many useful sites that will help you to price your items. Here are a few I found:

Salvation Army Value Guide

Garage Sale Pricing Guide

Garage Sale Price Searches

eBay Listings

Check these sites to make sure your items are priced correctly. Price your items 50-75 cents higher than you would like, this will give you a little room in case people want to bargain with you. Be reasonable when you mark prices, shoppers are expecting bargains and you don’t want to have anything left at the end of the day.

If you don’t think you have enough “stuff” for a successful yard sale team up with another family or two. You can then advertise as a “multi family” yard sale and expect more traffic.

Advertising:

A week or two before your sale advertise in the local paper, in any online town forums or even on Facebook if your town has a Facebook page. The evening before the sale or early that morning put signs out, you want to make sure people can find you sale!yard sales

At the end of the day put up a sign that says everything must go and mark things down ½ price. Have these signs made in advance to you can put them out before the yard sale is over. Hopefully these tips will help you to have a successful yard sale.

We held our first yard sale over Labor Day weekend. Due to the holiday there was increased traffic and we had more people stop by than we might have on any other weekend. It was a fun day and we meet many nice people! We’re planning a second yard sale over Columbus Day weekend, any tips you’d like to pass along for holding successful yard sales?

I mentioned several weeks ago that one of my favorite cleaning products was Castile soap. Two items you’ll always find in my cupboard are Castile soap and vinegar! Both are great cleaning products.Castile Soap

There are just simply so many ways to use Castile soap in your household cleaning. Trusty Castile soap and distilled vinegar are all you need to clean and soften your linens. Just use ¼ cup of soap per load and ½ cup of vinegar with the rinse cycle.

Make an herbal dishwashing blend.

Essential oils in this blend have antibacterial, as well as aroma-therapeutic qualities. Plus it just smells so good!

Liquid Castile soap
10 drops lavender essential oil
8 drops rosemary essential oil
4 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Fill a clean 22 oz plastic squirt bottle with Castile soap. Add the essential oils. Shake the bottle before each use. Add 1-2 Tbsp of the liquid to the dishwater and wash as usual. Do note: this blend is not suitable for use in dishwashers.

 

microfiber mopPine Fresh Floor Cleaner

Do you use a microfiber mop? If so try this natural formula for cleaning your floors. It works just as well as commercial pine solvent cleaners, but leaves a light scent more reminiscent of a pine forest than a bucket of chemicals. You can adjust the scent to your preference by increasing or reducing the amount of essential oil used.

1 gallon hot water
2 Tbsp liquid Castile soap
10 drops pine essential oil
5 drops cypress essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a large bucket. Dip a mop into the bucket and squeeze our the excess liquid. Clean the floor by working the sections, using short strokes and dipping the mop as needed. Rinsing is not necessary.

What are your favorite cleaning products? Would I find Castile soap in your pantry?

I grew up in a very frugal home, my mom saved everything! My mother would never have thought to throw out food. It was repurposed into soup or used for lunch, but never thrown out. As a result of my upbringing I have always used leftovers. I also wash out plastic baggies and plastic cutlery for repeated use and when I get a chance I shop in thrift stores and garage sales!

Even before pita bread was a common grocery staple my mother was buying it. If we didn’t eat it up the leftovers were used to make pita chips. I often enjoy the pita chips more than the pita bread!

You will find endless possibilities for these simple chips, which are a great substitute for greasy potato chips and a thrifty use of stale pita bread!Start with some pitas.

Pita Chips

Pitas, cut in half crosswise and then split open
Butter or olive oil, at room temperature
Garlic salt
Dried parsley
(Other dried herbs of your choice)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spread each pita lightly with butter or olive oil and transfer to a baking sheet. Sprinkle them lightly with garlic salt and parsley.Cut pitas in half and spread with butter or olive oil.

Bake the pitas for about 15 minutes or until browned. Watch carefully so they don’t burn!

Cool the pitas completely on the baking sheet and then break apart into tortilla chip size pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to five days.Homemade pita chips.

 

 

Summer humidity and the dampness can create an ideal situation for certain types of mold. Mold can attack your home’s structure as well as its contents (not to mention your health), and it can lead to the need for seriously expensive repairs. Mold usually grows in damp basements, though it can appear anywhere if the conditions are right.

Here’s how to help keep your home mold-free:

Be Spartan. Clothing, paper and furniture are the three biggest moisture magnets.

Run a dehumidifier.humidifier

In the summer months, if it’s not too humid, open the basement windows.basement windows

Avoid air-drying wet clothes in an already damp basement. Instead dry them on a clothesline.clothes drying, prudent living

Store firewood in a shed or garage, or neatly stacked outside under a tarp, not in the house.Wood progress.

Don’t carpet the basement floor.

Keep an eye on any water you have coming into your basement.water in the basement

To absorb musty odors left by previous mold outbreaks, set out a few small bowls of vinegar, or place a lump of dry charcoal in an open metal container.

If you have a bathroom in your basement make sure there are no leaks to cause water to collect under the sink or toilet. If you have a stall shower  make sure there is an adequate fan so that mold doesn’t start to grown.shower mold

Mold is not something you want in your home.

We have a carpeted basement but it is very dry, even so we run a dehumidifier full time during the summer months. This keeps our basement comfortable and dry. What precautions do you take to ward off mold?

In case you were wondering that is NOT our moldy shower or our wet basement wall!!

 

We don’t always have dessert in our house much to my husband’s dismay! However, I am always looking for new ways to use up leftovers and what better way to use that leftover cup of cooked rice than in a delicious, old-fashioned rice pudding? You can add spices, nuts and dried fruits, but this is the classic version and the raisins are optional!Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding

1 cup cooked medium or long grain rice
½ cup raisins
3 large eggs
½ cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp homemade vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter an 8 inch square glass baking dish. Set it aside.

Combine the rice and raisins (if using them) in a 2 quart saucepan and add 1 cup of water. Heat over medium heat until the rice is rehydrated about 10 minutes. Drain if necessary and set aside.Rice Pudding

Meanwhile whisk the eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Add the drained plumped rice and raisins to the mixture. Stir well and pour into the prepared baking dish.

Bake the pudding, uncovered until the center is almost set and a knife inserted within 1 inch of the dish comes out clean, about 45 minutes.Rice Pudding Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. I have to say this is a tasty way to use up leftover rice!Rice Pudding

 

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