Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thrifting...My Tips!

We are a one income family, so we have to budget pretty tightly.
Rather than seeing it as limiting, though, I see it as a blessing.
We HAVE to be good stewards of our money.
We get to plan and use God's gifts in the best way possible.
It's where God has put us...and we try to use our situation to the best!

One thing I rarely do is buy new clothes.
With the exception of under clothing and shoes sometimes, everything we wear comes from a thrift store.
It is so fun and I have learned to just love the thrill in finding treasures.
You have the pleasure of buying high quality, name brands, at a fraction of the cost.


A thrifted outfit for Lily, age 11.
Hollister shirt: $2.99
Old Navy jeans: $3.99
Gap jean jacket: $2.99
TOTAL= $9.97



Gap t-shirt: $1.99
Old Navy cotton cardigan: $2.99
Checkered skirt {homemade} with fabric from Goodwill: $1.99

TOTAL= $6.97


Here are some of my best tips...

1. Have a plan.
I always, always have a list of items needed and 
I stick tight to the rule "one thing in, one thing out."

2. You don't NEED everything in the store because it is a good deal.
Stick to your list...and don't let yourself buy things that are darling and wonderful just because they are a good deal.

3. Look for items "outside the box."
If you can tailor clothes, look in the men's section for shirts you can alter. Or jeans  you can crop or make into shorts.
If I am looking for fabric, instead of JUST looking in the fabric section, I look at sheets, pillowcases, and blankets.
Look for quality...no holes or rips. If there is a tiny flaw, usually the clerk will discount the item if you ask.

4. Start by doing a quick sweep of the particular aisle you are looking in. Then go back and look a those things that caught your eye.

5. I usually make a pile of items I like, then TRY THEM ON!
This is really important because many times I have come home disappointed because something didn't fit right.

6. Shop the sales.
Goodwill has a daily colored tag that is 50% off. I try to buy from those tagged clothes.
Holidays also usually have great discounts.
Get there early :).

7. Shop regularly. 
Yep. If you go too often, the merchandise turnover is not very quick. Every couple of weeks, or once a month, is usually sufficient.

8. Shop thrift stores in high end neighborhoods or college towns.
I know that sounds stereotypical, but chances are you will find high end brands.

9. Find out what days they stock new merchandise.
Then go that day in the afternoon!

10. In the spring and summer...don't forget to check out yard sales! And Facebook usually has swap and trade groups, as well as other places to sell and buy used items!

Another great site: ThredUp for online thrifting.
Don't forget Ebay and Amazon as well.

Happy thrifting!

~Julia


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Simple Things


I found this beautiful quote that, to me, sums up living good in 2015.

"Contentment celebrates grace. The contented heart is satisfied with the Giver and is therefore freed from craving the next gift ... Here is one of the most beautiful fruits of grace-- a heart that is content, more given to worship than demand and more given to the joy of gratitude than the anxiety of want. It is grace and grace alone that can make this kind of peaceful living possible for each of us."

From: New Morning Mercies

Isn't that just so true?
To be happy in the moment.
Satisfied and so full you have nothing more to want.
The fruit of grace...a heart more given to the joy of gratitude than anxiety.
Oh, I love this!
~~~~~~
Simple things give me contentment and joy.
Flowers.
How I NEED to have flowers.
Just a simple jar evokes joy every time I look at it.
It's like a burst of Spring happily calling me from the kitchen table.
I have a plan to grow more flowers this year, in spite of windy, dry conditions, and to sell bouquets in my little stand.
I am also going out on a limb and applying for a scholarship to this marvelous workshop on the other side of our state.
I am in love with Erin's aesthetic design.
She is lovely.


I actually followed my first crochet pattern and made this comfy and charming newsboy hat.
If you'd like a gander at it, here is the link.

My Pinterest board has a few goodies, if you like crocheting, too!
I really, really want to try this pattern, but it looks a little advanced yet for my beginner skills.

Crocheting: Diagonal Weave Beanie or Newsboy. I made this, took this photo and LOVE this pattern!!!

I have been doing a little sewing and whipped up a couple of pillows for the living room from a piece of old ticking I had in the closet.
Old ticking should never stay in a closet!
I love blue and white.
It is so soothing.

The kids made beautiful snowflakes to string on their bedroom window, happily dancing in the light.


Here is to good living this year.
A year full of grace and abundant contentment.

~Julia




Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sledding

 This has been a year of no snow.
We have waited and waited, ever so patiently, for quiet drifting flakes.
This weekend, a thick cloud cover gave us an inch...at our house.

 So, we packed up and drove a few miles into the hills for some serious sledding. 


 It was so very quiet.
The canyons echoed the jolly screams from the kids.


We made a fire and drank hot chocolate like it was going out of style.


And just had fun.


~Julia

Sunday, December 28, 2014

After Christmas...



This after Christmas-time. Isn't it the best?
Just being together and being home...I love it.
The holiday was a gift of the best kind. 
Slower and so enjoyable, though the flu was at our door.

The kids spent the day outdoors on Christmas Eve.
Warm it was out there.
No fluffy white stuff this year!
Christmas Eve cookies were baked in the little kitchen for Santa's arrival and then we donned our best for a beautiful evening Mass.


Oh, how those old carols make me feel like God is near.

The next morning, a flurry of crackly paper and squeals of joy.
Lovely moments spent slowed together and time enjoying one another.
A roast was cooked and other delicious things for dinner.
But most...most I will remember the laughter. 
The smiles of joy around that cozy table with those I hold dearest.

Wishing you a prosperous and lovely New Year. Thank you for visiting time and again here, for your comments and friendship.
It really does mean so much!

Every happiness in 2015.

~Julia


Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Miracles

"Miracles begin understated. 
They begin, and the earth doesn't shake and trumpets don't sound.
 Miracles begin with the plainsong of a promise~ and sometimes not even fully believed. 
This is always the best place for miracles."
~ Ann Voskamp


In these last few days before Christmas, as we hustle to wrap in a fury of festive paper, prepare our holiday menus, bake up a storm, and delight in the joy of family, I hope you can take a few minutes to see the miracles.


They happen everyday.
Really, they do...if you look.
Too often, I miss the miracles and only later revel in the knowledge that something really wonderful happened.

Usually it is in the simple, when you open yourself to just accept Christ and all His grace.
The greatest things are never the things you can buy...rather relationships.
There are miracles in the everyday, the routine, the mundane.

In the cookie baking and scrubbing and cleaning.
In the joy of sharing, giving, receiving.

Sometimes a miracle is plopped right in front of you with a huge red ribbon and you see it right away.
Two years ago my Dad was in the hospital at this time, in the final stages of ALS, hooked to machines to help him breathe, and we were told he would die the next day.

The priest came and he was baptized.

The next morning, while the doctors stood by shaking their heads in utter confusion, he was having waffles and orange juice.
Completely off all machines.
And we had two of the most memorable weeks with him until he went home.

BIG RED BOW on that one.
{My Dad :) }

Sometimes you may not even notice,...the child silently helping fold laundry, or writing you a little love note, your spouse going the extra mile to do something. 
The neighbor who leaves a ribbon-tied package of cookies on your step.
The person who opens the door for you at the store or the kind smile from a stranger.
They're all little miracles.



" Now the miracles stack, multiply. You don't have to work for the coming of the Lord~ you don't have to work for Christmas. The miracle is always that God is gracious. You don't have to earn Christmas, you don't have to perform Christmas, you don't have to make Christmas. You can rest in Christ....open your heart to the miracle of grace."
~Ann Voskamp

Wishing you a day where you can take a few minutes to slow and see the miracles around you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Happiest of holidays to you all and I hope your Christmas is a dear and memorable day!

~Julia




Friday, December 19, 2014

Today...


A boy and his steer.
They really have a bond.

Hope you are having a great start to your day.

~Julia

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Farm Stand

For many years now, I have dreamed of having a little farm stand to sell excess from my garden.
A few months ago, I was reading two of my favorite blogs, Keeping It Cozy and The Red Feedsack, 
and came upon their post about a flower stand the mother/daughter team had created.
It was stunning...and so perfect!!
You can see it HERE.
I was just so inspired ...

My Mom and I are also in cahoots when it comes to the garden.
And so, after the initial inspiration from Dori and Andrea...I put a call out for an old truck bed.
And what do you know?
My nephew FOUND one laying in the weeds.
In the weeds!
Thank you Dylan :)
It had rust! It was perfect...and my sister insisted we take it.


We drug it home and my sweet husband welded the truck frame, cut wood, and tin roofing,
In a week we had a farm stand!

A lot of the materials were recycled which just adds to the charm.

I am so thrilled my Mom and I have a way to sell from our farm... and incredibly lucky to have a hubby who helps me with my ideas.
And a nephew who digs truck beds out of the weeds.


I filled the stand with fresh greens and Mom made a few swags for Christmas.

It has been a fun project in the midst of a busy holiday season.

Hope you are enjoying this blessed time of the year!

~Julia

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Today...

Because the air is moist and cool all at the same time.
Grey blankets the sky.
And the temperature is below freezing.
Because the frost has made the grass crunchy and the cows breathe clouds.
Snow is forecast for tonight.
 Because it is the fourth day of Advent and I wondered what I could create with a gentle heart of love.

I made pie.

Pie makes life good.

Recipe HERE.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Advent Season

Advent.
It means "coming."
The most beautiful season of the year.
We wait.
We wait in hope for a savior to be born and focus our attention on the little, the least.



This Advent, we as a family are going to look for those moments that we can give to the least.
Little moments, like a slow "unfurling of grace," as Ann Voskamp says.

Have you looked at her book, The Greatest Gift?

A group of us are going through it together. 
It is lovely...and a great way to unwrap the love story of Christmas.


Wishing you a wonderful start to Advent!

~Julia

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas in a Jar...Great Neighbor Gift!

My house smells like spicy cinnamon, orange, and nutmeg right now.
Oh, the aroma of Christmas!
I found this idea at Dandee-Designs and I just think it is a perfect little gift for neighbors!

I dried some oranges and apples, added some cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and other spices.
The cute little labels are free and can be printed out {6 to a sheet.}
Best of all, your recipient will have a couple says of their homes smelling divinely Christmas!

Visit Dandee-Designs for instructions.

Happy Christmas!

~Julia

* I used the specified mix for 5 pint jars, and thought it smelled GREAT!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Crochet Pom-Pom Garland

I know...it's only the day after Thanksgiving, but the Christmas season starts for us!

Here is a quick and easy pom-pom garland for your tree, to hang on a mantle, or to wrap your gifts!


What You Will Need

Yarn {I like a thicker version.}
Pom-Poms
Glue Gun


Single crochet until you have desired length.

Don't know how to crochet?
Here is a great tutorial to get started...

After you have finished your chain, just hot glue the pom-poms on at desired width.


That's it!

I made up a few to sell at a bazaar this weekend...and plan on making more to include as gifts for the neighbors.


Happy Holidays!

~Julia

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thanksgiving Ideas

I am so looking forward to a lovely day and full, satisfying meal with those I love.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days. 
Gratefulness for what we have been blessed with, sharing the table with dear friends, and just soaking up the gift of family, food, a warm house, and togetherness.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas for the day...

{just click on the picture}

THANKSGIVING PLACE CARDS

CANNING RING PUMPKIN


THANKSGIVING TABLE SETTING

Free Thanksgiving Gift Tags & Note Card Printables for sharing Thanksgiving Goodies

THESE CUTE INVITATIONS
Free "Give Thanks" Thanksgiving Dinner Invitation

THIS IDEA IS JUST LOVELY
Free Thanksgiving Day Printables. Print on kraft paper for a rustic look. Love the smaller file for Utensil holders!

AND THIS SITE, FOOD52....THEY HAVE THE BEST RECIPES AND MENU FOR THANKSGIVING
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Wishing you a very lovely week in preparation of a thankful day!

~Julia


Friday, November 21, 2014

How to Make a Flannel Infinity Cowl {Tutorial}

Cozy and warm, I love cowls in the winter.
They are just enough warmth and pair perfectly with so many outfits.
Here is a simple tutorial for a flannel infinity cowl.
It is so easy to put together and requires minimal sewing.
These would make lovely Christmas gifts!
The directions are the same for all sizes, from children to adults.
The size doubles over nicely for a looser fit, and triples for a cozier fit.
I like it because I can put it over my nose and mouth when I walk in the cold :)





SUPPLIES

flannel fabric {at least 1 yard} 36 inches long, and 45 inches wide
*Recycled flannel sheets and pillow cases make GREAT sources of fabric!! 
sewing machine

SIZES

Children: 36"wide x 76"long
Adults: 36 inches wide x 90 inches long


First cut fabric to desired size.
For the adult size, simply lay out your fabric, folded in half, so it is facing you 36 inches long and 22 1/2 inches tall.
Cut straight up the center, so you are left with 2 pieces that are 18 inches wide and 45 inches long.
Sew the two ends together to make one giant piece of fabric, 18" x 90".
For the child's size, the measurement will be 18"x76"



Sew the top ends together, right sides facing each other.



Turn inside out.

Now fold one end in, like so...


And tuck the other end in evenly.
Pin together, and sew.

Whalaa!

You have a cozy, snuggly, new cowl to wear.



Stay warm!

~Julia
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