Thursday

The 3/50 Project...Support Your Community & Help Save the Independent, Local Stores...Learn How.




3
...
What three independently owned businesses would you miss if they disappeared? Stop in. Say hello. Pick up something that brings a smile. Your purchases are what keep those businesses around.


50...
If half the employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned independent businesses, it would generate more than $42.6 billion* in revenue [$25 each month would be 21.3 billion]. Imagine the positive impact if ¾ the employed population did that


68...
For every $100 spent in locally owned independent store, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home.


1 ...
The number of people it takes to start the trend…you.



Text & Art Copyright Forever Upward 2009; all rights reserved.


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Why am I supporting this cause?


I am thinking of the wonderful little green-grocer I used to frequent ...they knew us by name...saved the little grapes we like so much...and always commented on how much the children had grown. Where is it now? Out of business. Why? Because it couldn’t compete with the big supermarket that opened nearby.


I am thinking of the tiny, independent clothing store that my daughters used to shop at (finding the prettiest little shirts for under $10) it too is now gone.


I am thinking of my favorite independent nursery that couldn't compete with Home Depot, Target and Wal-Mart. I learned how to garden from the kind souls at that wonderful place. It is now gone as well.


Please know that I am not advocating that you spend fifty-dollars a month unnecessarily. However, when you do need to spend, perhaps try to spread a little of your necessary purchases at the local independent shops. I have seen too many close in these last few years.
Many had been around for decades.



While I am a huge advocate for shopping local, obviously I won't stop buying on-line, or at my favorite discount store. That being said, I
will make a conscious effort not to neglect the local merchants…as they do tend to be forgotten when we’re in a hurry…and if enough people forget about them they will disappear.

To participate and/or learn more please visit this link: http://www.the350project.org/home.html



*Employment statistics courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor 2/6/09

Friday

Caught in the act...

Here's what happened when our cat Zoey discovered the decoupaged eggshells.
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"What's this? Hmmm...."


"...this one requires a closer look."




"Delicious!


I'm tasting a hint of...



chicken??"




("I should tell her I could do without the roughage.")
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I know, it borders on nauseating. I am a completer push-over for cute. In fact, my newest VERY favorite website is
LOLCat--I canhazcheezburger. Don't be put off by the crazy name or the weird spelling in the captions...it all adds to the whimsy and humor. I highly recommend it for a hearty laugh or two!
It's lightened many a bad day for me. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
P.S. They also have a LOL Dogs -- I has a Hot Dog ! Also hilarious and adorable!!

Wednesday

The Mystic Egg: Creative Recycling of the Ordinary Egg Shell

"Heaven is like an egg, and the earth is like the yolk of the egg."
--Chang Heng

Excerpt and concept taken from:
Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons by Tracey McBride;
published by Bantam Books, NY, NY 2000.

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The tradition of decorating the shells of eggs spans many countries and centuries. It is so diverse that the exact origin of this ritual is somewhat obscure. We do know that the egg has long been a symbol of the mysterious miracle of birth and renewal. The fascination for this ancient symbol continues into modern times, where eggs of all sizes and compositions continue to be dyed, etched, painted, bejeweled, decoupaged, and transformed into lovely decorative elements that impart a charming whimsy to tabletops and bookshelves, and are especially nice to display during the season of spring.


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Simple Creative Recycling:

The Decoupaged Egg Shell


Begin with a raw egg.


Hollow out the egg shell and sterilize.



Pull out those scraps of recycled gift wrap, hand made papers & Mod Podge (TM)



Decoupage and, if desired, ornament your hollowed-out egg shells.
Embellish them with air-dried foliage such as
rosebuds, air ferns, hydrangea blossoms & raffia strands.

HINT: The embellishments at the top also hide a larger than desired hole in the shell,
from an overly ambitious hollowing-out.


Display them singly...


...in a rustic egg cup.


Or, group them together as a table centerpiece.


The results are charming...



the process easy...



and



the eggs remain beautiful from year-to-year.



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Easter Eggs

Several years ago, I saw lovely vintage Easter eggs composed of cardboard and covered with the most enchanting floral papers. Unable to find these vintage beauties in my price range, I decided to try my hand at duplicating them by way of hollow eggshells, using scraps of pretty tissue and wrapping paper....and decoupage glue. The results are charming, the process quite easy, and the eggs remain beautiful from year to year.

====

How To Hollow Out an Egg

It does take a bit of patience to blow an egg from its shell, but the process is a simple one. To do so, take a large sewing needle and press it firmly but gently into one end of a fresh, uncooked egg until you have made a small hole. With your finger over the hole, tilt the egg upside down and repeat the process on the opposite end, making sure that your second opening is wider than the first (about the size of a small pea). Blow through the smaller opening (over a bowl, of course :) until the egg comes out of the larger hole. [If you have trouble with the yolk coming out, you may want to pierce it with a long needle or toothpick.] Once the egg is empty, wash it well, using water and a few drops of chlorine bleach. Once it has dried completely [I usually give it a day or two if I'm using the shell for decoupage] you may decorate it as you wish. HINT: I cover the larger hole, using my glue gun, before decoupaging. These eggs should keep indefinitely (be gentle with them, however, as they are still somewhat fragile."
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Tuesday

Mary's Meanderings: Outdoors Wednesday

Mary's Meanderings: Outdoors Wednesday

Festivals of Spring: THE FEAST OF SAINT PATRICK. Creative Recycling of Irish Linen


BRING this IDEA...

Drawing by Alexis Larson-Gibson; published in Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons

...
to LIFE !


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IRISH LINEN SACHETS

"I have loved flowers that fade, within whose magic tents
Rich hues have marriage made with sweet unmemoried scents"
--Robert Bridges

"Did you know that March is National Craft Month? Every month is craft month in our house, but we will happily use this designation as an excuse to create a frugal luxury from recycled handkerchiefs (found at yard sales or flea markets) or hemmed scraps of good-quality fabrics you have on hand in your craft or sewing pantry). I have used green-and-white cotton gingham, as well as small square damask napkins imprinted with a clover design. If you have heirloom handkerchiefs, this is a lovely way to transform them into useful gifts to pass along to your daughter, niece or grand-daughter. Or you my want to cut squares from the better parts of worn but beloved baby clothes, childhood dresses and the like.

To Make:
  • One square handkerchief or hemmed piece of square fabric (the fabric may be any size but it must be square in order for this project to work properly)
  • Sewing needle and thread to match your fabric.
  • Dried herbs or natural potpourri, such as lavender, rose petals, scented geraniums, or shredded orange, lemon, or apple peel
  • Essential oil to enhance scent (optional)
  • Small amount of cotton batting or several cotton balls
  • 14 to 18 inches of 3/4 inch satin, grosgrain, or chiffon ribbon (wired ribbon looks attractive as well)
  • Optional: Attractive vintage buttons to ornament your sachet
Place handkerchief right-side down and form an envelope with it by bringing three of it's four corners to meet in the center. Stitch the corners in place (be certain you don't stitch through to the other side). Leave the fourth flap loose. Turn the fabric envelope right-side out.



Use ribbon to form a hanging loop by cutting it in half and stitching or gluing one piece of ribbon to the top corner of each side. Bring ends together at the top and tie into a bow. Fill the fabric envelope with potpourri and cotton batting, cotton balls or a pillow form . NOTE: If you opt to use cotton balls, you may put a few drops of essential oil on them...be careful not to overdue the oil...also, make sure it's soaked well into the cotton before inserting into the linen sachet in order to avoid staining. Close the flap of the fabric envelope. You may leave it loose or stitch it closed.



This charming sachet looks lovely hanging inside your clothes closet, on the handle of the bathroom door (inside or out) you may also dangle the sachet from a small, decorative hook to scent a room or closet.


If you are feeling ambitious, make several of these sachets as additions to your Gift Pantry (TM)--They make lovely token gifts to present to teachers, friends, and hostesses or as an addition to a themed gift basket.



Above except was taken from: Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons, by Tracey McBride,
Published by Bantam Books, NY, NY, 2000.

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NOTE: The sachet pillow above is filled with a small pillow form
that has been scented with lavender and clover.

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For more thoughts on this Saint Patrick's Day feast day visit
Frugal Luxuries Food
and
Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons.

Thursday

Frugal Fashionistas: Tips for Hosting a Clothing Swap

"One man's beauty, another's ugliness;
One man's wisdom another's folly."

--Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays

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Clear out the closet and invite your friends over for a fun and free shopping fest!


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Save
money and refresh wardrobes by hosting a clothing swap.
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I found this wonderful LA Times article by Susan Carpenter

about some frugal, fashionable wardrobe fun.
---
Clear out the closet
and invite your friends over for a
fun, and free, shopping fest.

In better days, diamonds may have been a girl's best friend. But in such dark economic times, it's friends that are a girl's best friend -- especially if you can raid their closets.

Clothing swaps are growing in popularity, and for good reason. The events, where people donate clothes they no longer wear and walk away with items they never even knew they wanted, provide a shopping high without the buyer's remorse, a wardrobe refresher without the plastic. In an era when people with money aren't spending it, and people who don't have much are hoarding it, clothing swaps are a cost-free cure for clothing lust, which, despite the ever-declining economy, is a difficult sin to swear off, even if most of us have more than enough to wear.
Click Here to Read more...

Tips for Hosting Your Own Clothing Swap

If you're thinking of hosting a clothing swap but don’t know where to begin? Here are some do’s and don’ts from Suzanne Agasi, ClothingSwap.org founder and director, who’s hosted about 170 swaps.

Do :

  • Bring only gently worn or new items.
  • Make sure the clothes are clean.
  • Encourage women to bring accessories, such as shoes, purses, belts, hats, scarves and costume jewelry.
  • Allow time for guests to mingle before trying on clothes.
  • Provide food and drinks, or encourage guests to bring food to share.
  • Designate one room for changing.
  • Put shoes and clothes worn to the event in a hands-off area if they’re removed for changing.
  • Donate whatever clothes are left at the end of the swap.

Don’t:

  • Discriminate: Invite women of all shapes and sizes.
  • Hold back the good stuff. If you aren’t wearing it, it’s worth nothing.
  • Make fun of the clothes.
  • Take things home without trying them on.
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Wednesday

A Tiny Baby...Prayers...and...Miracles...


A Call for Miracles...

John Singer Sargent

A few days ago, I was catching-up with some of my favorite blogs.
I came across a special post on Charmaine's blog "Beautiful Things to Share".
She told a tender story about a tiny infant,
born three months early...
with heart problems:
------
PRAYERS FOR KAYLEIGH FREEMAN…
Here are two web addresses to give you pictures and the entire story...
http://kayleighannefreeman.blogspot.com/
http://give4kayleigh.blogspot.com/
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At the top of the website is this letter from Kayleigh’s parents:

“This is the story of the journey of one of Gods Miracles. Kayleigh Anne Freeman was born three months early on June 23rd 2008 and suffers from sever IUGR and Preeclampsia.
Kayleigh weighed a mere 1 lb 1 oz and was a fragile 10.5 inches long.
Her near miraculous birth was just the beginning of her journey. She has since overcome the impossible with several major surgeries....one of which established her as the smallest baby to ever undergo open heart surgery at one of the largest heart institutes in America. She has been very close to going home twice and also has been very close to going home to the Lord. Our NICU has been a wild ride and we have room for one more if you want to join in. All we ask is that you bring your prayers and prepare to fall in love with a one pound miracle.”

Thursday

The Ultimate Trash-To-Treasure Tale...

Mundane Miracles TM
I recently read this story about a thrown-away dog who saved a little girl's life.
I thought you might enjoy it as much as I.
It's an amazing tale. (No pun intended.).
Truly, a wonderful story.
http://www.zootoo.com/petnews/thrownawaydogsaveslittlegirlsl-1098

Monday

Scented Fragments: Creative ReUse (tm) of Fabric Fragments

Sweet Slumber Sachets (tm)

Herbal Lore tells us that sleeping with a sprig of dried lavender beneath your pillow ensures only blissful dreams.


We used fabric sample fragments, dried lavender and a glue gun...
to create these
Sweet... Slumber... Sachets.

(We designed and printed the tags using our computer.)




Fragments of Fabric...

Transform into...

Simple...Scented...Sachets.


"I wish that life should not be cheap, but sacred.
I wish the days to be as centuries, loaded, fragrant."

--Ralph Waldo Emerson


Fragrance carries the power to evoke memory and provoke emotion.


In our home the smell of rosemary reminds us of winter meals with family (I often add it to my heartier home made stews).

The scent of roses reminds us of the first perfume used by our older daughter (Katie).

The fresh smell of mint brings to mind that hot summer night when our entire family slept out under the stars, in the garden.
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Gift Pantry (tm) Note: This lovely little craft project doesn't take a lot of time from start to finish. Thus, whenever time and materials are available, you might want to make a few of these little luxuries and use them to stock your gift pantry throughout the year. They're lovely as token hostess gifts...as an addition to a larger gift basket...or use with (or in lieu of ) a bow to top a larger gift. Hint: No need to limit yourself to fabric sample squares. Any fragment of interesting fabric will work nicely. Think of vintage linens, handkerchiefs, fabric remnants, and/or outgrown clothing with sentimental value.

The original "FRUGAL LUXURIES" ~ Based on the books by Tracey McBride ~ Established 1993

A warm Thank You to all kind souls and kindred spirits who generously take the time to leave a comment...your encouragement, trust and support are deeply appreciated...please know that we read each and every message and will respond as time allows.

~~~

Frugal Luxuries
is a registered trademark.


~~~


"FRUGAL LUXURIES: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul" was written by Tracey McBride and published by Bantam Books, NY, in 1997. It was the first of its genre to synergize the elements of simplicity, frugality and gracious living.

After more than a decade, FRUGAL LUXURIES has never been out of print and is now more relevant than ever.

"It's our hope that a new generation, faced with a teetering economy, will also find this information helpful and enlightening."



Sending Good Thought to Our Special Band of Kind and Kindred Souls!

Frugal Luxuries Book I

Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons Book II

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