DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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19 May 2014

A thrifty home

I finished the frugal living book on Friday, mainly because I dragged it out by doing bits and pieces that had nothing to do with the book, but I heaved a sigh of relief when the last key strokes were made. I have one more book to write now - on baking - but I'm having time away from books for a while to get back to real life. I need to get into my routines again. I want to clean out cupboards, cook, bake and sew, and I want to write my blog. The books won't be published until early next year so the last one can wait.  This week I'll be writing out a plan of what I'll be talking about when I give a series of talks for the local libraries that start next week. There is a flyer below with the details.


Yesterday I went through my beige and red fabric stashes. I am fortunate to have been the beneficiary of quite a bit of fabric from Tricia and Cathy over the years, and even though I'm not the quilter or patchworker they both are, my cupboard looks like it belongs to one mad patchworker because of their legacies. I'm sure all the quilters and patchers will know what I'm talking about - I pick up a neatly folder piece of fabric and often it will have a circle cut from the middle, or a strip cut off the side, or stars or triangles cut into the most interesting parts of the pattern. Still, beggars can't be choosers and when I accepted their cast offs, I knew that one day I'd have enough time to make quilts and I hoped the passion to create them would still be there.  It is. A few years ago I divided the mixed stash up into colours so when I look for something in particular, it's fairly easy to find it because it's all there, together. 


I want to make a quilt to go over the beige couch we have in the lounge room. I covered it with the quilt Tricia made while she sat with our mum when she was very ill and eventually died. But I want to keep that quilt and don't want it in daily use. We need a cover because when the grandkids are here, like most kids, they can make a mess and even though the couch is 17 years old, I want to keep it going a bit longer. It will be a patch quilt, in no particular style or pattern, just the colours and patterns from the stash that look good to my eye. And because the quilt is just to cover a couch and not a person, I'll use an old quilted mattress protector I have in the linen cupboard as the batting. I also have a couple of old doona/duvet covers that I no longer use that will do nicely as the backing. So apart from the cotton thread I'll have to buy to match the chosen fabric, I won't spend a penny.

And that's good because I snapped back into frugal mode since last Tuesday's government budget. I don't want to discuss the budget or anything else political on my blog, it is what it is and I prefer to just get on with it. But for the overseas readers, many welfare benefits have been cut, the co-payment for a doctor's visit will rise, and after July, fuel prices will rise. When that happens it will filter through to groceries and many other things because most items are delivered, if not manufactured as well, using fuel. Many Australians will be hit hard and although Hanno and I won't have it as bad as most, we're still tightening our belts and we've postponed our trip to Tasmania. We have to do some work on the house that will use the money we would have spent on our holiday. We don't have many holidays so it's a disappointment for both of us, but if we step up on the savings, we'll be able to go next year or the year after when we have the cash again.


We already live thrifty lives and I'm pleased we do. I want to talk about thrift tomorrow. I feel we have more control over what we do than we used to have when we over-spent and wasted so much. Life's main priority then I was working was to repay debt. When you make the decision to live a more simple life it gives you different priorities and more options. You discover there are things you can do to give yourself a better life, and you soon realise that if you do those things, life will be better. I like the idea of us sharing what works for us and I hope that people who are struggling to make ends meet and those who will be effected by the budget can use the information to better their situation.  I look forward to a discussion about frugal life tomorrow.

Please note, the Caloundra sessions are booked out.

22 comments:

  1. It's always a very special feeling that, when your post gets up as your day starts, I am finishing my day (it would be the day before). I feel very connected then. I'm sorry to hear about having to postpone your trip. Elections here are next week and I have the impression that things are going to get harder, whoever gets to push the buttons. It makes me reset my priorities and looking for a more frugal life - and that makes me kinder and milder towards other people somehow. Maybe because a frugal life is so much about sharing (not only stuff, but also experience and advice), it's an interesting and most welcome answer to the hardness lately.

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  2. I wanted to read your book, Simple Living, so I looked it up on the national library database here in Denmark. And to my surprise it was there, so now I'm just waiting for it to arrive at my local library.

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  3. Morning Rhonda, sorry to hear you're postponing your holiday, but you'll enjoy it even more next year when all the "must-dos" are done. I quilt with scraps now and after a few years, while working, when I bought all the matchy bits from a fabric line, I must say I enjoy pulling the scraps out now and finding a way for them to play nicely together. I just made a play quilt for my neighbour's little girl to have in her cubby, I didn't think about it much, if it had pink on it, it went in the quilt. I did 6 and a half inch squares alternated with 3 and a half x 6 and a half inch strips for a bit of interest and to use up smaller pieces. It looks great, I picture her having tea parties on it and reading to her dolls. I now have a blue/green one done the same way cut out ready to stitch for my old neighbour who's just gone into a nursing home. There's always a use for the scraps and bits to give someone pleasure and warmth.
    Looking forward to the thrifty talks tomorrow.

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  4. Hi Rhonda,

    Welcome back! I'm so glad you will be talking about thrift because there's always more to learn, and sometimes I simply forget some of the thrifty things I used to do and fall into bad habits.

    I have to admit I was personally quite depressed by the budget as I've been pedalling very hard to get ahead. I was appalled by the 'no cap on university fees' part of it, as my oldest will be heading for university in three and a half years. This means cutting back even more at home so that I can help the kids get a decent education. I think it's great if kids can take a gap year and contribute some of the funds themselves, but I would hate to see them in the position of many American kids, graduating with enormous amounts of debt before they've even entered the work force.

    Anyway, after feeling depressed about the budget bits that would affect me personally, I realised I just had to get my big girls pants on and get on with it! I decided to focus on continuing working on my old house with the materials I already have to hand, tightening up on things like car use and water use, focusing on the cost of fruit and veg per kilo when meal planning, and just making things last a bit longer again.

    The Winter veg in the garden are thriving and I intend to thrive too!

    Madeleine.X

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  5. Hi Rhonda
    Great to be talking about thrift and the living simply. I have found it such a relief! For busy quilters, there is a book available on quilting with 3 fabric patterns only. Has about 12 different patterns and really great read. I love the way in which you have organised your materials into colours Rhonda. That job for me this.

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  6. Your stash of fabric looks great Rhonda! I'm sure your quilt will look beautiful and will protect your couch. I have my grandparents lounge and it was fairly new before my grandmother passed away. Because it is made out of fabric I have it cover with rugs and quilts. It's so easy to throw them in the washing machine. I can't believe how grubby they get!
    As for the new budget coming out, we have lost a government payment that I used to homeschool our daughter. I will have to find the money elsewhere now so we are tightening our budget even more. This year our vegetable garden is bigger than it has ever been and that helps with our food budget. At the moment and for the next several months we are having pumpkin with everything:)
    Take care and I hope you get your holiday next year.

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  7. I so hate to hear of the money financial troubles our governments and countries are in. Makes me want to live more simple too every day, but I can't yet. I can do a few things now, but I am going to have have to go back to work someplace to get debts and expenses paid. When those are done and we have a piece of land to call our own, I am retiring if I can. My house hold needs me at home more than ever before but now I have to pay those debts and there's no other way to do it but go to work at different places. I may have to work 2 or 3 jobs. I am scared that I won't have some things done in time before our country too is financially tightened again as well. I have read both of your books Rhonda, and I so admire you. I have told my son about you and I mentioned why we should live the way you do. He understands but he still says he wants me to work so that he can get new things. I told him harder times are coming. It's hard for him to grasp that now even though is older, he has special needs and he just doesn't want to give into it. He wants what all the other kids want and it's not about needs. I've explained the difference in the two to him. And I am teaching my daughter and my son the reasons why we need to tighten down more and how to save money on lots of things. I hope it is doing them good to learn now. I know it is, but they still don't want to give in to it. They will thank me later on in life of what I try to teach them.

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  8. Looking forward to reading about thrifty livings tips tomorrow. I'm so exhausted with this pregnancy I've slipped into a few bad habits. One good thing that has happened is the discovery of the breadmaker by my husband- I think he's in love! It's been great not having to worry about having bread in the house, one thing off my mind! We bought new seat & back cushions for our lounge but haven't yet got around to reupholstering. Really need to do so before this baby arrives!

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  9. Sorry about you needing to post-pone your trip to Tassie. But I guess you will enjoy it even more when you do go as there’s nothing worrying you at the back of your mind. I have not been great at budgeting yet, that is one thing I need to tackle this year. We don’t spend a lot I noticed but we have a lot of set expenses which I need to reduce. My plan is to work for another 12 years and then I will retire by the age of 50. So by then I want everything to be paid off (I have no debt other than my mortgage) and live on 10% of my current income. Glad I have 12 years to learn how to do this! I’m very much looking forward to more of your posts on reducing spending – they always contain fantastic tips!

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  10. I've been wondering when the quilting bug would bite you Rhonda. Too bad about the Tassie trip but you'll get there as we will to Qld one day.

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  11. I know that you probably want to be on your own but im sure that there must be many many of your blog readers in Tasmania and for that matter, all the way there and back (make that any where in the world) that would love to have you visit and stay over. Goodness, what a goumet delight that would be as everyone would be trying to outdo each other. Write a travelogue and what you find at each visit. Goodness, id read it. So maybe while you are saving away, you might consider giving your readers a thrill and plan some visits.

    Im a big advocate for "You dont get, if you dont ask". My husband also tells me that i have "more front than David Jones and Myer put together".

    Cheers
    Lynda


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    1. We must share genes, Lynda. I always ask. My mother used to tell people: "Rhonda won't die not knowing". And I must say your proposal is sweet but one of the reasons I want to go on this one holiday is to get away from the computer, the blog, the forum and everything I've been doing online. I want to go where people don't know me. I just want to wander around, enjoy the time with Hanno and my sister and for all of us to dine out, look at this wonderful country of ours and do whatever we feel like doing. It will happen. So thank you for your kind remarks, but it sounds too much like work.

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  12. Glad you are back, Rhonda! Missed your helpful ideas and words! Is there somewhere on the internet where I can learn the basics of quilting? I have never done it, and I don't know of anyone who quilts. I would like to teach myself! Does anyone go to thrift stores and buy clothing to cut up and use that fabric for quilting??

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    1. lejmom, I can't tell you the best place to learn online but I do know the ladies at the forum will steer you in the right direction and probably even help you with some early exercises. We have quite a few quilters there.

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  13. What a wonderful way to build up a fabric stash, your quilt will remind all those that have gifted you fabric of the things they made from each piece too. Someday I would like to make a quilt but using fabric as you are rather than buying the pieces, it may take time........but that is free too!

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  14. I think as we get older, holidays are nice for a break (which we don't do every year or even every other year). Our priority with spare cash is to get the house right, get any bigger jobs done whilst we can still do them so that hopefully, in the future smaller jobs will only need to be budgeted for. We are currently watching Coast, Australia, what a diverse and beautiful country you live in and that is the only way we will be able to visit, via TV.

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  15. I'm sorry to hear that the same problems in USA have come to roost in your country I always thought of your country as being isolated from the woes of big government. Boy, was I wrong. I'm getting the impression there is no where on this earth to get away from it. Ladies, keep your spirits up. Where there's a will, there's a way. I can't say how glad I am that I was born frugal. Why, I'm nothing more than an aged hippy! Stay safe.

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  16. Hi Rhonda,
    I'm looking forward to that post. We are in the same situation here in The Netherlands, eventhough they say the crisis is at an end.

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  17. Looking forward to your next post! I just finished reading Radical Homemakers....kind of the wrong wording for the title to me but lots of very good stuff and ideas. The same thing is happening in the USA but they hide it a little bit better....just makes me want to make sure we can sustain as long as possible if need be.....This weekend was the first time I said no to going somewhere with my mom and sisters for the weekend....just felt like I didn't want to spend the money. And I survived...! lol...

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  18. Before you ditch your holiday completely wait and see how the budget translates - there will be some horse trading and not all measures will be approved, seems a shame not to still consider going when you are both in good enough health - Tasmania would be a wonderful place to holiday

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    1. We're not ditching the holiday, Helsyd, just postponing it. The money will be used on a renovation here at home.

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  19. I live here in the states in Kentucky and where I live in north western part, the cost of fuel for auto gasoline is about $3.65 per gallon. But where my parents live in south eastern part of Kentucky, gasoline prices are already $3.89 per gallon and rising more and will be more after July of this year. One thing about it, not being able to work right now, I have not had to spend out for gasoline and I am thankful as right now I do not have the extra money for that. So I keep my trips to a minimum and I only go out when I have to. I live within walking distance of a grocery store called IGA but their prices are way higher than Aldi. So I go to Aldi about once every 2 weeks and stock up. Of course I have to travel over the state line to go there and its about a 35 minute drive, but it's not that bad if we only go once every 2 weeks and shop with a list and stick by the list and get what we need to last us for a bit. Sometimes when we go, we can not find some of the items on our list but that's when we either shop locally within our city or our neighborhood or we do without it. And it's fine if we do without it. Kids are complaining though because they want to go out to eat more. I think if I make a picnic and take them out to the park to eat it then they would feel like they are eating out instead of at restaurants. We just simply can not afford restaurant foods. And since I bought a new appliance our electric bill is going down. And I've been unplugging what I can. We still do not have any property and land lord does not want anything on this property either so we can not grow our own food. If we did grown our own, we would cut down a lot on grocery shopping. And there is a big warehouse where I live and farms too that sell things in bulk. The farms sell a lot of produce but I only buy what's in season when we can afford it, some things are just too high to buy there. But anyway I love this post Rhonda.

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