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Iceberg Roses In January Detail The Prudent Homemaker

It was a busy week in the garden.

I picked lemons from the garden.

I cut Swiss chard and beet greens from the garden.

I pruned my iceberg roses and brought all of the roses inside to enjoy.

White Pigeon in the garden The Prudent Homemaker

I dug a few more small bushes that I started last year by tip layering and moved them to other places in the garden.

I planted seeds for lettuce, leeks, larkspur, white strawberries, sunflowers, zucchini, and nasturtiums.

Iceberg Roses in January The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money and find joy this past week?

 

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Thrift Store Skirt Refashion

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Last spring, when I was 8 months pregnant, I went through my closet and ruthlessly edited out clothing that I had, cough, outgrown before I became pregnant and that I figured was never going to fit me after my eighth baby was born. Before I took it all off to be donated, I offered it to a couple of people, including my daughter.

She picked a skirt that I had bought at the thrift store for $6--a beautiful a-line linen skirt that was always too small for me but that I had high hopes would fit me at some point in between the births of my other children. It still had the thrift store tag on it.

It was a size too big for her, so she took it in.

Thrift Store Skirt Refashion The Prudent Homemaker

Then she realized what it needed to be even better was to be a knee-length skirt, rather than a mid-calf length skirt. She cut the skirt down and rehemmed it, and it was instantly more flattering.

Thrift Store Skirt to Cloche The Prudent Homemaker

Not long after that, she found a great free vintage cloche pattern that she loved. There was just enough fabric in the part she had cut off to make herself a matching cloche. (This is the same pattern I used to make her a warm cloche for Christmas that you can see here.)

She lined the cloche with some lining I already had, and a grosgrain ribbon I had leftover from another project.

Thrift The Prudent Homemaker

I've been losing weight and the skirt is close to fitting me now, but I've been told I can't have it back. And that's okay. She looks lovely.

Thrift Store Skirt and Cloche The Prudent Homemaker

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The $1 Dress

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The 1 Dress The Prudent Homemaker

Winter just attended her first formal dance, a Winter Ball put on by the local LDS Seminary, which she attends. They have 375 students who attend a religion class early every morning an hour before school starts. 

Because of our dating standards, only those who are 16 and older could bring dates to the dance. Everyone was welcome to bring friends to the dance.  Winter invited a cousin to come with her, which worked out well as Winter's closest friends are 16 and had dates.

Our plan was to scout thrift stores for a dress, but then a dress came along. Winter told my mom about the dance and my mom mentioned a dress she had bought at a garage sale for $1 several years ago. She had never worn it and she said Winter could have it if she was interested.

Dollar Dress The Prudent Homemaker

Winter really liked the dress, but it was several sizes too large. She removed the sleeves, took it up in the shoulders, and took in the sides. 

The sleeves were unlined. I spent $1.50 for some fabric to line them. She cut the sleeves smaller and sewed them back on.

Adjusting the shoulder seams meant the back was a bit too high. She cut the neckline down in back, and then removed the zipper and put in back in a bit lower for the new neckline.

 Dollar Dress Detail The Prudent Homemaker

Her accessories were simple.  She took a warm scarf that I bought at a garage sale last year for $1, wore a pair of earrings that were a birthday gift from her grandmother a year ago and a necklace that I had given her for that same birthday (I paid $1 for the necklace at a garage sale).

Dollar Dress Necklace Detail The Prudent Homemaker

She had a pair of vintage gloves that were given to her when she was a child. One of the buttons was broken and the buttons were white plastic that looked to have once been pearl covered. She removed them and replaced them with some pearlized shank buttons from my button jar. 

Dollar Dress Gloves Detail The Prudent Homemaker

She decorated a hair comb with a piece of a broken cubic zirconia bracelet that she received at a Church activity a couple of years ago and part of a broken plastic pearl necklace. I gave her a set of plain hair combs for Christmas, and she used one of them as the base. She glued the jewels on with some E-6000 glue.

Dollar Dress Hair Comb The Prudent Homemaker

 

Dollar Dress shoes The Prudent Homemaker

Her shoes were a recent gift. Her friend's mom had bought a pair of pearlized pale pink shoes for her daughter online. The shoes and the box were both marked "Child size 7"--but the shoes were too large for her daughter. I wondered if they were possibly an adult-sized 7, and I tried them on, but they were still too big. I asked Winter, who wears a women's size 10, if she wanted to try them on. They fit her perfectly!

Dollar Dress Black and White The Prudent Homemaker

She did her own hair and makeup. She and a few friends got together ahead of time and Winter did hair for a couple of the girls and another girl's makeup.

Several friends had dinner ahead of the dance at a friend's house near the dance, and then they all went together to the dance.

Dollar Dress 2 The Prudent Homemaker

 She'll have other occasions to wear this dress again, so it will get plenty of use in the future, too!

Flourish 2

Linking to: Moonlight and Mason Jars

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 Black Bean Soup The Prudent Homemaker

Black bean soup topped with tomatoes harvested green (and ripened off the vine) from the garden in early December.

I made a large pot of black beans in the crockpot. We had taco soup with them one day and black bean soup three days.  

I harvested beet greens, lemons, and Swiss chard from the garden.

I pruned grape vines to make for a productive grape harvest this year.

I pruned rose bushes to keep my roses healthy and to help them produce well this year.

I dug euonymus plants from ones I started by tip layering and moved them to where I am starting a new hedge in the garden.

I also started some new plants from cuttings from other bushes for the same hedge. 

Following my plans for a more productive garden this year, I planted seeds this past week for spinach, 2 kinds of lettuce, 2 kinds of snow peas, turnips, Swiss chard, 3 colors of larkspur, and Danish flag poppies. 

Because of rain, I was able to not water the grass for the second week in a row. This time of year, we are allotted 1 day a week to water grass. It is rare to have enough rainfall to be able to not water. and I am grateful to have been able to turn off the sprinklers and drip irrigation.

My mom found a very large candle lantern for free out by the trash and gave it to me. It has a small crack in the base, but looks great still.  I'm not sure if I'll use it for a decoration, a large terrarium, or if I should use it as a huge cloche in the garden.

I watched the Call the Midwife Christmas special on Pbs.org. I don't have time to watch a lot of shows, but it is nice to be able to watch a few things online from time to time!

Finlandia The Prudent Homemaker

My eldest needed some new piano music for her lessons. About 13 years ago, shortly after we got our piano, I had purchased a couple of piano books full of music for the time when we might need them. I was able to pull out this book and my daughter began using it for her practice (and I didn't have to buy anything new).

My husband and I had two date nights at home.

My husband cut my hair.

I mended a sheet.

Our silverware drawer broke in the back. In December, my husband contacted the company who made our cabinets and they sent him replacement pieces to fix to the drawer at no cost to us. They came this week and my husband fixed the drawer.

I found simple contentment in putting things away (including all of the Christmas decorations) and making the house tidier and less cluttered.

 

What did you do to save money and find joy this week?

 

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My Garden Goals for 2017

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January is the month where I spend the most time in my garden, pruning, tidying, and planting. I'm outside working for several hours almost every day.

I have some goals I'd like to achieve in the garden this year, and a lot of those will come from good planning and preparation done this month. This year, I want the garden to be both more productive and more beautiful. Here's how I plan to make that happen:

Pea Seedlings The Prudent Homemaker

Snow Pea Seedlings; these are the 30 day "Little Snowpea White" that I also grew last year; I love the short time to harvest!

 

More Productive:

 

1. Bring in new dirt to the garden. This will refresh the area and also fill in where the garden soil has settled over the years. 

2. Fertilize more often. Fruit trees should be fertilized here 3 times a year (February, May, and September), and roses every few weeks. I generally only fertilize my fruit trees once a year (I never get around to the other two times) and roses once in a while.

3. Plant more often. I want to make sure to do lots of succession planting (where I plant again every few weeks), especially with lettuce.

4. Plant earlier. I want to plant more before the heat sets in. Our last frost date is February 15th, which means warm-season crops can go in the ground then.

5. Add new plants. Last year I added 2 more pomegranate trees (in pots), a mandarin tree (in a pot), male and female pistachio trees, and 2 new blackberry bushes. This year I want to add at least 5 more blackberry bushes (and if I can figure out a way to add more trees, I'll do that too!). 

6. Make the shady areas more productive by planting more of what works well in the shade in these areas. This includes Swiss chard, New Zealand spinach, parsley, and Vesca (Alpine) strawberries.

7. Plant more squash.

8. Spray more often. I lost part of my grape crop last year to powdery mildew (and almost lost all of it). I will spray neem oil a couple of times before the leaves come out in March/April, and again in April or May if needed.

9. Bag grapes in paper lunch bags (stapled on) to keep the birds from eating the grapes.

10. Plant more snow peas, Armenian cucumbers, and red noodle beans. To do this, I am unrolling some homemade tomato cages (made from 6-inch concrete mesh) and using stakes that I already have to use the flat mesh as a trellis (pictured above).

11. Plant more chives and green onions from seed. 

12. Plant more artichokes.

January Sundial The Prudent Homemaker Four of the new rose bushes surrounded by flowering cabbage

 

More beautiful:

Last year I added 14 new rose bushes to the garden in back. Five of these did not make it; the company will be sending me replacements in February. The plants are small to start, but the ones that I planted last year should start flowering this year.

I planted a few hundred flower bulbs over the last few weeks, and I've still got more to plant. I'll be planting those this year.

 

1. Plant 250 daffodil bulbs in the garden (hopefully all this week if I can).

2. Plant small hedges along the walkway in the white garden. 

3. Dig 6 large bushes from the white garden (from the planting areas along the walkway, seen in the photo below) and transplant them into pots on the back patio. I have been growing these for 3 years and pruning them to become spheres. By the end of this year, there is a good chance they will have reached the size and shape I've been planning.

4. Plant another hedge in the garden in back. I'm going slow on this and using cuttings from existing bushes to grow the hedge. It will take many more years to grow it this way, but it doesn't cost me any money to do it like this.

5. Plant nasturtium seeds in all of the potted fruit trees on the patio. The seeds are ones we collected from the garden last year.

6. Plant rows of flower seeds in between the vegetables.

7. Resod and reseed grass in areas where we lost grass last year (we had some larger areas die due to broken sprinkler issues, as well as some of the normal loss due to grubs, for which we always reseed in spring).

8. Purchase a new edger and learn how to use it. I'd like to have sharp edges on the grass around the beds this year.

9. Prune hedges 4 times a year to keep them looking good.

January Walkway Planter The Prudent Homemaker

The start of changes to the front walkway: I just planted daffodils in this bed last week as well as these pansies. The large bushes will be transplanted into pots in the backyard and will hopefully finish growing into the sphere shapes I have always planned for them to be (but now they'll do so in the backyard). I'll surround each of these 4 planters by the walkway with smaller box leaf euonymus hedges; I've put in 2 small ones already at the top of this planter (near the other large bush in the planter) and I am waiting for the nursery to have more for sale over the next few months. The bed is soaked from a wonderful rain we had a few days ago; this bed is in full shade all day and will be for the next couple of months.

 

The local nursery will be having many sales over the next four months, and they'll have coupons too, so I will look for sales on the blackberries and box leaf euonymus as well as coupons to make those sales even better deals.

We're enjoying temperatures in the 50's and 60's this week; a frost is possible this month and we'll likely get at least one night of it sometime later this month, but for the most part, it's spring-like weather with lots to do!

Tagged in: Goals The Garden
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January's Shopping Plans and Meal Plans

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Meyer Lemons On Tree The Prudent Homemaker

For January, my grocery shopping budget is $0. We'll be eating from what we have on hand.

There are lots of reasons for choosing to eat from what you have on hand for the month. January is a great month to do it: You can rotate through food you've put aside all year (break out the home-canned summer goodness!), eat the meat you've bought on sale, and enjoy warm soups from the pantry with homemade bread (and for my southern hemisphere readers, it can be a great month to enjoy the bounties of your summer garden!)

For those who have seasonal work,  January can be a low-income month. 

For many, it's a high utility month, driven by the cost of keeping one's house warm during the winter.

Winter weather may have you wishing to stay home more and make fewer trips out in the snow and ice.

You may want to start a garden this year, and cutting the food budget in January can be a place to find the money for seeds and plants.

Eating from the pantry may give you a chance to start or work to replenish an emergency fund.

If you're having a tighter than usual month financially, consider making  January an eat from the pantry month.

 

In my garden, I have a few fresh additions to the pantry, fridge, and freezer's offerings. I have a bevy of lemons hanging from the trees.

Swiss Chard in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I have giant Swiss chard.

I have a few herbs that will make it through our short winter, including rosemary and parsley. Many herbs die back to the ground during winter and return in spring, including chives, oregano, and tarragon (tarragon only comes back if it is cloched all winter). 

I have seedlings coming up of snow peas, lettuce, and radishes. I should have radishes and lettuce ready to harvest by the end of the month.

 

Some of our meals this month will be:

 

Breakfasts:

 

Oatmeal

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Crepes with lemon juice and powdered sugar/homemade strawberry jam

Whole wheat waffles

Citrus fruit salad

Fruit smoothies with canned and frozen fruit from the garden

Homemade yogurt, granola, and frozen fruit with honey and/or home-canned jam

Cubed potatoes with onions

Eggs with toast 

 

Swiss chard soup The Prudent Homemaker

Lunches:

 

Swiss chard soup

Tomato Basil Soup

Rosemary White Bean Soup

Pasta e Fagioli

Taco Soup

Alphabet soup

Minestrone soup

Butternut squash soup

Black beans and rice with salad from the garden (lettuce, radishes, and the indoor-ripening tomatoes I picked in December from the garden)

White Bean Fettucini Alfredo sauce over pasta with garlic green beans

 

I'll make Rosemary Olive Oil bread and French bread to go with our soups.

 

Afternoon Snacks:

 

Popcorn

French bread and/or biscuits with strawberry jam, fig jam, apple butter and apricot vanilla jam

Hot chocolate

Fruit Crumble

White bean dip with homemade pitas

Apples

Oatmeal cookies

Fruit Salad with home canned fruit

Banana bread

 

Dinners:

 

Black bean burgers with steak fries (we have a good number of potatoes in the pantry) and corn and tomato salad

Pork loin roast with fig sauce, mashed potatoes, applesauce, and Swiss chard

Tuscan Tomato bread soup with salad from the garden

Herb roasted chicken with Swiss chard and lemon parmesan pasta

Fish (that we were gifted last year) with roasted rosemary potatoes and Swiss chard

Chili with cornbread

Spaghetti with garlic green beans

Barbecue chicken with corn, baked potatoes,  and lemonade

Lemon chicken with garlic chicken rice, beets, petite peas, and lemonade

 

What are your meal plans for this month? Are you planing to stock up on any great sales this month, or will you be eating from what you have on hand?

 

 

 

 

Tagged in: Grocery Shopping
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