Website Update

A Little Announcement

Apple branches and Figs The Prudent Homemaker

I spent some time this past week writing down all of the blog posts I’d like to feature between now and the end of the year. I have a lot of projects on my to-do list that I’m excited to share with you. I also am planning to share more photos of our home on the blog.

I’ve had several requests over the years to share pictures of our home. I’ve hesitated to share in the past for several reasons, the biggest of which being the state of our living room furniture. About 12 years ago, we purchased a custom couch, loveseat, chairs and ottomans for our living room. Prior to that, our living room furniture consisted of an old green futon with honey-stained wooden arms and a broken skinny recliner with wooden arms in light oak. When guests came to visit, we would let them sit on the futon and we would pull in chairs from our kitchen table to sit on–grey plastic folding chairs with a mottled fabric for seats.

We kept that old furniture until we had paid off the last of my husband’s graduate school loans, and then, we had saved enough money, we went shopping to buy something nicer. Once we started looking, we realized that we hadn’t saved anywhere near enough, so we saved some more. In the meantime, we went to every furniture store in town. No one had anything we liked, and finally, we decided to have something made to our specifications. 

I chose the fabric for our pieces, as it was 1/4 the cost of buying from the place that made furniture, and I could buy something thicker that would last longer. I purchased all of the fabric 50% off at Joann’s from the upholstery section  and they used it to cover our furniture.

As time went on, however, the fabric begin to wear, starting with the ottomans. I recovered the top of my husband’s ottoman and it wore through again. 

The fabric we chose for our couch and loveseat was really thick, and it held up for a long time. Eventually, though, it wore through, and for the last few years, we’ve been living with furniture that has looked like this:

Living Room Chair Before The Prudent Homemaker

Because our house is a great-room style, where all the main rooms are open to one another, you can see these from almost every room.

Granted, I had throws we could use for 2 pieces of furniture, and so we covered up 2 pieces while we could, always looking forward to the time when we could have them recovered.

Earlier this year, we had saved enough money to have them recovered.  I made new throw pillows for them.

Another reason I’ve hesitated is that there was so much more to do in the house, and my home decor budget for the last decade has been pretty slim. And by slim, I mean $0 to $100 a year most years. I made little changes, like printing some photos for free when Walgreen’s had an offer going, and buying a few picture frames for $0.50 to $1.00 each at garage sales. I haven’t even put out most of those garage sale frames yet (they’ve been in a box in my sewing room), but I’ve been hanging them this last week. Now I just need to take some new photos for them.

Our income has increased this year, as the real estate market is seeing sales here in numbers it hasn’t seen since 2006.  If things continue as they have been, we may make half of what we made when we purchased out home in 2006. We haven’t seen this much income in years, and it is a blessing to have a change.

We’ve been purchasing some needed furniture and rearranging some things we already have. I’m planning on making some more things for our home, and I look forward to sharing them with you.

I realize that some of you are living frugally, to accomplish your dreams, and some are struggling to hang on, as we have done for a long time. It is for those who are in the latter situation  that I have hesitated to share. I love reading home decor blogs, but I have had to limit myself over the years, as what is “budget” decorating to many people was out of my reach completely.  

There is sometimes a strange belief that those who live frugally must have nothing beautiful, and that those who go through a loss or decline of income should own nothing nice from before a job was lost or an income declined. Neither is true. We all crave beauty, and long to enjoy it in one way or another. There are ways to have beauty on every budget–even the $0 budget, I have found. I saw a blogger pick weeds from her yard to put in vases on a table the other day. If she hadn’t said they were weeds, and then showed a close-up (it was grass going to seed!), I would have never guessed! 

All of the organizing and decluttering we’ve been doing has also made it possible for me to focus more on making some things. I’m looking forward to not only doing some more sewing, but sprucing up a couple of things in the sewing room (which we just rearranged the week before last, bringing in a piece of furniture from another room). When those projects are done, I’ll be working on my Gift a Day series in November.

Is there anything else you’d like to see me feature on the blog? Let me know in the comments below!

 

P. S. I won’t be sharing my monthly goals for a while. Instead, I look forward to surprising you with my completed projects!

 

 

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127 Comments

  1. Love the chair. It could be a cushion cousion to my couch. We too are waiting to replace some of our old and warn furniture until we reach some of out financial goals and then have the cash to pay for them. I look forward to seeing your finished projects.

  2. Thank you for sharing. I Have always thought you had a beautiful home and wondered how it was possible on the limited budget. I though maybe you guys just had the stuff before the economy and children. Sharing that your life isn’t perfect and neither is your house is WONDERFUL, it help those who are on budget to see no one’s perfect no matter what you see, and it takes everyone time to get things done. πŸ™‚

  3. I am very excited for this as we are on a limited income with 5 children. I have my boys in a room together and currently in toddler beds. I need to get beds as well as a dresser. I am thinking possibly bunk beds because it saves on space, just looking for sturdy ones. I would rather wait for study than just buy the first think available. I really enjoy your frugality, now with your increased budget do you think you will still live how you have been for so many years?

  4. I am SO glad you shared this post and, especially this picture. My furniture, though not quite as threadbare, is a close second. I can’t wait to see your completed projects!

  5. I look forward to this series! Many blogs, even those on a “budget” and encouraging readers to be happy with what they have and focus less on things seem to buy new things every week! I appreciate your creativity and your challenge to accomplish goals, even when you (and we) have less.

  6. I look forward to being ‘surprised’ by your projects. I have been on a creative roll of late in my home and I am trying to keep up with all that my mind has come up with, lol. I think this post is very well written. We do all crave beauty and I find that no matter how low the budget we’ll find a way to manage something lovely even if it’s roadside grasses.

  7. Sometimes, home can be made more lovely simply by getting rid of things! I’ve been in your home and I loved it. You are very good at doing nice things with “nothing.” As to what to share on your blog? I love the frugal (almost free) gift ideas you share. I once made some of your book marks and gave them for Christmas.

  8. We have been in our house for 11 years, and other than furniture for our children (paid for by my generous in-laws), we have only bought a well made Amish table and chairs, a couple rocking recliners right before our first child was born, craigslisted patio set and headboard for our bed, and a piano bought for a song from my friend’s parents who were downsizing. We otherwise sleep in a master bedroom with my husband’s childhood dresser, an ugly blonde wood dresser I bought from Target 15 years ago, and and some mismatched bookshelves. We haven’t even painted every room in the house. Our living room furniture is the futon my husband bought and used to sleep on when he finished college in ’99. It doesn’t really make for a great Beauty on a Budget post, but we are happy to have no debt other than our mortgage and the ability to pay for my further education.

  9. Thank you for sharing… It lets me know that you are HUMAN! For years I have followed your blog and felt like you were superwoman and the guru of deal finding and that I would never be able to reach that caliber in my frugality. Of course, because we are human, we only want to put our best out there for the world to see and that’s ok. I am just glad to know that I am not alone in this struggle. Cannot wait for you to share your ideas and accomplishments in this area!!!!

  10. Of course!

    We are only able to live on half our income compared to when we purchased our home because we’ve continued to lower our expenses, and because we were able to refinance our home. Most mortgages are 25-30% of one’s income. Looking at that, and the fact that we’re maybe increasing our income up to 50% of what we made, gives you an idea of how tight it has been for a long time. Making an amount not much more than our mortgage for years has been super tight.

    There are certainly some changes this year: a $400 month grocery budget instead of $100, a larger garden budget, and the ability to make repairs and buy some needed things we’ve put off for years. And a few more flowers in the garden . . .

    Other than that–no big changes.

    We did buy bunk beds as part of our needed furniture this year. We made it do without, but this works better for the space. I look forward to sharing them.

  11. I love the dining room table Brandy, and wonder if there is a story behind it? The edging is lovely, and the legs … a beautiful piece. Looking forward to your photos etc. I’d love to see how baby is growing ….. ann lee s

  12. I’m not asking for anything specific since everything you post interests me.
    I find the idea home decor timely for me. I am redoing part of my house on a very strict budget.
    I look forward to your posts.
    Thanks!

  13. Brandy, I am glad that you and your family are able to get nicer things as your income had improved. I have always admired your frugality, your simple elegance and especially the “do-what-you-can-with-what-you-haveness” you seem to possess. I’ve learned a lot from you and we couldn’t be more different. I am not married and my family is one cat, one dog and a myriad of dust bunnies. However, having said that, even though your house furnishings will improve, the HOME that you created is what inspired me and that had nothing to do with things. It was more about priorities, nurturing relationships and seeking to make where I live beautiful even if it was just me, so I began to make myself “at home” where ever I was doing the best I can with what I have.

    Thanks, Brandi!

  14. Oh Brandy! I have always adored you, your attitude and your family. We have really loved learning how to be frugal and make food storage work for our family from you for the last eight years I think? THANK YOU for sharing something so personal with us. I have been struggling this year with where my head needs to be in regards to our home and what it looks like inside. We have lived for the last eight years, plus, in what I fondly refer to as “Early American Yard sale” style. All of our home school room is furnished with white folding tables from Sam’s and plastic shelving or cheap bookcases from thrift stores or Target. We are in a situation where we can (in theory) afford more. A much bigger house in a much, much nicer area. I just kept struggling with if we SHOULD afford it. Thank you for giving us a glimpse further into your life and modeling for us a beautifully modest and frugal lifestyle.

  15. How interesting to see you post this now! We have been in a similar situation for the past number of years. And will be for many more. We recently were put in the position of having to buy a new car. We will be putting every spare penny towards paying it of a.s.a.p! In addition to that, we are a one income family. In an effort to keep things from feeling lIke they are tight, I have decided to spruce up our wonderful home. This past week I gathered a number of unused frames and a few decorative pieces from around our home and made a new picture wall above our piano. And to be honest, I LOVE it. I will use what we already have and making what I can. But we have paint and lots to decorate and move around, to be honest I’m pretty excited!

  16. Thanks for keeping it real! Your pictures show everyone such an amazing space. It is comforting to know you have “problem” areas too. Looking forward to your future posts!

  17. I’ll share that story when I share the new dining room chairs and how I rearranged the gallery wall above it in an upcoming post.:D

    I’ve been trying to get photos of the baby, but I haven’t been happy with those I’ve taken lately. I’ll have to set up a proper shoot to get some good shots soon!

  18. Hi Brandy,
    Congrats that you and your family have an increase to live on this year. That is wonderful news. Personally, if I may suggest, I don’t think you should hold back in sharing monthly goals. I am someone who lives on a incredibly tight budget and would not be offended by that. I am sure that you will continue to live frugally, because honestly, most people who really are frugal continue to live frugally, even with more money. I’m sure you will be able to purchase more grocery items like meat, instead of needing to live without it, and some little luxuries. Nothing wrong with that, and nothing wrong with improving your lives, whatever you choose to do. I think it’s great that you are sensitive to those who continue to struggle, and that is something I don’t always see on blogs from those who once needed to live frugally. If you keep that sensitivity (am sure that you will), it will not be discouraging to share your goals with others. Of course whatever you choose to do, but just my .02 from someone who will probably have to live frugally the rest of my life. And you know what? I’m still very blessed with all that I have, and need very little, so it’s all good. πŸ™‚

  19. Well, I have big dreams–but also a new baby and 7 other children to take care of! So I will accomplish what I can and then share as projects are done.

    I’ve had “make news dresses for myself” on my goal posts for several months now. It hasn’t happened yet, but as soon as I get them done I will do a post on them. I’ve still got some grapes to process and a baby blessing outfit to make, and then on to the dresses! And somewhere in there I want to take new photos of the children to hang on the wall πŸ™‚

  20. We had old furniture for many, many years. We were able to buy nice new leather furniture for our living room back in 2001 and it still looks brand-new so it was a good choice. My family room furniture is all hand-me-down from a relative and pretty much everything else in our house my husband was able to build. When we had the old furniture- which was admittedly pretty worn out and ugly, I would use flat sheets to cover it. Worked great and was easy to clean! We have a really neat store that gets close-outs from major retailers and I could often find nice sheets for a few dollars. And believe me that was all I could afford to spend.
    One time we needed a bed for our son and just did not have any money, so I used an old wooden door set on four concrete blocks with a free twin-sized mattress. I covered the door and blocks with a sheet and you really did not know what was under there. It worked for years!

  21. I sometimes arrange windfall branches in a jar! Congrats on the good income this year and keep being awesome. Really enjoy your journey!

  22. Brandy, your transparency is endearing. We ALL, from time to time, have threadbare pieces of furniture in our homes that need a little (or a lot) of attention. You have such a way of truly making life beautiful. It’s not about stuff, we all want beautiful things but you have a truly good (and teaching) heart for helping all of us find the beauty in our homes and lives. You are also diligent in reminding us to be responsible with our finances. Its amazing what some homemakers are able to do with even a very small budget. For all of that (and more) I thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to see your new projects.

  23. Really looking forward to the new decor. That is what budgeting is about, allocating money for needs. Love what you make, so can not wait to be inspired! I pay cash and have lots of jobs that need to be done. One at a time!

  24. I sincerly loved this post, because I too have had this sense that everything you have is perfect. It helps me see my own ‘needs improvement’ spots as just that, and not failures.

    Everything in our living room at this time is second hand with the exception of one table we purchased new about 25 years ago, at a big box store, for $24.99 (assembly required!) Most of the rest of it was given to us, and while we have painted and repaired a bit, we’ve mostly been blessed with things in decent working order. Out of current fashion, maybe, but we are OK with that. I can ‘update’ with a pillow or something else small scale/handmade. πŸ™‚ Thanks again for sharing with us!

  25. Definitely understand having dreams and goals. Just wasn’t sure if you were hesitant to share monthly goals due to your increase or not, and wanted to assure you that it didn’t matter.

  26. Of course things wear out, sometimes before we can afford to replace them, says the lady sitting on the saggy couch cushion with the piece of plywood under it. I am now shopping for a couch, and it will be the last piece of my living room makeover, which started about 4 years ago with new carpet. Then a new recliner for my husband, then a new loveseat (for seating for company mostly) and now–when I find one I like, the new couch will be the last of it. Tables and entertainment center, and two lamps are just fine as they are. We have been married 54 years and have never had a new bedroom set for ourselves. Our first had belonged to my parents, and the one we’re using now belonged to my husband’s parents. Our guest room set was my husband’s when he was a child–we did have it refinished at the sheltered workshop, where they do excellent work for reasonable prices. The kids (2) had bedroom furniture which we gave to them when they moved out on their own, and I bought 3 pieces for a small bedroom when my Mom was spending every other weekend here for about 13 years between the time my father passed and she had to go into nursing care.

    The upshot of that is that my grand-daughter values vintage items and has her apartment furnished with her choice of second hand items along with a collection of modern touches. She collects art and has more good pieces than we do, but also has many older things on the walls also. She has a good eye, and eclectic taste, and I’m so proud of her for that. If she tires of something, she has a yard sale and moves out what she no longer enjoys.

    We keep dreaming but if we suddenly fulfilled all our dreams, we’d have nothing to look forward to. I will be looking for your finished projects in the future, and thanks for sharing them.

  27. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, grit is firmness of mind or spirit : unyielding courage in the face of hardship.
    You have “grit” Brandy and a lot to be proud of.
    I have seen pics of your throws and I thought at the time you were smart to keep your furniture covered with all your kids. I keep looking at those pet covers they sell thinking I may buy them just to use for daily wear and tear.

  28. Love this post!! Great to see we all have the same troubles. I would love to see more of your sewing, embroidering, frugal tips for the baby, and french inspired posts.

  29. Honestly, I like this better. The pictures of things where everything looks so perfect often made me feel bad. Good job.

  30. Brandy,
    I am so happy that after so many years your financial situation is improving! I look forward to seeing the posts of your completed projects πŸ™‚
    I went from having a very good paying job to unemployed and now a low paying terrible job. Whenever I get down and depressed and feel sorry for myself I read your blog posts and remind myself that most people are or had a difficult time and we all must do what we can. I also make myself count at least 5 blessings/things I am grateful for. You have been such an inspiration to me! I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to write these posts and publish for us all to learn from. Our couch was found on a curb by my husband several years ago. It has a long tear at the bottom of the back (it’s pleather or something like that). I cover it up with throw pillows πŸ™‚ My chair was given to me, again many years ago, by my mom and I bought my husbands arm chair for him last Christmas and made payments until it was paid for. His previous 3 arm chairs were also found on a curb lol. ( Don’t worry, they sat outside for awhile before being brought in due to bugs). My house needs some new interior walls as the old cement board is crumbling and our carpet is light blue. LOL

  31. Correction: The used curb furniture was stored for awhile in our garage to ensure there were no bugs on the couch/chairs before being brought into the house. We haven’t had a bug problem yet πŸ™‚ LOL Just wanted to clarify since I proofread AFTER I saved! OOPS!

  32. Brandy, you are a wonderful woman. Not many people think of other’s feelings like you do. Your furniture looks like ours did for years when our children were young. Now, I am glad to say it is in better condition, but because I keep it covered 99% of the time. Between teen boys and dogs I keep it covered with a couple of heavy duty painting drop cloths. The only furniture in our home we brought new is in our living room. The other rooms furniture came as hand me downs and thrift stores. Even our bedroom furniture is a king size bed that my husband made the head board for me from an old door we got at an antique store when we were on vacation. I love the old chippy paint on it. He ‘sealed’ it because I am sure the paint is lead paint (it is very old) and he added a piece of ceiling molding to the top piece for finish it off. The night stands are antique sewing machines. My dresser my grandfather made. David’s dresser came from his mother’s home when she moved and got rid of a lot of furniture.
    My husband built the bunk beds in the boys room. They share so I can have a sewing room. Their dresser and book case came from a thrift store. My kitchen table and chairs belonged to my grandmother and was in her kitchen. It is an enamel top table and the chairs are heavy. I have recovered the seats a number of times. I do not have a formal dinning room. We turned that into a TV room for the boys. It has a sofa from a thrift store and 2 chairs too.

  33. And this is why I have limited my home decor blog reading, and have hesitated to share. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad, because I know that reading many home decor blogs can make me feel that way. I hope that sharing future pictures won’t make you feel bad, Liz.

  34. I feel better knowing that my kids aren’t the only ones that are hard on furniture!
    I’m excited to see your future posts.

  35. I totally understand making do with what you have. We have been empty nesters now for 2 years and let me tell you its quite the change ! For years we kept the same furniture and finally last winter we decided to buy new leather family room furniture. A first ever for us. The other furniture we held on to while all the DDs were home and were very worn. Now that we are ENs, I am slowly but surely replacing everything with better quality items. New bath towels was the first thing. I was so thrilled to have them. There is no way we could have afforded the quality towels I bought back when the girls were home. I didn’t dare take the chance to have them ruined by polish or who knows what else ! LOL I actually have a list of things I would like to replace.. slow but sure… cash only.. but we will get there…

  36. I have to admit, I was surprised by the state of your furniture, as I too thought your home was perfectly decorated (which you owned before your income dropped, I assumed). It was nice to realize that wasn’t the case. I have always been lucky on the furniture department. When I moved into my first apartment, my grandparents happened to be downsizing to an apartment from their home of many years. I was gifted most of my furniture from them, as they didn’t need it. Over the years we bought a few items, but not very much. We still have most of it tucked away in storage as we await buying another home while living with my mom. When we do finally buy a house, I believe my mother is planning to sell her home and downsize as well. We will probably be gifted furniture again. It may not be perfect, or new, but it does the trick for what we need and that’s what’s important.

    As for what posts I’d like to see, I’ve always loved when you shared some of the frugal things other family members have accomplished, especially your children. In a world where “entertainment” usually equals costly outing, it’s always nice to hear about “entertainment” ideas that don’t cost much. I sometimes get the impression that you do it all, but I believe that you and your family work together more than we realize to accomplish everything that you do (with you at the helm of course). I always love when you share your homemade gift and home decor ideas as well as ideas on how you make your resources stretch to the max. After all it was you that taught me to buy ham on sale during holiday season and slice to use as cold meat…thank you for that wonderful tip, Brandy! And your homemade gifts inspired me to take up embroidery, as well as try my hand at making my own homemade gifts which has saved us quite a bit of money too! I can’t wait to see all your planned posts this year. There is so much I look forward to learning from you. Thank you for all your inspiration, Brandy!:D

  37. I love hearing how you save and make do but also thrilled for your family that you can now buys some items you have needed. Thank you for opening your home and sharing your ideas with us.

  38. No, no, I’m sorry. You also inspire me SO much. You make me long for and aspire for beauty. I just felt bad for not being so organized nor having it so together. How about a teensy bit of this and a lot of the other! πŸ™‚

  39. I’m so glad you can work on improving something that bothers you in your home. I think it is important to share how to spend wisely in times of plenty, and how to save for the leaner years. We too have had a good year and we are trying to make the best decisions now to save up for the possible leaner years ahead. I would like to learn more about how to plan for a future we can’t see. We have half the number of children that you do, and so we have to think of their needs too as they grow.

  40. Brandy, I am curious as to how you keep your dining table looking so nice and scratch-free. I think you said the children do school-work on that table. I cant understand how it still looks so great! Will you tell us your secret?

  41. Susan, it definitely has dings and scratches! They just don’t always show up in photos.

    My husband put several coats of polyurethane on the top of this table after we bought it and realized it scratched extremely easily. It’s been a wonderful thing!

  42. Liz,

    Things have become rather unorganized here over the last few years. I’ve been going through piles of things that are just in the middle of a room because there is no where to put them. I have been getting rid of so much. I also will not hesitate to say no to things in the future. A lot of what I never had a place for were hand-me-downs that didn’t work for us. If we’re given more than we can use I want to pass it on right away, rather than holding on to it for several years and allowing it to overrun my home. We’ve donated 5 carloads of items this year and I have another load’s worth sitting in my house right now, ready to be donated.

  43. Looking forward to your new posts . I don’t comment much but always read your posts and comments . Just love them
    Dee

  44. I have never commented before, though I’ve followed you, Brandy, since you had a website only and from the beginning of your blog. Both have been a real help to me when my husband lost his job at 56 years old. I love reading your blog and all the comments from others. Till I started reading here, I thought I was very frugal πŸ™‚
    Like others I enjoy everything you share with us, especially the Gift a Day series, other frugal crafts, and your recipes. I love your French bread and make it regularly, but each time I do I wonder if I’m doing it “right”. I’ve always wished you would do a step by step tutorial (with photos) on making it. More preparedness articles is something else I’d like to see.
    Thank you for all you do Brandy.

  45. I think it’s beautiful that you’re being so honest about your struggles. We also have a $0 budget for decorating/furniture, but that’s going to change once we move into our first home this October. I’m really looking forward to seeing how your projects turn out! I’m sure we’re going to need to get creative to save money (houses are so expensive!).

  46. I always say Brandy the reason why we are able to buy and go places is because of our frugality. I think that is true with you too. You made it well through some rough times and have done a wonderful job. I can’t wait to see your new projects. I’m so glad your husband is making more this year!

    Have a great night

  47. Hi, Brandy!
    I thought this was a refreshing reveal. I guess i was one of those who thought the house was probably pretty perfect. It’s nice to see that we’re all kind of in the same boat. Words don’t always convey the way pictures do.
    Like so many others, my home is not perfect. Old, ugly, brown kitchen with a linoleum floor that needs to be replaced years ago. My bathroom commode is dated 1982 inside the tank. (I’m sure this is why our water bill keeps going up.)
    Whatever you decide to post is fine by me. I tend to pick and choose anyway since i don’t have young children at home anymore. I love the frugal accomplishments and sometimes re-read them several times so (maybe) some of it will stick in my brain. You’ve been a blessing to many of us and i’m thankful i found your blog!

  48. I would rather see furniture used by happy children than beautiful furniture that the unhappy child cannot sit, play, read or cuddle on!

  49. Brandy, as a lover of home, anything you choose to post about it is fine with me. I love ‘re-purposing, decorating, sewing, crafts, etc. I even enjoy watching OTHER people cook lol. I think that about the only thing I’d find disheartening is that you paid someone else to do it all! The great thing about sharing things like a well-used sofa is that it generates some ideas of how to cover it, hide it, or whatever…at every price point. I think that would be a blessing for everyone.
    Personally, I’m dealing with a 20 yo sofa that is I fair condition, but I want to brighten things up and it’s a challenge without much $. Thanks to this post, drop cloths are on my radar!!

  50. That is a very wise decision. We had so much to clean out when we moved this past spring, it took several months to do the job properly. My house looked ok, it was just really big and there were many, many storage areas where I was keeping things I “might” need later. I am determined that I will live differently in our new home. It is going to be 1/3 the size of the old one, so I will probably notice the excess sooner:) Anyway, it was NOT FUN! I don’t want to do it again. It’s hard to keep on top of it with many children, homeschool and a busy life full of activity, so good job for working on it while you can.

  51. I love reading your site and all the great suggestions given by you and your readers. I personally, would not feel bad at all if you shared decorating ideas, whether or not I could afford them. Decorating is not my strength, so I would probably get some great ideas.

    Every person goes through seasons in their lives. Right now, you are in a season of abundance. You appreciate it more, I think, than someone who has never had to live with less. You have been in a season of working with less for quite a while. Just because I am in my season of less right now would never be a reason for me to grudge you your season of plenty. I know that my circumstances will improve again. (After almost a year of my husband’s unemployment and living on savings, a severance package, and the small amount I earned, I expect I’ve got no where to go but “up” in the finance department) What matters more to me than the amount I am living on is living with thankfulness, integrity, and not losing my faith. We have not lacked for one single thing we needed during this entire time. Often, we have had much, much more than what we needed.

    I am delighted for you. Congratulations!

    By the way, I threw away some furniture that was quite similar in condition to what you pictured when I moved. There are times, even for one who has raised many of my 8 children (3 left at home) and considers herself very mellow and easy-going, when enough is enough. And, those chairs of mine were done! I figure that we can replace the 3 beds and other furniture I tossed with other used, but better, items, if the house size allows. After all, some of what I had was gathered for free from the side of the road. I figure I can get some more that way just as easily. We have always entertained often, held family gatherings, 4H meetings, home-school classes, caseworker visits and parties for children, youth, and families no matter what the condition of my furniture. Not one person has ever declined due to the shabbiness of my furnishings. I always say a nice bouquet of zinnias, a poinsettia, a throw blanket….etc.,gives people something else to look at and catches the eye. It’s looking like we have a house to buy–just a few inspections need to be done–I’m getting excited!

  52. I love your seasonal recipe calendars so I vote for more of those..I am the main breadwinner and in 2 yrs I have to quit my full time job and intern for a year to become a Lisc. School Psychologist so anything that can help me feed my crew is super appreciated!

  53. Brandy.. I understand.. my furniture looked almost this bad that we got rid of finally earlier this year. I was embarrassed to have anyone here it was so dirty and tore up from my Jack Russell terrier and all the dogs we have had through the years. When we had company we would cover them with sheets or bed throws. We finally used some of our income tax return to buy a couch and I was so embarrassed to even put that old furniture out to the curb. A lot more work needs done to my house a little each year is all we can do for now.

  54. Brandy, thank you for this post. I am thankful you shared so much of your thinking….as well as the photo of the chair that has seen better days. I realize that everything in your life can’t be perfect, so the chair was a nice reminder of that. You have so many skills that I admire, and get so much accomplished, that it is easy to ascribe superhuman qualities to you πŸ˜‰

    Thanks to your blog and comments, I now have a pantry, cook 95 percent of our meals at home and bake our bread!
    There are lots of frugality blogs in this world, your writing style and kindness set you apart. As someone else noted here, our lives aren’t that similar to yours, my husband and I are mostly retired, have no kids, one dog, and no garden (yet) yet I find so much here to learn.

    In terms of areas of future topics, I enjoy topics of pantry building, frugal activities, gift making, I really enjoyed Winter’s trek write up, and preparedness. I look forward to your blog update every Monday, truth be told, you could probably write up a story about tomato harvesting and it would be interesting ;).

  55. ive gone past shame and being put down by comments from family and friends , years of living on a budget that left only pennies after the bills and food was purchased. My partner gets more disabled every year , hes not going to get any better .
    the carpets are going to holes , ive patched up furniture so many times its like a constant part of the chores , money wise things arent going to improve , no amount of trying harder is going to change that .
    But what we do have is lots of love from most of the kids and the grandson and somehow that makes up for the lack of material things .

  56. I would like more back posts from when your blog was a different site. I remember reading a few years ago and I wish I could go back and reread the entries. I completely understand if that isn’t something you are looking at, though. Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  57. Brandy, it’s so honest and open of you to share parts of your home you chose not to in the past. I would venture to guess that most of us readers have rooms and furniture we want to improve, but can’t because of lack of finances or lack of inspiration. I find your blog more “real” than a lot of others blogs I’ve read. I especially love your frugal and healthy, yummy recipes.

    My husband and I are now empty-nesters, and I finally have the opportunity to convert one bedroom into a “my own” room. My craft supplies, fabric, yarn, and sewing machine are scattered all over the house in different closets, bedrooms, and in the basement storage room. I will be using repurposed furnishings (table, chairs, bookcases, plastic tubs, shelves, etc.) to make this room. I want it to be simple, cozy, inviting, pretty, and most of all organized. You mentioned you have a sewing room. I would love to see how you organized and placed your machine and supplies into your room. Would you pretty please share your sewing room?

  58. Thank you Brandy for being so honest about everything you share….the main reason I follow you. It just shows it is what it is and you make he best of everything in your living circumstances!!!!

  59. I always love your project posts (I missed your gift a day series this most recent holiday season) so I’m looking forward to what you’ve got in store for us. I’m especially excited for the home tour since the glimpses we have seen of your house seem so chic and stylish.

  60. Hi Brandy,

    Like many others I thought your formidable skills meant that you whipped out the perfect home fix solution to every problem. However when I saw that chair, I just laughed.
    That chair is absolutely fabulous. I hope my furniture gets as much wear as that chair.
    I hope your family, and your furniture enjoy another 20 years of living with each other.

  61. Brandi, congratulations on resisting to cave in to the urge to buy nice furniture on credit. I have always noticed that you wait until you can get beautiful and tasteful items, and on a shoestring budget at that. You obviously have fine taste and you always inspire me. I always look forward to your projects. How do you do it all? This year I splurged on a new Master bedroom set. It is the first time I did that since I got my first home in 1973. I bought it all with money I have earned on ebay. I have time to do that because I am retired and there is just my husband and me and two cats. I also use my ebay income towards early payment of our mortgage which we hope to have paid off in the next couple of years. I also wrote a new book on homemaking this year which is on Amazon, and am just about finished with the Audible version. You are a true inspiration. I hope you will write a book when you have more time as your children grow up.

  62. Stacy,

    My website has always been at this URL. The service I used didn’t always allow a blog, so I had a blogspot blog, and when my current hosting site allowed a blog, I brought ALL of the blogspot blog posts over to this site. The only thing that didn’t transfer were all of the comments; it limited them to 25 comments per post. All of my content is here, though!

  63. Karen,

    I have always wanted to share my sewing room, but it has been simply shameful before. As it you can’t see the floor. I have been blessed with a lot of fabric from people and there is just no more room to store it. So, I have been editing it down to what I like the most, and getting rid of a lot. I’ve also added two more storage solutions to the room recently, including a bookcase that I moved into the room from another rooom just about 2 weeks ago. But there are still 3 boxes’ worth of items that have to be organized and put away somewhere. Then I plan to tackle the GIANT mending pile, fix two things (upcoming projects that I will feature), make something (another feature) and THEN I can show off my sewing room. It’s a lot, but it’s closer than the room has ever been to me being able to share it, and I want to do it soon!

    In the meantime, I have a Pinterest board for sewing rooms that I have been using as inspiration in cleaning and organizing my own room. You can find it here: https://www.pinterest.com/prudent/vintage-sewing-room/

  64. First,it’s not about what you have, it’s about who you love. I too would practice caution about posting pictures of my home.I wouldn’t want set myself up for criminals .
    I have a couple of those types of chairs. Both are now sitting in the garage waiting for me to get the money up for material as the one dog about when through the cushion to the floor. Our children were raised with curbside/dump digging furniture. At one time I pulled the mattress out from under my bed for a child (not on anything other than the floor). When the last 4 graduated (two early)in 2001, we bought new bedroom furniture and a couch and love seat with hassock which is now thread bare but money is at zero. We always ask through the family and friends when we are looking for something.

    I’ll miss your goals postings. First thought is always , well Brandi has it on her list to do so I should be able to get mine done (she has 8 kids and I only have 2 dogs) also with the second being, see it’s okay I didn’t get it done, Brandi didn’t either….SMILE.

  65. I vote for the sewing room also…as I can’t see the floor or even open the closet door without something falling on me. TOP it off , I have to do my sewing at the dining table instead of in the room as it’s not heated and during the winter here in OH the room has dropped to below freezing (not much insulation in this old farm house).

    Blessed be you and yours

  66. Brandy, You are a delight!! I’ve never commented before but oh my, this post…I, too, have had a good chuckle. It seems any number of us are, or have been, in a similar predicament.

    Reading about the drop cloths brought to mind something I’d like to share. I got one of my grandmother’s old chairs, once upholstered in a lovely green printed silk. Of course the years had taken their toll and we weren’t able to afford anything quite that lovely. I bought a drop cloth and had an upholsterer use that to cover the chair. When I went to pick it up, the lady said, “So many women choose linen to recover furniture but you have saved a fortune and it looks every bit as good!” I am pleased to say the chair looks every bit as good today. Then again, the boys have grown and left home. πŸ™‚

  67. Brandy,
    I like that you share ways in which you are now able to purchase things which you had to previously do without. I think we all share in your joy and it reminds us that we too can get there one day. I remember a while back you mentioned that you were able to purchase some face cleansing products that you hadn’t had in several years. It made me feel great to know you could enjoy that small pleasure in life. I look forward to hearing about your new furniture purchases.

  68. Hi Brandy,
    I’m just wondering if you have always had a furniture/household savings fund even when you were living on 100.00 a month for food. Thanks! Lynn

  69. I follow your blog yet rarely comment. How right you are that we all crave and deserve beauty around us no matter our budgets! Home decor is one of my passions yet on budget. (So much well-crafted, solid wood furniture ends up at thrift stores. On a small, budget over time with some elbow grease it is possible to buy nice furniture. I’ve refinished some. Buying upholstery used can be a gamble though. It’s better to buy new if possible to avoid bugs. That takes time to save.)
    One of the things I most appreciate about your approach is how you and your family seem grateful for what you have and finding beauty in the everyday. You get so much done though and provide inspiration to others! Unintentionally, that can cause some of us to feel a little inadequate. I can speak for myself and sometimes chastise myself for not accomplishing more when I see bloggers do it. I realize that is silly often but it’s true. I appreciate all your posts and inspiration, thank you! This one helped to show that you too have things you wish you could change, like the chairs, and how long you saved. I appreciate that and look forward to your coming posts!

  70. I don’t think there is anything to be ashamed of in having threadbare furniture. As I speak (write) I am lying on a ? 20ish year old sofa ( there are holes). Last month I bought a new sofa for the first time in my life (sofa company selling on discount on eBay). This is the first time I have done this ( I am not in my 20s or 30s) Making older things beautiful/ repurposing things is so much better than buying new. I find your blog ( and comments) inspirational.

  71. That’s true. πŸ™‚ [u]Home for Good: Homemaking Simplicity & Contentment is available in paperback or Kindle format on Amazon by Linda C. Shields (me.) My granddaughter has been visiting for 3 months with her family and we just finished the narration for Audible today with her help! I think it will be downloaded very shortly. But I swear, I think that Brandi could write a fantastic book, too. PLUS do the photography. I did photograph our front door on my own book, which was fun since it is PINK!

  72. Wow, do I love that idea! My favorite chair is fraying on the arms. I will definitely keep that in mind when it comes time for reupholstery.

  73. One of my favorite pieces of furniture in my apartment is a very small upholstered chair. It holds some great memories as it used to be in my Mom’s bedroom when I was a young girl. A few years ago, I found a cover at IKEA that, sort of, fit it. If anyone lifts up the cover, though, they’d see duct tape holding the chair together. It’s not the most comfortable to sit in, but I love it. It’s tattered and not perfect but has a history filled with lots of love and people I have loved. That is more important to me then anything from the store or a magazine or Pinterest.
    I love reading your blog, Brandy, precisely because it is so real and you share from your heart. Thank-you.

  74. I haven’t commented for quite a while but this post really touched my heart. I enjoy your blog so much, I learn so much from you and your readers in their comments. This blog is amazing and different and stands out to me because of your personality Brandy. I feel that you value relationships above things, that is why you are so sensitive to your readers who may be struggling.

    We just recently replaced an old sofa, circa 1962, a “four-seater” that looked Early American to me with a high back, that was covered in a brown heavy upholstery fabric, maybe Hurculon? that was indestructible. This was a hand-me-down that I didn’t like, not my style at all, but I lived with it for over 20 years. When we could finally afford a new sofa I was thrilled! But my 13 year old son was devastated–he loved that sofa! I was so surprised! But it was the memories that made that sofa precious to him. We saved the covers from the seat cushions and are planning to make a floor pouf. If I can find the time . . .

    There is always more that needs to be done in our house than there is money. We have torn carpeting (you can see the green pad in big patches) in a bedroom but every time I think I may have some money to replace it there is another unexpected urgent expense. I have made a list of home projects that I can do for free, recovering pillows, framing calendar prints, and remodeling old curtains to keep my mind off those things I can’t do. Practicing gratitude is helpful too!

    I love the beautiful hem-stitched runner in your photo of the dining table. I love textiles and am grateful that I’ve inherited several nice pieces that I use on my table. Thanks for inspiring me to keep looking for the beauty!

  75. Brandy-
    Thank you so much for sharing. I knew you had purchased your home before your income fell, and noticed your very high end kitchen…I assumed your entire house was as picture-perfect and sometimes grew frustrated in being unable to produce a picture-perfect home myself, when it seemed you were doing it on even less.
    As for reupholstering, we had a local mom-and-pop do some reupholstering about 15 years ago (on then-40 year old furniture). Without charging anything extra, the shop made a “cap” (tailored, fitting cover that covered the top and full sides, down to the legs) for the ottoman, and made similar covers for the arms of the chairs. As those 2 areas tend to wear out first, having 2 separate layers to wear through has worked well. When company comes, we can simply take off the covers, and the underneath fabric isn’t worn at all.
    Thank you so much for sharing your decorating ideas. For example, I had inherited footed bowls but never used them — had never thought to use them for vases until I saw your beautiful arrangements. Cost me nothing, but your idea has brought beauty. I look forward to seeing all of your future blog posts!

  76. Re-upholstery can be pretty expensive. We had a family heirloom chair done about 20 yrs ago and even bringing in our own fabric, it was over $150. And it has wooden arms and legs. That was just for a seat and back! No buttons or anything fancy.

  77. Those beautiful sewing rooms on Pinterest don’t look that way most of the time (nor do the homes in all the magazines that women practically kill themselves trying to maintain). During the photo shoot, the extra stuff and works-in-progress are moved out temporarily. No one will know if you pile the mending on the kitchen counter and shove the boxes out into the hallway while you take photos!

  78. Love is far more important than furniture! I’m glad that most of your family sees that, Kay.

    If someone, even family, made negative comments about the state of the material goods in my home, I’d show them the door or at least never invite them over again. I have no patience for shallow people!

  79. I’m so glad to hear that the real estate market is improving and that you have a [u]bit[/u] of breathing room in your budget, even though it’s still very tight. I’ve been amazed that you have been able to feed a family of 10 (and feed them well, I might add) for such a small amount.

    I’m excited to see what you’re able to accomplish in the decor area. You have such good taste and creativity. Like you, I’ve pretty much stopped following decor blogs because their idea of “budget items” and my idea of “budget items” don’t match at all. I’m eager to see what you come up with that is truly budget friendly. We need some “freshening” around here as well, but it’s been very low on the priority list.

    In terms of future blog posts, I’m always up for gift ideas for tween/teen boys, but I’ll read just about anything you post because I inevitably learn something interesting or helpful. πŸ˜€

    By the way, your chair has great “bones” and the rug is lovely. Can’t wait to see the before/after pictures.

  80. Brandy

    Thank you for sharing something so personal. I enjoy reading your blog because of your positive outlook through everything and how you and your family consistently demonstrate gratitude.

    If I had to vote I would like to see a few more simple cost effective recipes or tutorials on how you make your beautiful flower arrangements. I think this might help others who do well at saving at the grocery store but are unsure of how to stretch the food into affordable meals. One of my favorite posts is about your white garden. I never thought of growing flowers to make arrangements, I know seems obvious. I have started doing this now and it really adds beauty to your home by displaying fresh flowers. I just can’t arrange them anywhere close to how you do. I would also vote for ways to save on water usage- I know that’s 3 things.

    Amy

  81. When we did the kitchen in 2006, right after we bought our house, we were making 4 times what we made in 2011. Even when we had 8 months without any income (in 2007) we made more in those first 4 months of 2007 than we did in 2011 and in 2012. Those years were even harder than 2007. So yes, the kitchen was done before, and I’m glad it was, because it had very little counter space before, and a small oven. I’ve been very grateful for a place to make bread πŸ™‚ and a large oven in which to bake it!

  82. Hello Brandy and it is refreshing that you share both the good and bad times and I find it refreshing. I am so glad you are in a good season and you and your family are able to get some of the things that you need for your home, how exciting πŸ™‚ .

    Keep doing what you are doing on here you are an inspiration, and we too have been in an upturn financially and garden produce wise too, we also take advantage of these times by stocking more groceries and purchasing more gardening equipment, seeds and manure, things for the home and increasing our food, medical and personal care storage.

    Having the wonderful frugal skills you have learnt , practiced and shared with all of us here, gets us all through the good, the bad and all other situations.

    We all need beauty around us to admire in and outside our homes and you deserve all of it, what a blessing πŸ™‚ .

  83. When my children were small, I noticed my friend’s home was not showing the wear and tear that mine was. It dawned on me that her children were in day care while mine were home with me all the time. Since your children are home schooled, that is undoubtedly true for you, Brandy. Some day , you will likely have the time and money to have a more perfect home, but now is not the season for that.

  84. Brandy,

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time. I enjoy reading about your accomplishments and all those beautiful children. I too have lived on barely nothing, when I was a young divorcee with a child. I’ve always had a main job that paid the bills and a side job that afforded my daughter and me the extras in life. I had a small upholstery shop in my garage at first and then later a portable building (saved up for) in my backyard. For over 25 years this little shop bought vehicles, paid private school tuition, dance lessons, college and our home. I closed my shop in 2008, but still have the building and all equipment just in case we ever need the extra cash. I now only do work for myself, if I want to.

    All of the furniture I have today was given to me, found on the curb, in a thrift store, garage sale, or bartered for through upholstery work from some antique shop. You simply can’t get the quality today that you once could for the price you pay. Your post about your furniture has really touched my heart. You are a wonderful seamstress so I’m sure you can add one more project to your list of sewing.

    Your readers are correct on the β€œpainter drop clothes”, for tailored slipcovers. I purchase mine at Harbor Freight for less than $15 each for a 9ft x 12ft canvas cloth (lots of fabric). You will need less than 2 to cover a regular size sofa. One will probably cover your nice chair w/ottoman. (By the way, your furniture does have nice bones from what I can tell of the photo). Some hints for using drop clothes. First, machine wash and dry like any other cotton white, you may add bleach if you like. Serge all seams or edges of pattern pieces (for future washes). There are plenty of Pinterest tutorials on how to make slipcovers, so I will not go into that. Mine have been on my sofa & chair exclusively for over 5 years and I wash them every 3 months or so (grandchildren, a dog and 2 cats), they still look great. My throw pillows are slipcovered too, I change the pillow covers seasonally for color.

    You have made amazing strides in your frugality. I have lived below my means all of my life, something that was instilled in me by my grandfather. Frugality is a way of life for me. Your readers’ comments are correct in that we all crave beauty in our lives.

    As for future posts. Just keep encouraging others with β€œyour way with words”, truthfulness and frugality. I look forward to anything you post.

  85. Thanks Susan.

    I originally planned on recovering them with drop cloths. I finally bought the drop cloths with money I earned through a garage sale, and I read countless tutorials on how to do them.

    And a few years went by, and it became rather obvious that I didn’t have the time. And by then, the chairs needed new foam (not just recovering). And so, as we finally could afford to have it done, we had someone recover them earlier this year. They did a wonderful job and I am very happy with them! And I would highly recommend them to anyone local who is looking for someone.

    But the pillows I did myself, and I’ve got a few other chairs I’d still like to try to tackle myself, so those are on my list. . . .

  86. Love the chair photo, thank you for sharing. The thing I love about this blog is your honesty and authenticity, and your sensitivity to people in difficult situations. I read all your posts and the comments and am always inspired, even when I can’t directly relate to the subject (I don’t have kids and we live in a condo, and have a relatively high income).

    I enjoy your home decor posts, and look forward to more. We live in my husband’s bachelor pad that predates my arrival on the scene ten years ago. He is attached to his big, dark furniture (which is totally not my taste). Recently he mentioned replacing and rearranging a few things, and my heart did a silent dance of joy. I am also consistently working on getting rid of clutter. My hope is to be able to implement a few home decor improvements in the near future.

    To answer your question, I’d love to see more preparedness posts, as another commenter mentioned. You make beautiful flower arrangements, so a post about that would be welcome as well. My favorite posts involve ‘making something out of nothing’ (creating something without spending money), be it a meal, a flower arrangement, a sewing project, etc.

  87. can’t wait to see new pictures of the children. i thought you living room looked quite nice when you got the new bookcase. looking forward to you completion of projects. also to the gift a week project.

  88. I so loved this post and I am looking forward to seeing your new projects. I couldn’t choose just one kind of post of yours I like — I love them all. You have inspired me with your cooking, sewing and decorating posts. I love reading your shopping plans and hearing about your sale finds and your gardening — truly everything interests me.

  89. Brandy, for years you have brought beauty and economy to many of us online. I first found your website through your comments at money saving mom. I see her current success and am thrilled for her. I feel the same for you regarding any success you and your husband have. Your archives are an invaluable resource, and since frugality is one of those traits that takes forever to pay off, it’s actually helpful and inspiring to see how others have pulled through lean times and been able to scale up (while still being frugal! But frugality doesn’t normally die off when people have financial increases…)

    I’d love to see your home, how you are organizing it, how you update it. I have been able to buy furniture as needed (mostly) but the process of decor and beautifying is what I can’t spare money for or manage to do well thriftily. So I’d appreciate your help in that area because it would be truly helpful to me. I love home decor blogs, but they are ultimately unattainable. I would love a resource that is attainable and inspiring. πŸ™‚

  90. Kay: I lost everything after the crash of our economy…my job, and then, my house, savings, vehicle, etc. I just started to recover, somewhat, the last two years, and I will never recover fully to my previous income, and I still have major bills from those bad years. My health is delicate now. You just do the best you can do and if folks are not helping pay your bills, then they have no right to comment.

  91. It must have been incredibly difficult to pay your utilities. I could not do it, even with my low utility bills, if my mortgage were 90% of my income. That is amazing!

  92. Hi Susan

    Inspiring to read your post. I am trying to cut costs and increase income at the same time (widow with three children who wants more time at home rather than out at work). I have started sewing and am thinking about selling at a local craft fair (first step).

    You have inspired me and I will take that table at the fair.

    Regards

    Sheena

  93. Honestly.. this is my house.. we have over the years bought classic pieces.. Like your chair.. you can always have it re covered.. and it will look great !

    Sue in NJ

  94. Kay first of all hugs from us and congratulations for keeping a positive attitude πŸ™‚ .

    I lost my house of 26yrs to greedy family members, when we moved 2.5 years we had around $75 left and that was it. We had our furniture and now at least we are free from their harm and are far happier in our marriage than ever before. My heart goes out to you and I know the feeling well.

    We are starting over now as a later 40’s and 50’s couple and saving for our home with cash and renting. We live in a tiny 3 bedroom tiny little 100 sq metre workers cottage. My husband has disabilities from a massive military accident and he is on a military pension and myself on a carer’s pension, and money is tighter than tight. Some days my husband cannot walk at all, some days I carry him to bed as he seizes up, he is in constant pain. I admire his cheery disposition and his never give up attitude πŸ™‚ .

    We have minimal possessions but like yourself we are happy and love abounds in our home. Repairing everything is the order of the day around here too, we look at it as a challenge rather than a drudgery.

    Please keep a positive attitude and sense of humour because most importantly that is the thing we all need most in challenging times. We shall keep you and your family in our prayers !.

  95. I had to chuckle at your chair — we used to have one just like that — same style legs and all, and the upholstery was in tatters on ours for years as well.
    I love the posts on sewing projects and gifts — those are some of my favorites. I love the beautiful photos and the garden advice. I enjoy the recipes; in short, I like what you post, period.
    I also was happy to see you saying that with an income increase came some needed purchases and repairs that had been delayed. My husband, kids and I lived for so long on too little money, and when he finally made better money after 20 years of marriage, we started doing some things long needed, such as better quality food, a (built by us) pump house for our well pump instead of rigging a heat lamp and blocks every winter, some car repairs that were sorely needed, new prescription glasses for my husband, and a small shed for my husband’s tools. Yet we were criticized for spending that money instead of living on the old budget and socking all of the increase away. We were putting money aside in savings, too, but some things we’d waited years and years to get or do, and we finally could get or do them with cash. I was surprised at the criticism we received from some. When I see you saying you allowed yourselves to spend a little more, although remaining frugal, like we did, I feel so much better.

  96. Brandy, no matter what you choose to write I will enjoy reading it and will surely learn something new. I do very much love to see pictures of the garden and family and will look forward to more of the house. My favorite post ever was your reorganized pantry.

    Our house is full of hand me down furniture and handmade furniture. I come from a family of carpenters…houses, barns, furniture etc and am married to a cabinetmaker. Pieces of furniture were seldom bought. What we have is never discarded, they are just handed on from one family member to another. We did buy the metal framed twin over double bunk bed that is in my daughter’s room from an ad. It was scratched some and we buffed it up and repainted it white.

    A good piece of solid wood furniture should last forever, barring total disaster. We have 2 upholstered chairs that were my parents when they first married and those were hand me downs then. In my memory, they have been recovered 2 times each. They are very similar to your “exposed” chair and ottoman with the claw feet and the curled arms. We will have them forever and then pass them on. My parents davenport is over in the big house still in my daughter’s front room …it’s from the 50’s with a fold out bed inside. It is immensely heavy but that was given to my parents also and has been reupholstered. If the skeleton of the upholstered item is good then just keep recovering it as today’s mass produced products are not worth the money being charged. Plus I am sure you can buy a much better quality fabric and foam than what the manufacturer puts in/on.

    My husband does a lot of furniture repair in his business also. A woman came in crying, along with her two teen sons carrying a crushed rocker. The boys were rough housing and fell on it. My husband was able to restore it and she was delighted. The boys paid for the bill.

  97. Our living room chairs and sofas were custom-made for us 12 years ago. According to the man who reupholstered them, they are really well-made pieces–better than what he usually recovers, he said. We had him replace the foam seats and arms with the same kind of foam; the pieces are very comfortable when they aren’t torn to shreds πŸ™‚

  98. Brandy, as many others said, I just love everything you write and every picture you post. I also have not the same living style (live in another country, in an apartment in a big city, so no garden for me, we are just two of us, no kids) but I too am learning so much from your posts and all the comments. Now I can track the prices of the groceries we need and buy when they are the less that I can find, I make some comparisons about how much every meal costs and, doing so, I can make my husband understand how is nice to live thriftly, I am always aware of the leftovers and so on. My last accomplishments were new curtains made by ourselves and new cushions made by myself using a tutorial in Pinterest and using old pillows as fillings. Those cushions are so much better than the old ones,store bought. Those old ones will be repurposed as filling for knitted animals and so nothing is going to be wasted. I have another gain reading your blog: my skills in English are improving also πŸ˜€
    Doing all that things we are able to help some relatives that are having trouble with the mortgage and we were able to take my MIL to a long wanted trip to Europe. There are always people saying that is “strange” that we have money to do this but they don’t see that we rarely eat out, buy clothes only when they are really necessary, cook almost everything from scratch, etc.
    As for incoming posts, I also think I will love any post you write, but, as a suggestion, you could write something about how you prepare your pictures, like how you think about the light, the colors, etc
    Thank you so much for having this blog!

  99. Leticia,

    I always enjoy your comments! Thanks for sharing!

    My Portuguese is limited to singing a few lines from “The Girl From Ipanema.” But I have been improving my French lately, so that is a big plus!

    Have you tried using Duolingo? They have some great language choices. I believe you said you spoke French too, no?

  100. I only used Duolingo once or twice but my husband has completed all the exercises. I am learning French also, and I read some blogs to improve vocabulary as chocolateandzucchini.com (there are two versions: English and French). She is such a nice person and she has many good recipes also. I listen to the radio online too: France Info. In the afternoons (for me, in the nights for them) there are some very interesting debates.
    It is so nice learning other languages. I hope I can have the opportunity to live abroad some time, as you did in the past.
    I always read your posts although I am not commenting often. Many blessings to you, your family and to all the nice people that make this lovely virtual community πŸ™‚

  101. Hmmm, I hadn’t thought of finding a good Spanish blog to help me remember my Espanol! I grew up in a Spanish speaking house, but I sure don’t remember it well. I think I’ll look for one!

  102. Love this post Brandy. I found your site several years ago, browsed it a little and then stopped reading as I felt it was too rich for my taste. Funny that I thought that. I found it again several months back and started reading your recent posts and those from the beginning of your blog archive. You photos always looked so beautiful and I imagining that your frugal living budget was more than we made. I was wrong. I never realized that you can make life beautiful on a very limited budget like you have done for so long. I think it was your big beautiful house that tripped me up…LOL. I very much enjoy your posts and your beautiful photography (I’m a pro photographer (somewhat retired from that career now at 41 and am mostly a homemaker now an sell on ebay). You are better than some who do call themselves professional! πŸ™‚

  103. This is an old post but one I have been mulling over since I read it. I too just recovered some furniture and had it repaired, and I struggled so with it, I knew that buying cheap furniture would cost us more in the long term and we had many other places for the money to go. I had really hoped to squeak one more year out of our rickety set, but with no eat in kitchen our dining room gets a work out, play doh, coloring, legos, eating, crafts, visiting. Everything. And we had bought a lovely antique dinIng room set almost two years ago. I figured it had handled years of kids and could handle mine. Mmmm. Not so much. Anyhow, we did it and had them professionally repaired and recovered, they should last twenty years before we need to do anything more than polish them. I was really worried that they would break while someone was sitting in them. Now we joke that they are our Rich People Chairs.

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