Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, Permaculture, DIYing, organic gardening, food preservation, chicken keeping, cookery, crafts, thrifting and more...

Feb 4, 2023

Saving Money On Meat & More! Dining Room Refresh- DIY Reupholstered Chairs & Paint


 Saving Money On Meat And More!-
As we all know grocery prices get higher and higher. While we don't eat meat everyday we do eat some. I was recently at a Fred Meyer grocery store. I browsed around and stumbled onto some huge 9 lb. pork roasts. They were $24.00 each. I read down on the sticker at the bottom (we are members of the Savings Club) the roasts were $8.00 each. That's about $1 a pound! 

I decided to buy two for that price! When I got home I cut both of them in half. I created two boneless roasts and two bone-in. I used my Food Saver bags and froze three of them. I roasted one of them with the bone in, low and slow with herbs. The meat came out fabulous! Very juicy and tender. I served one meal with fresh veggies. Another meal with roasted yams. A third meal I did shredded pork with barbecue sauce and Memphis style coleslaw on top, WONDERFUL! Recipe here Memphis Style Coleslaw-

What a deal! Good reminder to keep your eyes open when shopping and try different stores. I have heard recently there is getting to be a shortage of Baking Powder. Buy some! It's cheap and can be used for all kinds of baked goods. This is a really great preparedness item. 

I love Starbuck's Strawberry Acai Refresher, but they are just too expensive. I found a copycat recipe and made my own! Pretty close! Recipe here Copycat StrawberryAcai Refresher

First you simmer white grape juice and strawberries to create a base concentrate, then strain to get the berry juice-

Last I added the powders listed on the recipe, stir and refrigerate. It keeps for about two weeks. You use 1/2 concentrate and 1/2 water. I found some freeze-dried strawberries at Trader Joe's for $3.00 and I topped with those just like Starbuck's (a little darker), but much cheaper! I bought the powders listed on the recipe. Those will last a LONG time and you could use in smoothies. You could play with this recipe and use other fruits if desired. Fresh strawberries here are terrible so I bought frozen. Worked great!

I bought two totes of organic mushrooms at Costco, will dehydrate most of them for storage, $5.00 for a 24 oz-

Not to forget pets, bought a big back of cat food for Bonnie to go in a tote with oxygen absorbers. I still have two extra bags of chicken feed.  Now if they would just start laying!!! Should be any day....

Dining Room Refresh- DIY Reupholstered Chairs & Paint- 
Years ago I bought two used French style chairs for the dining table. The fabric was worn so I had them reupholstered for about $40.00 each. Over the years they got food stains, shampooed them and spot treated them I could never get them really clean-

They were just past the point of no return. I saw YouTube video on how to reupholster these kinds of chairs. I knew that I could do it myself and save a ton of money! I looked around for fabrics, did not want to do plaid/stripes since it has to really aligned to look good. I stumbled onto some denim fabric with embroidered dragonflies at the checkout stand at the local fabric store-

I had planned on getting just plain navy blue playing upholstery fabric. When I saw this fabric I knew this was the right one! To start I used a blow dryer to soften up the glue stick material that the upholsterer had used to attach the trim and removed all of that-

Next I cut out large pieces of fabric to cover the chairs and ironed it. I read it's really important always iron it before you start stretching it to get it really flat. Dave helped me in a few spots and I stapled it around really well. I did this on top of a card table, helped a lot to have it UP-
So clean!

I was not able to find any trim locally so ordered some on Amazon in Navy. I wish I had gone a little bit lighter on the color but it's really hard to see on a computer. After I got everything upholstered, I trimmed off the excess, and then hot glued it all the way around with the trim. It looks so much better! 

Clean and will last for quite a few years. Not perfect but works for me. The total for the fabric was about $25, the trim was about $8.00, I have some fabric and trim left over. I might do some kind of a fun pillow for the summer.

I started thinking that I wanted to repaint my little shelving unit that hangs on our dining room wall. It was a deep blue. With the new chair and buffet fabric it was a lot of blue. I had seen the PBS new series All Creatures Great and Small and loved the green accents in the kitchen. I also liked the green paint on my antique wood-handled kitchen utensils-



PBS All Creatures Great and Small Kitchen shot

It's called French green or Antique green. Previously I had used spray paint but was not able to find this color anywhere. I settled on a large bottle of craft paint at Hobby Lobby, about $6 each. I bought some new foam brushes, wide ones worked really well for the two big shelves. I knew it would take two coats especially on the metal side pieces. I love the color! I wish I could have found chalk paint in this color, but it does have a satin finish which I like. Took two coats-


I finished my thrifted shadow box with the WWII chicken print. I added broken egg shells, wheat and Lavender-

Says "I am a brave little WWII hen, don't eat much but produce a lot"

Jan 5, 2023

Best Thrifting Scores! Installing A New Microwave, Kitchen Project- Turning A Desk Into A Buffet !


Best Thrifting Scores! 
We had some donations to make and I had the thrift store bug. I am redoing an area in the kitchen and wanted to add a little bit more French Mediterranean decor items . We decided to go out New Year's Eve day and dropped off some donations at our local Idaho Youth Ranch. We went inside and there just wasn't much in the store. They had a fire sometime in the summer at their warehouse and had asked people to stop donating. I don't know if they just never recovered or what happened but I've never seen their store that empty except for tons of clothing. We decided to go to Goodwill up the street. Oh wow wow wow were they ever stocked up!!! 

I started going through the home decor section and first found this really pretty pitcher made in Mexico for water for our dining table. Really nice size, $4.00-

Next I found a Ziploc plastic bag section of the store where they put all kinds of random things together. I found a brand new Teavana brand steeping tea brewer. Basically you put your loose tea in, fill with water let it steep. It comes with its own little coaster. After it's steeps when you set it on top of a mug and the weight of the liquid releases the tea through the stainless steel filter in the bottom. Pretty ingenious! It was brand new along with a few other crafting goodies, $3.00! New it is $20.00. The really nice thing about it is it's small and solves the problem of bulk teas that I like to brew. When I use a tea ball or tea spoon filter it seems like something always leaks through with chunks of tea in the bottom of the cup. The filter worked great!

Next I found a shadow box that was going to go perfect for a little vintage World War II French hen print that I found online. I inserted the photo, I'm going to add things like wheat sprigs, seeds and broken eggshells. So far it's really cute! In French at the top of the photo it says solve your barnyard problems. Then down in the middle it says something about a girl's school. At the bottom it says I Am A Brave Little Hen I don't eat much but I produce a lot. I stumbled on this print and loved it! We'll play around with the frame, which was $1.50.

As far as Mediterranean/French I found a cabbage leaf serving platter, $4.99. Many of these kinds of ceramics are made in Majorca, Spain-

Found a really cute whitewashed flower with galvanized metal and a jute center, $3.00. Really reminds me of a bakery we go to in McCall (Stacy's Cake's). They have lots vintage baking tins and make flowers out of them for decorations. It's up in the dining room now-

I found a faux lavender pot for $1.99-

And then a Fleur delis-style statue/baluster for $3.00. I wasn't sure about the green but it's growing on me. I had planned of painting it white but I think I like the green. Time will tell...

Next I found a serving platter, about 11 inches across that I will hang in my wall once I get a plate holder. It's a really nice brand, lots of available online, for $4 it was a bargain. At Home Depot a while back I bought a faux miniature olive tree that will also dress up the space this will be going-

Last for a couple dollars I found a Rachael Ray olive oil picture, like new and my favorite color! Washed really well with very hot soapy water and just like new, is $20.00 new! 

On the actual free side of things I found this nice free printable online. It's for my frame I already had for the holidays. I had originally put one with the same French wording but it just didn't print out right. I finally found one I like and it was free! Will save that for next year-

I was looking for a greenery swag for my living room but all of the Christmas items were completely gone. Will have to wait for next year. My entire haul (small items not shown) was $30.00!


Installing A New Microwave- 
Dave and I were relaxing nicely, about ready to eat on New Year's Eve, when suddenly our microwave arced and that was the end of that. I was cooking some veggies. We had it for about 13 years so we got our money out of it, for sure. So New Year's Day we spent shopping for a new microwave. I had pulled up a few models on YouTube and did a little research the night before. All our appliances are white so we were sticking with that. I noticed that a lot of the newer microwaves have recessed handles which I really like. Lower profile is always good for me. We stopped at Lowe's to look and see what they had and we lucked out. We found one in stock for $279 with the recessed handle! Dave and I installed it New Year's Day and it works great, and much quieter. Also made me finally really deep, deep clean my range top and stove. I took all the knobs off and scrubbed with really hot soapy water and a toothbrush. Scrubbed down the upper section really well, the bottom drawer and door. Looks much much better. All in all Santa came a bit late with that, but we got a good deal and got what we wanted. There is a series called Profile that we really liked with all of the digital keypads down along the bottom in a thin strip but they are much more expensive and it wasn't that important to us. Happy that we have one installed and it works!
Old dead one

We pulled the old one and proteced the glass top stove

New one out of box, Whirlpool

Installed and we cleaned up!
My inspiration from Romantiskahem.blogspot
Kitchen Project- Turning A Desk Into A Buffet! 
I saw the photo at the top a while back. It gave me an idea and so here's the reveal! Here's the history first- When we bought our house we inherited a desk in the dining room which we decided to keep. For a long time it was good to have our computer there, work online, pay bills and be able to chat with each other-

Earlier this year we decided to move the computer into the home office that I used to work remotely. When I changed jobs and went to work in an office we decided we could really use that space in the kitchen for other things. I'd always wanted to put in a buffet there. The plan right now is to put a slab of butcher block type wood and replace the counter. Eventually I'd like Dave to remove the cabinet, pull out the rolling cart and add some finished shelves. I found the fabric at Joanne's and loved it! I bought a white tension rod and sewed it up! I wanted something sort of Mediterranean-ish.
Kind of reminds me of the ocean

Hides lots of stuff! Next sewing project will be re-upholstering my two dining chairs, they need some love! After winter decor is put away I will put out my French/coutry decor-

Flowers bloomed in time for New Year's!

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