Breathe

Once in a while, you need to just take a breath.  With so much going on, every day…a constant merry-go-round of activity, sometimes you just have to step off the ride and sit on the bench for a minute.

Between homesteading projects, blogging, work, homework, non-profit, house-work, and just trying to stay sane…I need a breather.  Tonight – after I hit the ‘publish’ button – my butt is sitting in this chair and not moving unless absolutely necessary.

It’s going to be me, and my good friend Netflix.

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Tomorrow, I’m back at it.  Between laundry and dishes, sweeping and sorting/purging stuff that’s still sitting in bags and boxes since the move – I’m going to attempt my first try at turning solid Castile soap into liquid Castile soap using this as a guide.  I got my bars on Tuesday (super fast delivery service from Amazon!!), and I’m excited to get started on my base for my products including dish soap, laundry soap, and foaming hand soap (among many others).

But tonight… I do nothing.

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Rub It In

Physical labor often comes with hearty helpings of muscle soreness and aches and pains.  And although we don’t yet have land, we have a decent size yard and I’m anticipating loads of physical labor come Spring time.  Couple that with Hubby being a contractor (construction), and you can probably ascertain that muscle rubs are typically in demand in my house.

A few days ago, I attempted (and succeeded!) my very first DYI homemade product (See post here).  Now I’ve got my second under my belt, and I can wait to see how well it works in comparison to commercially and chemically engineered brands.  Hubby’s going to be my Guinea pig as he’s had a very sore shoulder for the past few weeks, and nothing seems to really help other than applying heat compresses.

I like knowing that what I’m rubbing on our skin is filled with only healthful and beneficial ingredients.  Nothing I can’t pronounce!  Knowing that whatever I put on my skin is flowing freely through my blood stream within 26 seconds, really makes me stop and think before I apply anything.  No wonder so many people get sick with cancers and other horrible and fatal illnesses.  Our daily lives are filled with chemicals and toxins that were never meant to come in contact with human skin, and yet we continue to slather in on day after day without a second’s hesitation.

Going back to the basics with homesteading should also mean going back to the basics with everything else.  I’m not saying you have to stop buying your favorite perfume, or sell your car.  I’m not here to tell anyone what to do.  I’m just saying we should really become more aware, and make better choices when it comes to what we allow into our bodies – whether through our mouth, or our pores.

To make this Muscle Rub, you’re going to need:

  • 4 tsp. organic beeswax
  • 1 cup organic virgin coconut oil
  • 12-15 drops vitamin E oil
  • 15 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
  • 15 drops *RC Essential Oil
  • 15 drops Lavender Essential Oil

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I chopped up the wax (I have to invest in a designated grater just for it…or bite the bullet and order the pellets online), and measured out the coconut oil into a bowl, and added the vitamin E oil.  I didn’t measure the oil, I used 3 capsules, which is about 12-15 drops.  I put my bowl in a large got filled with about 2 inches of water and set the heat to medium.  I didn’t want it boiling, but hot enough to melt the oil and wax.  When it’s completely melted, remove from heat.

You want to add your oils now, before it starts solidifying, and stir well so it’s completely incorporated.  (You can also wait until you’ve poured it into your jars to add your oils individually – in lesser amounts of course – but I prefer to do it all at once.

This gave me enough to fill three jars (about 3.5 oz each.)…the last one is almost full.  It doesn’t take very long for the mixture to start solidifying again.  Just set your jars on a flat surface and let them rest until they’ve cooled completely.

And now that it’s ready to use…Hubby is going to be my Guinea pig to see if this stuff actually works!!! 🙂 …update to come! 🙂

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My goal is to replace all – every single one! – of our chemical-filled products, with all-natural, skin-loving, health-saving, body-nourishing products.  One bottle at a time. 🙂

Here’s my breakdown:

Coconut oil – Same free container I used for the lip balm.

Beeswax – $5.99, and I only used about 1/8th of my piece.  Cost for this batch is about $0.74

Vitamin E Oil – $8.99 for the bottle, and it has 100 capsules.  I used 3.  Cost for this batch, $0.27

Peppermint Essential Oil – $27 for 15mL.  I used 15 drops – $1.01 for this batch

RC Essential Oil – $13 for 5mL.  I used 15 drops – $1.62 for this batch

Lavender Essential Oil – FREE – it was a gift.  If I had paid for it, it would have added $1.09 to my batch.

Glass pots – 2 @ $1.00 each & 1 @ $1.49 – $3.49

My breakdown:

Price of a 3 oz tube of Icy Hot: $10.49 (at my local drug store)

Price of a 1 oz tube of Voltaren: $11.99 (at my local drug store)

Price of three 3.5 oz. tub of my own DIY Muscle Rub: $7.13 ($8.22 if I had paid for the lavender)

Divided by 3 = $2.38 each. (or $2.74 with the lavender)

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*RC Essential Oil is a Young Living blend of Eucalyptus, Myrtle, Spruce, Peppermint, Pine, Lavender, Marjoram, and Cypress.  I wanted to use Eucalyptus but didn’t have any on hand, so I used what I had.  I know it already contains the Peppermint and Lavender, but I didn’t think a little extra would do any harm.

 

                                             ********** UPDATE **********

This muscle rub is a little bit finicky – it doesn’t warm like commercial brands, but I’m very happy to say that it does in fact work very well to alleviate muscle aches and pains!  The key is to keep it at room temperature…a little too warm and it’s too soft…a little too cool and it’s rather hard and you have to scrape it up.  *** NOTE: Less is more – a little goes a long way.  Make sure to rub in well as the main ingredient is oil and you don’t want your clothes to get oily.   

BONUS: The coconut oil also acts as a wonderful moisturizer for your skin 😉 

Lip Doctor

One of the things on my mile-long To Do List – on my road to becoming self-sufficient – is to eventually make all of my own health, beauty and hygiene products…au naturel of course!  So I thought I’d start off with something not only simple, but something I use on a daily basis!  Lip balm!  But not just ANY lip balm!  This is a copy-cat medicated lip balm recipe I found on Pinterest (of course!), and it really couldn’t be easier to make!  Only five ingredients too!

  • 3 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Cocoa Butter (OMG this stuff smells AMAZING!!!)
  • 2 Tbsp. Beeswax
  • 3-4 Drops Vitamin E Oil
  • 72 Drops Wintergreen Essential Oil

That’s it!  I found bottled vitamin E oil at the health store in town but a bottle of vitamin E capsules was about half the price so I got that instead and used 1 capsule (poked it and squeezed the oil out of it).

So the instructions call for a double boiler, but I didn’t want to use mine for this so I improvised.  In my biggest pot, I dropped a mason jar drink lid and filled it with about three inches of water, and put my Pyrex bowl on the lid.  Voila!

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I put all of the ingredients in the bowl, except for the essential oil – that’s added at the very end!  Turn the heat to medium – you don’t want it to boil but you want it hot enough to melt your ingredients.  Then stir occasionally until it’s all melted, and remove from heat!

You don’t want to take your time too much here because it doesn’t take very long for it to solidify again.  If that happens, don’t worry, just put it back in the hot water pot until it’s melted again – no biggy! 🙂

Once it’s off the heat, add your 72 drops of Wintergreen essential oil and stir so it’s well incorporated.

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I didn’t want to make a mess – and knowing me, I would have – so I used a medicine syringe to fill my pots.  This made enough to fill three 1 oz glass pots (I believe you can fill 20 lip balm tubes if you want to go that route.)

Honestly, I love Blistex medicated lip balm – I just don’t love all of the ingredients.  When this is something I put on my mouth, and ultimately will end up ingesting in some amounts whether I want to or not…well, I’d like to know there’s nothing icky in there.  This lip balm has nothing but natural and beneficial ingredients, and you can feel good about putting it on your skin.  You’re not going to find the gooey,petroleum jelly-like consistency here…it’s a little thinner because it’s oils and butters…but one swipe on my lips, and I’m sold!

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As for price differences…well, lets see!  My tub of Blistex cost me $4.99 and it’s about half the size of one of these pots.

Here’s my breakdown:

Coconut oil – Free…a friend gave it to me.

Cocoa Butter – $16.99 for a 7 oz. jar…I don’t know how it’s calculated but when I grated out 2 Tbsp. I still had a shit ton left.  Probably enough for another 10 batches or more.  So cost for this batch is about $1.54

Beeswax – $5.99, and I only used about 1/8th of my piece.  Cost for this batch is about $0.74

Vitamin E Oil – $8.99 for the bottle, and it has 100 capsules.  I used 1.  Cost for this batch, $0.09

Essential Oil – $22 for 15mL.  I used 72 drops, which is about 1/6 of the bottle.  Cost for this batch, $3.66

Glass pots – 3 @ $0.99 each – $2.97

So this batch cost me $9.00 in total, for three 1 oz pots…$3 each.  And remember, they’re twice the size of the store bought version, so to get the same amount of the store bought, I’d have to pay $9.98.  My friends, I just saved myself $20.94…not too shabby!!!! 🙂  Now granted, I did save a little on my coconut oil, but even if I had purchased it, it takes so little for the recipe that you’d probably only be adding a few cents per pot.

I don’t know about you… but that makes me really really happy!

First DYI Product Project…SUCCESS!!!!

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Garden by Design ~7~

Am I the only one who finds that winter can sometimes be a little depressing?  I’m not talking about cabin fever, or even snow or cold.  I’m talking about the lack of color outside! But what about plants that can stay green and colorful right through the cold and snow? And what about when these same plants can give you a natural pain reliever…Nature’s Aspirin.

I’m talking about Wintergreen.  This one will be part of an experiment.  There are a few products I want to attempt to make – and Wintergreen is the major component.  And although I’m going to try making these products now (well, SOON!), with purchased Wintergreen essential oil – it’s going to be a project…I’m going to attempt (learn) how to make my own essential oils…starting with Wintergreen!  🙂

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Wintergreen has WAY too many health benefits to list…it just goes on and on and on!  The one that really attracts me the most is its analgesic properties!  And although I’m not currently ‘working the land’, one day I will be – and with that comes a lot of aches and pains.  Wintergreen will by my little sidekick – helping me keep Hubby and myself in tip-top shape!  Until I experiment with making my own various essential oils, I’m getting them from my good friend Amanda!  (Check out her link, she’s super nice and working very hard trying to build up her business…and did I mention she’s super nice?)

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Have you tried (and succeeded or failed) at making your own essential oils?  Do you have any tips or tricks?  Do you use Wintergreen for anything?

Goals…Not Resolutions

I learned a long time ago that new year’s resolutions and I, we don’t play so well together. So I make goals.  Goals are more lenient I think, than absolute resolutions.  I thought I’d follow the going trend and share what I’m hoping to accomplish in 2017!

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Good health.  I’ve told myself that my birthday present to myself is good health, and to lose 37 pounds in my 37th year.  I have a lot more than that to lose, but 37 is my goal.  (I’ll have a post in the next week or so about how I’m planning on giving myself the boost (AKA kick in the ass) I need to get in gear!

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Reduce procrastination.  As I’ve mentioned, I’m the biggest procrastinator I know.  It’s really awful and it has to stop.  I need to start making to-do lists, and creating deadlines for myself, and then adhering to them!  This would eliminate so much stress from my lift, and create so much more, ‘order’, if you will.  Yep – this week, I’m going to buy a notebook especially for this task.  It’s settled!

Things to Do.

Clean up the rest of my debts, finish repairing my credit, and start some serious savings.  I really don’t have that far to go in order to do the first, which in turn would take care of the second.  I just have to bare down and get it done…a follow-through with the last goal will ensure this happens.  As for the savings, I’ve already started, but I need to kick it up a few notches and get Hubby involved!

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Execute the garden I’m so diligently planning.  It’s all find and good to write about what I want to plant, and to put it all down on paper – it’s another story altogether to actually make it happen.  For the last few years I’ve dreamed of beautiful gardens…it’s time to make it real!

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Learn, and put into practice, a few different methods of food preservation – and preserve most of what I grow.  I have a brand new canning bath I’ve never used, I’m thinking of starting that way and then maybe attempting pressure canning once I’ve got the first method mastered.  I’m also hoping to build myself a DIY dehydrator, and/or learn to dehydrate fruits and vegetables in my oven.  I’d prefer the DIY version however, as it’s much more in line with my self-sufficient off-grid dream.  The ultimate goal here is to preserve enough produce (either my own, or purchased at local farmer’s markets) to be able to officially stop purchasing produce from conventional grocery stores.

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I’m sure there will be more goals popping up as the year creeps along – but I’m going to keep it as it is for the time being.  I have a tendency to get overwhelmed and give up, and the plan is to avoid that at all cost.  Keeping the list short will help.

What are your goals and plans for the year ahead?  I’d love to hear them!!!

Weekend Fun

This has been a busy weekend to say the least!  It all started Saturday morning with an hour and a half of shoveling for Hubby and I.  I told myself I would like Winter this year, but it’s not even technically Winter yet, and already we’ve had to shovel almost 10 times in as many days!  Crazy!  But at least the weather was mild, so it made the experience a bit more pleasant…and I got a really good workout out of it!

…and all our hard work was rewarded by a lunch date at Angel’s!  Hubby and I very seldom go out to eat just the two of us, so I never say no when he asks if I want to go out!  Date time, woohoo!

I had a lot of things I wanted to do this weekend, and the only way I actually DO them is to just hunker down and get to it.  I’ve had some projects in my head that were just collecting dust, so I gathered everything up and get it all done at once.

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There are actually 4 projects shown above, but the 4th only got partially completed because as it turns out I’m missing a piece of the puzzle.  I’ll have to show and tell that one on its own.

So number one: About a year ago, a co-worker from my last job gave me a long, rooted stem of umbrella tree.  Which I proceeded to keep in a vase of water, never “getting around to it”.  I meant to get it into soil since I got it, but the chronic procrastinator in me just kept putting it off.  Until when we moved at the end of September, the poor thing was mostly root rotted and yellow.  Except for the one leaf at the very top, that I had watched grow from a tiny little baby leaf.  I took that leaf, wrapped it in a wet paper towel, and when we got to the new place, put it in water…where it’s been for the last three months.  I figured if I don’t do it soon, this poor little baby is going to go the way of it’s mother.

Dollar store pot, dollar store potting mix, and voila.  Baby umbrella tree.  Project one, complete.

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Project two – I bought this plain old twig wreath, brand new with a tag still on, at a thrift store probably about three years ago.  And again, did nothing with it.  I swear, this procrastination crap has to stop!!  So again, dollar store treasures!  A bit of red berries, a bit of glittery gold leaf thingy….and ta-dah!  Ignore the fact that there is now glitter, literally, EVERYWHERE, including the dog…a few simple twists and I’ve got something pretty to display on the front door.  And the bonus, my house will probably sparkle for months!! Ha!

Project number three is my favorite.  Again, I got these little buckets LAST Autumn to make exactly this project, and AGAIN, never got around to it.   I found a bunch of recipes online for homemade suet, so I sort of just adapted it and simplified it.  Three-ingredient-wonder.

We don’t eat bacon that often, so for me to save bacon fat for this project would probably take another year.  I had this tin of vegetable shortening left from a candle project I had attempted, so used it instead.  Dollar store peanut butter – because I’m not spending $7 on the name brand stuff for the birds, they won’t care if it’s Skippy or Chippy!  And last, this giant bag of wild bird seed mix, also from the dollar store.  I’m really really hoping the birdies will come and eat it!

I measured out 2 cups of vegetable shortening and 1 cup of peanut butter.  Put the heat on low and stirred until it was melted and smooth.  And then I just dumped in enough seeds to make a thick oatmeal-y texture.  I didn’t measure, so I couldn’t tell you how much – but it just happened to be the exact perfect amount I needed to fill both of my buckets.

My perches are nothing fancy – just a couple of sticks from the trees outside.  I hot glued them to the buckets, but I’m not too trusting of hot glue on it’s own in cold weather, so I followed that up with a piece of duct tape.  I used pink just because!  Then I ladled in the suet mixture and put them in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

When they were set, I took them out and hot glued some ribbon around the rim, leaving enough to hang on the tree.  This time the hot glue should be enough because it’s bottom heavy and should still hold with the knot even if the glue decides to quit.  I think they look real purdy there, hanging in the trees!  I’ve got one in the cedar just outside my kitchen window, and the other in the pines near my compost bin.  …Here birdy birdy birdy!!!!!

 

Show & Tell – Do What You Love

Ever since the idea came to me, that I wanted to be a homesteader, I knew I would have a lot of changes to make in my life.  To be the type of homesteader I want to be – the kind who doesn’t only make a LIFE, but also makes a LIVING, on their homestead.

I love my job, and I love the company I work for.  Do I want to be in the 9 to 5 forever?  Of course not.  It doesn’t mesh very well with the lifestyle I’m chasing.  So I need to find ways to still have income, without having an actual J.O.B.  Many do it – so why not me?

So I’ve been in an almost perpetual state of brain storm for over a year now (longer, if I’m honest).  Dreaming up different ways to create this income.  There are so many ideas flooding the internet, and there isn’t a wrong one.  What I like, is that I can do multiple things.  My income doesn’t have to come from one single avenue.  This also creates security, because if the one thing you’re doing stops working…then what??  If you’re doing a variety of things, the rest will keep you afloat.

Over the past few days I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and Pinterest-ing.  Found a lot of the same, tried and true, homestead money-makers.  Tree farming – egg selling – day old chick selling – wool – meat – milk – cheese – bartering – blogs with affiliate programs.  These are all AMAZING ideas, many of which I want to attempt!  But sitting here tonight, putting the finishing touches on a baby gift I made for a co-worker, a new idea dawned on me.

“Do what you love.  Do what you’re good at.”

Let me rewind a little bit, and in the process, introduce another little part of me I haven’t really delved into yet.

A few months ago, while browsing Facebook, the idea came to me that I wanted to make Blessing Bags for the homeless this winter.  Well, after speaking with a good friend about it, that idea grew like wild fire, and before we knew it, H.H.U.G.S. was born.  H.H.U.G.S. is a non-profit organization (still unregistered because we’ve been too busy spending the dollars on the bags instead of the application), that aims to help the homeless and less-fortunate population of Ontario.  It stands for Helping Hands Unite & Give Support.  (check us out on Facebook, @hhugsteam).

Well, this friend that I partnered up with starting making hats to put in these bags, and to donate to multiple shelters.  I wanted to help.  I can’t really knit, and a crochet hook looks like a torture device.  So armed with a 50% off coupon, off to Michael’s I went and got myself a pack of looms!  …long story short, I found out I’m actually good at it, but more importantly, I LOVE LOOMING!  Yeah yeah, you can say knitting is an old-lady sport.  I’ll be old one day so I might as well learn now! haha

So… fast-forwarding back to right now  –  at the moment, almost every piece I make is either for the bags, or to sell for profit to go towards the organization.  BUT!  After we’re registered, and we can legally accept monetary donations, I’m thinking and hoping, that we will do really well and be able to help a lot of people…without our own hats.  Which brings me to tonight.

This gift I was putting the finishing touches on, is a newborn baby beanie, booties, and baby cocoon.  I also made one for my boss and his wife who are expecting a baby in March.  I loved making these things, they didn’t take an eternity to make, and without sounding cocky, I think I’m pretty good at it!

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So I looked them up on Etsy, and my eyes grew big at the prices they’re going for (and most of them without the booties or the beanie!)…and that, dear friends, got my gears turning.  When HHUGS no longer needs my hats, I can turn this newfound talent and hobby into a money-making venture, that I can do at home, in the evenings, when all the farm chores are done, while sitting in front of the fireplace, and bring in a pretty.decent.income.

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I’d like to take a poll, and please don’t cheat!!!  No using Google and looking on Etsy or any other website.  How much do you (yes, you!) think I should be selling this for?

 

What are your talents and hobbies?  Do you think you could use them to make money?  What methods to you use to make money on your homestead if you don’t hold a traditional job?  I would really love and appreciate all of your thoughts and ideas!!!!

Method & Madness ~Two~

In this second installment (a tad long, sorry), I’m going to delve more into the how and the why – who knows, I might get all of that out of the way so we can get to the fun stuff!!

So you probably recall thinking how crazy we are to have jumped on this opportunity so quickly, especially with the first impression it gave us.  So I’m going to show you here, WHY we’re not as crazy as one might think.

Homesteading to me is a way to get back to the basics.  So our MAIN goal right now, is to become 100% debt free, and save as much as we possibly can so that in a few years, we’re financially able to achieve our dream.  In order to do that, we need to lessen our expenses considerably.  While we both have full time work – mine being an office job, and hubby being a self-employed contractor – we’re always finding that there’s more month left at the end of the money.  Frankly, we’re tired of it.  It’s time (way overdue if I’m honest) to get our shit together.  If we don’t, the dream will always stay a dream.

And that’s why this house.

The house we were renting was great – an old, 2000 square foot century farm house on 34 acres of land.  It was 10 to 15 minutes drive from town in every direction, and hooked up to propane for heat, and a well for water.  Lots of pros, and also some cons.  The main con being that our rent was $1450 per month, plus utilities.  Our only year-round utility was hydro, but in the cold months (and I mean, we do live in Canada so we’re talking October-ish to sometimes May), we also had to fill the propane tank.  Big house = lots of propane.  We ended up spending about $500 every 3 weeks on average.  That ends up being a LOT of money, and no savings.

We thought that by getting back to civilization for a little while, we could at least eliminate the propane cost, as well as some of the back-and-forth commuting which was getting quite tiresome.  We weren’t off grid or self-sufficient by any means, so driving to town was a must on a daily basis, usually multiple times.

This house – as pitiful as it was, seemed the answer to our prayers.

A development company bought this house in the Spring, in hopes of tearing it down and building condos or town homes on the lot, and the neighboring vacant lot which they also purchased.  Those types of permits can sometimes take a long time (we’re hoping for at least 3 to 5 years).  The lot is quite large, I’m thinking about 1/4 acre which is pretty big for town living, so it has a lot of potential for perfecting the craft of homesteading.

It also comes at a monthly price tag of only $900 (that’s a $550 savings right off the top!!). And calculating the monthly utilities, it still comes to less per year than we would have paid on propane alone at the other house.  We’re also 3 minutes (literally) from our house to my work, the grocery store, the gas station – and my daughter is taking public transit to school (which the station is DIRECTLY behind our house), so there’s a lot less driving overall.  $$$ SAVINGS $$$

We also managed so score FOUR MONTHS rent free!!!  Yep, you read that right!!

Because the house was so…..um…..we’ll use the word ‘dated’ to be nice…they agreed to give us a few months free, in exchange for updating it ourselves.  The electrical also needed to be updated throughout.  You’re probably seeing dollar signs now, but don’t fret!

Because hubby is in the construction industry, he pretty much does all of it himself – and for those things he’s not qualified for, he’s got contacts oozing from his pores!  The reason the landlords wouldn’t spring for renovations is simple – they’re tearing it down, so they aren’t going to sing any money in fixing it up.  What we were able to do, with Hubby’s handiness and my talent for finding things on the cheap – is fix up this house for about the same amount it would have cost us to live at the other house for a month.  Maybe even a little less.  In the grand scheme of things, I’d say that’s pretty darn good!

Now, it’s still a bit of a work in progress.  We’ve made it livable, if not perfect just yet.  But I have to say, it is already unrecognizable from where we started.

And that, my friends, is HOW this place is going to help us achieve our dreams.  By saving so much money per month, we’re going to be able to chip away at the debts that hound us, as well as put away for a down payment on our own place, or our own land, a few years down the road!  The great part is that everything we’ve brought into this house, materialistically speaking, we’ll be able to bring with us when we leave.  (I’m also going to ask the landlords if we can take other materials from the home when we leave, since they’ll be tearing it down…such as windows, pipes, lumber, etc) so that if we find vacant land, we’ll have a really good start on building our own home, for pretty much nothing!

So I’ve been dying to share a little bit of “before and after” with you guys, and ultimately I wanted to wait until a space was 100% completed, but as I’ve mentioned so many times already, I have no patience.  So I’m going to share anyway!  Here  you’ll see the “BEFORE” pictures of what the kitchen used to look like.  How anyone could function in such a place is completely beyond me.

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And in this next picture, you’ll see an after picture – I actually call it my ALMOST after because it’s not completely finished.  What is left to do in this room, is the trim around the window, doors, quarter round along the ceiling, as well as a back splash, and a real table.  This bistro set is doing the job for the time being.

So the kicker here, is that we did this entire kitchen for approximately $600, and we get to take all of it with us when we leave.  So it’s not a lost investment, it’s something that we’ll be able to use, and add to, when we build our own place.  Even without all the finishes, as it stands now, the difference is astounding!  What do you think? My favorite parts are the flooring which we got for $80 at the ReStore – I love the rustic driftwood look – as well as the little cubby shelves Hubby built me in dead space, which gives me so much extra storage (which, in a house this size, every big of storage we can find is like gold).

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A lot of things we have, or had, we’re having to get rid of.  We do have a small amount of storage space in the garage and basement, but it’s not enough space to keep all of the things we own.

This downsizing is time intensive yes, but at the same time will also help us save a little extra money from the sale of these items.  The idea now is to have only what we NEED, but at the same time, make sure that those things are quality items that can last for a really really long time.

Anyway folks, that’s it for this post – sorry it’s been a little long.  Sometimes when my fingers start going I have a hard time stopping them!  Stay tuned for the next installment, and I can’t wait to read all of your comments and suggestions!

Method & Madness ~ One ~

This is the first post in an ongoing series – which will be staggered in and around my regular posts.  I want to explain  a little about how we came to be where we are, why, and how it’s going to help us get where we’re going.

We’ve never owned a home.  We’ve always rented, pouring thousands of dollars a year into someone else’s mortgage.  I’ll be 37 in a couple of weeks, and hubby is 42, and we both thought we’d be so much further along in life by now.  I can’t complain too much – the path I’ve chosen has given me the most beautiful daughter – who is turning out to be the best young woman I know.  It’s led me to Hubby, and so many great friends along the way.  Had I not chosen this path, I would be missing out on all of those blessings.  But now, it’s time to move forward.

We’re both tired of throwing our money away into something that will not benefit us…ever.  So when this opportunity came to us…more like fell into our laps (with the help of a co-worker), we just couldn’t say no!  We had been looking for a place in town for some time, but nothing was available within our budget, and expectations.  When I got a text one day from a co-worker, saying there was this house, but it wasn’t exactly what we were looking for, I thought we’d take a look anyway.

It was bad.  Oh, it was really reeeeaaaaallyyyy bad.  The worst place I’ve ever looked at, let along lived in!  The smell, the crud…it was just disgusting.  We took it on the spot.

Are we crazy?  Well, maybe just a little.  But we’re also smart, and determined.  This little house is less than half the size of the one we moved out of.   Moving out of a 2000 square foot farm house, and into a 750 square foot “cottage” house, takes some major adjustments.  Especially when it looks like this….

Friends, let me tell you – it smelled as bad as it looked, if not worse!  Between the orange and lime green carpets, psychedelic linoleum, wood paneling THROUGHOUT, and that kitchen… well, it doesn’t need any introductions.  You see that brown-ish “stuff” on the drawers there?  Yeah…that’s dirt.  Literally…it’s years and years of just never being washed.  Kinda makes your skin craw doesn’t it???

Now you’re probably thinking we’re REALLY crazy.  Nah….just a little. haha  My eyes look at a place like this, and all they see is potential.  Hubby looks at it, and he sees project.  He’s a contractor, does it all.  So looking at this home (the term is said extremely loosely at this point) – I still describe it as the 70’s throwing up…we took the plunge, and dove in head first.

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Kitchen
The series will explain how this is helping us get where we want to go, and will show the transformation of this little cottage, for “porn set chic” to “Country-Beachy Cottage” (I’m still unsure on whether I want beach or country, so maybe it’ll end up a little bit of both)…Stay tuned!!! 🙂

Leftovers

I’ve been spending the last few days trying to decide what my next project is going to be on the homestead.  And as I’ve yet to start the rest of the yard clean-up, I need to get a move on that!

I have bits and pieces of pallets left over from the compost bin project, so I’m going to try and create something from them instead of just tossing it into the burn pile.  There isn’t much of it, so maybe a simple planter for an herb garden on the back patio?   Or maybe a planter and frame for climbing beans or peas…

Either way, I get to use the drill again!!  Maybe I’ll try to use some of the bigger pieces of fallen branches along with it and see what kind of creative look I can come up with!   …post and pictures to come! 🙂

What kind of fun things have you made from old scraps?  I’d love to get your thoughts and ideas!!!