Category Archives: Art of Making Do

Jams, Christmas present ideas, Cooking, gardening, Planting, Harvesting, Sewing, self help, Money saving tips, Jellies,freezing food, canning, pickles, rags, houses, repairs,

Think Spring- Strawberry Jam

     Winter winds are still whipping the snow covered landscape. What can you do to keep away the winter blues without spending much money? How about making a batch of strawberry jam? You will need 2 bags of frozen strawberries, a package of pectin, jelly jars, and some sugar. My daughter took 2 bags of frozen strawberries, thawed them in a large pot. She then crushed them with a potato masher. She then followed the manufacturer’s instructions on the box of pectin, with exception to the amount of fresh berries. She used the two whole bags of frozen strawberries. Do not forget to boil the jars for at least ten minutes.  Strawberry jam is delicious!

     If you make strawberry jam, what will you achieve? You will make the house warmer. You will add precious moisture to the dry air. Your house will smell like strawberries for a little while. You will have made a treat for your family with some to share. The smell of strawberries may bring pleasant visions of spring. A little encouragement that spring is not too far away, but remember to rejoice in the moment! What are the pleasant things that you can enjoy in this season? I like looking all that snow- it makes the landscape look so beautiful! Try eating a homemade biscuit with homemade strawberry jam on top while watching the snow fall: very pleasant I believe!

Smart Sewing Tip

   The winter wind is wonderfully brisk! Wonderfully brisk? It is freezing outside! Well it is wonderful if you like to sew and the cold weather means you have to be inside. How do we sew and save money at the same time? The obvious things are buy fabric when it is on sale. Utilize the fabric you already have. Sew clothing that you would have to buy anyway.  Buy a pattern that you can use more than once.

   I have a creative tip for you if you sew and are going to buy a new pattern. The price of a new pattern is sometimes $14.00 or more.  The tissue paper the pattern is printed on tends to fall apart if you use it more than once or twice, so what do you do? You could copy the pattern onto another medium such as interfacing or  paper bags but this process will take some time. If you bought a pattern and you are going to use, for example, the medium size and the extra large size, then you will have to copy the medium size onto something else.  I recently purchased a pattern for boys pants with the four pockets. The pattern has a medium size, a large size, and an extra large size. I copied the large size onto a virtually see-through fabric. I painted the edge of the pattern, that I copied onto the fabric, with clear nail polish to keep it from fraying. I then wanted to use the extra large sized pattern for two different pairs of pants. I used clear tape and taped wherever I would put a pin in the pattern, using about a two inch piece.  So far I have cut out four pairs of pants with one pattern and it is still holding together.  Putting the tape on did not take very long at all.  We cannot make something from nothing, but we can stretch our money so that we make every dollar count.

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Everyone!

   Today is Christmas Eve!  Many people are  checking their gift lists to see if they have gotten a present for everyone. Many parents are asking,” Did we get all the presents the children asked for that we could afford?”

    Want to have a more meaningful Christmas? Why not ask yourself what could I do with one hour to help or to bless someone or a family that has less than we do? Do you have some toys that are in nice condition, could you bless a less fortunate family with those toys to put under their tree?  Could you take cookies to an elderly neighbor or maybe just stop over and spend a few minutes listening to them?  Are you having a big meal at your house and is there someone you could invite that has nowhere to go?  Do you have an extra roast in the freezer and know someone who has need of some food? If you have children, please take them with you or involve them in whatever you decide to do.

   If you are bold enough to accept my challenge to spend one hour of your Christmas Eve blessing others that are less fortunate than you, you will have a much better Christmas. You may realize how blessed you are. You may feel more content. Paul said in Acts 20:35′”I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of our Lord Jesus, that He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.””

   You may ask, Donna, what does doing for others have to do with saving money or ‘making do’?  Answer: for just a little bit of money that you spent on the cookies you gave away or the gas to drive to a neighbor’s house or whatever you gave away, you may feel better about yourself, better about the world we live in, and the benefactor of your benevolence feels better too. You get all that good feeling from the little bit of money you spent in helping someone who has less than you.

Christmas Gifts

    With Christmas less than a week away, how can we curb expenses without lessening our joy in the Christmas experience? Gifts are a very important part of Christmas. Older people tend to get joy from watching younger people open a special gift they purchased or made for them. Young children are almost wild with anticipation of the gifts they are going to receive this year. If you still have gifts to purchase make sure the person who is receiving the gift truly expects a gift from you. For instance if you are getting Uncle Chuck a tie just so he has something to open don’t bother.  Men prefer home baked cookies or candy. If you are purchasing a gift for a grandchild and don’t know what to get, think about enduring quality. As an example close relatives who asked me what to get for my young sons, I suggested real tools. You could spend ten to twenty dollars on a real tool that the child could use and keep for years or you could spend twenty dollars on a plastic construction worker toy which may last six months. Which gift would have the most positive impact?