Nov 26 2011

Last July 31, I took photos of our tomatoes before I
started quartering them and putting them in freezer bags.

Well, it was perfect timing. Today, when I made lunch, I grabbed a bag of frozen tomatoes from the freezer. It was labeled “Soup Tomatoes: July 31, 2011” and whoa, what memories came rushing back. I was thinking, while I added the tomatoes to a skillet of a tomato-grass fed burger-rice-sour cream goulash, that I remember the day I made up these bags for the freezer. I made up freezer bags of soup tomatoes from the zillions of tomatoes in our backyard garden and was wondering how we would EVER eat, can or freeze them all. Thinking about all of this was perfect timing, because after lunch I came upstairs to read e-mails and discovered the TomatoFest Annual Seed Sale is in progress! There was an e-mail in my in-box. Whoa, again! Time to think of next year already…

Gary Ibsen is the founder of TomatoFest and has annual tomato
seed sales. Many gardeners call him “The Tomato Man.”

I really like ordering seeds from TomatoFest because the seed’s quality is guaranteed and they have many different types in their selection. This year, out of the 600 tomato seed varieties they carry, 125 are included in the Seed Sale. The Seed Sale just started on November 23, and runs until January 11, 2012. All of the seeds are fresh, harvested for the 2012 season, but in such grand supply, that the Ibsens can offer them at a discount…for a while. If the seeds start running out, they will be taken off of the sale list, so RUN, don’t walk to your computer and order today to be sure and get in on the sale. BTW, some seeds are as much as 50% discounted! I placed my order this morning, within a half hour of getting the TomatatoFest Annual Seed Sale notice.

Last year’s order from TomatoFest produced a
sumptuous bounty of joyful eating and fond memories.

Tomato seeds are hearty and can last from 3-5 years and longer if they are kept dry, cool and in a dark place. For that reason, I can always talk myself into buying many fun varieties during the TomatoFest Annual Seed Sale. It is interesting that the Annual Seed Sale promotes economic independence by encouraging people to try their hand at backyard food gardening. In fact, Gary Ibsen says, “Our intention is to continue to be responsive to our challenged economy and make it easier for the growing number of folks who are choosing to grow more of their own food.”

Once you get “bit by the heirloom tomato bug,” you’ll
want to try all sorts of different shapes, colors, and
sizes. The number of varieties on TomatoFest’s web site
is simply amazing. To see for yourself, go here.


The secret of companion planting is a hot tip, because
plants can influence each other, positively or negatively.
If you have an interest in this book, hover your mouse over
the link below to preview:

Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion
Planting for Successful Gardening

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Nov 29 2010

Sixty tea bags nicely organized in a Round Tea Bag Box
with sparkly ribbons and chocolate coins on top!

Have you discovered Walter Drake? What a GREAT catalog company. I have ordered bunches of “can’t live without” gadgets, organizers and gifts and have been pleased with everything I have ordered. Not only do the orders arrive very promptly, but on the rare occasion that there is a mistake, a correction is offered without hesitation. I don’t know how I found about Walter Drake, but I guess online as they have a very efficient catalog web site located here.

Once I was in the Walter Drake system, I started receiving wonderful paper catalogs and e-mails giving me special offers that are so good, they are hard to refuse. The selection, sales, reasonable regular prices and occasional offers of free shipping are really hard to pass up.

When I needed to make twenty hostess gifts this Thanksgiving, (Yes! Twenty!) I turned to Walter Drake to see what I could find to make a financially reasonable presentation. If you go to the web site and search for ROUND TEA BAG BOX or click here, you will see what I decided to purchase. What a bargain!

Regularly price at $7.99, each Round Tea Bag Box was on sale for $2.92 and I was able to take advantage of free shipping. Woo-Woo! So, I bought two widths of wire edge ribbon at Costco, one 1 1/2 ” gold sparkle and 2 1/2″ white with silver sparkle snowflakes. Each roll was tremendous at 50 yards, not feet, but YARDS for $6.50. I only needed one of each. Next, I bought little white gift bags at Michaels with a 40% off coupon making a package of 50 cost $11.99 instead of $19.99.  Then I bought a bag of gold foil chocolate coins, once again from COSTCO at $13.95 for a bag of a zillion and I was set, except for the tea.

I am having a love affair with Walter Drake. With my large
Round Tea Bag Box order, I even got a personal letter of
thanks for being a good customer. I don’t know whether to
be happy or embarrassed about buying so much…

Next I had to figure out the tea bags as I wanted to fill the Round Tea Bag Boxes. I went to two different grocery stores and between the two of them I was able to buy twelve different flavors on sale, five boxes of each at $2.50 a box.  I bought the kind that are wrapped in foil wrappers so they last longer if people don’t get to them right away. BUT! Be aware, that if you are going to use the large foil packs in your Round Tea Bag Boxes, the box will be a little short. In other words, the lid will not sit snugly on the top of the box and there will be a little space between the two.  Didn’t bother me as I decided to use the gold ribbon around the circumference of the box, with the white ribbon around the bottom and tied with a bow on top. These two ribbons held everything together nicely.

There are six sections to the Round Tea Bag Box. I chose
12 teas with 5 teabags of 2 flavors in each section.

I cut 4’2″ of the 1 1/2″ wide gold sparkle ribbon
and tied it around the box.

I cut 4’9″ of the 2 1/2″ wide white with silver sparkle
snowflakes ribbon, wrapped it bottom to top and tied a
big bow on top. Next, I cut a 4″ x 6″ index card into
thirds, cut the points off of two corners, wrote the
recipient’s name and tied it to the bow with a little bit
of white thread.

 Then I filled the white gifts bags with coins and used the gift
bag’s ribbon to tie them around the big white bow.

I had to make twenty of these, but if you just need to make one, think of how inexpensive it could be using things you probably have at home, especially if you love fabric. Cutting strips of fabric with your rotary cutter and tying it as I did the ribbon would make the gift nice and homey. But, even if you have to buy ribbon, this gift when finished was under $15.00. They were more like $13.50 each. I was happy. Now, I am just hoping all of my recipients are tea drinkers!

If you enjoy making gifts and want some good ideas, then
preview this book by hovering your mouse over this link:

A Gift of Herbs to Make Easy, Inexpensive & Thoughtful Gifts Using Herbs

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Nov 25 2010

The Santa Sock Doll
An inexpensive endearment from the 1940s

Before mass advertising turned us into mass consumers, many things were made at home with love. Most women knew how to sew and many men did as well. Often, there was more time than money. Just as often, there wasn’t much time, but people weren’t toxic with chemicals and poor food. They had more energy with fewer complaints because they ate nutritious, natural foods that fueled the body, not lined the pockets of big business. With more energy, they were able to work long hours to make the things they needed whenever possible.

It is important to get back to eating those nutrient dense foods today. It is also important to take time to create and give to our loved ones objects of caring and love. We need to reassess what is important to us. Is emotionally leaving a child behind, so to speak, to fend for themselves while we work two jobs just to have the latest car model is the better thing to do?. Or, would it be better to ride the bus even, and spend that time with the family, while financially paring down “wants to needs.” It’s just a thought. It’s something worth mulling over, because once one realizes that everything we do is a choice, we can take better control of our lives. In really thinking about what is important to us, we can redefine our priorities and make sure our lives are the best for what we want out of them!

So, for me, creating has become very important as an affirmation of my life plan. And, it seems, the patterns used by people whose values mirror my own speak loudly to me.  I just love old patterns and styles that solidly ground me to a frugal use of money and time for what I, and those I love, get out of it. A bigger bang for the buck, is what I’m talkin’ about!

With that all in mind, Sunbonnet Smart is pleased that soon we will be presenting the first of our Sunbonnet Smart Patterns. We hope everyone will be able to afford buying our patterns to make something useful and share a gift of love. Sunbonnet Smart Patterns will be available for the 1970s price of 99cents for a pdf download you print out yourself. Low cost, great style with easy access is what Sunbonnet Smart is all about. That and enjoying the process of life.

Check back with us often and jump into the fun!

Sock Dolls are a fun “blast from the past.”
If making one of these inexpensive bundles of
love interests you, just hover your mouse over
the link below to preview this book:

Adorable Sock Dolls to Make & Love

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Oct 07 2010

In the 1970s, before I even thought of having credit cards as I was in college, and they were for “real adults,” I remember a girlfriend of mine sitting down and working out a credit card payment plan. She had gotten into credit card debt and had worked with a counseling service to arrange payments. Lisa made a chart, showing each credit card and how much would be paid each month.

The cards with the least amount owed money were listed at the top and, in ascending order, the cards were then listed down the page from least to most. Each month she intended to pay an amount to every creditor. Then as the top card was paid off, that money would then be added to the amount due to the card below. When the second card was paid off, that card’s money would be added to the card below it. In a waterfall arrangement, she had control of her debt redemption, it was a workable plan and she felt she was in control. By following her plan and not using her charge cards to incur new debt, Lisa was credit card debt free in a year and a half.

Another way to take care of debts is to get more money, by getting another job, or plan to spend less in keeping with Benjamin Franklyn’s adage that, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” The man in this next video really has a creative way to get control of his finances. To see what I mean, click on play:

In California, Andy decided to pay down debt by not
renewing the lease on his apartment, putting his
possessions in storage and living out of his truck
for over a year.

If you have an interest in broadening your money
saving horizons, hover your mouse over this link
to preview the book:

Saving Money Any Way You Can: How to Become a Frugal Family

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Sep 16 2010

When kids are little, sometimes treasures are
left in pockets to go through the wash.

Just like when there is a dependable source of income.
Dollars are easily misplaced as there are plenty of them.

We found in our financial decline, that our priorities and values changed. At the time, it was difficult to make changes, but now, I consider the whole situation a blessing. Those changes needed to be made. How caught up in materialism we were and how much richer our lives are now because of the changes we made as a result of financial difficulty.

When each dollar becomes an understandable commodity, when you are counting each and every one and savoring their existence in your hand, you appreciate them more. You also appreciate what they can do for you more, and enlist a new set of values to determine how they will be spent. In some cases, when things worsen, first, when you don’t have a car to drive off to the store and finally, when you don’t have bus fair or any money to spend, your perspectives on what’s important change forever.

Suddenly Frugal rewards the reader with a better life.

And, you don’t have to have financial difficulties to have this rewarding change of life. Why not work to change your values that make material things so important? Books have been written on just that and Suddenly Frugal is a good one. To preview it, hover your mouse over this link:

Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier for Less

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