I’ve been wanting to learn to sew for a very long time. I didn’t take Home Ec in high school, and I’ve been hoping to find a way to learn. I found the website of a local lady who teaches beginning sewing in her home. I just happened to come upon a sale on Amazon for a Singer sewing machine that was a whopping $100 off normal price. I had some savings I had been holding onto for something special. I decided to buy the sewing machine, and I should get it by Monday of next week.
I wrote the instructor, and asked about classes. We decided that I would start taking classes next Wednesday morning. I will take 2 hour classes each Wednesday for a month. I’m so looking forward to it. I’m always seeing things I’d like to make.
I feel like learning a new skill like this could help me in a lot of ways. I can repair our clothes, and make all kinds of things. I’ve already saved some patterns online to work on once I learn and practice.
I sort of let the budget slide off the rails around Christmas, and I’ve never picked back up to follow a sensible budget. The biggest thing we spend money on is food and eating out. It’s now time to tighten the pursestrings, and get things whipped back into shape. Before Christmas I was sticking to a $350/mo groceries. I’m going to try to make as many of the convenience type foods as possible. Also I’m working at becoming a more proficient cook. I’ve been looking for new things to try all the time. Variety makes it less likely that we will go out to eat. I also want to make sure I have leftovers or things for BJ to take for lunch at work.
As much as I’ve studied frugality and thriftiness over the years, I would’ve though I’d be an expert at it by now. Still, I somehow always find myself wanting this and that. I’m not exactly a compulsive shopper, but occasionally I’m a careless shopper. I’m hoping that I can change that for the better as I learn more about self-sufficiency.
Working on Self-sufficiency
There’s enough information out there online about self-sufficiency to make your head spin. There are so many things to learn that you have to pick and choose which skills are most appealing to you. Also something I have a hard time doing is to stop reading about it, and actually get out there and do it.
Undeterred by my last semi fail at grinding my own wheat, and making a loaf of bread, I found a new recipe and tried again. My goal was to get a loaf of bread that made slices that BJ would be able to use to make sandwiches for work. I found an interesting recipe online so I decided to try it. This time I used the hard white wheat berries instead of the red. I also watched a video of a lady grinding her wheat in a Vitamix dry container like I own. She said that it really works best to only grind up 1 cup at a time, and turn it all the way to high then let it run for one full minute. I needed 6 1/2 cups of flour for this recipe so it took a little while to grind it all up. I would dump each cupful of ground flour into a mesh sieve that would filter out the bigger chunks of wheat that didn’t get ground up properly. In this recipe I used 4 teaspoons of yeast, 1/3 cup of coconut oil, and 1/3 cup of honey. I let my mixer do the kneading for me, and it turned out beautifully. I made two loaves, and they are the perfect size for sandwiches! BJ sliced one loaf up for me, and I’m going to vacuum seal the other loaf for later use.
Another thing I like to do is save all the scraps from my vegetable cuttings. I put onion skins and pieces, the ends of zucchini, and random scraps of whatever vegetable I’ve been cutting up into a gallon Ziplock bag. It stays in the freezer until I have enough to fill my crockpot. While I was working on my bread, I filled my crockpot up with the frozen pieces, and then covered them with water and a dash of salt. I set it on low for 9 hours, and let it do it’s magic. When it’s done, I get canning jars, a canning jar funnel, and a fine mesh sieve to get just the liquid into the jars. By doing this I’m making my very own vegetable stock that can be used for lots of things like cooking rice or beans in. I put them all in the fridge for now, but I plan on putting two of them in the freezer for future use. I ended up with three quart-sized jars full of stock.
It’s simply a blessing to be learning skills that are useful to our home and budget. I will continue reading books, blogs, and magazines on the topics that will help me build my skills.