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Simplicity 1884 Style for 2011

Well this week I was going to talk about how to make tomatoes, apples, or peaches into something really tasty for the coming winter. But I got a bit sidetracked, by a little table. I guess the info on canning for the upcoming months will have to wait! I also apologize for the rather jumpy entry this week. Our power has been blinking all morning and then I got called away on an unexpected outing; so it is what it is! If I didn't get posted soon it would be ready in time for next week!

Last week on Between Naps on the Porch, Susan shared a recent trip to Urban Relics Consignment Shop. Included in the pictures was a sweet little table for $165, marked down to $132. That table looked very similar to on I found and purchased on Wednesday! An upcoming series that I have planned is how I am turning our dining room in to my personal Home Manager office. So how does this find fit in? Well, I can't show you the complete transformation yet! First I would like to discuss the table itself as there seems to be a bit of interest in what exactly it may have been intended for.

For info on the table I consulted my go to resource for all things antique. My Mom. My Mom does not admit to being older than 39, (yep, she was really irritated when we threw her a Happy 40th Annual 39th Birthday party a number of years ago) but let's face facts. She just might be older than that! Over the past couple of years, I have become the designated driver for day trips to antique malls and shops in the tri-state area for my mom and Aunt Mary (my Dad's older sister). It is fun to poke about these malls and shops and when I run across something that I have not seen before or am scratching my head wondering what it is, one or both of them can usually describe what the use was and whether or not they used when growing up. I like having a personal curator of the past describing these things to me. I think it is fun to get a snapshot of their youth.

My table is clearly marked with "Simplicity Folding Table; Patent June 10, 84; Address all orders to W.E. & J.M. Eldred; Patentees & Mfgs; Cooperstown, NY."

Last Wednesday evening when Mom called, she asked me what I was doing and I replied, "Well, right now I am doing a happy dance!" She wanted to know why. I explained to her that I had just made a purchase that day at one of the antique malls in Allen, Michigan that my preliminary web search indicated that I had gotten for a really, really, really great price of $25 so I was doing a happy dance. So she wanted to know what was it? I told her that I had purchased a cute little sewing table with a yard stick embossed into it and an 1884 patent date on it. She said it sounded like I did all right on that, would I be ready to go on another adventure say about 9 in the morning? And so yes, another adventure was planned for the following day...but that is a story for another time!

During my Sunday afternoon visit, I was picking Mom's brain further on what exactly this little table I had purchased was, the timeframe of it, and how it was used. This is the description she gave me.
Your Grandma Pink (her mom 1886-1981) had one of those tables with a"yard stick" on top. It was in Junior's (one of mom's brothers) bedroom. It sat between the door and the closet against the wall.

I asked if it folded up.
I really don't remember. I can only remember it standing in his bedroom. I know we sold it at Grandma's auction (1980). I remember it had turned spindle legs on it." (I hadn't shown my mom pictures of my table...I hadn't cleaned it up and taken any yet, so she was going solely by my verbal description, such that it was.)

So I followed up asking about how Grandma Pink sewed.
She had a treadle sewing machine and she made all of our clothes. She used to scold Betty (one of my mom's sisters) and I because we pumped that thing until Grandma was sure that it would break and fly apart it was going so fast.

Did Grandma Pink have a Singer Featherweight?
Oh heavens no. Those didn't come out until during the depression. We didn't have money for those fancy things and her treadle machine worked just fine.

So you didn't learn to sew on a Featherweight?
Oh no, I learned to sew on that treadle machine.
As background for my readers, my mom was an excellent seamstress and made most of our clothes growing up and ALL of our Barbie and other doll clothes--there were 5 of us girls, so that is more than a few Barbie clothes--and our dolls were always the best dressed around.

So how did Grandma use the table?

I can't remember seeing her use it, although I am sure she did. There was very little in our home that was not used. I can tell you how they were supposed to be used though; I used to see them all of the time at auctions.

And how were they supposed to be used?

They didn't make paper patterns back in those days like we see and use today. Every housewife sewed, and every housewife made her own patterns. Those patterns and cutting the cloth to sew was done using those tables. The tables were shorter, so that they could be pulled up over the lap of the sewer so that she could reach, measure, draw, and cut the materials to make whatever she was designing. You know those armless sewing rockers? You could sit in one of those and work on your sewing project. Sometimes when you find those tables today, you will see a path of dots. Those dots were from a little tool that was a wheel on a handle, kind of like what modern quilters use to cut fabric today, only it didn't cut, it transferred a pattern from one piece to another usually using chalk or transfer paper. The transfer markings washed out in the first wash of the garment. Modern quilters might find the tables useful in piecing blocks together.

But then my Mom isn't a blogger.

So now you are wondering how I intend to use this little wonder aren't you?

I wonder if W.E. & J.M. Eldred would be amazed that 127 years after they invented and patented the table for the everyday housewife to use, an everyday housewife would be using one to send information instantly to the rest of the world about their humble creation.

This post has been linked to Metamorphisis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.


Monday! A Fresh Start and a Happy Place!

Well it has certainly been a while, hasn't it? Time to start anew, refreshed and ready to go on this adventure. What lays beyond those doors on this Monday adventure?

Monday here at the homestead includes laundry, so it seems fitting that recently while spending the day doing this never ending chore, I decided that my laundry "room" was really boring, lackluster, and a real snoozeville of a place...definitely NOT a happy place. Time to change that I say! So I did! Here is what it looked like before...

and here is what it looks like now...

Much, much more friendly isn't it? This was a simple presto, change-o that took very little time, money, and no energy on Stoney's part (remember the last time in our mudroom?) In fact, he probably doesn't even know this metamorphosis took place!

It all started last April when while visiting The Princess I was looking for a change pot for the laundry room. I happened upon a booth at an antique mall with 50% off going out of business sale. Enter this cute little honey pot for $5. Quarters fit through the opening (for those rare high-dollar laundry days) and I thought the black would go well with the brightly colored laundry essentials that live in this center of the Monday universe. Now I have an inspiration piece, what next? I knew I wanted something bee related.

I could paint on the wall.
Nope, don't want to have to move the washer and dryer out, take down the shelving and otherwise rehab a freshly painted white wall. And painting some bees on the wall would require more bending and stretching than my wii yoga workout.

I could paint canvas pictures.
Nope, have you priced even a small canvas...and I needed 4 for something that no one would most likely ever see.

I could print off some pretty bee pics and frame. Maybe even utilize some scrapbook embellishments.
Possible, need to find some really cheap frames tho...and start digging through the vast Internet for happy bee pictures. Oh, well off to Hobby Lobby I go.

While meandering the vast domain of a company that I should own stock in by now (if my sales records are any indication) I found the summer clearance items...and much to my great excitement there were 4 little yellow bee plates just begging to come home with me. The price $2.99 each, but then take 70% end of summer clearance and the heavens parted and a bright sparkling light that is my calculator said...that means these are 90 cents a pop... THEY WILL COME TO STONEY'S WITH ME!

So after picking up the plate hangers that HobLob so conveniently carries (and yes, they did, in fact, cost more than the plates) I went home excited to fulfill my dream of a happy Monday place.

The tools I used were a hammer, a pen, a tape measure (I debated the need for these 2 tools, but thinking my "just eyeball it" skills might be a little rusty I caved and actually measured and marked), and my trusty box of straight pins. (Our home is all drywall, so anything lightweight, like these melmac plates and small picture frames, I hang using straight pins...less holes to patch come the next painting time, AND if I want to move something, the size of the pinhole becomes invisible.)

And the rest as they say is history! I now have a happy place for busy bee Monday's. Perhaps one of these days, I will find some happy flowers or baskets to hang inside on the doors, so that when the doors are open on Monday, the whole hallway area looks happy too... but that will be an adventure for another day!

Today I am hooking up with Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch. If you want to stop over and see what others are doing to morph this week click here!


New Things Coming Soon...

I've been reading and looking and thinking and planning...and finally soon there will be some new things headed your way...I am just working on my stockpile of stories and interesting (hopefully) ideas and links to tickle your be patient just a bit longer...and just because I'm a is a picture of something that is planned for the launch of the new Stoney's Crew...see you soon!


How about a substitute for sour cream?

One of my favorite cookbook authors is Joanna Lund. She was the creator of the Healthy Exchange Diet. Her premise was simple, all recipes had to be made of easily obtainable items at her local Kroger in Iowa, had to be taste tested and approved by her husband and fit within her diabetic diet.

Another blogger was discussing yogurt this week, when it tweaked my memory to actually share a recipe of hers that I make without even thinking about it. A yogurt substitute for Sour Cream. There are a couple of ways to do it so here you go, give it a try!

3/4 cup of plain fat-free yogurt (I have also used plain, regular yogurt)
1/3 cup non-fat dry milk.

The dry milk stabilizes the yogurt to the consistancy of sour cream.

Slower Method!
Line a sieve with a coffee filter, place sieve and coffee filter over a bowl add 1 cup plain fat-free yogurt and refrigerate for 6 hours. The end result in the filter will be a near consistancy to sour cream.

To stabilize the yogurt when cooking (either recipe) add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch when cooking or baking with it.

Need a dip or potato topper? Add Ranch Dressing Mix, French Onion Mix, or your favorite mix to the yogurt as you would sour cream and you have a great alternative. Another option is to add 1 cup of your favorite salsa to the yogurt turned sour cream for a great topping for tacos, burritos, and baked potatoes!


When To Expect Coupons

I have been asked how I know when there will be coupons in the newspaper. Generally, I don't. However, I do know that Proctor & Gamble almost always has an insert in the first Sunday paper of the month and generally speaking, there isn't much to get excited about in the inserts on holiday Sundays. I have found a couple of sites that are pretty accurate on what will be in the Sunday papers tho. The overall coupon schedule can be found here. (July 4 was a surprise, P&G had an insert that wasn't even on the guru's schedule.)

A couple of my favorite sites are The Frugal Girls and Money Saving Mom. Both sites usually have info on what to expect in the Sunday ads on Fridays or Saturdays. These sites also have Couponing 101 if your interested in their tips and abbreviations. I usually give it a peek to see if there are any exciting (to me) coupons coming on Sunday.

Our local newspaper doesn't have a Sunday edition, but they put the coupon inserts in the Saturday edition. I subscribed to a regional newspaper through their website and got a bargain subscription for the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday paper (Sunday being the most important to a couponer) for well less ($20) than the amount I save every quarter in the coupons. Works for me. Frugal Girl and Money Saving Mom also have info on when to use coupons to get items for free when on sale and a coupon is available. I am a fan of both on Facebook or you can subscribe to their daily email on their home page or even narrow it down by stores in your area only (Free of course) to get the info.

Don't think just food and cleaning supplies either for money saving, recently as part of their 50th anniversary, Menard's was (and might still be) running a ceiling paint (free after rebate) as well as rebates on other paints and supplies. Frugal Girls and Money Saving Mom also has a lot of free scenarios for personal care and baby products. So keep your eyes open.

Any extra coupons I give to family and friends to pick through. My mom lets me pick through her inserts (she subscribes to 2 regional newspapers--East and West--and the local) and shares with family and friends too. So that is 5 newspapers worth of coupons right off the bat.

I also utilize internet coupons. I subscribe to and Penny Pincher's Gazette (both free) to be able to print coupons off of the web. Kroger (and affiliates like Owen's and Scott's) allow you to download coupons to your "Plus" card and they will automatically be on your orders when you check out and are buying the merchandise. Don't remember what all is loaded on your card? They keep track of it and you can see the list of coupons on your card through their website when you register it. Easy peasy. Don't get me wrong, I still print coupons too...sometimes a bargain can be had at Meijer or Martin's and you can't use a Kroger customer card for that!

Another regional favorite store of mine is Meijer. Meijer have their own additional store coupons on their website (look in the MealBox section, shopping list) that you can print, use in conjunction with their sales AND manufacturer's coupons. If all of your coupons add up to more than the sale price, they will not make them into Money Makers, but you can get the products for Free! I am good with that. For those naysayers among you that say it costs to much to print coupons, I usually watch the Staples ads for free after rebate, $1 after rebate, or starting Sunday as part of their back-to-school specials 1 cent after rebate reams of paper for my coupons. I do wish that they would have the same sales for ink cartridges tho...oh, well, I guess I can't complain since the savings of matching coupons with sales usually saves me at least $200 a month.

Meijer is the best in my area in that they accept all internet coupons, and I've never had a problem and they have a lot of catalinas. (If under 50 cents they usually even double.) Marsh and Kroger/Owen's are usually fine. Our local Kroger (shopping card plus purchases will save you 10 cents a gallon on gas occasionally) and Meijer doubles coupons up to 50 cents so generally that is where I do most of my shopping. Last week Daisy Cottage Cheese was on sale at Meijer for 99 cents, I had a 45 cent coupon (well 4 of them) so I got 4 containers for 9 cents each. I like cottage cheese! The Kid believes Ranch Salad Dressing is a substitute for ketchup, so when Kraft had their $1 off coupon recently, getting bottles of Ranch salad dressing for 59 cents or less was an amazing deal, and stocking up for his return to school this fall was a must do!

Recently, Marsh got a new clerk/assistant manager combo that questioned every coupon I solution? I generally no longer shop at Marsh because Kroger, Meijer and WalMart will price match and I have never had a coupon issue at any one of them. My theory is to choose your battles. We will soon be getting a Martin's in our area. I have shopped in out-of-town Martin's for loss leaders in the past (10 pounds of apples for 99 cents last fall is tough to beat!), so I am looking forward to seeing what my savings might be on a regular basis. In the meantime, I am monitoring their website sale fliers for a rough idea of their sales cycle.

That in a nutshell is Couponing 101 Stoney Style.

Donating over $1200 to local charities on a budget of $1 a day
As a interesting read, I have been following a guy that is blogging about his adventures of eating on a dollar a day budget (currently on day 60 something) but his goal is 100. So far he has been able to donate over $1200 in food and supplies to his local food pantry without going over his $1/day goal. It is really an amazing read; at first he was a little hesitant, so he was eating oatmeal and rice, a lot, but he has really branched out to include fruit smoothies every morning, a beer for a backyard holiday cookout, and his new favorite sandwich. (Granted his local stores allow money makers, but still, I find it totally interesting and amazing.) You can begin reading his blog by clicking here. His description of manning up to purchase feminine products because the products were a money maker is pretty funny.


Time to get back in the saddle again!

Have you missed me during my unexpected hiatus? (Please be nice, like your mom taught you!) I have been researching a few things and I hope to have some fun things for you to read in the next few days. So stick with me just a while longer and we will chat again soon...I PINKIE PROMISE!


Stoney's Crew: Back Door Guests Are Always Best!

Welcome to the Stoney's Crew Lab to all of our Back Door Guests and Ultimate Blog Party Adventurers! Won't you stay a moment and enjoy a cup of coffee and a Banana Nut Muffin with me?

How Stoney's Crew came to be is purely an accidental thing really. You see, I have children (The Princess now out on her own and The Kid now in college) that now that they really need to know how, they have asked to learn recipes and/or how to do things in order to survive on their own. I have picked up a friend here and there over the years that would ask for a helpful hint or two along the way, so rather than repeating myself, I opted for a blog and Stoney's Crew was born. Why the name Stoney's Crew? Because I am married to Stoney of course! That makes me The Crew! Careful there, I prefer "The Crew" to "The Shrew"!

In February of this year, Stoney's Crew began as a record to document how many meals could be made from a single chicken roasted in the crock pot. By the time February was over, Stoney was nearly clucking full time! Meander on over to the sidebar there, expand February and have a peek at all of the fabulous things I did with that bird (and yes, there was a documented FLOP! as well!) A cost analysis of the meals is captured in the recap. Occasionally I will post other recipes requiring chicken as we travel this road together.

March was a time of re-engineering to make my cooking style and Stoney's newly desired eating style mesh together in a re-engineering process and in April a new outlook and the spring cleaning and remodeling bug has bit--big time! So we are working on that and, of course, there are the Stoney's Crew Once-A-Month (OAMC) or Freezer Cooking hints and tips along the way. Some tried and true OAMC and Freezer Cooking enthusiasts will probably shake their head in amazement at the Stoney's Crew style. Not too many of them do things like package Microwave Popcorn or hard-boil 2 dozen eggs, but here at The Lab we do things to fit our lifestyle and if that is a little wacky to you, we don't mind because we think so too and that is what makes it fun!

If after you have a look around, you enjoy the visit, by all means, become a fan on Facebook here. That way you will always know what is happening at The Lab and you can visit often!

Oh, you like that creamer in your coffee? I made it and you can too! Here is the recipe!

Stoney's Crew French Vanilla Coffee Creamer

2 cups milk (what ever kind you like, I usually use Skim)
1 cup sugar
Bring to a boil in a heavy saucepan (about 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer)
Let this mixture cool slightly.
Add at least 1 tablespoon of Vanilla (I use about 2, we like vanilla!) and 3-1/2 cups of cold milk (again I use Skim) and pour into a pitcher or caraf and store in the refrigerator.

Making this will cost approximately half what buying it would and you know what is in it! Oh yeah, if you detect a hint of chocolate in the flavor...there is! I love Chocolate Truffle Coffee (purchased on sale with a coupon--doubled of course!) and mixing caffiene with chocolate, yes, that is bliss!

As a bit of added response to Mrs. E's question...this will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks...If I am feeling particularly ambitious and milk is on sale I will make a couple of batches and freeze one. Just make sure to leave enough "head space" in your container (like a 1/4-1/2") for expansion. Added bonus: Use 1/2 to 1 cup of this "creamer" as part of the milk required in a box of instant pudding. I like the chocolate with that vanilla background flavor OR the new Cheesecake flavor by Jell-o...with some strawberries on the side...oh yeah, now we are really talkin'!

This post is also linked to Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday for April 13, 2010.

I enjoyed your visit, come again soon, and remember "Back Door Guests are Always Best!"