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More Wool: A Prince of an Idea

It’s time to ‘fess’ up, as they say. Aunt Toby has never..ever…met HRH Charles Philip Arthur George, the Prince of Wales.
Never.
We just don’t move in the same, as we might say, circles.
But on the other hand, if we did meet, we’d have a lot to talk about.
He’s a organic gardener. Aunt Toby’s an organic gardener.
He believes in good solid architecture. I’m into barns, too.
He’s been a fierce advocate of protecting the ecology for years; moi aussi.

And he believes that the world would be a healthier, happier, warmer place if people wore more wool. (more…)

Twill, Baby, Twill

Recently, I read on another blog that I frequent the author’s question about what sort of fabric he’d gone and bought to make himself a pair of pants. Male Pattern Boldness

He thought it might be ‘some sort of twill’. Several of us recognized immediately that what he had was not twill but I thought that perhaps a little bit of information on what twill is…and ain’t..might be useful.

The picture at the top is a twill (more…)

It’s Curtains For You, Bub..

The little den is coming together now, with some little bits and pieces to pull all the disparate colors together. The original color of the den, when Elder Daughter used it as a bedroom, was an aqua color and she got some cotton hopsacking tab top curtains to match. Pretty, a little girly perhaps but not bad. Well, of course, all that aqua paint went out the window (literally) when the DH and I wrecked out the walls to rehab the space. And when we painted the new walls, we painted them the same color as the rest of the downstairs (another hint in terms of saving money on redecorating: Find a color that you can stick with across an entire floor). So, we had ‘pecan’ walls (a nice warm beige), a futon that needed a new cover, and some aqua colored curtains that were still good and that I was loath to give or throw away. (more…)

Cheap and Good: Oatmeal Three Ways

Oats have a lot going for them, in comparison to other grains.

From a growing standpoint, places which ordinarily have not been ‘friendly’ to grains such as wheat (find a latitude on any globe where in your own mind – versus anyone else’s – you say, “It’s cold there” and you will find oats growing well there: parts of the former Soviet Union, Norway, Scotland, Canada and the northern US and so on). Weather conditions that make for poor growing conditions for wheat and many other grains (wet conditions, cool conditions, humid conditions, etc.) don’t seem to bother oats.

From a nutritional position, oats can more than hold their own with other grains. (more…)

Cheap and Good: Hankering for Hummus?

Recently, consumers were faced with another product recall, this time for all sorts of products manufactured with peanuts coming out of the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Georgia due to Salmonella contamination. A bit later, a facility this company owned in Texas was also tagged for the same conditions and contamination. As of early February, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta had identified 600 people in the United States and possible connection with eight deaths due to consumers eating this contaminated food.

salmonella testimony

For those of us who have some concerns, what are our options? (more…)

Sewing: Make it worth even more

Aunt Toby has, I suspect, a rather unique philosophy on sewing clothing for family members in terms of ‘making it pay’, which is this:

Learn to do one thing really well. Make that a bunch of times…and then learn to make another thing really well and make THAT a bunch of times.

Example One: Men’s shirts. I make men’s shirts for the DH as an act of love (ok, I admit it), but also because he has a sort of shoebox shaped body and the tails are just not long enough. Men’s shirts, from a sewing and design aspect are like Japanese pen and ink drawings: the buffet of design opportunities is pretty narrow. The items that are usually seen when the man wears it with a suit or sportcoat are the collar, the cuffs and the band (and even then, with a tie an observer doesn’t get to see much, actually) . The only other place to do anything is the yoke in the back and the chest pocket and even then, there is this really thin line between “Oh, that’s nifty” and “Oh, you’re subbing for The Tumbleweed Boys” this evening?” (more…)

It’s 8:00 – do you know what’s in your freezer?

ice climbing in a big freezer I know Aunt Toby always sounds a bit like the ant in the fable who ends up with the frozen grasshopper at his front door, but thinking ahead is always a good idea. So, we’re going to take a tour of Aunt Toby’s freezer and talk about the future.

No, that photo at the top is NOT Aunt Toby’s freezer, though there are moments when I gaze into mine and have the same feeling like I’m going to be climbing into it, not knowing what the hell I’m going to find. Do you have that feeling too?

Even when you stock up, and even if you know one week later that you bought chicken on sale, cut it up, packaged it and put it into the freezer, would you know how much you really have and when you put it in there. How about a month later? How about 3 months later?

Are your eyeballs glazing over (and not from the cold air, either – you can shut the door to the freezer now..)?

Aunt Toby is as guilty of ‘lack of inventory management’ as the next person, perhaps more so since I have this really deep seated belief in socking stuff (more…)

Cheap and Good: Stale bread 4 ways plus a trifling dessert

I know, I know..I promised something on stale bread all the way back probably before Christmas, and as usual, got distracted (it’s Michelle Obama’s arms, doncha know?). What Aunt Toby wants you to do is to think about stuff that we usually just throw away; or give to the birds; or throw on the compost heap, as food that we can recycle into something else. So, you say you don’t like the stems of broccoli – cook ‘em up in chicken broth, run it all through a blender and you’ve got yummy broccoli soup (jazz it up with some cheddar and you are good to go). We’ve covered left-over mashed potatoes already. Today’s topic (as you can see above) is left over bread. (more…)

Just Do One Thing…and Save Money

Right about now, between McCain’s totally spinning out of control (on a personal and on a campaign basis); Palin “going rogue”; banks NOT doing what Paulson promised they’d do with their bailout money, and winter coming on, it’s going to be easy to just throw up your hands and say, “I can’t cope – there is nothing I can do – I’ll just end up sitting in the dark, freezing to death, starving.”

There are a lot of things out there that none of us can control. None of us is going to be able to go to Congress, lock the doors and refuse to let them have access to the bathrooms until they hold Paulson and the financial community accountable.

Ok? Get used to it.

But – on an individual and family basis, as I have written here before, there are a whole lot of things we can do. The problem is: which corner of the elephant do you sink your teeth into first? (more…)

Thrift: It’s Not Just For Your Granny Anymore: Another in a Continuing Series of “The Guide to the Economically Depressed”

food1Ok, you get the fact that life as we know it is over. You also get that things could get a whole lot worse in terms of your life as a consumer before they are going to get better. What you don’t “get” is how you, as an individual, are going to navigate through this period until we all somehow come into the sun (cue sfx of birds singing and cash registers ringing).

A big part of the problem is that the whole concept of “being thrifty” got thrown out the window in about 1982 (more…)

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