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Sunday, January 8, 2017

WHY DID WE SAVE THAT?

Hello dear friends!  I hope that all of you living in the northern hemisphere are keeping warm.  It's amusing to read that many living in the southern states have more snow than we do up here in the "winter wonderland".  It's been a strange winter so far, such swings in temperature!  Right now, it's in the single digits, but we're used to that, it wouldn't be so bad, except for the wind, which blows directly off of Lake Huron straight down our street.  Oh well! In the summer we appreciate it.  Can't have everything in life, nor would we want to.

DOWNSIZING AND ORGANIZING

The cold keeps us inside, so it's the perfect time for organizing and just getting rid of stuff.  Lori wanted to know how we downsized  from a 4000 square foot home to our current less than 1000 square foot one.  I always quote William Morris on this;

"Have nothing in your house that you do not find to be useful or beautiful."

The useful part is pretty easy, I don't think too many people hang on to non-working TVs or broken appliances, if you do, well, then you have more work to do before getting to decluttering and organizing! We always leave anything that has scrap metal potential out in front on garbage day for the man that collects such things to sell for scrap.  Don't know if he makes much money from it, but perhaps it is enough to keep the wolves from the door for him.  I like the scrap metal man, he's a pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps sort of fella. 

A note on appliances: reassess what you really need.  I've never had a standing mixer, and I dare say, I've baked more than the average bear in my lifetime.  They take up a lot of counterspace.  A hand-held mixer works just as well, unless you are making pound cakes on a daily basis.  Find appliances that do double duty; our pressure cooker, which is necessary because we use so many dried beans, also has a setting for slow cooking, thus eliminating a crock pot.  I don't own a slow cooker, just use my Dutch oven on a low setting (300 degrees) in the oven to get the same results, although I'm sure they are nice for those of you that are away from home all day. A cast iron skillet does just as good job as one of those gadgets for deep frying.  My kitchen is tiny 13 1/2 feet by 6 1/2 feet, yet I manage to can enough food for a year, feed large  gatherings holiday meals, and cook everything from scratch, so if I can do it, anyone can do it.  As a matter of fact, a small kitchen makes life easier; less steps to make and everything must be organized. We have an old family friend that has what many would consider a dream kitchen; huge and so many cupboards and drawers, but every time she wants to cook something or find a gadget, she has to rummage through drawers and cupboards for the item.  It takes forever.  Plus a lot of times she just gives up and buys another, which is not thrifty. Which is another reason to be organized.  If you are replacing things because you can't find them, it's time to get organized.  Organization and thrift go hand-in-hand.

LOSE THE SENTIMENTALITY 

A lot of times we hold on to items for sentimental reasons. Trust me, having cleaned out my parent's home and helped clean out several other homes after the people have passed, no one appreciates those old birthday cards and photos of your new car circa 1967.  How often do you look at those things?  Probably never.  Even old family photos.   This past year, Ran and I went through all the family photos and chucked a bunch of them.  The kids are never going to look at old photos of scenery from trips, and pictures of people we don't remember, so how would they? We just kept a few photos of each child at each age, and tried to choose the ones that were the cutest.  Now all our family photographs fit in one shoe box. We never saved our children's art work either.  We displayed it on the refrigerator for a while then had no qualms about tossing it.  They were always making more. And I've never heard any of them say they regretted  that I didn't save any of these things. 

Many times we get "stuck" with furniture and such that family member pass down to us.  First, if it isn't to your taste, say "no thanks", and eliminate the problem to begin with.  Unless the treasure is a valuable antique, I have no regrets with donating it to a charity, and even then, if it's just going to be stuck in the attic, it is better to pass it on to a family member that would enjoy it, give it to a charity that could use it, or sell it to buy something that you need (or raise funds to buy down your mortgage).   After all, a 1970 Mediterranean dresser made from press board will never be valuable. In other words, you don't need to keep things to keep the memories. 

One of the reason I have no  misgivings about getting rid of furniture is that I never pay a lot for it to begin with, having purchased most at estate and garage sales and auctions.  When my tastes change it is of little consequence to get rid of things or to paint or re-purpose them.  Get rid of things that you don't like, it will just make you miserable looking at them day to day.

BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF

This past few months I got rid of all my DMC embroidery floss.  It was driving me crazy, thinking about organizing it, and I had to be honest with myself that I probably never would make a sampler anymore, and if I did, it doesn't cost that much to buy new floss, a small price to pay, to be rid of the anxiety and clutter.  I also had to be honest with myself and admit defeat when it comes to quilting; I'm never going to make one that I'd be satisfied with, so out went all those cotton scraps I've been saving and the quilting hoops. It was actually quite liberating to be done with those things.

I've gotten rid of lots of books over the years also.  I know I'm not going to re-read a lot of them, so out they went to the library book sale.  Many times we hold onto cookbooks for one recipe. Who buys cookbooks now days, with zillions of recipes available on the internet?  I just copy the recipe and donate the book.  My friend, Laurie, was appalled when  I told here this, but I cut up old decorating and craft books and just keep the pages I want.  The craft patterns go into sleeves that are in a three-leaf binder.  The decorating pages are glued into a notebook on decorating ideas. Bibliophiles may find this sacrilege, but nothing is sadder than old craft and decorating books, tastes are continually changing and after while they become so dated, that you can't even give them away.  At the end of each month I gather up all my magazines and catalogs and cut out what I want from them; fashion  and crafting ideas from the catalogs, articles from the magazines, etc. and glue them into notebooks.

Old DVDs are another thing to get rid of, are you really going to watch that movie a second time?  The movies that I love and want to hold onto, I remove from their cases, and put into those DVD/CD organizers.  Saves a lot of space.  I always enjoyed watching old movies and I thought it would be nice to have a large selections, since we don't have TV, but I find that I watch the same few shows over and over again, and rarely watch any of the movies.  I rarely watch any of the shows either, except for when it really is cold out and have the time.  I've discovered that there's quite a few old movies on YouTube, sometimes I discover a real treasure.  Veterans Hospitals and senior centers are often looking for donations of movies, so there's a good home for the unwanted ones.  Or you could donate them to the thrift stores.  BTW,  the series I watch in the winter are: Christy, Road to Avonlea, Newhart, and All Creatures Great and Small. There are plenty enough episodes to keep me busy.

ORGANIZING MY WARDROBE 

We only have one closet in this old house and that is used to store our winter coats, my little black dress  (that I use for funerals and formal occasions) and Ran's suit, so maintaining a small and practical wardrobe is a necessity.  I have two wardrobes; one for warm weather and one for cold, when one is not in use, I pack it away in the attic for storage. The first thing I do when I get them out of storage is to lay everything out on the bed.  This way I can see the "clinkers" as I call it; you know the sweater that doesn't go with anything, the really dated looking skirt, etc. Into the charity box they go.  Next I get rid of everything that is uncomfortable, whether it's because it's too large, small or too immodest, or made of a material that I don't like.  Then out goes all the impracticals; the skirts that don't allow me to move freelyi.e. pencil skirts, the ones made from fabric that take too much care, such as linen and the ones that just don't mesh with my lifestyle.  I try to keep everything in a color scheme, for me it's cream, beige, gray and grayed down blue and green.  Then it comes to personal style.  For years I tried to "fit"  in with others.  I tried wearing the velour jogging suits of the mommy crowd in the 80s and the yoga pants and hoodies that seem to be the current style, even jeans and t-shirts, but I never felt comfortable in them. I'd wear those things for a while and then revert back to my old self.  I had to realize that although my personal style sometimes makes me stand out like a sore thumb, it is who I am.  After a while people get used to your eccentricities, and you just become part of the atmosphere, so go for it. 

To thine own self, be true.
~William Shakespeare~

 By the time you've narrowed your wardrobe down, to comfortable, well-fitting clothes that convey your personal style, you should have a much smaller wardrobe, but if you still have too much, go through  it a second time and keep just the very best; i.e., the very best example of a gray cardigan, the most flattering denim skirt, etc.  I usually end up with too many gray sweaters, I must confess.  As you well-know, I love to shop thrift stores, so I have a rule, every time I bring something new into the house I must get rid of something plus one.  

GETTING STARTED

I hope by now, we all can agree that getting organized is a thrifty thing to do, but how do you get started at it?  People often get overwhelmed by a huge project, but as the saying goes, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." the same is true with organizing.  Pick one room per week or month and go through one drawer  or closet at a time and be ruthless about getting through with the things you don't need or want.  As soon as you have a box filled with things for charity, drop it off. Don't keep them around to second-guess it.  

RECIPE OF THE WEEK

I'm trying to make more meatless meals this year and try some of the many recipes that I've clipped throughout my thirty-eight years of being married.  This recipe met both criteria.  I'll give it to you the way it was written, then I'll illustrate how I will make it the next time to utilize pantry staples and my time.

Tropical Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

8 large cabbage leaves
1 can reduced-fat unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 C. pineapple preserves
1 C. cooked orzo
1 can black beans drained
1 onion chopped
1/3 C. raisins
1/3 C. cashew pieces
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste



In a bowl, cover cabbage leaves with boiling water.  Cover; let sit 10 minutes or until limp.

Meanwhile coat 3-4 qt. slow cooker with cooking spray.  In a small bowl, mix coconut milk and preserves. Spread 1/2 mixture in bottom of slow cooker; set aside remaining mixture.

Combine remaining ingredients, except cabbage.  Place 1/3 C. mixture at stem end of each leaf and form into cabbage rolls.Place as many cabbage rolls, seam side down as will fit in slow cooker. Cover with 1/3 C. of remaining  coconut mixture.Repeat with remaining rolls and pour the remaining mixture over the rolls.

Cover; cook on low heat setting 7-9 hours, or on high setting 3 1/2 - 4 hours.


Now for the thriftier version, I'd use plain white rice in place of the orzo, since that is not a pantry staple in our house.  I usually have a carton of coconut milk for making oatmeal, which I would replace with the canned stuff, or I'd use plain old milk and add some coconut from my baking pantry.  I happened to have some cashews left over from Christmas, but if I didn't I would just leave them out.  Instead of pineapple preserves, I would thicken a small can of crushed pineapple by combining the syrup and some cornstarch and simmering it with the pineapple until it thickens.  And of course, I would use reconstituted dried beans for the canned ones.  I also wouldn't bother with all the fuss of making the rolls, I'd just shred  the cabbage, stir everything in a pot and throw it into the oven to simmer at 350 degrees for an hour and a half.  I'd also add more beans and rice to make the meal stretch further.  Jamie said this would be excellent on our homemade flat bread.

There was one more thing that I wanted to write about; several people had suggested a certain book that I might like, so I went to Amazon to check it out.  Right off the bat, I could tell it wasn't a book for me, because in the description it had an entire chapter on boiling.  Boiling? Really?  There's not too many things I hate in this world, but those phony lifestyle books where people presume we are all so stupid that we didn't know it was cost-effective to re-use your leftovers, is one of them.  I'm always offended for all those that have come before and things like thrift are just a natural part of life, these writers always act as though they're the first to discover it.  It also makes me bristle when I see authors that write about "the simple life" in their new LL Bean clothes and their fancy chicken coops that cost more than our new car.  Or the pretentious ones that are always having sit-down dinners for an unusually attractive family in their million dollar decorated-to-the hilt homes.  No sir, give me a blog any day, where the people look like real people and aren't afraid to say, that today we ate at Taco Bell because I was just too tired to cook.  Just wanted to get that off my chest.

THRIFTY THING WE DID THIS WEEK

Our crisper drawers in the refrigerator were starting to crack and the manufacturer has discontinued our model, so Ran made wooden handles to keep them from cracking any further.  Funny story:  On another refrigerator the plastic parts that hold in the milk, etc. on the door cracked so Ran made some wooden ones.  Everyone thought they were so neat that we matched our cabinets, thinking that we had done it on purpose.

Started knitting a pair of mittens for next year's Christmas presents.

Spent a grand total of $7 and some change on groceries this week, for 2 heads of lettuce, a fresh pineapple and a small jug of milk.

Made banana pudding with some of the bananas that needed using up.  Saw a recipe for peanut butter banana pudding, but the ingredients were so ridiculous,  that I ended up making my regular banana pudding and stirred in a good dollop of peanut butter.  BTW, I hope that's the last time I need to type "banana" for a while, it's a challenge  for someone mildly dyslexic.

Painted a piece of furniture to fit in better with the decor.

Made bread crumbs from some leftover hamburger buns.

Roasted up the remaining pumpkins, pureed them and put them in the freezer.

Well that's it for the old Zempel boarding house this week!  Hallelujah! My computer has been acting up since I started writing this and it's been a real challenge to my patience, which isn't the greatest under the best of times!  Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Hugs
Jane













 

 
 



 

65 comments:

  1. We've had snow and single digits here in NC. I believe it's supposed to get down to 2 tonight, rare in these parts. I've bookmarked the Road to Avonlea series, which looks like one I might like, & one I wasn't familiar with. Decluttering is something I need to work on. I usually put several things in the donate box a month, but I really need to up my game a bit. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. It's so strange that you are getting the temps. as we are way up here, Laurie. Road to Avonlea is a beautiful wholesome show. The setting and costumes are just beautiful. Every time I think I'm done getting rid of stuff, I find some more things. I don't think I'll ever get down to so little that I can live in a tiny house. Ha! Stay warm!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  2. Sorry Matty and Debbie, the blogger ate the comments again, and before I got to read yours, Matty.

    Debbie in the U.P. has left a new comment on your post "WHY DID WE SAVE THAT?":

    Hi, Jane! Lovely post, as usual. I agree with everything you said; I've pretty much given up on the simplicity books, too. I had to chuckle about the DMC floss. We moved from a 1400 sq. ft. house to a 600 sq. ft. house. We had three yard sales and still had to get rid of more once we moved. I sold all my floss; this year i'm picking up bits and pieces at the thrifts so i can do hand sewing once again. That was my first love and i feel the need to get back to it. The quilting, now that's gone for good, too! Have a fabulous week ahead!

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    1. Wish I had known, Debbie, I could have sent you all the floss you wanted. I'll still do some embroidery, but will just buy the floss as needed. Those big cross stitch charts are a thing of the past, and when I did do them, it seemed no matter how much floss I had, it never was the right colors. I think the designers do that intentionally to get us to buy more floss. Or maybe I'm just a skeptic.

      Hugs
      Jane

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  3. Older daughter and family were here at New Year, and I have been told " Mum, you have too much stuff"!! Well, quilting fabric is OK, books, thin them out, kitchen stuff, thin that out too, she didn't dare mention the idea to Hugh for his workshop. Love your idea of how to decide about clothes. Weather, cold wind here, yesterday was lovely, younger daughter here now for a week, but as she lives a long way south of us, and in the southern hemisphere, that means it is colder, she finds even colder mornings here still warm. Keep warm Jane, and enjoy those quiet winter days.

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    1. Ha! Our children always think we have too much stuff, Jean! My husband workshop is filled too. Oh well! One day the scrap man will have a hey day in it. Men's workshops are sacred to them. Hope you are enjoying your visits and it's nice to read that there's been no more trips in the ambulance!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  4. Hi Jane,
    A great post with lots of common sense inspiration. I know you are very organized, but it is still amazing to me that you are able to can so much in such a small kitchen. I watch all the tiny house shows for space saving techniques. Think I may be addicted to them!
    Sheila

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    1. You only need a stove and a few feet of counterspace, Sheila. Of course I don't store my canned goods in the kitchen, they are in our pantry on the landing of our upstairs. We make do with what we have. It's always a challenge, but a fun challenge!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  5. Ahhh...my Sunday night read! Hi Jane...good post with a lot of good decisions and plain common sense! I am not a picture-person (not counting flower pics!) nor one to save anything my kids have made. I feel memories are more dear than mementos! Lately I try to think of how my parents lived...very frugally due to necessity. Another example is when we started out. Didn't need a moving van back then when we moved! I agree...fake frugality is shameful. I think people who are "rich" and have frugal blogs must be pacifying their guilt for owning so much! I feel God has been too good to me and I need to spend less and give more. If I had a frugal blog it would have to be an anti-frugal blog to expose how I shamefully treat myself too well. ha...sad but true. But I am working on it due to necessity as we are living on savings now so I love reading your posts! Hugs, Andrea

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    1. Ha! Now that would be interesting,, Andrea! I have nothing against rich people being thrifty, I just don't like when they pretend to act poor by doing all the stereotypical things, you know; wearing aprons and bibs, pictures of them feeding the chickens, all the talk about how they eat organic home-grown meals, when in truth they dine out five night in the week. But the worst to me are the so-called Christian writers that write about their beautiful homes, their wonderful dinner parties, etc. Not very humble in my opinion, to be spending $200 a month on candles while the poor are homeless. Not to mention, I suspect they are lying. Did you ever notice that the pictures of the holiday meals and dinners, there's never an overweight or homely person at the table? And everyone is always laughing, enjoying themselves. Don't they ever have an uncle that likes to argue with everyone, or a pouty child? I guess no one would be interested in those books! Ha!

      Bless the scrap men! They rid the neighborhood of a lot of eyesores. Have no idea how much scrap goes for these days, but it doesn't look as though the scrap man is too prosperous.

      HUgs
      Jane

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  6. Oh...p.s...about the scrap man. My neighbor collected scraps back in our other home. We'd give him our old washer and dryer, etc. He quit in the past year as the price went down for scrap metal and he said it really wasn't worth it. I think he gave stuff to another person who apparently, like you said for yours, must have the need more. Hugs, Andrea

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  7. Jane, it's just amazing how much junk we have that we don't need. Last month I took five huge bags off to donate, but it's really not a drop in the bucket to what we have left. I'm starting to feel ruthless since I've kept things thinking "what if" for so long the saved things are really not relevant anymore. I'm purging every time I get a chance so my "half" of the house will be done in a few weeks. My problem is Goodman won't let me touch his stuff so the house is only half-purged. Would you believe he still has his combat boots from when he was in service back in the 70s? And his field jacket, and almost every shoe he ever bought. Seriously.

    Cabbage rolls sound delicious! Thank you for sharing your inspiration with us.
    Have a great week!
    Toni

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    1. What;s with men, Toni? And when we go through Ran's stuff he always has to give a big explanation as to why he's getting rid of it. I'm always like, I don't care, just toss it!

      Those cabbage rolls were really good, I'm thinking of making another batch up this week. I guess they are sort of a Caribbean flavor, something nice to get out of the winter doldrums. Are you all shoveled out?

      Hugs
      Jane

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  8. Thanks for the post...I so need to get better organized. I am trying to go through drawers and throw things away. This week was the hutch which includes a junk drawer and a drawer where I put the owners manuals and such. I think I threw away about half of them since we no longer have the thing the manual went with. But my downfall is sentimentality...too many momentos and pictures. My girl has gone through and scanned a lot of pictures so that will help but...
    Funny about the fake lifestyle books. I get tired of the the "thrifty" books that talk about giving up your daily latte, and you will save hundreds of dollars. Seriously?
    Your recipe sounds good, cabbage, black beans, rice and pineapple, yum, I think I like your tweaks better than the original, and I like Jamie's idea of putting it on flatbread.
    Hope you have a wonderful week. Stay warm!

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    1. I just saw an article on how to save $100 a month on haircare, Kathy. Who the heck spends $100 a month on haircare to begin with? Isn't it amazing how stupid they think we are?

      Well, I've been married for 38 years and never once have we looked at our wedding photos and never once have the children asked to see them, just saying those things we think are important, really aren't. I'm a big one for passing things along. I gave the boys the christening gowns and all the little ornaments they made over the years. If they want to keep them, they can do so at their homes. I even purged all the things like my pressed wedding flowers and the knife we cut out cake with. I even considered selling my wedding dress on Ebay when Gunne Sax was so popular a while back. I don't think my granddaughters will be interested in wearing it. I go to lots of auctions and I see lots of old photo albums. Must people would want a picture of two, but boxes of photos, especially of places are rarely valued by the next generation. But then, I'm not a sentimental person!

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. I love your idea of passing things along! I still have a few years, before I can do that though, but at least I can sort and box up until then.
      My son has discovered that he loves 3D Art...he came to me yesterday with the styrofoam from a box, saying wouldn't that make a great looking backpack prop. He is busy making a donkey head for a school play now. I can see my house piling up with all sorts of random junk. :D

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    3. Oh the things we mothers put up with for the love of our children, Kathy! Ha! My oldest son loved engineering and would come home with any appliance or electrical device that was being thrown out in the neighborhood. For years, one end of my kitchen table was cluttered with bits of wire and circuit boards. But you know what? He turned out to be a brilliant computer engineer. So it was worth it! I call those sorts of things "happy messes".

      Hugs
      Jane

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  9. Great post -I too am in the midst of organizing/cleaning. It's a great time while there is nothing else to do. Your right small houses kind of make you rethink everything. Even at garage sales I try to think before I buy. Where would I put it, is the question I always try to ask. Okay our refrigerator drawers are starting to crack also. It's amazing how many little cracks I've seen in the whole refrigerator! One drawer completely fell apart and I had to throw it away. We then put safety glass on the top and made it another shelf. Can you show a picture of the handles your husband made? If we could keep our refrigerator from falling apart I think it may last quite a bit longer! Thanks

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    1. I'll try to take a picture of them for next week's post Vickie. Today my computer has been pokey, thus only one picture.

      That's a very good question to ask, Vickie. I always try to remember how overwhelmed I was, when cleaning out my parents home. They were children of the Great Depression and never got rid of anything. If it weren't for my ruthlessness, my sisters would still be cleaning it out! Tomorrow's supposed to be warmer!

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. Thanks Jane, Don't worry too much about it if you can't. You sound like my sister she was also ruthless when we cleaned out my Mother's home.
      Snow tomorrow! It was getting kind of ugly here we need it.

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    3. It's no problem, Vickie! Ran already took the pictures. Yep, snow will certainly be a lot prettier, and the nicest thing is that it has to warm up!
      J

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  10. Mmmm banana pudding. Now that's bringing back memories.
    I can never feel alone visiting here, especially with the comments today. I too, am letting go of things. This year I told the Mister if it was on the dining room table it was headed to donation (in case I might have purged to eagerly) anything of his was taken off and at least a 5 minute monologue on why we were keeping it. Little will he realize that if it "sits" for a few more months it will be quietly donated. It's been this way for 10 years, although the fake ficus tree from his college years will always remain in the basement corner.
    And here I thought a book on embroidery spending a chapter on thread was a bit lazy. A chapter on boiling - wow.
    Have a wonderfully organized week!
    Hugs, Jen

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    1. Hi Jen! One week tuna casserole, the next week, banana pudding, guess I'm in a diner sort of mood these days.

      I think men are the sentimental ones. Why do they have to give a long drawn out explanation for keeping things? I've been married for almost four decades and have four sons, but I'll never understand men.

      You have to admit it must take some creativity to write an entire chapter on boiling. How could you write more than a paragraph on throw it in the pot and turn up the heat?

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. But don't watch! (Sorry couldn't resist.)

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    3. Ha! Took me a while to get that one, Jen! Yeah, I guess that would be leaving out an important step.

      J

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  11. What a GREAT post dear Jane! I am working on getting rid of stuff.

    That cabbage recipe sounds really good.

    Keep warm, be well and have a lovely January ~ FlowerLady

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    1. It is really good, Rainey!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  12. Dear Jane,
    As someone who just yesterday helped a friend clean out her dead mother's room at the nursing home, I can definitely attest to the fact that you don't need to hold onto all that stuff because it's just going to get chucked out!
    Many years ago I came to the same realization about sewing as you did about your embroidery floss: I am not going to do it, so out went all those supplies and fabric stash. This time of year is when I go through my paper files and shred what doesn't need to stay but I am glad for keeping some of it - last night my landlady called me because someone hacked into her checking account and she needed a record of deposits made (I deposit the rent right into her account) and I had all the slips!
    It is freezing here in NH (-4 this morning) so we are wearing many layers but the sun is shining and that helps a lot.
    Have a lovely week,
    Dana

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    1. I usually save my receipts for such things for several months. Now days, the bank keeps all my cancelled checks on their records. I'm always telling my children to pay by check for utilities and mortgage payments because you then have a paper trail, but of course, they don't listen.

      It's starting to warm up here, so hopefully warmer weather will be heading your way soon. Now if only these gale force winds would stop blowing! Stay warm!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  13. I thought I had sorted and down-sized considerably when we moved to KY. Our first home here was small. Now in the big farmhouse I still need to pare down. I've trained myself to [mostly] pass up things at the Goodwill or local charity shop if they aren't needed to replace something I own which has seen better days. I do have more clothing than strictly necessary--in part because I've worn the same classic and conservative styles for years and I take good care of clothes.
    I've unloaded a lot of books in the past few moves--books are very heavy and bulky to transport. I do have favorites that I reread every few years and those are stashed on shelves.
    Re photos: as our family has become interested in researching family history, it would have been nice if more of the inherited photos had been labeled with names!
    I think whether a kitchen space is tiny [been there] or larger as our current farmhouse kitchen, organization is key. While there are general guidelines I've noted that many of us tackle jobs a bit differently and thus group our tools and supplies to suit our way of working.
    Winds off Lake Huron sound very chilly about now!
    BTW: a 'Jane Zempel' keeps turning up on Face Book suggested friends--I somehow don't think she is you [?]

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    1. Hi Sharon! I don't have a Facebook account, so no it wouldn't be me.

      That's a good suggestion to label the pictures. I had so many photos of people neither my husband and I recognize. Now lost forever. Being the youngest, I'm not familiar with many of the great and great-greats that my older sisters knew. By the time I came to be, my parents didn't go to so many family outings.

      Classic and conservative is the way to go when it comes to clothes. I've had some Woolrich sweaters for over twenty years. They never are too fashionable, but the never go totally out of style. Perfect for my middle-aged self. It is hard to pass up a nice Ralph Lauren cashmere sweater, though! Especially when you can purchase it for less than $4.

      I have my favorite books too, that I reread at least once a year. I've become disappointed with a lot of the newer stuff being written, so it's not hard to toss them.

      Hugs
      Jane


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  14. Thanks for the helpful response, Jane...

    I am only just beginning to sense a need to evaluate the years left (I'm 57) and what I'll "need" and have "time" to accomplish!

    I DO love books and have a library that I enjoy...
    I DO sew & quilt and love making gifts/quilts for family and friends...
    I DO love various handwork like knit/crochet/etc. and have a studio...
    I DO love to cook and enjoy my pots and pans and cookbooks...
    I DO love the things I've saved from my kids past that they've enjoyed looking through in the cedar chest (will be passing them to them soon)
    I DO have a few collections that I like finding a piece here and there at thrift stores.
    I DO have a few sets of dishes I've inherited.

    So there's THAT. ha

    Anyway, each of us creates for ourselves the nest we want to have for our family's comfort and inspiration. We go through phases in our lives when -- like the inspirational scripture in Ecclesiastes -- we either gather or throw away... build up or tear down... love something or dislike something... there is a time for everything...

    Because we will be building a house this year and re-thinking all of our space-needs and possessions, I ask the Lord for wisdom about how we need to proceed. I am looking forward to the "down-sizing" phase but know that I will want to keep my home a cozy, inviting, interesting, and welcoming space for others. Every woman has a different definition of what that looks like! God's given us such good gifts through the years --frugal, thrifty, wonderful finds -- and I am so grateful for these "things." I pray that as I endeavor to cast off various no-longer-needed stuff, that it will be a spiritually enriching exercise in that I am reminded that IN THE END all is but dust and rust but that in the meantime, He blesses us to be a blessing!

    I am sure I will continue to glean from your more "minimalist approach" posts. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. You have to do whatever makes you happy Lori. I'm only addressing the fact that people become slaves to their things. If it's something you enjoy and have the space for it, go for it. My philosophy is a bit different, I believe that too many things make life more difficult, but as you can clearly see I still have too many possessions. Downsizing is a never-ending process.

      Hugs
      Jane

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  15. Hi Jane! I have to be much more diligent than usual in my organizing and disposing of things right now due to some upcoming changes with my house and I find it interesting that some of the things I had so much difficulty parting with made me really wonder why it was so necessary to keep them once they were gone. I don't miss anything at all. I too also continue to find duplicates of things I had forgotten I owned or purchased a another because I couldn't find the original.

    When I always go through my wardrobe I think of someone I've known for a long time that does not buy any clothing unless it is good quality, fits well and fills a need in her closet. During the New Years weekend I thought of her again when I found 12 pairs of black dress pants in my closet and only 4 are really comfortable and fit correctly.

    I understand your feelings (especially after my rant about frugality similar to a diet plan last week...) about those who have the resources/connections to publish about their "boiling" and their other newfound frugalities and it makes me crazy because it sometimes isn't even safe information. I remember reading about someone excited about water bath canning salsa with beans and corn when it is actually the #1 item to attract botulism if it is not correctly pressure canned. I did receive an interesting book for Christmas though and definitely by someone who understands her circumstances and not a passing fling. I don't know if much of the recipes are of my own taste but it was interesting to see what someone cooks when they live off grid in rural Nova Scotia. It was called "A Cabin Full of Food" by Marie Beausoleil. The book says she has a website called plainmarie. Your library may have a copy if you're interested.

    I hope you have a good week. Stay warm! -Sharon

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    1. Hi Sharon! I've noticed that I rarely if ever miss something once it's out of the house. As a matter of fact, a lot of time I get angry with myself for buying it in the first place. How many better ways the money could have been spent!

      Oh the canning advice out there is horrible! I see so many mistakes. It just irritates me to see people that have been only doing it for a few years to talk like they are experts. Ditto for young upstarts that talk as though they've got life all figured out. I always want to tell them to talk to me once they've raised children and put them through college, paid off the mortgage and saved enough to retire upon. And managed to do it on only one income, that was at times below the national poverty level. But oh well! Everyone is an expert these days. Don't get me started on this rant! Ha!

      Thank you for the book suggestion. It sounds like something right up my alley. Living off-grid was always a fantasy of mine, and that is the way it will remain, as I do not see myself chopping wood and hauling water when I'm eighty. But I still like to read about others that have! Hope you are keeping toasty!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  16. I've done a lot of decluttering over the last few years. I'm trying to keep only what we are really going to use and what's beautiful or sentimental to me. Organizing is so much easier.

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    1. Sounds perfect, Sandra. It's a constant battle in a small house, but I'm trying!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  17. Hi Jane, good topic. My husband and I constantly purge items we no longer need. But I think we tend to do more of it this time of year. Funny you mentioned about purging your DMC floss; I decided to purge all my knitting books and needles. All of these were either second-hand or free so no big financial loss. But I've been trying to learn how to knit. Yet every time I have a block of time, I find myself working on a new crochet project. So I told my husband that I will probably never knit him socks. Now I feel so free! Will feel even better when I hand them over to a knitter. :)
    Blessings, Leslie

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    1. I think being cooped up inside more, we start to look around at our surroundings with a more critical eye, Leslie. Good for you for getting rid of the knitting things! No use fretting over them. As soon as it warms up and I can spend some time in the attic, all my vintage sewing patterns, except for a few for aprons are going. I'm never going to sew a vintage style dress, and regular dresses are a lot cheaper to buy at a thrift store than to sew. Hope you are staying warm!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  18. Hi Jane, I have dyslexia too but banana is one of those words that amazingly don't bungle up the letters when I type it. Weird how that works. ;) I did cringe when I read about your cutting up actual beautiful books. I totally understand and get the concept but the former librarian and continued booklover in me just let out a silent scream. It had to be silent since my hubby is currently sleeping and I don't want to wake him. I am passing on some books that I no longer read...that I can do...cutting them up....NO!!!!!

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    1. Don't worry Debbie, the books I cut up are 1980s knitting books, with patterns for loud, big shoulder padded sweaters and decorating books from the 80s when everyone hang every object they owned on the wall. I'm sure that there are plenty of other copies out there for future generations, but I suspect that most are in a landfill somewhere. Not all books are sacred, some are even trash before they are put into the dust bin. Ha!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  19. Well, Jane,
    The lengthy comment I left a couple of nights ago seems to have been eaten by the internet, so I'll try again! I probably hit the wrong button or something:)

    We are still working on organizing our things from our move last summer. Before we downsized, I got rid of 1/2 of my things in most rooms/areas. I should have pitched 2/3, but did not know what I was moving to, so did not want to get rid of it all until I knew what I needed. I don't miss those things, in fact it is freeing.

    I found that I do embroider. Just not the elaborate X-stitches I used to do. I can't see the charts very well anymore, and have several 1/2 finished ones if I got bored (or maybe I don't anymore--who knows) What I do a lot of is embroider dish towels. I just grab any color I want without worrying about the DMC number, and am using a bunch of it up that way.

    I loved your post. It was practical and interesting to read.

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    1. Hi Becky! It is freeing to get rid of things, I totally agree. I was holding on to a couple of antique chairs but recently I let them go, and it was so nice how the living room is so less cluttered. Sometimes we become trapped by our things. And I'm sure someone else will appreciate them.

      I held onto a few skeins of the prettier colored floss for embroidery, but it was the thought of organizing and winding all those tangled skeins that was giving me so much anxiety. Sometimes you just have to admit defeat. Ha! And cross stitch is one of the things that my eyes have told me I'm too old for.
      Hope you are enjoying the new house!

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. And for pity's sake, can't you get new flosses for 4 or 5 for $1 on sale? I agree, I wouldn't wind all those either. In fact, I never do. I always just leave them in their skeins in a ziplock bag:) (Oops, I've let out my lazy secrets) I got rid of so much fabric and so many unfinished projects when we moved, it's actually embarrassing. I'm just hoping they went to good use at the various places I donated them to, and either way, they are not burdens on my mind anymore.

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    3. That's the spirit Becky! When you possessions become a burden, it's time to rethink them. And as you said, it only costs a pittance to replace them, even the more costly items than embroidery floss :)

      J

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  20. dear jane,
    a great post.
    love and hugs ,
    regina

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    1. Thanks Regina! Love and hugs back at you!

      Jane

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  21. Hi Jane!

    January does feel like a good time to reduce clutter. Right now, I am still working on putting Christmas decorations away. Slow and steady is my game. ;^)

    I have to laugh because one of the things you mention never having and never needing is a stand mixer--and I just bought one from Craigslist! I have always wanted one and as long as I have fun with it, it stays. I bought it quite cheaply so if I stop enjoying using it, I can easily get back what I paid for it or donate it to a thrift store with a clean conscience.

    "Never buy new when used will more than do" has always been my motto. I'm so much more comfortable with used, anyway. It's been put to the test and has already acquired the patina of good service. Just like me! :^)

    Sue

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    1. Oops! It seems lately I've been putting my foot in my mouth more than the usual amount, Sue! Lots of people are taking offense with what I write lately. Rethinking this whole blog thing. Well, I hope you have many happy hours with your standing mixer. My step-grandmother gave me her old one, years ago, and I can attest to the fact that it makes baking a pound cake fun. Unfortunately after I had it a few weeks, Ran went, "What's that knob?" and released the mixer (one of those old post-war ones that were built like a Sherman tank) from the stand, breaking the old pyrex bowl that came with it. Now days with Ebay, it would be easy to find a replacement, but back then, no such luck. Never felt the need to replace the mixer, as it was taking up too much space and too much trouble when I wanted to use it.

      That's a very good motto. And so true about thing being put to the test! Well, happy mixing!

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. OH--don't stop blogging! I think all the comments you get here attest to your talent for drawing people in with your words. I didn't take offense--I truly was smiling to read it! I apologize if I seemed like I was quibbling. I just was amused that we all value things differently--and all our reasons are good and sensible!


      We all are at different places, variously acquiring and jettisoning our flotsam and jetsam. The fun part is hearing where everyone is on the path, and what it means to them. I love all the thoughtful reminiscing all your posts produce. This place is like a cozy, old-fashioned Five and Dime where everyone comes in with a smile and stays a few minutes to say hello and share their thoughts on the subject at hand. Thank you for being such a lovely proprietress!
      Hugs, Sue

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    3. Thank you for the kind words, Sue. I've learned my lesson about quitting blogging. If I ever decide to, I'll do it without any fanfare, I guarantee you. What I meant is I'm reconsidering sharing so much. Maybe just some frugal tips or recipes and call it a day. No long editorials on the things that irk me. Ha! But I doubt that would happen, having tried that before, eventually I always revert to my long-winded self. Guess I'm too set in my ways! Have a wonderful week!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  22. Jane, thanks for helping remove some of the guilt I feel getting rid of all my craft supplies. I just no longer wanted to spend time on them. I gifted beautiful laces, threads, scraps for quilts, patterns and fabric. The list could go on. Funny I felt guilty keeping all that stuff and not using it. I'd think of all the gifts I could make for others. I still enjoy needlepoint and kept a few projects to finish up. I like sitting with my husband at night while he reads, I stitch. I'm no longer stuck in another room making a quilt. Plus I'm no longer spending money on "projects". I've downsized everything now, it was the last to let go. I feel relieved.

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    1. Well, you're welcome, Jlynn! Once we come to the realization of how we want to spend our time, it makes getting rid of things a whole lot easier, doesn't it? Never had a moment of guilt over getting rid of that floss or the quilting things. I think it's all a matter of being honest with yourself. Sounds like needlepoint is a better fit for you. Happy stitching!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  23. Hi Jane, I thinking removing a page to keep is a much better idea than holding onto the entire book. People need to stop being outraged over tiny things like this.
    I was sick the first of the week and am all better so I've been working yesterday and today with some cleaning. So far, I've thrown out 2 giant bags deemed trash and 1 bag into the recycle.
    We are all cursed-plagued-burdened with too much stuff.
    Ok, I think I'm just ranting now, instead of visiting. I'll say bye and check in with you after your next post. Please don't stop blogging ❤️

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    1. Thanks Rhonda! Oh I knew that would upset some people when I wrote about cutting up books. I'd rather get what use I can out of it, rather than donate some books to the thrift stores, where they will eventually toss them. A lot of books get published every year, not all are keepers! Ha! Not to worry, I'll always blog because I love the people I meet through doing it.

      Glad to read that you are feeling better. Nothing worst than starting the new year with being sick. Of course, it's pretty awful any time of the year!

      Can't wait until it warms up enough to get into my attic, then you're going to see some decluttering to end all decluttering!
      Thanks again for your support!

      HUgs
      Jane

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  24. great post! Enjoyed it. Loved the part about "how stupid do they think we are??" ha ha ha LOL So true. Those ADS!!--and titles!!-- save hundreds by giving up your daily latte!--I don't GET A DAILY LATTE. ha ha Save hundreds from your monthly hair styling cost?---who really spends that much?--not me. Well, perhaps my hair REFLECTS THAT, but hey, at this stage of life I am so much more busy with and involved with other things that are more important THAN MY HAIR. ha ha The ads that try to catch our attention by saying "Save hundreds yearly by not using dry cleaning"---well, dang, i've delicate or hand washed things for years and it turns out fine, and I IRON OUR OWN CLOTHES--- I do love to iron so I guess that helps. Save hundreds a year by ............get this..........taking your OWN LUNCH in a bag! INSTEAD OF EATING OUT. ha ha ha LOL We always packed lunches, we STILL PACK LUNCHES and snacks when we are on day trips sightseeing or whatever...we take a little cooler and we probably save over ten dollars a day (or more) just by packing our own ice and drinks and waters and not going through the drive-throughs. We've always been this way though....raised our kids like this. There was a time when we couldn't AFFORD to purchase all the kids snacks and drinks while out for a Sunday drive, visiting a park or playground etc. It adds up. So we always packed our own. We've kept so many of our frugal habits and find they are serving us well at this chapter of our lives as well. Your blog always gives me new ideas to explore though....so i enjoy that.

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  25. oh goodness gracious, please forgive me--I just saw where you had asked me a question and I had NOT REPLIED TO YOU. You had asked me if the 'basket ladies" were homeless and the answer is no. The African slaves that were brought here brought their unique traditional basket weaving skills with them and today it is a skill/art that is highly prized as is the entire Gullah culture with the music, foods, art, etc. All the baskets bring in a good price, and the big large ones can go from $100.00 and up--the ladies make good money for their craft and it does take a long time and alot of skill to make those. They are durable, gorgeous, and made from sweetgrass. Far as I know none of the basket ladies are homeless and they do set up their stands on our sidewalks in town and also in spots out on the highways where travellers can stop and buy. Many people purchase one basket a year on their annual vacation trip here, and have made large collections of sweetgrass baskets over the years.

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    1. OH! That's very interesting. I'm surprised that since they are making money on it, the government doesn't step in and try to put a stop to them selling them. You know how the government is!

      As to your other comment, I always think that if people are so dumb that they wouldn't know to do these things on their own, then they are too far down the line to be helped and probably aren't reading any thrifty tips anyhow. Happy adventuring!

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. So true so true!!! Ha ha ha lol

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  26. I really enjoy your posts/ideas/recipes. When I retired several years ago, one of my first projects was to clean out my attic and basement. There was so much stuff! After many trips to Goodwill and the take it or leave it building, both are clean and organized. I've made it a point not to accumulate "stuff" unless it's something I have a purpose for. No bringing home something because "it has potential and I can do something with that". Since I love to have things organized, I routinely clean out and reorganize. Just had to have the plumber last week and the required pulling everything out from under the sink. Not everything went back in place and I will never miss the things that I gave away. I also use a hand mixer and I love to bake. My $9.99 hand mixer is always up to the job and takes up very little space. Love your way of saving magazine articles that you might want to reference in the future. I stopped keeping any magazines a few years ago because I did not refer to them enough to make it worthwhile. I also just clip what I want and that is clutter that doesn't accumulate. Also, I have cut up books to use for crafts and do not feel the least bit guilty about doing so. It's very seldom that I will reread a book and we are fortunate to have an abundance of books. Not all books are worth even a first reading. A few years after my Mother passed away, I took all the photos out of her photo albums. She had three grandchildren and I sorted the photos into three boxes (writing information on those that I could) and gave them to the grandchildren at Christmas. All three grandchildren seemed to love that idea and one grandchild's wife commented that she wished she had something like that from her family. Great solution to what to do with those photos. As I write this, it is already 68 degrees today. We had dreadful winter weather over the weekend - 8-10" of snow and very cold weather. One night, the temperature was 2 degrees. That is very unusual for my area of Virginia. Fortunately, it only lasted for 3-4 days. The snow has all melted now except for the places where it was scraped into piles. I would never survive winter weather like you experience. Stay safe and warm!

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    1. Good afternoon, Shirley! Sounds like you have organizing down pat. That was a good idea to give the grandchildren the photos. I'm a firm believer in giving people things when the can enjoy them, instead of leaving them in a will. By the time we get old enough to inherit things, we are usually getting to the age where we are downsizing.

      That was pretty nippy for your area! We are equipped for the cold here, but it sure makes a mess for you all farther south. My son in NC had his pipes freeze. Actually winter can be a nice time, it causes a person to slow down and become introspective. I appreciate the vacation from gardening. Hope you are having a lovely week!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  27. Ps--- i totally missed a reply to one of my comments to you--- sorry again--- you saumid you might paint your mantel--- we recently did just that and wow i love it!its a high gloss BLACK!! Made quite the difference

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    1. Mine is black at the moment and I was thinking of going lighter, but I love the black too. Decisions, decisions!

      J

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  28. Dear Jane,

    I'm pretty sure my last comment was just eaten, but I really enjoyed this post. We're getting rid of lots of things pre-move, which does always feel lightening, I agree!

    Love,

    Marqueta

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    1. THat's the way to do it, Marqueta! Get rid of things and start with a clean slate. I'm so excited for you! Can't wait to read all about your move.

      Hugs
      Jane

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