Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

Returning to My Heart November 27, 2013

Filed under: faith,family,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 7:06 am
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About three years ago, you wouldn’t have caught me wearing a pair of jeans.  The closest to it was maybe the leggings that I wore under my long skirts to keep warm in winter or the sleep pants that I wore at night.  Then, I allows the opinions of others to influence my clothing choices.  It began rather innocently at first.  I had a long running agreement with my father-in-law, Carl, that when we were able to make a trip to New York to visit, I was going to go on a ride with him on his Harley.  Well, a Harley motorcycle ride and long skirts just don’t seem to go together very well.  So, I bought a pair of jeans at a thrift store just for that purpose.  Once I wore those jeans, it became easier to give in and start wearing them more often.  Soon, I was buying a couple of more pair at yard sales.  It seemed easier somehow.  I didn’t get the comments or “looks” from others that the dresses and skirts always brought about.  In short, I allowed peer pressure to affect my choices.

Over the past couple of months, I have found myself missing the more modest style of dressing.  Unfortunately, by now my wardrobe no longer contains the skirts or dresses I wore previously.  I have a bad habit of putting my family’s clothing needs ahead of my own.  I will wear my own clothing until it is thread worn or no longer repairable.  It didn’t help that I rarely will buy my clothing new.  I usually buy the clothing second-hand.

Last week, I had a bit extra and was able to finally go to a thrift store and find a couple of long skirts.  One is a black ankle length skirt made of the thermal waffle weave fabric.  It will be perfect to use in winter to help me stay warmer.  The second is a dual purpose skirt.  It is a long white tiered skirt with a built in slip.  It is modest enough to wear as a skirt but would also make a wonderful long half slip.  It is so hard to find long half slips.  Typically, they are much shorter.

While there, I also found a couple of headscarves.  I have missed the headcoverings.  After conversations with my husband, I am going to start wearing a covering again.  It won’t be the style I wore previously that looked more like an Amish prayer kapp.  Instead, I will be wearing a more modern style.  A snood or bandana makes a good covering for around home when I am working about the house.  For outings, I am planning to wear pretty scarves.  I have always loved the gypsy or bohemian style of wearing a colorful scarf.  It is modern, yet still very feminine.

Our definition of modesty may very well be different that what others’ consider modest.  The method in which I dress will reflect the leading of our hearts in what is modest and appropriate.  I may not fall in line with what others’ believe but we have to follow what we feel is right.  Each person decides for themselves what is right.  I won’t dictate to anyone what they should or shouldn’t wear.  I can only follow the leadings that I am feeling is right for myself and our daughter.

Little Miss has been asking me to make or buy her some skirts or dresses.  She told me that she misses seeing me wear a headcovering as well wanting some of her own.  With that in mind, I am making her some bandanas to wear.  I may even make her one or two snoods to wear at home.  A favorite that she currently wears is an extra bandana of mine made from a heavy flannel.  In winter months, it is very good at keeping our heads warm.  It is so sweet to have a young daughter wanting to make the changes as well.  I hadn’t even spoken of it to her.  She brought up the subject to me even before I bought the new-to-me skirts.  I like that she is making this choice herself.  At her age, the changes made now may stick with her as she grows.  She already has such a heart for the topic of modesty.  Lord willing, she will continue to follow this path and prove the truths in the training up of a child in their youth so that when they are old, they will not depart from it.





No-Sew Fleece Blanket November 23, 2013

Filed under: Crafting,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 5:19 pm
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I love fleece blankets.  I learned years ago that sleeping between two layers of fleece in the winter can keep you much warmer than using regular bed sheets.  The blankets are a wonderful throw to keep in your favorite chair.  At night, after the kids have gone to bed, I like to curl up under the fleece blanket and read.

A couple of years ago, I noticed the blankets made by tying two layers of fleece together, using the fringe edging.  The blankets were cute to look at, but I could never get past how uncomfortable all those knots could be if you happened to lay on them.

I recently came upon an idea on Pinterest for a braided edging.  Pieces By Polly has a picture tutorial for this simple, yet beautiful edging technique.  The blankets are fringed, just as you would for a tied edging.  Instead of tying the fringes, she has a very easy method to create a braided look using a crochet hook or opened paper clip as a tool.

In looking at the technique, the cutting and preparing of the fringe easily takes the longest about of time.  The “braid” would be fast to complete.  In the entire blanket, there is only one small knot.

If you check the link for the website above, you will find a braided edging for a 2-layer fleece blanket.  In the top of the post, she references through a link the instructions for a single layer fleece blanket with the same edging.

These would make wonderful holiday gifts as well as a quick and easy charity blanket project.  I received an advertisement in the mail for Hancock Fabric store that makes this project very timely.  On black Friday, Hancock Fabrics will be having a great sale on all their fleece.  Perfect opportunity to make some gifts.

While making these blankets, consider making a few extra in crib size to donate to a shelter or a children’s hospital.  Quite often, a new mom may be in need of a warm blanket for taking their little one home.  The crib size works well to be used as a lap blanket for those in a nursing home.  Another way that I love using fleece blankets is to keep a couple in the car.  Should there be an emergency, you will have a way to bundle up and stay warm.



Sickness and Homesteading November 14, 2013

Filed under: family,homesteading,off grid,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 3:03 am
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No matter what your lifestyle, having the flu is never fun. Having the flu as a homesteader is definitely not a pleasant experience.  Prior to our off-grid lifestyle, I would have put the makings for a homemade soup or stew into the slow cooker in the morning and let it cook all day. When our son threw up, his clothes would be tossed into threw washing machine and dryer.  Not today.

My dear husband, after staying home an extra couple of days and missing out on a good truck run to take care of us on my worst day, had to go back on the truck today.  I am certainly not complaining. Poor guy is getting over the bronchitis he had on the truck yet still did as much as possible to make my life easier once he got home and I got sick with the flu.  It is simply a fact with trucking. If the truck isn’t rolling, you are not making any money.

A few hours after dropping him off at the truck stop where the truck had been parked, reality set in.  Our son and I have both been taking Tamiflu since we saw the Dr.  While it seems that I am over the worst of it, our son started throwing up today.  That’s the moment reality hits.  The woman who gags at feeling food particles in dish water had to hand wash 3 pairs of pajamas. It was only by sheer will and lots of begging to the Lord that I didn’t get sick myself. 

Later, after teaching our daughter how to make homemade noodles to use in a soup for dinner, I got the kids settled again. Then, I grabbed a tote and gathered firewood from the wood bin for the stove to last the night. Though we have a propane heater, I use the wood stove as well. It helps to save on the amount of propane we use. I also enjoy cooking on that stove.

One lesson that I learned through this day was that I will be finding a way to make things easier when I am sick and my husband is not home.  I manage the way things are, but I can make it easier.

Time for me to come up with alternative ways to do the tasks that are necessary.


Frugal Crafting Challenge November 3, 2013

Filed under: Crafting,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 2:33 am
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If you enjoy making crafts, sewing, crochet, etc., them you know how quickly the supplies can take over. Often, we buy supplies ahead of time or when on sale only to have those supplies sit unused for extended time periods. So, here is my challenge. For the next week, using only the supplies that you have on hand, make a craft, holiday decoration, or gift.  No purchasing new supplies! Use only what you have among your supply stash. 

One you have done this, feel free to post about or in the comments or share a link to your blog where you posted about the item(s) you made during the challenge.

Let’s see how creative we can be!