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One of the more popular websites today is Reddit.com, which is a user generated behemoth. At any time on anyone of it’s many “subreddits” (sections devoted to specific topics) you’ll find someone asking for help and some really great answers.
As we speak there is a discussion in the frugal section where a user asked the question “Does r/frugal think that gardens are actually financially frugal?” The top comment is such great advice we wanted to share it with any of you would be home gardeners. Even if cost isn’t an issue for you it’s still sounds advice:
“It is, if:
- You identify the plants you eat a lot of and are expensive and grow those. Eat a lot of potatoes? Probably not a good idea to grow them, because they’re so dang cheap. Like chives? Well, they are really easy to grow, and cut herbs are expensive in the store, so go ahead. . Raspberries are also super easy, and pretty expensive. My general rule is: grow leafy vegetables, herbs, and berries. Buy root vegetables and squashes, plus anything that doesn’t get enough heat here.
- Find out what crops grow well and easily for you, in your climate. For me, beans are tasty, yes, but we just don’t get a big enough crop to make it worthwhile. However, I grow a lot of kale, because it just does fantastically here- in fact, since some self-seeded, I don’t have to do anything but harvest now.
- Develop your soil’s fertility cheaply or for free. For example, I’m getting a truck load of composted horse manure from a friend for the price of gas. Compost kitchen scraps and lawn clippings, check out coffee stands and see if they’ll give you coffee grounds. All of these are free or nearly free sources of fertility that will make your garden really produce.
- Don’t get carried away and buy a pile of tools. Really, unless you have a big garden, all you need is a shovel, a trowel, and maybe a rake and garden fork. You do not need to buy rototillers or other fancy and expensive doodads.
- Realize that gardening is a skill, and may take some time to develop. Some people are fantastic their first year, but many have entire crops fail before they figure out what they need to do.
TL;DR: Find out what crops you eat a lot of, aren’t cheap, and basically grow themselves for you. Get free and cheap sources of soil fertility. Only grow what you will actually eat. Figure out how to minimize effort and time investment while maximizing yield.”
It’s great to see people who posses specific knowledge and skills share that knowledge with other people.
We’ve mentioned tiny houses on our blog before and one of the big problems with them is that you often have to sacrifice to make it work. With the worlds growing population and emerging markets gaining clout it’s nice to see that design is something we won’t have to comprise on.
This Red dot winning design is a modular mini kitchen that can be configured in different way to meet any need. It’s going to be a while before Arizonan’s begin to run out of space but when we do, we know what the kitchen will look like.
“Today’s post is by contributing writer Kirby Hoyt:
Historically, cities have been designed around their prevailing modes of transportation. When Phoenix was first conceived, there were two modes of transportation: the train (for long distance and shipping) and the horse-and-buggy (for local and hauling needs). The streets in Phoenix were designed in a grid that emanated from the railroad depot and ancillary buildings, kind of a play on the Law of the Indies. Within six years of the incorporation of Phoenix, the beginnings of an extensive streetcar system was put in place, with the first streetcar operating on six miles of track using horses to pull cars, and by 1893 the system was completely electrified. It then operated for more than fifty years. Unfortunately, in 1948 the streetcar saw its last day due to a “suspicious” fire that destroyed all but six cars, Coincidentally, this was about the time National City Lines, a company with investors from Firestone Tire, Standard Oil, Phillips Petroleum, General Motors, and Mack Trucks together were buying up streetcar lines across the country and decommissioning them, forcing people to either buy automobiles or ride buses.”
Midcentury is a term thrown around a lot lately. I feel that part of the reason there is such interest in that time period is that it’s seen as the zenith of both modern design and American Manufacturing. That convergence of two emotionally powerful aspects of our society are perfectly combined in the Schoolhouse Electric 1960’s IBM Wall Clock. Learn more about how this clock was brought to life through a collaboration between Schoolhouse Electric and IBM for their 100th anniversary.
We’re thrilled to present this smartWise Bread story here on Savvy!
Recycling fabric is a powerful green living and cost saving strategy. Denim is one of the coolest fabrics to do it with. It’s sturdy, gains character with age and can be acquired very inexpensively at yard sales or in your own “old clothes” closet. Some of the coolest ideas I’ve found?
- Pot holders. In my opinion, these look far better out of used denim than the new stuff. And you can incorporate your own style via choice of trim or a patch stitched to the outside. Here’s a link to some tips for making your own.
- Cool quilts. You can do this in many forms. Different shades of denim patchwork options abound and are certainly sturdy and fun. Unfortunately, one of the coolest ideas I’ve ever seen I’ve been unable to find pictures of. It was done with pieced denim, but they had left on all the details like pockets, buttons, belt loops, etc. It made for a really fabulous unique quilt with a lot of attitude. If anyone has a link to a picture of one of these, please post below in the comments section.
For more ideas, read on.
- Hanging sleeves for storing plastic bags and cleaning rags. This is an idea I came up when trying to find a workable solution for giving up paper towels. I needed something convenient to store my cleaning rags in and made several out of the legs of old blue jeans.
- Pocket books and backpacks. These are tons of fun as beach bags and particularly popular with the younger crowd. Easily jazzed up with pins various bits of clip on “flair”. Here are one and two separate links for various sets of project directions.
- Patches. If you happen to have a bunch from different events, great. Otherwise, I’ve seen some really unique custom patches you can make yourself that add tons of style. I personally like the make your own option, because it opens up many more possibilities for self expression and designer style.
- Embellishments. Sometimes bead stores offer classes on “jazzing up jeans” where they will teach you how to add studs, crystals and various beads as well as other items. Lots of room for individuality with this option as well.
- Pimp the heck out of them. Options abound here. Pimp My Jeans is a great site to look for inspiration when jazzing up old jeans. They also have a great idea pictured there for a way hip fabric grocery bag of pieced together old denim. You’ll be strolling to your favorite New York grocery in style with that one. Here is an additional link for airbrushing designs on your denim. My favorite though, is this way cool how to video from Threadbanger that shows you how to get a vintage tint as well as providing some easy fabric distressing techniques. Really, really cool.
- Embrace the frayed edges and go hip with some slamming shoes and a great bag. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen fashion experts give this same advice on TV. What’s funny though is I seem to notice more people with money trying it out than people who are supposedly on a budget. It’s a very cool look to have a faded set of jeans with a few rips and tears paired with a newer sweater and some dressy shoes or boots.
- Help dress a scarecrow. Fairly timely, considering the season.
- Make a 3-pocket electric gadget protector. I found this set of directions on Instructables. Love that site! Looks like a cool addition for a daypack or purse.
- Journal, photo album and school book covers. Say what? I found this neat online project for a jean-covered journal held closed with a funky belt. Really fun. Tried to snag a pic and give them credit, but they preferred to keep everything in house. You can see pictures of the completed project on this site, though.
- Hot or cold rice pack. I’ve always just dumped my rice in an old pillow case and tied a knot in the top. But these rice packs look cute, if you have the extra time. The one pictured got me thinking about all those old floral jeans from the eighties getting a new life, but really, any kind of old denim will do.
- Turn pieces of them into a jacket. Here’s a project I found for a crazy quilt-style jacket. This is very similar to the type of quilt I mentioned above. Lots of room here to do your own thing.
- A little too out there? Try out a waist coat made from recycled denim. I can really see it with a crisp white shirt. Actually, it looks like a big vest to me, but what do I know about waist coats? Either way, it’s pretty cool.
- Sassy, rough edged skirt with urban style. I like this jean skirt because it’s really a bit out of the ordinary and has tons of attitude. A bit of trouble snagging a pic of this one, but you can see it on the link.
- A wheelchair tote. This is too cool. Know someone who could use one to stay organized? Here are instructions on how to make a wheelchair tote.
- Coffee cozies. Love these! As with some of the other projects, you can really put your own spin on them. I found several blog posts on doing your own. This first one is quite similar to the one pictured below. The second? Slightly different with a button closure. Still cute though. If I had my sewing machine out of storage, I’d seriously be looking into making a few of these for Christmas package tuck-ins.
- Custom camera bag. Here’s a set of directions for a denim camera bag. Personal verdict? Pretty neat idea.
- Unusual covered gift box. I thought this one was particularly out of the norm. Should make a fun package for a teen present, don’t you think? Here’s a link.
- Reusable lunch sack. This one was decorated with primary colored embellishments because it was designed for children. But I think you could be as individual here as with some of the jazz-up-your-jeans ideas listed above (patches, airbrushing, crystals). It’s made from a pant leg. How cool!
- Picture frame. Not the most formal project idea ever, but a fun idea that would be great for a teen room bulletin board. It’s a photo frame made from a jeans pocket.
- Blue jean table. Pretty darned unusual, I must say. This is another item that is shown with more of a children’s room look. But I think you could pull this off with leather accents in a wild west art gallery or with silver studs and tears for a more urban feel. A bit quirky, but if you like that sort of thing . . .
- Christmas stockings. Here’s a set of directions for making stockings out of old blue jeans(PDF). Use whatever trim and lining ideas you want. Definitely not for those Victorian style holiday planners.
- Knee pads for gardening. Here’s a set of directions for knee pads. You might need to use an old denim skirt or jumper for this one, but I still think it has merit, if you happen to have the time.
- Beer cozies. Check out this homemade deep pocket cold beverage cozy. There aren’t detailed directions, but there are pictures from several angles. So if you sew, you can probably get the idea.
That’s about it. A few of these ideas I think would be easier with old denim jumpers or skirts than blue jeans, but since they all involved the same basic topic, I opted to include them. If you know of a fabulous recycled denim idea, please post so the rest of us can enjoy.
The Guardian UK had a great live blog going while the rover touched down. Read along and relive the historic moment here.