Frugal For Everyone

Lavender Sachets: Victorian Air Fresheners

Posted by on Jun 7, 2016 in Frugal For Everyone, Herbs, Lavender | 22 comments

Lavender Sachets: Victorian Air Fresheners

I’ve been researching Lavender use during the Victorian Era and this has turned into a fascinating project. Queen Victoria was passionate about lavender and insisted on having it used throughout the castle. She believed lavender meant cleanliness and that it purified the body and spirit – we now know she was right on – lavender does indeed have antiseptic, antibacterial and restorative properties. Of course this meant that lavender was used in lots of different ways – for cleaning, grooming, fragrance, cooking, medicinal, and lavender sachets. With all these items using lavender to choose from, I decided that My Etsy Shop would only feature items based on Victorian products, starting with lavender sachets. Lavender Sachets – Victorian Style: Lavender Sachets were an effective way to keep homes free from bugs and smelling nice. A gentle squeeze of the sachets was enough to release the fresh, clean lavender fragrance. Sachets were hung from doorknobs in all public rooms to freshen the air; Decorative ones were hung from the arms of chairs for the same reason; Small sachets were slipped between the sheets in linen presses for the clean fragrance and to deter insects; They were a required item for the bedroom: Several were tucked in with the bedding to deter bed-bugs; One or more were hung from bedposts to clean the air; Small sleep pillows were placed on or under pillows to ensure restful sleep; Sachets were placed in wardrobes and drawers to keep insects out; Quite often a small sachet could be found in a woman’s reticule; Daring young women would tuck little lavender sachets in their cleavage; Small sachets were often tucked in with a lady’s stationery. Lavender lost a lot of its appeal during the mid to latter part of the 20th century when cosmetic companies developed their chemical products and clever marketing encouraged the consumer to buy. Fortunately we are becoming aware that chemical is not the way to go and many of us have returned to natural, homemade products. I’m enjoying the research into Victorian times and find it interesting to design products for today based on items from the past. Another item is already on the drawing board which I’ll share with you next month. For now it’s lavender sachets because they are as useful today as they were in Victorian times. Talk to you again next week, Lenie If you enjoyed this post, others will too. Please...

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Mosquitoes Bugging You? Banish Them

Posted by on May 29, 2016 in Frugal For Everyone, Health and Safety, Herbs, Lavender | 28 comments

Mosquitoes Bugging You? Banish Them

Mosquitoes  are no longer merely summer’s party-poopers, they have turned into dangerous guests. While we know that many mosquito-borne viruses have been around for centuries there are two serious ones that have impacted North America in recent years. West Nile Virus: Symptoms range from very mild to encephalitis/meningitis to death. Transmitted to birds, horses and humans. Most at risk – the very old and the very young. Zika Virus: May cause neurological defects in babies, muscle weakness, paralysis and death. Most at risk – pregnant women. It is therefore essential that we do what we can to prevent mosquito bites. Mosquitoes – Preferences: You know how you’re hiking with a group of friends and the mosquitoes like one person best? There is truth to that. Some people do attract mosquitoes more than others. Carbon Dioxide attracts mosquitoes and of course we emit carbon dioxide when we do anything – breathe, talk, walk, or eat. Breathing is rather necessary but maybe we could talk or eat less while outside? The more you sweat, and the older the sweat is, the more mosquitoes you will attract. Exercise produces sweat and panting (release of carbon dioxide). For the very active person a strong mosquito repellent will probably be necessary. (See the Consumer Report Paragraph at the end of this article). For some reason mosquitoes like people with blood type O while anyone with blood type A will be last choice. Anyone with high uric acid levels tend to attract mosquitoes. If you fall in this category, up your Vitamin C and Citric Acid intake. A couple of tablespoon apple cider vinegar added to citrus juice/fruit salad/salad dressing will help balance things out. For many people beer is the drink of choice during the summer. Unfortunately, unless they want to get bitten, they may have to change their beer to lemonade, at least while they’re outdoors. Mosquitoes – Prevention: While it’s impossible to eliminate every mosquito from your yard, there are steps we can take to make our yards less appealing to them. The most obvious one – remove all standing water. This includes empty planters, wheelbarrows, old tires, bottles, cans and other containers left laying around, unused wading pools, pool covers, bird baths. Keep gutters/storm drains free from debris, cover rain barrels with fine mesh.  Any water features should have a pump to keep water moving. Add lots of mosquito repelling plants to the flowerbeds and along walkways – Lavender, Lemon Balm, Basil, Marigolds, Lemongrass, Citronella, Catnip, Spearmint. Banish them while you’re enjoying the outdoors: Throw a few Rosemary stems on the BBQ. This adds flavour to foods while keeping mosquitoes away. Place a variety of pots with mosquito repelling plants around the deck or patio and use one as a centrepiece(s) for your patio table.  Add a few drops of pure Citronella oil to beeswax candles. Do not buy the cheap citronella candles or rings found at Dollar stores. They are ineffective and toxic. When sitting outside, place a fan behind you. Mosquitoes are very light and the breeze will just blow them away. Ways for you to be less appealing to mosquitoes: Wear light colour clothes – the darker the clothes, the greater the chance mosquitoes will find you. Mosquitoes have a great sense of smell and are attracted to scents. Best not to use anything scented – perfumes, soap, shampoos, etc. If possible, wear long sleeves, long pants, hats and socks. Don’t wear baggy clothes that could trap mosquitoes and so be carried indoors. Use the right kind of mosquito repellent applicable to the situation. Mosquitoes –  Repellents: Mosquitoes...

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Best Father’s Day Gifts -Unique AND Useful

Posted by on May 22, 2016 in A frugal Life, Frugal For Everyone, Smart Shopper | 24 comments

Best Father’s Day Gifts -Unique AND Useful

I truly enjoyed this search for the best Father’s Day Gifts. I had no idea that all these fascinating and unique products were available so it was quite an eye-opener. Who would have thought of watches with wooden bands or a computer mouse that looks like a car or a golf bag attachment that let’s your phone/tablet record your game? What amazing choices there are and how lucky the dad who will receive one of these gifts. Before I get started with the list I do need to explain a few things. My search took me to Amazon simply because Amazon has many thousands of products which meant all the searching could be done on one site. As the saying goes “A picture is worth a thousand words”. I agree and have therefore added the images below. Clicking on any of the thumbnails will take you to the Amazon site for enlarged views of the product. Think of it as browsing a Father’s Day Gift Catalog. Be assured that clicking does not mean buying. On that note, I am an Amazon associate and if you do decide to buy from Amazon, I would be delighted if you would order through my site. No cost to you but I will earn a small commission. The Best Father’s Day Gifts: Starting off with one of the neatest items, at least in my opinion, is this wooden watch handcrafted from high quality natural sandalwood with no two pieces of wood exactly the same. It includes a day/date calendar. Definitely a huge step-up from the tie and sock gifts of yesterday. Craft beers are all the rage these days. Wouldn’t these beverage chiller sticks be the perfect accessory for dad’s favourite craft beer? All you do is put the stick in the freezer for 45 minutes then insert into a bottle of beer (or other beverage) to keep the drink cold. Father’s Day is the one day to go all out spoiling dad and I can’t think of a better way than with this folding chair. The chair has a detachable insulated cooler, an electronics pocket, a fold-out side table to hold books, tablet, camera and drinks, etc. keeping everything within easy reach. Perfect for keeping dad comfortable on the beach, park, or the deck. How about this portable BBQ suitcase? You have to admit, this one is very unique. Easy to carry around, this stainless steel charcoal grill can accommodate cooking for 2 people and includes a convenient mess-free ash catcher. If dad is into thrillers, “Make Me (with bonus short story Small Wars): A Jack Reacher Novel” by the #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Lee Child will be super appreciated. Of course, it will probably mean he’ll become too engrossed in the book to be able to take time out to BBQ. Best make other plans for dinner. I love this nifty Mobile Printer w/ZINK Zero Ink Printing Technology that is compatible w/iOS & Android Devices. It prints 2×3 colour photos directly from Mobile Phone or Tablet via Bluetooth or NFC Technology. Great for dad – lucky him. The PhoneSoap 2.0: UV Sanitizer & Universal Charger, as seen on SHARK TANK, isn’t only unusual, it’s also extremely useful. Phones are covered in disease-causing bacteria. PhoneSoap 2.0 safely kills 99.99% of germs utilizing bacteria-zapping UV rays. The germ-killing UV-C light used by the PhoneSoap 2.0 is scientifically proven to banish bacteria found on everything from door knobs, toilet seats, toilet handles, dirty laundry, and more. Fits and charges any phone or tablet and has a universal phone charger w/USB port.   For...

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Compost Tea – Perfect for Suburban Gardens

Posted by on May 15, 2016 in Do-It-Yourself, Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living | 25 comments

Compost Tea  – Perfect for Suburban Gardens

Compost tea is an inexpensive, easy-to-make, fast-working plant food that results in nutrient rich soil and strong, healthy plants. Every book or article written about organic gardening includes the need for adding compost to the soil. Easy enough to understand why since compost truly is a marvelous soil amendment – it improves nutrient retention of the soil while adding many beneficial organisms making for a more productive garden. However, most municipalities have bylaws that prohibit homeowners from having compost piles in suburban areas which makes compost tea such a great alternative.  A compost pile isn’t required. With compost tea only one or two purchased bags of top quality compost will do. Add non-chlorinated water (rain water is free and perfect for this) and the right size pail and you’re set to go. Before getting to the Compost Tea recipe, there are a few things to know: Compost Tea does not keep – when it’s ready you need to use all of it so make it in batches small enough to meet your immediate needs. There’s no sense wasting any. The finished tea should not bubble or have a foul odour. That may mean it could be anaerobic and not much good can survive in that. If it has become anaerobic, throw it out and try again. Make a test batch. A large coffee can or similar size container is ideal. Fill the can 1/3 full of compost, then fill the container with non-chlorinated water. Stir well with a stick, really move all the ingredients around. The stirring is extremely important as it aerates the tea and adds oxygen. Stir well several times a day for a week. After 5 days to a week strain through a cheesecloth or strainer, rake the solids into the garden and pour a cup of the tea around each of the plants you want to feed. To Make the Compost Tea: Work only with clean materials. You can use any size container depending on the size of your garden although a five gallon pail or garbage bucket is used most often. As in the test batch, fill the container 1/3 full with compost, then fill the pail/bucket with non-chlorinated water. Stir well. Place in a handy location so you don’t forget about it. The compost will settle on the bottom of the pail so stir 3 or 4 times the first day, making sure to move all the compost around, it needs to be well-mixed, then stir several times a day for the next week. Check often. After 5 days to a week, strain the tea. The easiest way is to line a cheap colander with cheese cloth and just empty the tea into a very clean pail or bucket. Dump and rake the solids into the garden. Use all of the tea to feed your plants, about 1 cup per plant. Strain some of the compost tea into a spray bottle, add 1/2 teaspoon of dish detergent and spray on plant leaves to deter foliar disease. Feed your plants and leaves every couple of weeks all summer long. This can also be used once a month on houseplants. Note:  You can increase the nutrient value of the tea even more by adding powdered seaweed or worm castings to the finished tea. Start a new batch brewing a week before you need more or better yet, split the garden up, feed half one week and the second half the second week and keep a continuous batch of compost tea brewing. Both the finished compost tea and the discarded solids will add valuable nutrients to your...

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Barbecue Buying Guide – Types and Options

Posted by on May 8, 2016 in Frugal For Everyone, Product Information, Smart Shopper | 25 comments

Barbecue Buying Guide – Types and Options

Barbecue season is here and with that in mind I decided to check the best time to buy a new barbecue and types and options available. The time to find the biggest savings on a new barbecue, gas grill, smoker or outside oven is at the end of the summer, namely August and September, when retailers clear out their inventory to make room for winter products. However, with barbecue season starting not everyone will want to wait to buy or replace their barbecue until summer is over so they’ll be pleased to know that June will also offer some good bargains. Below are the most common types and features to be found at retail outlets. Buying a Barbecue: What’s available? Barbecues have come a long way since the little Hibachi grill. I checked out a few at a home improvement store and found barbecues in all sizes, from small portable ones that are perfect for balconies or to take along on day-trips to extra large ones that are fancier and more involved than the most up-to-date kitchen appliance. But no matter the choice, there are certain things to consider before buying. Choosing the right heat source is one of those things to think about – do you want convenience, flavour, easy start, fast heat, etc.?  Electric (great for apartment or condos) Natural Gas (need to be hooked up by a professional – easy start, even temperatures) Propane (easy start, even temperatures, can be converted to Natural Gas) Charcoal (said to provide the best flavour but takes longer to get started and heat up) Smokers (requires logs – slow cooking) Pizza Ovens (very expensive – limited use) Each of the heat sources provides a different flavour but whether it makes enough of a difference to pay more for any particular heat source is not something I’m convinced about. Other than the smoker, which would definitely give a unique flavour, I doubt most of us could identify the heat source in a blind taste test. The size of the grill matters. Unless you do a lot of entertaining it is recommended you choose a size that meets your normal requirements – how many people will you normally be feeding? What size meals will you be cooking? What type of meals? Looking at the grill you should be able to picture how many burgers, chops, steaks or other food you’ll be able to barbecue at any one time. A grill that’s too small will turn out to be time-consuming, a grill that’s too big will waste fuel. All grills, no matter the size or heat source, should accommodate the different heat temperatures requiremed for searing, cooking and finishing. Do you need a side burner? I have one on our barbecue and wouldn’t do without it. It’s used for all kinds of purposes, frying onions, cooking corn on the cob, heating chili to making soup. The side shelf is another convenient feature that I wouldn’t want to do without as it holds everything within easy reach – from tools to dishes to condiments. Grates: Here you want to know how well and even grates hold heat, how easy they are to clean and how well they will stand-up under normal use. Grates are available in: Cast Iron – long wearing as long as they don’t get damaged – holds heat well to ensure even cooking. Porcelain Coated Cast Iron – most popular- food doesn’t stick, heat is evenly distributed, and these grates last longest of all the grate types. Porcelain Enameled Steel – food doesn’t stick to grate – must be carefully handled...

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Stop Fraud – Recognize. Prevent, Report

Posted by on May 2, 2016 in Frugal For Everyone, Smart Shopper | 34 comments

Stop Fraud – Recognize. Prevent, Report

This post “Stop Fraud” was prompted by a couple of incidents that happened to me recently. I was having some website issues which somehow seemed to leave me vulnerable to pop-ups. When I signed in to my bank account, there was a pop-up, very professional with the Bank’s logo, asking me to complete a customer service survey. I decided to go ahead and complete the survey – I was then given a choice of FREE products, all I had to do was pay shipping and handling. For that they needed my credit card information, which of course I wasn’t prepared to give them. That was as far as I went with the survey but I did call the bank’s Head Office to report this, changed my passwords and did a deep virus and malware scan. The second scam was one we’ve all heard about but this is the first time I actually experienced it. I received an email from someone who had money to invest in our country and wanted to partner with me. I don’t know what the rest of the email said because as soon as I saw that the email was deleted. It should actually have been forwarded to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre but I wasn’t thinking, I just wanted to get rid of it. The third scam happened a while back via my phone. I received a text message that I had won a $1,000.00 Walmart gift card. The Red Flag here was that I had never entered a contest so failed to see how I could win. I did call our local Walmart to inform them and they were already aware of this scam going on. Seeing as the scammers are out in force I decided it was time to renew the scam alerts. The only way we’re going to stop fraud is to recognize it and be aware of the latest scams. Scammers approach in different ways: by phone, pop-ups, email, snail mail or door-to-door. There are two things they want – access to your money and/or to your personal information, including your social insurance number. If you don’t know who you’re dealing with, before giving out any information, call one of the numbers at the end of this post to verify the person/business’ identity and legitimacy.  From the Competition Bureau: “Fraudsters are professional criminals that know what they are doing. Fraudsters rely on some basic techniques to be successful. These include: developing professional-looking marketing materials; providing believable answers for your tough questions; impersonating government agencies, legitimate businesses, websites, charities, and causes; pretending to be your ordinary supplier; hiding the true details in the fine print; preying on areas of vulnerability, including those needing help with loans or finding employment; asking for fees in advance of promised services; threatening legal action to collect on alleged contracts; falsely claiming affiliation with reliable sources, such as legitimate news sites to support their products or services; and exchanging victim lists with other fraudsters.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The most popular scam right now has scammers calling by phone impersonating Revenue Canada/Internal Revenue agents. They may tell you that you are getting a refund (of a large amount), all they need is some personal information and your bank account number in order to process it, or, on the flip side, that you owe them a lot of money and you need to pay right now.  They may tell you a warrant for your arrest is being prepared as they speak and will be activated immediately if you fail to pay. They may give you a phone number or website to...

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