Fall Decorating on a Budget

Fall decorating….many of us just get a little giddy over this idea! We come by it honestly. It’s so very refreshing to us and our families when we take a little time and decorate for the season. It takes time and energy, but little else!


When my husband and I were first married many years ago, there wasn’t room in our budget for expensive wreaths and garlands. It would have been easy to get discouraged about the lack of funds, but we made a point to choose to be thankful and happy. Those lessons in frugality and thrift have stuck with me and shaped my style, too!

Start with what you have. You may already have a jar, vase, or basket tucked away in a cabinet. If you’re just starting your married journey, you may be able to borrow from someone! Gather those items and see what you already own that may work well.

Go outside! I love nature, and it never fails that a twig, wildflower, or leaf will inspire me. A basket of pinecones, three small jars with some branches, a cutting from a scrub oak, and many other centerpiece ideas came from a willingness to just use what’s there and make it work!

Visit the thrift shop and dollar store. If you’re able to spend a little money on decorations, choose well. Thrift shops are full of vases, baskets, jars, and candle holders. When you are able to buy something, think about how you can use it in other seasons, too. I love a good mason jar, simply because it can be used all year long in different ways, and they are so inexpensive. My basic pieces for decorating are neutral colors, so they can be used often!

Sew something. It takes basic sewing skills to make potholders or napkins, and often your costs are very low if you’re willing to sew the item yourself. When you gain some confidence, you can make a simple table runner out of thrifted items, as well.

Change things around. If your budget is nothing this year, consider shuffling what you do have. You can take what’s on the mantle and make it a centerpiece, or group like items together on your table. This small step is such a blessing, and one I’ve used in lean times to brighten my home. You’d be surprised at how much it blesses your husband to have you take a few moments and put a feminine touch on your décor!

The Read Ahead Girl

The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Quilt Along has begun.


The first few blocks are rotary cut,

and proved to be less of a challenge than other blocks will be.


That means I made three on the start day.

I was only supposed to make two.

That makes me the “read-ahead” girl.

I’m ok with that.


NOTE: If you’re in the quilt along, and you are shocked by me being a block ahead, I’m so sorry. Please sew at your own pace and don’t worry about me and my shenanigans. We’ll be quiet over here in the corner, maybe ahead and maybe not. =}

5 Steps to Building a Stash

Quilters are notorious for having a stash of fabric “for a rainy day”. =} Here’s how to build one!



  1. Consider precut fabric. Precuts are designated sizes, and usually include one of each fabric in a collection. This gives you an instantly coordinated but slightly scrappy look. Similar to a cookie mix, it gives you all the necessary ingredients for a quilt!
  2. Try to buy only for your current project. Sometimes this step is hard! But fabric lines, trends, and your own tastes will change.
  3. Set a small budget for stash. This means you’ll have to choose what you like the very best, and only buy that.
  4. Grow your rainbow. Consider buying a rainbow fat quarter pack to start your stash, and then growing each color in proportion. You may not like orange, but sometimes orange is just the right color! Admittedly, I have more aqua than any other color, but I do love it!
  5. Buy your favorite. There is an abundance of quilt fabric out there. It’s all pretty cute stuff. Buy only what you really, really love. And the rest can live in the store or someone else’s stash!

All these things together will get you started on having a stash of fabric. If you begin to make lots of quilts and really enjoy the process, you’ll soon have plenty of scraps, too! Please remember two things when buying quilt fabric. First, you can’t make all the things. You must choose wisely! Second, the manufacturers keep making fabric. You’re always going to see new lines that are cute!

As I type this, I’m continually reminded that not everyone has the budget, space, or time for quilt fabric. It is, as they say, a “first world problem”. Since we’re fortunate enough to have a stash of fabric, let’s make a point to be thankful! =}

Penny Patch Finish

Many moons ago, I started a quilt based on a quilt along called the Penny Patch Quilt Along. I loved the finished quilt that Rachel over at Stitched in Color made, and thought I’d sew along. The top was finished rather quickly, on time and along with everyone else who was making one.

Then it sat… and sat…. until this spring when my machine was in the shop. I thought I’d hand quilt it and try to finish it before my machine comes back. Haha! That might well have been realistic, except you can really only hand quilt for so long each day. It wears on your fingers, and my backside was none too happy either!


This weekend, it was time to finish.

I was almost done anyway, and found a few hours yesterday to get it within “spitting distance” of the finish line. All it lacks is binding, which will happen sometime this week, I hope!


I like to show you all finished quilts every now and then so that you’ll remember that it’s doable, even if you’re hand quilting your quilt!

Keep at it and don’t give up!

Seven Rules for Hospitality


Within the last year, the Lord has allowed many wonderful visitors to come through the doors of my home. In that time, I’ve scoured Pinterest and my own brain for ideas on how to make guests feel welcome. With the holidays soon upon us, my mind turns again to ways we can open our homes to others. This is a general list, but there are some very good ideas on Pinterest for overnight houseguests.

  1. Clean, but don’t. That sounds contradictory, but it’s not. Stick to your normal cleaning routines that you do for your own family. Maybe you have an area that needs extra attention, but do that a week before, since deep cleaning the day your guests arrive just isn’t going to make you a happy hostess!
  2. Decorate for the season. Similar to the first rule, the idea is that you change your décor throughout the year to fit the season. That way, you aren’t making or buying last minute fall décor for Thanksgiving dinner! I rotate a small stock of seasonal decorations for specific places in my home. I keep my basics neutral to match, which means I’m not rushing to buy bunny, heart, or pumpkin everything. Financially, you can save quite a bit of money by buying the items you’ll need for your table or mantle after any given holiday. Also, I don’t decorate for every holiday, only the general season. I rotate between spring, patriotic, fall, and Christmas. As for hospitality, this step saves you time the few days before you have a large party or overnight guests.
  3. Do your major tasks a week out. If you’re making crafts or fixing household honey-do’s, don’t let them wait until the day before your party! This will frazzle your nerves, I promise! You want to tackle those things a week or two out if you’re having a large party or overnight guests. If you’re inviting your friend over for coffee, please don’t think you need to have a perfect home! Being down to earth is honestly more important in small gatherings than having completed your to-do list.
  4. Be real. Be real in your preparations for guests. If you don’t live with an immaculately set table, please don’t do it for guests. For example, my family doesn’t drink soda, so we don’t often buy it for guests either. I wouldn’t want my guest thinking I lived a certain way, then dropping by and being surprised by how we actually live!
  5. Give yourself time for a nap. On the day of your gathering, choose to spend a few minutes sitting down. Likely, you’ll have stood plenty that day, preparing a meal or working on last minute details. Giving yourself at least a half an hour in your schedule to nap equates to at least ten minutes to sit still and goof off!
  6. Prepare for your guests. If you’re able to make food ahead, or prepare bedding, or make a little basket of snacks for overnight guests, do those tasks a few days before they arrive. You’ll save yourself all sorts of headache by not waiting until last minute, and you’ll show your guests that you thought of them! Go to the store at least a day in advance, and, if the budget allows, pick up a simple bouquet while you’re there. It’ll brighten everyone’s mood!
  7. Be a happy hostess! It goes without saying that if you make someone’s stay pleasant, they will want to come visit you again. Recently, we had guests who enjoy coffee any time of day, so the coffee maker stayed busy! Whether using a favorite set of dishes, tablecloth, or cloth napkins, make it a little special for both you and your company! It really is such fun to have friends and family over and to serve others in this way!

Fall Planning


Fall is such a natural beginning for us, especially as we think about going back to school and re-establishing routines. Once homeschool schedules are set and well in hand, my mind turns towards fall activates and plans for the home. With holidays right around the corner, I contemplate the different ways to prepare for guests and family memories!

Do you fall clean? My home’s physical space needs a good cleaning twice a year, since we have a full house right now. As I do these chores, I’m reminded that they are important work. Elisabeth Elliot once said, “This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.” Service to your family done with the heart for God is service to God. House cleaning is a time to be thankful and to enjoy the work the Lord has given us, because the house won’t always need scrubbing, and there will not always be a full house for which to cook and clean!

The days are getting cooler, and the crisp air is moving in. That usually means our minds begin to think about the cold weather. In Proverbs 31, the virtuous woman takes great care to make sure her household is set for winter. This normally includes a mental checklist for me of items like winter bedding, gear, clothing, and shoes. My household also keeps a small winter stock of easy and healthy food options, in case the weather is severe or hinders a trip to buy groceries. It puts my mind at peace, knowing there are healthy food options for sick or overscheduled days!

With holidays inbound, in the fall my thoughts often turn to planning for the next few months. We make an annual trip to see family in December and often entertain during the late fall. My husband and I discuss days off, holiday budgeting, and other pertinent information for the next few months during this time. We consider family activities, plan and budget for them, and look forward to those apple picking or museum going days!

Fall is such a good time for small changes in our home, for cleaning out and for taking stock. Spiritually, I use this fall momentum to think about where the Lord would have me change, too. For me, this process can be like a shuffle, taking out good things, bringing in the best things. This year, I’m seeking a good Bible study and putting away philosophy books. In previous years, the Lord has prompted me to watch less of certain things on tv and do other things instead. This looks different for everyone. After prayer and honest reflection, you’ll know if and what the Lord might want to shuffle in your life!


I hope you’re enjoying your fall days and the natural renewal this time of year!

Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Quilt Along

There’s a lovely new book out

called the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt.


As a Public Service Announcement,

I thought I would let you all know about the Quilt Along

by the same name that starts in a few weeks!

You’ll just have time to get your book and fabric gathered,

as the Quilt Along starts on September 28th, 2015.


I chose my selection of fabrics

based on a gorgeous bundle for sale for the Quilt Along.

 I dug in my ever growing stash to replicate the out of stock bundle.

It was great fun, actually, trying to get as close as I could with some very favorite fabrics!

What’s more thrifty than using what you have?


NOTE: If you decide to join the Quilt Along, be sure to purchase the *new* book, the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s, not a previous version. There are two previous Farmer’s Wife books, so look for the 1930’s/Great Depression version!

Happy Quilting and Reading!

Stacy’s Scrappy Squares-A Scrap System

I’ve developed a scrap system in the last few months, and I’ve been meaning to tell you about it since this post, back in May. This system turns out to be the best one for me, although I’ll readily admit that there are others like it “out there”.

I’ve used several scrap systems over the course of my quilting life. Several years ago, I tried Bonnie Hunter’s scrap system that uses different sizes of strips. Then more recently, I tried Scrap Therapy, which involves squares and a cool container. My scrap system was inspired by other quilters, as things often are.

This is the scrap bin that I started with in May!


I chose two sizes of square, 5 inches and 2.5 inches. Almost every scrap quilt I make needs those sizes! They work well with charm and mini charm pack patterns. If you think you’ll use them, 1.5 inch and strings are sometimes useful. If not, life’s too short for quilt guilt….


I cut my scraps into squares. Wanting to know how this would work for me, I cut a few of each color, and played with the sizes for a few days. I tested it out, which I highly recommend!


I searched for the right container for my scrap system, and found a wooden box that is just right at Target. It holds all my scraps, and they are neatly organized when I need them.


What can you make with them? I’m so glad you asked! If you go to Moda Bakeshop, Pinterest, or Google and search “charm pack” or “mini charm pack” patterns, you’ll find more quilts than you can make! You’re welcome to peruse my Pinterest page dedicated to just charm and mini charm patterns, too!

I hope you enjoy this scrap system, and that it works well for you. If not, that’s ok. Maybe you’ll find one that meets your scrap needs! Be on the lookout for patterns here on the blog and on Etsy that play nice with these sizes!