Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Downsizing my life

I hope everyone had a good Mother’s Day.

In the past I would have called it re-organizing.  That was when I kept stuff and merely wanted to get it better organized.  So now I call it downsizing because I don’t feel the need to keep so much anymore.  I’m getting rid of anything not absolutely necessary.  For the last two years I’ve kinda floated along getting very little accomplished.  Part of the reason was health issues and partly because of the cloudy dark days.  The winter seemed to be so very long with illness after illness.  Now that warm weather is here and we are getting a few days of sun I’m ready to start fluffing my nest.

I did get a couple of self watering planter boxes.  I didn’t know that’s what I had until I got home with them.  I thought they were just large boxes on wheels.  They were on sale for 75% off and I bought the only two they had left.  Normal price was 45 dollars but with tax added I paid just over $12 each.   A fantastic bargain find.

Ladybug and I filled one box.  I’m not sure it has enough planting soil in it.  I’ll have to buy more soil soon so I can fill the second box.  It may not do much good to plant anything because the whistle pigs are back!  You probably know them as ground hogs.

The whistle pig name came from the sound they make when they sense danger.  One is on this side of the street watching the other one on the opposite side.  You can see him or her just near the center of the ditch in the center of that picture.  This photo is of the one across the street in the other ditch.

I watched them for a few minutes before they disappeared into a neighbors back yard.  Its spring so some little ones are probably on the way.  They eat and create havoc with any garden plants so I may be working in vain to have fresh veggies.  I’ll keep trying though.

I’m no longer accepting new quilting customers which means I don’t need all the quilt work STUFF any longer.  The intake table has bothered me ever since moving here.  It just doesn’t fit the room size.   It may not look like it in the picture but there is just barely room between the machine and the intake table for me to squeeze through.

I liked the top but hated the base.  I was forever bumping my toes or knees against the base as I worked.  Well, its gone. My son in law took it apart for me and carried the base to the street for large item pick up day.  The top is in storage until I figure out which room will become my new sewing space and how to make a new base.  I’m not sure I’ll use it again though I’m keeping it just in case.

Rain is expected everyday for the entire week and also unseasonable hot weather.  I’m going to get a little yard work done early then work inside.  I sympathize with those who live in the southern states and the heat.  I hope everyone stays safe.  I don’t believe I have any readers from Hawaii.  Anyway, I’m hoping everyone there is away from the danger as best they can.  I’m sure there are plenty stuck without transportation to completely leave the island.   It takes money to leave and money to live somewhere else.  Some simply don’t have it.

30 comments on “Downsizing my life

  1. catherine young
    May 17, 2018

    I’m happy for you. I’m behind you in getting things together for my later years. I can’t yet quite get rid of things because I shop my house too often for dear ones and self. Getting it organized is the best I can do. That’s a prime difference between hoarding and collecting/storing. But I’m in the cluttered, overflow stage so have to make some decisions. I want house to look nice. Not be a cluttered outdated old woman’s home

    I spend very little on food these days. Still need to lose weight which means Im still eating too much. By focusing on healthy foods, I find I eat less which is good. I’m growing tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and zucchini. Got strawberry plants and raspberries bushes going too. But this area has been hit with little critters like stink bugs eating up the crop to point it’s been a waste to plant. Giving it another try after a while.

    Family photos and papers organization a top priority here too as soon as s few more essentials in place. I’m blessed that I have extra money for home improvements but cursed in that it’s only over time and I gave so much needed. I didn’t have heat of hot water 3 years ago and leaky toilets. That’s been taken care of. Now need heat and AC for attic so it can be used. Rooms all need to be professionally painted due to peeling flaking lead paint.

    Immediate needs, gutters cleaned, holes in floors plugged so bugs and mice stay out, bug spray property and house so bearable this summer. Then maybe one want item peobably system in attic.

    May health stay good to get this all done!!!

    • Anita
      May 21, 2018

      I was cleaning out the spam filter and found your comment. Not sure why it ended up there. I’m told I’m a collector and not a hoarder but I still feel overwhelmed no matter what its called. I don’t want my kids to have to deal with so much stuff if something should happen to me. Better I have less. I’m lucky that a lot of the quilting things will find new homes easily.

      • Kathleen Waite
        May 21, 2018

        Oh boy.   talk about “kids not having the mess to clean up”  in Our END.   went to a talk about PRE PLANNING funerals today. I DO NOT want to be like my mom who FLATLY REFUSED to ponder “that stuff”.. so they bought her an OUTRAGEOUSLY PRICED “dress”.  OH HECK NO.    ETC ETC.  yUP.  THE PLAN.   get rid of the NOT LOVED and NOT Necessary  STUFF.  I will NEVER get to labeling the family photo’s.  sorry kids. fight over the pics when we are gone  HEAH. they are IN ALBUMS.  I thought that pretty darn good. I WILL get rid of as MUCH stuff as I THINK is NOT necessary.    maybe.  I hope.    I will MAKE a LIST.  this stuff to that.  that stuff to them. etc.  it’s FABRIC people and to be CHERISHED.   not in the dumpster. I WILL  once AGAIN re sort MY DRAWERS.  ok. the ugly comfy jammies.  KEEPERS. but PLEASE JUST TRASH EM.  I don’t WANT my LIFE on display in THAT FINAL YARD SALE.   i’ll get rid of what I DON’T NEED.  or what does NOT BRING ME JOY.  well. some of it.    I have “hidden” KARIOKE TAPES. and ok WITH A PLAYER. the MUSIC WE SANG.  KEEP THOSE please.  for you. for the grands.  etc.  even have a few VHS tapes of our PERFORMANCES.  ok. mostly david’s.  giggle. PLEASE KEEP THOSE.  to pass on to the great grands and geneerations to come.  PAPA was REALLY GOOD at singing.  MiMi,  well she had a SHOW about her.    ( YES. I also have a hidden vhs player   PLANNING people. ) I have a now AGED APQS Ultimate II.  can they BURY me with that?   heah.  i’m going cremation?  ok. probably NOT.  I HOPE they find SOMEONE LIKE ME. who  YEARNS for that machine.  it WAS the DESIRE OF MY HEART.  but I am NOT GIVING THAT UP.  period.  EVER.  when the kids “plan” our “old aged home”.. I REMIND THEM.   MUST be a PLACE for THE QUILTING MACHINE.    I don’t think they are listening. but NO WAY will I MOVE if I cannot BRING THE MACHINE.  PERIOD..I’ve got PLANS………… but yes.  I want to make it as easy for THEM.  when THAT day comes.      ORGANIZE.  DE STUFF.  and on we go.

        Kathi Flint Mi Ultimate II

        • Anita
          May 21, 2018

          Kathi, have you thought about getting the VHS tapes converted to CD or maybe put onto a flash drive? It would take up a whole lot less space than a bunch of tapes and the kids would be more likely to want to watch them. I found a local place that scans and puts photos onto tiny little sticks. I’m going to have them scan all the old photos for me then I can use the computer to put information on the photos. I hadn’t thought of it but I don’t want my life treasure on display in a final yard sale either. Like you I want my quilting machine to go to someone who really wants and needs a starter machine to support a family like I did. It seems like I’ll never be able to quit quilting even if I wanted to. Its all I have for paying the bills after the mortgage is paid. My fabric is going to local groups who make charity items or to groups who teach crafts to mentally challenged adults. I keep telling myself… the stuff is not me, its just STUFF.

          • Kathi
            May 22, 2018

            Yes, I can see how converting the vhs tapes, and probably many of the pictures, etc into digital format would be an excellent thing to do. However, in my lifetime I doubt it will be one of the things that get done. but, it’s on “the list” now. THANKS for the idea.

  2. Helen
    May 16, 2018

    I recently retired at the age of 71 and even though I was down to part time work it was scary to let go of that income. I have to be careful but so far so good. Following your creative ways to stretch a buck have been enlightening, so thank you!

    • Anita
      May 17, 2018

      Congratulations on your retirement. I agree, giving up the income is scary. It also brings out our creativeness. Where there is a will there is a way.

  3. T
    May 15, 2018

    What will you grow Anita?

    • Anita
      May 16, 2018

      So far I have some leaf lettuce and a couple of cherry tomato plants. Ladybug choose chocolate basil and peppermint basil as her plants. I think she just liked the idea of growing chocolate and peppermint smelling plants. She also chose a couple of pansy plants to make her garden box pretty. If I had my choice I’d grow a big garden of diabetic friendly food. I do like eating raw vegetables; even corn and green beans. I’d have an apple tree and a peach tree and a cherry tree. But, these are only wishes. If wished were pennies I’d be a millionaire.

      • T
        May 17, 2018

        It’s cool to grow things fr young people, I always had a little garden as a child, grew potatoes and roses and marigolds and rhubarb.

        Raw vegetables are good. My diabetes is gone again for leaving out carbs and processed foods.

        Place I am moving to has nowhere to grow stuff, well to be honest texas is hard to grow stuff in containers in the heat, and we are all waiting here to see if this will be a fourth year of flooding…little rain so far. Heat is getting rough.

        Good luck with your projects, glad you get to enjoy things like this now.

        • Anita
          May 17, 2018

          I sure hope there isn’t more flooding. I think Texas has had enough already. Just curious. Would self watering containers not work to grow things there? Or is it the heat and not water the issue for growing in containers? We’ve had unusually high heat here too.

          • T
            May 17, 2018

            The HOA put for pots out here , they quickly died and an irrigation system was put in, hundreds of dollars I am told, it’s hard to get the balance though- easy to over water as well as let things burn to a crisp in the sun.

            • Anita
              May 17, 2018

              I see. Thanks. I kinda thought it had been tried in some form but wasn’t sure.

              I really love my new self watering pots. I fill the reservoir in the bottom with dish rinse water. I can’t over fill because it runs out at the overfill holes. The plants get water as needed and I’m not dragging out a hose to water the plants during hot dry weather. I’m seriously hooked on this kind of plant pots. They are a bit expensive for my budget but I can’t wait until I can afford more. Maybe the price will come down eventually or I’ll find more discounted ones.

  4. Li
    May 15, 2018

    I hope you enjoyed your Mother’s Day. I also am downsizing or minimizing. As I do my regular cleaning, I collect stuff to donate. I have never been much for decorating and collecting stuff but aging seems to have collected it. I noticed a donation box about a mile away. I plan on becoming friends with it. I just packed up dishes as I washed them. No need for three sets in the cubbard. I can’t even imagine how long it would take to clean out my mother’s house. She pulled out sheets and curtains to give my daughter to match her new comforter. She must of had 25 sets of sheets, matching towels and who knows what else stuffed in there. I have explained to my children that I want them to pretend we are moving. We only have one day to move. Anything we can’t pack and move on that day, gets left behind. It’s funny how so much clutter has no meaning. I hope you will share all your bucket list plans.

    • Anita
      May 16, 2018

      My bucket list plans: First priority is to organize and label all the really old family photos I have. If something happens to me, no one will know who the people are. I have photos of my own great-great grandparents. I think of what that would mean to my great-grandchildren. I want to create a family photo/history book for each of them. That is the most important of the bucket list items. I also want to spend time with my grands and great-grands who really don’t know me. All they know about me is I make quilts and send birthday cards with money.

      Another goal is to make a quilt I’ve had designed in my head for years and never had the time to make it because of customer commitments. I want to enter it in the Paducah AQS show and maybe the Houston show. Mostly just to say I finally did it.

      I want to make my house feel like a home and not like a garage or storage shed or a craft shop. For example I can’t remember the last time I had curtains on my windows. I can’t remember pictures on the walls instead of thread racks and quilting tools. I haven’t had a couch or comfy chairs since I got the first quilting machine 36 years ago. No one actually comes to visit but I’d like to know I have them just in case someone does visit. I would like to grow healthy garden food so I don’t have to visit the mobile food bank. I’m seriously tired of potatoes, onions, carrots, and cabbage. I want cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, parsley, green beans, summer squash, and egg plants to be eaten fresh out of the back yard. Heck, I’d even enjoy a prolific zucchini plant too. IF I can keep the food away from the groundhogs.

      You see? My bucket list is to HAVE A NORMAL LIFE that is not dominated by catering to quilt customer needs or spending days standing in long lines for food. BUT, of course, these are only wishes.

      • T
        May 17, 2018

        If you ever come down to Houston get in touch first, I’ll buy you lunch! Tracy

        • Anita
          May 17, 2018

          Thank you I’d like that.

  5. Delorise
    May 15, 2018

    I also am into downsizing. I refuse to keep stuff just for the sake of stuff. It is so freeing having less possessions and clutter around. I am in the South– we are already having 90 degree days and the gnats are out. However- thank heavens -we are getting some much needed rain. Congrats on your retirement-hope you enjoy all the freedom it brings.

    • Anita
      May 16, 2018

      Those dang gnats! Fruit flies too. Aggravating little things. I use apple cider vinegar to kill them. Do you?

  6. dheard
    May 15, 2018

    Greetings from central Massachusetts! I check into your blog from time to time and have enjoyed it so much. I too am in “downsizing mode” as I’m about 5 years from “retirement age” and want to take care of things while I’m able. I don’t want to have to have someone else do it for me/us. Sometime this Summer I hope to have a downsizing yard sale….anything we don’t have a use for is going! I got quite chuckle from your “whistle pig”—I think we have a similar one here, though to us it’s a ground hog or woodchuck. Ours is quite healthy looking and had his winter home/den behind our property line retaining wall and his summer home is under our shed in the backyard. We’re thinking that we’ll have to get a Have a Heart trap and relocate him/her “over the river and through the woods”! We’ll wait a bit to ensure there are no young ones to be concerned about. So I too will not be planting any vegetables for a while….may a few containers on the back deck. Hope all is going well for you this evening. Rain & thunderstorms here.

    Dee

    • Anita
      May 16, 2018

      I should have retired 15 or 20 years ago but the customers wouldn’t let me. I had thought about having a down sizing yard sale. Most of what I have is only quilt or craft related. Not really something that sells well at yard sales. I’m donating most of it to a couple of charities that are always in need of these things. I don’t have a lot of dust catchers or other things found at yard sales.

      Stay safe in the storms.

  7. Marybeth
    May 15, 2018

    Congratulations on retiring. Enjoy every minute.

    • Anita
      May 16, 2018

      Thanks Marybeth

  8. Jasna
    May 15, 2018

    Hi, Anita, I hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day, too.

    Hugs,
    Jasna

  9. Kathi
    May 15, 2018

    HURRAY!! sounds like a happy resolution for your quilting, a bit, but not so much it overwhelms the rest of your life. I am STILL trying to get RID OF STUFF. Seems we have been on Goal for many years now my friend. glad you are making such great progress. I’m making mini progress slowly but surely.

    Yes, the gloom and cold and sickness of winter has made us SLUGS here as well. I am hoping some NICE weather will help us shake it off.

    I did “downsize” Darling’s garden a few years ago. Think there will be EVEN MORE of that this year. I see a few tomatoe plants and some peppers and maybe some beans and THAT’S IT folks. Ofcourse, I’ve said that several years in the past only to end up with corn, carrots, and other sorts. Atleast we have NO groundhogs around.

    • Anita
      May 16, 2018

      I still get phone calls from people I haven’t heard from in months (or years) asking me to “do just one more for me because I love your work and I’m your friend”. I usually answer – at my age don’t I deserve a little fun time? Cutting the chain that kept me at that machine day after day, year after year has not been easy. I keep telling myself, anyone who only calls me once a year for no other reason than to get a quilt done is not really a friend. They are just another customer.

      I would love to grow a few things but I’ll be lucky to have a couple of cherry tomato and some leaf lettuce. I thought maybe a cucumber plant, bell peppers, and egg plant would be nice too. IF I can keep those dang groundhogs away.

  10. Sandy
    May 15, 2018

    Have you stopped quilting?

    • Anita
      May 15, 2018

      Yes, I retired. Except for myself and five friends that’s all the quilting I’ll be doing. I have several bucket list projects I wish to complete and none of them will happen if I’m always under pressure to finish a customer quilt. No matter how many times they tell me there is no rush…. there is. The five friends give me just a bit of income to help pay my bills but also the freedom to have a life again.

      • Linda in NE
        May 15, 2018

        Exactly why I’ve never advertised that I have a quilting machine. I quilt for myself and probably about the same number of people you are down too…and then not too often. They aren’t piecing machines. 🙂 🙂

        Those groundhogs are pesky. Had some move under the derelict house next door. The owner live trapped them & then shot them. My husband took the more direct route….a .22 or 12 gauge works real well. And if it’s the week before July 4th nobody even notices. 🙂 (Small rural town, you know.)

        • Anita
          May 16, 2018

          Very smart of you Linda that you never advertised. The customers are nice but quilting for them can take over your life. The income is NOT worth the stress or the sacrifices made for keeping customers happy. I have many regrets over being a professional quilter. I can’t get back the lost time so I’m going to make the most of whatever time my life remains.

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