Frugal Upstate’s 13 Favorite Posts from 2013

As today is the last day of 2013 I thought I’d take a quick trip down memory lane and share with you my favorite 13 posts of 2013!

For years I had wanted to make an Easter Egg wreath out of those plastic Easter Eggs you can buy.  This year I finally got around to it, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with how it came out.

Easy Easter Egg Wreath

These DIY Porch Snowflakes not only looked fantastic, they were also quite popular on Pinterest!  I love how it gave me a chance to dress up the porch in that really “blah” season after the Christmas decorations come down.  This year I’m going to have to restring a few of them with new fishing line, but otherwise they are ready to go!  Plus the project prodded me into purchasing a small home laminator, which I’ve used to protect some favorite recipes, document and more.

During Flu season I created the Flu Survival Kit.  I think it’s good to be prepared with all the things you might need BEFORE sickness hits your home–the old “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” thing.  And it’s nice to have enough on hand that you can share with a sick neighbor or friend who perhaps isn’t quite as prepared.  I hope that the post made a few of you think about putting together a kit of your own.

My post on Mending: Replacing / Reattaching a Button was the first post ever in my mending series.  It was very well received and made me realize that you all wanted to know more about keeping your favorite clothing in good repair!  That has led to several more mending posts and plans for even more in the coming year!

Replace or Sew on a Missing ButtonI think that seed saving is a great way for gardeners to save money, and to ensure that you always have a supply of your favorite seeds on hand.  How to Save Seeds (Kale, Turnip, Mustard & Beans) outlined the steps.  I hope that some of you tried it this year–and if you didn’t, read up on it and make plans to save some of your own seeds in 2014.

How to Save Seeds

Canning was a big part of my life this year–not only did I do tons of preserving, but I also was trained as a Master Food Preserver through the Cornell Cooperative Extension.  I published a lot of canning recipes, but realized that something was missing–the practical tips I had learned for making a canning session, any canning session, go more smoothly.  So I wrote Getting Prepared for a Canning Session:

Getting Prepared for a Canning Session

and What to do After a Canning Session to fill that void!

What to do after a canning sessionIn the spring, summer and fall I try to use my bike when I’m doing errands here in my small upstate town.  With my renewed focus in 2013 on mending came a general interest in making sure I keep all the equipment I use in better condition so that it will last longer.  How to Tune Up your Bike for Spring was a direct result of that.  And if you remember the “before” pictures of my tire, well, I really needed it!

How to Tune Up Your Bike

We had a great apple harvest in New York this year–truly stellar.  So my girlfriends and I did a Bulk Applesauce Canning Session that resulted in over 120 pints of applesauce!  This is a favorite post for 2013 because it shows how much you can do when you work together, as a community (whatever the size).  Both of these ladies up until a few years ago had never canned ANYTHING.  I taught them how, have mentored them along the way and now we can do something like this together.  It really does make me proud.

Bulk Applesauce Canning Session

Making Boiled Cider (Apple Molasses) was one of those things I’ve been meaning to do ever since I read about it.  I love reviving old methods like this!  Its so cool to know that I am recreating a product and a method that the colonists in my area used centuries ago.  Plus it’s just really amazing and tasty.

How to Make Boiled Cider (Apple Molasses)

Hunting Season–The Spouse Guide is one of my favorite posts because I think it explains things that the “hunter” doesn’t always take time to explain to their spouse.  I also liked that I was able to get Yankee Bill involved with proof reading and making sure I had accurately represented the full hunting experience.

Hunting Season The Spouse GuideI have never had so many people compare me to their grandmother as I did when I published Mending: Functional Patches for Ripped Jeans.  I took that as the compliment it was intended to be.  So many readers either had never seen someone patch jeans like this or said something along the lines of “I haven’t seen anyone patch jeans like that since my Grandmother!”.    It’s a sad statement on our society that we throw away things so easily, and I like to think I’m doing my part by encouraging you all to attempt mending jobs such as this to keep some old pants in commission a bit longer (at least for doing messy chores!)
How to Patch Ripped Jeans (functionally, not prettily)  A Picture Tutorial

And finally, my most recent favorite post was An Introduction to Cooking with Venison.  This post was written as a response to the many, many questions I’ve gotten over the years about venison, venison recipes, and the correct way to cook venison.

An Introduction to Cooking with Venison

I hope you all enjoyed 2013 on Frugal Upstate as much as I did!  I have lots of ideas percolating in my brain about things I’d like to write about.  More book reviews, more mending, more canning, various introduction to gardening techniques, experiments in soapmaking, cheesemaking, and more!

What have been your favorite topics covered this year?  What would you like to see more of in 2014?  I would really love to hear your input!

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