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Free Medicinal Herb eBook

Hi! There’s a free ebook today in my Freebooksy email that I thought might interest my readers. I haven’t read it yet, but I wanted to share before it’s no longer free. The title is Medicinal Herbs: The Essential Guide to Growing and Using Plants to Promote Healing and Physical Well-Being by Halle Malin. You can get it here: https://amzn.to/3RX2qBj (Note: If you use that link and then make a purchase, I will get a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and helps me to maintain this blog. Thanks!)

Be sure to grab it ASAP. I’m not sure how long it will be free. If you read it, let me know what you think in the comments.

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Free eBooks and Resources

kobo e reader

Growing up, I was Belle from the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. I always had at least one book with me at all times. Most of the time, I was actively reading one of them, regardless of what else I was doing. Surprisingly, I am no more clumsy with my nose in a book than I am fully paying attention to what I’m doing, which is to say, I’m always very clumsy.

Anyway, one of the things I love about technology is that I can bring a library’s worth of books with me everywhere in my pocket. Or purse, really, since women’s clothing doesn’t have real pockets. Don’t get me wrong. I still love my hold-in-your-hand print books with their special book smell and feel. Knowing that I will always have a book or hundred at hand to read anywhere, though, is the best for a nerd like me.

The other cool thing about ebooks is that it is easy to get a whole library for free or cheap. Here are a few of my favorite resources.

Libraries

Did you know that most libraries now have a collection of ebooks and magazines to check out. My local library uses OverDrive to check out ebooks. All you need is a library card. I usually choose Kindle format, since I have an ancient Paperwhite and I use the Kindle app on my phone.

If you’re looking for a specific book or new releases, this is your best bet. You may have to wait a bit because there’s a limited number of digital copies to check out, just like books in a library.

assorted books on book shelves
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Amazon

Yes, you can get free ebooks on Amazon. You’ll need a basic (free) Amazon account and the Kindle app, or you can read on a pc. The link above will take you to the Kindle ebook store where I’ve searched for free ebooks. That gives you about a bajillion results to weed through. You can narrow down your search to, something like, “free kindle classic books literature” or “free kindle Sherlock Holmes books” or “free kindle sewing books” and have fewer results to sort through.

If you happen to have a Prime account, there’s some ebook perks with Prime Reading and First Reads, so make sure you check those out, too.

Quick note: I am an Amazon Associate, so if you click on an Amazon link on my blog and then make a purchase on Amazon, I will receive a tiny commission. The price for you is the same either way, so if you are going to be shopping on Amazon anyway, I would appreciate it.

grayscale photo of e reader ebook
My Paperwhite ebook reader is this old. Photo by Caio on Pexels.com

Free Booksy

Free Booksy basically lets you know about free books in your chosen genres in a daily email. They’re books that are free for a limited time, so not the same things you would find in a free Amazon search. Most days there’s at least one book I want in the email. Right now, I tend to read more nonfiction, however if you like reading fiction series, Free Booksy often has the first in a new series for free, so it’s a great way to discover new authors. Sign up here. I’m not an affiliate, I just love the free books.

eBook Bundles

Occasionally you’ll find free or cheap ebook bundles online based on a theme, such as crafting or health and wellness. Ultimate Bundles is one site that offers them regularly. I’ve purchased bundles from them in the past that were very useful. Usually it’s something like $27 for hundreds of dollars worth of ebooks, courses, printables, etc. When I purchase one, I always make sure that there are at least three ebooks/resources included that I would purchase on their own, no question, AND they would cost me more than the total price of the bundle if purchased separately.

It doesn’t currently look like they’re promoting a bundle right now, but you can check out the website and see if what types of bundles they offer are of interest to you.

These are all resources I’ve personally used for free ebooks. I’m sure there’s plenty more out there. If you know of any, please share them in the comments. 🙂

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Torn Blouse to Tunic Refashion

Tunic Shirt Refashion

My mom gave me this blouse to play with because her puppy had ripped the bottom of it. I had already cut off the torn part and sewed the raw edge with a scalloped stitch to match the embroidery on the top. That made the shirt too cropped for my preference, so it stayed in my refashion pile. 

In an attempt to eliminate said pile (who am I kidding, piles), I pulled it out, along with another black and white top with stretched out elastic and a black and white fabric remnant for good measure.

I decided to both lengthen it and add more room at the sides by inserting triangles of fabric. I hate wearing woven tops that are fitted, so I thought that might make it more wearable to me. Here is the end result:

I’m not sure that I’m happy with it. Looking at it now, I think I need to add something from the bottom fabric to the top to tie it all together. I may make two patch pockets and attach them at the bottom of the original shirt and overlap onto the new fabric. Maybe an applique on the back as well? Thoughts?

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Help! What is this Vintage Fabric?

Beige fabric

I’ve listed two “new” vintage fabrics in the shop, but wondering if anyone can help with giving more information about them. I love second hand materials, but not having all the details is a bit frustrating. They are: 

Vintage Beige Fabric Yardage 

Beige fabric

Vintage Violet Purple Fabric Yardage

purple fabric

I’ve burn tested them, and they tend to burn quickly. The burned edge seems more melted than ashy, which leads me to believe they are a synthetic or a synthetic blend. Here’s a video of the beige burn test:

@subearthancottage

Burn testing some vintage fabric. I think this one is a synthetic or synthetic blend. I’m listing some of my fabric stash at https://subearthancottage.com #sewing #vintagefabric #fabricdestash

♬ Dream Away – Ramol

The violet fabric burns in the same way.

I’m also not sure if there is a name for that type of tiny stripe pattern. Up close you can see the lines, but from a distance it almost looks solid.

Any help would be appreciated!

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Six Tips for Going Gluten Free on a Budget

Many people eat gluten free (g-free, gf), either by choice or need. For those with celiac, eliminating gluten is an absolute necessity. Others find that, for one reason or another, they feel better when they avoid it. In my case, I kind of accidentally discovered that joint pain in my hands and feet go away and I’m less brain foggy when I avoid gluten. Other family members suffer from breakouts and rashes that flare whenever they eat something with gluten. I strongly believe that if you feel bad after eating something, you should probably stop eating it, so we do our best to avoid gluten all together.

Eliminating something that is such a big part of your diet is daunting at first, but there are a few things that can make the transition easier and less expensive. These tips focus on gluten, but many will also help if you need to eliminate other foods.

1. Start with real foods

Processed foods often have hidden fillers and ingredients, and specialty gluten free foods are expensive. In contrast, fruits, vegetables, meat, nuts, beans, eggs and dairy are naturally gluten free in their pure forms. Rice is a grain that does not contain gluten. Starting from scratch with real food ingredients that you know naturally don’t have gluten is often easier and definitely cheaper than scrutinizing food labels and buying special gluten free versions of normally wheat based foods.

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

2. Go simple with seasonings

For the most part, single herbs and spices are gluten free. Certain spice blends may have gluten, though. Making your own blends is the safest bet, but if you have a spice blend you love, most manufacturer websites list whether their products contain gluten.

While not technically an herb or spice, most soy sauce contains gluten. La Choy is a major brand that is made without gluten. Bragg’s liquid aminos are another form of g-free soy sauce.

Most vinegar is g-free. Malt vinegar is not. You’ll also want to check the label on flavored vinegar to be sure.

Cooking oils don’t have gluten unless seasoned with something containing gluten.

3. Find your current gluten free staples

Look at the foods that currently stock your pantry. What things that you buy are already gluten free? For us, we usually keep a box or two of cereal around for snacking or a quick breakfast. Most cereals are made with wheat and therefore have gluten, but some that we already bought, like Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms and Rice Chex are gluten free. Knowing that, I can continue to keep a box or two of cereal we already liked on hand.

Likewise, we keep tortilla chips on hand for snacking or nachos. Most tortilla chips don’t have gluten and inexpensive. Since gluten free crackers are both hard to find and usually expensive, tortilla chips are an easy cracker substitute as well.

4. Look for the easy substitute

Like substituting tortilla chips for crackers, there are other easy swaps. Corn tortillas usually don’t have gluten and can be substituted for flour tortillas. Rice is often a good substitute for pasta, or substitute rice noodles. If you have an Asian grocery nearby, you can usually find rice noodles there for cheaper than a mainstream supermarket, as well as leafy greens and spices for cheap.

5. Make it yourself

It’s fairly easy to find gluten-free flour now, so making your own gluten free cookies, pizza crusts, pancakes, breads, etc. is a good option. I love Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten free flour. With it, I can continue to make my favorite deserts just by substituting it for wheat flour. There are other good gluten free flours on the market, too. The most important thing is to know if it is blended to be an exact 1 to 1 substitute or if you need to add something like xanthan gum to give it the stretchiness and rise that you usually get from gluten. For example, Bob’s Red Mill has an All Purpose Gluten Free Flour that is not the 1 to 1 blend. It is a little denser and does not have xanthan gum already blended. I like blending it with tapioca flour, which adds some stretchiness. That works well for things like gluten free flour tortillas. For things that need to rise, though, like cakes or breads, I also add xanthan gum if I’m using the all purpose and not the 1 to 1 blend.

6. When buying gluten free, shop around

Sometimes you really just want to get some gluten free penne pasta or a g-free bagel. More and more grocery stores regularly stock g-free pastas, breads and desserts, but they can be pricey. If you find them on sale, stock up and freeze the extras. Alternative grocery stores sometimes offer better prices, too. Aldi has a decent selection of g-free breads, pastas, and baking mixes at a lower price than most other stores. I even found some gluten free donuts there recently.

Locally, we have a surplus/discount/closeout grocery store called Town Talk. They frequently have udi’s bread in the range of two loaves for $3.00. I periodically stop in and stock up when I can.

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Tips for going gluten free

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Quick Summer Refashion Video Inspiration

spool of purple thread near needle thimble and measuring tape

I’ve been working on some summer sewing and refashions lately. Here’s a quick video showing a few of them. The first is a backless halter top made with quilting cotton and ribbon. The second refashion is a halter tube top with a matching loose kimono/beach coverup. They were made from an old maxi dress that wasn’t getting much love. The beach coverup is my favorite. I love how it turned out, especially the print.

I hope you find these inspiring for your own projects. If you like these kinds of videos, follow me on TikTok. I also post on Instagram and YouTube. I tend to prefer the length options on TikTok, so that’s where most of my complete videos are located.

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Simple Way to Patch the Back Pocket of Denim Jeans

The back pockets of denim jeans are prone to wearing out at the top corners with use. If that’s where you carry your phone or wallet, you’ll almost certainly develop holes at those stress points long before the rest of the jeans are worn out. Luckily, repairing a back pocket is a pretty simple fix.

Pocket with hole

These are my husband’s work jeans. You can see the inside corner of the right pocket has a small hole and another one is forming on the inside corner of the left pocket. These are the steps I used to repair and reinforce the pockets.

Choosing your patch material

The first thing you’ll want to do is add material to patch the hole. The material should extend past the edges of the hole, overlapping onto the good fabric by about a centimeter or so. I like to use the iron-on denim patches, but fusible webbing or strong interfacing works, too. This product is similar to the one I used. You can also just use a scrap of fabric a bit larger than the hole, but I prefer the added strength of an iron-on product. An iron-on product is also easier in that it won’t shift while you sew it in.

Iron-on patch
denim iron-on patch for pocket repair
Wrong side of iron-on patch

Securing the patch to the pocket

If you’re using an iron-on product, iron it on to cover the hole from the inside according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For sewn-in patches, baste in patch to keep it from shifting.

Ironed on patches
Patches ironed in place on the inside of the jeans.

Reinforce the patch

Regardless of whether you chose an iron-on or sew-in patch, you need to reinforce the patch by sewing a strong row of stitches around the edges. For a less visible patch, I like to sew a square of stitching around the hole, making sure to include the corner of the pocket in the square. I sew over the square a few times to reinforce. Choosing a thread that matches the denim or is slightly darker makes the patch less noticeable.

Reinforcement stitching from the inside.

For the actual hole, I like to sew back and forth over the hole in a matching thread. This secures the area to the patch, hides the frayed edges and prevents further ripping.

For a more visible patch, you can get creative with the patch material and choose a contrasting thread. You can also crazy stitch over the area, similar to what I did here.

Preventing the problem

Whenever I patch one pocket rip, I take the time to reinforce all the corners with iron-on patches and a square of reinforced stitching. It doesn’t take much extra time, and keeps the rest of the corners from needing repair in the near future. You could even do this to new jeans as a preventative measure if you have this problem frequently.

Final result

Here’s the finished patches. I’m pretty satisfied with the results. The work isn’t that noticeable and matches the variations in blue on the rest of the jeans. It’s definitely better than holes that will continue to rip in a revealing location.

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Shop sales!

For the entire month of September, all of my handmade soaps are 20% off. Shop handmade soaps here.

My machine embroidery files are also on sale all month for just $1 each! Be sure to check out my latest Halloween designs. Shop embroidery designs here.