Living the simple life

I am Goth by nature, a carer by choice and a crafter by habit. living the Old Style way, spending less and making what I can myself. I follow Money Saving Expert and NYK forum avidly and am working to be debt free.

I shop wisely as every penny counts, my stock cupboard is my solution to any problem.

My home is full of craft stuff and I love making things for my grandson Michael who is the reason I get up everyday. My kids are the best in the world and I thank them for being there for me and John

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Bargains of the floral variety and pie maker type




I love having flowers in the house and when they cost 75p they seem even nicer! the lilies are so beautiful and scent the entire room.

Thats my bargain of the year, a pie maker. It was brand new in the box from a charity shop (electrically checked by them) . I just use the cutters supplied with it, pop the pastry in the fridge and take 2 tops and 2 bottoms out as I go along. It takes 8 -12 minutes to bake 2 pies so I am using very little power and I can just pop any leftovers in a pie for lunches. When I am a little more organised I am going to make and freeze the pastry,cut out ready to go, so I can make a couple of pies when ever I need them. My daughter bought me some greaseproof sheets for a few pennies somewhere so I can interleave the pastry with those.

My trek onto E bay territory has proved worth while we now have a little nest egg for emergencies and I feel happier knowing it is there. I have, probably, another box full for after Christmas but as it is specialist stuff it will sell anytime of the year.

I set my son Gareth a challenge when he asked what I wanted for Christmas - I wanted a book of Amazon but he had to pay less than 50p for it - he did well - 2p which was good as the same book was £5 this week. I really cannot see the point in wasting precious money and my mantra for the New Year is 'keep it in my pocket' I am going to try and stretch my stocks of food and have lots of NSD's. I have a £25 voucher for M&S and a dear friend is sending me a £5 off voucher to go with it so I will search for meat bargains for the freezer with that and use the cash I had for food to buy myself some new yoga pants thus maximising my money.

My Mum has been lucky at the CS she volunteers in, it seems as if someone is slowly clearing out a stash of yarn and donating it. As the shop is mainly focused on furniture and clothes they dont really have time to mess with balls of wool which tends to linger so they have been selling it to Mum for me to use in my charity work. Its quite surreal as I get a bag one week then a few weeks later another one and the wool matches in the bags so its obviously the same person. I am very grateful for this bounty as yet again it saves my pennies.

Going to have a nice simple and quiet Christmas and look forward to a pennypinching New Year - hope you all have a lovely time spending Christmas however suits your own family.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Moving memorabilia

I have had a lightbulb moment of late, my landlord decided to re-insulate our loft so things had to go and I was sad and did not want to do it. But I did, I also set myself the task of using up as much of our accumulated stash of craft things for charity and selling, if possible, the huge amount of memorabilia we have amassed over the years. unless we move to a castle very little of it could be displayed properly so will lie in boxes being ruined by dust and time. I do not want the children being left with huge boxes of junk if and when we pop our clogs and realistically we need the money... no we really need the money.

So the plan was, E bay first then either donate to appropriate charities or throw away. Last week I got organised and tentatively put a few items on e bay and half of them sold. I thought, mostly, I would start at 99p unless they were valuable. I made £50 the first week. Rather than run myself into the ground I took it slowly and posted the second lot, using free listing weekeend I placed more valuable lots, I made £100 half of which was my sons stuff. I now have a space in the office of 4 foot by 2 foot and a healthier bank balance.

Hubby has now got the bug and is giving up slightly precious stuff to sell. Tomorrow again is free listing day so we all have a few items we can bear to part with so I am crossing my fingers again. It will take  many months to grind away at the clutter but I am so pleased with the results I am prepared to sit here and get on with it.

As for the craft stuff, today I posted 10 parcels of handmade goods which had been bought at an online charity Christmas fayre making £42 for their funds and the e baying paid the postage so I wasnt out of pocket. I have also made 65 cards for a hospice that my friend Roz helps support - I had an outlay of 0 and they should raise a decent sum from them. 

So moving slowly towards December I am getting there.

My bliss!

Here is my bliss, playing at our house. I never say I am minding him I always say he has come to play at Grandma's. As an autistic child he has many hurdles to face but always has a smile or kisses to spare. Everyday he amazes us, at 2 1/2 he understands everything you say to him and follows commands easily, he also sleeps well for his Mummy and daddy, I just hope that lasts.

With a little help from my friends.

Some friends and I hooked up with a British charity that sends items to a school in the Gambia. the good thing  is they send a container full at a time so we can literally send anything that would be of use. I made some sewing kits up and they were really appreciated. It brought home to me how much we take things for granted so have set myself a task for the next 6 months to help where and whenever I can. I have little money but huge amounts of stash, time and a great network of supporters. I decided to try the pillowcase dress pattern, found online, a very simple little shift dress basically made from a pillowcase. On hearing of this my good friend Chalky  ( http://chalkygilbert.blogspot.co.uk/ ) kindly sent me 2 unopened double quilt covers and so as not to let her down I started sewing. I made 10 dresses from the first cover and haven't even used the pillowcases yet. I also ran up some little bags to pop the dresses in so the children will have a school bag as well. Of course now I need to make some boys bags too so they will not be left out.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Oooh washi tape


Made a start on the Christmas cards, despite spilling red glitter glue all over the first. the stamps of Santa and the reindeer were free with a magazine so really inexpensive to produce. Couldn't resist the washi tape from Hobbycraft, its lovely to work with and adds a nice border.

Octopi and hedgies everywhere.


Here are a few octopus's I made for a friend for her Christmas fayre. they only take half an hour to make so am sure they will be one of my favourite makes.



And some hedgies for chalky, this lady is so kind to me and everyone she knows http://chalkygilbert.blogspot.co.uk/ pop on her blog and see her lovely work. 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A few pics of Michael - my bliss




Just a few pictures of my little man, sat on Manma's chair, wearing Grandad out, beautiful black and white by Jenni's friend and last of all with my big boy - my son Gareth - odd they had matching tops on !

Friday, 13 July 2012

Much prettyness


Couple more makes from May, I am so productive that I am now running out of space to store everything. I have joked that I could do an entire craft fair on my own but really its true. These are both cushion covers. The circular one is from Attic 24's blog  http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/ which is full of amazing crochet with such simple instructions. The square one is just playing round with granny squares.

I love Tilda

Am in love with my new Tilda stamp - bargain buy from Hobbycraft £3.99 because the front paper was missing. It stamps so well and pro markers are perfect for it.

Monday, 21 May 2012

May makes

Made a couple of cushion covers this week and I am quite pleased with the results. 




Here is my pile of squares for my next BIG throw, trying for 100- up to 97 so far. Am going to edge it with cream so its shabby chic looking.








Here is the small one I made earlier that inspired the larger one.

Friday, 23 March 2012

March is on its way out already...



..I cannot believe how fast time is passing. little man is nearly 2!

As for pinching the pennies, I am doing my best. Managed to find a few whoopsied items lately, mainly veggies. I now have my new secret weapon - my plastic walk in greenhouse. As of today it is full of seed trays with all manner of loveliness in them. I have put in a lot of bedding plant seeds to satisfy Johns craving for prettyness and tone of veg. I have borlotti and braod beans, peas to grow and to eat as shoots, black and yellow sweetcorn and squashes of 2 different shapes. I am determined to get some squashes this year.

Have defrosted the little freezer and its all ready for stacking. the de-hydrator is worth its weight in gold, no more droopy veg bargains lying around or worse filling the freezers.

I actually ran out of wool the other week!!! But swiftly stocked up again. Am on number 2 SIBOL blanket and have started making tiny pigs. Few pairs of boottees and lots of blankets on the go plus finished one cushion cover and 1/3 of the way through number 2. Also finished another Oscar rabbit, just have the clothes to do -all in pink!

Have spent a bit at the garden centre of late but after all thats investment. All in all have kept busy as possible to keep me going.


Sunday, 5 February 2012

Keeping my fingers and mind occupied

Been busy whilst waiting around hospital for John. 1 aran throw, 1 baby blanket and a SIBOL blanket for Mrs Twins. Also made the bits for 12 mousies - to be finished asap as a mission for some dear friends, 8 premmie hats, a sushi loo roll cover and lots of other bits and bobs all since New Years day.

My frugal living personal challenge is going well and am making full use of the full pantry, making cakes and meals. I have also used my de-hydrator a lot and have dried lots of veg before it goes rubbery and also giving me more space in the freezers.

So far a very productive year. Apart from keeping my daily journal I have also started a log book of everything I craft so I can see at a glance how I am doing. I am just looking forward to getting my new plastic walk in greenhouse into production.

Recently I found a local proffessional gardener through freecycle who was giving away plant pots, nice chap who quite happily gave me lots of pots. So when I looked at my huge privet hedges I suddenly thought why not pay for him to cut them back instead of expending a massive amount of energy and time doing them myself. 2 days later bobs your auntie and I have a lot more light in the living room plus a daunting task accomplished!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Ssssssnakes


been busy while I waited for John in hospital. the snake is for Annabel and am aiming to make 50 of the balls for Christmas fair I am planning to do this year. Picked the plant holders up in a pound shop on the way home from visiting time. Was absolutely exhausted by the time I got into Manchester, should really have gone the other way into Stockport - would have been much better.