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 and grand- daughter Bethany who are 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, 7 December 2014

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Well,actually, its looking more like Santa's workshop - piles of unsold stuff. My Fb selling page did ok but m still stcked high with the things I have made to keep busy all year. Luckily Hubs bought me some of those good vaccuum bags off the telly - you know where you buy 4 and get 8 free - they are so good and the stock is heading for the biggest one of those.

This fella and the santa I made along with some blankets are heading for charity I just havent decided which one yet.

Heres my only decoration thats on show so far but I am hoping to get the tree up this week.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Clearing the decks for Christmas

I am working my way through things and posting parcels here and there. This week I posted these off
To Sibol the squares were passed to me to make up by a friend who had her hands full and I was happy to help out.

This is how they arrived along with lots of lovely yarn to make them up. I m now happy they have been recieved by the lovely Mrs Twins who runs Sibol and will soon be keeping someone warm and cosy in a British care home.

Another job I had to finish was to make another blanket with squares from ll over the uk and some from further afield. I cant revel the recipient until the gift arrives at its new home but here is  photo of it along with the cushion cover I made to use some more of the squares up.

Off to sew bunting now, my new addiction, its so easy and makes me happy !

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Busy Busy November

I have been keeping close to home  lot of late so need to to be busy. My Fb page is going well if a little slowly but am happy with all the support people are giving.

Even popped a card or two on there.

Michael has been poorly for a week and invited himself over for the night, promptly falling aleep on the floor! Grandad made him an easel for his painting at our house - pic to follow.
I made some air drying clay gingerbread men to tie to this years Christmas gifts, just need eyes painting on and  ribbons and they are done!
Leave me alone with a ball of yarn and a hook and this is what I came up with - quite a big snowman, think I may make some more of these.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Very Busy October

Opened my Facebook page this week - Gin (Me) and Pickle (Michael) No sales so far but excellent feedback from my dear friends.

First of many owl families, pink one ready to photograph and blue ones on the needles.

However this is the star of the show - Tilly bud has won me a place in KnitToday magazine on the readers makes page Yay! She is from a pattern from Mary Janes Tearoom Such lovely patterns and easy to make.

All going well with my 100 day challenge on Frugaldom Forum - very little un-necessary spending so am heading towards the end of the year with a little savings pot in the hope of paying off my only debt early.

Had some nice successes with E bay, thinning down my stash of patterns and a couple of pieces of Hubbys memorabilia mountain.

All in all a busy but fruitful time of the year.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Summer success's

Every year my little garden produces more and more food as I become more organised and accepting of what will not grow in the ground. This year I lost a big bed full of shallots to critters - they waited till they were nice and big then decimated them.

This years biggest success is tomatoes, I have them everywhere - in the greenhouse, vertical pods and random pots. I have had a handful a day and there are many more to come before I pack up for the winter.
Very proud of my heirloom tomatoes as I was running out of seed having lost every plant for the last 2 years.
They just look so beautiful and eccentric.
Here is my little Kuri squash and there are a few more to mature on the plant.
My little apple tree is groaning under the weight of fruit and this is only its second year. It cost me £8 on offer from D B Browns so am very happy with it.
My patio weed clearance is going well, have lmost done the first half ready to plant creeping thyme if the weather warms up a little. Next I need to clear the path down to the shed and greenhouse to make life easier this winter then next year will clear the other half. I have rescued 2 buckets of soil the worms have made under the weeds and tipped them in the raised bed which has sunk a little the last few years.

All in all a productive time which has lifted my spirits no end and saved me a fortune in the gym!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Now known as Lady Jayne

It was my birthday on Wednesday - 55!!! cannot believe how time has flown. It says 22 in my knickers and thats what Im sticking to.

Hubby has just given up helping run the cricket league due to horrendous amount of work along with timewasting e mails asking stupid questions. All he was doing was sleeping and working on the laptop. We had a spare room full of trophys that he had built from parts thus saving the league £600 and during on of our discussions regarding his decision I stated I was always runner up - cricket came first. So on my birthday he presented me with a trophy which says 'no longer a runner up now a winner' - dont know who was more choked up him or me.

I had a lovely day, lunch with Mum, trip to Hobbycraft - which Mum loved. Then we went to see Jenni and Michael. She presented me with a certificate to say I am now Lady Jayne Egan! and a huge bar of chocolate.

Mum gave me gladioli's, Jen gave me chrysanth's, I bought myself roses(the day before) and then Gareth and Carrie turned up with lilies - I ran out of vases in the end! but I dont mind its wonderful.

Couldnt have had a better day.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Pretty and useful in July

Its nearing the end of my favourite month when the garden looks its best. I love nasturtiums and a little pot I got for 75p was well worth the outlay.    
These have self seeded in some random places, isnt nature amazing? They even landed in a crack in my big bean tub and have been flowering for months -cannot for the life of me remember the name - antirhinums possibly.
I have purple pea's! inside they are green but I love the pods - so pretty, am wondering if I made wine it would be red. Maybe next year I will try it.

Of course I had to pop my boy on here, took this today when he was winding down for a nap. So much love in that smile. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Everythings coming up courgettes!

And succulents! All my little ones are having babies

Here is one of my succulent hedgehogs, still under construction but getting there.

And we have blue pea's growing well in a tub.

Patio clearance in early stages but now we have had a huge thunderstorm I will have to wait for everything to dry out.

Quite a successful year in the garden to date apart from itit either being to hot or too wet...grrr...

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Summer time is crafty time

Had a busy June and am happy with all my progress to date. I was part of the 'Just do it in June' challenge on the NYK forum - ban procrastination and finish tasks and projects because life is too short.
I made a good start on my patchwork quilt and its looking very pretty.

Vertical gardening is wonderful, very productive and frugal way of growing. The tumbler tomato in the middle had growed like topsy and I think its because the roots are warmed in the sunshine.
I am giving peas a go because a. I have loads of peas and b. its worth a try!

Here are my 48 lavender plants for which I only paid £5 postage. My keys are there to show the scale. I re-potted them immeadiately in good compost and they have doubled size in a week.
This seems to be a courgette plant but has grown up very different to the others, a more upright and prolific plant than the other 3. It flowered yesterday and looks beautiful. So good to have something pretty and productive.

If you pop in for  read I would love for you to say Hi! 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Blooming June

Vertical gardening going well. Have some lovely alpine strawberries growing.
Frame number 2 put up, need to update the pictures as I have had a delivery of milk bottles since this. Apparently tomato plants love this system and grow very bushy, they also make excellent root mass probably due to the warm sun on the bottles.
Found these 6 buxus plants grown from cuttings loitering under the hedge. Its taken 3 years to get to this stage but am not in a hurry. Have one large plant which donated these cuttings and another one which has died sadly. Note the bucket of succulents, have 3 varieitys now and they are addictive and prolific. I am going to try and make a dome of them in a hanging basket. When budget allows will buy 2 matching baskets and wire them together to make a ball. Am presently propogating baby plants so I can do it  next year.

For a few years now I have been struggling with exhaustion and pain which I believed to be through arthiritis but last week my pharmacist changed the beta blockers I take to prevent migraine. I have been taking the same ones/same dose for at least 15 years. I was concerned at the changeover but tried to be positive. Having tried once before and becoming very ill I was wary to say the least. After a week I find I am revitalised, can walk further and have a lot less pain, its amazing. I no longer worry about feeling so fragile and can run upstairs after my darling boy - feel like a new woman! I obviously still have arthiritis but can now live my life again and I called in and thanked my dear pharmacist.

My bliss! worn out after a long day at school.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Warm days when blessings abound

Seems little man is learning to love books. His daddy and I have a sneaky feeling he has been able to read for about a year now and slowly but surely he is revealing this to us all. I think, however, that Terry Pratchett may be heavy going at 4 ! My Mum often tells anyone who will listen that by the age of 5 I was checking stock and ordering fresh supplies over the phone from our little corner shop and I do have a mental image of doing it.

Just spent a week in Lincolnshire again. I grasp every break we manage with both hands as everyone may be the lst Hubby is well enough for. I always try and meet up with this little fella for a chat when we are over there - he lives at the seal rescue centre with his little family and is such charming company, listens to every word I say.

This is Shaun, my darling bear, who was a little over excited and actually fell off the dashboard. He always goes away with us and enjoys the scenery.

Everything is coming on fast thanks to the sunshine and am really enjoying vertical gardening. The horizontal land is so riddled with slugs and snails that it can only be used for certain crops, mainly fruit, so the pods are working very well. I intend to extend this system more this year as I have another frame but the frame is from the old rabbit run and is backed with wire mesh, so I intend to use zip ties to fasten the milk pods on and they can be situated more artistically and better for the plants. So far I have tiny tomatoes, alpine strawberries and baby leeks in the pods.

Lets hope the weather warms up again soon so I can  pot on the contents of the greenhouse and re-fill it with the next crops.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

A quick look at my Mothers day - belated pics!

These are the sweet pea pots off my son Gareth he knows I love tin ware.
Growing well almost ready to go outside when the weather improves.
This is off my Darling Daughter - perfect!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Watch this space!

I am taking part in a vertical growing challenge on Frugaldoms wonderous forum and this is my start. I used a canvas photo gifted by a friend - aimed to be hung but didnt like it much so re-cycled it. Hubby was laughing when I asked him to make me a framework, he just dug this out turned it round and Bobs your auntie. 

So far have a couple of strawberries in but a friend is sending me some alpine strawbs and am going to put some baby leeks in and spring onions too.

These are my secret weapon in growing courgettes and usually do very well in the tyres. have topped them up with homemade compost which has saved a lot of cash this month. Cant see the point in spending huge amounts on growing food as it kinda defeats the object. I have spent a grand total of £10 this year on the garden including using a £5 off voucher online for some interesting seeds.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

And sew it begins....

Little greenhouse was wrecked in the recent storms so is now staging in my big greenhouse - works rather well I think. Some tiny greenshoots appearing now.
This is the result of spitting a bargain pot of succulents and they are growing very fast now seperated.

Its all go at this time of year and whilst there is still a lot of organising of pots to do Im happy with my the progress. Biggest suprise is my homemade compost is amazing - thank you little rabbit for youre donations. As I grow a lot in pots, due to the actual ground being used for fruit growing, I need a lot of fresh compost  so this year I wont need to buy much. This all adds to my ethos of growing as cheaply as possible. I cannot stand seeing people in garden centres with trolleys groaning with fancy pots, compost and fertiliser as they decided to grow their own. I should take thier adress's and nip round next year and offer to remove the unwanted pots!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Marys Blanket and amazing the electric man

Just finished sewing in the ends of this big boy! I wasnt sure about my friends choice of colours but think they work well now its done.

Have been pinching the pennies in earnest this last few weeks though Hubby has little appetite so mainly buying him granola. Supermarkets are a minefield nowadays and you have to be very canny to get best value. I collected lots of Tesco till spits 'you have saved x this time' and saved £3 on a top up shop. I find its the little bits and bobs you save that are most satisfying.

I found a recipe for kebab meat online somewhere the other day so am going to try that out. I have been buying Tesco lamb/mutton mince lately as it has more taste than beef so that will be perfect for it - will let you know how it goes.

Also I am waiting for a £100 voucher for tesco to arrive after recommending Sky to my son. I would have preferred Sainsburies but hey free is free. I will be filling the freezer with meat and stocking up on tinned goods therefore freeing up £100 of my housekeeping which will help with my debt busting attempt. In almost 3 months I have scrimped £86 out of the £500 I need by the end of the year. I am hoping that my veg growing will help me add to this as I have almost everything I need.

Had a visit from a chap sent by the housing association regarding cutting our electric use and checking if we need to change supplier. He left after an hours chat and may well have been in shock, he couldnt help me as I seem to know as much if not more than him about the subject. We filled in a survey so I could action his ideas but took it with him to show everyone how it should be done - every box was ticked !

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Naomis's blanket and homemade kebabs

Have been busy finishing this for a lovely friend of mine who adores hand made throws. She sent me the yarn and I just made it up as I went along.
I have been using up all the freezer  and cupboard contents quite successfully. My son is getting Sky tv and I referred him so I get £100 tesco voucher which I am going to use to fill the big freezer with meat.A couple of weeks ago we were going through the famous 'Curry Mile' when I craved a kebab.So in the spirit of frugality I nipped in the Co-op and bought a lovely chicken for £5 and made my own wraps full of salald with a little hot chicken and mayo. Ok we had to wait till I cooked the chicken, but it made 2 other meals too and probably cost less than 2 kebabs. It was a Sunday evening so was limited to where I could get the chicken but it really was beautiful and very tasty.

My next challenge on the crafty front is to make 2 patchwork throws, one for my Grandson when he stays here and the other for a new prospective grandchild ready for my son and his wife to make the leap of faith. I have been buying the patchwork magazine thats out at present but am going to do my own design as I dont like the one in the booklet. I think I may well end up making 3 so I have one pink and one blue just in case the eventual pregnancy produces twins - a very real possibility!