Monday, October 27, 2014

I Challenge You

 
It's official - I am totally hooked on English Paper Piecing and in particular the Lucy Boston Blocks
 
I am getting together a nice little stack of finished blocks.  I have just finished Block 11 and have 45 to go.


Block 9

 
Block 10


Block 11
 
I am loving using up some of my favourite scraps but what I don't love is throwing away the tiny bits that are left over - Having to be super frugal now and with no spare money to buy fabric I decided that I would make a scrappy diamonds quilt with my left over bits.


It is going to be gorgeous and will use up all of those little pieces.  I designed up a sheet of 20 diamonds for anyone to download and join me.  Simply print them onto some heavy paper or card and cut up with a rotary cutter.  What a great way to save money and make a scrappy quilt in the process.
 
Do you want to join me?  You can right click the photo above to add to your blog and can download the Diamonds sheet HERE for FREE.  There is no time limit and no rules just share your progress every now and again on your blog so we can see where you are up to.  Do you accept the challenge?  What are you waiting for ? 
 
Hugs - Fee xxx

Monday, October 20, 2014

Copy of Today's Newsletter

 
Just in case you are not a newsletter subscriber I thought that today I would blog a copy of the letter that just went out to subscribers.  If you like my FREE Block of the Month''s the changes I have made WILL affect you so read on.  You may want to become a subscriber - It's FREE - Just join up over there on the right hand side of the blog.
 
 
 

TODAY'S NEWSLETTER

 
 
 
Good Morning. It is a bit chilly here in Brighton this morning but the sun is trying it's best to poke through. I have spent the morning chasing my tail and have finally been able to sit down to pen my newsletter to you.
Firstly thank you so much for subscribing to my newsletter - Some of you have been a subscriber for a very long time - Over 2 years and your loyalty blesses me every day. I know that you love my Daily Deals Newsletter from Fee's Shabby Shack and I will write more on that later in this edition.
If you read my blog - www.designsbyfee.com you will know that 6 weeks ago I was made redundant from my job. I managed a function centre and it was my life for almost 9 years. I juggled a small business and designing with working as well as being a grandma, wife and house keeper. It did take it's toll and the stress of my day job got to me in the end I must admit.
This Newsletter will cover the future of Fee's Shabby Shack, Some Life Decisions, My new BOM"s and My Creative Life

a

I have now had time to wind down and de-stress and I have been able to assess my situation with a little more clarity. We were a one income family and now we are down 80% of that income so it tends to force you make some tough decisions. BUT having said that after leading a stressful life for such a long period of time and having had 6 weeks off doing not very much at all I have decided that somehow I need to get a happy medium.
Deal of the Day has been a wonderful little business but it is time for it to undergo some changes. The cost of running it on low margins (to keep postage FREE for you) is too much to bear without an income. I have lots of money tied up in stock and that needs to change. FREE postage will be staying FOREVER but from the 1st January the Fee's Shabby Shack E-Mails will be coming to you once a week. They may contain 1 deal or they may contain 10 - I have a number of contacts for super dooper deals and it will depend on what items I can source as to what I can offer.
From now until the end of the year the remaining stock I have will be offered on our daily deals at TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE Prices. Our normal standard items such as Easy Fix, Weaveline and Paper Pieces will ALWAYS be in the store so rest assured you can still get some of your favourite products any time.
I do hope that you understand.

z4

On the personal front I want to follow my life long dream of going to University and to study Nursing. We know it is going to be super tough financially for quite some time but we are up for the challenge. Shedding the rigors of Fee's Shabby Shack will assist me by giving me more time for study.
We will be living a super frugal life and I will be writing about my journey as we go along. I started up a Facebook page if you want to follow along too - Living a Happy Frugal Life. I will be sharing money saving tips, recipes, upcycling projects and lots lots more ........

photo

As for my creative life I can feel it taking some different turns.
My heart wants me to finish off some of the projects I had fallen in love with over the years and our budget dictates that I have enough supplies and UFO's here to last a lifetime so one frugal decision is to listen to it.
I want to create small items to sell and have started an ETSY store last week which hopefully will grow over time. I am having lot's of fun with my Cameo machine making lots of framed signs, bags, t-shirts etc
I have a new Block of The Month drawn up and ready to be stitched and released once THE FRIENDSHIP QUILT finishes - I am loving it - I hope you will too

az

The BIG News is that my new FREE Block of the Month will begin on the 1st December. (Sneak Peek above)
BUT it will only be FREE to Newsletter subscribers and will be sent out with your newsletter each month. For anyone else it will be a paid subscription. This is a BIG THANK YOU for your support and for putting up with me invading your INBOX.
A weekly newsletter with news from the business and the occasional additional FREEBIE will be sent out on Friday nights.

az1

Thank so much for getting this far - I felt I needed to get what's rattling around in my head down on paper and explain to you the new direction I will be taking the business and my blog in January 2015. I hope that you decide to stick with me as I have lots planned to share with you. I do have one final announcement but it is still in the planning stage so until it is finalised my lips will be sealed :)
For now the Deal of the Day E-Mails will continue with heavily discounted stock.
Catch you tomorrow.
Hugs - Fee xxx

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Day of Rest

 
Hubby and I have been working so hard in the kennels, around the house and in the yard that we have declared Sunday a day of rest at our house.
 
We went back to bed for 2 hours today after rising at 6.30am and felt very naughty for doing so !
 
I am sitting here at almost 2pm in the afternoon and I am still in my PJ's.  Other than washing up I haven't lifted a finger and it feels like I am playing hooky.
 
I have to say that I haven't felt so relaxed in a very long time !!
 
You should try having a total day of rest too - Years ago Sunday was always a day of rest.  I think as we get older we need a day like this every once in a while. 
 
 
This week I spent some time playing around with Vinyl and Paper again and had so much fun creating new things.  I think I'm hooked !
 
 
 
 I had my first custom order placed in my ETSY shop.  Thanks so much Karen - These little lamb bags are now winging their way to New Zealand as we speak.


 Tomorrow marks the change of direction for my little business and an e-mail will be sent to all newsletter subscribers announcing the changes tomorrow morning.  If you like my FREE Block of The Month's you should subscribe to the newsletter to read about the changes for the next one due to be released really soon.  You can sign up over there in the right hand column.
 
Part of the changes will be me trying to be a bit more organised with forward planning so a trip to Big W a few weeks ago saw me purchase this magnetic planning calendar for the fridge door.
 
 



 And this To Do List pad which will sit on my desk with my list of To Do's - I am a list girl so this will come in really handy and a bargain at just $2.00 for a pack of 50. If you want to get your own  they are in the stationary section at BIG W.
 
Anyway I had best be off to go and have a nice long hot shower and get dressed.  We have been invited out for dinner tonight so my day of rest will include no cooking - YAY !!
 
Hugs - Fee xx


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Changing My Focus



 
So it's been 4 weeks since becoming unemployed and finally I think I can focus on the future.  Some answers to some nagging questions and worries have been resolved and I think I can finally begin to move forward.
 
 
 
It means a few changes to the way I currently run my business and a shift in focus.  I am excited by the promises of the future.  A few of the changes will take some weeks to eventuate but it will all be for the greater good of our family I'm sure.
 
 
Some of the changes will be announced in the newsletter on Monday morning.  If you're not a subscriber simply subscribe in the top right hand column - You should sign up - I am going to make it worth your while ..........
 
 
I have also finally begun to list some items in my ETSY store which I opened 2 years ago and have done nothing with !  Very slack but finally I have started to stock the shelves.
 
 
 
I have today listed the gorgeous Bunny Rabbit Gift Bags for $15  for the Set of 3 and also this adorable Tooth Fairy Bag for $6.50 or I have decided to personalise it with a child's name for an additional $3.00
 
 
 
Creating useful pieces is one of the things that my heart wants me to do - I have no idea if they are what the buying public want but they do make me very happy creating them and for me that's the most important thing.
 
 
One of the things on my TO DO list over the coming weeks is to get Christmas knocked over !  By that I mean I want to create all of my Christmas gifts on my list.  We do not have any spare disposable cash these days so this year will be a HANDMADE Christmas
 
 
I purchased these little white t-shirts for minimal $$ some time ago and finally I have them ready to gift give at Christmas.  I hope my little grand daughters like them.
 
I'll try to get back before the weekend.  I have lots to share in the coming weeks.
 
Hugs,
 
Fee x
 
 
 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Progress


It will be 3 weeks tomorrow since I became a lady of leisure.  Well not exactly a leisurely experience because I have been so busy !  How on earth did I have time to go to work?

We have been developing some business ideas (or how to grow what we already have) so the next few months will be trial and error.  I still have no idea what the future holds for us but that's all part of the fun.  I feel like a weight has been lifted from me.  It's so hard to explain - We still have a major financial worry but somehow getting to live my life without the stress of my job is making it much  easier.


One thing we do know for sure is that we will be pursuing a simple and frugal life.  Using what we have and saving money in the process.

I love to cook and have renewed my love of gardening so the task of living cheaply will become an enjoyable experience as we move closer to making our limited $$'s stretch further.



You have all seen the terrible state that my vegetable garden is in.  After closer examination it is not going to be a quick fix without spending a lot of money replacing the soil etc as the soil is in poor condition and is full of twitch grass.  The only 2 survivors in the wilderness are my Rhubarb and Gooseberries.  

We have decided to turn all of the garden beds in that area into compost piles for the next year.  Hopefully that will improve the soil situation and we will be able to plant there again next year.

To enable us to still have a vegetable patch throughout the first year we decided to turn one of our flower gardens into a vegetable growing area.  It has been totally cleared and ready for planting.


So over the weekend we planted out part of it with Corn, Tomatoes, Celery, Capsicum, Silver beet and Lettuce.  We have lots more to plant but will stagger our plantings so that they are not all reaped at the same time.

Next year we will grow from seeds but to ensure we start getting some results sooner we resorted to seedlings this year.

Then hubby used a roll of wire we already had and I purchased some metal stakes from our local cheap shop for $1.85 each (BARGAIN !) and we fenced the area.

Hopefully in the coming months we will have a lovely crop of home grown fresh veggies.

I have lots more to tell you about our plans but will leave that for another day.

Have a wonderful week.

Hugs - Fee xx





Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Front Gates

Today I thought I would begin to show you around the property.  

We fell in love with this place over 7 years ago when we bought it and when I walk around it today I realise how much we have done to it.  From the gorgeous colourbond fence you can see at the front to the additional garden sheds etc - We have actually done quite a bit in that time so it's not all bad.

Now don't look at all of those grass and weeds - They are on the short list and won't be there too much longer - They are on my "next week"list.  So welcome to "Goldwen Lodge" our home.

We are very lucky to live in a semi-rural area only 20 minutes from Hobart.


Come on in through the front gates.  You can see the "Fee Mobile" in the car port and the doggy trailer too.  That's what we hook on the back when we go off on doggy racing days.

My husband is a greyhound trainer, in fact that's how we met well over 20 years ago.  We both have a "love" of greyhounds and both our fathers were also greyhound trainers.

I should add that we are supporters of the Greyhound Adoption Programme for retired racing greyhounds and care for our doggy's like children.  Greyhound racing is extremely well governed in Australia and the care of our greyhounds is our priority - They even live in airconditioned comfort.


As you keep going up the driveway you arrive in "doggy land".  I'll show you that another day ......


Off to the right of the car port is our home and the home of "Designs By Fee"and "Fee's Shabby Shack"our home businesses.


We love our home and now that I am currently unemployed it is our priority to get it back looking spic and span and to try to earn enough money to pay the mortgage in the interim until we decide what the future may hold for us. 



The studio and "Fee's Shabby Shack"are located to the left of the door.  So if you ever come to visit now you won't get lost.  

I have been a good girl spending 1 hour a day outside every day this week.  Today I planted lots of new plants and I have even spent a number of hours behind the lawn mower.

I could SO get used to this lifestyle.  I am nutting out a plan at the moment to try and make it happen.  Stay tuned.



Before I toddle off to pack today's orders I will leave you with the sign hanging on our front door area.  You all know just how much I love my pussy cats and I believe that this quote is just so true.

Hugs,

Fee xx






Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Realisation





Thank you so much for your encouraging messages and e-mails.  Even though I still have man flu I am feeling much better this week.  

It is not until your circumstances change and that you stop for a little while to assess things that you realise how much things have got on top of you.

We live on a 3 acre block of land which was the reason we bought this property nearly 8 years ago.  I am ashamed to say that we have neglected the place in the past year or so badly......  The gardens are over grown, the lawns long, the weeds thriving and the flower pots empty.

How sad I felt when I walked around the property on the weekend and realised just how bad things were.  


On the upside I now have some time to do something about it.  I know it isn't going to happen quickly as the old body isn't what it used to be but hubby and I have committed to spending 1 hour each outside each day working on getting the place ship shape.

I began on the weekend by potting up some flowers for spring and summer colour.

I totally adore this pot plant stand and when I saw the white paper daisy at the nursery I knew it was perfect for it.


I re-filled the wine barrel with fresh potting mix and planted some fancy lettuce.  Here they are just after there first drink.  I'm pleased to report that they look much stronger today.


I felt so much better once the pots around the place began to fill with seedlings.


And I even took some cuttings and potted them up.  I have grown many of these in the same way over the years.  They will be so pretty together once they settle into their new home.


I am so ashamed to show you this shot.  Especially if you are a long term blog reader as you would have seen how much I treasured and cared for my veggie garden.  Look at it now.  Disgusting !  Well that's about to change.  It will take me a long time but I am determined to get it back into shape if I can.

Wish me luck.

Hugs,

Fee xx