Saturday, November 28, 2015

Shabbying It Up

Quite some time ago I purchased a 2 piece pine dresser with the intention of shabbying it up.  Well life got in the way and well over a year (maybe 2) has gone by.

But finally we have dismantled it in readiness for it to be painted.  I fell in love with the little doors when I bought it and I think it is going to look great with a few coats of paint.

Whilst we have the paint brushes out we dug this lovely table out from the depths of the shed so it too can get a new lease on life.

A few weeks ago we splurged on some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Wax.  The beauty of using these products is that the only prep that is required to the furniture is a wash with warm soapy water.  Then you just simply paint right over it.

Rod will have to help me as I can't bend too much at the moment but I'm sure we can get it done in a few days.  I have the perfect place for it in our family room.  It will be nice to have some new furniture to decorate our home for just the cost of the paint.

On Tuesday I made some Vanilla Squares by just using some Arnotts Lattice Biscuits (Recently on special for $2.00) And some home made custard in the thermomix made from Eggs, Milk, Vanilla Essence and a little sugar.  9 Lovely Vanilla Squares for less than $5.00 and something nice for when visitors drop by or for morning tea.

Today will be another easy day for me.  Hopefully I will be able to sort through a few boxes in my sewing cupboard and do a little culling.  Wish me luck.  I tend to keep everything just in case I may need it one day.  Do you do the same thing ?


Fee xx

Friday, November 27, 2015

My Sewing Space and Some Old Fashioned Baking

Today I thought I would show you a few little corners of my sewing studio.  It is my safe haven from the world.  A place where I can come to create whatever my heart desires.  Fortunately it is well stocked from a period in my life when I had much more disposable $$ that my addiction soon soaked up.  But at least now I reap the rewards of having lots of pretty fabrics and accessories to play with.

Fortunately when my husband retired 3 years ago his gift to me was my Janome Horizon which lovingly holds pride of place in my messy corner.  I lovingly cover her up after each use to protect her from the dust.  She has rewarded me with continuous loyal service.

I have a number of shelves in my studio which hold lots of little knick knacks.  Some I have thrifted and some I have been gifted but all hold a special place in my heart and are on display for all to see.

Last weekend I made Scones for afternoon Tea.  My husband was up the back of the property with his dogs so I texted him this picture.  It wasn't very long before he arrived in the house - The lure of food, Real Cream and Homemade Raspberry Jam !!  The scones cost around $1.00 for a batch of 12.  Super cheap and Super Yummy !

That same weekend we had to attend a mini family reunion of my husbands cousins and needed to take a plate.  I decided on making sausage rolls accompanied by my homemade chutney.  I made a double batch so that we now have some in the freezer ready for a quick snack when required.  I remember these being one of my favourites as a child that my grandma used to make regularly.

It cost around $12 for approximately 60 good sized sausage rolls.  You cannot beat home made for quality or cheapness.  A similar sized sausage roll at our local bakery would be in the vicinty of $1.50 - That would make it a $90 batch.  You just can't compare can you ?

I like to always have some biscuits or cake on hand for morning teas and for when we have visitors pop by.  This week I made anzac biscuits.  They are just so easy to make (and even easier in the thermomix).

The entire batch of 20 biscuits cost just $2.35 + 10 minutes of electricity.

A wonderful cheap treat with NO PRESERVATIVES, ADDITIVES etc and super affordable.

The wonderful benefits of home baking.  What are your family's favourite home made biscuits?  I am looking for inspiration to fill the cake tins for next week.


Fee xx

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Calendar Girl

When my dear friend Jenny told me about her plans to create a Year in The Garden Stitchery Set  I just couldn't get the Neil Sedaka song out of my head - "Calendar Girl" 

When she showed me the drawings I just knew that I had to stitch it.

My plan is to use some pretty pastel fabrics to sash each block

And then make the quilt up as a wall hanging for my bedroom wall

Each month is a delightful drawing with an abundance of flowers

Some months also have Jenny's signature birdy too

When Jenny was drawing my birthday month "April" she asked what my favourite flower was.  I said Roses of course and so she included roses in her April block.

Stitching has become important therapy for me lately and I am enjoying stitching these blocks so much !  They bring me so much joy.

I am currently stitching "March" so will show you just as soon as I get it done.

If you want to stitch along too you can join Jenny's Stitchery Club as these will be released to club members - All of the information is HERE.

I apologise if you have come to the end of the blog post and are still humming the tune.  If it's any consolation it is still in my head every time I stitch a block.

Have a wonderful day.


Fee xx

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mother Nature's Gift + Some Preparation

When I wandered around the garden a few days ago I discovered an amazing gift from Mother Nature.  Blackberries which are seen as a pest have been growing in my back garden off and on for years.  The seeds are dropped by birds and so the cycle goes.  We normally spot them and remove them as they are very prickly and hard to handle.  Obviously the wet and hot alternating conditions we have had recently have been perfect for the old blackberry and it has flourished !

The amount of blooms on the vine which is enormous means it is going to be a plentiful crop.  I am imagining Blackberry and Apple pies as we speak !

The only problem is that the birds usually feast on them before they are ripe.  But I have foiled their plans.

My brother who has been doing a bit of yard work for us lately has draped some bird netting over them so we can reap the rewards of mother natures gift before the birds get them.  So I will be making blackberry jam and many more delicacies in the coming weeks. Now that is taking frugal to the limits.  I didn't even plant them or have given them no care but I am going to get a bumper crop for FREE.  Thank you Mother Nature !!

I managed to clean out that corner cupboard yesterday and I did find my long lost pie maker. Now we can make lots of pies for the freezer from left overs.

I made a triple batch of Butter Chicken and Rice on Monday.  Because I have a number of days each week when I am wiped out, I have decided to make extra when I cook meals so that we can eat one meal and put some in the freezer.  Rod gets dinner when I'm unwell so it will be easier for him just to reheat some left overs instead of us eating junk food or take away that we can't afford.

I thought it might be nice to make some Butter Chicken pies.  They look delicious !

So now we have 2 Tubs of Butter Chicken and Rice in the freezer as well as 4 pies.  I am pretty pleased with that effort.

Whilst I had some energy and a reasonably good pain day I decided to keep up my kitchen adventures and make some more tomato ketchup.  I use it in place of tomato paste when cooking.  It is totally wholesome and full of flavour.  I make it from the recipe on the Thermomix chip with a few slight adaptions to suit our taste.

So now I have a nice big tub of tomato ketchup in the fridge ready to use.

My antics caused me to have to have a big nanna nap and some extra pills but I was pretty pleased with my efforts.  Today will be a much easier day with maybe a little stitching and some quite time.


Fee x

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Treasure Hunting

My middle daughter called and asked if I would like a treasure hunting day yesterday as she had a rostered day off work.  So my youngest came along too and we set off for a day of discovery and hunting.  I have a fairly limited budget for luxuries but I try to pop away gold coins when I get them so that I can have a little play money when the opportunity arises.

I found this adorable little ceramic shoe for $2.00.  I will turn him into a pin cushion.

I collect inexpensive clear glass milk jugs.  I only started collecting them last year and when I come across them (which is not very often) I snap them up.  This one was $3.00 and was a different pattern and shape to what I already have.  I just love the way they catch the sunlight.  They would have been pride of place on someone's afternoon tea table in a past life and I like to think that I am keeping a part of their history safe.

I have them on display on a little corner shelf in my kitchen.  I have 7 in total now.  They are all different and hold their own beauty.

One of my jobs this week is to clean out my baking and storage cupboard in the kitchen.  I have a lot of items that I no longer use that I will donate to my local thrift shop.  I have a lost pie maker that I am hoping is hiding in the back of that cupboard !!

A lot of my bakeware is tired and old and needs replacing but if you have ever looked for good quality bakeware you would know that it is quite expensive.  Yesterday I was thrilled to find a BRAND NEW heavy quality non stick biscuit tray for just $3.00.  

One of the areas that I always look at is picture frames.  Being an embroiderer I love to frame my creations in unusual frames.  This one is not that unusual but it is tiny and will look lovely with a coat of paint.  I think it will look nice holding a vintage doily. I will put it on the "To Do" pile.

Another item that I am always on the look out for is unusual boxes, baskets etc which will hold gifts at Christmas or for birthdays.  This one has a wire frame and is covered in glittery organza.  Perfect for holding a Christmas gift.

I also found a bag of ribbons, trims and cord for $2.00.  When I opened the bag the stench of stale cigarette smoke was overwhelming .........  I took out what was useful and gave it a really good wash and threw the rest in the garbage.  I certainly will put these to good use.

Finally I purchased some almost Brand New Bath Mats, A Hand Towel and some floral pillowcases for a grand total of $7.00 but they are already on the clothesline after having a good wash.  I have grand plans for the bath mats which I will show you very soon.  

In total I spent $20 and was very pleased with my goodies.  Hopefully we will be able to go again next week.  Do you love thrifting too ?  It is the best way to save money if you are patient.  I have a wish list of items that I would love to own but can't afford to pay retail prices but if I am patient I just know that I will find them sitting on a thrift shop shelf just waiting for me to bring them home.

Have a wonderful day.


Fee xx

Monday, November 23, 2015

Enforced Changes

Since being made redundant last year and being diagnosed with my condition we have had to learn to lead a much different lifestyle to what we had before.  We are on 1/5th of the income we had back then.  I believe that everything happens for a reason and I can see much good in where our lives are at now.

Our life is no longer rushed and we have the time to stop and smell the roses.  We have had to "make do" a lot more but we quite enjoy the challenge of using what we have and spending time appreciating the little things.  Frugal living truly does make my heart sing.

I have spent a lot of time lately reading home maker and frugal living blogs and have picked up quite a lot of tips.  One of the blogs I have enjoyed reading a lot is - Annabel has many money saving ideas and lists how she has saved money every week with her bargain shopping, budget cooking and reusing and recycling.  I am going to take her lead and do a similar thing each week.  

So expect some more home maker style blogging from me in the coming new year.  Whilst I won't be making any new years resolutions I will certainly be living by a new code.  An enforced code LOL

This will also apply to my crafting life.  I have such a HUGE stash and time on my hands these days so I would love to be able to have a year of thrifted, handmade and recycled gifting.  I will update my birthday book and try to work WAY ahead.  One of Annabel's ideas from her blog is to make multiple items throughout the year when crafting instead of making just one.  They are then put away in a cupboard until the 1st November when she brings everything out and works through her Christmas gift giving list and allocates items as she goes.  Her gift recipients get a nice booty of hand made gifts, home cooked and thrifted items from throughout the year.  I hope I can do the same.

And like many crafters I really want to work through the rest of my UFO pile next year.  I want to also make items to decorate my home including some pretty curtains for my bathroom and to decorate my spare room before I get a houseful of visitors in March.  I hope that you can follow along with my little journey too and maybe pick up some ideas along the way.

I have had a pretty bad week with my pain and fatigue levels and have spent the equivalent of a few days in bed but I have still managed to complete another United Stitches Block.  This is my 17th.  I am going to be really sad when I finish all 32.  I am enjoying them so much !  I love the designs and the pre-printed linen makes stitching it a pleasure ! But I have a few more Rosie Dekker projects on the "To Do" pile so I can sink my teeth into them once I'm finished.

Two of my girls and I spent a few hours thrift shopping this morning.  I bought a couple of things for my home which I will share with you next time.


Fee xx

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Christmas Ornament Gifts

As mentioned in yesterdays post I have been busy doing some Christmas ornament stitching.  These will be gifts for some friends.  I created them from a Marg Low pattern which I adapted slightly to fit my Theodora Cleave santa button.  First was the stitchery.

Marg has some lovely patterns and they are so easy to make and follow.

And the buttons are just gorgeous

Don't they look lovely ?

I'll let you in on a little secret .........  One of them is for me - How could I give them all away ???

If you are interested in making your own I have the Marg Low patterns and the buttons in my DISCOUNT store.


Fee xxx