Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Frugal Fires and Thoughts of Yesteryear....

Hello there ....

Hope you all had a nice Christmas .... think I have had enough of it now .... all the sitting around and eating .... a girl can get a bit stir crazy.

I went to help Hubby P do a bit of sorting out at his storage containers today... it was nice to get a bit of fresh air.... bit of rosy into the old cheeks.

We had a good sort out of all the old furniture and brought home any tatty and broken bits for the fire .... we don't like to waste a thing ...... and if its wood it will burn and keep us warm.

May look a bit odd but its warming my tootsies as I type.

I remember as a girl my Grandad telling tales of the hardships during and just after the war, he was a Builder and cleared the odd house for a firm of Solicitors.

This is He....

He taught me how to make a fire ... how to lay it with dry paper .... save all the scraps of packaging from the kitchen ... it will all burn, add some dry sticks/kindling and one or two lumps of coal on top.
Put a light to the bottom and open up the vents so that it draws, if there is little wind/the fire is slow to get going, hold a sheet of newspaper across the front of the fire causing the air to be drawn up from under, and through the fire .... feeding the flames with oxygen and increasing their heat and power. Of course you need to remove the newspaper before it scorches and sets on fire..!

One of his tricks with an open grate/fire was to put a house brick to the back of the fire basket so that the fire was more to the front pushing heat into the room, he use to say its silly to spend good money heating the chimney.

I remember he and my Mother talking of the hard times when coal was either too expensive or could not be found, Grandad would break up old furniture to burn, another time he had cleared an old shop, much of it was old books, so he burnt the old and tattered ones .... they were dense and slow burning and kept the fire in.
He was a great reader, and I must say I would find it hard to burn good books but as he would say .... Needs Must.

Shoes .... old leather shoes were another source of keeping warm ... Grandad had cleared an old Pawnbrokers.
My Mother said as children they had great fun emptying all the little boxes .... when a someone pawned an item the the 'Pawnbroker' gave the customer a number and put it in a box with the number on it so it could easily be found when the customer came back and paid the money to retrieve it.
There were boxes and boxes of all sorts of everyday items .... lots and lots of them being shoes.

A lot of this stuff was kept in the cellar and Mum was sent down to get a couple of shoes to keep the fire going, no coal in the cellar but plenty of shoes!

We moan about things being hard but I think things will get harder before they get better, maybe we will be the ones telling our Grandchildren of the 'Hard times'.

I found a couple of Pic's of my young life to give you an idea of the barren moorland in which I grew up ... I just loved it ..... we had a freedom to run wild, something you do not see nowadays.

This is a photo of my Best Friend ... we grew together and here we are out in my first car ... I think we found an icecream van .... in the middle of nowhere!

Good days .... smiley days!

This next one is of my back garden .... me being chased by a big brother with a popgun!

In the depths of winter and Ivan is still wearing his short trousers with his wellies!

Twas just so then ... and nobody blinked an eye .... I'm sure nowadays we would be seen as deprived or something .... and it would be frowned upon to give us guns to play with.

Ahhhhh well ..... enough for now ...... take care xx

Friday, 23 December 2011

Thrifty Snippets... Fleece-y Bits and the Odd Parsnip...!

Hello there ....... You all Christmasssed up then!

I've ... or rather we .... Hubby P even helped ... have cleaned up within an inch of my life .... Father Christmas better be Bl***y Well impressed!

Thank goodness its only once a year!

Anyway as a change from all that glitz and glitter and hoo hhaaarrr -y stuff .... here's some bog standard every day stuff, the kind of stuff we will all be back to in a few days.

Bit of Thrifty Snippet-y stuff.....

Look at these cute little sheep ... I was given these bits of fleece fabric the other day. My friend couldn't bear to throw them out but they were only smallish pieces, bit small to do much with really.

I had thought a couple of weeks ago that I ought to get a couple more hot waterbottles, one had sprung a leak ... not good .... waking up to a damp patch!
And I had found a couple of new bottles at the carboot sale ... I swear you can find anything at a boot sale.
Anyway they needed covers .....

So what nicer than fleecy sheep!

I really couldn't be bothered trying to find the sewing machine under the heap of fabric and 'projects waiting to be undertaken' ....

I simply laid a hot waterbottle on top of the fleece and cut around it, the pieces (4 pieces, two for each cover) were just big enough.

I hand sewed the thing together as I watched Miss Marple.... a repeat but I enjoyed it ... and the cover turned out just fine.

Twill do the job. I'm just on with the other cover.


Who loves parsnips?
.... well we do and I had bought a little bag for Christmas dinner ....

and then this turned up ..... given to us by a kind neighbour (I think someone had given it to him and basically he was just overwhelmed by the Parsnip-ness of it all .... ! )

A huge .... super sized carrier bag of super sized ..... super dirty parsnips .... enough to feed an army ..... should they like parsnips of course.

Well..... me being a trooper of the 'Waste Not Want Not' brigade .... I set to ......
up to my elbows in muddy water grappling with roots .....
how else should a girl spend her afternoon ( don't tell ... but I do hear some girls spend 'hours' in nice places being pampered with facials and manicures ... tis just a wicked lie ... surely .... just to dis-quieten us...).

I got through half the bag .... some roasting for tea, some bagged in the freezer for roasting and soup, a big pan of Curried Parsnip soup and some in the fridge for the next couple of days. I thought I would try making some parsnip crisps .... if I don't tire of slicing them so thinly...

Any ideas on Parsnips? I thought of wine but we don't drink it.

Ideas would be welcome?

....... this week we will be mostly eating Parsnips ..... can a body overdose on Parsnips.

This looks very festive doesn't it ..... but have you tried cooking by candle light?

The lightfitting in the kitchen has gone kaputt .... Could Hubby P find the right sort yesterday.... could he heck
.... luckily he found one today, I had visions of Christmas dinner being juggled under the candle flame ..... are the potatoes roasted enough? whats that floating in the gravy?.... that sort of thing .... you get the picture.

Guess what Hubby P is doing tomorrow.

A little random pic of my 'portable' mini sewing box .... thought you would like the diddy case!

Somehow Blogger has mixed the photos up when loading ... does anyone else have this problem?

Enough of me anyway .....
enjoy your festivities and think of us when munching on your parsnips!

Take care xx

Sunday, 18 December 2011

What is it withith Girls and Candlelight......!

Hello there .... how's things?

All keeping warm and toasty, and not too stressed.....

Its just One Day! .... if only ....

Well ... no stress here, to be honest I am making very little effort .... just a little here and there, bought a bit of Holly today....

Its the only bit of decoration I have felt like doing ..... I'm determined to do Christmas for Me this year .... no great dinners, glittering house, and dashing here there and everywhere.

I went for a wander around the carboot sale today, a young couple were selling Holly, or a least trying to, they looked so cold .... so I bought what they had left and suggested they get home and warm up!
They seemed a bit surprised and chuffed I bought it all .... but not half as 'chuffed' as Hubby P 'seemed' when I asked him .... nicely .... I might add ... to haul all this prickly stuff home.

And Candles......

.... what is it with us Girls and Candlelight? .... we just love it..!

And we need no other excuse ....... its cold and dark .... to play with our candles.

I collect these little tin and enamel 'Wee Willy Winkie' candlesticks .... well .... along with all my other 'collections'.

I just love battered old enamel ware.... its just so ....honest? does that make sense?

Oh .... and I put up a few Christmas cards too ..... Hubby P's Birthday cards are up there too .... if you are a bit confused ! ...... he's 21 ..... again!

I just love the rich dark green of the Holly brightened by the glorious rich red of the berries, enough in itself you may think .... but today as I was putting rubbish in the dustbin I looked over to the garden that backs onto the hedge and spotted these little silver 'pennies' waving in the wind.
They are the seed heads of the Honesty plant, I thought they have done so well to survive this long in the cold and wet ..... they deserve a last Hurrah!

I brought them in and nestled them amongst the Holly .... pretty I thought.

I think this is the favorite of my WWWinkies ..... even Hubby P approves of the candles, although not for quite the same reasons .... he will tell you ....

'Yes Pet ....you go ahead and light your candles .... who needs central heating when you have a candle or two to warm the place!'

That's right ... its his preferred method of heating ... cheap you see .... he saves any and all candles, stubs of candles, half used candles .... anything resembling a candle, that he finds in the House Clearances and car boots sales.... and hands them to me with great pride.

So there we have it Candles .... different things to different people .... once a utilitarian thing, to be frowned upon as something the poor people had to use and now something we actively buy for pleasure (we wont think of Hubby P's attitude.... surely he's a one of a kind!).

How is it with you and candles? Is it just a Girl thing do you think?

Take care x

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Update on Life....We're Still 'ere!

Hello there.... its been a while .... well 'ya know Life an all that ...

But I must say .... its nice to have the time to connect with you all, although I have tried to blog in regularly and keep up with all you have been doing.

Just a few odds and sods tonight ..... ease myself back into blogging.

Life has been so busy, and you all know without me saying ... the frugal way is not always the quickest or easiest way of living.

I felt I had to have a fabric fix today .... only half an hour spare between log delivery and Tesco delivery (stocking up in every way). For weeks I have wanted to do something with the chair seat covers .... they had got so grubby ..... so I grabbed some odd scraps of something cheerful ....

.... and my trusty staple gun (the best toy a girl can ever buy herself!).

Chopped the fabric into 4 roughly square pieces and got to stapling it over the grubby offending seats.

Nice and bright and fresh ..... for a while!

Hubby P's old grubby work trousers .... encasing his ever busy person, have no respect for chairs and covers no matter how fresh and pretty .... so no doubt they will in time need replacing.

I know I could have/could make some washable covers, but I like the change and I can always find scraps of nicely aged pretty fabric .... I do have one or two 'heaps' around the place.

This fabric is the offcut ... someone has shortened some curtains ... its faded and ragged around the edged ( a bit like me some days!). Many would use it for dusters, or throw it in the dustbin .... so its at least had a last Hurrah! .... a last go at life!

Bit of a Thrifty Snippet I suppose ....

Wood pile looking good ...... as I said we have had another load today, that is two loads we have paid for this Autumn/winter, a princely sum of £250. A lot of money to me, but I dare say it would cost a lot more to heat the house with oil or gas.
This little lot should see us well into next year, supplemented with scrap wood we can find. The woodstove is all the heating we have, hardy folk here! No central heating just warm clothes, hotwater bottles and cosy blankets .... and we do just fine.

Thinking of fuel ..... and fueling Hubby P .... I've been stocking the cupboards just in case we have a bad spell of weather.
Not that we would ever starve ... I've been conditioned since childhood to keep a good stock cupboard.

Brought up in the wilds of the Pennines where Winters were long and cold .... being prepared for almost anything was a real necessity, no one made a big thing about it, no one mentioned being frugal, being prepared, it was just the way we lived ..... no one knew any different.

You knew Mrs Nelson would always have eggs, and Mr Wolfenden milk .... farms within walking distance if you trekked across the fields. If you were without something various neighbours would have supplies, if the water from the moorside well froze in the pipes, all would turn out with buckets to help carry from the main well.

I have strong links to my childhood, strong memories my Grandparents and Parents and how they lived their lives .... I always took an interest in the day to day .. the domesticity.

Perhaps that's why I love all the old tatty stuff, the everyday items, I use them all, I enjoy them!

I found this cute little Oxo tin the other day, such a little 'baby' one. Its been well used ... I wonder just whose Oxos it held, it holds just 6 cubes, so much nicer than a box.

How are your Winter preparations going, what is it you just must 'have in', and what is it motivates you?

Take care xx

Friday, 16 September 2011

Washin Me Pennies .... and other Thrifty Tales!

Yes .. I know it all sounds a bit crazy ... I know you're thinking .... is the woman short of something to do? or is she simply crazy?

Well there is method in my madness .... I save um all .... every last penny gets tucked away in the jar .... every one I find... on the floor at the carboot sale, in the washing machine, in pockets when doing the laundry... and I claim them all for 'the jar'.

I was adding some more pennies today when I noticed there seemed to be a lot of silver amongst the pennies and 2p's .... silver as in 5p and 20p's. So I thought I would have a sort out a bit of a count up.... it was whilst doing this that I noticed how really dirty and sticky the coins were.... quite yucky really.

And I thought if I was the lady at the Post Office I really wouldn't like to handle this cash ... and that's where I take it... I use it for postage and stuff.... or rather Hubby P does (one of his little jobs... its obviously a masculine sort of job... and involves lengthy discussion with whoever is in the 'Post' whilst he remembers to pick up the newspaper too).

Anyway that's how I came to wash the pennies .... when you think of all the hands they have been through they must be smothered in allsorts of yucky germs and whatnot.

So it had a bit of a wash, and dry .... and I took the silver out .... the copper when back in the jar .. for now.

The jar stands by the phone near Katie ... handy for depositing oddments of cash from pockets and purses (and floors of course).

I managed a good £5 in 5p's and £3 in 20p's.... and off Hubby P trundled to the Post Office.

Its amazing how quickly it all adds up... you know what they say......
Many Mickle Makes a Muckle..... and all that!

What do you save your bits and bobs in?
.... a huge Whisky bottle use to be a favorite.... you can see we favor an old wine carafe..... we've had the same one for years, don't think its ever had wine in it yet.

Whilst I was 'Washin me money' the boys were playing outside with bits of wood.....Ooohhh how they love bits of wood....
the project at the moment it a large 'summerhouse'.....I know its September....fast approaching winter!

But they want to do it with recycled timber and whatnot where possible ....... and to be honest, financially it will have to be ... have you seen the price of timber?!
So its been a do a bit when the right stuff turns up kind of project.

Pleeese ... don't look at Hubby P's hair .... or lack of it, its a long sad tale, suffice to say don't decide to cut your hair late at night... in bad lighting..... crouched before your wife's too low mirror..... no glasses on and mistaking the guard number on the hair clippers!

It will grow again.... thank goodness!

Now they have caught me taking photographs!

Ooooo they are having a good time!

Have a good weekend ..... happy thrifting!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Socks and Jam .... Thrifty Snippets!

Hope you are all well .... how's your Thrifting going?

What news? .... any bargains this week? .... who's stashed what away in their pantry or freezer for the coming winter.
I do love to hear what you're up to .. and its important to share our ideas and money saving tips...

My bargain of the week ...... socks!

I was down to a few washed out and oddly matched pairs.... goodness knows when I last bought some, so I was pleased I spotted these....

At the carboot sale (where else!).... the Chap was clearing his stock, packing up for the winter maybe...
I was attracted to the lacy bit around the top .... bit like little girls socks but obviously in adult sizes, bit girly girly maybe for me.... but pretty, and at least (fingers crossed/hopefully) when Hubby P and/or Richard is sorting the laundry they will know they are my socks. I think bras are the only thing for sure that don't get mixed up as to the ownership of ..... I could tell you a tale about my panties and Hubby P .... but I wont... I will spare his blushes!

Anyway back to the socks ... mostly cotton, pretty, three pairs to a pack..... 4 packs for £1!
So .... less than 10p a pair.

And they are real comfy!
I mostly wear boots so a bit of lace peeking out just adds a bit of a pretty touch... whatch think?

Apples .... still trying to get through the apples!

Chopped a load... stewed them and put them through a jelly bag.

Added some sugar and boiled to make some Apple Jelly.... I found a nice handful of this fresh mint.....
So I chopped it small and added to the jelly....stirring well, just before I put it into the jars.

Nice Apple Mint Jelly!

I think maybe I over did the mint .... looks a bit... well full of mint, but I'm sure it will taste just fine.

Take care for now x

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Thrifty Snippety Tea .... So Good For You!

Turned out a nice day today ... so I made some time to try and bring some order to the garden ... it has been sadly neglected this year.

I donned my gloves and went forth to see the damage ... and where best to start!

Everywhere looked so overgrown ... I decided to start on the bed I can see from the kitchen window. I had bought a few bulbs at the weekend ... ever the optimist, I don't think a few bulbs will make this garden look cared for!

Whilst sorting this small bed I came across my bath of Nettles. I keep this old tin bath just for growing nettles that I eat ... they are clean (no car fumes from the side of the road, or dogs piddling on them), and I can keep them short, small and lush.

They too were a tad overgrown so I thought the thing to do was chop them down and let them sprout afresh.

Always with a nod to Thrifty living I saved the choicest nettles.

In the kitchen I picked them over ... evicted a couple of sleepy caterpillars and gave the Nettles a bit of a rinse.

How fresh and green does this look ... just bursting with vitality!

It knocks spots off any old weary looking cabbage you can pick up from the supermarket shelf!

I chopped up a bit of onion .... quite a lot of onion ... just because I had a lot of onions, and an odd potato (I have a few of these too). The potato thickens the soup nicely.

Sauteed the onions and chopped potato in a little olive oil .... salt and pepper to taste, added the Nettle leaves (stripped from the tough stalks) and stirred around a bit until they were wilted. Added a veggie oxo cube and water to cover .... simmered gently on a very low heat for an hour or so.
Blitzed with the blender and I added a spoonful of veggie gravy granules to thicken it up a bit.... I could have left the lid off and it would have reduced and thickened ... but I'm not that patient a woman!

I must say it was tasty... what an easy tea.
Bowl of healthy soup packed with iron, and cheese and crackers (we won't comment on the pork pie!).

So go on .... eat your weeds!

They are probably more nutritious than all that week old stuff we buy in the shops!

Bye for now xx

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Thrifty and Local....Keeping Money On The Island!

Gosh its wet and wild here.... 40 mile an hour winds ... it feels really wintry. I truly hope its not the beginning of winter.... because it will mean a really really long (and expensive ) winter for all of us.

Just a few bits and pieces to share with you ... bargains .. and thrifty deals!

Remember the bathroom ... well I found a new light shade, I had to throw the old one away. It was just one of those cheapo paper ones and they get dusty and brittle after a time.
Anyway I was going to get a new paper one - cheap and cheerful... but then I found this one on a carboot stall .... as new (was still in its cellophane wrapper) and only £1!
I thought 'well - that'll do!'

Its quite nice ... kinda ... well ... stringy!

Hubby P did his stuff and put it up and it looks just fine ... be a great home for all the little spiders!

Whilst roaming around the 'Boot sale' I found this little hotwater bottle in its cosy little jacket ... new in its packet £1 ... just the job to go in the Christmas present box. Everyone needs a 'hottie' during the winter.

I'm finding everyone is thinking of winter ... must be this cold wintery weather .... and its certainly made me feel like 'Setting out my stall' as my Grandmother would say ... getting all ready for the winter months..... stocking up on supplies and whatnot.

Recently .. more than ever I have become aware of the struggle people are having just to get by.... just holding their heads above water. Jobs are scarce and if you do have one pay is poor... there are few opportunities here on Anglesey, we are an Island and in a way a bit out on a limb.
I've decided to try when ever possible to shop locally ... to help keeping the money on the island or at least in North Wales..... to help keep the small people in business.

Today I bought my first (of the winter) sack of spuds (potatoes)... locally grown and sold by a husband and wife team who stand the markets in all weather... always cheerful and often cold and wet!

They look like fine spuds to me ... haven't tried any yet ... but lots of ideas for meals .. how versatile is the potato!

£6 for the sack ... is that a good deal?
Cant say I really did much comparing prices ... I didn't have to travel to pick them up and I went for locally grown.

Filled .. or rather topped up the freezer (we have only a small freezer) ... the butcher's van has started coming to the carboot (getting more like a small market, which I think is a good thing)... so I bought some meat.
Business was slow (cold and wet) so I bagged 10kgs of chicken portions (legs ) that's 47 portions for £20. I split this with a friend £10 each (its a lot for the two of us to eat!).... and although my maths isn't too great ... this works out at under 50p a portion.

Hubby P did his utmost to fit it all in the freezer.... all but 4 portions he squashed in ... so we just had to have chicken and chips for tea (and stuffed ourselves with two legs each!).

Such wild indulgence .... must get a grip!

How are your winter preparations going.... any tips on the Frugal Front... any Thrifty Snippets?

Take care x bye for now

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Cheap and Cheerful..... Rather 80's Bathroom .... Todays Thrifty Snippet !

Just a quick Thrifty update ..... I now have a somewhat 1980's orange looking bathroom .... but what the heck ... its clean and bright and cost next to nothing.

The bathroom has been in dire need of a fresh lick of paint for some time so I am so pleased I have managed to freshen it up .... perhaps the colour is a bit 'different' but its nice and warm looking .... and it cost all of £1 for two tins of paint !

And not the thin cheap stuff either .... nice thick creamy Crown Emulsion.

Of course I found it at the car boot sale so it was a bit of risk .... sometimes its all dried up or full of rain water .... but the tins seemed well and truly sealed and for £1..... well ....
I snaffled them up.

As you can see its a warm sandy colour ..... the bathroom suit is just plain white so it looks just fine ..... nice and clean and fresh.

I managed to find a shower curtain too .... all for the bargain price of £1 .... just look at the original price!
I could never justify paying so much just for a shower curtain, no matter how much you pay they all get stained and grubby in no time and they only wash well so many times.

Listen to me going on about a shower curtain .... time I went to bed ... too much painting in a confined space!

Anyway that's my thrifty thing for today ..... and Oh joy!.... there is lots of the paint left .....
Hubby P is enthused with the paint brush ....
He is threatening/suggesting we paint our bedroom with the remainder of the paint ....
it would be thrifty !

Take care x

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Todays Thrifty Snippet ! Damsons....

Jut a little Snippet of money saving ideas tonight ..... I am trying to do a little something most days, makes me think I am making the most of the hard won pennies!

We're nearly out of homemade jam from last year .... I used the last of the Damson jam (on toast - of course). So out comes the jam pan .....

I had a little bimble up the lane.... in search of something .... Blackberries maybe to go with the apples ...... and look what I found....

Lots and lots of Damsons .... a bumper crop!

I filled the little colander I had taken with me ..... when I weighed them for the jam - 4 lbs ... not bad for 10 minutes picking.

They are being stewed as I blog.... ready for the jam.
Just the cost of a bit of sugar and some recycled jars and we will have lashings of jam to see us through the winter!

An odd pic of my Geraniums..... I think they are so cheerful, I just love this old red one, its one my Grandmother had (well a cutting from a cutting - you know what I mean).

Just had to show you this little Guy ... he popped in for a visit earlier tonight.

Not a brilliant pic .. but we didn't want to upset him too much.

He came flying in ... he is huge... he sounded like a Bomber plane, real loud drone, and promptly fell into my lap.
I was very good..... I didn't scream .... but it was a bit of a eeeeek moment!

Richard rescued him and sent him on his way.... anyone any idea what/who he is?

More Damsons .... the tree is laden ..... think a bit more picking is in order.

Off to stir my Damsons .... bye for now xx