Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Stocking Up And Making Pennies..

Hello there ...
Just though you should have a little bit of a blog .... not a lot to report really ... the days have been chilly and a little dreary ...
But today we had sunshine!

And a good job too..

 We had this lot delivered ... stocking up for the cold weeks ahead... prices have gone up ... but then hasn't everything.
This lorry/trailer load was £130 ... it seems a lot but it is the only fuel we buy (apart from electricity.. the use of which can be a contentious issue with Hubby P's 'very careful' attitude to using it).

Is this an average price do you think? .... for the wood..

Luckily ... as I said it was a nice day and it gave us the chance to potter about and do some outside jobs.
Can't remember what Hubby P is doing here ... but I think he has a paintbrush in his hand. 

We ... well Hubby P mostly.. soon had them stacked away in the woodshed .. I have a very important role as Supervisor and 
tea boy...tea person? ...these days. Besides ... apparently no one else quite stacks them (the logs) as well Hubby P... not that I mind in the least. 

What else have I been upto ... well ...
 Bit thin on the old 'Pin Money' at the moment .... I spent what I had in my pot ..paypal .. on the last Approved Foods order ... so I thought I should try and generate a bit.

I had a bit of a scrat about the house ... turned out some cupboards ... its amazing the stuff your hoard/keep for a rainy day.

I found these pretty napkins ...nice and lacy ...not really something I would ever use ... with my house of men.
So ...
Bung um on ebay ... turn um into more pennies... for more essentials from App Foods and the like .. 

Likewise these funky retro cushion covers ... someone;; somewhere will enjoy them.
And at the moment it the funds I need ... just like so many of us ... we need a bit of savings behind us....this winter may be a hard one. 

Speaking of which ... have you got your spuds in?

We had chips 'n gravy for lunch today .... real outdoor-sy  food ....
it kept Hubby P going ... lot of logs in a lorry load!

You stocked up then?


Saturday, 24 November 2012

New Lady in the House ...

Hello there...
What to give you today ....

I refuse ... simply refuse to give you grim ...miserable .. news of the wet and windy-ness 'stuff' going on outside...

I have closed the curtains against it ... and refuse to think about it until I have to venture out again tomorrow morning at 4.30am.

So ... here to delight you is my new Lady...

Isn't she a devine...

A present from the lovely Hubby P ....I think she was supposed to be for my Christmas ... but he's pretty hopeless at keeping things for the day ...he just wants to delight me with his gifts straight away ...

So she arrived this last week ... its hard to tell on this photo but she is a mirror.  

 A perfect addition to my wall of mirrors ... just lovely
Although the 'children' roll their eyes and talk of the strangness of having photos and pictures of 'odd.. unrelated.. dead people' staring back at them from the walls.

I lit my candles this afternoon and had a quiet couple of hours to myself ... Hubby P was off delivering ... something ..bed or furniture or something ...quite boring .. it must have been.. I can't remember.
Anyway the candle light set her off beautifully.

Talking of light and loveliness I found this pretty lamp today.

Well I found the lampshade on a car boot stall (where else?) ...
the lovely ladies of the NSPCC were having a stall to raise funds and the lampshade was mine for £2.

I had a rummage about our stall/stock until I unearthed this lamp base (I knew we had it somewhere) .... and put the two together..
  pretty .    

Ideal for my windowsill,,, gives a nice warm glow.

And what I would like to ask you is ... what about the Lady...we can't just keep calling her 'the Lady'...

..who do you think she looks like ?
.. does she look like your Aunt Peggy?
..a glamorous screen idol?

What shall we call her ....any ideas?


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Half a Pound of Thrifty Mince.... Endless Possibilities..

Hello there ...
how do you fancy a bit of tasty mince.

As a child I was brought up on mince ... as no doubt many of you were too.
 It was a conversation I had with an elderly lady today ... that got me in the mood for mince ... Hubby P will eat it anytime ...mind you he eats most anything 'meaty' ... any 

Anyway ... back to the elderly lady ...we were talking of Thrift ... and the price of food .. and how its all very well saying these young families could stretch their pennies if they cooked good wholesome filling meals ...but a lot of young people do not know what to do ... cannot budget and cannot cook.
The lady said she remembered her cookery lessons at school ... it was basic cooking ....such as a good handful of different dishes all made from half a pound of mince. And that stood her in good stead to raise a family and feed them well.
As I sat in the fresh air (watching the rain ... Yes .. we were doing that 'making a living' thing again)... I pondered this conversation.
Just where have we gone wrong ... we have given our young people so much ... extensive education...better diet... health care...more home comforts ...more equality etc etc....
But have we equipped them for the hardships ... the skills of living ...if they cannot cook...make do and mend...use their money wisely are they expected to survive the hard times.

I worry for them ....

So back to the mince....      

I made a bit of pastry..

Browned the mince .. added a bit of onion and bulked it out with some carrots and mushrooms.

 And made a couple of plate mince pies ... one for tonight's tea and one to freeze for another time. I made Richard a little veggie pie.

 These rolls have been sat in the bread bin a while .... so I thought they ought to be used up .... 

 A nice bread and butter pudding ...with a hint of marmalade (I have got one or two jars handy)... seemed to a good idea...and I had the oven on for the pies.
The ciabatta rolls were another good buy from Approved Foods...they are just handy to have in the freezer.

I'm afraid I slightly forgot the pies ....bit on the brown side ..but they tasted just fine ... I was on the phone trying to get a decent quote for house insurance. Just basic straight forward ...simple Insurance ... why they insist on trying to add on all these many times do I have to say 'NO I don't want it to cover my goldfish/steamroller ...or whatever ... just my house case it burns down'.

Anyway the pie was nice .. I made a bit of gravy too...although this is Hubby P's ... he doesn't really like gravy ...strange ..I know!

Anyway what I was going to say ... before I got carried away with the pie making and the Insurance was... what about the mince and the poor people who cannot cook.
What can be done?
Should we encourage schools to teach basic life skills ...and if you were the teacher what would you teach.

How many of us have a handful of dishes to make from a half pound of mince?  


Monday, 19 November 2012

'Use It Up Fruit' .... Marmalade...

Hello there...
thank you so much for all the helpful comments on how to 'use up' the thrifty fruit .... lots of ideas there.... we can't be having any waste.

I made a start with some of the fruit.
I quickly Goggled lemon and lime marmalade and found a simple easy recipe .... one of Delia's I think...and got cracking.

Well ... chopping actually ... I even roped in Hubby P ...although he did tend to chop the fruit rather thickly my opinion ... its a contentious issue.
And I must add ... using a term the boys were oft heard to make use of ... He chops lemons like a Girl!

Lots of moaning about the lemon juice getting into all the little cuts on his hands.

 But we got there in the end.
I used lemons (6)...limes (7)... an odd orange and an odd grapefruit.

It made quite a lot and I had to scrat about a bit to find some jars ... bit of an odd assortment of jars but they do the trick.

I still mis calculated and ended up with too much marmalade for jars .... so we have a breakfast dishful in he fridge ... needs to be eaten up ...shame!
Marmalade is quite cloudy (just like Delia's picture ) and tastes quite sharp and strong ... like real food should nice on some toast with real butter first thing in the morning ... or for supper ...or marmalade sponge pudding with creamy custard ... or ..well ... anytime really.

Still lots of fruit to use up ... I've ordered extra eggs and value butter from Tesco ...thought I might make some Lemon Curd.

Keep the good ideas a commin ... just a shame I can't share this bounty with you all.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Todays Gift ... Ust It Up Fruit...Any Ideas.?..

Hello there....
We've just got back from selling at the carboot sale....Brr it was cold...but nice and sunshiny.
I sat in the fresh air ... warm fleecy hat and sunglasses ...with a view of the Snowdonia Mountains ... 
We had lots of nice chatty customers ... a nice way to make a living. 

And todays lovely gift ... a box of fruit from Colin the veg that needed using up.
So lots of lemons and limes ... any ideas on what to do with them? 
I shall have to do something with them tomorrow .. be a sin to let them go to waste.

Whilst I was there I bought another sack of spuds ... I do believe the weather men are forecasting nasty weather.. the 'worst winter in decades' .. or so someone told me.
Anyone else know anything about this?

So as my Grandmother would say ... 'when there is a crisis buy a bag of spuds'... 
then you can always make a cheap and nutritious meal... even if you are snowed in...and all lines of communication are down... the family has flu .. etc etc..
..There is always egg and chips
... Jacket potatoes
... potato and leek soup
... bangers and mash get the picture!   

Thank you for all your kind comments about the little chair ...
and yes.. it was sold on Saturday.
Its gone to live in a little cottage by the sea.

Please ...please give me some nice and easy ideas for the fruit...
I really must do something with it soon.


Friday, 16 November 2012

Just Trying To Earn A Bit Of A Living....

 Hello there ....
Hope you've all had a good day we go with another weekend ... the weeks seem to fly .

We just seem to be trying to earn a crust... and keep the wolf from the door ... just like many people these days.

Our days are filled with sorting... cleaning...
re-vamping...upcycling ... the old ... used... and unwanted .. 

Hubby P has been having a painting session ... old furniture given a new lease of life .. ready to sell on.
 He does quite a bit of this sort of thing ...painted furniture seems to sell quite well. 
He chooses the small pieces that fit nicely in average sized homes ... pieces that are pretty and quirky. 

 Today I have had to have pieces drying in the house ... this time of year the air is so damp paint takes ages to dry in the workshop.
Not ideal ... but I have to look at it as my Grandmother would...

'those muddy boots/overalls/...'painted furniture' ... are/is bringing money into the house'.

Its what we do to make an honest living.

Look how pretty this chair is.

Once the painting was completed Hubby P needed a bit of help with the recovering of the seat ... not one of his strong points ... fabric and such like.

Luckily ... Gosh ...just by chance ... I have 'one or two' bits of fabric stashed away.

I thought this bit of vintage fabric would look nice ...tis rather a nice bit of stuff.
So I looked out my trusty staple gun ... every girl should have a staple gun ... just love mine ... I keep it hidden from Hubby P (he's a bit heavy handed).

 with a joint effort ...
 one pretty vintage chair ... that was destined for fire wood until Hubby P painstakingly put it back together.

So its a selling day tomorrow .... 
Little chair will come with us and hopefully we can sell it on.

This making a living lark gets harder and harder ... how are you coping? 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

This Evenings Treat ....

Hello there .... had a good day?

I pulled the curtains closed early today ... it seems to go dark so early.... and sat by a warm fire ... the wind was whistling down the chimney.

I thought we would have a treat tonight. 

 I had to oven on to cook our meat for tea so I whipped up a sponge .... the old fashioned way I'm afraid .... I find it quicker than dragging out the electric mixer.

Last week Hubby P came home the proud purchaser of two Fray Bentos pies .... something we haven't had in years ... yes we enjoyed them as a change ... but it must be said ... very little meat in them.
Anyway I kept the handy little tins .... I'm sure the tins are smaller too.

Just the right size for a sponge pudding or two.

I used up what was left of a jar of Blackberry and Apple Jelly ... homemade of course (wonderful colour ) ... and spooned some in the bottom of the tins ... and then the sponge on top... and into the oven.

..... and there we have it ...
with a dollop of creamy custard ...
whats not to like.

And here is a random pic of a little corner ....
just whilst I had the camera in my hand ..

My special little boys ...

Take care  xx 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Damp and Dreary ... With Thrifty Wood ..

Hello there...

Bit nippy here ... thankfully I have a good fire going... and Thrifty at that.

Hubby P had a good week in the 'rubbish-y furniture' collecting department ... and gathered together this heap. 

We have got into the habit of refusing nothing ... people give us all sorts of things ... usually they are unable or cannot be bothered to dispose of it themselves. A lot of it is good useful stuff .. Hubby P stashes it away until he has a use for it ... mending/revamping etc
As I said this week was a good harvest of old furniture ... good burning wood.

This morning he had a sawing up session.
It all burns well and bulks out the logs we burn on the woodburner... logs are expensive ... so a night or two of thrifted wood is not to be sniffed at.

Percy the woodpidgeon kept us company in the garden..

Here he is helping himself to the dog food in Uncas's dish.

Uncas was too busy 'helping' me ... getting under my feet as I tried to sweep up the soggy leaves from the paths.

Leaves ... leaves and more leaves ... 

To be honest it was only a quick rough sweep ... after all it will be as bad as ever next week .
Although they were a bit soggy ... there were pretty colours to be seen....

....and little gems hiding in the hedgerows... silvery pennies blowing in the breeze.

A splash of ruby red by the gate to catch the milkman's eye !


 The green is still very green .... if you know what I mean ..
 can't say we have had any real frost..
... and just look how pretty this moss looks ... 
... I do so love moss... 
 ...gradually cloaking the old shabby boots ..
.... boots with a tale to tell ...
..of a life well lived.

So what have you been up to ... many leaves?


Friday, 9 November 2012

Vintage Velvet and Ikea ... Thrifty Snippet-y Ways ..Of Course!

Hello there .... 
Has it rained with you?
... I thought it would never stop today ...
mind you it was quite nice sat by the fire sewing ... listening to the wind in the chimney and the rain lash against the windows.

As you can see my Summer curtains are lacy and lightweight.

 I've been a bit remiss in my Winter preparations ... last Spring I decided the winter curtains had about had it ... time for new ones.
Plenty of time ... thought I .. to organise some nice new ones.... well ... where has the time gone?

In my defence I had picked up a pair of lined... wonderfully dark bottle green cotton velvet of Vintage persuasion .... but I had forgotten just where I had put them/or had I sold them? umm..

I Know ... bitten nails!

So late last night I decided to find them ... as you do ... and three cupboards and numerous boxes later ....ta da!
And what a good do ... I just had to shorten them and cut each one in half to make two pairs of curtains for the sitting room windows ... only very small cottage-y windows. 

 I sat in front of the fire and just hemmed the required bits ... I just left the header tape where it was ... and well did very little really.
The curtains were nice and clean .. they still had a dry cleaning label attached ...dated 1976.

All nice and cosy!

So nice to work with good quailty old fabric .... I can't remember where I found them.
But they will have a good home ... and I have some fabric left to make up into cushions ... if I ever get around to it. 

 On the flip side of the coin ... as it were..... Hubby P ambled in the other day with these under his arm.

Bright and cheerful!
 Now it must be said that Hubby P has been well trained in the field of ...'Fabric and Notions Acquisition'...
In that he .. 1) must never.. ever just 'bin' anything that is old/tatty/damaged etc if it is remotely fabric like.
                               2) must always put aside any tins/boxes/bags etc with 
                                      'sewin-y stuff' in them.

                       and 3) just show me everything ....just in case!

So it was the other day with the cushions ... 'this anything... any good ... bit damaged'...says he.
Well what a jolly pair ... nice and bright and cheerful. 
At first I thought they had been made by someone .... you know ... new to sewing ... just learning ... not expertly made by any means.
But on closer inspection ...and discovering a label I found they were no other than Ikea its best?
 Shameful really .... and I bet they would have cost a pretty penny.

Anyway the fabric was pretty although some of it was damaged ... looked like a cat or dog had had a good time with one cushion.
I unpicked the end of one thinking I would save the cushion inner and launder and save the pretty fabric. 
However Ikea don't even run to cushion inners ... it was simply stuffed with loose wadding.

Well ... no matter ... I will bag up the wadding and keep it for stuffing things or make some cushion inners
And I got a good piece of fabric and a dog chewed bit that can be used for my patchwork.

So a nice new bit of cotton for my stash .... 

That's been me today ... I'm quite pleased I got the new curtains up... whats been keeping you busy?