Sunday, 31 July 2011

Into battle with the UFO

Last summer (I only have any time for any hobbies in August!) I started my first ever quilt. This August, I shall finish it! Machine quilting (just stitch in the ditch) a king size quilt, when it is my first every quilt is a Herculean task that has worn me out. It's rather like wrestling a muddy anaconda in a swamp! Just holding it, rolling it into a tube to fit through my cheap domestic sewing machine is tough enough! I have one other UFO to battle after this, which will remain in the bag until the quilt is done, bound and on my bed. I'm off for my wrestling and fighting! To infinity and beyond!

Anyone else out there in blogsville got something lurking that you really need to finish some time, if only you had to the time.

Until tomorrow,

Froogs xxxxx

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Recycling old clothes

I had a delightful half an hour a week or so ago when I went to a jumble sale in the town hall. Everything was 20p. I bought a denim skirt, a couple of pairs of checked trousers and a skirt just for the material. I had no idea at that stage what I was going to do with them until today. I butchered an old pillow that had gone baggy in the middle and made a cushion. Thanks very much to big dog for modelling it. I'm in the mood now for more creating (I'm easily bored) so watch this space.

Ta - da! Added a while later.................I found the flower template on line and used some more denim skirt, and the leg of each pair of trousers, one in blue check and the other in pink strip. The time, modelled by Bobby Dazzler himself.

Love Froogs xxx

Leftovers for lunch and lusciousness from Lidl

As I've all but given up eating, there's never much to eat in our house and as I eat less and less, there's often something left in the fridge, well past its best that has to be eaten. Today, I had to do something with half a Chorizo, a few mushrooms, half an onion and two slices of bread. I sliced up two iced gem lettuce, poured over some balsamic dressing (I buy it, I can't make it as cheaply as the Co-op sells it). I sliced half a chorizo, the few mushrooms and onion that I had and cut the bread slices into cubes for croutons; I then fried them together and sprinkled them onto the lettuce. I don't eat bread so gave the croutons to DB.

 After an early lunch, and leaving Dearly Beloved at home to paint the kitchen, I got a few groceries from Lidl. I always enjoy a root around their special offers. I was interested in trying some of their perfume that is so highly sought after and was highly rated by More Magazine. It has a resemblance to Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle. I tried some and loved it and as some one who loves perfume and rarely buys it, will enjoy a liberal splash of it after a shower. Especially after a shower in the yummy patchouli scented shower gel, it has a really heady musky smell and it's 45p! £4.45 and I shall smell heavenly. I'm also in the middle of a few crafty projects, mainly to entertain myself by making things from scrap material and 20 reels of thread were £4.45, which is usually the cost of two reels when I buy them normally.

I'm sorry if I sound like an advertisement for the place and I rarely get excited about shopping. I'm going back to painting and renovating. I've teak oiled the garden furniture to keep it going for another year and I'm about to put another coat of paint on the bathroom walls and ceiling. It's all go here!
Thanks again for dropping by and see you tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Friday, 29 July 2011

Fresh and minty.

 All through the summer, mint grows here and there in my garden, like weeds. I cook peas and potatoes for Dearly Beloved (none for me.............carbs!) and I make mint sauce with the rest. Check the mint for insects and then finely chop.
 Keep turning it round and over to make sure you evenly chop it. Add to a jam jar with a spoon of sugar, cover with malt vinegar, put the lid on and give it a gently shake. You can use it immediately or it will keep for ages, right into the winter.
 We pour a few spoonfuls over roast lamb or grilled lamb chops. Now, back to the kitchen, which is almost there!

 The worktops, sink are all finished and now we have to re-fix the trim on the cupboards, make good any holes in the plaster work and finish by painting.
It's a huge treat to have a fully functioning utility room, with a cupboard for everything, room for the very rarely used microwave and everything tidily put away.
The photo above is the view from my office window and a clue to one of the many jobs that will be done this summer in order to sell my house. I don't cope well with mess and upheaval but I steady my nerves by looking on Rightmove for teeny tiny cheap houses and by going to Money, and comparing mortgages at a much better rate than my own and calculating how quickly I can pay off a tiny mortgage and then spend time doing what nurtures my soul.

Until tomorrow,

Thanks so much for dropping by,

Froogs xxx

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Nearly there

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for dropping by!

Today, my son fitted the utility room. It used to have simple shelves with everything hanging off them, the washing machine and the dishwasher just stood in the room. Now the dishwasher is in the kitchen, next to the kitchen sink, where it should be and the washing machine is encased in fitted units, in the utility room, where it should be. He has re-routed plumbing and electrics, built and installed the units and installed a sink as there never was one in there.

I've had my first day at home and I've dried all of the laundry in the sun, ironed it all and it's all hung away. I've stripped and remade the bed and I have another pile of washing to do tomorrow if the sun is shining. And didn't the sun shine today! It was 32 degrees on the north side of my home where it never gets full sun! Boy-O was certainly hot today, but as is true to him, he didn't stop all day. Tomorrow, is the finishing off then he's back home to Plymouth for a few days before coming back next Monday for the next stage of the 'renovate the house to sell it'. Here's the photos of today's work. The units and sink and all plumbing supplies are from a newly opened builder's merchant who gave my son a massive discount for opening a trade account. Like all utility's nothing fancy. I started on my first holiday craft project and I'll show you the results tomorrow.

The old shelving from the utility room, perfectly good enough for me, but I don't think it would tempt the buyers!

 Work in process. It might look a small room but I've had kitchens this size in other houses. I'm sure this will be a selling point.
All the work and noise drove me out of the house, I spent most of the day here, in the shade of a huge beech tree reading Stephen Fry's 'Moab is my washpot'

 I am just about to have hundreds of tomatoes. The vines went crazy before I had time to trim them or cut of the lower branches so I've just left them get on with it.
 The heat is causing the squashes to swell. They have climbed all over the poly tunnel and, in true triffid like fashion, are threatening to over power it.
Here there are making a bid for freedom and after growing vertially are growing laterally too!
 The sweetcorn is also growing and swelling. It's the first time I've ever grown this and I'm growing it in a plastic pot.
 If you wonder why I leave the lawn to be a mess of weeds, it's because it's full of clover and alive with honey bees. The bees also love the fuchsia buses that I leave untrimmed and wild all over the garden. Tomorrow will be the end of it and my poor boy can have a few days off.

Until tomorrow,

Froogs xxxxx

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Coming along nicely

 Day two and number one son has worked really well today. He's exhausted after working away as a shop fitter for weeks on end, chasing a few quid where he can get it. It's a total privilege to have him home doing the work for us. Originally, we organised a local tradesman to do this and when our son found out, he insisted on coming home on his week off to do this for us. It's wonderful when they get old enough to understand pay back.

Today, he re-routed the plumbing, cut holes in walls to take the drainage, installed new plumbing, moved an electrical supply (one of his many talents and qualifications, along with general plumbing) fitted the sink and plumbed in the dishwasher. Not bad for a guy who's having a few days off after over a month working away on a variety of building sites. Tomorrow, he will fit the utility room before he goes onto the finishing touches of tiling and painting. He's a wonderful gift. xxxx
The sink was massively reduced as it's a 'order only' item that a customer didn't pay for and the building supplier had 'in the warehouse' and needed to be 'got rid of'. the taps, were a different story and took me a day to earn!

Monday, 25 July 2011

We all need a little chaos every now and then.

I ate my dinner in the garden tonight. Wearing a coat and sitting on the garden steps. It wasn't warm but it was the least chaotic bit of my home. Sink out, plumbing out, tiles off, new worktops cut and down. Wiring re-routed. Dishwasher ready to be moved. Son dusty and tired and working for free. I can't complain as I'm not paying for the labour and everything has been bought at trade minus negotiated 20% discount due to son opening a new trade account and being given 90 days to pay. All very good and a lot cheaper than if I'd gone to the cheapest DIY superstore.

Tonight, I washed up in the sink in the downstairs loo! It'll be all worth it when it's done, flashy and remodelled and ready for sale and I can downsize and live in a smaller, more sustainable and affordable home. Something like this - and live in a little row of cottages that looks something like this

Until tomorrow,

Froogs xxxx

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Making £5 go a very long way.

 Hi everyone,

I've had a really busy few days getting ready for the new term and I'm glad of five weeks away from school as I can complete all of my planning in that time............just. I'll keep checking in here each day to update what I do but I'm also getting ready for a busy summer working on my house. As well as the house renovations which range from monumental to mediocre, I have lots of craft projects to finish. I thought I'd share my car boot sale finds and what I'm going to do with them. The retro material was a delight to find for £1. I'll probably recover the dining room chairs with this and use it as a colour idea for the room, which I intend to paint mustard. I may use the material for something else entirely. It's cotton and I think it would make fabulous aprons to make as gifts for friends and family.
 My star find of today was my print of the two Tamar bridges side by side. The artist is a local man from Plymouth called Brian Pollard and his work is mass reproduced and often over priced. I bought this little framed poster for £1.50 and I think it's charming.
I then found a pretty polka dot jug and I recently bought a butter dish with the same design and they'll go well together in my kitchen. I love the serving plate with the glass dome that I found. I often bake a sponge cake for Dearly Beloved and just leave it on a plate on the side with a tea towel over it to keep the dust and the cat off it. This is not only practical but I thought it was really striking looking. The jug was 50p and the cake plate was £2.

Dearly Beloved is down stairs causing havoc in the utility room and kitchen as our son is coming home on his holiday to spend a week refurbishing with us. He's bought everything for us with trade discounts and he's doing the work for nothing. We've also got trade invoicing so what ever is invoiced to us on the 1/8/2011 has 90 days to be paid, which effectively allows us 4 months to budget for the work before we have to settle for materials. I'll photograph it when it's all done and I've finished painting it. It all might seem rather extravagant to renovate a house just before selling it, but I'm determined to get the very very best price for it, so my downsized home has as small a mortgage as I can possibly arrange and would be even better if there was no mortgage.

I'm off now to do some more lesson planning for September.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs

Thursday, 21 July 2011

It's in the bag!

 Hi everyone,

I've been starving poor Dearly Beloved on carbs so he can have a pile of new potatoes with his supper. I'll just eat the plain fish! I grow veggie in bags, any old bags. The potato bags are on their third year. I haven't watered them enough and I haven't got many in each bag.
 I love tipping them out, pulling the roots apart and releasing the spuds from their warm composty home.
 It took two bags to get one bowl full. They are just lovely and we have mint in the garden to cook in with them.
 I also pulled up the shallots, I shall leave them to dry and pickle them this weekend. Another favourite of Dearly Beloved is cheese, homemade bread and chutney or cold meat, such as cold roast chicken and pickled onions.
DB had steamed ruby chard, new potatoes and some salmon (big bag of frozen equates to £1 a fillet from Tesco) for his supper. I'm just loving the garden!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Once upon a time

There was a very, very daft woman! She succumbed to an almost new car, with extremely low milage (about 200 miles from it being a demonstrator) and she signed on the dotted line..........without reading the small print. She'd been previously seduced by the main dealers after previously having an economical little town car on a very reasonable 7.5% finance deal. She fell for the coffee, the comfy chairs and smooth banter and the shiny, 1.9 multijet sporting, sexy little Italian va va voom machine!!!! (car below is not my car, but mine is filthy!) But it's identical to the one below including the shiny alloys!!!!

However, when I'd got over my own stupidity and checked the paperwork, the bleepin' interest rate was 14.9% and they'd slipped me a new credit deal, with a reasonable monthly payment but with a hugely increased amount of interest to pay. I made a payment every month, then I doubled that payment and put it into a savings account and when I got the balance down to the 'set' amount. I transferred the money and paid for the bleepin' thing!

You have to 'click' the photo to read what it says. I managed to pay the £199 a month to Fiat Finance and then put aside another £100 a month into a savings account as I couldn't over pay the 'fixed' loan and could only pay off a lump sum.............which I did! I never saw it as money I could dip into or use for anything but paying off the car, 19 months sooner than the finance deal was due to end!

It's taught me that I can save up for anything. I'm aware that the car I have will not last forever and I have to be realistic about saving up for another. I really love getting the 'you've made the last payment' letters. I've had some achievements in my life and now I can add, almost getting myself out of debt completely! I can now transfer what's left in the savings account, plus the month amount I will deposit, to bringing my house loan to a close this year. It's been very very hard but if I achieve that, then I will have brought the final, final payment of all the payments forward by eight months!

If a silly, not reading the small print nitwit like me can get a huge amount of interest paid in a whip of time, then it proves anyone can.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

When do you save?

Firstly, apologies.....I'm unable to leave comments on some of your lovely blogs and I am enjoying them, thanks to everyone who writes as you give me so much pleasure. Today's blog is all about the saving accounts we frugals seem to have.

 Every month, a week before payday; we go through the family finances. We dig out every receipt and we record everything we spend. We even create our own receipts for car boot sale and charity shop purchases. We then start to move money from one account to another. What ever is left (and there's not much some months and some months there is much more) gets divided into more over paying the already over paid debt repayments, some into the long term savings account and some into the rainy day saving accounts. I try to make sure that more and more of my salary is left at the end of every month, by stretching everything that little bit further every month.

It may seem crazy saving money when you owe money, but what if your car goes wrong? What if you need to pay to get to see a sick relative at a moments notice, but what if you don't have access to any credit? That's when we turn to savings.

It's an even better feeling at the end of each month when the savings didn't have to be used. We've only token amounts in the #2 and #3 accounts. We are going to have to ensure our house is sellable in a very competitive market and have it ready to go 'on show' for spring next year with hope to sell by the autumn. We are going to have to be extremely creative about doing that and we'll need access to real cash to do that. So, my new challenge, is to keep the debt repayments going and seriously save for the house renovations!!!

No pressure then!!!

What do you have to save for and what do you have to go without to get it? We'll have to forget central heating this year, forget baths and forget any new clothes or shoes, we'll have to forget Christmas again (we don't 'do' it anyway) and forget any un-necessary car journeys. In fact, we'll have to find another £100 a month from somewhere to do it!

I'm off to grit my teeth.

Until tomorrow,

Froogs xxx

Monday, 18 July 2011

Can you handle it?

 More second hand 'junk'. None of the furniture was bought new. I painted some 'utility' furniture with my favourite 'French grey' many years ago and I've used up the left over paint all over the house. They were from the auction in Lostwithiel and cost about £5 for the pair. The chest of drawers below were from the reclamation yard behind Union st, called Grosvenor Chambers. It sells everything from marble fire place to piles of tatty half broken furniture, piled up in the street outside. Gary used to accept any reasonable offer! To tart up old tatt! I add nice handles. The bedside drawers in an attempt to create that French shabby chic look and the pine chest, so you had some thing decent to get hold of as they are deep, heavy drawers.

It was scruffy, warped and damp when we got it for £10 about ten years ago. We sanded and sanded it and then waxed and waxed it, until it has a lovely shine. I like to have an assortment of wood and painted surfaces.
I must find some more cheap, second hand furniture to share with you. How do you tart up old tatt?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Tarting up tatt!

Hi everyone,

I'll let you into a little of the frugal home decor and release some of my inner Barbara Cartland over the next few days. The tiny side table started life in a reclamation yard at the back of Union street in Plymouth (best known for slappers and kebabs) and was bought originally for £20 as my daughter's school desk for her bedroom. It now makes an ideal lamp stand. The lamps in my sitting room were red clearance labels from TK Max. But the real bargain in the corner is the car boot vase for a couple of pounds filled with flowers bought a few at a time at car boots, jumbles, charity shops and Trago. Tat? but I love them!

 At last week's car boot sale, I bought the two piccies of two different Cornish harbours. Cadwith and Portloe. The stall holder wanted £5 for the pair and I got them for £4, but I still think that was expensive.
I just sanded the frames and painted them with white egg shell and now they are hung in my porch and yes, they are linked together with old paper clips.

 My other purchase last week was a side table, often called a butler tray. It's made of teak and meant for the garden. It has taken several coats of egg shell to cover it, but DB got there in the end (come on! you don't think I do it?)
Here it is, in my sitting room. Next to my £1.20 ebay arm chair and my very old and many times repaired sofa. I paid £5 for the butler tray and thought it was worth that.

No car boot saling today, but I thought I would show you my afternoon walk yesterday. Watergate Bay on the north coast. Beware, be very ware! If you go before 2pm the car park charges £5.60 and due to the one car wide roads to get there, you can not park anywhere else. It's a stunning place, the play ground of millionaires, with the tiniest holiday apartment costing half a million quid! Also, check the tides, at high tide, there is no beach. We get mussels from the North coast, the sea is rougher and the water quality is of the highest standard. They are still a bit small, but have less dense 'beards' when they are young. Rock grown mussels have more flavour than the rope grown type you get in the shops. You can also just help yourself, no one cares and very few people eat them here. I do, and they are worth the trip over to the north coast. Enjoy the views.

 Yours' truly and the headland in the background.
 Measuring the mussels - they cover every rock for as far as the eye can see.
 Still a bit small.
 Crystal clear water, and five hours since high tide.
 Newquay in the background.
 View to the left. Click to enlarge.
 View to the right.
Kite surfers; playing.

Until tomorrow,

Froogs xxxx