Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Pantry - Warts and All

In my last post I showed you the jars I have been collecting.  I love to bake and I have a pretty extensive ingredient pantry as I like to try lots of different things BUT I can never find anything.  My pantry has become out of control and finding an ingredient has become almost impossible.
Wait for it - Brace yourself !!

Yep - Told you it was BAD !  You can see why I needed to do something ! 
Not everything will be a permanent resident in my pantry.  My aim is to end up with only natural basic ingredients eventually but in the meantime I am going to use up everything I can.

I decided that the ingredients that I will ALWAYS keep in the pantry deserved to have their very own storage jars.  I made simple labels on the computer with my trusty old faithful BROTHER label printer and cut them up to place on the jars.

The labels stuck well to the glass and look rather smart

I had lots of fun filling them all up and getting rid of the pesky opened bags that were cluttering my pantry cupboards.
I ended up with a full box of rubbish.
And an extended pantry area but so very well organised now.

I am very pleased with my jars

And the original pantry cupboard is now functional and everything is easy to find.  I wonder if I am brave enough to tackle my wardrobe next??  There is nothing like the feeling of being organised.
Let the baking begin :)
Hugs - Fee xx


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Just Like a Squirrel

As time goes on I feel like I am becoming more and more like my grandmother.  I have been collecting lots of lovely glass jars for bottling, jams and storage.  My pantry is beginning to look like hers with sauces, relishes and jams brimming from the shelves. 
We are on a very tight budget these days but I still want to ensure that our family eats good quality food without all of the preservatives and chemicals in commercial products.  My heart has always wanted that but working long hours in the past I was very time poor.  So these past weeks I have made an extra effort to squirrel away seasonal fruits for the winter.
Yesterday I made some lovely Strawberry Jam.  I was lucky enough to pick up some local "Jam Strawberries" for a great price.  They were perfect but just a little small - Full of flavour and sweetness.  This was the first time I had made Jam in the Thermomix and I have to say that I am very pleased with it.  I needed to add an apple and some lemon juice to the strawberries as I always have trouble getting it to thicken due to the lack of pectin.  It turned out great !

And today I made some labels using a FREE online label maker - It is super easy to use and there are lots of labels to choose from.  It is HERE if you would like to make your own.
Next up is Tomato Chutney and a Pantry Clean Up using my recent jar collection. I'll be back to show you my progress.
Hugs - Fee xx

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tilda Lover's Club

Do you love Tilda?  I do !  I love all things Tilda.  I think it is the soft pastel fabrics, the quirky accessories and the gorgeous dolly's.  Last week I started up a Tilda Lover's Group on Facebook.  We have lots of member's already and once we reach 250 we will be having a give away sponsored by 2 Green Zebra's the Wholesaler's of "Tilda" in Australia. So if you love Tilda too come on over and play with us.  There is lots of eye candy on offer and plenty of inspiration.  You can Join Up HERE.

I am currently working on a little pin cushion made from Tilda.  It was in a Hatched and Patched kit that I purchased at the Sydney craft fair.

This is Tilda's new book which I have ordered.  It is a little Christmas gift to me. There are so many adorable projects inside.
I was asked by 2 Green Zebra's to make them a sample of this "My Town"Placemat for next week's tradeshow.  How could I resist playing with brand new Tilda Fabrics and Patterns?

I really enjoyed making it although the pieces were teeny tiny and by no means perfect.
I must confess that I have just begun another one for me to keep and treasure.  This time in Pinks, Reds and Blues

It is not very often that I make something just for me but this time I will and I know I will treasure it.
Fee xx

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Treasure Hunting

I had to run a few errands on Monday and had a few spare minutes to pop into an Op Shop.  I was pleased I did I got some great finds.  This whole lot cost me just $8.50.
They had tons and tons of zips for just 20c each - I just chose shabby colours :)
And look at all of this eye candy - Silk Ribbon, Sequins, Beads, Buttons, Lace and so much more.  I love nothing more than a good rummage !
And I scored this gorgeous piece of VINTAGE Tupperware.  A great jug which is now full of home made Tomato Ketchup in the fridge !  A great buy for just $4.00 considering how much a BRAND NEW Tupperware Jug would cost today.
I think I need to plan a treasure hunting day really soon !
What about you - Have you found any good treasure lately?
Hugs - Fee xx

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Busy Week

Last week just seemed to fly by. Actually the past 8 weeks since I finished work have flown by. I have absolutely no idea where my time is going but it is and it is not getting spent in the sewing room sadly.......
I have spent some time playing with my new thermomix.  I am enjoying using lots of fresh ingredients and have made some beautiful dishes.
 Including this delicious Creamy Bacon, Mushroom, Chicken and Tomato Fettucini  - It was so nice that it's back on the menu for dinner tonight.

I received a nice little surprise in the mail last week.  A few weeks ago I filled out an online survey for the DMC stockist in Australia - Leutenneger and they were kind enough to send me a thank you gift.  A lovely unexpected surprise.

 I have managed to spend some time on a new Lucy Boston block using some of my treasured Tanya Whelan stash - I just love this fabric but I am running out of it fast !

And I have joined a group on face book for makers of Angel Story - By Anni Downs.  Long time readers of this blog will know that I have been working on this quilt off and on for years !  Hopefully this group will inspire me to get it finished.  I took a progress shot of the blocks that I have completed.  I still love this project as much as the day I bought it so I am really keen to finally get it finished next year.
Hopefully it won't be so long before my next blog post.
Hugs - Fee xx

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.


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 - 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


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.


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 ........


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


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.


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.
Fee x