Monday, November 30, 2015

We are Blessed

Yesterday afternoon I spent some time reading one of my favourite "go to" books.  There is so much that is relevant to our life and I never fail to pick up some tips.  The number one priority for me in the coming weeks is to make some washing detergent once my current stock of powder is used up.

My brother and sister in law visited last week and gifted me with a complete set of a weekly publication they collected in the 1970's.  There are 112 parts to this set.  I was thrilled to receive them and instantly started to flick through the pages.  There will be lots I can use amongst the covers of these.

They also gifted me this lovely pile of books also.  I have a nice collection of recipe books and these will be a great addition.

Our tomatoes and growing well and have got to the stage of fruit beginning to form and in need of staking.

So whilst I was on the job I decided to make a net cage to protect the ripening tomatoes from the local bird population

I just tied pieces of timber to one another and then draped the netting over.  It should hold out for the summer and do the job.

We planted some raspberry canes this year too.  The plants are not overly big but they are already beginning to form fruit

Which should be enough to cover the pavlova on Christmas day

So I covered them in netting as well to ensure that my fruit is not stolen by the birds

One of my jobs for this week will be to pick all of this silver beet and cook and freeze.  It is starting to go to seed and I do not want to waste it.  We don't actually eat it but do use it in the meat stews we make for the dogs.

One of the simple pleasures in life I believe is to walk outside and pick a bunch of flowers to display in my home.

How very blessed are we?


Fee xx

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The end of the week

Following on from a few of the frugal living blogs I have been reading I have been writing down what I achieve each week.  

Sometimes we think that we haven't achieved very much and especially seeing that I am a bit limited as to what I can do these days I always feel that I have been slack  - Our aim is to live as cheaply as possible whilst having a full life and every little bit I can do helps us to achieve our goals.    

Not having a lot of money doesn't mean that you have to have a miserable unfulfilled life.  Life is what you make it and only you are in control of that. 

This is a Candle Mat that I made from some Free Stitcheries over on Jenny's Blog.  I have added a scented candle for a Christmas gift.  There are many FREE craft projects on the net which can be made with materials that you already have on hand.  They can easily be turned into something special to give to someone with just a little time and effort which of course are FREE.

So this week I finished off this gift and it is wrapped up and ready to be sent to it's recipient.

Do you remember the little 75c frame I purchased earlier in the week ?  Well here it is now all shabbied up.

Taking something old and making it useful and pretty again is one of my most favourite things to do.

I especially love this duck egg blue colour chalk paint from Annie Sloan.  The frame has been waxed to protect the paint too. I cut up an old stained vintage doily and fussy cut it to fit the frame so for very little cost and effort I now have a beautiful little framed embroidery.

Another achievement this week was that I managed to clean out the bake ware cupboard and I culled an entire large box worth of stuff that I no longer use.  

I also redeemed a $100 voucher from my Fly Buys points to spend on items for Christmas.  I always take advantage of the triple points and bonus buys when they come up so that my points increase throughout the year and then I redeem them at Christmas when I need the extra dollars the most.  $100 will cover all of the extra goodies I will need for Christmas Lunch.

I popped by the local thrift shop on Thursday and spent just $5 on 17 balls of feather wool which I will use throughout the winter months.  I think they would be best used to make a scrappy patchwork blanket.  Any ideas ?

When I went thrift shopping with my girls earlier in the week I spent just $20 on some much needed items including these bath mats and pillow cases.  Next week I am going to use the bath mats in another upcycling project.  

I saved the blackberry crop by having them netted.  I also undercoated the little lamp table and wall unit ready for a final coat and waxing next week.  And I tidied up my little studio.  I have to admit to not culling very much but it is certainly a lot tidier.

And I cooked and baked.  I added to the stock of meals in the freezer with my large batch of Butter Chicken and Pies and the biscuit tin is full.  I also added to the fridge with my batch of Tomato Ketchup and I was able to gift some vanilla squares to my sister and brother in law when they visited.

I also had a week of not buying any groceries except for milk.  We have eaten well from our pantry, fridge and freezer stocks.  Next week I will shop the specials and buy from the small list of items I have run out of in the pantry.  I won't have a BIG shop until the week before Christmas but instead try to use what we have.

Finally on Saturday night we were invited to my cousin's 40th Birthday Party.  I decided to make her a gift from a hessian bag, jar, bling and doily - All from stash

And with the assistance from my garden she had a lovely re-usable vase full of pink tiny roses

I finished it off with a sweet little gift tag and some organza ribbon

A simple but reusable gift that she loved.

I have enjoyed being frugal this week and especially have enjoyed being accountable.  

The weather has been better this weekend so hopefully I can spend some time tidying my side of the storage shed later today and build a climbing trellis for my tomatoes.

Enjoy your Sunday.


Fee xx

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