Monday, 27 February 2012

Free, Free, Free

Gomez and the monkey say Good Evening, although I think Gomez is actually too sleepy to say anything!

I popped into the garden this evening and found these - what a lovely reminder that Spring is on the way.

Just a little reminder to click here and join my free give-away....

Have a lovely evening ..... I am report writing xxx

Sunday, 26 February 2012

A Lenten Heart

Good Morning Lovely Readers and Welcome to Angela and Kim

I have just popped in to see Angela at Tracing Rainbows  and read her Lenten message. My little heart is arousing a lot of interest and Angela's blog made me think of Lent (I was raised a Catholic) and all that it means. To give things away is to bless others and what this little heart seems to represent is perhaps the love of a universal deity (I don't think it matters which God(s) you hold dear). Is this why we love hearts so much? I read a wonderful book some years ago called "Why Love Matters - how affection shapes a baby's brain". To my mind this is a ground-breaking book which looks at the way that love affects the developing brain. We all need love; to love and to be loved. We sometimes lose ourselves in the "stuff" of life, but it is love that keeps us alive.

When I was about 7 we had a lovely old lady living next door called Joy and my brother and I used to visit with her. She said her name meant Jesus - Others - Yourself - and she explained that that was how you found Joy or Happiness. Now, again, I don't think the specifics are as important as the concept that when we forget our own troubles and think of others, we find happiness. I trust that my small, token gifts will end up where the universe believes they are most needed at this time. I wonder who needs to make someone a slice of toast that says "I love you"? It is not too late to join in. so sign up and let me know you'd like to be in the draw - results next weekend.

Number 3 posted this on Facebook last night. Does it speak to you as loudly as it spoke to me?

I wish you Love, Light and a wonderful day wherever you are xxx

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Free stuff

Hello Lovely Readers

Are you enjoying your weekend?

Just a little reminder to call in and add your name for the free stuff give-aways. I am happy to post all over the world.

Mrs Thrifty xxx

Friday, 24 February 2012

Free weekend give-away

Good Evening Wonderful Readers

Here are my free offerings and here's what you have to do if you'd like to be in the draw:

1. Be a member of my blog
2. Click on at least one of the ads on my page (we only get tiny amounts per click but it will add up and help pay the postage.... and I am happy to do the same for you).
3. Leave me a comment at the end of this post saying you'd like to be in the draw and telling me what's good about my blog and what I could improve.

Thank you for your participation!

First of all, a lovely felt heart decoration or pin cushion - use it as you wish.

                                    Second, a press for making imprints on toast.... could be fun

A piece of toast for a special person that says "I love you" - what could be nicer?

Lastly, some pretty ribbons for you to use as you like; sewing, crafting, scrap-booking.....

P.S. I have some pink ones all ready for another weekend give-away.

Winners announced 3rd March.

Here are the week's menus for those who are interested:

Menu planner week beginning: 25.2.2012
Yogurt + compôte
Quorn provençale casserole
Cous cous
Brioche + jam
Butternut squash roast
Roast potatoes + carrots
Panetonne bread + butter pudding + soya cream
Lemon + sugar
Porridge or granola
Watercress soup +
Flat bread
Veggie sausages, mash + peas
Caramelised onion chutney
Porridge or granola
Pear + pepper soup + granary rolls
Quorn shepherd’s pie
Cabbage + onion gravy
Poached  eggs + toast
Vegetable soup + rye bread
Veggie burgers + potato wedges, salsa + salad
Porridge or granola
Hummus + flat bread
Mixed salad with feta + olives
Hot bread
Baked beans on toast
Pear + pepper soup + rolls
Asparagus + stilton tart
Green salad

More frugal crafting, money-saving tips and evidence of clutter-clearing to follow.

Have a great weekend

Mrs Thrifty xxx

Finishing what you start

Good Morning and a huge welcome to my new followers Fariha and Feather Duster - welcome on board!

Several of the blogs I visit are having give-aways, so I thought I would do the same. I will tell you what it is at the weekend ..... can you stand the anticipation? Rule number 1 to join in is that you have to be a follower of my blog. So if you are a reader but you haven't joined me, you still have time to click that button. I always join the blogs of people who follow me and try to read their blogs (if they have one of course). I also list them on my page so that others can see them and visit.

On to business. I am doing well with my PhDs (Projects half-done). Here is the other baby cardigan I mentioned:

 I have knitted it in baby bamboo which I have blogged about before. This yarn is so soft and would be lovely for any baby. It has been added to my growing pile of stuff to be gifted ...... I'll give you a peak later!

I have to admit I wasn't looking forward to going back to my knitting having discovered crochet, but once I got going I remembered how wonderfully therapeutic knitting is - that gentle clicking of the needles. I loved it and found myself not wanting to rush. When my children were tiny I inherited a whole load of beautifully knitted fairisle jumpers which they wore and wore. I handed these on to friends when my children had outgrown them but now I wish I hadn't. They had been beautifully knitted in 4 ply wool by Mr Thrifty's Auntie Phyl. Lovely memories.

And here's the little baby hat. How sweet is that? This is made in soya which my local yarn shop tells me that can't get any more. I love it. It is even softer than bamboo; so perfect for baby's sensitive skin.

Hope to be back later...

Enjoy your day wherever you are xxx

PS  I think I have finally got rid of the wretched word verification thing - please do tell me if it is still there ... if you want to lose yours, here is Frugal Girl's tutorial on how to do it:

Blog Clearout

In the spirit of clearing clutter, I have removed most of the blogs from my page who are not also followers of my blog. I am not being petty, but as my own followers build up, I think it's only fair that I use the precious space to advertise their blogs. If I have deleted you in error, PLEASE do tell me and I'll put you straight back.... I did go through carefully, but mistakes do happen. Mrs T xx

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Frugal cushions

Home-making doesn't have to cost the earth. I have always believed it can be done on a shoestring!

#2 and his gorgeous girlfriend are moving into their first home next month and I have drummed into him the idea that not everything has to be new and costly!  He brought me a photo on his phone that he had taken in a shop of some knitted cushions they both liked, but which were over £20 each. "My Mum could make those," he says to lovely girlfriend and sure enough... here is the first one....................

Now I do have a confession to make. Cushion number 2 is in the process of being crocheted, but I knew it would take me ages to knit one like this. Yesterday I visited a charity shop and this hand-knitted woollen sweater caught my eye. I paid the princely sum of £4 for it. I prefer natural yarns over man-made so I was really chuffed to discover this was made with wool.

Once home, I unpicked the sleeves and the collar, which I have to say had been beautifully stitched, so this took some time. I then unravelled the jumper to just below the armpit level, saving the wool as I went.

I started by joining the bottom seam. I then picked up and bound all the loose stitches by using single crochet all the way around the sweater. To make the button holes, I did a row of single crochet along the front edge, with three lots of 10 chains spaced evenly. I finished off by using double crochet along the seam, including the chains, to make a substantial seam and button holders. A quick look in my ancient button tin revealed three lovely wooden buttons which were just the thing I needed and ta da ..... one new cushion cover.

Time taken - about 3 hours.
Cost - sweater - £4
Cushion pad - lurking in the attic feeling unloved and wanted - FREE
Buttons - FREE
Yarn - recycled - FREE
Love - unlimited - FREE
Total cost £4.

I hope they like it.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Pay it forward and Sunday night chit chat.

In reply to Sft's question - "how have you spent the day?".....

Got up early so that I could finish a purse that wasn't on my PhD (Projects half-done) list, but I saw it in a book last night and had to have it. I crocheted last night whilst watching Casualty and then got up this morning to line it and make the flowers. Do you like it? I am so in love with crochet!

I then met a gorgeous couple who had come to buy a travel cot I was selling (£10 profit in the pot). Their beautiful baby girl is 7 weeks old and has outgrown her Moses basket ..... she weighed in at 11lbs 8oz and she is scrumptious. Mum and baby doing really well. I gave her a little book/teether that I had bought as a gift. I had been thinking for a while about the "Pay it forwards" idea. Have you heard of this? I'll tell you more in a bit...

Went for a walk with Mr Thrifty and Zena down by the river; sunny but very cold, and good to get out and shake away the cobwebs. Popped in to Morrisons to peruse bargains. Finished baby hat (PhD #2) and then cooked supper which we ate early because we didn't do lunch today.

Now, for my first ever


What am I ......


Bill Bryson "At Home" - fascinating book but taking me some time to get through (probably because I keep crafting!)

Pay it Forward

Young Trevor McKinney, troubled by his mother's alcoholism and fears of his abusive but absent father, is caught up by an intriguing assignment from his new social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet. The assignment: think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor conjures the notion of paying a favor not back, but forward--repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people. Trevor's efforts to make good on his idea bring a revolution not only in the lives of himself, his mother and his physically and emotionally scarred teacher, but in those of an ever-widening circle of people completely unknown to him. I found this film utterly inspiring and have watched it 3 times now. When I met this young couple today  just felt the urge to do something nice for them and they were thrilled with the little book. Isn't it gorgeous?

If you need more inspiration go and take a look at this blog   Ashley chronicles her battles with cancer and is still full of joy. In this entry she talks about a Pay if Forward day. I found a website that talks of a Pay it Forward day on 26th April. Think of the joy we could spread.................. Wow!

Listening to?

Here's what I listen to a lot of the time .... it is beautiful:

Mohave 3
Excuses for Travellers


Shepherd's Pie (quorn version) with Spring greens and carrots

Looking forward to?

Polar Bear: Spy on the Ice

On BBC1 tonight. I adore programmes like this; anything to do with nature and wildlife.

Thankful for today?

I have enough to eat, somewhere to call home, work, health,  family and friends. I am truly blessed.

All shall be well...

"And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

Although I grew up in Norfolk I hadn't heard of Mother Julian of Norwich until relatively recently, having been introduced to her when I was doing a masters degree at the University of East Anglia. She was an anchoress, born in Norwich in 1342 and lived into her 70s. During her time as an anchoress she had a series of visitations or "showings of love" which she later describes and she is regarded as one of the most important English mystics. The above quote was something I held onto during a very dark period of my life and I believe it to be true. Reading some other blogs this morning, I am aware that there are bloggers out there feeling low and unwell and so I just wanted to share this thought. Maybe it will speak to someone and lift their spirits. I hope so.

In the meantime, there is a pot of tea brewing, so feel free to call in for a cuppa and a chat xxx

Saturday, 18 February 2012

PhDs and frugal menus

Good Evening Lovely Readers

Mr Thrifty and I got up at the crack of dawn (okay slight exaggeration) to make sure that the house shone for our viewing today and then after lunch the estate agent rang to say that the prospective viewer's sale had fallen through so they wouldn't be viewing today after all. Was I fed up? Not at all. It meant that we had a lovely clean house to enjoy and an afternoon to do as we pleased. I had even managed to beat the rain today and dried a line of washing - there are definite benefits to living on the east coast.

PhD number 1 is complete. I have set myself a target of trying to complete one "Project half-done" each week until they are no more. On Friday evening I got to work on the half completed baby cardigan and here it is:

 I am really rather chuffed with it. It feels divine.
The pattern had a plain collar and I decided to use my newly discovered crocheting skills to make a more ornate collar, as well as trimming the cuffs. Instead of knitting it separately as the pattern suggested, I picked up stitches around the neckline and then knitted in garter stitch for a few rows. Then I swapped to crochet to make the frill and finished it off with little flowers on the pockets. Do you like it? I wonder which special baby will end up wearing it. It has one of my special labels stitched into the collar saying "handmade with love" and a tiny sheep - aren't they adorable?

 Here's the pattern book I used. I also changed the yarn because I wanted to use baby bamboo. It feels so soft and I would imagine is pretty much hypo-allergenic for sensitive babies. For the edging I used soya wool which I discovered in my local wool shop. Both yarns would be suitable for vegans. The bamboo is quite a heavy yarn but very soft and smooth and lovely to knit with. I use bamboo needles too and the yarn just slips through the needles beautifully. The soya yarn in much lighter, but just as soft.

This week's menus are also done and the shopping completed. Next week I will try and post our spending for the month, but it's going well and with all the Ebay sales I am hoping to be able to add to the savings fund. Hope you find it useful. For UK readers, Morrisons have large bags of baking potatoes for 30p and packs of pears also at 30p this week.

Menu planner week beginning: 18.2.2012
Porridge or granola
Watercress soup
Homemade wholemeal bread
 Vegetarian chilli + jacket potatoes
Cheese + tortilla chips
Scrambled egg on toast
Shepherd’s pie (quorn)
Spring greens
Panettone bread pudding
Cheese on toast
Scones + jam
Porridge or granola
Vegetable soup +
Homemade wholemeal bread
Tuna + sweet corn pasta bake
Side salad
Porridge or granola
Vegetable soup +
Homemade wholemeal bread
Spanish omelette
Poached  eggs on toast
Tomato + basil soup + bread
 Spaghetti + sardines + anchovies in sweet chilli sauce
Porridge or granola
Cous cous salad with feta + olives
Homemade mushroom pizza  
Porridge or granola
Cheese + tomato rolls
Wild mushroom risotto

Sleep well xxx

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Awards and PhDs

My lovely follower Lena has given me the Versatile Blogger Award - my second in a week and I feel very honoured - thank you Lena x 
The rules of the prize are:
1. Thank the person who gave you the reward
2. Link back that person
3. Select blogs that you've recently discovered (and think deserve it) and nominate them
4. Tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

I wrote 7 random things earlier in the week, so I do hope you'll forgive me Lena if I link back to those.     

 However, I will add that I have visited Russia twice and saw Moscow and St Petersburg (Leningrad) in 1977 and again in 1990. The difference was phenomenal. The first time I was only 16 and the culture shock was huge. Another girl and I queued for hours for what we thought was ice-cream only to find out that it was lard - yeuk! I loved the black bread, the tea in samovars and the night trains. The second time we were allowed in the Kremlin and saw Faberge eggs and royal carriages. 

The other award I will talk about this evening is my PhD.

Yes, I am joking. PhD = Projects Half Done!  As part of the big clean up I sorted my crafting area. I organised all my materials into one cupboard..... here they are.

This used to be my glass cupboard but I managed to relocate the glasses that we used and get rid of the rest. I then lined the cupboard with a pretty wallpaper and organised my fabric stash.

The confession though .... and the PhD.... is the number of incomplete projects I uncovered. So here is the list:

Half a lovely black pure wool scarf
A blue baby cardigan knitted in baby bamboo but never sewn up.
A cream baby cardigan which just needs half a sleeve, sewing together and buttons.
One almost complete sock knitted in baby alpaca (soooo soft).... I wanted to try knitting on 4 needles.
Another sock knitted in a multi-coloured sock yarn and missing its partner
A white baby hat - never sewn up.
A pullover started in eco-wool for Pie when he was 3 ..... he is now 7 .... I have unpicked it this evening.
A multi-coloured baby cardigan - only just started in Adriafil Knitcol (100% merino wool) - because I saw the wool on my local wool shop and fell in love with it. Half a back complete.

There, confession over. I was raised a Catholic - we do guilt! So, adding to my resolutions.. I resolve to complete these projects and post each one when completed and you, lovely readers, are my witnesses. I made a start this evening, completing the blue bamboo cardigan which is now all sewn up and waiting for its neckband and buttons. I promise to finish what I start!

Finally, a huge welcome to my new readers. Have a wonderful evening, wherever you are xxx

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

De-clutter challenge

Hello Wonderful Readers - thank you for dropping in and making sure that I am not (yet) talking to myself. A huge, warm welcome to Jane + Chris, Grace at oldpolicehouse and Lena. If you have been following my blog, you will know that I am doing Carla's "Low (no) spend/Declutter Challenge" - you can find the lovely Carla's details here:

So, in the spirit of sharing, here are the results of this week's work - amazing what a half-term and a house viewing can do?

From this.....

to this.

From this,

and this.......

to this,

and this.

Oh deary me......

and there's worse...............

Ta da ...... it's a miracle!

Thank heavens the view out back needs no tidying!

I am sooo tired and Mr Thrifty has already gone to bed. It took us 3 days, but the viewing went well.  My lovely  Partnership Support Worker from Hearing Dogs came today and left with 7 books and 17 magazines ..... no-one is safe!!!

Sleep well dear readers ..... I know I will xx

Monday, 13 February 2012

Crochet crazy and frugal crafting

Good Morning Lovely Readers

Whilst I have been busy sorting frugal menus and cooking, I haven't neglected my crafting. I have finished my first scarf (took me 5 days) and I am thrilled with it - really thrilled - I am going to have to go for a walk in the snow today just so that I can wear it. It is crocheted using the 100% wool I told you about that was on offer in Lidl a while ago. It cost me £1 per ball and the scarf took 5 x 50gram balls, so the total cost was £5. The pattern is from Cute and Easy Crochet by Nicki Trench (same as the cushion and the cafetiere warmer). There are so many lovely patterns in her book. Please do tell me what you think..... I only learnt to crochet about a month ago and this scarf has double treble stitch (UK) in it, so now I have mastered that. The pattern calls for 7 x 50gram balls, but it was plenty long enough after 5, so I stopped. So, here is my very own ta da moment......

Cuddling with awesome cushion

Ready to go

In detail

So come on all you awesome crocheters, tell me how I'm doing

And now for a very different craft.

Take one T-Shirt costing £1.29 from Approved Foods (I swear they don't give me commission).

Cat to watch proceedings not essential.

Go to This Mama Makes blog and find pattern for turning T-Shirt into new-born gown.

Tutorial here:

And then start sewing...... 

This Mama Makes Stuff gives you the 
pattern as a pdf file which can be 
printed off easily.

This is my first go, and I am not over happy with the neckline, but This Mama Makes Stuff
says this is the most difficult bit .. so I'll keep practising it.

Don't you just love the fact that the song lyrics are on the back?

I still need to thread elastic through the bottom to finish the gown. This  garment is so quick and easy to make and so cheap too. I have already stashed all the boys old T-Shirts away ready to be adapted. 

The only alteration I made was to sew all the seams wrong side first and then the right side, so that there are no open seams on the inside of the garment to rub against baby's skin. The other lovely thing about T-Shirts is that they are usually 100% cotton. I only ever use Fairy Non-Bio to wash our clothes and so even used ones won't have been subjected to harsh chemicals. If you are using old T-Shirts and have washed in biological detergents, I would put the garments though the machine without detergent and then run the rinse cycle 2 or 3 times to get rid of detergent residues.

Have a lovely day - I will - it's half-term xxx