Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Crochet crazy

Hello lovely readers. How are you? I am still crochet crazy and here are my little projects so far....

My cafetiere warmer:
Just needs a button and a stitch in the bottom!

My milk jug cover and my very first Granny square! Ooo I am so excited. I just love it. The colours are so bright and warm and will really brighten up the kitchen. The yarn is pure cotton and just super to work with. I am going to finish the cushion cover next and then... who knows.... I might go crochet visiting and get inspiration from all the fabulous blogs out there.

Tomorrow I start the Low Spend/De-clutter challenge. Wish me luck.

I wish you all a wonderful evening xxx

Monday, 30 January 2012

Welcome to my blog

Welcome to my lovely new readers - it is such a delight when people join and it makes me feel as though I am really connecting to someone out there. There is a gadget at the bottom of my blog which shows where readers come from (you can click and download it for your own blog if you like) and I find it thrilling that people are reading this blog from the UK, the USA, Canada, India, Germany, Portugal, France, Australia, Italy, Belgium, Holland - who are you? Come and join me and lets get to know each other.

I get so much inspiration from the people who comment on my pages and from the beautiful blogs I go and visit. It feels like popping in to someone's world for a little while. How magical that we can do this. There are the lovely people who have helped and truly inspired me with their awesome crochet and others who have really helped me tighten my belt and decide to work towards a debt-free life. I don't know of anywhere else you could find all this amazing expertise and genuine desire to help. I try to visit all of the blogs I sign up for, but particularly the people who choose to join me. In a world where the extended family has been eroded by the necessity for people to move where they can find work, the blogging world almost seems like an extended family. Several lovely people called by to offer me help with my wobbly crochet - thanks Sue and Mum. The amazing Angie from Le Monde de Sucrette stopped by to tell me I was doing well - have you seen this woman's crochet? Wow!!!!! There's also Stocki, Lucy at The Attic and Mum whose work is wonderful too... I am too jealous for words at their masterpieces. Over at the Frugal Forum I got some great feedback on the little pinafore dress I made for my niece, Pumpkin.

Sft has a fabulous blog on saving and I have joined her sealed pot challenge. She joined Astra and Crystal Rainbow in laughing with me at my series of flood disasters yesterday. On saving.. take a look at Laura at no more spending and Carla's No (low) spend/de-clutter challenge for February. Our New Life in the Country is another super blog - all these people offer their ideas, tips, skills, advice ... and all for free. That is such a blessing from the universe. If you have time, call in and see some of my chosen blogs - they are well worth the time.

In the meantime, thank you for calling in, whether you join or not, you are most welcome in my little world.  And thank you too for all the great ideas and advice.   If you were here I would offer you a nice cup of tea! But since you aren't here, I'll drink my tea and wish you all love and light.

Enjoy the rest of your day, wherever you are xxx

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Water, water everywhere...

Well today was going fine until .... how often have you said that to yourself? We need water. We are mostly made of water. I love water. However, today I could have done without quite so much water.

The hose which leads out of the dishwasher came loose and flooded the kitchen  floor. I disconnected the pipe and pulled the dishwasher out to allow the floor to dry. I then, and the cleverness of this still astounds me, chucked the bowl of dirty water down the sink and, having removed the pipes beneath the sink, it flooded out for a second time, undoing the work I had just put in for the last hour! I screamed. Loudly! Mr Thrifty then very kindly took over and mopped up a second time. Having done this Mr Thrifty treated himself to a lovely bath. I went to shower after he had finished and turned the shower on to warm up while I brushed my teeth. Naturally, I didn't think to check the shower curtain because it is ALWAYS in the bath ( the shower is over the bath)... only it wasn't, and when I turned round I had managed to flood the bathroom floor as well. Oh dear. oh dear.... I am off to crochet!

On a positive note, I have joined Saving For Travel's Sealed Pot Challenge - see the bar at the side of my blog. Challenge 1 - pay off overdraft! If you fancy joining in pop over and see Sft at http://sftandthe101challenge.blogspot.com/

Almost Free Breakfast

Breakfast with Number 2 and Gorgeous girlfriend was lovely.  We had to pay for drinks, but all the food was free thanks to clubcard vouchers. I use these a lot and they are such a good idea. I have just ordered some for Prezzo along with a subscription to a knitting magazine. Last year I enjoyed Good Housekeeping and Country Living thanks to Mr Tesco. It does mean we can have treats as a family without it costing much, if anything.

A relatively successful day yesterday. A couple of things sold on ebay and on Friday I listed a whole load of my clothes. The Norton Internet Security came free with a computer. The shoes were unworn and as I had had them for around 8 years, I thought it was time to let them go - they sold for £10. The dinosaur cost me £1 in Sainsburys, reduced from £8 and I sold it for £4. All this will go into my 2012 challenge. Every little helps as they say. Fingers crossed for next week's sale.

A huge welcome to my lovely new followers - it is such a delight logging in to find new people who have found my blog interesting enough to join. I am getting visitors from all over the world so please do come and join! Have a wonderful day xxx

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Raw Food Retreat

I have a dream of being a raw foodist, but my addiction to cooked food gets in the way.  Mr Thrifty and I tried 3 months raw a couple of years back and I really enjoyed it, but found it hard cooking for the family alongside preparing raw food. We also dived in at the deep end and then found it hard to sustain. When we are ready to try again, it will be slowly and thoughtfully. The best I have ever felt in my life was when I did a 12 day fast - I felt fantastic, but for some reason I have never got around to repeating the experience. I make excuses about the stress at work, blah, blah, blah.... you know how it is. I know in my heart that if I could embrace this lifestyle, I would sort my weight issues once and for all.  There is also a lot of research on eating less and living longer - hey, yet another way to be frugal!

My lovely friend, Jenny Yemaya, is a real inspiration in the raw food world and a real fount of knowledge on the subject. She is running this wonderful weekend with the amazing Kate Magic (her books are fabulous).   She also runs swimming with dolphin holidays in Bimini. Have a look at the links if you are interested. I would be off like a shot if redundancy wasn't looming! I pinched the following from Jenny's facebook page where you can probably go and see the original!

This weekend only last minute discount £50 off our retreat next weekend with Kate Magic demoing cacao delights, Lisa Simpson creating raw delights, LoveNature Frank teaching Yoga, Gillian Steer giving the best massage ever, last few bargain tickets available £247 each, come and join the Idetoxholidays magic :-)

Kate Magic & iDetoxHolidays 3rd~5th Feb 2012 – Nr Eastbourne, Sussex, UK Imagine Indulging In A Fabulous, Fun-Filled, Weekend With Great Friends

Friday, 27 January 2012

Being frugal

Oh how I need both of these. I need a cure for the hot flushes that wake me night after night (please leave tips on ways you have dealt with this if you are at "that age") and I need a good laugh. My lovely sister has bought me an early birthday present of a ticket to see the comedienne, Sarah Millican, in a few months and I can't wait. I think she is so funny. Laughter is such a tonic and as a teacher I use it a lot in the classroom to diffuse difficult situations. I was talking to my year 7s today about putting endings onto adjectives in French - we were doing physical descriptions. I scanned the room and then said that they definitely all had two eyes so when they described their eyes they needed an 's' on the colour. I was quite impressed with one bright spark who wrote that he had one blue eye - 'un oeil bleu' showing that he could use the singular instead of 'les yeux' - now there's initiative and a sense of humour!

Frugal living ..... spent £25.42 in Morrisons this evening - should last the week - apart from milk. I do so wish I didn't have to shop in supermarkets!
Listed 19 items on ebay (phew) and sold 3 that were listed last week. Just waiting to see if a couple more items sell. Made £25.50 which will go into the 2012 pot (the idea being to try and save £2012 this year). Have someone coming over this weekend to look at a latex mattress that we bought (eco-friendly) but found far too hard to sleep on! My 1000 de-clutter items were mostly given away, so it would be nice to start selling too.

Meeting Number 2 tomorrow for breakfast as a treat for him passing his chartered accountancy exams - Cafe Rouge tokens obtained through my Tesco clubcard vouchers, so it shouldn't cost us anything. I am so proud of him - he has worked really hard for this. Number 3s last day at home tomorrow and then he is back to uni with a full food box and clean washing! Will miss him - he makes me laugh and always sees the best in everyone and everything - it's a lovely disposition to have.

Hopefully time for crochet tomorrow - whoop whoop - and I had some lovely comments from "wonder crocheters" Angie and Jill so I am felling pretty pleased! Their blogs are on my page: 'Stocki' and 'Le Monde de Sucrette' if you want to see some totally fabulous crochet!

Sleep well xx

Thursday, 26 January 2012

De-clutter/Low spend challenge

I am joining Carla's  Low (No) Spend Challenge and a De-Clutter Challenge for February. I am keen to carry on de-cluttering and if you have been following me you will know I have managed 1000 items in 2 weeks. I HAVE to start cutting back spending, especially now that my school are talking about redundancies. Will you join too? I am going to have a think about how we can make savings and where we should divert the money.... overdraft/mortgage/emergency fund? This is how it works:

1. Choose a financial goal for the month.
2. Decide on how to achieve this plan.
3. Decide how to allot spending for the month.
4. Track all purchases - every penny.

Find out more on Carla's site (link above).

Crochet update ......

here are the little pots I posted yesterday - hopefully the colours are clearer now. I am so pleased with them.

I then tackled a wash cloth ... but ... it is wonky.  I need advice please.

The cotton was very cheap - £1.49 for 100 grams from B G Payne Crafts - I looked today and it is now selling at £1.39. They also have some very good deals on lovely coloured cottons by Lyric (from 50p)... they aren't sponsoring me by the way - I just like passing on bargains when I find them.

 And talking of bargains, my sister told me that Lidl were selling wool this week. These packs were £3.99 each (each ball is 50 grams) and are all 100% cotton. The cushion is being made using this cotton and it is really super to work with - so soft.

My cushion cover, like my wash cloth, is wonky at the edges .... what am I doing wrong dear reader? Please, please do leave your comments and tell me......

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

(W. H. Davies)

Back to school for me today. Question: can I balance the things I love doing with the things I have to do? Redundancies afoot at work thanks to a huge deficit and there is to be restructuring, so will find out exactly what this means today. Fingers crossed it's not all doom and gloom..

Home again - and work left thankfully behind me. Today wasn't so bad and the students were pleased to see me, preferring me to the supply teacher they had named Mr Potato Head. Doesn't sound like much of a contest. A huge welcome to my new followers - thank you for joining my blog.

So, here we are and back to crochet.... projects moving on: Here are my finished pots - I even did the picot edging - pleased as punch with myself. They are a bit dark, but they are actually lovely vibrant colours; a glass jar of buttons and a pencil pot; an up-cycled yoghurt jar and a baked bean tin! I am also having a go at a cushion cover and it's going well and sooooo easy (let's face it, if I can do it, it has to be easy).

Monday, 23 January 2012

Crochet crazy....

Good Evening

Another day here of mad tidying and clearing ... is there light at the end of the tunnel? I do hope so. Frugal living going well and another delivery arrived from Approved Foods. 6 packs of linguine for £1 and a similar price for lasagne - out of date but it is absolutely fine! Finished off yesterday's veggie chilli with apple crumble made from apples from my sister's garden. Yum! Heard that there are going to be redundancies from school, so might need to be even more frugal! Makes sense to live each day as it comes, because we don't know what is in store.

Number 4 had a doctor's appointment after school tonight to investigate a sore neck and a freaky fainting fit which occurred at the weekend. He stood up and just keeled over - quite frightening. Anyway, the doctor puts it down to his height - 6' 7" - sore neck from looking down and fainting from not getting blood to brain in time and so brain shuts off blood supply to legs - poor chap. He gave me quite a fright when he went down - was out for the count for several seconds, just staring into space - seemed ages at the time.

On a more cheerful note, I am slowly getting the hang of the crochet stitches - it is sooo compulsive! Here are some of my little projects - as a week old crocheter I am rather pleased with myself - I am sure all the competent crocheters out there will think these not very good.. but hey ho, you have to start somewhere. My inspirations (help) came from
Angie at http://www.lemondedesucrette.com/ - the big flower
Michelle at http://theroyalsisters.blogspot.com/ - the square (might make it into a blanket one day...)
and Lucy at http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/ - for the little flowers and the jar cover.

I have been admiring some truly fabulous crochet on the web and wondering why I never really learnt this wonderful skill before now.

Here they are

I wish you all a peaceful night xx

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Sewing crazy

Astra commented last night on my de-cluttering, as did Betty - thank you and Good Morning Ladies. Betty is evidently a force to be reckoned with as she has one outfit for each day of the week. Wow! Astra is going the other way and has lovely pictures on her site of her new Retro sewing machine. This reminded me of my first sewing projects, undertaken in my teens. Fabric was much cheaper then and it was far cheaper to sew clothes than to buy them. I used a machine my mother had inherited from my paternal grandmother which was manual. If my older brother was feeling charitable, he would come and wind the handle at incredible speed while I steered the material. We both laughed! It was just like this one:

There are family stories of my grandmother saving this from its route to the pawn shop on occasions in the arms of my grandfather who certainly liked a tipple. It was a good solid machine and the bobbin was a little shuttle that went back and forth, unlike the round ones of today. It only did the one stitch which sufficed back then. My father died when I was 21 and with some money I was gifted at the time I purchased my first New Home machine. I stitched my way through university making clothes for myself and friends, and then sewed for my four children when they arrived. I remember making lots of all-in-ones with poppers around the bottoms, which were so practical and made in lovely cottons. We lived in Sheffield at the time, where I met Mr Thrifty at university, and there was a great fabric market where you could buy wonderful fabrics for really good prices. I remember being very impressed with the zigzag function! I made a beautiful christening gown for my niece.

I knitted a lot then too. This is a little cardigan which has stood the test of time and was worn by Numbers 1 to 4 as well as by Pie. There are now, sadly, some yellow stains and I'd love advice from all you wonderful home makers as to how I could remove them - washing hasn't helped.
It was a cute Phildar pattern and if I still had the pattern I would knit it again - I loved it so much. It has little pants to match with paw prints stitched on!

After nearly 30 years, I decided it was time to invest in a new machine and bought this one, which does a phenomenal array of stitches including letters.... hence my output of towels and pillowcases! I find it very exciting. Jaymay is the new name for New Home, so I am hoping this machine lasts as long as my last trusty one.

So, what have you been up to? Do you have treasured things that you have crafted? I'd love to see......

Saturday, 21 January 2012


This is the name I found on a website about getting rid of clutter and oh, how true. I found my 20 items - for those of you new to my blog, I have set myself a challenge of getting rid of 5,000 items by Easter. I started 2 weeks ago with 500 and that set me thinking, that if it was that easy (well relatively) to dispose of 500 items, why not 5,000?

Clutter audit: 500 items - Total 1000!

Today is a very grey, rainy day here in Suffolk and a walk on the beach was out of the question in spite of Zena's requests! As you can see, water doesn't bother her.
Do you have these at home?

Instead... more tidying and shopping completed and I am now sitting down with a cup of tea and pondering a new crochet project. We spent £30.28 today, leaving us with 78 pence for the rest of the week. If we manage we will be on target to stay with our £60 per week total. Number 3 goes back to uni next weekend, so then things could be even cheaper, although I have done him a food box to take back.

 Number 4, in spite of his impressive height of 6' 7" doesn't seem to eat much. Mind you, given that when he is not at school he is laying on his bed playing x-box games, one would assume that a huge number of calories is not necessary. I, on the other hand, have only to think of a calorie and it is stuck to my hips! So, you ask, the healthy eating resolution? Well, does that include mince pies? They are leftovers after all.... so I am being frugal am I not? Then I saw this and thought "Now there's the answer!"

Friday, 20 January 2012

Still off-sick from work (return next Wednesday) so today is the day that we have to turn Aladdin's Cave aka a de-clutterer's heaven into a show home. We have our house on the market and following a Christmas lull we are hoping for some viewings this weekend. The estate agent has recommended reducing the price by £10,000 and is putting the house in the local press today. We are currently surrounded by boxes from Approved Foods, sewing and knitting projects, stuff ready to sell, and the general clutter of everyday living.  I have been clearing out with a vengeance, but you know how it is..... I got carried away and there are now several mountains of stuff to sort!  Mr Thrifty and I have decided that we have to clear this today in anticipation of some viewings over the weekend. If we sell, we can downsize and reduce our considerable mortgage, as well as making space for new projects (more of that later). I would much rather be crafting, but needs must. I have done my menus for the week, made a minimal shopping list and audited the fridge, freezer and cupboards - all positive! Action ...... I do wish motivation came in a bottle.

Enjoy your day x


Oh dear, oh dear..... spent all day cleaning and only did the kitchen - but I did empty all the cupboards including the larder and then reorganised them all. Seemed to take forever and have just sat down with Mr Thrifty and a cup of cocoa.

Update on the clutter clear-out... I have to find 20 things to take to the charity shop tomorrow or sell or I don't reach my 500 item target. My daughter used to say that she had to be very careful when I wandered around the house muttering "use it or lose it" because she knew that it was clear-out season.

Number 2 called to say that he had just passed 3 of his chartered accountancy exams and was chuffed to bits as he had found them hard. He only has a couple more left before he is completely qualified and he and lovely girlfriend are now house hunting. Perhaps I should just find 20 more things for their collection......

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Another day

The crochet project has come to a standstill. Without the book I carried on and a quick measurement against the cafetiere alerted me to the fact that I had overshot the runway - ah well. Will wait until the weekend to retrieve book and continue WITH pattern! Might have to start another project though as I am enjoying it so much. Have to say I am very pleased with first efforts.... now to tackle more complex stitches!

Been reading some inspirational blogs around the subjects of crafting and being frugal - there are some amazing people out there - links on my page if you would like to discover for yourself.

Managed to find 15 items of boys clothing for charity yesterday, so 20 items needed by Friday to meet 500 target. Doctor had signed me off until nest Wednesday, so have time to sort! £212 of monthly food budget of £240 spent so far, so next week will be a mega-frugal week. That said, we have substantial supplies from Approved Foods and much of this will last well into next month. Shared last shop with Sister, who is self-confessed shopaholic and gently introducing her to thrifty ways. Not sure if I can tackle her Chanel budget, but you never know. She thought that pinafore for Pumpkin could match Boden, so I was somewhat delighted with my first review.

Going to have a birthday wish list for things I mustn't purchase and first is this lovely book I saw on my site trawling expedition at 5am this morning (early I know, but the menopause and associated wild fluctuations in temperature are not conducive to good sleep).

Sue, from http://ournewlifeinthecountry.blogspot.com/ (a lovely blog) has put a link on her site for a super meal planner. What a great idea thought I. All helps in the frugal war. Meals for next week planned and shopping list (frugal) made!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Busy, busy, busy..

Mad day today. Zena has to be at the dog groomers by 9.30 (a 20 minute drive away) and then I have to go and buy dog food and pick up the crochet book I stupidly left at sister's yesterday. Doctors appointment this afternoon and if health complications have abated, will be back at school tomorrow. Going to try and find 35 things to donate to charity this morning on way through to dog groomer, so I can reach my de-clutter target of 500 items for the week. Brought a box of boy's clothing out of the attic the other day, so I shall start there. Number 3 and Number 4 grew very rapidly leaving clothes behind them and are currently 6'6" and 6'7" - at a not so tiny 5'10" myself. I feel positively short beside them. Must have been a combination of extended breastfeeding and the gene pool. Number 1 (female) is 6' and Number 2 is 6'4½" - the same as Mr Thrifty. I am sure you can imagine that these bodies take some feeding - not like toddlers! Number 3, who is now at university for part of the year, is very slender and permanently hungry. All suggestions gratefully received. Although Mr Thrifty and I are vegetarian. the boys are not and Sister has promised to cook Number 3 a steak in the knowledge that I wouldn't know what to do with one (nor the inclination). He is positively drooling at the thought and apparently mother of lovely friend has offered the same..... he might look starving but I do promise he eats ... and eats... and eats!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Happy Birthday Mr Thrifty

Mr Thrifty's birthday today and Pumpkin has just telephoned to wish him a happy birthday. Apparently she wanted to do so at 4am and was persuaded that it was a little early. Birthday breakfast - splashed out on a box of croissants (£1) from Tescos. Last night's attempts at crochet had to be unravelled... will try again today. Found a lovely blog belonging to Lucy who makes simply staggeringly beautiful things ...... I shall keep dreaming. http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/

Sewing going well - completed 2 more pillowcases and 2 towels this morning with thread found on-line for 66p for 1000 yards. Thought it might break in machine, but no problems at all! Really pleased with that.

Thank you very much to beloved sister and mother of Pumpkin and Pie for a lovely birthday tea for Mr Thrifty. Photograph of Pumpkin wearing pinafore dress to follow - the poor darling has been very sick and is as white as a sheet, so she will be photographed by her mother when she is feeling better. Compared crochet notes with sister who already can crochet and was given the thumbs up. This is the 3rd attempt at a cafetiere warmer (unfinished) and I must say I am rather chuffed as it is only day 2 of newly acquired skill.