Sunday, 31 December 2017

Charity Christmas Pudding Evening

I recently spent a very enjoyable evening at a Christmas Pudding making evening organised by the Reading branch of Cancer Research UK. I met up with current work chums and previous work chums.

It was held in the college kitchens. We each had our own work stations ready laid out with the recipe sheet & equipment. 

All the ingredients had been donated & we collected them from the weighing station.

Then got mixing.

Not only did I end up with my first ever home made Christmas Pudding, 

but we won the quiz

and I won a raffle prize, a beautiful handmade necklace donated by my friend and fellow quiz winner.

I also bought a few things from the craft stall.

I steamed the pudding at home.

Reheated it on Christmas Day

and very tasty it was too.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Birth of My She Shed

There is a brick built shed at the bottom of the garden. It used to be very much the domain of my ex, but over the years, like a lot of sheds, it got piled up with all sorts of stuff. 2 years ago you could only just open the door. 

All that changed last summer and I cleared it out, dumped what I didn't need, and stored in the garage what I might need or wanted to keep. I dismantled the old work bench but kept all the materials to reuse. Inspired by George Clarke's Amazing Spaces and Shed of the Year programmes I set out to create a She Shed which could be my craft haven.

On August bank holiday the make over began. I had no budget so could only use what I had stored away in the garage. The walls were painted different colours and the the wooden ceiling was painted blue & grey strips, inspired by beach huts.

I whitewashed & vanished the shelves, but the finish was really rough. I bought some glittery PVC to cover them with.

The kitchen cupboards came from my sister's old kitchen and had previously been in the shed. They had a good clean and a new coat of paint. The pinboard was a corkboard that a friend gave me, covered in an offcut of my favourite fabric in the stash.

The sides of the cupboards were really tatty. I covered them with sticky back plastic which cost £4.

 I rescued these old school desks which had been used in a local am dram and were heading for the skip. The need a bit of TLC but will eventually act as a work bench.

These shelves were made from the the base of my daughter's old bed and are home to my dolls houses.

A few favourite pictures on the wall and it's beginning to take shape.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Geeky Heart Bunting

Life took an unexpected turn at the beginning of the year so craft and blogging had to take a back seat.

This is a little frugal something that I made back in September for my daughter to put in her room at university.
Using fabric from my stash, I cut out some hearts & some wadding to stuff them.

I embroidered words from some of her favourite TV shows & films on calico panels.

Oh Boy - from Quantum Leap
Shiny - from Firefly
Dracarys - from Game of Thrones
Run - from Doctor Who
Always - from Harry Potter (and Castle)
Bored - from Sherlock 

The only thing that I had to buy was some ribbon which cost less than £1.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Patchwork Door Curtain

This is a project that I started last winter & finished this winter. I have quite a stash of fabric left over from various projects.

 In an attempt to help reduce my every increasing fuel bill I made a patch work curtain for the back door. I don't use the door during the winter months so I made a static curtain with tabs which were just pinned up last year.

I cut out rectangles of fabric the width of my quilting ruler. I didn't want to do anything too fussy.

I had some left over wadding but had to buy 1 meter which cost about £2. For its first winter I pinned it up as it was. This year I have backed it & edged it with an old duvet cover. I bought some poppers to fasten the curtain tabs. They cost me 79p.

It's been difficult to get the final picture with the light shining through bit here it is. It's hung from an old shower curtain rail which is covered in a scrap of pipe insulation. It cost me less than £3 and keeps a surprising amount of cold out and heat in.  

Monday, 10 October 2016

5 Frugal Things

Two of my favorite bloggers have inspired me this month. Frugal Queen is having a No Spend October and Skint Dad is having a 'reduce your supermarket spend and use up what's in the store cupboard' challenge. 
So to quote Frugal Queen I am 'rebooting my inner frugal. 

1 - I started the month by switching energy supplier and cancelling my Sky TV contract - something I should have done ages ago.

2 - I've reduced my supermarket spend by buying mainly just fresh fruit and veg and using up what's in the cupboard and freezer.

3 - I've bulk cooked soup and curry. It's been frozen to add to the month's food supply.


4 - Although I'm trying not to spend on extras this month there are a few things I need for maintenance jobs. New fence panel capping £1.70 each, but will prolong the life of the fence. A new threshold for the shed. £3.50 from the local wood yard and well worth the money to keep all the winter weather blowing into the shed through the gap under the door.

 5 -  I rescued some old school desks that were going to be dumped. They will be made over and used as a work bench in the shed.

Let's hope I can keep up the good work until the end of the month. 

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Upcycling funiture for Uni

It's my daughter's second year and university and she moved from halls to renting a house with some friends. Her room is big but only had a bed a desk and a wardrobe. Time to upcycle all those bits of furniture that I'd kept in case it was useful one day.

The chest of draws that was originally bought for the nursery got its 4th make over. We repainted it & stenciled some flowers & butterflies. The bedside table, not sure where it came from but couldn't throw it out, got the same treatment.

A set of old office draws that were destined for a skip during an office move got a new set of wheels.

This laundry bin was given to my Mum & Dad as a wedding present. I inherited it  when I bought my first house. It had been sitting in the garage for years and was in need of some TLC.

A new top, new feet, a coat or three of paint and a fabric cover on the new top and it's back in use for blanket & quilt storage. 

We did have to buy a couple of inexpensive shelving units from Ikea, and she also wanted a small lamp table. We couldn't find a suitable table for the space but did find a CD tower for £5 which had the right footprint.

It too got a make over. A good rub down & a few coats of paint. I made padded covers for the CD slats which can be used as mini pinboards for photos. It's a bit unusual, but it works.

It's been a busy summer working on everything, but it's been such fun, we saved money  and we've created a real home from home for her.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Upcycled Glass Display Cabinet

Now I love a cup of tea and I have quite a collection of teapots. I searched the second hand shops for something to house them and found a 1980's mirror backed glass cabinet in a local charity shop for £25.

It sat in the garage for ages as I didn't fancy sanding it down with all that glass. I tried using varnish stripper but that would still need sanding. Then, a fellow blogger introduced me to chalk paint powder. 

Mixed with emulsion paint it makes chalk paint so no need to strip the wood.

It took a few coats to cover the dark wood.

Since I've cleared out the shed, I can use the work bench, and I can keep away from the cats trying to help me.

I stenciled on a few flowers to match another up-cycled cupboard in the room.

I found the glass in the back of the cabinet a bit too much, so I put a frosted film over it.

Finished and full of teapots.