Thursday, 20 October 2016

Lucky find

Hello. Just a short one tonight. I've been nattering on the phone tonight for absolutely ages. Nephew rang and it must have been almost a year since I last spoke to him, so there was a lot of catching up to do. He has a busy life with a full time job, a long commute, and three young children. I could hear them in the background. It went quiet when they went to bed.
I've been wanting another short break away somewhere before the clocks change and we have shorter days. I've searched for the right accommodation, at the place I want to be, at a price I want to pay. It's taken ages and flippin ages. At last, I found somewhere. I fancied a bit more luxury this time, not a hostel, but not so silly expensive. A nice-ish hotel. Have a look here. What do you reckon, good innit. 
Look what I found in Wilko yesterday. I was checking cat food prices, and saw a shelf with REDUCED on it, worth a look. Tester pots of paint at 10p each. Might as well stock up, you never know when you might need it, always comes in useful for those little crafty jobs. 
Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

What can you do with a tin of peas

Hello. There are some days when I don't mind what I eat, as long as it's cheap and fills me up. Saying that, you won't find any meat or fish in my fridge, unless it's cheap white fish for the cats, I no longer buy ready meals either. I will sometimes splash out a bit more dosh for something extra delicious, but not very often because I can make tasty food from scratch myself. So, I buy my food on price. My meals don't always look appetizing, my aim is to eat it, not to step back and admire my handiwork. 
A while ago I picked up a dented tin of mushy peas from Tesco, maybe I ought it eat it. 
My lunch yesterday was a spud in the microwave and half of the peas. Scoff scoff, it filled my tum, and at only 15p, it was a bargain. Bags of spuds are in season and cheap at the moment.

Dinner last night was steamed sprouts, broccoli, potatoes, and an onion, topped with the other half of the peas. Another tum filler at possibly 40p, a wild guess.

This is ten shopping bags waiting to be assembled. I had a fabric sample book from the Scrapstore and took it apart. The pieces weren't big enough to make a complete bag and handles, so I have used other fabric for the handles. I don't think it will matter, the two sides will be different anyway because there is only one sample of each. Best get on with it then. Need them for the Christmas Fair.  

Thanks for all your comments on the previous post, it's good to hear that we are all on the same wavelength. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Do not despair, make it a challenge.

Hello. We wake up this morning to more doom and gloom in the press, inflation is rising and we are all going to have to pay more for the things we need to give us the life that we aspire to. But wait a minute, not everyone will suffer, those of us who understand the difference between a need and a want, will still be able to adjust our finances to get the best possible deals. We know it's all down to juggling, and from the comments I get from my readers, most of us have got it about right, so this post is not aimed at you. 
What do you do when you can't afford to buy new clothes from a High Street shop? Answer, you go to a charity shop, a car boot sale, a rummage sale, a garage sale, accept hand me downs, swap clothes with friends, look on ebay and the free sites. 
What do you do when you can't afford expensive brand name foods? Answer, you try the shop's own brand, you buy the Value and Basics labels, you shop around in different places, you get to know the prices of everything you buy on a regular basis, you look for reductions, offers, and out of date reductions. 
What do you do when you can't afford your utilities? Answer, you check how many kw's you are using per annum and go on the comparison sites and look for a better deal. You contact your present provider and ask them for a cheaper tariff. You use less gas, electricity, and water by not switching things on until it is absolutely necessary. Flick a switch, turn a tap on, it will cost you.
Petrol is going up, how can you spend less? By driving correctly, not rushing about, no harsh braking or fast acceleration. Plan your driving by what you can see ahead of you. There's been many times when I have seen a bend or a junction up ahead and have slowed down by just taking my foot off the gas, when the car in front has approached it at speed, then slammed their brakes on. Remove all the clutter from your car, more weight uses more petrol. 
Shop around for literally everything. Think about what you need, then look in different places to get the best price. Give yourself time before you sign a cheque, open your purse, or put your card in a machine. Be very aware of what you are spending your money on. Absolutely no impulse spending, go home and think about it. 
Put a little money aside every week or month, into a savings account. Doesn't have to be much. One day you will need a new washer or fridge. Your car will eventually conk out, if you have planned and saved it won't be so painful when you come to change it. I've had my car almost two years, I started saving as soon as I got it, there will be enough in the pot when I come to change it. 
If you enjoy a few extras at Christmas, start saving on January the 1st. If you like a summer holiday, have a pot for that. Write a plan on a piece of paper, you don't need fancy electronic gadgets to keep track of your money, a notebook does the same job. The miles I do for my walking challenge are recorded on a calendar, I don't need a gadget for that. Pen and paper is all you need. Keep a spending diary, record every penny you spend, look back on it often. 
All this is common sense, and a lot of you who are a similar age to myself will know what I am talking about. It's the younger people who are struggling, those that don't get the benefit of savvy parents to teach them, which I feel for. 
Right, so what do you do when you are really struggling to make ends meet? All of the above, but what you don't do is BORROW. Loan companies know people will be struggling once inflation rises and gets a grip,  they will be increasing their advertising to reel in all those who don't know which way to turn next. The sharks are waiting for the kill.
Do not fall for it. MSE is full of posts from people who are in such a mess with their finances. They know they have been living beyond their means, and know they will never have a life if they don't try and do something about it. Borrowing is too easy. Spending someone else's money is too easy. If people can't afford to pay for something, how are they going to afford the repayments? Look at the figures below, found on a random web site. Borrow £3,000 to buy a car. It takes three years to pay it back. You will have paid £5,143 to this company if you borrow from them, and you will be left with a scrap heap of a car worth nothing.   
What did I do when I started driving? I bought a battered old Bedford van for cash saved. Changed it for another slightly better van, then worked my way up with more old vehicles. I went to car maintenance classes at the college to learn how to do the basics. And at long last after years of driving around in a vehicle which I could never be sure of it getting me there, I now have a decent car. 
So, don't despair if the cost of living is going up, try and keep one step ahead. Appreciate what you already have. Find ways of staying in control, make it a challenge, don't let the buggers beat you. There is Life after Money. 
Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Monday, 17 October 2016

The cutting edge of crafting

Hello. I've found something which you crafters out there might want to have a go at. Slashing, have you heard of it? Have a look at this video,.

This is my first attempt. I decided to use black fabric, yes it is black, a fitted double bedsheet I bought from Age UK charity shop for £1. I also decided to make circles and not lines like the video. My fabric is double,  I used a large bowl as a guide for the biggest circle, drawing around it with chalk. Then added more circles using a ruler. The lines are 2cm apart. In the middle I sandwiched all kinds of scraps, then machined around the lines. Next, as the video shows, I used a small pair of scissors to slash through all layers of the fabric, leaving the bottom layer of black intact. It doesn't look much like the video, I realized I had made the lines too far apart so the coloured fabric didn't fluff up to the surface.Even after washing the slashes still didn't open up.

I trimmed the black with nail scissors to open up the slashes, that's better. Now more colours are coming to the surface.

It does look a bit like a spinning wheel, the red appears to be radiating out from the centre. That's because I used smaller pieces of fabric than the video, and laid strips from the centre towards the edge, like spokes on a wheel. I think it's best to lay fabric across the stitching rather than following the line of stitching.

I still have the black ditches between the colours but I think that looks nice.

I will have a think about what to do next. I had in mind to make a picture and frame it, but I suppose it could be made into a bag. I might add some hand stitching to it when I find the right thread.

Do you fancy having a go at this, it's quite easy. There are lots of videos showing how to do it.

I've been to have my free flu jab today, and coming up next week is my free health check.

We've just had a massive downpour, the road turned into a river. The sun is shining now so I think I'd better go and do my walk. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip