Sunday, 29 January 2012

*Free Entertainment

I quite often hear people say, 'there's nothing on telly' or usually a more 'aggressive' version of this sentiment! I've even said it myself. It's true that TV doesn't have the same pull as it did in say, the 70's, when the majority of the country watched the same programme on a Saturday night. Not only were there up to 20 million people watching the same programme, but it was at the same time (no iplayer) and families sat together in the same room with just the one household television.
Those days are long gone, but you would think that greater choice was a good thing. Unfortunately, the reality is that it is difficult to find something actually worth viewing. Standards are definitely lower.
The same can't be said for radio. Certainly in this country, we have access to lots of interesting and diverse offerings. Everyone knows that BBC radio 4 is special. Lots to learn and entertain, some laughs and even subjects to make you mad on occasion.
I flit from one station to another constantly, listen to usually four on a regular basis. My favourite 'at home' one is BBC 6 Music. Today I have spent a very pleasant couple of hours listening to this Leonard Cohen interview.

What could be better - a quiet Sunday afternoon, a bit of sewing, cup of coffee and Leonard Cohen's voice in the background. Marvellous!

* Free if you have access to a DAB radio.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Frugal and Crafty

Today I had a day off work, so arranged to have lunch with a friend. No, that's not the frugal bit, but somewhere reasonably priced was picked.
Red House Farm
This local farm has diversified very successfully and offers all sorts - including the tea rooms where we had lunch. They also run a very well patronised farm shop.
Since I last visited - it's been a while, they have added an on site shop, selling bespoke hand painted furniture, vintage items and hand-crafted decorative homewares.
The shop was really lovely and left me feeling that I could use quite a number of their ideas. We shall see. The frugal part - well despite the huge temptations, lots of pretty things, my purse remained firmly closed. I think I did well!

The afternoon was completed by a brisk walk with the dogs.The ones mentioned here.

Internet Tutorials

After reading about quilting and tutorials, on another blog -the excellent Frugal Queen, I was interested the watch the one she suggested.
However for me the best tutorials on Youtube are from The Missouri Star Quilt Company who I think had 118 videos on there at the last count. The enthusiasm from shop owner Jenny Doan,  is infectious and the music at the beginning quite hypnotic. they are well filmed, showing close up shots when needed and offer very clear instructions. I recommend them to all novice quilters.

The other set of tutorials I really like are from a UK based quilter - the very informative Rose Smith at Ludlow Quilt and Sew. Rose has 41 videos on Youtube. She also runs an online store for quilting supplies via her website - ludlowquiltandsew. Reasonable prices, free patterns and excellent tutorials. Oh and watch out for the inquisitive doggy in the background on the videos!

                                              LUDLOW QUILT AND SEW

Monday, 23 January 2012

Thrifty Quilting

I find myself completely engrossed in quilting - actually doing it, reading about it, watching tutorials on Youtube. Yep, definitely got the bug!
So, what to do next.......

Have picked the Speedwell Quilt in here.
It's from this book

Two from One Jelly Roll Quilts: Designs to Make 20 Adorable Small-Scale Jelly Roll Quilts
Although the instructions are for using half a jelly roll, my plan is to make my own jelly roll strips, using thrifted fabric. So, lots of visits to charity shops to look for interesting fabric in good condition. Bedding is often the best buy, especially if it new or as good as. Will also have a search in the land that time forgot, (aka spare bedroom) to see what no longer worn clothes can be procured.
Will post any WIP's.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Chain Reaction

Daisy chain (Bellis perennis) [CRF01483]
When I decided to have my own blog, I wanted to include the word daisychain in the name. I like flowers and it's an image that appeals to me. So far, so good.

As a precaution, I thought I'd Google to see if there were any similar sounding named blogs out there.
Oops. I found out (yes at my age!) that daisychain has another meaning altogether!
Who knew? OK, that's everyone except me. Bit of a shock to think of yourself worldly-wise and clued up, only to find out, you most definitely are not. Oh dear.
I made changes - obviously. So, I keep the daisies, but not the affiliation with the 'alternative' lifestyle choice. If it's your choice, that's fine with me, but it's not for me!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Big Mouth

North and South (Wordsworth Classics)

I've joined a book group, on the basis that it would offer some additional social life at almost no cost.
The first book of the year is North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.
I picked up a copy from the library, today and have a couple of weeks to read it. Although an avid reader, I'm a bit daunted by this one. It's not the genre I normally read and I'm not even a fan of Downton Abbey on the tele.
I'll give it my best shot, in the spirit of trying new things.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Sick Leave

We hear constantly about  people taking time off work sick, costing their employers additional expense and leaving their colleagues to pick up the slack.
At the moment, I know of two friends who are certainly not well enough to be in work. Yet both of them refuse to take any time off, citing guilt and the fear of job security as their reasons.
Are these attitudes, in actual fact more common than those of the so-called lazy work shy stereotypes?
Wishing them both a speedy recovery.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

How Far Would You Go?

How far would you walk for £2? A 5 minute walk? 10 minute walk? Further?
What if it was to save £2.
I have a walk of around 1/2 a mile to work in order to save the £2 parking charge in the car park a minute from work.
It's only £2, right? Does that make me mean?
£2 a day, £10 a week, over £40 a month. It soon mounts up. I'll hang on to the cash and walk a little further.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Swedish Offerings

Today saw me making a trip to the local Ikea. Not that local, but near enough. I'd decided I needed  a dedicated area for sewing. This means I needed a table for the machine and a chair.
I went for this chair:-
A bargain at £19. Yes I could have gone on Freegle or scoured the CS's, but I'm a bit impatient, so in the greater scheme of things, the spend was justified. 10 mins to assemble and it's all ready to go. Now where's that WIP.

Sunday, 8 January 2012


A strange day today. Lunch with 17 friends. Lovely day, but what no-one could say was definitely the elephant in the room. From today, everything changes and I probably won't see some of these people again. It's all very sad and no-one wins here, but it's time to move on.

David Bowie celebrates his 65th birthday today. How old does that make me feel?

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Dog Walking

During the past few weeks, whilst I've been at a lose end, I've been helping a friend out by walking her dogs. She's been working more hours than normal, just recently and as it's dark when she gets home, this wasn't much fun for the dogs.
I usually take them out once a day, mid afternoon. Next week I start a new job, so will have to give up doggy walking. I'll miss it. Well I won't miss the clearing up part, but the leisurely walk to break up the day was always welcome.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Bandwagons and Thrifty Finds

Whilst I'm relatively new to quilting, I hate the thought that it may look like I jumped on some on-trend bandwagon. A couple of days ago I started noticing TV adverts for a quilting magazine.
It's this one :-
Although the first issue is 99p and the second £2.50, the subsequent 88 issues are £3.99 each, This makes it a very expensive hobby by anyones standards.Quilting is meant to be a way to use up scraps of material or give a second life to a piece to a favourite item of clothing. I think the idea of spending the best part of 400 quid on information which can be found on the internet, isn't really in the spirit of what quilting is about.
So, no I'm not on that bandwagon. My interest lies more in upcycling to produce quilts.

An early effort. Closer inspection will reveal it is far from perfect, but I'm getting better and as I only used second hand fabric the cost was hardly anything.

My thrifted find today was a stationary (originally) box which I've used to store sewing bits and pieces in.

A perfect home for my growing collection of wooden cotton reels - also thrifted, obviously.
The box was 50p and so far, I haven't paid more than 30p for a cotton reel.

Thursday, 5 January 2012


Time to make another quilt. I'm planning on it being about the size of a baby quilt, but I think it will probably be utilised as a pet bed.

I'm using just two types of polycotton fabric. Thrifted, of course and costing only 99p. I'm definitely still learning this craft, so with such a low outlay, it doesn't really matter if I don't get it perfect. Obviously I aim to improve!

I was very lucky to have a feline assistant. He was in charge of the tape measure.

Always press to the darkside! Think I've been watching too many of Jenny's videos on YouTube.
For the similarly addicted, find them YouTube (Missouri Star Quilt Co. Tutorials) or go to

*WIP - work in progress

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A no spending day - sort of

Funny Pictures of Fuel Gauge With Dollar Amounts

Today has been a busy day. I'd arranged to meet a friend, had an appointment and had lots of things to catch up on. Despite being out and about most of the day, plus some shopping with said friend, I didn't spend any money. The fridge is full, more than enough food in to last at least the next couple of weeks. I don't need anything. So, purse not opened once all day. Great stuff.
That is until, on the way home, the dreaded fuel light came on in the car. You might consider this bad planning on my part, but I knew I needed petrol. However, as I'll be out early tomorrow morning and passing the petrol station on way to motorway, it made sense to wait until Thursday to fill up the car. Best laid plans and all that. Nearly didn't get home and that light mocked me all the way.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

For 3 weeks only.

Scandinavian Quilt Style: Over 40 Sewing Projects for Home Comfort and Style

This is the lovely book I got from the library today. Saving it until tomorrow night. A whole evening with quilting porn!
Had to order it from library, but these days that's something you do from the comfort of your own sofa. I can peruse the whole of catalogue for around 7 libraries and if I see something, reserve it online. Then, on my next visit, the book will be waiting for me on the front shelf with my name on it!
The best bit - it's all free, of course. Before you protest, I know it's not really free, but you understand what I mean.
If you are still one of those people who buy books avidly, now's the time to re-discover your library. They've come a long way in recent years.
As the old adage says :- Use it or lose it.

Monday, 2 January 2012

The begining of the year is about resolutions for a lot of people. I don't really want to say I've made any resolutions as it is unlikely I'll stick to them. However, my desire to change some things this year will almost certainly look llike a New Year Resolution.
The first thing I want to tackle is my food budget. In recent months, I allowed myself around £120 a month for grocery shopping, but didn't really keep track of it.
Last month I kept every receipt from every transaction and whilst the food bill was under control, other spending was not.
This year I'm aiming for £60 per month to cover all food, toiletries and cleaning products, but not including the pet food.
I know this sounds a bit stark, but having trawled here I discovered I can actually eat quite well with a little bit of planning. I've costed up three meals a day and given a lot of thought to nutrional content.
This site was very helpful in checking my findings - took all the hard work out of it.
My latest shopping list shows T*sco as the cheapest place for me:-

Checkout 1 store from T*sco £59.73
This is all meals for a month, but I won't buy it all in one go. I don't pay for home delivery, as I'll go when I have a trip to make anyway and I'll stick completely to the list.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year!

2012 will be an important year for me. A significant birthday in a few weeks. Definately a new job after spending 15 years at the last one. It may well see  a complete change of career. Taking up new hobbies and actually finding the time to do them. I will be joining a book group later in the month - I know about 10 years after everyone else. I've discovered quilting and want to be proficient at that.
Added to a desire to improve my cooking skills, live more frugally and waste less, I now also have a shiney new blog to record it all on.