Tag Archives: frugal

All the “b’s” ..including the start of a Bobble Blanket

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It’s been a busy few weeks here at Holly Cottage, we’ve been giving our garden a bit of a Spring makeover (although like most places in the UK we are still awaiting the arrival of Spring!) Today has dawned lovely and sunny and dare I say …even warm!

So first thing this morning after our first bootsale of the year I set to baking some brownies and some yummy bread pudding from our leftover homemade loaves.

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I hate to see bread go to waste, but when you bake every day inevitably you will be left with remnants of loaves as you are tempted by the freshly baked loaf just made! The recipe I use is from the BBC Good Food website and is so easy and always produces scrumptious results.

Then it was out into the garden. Over the last couple of years we have collected old ladders from boot sales and painted them up to display plants on during the Summer months.

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However the winter this year has really taken its toll on them so we got some new paint yesterday to give them a bit of a spruce up…

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Whilst Mr Wonderful was doing this I was able to sneak indoors with a lovely cuppa to work a couple of rows on my new blanket which I am making for my brother.

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There isn’t a pattern as such it is just trebles and bobble stitches. I got the wool from Aldi last week…they had some balls of aran wool, 400g at £4.95 each so I snapped up two of the grey and two of the cream. Only problem being I probably could have done with another ball of each to make the blanket a generous size and now they have sold out and there’s no telling when, and if, they will have any more in. 😦

I’ve also repurposed an old picture frame this week by covering it in some underfloor heating boards and then recovering that with some pretty fabric and ribbons to make a pin board for my garden studio.

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I have also finished another blanket, but haven’t got any photos of it yet…I’ll get them done for the next post.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend…lets hope the sun stays!

Nikki

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Blanket Tah Dah and Frugal Furniture

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I’ve long been a fan of the super talented Lucy at Attic 24, in fact it was Lucy’s blog that inspired me a couple of years ago to teach myself to crochet. I loved her gorgeous blankets and wanted some of my own so set about learning how to crochet granny squares with the help of her blog and the wonderful YouTube.

My latest blanket, which I mentioned in my last post is now complete – it is more of a lap-blanket size, easy to fold up on the back of the sofa, and handy to snuggle under on damp dark days like today has been.

So, here it is…my latest creation…

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Can you see one of my little dogs just peeking out from underneath…who just wouldn’t budge for me to take the photo? 🙂

I’m going to start on another blanket of the same size for my other sofa, but although I will be using the same colour way it will really be more for my lovely other half to use so am thinking it might need to be a little more masculine….perhaps with solid squares? I’ll see…maybe I will experiment and post a photo and see what you think?

On to our other recent project. I had a lovely oak dining room table and chairs, but the chairs were too modern for my liking (the dining set was bought several years before I moved to my little Victorian cottage) and really didn’t fit in with my current furniture.

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We heard about a local household and furniture auction being held at the Ardingly Showground in Sussex not far from where we live and decided to go and have a look to see if we could find some suitable replacements. We were lucky and found 6 mahogany chairs with some rather ugly brown seats…we bid on them and managed to win all six for just £60!

Here is one of the seats before we started our makeover…

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We used a Laura Ashley eggshell on the chairs after much sugar-soaping and cleaning and a light sanding. Next I needed to find some fabric and decided that it would be nice to use the same Laura Ashley fabric that I have on the scatter cushions on my sofa (all EBay finds). As luck would have it this was around Christmas time and Laura Ashely had an online sale on some of their fabrics so I was able to bag a metre for just £15 instead of £30! By careful placement and cutting I was able to cover all 6 from the metre of fabric…

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Next we painted the legs and underside of the table, just leaving the top unpainted…

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And voila!….our new table and chairs for just £90!….except it wasn’t….a friend’s daughter heard I was looking to get rid of my old dining chairs and gave me £60 for them, so in fact my six new chairs cost me just £15 (and some time!)

I’ve got a couple more frugal furniture projects to show you next time, would love to hear about anything similar you might have done..

Nikki

Downshifting

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….I’ve made a big work change in my life recently in that I have sold my interest in the business I created over 6 years ago now. For too many years I have been working flat-out, non-stop with all that running business brings – staff, cashflow, deadlines, always trying to stay one step ahead of the competition. Then one day I realised that I was working so hard, I didn’t have time to enjoy the things that I love. Wow.,.. that was a shock…I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me before. It was time.

The plan is that I will still work in the business…but part time. Which will give me the best of both worlds…continuing to work in the business I created AND having the time to give to the people I love, the things I love doing and the home I love.

I will have time for this…

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And this…

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However, changes like this come with their own “little” downsides….in that I won’t be quite as well off financially as I was before, BUT I will be a whole lot better off emotionally 🙂

However, this hasn’t been a quick decision for me…you see for a long time I have wanted to slow down, have more time to do the things that really interest me. One of these is for myself and Mr Holly Cottage to be much more self-sufficient than we currently are. At the moment our only nod to self-sufficiency is keeping our hens. But there is so much more that I would like to do, and so much more that I am sure I can do but just haven’t had the time to do up till now. So the adventure starts.

I have been researching this more self-sufficient way of life on t’internet and have found two amazing blogs which you may like to take a look at. The first is Frugal Queen This is written by an amazing lady called Jane who has paid off an amazing amount of debt (both credit card and mortgage debt) by just doing things differently. When I found her blog I spent almost two whole days reading it from start to finish! She too wanted a more simple life. Note that I say “simple” rather than “easy”. It has taken Jane an inordinate amount of effort to achieve all that she has – but I am guessing she would tell you she wouldn’t have it any other way. Because, she is now living her life on HER terms.

The other blog is written by a retired lady and can be found at Down to Earth. This blog also has a brilliant forum attached to it where you can register and join a community of people all looking to live a more simple life and to keep more of what they earn.

Both of these blogs have all the information, tips and advice that you could need to start your journey to a more simple (and frugal) way of living. Go have a look – you won’t be sorry!

If you know of any other blogs about frugal or simple living that you have found useful, please do leave a comment with the link to them…thank you x