Sunday, 24 September 2017

Do you really need to buy more food?

Hello. I've had a very interesting and enjoyable afternoon. I visited two of the artists houses taking part in the Insight 2017 Open Studios. I was going to see a third but I ran out of time, so much to see and so much to talk about at the other two. The first was Helen who makes fabulous bags, and sends the profits to a dog charity in Thailand called Soi Dog. Beware the website has some distressing pictures.

The second home was where Irene lives and works. She is an amazing lady. She works in many mediums, metal, fused glass, ceramics, raw wood, and any old rubbish she can get her hands on. She makes garden sculptures, wall hangings, jewelry, painting, and upcycling domestic and scrap metal. Her house is full of her work, and her ideas are so unique. Her small back garden is like a tropical rain forest, with a pond and plants growing everywhere. I loved looking around, we had such a lot to talk about. Sorry I didn't get any photographs, I felt it would be intrusive to take them inside her home. Unfortunately she doesn't have a web site.

I made a little video this morning and set it to upload to yoootooob while I went out. Four hours later and it still hadn't finished uploading, but it's ready now. More people are signing up to my channel, not sure why because they are a bit amateurish, but as one young lady said, I am old and cute, so maybe that's why, ha ha.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Checkout this small supermarket

Hello. This weekend is the North Lincolnshire Artists Open Studios. Some of the artists work from home so they throw their doors open to anyone who wants to visit them. I go to the Ropewalk in Barton on Humber where there are several artists studios in the one building. 
I particularly like visiting Michael Scrimshaw, he is my kind of artist, making sculptures from piles of junk at his workshops at home. He looked a bit tired today as this is the second weekend of Open Studios and he has been talking to a lot of visitors. He soon perked up though as our conversations got underway. 
Both he and his wife are real arty types, and money savers, so we get on really well. They both have long hair down to their waist, Michaels being a mass of dreadlocks, which must be quite heavy. 
A lot of his work is commissioned, and is on show in public places. He tells me he is learning to play the violin, and after only one month of practicing, he can play quite a nifty Irish jig. I must admit I spent that long chatting to them I only had time for a quick in and out at the other studios. 
Moving swiftly on, I forgot to mention this the other day. I was in the town and went a bit further up the High Street than I usually do. There is a Herons Foods shop which I have never been in, so I thought I would check out the prices. It's not a very big shop, just two aisles.

These items were 60p each or two for £1. So, 120g of beans for £1. On the Tesco web site a 850g bag of sliced beans is £1. Sliced mushrooms, 900g is £1. At Tesco a 500g bag is £1. So these are the better buys. You might want to check out your Heron Foods if you have one. I shall be walking that extra few hundred yards up the High street again in the future, to keep my eye on the bargains there.

That's all for tonight folks. Thanks for popping in, have a nice Sunday, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Friday, 22 September 2017

Easy to make flowers

Hello. I've had a lovely afternoon sewing whilst listening to Radio 3. It was very relaxing, I could get hooked on classical music. I've made these Suffolk Puff flowers. 
A simple idea, not mine, I found the instructions in this library book.

Each one needs two circles of fabric, mine are 6 inches and 4 inches in diameter. Running stitch around the edge, and pull the thread tight so it gathers up into a puff ball. Sew the small one on top of the larger one, and add a button.

I used pipe cleaners for the stalks, I bought these ages ago from Poundland, thought they might come in useful for something. I twirled the end round and stitched it onto the back of the flower. You could use wire or anything long and stick like. Or you could make them shorter, depending on the container you are going to put them in.

Then I covered the back with a circle of felt to give a neat finish.

The pipe cleaners are a bit floppy, a stiffer wire might be better. I have pinned these together at the back and stuck them in an old glass oil bottle.

They could be worn as a corsage, with a brooch clasp fastened to the back. Or a ribbon attached and used to tie a parcel up. A small bouquet could be made and given as a gift.
Mayze likes her new sunlounger. This is the old office chair I threw out, the back is broken and the seat cushion has been patched up and is falling apart. An old umbrella, rescued from a skip if I remember rightly, and clamped to the arm of the chair. She even lies there in the pouring rain.

My dinner tonight was sweet potato, carrots, green beans, peas, and spinach, with half a packet of pasta in cheese sauce. It was very nice.

Heidi is being a bit clingy tonight and I'm not going to get any more typing done, so I'll pop over to yooootooob and watch something. Thanks for popping in, have a good weekend, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Time to stop spending

Hello. I've been doing some quick calculations of what the latest holiday cost me. Yes, walking is free, put one foot in front of the other, so apart from the cost of sturdy boots there isn't any other equipment needed. You don't have to buy special walking clothes, as long as you dress according to the weather. It doesn't matter if you don't have designer labels.

Six nights accommodation cost me £317. These ranged from a Youth Hostel at £33, and a hotel at £62. No expensive Radisson on this trip, ha ha. I budget £3.50 a day for picnic food that I can eat in my room, snacky things from small shops. Then there was the cost of the petrol to get to Bradford and on to Cleveleys, and back home again. And the train fair from Blackpool to Carlisle. Tot all this up and it comes to about £418. So not really a cheap holiday.

When I first started doing these long walks I looked for the cheapest B & B I could find, because I didn't have much money. It was not easy to keep walking past a hotel, in the hope of finding a cheaper place further on. All I wanted to do at the end of a days trekking was sit down. However, things are not so financially dire now, I save enough money to be able to pay for a bed wherever I choose. I can stop more or less wherever I like now, within reason.

People ask me if I camp. The answer is no, not on a long walk. I don't want to carry the gear, I want a real bed to sleep in, I want a real bathroom, and I want a good breakfast. Having to put a tent up after a long days walking does not appeal, and definitely not on a day when it's raining and windy. No thank you.

Looking at my recent expenditure I seem to have got through a fair chunk of money in the last few weeks. Chair £100, specs £200, and camera £100. I have no regrets for these purchases, I have saved and there is money in my emergency fund to cover for them. All I have to do is to continue my frugal lifestyle and I will have money to spend on needs and a few wants. I've just had my credit card statement, £564, this includes petrol, food, vet, mobile phone top up, one hotel, specs and chair. This will be paid in full when I am next in town in a few days.

So now the focus now will be on saving money to recover some of this spending, and top up my emergency fund. So what will I be doing in the next few weeks? For a start I will not be putting on the heating just yet, it isn't cold enough. I will not go mad spending on food, I will get a few fresh things, fruit and veg mainly, and eat what I have already got in the cupboard and freezer. I want to cut down on my dairy, mainly cheese, and experiment more with plant based food. Not going completely vegan, but I think there is a middle ground to be achieved.

I need to drink more water, I don't drink enough. I will continue to rinse my pots and pans under a trickle of tap water as soon as I have finished with them, no mounds of washing up for me. I will assess the state of my clothes before I do a wash, making sure I have a full load each time, and only wash when it's a good line drying day. I will continue to scour the shops in town for the best prices on cat food. I will keep my food cupboard tidy so I know exactly what's in there. I will cook two or three portions of food at the same time so some of it can be heated in the microwave the following days. Now it is raining more often I will keep a large bucket in the downstairs toilet and use rainwater for flushing. The nights are getting longer so I will be more mindful about switching lights on. Switch them off when leaving a room.

So, I will step up the money saving tactics I have learnt over the years, and hopefully not slip back into 'stuff it who cares', mode. We all need a treat now and again, but it's so easy to comfort spend and go a bit mad. Self control and self discipline is the order of the day. It is for me anyway.

Are you re jigging your budget in readiness for the larger winter fuel bills? Don't be caught out, start your plan now. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Life is back to normal

Hello. So it's back to normal, tidying garden, dog walking, and library today. There is housework to be done, but I will do that in dribs and drabs when I feel like it. The fridge is empty but I can manage a bit longer on what I have in before I go shopping. 
I am walking Bailey poodle again, Joyce is finding it a bit too much, she is a bit unsteady on her feet. The hedge next to the path through the Village Green is overgrown forcing people to walk over the grass. It's also difficult for those with mobility scooters, and now it's becoming quite muddy. Someone asked me if I knew anyone from the Council to report it to. It has been like this for a few weeks, the Council should have sent someone to cut it back by now. There's one way to solve the problem. I took my loppers, a pair of shears, and a brush to chop it all down and clear the path. If you want something doing, do it yourself, that's what I say. 
After lunch I went to see Stan on the mobile library, and changed my books.
Look how well my herb planter is doing. It's about time I used some of it in my cooking. I have no idea how much to use, so I picked a handful.
And chopped them up into small pieces.

And added them to this. Quorn chunks, Quorn mince, frozen beans and peas, and a tin of chick peas. I added turmeric, vegetable granules, splash of orange juice, Danish Blue Cheese, and some porridge oats to thicken it. It's bloomin lovely, two more portions for the next two days.

Oh dear, it's starting to get dark earlier now. I am layering up with extra clothes. Not looking forward to winter. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip