Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Frugal days ~ and sunshine

My well intentioned daily blogging was rudely interrupted by life some time ago, and since then has struggled to return. To be honest, the only reason I am blogging now is because everyone in the house is still in bed asleep and not needing my attention! It is nice to have a moment to myself - plus the sun is shining and the nights are getting lighter thanks to our wonderful 'British Summer Time' (long may it continue, controversial though it is!) 

Over a month ago I decided to run a little experiment after getting yet another huge electricity bill after we had tried all last year to reduce it. As we now read the meter every month and are billed just for what we use I declaired we would not use the dryer for 1 whole month and just see what, if any difference it made. I would not say we were excessive users, I always used the line if the conditions were right and the radiators were used etc if needed, and people always told me driers were expensive to run - but I had no idea just HOW expensive! 

At the end of the month I submitted my reading. My bill came in....£88.00 cheaper! 
so over 12 months I could be saving £800 - £1000! 

The day after the bill Mr Fig dragged the dryer out of the shed and dismantled it - salvaging parts for his projects, taking the rest to the recycling center and replanting our pyrocantha that had eaten the wooden barrel it stood in - into the huge drum! 

I know there are going to be times when the house is full of damp washing and we struggle to get it dry, but that is hardly a true hardship - and I am willing to live with it gladly now I know just how much money I have wasted just to 'make life easy'


A few weeks ago I signed up to a local 'Arts on Prescription' course. It is free, with a suggested donation, and runs every Thursday afternoon for 16 weeks. For me it is a gorgeous drive to Nelson on the other side of Pendle Hill to our village - and every week we have done a different craft - PERFECT!

So far we have done Iris paper folding, Bonding Fibers, Batik and my new favorite hobby, BOOK BINDING - we learned 2 simple techniques, Pamphlet binding and Japanese Stab stitching. I came home incredibly enthused and decided to incorporate my love of knitting, need to use up bits of yarn and new found skills to create lots of - BOOKS! - I love it! 

These are a couple of tiny books I finished from a yarn sample pack I bought about 10 years ago!


Finally (before the household awakes) I made it into the CRAFT SELLER magazine - If yo have a copy of issue 9 I am at the top of page 89 - but even better than that, as I was setting up my stall at a local fair on Saturday, the lady at the next stall recognized me from the mag - how cool is that!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

White Rabbits, White Rabbits, White Rabbits

Every year on the first of March, before you say anything else - you are supposed to say "White Rabbits, White Rabbits, White Rabbits" - or so my mother informed me when I was very young. I have always said it on the 1st March, but it has NEVER been the first thing I said. 

She told me it was to bring good luck for the rest of the year. Since telling me this I have heard people say that you are supposed to say it on the first of every month, you can say "white rabbits" or "White Rabbits, White Rabbits, White Rabbits" - all pretty vague, and I cannot find anything that states it's origin, and although I am not what I would consider to be superstitious, well, there's no harm in saying it

The sun is out today, seams a long time since that happened! So washing is out on the line - I have banned the use of our dryer in an effort to cut our electricity bill - hopefully in half! 
While we still have the heating on (not MY choice, I would employ extra jumpers and socks etc) I have them all covered in washing. But I can't wait for warmer days to freshen the sheets and clothes and let them dry in the air.

I have been watching Superscrimpers lately, have you? It has amazed me how many people seam to think making meals from scratch is a novel concept. A lot of these people are around the same age as I am - did their schools not have home economics?  I do know a couple of people who don't do cooking, always eat from takeaways and moan they are always skint! I think I have been lucky to be brought up by a mother and grandmother who would never have dreamed of buying a ready meal or takeaway, and an Irish Aunty who believes no meal is complete without a potato! 

I do however think I have failed somewhat as a mother. My Daughter can cook perfectly well, but is obsessed with sell by dates, clearing out the fridge and cupboards of anything remotely near this date. No matter how many times I tell her the sell by date has nothing to do with weather the food is edible or not! I think padlocks on the cupboard may be needed.

This morning I have been making cranberry cordial. Just after Christmas, sainsburys had bags of cranberry's reduced from £3.99 to 50p! I bought 4 bags, used one and put the other 3 in the freezer. We are having a freezer clear out at the moment, so thought I may as well use them.  

I popped them in the old brass jam pan with plenty of water and boiled them for about 30 minuets - they popped of their own accord! but gave them a good mash as well, then into the jelly bag over night to strain. this morning there was over 2 pints of liquid. Back into the jam pan with 1 kg of sugar and the juice of a lemon - warmed until all the sugar had dissolved then into sterilised bottles - it should keep for some weeks in the fridge (if it isn't drunk first!)