Friday 29 March 2013

Catch up

It's been a wee while since I've posted.  Sorry about that.  The Teen hasn't been well and kindly shared his bugs with me.  A few weeks of flu followed by a nasty d and v bug hasn't been fun!!  He seems to be back to normal and thankfully is on school holidays now.
Lots of stuff has been happening here.  I had another viewer last weekend.  They still haven't come back and said if they're interested or not.  I'm finding the whole process disheartening.  I think it's very rude when people come into your home with a view to buying it and don't even have the decency to respond to phone calls from the agent.
Today I attended a craft fair.  It cost £10 for a table, £12 in petrol costs and I didn't sell any of my tartan things.

I did get lots of lovely comments but no one bought anything.  More experienced sellers than me have been telling that craft fairs are just soul destroying and not worth doing.  Maybe they're right.  Think I'll concentrate on my Etsy shop and FB.

My lovely mum and aunt knitted some wee chicks and bunnies and stuffed them with a creme egg.  We sold a few of them and made £11.  Barely enough to cover the cost of the yarn and the egg.

Good job I scored some 10p bargains in the supermarket last night then!!  2 pizza bases, 2 vegetable samosas and a mini garlic baguette.  All went straight into the freezer.

Friday 15 March 2013

Facebook Page

I finally got round to setting up my Facebook page for The Tartan Tower.  I've uploaded tons of photos into albums of my work.  There's a lot more than I thought now I see it all together :-)

I'm not good at blowing my own trumpet but if I don't promote my stuff I won't sell anything.  I'm attending 2 craft fairs as a seller in the next few weeks.  Both events are on FB so I'm hoping to get a wider profile.  Sounds like I know what I'm talking about!!

If you use FB, please look at my page and like it.  Just type The Tartan Tower into the search box at the top.

Thanks :-)

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Bargain wallpaper

My living room is huge and it's a yellow mustard colour.  You either like it or you don't.  I quite like it so have lived with it since we moved in but it is dated now and makes the room appear dark.  To redecorate would be a huge costly job. So when I found 5 rolls of Graham and Brown wallpaper on Ebay I bid on them.  I was the sole bidder :-)

Cream background, beige flowers outlined in black. Modern but fairly neutral.  Included with the 5 rolls were some end of rolls from the seller's project.  So I pinned one up to see the effect.

I like it!! There's more than enough to decorate one of the long walls with the fireplace and bookcase.  I might even get away with leaving the other walls mustard and not have to paint them cream which was my original thought.  I'll need a second opinion (usually my mum!!)

Cost of the wallpaper? £10!!! Plus £5 postage.  So £15 for 5 rolls plus the extra bits.  I checked their website but couldn't see this particular design.  Similar ones were between £16 and £22 per roll.  So I think I got myself a bargain :-)

And it's paste the wall wallpaper.  This could be a really quick makeover :-)

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Loads of bargains

I've said before that it's just luck if you find a good bargain.  You have to be open in your thinking on how to use them.  It's not a bargain if you end up throwing it out. When I go looking for them, they're not there.  So I was rather excited to have a very good haul last night.

4 small organic wholemeal loaves 10p each so 40p ( reduced from 60p each so £2.40) and an olive ciabatta 39p (£1.59).  I sliced the ciabatta and put it with the loaves in the freezer.

I'm on the lookout for pretty but useful storage tins/jars to store and display my craft things.  The above tin with shortbread £1.50 (£5) and mug 45p (£1.50) were reduced Mothers Day gifts.  Both in the colours of my new craft room :-)

12 free range eggs 64p (£2.65), 2 packs pickled beetroot 20p (£3) and the lettuce wasn't scanned for some reason so no cost!!

I had to go to a DIY place to get some brush cleaner and found a load of paint reduced.  I picked up 2 x 250ml pots of pink and green paint for £2 (£6.58) There were lots of large tins hugely reduced but I don't need paint so was very good.  I needed some colours for a shabby chic project on an old pine chest for my craft room so these were perfect!

Total full cost of the above items would have been £22.72.  I paid £5.58.  Rather chuffed!!!

The hall project is almost finished.  Just one more coat of satinwood is needed.  I've put my back out so probably won't manage to finish it today but it WILL be done by the weekend :-)

Friday 8 March 2013

Another before.....

I got up this morning on a mission.  Spurred on by last weekend's makeover I was determined to keep the momentum going and get another area transformed.  So at 9am I started to remove the stuff from this area.

This is the hallway between the main house and the annexe looking towards the outdoor door.  A mismatch of wood (stained and unstained) and a bit of a dumping ground for stuff that doesn't really have a home. The walls were full of holes and hadn't been painted for years and years.  Probably never done since the house was fully converted in the 80s.

First job was to remove the shelves.  Took me aaages as some of the screws had been painted over.  Grrr!!! And rather a lot of plaster came off too.  I was halfway through when the phone rang and I was asked if I could do a viewing this weekend!!! Errr, no!!  For lots of reasons.  But that's the second time I've been asked to do a viewing on very short notice.  I have a life and did have weekend plans already in place.  Hopefully they can come next weekend when I'm finished and I can fit them into my schedule ;-)

All the books and general crap was removed from the other shelves which are actually better quality wood.  They are staying. View looking back towards main house.

Undercoat getting slapped on the nasty dark varnish.  Now I have a confession to make.  I know that I should really sand down all the wood and clean it before painting.  But since this is purely a tarting up exercise I haven't bothered.  I know it won't be as good a finish and probably won't last as long as if it had been prepped properly but I'm not going to be here.

First coat done and starting to look better already.  It looks so much bigger which was the whole point.

This is my favourite magazine at the moment.  Not only is it much cheaper at £1.99 than most other home magazines but there are actually sensible budget ideas in each issue.  Already after the first flick through I've seen 3 ideas that I'm going to copy that will cost me nothing.  Watch this space ;-)

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Some frugal meals

Since last month's food and general groceries bill was over budget I'm trying harder this month to be creative and frugal.  I've discovered a new blog with fab recipes called A Girl Called Jack.  She has a section titled £10 a week food budget.  Link on my blog roll, do take a look!
In the last few days I've made the following meals -

Meatloaf made with turkey mince and some reduced sage and onion stuffing I got reduced in Tesco a couple of weeks ago.  It was down from £1.32 to 29p for 240g pack.  Use by date is April 2014!!! I guess they were just clearing stock leftover from Christmas.  So 600g of mince, plus stuffing and 1 egg made a 2lb meatloaf and 12 meatballs.

Baked haddock fillets (frozen ones) and spicy sweet potato wedges.  Spice was a reduced pack in M&S ages ago.  Plenty left for other spicy ideas.

Giant wholewheat couscous with pesto and char grilled veggies.  Veggies were the frozen ones I discovered recently, works out cheaper than fresh peppers, aubergines and courgettes.  Pesto was the end of a jar that's been sitting in my fridge for aaaages!!

I'm going to start costing my meals like in Jack's blog, just to see how much each meal costs.  And to see if I can keep costs down as my spending in other areas is increasing ie petrol!!

Sunday 3 March 2013


Finally my craft room/gym is finished.  And I'm thrilled to say the total cost of the makeover was less than £15!!  Everything has been re used, re purposed, donated and 'bought' with nectar points.

The gym end of the room still has a mirror to put up but I'm going to use the big wall one from my bathroom when I decorate it. Hopefully that will be soon although it is a bigger project involving plasterboard, tiles and creating a shower.  Gulp!!

The sewing room end :-)  The cupboards are still full of DS's stuff but that will be cleared out soon and I can move ALL my supplies into one place.  I made some bunting from leftover Amy Butler fabric pieces and a ribbon from a recent parcel. 

The chair isn't the comfiest to sit on so it needed a cushion.  I made a pad from several layers of wadding and used some of the curtain lining fabric to make one.  It's tied on with 2 long strips of the AB fabric.

The circle mirrors were donated by my mum who bought them on impulse then didn't know what to do with them.  I've had them for ages and didn't know what to do with them either!  Until yesterday.

This wee bookcase will never be as tidy again!!!  This is before I move the rest of my supplies from the kitchen.  Once I find my picture hooks I'll hang up the picture that says 'Creative people are rarely tidy' LOL!!

You can't see them in the photos but I needed 2 light shades to replace the orange ones.  I was racking my brains and searching YouTube to find thrifty ways to re do them.  But then I spotted some cream coolie shades in Sainsbury's at £6.  I had enough nectar points to buy 2. So free light shades!

And this is the bag that started it all.  Even though I'll only have a dedicated craft room until the house is sold I'm going to enjoy having my own creative space.  Hopefully a potential buyer will see that the room is a good space for an office/gym/bedroom/craftroom etc

Saturday 2 March 2013

Nearly there....

The yucky orange wardrobes and skirting took 3 coats of cream paint!!!  But they do look fab now so it was worth the effort.

My mum found some unused curtain linings in her cupboard in a cream colour so I've used these instead to make curtains.  They were very long so I chopped them in half, stitched them together, added a broad border in Amy Butler fabric and re used the curtain tape from the old curtains.  I've finished one so just the other one to finish by tomorrow.  I used an old bookcase hidden away in a cupboard and found a fold up chair in the garage.  Both Ikea products.  The room is nearly ready for the big reveal :-)

Found this bag of frozen veg in the supermarket last week.  Normally £1.49 for 700g but it was a 2 for £2.50 deal!  It's a finely chopped mix of carrots, onions and celery.  I tested them last night in my Split Pea and Lentil soup.

It would have taken me ages to prep this by hand.  I slow cooked it overnight in the crockpot. It smells lovely. I'll report back on how it tastes after I've had it for my lunch!

I added up my monthly food and petrol totals for February (see sidebar) Oh dear!!  Must try harder this month.....