Sunday, 27 January 2013

Making !!

'Making'  is a word I often use , in fact I bet I use it endlessly throughout the day in my vocabulary .Often to describe what  I am about to do or planning on doing or what I have done . It's such a useful word and for this reason I'm going to approach this post around this verb .

Making cake !! One very important make this week was my husbands 40th birthday cake , as he is a bit of a Tolkien geek I decided I would make him a Hobbit cake . I wanted to feature Bilbo and Smaug so this is the creation  I came up with , it took me two days and was a labour of love . My husband absolutely loved it and said it was a shame to eat it !! The boys enjoyed helping them selves to Smaugs treasure and my youngest requested Smaugs head to eat . The cake was enjoyed by family and friends , they enjoyed eating it and I  enjoyed making it !!

Making myself cosy and warm on cold snowy days ...... Hot water to drink ( hot water ?? ..detox ! ) in my new Cornish Ware Teapot and a hot water bottle for my feet . So a warm me = a productive me !

OOoooo making a crochet nest in my favourite chair to make Granny Square jumpers for my next batch of Linen Hare's .

In my efforts to continue living frugally and simply  I got a bit more organised in the kitchen and knitted myself a new dishcloth from some leftover craft cotton that was languishing at the bottom of my wool basket. Such a quick and easy but very useful make!!

Making progress with sewing projects !!

Making daily bread ( well actually it is often every other day bread ) .

Making wholesome nutritious meals from scratch , this is Pan Top Moussaka

I've been making oven baked beef Chilli with re-fried beans as the kids love this !!

Making a journey by foot on a beautiful day to bring my eldest son home from school after he had fallen down some external stairs at school and sprained his ankle . It was a long slow hobble home but we enjoyed the slow pace by admiring the beauty of our local park covered in snow and bathed in the afternoon sunshine !! I am glad to report he was only out of action for a couple of days and he is back his normal self now .

Me making an early morning trip to the train station to collect  my mum who was staying for a spot of child care so me and hubby could go out and celebrate his 40th birthday. I love walking through freshly fallen snow it is up there with kicking big heaps of Autumn leaves !!

So there we have it ' Making 'in all it's different forms . I have lots of makes planned for the next week but I think that is for another post !

Thanks for popping by and I hope you have a lot of makes in your week ahead ( whatever form they take ).
So ta ta for now x.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

A simple frugal life

Well the last fortnight has been spent slowly getting back into a rhythm of work and home and I have thoroughly indulged myself on the home front .I have also spent time considering how our lives could be improved . As a family we have to live within a modest budget but I try not to let this affect our quality and enjoyment of life , our daily life's just take a bit more planning and consideration  than those with more disposable incomes. I know that due to the Financial crisis that has crippled many families in many countries we are not the only ones watching those all important pennies  !!

So a new thing I have put into action over the last two weeks is to clean more economically and environmentally friendly and stop buying those expensive spay cleaners and liquids, I have possibly gone back to the way  that my grandma used to clean .I do have a bit of a thing about cleaning anyway and I know this might sound strange but I find it quite empowering being able to make our house look nice through my own effort .I know my husband couldn't keep the same standards up and I'm sure he would agree with me on this issue too !! So all I need is a bar of household soap ( 54p for two bars ), lots of hot water and plenty of elbow grease !! I've also started using lemon juice or white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda as cleaning agents which all work fantastically well and are cheap to buy and are kind to the environment !! Although saying that I have always cleaned my windows with vinegar and newspaper like my grandma did , the glass just glistens when done this way , and no streaks.

Another thing I am trying is making my own washing powder , in fact I have made my first batch and have done 5 loads of laundry with it  so far and I have not been disappointed with the results .I saw many recipes on line (and please note if looking at American blogs for recipes we cannot buy Borax in u.k or Europe as it is banned )  but in the end I got a recipe off as I had purchased products produced by them . My purse has been very happy over the last fortnight , this batch of washing powder will last a while and I've plenty of the base products to make quite a few more batches , result !!

You can also add a few drop of essential oils to fragrance the soap powder ( mix well).

One area on the homey front I absolutely love  is producing wholesome nutritious food for my family that doesn't cost the earth , but I am trying to be as frugal as possible of late and even making use of every scrap of food I can . Even bread that is just past it's best ! don't throw that stale bread away !!  why not make a bread and butter pudding ??

This one is a Christmas mincemeat bread and butter pudding , yes I had half a jar of mincemeat  left in the cupboard and everyone really enjoyed it , I served it pipping hot with Vanilla ice cream , yummy in there tummies !!

OOoo what else have I made ??

MMMMMmmmmmm Lemon curd .........

Hedgehog Bread ( please note that no real hedgehogs have been harmed in the making of this bread !!)Lol .
Sorry! , seriously this bread is a half wholemeal and half white flour bread and the kids love it .

Ahhhh a family favourite , Cinnamon crumble loaf it is a simple but tasty cake .
OOoo and there was the sticky Gingerbread Cake and hands up I could not resist having a little taste of this cake . Yes confession time I don't usually eat my own cakes ( well not anymore !) I'm going to let you into a bit of a secret !!

 In 2009 I joined Slimming world after being overweight for 15 years and not planning on having anymore children I decided this was the time to do something about my weight. It took me 18 months to loose 5 stone and 3lbs and I felt like I did in my early twenties . It gave me an amazing amount of confidence back and I have tried very hard not to put all the weight back on . I have gained just over a stone which I am now trying to loose it for my sisters wedding (bridesmaids dress to measure for in the next 4 to 5 weeks , aaarrgggh ! ). So I have trained myself not to eat the sweet delicious cakes I make . Oh and the bread too , yes I no longer eat bread because if I eat bread I want butter and lots of it , so abstinence is the best policy for me .

But there is one cake I do eat ........
Chickpea cake.......yep you read right ! chickpea. If you are on the Slimming World programme it is just 1syn for the whole cake . So if like me you are an emotional eater then you can have your cake and eat it !!

Here's the recipe cake : 1 x tin of chickpeas , 1 x tbsp almond essence , 1 x tsp baking powder , 3 x eggs , 3/4 cup powdered sweetener .
Topping : 1 x tub Quark ( virtually fat free cream cheese )  and a few drops of vanilla essence and sweetener to taste and top with a fresh fruit of your choice . On this occasion I used Blueberries .
Instructions : put all cake ingredients into a blender and blend to a smooth batter then pour into a prepared sandwhich cake tin (spray with a low cal oil something like fry light , I also use a pieces of grease proof paper as the cake can stick) .
 Bake at 200 f for about 20 to 25 mins until springy in middle and an inserted skewer comes out clean . Remove from tin and place on a wire rack until cold .
Then cream Quark ,sweetener and vanilla essence until thoroughly mixed then spread onto cold cake then decorate with chosen fruit , Enjoy !!

But being frugal doesn't mean I can't have a Little treat , In fact I indulged in my love of blue and white the other day.

These four delightful items cost me a grand total of £ 3.50 from a local charity shop , they were hiding at the back of a display cupboard , so I liberated them . So being frugal doesn't mean you can't have pretty things it just takes a bit more leg work and a keen eye !! They do look at home on my dresser.

This is turning out to be a bit of strange post I feel like I have just wrote an article for the Womens Institue!!
and should be wearing a rather frilly pinnie (apron) .

On the work front it is back to my School job and my ' Handmade Over Yonder' job both of which have come back into full swing in the last week. School is good with all the Little ones . At ' Handmade Over Yonder ' head quarters A.k.a the dinning table I have made some crocheted pin cushion which will hopefully in the etsy shop later this evening . I've been playing with some lovely Rowan 'Milk Cotton ' yarns.

I am also busy away making jumpers for The Linen Hares 10 done this week another 10 to go before I start making the Hares.
In my favourite chair in crochet heaven !!
Any way I think I've gone on quite enough I best  go before I bore the socks off people !!
Thanks for popping by and I hope you have a productive week !
So ta ta for now .xx