Tuesday 31 December 2013

Saffy Dog

Crikey, New Year's Eve ! Where did the year go. it certainly goes quicker the older you get.

Here we are on at Christmas lunch in our kitchen. My grandson is taking this photo from the sink! A head (and arm) count shows 18 plus GS.

Below is a sketch I did for my Youngest daughter as a little extra present. It is of her dear dog, who died two years ago. Saffy was a kind, loving, intelligent dog and I think that my daughter felt she wouldn't have another dog after her. As you know if you have read earlier blogs she now has a dog, Sammie, who she initially fostered and has now adopted.
Saffy used to love coming here (as does Sammie now) They live just over a mile away and when YD said     " We are off to Grandmas" Saffy would go and sit by the car. Saffy was never locked in the garden as she would sit by the gate and never go out. However, if YD didn't then get ready pretty quickly Saffy would set off on her own and walk to our place! She was often seen sitting at the side of the road, looking both ways before she crossed and then trotting purposefully down the steep hill to ours. She would arrive at the door and I would phone to say "Guess who just arrived?!"  "I know, I'm on my way now, just not quick enough for Saffy - I'm not going to tell her in future until we set off!"
We had no pictures of Saffy other than bits and bobs from when she was a (rescue) pup and parts of her disappearing into our field. So I cobbled this together from those and my memory.  It's not brilliant artistically, but I think it does capture her kindness.

I got the new "house" diary and notebooks out today. I always have a note book in my bag for lists, measurements. meal plans etc. However there is little structure in this, so I have determined that there will be More Structure in 2014!! I shall try to set a day, probably sunday, when I will plan the weeks meals and assemble a shopping list. I am ashamed to admit that I have no idea what I will spend each week, though I am always careful and frugal and NEVER waste. I don't have a fixed amount of cash in my purse and tell myself that that is what I will spend. I spend what I need to and if some is left in my account so be it, if not, then I won't be buying anything will I?
Now I can hear those of you who know EXACTLY how much you have in your bank and how much will be spent on food, cleaning materials, bus fares, presents etc. thinking "This woman can't possibly be as frugal and careful as her blogname suggests" But I am, just not ORGANISED.

 So if I have a resolution for 2014 it is to try to be more organised. This means keeping track of what money I have, Menu-planning every week, not just when I think about it and perhaps saving my receipts etc . Oh yes and I am definitely going to see if we can get cheaper insurance on the house and contents, car and breakdown cover.

Enough for now. have a a great time tonight if you have something planned and a peaceful one if you are hunkering down for a quiet night in.
Happy New Year to you all

Monday 30 December 2013

Brie Parcels for tea

Hello Blogland Friends
I will attempt to proof read this post as the last one was rubbish with a round-about title!

Like all Frugellers I am looking towards a new year as an opportunity/excuse to make even more lists and challenges. We could do it at any time couldn't we? but it's not quite the same. I hope to have my list ready for tomorrow. If I do I will share it with you - whether you are interested or not!

 This week I have been processing and using up the Christmas leftovers. Why can I still not bring myself to write Xmas? My strong protestant upbringing forbids it, even now I haven't any faith. Just typing it then made me look over my shoulder - what am I expecting to see/happen ? Will I be struck down by a thunderbolt,? Will my mother appear as the ghost of Christmas past? (Actually, I would LOVE my mother to appear in any form ) I'm not a superstitious sort of person so what the heck am I worried about?!
Back to the leftovers - In the freezer and to be used in the next two weeks (while I am not going to the shops) are cheese and ham pancakes. roast pork with stuffing x several servings, cheese and vegetable pie, ham and pea soup, bubble and squeak, garlic bread,  turkey pie (for Adam) and turkey soup.
 Tonight we are having Brie parcels with Jacket potatoes, coleslaw and pickles. I bought some Brie for the cheese board and then was given a whole one as a present. Oh Yes!!!
To make Brie parcels - Cut the Brie into wedges. put a heaped teaspoon of pickle or chutney on top. Wrap the whole in filo pastry, gathering at the top. Bake in a hottish oven until golden. Done!
The filo pastry was from the chiller and had 12 sheets. So I cut the Brie into twelve pieces. I did half with Glutney Chutney and half with the red onion chutney made by EGD and one of the goodies in the hamper she made for each household who were at ours on Christmas day. As there were actually 13 sheets I used a piece of the brie I bought to make an extra one. Four pieces will go in the oven for tonight's tea and I have frozen the rest.
I've just changed my mind about what to serve with them as I have found a carton of yoghurt so I will make soda bread instead of jacket potatoes.
 And after....... only just remembered to take a picture

 I had many presents this year, all pretty awesome. I have taken photos of frugal or home made ones as befits this blog. It would take too much space to itemise or photograph everything. Honest! I don't know why, but I have been overwhelmed.
A dear friend, who always provides the turkey for Christmas dinner.(Who, you may remember if you read a previous post, is usually named Lucky, apart from last year when he was named Willy- the turkey that is- not my friend) always buys me something from a charity shop and wraps it in newspaper while I make him something. This year he bought me three books from Help the Aged and corkers they are too.
 Here is a picture of said books. Dixie got in on the act, but you can't have too many pictures of her, so I don't mind.
 "Out of the Doll's House" by Angela Holdsworth is the story of 20th century women; "The Dairy of a Farmer's Wife 1796 -1797 " is a cracking read and great insight into the times and the third is a great frugal read. I have picked up one tip from it already which I will incorporate into my shopping list tips.
The next pic is of a hanging made for me by my god-daughter. the colours match my kitchen and it is already hung there.. I love it!
 Below is a couple of pictures of the gift I made for my Godson. He is a real country boy and earns his living chopping down trees, managing gardens and any odd jobs that someone might need doing. He is never without work as you can imagine. He would also love to have a smallholding and grows or catches as much as he can himself in his small garden and some of his parents garden. He keeps bees and rabbits and ferrets.
 I have covered over his name in case he doesn't want anyone to know he has anything to do with me! ha ha .In the file, in poly pockets (recycled) I have put a smallholders poem, a free preserve making book, from a newspaper, a jam muslin, a cider muslin, some bee records sheets from the internet, the starter recipe and some yeast for a "Herman" cake ( he lost his and has missed it)  a sheet of 1970s "homemade" labels, a bee cloth (for covering frames when the quilt is off) and a bee keeping apron that I made with some fabric he had given me in case I could use it. I embroidered a bee on one of the pockets and he doesn't think it is the least bit "Nancy"

I'll put up a couple of pics of some other presents I have made soon if you are interested.

Having put the leftovers in the freezer I realised that I was just about filling it and in a fortnight's time I will have two whole lambs back from the butcher and no space for them. What on earth was filling the freezer? Diving half way down I came across a HUGE bag of grapes, then several bags of elderberries, then plums and damsons and finally a large bag of blackberries. These were put down at a busy harvest time to process later and then forgotten. So this afternoon I have started making several gallons of wine and some cordials. Wasn't really on my list of jobs but hey ho. I'll be glad I did it.
 I shall get down to some paperwork now in an attempt to start off the New Year in as organised a way as possible...for me.. .I'm no frugal Queen believe me!
 That's all for now
Oh yes, the choice of names for the female Lucky was Luckina or Luckette. We opted for the french version and ignored the suggestion of Fanny.

Monday 23 December 2013

A Happy Christmas and Peaceful Everybody

I expect  shan't be in Blogland for a couple of days or so.
Tomorrow during the day I need to get ready for Christmas day. In the evening we are going to an early party with YD before picking up our grandson from work and going on to a bit of a booze-up with friends. Home before midnight hopefully as Christmas day is a pretty early start as everybody arrives here for 12.00 when we open presents and then eat at about one ish. My friend  bought the turkey today. he always buys the turkey for us, which is kind of him. it is always called "Lucky" apart from last year when he bought it from a different butcher so said it should have a different name. YGD (age 7) was given the task of choosing a name and she decided on "willy". let your imagination play out the conversations over dinner. "Can I have some more Willy please?" is one I  CAN repeat! So this year we decided we would go back to Willy, until I saw that it was labelled "Hen Turkey" so we will have to think again on Christmas day!
 A large piece of beef arrived from our local butcher today too, courtesy of ED. We will have this Christmas evening when I do a buffet for when everybody else arrives. YD has bought and frozen 100 pigs in blankets ! Everybody likes these. I usually buy a largish ham for the buffet too, but the bacon/ham joints at Lidl have been so good this year that I bought two of these instead... and very nice they look too. Other contributions to the day , from the family, are the crackers, the christmas pud, cava, shloer, wine and a  brie so we are well found for food with all the home made  bread, pickles and salads. TGD and I made a trifle and a meringue today, which kept her busy as she is getting just a tad excited by now.
 EGD finished all her  home made presents today and they are safely hidden away until Wednesday. I have taken photos to show you after Christmas, she has worked so hard on them.
Anyway enough of my Christmas ramblings. it remains for me to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful and happy new year.
A special thank you to those who follow my blog ( I do so enjoy reading yours too)

Thursday 19 December 2013

more pallets

Hello Again
I know I am a bit tardy with the posts at the moment. After a rubbish 4 weeks with being a bit poorly I am on catch-up for Christmas. I had set myself quite a few things to make for presents, so am using every spare minute sewing or painting in the hope that I will be able to get everything finished.
I don't worry too much about food. We often have quite a few people sat around our table, so Christmas is little different really.
We will have 20 for Christmas lunch and another 8 or 10 will join us in the evening. On boxing day we go to our friends and she does everything, which gives me a little resting time. The next day is something I really look forward to .....processing leftovers!! Love it!

We have now made four trips to the pallet pile. below is a pic of the last load.

Thought it was time for another Chicken pic. This gang of ruffians mobbed me while I was taking a pic of the pallets. you may note the odd cockerel in there...we've got our eye on those!!

All for now

Monday 16 December 2013

Bean sorting

Back to some sort of normality here, whatever that is.
Santa duties finished for the year and Adam's last visit before the new year. YD was doing a home visit for the Labrador rescue she volunteers with, it was quite a distance away and Adam went with her for the ride, so we were able to slope off and do the Ho Ho Ho stuff. Normally we can take him with us, but we weren't able to this time. So, non the wiser, he had a great time. When they got back he set  to work on the bean sorting.
Here he is, almost finished.
I finished another present this morning, so I gradually getting there, but gosh I'm slow!
I hens have obliged with a few eggs this weekend so i will make the Pavlova for Chritmas tea later and freeze it... another job done then.
 Off to town now. I must buy some crackers while I am there for us to pull at lunchtime tomorrow. It is our "Staff Christmas Lunch" with our other Shared Lives guys and a couple of friends who help us each Tuesday.

Saturday 14 December 2013

At the Opticians

Hello All.
Well, I spoke too soon , but I am DEFINITELY feeling much better now, apart from a stinker of a cold. On the plus side the cold is bound to be gone by Christmas!
Thank you for all your good wishes.

Went to Asda to have my eyes tested last Thursday. My last glasses ( I wear vari-focals) cost just under £400 and I determined to get a better deal. A friend used Asda last time he had new specs and is very happy with the results. A couple of months ago I supported one of our shared lives guys to have his specs made there too and that went well. At that time they assured me that they could do my prescription for £99!. So what had I to lose?
It was important that the health of my eyes was assessed before my appointment at ENT in the new year and  I was delighted to find that my eyes are healthy. My prescription has changed quite a bit too. So there I am looking at the rows of specs... don't you just hate this bit? Gosh I don't know which suit me or what to choose. The woman was really helpful and I decided on a pair similar to those I already wear. She then tells me that these will cost me £89 with my voucher (What voucher?- she assures me that I have one!) Would I like to consider another pair for an extra £49? As she said this the lens fell out of the specs I was wearing, she tried to mend them but the thread had gone in the hole for the screw and I was glad that I had a spare pair at home. So  No-brainer!! I said that I would have another pair and chose something a little different to the style I usually have. I am hoping they will be ready for Christmas.
D. has his last stint as Santa tomorrow and then the suit goes away for another year. Last week he did several turns as Santa on the narrow boat that our Canal Society owns and tomorrow he is doing a stint for the Fire Service.
 I'm a little behind with the Christmas preparations now, but I'm sure that I will catch up.. And if I don't, the world won't end will it? YD came over last monday and helped me to buy a few things on the internet which has helped.
Adam is here for the weekend. I have saved all the dried beans that he has podded over the last few weeks so that he can sort them all out into colours/types tomorrow. I really know how to entertain folk don't I ?! He will LOVE doing that and it will be so useful for me too. I will put some aside for next years seed and some for casseroles.
We have been offered  whatever we want from a huge pile of pallets at a local firm. What we don't have will be burnt next week so we have been taking the trailer and have filled it three times. Hopefully we will be able to get a little more in the next few days. Some of the wood is very good quality and D. keeps putting it away for "projects" even though it is suppose to be for burning!
 Need to close for now.
Before I go I need to offer a warm welcome to new follower Myshabbychicfrugalife and to Verity and Chel C on bloglovin.
And an especially warm thank you all for staying with me and bothering to read this stuff.
Night Night All

Sunday 8 December 2013

A quickie

Hello Dear Frugal Friends
Just a quickie.
Been in hospital again so am being a bit lax with post.
I'm really quite well now, but need to catch up on some things before I lose myself in blogland again! (it's SO addictive)
Will be back soon with my usual rambling rubbish.

Thursday 5 December 2013

Nelson Mandela

Hello All
I hope you are keeping safe in this winter storm. The wind has dropped here now, but is is getting colder. At least we have our electricity and if we didn't we would manage. But there are others who are suffering from power cuts and flooding.

Oh Dear, just switched on the news to see how the sea surge is "progressing" on the east coast and hear that Nelson Mandela has died.     R.I. P Great Man. The world owes him much.
Shall write more tomorrow. Everything seems banal after that news

Tuesday 3 December 2013

A raffle prize and a finished present

Back in Blogland at last!
Firstly welcome new bloglovin followers ..Wendy, Julie and Hazel.
Have been taking things just a little easier this week, while getting all sorts of stuff done too.
Last Sunday I went to the Local Food Event at Belper with my youngest daughter, her daughter and her boyfriend. The main street was thronged, as were a couple of side streets. What a huge number of stalls and a good turnout of buyers too. I was interested to see the stalls of the local community groups. It is always heartening to see local people getting involved in improving the quality of life for themselves and others. I signed a petition about the National Health Service and had an interesting chat with those running the "Transitions Belper" scheme, which takes an interest in, amongst other things,  green initiatives, recycling and community gardening. While I can't commit to giving time to the scheme (though I wish I could) I did offer spare plants and seeds if they would be of use. They had a free raffle, the entrance "fee" being that you wrote an idea for a way to improve the lot of people in the town on a card which was posted into a box. The cards to be drawn the next day.  I had a phone call.. And guess what? My card was drawn and I won the prize, a hamper!! I went to collect it yesterday and it though some of it was a just a little "Coals to Newcastle" it was  non the less welcome. The lovely sturdy rush basket was full of fresh locally grown veg and bramley apples, a jar of raspberry jam, some locally ground flour ( ground in a real windmill no less) with an accompanying recipe book and and a bottle of white wine...good eh? I was determined to make the most of the bounty, so today I boiled the beetroot, made a huge leek and potato soup, processed and froze the apples (with help from a friend who had called in) and cooked some more of the potatoes to have with tonight's dinner. I Bought some yoghurt to make some soda bread tomorrow to go with the soup (Cro's recipe)
 D. said he would come with me shopping this evening, so off we set for Sainsburys and bought some "iron rations". I also needed to get some unsalted butter for the lemon curd EGD and I are to make tomorrow. We got home and started to unpack the car and I realised that I hadn't got my bag !! I had left it in the trolley in the car park ...eeek! So I ran into the house and grabbed my passport and driving license and we sped back to the shop. No bag in the trolleys, so ran into the shop and asked at customer services if a bag had been brought in ? Yes, there had and could I describe it ?... yes  I could and here was my proof of identity. Thank goodness. I am now reunited with my beautiful bag that I have had for many, many years and the contents thereof. I am not able to thank the person who gave it in, but am extremely grateful for their honesty.

I have been working on Christmas presents again this week and at last there is one I can show you as it is for my grand nephew, who is only two and a half and doesn't read this blog... really.
I found the pattern in an old pattern book (circa 70s) in a charity shop and am really amused by how it has turned out.. what a character. Ladies and Gentleman.... meet Gerald! ...

The last picture demonstrates how I painted the giraffe markings on the "suedette" fabric that was in a large bag of material given me by a friend. I can just imagine little Marius with Gerald tucked under his arm, as that neck is made for the job.
Going to sit and watch a spot of television now while I do some hand sewing (another present) There is a new series on Pilgrimages which could be good.
Goodnight dear Frugal brothers and sisters. Many thanks for your good wishes