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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Top Tips and Reading Matter

Thank you for your kind comments on my last post.  The good news is that the shop owner bought all the cards she had requested plus 10 which she hadn't!  I'll never make a fortune as she pays me just £1 each (and sells them for £1.99) but I am now able to add £10 to the birthday fund for DD making a total so far of £36.69 the remainder of the money going into the Christmas/emergency fund for this year.

Marlene posed the question do I have a budget for the cost of each card?  The short answer is yes; I have an absolute cap of 50p per card otherwise it would not be worthwhile making them to sell.  I always buy good quality blanks of 300gsm so that they don't buckle under the weight of the embellishments and each blank works out at 16p including an envelope.  On top of that is the cost of the cello bag, a sheet of 100gsm copier paper for the insert, adhesive  and, of course, whatever I plan to put on top for the design. Plain & simple is my favourite style of card but I do like to add ribbon and gems for a 3D effect.  It's often quite a struggle to come in at under 50p!

Marlene also asked if I have any tips to reduce costs. The best bit of advice I can give you, Marlene,  is to always be on the lookout for ways to buy supplies ever cheaper; eBay, market stalls for ribbon etc   If I ever buy a new top which has ribbon sewn into the shoulder seams to hold it on the hanger, I cut it off before wearing the top.  The thin ribbon makes wonderful little bows! I never spend my hard earned cash on ready made bows either, they are quite simple to make yourself.  Another way to cut costs is to make your own die cut shapes to use as a focal point, assuming of course that you have a die cutter :/  The little bags on my last batch of cards were made by me by simply by folding the paper. There are loads of instructions on the internet too for paper folding, origami shirts for example.  Do have a go!

My bedtime reading for the last couple of weeks has been The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen.  I have enjoyed reading it immensely as her style of writing is right up my street.  She's funny, articulate and an amazing woman.  This is one book I will definitely read again not least for the wonderful photographs of her family or for the descriptions of the circumstances surrounding the births of her 7 children!


I can't go to sleep without reading at least one chapter of a relaxing book so I began reading The Hidden Cottage last night.  Is anyone else a fan of Erica James?  She is a 'new to me' author but I like her style so far.....



Anyway, must dash, the ironing is calling....yuk....

Thanks everso for popping in, and don't be afraid to leave a comment.  I love reading every single one x

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Show And Tell Crafting


Marlene Jones expressed an interest in seeing my card designs for the shop.  I had to make 4 dozen assorted cards to order and I have finished them.....


 
I have made similar cards to this one before and they usually sell well for a wide age range...




The next couple are using Hunkydory images.....



These engagement cards are simple to make but quite effective....

 
 
Most of the sentiments are printed out on the computer otherwise it takes an age to find the right ones and can be very costly....



My favourites are always the baby cards, I do so enjoy making them.....


 
The colours in real life are a bit brighter and more vibrant than they appear in the photos as it was a very dull day yesterday when I took the shots.

Obviously I can't photograph all 4 dozen cards so these are a cross section. What do you think?  Does it inspire you and infuse you with inspiration? I hope so.....  :)

Thanks everso for popping in x






Saturday, 20 February 2016

Crafting, Bargain Buys and Birthday Fund update

I've been trying so hard not to go out unnecessarily this week as I thought that if I stay in I can't spend money on a whim, which it's so easy to do when browsing in shops.  Consequently I haven't had anything interesting to blog about.  I have had my head down designing cards for the shop order, fitting in the washing, drying and cooking when I needed to stretch my legs.

On Thursday DD and the GC came for the day as it's half term (again???)  They requested a 'sewing day' so DD brought her machine in order for the children to have a machine each to avoid squabbles.  My 11 yr old GD was allowed to use mine (I only bought it in Nov 2014 as a 60th birthday treat) and the 8 yr old GS used his mum's.  They had a choice of what to make and decided on patchwork cushions.  The 11 yr old took to it like a duck to water!......

 
The HOME cushion was a kit which I had forgotten about. The letters were pre-cut but have been hand sewn on to the canvas. She also made a smaller cushion using just 4 Kath Kidson squares of fabric and a pink spotty piece for the back .  They were machined almost all the way round, turned the right side out, stuffed and then the opening hand sewn together.  She was thrilled with the result...



GS also progressed well although he tried to put his foot down a bit too hard on the pedal (like most males ;) and his seams ended up a bit crooked.....

 
 
 
 
I still think he did very well for a first effort. The little pin cushion is a gift for his teacher.....


In the end a fab day was had by all of us although their mum and I were knackered by teatime!  A quick cheese on toast for tea, a rest and then home at 7pm for them.  Boy, did I sleep well!!

Bargain Buys

I often have reward/loyalty vouchers through the post, never worth a great deal of money but I use them if I need something.  Debenhams sent me a £4 loyalty voucher and, a couple of weeks ago, a £5 promotional voucher with no minimum spend, the latter expiring tomorrow.  I had to pop into town for a top up shop so nipped into Debs on the way.  As I rarely go anywhere to dress up for I tend to slob around in jeans and T shirts with a fleece or cardigan on top.  Therefore I needed to replace a couple of quite faded tops.  I saw these today....


A plain white tee for £5 so with a £4 voucher it cost £1....



A pretty floral top £10 minus the £5 voucher therefore £5.... Not quite as cheap as my legendary 7p top but still useful bargains :)

Birthday Fund Update

I am still trying to raise around £50 for DD's birthday fund for next month but eBay sales are so very slow these days.  My latest sale adds just £3 to the pot making £26.69 so far. Times must be hard for so many people.  Is anyone else finding sales slow?

Crafting

My order for the shop is now finished so I can take a breather this weekend and drop them off on Monday.  I hope my friend likes them as it's quite hard work coming up with new designs all the time.  Each and every card has to be different in some way even if it's just the colourway, and she likes ribbon and gem embellishments which can really push up the cost.  Any that she doesn't buy from me will go the Hospice CS to raise funds there.

Marlene Jones  asked if I would show and tell some of my cards so I'll try to do that tomorrow.
It's lovely to know someone is interested enough to ask :)

Thanks everso for popping in and have a lovely day x

Sunday, 14 February 2016

A Valentines Gift, Yay!

When OH came back from work last night he presented me with my first ever gift for Valentines day.  Even when we were courting he thought Valentines day gifts were absolute tosh and never bothered with either a card or gift ( at that point the penny should have dropped but I was young and na├»ve!)  Anyway, drum roll perlease........this is it!





It turns out that 'you can do it' were selling them off at £2 the set.  A real bargain, I agree, and do need a new washing up bowl :/  Never look a gift horse in the mouth...lol.....

It's very cold and frosty, but a beautifully sunny day so I have stripped the bed and have sorted the washing into piles.  I can carry on with my crafting and keep popping into the kitchen to do the washing too. See...multi-tasking again... I just hope that the promised snow doesn't arrive today...

Have a lovely day whatever you have planned, and thanks everso for popping in x

Saturday, 13 February 2016

On Cats and Stash Busting

It's almost half way through the month already and half way through my cat sitting duty.  As well as Puss, my neighbour's cat, another cat has again muscled in and is demanding to be fed each day.  To be honest, I think my neighbour has encouraged this second cat (which is a friendly soul albeit huge) and it must be costing her a fortune in cat food as she insists on providing both pouches and dry food at each meal for both cats.  She has more cat food in her cupboard than food for herself. This is Puss....


I'm also tortoise sitting again.  He is fairly easy to look after as he is hibernating...in the fridge!...I just have to let in air each day into his box and check that he is still asleep yet moves if I tickle his foot...lol...

Sorry I have to dash this morning but I have a card order for my friend's shop, quite a large one and so I must get my design 'thinking cap' on.  A happy result from the order is three fold, I get a bit of money back, I get to do some stash-busting (badly needed) and I get a lovely relaxing day crafting (OH is at work so all is quiet) Oh, and there are bound to be extra cards which I can donate to the CS too, they seem to sell very well there, so that's four fold then :)

Have a lovely day wherever you are x



Wednesday, 10 February 2016

A Pleasant Surprise & A Claim

 
When I last shopped at Sainsbury's I used my Nectar reward card and was amazed when I got home to find that I had won 1,000 Nectar points.  To claim them all I needed to do was to scan my card again on my next shop.  As I needed fuel yesterday, I drove into town and popped into Sainsbury's for a TV guide and scanned my reward card as I paid.....  1,000  Nectar points, worth £5 worth of food, are now mine!
 
 
 
Unfortunately for my waistline these donuts also popped themselves into my basket, but at just 30p for two were a bargain not to be missed.  Delicious they were too, bursting with raspberry filling  :) 
 





Changing the subject slightly,  I regularly watch the Martin Lewis money show and subscribe to www.moneysavingexpert.com  Isn't he amazing?  Some time ago I received a copy of his weekly email and one item of interest was with regard to claiming for washing work uniform as an expense against tax.  As OH works for 'you can do it' he often comes home filthy and his clothes have to be laundered immediately :/  I decided to check this 'laundry' allowance out.  OH has now completed all the forms online, printed them out and posted them today.  It's quite a faff as you have to complete a separate form for each year you wish to claim for but it's worth giving it a go, don't you think?  If anyone else wants to try just go to the money saving expert website and type 'laundering work uniform' in the search box.  It should come up with a link.  Do allow about half an hour for the form filling though. Has anyone else claimed successfully?

Today has been very cold but beautifully sunny enough to lift the spirits.  I was out early feeding the cats but there was no frost.  I've just been back to see to them again and it's decidedly chillier so I expect there will be frost tomorrow....

Stay warm everyone x

Monday, 8 February 2016

Bargain Lemons, G&T Anyone?

Today has been so very wet and windy again.  When will it all cease?  I ventured out just before lunchtime for a bit of shopping and found these on the reduced trolley.  Now I needed a lemon but it can cost 35p for a single one and as these were in good condition, and therefore a bargain, they popped themselves into my trolley ;)



As soon as I got them home they were sliced and put onto trays in the freezer....


 
About an hour later they were popped into a box and put back into the freezer.  They will be very handy for livening up my glasses of water (which I always have on the go) as well as cooling it.  G & T anyone? :)
 


I do hope you are all staying warm and dry.  Thanks everso for popping in x

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Thanks, For Pam & Birthday Fund

Hi wendywu, welcome :)

A big thank you to everyone who commented on my last post and left get well wishes for my dear Fil. It seems that many of you have encountered the same problems with accessing help from the NHS.  Thankfully, he now has his medication which is helping a little but he has to go for more investigations in a week or so.  I just hope that the Jnr Doctors don't decide to strike on the day of his appointment, that would really take the biscuit......

Aren't there some wonderful bloggers out there?  I am currently thoroughly enjoying Sue's new blog A Year Without.....(Sue from Our New Life in the Country ) She is aiming to spend no more than her cash in hand of just over £300 for a whole year's food shopping, eking out the budget with various coupons and her home grown produce when it becomes available.  If you haven't seen it do take a look, it's brilliant.

This photo is for Pam from A New Life in Wales.  This is what my skein of Jester yarn looks like now :/


I think her idea of making and attaching her own pompoms is probably the best way to go.

An update on the birthday fund .....

I have received £5 in cashback from the little shopping I do online so that has been added to the fund making a total so far £23.69

Sorry this is such a short and muddled post but the family is due soon and I still haven't had either shower or lunch!

Have a lovely day x

Friday, 5 February 2016

Jester, You Are Joking! And More NHS Failings

My Father in Law is ill again.  I know it's inevitable at the age of 93 that he will not be like a Spring chicken but it still saddens me when he is suffering.  He rang the doctor himself on Monday morning but, although a home visit was booked, no-one showed up.  On Tuesday, OH rang the surgery on his behalf.  Well, he rang & was cut off, rang and was cut off, rang and was cut off.  Each time he went through push this button, push that button, then a recorded message kicked in " we are experiencing a high volume of calls at the moment, please try later" CLICK and was gone....It took three quarters of an hour to finally speak to someone and to request a visit to his Dad.  Just after lunch the GP rang here for further details, now although we appreciate him calling us why did he not read the records which show FiL has bowel cancer?  The GP made his visit and was very kind  but 2 days later the medication has still not arrived due to a mix up which means that the pharmacy never got the prescription to make up.  Dear lord, when did the NHS get to this point.  We don't live close enough to keep popping in to FiL's so feel very helpless and sad for him.....


On a lighter note, I found some quirky yarn called Jester which has pompoms incorporated within the yarn.  Yay! I thought, an easy way to make a pretty child's scarf. I bought just one skein to try and boy am I glad it was was a solitary skein :/  I found it almost impossible to unravel. Starting off by unravelling enough yarn to knit up to the first pompom was difficult and I couldn't work out how to roll it into a ball because all the pompoms meant it got tangled at every turn. Blast!  I knitted up to one pompom and found that the weight of it pulled the stitches out of shape around it....




It looked lovely in the skein....



Then I really came unstuck, I mean, really .... aarrgghh



After half an hour of twisting and turning I exploded, metaphorically speaking, cut off the pompoms leaving a long tail of yarn attached and painstakingly re-rolled the bits of yarn into small balls which I can use for other projects.  Never again....NEVER!

PS the marks you can see on the furniture are shadows from the sunny day and not coffee stains!

Thanks everso for popping in and have a wonderful day wherever you are x






 attached

Monday, 1 February 2016

Signs of Spring and Mean Queen Media Queen!

In my post on 24th January I mentioned raising a bit of money on eBay to buy DD something nice for her birthday in March.  So far I have sold 3 things which have given me a nett profit of just £18.69  The things were just lying around in a drawer so it's given me good start.  Not a fortune, I know, but something to start off the birthday fund.  More items listed so keeping my fingers crossed :)

photo from Channel 4 news

I have been keenly following Ilona Richards AKA Mean Queen from Life After Money blogspot.  She is amazing and kept her cool through all the TV and newspaper interviews despite some negative comments from people who don't even know her.  I don't agree with everything she says but she has such a good heart and raises lots of money for the cat charity she supports as well as giving a home to 3 rescue cats and an old dog, Rocky.  The woman deserves a medal in my view.  Rock on Ilona !!

Today is the start of a whole new month and another step forward on the path to spring.  I can't believe that we have been let off so lightly here in Worcestershire....no snow at all yet!.....it has been so wet and so very windy and yet the tiny bulbs have begun to open in readiness for sunny Spring days.  The Poinsettia I was given for Christmas is still as beautiful as the day it arrived....



and yet tiny daffodils are opening up and turning their delicate little faces to the lukewarm sun whenever it deigns to appear.....




We have a visitor today, the gas man.  The weather has been so mild that we haven't needed the heating on half so much as in previous years but our tank is still a little depleted, so a top up to 90% full is welcome just in case of a cold snap.  It's comforting to know that even if we are snowed in this month we have enough LPG in our tank to see us through until mid March at least. He has just pushed the delivery note through the door and the cost is £111.97 (43p per litre).  LPG is more expensive than natural gas but we don't have a choice and we put money aside each month for all the bills.  No worries there then.... :)



Stay safe and warm everyone and we'll 'talk' again later  x