Day 19 – What have you done for me lately??

Hasn’t time flown since my last blog. I can only apologise and hope my latest ideas will make you smile & inspire you.

I’m still obsessed with my ‘DIY cleaning products’ but I have dabbled crafting things from card and fabric. I also seem to be letting situations determine what handmade things I produce (i.e., when I need to replace stuff) and I’m really happy about this – going with the flow.

So what have I done for you lately? Or rather what haven’t I done!! Where do I start?

T-shirt grocery bags, AGA top covers, mummy business cards, laundry liquid, fantastic fire lighters and dish washing up liquid. I have no idea which to talk about first (all are good) so I’m posting the pictures here as tasters and will talk about them one at a time – requests are always taken.

Pictures are:

tshirtshoppingbag3 Agatopcoversmummybusinesscardslaundryliquidpinecones  washing up liquid

T-shirt grocery bags first…

You will need:

1 old t-shirt


Sewing Machine (although you could hand sew it)

Pen & a straight edge

tshirtshoppingbag9 tshirtshoppingbag8 tshirtshoppingbag7 tshirtshoppingbag6 tshirtshoppingbag5 tshirtshoppingbag4 tshirtshoppingbag3 tshirtshoppingbag2 tshirtshoppingbag

Cut the T-Shirt as shown, sew as shown, mark where you want to cut the slits, cut where the marks are and turn inside out and hey presto a very funny shopping bag. I’ve also shown two options for storage  – tied up & rolled up and put an elastic band around it to secure it. Here is the tutorial I used at Ecouterre.

Happy Crafting xx

Day 8 – Wowzers!!

So I’ve run out of my multi purpose cleaner……Aghhh!!!

Shouldn’t have worried as this is the easiest & cheapest by far. Quick google search and my trusty new blogging favourite Happy Money Saver has the solution (literally!).

Its the easy 3 Ingredient All Purpose Spray.

all purpose cleaner

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 part water
1 part vinegar
10-15 drops essential oils of choice (mine was lavender & orange)
Pour in a Bottle (shake well & shake before each use)

It boasts it takes 30 seconds to pour in a bottle and you’re done!! I know!! Crazy!!. I was worried about using vinegar (you need the clear stuff, not the brown stuff you put on your fish & chips), as I though the whole house would smell of vinegar but I was sooo wrong!! Wowsers!! (Watching too much Inspector gadget). The essential oils truly did cancel out the vinegar smell. I’m so impressed. Now for the testing part…. I’ll let you know….

Happy crafting xx

Day 7 – Today was a GOOD clean day.

I love Suma’s geranium soap and was determined to make my own soaps and near as, ‘damn it’, the Suma geranium soap as I could.

Speaking to my lovely beauty therapist (friend) Yolande Pearson about soap and all the wonderful concoctions you could make, she mentioned putting oats in a soap as a natural but yummy scrub. (PING! light bulb moment) the oaty scrub sounded great but I remember using the milk oats produce in a bath (oats in a muslin pouch*) for my boys when they had chicken pox and how wonderfully soothing and moisturising it was.

So I experimented and here’s what happened……

geranium soap1 geranium soap2 geranium soap3 geranium soap4 geranium soap6

The clear soaps are with just pure vegetable glycerine and the opaque ones are with the oaty milk, I need guinea pigs so I want to try one please tell me here and I drop it off/send it in the post.

How did I do it ?….

I ordered some glycerine through eBay, melted it in a pan, picked some geranium petals from outside, used some geranium essential oils mixed together before putting some of the mixture into silicone moulds. I added the oaty milk (not oat milk, recipe below) into the remaining mixture and put them into the mould too. Oaty milk mixture as I call it is simply a cup of ordinary oats placed in a small strainer and soaked in a bowl of boiled water (approx. 1 pint). After 15 minutes or so a lovely, sticky white substance omits from the oats and when you pull out the strainer you can discard the oats leaving the wonderful oaty milk in the bowl. This oaty mixture was mixed with the glycerine as mentioned above.

Happy crafting xx

*recipe to come if people are interested.

Also in my eTravels I have found this site ‘Happy Money Saver’ which looks great for ideas & I love the chickens… there’s an idea.

Day 5 – A bad day.

You know you have those days, when no matter what you do things just don’t go to plan.

Hubby & I had planned a lovely Sunday out where he had a 10k run and me, the boys & step-daughter were going to a local Theme park with trains & animals (utter bliss for my 2 boys).  I’d packed a good lunch for everyone, the weather forecast was good, everyone had a good night sleep the night before and we were set.

It rained, now were not the kind of people that shy away from the rain but it rained all morning and not just a little rain or drizzle but a torrential down pour, we we’re soaked, cold and getting grumpy (and not just the 4 year olds). There was no place to have an indoor picnic, the rides were all wet and my thoughts were on my poor hubby wading his way through a 10k in the countywide. Worst of all I had to break the news to my 4 year olds (train obsessives) that the train rides they had been promised was not going to run today.

So, you’re thinking what’s this got to do with ‘not buying anything new for a year’, well, I’m setting the scene for weakness and how I have failed already at buying something new. I was dreading the ‘no train news’ to my little ones so I said they could have something from the gift shop. Epic FAIL!

Looking on the bright side we all have fun together, we didn’t have to spend money on lunch, hubby got a new PB (person best), and I learnt an important lesson about where my weak spots are that I’ve got to have a back up plan available so I don’t give into these weaknesses.

bad day1

Please feel free to add your comments and I’d love to get your ideas & suggestions.

Day 4 – Parties & gifts.

Day 4 – Parties & gifts.

Buying gifts & greetings cards for people is something I use to love and was worried that making a gift or card would look cheap, tacky and generally looked at with sympathy by the recipient. So I’m very keen to keep everything high quality, pay attention to detail and personal to that person, and go with the theory if I’d like it then it’s ok.

So far, I’ve had a twins birthday party and a 25th wedding anniversary to go to & to make gifts for.

The 4 year old birthday party – old wax crayons, melted in a plastic pot (on the Aga or microwave) poured into a silicone mould (I used a star shape mould) mixing the colours as I go, teamed with a plain note pad (which I bought ages ago). Given to another set of 4 year old twins and they seemed really happy with their present.


The 25th wedding anniversary – Cardboard silver coated 25th anniversary handing cards & his & her wine charms, in silver with some beads (charms, beads & chain sourced some time ago, but you could get quite cheaply in craft shops or eBay or the likes of).

25anniversary1 25anniversary3 25anniversary2

So if you receive a gift from me  (handmade/second-hand/vintage) then please be kind but don’t feel you have to say you like it. Honest feed back is always welcome.

Any other ideas for gifts are always welcome 🙂

Happy crafting JA x

Day 2 & 3 – Making Yogurt & Impact.

Day 2 & 3 – Yogurts & Impact.

The Yoghurt – Even though I ommitted my husband from my project, I shouldn’t have been so hasty! He said late last night that he’s always wanted to make yoghurt (*huge sign from me as yoghurt sound really complicated and so much effort, how wrong I was!!) I would like to point out here we are lucky enough to have a 6th member of family (The Aga) and if you don’t have one you’d need a nice and warm airing cupboard or equivalent to make this work.

Ingredients are simple:

1 tbsp Natural Yoghurt

1 tbsp Dried Milk

1 pint (600ml) Sterilised milk (UHT milk in our case)

Doing is simple too:

Cream yoghurt & dried milk together with a little milk. Heat the rest of the milk in a pan. Do not let it boil as it has to be blood temperature (Boy! That caused a debate our house I can tell you!) We recommended about 34 oC. Then mix both together in a bowl, cover the bowl with a plate & tea cosy or a few tea towels to keep it warm and sit on the Aga top (or alternative warm place) over night. Then chill in the fridge in the morning. It worked !! Hurrarr!!

Thanks hubby for your ideas & encouragement xx


The Impact –

I hadn’t quite realised the impact this project would have on my day to day outlook. I see ordinary objects in a completely different light. When I’m in the supermarket the whole section of clothes, garden accessories, DVD, and general other stuff are now off limits and instead of feeling sad about it I feel quite liberated by it! I don’t have the think about that section anymore I can concentrate on buy the food, which is the whole point of being there in the first place.

Also, whilst at home looking at objects, I’m about the put in the bin, I’m questioning what can I do with it/made out of it/is there another use for it/can I recycle it, before sending it to land fill? I am, however, fully aware that I could quite easily turn into a hoarder, but the huge clutter of stuff my 4 year old twins create, acts as a constant reminder to tidy/clear out/declutter, so I think the tendencies are under control for now.

I also had to share that my good friend Eva (Equally insane about buying second-hand stuff, making stuff, being crafty and de cluttering bought me a lovely gift today (No, not new). A fabulous vintage garden tea set!! Bring on the summer garden picnics!! (Oooo, maybe I need to think of bunting, another day…)


I am very excited to share with you a lady who has a fantastic blog about crafting things out of nothing, making it pretty and keeping it simple, she’s such an inspiration, so check it out I will be unashamedly stealing many of her ideas and you’ll no doubt see me replicate some of her ideas here in my blog.

Happy creating & saving to you all xx

Day 1 – homemade moisturizers

It’s actually day 2 but I made my first moisturising cream yesterday and I’m very exited about it!!


A few years ago I had taken an aromatherapy course where we mixed up our own creams and I though,  must do this now!

Basic ingredients are:

Vitamin E cream, Flaxseed oil, Lavender essential oil & Rose essential oil, mixed it up & voila!!

I smells lovely and my 4 year old said ‘you smell mummy’, oh dear I though what of?? he said ‘Lavender mummy’. Phew!! Flaxseed oil can can have a fish oil smell but obviously not in this case. Hurrarr!! A good start I’d say.

Also, yesterday, I harvest a few leaves from our cabbages patch and they were delicious 🙂

On a not so good note I did buy a badminton set from Aldi (my excuse is that hubby wanted it so, bought by proxy I’d say). I also bought 2 pairs of walking shoes for the boys, but these were allowed as shoes for growing feet are in my exceptions list.

So far…so good 🙂

(n.b., promise I won’t list everything I buy/not buy but will endeavour to post interesting money saving/crafting discoveries).

The Beginning

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I’ve set myself a new challenge and publishing it here makes it official which should, in theory, help me stick to it.

I have decided not to buy anything new for whole year!!

No, I’m not going nuts, just fed up with high pressure consumerism and whilst curbing my own shopaholic tendencies it might help save the family budget, reduce polluting the environment, and indirectly help teach my twin 4 year old boys that you don’t have to buy something new to make yourself or someone else happy.

There are exceptions to the rule, listed here:

  1. Shoes (Growing feet will need new shoes, I myself really don’t need anymore shoes).
  2. Underwear (2nd hand underwear?? Yuk!! This goes without saying).
  3. General food (I am going to be as savvy as I can and grow as much as I can but I simply cannot produce enough food to feed a family of four).
  4. Cleaning products & some cosmetics (I will be trying to make my own, bleach alternative & moisturising creams but there maybe a limit to even my abilities).
  5. My husband (I have a wonderful and supportive husband who would like to be omitted from my little experiment. Fair enough, I’d say but I’m sure I can rope him in later once he see’s the benefits).

I consider myself a crafty person who enjoys making things from nothing either by sewing or crafting out of scrap. I’m someone who loves a good bargain either from eBay or a charity shop. In fact at this point I’d better state the rules.

General rules – all items purchased must be second-hand, pre-loved, vintage, retro, re-cycled, up-cycled or re-conditioned – but NOT new!!

  • No newspapers/magazines/books
  • no new clothes
  • no new toys
  • presents must be second-hand or made
  • birthday cards must be made
  • cleaning products & cosmetics must be made (where possible)
  • Clothes must be patched up, repaired or redesigned
  • Packed lunches, no cafe’s
  • charity shops, gum tree, free cycle, car boots sales, garage sales, & eBay allowed (always second-hand).

So I may alter the rules if necessary but the idea will stay the same. it’s worth pointing out here that this is not a new idea and has been done by lots of other families all over the world, click here for more info…