Renovating in France on a budget 

Hello Dear Reader,

Today, I’ve given the bedroom walls two coats of white emulsion, sanded the skirting boards and given then two coats of eggshell. Scrubbed down the shower room walls and given them the first coat of paint. My thrifted side tables have had a third coat of paint too. We have painting to finish but it’s all just tidying from now onwards.

We want to get all the major jobs done by the end of the day tomorrow so we can get onto the fun easy parts. There’s snagging to do but a massive day of work has made such a difference. We’re also pleased that we’ve kept costs to an absolute minimum.

DB fitted the balustrade today that he’d previously painted. Everything needs a light sand and a final coat of paint. He has lights to fit, doors to hang and we have to move furniture around and tidy. We’ve got to keep going even though I’m fed up of renovations and just want to go out and visit about five places I’ve got on my list. Fortunately, none of them are going anywhere so I can save the for trips in the future. 

When I look at the photo above, I marvel at everything he’s done: cutthe hole in the floor, customised the stairs to fit, built the stairs, built the wall and built the balustrades. DB – you are a star! I am so proud of you xxx

It’s slow going but we are getting there.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx


Pushing on with the thrifty renovations 

Hello Dear Reader,

I have a digital TV recording box for my freesat. I love to watch home Reno and DIY programmes where houses are raised from ruins or built from the ground. Well, I like the beginnings and the ending and the middle bits are boring. Well, right here right now, we’re in the middle boring bit. It’s got to be done and the end results will be worth it. It’ll take a while and at least another year to get our home to gîte standard and a while after that to get it registered and legally up and running. We have a way to go yet but still we must push on. Today, I sanded the stairs and put a stain and sealant on the wood. Each coat will darken the wood.

Here we’re sanding and painting the balustrades for the third floor landing which are easier to paint before we construct them. Tomorrow we’ll build them or try our best to get it done. I’m painting the spare bedroom and today, I did all the cutting in.

I’ve also put another coat of paint on the bedside furniture. When they’re dry and before the final cost, I sand them with fine sandpaper to give them a smooth finish. It’ll all be finished and lovely, just as we’ll be returning to Cornwall. 

We have a massive list of jobs, all of which will be done by to keep the costs low: gravel paths, paint he exterior of the house, tile the bare floors, plant shrubs, build a garden fence. It will all akebtime to save up for and we will do it all eventually.

However long it takes, it will be done on a budget by us.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Come Charity shop shopping with me!

Hello Dear Reader,

The sun is  out and the small dog is feeling much brighter. He’s booked in for some dental work next week but in the meantime he’s on pain killers and anti-biotics. Thanks for all your kind remarks. I agree if we have pets then we must set aside funds for if they are ill.

The sun has been out today and we’ve been in our cottage garden. It has lots of shrubs and trees that are just too large and we’ve dug them out and Freecycled them. The small patch of lawn has been mown and if it’s a weed………….then it’s gone! This staycation in this ‘holiday cottage in Cornwall’ is going very well. 

I made my way into my small Cornish town of Liskeard and had a happy and very successful browse around the charity shops. When chazza shopping, you are prepared to come away with nothing or an abundance of almost new outfits to see you through the year. Today, my haul was a pair of unworn sandals, two t-shirts, one smart top and one casual top and it came to a £13 for the lot. 

Some charity shops, especially the ones I have seen in Plymouth and Tavistock charge more than we pay here in Liskeard. I would go to say that our charity shops are some of the cheapest I have ever seen. 

You can be lucky and walk away with bedding, curtains, clothing, household items and craft materials and all at very low prices.

T- shirts were 50p today in my local Woodside Animal charity shop. I also bought two new tea-towels in the Salvation Army shop (I love traditional linen tea towels) for 50p each. 

If you are ever in Cornwall, make time to come to my little market town and have a browse. Nothing here is too expensive and all of the local traders are really competitively priced and you will be made most welcome.

Whist you’re at it…………pop in the Thrift Cottage, there’s always a welcome here too.

My ‘new’ clothes have been washed and dried outside in the sunshine and I’m looking forward to my new additions to my spring wardrobe.

Over to you Dear Reader. Who’s had any luck recently in your: charity/goodwill/thrift/Op shops? (Hark at me, I can charity shop in many cultures).

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxx

Thrifty Recycled Fabric for £2 a metre?

Hello Dear Reader,

I’m a thrifty quilter. I use new fabric when it’s donated but mostly I use recycled fabric and sheets or duvet covers for quilt backs. I bought a king size cotton quilt cover this morning for £3 and it will back two quilts. I’ll use it until I need it and then take it apart for quilts. I know some of you have charity shops that have out priced themselves in your area but ours, here in Liskeard, are still reasonably priced. I’m just going to have a little gloat. Liskeard came 12th in Britain’s best places to live, according The Sunday Times. It’s due to affordable housing, schools, public transport, hospitals and dental services, library and leisure facilities. I knew it was good here and now the Sunday Times agrees.

I bought two cotton pillow cases for 25p each. 

I bought the man’s shirt of the right. Which I washed, dried in front of the fire and cut down. I measured it against a fat quarter and there’s easily more than a metre/yard of fabric in a man’s shirt. I pay £2 for men’s shirt, usually from the Woodside Animal Shelter Charity Shop or the Salvation Army charity shop. If you’re ever in Cornwall on holiday please support our local charities by buying goods from our charity shops.

The fabulous black, grey and white shirt above was also £2 and I think the design will be a great contrast against pale colours.

Also, one of the best buys for recycling are men’s pyjamas. The shop was selling night wear for £2 and these red and patterned cotton pyjamas had loads of fabric and came to almost a metre and a half.

I cut them down into 2.5″ strips or squares to use in my quilting. This shirt in particular is going to be a welcome addition to my Scrappy Round the World quilt, which is coming along slowly but I have some time off coming up so I’ll be able to get it finished. 

Over to you Dear Reader. Are you a thrifty quilter? Do you use recycled fabric? Does anyone else make their own charm packs or jelly rolls? Feel free to have a good moan about charity shops in your area. Did anyone feel their town should have made the final cut in the Sunday Times Best Places to live?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxx

Plump up my cushions!

Hello Dear Reader,

Here I am again, this time with the second part of my mum-in-law’s Christmas gift. I used the last two star blocks I had, edged them with some fabric which I bought from the charity shop and quilted the front.

The back is made from a pink linen table cloth which I bought at the last jumble sale I went to. I just make the cushion with a pillowcase style fold. It doesn’t need a zip or buttons and the cushion cover can be washed. I bought the 16″ by 16″ cushion pads from Trago for £1.59 each. I buy a lot of haberdashery items from there as I can’t get them cheaper anywhere else.

They are so squishy that I wish they were mine! That’s it for today. Tomorrow, off to Radio Cornwall and home to cut fabric to make some bags for more gifts. It’s a busy weekend.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxx

Blog awards dress reveal!

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve spent the morning with my very best friend and on the way home, I called into Saltash, where they have some very good charity shops. I headed up the high street to find that the hospice shop was selling all their clothes and shoes at half price. I was worth a look. I found a purple silk ‘Alex and Co’ dress and some high heels. I’ve put some darts in the back and under the arms to get it to fit. I’ll need to buy a shrug as I feel totally undressed in it. The dress was £4 and the shoes were £1.25 – I’m off to the Blog Awards for £5.50!

Here’s the shoes! They are going to kill me. I wear flat black shoes to work and trekking sandals at the weekend if it’s warm or the same flat black shoes if it isn’t! My frugal attire suits my personality, posh frocks and high heels make me feel like I’m conforming to social expectations and therefore subjected in some way! I’ll put it on at the hotel and take it off before I head back to Paddington!

I still have to find some sort of shrug, some black tights and do what I can to get ready. All I need to do now is get there without having a massive anxiety attack.

Am I ab-normal? I would rather be turning my compost or walking my dogs than wearing make up and a frock? Does any one else feel totally out of place in a dress? Over to you Dear Reader, what say you?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxx

Spend your money in your local charity shops!!!!

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s not often I advise you to spend money but when it comes to charity shops, they need all the money they can get! I try to buy something at least once a fortnight from our local charity shops. They all need support. In hard times, it’s always the most vulnerable who fare worst. I always head for the Salvation Army shop and will dig around to find something to buy. They are very good for good as new picture tea towels which I really love. I bought this one for Angela at Tracing Rainbows – Angela, will you please email me your address so I can pop the tea towel in the post for you. You always admire the ones I buy so this one is for you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I bought another pair of flannelette pyjamas at the Woodside Animal Shelter shop, where all night wear is £2 and you can get a lot of fabric out of a pair of jim jams. I thought this fabric looked especially Christmassy and I’ve got a lovely gift in mind that I need flannelette for. 

Also, in the Woodside shop, all bedding is reasonably priced and I bought this cotton, good as new single sheet for £1.50 and it will be a great quilt back. The jumper is from a little church run charity shop, which raises money for their mission in Moldova. Head for the kebab shop in Liskeard and it’s just around the corner. They are the cheapest charity shop on earth at jumble sale prices and I find it the best place to find clothing items that I’m just going to cut up and  make quilts from. If you’re in Cornwall, head there and support them. Most of the clothing items are 70p! I’m going to upcycle this lovely blue jumper into something else – watch this space!

I hope you like the tea towel Angela! 

So, get shopping, upcycle and turn what ever you find into something else. Why not buy some curtains and turn them into bags for gifts. That’s 80’s classic flowery skirt will be brilliant for quilting! Need pots and pans for camping? Don’t take your good ones from home, buy a few from the charity shop!Are your teenagers off to college? Kit out their kitchen with crockery, cutlery, pots and pans from charity shops! I’m certainly not ashamed to spread the charity shop word and if they are expensive in your area then come to mine. I find the Woodside Animal Shelter charity shops in Plympton, Saltash, Liskeard, Tavistock and Plymstock to be very reasonably priced and worth a day out in Devon or Cornwall just to support them and help them raise money.

Over to you, what delights have you found? Where do you get over charged? Which areas are reasonably priced? Where is worth a visit? UK or overseas op-shops/thrift stores – let the whole world know xxx

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Call me the bag lady

Hello Dear Reader,

I was the highest bidder on an ebay auction for a sewing machine which is new and has never been used and is still under warranty. If I’d bought it from a retailer, it would have cost £1100/£1200 depending on who I bought it from. It’s an Elna Quilting Queen (I’ve bought it for £600 including delivery with all the extras that come with it, the original receipt and guarantee) after a lot of research I found something I could afford and did the lot. That’s enough advertising!

I’ve got an old basic machine and this is what I made with it today. I started yesterday on my quilting machine and I was picking out the floral pattern. I’ve just quilted it the best I could today. 

I lined it with the red paisley corduroy which I bought a few weeks ago from a jumble sale, the trim is part of a wrap around skirt, which I previously made a scarf from. The blue floral material is an old curtain, kindly given to me by a colleague who knows I use old fabric for my hobbies. I shall take it to work to show him to thank him for is ‘donation’. I had some spare batting for the quilting and on the back of that to give substance to the bag is the remnants of a tatty old pillow case, which is hidden by the red lining. 

I’m going to make more for gifts for friends and family and to use up lots of fabric that isn’t really suitable for and so far, each bag I’ve made has cost less than £1 to make. I hope who ever receives these bags enjoys then and I’m starting to want one myself!

So readers, thoughts on my purchase? Have I chosen wisely? Did I get a bargain?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Hey big spender!

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve had the loveliest day! I took my new scarf for a day out – here I am wearing it. I spent the day with a long time friend and fellow blogger in and around Plymouth. How we know each other is irrelevant, however her blog is inspiring, if sometimes painful to the point of reducing me to tears. Drop by, say hello and give this incredibly inspiring woman a bloggy welcome. Here’s the link . We went off charity shopping to start with and came back with some lovely fabrics and plenty of books. One charity shop had books for 50p and the British Red Cross had their own book shop.

We then took ourselves to the Bakery in the Royal William Yard in Plymouth. It was cheap and wholesome. It’s an unusual dining experience,  but my friend guided me through the ‘how to’ eat there. You find a seat and then help yourself to food and tell them what you’ve had when you leave. The menu is tiny but all home made. I had veggie paella, bread and salad and that’s £5! (All main meals come with salad and bread and cost £5) Can you actually eat out anywhere for £5? The coffee came in great big mugs and it was really good, cheap and friendly. You just rubbed along with the people sat near you or with you and it had the feel of your nanna’s kitchen, where you could go back for more and have as much or as little as you liked. There is also free parking around the area so all in all, I felt it was really good value and I don’t often say that when I eat anywhere but at home. (Lunch and coffees for two was £14 – a massive spend for me, but in comparison to prices you can pay to eat out, very reasonable.)

We then walked all the way round Devil’s Point, and from a distance watched hoards of children playing in the salt water pool. They were having such a good time. Despite of the clouds, it’s been incredibly hot today and they must have been glad of the cold water. People were snorkelling and nosing around the shoreline. You can walk a long way in either direction and we stayed a while and watched the boats. I would advise anyone to have a snoop round the lesser known areas of Plymouth and districts such as Plympton and Plymstock and the surrounding areas as there are some lovely places to visit. 

Here’s my charity shop bargains. Two cotton retro pillow cases for 25p each and two of my books were 50p each. I’m amassing a really good collection of retro fabrics for my next quilt project. Thanks so much to my friend for wonderful company and to the sunshine for making a much needed appearance on this wonderful summer’s day.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxxxx

An ordinary no spend day

Hello Dear Reader,

Monday – No spend day.

It’s back to work that needs to be done around the house. I’ve moved wood from the ‘drying pile’ to the ‘to be cut pile’. It’s bigger and heavier than it looks so much sweating and grunting was required. I’ve put a second coat of stain on the deck.

I’m having a good go at free motion quilting a quilt for my daughter’s bed. It’s a bit wonky and certainly not perfect. I’ll forgive myself that as it’s a first attempt!

I’ve laundered the three items I bought in a charity shop on Friday. I have the wrap around skirt, which I bought for £2 for the fabric and there certainly is a lot of it. The skirt is going to be turned into scarves, one for me, one for a present.

The mass of cut and folded blue spotty material was £1 and started life as a pair of never been worn gent’s pyjamas. You can also see an apron in need of repair and a quilt in need of more quilting. I now have to give the house a freshen up before DB gets home and thinks I’ve done nothing all day!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxx