Last minute?

  

                    

                                         


                           
                               
                                

   


Hello Dear Reader,
Quick drop in and out. Here’s my latest quilt, made from all the scraps of all the other quilts I’ve made. 
It’s washed, packed and ready to take away.
…..laters xxxx
Froogs xxx

   

Advertisements

Getting it wrong and getting it right

Hello Dear Reader,

Whilst I was merrily sewing my blocks together, it dawned on my that I’d not read the block sizes correctly and I’ve made them all too big. Not to worry! I’ll just make a different quilt from the blocks, well in fact, two quilts as the blocks are bigger and I have far too many. I will make a king size and a single bed quilt, there’s always someone who needs a quilt!

As with recipes, or put it together furniture or sewing instructions I should have checked and read again and then read again. Never mind. The fabric came from the quilting show and all the reds were £1 a fat quarter and the yellow floral block was £2.99 a metre from Trago. It’s not the end of the world and I’ve made worse mistakes before! The final quilt will be a sort of Irish chain. Whatever, it’ll be pretty, homemade and will keep someone warm.

 Now onto getting it right. I bought a large gammon joint for £5. I always buy ‘ham’ like this and boil it and slice it myself. It’s great quality, lovely in sandwiches, salad or as tonight is Friday night, with homemade oven chips and a poached egg. 

I’ve had my slicer for years, it’s simple to take apart and clean and it gives really thin even slices. I then keep the ‘ham’ in a sealed airtight container and it’s fine to eat all week.

Home cooked ham and homemade oven chips – getting it right! Cutting and sewing my blocks to the wrong size – epic fail!

 To make my chips, I peel, chip and make sure they are dry by wrapping them in a clean tea towel. I then toss them in one tablespoon of oil, a dusting of thyme and smoked paprika and pop them on a baking tray for thirty to forty minutes.


Over to you? Any epic sewing fails to admit to? Any thrifty food moments that taste great, are better than the shop and have saved you money?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Eat, sleep, sew repeat.

Hello Dear Reader,

Every year, I make July a no-spend month. I don’t buy anything to wear, any make up, anything for the house and just make do with what I have. I also have ‘Stoptober’, where some people give up smoking, but that’s another no-spend month. I also have lots of no-spend days. For example, I make a point of not spending any money until ten days after pay day. That means I’m already a third through a fiscal month and I still have everything I was paid, minus the direct debit payments that go out for household bills. 

I also make a point of using up everything I have. I try my very best to use up all my fabric. To be honest, I would love to slice and cut up some different fabric from my stash but I’m determined to use up all the bits, bobs and small pieces I have to finish a quilt top. 

I’m eating down the freezer and the store cupboard, reading books I already have, we’re watching our way through films we’ve stored on the free-sat box and we spend time walking in the evenings. 

It’s amazing the difference that saving a month’s money can make. It means we can just save that money for the rest of the year or just put it towards the mortgage. We have a day out here and there but we’ll take a flask and packed lunch and enjoy ourselves without the need to spend any money.


I hope you are enjoying our lovely warm light evenings as much as I am. I made another section of my scrappy quilt and will get some more done over the weekend.

Over to you Dear Reader, who else has no-spend days, or weeks or even ‘Just make do with what I have July’ or joins in with ‘Stoptober’?

I’ll be back tomorrow and will see you then.

Love Froogs xxxx

Crumb Quilting.

Hello Dear Reader,

This may all look like a dreadful mess but it’s actually part of the creative process of crumb quilting and using up all the bits of old projects. I keep all the spare bits and eventually have enough to make a random quilt. 


Here’s the mess sorted into order.  A box of squares and a box of two and two and a half inch strips. I also have a bag of triangles that will be used up one way or another.


I’m using it all up and sewing it into strips and then sewing the strips together and adding it to the rest of the crumb quilt. We are keeping this one for our home. It will probably go on the back of the sofa to add to the warmth in the winter or will be another quilt for a bed in the home. Nothing matches, there’s no pattern and it’s simply an act of using everything up.


I often learn a new block and then add that the the quilt as I go along. I’ve a bit more to add tonight and another strip is done and will be sewn on. 

I have two quilts on the go at the moment and the other is taxing me…………it will be finished………eventually. Especially as it is for DB!

Any other scrapaholic quilters who add their leftovers together to make blocks and eventually a quilt?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Can quilt making be affordable?


Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve had a rummaging through my fabric night. It’s been sorted, graded and the box storage system has been juggled about. 

I have a box or random 2″ strips that will all become tiny blocks and may become a border.

I have a box of 1″ strips that will become tiny partition strips.

I have a box of tiny off cuts that I will cut down into strips and squares.

I have boxes of cut down shirts and items of clothing. These become the bulk of my quilts and form my darks and lights.

I’m in the middle of two quilts and I’m at that stage where I’m struggling to find the motivation to finish either. One is a pattern and needs to be exact. I make myself create ten blocks when ever I can get the will power t to sit and work at it.

My other quilt, is a random scrappy quilt. I just sew bits to bit and a few bits more to that. As long as dark goes against light then it works just fine. The shapes are random but when I have sizeable ‘bit’ then I use my rotary cutter to make it regular enough to fit into another strip for the quilt.

I’ve reminised over fabric tonight. My biggest haul came from an older lady, who had quilted all her life, who now can’t sit at her machine any more. I bought her entire haul of fabric and she only asked a very reasonable price. She also gave me patterns, cutting mats, rulers, templates and threads. 

I’ve had fabric gifted to me, from friends, colleagues, dear readers, fellow quilters and thrifters. I’ve always loved quilting with shirt fabric, it’s soft and really good quality.

There is something very soothing about a rummage through my own fabric. Every now and then, I re-sort and colour co-ordinate and then I also sort into larger fabric pieces which require more folding.

That’s where I’ve been tonight. It’s reinvigorated me. I’ve had a good tidy and have fallen in love with fabric again. For the rest of the week, I’m going to get some sewing done!!

Over to you Dear Reader, who loves sorting and de-cluttering? Who loves fabric? Who loves re-using pre-loved fabrics?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Learn to sew to save money.

Hello Dear Reader,

I have two days of sewing workshops here at frugal cottage.

I learned to sew, cut patterns, match seams, iron open seams and unpick them and start again at school. They were basic skills and I’ve never forgotten them. I brushed up my skills by using tutorials on You Tube and there are plenty of how to sew type of short clips on the toooooooooob! I learned to quilt in exactly the same way.

Our libraries are full of books on craft and sewing and I refer a lot to books and website. The easiest tutorials that I’ve found are from Bonnie Hunter and Missouri Star quilt company.

You can of course go on day courses learning how to sew………….or you could come to me.

I don’t charge, I just ask participants to make a donation of what they can afford or what they thought the day was worth. 


I used to have a box room for sewing and sewing workshops were held in my dining room, now I have a dedicated sewing space, albeit a bit cosy. I can fit three participants if I put my desk top computer away.

Today is a learn to sew from scratch day. 

We will learn how to hold the fabric, guide it through a sewing machine, control the foot pedal and be comfortable with the machine.

We’ll move onto threading the machine and how to solve problems if they arise.

A quick break for a cup of coffee and some choccie cake (gluten free and of course, made by me) and onto:

choosing contrasting fabric,
measuring and cutting,
creating 5″ squares,
sewing a nine patch,


cutting a nine patch and making a disappearing nine patch block


And making a cushion cover.


If anyone wants to come along to a sewing workshop then email me on janemclark@hotmail.com. The next few will be held on Saturdays and I will try and fit in one a month.

Having basic sewing skills mean you can alter thrifted clothes, make your own soft furnishing, upcycle shirts into quilts and in turn, keep your whole family warm.

I’m passionate about saving money and living an affordable life and a few skills are really useful.

Come sew with me?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx


Fat free tea loaf, chocolate muffins and another quilt

Hello Dear Reader,

Today has been a busy and sociable day and though lovely, it was good to get home. I didn’t bake today, I baked on Thursday night and took the goodies into work to share. Nothing cheers a work place more than a bit of cake! 

I made fat free tea loaf

You will need

4 tea bags to make a very strong 300ml of tea
300g of mixed fruit
350g of SR flour
1 teaspoon of ground allspice
1 beaten egg.

Make the tea and soak the fruit until the tea is cold 
Mix all of the rest of the ingredients together.
Bake as one large cake in a loaf tin for 1 hour at 180/gas 4
or individual muffin cases for 20 minutes. 

The loaf is great thinly sliced and served with butter. It’s also great with a zesty lemon glaze. Take 50g of icing sugar and drop lemon juice into it until you have the consistency that you would like. It should drop off your spoon so you can drizzle it on top of the cakes.


Chocolate muffins

I used:

4 eggs 
225g of butter or marg
225g of SR flour
225g of sugar
2 heaped tablespoons of cocoa
1/4 of a jar of chocolate spread

Mix all of the above together to a smooth batter and spoon into individual muffin cases. Bake at 180 for 20 minutes. 

When cool, slice off the top of the cake and spread chocolate spread liberally and replace the ‘lid’. Dust with icing sugar.

As ever, I always let you see a close up. I didn’t eat any of these but every one enjoyed them, even when I told them that they were entirely made from supermarket basics from Sainsbury’s. As usual, even though I was given the ingredients, my opinions are my own. I’ve always used supermarket basics from one supermarket or another and firmly believe them to be  good value and quality. I can now add Sainsbury’s the list of ‘great basics’. Not just for someone on a budget but for anyone!

Last night, my quilt was still being quilted.

Tonight, my Scrappy Mountain Majesties quilt is backed, quilted and edged. It’s going off to London with Paul my PT who’s joining the Metropolitan Police at the end of February. It’s my thank you for his skills in making me believe in my own strength and health. I’m never going to be physically lazy ever again and I’m never going back to a size 18 ever again! The quilt is a very small thank you for his professional support.


The quilt (except the wadding) is completely made of recycled fabric and is made from shirts. I now have two more quilts to back (both gifts for friends and family) and quilt and then  I can complete my scrappy crumb quilt that’s going on holiday to France with us this summer. Now that’s worth being frugal for and watching the pennies to save up for!

Over to you Dear Reader, who else has a short term financial goal that they are being frugal to save up for? Who else has baked this weekend and what did you make? Who else has finished or is in the middle of a craft project? 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Bricks and Stepping Stones Quilt

Hello Dear Reader,

I’m a great fan of Bonnie Hunter’s quilting designs and love her generosity at providing so many of them free to use on her blog. You can find the design, measurements, how much fabric to use and how many blocks to make as well as how much edging you will need HERE to make this quilt. 

It was so simple to cut. I cut 2″ strips and 3.5″ strips. It was so simple that I’ve made the top of this quilt, in a few hours here and there in four days! Backing it and quilting it is a different matter and will be done as soon as I can. I have a stack of quilts to make for people and I have made the tops of two of the four I need to do.

If you have any questions about how to make this quilt, just click on the link above to go to Bonnie’s website and it’s all there for you. I like to get an assembly line going and then I get a quilt made really quickly. Also, I don’t start to assemble a quilt until I’ve made all the blocks for the entire quilt. I find that I make sure I finish every job I start that way.

Here’s the finished top (on my son’s bed) I love the effect of the bricks and stepping stones. As ever, the quilt is a mixture of thrifted, gifted and the edging is some fabric I bought from a jumble sale. Lots of the fabric was bought really cheaply for as little as £1 an off cut at the quilting festival in Exeter last year. The stunning blue spotty fabric came from my local craft store. 

The quilt is for a six year old girl so I purposefully made it as bright as possible.

Here’s a close up of some of the blocks.

Here’s a close up of the edging.

I thought I would share my thrifty quilting with you. I keep every fragment that can be sewn together and make ‘crumb’ quilts from them. These often become thank you presents or quick gifts for people. I make random blocks and then sew all the tiny bits together and keep adding them until I have a big enough quilt top to be usable. It then gets backed and quilted and rapidly finds a new home.


I don’t go back to work until Monday and hope to get a third quilt top made in that time. As for now, I’m off to get measuring and cutting!

Over to you Dear Reader. Who keeps tiny bits of something that other people might throw away? What do you make with them? Who’s a shampoo bottle rinser and squeezer of every last drop?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxxxx

One summer, four quilts and paying it forward.


Hello Dear Reader,

I have defeated the UFOs! All four of the previously half finished, or just cut and not even started, or promised and not even started, have all been finished. The pile above were all finished in my six week summer break and I’m ashamed to say, that two of them were finished in the last week. Procrastination, really is the thief of time! 

Below, is the quilt I made from scratch yesterday. I say scratch as I had a few 5″ blocks of pyjama fabric already cut………….from last summer! I didn’t have enough and after a rallying cry, you stepped in to help and sent me lots of brushed cotton to help me out. I couldn’t have finished this without you. A big, big thank you to ‘Mummyhen’ who sent me lots of this and you really were my angel who stepped in to help me xxxxxxxxxxxxx

My final quilt, is a cot quilt for Romania and will head out on the next truck consignment to an orphanage that a local church supports. I have enough scraps for another and I’ll get on with making that as soon as I can so I can keep using my odds and ends to make them as many quilts as I can. 

 This is quick to make as I quilted it on the diagonal to make it as strong as I could for washing.


You can see all the donated fabric here. I hope you don’t mind that I’ve made this to give away but it’s a really good cause. If any of you know of any charities that could benefit from quilts, then please let me know as I’m happy to make quilts and love the thought of them going to families and children who need them. 


The back is also made of brushed cotton or ‘flannelette’ and it’s a very warm cot quilt. I can not thank you all enough for the support and encouragement you’ve all given me with my quilting. I’ve only been doing this for a few years and this kind of quilting, ‘scrappy quilting’ really is my favourite way to quilt. 

I’ve got lots of challenges over the next few weeks. I’ve received bags of upholstery and curtain fabric which will be great for cushion covers and bag making. I’ll keep you up to date with some ‘how to’ and ‘tutorials’ as well as telling you what I will be doing with all of them. 

A massive thank you to everyone who sends me fabric, old shirts and the bits and bobs that you don’t need or have time to use. Without your support, these quilts would never have been made. 

I’ve been cooking away over the last few days and the recipes and photos will be up later.

Over to you, does anyone know of any charities who distribute quilts? Does anyone else make hats, blankets, dresses, quilts for charities? I hate the thought of any fabric, textiles or wool being wasted and I’m sure I can create a page of addresses of charities who could benefit from our crafting and thrifting. I’m sure we can quilt, make school bags, clothes, knitted hats and mittens for a whole range of charities.

As ever, I look forward to hearing from you.

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxxx

Froogs, her latest quilt and her quilting companions.

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve finished my latest quilt! To my shame, I started this in Spring 2012! I made the top quite quickly and made star blocks for the first time. I didn’t use a pattern nor did I measure correctly and nor was I good at quarter inch seams and had irregular sized blocks. I felt a total failure and as if my quilt was rubbish. I put it together and the blocks didn’t line up and it was skewed when I finally backed it and had it all together. Well, I got over all that, patched in where it wasn’t square it up and got on with it any way. I then started my first (and probably my last) free motion quilting. I was rubbish at that too! I couldn’t get the tension right, nor the stitch size and in places it’s so amateur! However, I got over that too and got on with it. It has been slow going this summer and it’s taken me ages and in truth, I haven’t enjoyed it. But, I got over that as well and now it’s finished. 

The mutts always accompany me when I sew. They don’t mind the sound of the machine. The quilt they are lying on (now the dog quilt) is the first ever quilt that I made. I keep it as a reminder of how far I’ve come. It’s not long ago that I’d never made anything, least of all a full sized quilt.

Below is the texture of the quilt with lots and lots of circles it makes the quilt look as if it is covered in bubbles.

The quilt is made of a collection of fabrics that I bought at reduced rates at the 2012 South West Quilt Show and of course, interspersed with plenty of shirt fabric.

The quilt is for a single/twin sized  bed and hangs almost to the floor. 

It’s edged in a pink and green check that I bought as an off cut in the reduced price ‘bin’ when I went to Ikea and the backing is a vintage single sheet that I bought in the Salvation Army shop. As usual, I’ve used Hobb’s unbleached batting/wadding and the entire quilt is 100% cotton.

I machine stitch the binding by sewing it onto the back first and then using a decorative stitch on the front to secure it. I know most quilters do this by hand by I’m a strictly machine girl!

Here’s a close up of one of the stars.

I like the fabric in some blocks more than others. My inspiration originally from the colours of the Polyanthus flowers that are in all Cornish gardens in springtime.

You can see that my FMQing is not great, but as I’ve got over it and as I grow to like this quilt then I can forgive my first attempt. It can only get better.

I’m going to use this in the spare bedroom, which is where my daughter stays when she comes to visit.


It’s been emotional and I’m glad it’s finished. I now have FOUR!! other UFOs or WIPs to complete and I’ll keep you posted. I’m going to finish the baby quilt I’ve started first and then the baby quilt that’s being donated to an orphanage in Romania and I’m certain that they won’t take me six weeks each to finish!

Come on you quilters. ‘Fess up! Who else has quilts lurking that you started months or even years ago! Who else needs a size 6 Froogs’ boot up the back end to get it finished. Take the pledge here……….repeat after me, I will finish what I’ve started. I’m embarrassed that I have so many unfinished quilts so here is my pledge. I will not start any new quilts until I’ve finished the ones I’ve started. Feel free to leave your pledge, either about a quilt or craft project that you’ve started and now is just gathering dust. May be, it’s a DIY project or work around the house or garden. Come on, come clean and tell Froogs all about it.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxx