Painting vintage furniture 

Hello Dear Reader,

Im a great lover of all things second hand and I love French charity shops! On our last trip to Emmaüs, we bought three pieces to dot around the house and today, I’ve been sanding and painting and it’s been great fun. The furniture cost under 20€ a piece with some bits being as little as 5€. We bought water based eggshell paint in a vintage colour to mimic, Farrow and Ball’s ‘old white’. It was half the price and almost the same in colour.

I used a small palm sized electric sander to remove the top coat of varnish and then sugar soap to remove any last traces of grease. The sugar soap comes in a spray which I used to coat the furniture liberally and then, using hot water, a cloth and making sure I used rubber gloves, gave it a good wash and then allow it to dry.

It’s really important to use thin coats of paint and allow it to dry for two to four hours, depending on atmospherics, between coats. Remove any handles before you sand and then paint. 

Here’s the results of one small table that we’ll use as a bedside table. Now it’s your turn. Any upcycling furniture painters out there? Do you prefer chalk based paint? Or, like me, eggshell? If so, water or oil based? Have any of you had any luck with charity shop furniture?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx


Skip diving


Hello Dear Reader.

Blimey, my dining room is starting to resemble Steptoe’s yard! In fact, my yard does look like Steptoe’s yard. I remember one reader called my house ‘a whole heap of nothing’ which didn’t bother me, I don’t know the person from Adam and nobody likes everything. I’m quite happy that my house functions, albeit on the cheap and if I have what I need then that’s fine. As those of you who read regularly know, I’d rather spend money on enjoying life, walking, reading, visiting places than I would on matching plates and cutlery.

We’ve taken all year to budget and put money aside for carpet and it’s going down on Tuesday and Wednesday which meant that we took the remains of the old carpet up and took that to the tip today. I’m such a Womble that I had to save the two kitchen stools that were just about to go into a skip. I’ve already wombled a breakfast bar and now I have two kitchen stools to go with it. They were tarnished so I cleaned them off with wire wool and then used some oil on a soft cloth to bring them to a shine. A bit of a sand of the seat and some furniture polish and they will do just fine.

We are hiring a U-haul type trailer to take in December when we become owners and I’m going to take as much as I can with me. I have enough of most things to take half of them out there and store them in the flat until the house is ready. It’s going to be furnished and renovated on a budget or dare I say on the cheap and will be very much make do and mend. If only I had a trailer today as someone was getting rid of doors and as we have to divide rooms us and create walls and add doors, they would have been just fine. I’m certainly not ashamed to ask and no one has ever said no yet. I’m far from a hoarder but I always find it a shame that people didn’t find a new home for it, whether a furniture bank, clothing bank, charity shop, freeads or Freecycle. I grabbed some firewood too just as that was about to go into the wood skip. I’m not allowed to get into the skips and take wood out but I would if I could! 

Over to you Dear Reader, any other Wombles out there? Making the most of the things that we find?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx


Enjoying what we already have – Wednesday War on Waste

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve had another wonderful day here on planet earth. I haven’t left my own doorstep, I haven’t spent any money and yet, I’ve had a fantastic day. A fellow blogger and her charming husband are on holiday in this area and came to see me for coffee this morning (well a pot of tea actually). 

As you would expect, I whizzed up some cherry shortbread biscuits and a few mini-fruit cakes with minutes to spare.

The results proved popular and saved me the trip to the shop for some sweet treats and both took about ten minutes to prepare from scratch and twenty minutes to cook. All ingredients from my fridge and store cupboard. (yes! I know the time is wrong on the oven……… doesn’t bother me)

If you read my blog on Monday, you’ll remember that I had a charity shop rummage and bought a single bed headboard cover for 50p. I bought it for the sturdy and cheerful fabric. 

Today it was up-cycled into a bag. I also finished eighteen table napkins from one of the table clothes I bought from ebay last year – some twenty linen items for 99p! I’ve lots of plans for the rest of them!

Here’s the finished bag, which is lined and the contrasting fabric which I’ve used to decorate and make the straps from, was bought for £1 from a car boot sale last year. I’ve yards of it spare and made an apron last year and I’ve plans for the rest of it.

How was your day on planet earth? How’s your ‘no spending’? I love to hear from you xxxx

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Up-cycling a vintage table cloth

Hello Dear Reader,

Last November, I bagged myself a load of vintage tea-towels and tablecloths for only 99p via ebay. I’ve used a few bits and bobs for students to make aprons; I made an apron for a friend and I’ve kept the rest of this very good quality linen for further use. 

Yesterday, I couldn’t find any decent napkins so today, I’ve cut a tablecloth (which is too small for my table) into sixteen twelve inch squares and have edged them to make napkins. I have no idea how much sixteen linen napkins would cost but mine cost about 5p for the lot! In fact, I think the electricity to sew with cost more than the fabric!

I’ve a few more to sew but I’ve plenty of time and these really are a frugal bargain! I’ve also had great fun ripping weeds and ivy out of my garden and it’b beginning to look tidy. Another lovely day at home and a no spend day too.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs

Froogs versus the UFOs!

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve actually managed to start and finish one quilt this week and it will be posted to ‘Fishcake Random’ over at ‘The Frugal handmade home’ as soon as I can. I thought I would share the back with you as it’s made of two pillow cases (thrifted), which I have opened up and sewn together. I really like the bright pink and flowery back of the quilt. I’ve also managed to get dad’s quilt laundered and put our sofa throw into the wash to make the most of the water and expense.

Every garden shot of mine has to have fire wood and scrounged pallets in it! My garden is really looking like Steptoe’s yard and the tarp in the back ground is a hopeless attempt to keep the weeds under control. They’ve certainly won that fight!

On the right, is the cot quilt that I’ve finished and washed today. I’ve used the left over fabric from my quilting day, along with a jumble sale dress, donated shirts and bright yellow fabric from the jumble sale! There’s also some fabric from the kind reader in America who sent me a huge box of fabric. It’s lovely to be able to be generous in return and now make quilts I can give away!

Above is a close up of the baby quilt and Dad’s quilt actually drying outside and they smell just lovely.

As one quilt is finished, I just have to start another. Some one is having a baby and that’s excuse enough to me to make a quilt. All of this will be made from the lovely donated American fabric and I’m using the fun children’s prints to make this quilt. So far, there’s cowboys, cowboys boots, teddies, Easter chicks, kittens, veggies and rabbits. It’s going to be a fun quilt! I have another UFO to do battle with tomorrow and then I will have cleared my back log of crafting endeavours and can get on with the exciting new projects! 

So Dear Reader, over to you. What are you up to? What’s being home made? Anyone making presents? Anyone making clothes? I look forward to all of your comments.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

My dad’s quilt…………so far!

Hello Dear Reader,

I’m late tonight. I’ve been working like a woman possessed on my dad’s quilt.

It was taken at ten this evening, in the dark and the colours are far lovelier than the photo suggests. I hope you can see the pattern emerging of 2″ blocks for the sashing, with 1″ stripes at the intersections. There’s a way to go yet with six more scrappy 12″ blocks to make, along with more checks and stripes. it contains remnants of all the quilts I have made so far. 

Most of the fabric for this quilt has been donated. I can see, shirts, a duvet cover and off cuts of someone else’s quilting projects. I can see remnants of fat quarters I bought at the quilting show. I’ve got bags of bits and bobs to use up and the predominant colour of this quilt is blue with fragments of a few other colours thrown in. I have a wonderful collection of red fabrics for the backing and plenty of red and white for the edging. 

I’ll keep you up to date with my scrappy quilt as the week progresses and my preparations for my quilting workshop on Saturday. It’s going to be a wonderfully busy week.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs

Shopping at the local jumble sale

 Hello Dear Reader,

I couldn’t be more excited! In fact,  today has been the best, most frugal, cheapest purchases of a whole family of quilts worth of fabric for £12! I’m still getting my head round how much I’ve got for my money, which is always after a bargain, but this is incredible. I’ll go through my jumble sale haul with you. Firstly, and above, Dearly Beloved, ably assisted by Bobby Dazzler, is holding up a huge length of wool dress making fabric. It’s says, on the lovely groovy 70’s label, pre-shrunk, so I will use it to back or edge quilts. It’s so fine and yet, so incredibly red, with a check that you can’t see in the photo. It’s un-used and has just been stored.

 The next is one 10″ wide and about 5″ long curtain, hand made with little stitches and make from Laura Ashley material, and the makers mark is still visible with the long since seen, ‘Made in England’ mark alongside. A beautiful, but kind of shabby chic blue and again, will make a wonderful quilt back with the large pattern.

 Another hand made curtain with a stunning retro floral design. I like modern fabric but love the feel of older, better made cotton. This will cut down brilliantly and make fantastic quilting blocks.

 Above, DB is holding up some brand new cotton checked fabric, almost a cotton lawn dress making fabric as it’s so light, it has a sheen to it and feels stunning. Again, new, unused fabric.

 Blue floral………..DB is holding a length of fabric and it’s folded double so you can see the size of it. Most of the fabric has obviously been stashed away dress making or curtain making fabric and maybe this is the chance for the owner to have a really good clear out.This too is new unused fabric.

 This is a huge length of Sanderson cotton fabric and it’s still as vibrant as the day it was printed. Even though it’s obviously for curtain making, it’s a light enough cotton to make a stunning quilt back, or even chair covers if I manage to find a small bedroom chair to reupholster. New – unused fabric.

 There’s more and more – here is a very dark blue small check gingham in a cotton, this will be fantastic for quilting. New- unused fabric.

 Oh, would you look at the utter grooviness of the paisley fine corderoy, it’s again, a dress making fabric but I think it will be wonderful for re-covering my foot stool when the time comes or making new covers for the cushions in the living room when the time comes to remake them. ‘New’ unused fabric.

 Here’s the total haul altogether. There is masses of fabric here! By the time the lady totalled what she wanted for this, I decided enough was enough and left the rest for everyone else. I will be a long time before I use all of this up.

Mostly ‘new’.

I was charged £1 for the larger pieces and 50p for the smaller and the local church was raising money and I was glad to give it to them. It’s cold and wet here today and I’m going to be found stoking the fire to dry the laundry, drinking big cups of tea and sorting out my fabric stash. I’m also going to get on with more of dad’s quilt.

Another fun and exciting day xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xx

Frugal Jelly Roll Quilting.

 Hello Dear Reader,

Lots of photos and a ‘how to’ tutorial. As you may or may not know, I haven’t got a lot of spare money but I love to quilt, which can be expensive. You can buy bigger boards and cutters but I get by with a 14″ X 4″ ruler a cutting board and a rotary cutter. I bought one which could take a replacement blade. These will last me for year. You will need a flat surface such as a kitchen table or work top. 

 I buy men’s cotton shirts from charity shops and then tell everyone that I make quilts from recycled fabrics and people for all four corners of the UK send me fabric. I use duvet covers or sheets for backing but I do buy good quality batting/wadding. I have a whole collection of shirts. I even use white shirts to have contrasting stripes or squares. I’ll show you how to make jelly rolls. A jelly roll is a 2.5″ wide strip, which are commercially sold at 40″ long. This is home made, like home made cake, it isn’t like the stuff in the shops. It won’t be perfect.

 You will have two sleeves, which I put one on top of the other and iron. I then fold them over to make them easy to slice.

 Take to your cutting mat and trim off the scraggy ends. Now get onto your number bonds or number patterns. I now think in blocks and add on a quarter of an inch at either side to allow seamage. A 2.5″ strip will sew down to be 2″ wide.

  I also see numbers in patterns of 2.5. I work right to left because I’m right handed. I start at 15 and work back and lay my ruler at 12.5, next time at 10, then 7.5………………

 I hold down the top and bottom with my fingers spread wide and press hard, I keep my fingers well back as I could jump with the blade and cut my arm off!

 I end up with 2.5″ wide strips.

 I open them up and cut off the uneven ends. 

 I do the same with the two shoulder pieces.

 It seems like a lot of wastage, but these bits will go into my rag bags and be used in other projects, or as part of this one.

 Now the fronts of the shirts. Again, there are two, so lay one on top of the other. Iron carefully.

 Fold to make the cutting easier.

 Trim off the scraggy ends.

 Here you can see me holding the ruler firmly, making sure I stay on the right mark at the top and bottom; these gridded cutting boards are so easy to work on.

 Here’s an ‘ariel’ shot showing how I line up the ruler with the boars.

 Here you can see the force I’m exerting to keep the ruler firmly in place.

 Another shot to see what that looks like.

 Here you can see me lining up to a mid point marking. I make sure I keep the fabric in the same position.

 I try and keep the lengths similar, so I join some.

 I’ll have a pile of strips, right sides together on my lap ready to feed into the machine.

 I’ll then have a shirt full of strips of the same width and similar lengths.

 Here’s one shirt, in a jelly roll. I bought this shirt for 50p in a charity shop. It’s not worn, a few marks but I can live with those.

 One home made jelly roll. I’ll keep doing this in readiness for my quilting workshop. 

These will not be perfect and there will be tiny variations. I will not have cut every seam straight but it doesn’t really matter. I quite like to sit and unpick a shirt whilst watching a film, I could do it on the train or whilst DB is driving us to work. Even if I paid the full £2 that most of my local charity shops charge for a man’s shirt it is still a fraction of the price of buying material by the metre/yard and ready cut jelly rolls can cut up to £29 (for flashy and lovely Moda). I don’t mind a bit of work if it means I can save clothing from landfill and make lovely gifts for friends and family for a fraction of the price.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs

Parcels on the doorstep and a naughty boy!

 Hello Dear Reader,

Just in case you think I wash my face in dirty flannels; don’t panic! I use old flannels as cleaning clothes and this one had just been through the washing machine.  I’ve been reading lots of blogs this evening; all very very worthy finalists of a blogging award. I have no idea on earth how I made it. I’m either waxing my eyebrows……….or worse! Dying my own hair! Using £2.99 mascara and me and fashion are uncomfortable bed fellows. We eat left overs and I’ve often got a greying bra hanging over the end of the clothes horse, in front of the fire burning away with recycled pallets! Everyone else who blogs seems so glamorous, or in some way professional. I enjoyed reading them and wish them well. When I go to the awards ceremony, you will be able to spot me. I’ll be the woman in the corner who came up on the Megabus for £8, will get changed in the hotel loo and then hop off to get the last £1 bus back to Cornwall! (I can’t afford the £99 to sleep in someone else’s bed)  I will also be wearing something from a charity shop and as ever, I will have done my own hair! I will look a sight!

I on the other hand share my frugal life and how to buck consumerism and stick your middle finger up at shops, credit cards, high prices and multi-nationals!

 Here’s my day! Some one at work gave me a huge bag of old shirts. Someone else at work gave me a bag of old curtains! Today, there were two parcels in my garage. One had a stunning blue quilt and the other had two fantastic blue checked pillow cases. People have gone out of their way to do something for me.

I want to take this opportunity, yet again, to thank people for their incredible generosity and kindness. To the people who packed and posted parcels; who came in on the bus to work with a huge bag and went into their attic to dig out old curtains. You thought of me and did something truly lovely and you made my day sunny and warm. It is not sunny and warm here, it’s chilly and Dearly Beloved chopped some pallets and got the fire started to dry my haul which I can’t wait to pick apart! I now have a stash more fabric and I am constantly reminded that people are genuinely very kind.

It was all going so very well! I came home in the sunshine, made myself a cup of tea and sat on the back step whilst taking in the view. The dogs were playing in the evening sun and big dog seemed to be digging a massive hole! As you can see, he was mainly digging it with his nose? Unfortunately, there were no truffles!

See, I have no idea why I’ve made it to the finals. (Here’s the metablogging bit!) I write to look back over my life and count up the sum of all my days. I sometimes read my own blog and marvel at how good life is. If any one else thinks my ramblings are worth a vote, I would appreciate it. xxxx

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogsxxxx

Learning all over again

Hello Dear Reader,

Today, it feels as if I’ve had to relearn something really basic. It feels as if I’ve learnt to sew all over again. I’ve always used a sewing machine. My mum used to make my school uniform and summer skirts, and as a teenager, I loved waistcoats and mum used to sew and knit those for me too. (I look back and see how much love my mum put into making things for us.) I watched her sew and I would make things too as well as being taught at school. I’ve always made my own curtains, chair covers and cushions. I’ve always been able to manage the basics quite happily.

With a little help from the internet and the generosity of people who have sent me fabric and the 50p bargain rail clothes that I have cut up from charity shops, I’ve happily pieced basic quilts together in strips and squares. This year I’ve attempted patterns, or blocks as they’re called in quilting. I’ve got on quite well. The only hurdle I haven’t attempted is free motion quilting. I was on the hunt for a flashy machine and in the end settled for the one I’ve got with some new feet and a quilting extension table.

 So here is my very first attempt at making a star block along with my very first attempt at free motion quilting. I learnt how to do this from the Missouri Star Quilt Company online tutorial which I’ve embedded for anyone to have a look at, or maybe even try yourself. It’s like having to learn to sew all over again. As a fellow blogger said, I’ve just got to keep practising. I had some spare batting from previous endeavours and as I’m learning to make stars and made two mistakes before I got it right.  I’ve got plenty to practise on.

 Here are my quilting gloves that I bought at the quilting festival, they seemed very reasonable at £6 and I’ll look after them and make them last. They make my hands stick to the quilt and the quilt stick to my hands. I’m still finding it difficult to move the fabric where I want and make the stitches and even length. I’ll keep at it and I will get there.

Previously, I made quilts out of need to add an extra layer to our beds. I’m now thinking of family gifts, wedding presents and making gifts such as quilted bags or cushions. I bought some new fabric yesterday but I mainly sew and quilt with recycled fabrics. I’m on holiday for two weeks, so this will be the week I baste and quilt my red, white and blue quilt and hopefully do some machine quilting on it too! Only this time last year, I would never have dreamed that I would make a quilt with a lovely design or even try machine quilting. I was happy with blocks and stitching in the ditch. Now, I allow myself to learn, to make mistakes and to have a go at something new.

Lots of you have said you’d like to try this, well don’t let anything stop you. Start, just as I did with the basics, read books from the library, watch online tutorials and have a go. it doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you already own a sewing machine, an iron and you have some old fabric to use up creatively. Go on, have a go at something new and allow yourself to make mistakes as we’re all learners in one way or another.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs