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


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

Make your own charm squares

 Hello Dear Reader,

I have the most beautiful box of donated fabric which I will cut into charm packs and jelly rolls, ready to use them in a quilt for my dad. I was going to make him a quilt from all my old scraps but now I have enough fabric from donations and shirts to make him something rather special. Here’s a how to cut your own charm squares.

A pack of charm squares consists of 42 squares all measuring 5″ by 5″. It’s much easier working in factors of 12. A square that starts by being 5 X 5 will sew down into 4 X 4. I buy Hobbs batting from America – some one’s got to buy their stuff!  That is in imperial sizes, for example – King size batting is 12′ X 12′. I can easily do that maths of how many squares I need when everything is a factor of 12. Simple maths for me please!

Onto cutting charm squares. I iron and lay my folded fabric onto my cutting board. As usual, I trim the edges and them cut away from me, in 5″ intervals. 

 I then end up with 5″ wide strips. In an answer to you yesterday, Dear Reader, you can make your strips or squares any size you want. There are lots of on line tutorials for quilts made with charm packs; I just make my own and then follow their designs at a smaller cost.

Next, I turn the strips to lie horizontally, line my ruler up at 5″ intervals and then cut away from myself to create 5″ squares.

I’ve had so much fabric donated today, that I’ll be able to make my dad a quilt from all new fabric. I’ll add in sashing from recycled fabric as well. I’ll need to cut 120 charm squares to make dad a twin size quilt (to fit his single size bed) and I’ll sew larger strips of the donated fabric to create the backing. 

Now you’re going to wonder what I’m going to do with the scrappy quilt that I am making? Mmmm? I think it might be time for another give away!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Read all about it!

Hello Dear Reader,

Our magazines and papers come from trains and recycling bins. I walked past the recycling bin outside our supermarket this morning and saw a lady putting these into it. I asked her if she minded me having them and told her I would recycle them once I’d read them. She seemed happy enough and they came home with me. I wouldn’t dream of spending £4 on a magazine just to ogle at glossy pictures, but I don’t mind having a browse if it’s recycled. I shall put my feet up with a cup of tea and enjoy these this afternoon. If I were to buy just one magazine a week, at £4, then I would spend/waste £208 a year and if I were to buy a newspaper for £1.20 (we used to get The Guardian – now I read it online or which ever newspaper Dearly Beloved finds on the train) a day, then we would spend £312 a year on newspapers. The easiest way to save £500 a year! Read the recycled!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xx

Froogs’ big day out

Hello Dear Reader,

We went for a mooch around Saltash today. A near by town on the banks of the Tamar and nestled under Brunel’s bridge. It has excellent charity shops, some independently owned food traders, cheap parking and pleasant walks. Some of the houses were built in the 1500s and still occupied and much in demand for local homes as they ever were.

I love the little shops where you can still queue and natter and the local catch up on the gossip.

The quayside was full of boats, most pleasure boats were out of the water and tucked away for the winter. Even in the winter greyness, it’s a lovely place to nose around.

St. Luke’s hospice shop caught my eye as everything in the window was 50p! Including the utility ware dish.
I also bought a large linen table cloth, reduced to 83p! (not in the window, but in the ‘reduced’ basket by the till) Dearly Beloved bought himself some books and left them with some books we’ve already read.

Now that’s a bargain, a huge piece of top quality fabric with so many uses.

My ‘Johnson Bros’ bowl is a tureen without a lid, but I’ll still add to my ever growing collection of utility ware.

I dug out some spare batting I had stored at home……..

and made Beryl the teapot a cosy! It’s a bit big so it’ll be cut down to size and ‘refitted’ later. How much fun can a girl have for £1.33!!!! I didn’t need either of these but was on the look out for bedding to cut into fabric for quilts; I’m also aware that charities need all the money they can get.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx