The Elves Arrived!

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Remember my North Pole breakfast post well it happened.

I got up at 6am after a night on the couch to ensure they didn’t hear me sneak down. Phew.

I estimated I’d only need 30 minutes top it look me 50 minutes to prepare as I gently moved spoons one by one out the way to find the right ones. I had thought to set table night before with table cloth and  everything else but not spoons!

Finished just in time.

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The food. So hard to photograph Glitter jelly when it’s pitch black outside but they look great and you barely it’s in jars.

Yum yum although the fruit candy canes were severely overlooked!

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These were more successful than thought and were scoffed pretty fast. After few hours rest we then had porridge.imageimage

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After all that fun it’s good to restock your energy levels

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Will you be doing one? We’d love to see pictures

tracy

Frugal Living

So further to my previous post about being Frugal when Shopping I wanted to tell you of more ways I’ve noticed to reduce cost or at least make the most of your money.

The other day we needed potatoes. There was a pack for £1.00 and a pack for 69p. The £1 pack looked bigger so thought I’ll get those but then I looked closer.

Both packs were 1.5kg both were british white potatoes and get this both were angus variety. The only difference one pack had bigger potatoes so unless you’re making jacket potatoes it makes sense to buy the cheaper packet. You may think for sake of 30p it doesn’t matter but look at that saving over say a year. We buy potatoes every fortnight and probably spend £20-30 on fruit and veg. Now 30p saving each time is 60p a month that’s £7.20 over the year. Imagine you buy weekly. You could cover a weeks or half a week food with the saving.

Now looking at labels. The kind that contain the pricing per litre, KG etc. 18 can packet of coke is 13p per 100ml not bad. But look at 4 bottles (1.5l) and its 8p per 100ml. Again may not seem much especially if like us you very rarely buy it but for £2.50 less I get 60ml more. £2.50 and it’s pretty much same quantity.

Again depends on your life. Cans may be more convenient bottles tend to be a little flatter quicker but hey I’m only telling you to look closer.

Another option which I did mention last time is cans. Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy multipack and something especially if there is an offer on it isn’t. Heinz often have offers on with their soups so it’s always good to go with a calculator, look at the labels closely too it’s often a trick to believe we’re getting more for our money when we can’t be bothered or don’t have time to work it out.

If you do online shopping the option to search by price low-high isn’t always great because you still need to check the prices out and often cheaper things are smaller packets and not better value at all.

Own brands are just as tasty and cheaper nearly every single time. Try it just once.

Now onto christmas. Like me you’ve probably seen all these christmas eve boxes and how lovely they look, or the plates then you see the price and you consider can I factor that in because they are good prices for the work but they are a price you have to budget into the whole cost. Well I plan to wrap an old shoe box for mine it works, makes it exciting to open still and best thing I spent nothing as the shoes that were bought weren’t mine and I already have wrapping paper I bought in the January sales.

Another example I saw these funky toothbrush holders which were small but at £3.99 I couldn’t help think for 2  don’t want to pay nearly £8. Out of curiosity I looked at the packet that had toothbrush included. Same price! So I bought them as it was better value for money.

Let us know your frugal tips!

tracy

Tree Skirt Completion

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Following on from tree skirt tutorial we’re going to finish!

Laying your completed skirt on the base fabric smooth it all out and pin. You can alternative pin this with outer fabric facing up and bias bind the edges but I wanted to save cost so I didn’t. It’s a good idea to iron your seams flat to make this process easier.

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At this stage your middle hole may look tiny don’t worry even if its the wrong size you can cut more off after it’s sewn.

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Sew around the outside curve of the skirt starting from one opening edge ending at other. You can turn it round here or you can fold the straight edges under and sew before turning. Don’t forget to trim excess fabric and give it as good iron!

Now if you didn’t use bias binding to edge your skirt you need to edge the trunk hole (her hum sounds bit rude that one) I used cotton tape I had but you can use ribbon or small amounts of bias, as long as enough to have ties and edges. Double over and sew securing ends. Add 2 more sets down the straight edge.

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You could go without ties and just sit it on the floor to look nice up to you. Here is the completed skirt it turned out way better than I thought it would as circles are never easy.

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Doesn’t it look pretty?! perfect size too.

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tracy

Making Gowns for Sleeping Angels

This may seem out of place but I considered it important to get out there. So this is some tips on how to make an angel gown for stillborn babies.

You can make gowns out of almost anything as long as it’s not see through. Pale colours are best and adding things like lace and ribbons add that something extra.

I volunteer for a charity that uses wedding dresses to make the gowns so you can also use satin to make your gowns. Due to the size of them it’s important to make them in a certain order it is also important to make them open backed for ease of dressing.

First you need to sew the 2 back pieces to the front at the shoulders.

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I have no serger/overlocker so I use zig zag stitch to tidy my seams. Some machine have an overlock stitch, you could also use pinking shears or cut extra at the seams and use a french seam.

Now you need to finish the edges of the sleeve with zigzag, overlock stitch or double hem. Unless you used a double hem you now need to hem your sleeve by turning under 0.5 cm.

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If you are using a facing to finish neckline with please scroll down before continuing. If you’re using bias tape read on.

You can now join sides and under sleeves by sewing from cuff to hem. I like to cut a slant at the sleeve so when turned right way no seams poke out. You will need to cut into the underarm to reduce bulk and ensure when turned right way it doesn’t wrinkle.

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Now finish your edges along centre back (CB) and hem. Start at neck and go down one CB along hem and up the other CB. Now turn under and sew. fold your hem before your CB as it’s tidier.

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At this stage you have a few options of how to finish the neckline.

I find the easier is using bias tape.

You should fold up your bias at the end by cutting either side slanted, folding short edge up then folding tape in half to close it up. Cutting like this helps prevent unwanted raw edges poking out.

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Fine the centre of gown front and of the tape. Line up with gown sandwiched between bias. Pin onto gown and pin bias together past neckline to create ties. I don’t measure how much I use I do this by eye but around 7-9 inches is good amount of tie to have on one side so 14 inches plus amount needed for neck is a good minimum to work from.

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If you don’t like bias or don’t have any to hand you can use a facing. This is probably cheaper option but I personally prefer how it looks with bias tape.

USING A NECK FACING

However I have had to do this whenever I run out. After you have secured shoulder seams fold your gown out and iron those seams flat. Lay the right side (outside) of the gown onto a rough piece of fabric you only need a small rectangle. Sew them together by sewing around the neckline. Then cut excess fabric away by cutting along the neckline of gown.

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Turn this to the inside and topstitch along the neckline again.

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At this point I sort the facing. For these I used dress lining and it was quite slippery to sew, plus it was first time I faced a gown I’m not used to sewing dresses with no separate sleeves. I cut the facing in a curve almost like a bib inside making sure the edges matched to centre backs. I then zig zag finished the edges and turned them up. I experiments with different methods and shapes as shown below and found the curved one piece the neatest easiest option.

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You can now continue your gown as before but when you get to sewing the centre back and hem you should pop a length of ribbon at top of CB so they can be tied up. Make sure to seal the ends of your ribbon so they don’t fray.

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You can now add ribbons, bows lace or anything else to front of gown. Some things may be easier to sew on before construction but I will cover that in my next how to.. coming soon.

tracy

 

North Pole Breakfast!!

We’ve been doing elf on the shelf for about 2 years now but we’ve never had a special elf breakfast so this year we are! This is my plans because by time we do it maybe you’ll have done yours.

First stop I went to the poundshop. I bought 3 pack of bowls and one of plates plus a 3 bowl tray, paper straws and mini crackers. I have also collected jars and couple of glass bottles. Our table cloth will be laid and the elves in presence.

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Hartleys fulfilled everyones elf food desire by releasing glitter jelly! This is perfect for north pole breakfasts and this is what the jars are for so the kids can see the glitter and they will look pretty on the table too. Click the picture for the food delight I plan to serve.

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North Pole breakfast is all about eating things you wouldn’t normally but I’m a sucker for including healthy treats so heres my food list:

As the breakfast is a welcome back from the elves they will be bringing gifts in the form of chocolate advent calendar for kids and picture ones for adults, also christmas mugs for the kids as christmas isn’t complete without a christmas mug!

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Throughout December we also have other activities and small cheap gifts to keep them busy. Again pound shops are great for these and if you don’t manage them all you can give the rest in their stocking or save till next year.

  • make your own crackers
  • painting decorations
  • fake snow
  • fake snowman
  • writing christmas cards
  • writing santa letter
  • christmas eve box: pjs, hot chocolate and a book to share.
  • making treats for the family dog
  • making christmas biscuits

Hope you like some of my easy, cheap ideas. We will see you next weekend when we will hold our breakfast and you can all meet our Elves.

tracy

How has your life changed?

The other night The Shroom household were talking about our different childhoods and what we do now we never did as a child and what our children get in comparison.

So here’s my list

  • I eat way more cake. I used to mostly want crisps as a child and we rarely had cake or nice puddings whereas my partner had cake more than me but never really had puddings not even fruit or yoghurt
  • My kids aren’t shouted at for stains on clothes it’s just dealt with and if is a school item replaced.. eventually. My partner had similar upbringing to the kids.
  • We rarely ate fruit that didn’t have sugar or cream loaded on top. On occasion we had fruit salad and I dreaded it. Now I eat fruit daily with no sugar or cream and the kids are encouraged constantly to eat it. None of this you need something healthy back in my day 😉
  • I ate my meals because if I didn’t I had no pudding and nothing else offered till the morning. Kids today seem to think no and complaining they’re hungry is their parents fault for not feeding them exactly what they want
  • I never ever complained about a meal if I didn’t like it I drank water every bite to stomach it because I knew how hard my parents worked to feed us
  • I played outside more than my kids even if I was cold I was outside and I entertained myself. I grew up with toys not computers. Big and Little Critter seem to think I’m their own private entertainer and if I’m not the tv or computer game has to do it.
  • I rarely said I was bored but suggest the kids do something other than watch tv and they’ve nothing to do.. hmm

So many chances and it’s nearly always to do with having stuff to own or do or eat. It’s crazy how much changes in your life and how other influence those changes that then become you’re own quirks.

tracy

Losing Weight when Crafting

Due to the fact most crafts are done at home sat down its hard to imagine how you you can involve any weight loss into it.

Well you can.

Stand up to cut out and pin things if your back allows. I find I move about more back and forth smoothing this, pinning that, grabbing my scissors moving things out the way. I would recommend doing at a table not the floor or you’re tempted to sit.

Be prepared! Sounds like a 1950’s singer manual quote but honestly the more prepared you are the less distracted you’ll be more and less likely to stop for a ‘reward’.

Don’t sew hungry as you’ll be more tempted to snack in case of eating a meal because you just want to get this part done.

Don’t have handy chocolate or sweets near by. Provided you are prepared and don’t feel need to take a break because you have to cut something out or do this or that to continue you won’t find time to hunt out the snacks.

Get up for regular walks even if you run up the stairs to the loo. Loosen your limbs and don’t stay sat because no amount of not snacking or standing will help if you don’t take breaks.

In crafts such as crochet or knitting where you can’t move in the same way you could try standing up. Standing up takes energy strength and yes you can burn calories doing so.

If needs be a walk to the craft shop will suffice. Daily for extra effect.

tracy