Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds (3- 10 July)

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

Welcome to another installment of my Thrifty Finds. How has your week been? If you’re in the UK have you been enjoying the heat (again) – or are you struggling?

  1. Not a Thrifty Find at all I’m afraid: I use part of my mum’s freezer to store some of our food. Their freezer broke down last week. Thankfully, they were able to save their food. We only had bread products and ice lollies stored there. Unfortunately that means in this heat we’re without the months’ supply of lollies that I keep the kids topped up with 😦 The lollies have turned to mush but I was wondering about trying to salvage the sticks and see if I could make some of my own. I don’t have any moulds, though, so may have to improvise…..
  2. On a more positive note, I have discovered the large 900g yogurt tubs made by Yeo Valley. While I confess to supplying the kids with squeezy yogurts for lunchboxes (I freeze them; then they gradually defrost in time for lunch) – I resist single pots at home, because of the plastic waste. The larger the tub, the more servings I can get. When empty, they are also very sturdy containers.

3. With our holiday only next month I ordered some Euros from the Post Office. The exchange rate is so much worse than when we went abroad two years ago (don’t get me started on Brexit!) but, by using our Post Office Credit Card I paid no commission and, by going through the money back website, Quidco, I even earned £3!

4. My holiday shopping list (for clothes) currently looks like this:

  • Shorts
  • Beach Coverup
  • Shirt
  • Dress
  • Sandals
  • Hat

Having, ahem, gone up a dress size since our last overseas holiday I need to source a few more things than I thought I needed. Of course, most of these will be secondhand, although I’m unsure about the sandals and hat.

5. Finally, on a rather sad note, I learnt that the lovely Jen, from mymakeandmendlife has decided to stop blogging 😦

I have followed Jen’s blog for a few years and, living in the same county, have met her a couple of times. What started as a year of buying nothing new for her family has snowballed into an inspirational blog full of tips, ideas and actions to reduce our impact on the environment. It was Jen who first introduced the idea of a Repair Cafe to me (which led to the formation of the Corsham Repair Cafe which we run twice a year).

Although she will no longer be blogging, I look forward to catching up with Jen by listening to her podcasts (here) and following her Youtube channel (here)

Are there any Podcasters, Youtubers or Bloggers that you follow?

(You can also share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram)

Thrifty Finds

This week’s Thrifty Finds

 

This Week's Thrifty Finds via secondhandtales.wordpress.com

I realise it’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted my Thrifty Finds 😦

Things have been busy here with kids off school and my other half is standing as a candidate in Thursday’s election (post to follow).

So, apologies for the lack of posting. I hope you’ve still been able to secure some Thrifty Finds, or looked at different ways of stepping off the consumer treadmill for a while.

  1. Re Game of Thrones. We finished Series Five via the library. Then my husband got a free subscription to NowTV with his phone. So, we are now working our way through Series Six….
  2. I’ve been getting into a new habit of making more use of the health food/bulk store in Bath. I’ve been visiting Harvest on Walcot Street to get filled up with washing up liquid (my bus stop is outside so I can do it on my way home)
  3.   I also try to make use of the health food store in Corsham, Green Ginger. I got very excited when I spotted these washing up brush and scourers – both made from recycled materials. You can buy replacement heads for the brush as well.

4. The big news is that I got a new (to me) mobile phone! My first ever smartphone (yes I know I’m rather slow!). My husband had traded in his old mobile and, with that money, I was able to buy a second-hand iphone 5 from the Games Exchange shop in Bath. I also signed up to a deal on ee which has given me some money back to my Qudico account.

 

5. Finally, we went camping over the Bank Holiday. Every year we camp with my  school friends, and their children, in the New Forest. The weekend is a great opportunity to catch up with good friends, let the children run wild and enjoy some good food (and drink). Apart from camping fees it’s low cost as we all bring food to share. We barely leave the campsite as well – instead we just talk and go for walks.

What did you do over the Bank Holiday weekend? Hope the weather stayed dry for you!

You can also share your Thrifty Finds on my facebook page, or use #thriftyfinds on Twitter or instagram

Upcycled garden sheds

 

garden shed, made from two old sheds and fence panel

My very clever husband has spent the last few days building four sheds for our garden. Like our house, our garden is very small (we only have one garden as the back of our house is joined onto another). With three growing children we really need to maximise the space we have and so this summer we have lots of plans.

First of all we/he removed the three old sheds that were taking up too much space in the garden. We had a good sort out and recycled, freecycled and threw away stuff that we no longer needed (a liberating experience). He then made use of the old sheds, as well as an old fence panel from a friend, and made these four storage areas:

upcycled garden sheds

(l-r: garden shed for tools etc, wood store, closed bin shed, lift up storage chest for outdoor games and chairs)

The doors on the left hand and two far right sheds were taken from our old sheds. Some of the panelling was reconstructed from the old fence panel. We did buy some new material from B&Q, but found that we didn’t need as much of it after all.

I’m really pleased with the shed for the bin.

bin shed

Having only one garden we struggle with where to store our bins. In fact, this venture has forced me to contact the council and get rid of our large plastic & cardboard recycling bin. We only put it out for collection once a month/every six weeks so we have asked for a replacement canvas bag that will be a lot easier to store.

I have also discovered that I quite like organising sheds (?!) and have enjoyed decluttering and then re-ordering the tool shed.

shed

The location of the sheds against the house wall has freed up some much needed space. We now have a pleasant area in which to sit and the sheds have been relocated to a far more practical location.

 

upcycled sheds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A skip-diving find from the local tip!

 

New (to me) tea caddy rescued from a skip

 

Last Sunday, on one of the hottest days of the year, my husband and I found ourselves at the local household recycling centre offloading garden rubbish. I hate going to the ‘Tip’ and always feel it’s a personal failing if I’ve not been able to recycle, mend or give away the items beforehand. However there is a lot of recycling and re-using that goes on at the centre(for a start I was able to recycle our tetra paks).

While I hadn’t intended to do any skip diving there (which I know is not allowed) I did spot this wonderful tin sitting at the top of a skip.

Tea caddy

 

So I took it home, gave it a clean and put it on my kitchen shelf. I needed somewhere to store my other teas, as the regular English Breakfast goes in this green Liptons tin which I found at a jumble sale about 25 years ago!

 

green tea caddy and tea cup

 

 

Easy no sew Christmas card bunting

easy no sew upcycled bunting

I recently posted about the challenges of trying to recycle over 160 Christmas cards. I know that I can put them in the cardboard recycling box (or at special collection boxes in supermarkets) but I wanted to create something with them.

Having taken part in last Thursday’s #makedoandmendhour on Twitter and from a trawl of pinterest I picked up a few useful tips.

I had already turned some of the cards into gift labels for next Christmas, and adapted some of the rectangular ones into thank you cards from my daughters:

However I’d also heard about upcycling cards into festive bunting, so here is my guide to ‘no sew Christmas Card Bunting’:

no sew bunting

  1. Select about 20-30 Christmas Cards of complimentary colours. I made two piles: red & green and blue & white (if you like to ring the changes with different colour schemes every Christmas this is a cheap and green way of doing it).

 

red themed cards for bunting

2) Using scissors – or a small paper guillotine – cut off the back and then slice the front into a triangle:

making Christmas card bunting

3) Remember that the bunting flags will hang from the widest part so bear this in mind if you have writing or particular images on them. I don’t have great spacial awareness so got a couple of them wrong so they will now hang ‘upside down’:

upside down bunting flags

oops! Wrong way round 😦

4) When you have a collection take a hole punch and punch one or two holes into the top:

5) Then take the ribbon, wool or string (perhaps saved from Christmas wrapping?) and thread through the holes:

christmas card bunting

And, here we go – easy peasey no sew upcycled bunting!

no sew Christmas card bunting

Don’t forget you could also use this for birthdays or other occasions (perhaps if you get loads of Valentine cards?!). Now I will just have to remember where I’ve stored this bunting for next Christmas!

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Upcycling candles for Christmas

upcycled Christmas candle

You know how sometimes you have the best intentions to take on a project but, somehow, you never get round to it? Last Christmas I pinned a load of tips on my pinterest boards on how to upcycle old candles. I have some beautiful scented candles but, unfortunately, the wicks have all but disappeared, leaving me with gorgeous smelling wax that I can no longer burn.

 

upcycling old candles

So last year I decided I was going to re-make these candles using tips from here and here. I dutifully ordered some new wicks from the web and then left them in my sewing box for a whole year.

So this Christmas I decided to spend a pleasant afternoon re-making new candles from old.

All of my candles came in heat proof glasses. I gently boiled a saucepan of water and placed the candle in it.

 

upcycling old candles

The wax took about 20 minutes to melt (depends on how much wax you have left). I was able to scrape out the old wick before melting it.

When the wax had become liquid I poured it into a new glass container, with the new wick standing in the middle. Some instructions suggest wrapping the excess wick around a pencil to keep it in position but I found I only needed to hold the wick upright with my finger and thumb for a couple of minutes.

upcycling old candles

I then let the wax cool down and, voila, new candles from old! I used a white chalkboard pen to write the names on the glass jars.

new candles from old

I used jars and old candle holders for the new candles. Some recipes I had seen suggested layering different scented candle wax to create new perfumes. However I had enough wax left from each individual candle to re-make them on their own.

I also found a good use for some of the older candle jars and – after a scrub – turned them into drinking glasses. (Pictured here alongside another upcycled tumbler which was originally a Nutella jar from Italy)

re-used candle jar

The plus side of melting scented candles all afternoon was that my house smelt of a gorgeous mix of vanilla, berries and rose perfumes. These upcycled candles make a great gift idea and I’ve seen some clever tips using old teacups. However I’m far too selfish to let these candles go …. I’m just cross with myself that they have been sitting around gathering dust all year when I could have re-made them with such little effort!

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Scrapstore Halloween

Last year I wrote this post about our second-hand Halloween. Since then the decorations got damaged and had to be thrown away. Thankfully we had picked up a big bag of ‘scrap’ from Wiltshire Scrapstore in the summer and had lots of material left to make some new spooky decorations.

As you can see from the picture below, we re-used some Scrapstore netting and turned it into a giant cobweb. We made some spiders from circles of black foam and some very simple ghosts from some old white fabric.

Scrapstore Halloween Decorations

 

Last year we had to get rid of our old tent, after 12 years, but I kept the white fabric from the sleeping compartments and for this Halloween we turned it into a very simple ghost.

Halloween ghost using old fabric

I have to confess I ‘stole’ this idea from Pinterest but I think it looks quite effective. We used three garden poles and attached a stuffed carrier bag to the middle one. We draped the fabric over the three poles and used some wire to create a head shape.

'Tent' ghost

 

The giant pumpkin came from the allotment of a friend who was raising funds for Diabetes UK. I’ve tried to save as much flesh when carving it and hope to turn it into something tasty.

Hope you had a fun Halloween!