Thursday, 19 February 2015

Frugal Small Living

Just recently  I have started watching the US programme Tiny House Nation. I find it really interesting and I admire the people on there who are willing to par down their lives in order to do other things with their finances. Some are living this way so they can travel for their jobs, a couple on last night were doing so to be mortgage free. Also so they could move for the husbands schooling, then residency and so take the property with them.
The properties are really well designed and look good in the landscaping which usually accompanies the build. The thing is the American owners usually have a gorgeous plot to put the tiny home on, this of course makes all the difference. Some of them are placing them on land owned by parents or siblings, farms etc. I would imagine it would be very difficult to get a gorgeous site for such a home here in the UK and if it was available it would be probably quite costly so you might as well be paying full rent or mortgage on a regular property.
All of this however does not stop me from being incredibly fascinated by how people manage to live in this way. I like all the space saving ideas and a lot are similar to the way we live when we go away in the caravan. That is just a week at a time though and I do like to sew and have space to myself. I would imagine living on top of each other can be incredibly difficult.
There is a blog I have followed for some time called Rowdy Kittens Tammy and her partner had a tiny home built and lived in it for three years full time also moving locations a number of times for work. You can see it on her blog, they have decided to winter in a rental house due to the cold and the pressures of small living.  I really enjoy her blog and she has always been very honest about the reality of living in such a way.
One thing that strikes me is that US homes are generally so much larger than ours here in the UK yet they are the ones choosing to opt for these micro homes sometimes, this can only make it so much harder to do.
The above picture is the kind of thing featured in the show, sometimes with a loft bed/pull out bed.
They do look really cute and I would imagine are great for keeping clean but perhaps suited more to a single person or a couple, a family in one would be a real challenge.

Having read that lots of you are downsizing your belongings for a more simple life the show is certainly worth a look for all the space saving ideas and de-cluttering advice. I tend to look on in horror thinking where would all my clothes and sewing stuff go? If anyone is living in a tiny apartment or home it would good to hear from you. 
Also just found one more that I love Here

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Skirt with Pleats

Just finished up my tartan skirt yesterday in time to wear it out last night, I was worried that the pleats wouldn't stay in as they are just pressed but not starched (as I don't have any). They stayed in fine but didn't remain as crisp on the back where I had been sat down.  I wore it unlined with tights but having worn it now I am going to line it so it doesn't grab when I wear tights.  I may also invest in some spray starch as I have another skirt in mind that will have just one big pleat at the front.
Here is the fabric with the skirt I copied from beside it...
I made the area between the pleats in the middle a bit bigger as that is how it is on the red skirt. I just pinned them in place then top stitched them down.
I cut the waistband so it just sits on the hips and do you know  what, I did not pattern match the waistband. Those people on the sewing bee would not like that would they? However I'm wearing it and I'm not bothered, I would match a pattern on the seams as best I could or in obvious places like a seam down the front or back, but honestly you could drive yourself crazy with it. 
There it is finished and my top covers the mismatched waistband so not to worry. 
I have fabric left for bag making, I haven't made a bag for ages.

I do have a flower girl dress to make for someone so that will keep me busy just waiting for her to get the fabric.
The other night I made the mushroom casserole from Jack Monroe's book and everyone loved it, except younger son who hates mushrooms, he had an alternative. Pancakes were had yesterday, they seem to be the most successful GF recipe so far.  I had a go at samosas the other day, oh no what a disaster, the pastry was hard. What did I do wrong? 

Sunday, 8 February 2015

More Books and Cooking

I feel like I have done the right thing in cutting out wheat but it has increased cooking time and amount of pots to wash! I had a go at wheat free pizza last week from an Isabelle packet mix. It looked ok when the toppings went on (if a bit strange around the edges) and the boys were polite and said it was ok. I thought it was dreadful! It was chewy in a very odd way, I'm sure I cooked it long enough but it had the weirdest texture ever, I would rather go without!
One with ham on half for younger son.

One with olives and veg.
I will not be using that packet again but I will experiment myself with the dough I make myself. I ended up scraping the topping off my pieces and just eating that. Anybody got any tips I'd love to hear them.
I am having more success with lunches and saving, less food is being wasted I feel as I always take stuff the next day for lunch now. I made a curry last night big enough to portion off five other portions into containers into the freezer as the squash was massive. So with a load of veg and butter beans it made a lot, half a bag of cashew nuts battered to crumbs with the rolling pin and a jar of Tesco Royal Korma. 

Cutting things out of your diet means less junk to eat so this saves money too, it also means I don't get any cake after lunch on Sunday! Today I threw some things in a mixing bowl ( I really did throw them in no measuring) sugar, bertolli, an egg, gluten free flour, coconut and a drop of vanilla essence, I mixed it all up, put it in a tin and cooked for 15 minutes while the dinner was doing. It came out good, that was the fastest cake ever. I cut it in half, spread with raspberry jam and sandwiched them together, I had a slice after lunch, so there you go maybe you just have to wing it.

I called at the library yesterday, some books had arrived (not the Hugh Fearnly Whittingstall ones) A girl called Jack's book is very good. No expensive ingredients that only get used once, I can see I will do lots from this one.  It has a section just on beans ans pulses, also one for veg, so ideal for me.

I actually sat with this for ages last night and looked at it like a traditional book from cover to cover, it has little suggestions for changing things and tips for storing and not wasting food at the end. Well done Jack Monroe!

The days have felt a bit brighter this last week and I am definitely ready for spring, I have had enough of the cold now and I am ready for a trip in the caravan. Now that won't happen until Easter but warmer days would be nice. Is anyone else fed up of the cold? If Winter is your favourite season I really don't get it, I'm ready for sun, flowers and bright mornings. Coming out of work in the daylight was a huge bonus this week. 

Another Shift Dress

The dress I made today is from the free New Look pattern I got with Sew magazine last month. It is very similar to the scuba dress I made bu...