Home Craft, Recycling, Storage

Recycled Kitchen!

This summers renovations have been really good for our space, as I have enjoyed a good kitchen for many years our expanding family has meant a greater need to create a efficient environment to fulfil our requirements! This started with a random bid on a kitchen, one of those cheeky bids that rarely pay off .

However after being let down on our first win, we finally won the kitchen which I thought was amazing! I like the new styles, twists on old shaker kitchens with there clean lines and crisp finishes but to upcycle our cupboard doors would cost over a thousand, not to mention any added base units. If the first bid had been in Good condition I could have painted the similar cupboard doors a nice blue, grey or green but thankfully I avoided the patchwork kitchen.

Anyway my bid of £350 won this bespoke kitchen, Oak doors, island, two wall units set dressers and five pieces of wooden carvery worktops, two lengths of Granite worktops with taps, double oven, hood, extractor were all included. As I always longed for a farmhouse kitchen it seemed amazing that for the cost of one worktop I could have a full fitted kitchen.

So, After a marathon of a day my husband collected the kitchen, returning he set it all down in our kitchen! The impact of the task dawned, “what now!” After my husband had a rest we built up the wall units, beautiful they swamped the space. The corner pan cupboard would only fit one space, adding the island base against the back wall and levelling we finally had an area for the massive work top to fit!

We made a little area to organise the rest of the space, the oven fit was next and as built up the kitchen around the oven centre piece I was debating whether the hood was worth the effort! I sorted my old display wall units added brass hinges to some false doors which had been used to back their breakfast bar. I added a shelf in each cupboard to fit the cooking staples and cups.

Finally I gave in and my husband began to fit the extractor hood, massive it makes the cooker a central feature. Over the next few days we used the pantry units to underfit the sink area, resetting the washing machine we added inlay drawers in a large cupboard which I can use to store vegetables, potatoes and savoury items.

I found a few of the old tiles for the walls of the kitchen these I used to fill the gaps, after I had taken down the half tiles. Relatively easy with the right tools, which I shall grout when the larger jobs are completed.

The beautiful display cupboards are set next to the computer, to this area we added a shaped off cut to make a small corner breakfast bar. This space is for our eldest to do work, a bonus as it is vital for there to be somewhere to focus away from the hustle and bustle of life, essential in a busy home.

With the units and doors in place the flooring set was in need of replacing, I chose a marbled stone effect, feeling it would be hard wearing we bought in a few packs and my husband finally finished the kitchen floor. This is the only time I have not put quality over cost, I could have spent a few hundred pounds on a bargain but they would not be as strong or hardwearing. They are visually striking, with the depth of external tiles but the texture underfoot is an added bonus that you cannot buy in the sale area.

The large tiles allow the original floor solid coverage, although a lot of adhesive is required to ensure a strong adhesion to the tiles below. We chose to order in batches, allowing us time to complete an area before collecting some more, still at the original reduced price we were offered.

A few weeks later our second purchase of tiles arrived and after cutting the first row he was called out, this left me with a bucket of grout about to dry, my daughter set for her snack time I set to work, After half an hour I had laid the two rows needed to set our unit back. It is a messy job, needs a level hand, good lines and the grout spaces even and smooth but the finish is amazing and full of texture. After a few hours the unit was ready to move back, quick drying the tiles set quickly so clean and accurate is key.

Yesterday I set the main walkway down, after stressing the need for completion I set my daughter in her highchair to eat and completed it myself, despite being full of cold. Last night, exhausted and after my daughter went to sleep I set the last few full tiles we had that I could lay, after moving the fridge to lay the floor with everyone asleep it was far too late for cutting tiles.

Before resting I cleared the table of kitchen extras, allowing a space to eat together again, the tiles look amazing and I cannot wait for it all to be complete, as I sat back to see my bespoke kitchen, designing and organising, I address the needs of everyone else first, but the satisfaction of creating with quality products is amazing!

This satisfaction as with my gardening, allotment and crafts is creating something to appreciate, from rescued plants, recycled and clearance products costing relatively nothing at all. The floor cost will be worth the investment, if cheap ceramics last twenty years these should last twice as long, taking the ware of a large family.

I have saved all extra cupboards, panels and worktops to build up in our summerhouse, but finally when work is finished we will have a space that is un-cluttered and full of character. For now I am grateful for a wonderful space, fabulous children that keep me focused and the opportunity to recycle a wonderful oak kitchen!

So today I hope to get the cuts done, lay the area needed to reset the fridge and get my husband to order the last few packs needed to finish the room. Our homemade benches and wall unit will need a second coat, the table a sand to polish down the artwork and eventually we will have managed a refurb for ten percent of the usual cost of a new kitchen.

Hopefully next week we will have shifted this cold!

Happy Renovating!


Home Craft, Knitting Pattern, knitting project!

Halloween knit: Emily/ Corpse Bride

Tim Burton’s inspired corpse bride: Emily;

As my daughter begins to crawl it is time to find a small project what better than a Halloween knitting pattern creation. After seeing an amazing homemade cake of Tim Burton’s character I felt an urge to transform it into wool, so this morning I started on my first pieces.

I will change the colours of the hair to create another nightmare before Christmas character, either way my larger patterns will be in True to form in Mary Shelley ideal, create your own characters by building up a collection of patterns, until you have a completed character or a selection of part patterns suitable to devise your own…

Whether from leftovers to shop bought wool, create your own unique character at your craft level. The more you create, the better the pattern, but for know I enjoy my hobby enough to share, given a few moments as my youngest begins to start moving I can create a few new pieces.

Obviously their are much more intricate patterns, as my previous posts show my skill set was built around the masters, this pattern was created using a picture for reference from experience with no other point for reference.

So if you fancy learning to build your own dolls, whether for home or work, the first pattern would be a great story addition.

Happy Knitting!




5 ingredients recipes, Home Craft, Storage

Seasonal Preserves



I cup of diced courgette (small chunks)

1 onion (diced into small chunks)

Three green tomatoes

Three yellow tomatoes

1 large mushroom (diced into small chunks)

Vegetable oil


Small jar sterilised

Sharp chopping knife

Chopping board/ plate

So occasionally after a few harvests you return with small amounts of vegetables which individually amount to nothing, but added together they can add nicely to a stir fry, Bolognese or chilli.

With this in mind, After collecting some small tomato sauce bottles a new cooking addition favoured by the rest of my family, tolerated by me. I decided to use the jars to preserve a few additional ingredients before they went to waste.

After chopping the additional vegetables, I begin to layer them into a jar. Once mixed i added a table spoon of oil and filled covering with boiling water. It is easier just to leave set in oil, but I cook with as little as possible as they remain textured and tasty without oil.

The bottles are left to cool adding the lid as the contents cools, this can be stored for a week and added to bolognese, chilli, stir fry, breakfast and curries. The yellow tomatoes are a real treat set to keep giving I shall save seed from our best plants, a growing first we have added them to sandwiches.

So if you only manage to collect a few bits from your allotment or garden this way you can make a meal from a small selection of fresh vegetables. My staple buys are red onions, mushrooms and peppers added to our harvest these make a great basis for any meal.

Happy Harvests



Allotment, Harvests, Home Craft

First Fruit and Harvest


My husbands new project is a bargain caravan which we hope to use over the holidays, but my project is refurbing my kitchen. Usually I choose frugal over a first choice but today I am being treated as my bargain was exceptional, despite winning a basic used kitchen for sixty pound’s it was clear that despite best efforts their fitters demolished the kitchen. So after a second delay I spotted a fantastic kitchen with appliances and extras which I thought would sell for a few zero’s more than it did, so after covering the lowest bid I continued searching for other requirements.

After a few days we found that we had won it! So today I am looking forward to its arrival, the old kitchen we have chosen to set along one wall along with our storage and appliances. The rest will be used to make work space in our summer house as we plan on making a space for the children to play…

So, a few weeks ago it arrived, as I stood in my kitchen surrounded by cupboards, work tops and drawers it would have been easy to close the door and forget about it. After my husband had sat, fed and rested I moved around pieces and organised the doors and shelves to get a better idea of the project ahead. With some fabulous wooden worktops resting on the stairs it was apparent I needed a plan and quick as the holidays were well underway.

A large corner unit was the first problem, this became the basis of the whole design as it would only fit the far wall. I had moved our wall units a week earlier, hoping to fill this wall with all new cupboards we set these aside, the new kitchen had an island and free standing units with doors as panels, these I hoped would transfer to the high units to allow new cupboard doors for the old units.

As my husband transferred the corner unit and island base units level to the back wall I set about harvesting the trees with the children, our fruit harvest was amazing the larder fridge trays filled and several popcorn tubs of pears and plums.

This beautiful reclaimed kitchen was to become a modern workspace, set in quality materials for the cost of an oak worktop. I was unsure about the new hood, at over a metre wide I felt it was too heavy but as it was set and i re-laid tiles to fit the new space it began to show promise.

So as the children return to school well rested, I am enjoying the relative luxury of my new kitchen. Again enjoying the space and focussing on our needs, grateful for the opportunity to build something new for us all to enjoy.

Above are the beans and courgettes from our recent harvests, red cabbage and tomatoes are a regular pick but the beans flourish as ever. All a bonus to our table…

Happy Harvests


Home Craft, Recycling

Craft – Pyrography

Pyrography is basically burning onto wood, whether it is writing or drawing I find the craft therapeutic, the smell is an acquired taste as you smoulder designs onto the untreated wood. Untreated wood is preferred as you have only wood, no paint, varnish or plastic fumes when working inside with even with ventilation. Any varnish should be added if required after the burning is complete and you are satisfied with the result.

To complete you will need a wood burner, soldering Iron and your project piece; this can be as intricate as you decide, it depends on your resource to what can be achieved and I have been inspired locally however structured pieces aside I find the simpler the better. I recently bought one for ten pounds at Aldi’s, which is half the cost of those at craft stores. The packs include hot iron, letter templates, nibs and stand all you need is your chosen resource or wooden piece to work on.

This project is an adult only for safety reasons as the hot iron is permanently on and holds heat for a long time, so it is best completed when children are asleep. This is how I complete the projects and find the concentration required benefits from peace and quiet. If placed on skin or a flammable surface it will burn, so it really is something that requires considering before you try it.

A few months ago we collected some logs for free, after choosing the most unusual shaped piece, after a little time I chose to make a hedgehog character, I used a marker to set the features and choosing a sturdy nib began to cover the lines until complete.

Once completed I un-plug the wood burner and place on a tiled side or metal drainer to cool before replacing in the box. It is a rough design but effective and is perfect for any home garden.

So if you craft or draw this is a great kit to have, if not give it a try!

Happy crafting!


Gardening on a budget, Home Craft, Recycling

Lining Hanging Baskets

Todays small project is about re-cycling old hanging baskets, I have several wicker style which were heading to bug house heaven. Also I had acquired several metal baskets without hanger chains, the end result were combining the two and creating several wired baskets which I could plant up with my surplus plants.

Effectively I wanted a hanging pumpkin and salad garden to add to our decked area which would eventually trail down. The cost of basket likers at a pound each put me off, there are several ways that you can find using home items to save excess spending.

Bin liners, circles of carpet, or as I had found a woven tarpaulin for a pound seemed ideal. After using a large pot as a template I found the perfect size and cut out several to fit into the baskets, once lined I added compost, chains and hung them out with a selection of plants.

A few I added lettuce, salad leaves around the circumference, the small crop will be finished as the pumpkin establishes itself in the basket, perfect place to grow in a small garden. I also tried, mini popcorn, runner beans and pumpkin, the idea being to trail production down.

They are growing well at the moment, however they will require a good feeding routine to produce fruit. All in all a pound tarpaulins would line ten baskets, a saving of nine pound, I prefer this to using plastic as the woven material drains well, supporting the growth of the plants and requires no further work once planted.

So if you find yourself a few spare baskets try your own vertical allotment: courgettes, radishes and beetroot as with most vegetables can be grown in a hanging basket. Whether  flowers or trailing vegetables, the possibilities are endless…

Happy  Horticulture!




Allotment, Home Craft

A place to sit!

Today the sun shone as we set to work at the plot, unfortunately for my husband my daughter needed a feed post school run and for me that meant I could sit and watch as he applied the first coat to the shed. My youngest has reached the age of demand, my attention usually when I have something planned. I have to say it is no chore I am happy to enjoy these moments, especially if it means I can get a little more done.

Once my daughter slept I could potter around, this involved weeding the potato bed and mulching with the help of my toddler. After distributing it around the space I followed and thinly spread it over the potato’s and self sown flowers, I watered the ground before mulching as this will be held under the straw.

Following the sowings of the last week I was pleased to see the cucurbits had survived the last week, a few of which had secondary leaves. I know I have a combination of, squashes, pumpkins and marrows so I look forward to the fruits that will follow, with around 15 plants growing I hope to extend the bed in summer to set a second sowing of sweetcorn.

I found once my newly blue shed (the front face, for now!) I moved the shed onto the recently laid slabs, positioned on the old strawberry bed a few plants are thriving in one corner but the rest I transferred to a newly filled bed and mulched on the last visit. After moving the bench onto the space I let my daughter paint a few old plant pots to fit next to it which I hope to plant a few herbs. Mint or lemon balm are my favourite so I look forward to sitting down, once the box bed behind is full of my favourite herbs.

Finally, I found the central compost bin full to the brim with amazing topsoil, this has been sat since our first week and will be the foundation of the cloche bed which I intend to box in using our reclaimed decking boards and fill with the ton of soil. This will save us a lot of compost and mixed with the last of the manure will make a further three beds raise and enabling me to set a few as no dig beds. These will be ideal for pest vulnerable plants such as Broccoli and cabbage, allowing us to set them as they grow on from my variety of successful sowings.

Finally after using my new IBC hose adapter I could slowly water the potato’s, seedlings and pumpkins without walking three miles with my watering can. The adapter cost three pounds from ebay and can be taken home to ensure the tank cannot be used when you are away, the lack of water pressure is ideal as you can trickle the water as needed. However 200 litres, with a little wasted by young hands has been used in the last few days so I am hoping we have some torrential rain this week to refill the tank.

I would normally rush to finish the rest of the shed but, plan to return in a few days and do a little more, for now the side were we work is bright, vibrant and has absorbed the paint. I will soon have a wonderful blue shack to sit, although my pallet bench will require a little work.

The water melon seeds we planted together at the beginning of the holidays I have now potted on, a few plant pots for cherry tomato seedlings will let them grow on. I have a few reasonable seedlings in the green house now, only a few inches tall but strong with their first leaves. I will have around fifty plants by the time I am finished plenty of time to grow them on for summer. I intend to plant an outdoor row to trial in our climate as the greenhouse heat was too much for last years crop, I will set a three varieties as my seedlings were three varieties in one to add variety if I decide to share, donate or sell my extra plants. I chose Ailsa Craig, Moneymaker and Marmande as they are three different styles of tomato, small, medium and large, which I feel for new or old growers and will all be great added in summer salads or sandwiches.

I have set around eighty squash seedlings, these seeds were taken from our butternut squash this week, the seeds were free so I planted them all. A great vegetable for creating harvest characters, adding to stews and apparently roasting, something I am yet to try! Yes a lot of seeds, but I have still around thirty spaces in my cucurbit bed that I can plant as and when the seedlings develop and I intend to grow using as much of our space as possible.

My next visit will be filling our first cloche bed with soil and setting the cauliflowers, broccoli, chard and Kale of whatever variety establishes first. The new seeds the children set of crown Prince, Jack o lantern and Atlantic giant are our potted varieties which the children will water and I plan to set in and area so they can compete for the largest pumpkin. A little fun along with our potato competition to add to our growing season.

Saving, sorting and sourcing is allowing us a little more than we would usually have and is made through applying energy into the moments we find, sharing our skills and knowledge to grow our spaces both at home and the allotment. I am always looking for a space to achieve both together but for now it allows us to increase the space, variety and amount of food we can grow.

Happy Horticulture!





Home Craft, Recycling, Storage


This weeks home project has been to find a corner unit for our bedroom! After several days contacting people with expensive upcycled cabinets and finding they were sold I began searching for one I could create to fit the space we needed. As with many homes the chimney is central to one side of our room and just by the door, as we needed a little more storage space I decided to try and find one to fit the space.

Last week while shopping I was in my favourite store and found some Chalk paint at £4.99, I do not usually purchase things extra but knowing they are usually expensive I picked one up in a Duck Egg blue, one of my many favourite colours! So after a little investigation he contacted someone who worked in a local charity shop selling one for £35 and he went to collect it.

As he returned with the usual war stories of parking vs 7ft cabinet, he had been given it for a fabulous £10 which the lady offered without bartering on our part. The door had lost some battoning but as I wanted the cabinet top open my husband removed it, so as my daughter had her afternoon nap I began to apply the paint!

The key to chalk paint is to give a shabby chic look! I have however found I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to painting, so after a while the stippling began to look ornate and I relaxed on trying to completely cover the chosen surfaces. I wanted the shelves to be mahogany along with the central base, the rest I painted in the blue.

Finally using a hand carved heart I had purchased from a recent venture to the charity shop on the door centre, my task was complete! A once unloved piece of furniture has now pride of place in our bedroom and fits perfectly, the best bit is the extra paint I upcycled an old chest of drawers which just fitted the other side of the chimney. So, for £15, I had two pieces of furniture to compliment our newly decorated space!

Investing time and energy, towards a goal can be rewarding especially if you enjoy the task!

Happy Upcycling!


Home Craft, Writing


Today after an exhausting early morning I have been devising our next holiday homework project, up to now I have usually printed off the worksheets and learning aids which I create for my children. I do intend to stick to a similar idea but my plan is to use visual pages on the computer to add to our usual workbooks, baking, craft gardening and design projects.

These can be used for individuals to use or to support group work, I set up a visual recipe book for us to use as a family and some slides designed to support everyday tasks such as handwashing, choosing books, gardening and baking. I can use them as visual guides for set times or tasks in the day, to support topics and projects we will look at throughout the holidays.

I try to find projects all ages can focus on, refreshing over essentials and working on basic skills in a variety of different ways. It feeds my creativity, allows blocks of time throughout the day that are structured, quiet and focussed. Ensures returning to school is not such a stress, as they have worked at their own level throughout the summer at least every other day. The rest of the time is set for outings, allotment and play.

So a morning of exhaustion, became a productive learning time as my toddler went through the different slides I had been working on, from alphabet pages, topic worksheets to picture recipe pages, in busy times I will have resources at hand to structure our day.

It will support all ages in different areas, allowing me to have confidence in providing adequate learning resources, so if a project in a book needs alphabetical order or the use of a number line it will be available in one document. It will not stop them searching for picture cards on related topics which is another valuable skill in itself, but I can focus on projects supporting the core areas!

All I need now is a few more acres on my doorstep to allow for more growing space, and the opportunity to visit places and explore!…

I am so tired I forgot to sign off … lol

Happy Homework!



Home Craft, Recycling, Writing

DIY – Thursday project!

This week has been quick due to everything we have had to complete, today my daughter was at full speed so our walk to school was energetic to say the least! I kept my own as she set the pace and eventually we made it into the house after a brief investigation of our street! Testing boundaries what fun!

So after a stern discussion on safety of staying safe and close I ventured to the garden to take stock of our work so far! The home requirements are endless but a few of the jobs I thoroughly enjoy, for example this week we purchased some plants from our local school to fill our hanging baskets. It is a bit over what I usually spend but at 50p per plant they will fill our borders and baskets for years to come. It was investment in spring colour, a few daffodil pots turned out to be twelve separate bundles which were a vibrant addition, crocuses and pelargoniums were set between for extra colour.

I have however cut back the grasses and shrubs in the front borders, as we have had a few wonderful warm days, the front garden now starting to send up this years shoots can do so without the crisp foliage of last year. Also I have removed the tiles from our small window and using a piece of wood we had left over I convinced my husband to make a sill to fit it. I think you can see it is a vast improvement on the white tiles and it cost nothing but the time and a few pounds for varnish which we had purchased to coat our table.

I have plans to visit the plot to dig in this years potatoes but I will wait for a warm day to ensure my youngest can enjoy the early sunshine! As she grows so quickly it will not be long until she is helping us plant her first seeds. As previously discussed I planted my Brassicas, Kale, Cabbage and cauliflower varieties this week. These will be re-sewn as the first seedlings are potted on but as we speak the first of our seedlings our emerging within the greenhouse. I find seeing the first shoots a real joy, these plant will be strong as they are establishing in the colder temperatures.

I have also cleared and filled a bed at the bottom of the garden which has around two metres to plant, and cleared my metre square beds of everything but the raspberries, these spaces will be used to grow on extra seedlings direct, either to pot on or as spares for the allotment. I have clearly labelled all of my pots with colourful sticks and a permanent marker, hopefully I will know exactly what germinates this year and be able to fill the gaps with whatever struggles.

So I may not have made the allotment this week but the greenhouse is full of trays and pots, all ready for the spring. A few investments in time and energy as my daughter sleeps allows for a brighter space for us all to enjoy. As the sun warms the soil, cup of tea in hand our eventful morning far behind as I set to watering my plants and completing the tasks of the day!

Happy Homecraft!