Monthly Archives: February 2014

Frugally Ever After: Anatomical Heart Card

Heart Card 2So far, this year, I have prided myself on NOT buying any greetings cards; instead, choosing to make little cards from card, scraps and stickers I have lying around the house.  As much as I love a good fuelling of my stationery addiction in Paperchase, it’s an expense I can do without on my Frugally Fabulous Year.

If you read my last blog, you might be aware that I started messing about with a little bit of papercrafting – though I admit to being pretty mediocre at it.  I love paper crafting and I’ve seen some incredible illustrations recently, I just wish I was better at it!  Still….February means all sorts of cards in store for friends and family, and what better way to start than with an Anatomical Heart Valentine’s Card!  Using some basic card, fabric scraps and a craft knife; I came up with this pretty sweet idea – frugal, fabulous AND A great way to use up those bothersome fabric scraps!  I kept the outline fairly simple, but clear – give me another year and I’ll be able to cut in all the arteries and pumps!  I finished off with the classic ‘You Are Here’ sign, with an arrow pointing to the heart – a sweet and slightly different way to say ‘I Love You’!  Fancy doing your own??  Here’s a simple tutorial

YOU WILL NEED:

1 Piece of A4 Black Card

1 Piece of A4 Coloured Paper

1 Scrap Fabric – approximately A5 sized

A Craft Knife and Craft Mat

Superglue or Bonding Glue

1 Silver Pen

White Chalk (for drawing template – I find Tailor’s chalk really useful for getting clearer lines)

Patterned Washi Tape (optional)

METHOD:

Firstly, fold your blank black card in half, width ways and flatten out again.  With your chalk, draw out a rough template of your anatomical heart shape – I took to Pinterest for a bit of inspiration and found tonnes of pictures to help me!

Once you are happy with your template, Heart Card 3it’s time to get cutting on the craft mat – be careful to make small, sharp strokes and take your time as much as you can.  I used a medium blade on my craft knife, which is great for bold outlining.  Work your way around the template and, once you have finished, discard your inner template…or, indeed, keep it for more hearty crafts at a later date!  Using  your craft knife, tidy up any scrappy bits or paper frays that you didn’t quite get first time round.

At this point, if you are using washi tape (I had this lovely musical washi tape from an old project I did a couple of Christmasses ago), now is the time to stick it, in no particular order to your scrap of fabric – applying it afterwards might leave short joins when it is attached to the card.

Using your superglue or bonding glue (I use a great lightweight, heavy duty glue from Wilkos – just £1.50 and great for crafting), glue the edges of your chosen fabric to the inside of your black card, so that the heart shape is covered by your fabric.

To finish, glue your coloured paper over the top of the fabric, inside the card, and allow to dry for a couple of hours.  Once completed, all that’s left to do is write a decidedly soppy/unsoppy message and leave somewhere for your loved one to find next Friday!!

Hey…if you do decide to give this, or any of my other tutorials a go – I would LOVE for you to upload a picture on my Facebook page or to twitter – tagging @LivePeachy #FrugallyEverAfter – I love seeing my work in action!!

Stay Peachy x

Heart Card 1

 

 

 

 

The Frugal Kitchen: Easy Nutella Brownie Bites

brownies finished

If, like me, you felt a little cheated at finding out yesterday was ‘World Nutella Day, just a little too late; then I have JUST the frugal solution for you!

I am a huge fan of baking but, with watching my weight and all that, I tend to keep baking sweet treats to a minimum.brownies nutella  I think baking should always be simple and I’ve pratted about in the kitchen enough to be able to put together a simple cake or brownie recipe, adding bits to it when I fancy mixing the flavours up.  And that’s just what I’ve done with the THIRD OFF Nutella I picked up from the local Co-op this morning!

Not content with missing the ‘World Nutella Day’ event – obviously just an excuse to crack open the jar and eat straight from it – I thrashed together these simple little brownies which use very few ingredients and look FANTASTIC stacked with a little ribbon.  Are you thinking?? Yup – how about a little lunch box surprise for The Big V!  Why not give them a go yourself?  They’re easy to bake – just keep an eye on them in the oven as they cook pretty quickly!  Note: I have used the whole jar, partly because I can’t be trusted with it in the house!

I’ve popped a few prices down too – most ingredients are great to have in the house, in case of a sudden baking attack or the appearance of an unexpected guest!

Ingredients

1 x 400g Nutella (currently £1.56 at Co-op)

170g Caster Sugar (small 500g bag costs £1)

3 Medium Eggs (1 box of six costs 95p from Lidl)

50g Salted Butter (£1.02 basics range)

85g Self-Raising Flour (own-brand costs around 45p for 500g)

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract (£1.59 approx from local supermarkets)

PInch of salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 170C and line a square baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Over a saucepan of water, in a heatproof bowl, heat the butter and half the Nutella over a medium heat.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk the caster sugar, vanilla extract and 2 eggs until combined and smooth.  Once the Nutella and butter have melted together and softened – remove from heat and add, slowly to the sugar mixture.  Use the whisk to combine the mixtures together until smooth.

brownies collage

In a separate bowl, mix the flour and salt, then add, slowly to the mixture.  Fold together until the mixture is combined.  Spoon in most of the remaining Nutella and combine.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 20 minutes.  The brownie should be ready once it’s dark brown and a knife remains clean when stuck through the middle.

Leave to cool on a rack for a short while then, using a palette knife, spread the remaining Nutella on top of the brownie and cut into small sections.  If you want to pop these into a lunchbox or give as a little gift, why not stack a few and wrap with a pretty ribbon?

If not…sit back, enjoy with a hot cuppa and bask in the fact that World Nutella Day, in fact, is not yet over!!!!

Stay Peachy x

#CraftBlogClub Challenge: I Re-Love You

craftblogclub badgeOooooh look – a cheeky #CraftBlogClub post!  It has been a while since I launched a #CraftBlogClub challenge and a while since we have done one!  So, for February, may I introduce our crafty challenge….

‘I Re-Love You’!

Since the heady days of our Secret Santa challenge, #CraftBlogClub has gone from strength to strength and we have welcomed aboard some lovely new members!  I wanted to set a challenge to ease us all in to the New Year – I toyed with a Valentine’s theme and wanted to do something a little different. 

Before Christmas, we talked about what we would like to incorporate into future #CraftBlogClub challenges and the word ‘Upcycling’ came up A LOT.  So, with frugal in mind, February’s challenge is to upcycle and bring new life to an old piece of furniture or homeware!

Them’s The Rules.

I’ve kept the rules pretty basic – you can either purchase something or use something you have lying around the house.  I haven’t placed restrictions on this – but keeping to a budget would be advisable, for your own sake!

By furniture or homeware, I mean exactly that, furniture or homeware.  You can use a craft method you are already familiar with, or try something new.

As usual, when you have finished your piece, it would be great to write a post on your challenge and I will upload a post and provide a Linky for you to link your posts to. 

The deadline for ‘I Re-Love You’ is March 4th – so we have a month to upcycle and write a post on it!  

If you fancy joining in, to test your upcycling skills and get involved with some truly crafty talent, then we would love to have you!  Our challenges have been a great success so far and I am already looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with!  Challenge posts and WIPs are also welcomed – just use the #CraftBlogClub hashtag and also #IReLoveYou to show everyone how you’re doing!! 

P.S The amazing new logo at the top of the page was designed by the lovely Icy Sedgwick and JUST as soon as I’ve worked it out, it will be the official badge of #CraftBlogClub for you all to display, proudly, on your blogs!  Once the teccy bit is all done – I shall pop it up for you all to grab!!

Stay Crafty x

Hello Frugal February….

100_0608Well, the cold really seems to have settled in and everyone is talking pastel palettes and Springtime already….what a weird and wonderful world we live in!  Hello February indeed!

Being on the opposite end of the Seasonal Affected Disorder spectrum, I like the cold and gloom a little more than most.  I love the dark winter nights, the warm casseroles and the general lack of going out – though it does get hard with a babe, who loves nothing more than trips to our local park to watch the rustling trees.  I brave the cold and rain and get on with it, then I relish with the home comforts of dry clothes, warm radiators and cosy socks. 

 Daisy windowJanuary went by in a flash, the easiest month of frugality indeed; everyone wants to save money after a Christmas blow-out, so it didn’t feel so different or difficult for me.  February, however, is a month of Birthdays, trips and meet-ups.  We are all awakening from our wintry slumber and are ready to face a bit of socialising. 

At the start of February, yesterday in fact, we celebrated Mr J’s Birthday!  This year was a quiet affair, but we did have babysitters and we did manage to head out to a local gig and had a delicious Sunday Roast with his family.  The most important gift you can give new parents, is the gift of time, people.  I also have my Step-Dad’s Birthday coming up towards the end of the month and, whilst I’m super-envious that he is embarking on a trip to Sweden – the holy land – in March, I want to put together something lovely for him!  Watch this space!

casserole pan

Not only that, but saving our bargain-hunting energy through January is really starting to pay off; look at this gorgeous *Brand New* casserole dish I found for £3 in a local charity shop!  And Mr J came home with this little bargain surprise for me tooelvis frame – a lovely retro print of Mr Presley – I’m still debating if I’m going to ask house guests to bless it as they enter the kitchen!!

So what else is coming in February???  Well, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’ve been putting together a couple of little, frugal ideas for the big day.  It probably won’t surprise you to know that me and Mr J aren’t so keen on the Big V.  Our first V Day was spent watching The Woman in Black, followed by a Hot White Choc at the wonderful Malt Cross – mostly to calm my nerves.  Last year, I dragged my bestie to Derby to a book signing with James Bowen and Bob the Street Cat.  Can you say Rock and Roll??!!

Amanda Cass - How to Mend a Broken Heart

Source: Amanda Cass – How to Mend a Broken Heart

Even so, I think it’s important to appreciate the little things in life and in your relationships and, this month, I’ll be posting a few little frugally fabulous ideas if you’re planning to acknowledge the Big V on a budget…look out for my ‘Frugally Ever After’ Posts coming in the following days….Hell, you don’t even need an occasion!

February also sees the first #CraftBlogClub challenge launched! This week, the lovely Katie from Katie Gets Crafty will be hosting AND launching the new challenge.  I’m excited and I hope you’ll join in the fun….I’ll be posting details tomorrow!

As if that isn’t enough fun for one month; one February 22nd I will be co-hosting our #MidsBlogMeet in Nottingham, a meet up for Lifestyle and Mummy Bloggers from the Midlands area.  I’m really excited to have organised this event with Kelly from To Become Mum and I’ll be sure to post some pics and updates of the event when it happens!!! Want to come along??? Read all about the event HERE and be sure to email while we still have a few places!

Aside from this, I’ll be getting my craft on ready for some big dates in March and I’m determined to make friends with my sewing machine…and I think I have the perfect tool to help me.  More on that later guys….I’m off to wrap up warm and hit the park.  

Before I go….. Did you enter my little handmade giveaway last week??? Well the winner of my little Oscar Mug Warmer is……….

MARGO PRICE

Congratulations – Please send an email to missemmaberry@gmail.com with your address and I’ll get the little man on his way to you!

oscar 3

Stay Peachy x

I’m a Great British Budget Expert!!

Join the Great British Budget ChallengeWell, how’s this for a little extra Saturday post, readers!!! I thought I’d write a little post about the new Great British Budget initiative that launches in February…and with a name like Frugally Peachy, you can guess who is on the panel, right??

Set up by the lovely people at Your Wealth, The Great British Budget aims to tackle the problem of rising debt in British households, by introducing Budgeting as a fun way of saving, taking control of your money and making your financial goals a reality.  The Great British Budget isn’t even just for people struggling with debt, it’s a way of learning to control your outgoings, get creative with your money and achieve your dreams.  With lots of budgeting tools and *expert* advice from the Blogger panel; why not join in and make 2014 a debt-free year?

So, why did I decide to join the Blogger panel???  Well, if you’ve read about my Frugally Fabulous Year so far, you’ll be aware that 2014 is something of a pivotal year for my family.  Having taken the very brave decision to leave my job, look after my baby daughter full time and pursue a creative writing career, it is safe to say that budgeting and cutting back are BIG NEWS in our family, now.  We work extremely hard to live a comfortable, fun lifestyle without the so-called ‘price-tag’ but, like everyone, we have a little debt to pay off and not a huge disposable income.

But it’s not just about money itself.  I want 2014 to be the year I really get behind my desire to be self-sufficient and succeed in my journey to live without the High Street, hone my creativity and save money by getting nifty with my sewing machine and knitting needles.  If we could clear our debts by the end of 2014 AND be on our way to save for our dream family holiday – a road trip to Sweden, I’d be happy.  I guess I want to prove that you don’t have to give up EVERYTHING to save money, a little bit of creative thinking, a little bit of cutting back can go a long way.  And I’m looking forward to joining the Great British Budget on this journey.

So, in February, I will be budgeting and tracking every penny of our wages and trying to stick to a healthy ‘luxuries’ budget of £50 for the month.  For all of us.  I’m also looking forward to joining the February Photo Challenge – why not join in too??  Head over to @YourWealthUK and start tweeting, be sure to keep up to date with the latest news from the #GreatBritishBudget and see just how much you can save, with us!

Photo Challenge

Photo Challenge

Stay Peachy x