Archive for September, 2013


Wondering  where I’ve been?

Well, my house is up for sale, for a start. We’re moving to Scotland in an effort to be closer to family and to live the proverbial Good Life. So aside from tidying like a mad-woman, I’ve been crafting my little socks off, making exciting things like these crocheted butterflies which will become bunting…

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and which I’ve traded for a Christmas gift. I’ve also been busy making hats, baby sweaters, cowls, mittens… you name it, I’m knitting it.

Because that’s a wonderful thing about social media. I’m always quick to bad-mouth facebook and the like, but it can be a wonderful way to connect with like-minded people. And with all manner of craft-swap groups out there, it’s easy to find people  willing to trade the amazing things they make for the amazing things you make.

And if you’re not crafty, there are  still some great ways to acquire gifts without parting with money.

Freecycle seems like a really stingy way to go, but if you have young children, then they’re not going to care whether a toy kitchen is pre-loved or not. They’re just going to be thrilled that they’ve got a toy kitchen.  In a similar vein, you can always arrange swap parties with friends. Everyone brings unwanted toys/clothes etc. and puts them in a pile and then you leave with things you think your child will enjoy more. The group of women I’ve been doing this with have made a childrens clothes library from what’s left at the end. Bundled into age, the clothes are ready for whichever member sprogs next to use free of charge. If you don’t have the space to create such a thing, you could always donate any surplus to a local women’s refuge or charity shop.

Finally, you could try your hand at earning money through online surveys. Valued Opinions has always paid off for me, and I’m really getting into Global Test Market. Also, if you’re with Vodafone’s PayG plans, you can collect your FreeBee points and spend them on shopping vouchers. There’re both Sainsbury’s and Amazon available so you could even put them towards your family feast, or give the Amazon ones as a gift in itself.

And now, for some shameless pictures of some of the things I’ve been making. Remember… I’m open to swaps.

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What if I were to tell you that you could give a lovely gift of homemade vinegar by doing doing little more than slurping half a bottle of wine. You’d call my a filthy rotten liar, no doubt, and give be the flogging I deserve.

Except I wouldn’t be lying.

Go and drink have a bottle of wine. Go on. Right now. I won’t tell. Add a tablespoon of vinegar to the remaining half bottle, pop the cork back in and leave it alone until Christmas*. Stick it in a fancy bottle, wrap some ribbon or something around the neck and bask in the impressed ‘ooo’s and ‘aaa’s of your recipient.

Then go drink another half bottle and  make some for yourself.

*In all seriousness, the process takes around three months, so get quaffing now for the holiday season.