NEW AND IMPROVED

I have neglected this blog for some time now in favour of my personal blog, multicolouredsmartypants and my cookery blog, Easy Cooking on a Budget. Given the predictions about the British economy, post-Brexit, I decided it would be a good idea to create a blog focusing on home made things, homemaking and frugality. ‘Frugal Freda’ sounded like a good name, but it turns out there’s already a blog called Frugal Frieda, so that won’t work. Then I remembered the lost and lonely Unpaving Paradise Project and realised that I already have a wonderful place to address issues that relate to frugality, homemaking and the environment. Being a housewife myself and living with a chronic health condition, I want to blog about how I am going about the task of moving from disorganised chaos to organised, not-quite-so-chaotic, enjoyable family home, especially as we live in a marvellous old house which requires an approach different to that taken for the typical 3 or 4 bed semi that pervade the UK.

I have discovered a love of housework that I never knew I could have and it is a joy to be able to put my creativity to work in the process of decluttering, organising and using what I have to hand, or making something, instead of just buying whatever takes my fancy. My mother is a shopoholic and although I don’t go to the lengths she does to buy, buy, buy… well, let’s just say that it has come to my attention that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree o_O

So, welcome to the new and improved Unpaving Paradise Project. I will try to blog about once a week.

To get the ball rolling, I am making lots of Christmas presents this year. I have already made eight flannels/washcloths, and am currently crocheting a Harry Potter scarf  for my youngest child. I had to buy the yarn for the scarf, and I have ordered a Gryffindor sew-on badge, but the flannels were all made with yarn that I already owned. In my ongoing attempt at decluttering I sorted out all of my craft stuff. Turns out I could probably open my own shop, so I decided to make the most of what is already here, rather than buying more. I am also going to make some scented soaps to go with the flannels and I have some homemade vanilla extract steeping in the back of my wardrobe.

How about you? Any ideas for a frugal or environmentally-friendly Christmas? I’d love to hear from you!

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Soap: Liquid or Solid?

There is an interesting article on the BBC today about the reasons some people prefer bars of soap to liquid soap or shower gel. The five reasons given in the article are:

1) It’s what people have always used.

2) Solid soap is more luxurious.

3) The feeling of scouring away the dirt in the shower (not quite sure what this means).

4) Less packaging is better for the planet.

5) Bottles are fiddly.

I would add the following as advantages to using bars of soap:

6) Bars of soap are often cheaper. I can buy a bar of pure soap for a lot less than I can buy ‘pure’ shower gel. Also, household soap can be used to make laundry liquid. Soap can even be used to wash your hair, with a bit of effort.

7) A little goes a long way! A bar of soap in the kitchen or cloakroom lasts a lot longer than liquid soap. This saves packaging, transportation and energy (because the more of a product there is, and the more quickly it is used up, the more energy is used in its manufacture and transportation).

 

8) Soap lathers up just as well as shower gel. I like to use a scrunchie in the shower – is that what they’re called? One of those things on the right -> If I wet the bar of soap, wet the scrunchie and then rub the soap on the scrunchie, it lathers up really well but uses up very little of the actual bar. I was given a pile of shower gel for Christmas which my son won at the school Christmas fair so I am steadily making my way through that, but once it’s gone I will happily return to using my bars of soap!

9) You can make your own soap very easily using ‘melt and pour‘ soap and you can customise it to whatever shape, scent and colour you prefer. This cuts down on packaging and transportation, and is probably the best option for those seeking to be more eco-friendly.

What do you think?

Hurrah for Public Transport (and Preparations for a Homemade Christmas)

There has not been so much blogging lately as I am snowed under trying to balance studying with sorting out our lovely new old house (if you know what I mean). An aged house such as ours has its own particular set of problems for any new inhabitants inheriting all the ‘quirks’ that the previous owners never fixed. But it’s fun o_O

I am also trying to make preparations for a make-do-and-mend, pre-loved, home made, Un-paving Paradise Christmas with all the family. I have already made a shawl, wrist-warmers, napkin rings and am onto the recycled cotton crocheted flannels (which will be wrapped with home made soaps and bath bombs) and pine cone decorations. Last year I made two pairs of these lovely slippers, and will also make a couple more pairs for friends and family for this year. It’s a simple, but very effective pattern. My middle child still wears them and loves the fact that they were created especially for her, which is as much the value of a home made gift as the gift itself 🙂

It being half-term here in this Lost Corner of Middleshire, we took the children to the National Space Centre. It’s a fantastic place. The planetarium alone is an amazing experience. A particular favourite was the ‘rocket’ in the cafe, which every so often would begin to rumble and emit vast quantities of dry ice lit by red lights, to much shrieking delight on behalf of the children stood underneath. Also, if you book online in advance, you get a free annual pass. Read more here.

We travelled by train and stayed overnight as it’s a long way away, which led to some interesting questions with regard to the eco credentials of train travel: why is it more environmentally-friendly to use the train, but costs more? Shouldn’t the fact that there are 100 people travelling in just one carriage be more economical for the traveller? Why, even when you have discounts such as the Friends and Family Railcard and you book weeks in advance, is rail travel in Britain so expensive?

Reblog: Crochet Coasters Tutorial

Just in time for Christmas! I have resolved to make as many gifts as possible this year and coasters may well be one of those gifts that I will duplicate for various different people. I’m already half-way through a shawl for my mother. These coasters look great and the pattern is simple. Win, win, win!

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Crochet coaster free pattern I’ve had many, many requests for a crochet coaster pattern since I originally posted making coasters because the original pattern seems to have disappeared. If it does pop back up Ill link back to  it, but in the meantime, here’s a quick little tutorial for you to whip up some crochet coasters, for yourself or as a lovely gift!

To make these crochet coasters you will need…

  • DK (8ply) yarn – I like to use a cotton or cotton blend
  • 3mm or 3.5mm crochet hook – use a slightly smaller hook than usual because you want a nice firm fabric.
  • Needle to sew in ends

Crochet coaster free patternFirst up, chain 6 and join to form a ring:Crochet coaster free pattern

Chain 3 (counts as first DC) and DC 19 into the ring (20DC) Join with a SS into the top of the starting chain 3 to complete the round. Crochet coaster free pattern

Chain 3, DC in the next…

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Funky Granny Square Jacket

 

I made lots of presents last Christmas and gave them to friends and family. In January I took on the slightly more ambitious project of crocheting a jacket for our little Fluff. It is, at long last, finished. I made so many mistakes along the way that it’s a wonder it did get finished. I got fed up with it at one point and made a couple of other (smaller) things as gifts. Nonetheless, I have hidden or snipped off the unsightly ends and crocheted a border around all the edges. I then added some large mismatched buttons from my craft box to give it an extra little je ne sais quois.

 

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The pattern came from Kitsch Bitsch and can be downloaded here for a small fee (I have no links to the site – it’s just a good pattern). I adapted it to make a jacket suitable for my daughter as the instructions were for adult sizes. For this project I bought Rowan Purelife Renew, which is made of recycled wool. I also used yarns that I already owned, including Aran weight acrylic yarns in dark green and cream, Sirdar Simply Recycled cotton in yellow, coral and tan, plus some pure British wool yarn, both dyed and undyed. My photography skills really don’t do it justice. It looks much better in real life!

 

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