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Thursday, 26 July 2012

February! My favourite month of purchases!

I've been dying to show you what I bought in February for the cottage, which means, the living room is nearly ready to be shown! Huzzah!

Okay, I bought three out of this world items, I am in love with all of them.

First up I bought

I am hopelessly in love with Bram Stoker's novel 'Dracula'. The book, the films all of it. I prefer Francis Ford Coppola's version mainly because I have a small, okay, a huge crush on Gary Oldman. Did you know, that Stoker's novel was initially a flop as at the time, horror novels were considered to be laughed upon and only his mother liked it!
"Listen to them!
The Children of the night!
What music they make."

I bought this From Derrick Castle for an impressive £6. I had to because it's a linocut on a page, they were limited edition and I got a page from Dr Seward's diary.

The artist says: Here as of recent, I've been interested in creating simple silhouette illustrations. I had a concept of taking classic literary horror figures and making linocuts. I wanted to come up with a simple illustration to capture the atmosphere of the character.

This is what I came up with for Bram Stoker's Dracula. I wanted to do something a little different than the Bella Lugosi or Gary Oldman likeness. So I went more the route of a wretched creature.

Each hand cut linoprint is pressed onto a page from the classic Bram Stoker Novel. This is a limited edition of 20 prints. Each print is especially unique with hand painted blood splatters and burned edges. Each print is then mounted on black card stock, signed and numbered, measuring 8.5x11.

Have any questions? Contact the shop owner.
Straw Castle Designs also have a Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/Straw-Castle-Design/64069200796


My next purchase was what I consider to be an extravagant purchase. Every living room, I feel, deserves an extra special timepiece. A living room relying on the TV clock is a sad and unhappy living room. Enter, THE MELTING CLOCK!!
Oh yes! The Melting clock did set me back £44 including p&p but even frugalists need some extravagances once in a while and this was worth every penny.


 I feel I am not going to stay within my budget but I am trying!


Anyway this was bought from Hilary Wiezbenski at melting clocks org her clocks start from £29 and the work that goes into hand making every piece is astounding!


The artist says This Dali inspired melting wall clock is hand painted Dark Purple. It has a black border and numbers. The clock face is finished with high gloss epoxy resin for a durable glass like surface. Made from 3/8 inch Baltic birch the clock measures 15 X 7 inches. Quartz clock movement runs on one AA battery (included). Clock is hand signed by the artist (me).

This clock will be completed once ordered. Production time is one week. 


For a full view of available colors please visit: www.MeltingClocks.org. Any questions please don't hesitate to contact me.

Have any questions? Contact the shop owner.
Thank you Hilary!
Okay last but certainly not least my final purchase in February was by a wonderful artist called Sandra Arteaga. Three 5x7" prints for £17 including p&p. Sandra very kindly put in two extra free prints which was a lovely surprise and they are also up in the living room (I'll show pictures in two weeks, when I expect the living room to be completed and up on the blog. Sandra also sells dolls which her prints are based on and they are amazing!



The artist says:
The set contains three prints in a size of 8.7" x 5.5" 

These are a high-quality prints of a original pictures taken from my art dolls. Printed professionally, with high-quality inks and paper heavy weight with a luster finish.
Is printed by both faces.


These are perfect for giving as gifts or even framing as a lovely way to have some affordable art for your walls.

Will be sent to you in a protective cardboard envelope.
Packaged carefully to ensure safe delivery. 

Thank you for looking! :)

Have any questions? Contact the shop owner.

You can buy her prints and dolls at Sandra ArteagA on Etsy.com
I spent £67 this month we have £283 left in our budget. Are we going to go over? I hope not I really do, but I have a strong sense that we may end up going over budget by an estimated £30. :-( But the living room is pretty much done. I'm still confident we can do this and so is Mr. Frugal Witch. 


Lavender Vinegar and keeping your home clean for pence

Being frugal, I'm always trying to find ways to reduce bills and keep costs down. I do pretty well at it too. All our meals are prepared from scratch at a fraction of the price of processed foods and we eat damn well. Over the years, I've noticed that if there's one thing that takes a large chunk of money up, it's laundry and cleaning essentials. There's washing powder which is getting more expensive by the month, there's fabric softener, oven cleaner, Anti bacterial sprays (which kill 99.9% of germs but just one germ in your kitchen can multiply by the gazillions in a matter of hours suggesting the product isn't very good). Also worth noting that all these products contain so many harmful chemicals that they are likely to be the cause in the sudden rise in allergies!

 I've been desperately trying to find an alternative that's cheap and chemical free and I do believe I have found an alternative in the form of soda crystals and vinegar. Now, research suggests that Soda Crystals are not as hazardous as I'd like, but they do not cause cancer and allergies like daily washing powder. Win! So you're wondering where does the vinegar come in? Well! Turns out vinegar is not only an effective facial toner, condiment, kitchen and bathroom cleaner, hair rinse and appetite suppressant but it's also a great fabric softener and used with soda crystals I have the most amazingly clean clothes and nought a smell of a chip anywhere. However it does mean giving up on nice laundered smells, so I thought I'd try an experiment and see if I could create scented vinegars. From research, most infused vinegars are made with Apple Cider Vinegar, Red Wine vinegar etc but as we're frugalists, we used Distilled White vinegar. I don't have access to fresh lavender as I don't have any outside area to call my own but if you grow lavender you can so easily use fresh and drive cost down even further!

 Here is my recipe for Lavender vinegar:

  Ingredients and utensils:
500ml White (distilled) vinegar (Note you can use any type of vinegar except malt)
Lavender buds dried or fresh, quantity does not matter but I used about 30g
Non metallic pan
Funnel
Jug (any will do just nothing metallic)
Glass container with non metallic lid sterilised and bone dry.(I used the bottle I bought the vinegar in)

Method

Step 1: Heat the vinegar in the pan but do not let it boil otherwise you could crack your container
Step 2 put your dried lavender/sprigs into the container while the vinegar is heating up a funnel helps when using dried
Step 3: When vinegar gets to bath water temperature pour it into the jug
Step 4: pour the jug of vinegar down the funnel into your container
Step 5: Put the lid on, put it in a cool dark place and shake once a day for four weeks (two if using fresh)
Step 6: Strain plant matter out using a cheesecloth

That's it! You can do a cold steep omitting steps 1 and 3 and leave it on your windowsill but it bleaches the colour :-(

If you want to use this as a dressing, make sure you buy culinary grade dried lavender! You can buy this ready made 210mls for £5! I made 500mls for about £1.80 Also, it makes a superb altar cleanser, your altar will practically swoon!

I also made three batches of Strawberry Vinegar today. 430gs of in season Strawberry's from the local farmers market which made a litre of vinegar. One batch for culinary made in the same way as Lavender vinegar plus two tablespoons of sugar and two batches without sugar for cleaning. Because there is quite a large amount of water content, strawberry's should be steeped for a maximum of a week, I'll be steeping mine for 3 days and it should keep for a year.

This is what they should look like after a day

Thursday, 19 July 2012

...Are you there Etsy? It's me, the Frugal Witch

I could have lied. I could have said that I'd forgotten the password but I didn't forget. It's been too long blogger.com, it really has and do you know why? Because my expectations did not meet reality. Expectations - in my mind uually consist of: "we can be unpacked in two weeks and everything will be back to normal".
 Well...

 We've been here 4 weeks and there is still quite a bit too do especially upstairs. so, yeah I hadn't forgotten the password, I was just living like a hoarder for a couple of weeks which has made me abandon this project temporarily. You see when there is boxes and crap which covers my sofas, the bed, the floor the whole house, I just don't want to work. Also, I've not really wanted to do any housework while I was in that transitional stage and I didn't. But now I'm feeling like this is my house more and we've plowed into making this house a home so finally, my workspace is serene and I can get to work. So where was I? *Scrolls through past posts* According to my Etsy purchases from August to February this year, 95% of the purchases were gifts so, I'm going to create a separate label for gifts I'd bought for people I adore, so as not to leave any of the lovely sellers out. The only purchase I'd made for the house was "Day and Night"
Isn't it pretty? I love it! Although I was really sad that I could find a frame to match it's size so I had to fold the border - I've found that with most prints I vuy from Etsy finding frames to fit is pretty much impossible, I'm not complaining, I just find it really hard! Anyway I bough this from JE Shannon for £16.99 £2.95 p&p

Notes from the artist:
Day and Night

Museum quality print produced using UltraChrome K3 Archival Pigment Inks and printed on Archival Matte Paper.

• Paper size is 11.7x16.5 inches. The image will have a white border for matting and the title on the bottom of the page

All prints are packaged in crystal clear sleeves and are shipped in postal tubes. Please allow at least 2 weeks for delivery due to my location.
Have any questions? Contact the shop owner.

Total spent in September = £18.99
Total left = £350

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Hello, a quick update to say that my internet should be installed about a week after the move(yay!) and then this Etsy blog will continue as normal. In the meantime why don't you peruse my etsy favourites and add me to your circle? https://www.etsy.com/people/ClaireLouiseBurton?ref=si_pr

Friday, 25 May 2012

Sorry for not posting!

I'm still blogging on this blog. I haven't posted in a while because I've been sick with stress over our eviction. We found a much better cottage than the one we are in now and it's in a town even closer to Dartmoor than we are now with a HUGE pagan population. Because we haven't bought anything off Etsy and we're packing all our stuff up, it's a lost cause posting before and after shots and promoting sellers and items.. So, we're going on a hiatus until at the very most, start of July because of lazy internet suppliers. Our move in date is June 19th and I already have before shots of the bare house. You'll love it. See you in a few weeks.

Friday, 27 April 2012

On why a Kindle inspired me to start reading

As a child I was an avid reader from Reception Class up until I was 19, my repertoire consisted of Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Goosebumps, Beatrix Potter, Jack London, Dick King Smith along with Janet and Allan Ahlberg. I read everything and anything I could get my hands on. From the age of ten my reading habits changed drastically when I discovered Stephen King's "IT" a massive book for a ten year old to read and I think it took my 3 or four months to complete. I remember feeling unimpressed with the book because the film had terrified me so much I slept with the light on for week. Nevertheless, IT encouraged me to explore Stephen King novels and my parents and their friends lent me copies of his novels. I read Point Horror of which I remember my favourite being the Vampire's Love series.

In my teens my tastes in books stayed somewhat the same. I remember having a deep hatred for classic novels such as Charles Dickens (which I still loathe) because reading them in school had utterly ruined them and taken away their magic. I branched out to autobiographical's in particular Dave Pelzer which I found the overwhelming sympathy by the masses for Pelzer to be crass and pathetic. I think the mos enjoyable autobiographical novel during my teens were the Frank McCourt books "Angela's Ashes" and "Tis" perhaps because I love reading books that encompass the era in which my grandmother was a child, makes me feel close to her and makes her own struggles more real rather than now humourous stories. But mainly my tastes stayed in horror and folklore discovering Anne Rice at 17.

I'd spend my weekends perusing Waterstones and Occult shops looking for new things to try (in which I found Wicca and purchased my first books "Witchcraft - Theory and Practice by Ly De Angeles" and "A Witches Bible by Janet and Stuart Farrar" - which were grossly wrong choices).
By the time I was 22 I hadn't read a book for pleasure in two years. It was an absolute tragedy. I was devastated that I'd turned my back on one of life's greatest pleasures. I just didn't make the time for reading anymore and I placed blame on working and working towards a degree.

For my first wedding anniversary Mr Frugal Witch bought me a copy of the Time Traveller's Wife because at the time I was so high on my role as a new wife that I actively sought wife related things (articles, TV programmes, etc) just to heighten my feelings. The Time Traveller's Wife really captured me. I laughed, I cried, I felt sorry for Clare Abshire.... And the book really stirred my desire to read again. But, life kinda got in the way again and money was always spent elsewhere leaving my reading time was designated to the Internet and I was fine with that because I was still reading. It wasn't like I flat out refused to read.

When the Kindle 2 adverts aired. I scoffed at it. "IT WILL NEVER REPLACE THE FEEL AND SMELL OF A NEW BOOK" "WHAT HAPPENS IF IT BREAKS? ALL YOUR BOOKS ARE GONE AND YOU WILL BE STUCK AND YOU WILL BE ANGRY RAWR". Looking back, these statements can be applied to film vs digital photography of which I believe there is a place for both (I own and regularly use both formats).

One Dreary April weekend in 2011, Mr Frugal Witch arrived home from a day of shopping in Exeter.
 "I have a present for you, and you're going to hate it" Said he, heavy hearted handing me a shopping bag. I opened it and there inside the bag was a box marked Amazon.co.uk. Mr Frugal Witch states that the look I gave him in that moment was as if he'd given me a bag of snails (FYI Snails make me wretch and feel disgust can't even dine in French Restaurants).
 "You can take this right back! I DO NOT WANT!" I wailed like a banshee.
Mr Frugal Witch, clearly loving my over reaction to the situation pushed further
"It was a free gift with my phone contract, I don't want it and I thought you'd appreciate it" unable to stifle his laughter "If you don't want it, just put it on eBay and buy some clothes or make up".

Before I could stop myself, I'd set up a Kindle Account and downloaded public domain books for free.

"This Kindle store is shit! All the eBooks are the price of hardbacks some are even dearer!"
"Put it on eBay, my darling waifu"

Many weeks later and the Kindle still wasn't listed on eBay, I'd read the Iliad, re-read Othello, enjoyed Austen and loved the Bronte sisters but I wanted more recent books. So I went on Amazon.co.uk and had a heart attack. £16 for a bestseller in eBook form. Are you mad?! Are you crazy, Amazon?

 Do you know what I did? I went to the Piratebay.org and downloaded 2,000 books which included Charles Bukowski, Max Brooks, Charlaine Harris, Naomi Kramer, H.P. Lovecraft, Alfred Hitchcock, Alan Ball, Sophie Kinsella, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, and a HOARD of paranormal novels, erotica (which is my current favourite genre and NOBODY would ever guess!), Neil Gaiman and Philip. K Dick which I am LOVING "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep".

Okay, so downloading eBooks is an ethical and moral issue, Authors suffer financial losses, the literary world collapses like the music world. But, a lot of authors are putting their books online for free ust to get an audience plus, paper readers VASTLY OUTWEIGH eBook readers and in all honesty why should we be forced to pay £16 for an eBook? It's robbery and benefits nobody but Amazon.co.uk.

In the past year, I've read 100 books. I am reading at every opportunity. I'm halfway through "Claiming Beauty" by Ann Rice and you know what? I am absolutely thankful to the Kindle in relighting my desire to read (see what I did there?). AND, if there is a book I need such as an Occult Book or a book by a favourite author, I will ALWAYS buy it because I like to support authors who broaden my knowledge. It's a win-win situation