You may have noticed that things have been rather quiet here on the blog this week, but all I’ll say is that it’s just been a tough one. I’ve been doing a lot of travelling with family to see my granddad and spend time with him (and them), as he’s been very unwell and understandably writing and blogging were far from my thoughts.

With a far from normal week I haven’t really been out hunting for bargains or making much of an effort in any area of life really (hello tip of a house!), However earlier in the week I did manage a quick nip into Oxfam after the morning school run, some sewing yesterday, and a few frugal choices last weekend…So do not fear – here are the few frugal choices I did make this week.

1. Cinema Snacks from the Pound Shop

Last weekend was a good one, and saw us spending a lot of time with Mr Smiths family which was a lot of fun as always. I decided on Saturday afternoon, as things were quieter, to take Megan to the cinema to see Ballerina. I have had it on my “To do with Megs” list since it came out, and I am glad we finally had a free Saturday afternoon to accomplish that. It was a great film and we had a lovely time too.

As the cinema is a pricey affair (if you don’t go to the junior mornings), my frugal mentality kicked in right away and we called at the pound shop on the way for our snacks and treats. We both chose a drink, had a big bag of popcorn to share, and Megs opted for some pick n mix, and we only spent £2.50!

Did you know pound land have pick n mix and it’s just £1 to fill a small tub…Megan loved it!

2. Finding a Coat in Oxfam

I have been on the hunt for a coat for Alice for a couple of weeks now. Her snow suit is getting a little tight, and with some of her outfits I think a coat would be better anyway. I found one on Monday in Oxfam for £1.59 as well as a dress from M&S for 99p! I love cord dresses on little girls and the rabbit embroidery was a done deal!

3. Made Alice a Skirt

Yesterday, though I didn’t really want to, I went along to my fortnightly sewing group and manged to accomplish a few things. one included a lovely skirt for Alice which I LOVE! I am getting pretty quick at making simple skirts and really enjoy it too. I worked out with the elastic that it probably cost me about 50p (If that).

I have some lovely spring/summer prints in my fabric box and plan on making her lots more things so keep an eye out over the coming weeks. Making clothes, if you are able, really saves a lot of money!

4. Altered a Dress

Another frugal choice accomplished through my sewing group was altering a dress my mum bought me last year. It had large splits up the side which neither of us realised and so to make it more modest, I stitched them up thus not wasting clothes and getting more wear out of it.

Hoping for a better week next week… but we shall see. I am excited for my dress and the new additions to Alice’s ever increasing 6-9m wardrobe, they certainly improved a weird week!

I’m linking up with this Cass, Emma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five Fabulously Frugal things I’ve done this week’ linky.

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As Alice was blessed on Sunday I made it my goal prior that I would make her the little white dress that she would wear for it. I pondered a lot on Poppy of course whilst making it and remembered the gorgeous little white dress my sister in law had made her. This project tested my mediocre sewing skills and certainly gave me a new appreciation for the gorgeous dress she had not only so carefully sewn for her burial but then replicated for my memory box – a gift I have suddenly treasured more so after this weekend. This week is “Baby loss Awareness week” and whilst we can be more open to sharing miscarriage, premature birth, neonatal death and stillbirth stories and videos on social media, the reality of infant loss stretches far beyond the week we have been allotted to talk about it, and it certainly goes beyond being one of the statistics discussed each year. It is the reality that I have 3 little white dresses but only 2 little girls. It is seeing your newest baby looking beautiful on a special day and you cannot help but think of the fact that this is just the start for her and that her big sister never had any of this. It is the gaps in every aspect of life…where I can make my kids many more dresses and clothes but for her I can do nothing. Baby loss this week for me is whilst I have had 3 daughters who each have worn their own special little white dresses as babies, only 2 will be dressed in white again in the future…

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This pain of loss, this feeling of missing out on things with that child is the exact reason why I wanted to make Alice a dress for her blessing. I wanted it to be special and I wanted to put the work in this time like I had done to get her here safely. I wanted love to go into it because of what I felt in my heart for her and I wanted to use my wedding dress because it was a symbol of our union as a forever family! It didn’t seem fitting to just go buy her one (though I had looked) and Megan’s was a traditional one that I had chosen just for her. No, I had to make Alices, or at least try! And whilst my sewing skills are not outstanding they are forever improving and challenges like this are what I need to keep that going. I have never sewn a dress before and had little idea on how to put a sleeve in, but I knew I wanted to do it. I wanted long sleeves, a fancy layer and for it to be rather simple and classic. Thankfully it wasn’t as tricky as I thought and in fact it was a joy to make it.

Working on such a small scale was tricky at times but of course the plus there is that it only used a little fabric and to actually cut out, pin and put it all together only took me a couple of hours. The whole thing cost just £2.35 – £2/mtr for the white poly-cotton and 35p for a mtr of white ribbon, both from the market. The top layer was taken from my wedding dress and so has a sentimental element to it too. I have considered, and probably still will, of donating my dress to be used to make burial gowns for babies, and so by doing this it meant a piece of it remains in the family. I may take the whole top layer off before I do that and keep it to make the girls baptismal dresses when they are older, but I am still not 100% ready to part with it AND plus I am digressing!!!!

To make this dress I measured the dress Megan wore and then drew out the pattern on some heavy white paper. For the sleeves I used Pinterest and then drew it to scale on said paper. I then cut it all out, sewed binding onto the collar (there’s a first) and then front to back at just the shoulders. Next I sewed in the sleeve and down the side seams…shocker that it worked!! And finally after sewing up the sides of both skirt pieces I then attached them into the top I had made…finished with a hand sewn ribbon waistband.

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I am very aware of the imperfections…the shoddy hand sewing that we joked about looking like Megs had helped, and the binding that’s not that amazing either. I can see the mistakes in it right down to the rough edges on the seams and how I even messed up the back trying to figure out how to make an opening for her fat head to go in. But these things are only noticeable if (a) you are a sewer and (b) if I was to show you. To anyone else looking at it, its a huge well done and rather impressive and to me, whilst I criticise it and joke, it is a great accomplishment; I not only made my 1st baby dress, but I made a little white dress for our daughters special day. I made a dress that she will hopefully keep forever, and I made a dress for an occasion that her sister never had the opportunity to wear.

There will be many many more occasions from starting school, to birthday parties and even down to special outfits our other children all get to wear.. it is the Christmases and the holidays we take, the days out and photos that are all the reminders of what we have lost and what we miss with that child. That is our life’s experience of baby loss … it transcends beyond one week a year because we want to talk about them daily and miss them daily. We hope to have them remembered  and we want it to be acknowledged on the occasions like this, that whilst joyous carry pain! I have 3 little white dresses each belonging to my 3 daughters, but unfortunately because of still birth I only get to see 2 of them (and my son) grow up!

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Run Jump Scrap!
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I have for a good couple of years now really gotten into sewing. My skills are not amazing, but I don’t pretend they are, I just have found a lot of joy in creating, looking at fabrics and trying my hand at various projects and with this I have loved watching for the 1st time (thanks to my sister in laws) Sewing Bee! It was absolutely brilliant and I found it so interesting and helpful. I loved how encouraging they were, the ideas and skills, and how they often would say “Just give it a go” as with anything I try, I like to live by the rule that practice makes perfect or at least trying is learning!!

So I enjoy pinning ideas and giving them a go, chatting and asking for tips from family that have amazing skills and generally just giving things a go in hope something lovely will result. Sewing is really at the top of my list of hobbies, my only wish is that I was slightly better at it and had/made more time to make things.

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Along these lines, I grabbed the opportunity a couple of months ago to join some ladies at church to learn to quilt. With a baby on the way and with the prospect of broadening my sewing skills and practice, I decided to give it a go and have really enjoyed the simplicity of my 1st patchwork quilt.  I am so glad that I started small for baby, as the actual quilting stage and binding were more tricky and results were seen faster because of its size.
I started by cutting the squares and arranging them how I wanted.. I then stitched these together which was fairly quick as it was all straight stitching. Next I measured it and cut the back panel and wadding and quilted it all. Finally I cut my own binding and sewed that on… it was during all of this that I have decided I need to invest in a cutting board and little cutter – soooo useful!

InstagramCapture_10abf0be-94c8-4535-8279-ef40c2b40126InstagramCapture_92c40a47-6e5c-4ce3-9d71-cebbeb6d1e741st baby quiltI chose pink (girl) and monochrome because I hope eventually to have the kids rooms in black and white with splashes of colour. I fell in love with the elephant prints as soon as I saw it on the market and then used pink scraps I already had and then the stars because they seemed lovely too. I am so chuffed with my efforts – it holds a lot of imperfections (especially in the corners..I detest binding!!), but a great accomplishment and something lovely to make for our new baby. I hope she loves it (not that she can say otherwise) as she lays on it as a newborn and then hopefully drags it around as a toddler. I am really motivated to get making more things for the kids as a result of this and 8 weeks of sewing bee, I have lots of ideas and hope to find more time to do what makes me happy…

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I am not one, nor ever have been either to style my home for the season. Other than some tulips in Spring and decorations at Christmas, though last year I didn’t particularly enjoy decorating my home at Christmas, and found it to be more of an ordeal/expectation rather than something I really wanted to do. I know it had a lot to do with feeling rough from early pregnancy, combined with the emotions that Christmas brings, but either way I didn’t feel the usual excitement.

I have however, and more recently especially with the connections made through blogging, always admired the homes and little seasonal touches that people bring into their homes. I think its lovely to have garlands, seasonal colours, little accessories and general touches that just make it feel a little more Spring or Autumn, Halloween or Valentines. And so this week I thought I’d like to start the tradition of adding decorations to our home for various events/seasons and have things that I can keep/collect to put away and get out each year, as our income isn’t huge right now with Mr Smith finishing up uni, this was done as cheaply as possibly, but it hasn’t stopped me been rather excited to get started with it and bring into our home the newness and brightness of Spring.
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Our lounge accessories (as you can see) are already rather bright and so I used some of the pinks and greens to tie into my decorations. I made some bunting from some lovely fabric I picked up at the market on Monday (£2.50/mtr) and pinned that on the chimney breast. I really like it though I could be slightly longer, but as its my 1st attempt I shall admire my skills for now.
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Then there was the bookcase corner I wanted to spruce up for Spring, as the other side of the chimney (where we have the TV) always has a vase of fresh seasonal flowers in. SO… I hit Ikea for some cheapo colourful picture frames (65p each) and then swapped some of our regular pics into these brighter frames. I bought a little rabbit plant from Asda for £2.50 and a candle from Primark for £2.00… and my fave is the postcards from Ikea @£1.75 that I popped in the distressed white frame I received a couple of years ago for Christmas. I love the birds and rabbits especially for Spring time and this looks such a cheery spot.
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I still think I need one more touch to the left of the plant, but for now I am happy at my excitement in contrast to that of decorating at Christmas time. Its just a few cheap little touches touched at the moment, but combined with a little bit of home made happiness it really makes me feel happy for Spring and Easter time. I look forward to getting out annually some of these little decorations and adding to them as I see little rabbit ornaments or whatever. How exciting to style our home for the spring time with some simple spring decorations.

Also if you enjoy my little weekly/biweekly thrifty and frugal living posts, I would absolutely love it if you would vote for me in this years MADS from Tots 100, under “Best Thrifty Blog”!! Many Thanks and HAPPY EASTER xx 

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