Cycle helmet earwarmer number two

So, there were a few problems with my first cycle helmet earwarmer: The under chin straps were tickly and a bit annoying.  It was actually too warm because it covers so much of your… Continue reading

Wooden Spoon Puppet

This Summer saw a season of Stay and Play at church, and I was in charge of ‘over-5’s activities and craft’. We did finger painting, edible craft, homemade musical instruments and my personal… Continue reading

Giant granny square crochet blanket

This was another TV project for those evenings when I really wanted to ‘do something’ but needed my brain to be switched off. It did take me several months to complete – not the… Continue reading

Lampshade revamp

We inherited a ceiling light shade and two side lamps from some friends. Gold stands and pale blue shades with some water stains and generally looking faded and old (I forgot to take some… Continue reading

It’s a fez. Fezes are cool.

Challenge: to find a hat for a Dr Who costume that is 1) fez-like, 2) cheap and 3) will still look OK after travelling 50 miles to London shoved in a rucksack. Solution: I tried to… Continue reading

The Cushion of Catan

In our house we are fans of european board games (think agricola, carcasonne, 10 days in asia, etc). When we discovered the traditional method of reusing scraps of material in hexagonal patchwork, this meant… Continue reading

Elderflower cordial

Way back in June I had a wonderful first week of my uni holidays with elderflowers. There were a few bushes on a walk round beautiful Wicken Fen (which also has a great cafe). It’s… Continue reading

Chocolate orange cupcakes

I’ve made these again (original post can be found here) but this time with icing! Recipe is from BBC good food and can be found here. You need dark chocolate, but otherwise this… Continue reading

No longer a sticky stuff sceptic

I have resisted sticky stuff remover for many years, struggling along without a dishwasher but with washing up liquid and Something Scrapey and never really getting anything to look good. Well, I have… Continue reading

Streetgumfree bookcase

We are having a house re-shuffle at the moment, with furniture moving into slightly different positions and various bits of Stuff finding slightly new homes. Here is an exciting acquisition! Last night, a… Continue reading

Homegrown red pasta and store-cupboard cupcakes

It’s the end of the month and I’m trying to stay within food budget this week – here are two largely spend-free and yet tasty things I’ve made today. Coffee Cupcakes This was… Continue reading

Puff Pastry

Puff pastry is such an easy way to make a meal instantly special. It is freezable, stretchable and fool proof. I recommend buying block non-rolled out pastry (only if you have a rolling… Continue reading

Theological Reflection: Cookies and Unity

Following three weeks of extreme cookie production, I was asked at our youth group meeting on Sunday what I was ‘an expert’ in. Cookies of course. The task then was for each of… Continue reading

Half-Bake Revision Cookies

My cooking skills are still a work in progress, but when I find a good recipe I do like to use it often! I’ve baked 5 batches of these delicious cookies in the… Continue reading


Kneading is not my specialty. Meaning that breadmaking is not the joyous past-time with glorious results that it seems to be for everyone else! Sodabread seemed like the perfect alternative for me: yeast-free and… Continue reading

Chocolate Brownie Cake

Following on from my cooking with chocolate post, in which I attempted to sabotage the expensive cocoa industry, here is another great chocolatey chocolate-based recipe. As long as you have plain chocolate (I… Continue reading

A star chart does not count as procrastination

Recognition of achievement is an important part of Getting Stuff Done. No-one writes a to do list without crossing things off as the tasks get done. No-one should have to write several thousand… Continue reading

Easter in the kitchen

The long Easter weekend seemed a great time to get some creative ideas going… Homemade hot cross buns These were tasty, more so than bought ones probably because I knew how much effort… Continue reading

Spicey Cambridge

I am trying to shop more independently to support my local community (rather than Tesco or whoever else). This is a recent post on this topic for anyone who is interested. I do find… Continue reading

Knitting a cycle helmet ear warmer

For some time now I have been looking for a knitting project – primarily to keep me away from the computer screen whilst relaxing in the evenings! I found one this christmas in… Continue reading

Hooked on crochet

I do love freecycle. Last week I got a couple of crochet hooks (kindly donated in exchange for some woollen scraps) and in a few hours, with the help of this EXCELLENTLY clear… Continue reading


On Sunday we had no food in the house, so I decided to whip up some bread to go with our can of soup for lunch. Focaccia seemed to fit with the remnants… Continue reading

Beans, beans, good for the heart

One of my various vacation projects has been in the kitchen – trying to get a bit more protein into largely vegetarian diet for my super-sporty growing-boy husband. We eat less meat largely… Continue reading

Fajita spice mix

Fajitas are great food for having guests round, but can be pretty pricey – here’s my cheapskate tips for fabulous fajitas: Wraps – I haven’t mastered home-made wraps yet, but supermarket brand taste great… Continue reading

Jar presents

Inspired by lulastic’s passion for jars I have been longing to have a go at my own home-made filled jar effort. Here are two neice-shaped sweets jars. I used washed and stripped peanut… Continue reading

Last year’s christmas cards

The last few weeks I have been trying to find some good christmassy craft using last year’s christmas cards. The better homes website had some great ideas as did martha stewart. Here are my… Continue reading

Sweet wrapper craft

I have found that having a sweet tooth has the added benefit of an extensive sweet wrapper collection at certain times of the year. Two years ago I made Christmas tree decorations, completely… Continue reading

Playing jazz for the WI

Last week I was in the wrong place at the wrong time at lunchtime. By the time I’d finished my food I appeared to have committed myself to playing piano in a jazz… Continue reading

Creative Christmas Trees

This year is my 3rd Smithmas, and our past three Christmas trees have been suitably creative (read: frugal or cheapskate!). In 2010 we really didn’t have any spare cash at all, but we… Continue reading

Masked ball

This week I have made some masks for end of term party at my college. The masks were a token bit of fun for the drinks reception but I still felt I needed… Continue reading

Jar candle holder

With my advent candles made, and £25 raised for Mind in the process, it was time to create something to hold an advent candle for 24 days. My local charity shops didn’t have… Continue reading

Last minute bring and share pie

We have a monthly bring and share lunch at church, that I usually forget about and end up making a last-minute dish for. Previous contributions have included such luxurious foods as cauliflower cheese… Continue reading

Cooking with chocolate

I love chocolate and chocolatey puddings. I can’t really justify spending money on good-quality cocoa powder and recipes which need cocoa just don’t taste as good when you use value drinking chocolate powder… Continue reading

Amazing leftover pancakes!

I love eating leftovers – I think there is a glorious taste to non-wastefulness and I really don’t like throwing food away. Last weekend we had half a tin of pineapple I really… Continue reading

Advent Candle

I do like an advent candle to burn through in December, but the ones in the shops are either naff or expensive so the past couple of years I have been making my… Continue reading

Raspberry brownies

Frozen raspberries are the only kind of raspberries I grow in my garden. Luckily I have found a wonderfully delicious recipe here made with frozen raspberries and chocolate. I loved the idea but was… Continue reading

Oh my dahlias! Things that go wrong.

My first year of garden growing has not been without some mini disasters. Abandoning my tomatoes for 3 weeks during the only dry period this summer was a worrying experience, and confirming for… Continue reading

Alway is yours

This week for a class on theological reflection I was challenged to write a piece of a narrative that was ‘how theology was done’ after Heather Walton’s wonderful piece “Passion and Pain”, her… Continue reading


Earlier this year I was admiring a vegetable garden, and to my delight was then given not merely a detailed tour and plenty of ideas but also some free raspberry plants. They are… Continue reading


Following from previous elderflower success, I went foraging for an hour this morning to see what autumn treasures I could find. I found a meagre 50g of blackberries (someone had clearly got there… Continue reading

Poppy seeds

Today I have been collecting poppy seeds from my garden, following instructions from Ruth in college who I sometimes have gardening conversations with! Poppy seed cases are brilliant – you just need to… Continue reading

The first painting

Two years ago Andy and I bought some acrylic and canvasses to do some painting together… and last week a painting finally emerged from our crafty drawer. Inspired by a special moment at… Continue reading

Even the pigs had noticed the change in him

This is a story I wrote earlier in the year at a storytelling workshop. It’s a midrash – a Jewish storytelling artform which takes a familiar story and retells it through the eyes… Continue reading


For my summer placement I was charged with the task of producing ‘Storyboxes’ as a resource for the children attending church. In a rural setting there is no guarantee of sufficient leaders or… Continue reading

Apple and Blackberry Groupon

I have found Groupon to be a great website (although I am still pondering the ethics of internet bargains, see reports here and here and here). The key for me is to only buy… Continue reading

Elderflower fizz

I can now confirm that the Elderflower fizz recipe works! I used Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe on the C4 website here which has received a lot of criticism on various elderflower-brewing message boards but worked… Continue reading

Upcycled rusty saucepan

I saved a rusty saucepan from the bin last time we moved house – it has faithfully cooked great student meals under severe maltreatment over the years, but I felt it’s work was… Continue reading

Earring holder

I’ve just seen this great upcycle idea on pinterest via Do the Green Thing And it reminded me that many years ago I made my own upcycled earring holder using an embroidery ring… Continue reading

Turning our WC into a beautiful creation

I found this lovely basket at Emmaus last week, and impulse bought once I heard the price was a mere £3. I was a little stuck for what to do with it so… Continue reading

Bargain sheet music

My creative bargain buy of the week is from Oxfam and cost me a total of £2.46, with Brahms and others a mere 49p! I was amazed at how many of the piano… Continue reading