Sunday, April 28, 2013

Easy Gardening and Recycling

I thought I would share with you , what I have been up to this week, especially Thursday, when the sun was shining, and I decided it was finally time to plant my seeds.
I am all for cheap cheerful and recycling, so here is where I combine it all with gardening. Firstly the seeds themselves I have been purchasing some of my seeds in the end of season sales in shops, seeds generally have a few years shelf life , but check on the packet to make sure they are ok or the following year. Another good source of seeds if you are in the UK are "The 99p Shop" and "Poundland" I have recently bought some 6 in 1 packets , with a variety of seeds in these are ideal if you want an inexpensive way to give growing a go without too much outlay.
Now this is the recycling bit, collect together empty plastic fizzy drink bottles keeping the lids on , 2 litre ones are best and clean them out and take the labels off. Now cut the bottles in half approximately ,doesn't have to be accurate half way between the lid and the base. I find it easiest to start the cut off with a sharp knife in a sawing motion so it doesn't crack, then use sharp scissors to cut around, be careful as the cut plastic is sharp.
You now have two halves of a bottle, you will need one bottle for every two plant pots.
Fill your plant pots with compost and follow the seed instructions for planting , try to make sure you only plant in the pot in an area that can be covered by the bottles cut end, water as instructed .
Now place your plastic bottle halves cut side down in the compost over where the seeds have been planted, make sure you stick a little stick in the pot labelled so you know what you have planted, please don't think you will remember which is which plant, trust me from experience you won't and you will be quite surprised by your long spicy chilli like item growing on your carefully grown tomato plant :-)
Voila you have just made propagators, your seeds are protected from the elements. You could leave them in windowsills to grow , or I put mine in my cold frame outside , or green house especially now the weather is getting warmer. Just check a few times a week to make sure the soil is damp, if not add a little water. Check your seed packet to see when the seeds are ok to be moved on.
Here you can see my tray of seeds I prepared.

Upcycled diy propagator

I think I have covered everything, if I think of anything else I will add it later, and I would be interested to hear of any tips you have

Oh and nearly forgot last year Autumn time my son wanted to grow apples from the seeds in his eating apple , we dried them out on a tissue in the windowsill for a month and planted them in a pot using the pop bottle propagator method as above, I was feeling a bit dubious about it ,but he was insistant. I forgot about them till I was clearing out my greenhouse last week, only water they have had is from the atmosphere and what has blown in through the green house window and tada look what we got, we got free apple trees, well I hope they are , they look like the ones in my book but only time will tell.

Small garden plants

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Car Boot Sale Etiquette

If you have never been to a car boot sale you probably have a lot of questions about what happens at these strange affairs, the answer to all of these is "nothing to be afraid of".I will try and cover what is expected or not so , if you are going for the first time you are prepared and know what to expect.


How much do things cost ?

This varies from seller, everyone sets their own prices this can be anything from free and upwards, yes I did say free I have frequently come across people with a little box of free to a good home items.

Will items be labelled with prices ?

Yes and no some people will diligently stick stickers on every item, others you will need to ask. Please don't be afraid to ask , it by no means obligates you to buy an item, if the price is not to your liking then just say "Thank you" and move on no one will think any the less of you , or try the next tip.

Are prices set in stone ?

You will find a small minority of people will not budge from the stated price, but most are very open to negotiation especially toward the end of the car boot sale when they really do not want to pack items up and take them home, I speak from experience selling at car boot sales too.

How do I haggle ?

So you have asked the price and it is more than you were wanting to spend, that lovely pair of jeans is £1.50, you only wanted to spend a pound, just politely ask the seller "would you accept £1.00" for them, if the answers yes everyone is happy, if the answer is "no" then decide are you willing to pay £1.50 after all, if so then politely "I will take them please" or if you are not willing to spend that much then politely "Thank you anyway" and move on to better bargains.
If you are wanting to buy multiple items use this as a bargaining tool instead of £1.00 each will they take £2.50 for three, the worst that can happen is they say no, if they were in your position they would do the same.

Is it ok to pick things up and examine them ?

Yes indeedy whether it is a 10p mug or a £20.00 painting it is your money and you want an item that is fit for the purpose you require it for, no one expects you to pay for an item you have inspected from the other side of the field, sellers expect you to examine items before purchase.
If clothes are in a big pile, have a rummage , you may find the best bargains at the bottom, just be respectful of other peoples belongings , if clothes are neatly folded look through them by all means , but leave them as you found them it is only polite.
A lady once commented to me at a car boot sale after I had looked through her stall that it was lovely to come across someone who put the clothes back folded as they found them and she couldn't believe the rudeness of other people just throwing them down in a pile, neither could I.
As with life treat other people the way you would want to be treated yourself.

If I change my mind and want to buy something I passed up earlier can I do this ?

If it is still there go for it , I have been back to stalls where I have decided its worth the higher price and said I will take it after all, you get what you want seller makes a sale everyone is happy.
Our current garden chairs were a bargain we went back for , an hour after seeing them on the way back to the car they were still there, we offered the lady the same lower price again, so she would not have to take them home, she accepted and we have lovely garden chairs, don't be afraid to be cheeky and ask, as long as you are polite with it this will sometimes swing things in your favour.

Car boot sales are sociable events , most people buying and selling are there not just for the buying and selling, but for the social side of it, be friendly, smile and chat, some people even have stories about what they are selling.
They are a social event as a family too, get some exercise and chat on the way round, the things we see as a family can become talking points of peoples like and dislikes, seeing interesting items not seen before, what are they for ? what does it do ?

I hope I have dispelled any myths , and if you have not been to a car boot sale before,I hope this has given you the information for you to go confidently forward bargain hunting

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Preparing to go to a car boot sale

Before going to a car boot sale there are always items that I pack to take with me, as its not a bargain for 50p if I have had to spend an additional five pounds on items I could have taken with me.Below is a list of preparations I make, and items I pack in my 20p car boot sale bargain rucksack, I hope this will give you a starting point of things to consider before setting off on your bargain hunting adventure.

First make a list, I write it on a memo on my phone of items you are on the look out for, I have my children's shoe and clothes sizes, lists of presents I need to buy etc. Always handy to refer to so you are buying the right size etc, it is not a bargain if it's 2 sizes too small

1) Check time and day and location of the car boot sale you are going to attend and make sure you know the way, try if you can to get there near to the opening
time so you don't miss out on bargains.
2) Try and make sure you have loose change for your entrance fee and also for paying for items as sellers won't necessarily have a lot of change it's pot luck if
they do or not
3) Little packs of tissues , I take these for toilet use as frequently with portaloos there is inevitably not a lot of toilet paper
4) Hand sanitiser again for toilet use, especially if you are taking children
5) Raincoats,suntan lotion, caps and sunglasses, to cope with the typical British weather
6) Snacks and drinks as you don't want to be spending money you are aiming to save on food and drink
7) I frequently give the kids an ice pop in the car in the summer on the way there saves them begging at the ice cream van as they have already had one
8) Don't forget your list as mentioned above
9) Make sure you are wearing comfortable footwear as some of these boot sales can be quite a way around and you want to be comfortable.

In the next post I will be discussing etiquette , what to do when your there

Monday, April 22, 2013

Car Boot Sales, What are they ?

Before I start sharing my makes finds and ideas, I thought it might be best to first explain what a car boot sale is as there are many people who may not have experienced one.
A car boot sale consists of an organised event , of everyday people mostly selling off unwanted items, you will find everything from toys to toiletries to clothes and ornaments and craft items dvds and books and much much more. You will generally see car boots local to you advertised in local newspapers and they usually run from Spring to Autumn as they are generally outdoors , on a field or a car park.
As a seller you will be expected to pay a fee that will be advertised and will vary from event to event , our local ones charge approx. £6.00, as a buyer you will have to pay for entry, a small nominal fee our local ones charge 50p each but children and oaps are free .
You will also find what I refer to "traders" at car boot sales , people selling generally food and household items, discontinued lines, items nearing there best before dates and items with damaged packaging, these too can be a treasure trove of finds and moneysaving .
Facilities will vary from sale to sale but they will almost definitely have toilet facilities, generally portaloos , and usually a food and drink outlet ,which will vary from event to event but generally a burger van and ice cream van or something along those lines.
In the next post I will cover what to pack to take to a car boot sale to make your visit comfortable and economical and I will also be posting soon a little car boot etiquette guide.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


I thought to start my little venture into blog land, I had best introduce myself ,my name is Anne and I live in the Midlands in the UK, with my husband and three children. I love sewing clothes, bags, purses and much more some of these makes can be found in my Etsy shop, if you click on the above tab that will take you there if you want to take a peak around the door.

In my sewing for both my shop and home, I mostly use upcycled fabrics and fabric remnants, I find this gives me the freedom to create something truly individual.
I love scouring charity shops and car boot sales for bargains to recycle and upcycle , alter or just a bargain to use as it is .

>My motto is "If it's not cheap and it's not free I don't want it and I shall wait till it is ".

I hope to share with you in this little blog some of the bargains that I find in car boot sales and charity shops, and the recycling I do with them , or upcycling items from around the house.

In doing this I hope to give you some ideas of items that can be bought cheaply and re-used and or used as they are, and give you some ideas on upcycling other items from around the house to give a new look that only costs a little more than your time.

We shall just see where this blog road goes and hopefully give you some ideas and save you some money along the way.


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