Starting the house hunt!

We recently got mortgage approved (YAY) so now we are at the exciting stage of actually looking with a view to buy - not just window shopping! It's got us talking about all the options and how much we'd be willing to compromise on different aspects of our home and land. I think it's really important to know all your boundaries before viewing so your not pulled out of your comfort zone by the excitement of 'BUT THIS COULD BE OURS!!!!!' like we might if we viewed something like this!

Photo credit

These are the main points we want to keep in mind while house hunting;

  1. Money - the most important thing is that our new home does not force us into a set lifestyle for the next 10 years (i.e both have to work full time to cover bills), we must have the financial flexibility to live the lifestyle we choose. THAT MEANS BUY CHEAP!
  2. Space - enough space to have everything for our dream
  3. Location - close to where we live now (County Antrim, Ireland) not too close to main roads or roads likely to be developed in the future

There is also another option we have been considering the last few weeks and its starting to make more sense. That is, if the houses we are looking at don't fit our first point then we will consider an in between house, a house we can call home for the next 5 years where we can live the lifestyle we crave but maybe not have enough land for pigs, orchard, fire wood growing and goats etc Like this one we saw down the road (price too high and not quite rural enough though...)

Front garden is right on a road - not too busy though...

Really big back garden, could have hens poly tunnels and grow
everything we want, maybe even keep a dairy goat?

There is always options around if you don't have the land yourself but want these things. For example we could rent agricultural land - thats very cheap and could be really handy if it was your neighbour!

An added bonus of buying smaller/cheaper is that as the market starts to pick up again over the next few years and you do lots of work to your little cheap home you'll find it's worth going up and up! Leaving you with a house worth a lot more than what you paid come time to sell up and move on. Of course you might well fall in love with your house and never want to leave! Then you've saved yourself a huge amount of money, got your mortgage payed off quicker and everyones happy! 

What do you think? Would any of you recommend and 'in between' house? The idea is really growing on us and it would mean we could buy sooner... 

A helpful yet simple DIY for spring gardeners!

Every year my hubby and I use few of these in the spring, we use them to water our seed trays, just-up seedlings and house plants. They are so easy to fill, carry and pour, they don't leak or drip back down the spout like watering cans! The other handy thing about them is that you can make one with a super fine/gentle spray by using a small needle and one with a more substantial flow by using a bigger needle. I need one for my house plants so I'll be using a bigger needle for this DIY.

DIY for up-cycled watering can from 'a journey to a dream'
No drips!
DIY for up-cycled watering can from 'a journey to a dream'
Gather what you'll need, I recommend using lighter because you need to
reheat the needle every second time. 

DIY for up-cycled watering can from 'a journey to a dream'
The needle I chose 

DIY for up-cycled watering can from 'a journey to a dream'
Heat the very end for a few seconds

DIY for up-cycled watering can from 'a journey to a dream'
Pierce the milk bottle lid, being careful not to get your fingers in the way! Reheat and repeat, remember
you can always add more holes after if there isn't enough water coming out. 

You might look at your needle when your done and be cursing me but its OK just heat the needle again and wipe it on some card or paper a few times and it'll be back shiny and clean!

DIY for up-cycled watering can from 'a journey to a dream'
This is what mine looked like when I was done

DIY for up-cycled watering can from 'a journey to a dream'
Perfect for small house plants :)

We keep a 3ltr one in the greenhouse with a finer spray and this one in the kitchen, they last forever and when the bottle does get a bit old, just swap the lid to a new one! We go through so much milk in our house, I love it when we can re-use the bottles ourselves instead of sending them away to be recycled.

Happy spring gardening :)

***Edit/Addition Feb 2017***

If you like this idea and are thinking ahead to Spring I have another fab affordable offer you might like!

My business creates beautiful products to help you stay positive and we've made a printable GRATITUDE JOURNAL sheet that you can easily print over and over and use at home!

Here is the link to our Etsy listing. It is automatically available to download just after purchase. Easy-peasy!

A day in the irish spring sun :)

Our beautiful 'baby' distracting me from gardening with her playfulness!

Do you need to borrow my shades? You know because of my insane whiteness LOL

Mizuna lettuce's planted out!
Saved from a spiderweb in the garage :)

Tea :)
Garlic happily in the ground after sprouting and growing some roots on the kitchen windowsill.
Cat excluder back on. Clouds rolling in. Time to head inside. Great day :)

The art of being happy...

This week I decided to live in the moment. I am a dreamer by nature, a list maker, someone who gets lots of pleasure from planning - there is nothing wrong with that and I don't want to change who I am, I love being a dreamer! But sometimes I do need to be pulled back to the present, a little :) 

dreaming about the future
Me... Dreaming, planning the next stage of my life back in 2010

Because we are so close to such exciting things in our future like having our own home(!) I have noticed myself thinking things like "when we have our dream home I'll to do yoga everyday and be more healthy, or make that table I've always wanted, or start up the little cottage industries I've been planning" but I got a little reminder that I don't need to wait. It came in the form of 1,500 people clicking on the little birthday card I made last week! 1,500 different people can you believe it?! I submitted it to craftgawker (you can click the link in the side bar if you want a look) and people really liked it, along with the lovely comments from you regular readers it has really inspired me to get going with all the things I want to do. Just BE the person I want to become!

This last week, I am proud to tell you, I have -
  • Done yoga 3 times (badly but I'll get better!)
  • Made sure we have home baked bread, pancakes and jam tarts
  • Stuck to a very healthy eating plan - fruit everyday and even snacking on carrot sticks 
  • Set up an Etsy shop to sell my crafts (nothing listed yet but its ready to go soon)
  • Listed my bridesmaids dresses on ebay to top up this months savings
  • And crossed of nearly everything else on my to-do list (washing, vet visit, cleaning etc)

I'm really happy, I think I've found the balance again. Living in the moment but planning for and being really excited about the future :)

the art of being happy quote

How much does baking your own actually save?

I often wonder this even though I bake for my own enjoyment and that wonderful smell that fills the house! I still want to know so here goes...

how much does baking your own actually save?

Pancake, home baking

This tub of pancakes lasted us a whole week, were super quick to make and really tasty with sweet or savoury toppings. Since they were such a success and I'll be making them again this weekend lets do some sums so I know what I'm saving... Or not saving...

2kg Soda bread flour - £1.20 divided by 5 (used way less than 500g but I don't measure when I bake so its an estimate...) is 24p

6 free range eggs - £1.40 used 3 so thats 70p (we actually got given a dozen farm eggs last week but that was a one off so I'm leaving the egg cost in)

2ltr milk - £1 only used about 1 pint so thats 25p

and thats it for ingredients, we cook on electric so I'd have no idea about that cost, 20p???

Total £1.39 for 13 pancakes and the ones we buy from the bakery if I don't bake at home cost £1 for 4 so thats 25p each compared to 10p each! Less than half price! Brilliant! Have you ever done the sums on your baking or do you just do it for fun?


This is my visual ode to Ireland - I love this country - you should all come to visit!

Easy & simple handmade birthday present!

Yesterday was my friend Patrice's birthday, we already went out for a meal last weekend but I wanted to give her a wee gift too. This month our budget has to be super tight if we're gonna stay on track with our savings because in Feb the car insurance, 2 new tyres and a few other one-off bills all came out at once, don't you hate that? At least they're done for the year now.

Anyway one of my 101's is to not buy any cards, make them all from scratch and so far this year I have :) This is the wee gift and card I made, all from bits and bobs I already had in my newly transformed craft studio.

Do you guys give handmade gifts? (I already know frugal down under and the frugal graduate are wonderful gift makers!) I used to make gifts just if I was broke LOL but now I see the value in thoughtful gifts that have taken time and energy to make (or choose if your not creative yourself). These gifts are the ones I enjoy receiving far more than expensive ones and I don't think I'm alone so from now on I will be trying to make ALL the gifts I give :)  

Happy Birthday!

This week is my friend Patrice and her twin Naomi's birthday - Happy happy Birthday! So a few of us went out on Saturday to celebrate with Dinner at Ed's 50's style Diner and to see Wanderlust at the movies, it was a great night, really loved that movie :)

Naomi on the left then Lisa (who I work with) and Patrice (who runs the pre school with me)

Patrice and I know the owner from work, one of his kids goes to our pre school so we scored free starters AND deserts! I normally struggle to finish just a main but I gave it my best shot LOL We also got the staff singing happy birthday but neither of the birthday girls looked too embarrassed...

All in all it was a brilliant evening, then I came home to see this and it was the cherry on top! 

I was so excited to see the banner I designed on another blog, and a lovely happy list too :) Sorry if you did try and leave a happy comment, I know it wasn't working (thanks dan for letting me know) but I've had comments since so i think its all good now... silly blogger, maybe its apposed to my revolution...  

My March Happy List :)

This month the 10 things that are making me happy are:
  1. Knowing I have an extra long weekend booked of to celebrate St.Patricks day on the 17th.
  2. Pressing snooze on the morning alarm for an extra snuggle even though I know I shouldn't because its getting to that 'mad rush time'!
  3. Being mortgage approved :)
  4. Breakthroughs with difficult children at work, no matter how tiny and seemingly insignificant.
  5. All the bright daffodils everywhere.
  6. The lighter evenings.
  7. Writing posts for this blog and getting such lovely responses from so many people.
  8. Having my 'creative studio' all set up :)
  9. Cookie cereal.
  10. My hubby :)
Do you like my banner? I didn't stay up till 1am last night designing it LOL It was fun though, feel free to use it if you fancy joining in on your blog or you could leave a comment (no annoying word verification btw) sharing what's making you happy here :)

How I transformed my craft room with a £0.00 budget!

If you didn't see my last post click here so you can see the before pictures first :)

This was my very first embroidery attempt, remember?

 Sewing area :) All my needles, ribbons, buttons, zips, threads etc easily accessible and mostly visible which is a huge plus for me, I don't really like things shut away in drawers and cupboards, I like the organised chaos look as apposed to the minimalist look! The desk we've had for years, infact Al has had it since he was studying, way before I met him, its a nice size, really sturdy and has lots of pull out shelves, handy for hiding away half finished bits and pieces till you want them again!

These cool suitcases hold all my fabric, mostly old clothes that I plan to alter or use the material off - I've never bought new material, much prefer to re-use. The red one my sister gave me, the blue one is from Al's parents attic, must be 30 years old at least and I just love the character it brings to the room.

Over the other side is my card making desk made out of crates and floorboards we found in the garage. The chair Cara is sitting on was given to us by Al's dad who got it out of an old chapel in the 50's! I sanded it down and painted it with a distressed feel last year, I have 2 of them and a coffee table the same style, they're one of the projects I'm most proud of :)

We made the shelves out of floorboards and paper bricks (we're not connecting our wood burner till Autumn so they'll not be missed!) My 'paper corner' has already inspired me, this was my doodle while I had tea and soaked up my new room :)  

This shelf was a lucky leftover from the wood we bought for our bedroom shelves last weekend (another post soon) I didn't have anything left to make another desk area but this works perfectly for now. I have everything out and I can just move my sewing machine and use that area for jewellery making if I need to.

 I love wood so much, maybe because my dad is a talented carpenter (amongst other things) and the smell reminds me of being a child or maybe because its just so natural and beautiful, or both!

So there you have it! A £0.00 craft room transformation! And no.63 on my 101 list crossed off "Make an inspiring creative studio where I can sew and make jewellery or cards." I'm really happy with how it turned out, as I use it more I'm sure it'll develop into even more of an inspirational and creative space.

It never crossed my mind to go out and buy new shelves, a desk, containers and all the other little things the room needed, I've reached a place personally, where I just automatically look around me and see what I can do with what I have. I get a real kick out of it and the more I do it the better I get at it. It's just so much more satisfying to know that I created that for free, I used my imagination and our money is in the bank where it should be, waiting to buy our dream home :) Cara's waiting too :)

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