A very exciting venture

Our year without supermarkets has brought with it many things, great food, money saving, new friends, new experiences and now……. a new venture.

For a while now Becksie has been wanting to start a little business (think Sir Alan).

Just over a year a go Becksie met Lotty at WI and over time we decided we both wanted to start a venture using our sewing and event organising skills.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWell…… guess what? We have taken the plunge and can now proudly present:


SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe won’t say anymore but we’d be very excited if you’d:

a) Take a look at our website and consider following our adventures

b) Like our Facebook page

c) Follow us on Twitter

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe promise it won’t interfere with things over here at a year without supermarkets which is business as usual (we are working on a face lift though) but Becksie and Lotty will be blogging recipes and putting on very exciting events that we will mention from time to time, who knows there may also be special offers for year without supermarket readers. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES






Wardrobe Wars

wardrobe 3Becksie’s wardrobe was looking a little bit depressing! It was full of stuff! It was overwhelming and it was hard to deal with. So finally guided by the principles of our year with less we set to and sorted it out! We also did Ian’s and…… you guessed it Lizzie’s.

A team effort

A team effort

As is very often the case the starting was the hardest part but 5 minutes in Becksie was (sado alert) actually enjoying herself. A huge pile for the charity shop, a pile to ebay, a pile of things to offer to a few specific people and (Jen – chief make do and mender and the reason Becksie is now a regular patcher) a mending / to upcycle pile.

The mending pile!

The mending pile!

The result – a clutter free wardrobe, major mending satisfaction and a sense of freedom from ‘stuff’. Yes my friends we applied ‘no supermarket logic’ to our wardrobes and now feel better about our clothes. Every garment fits, suits and is in a mended state. We even have a list if the bits and pieces that we need to get in order to enhance our wardrobe. Top of Becksie’s list is……… a new dress which she is planning on making all by her self in order to a) have a new dress b) increase her sewing ability c) cross an item off her 30 list and d) in order to feel very proud of herself.

wardrobe 6Whilst clearing out the wardrobe Becksie found three pj tops that she had barely worn. Each of their pj bottom buddies are firm regulars but Becksie gets annoyed with the button up tops and prefers Ian’s t shirts to sleep in (too much info? Maybe!). Anyways these tops were crying out for an upcycle so Becksie made a few pairs of pj bottoms for Lizzie from the sleeves. After doing this she set herself the challenge of also making Lizzie a pj top from a very old (it’s from Tammy Girl Becksie has had it that long) top. So with only a pair of Lizzie’s existing PJ’s, scissors, pins, thread and her sewing machine she set out on an adventure which ended with the PJ top to tiddly toddler’s PJs upcycle! Amazing fun.wardrobe 1

One happy Lizzie, one happy Becksie.

Matchy Smatchy

Matchy Smatchy

PS – out of the PJ top scrap we also made Narna a gift so she too can be in the matchy smatcy club – Narna it’s in the post!

Remember to reduce, reuse, recycle!

PS – If you haven’t already we would be really grateful if you’d fill in our little impact study – you will be entered into our wonderful prize draw………


To infinity and beyond

scarf 1A while back Jenny told Becksie about an idea she had seen to make an infinity scarf.

Shortly after Mary gave Becksie some beautiful fabric. Fabric fans like Becksie will know that some bits of fabric are very special. You spend ages just looking at them thinking of the million possibilities but not wanting to cut them for fear you will ruin them. These beautiful pieces of fabric have sat in the drawer for ages and every time Becksie sees them she yearns for better sewing skills.

Whilst thinking of our year with less a thought struck Becksie. This fabric is too beautiful to sit in the drawer. Her sewing skills will only improve with practice. Mary gave them as a gift to be used and actually would be more delighted to see them used as opposed to stored. In short our year with less means that things like this should be used and treasured and not in a drawer.

So Becksie got the fabric and some scissors and tried hard to remember what Jenny had told her. She guesses she could have gone online and studied a tutorial but she knew she’d end up frustrated as she isn’t great at following patterns yet (she must learn in order to complete her 30 list).

So here is what she did in simple (not great at sewing) terms:

Take two contrasting fat quarts of fabric.

scarf 2Fold each piece into thirds and iron – giving yourself a line to cut down.

scarf 3The two fat quarts will now be six pieces. That’s 3 pieces for each side of the scarf. Arrange as you wish – (see above).

scarf 4Sew the three pieces together – making two long strips of three. Iron the seems flat.

As it is winter Becksie made a piece of scrap fleece (from a quilllow) into the same length and width (errrm roughly cut by eye).

scarf 5So then simply lay the fabric out – pattern fabric right side to right side with the fleece on top.

Pin (Becksie did do this step honest ;))!!

scarf 6Sew around one end and both sides in a straight(ish) line about quarter of an inch in.

Turn the fabric so that the right sides are now facing out.

scarf 7Make a fold in the scarf so it is twisted like so….

scarf 9Turn the fabric from the open end under and put the sewn end inside.

scarf 8Sew it up!!

scarf 10And voila! The beautiful fabric is now a scarf! Wear the scarf with pride (who cares about shoddy sewing). Becksie is very proud of this effort and will enjoy this fabric gift way more than in its folded perfect state. Thank you Mary this is a lovely gift. And thank you Jenny for the idea.

The scarf in action (during Becksie's younger days hehe)

The scarf in action (during Becksie’s younger days hehe)

Ironically both Mary and Jenny are total pro sewers so they must both promise to not look closely at this effort! 😉

3rd December

3 (1

Happy 3rd of December folks 🙂

3 (5Today’s mission should we chose to accept it is to (drum roll please)………..:make Mince Pies! Now Ian LOVES mince pies and for a few years took it upon himself to make them but….. truth be told they were pretty hard to eat! So…….. after perhaps giving Ian a little bit of cooking based stick Becksie feels the pressure to get these bad boys right! Now…… there are a million variations of mince pie recipes out there but this is the one we are going with today.3 (3

Now sweet pastry is not something that Becksie is very good at (double eeek) but a conversation with a very well respected WI member on Saturday at our cake stall revealed a few hints and tips. High fat content is the way to go for the crumbly effect (not so good for ones health but it is Christmas and we are balancing these out with Brussels and satsuma consumption). Icing sugar makes for perfect mince pie pastry, as little water as possible, freezing cold hands and……. minimal handling! Ok………… here goes:

For the pastry:

150 grams  plain flour

100 grams of very cold grated butter

1 1/2 tablespoons of icing sugar

1 beaten egg

With very chilly hands (we played our chilly game by placing them on the freezer door, Lizzie loves feeling the cold sensation but this time this wasn’t for fun this was VERY serious) rub the fat into the flour and icing sugar until you have breadcrumbs (you know the drill). Then add as little of the beaten egg as you can in order to bind it into a dough (keep the rest of the egg for glazing). Roll out the pastry until its as thick you like it (we could do a separate post on mince pie bottom thickness) on floured grease proof  paper and then cover it with another layer, place on a tray and chill it for at least half an hour.

3 (4Preheat the over to 190c.

Grease your tins with hot melted butter

Take the pastry out of the fridge and cut to your desired specification with your chosen cutter. Add a spoonful of mincemeat (small confession our jar is a pantry lurker since before the start of our year without supermarkets hence why it has not appeared in any of our recent shopping trips). Add a pastry top, wash with egg and bake for about 13 -15 minutes. We do not want soggy bottoms but by the same token we don’t want rock hard pastry (Ian hehe)!

The pastry was....... very crumbly but Team Pugh's answer to Paul Hollywood (aka Ian) said next batch needs thicker pastry...... yes sir!!

The pastry was……. very crumbly but Team Pugh’s answer to Paul Hollywood (aka Ian) said next batch needs thicker pastry…… yes sir!!

Cool, dust with icing sugar and enjoy!

3 (1As if this wasn’t enough action for today our kindness mission was to make a dress for dress a girl around the world. Now we haven’t blogged about this for a while but we are very proud to say that due to the kindness of many others Becksie has exceeded her personal 200 target. The dresses are waiting to go off to Louise but in order to save petrol (there are too many to post) we are taking them all togther after Christmas. We are also waiting to pick more up and are hoping by the time they get to Louise there will be about 300! This is fabulous and wonderful (huge thank you to Jenny who has helped Becksie with lots on this mission) but Becksie realises whilst she has been coordinating the process (talking to local WI groups who have been AMAZING, sourcing material and bias to give to people, collecting dress etc etc) she hasn’t actually sat and made a dress herself for quite a while. So today during nap time Becksie made this little dress. This fabric (and enough other bits to make 15 more dresses) was very kindly donated by an elderly lady who had heard about a project through a friend of a friend once again highlighting how this project is a real example of kindness and touches the hearts of many. If you fancy having a go at making a dress or want to find out more please click here.3 (2

Thank you to everyone who has helped Becksie reach her target – the dresses will very soon be off to their owners, WOW!

Our Napkin Is Finished

Napkin 6A wee while ago our lovely friend Mary guest posted all about ‘The Napkin Project’. This is a wonderful idea getting people to embroider a napkin on the theme of home to be given to a dementia sufferer.

Napkin 8

We were inspired to sew our own napkin and it really got us thinking about the subject of home. So….. here it is, our embroidered napkin. We know its not the neatest or most beautifully sewn piece but its been done with love!

Napkin 1

Napkin 2

Napkin 3

Napkin 4We are delighted to report that we have had a variety of emails / tweets to say our readers have been inspired to have a go. This is wonderful and we’d like to make a request that if you’ve been inspired to have a go you send us a picture so we can put a photo of your work on a year without supermarkets. Please email the pictures to teampugh@hotmail.co.uk.

Napkin 5

And if you’ve haven’t had a go and would like to details can be found here.

What does home mean to you?

Napkin 7