10 April 2015

Catching Up


The last three weeks have been so very busy I thought I'd better finally take a few minutes to catch you all up with what has been going on.

Life became even more hectic than usual on 23rd March when A Current Affair screened a part of the story they filmed with me (there was a lot that didn't make this particular segment). Oh boy did that segment generate some emails! I've finally managed to get the number waiting for a  response down to 276, but it has taken a long, long time. And still the questions are coming in.

Someone suggested I get someone else to answer them, but that didn't sit well with me. I promised to answer, and answer I will, it is just taking a little while. If you're waiting to hear from me, you will - I can't say when, but you will.

Of course that has meant I've been tied to my desk just about all day every day because of course I still have all the usual tasks associated with Cheapskates to do - newsletters, the Journal, researching stories and articles, editing tips for the Tip Store and Tip of the Day, monitoring website, blog and forum traffic and keeping things on an even keel. Add to that the work on the new website and of course my family and household chores and I have been busy :)

I was glad when Easter finally arrived for a break. We have visitors over Easter so I did take the opportunity to take some time off and relax a little.

Wendy reignited my card making bug, and on Saturday night I dragged out my craft stuff and sat down to make some cards. I was a little stuck for ideas, it has been a while, so it was Google to the rescue. It only took a few minutes to get those creative ideas flowing again and here's what I made - I'm very happy with how they've turned out.








 Dishcloths were also on the agenda. I needed a quick thank you gift and I know that hand-knitted dishcloths are a favourite for this particular lady, so out came the needles and the cotton and over two nights I knitted three square dishcloths, just in my favourite diagonal pattern. It's so quick and easy, I can do a 50 stitch dishcloth in around 2 hours.

Not much baking has been done so those rolls of biscuit dough stashed in the freezer came in very handy for morning and afternoon teas. I'm sure I earned some brownie points with a certain gentleman when he was able to enjoy freshly baked biscuits every afternoon - and a variety too! I had rolls of choc chip, Cranberry Hootycreek and Raspberry and White Choc dough in the freezer so it was a case of thaw, slice and bake, very easy and apparently very impressive.


My poor garden is suffering terribly. I need some time to get into it and get it ready for winter. The winter veg still need to go into the ground. As we're away for six weeks I've been waiting to get the cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, parsnips, turnips and beetroot into the garden. If they had been planted any earlier they'd be ready while I'm away and that would be a waste. If I get them in the ground now they'll be ready or almost ready when we get home, no waste.


That jolly pumpkin vine is still growing. It's taken over the backyard, climbed the fence, into the neighbour's tree and produced some nice, plump pumpkins in it!  There are around 27 pumpkins on it - some of them are almost ready to pick. We've already cut two, and they are delicious. One was made into soup, one was cut into pieces for baking. Did you know you can freeze pumpkin if you're going to use it for soup or baking? I just put the number of pieces I need into ziplock bags or vacuum seal them and pop them into the freezer.  If you just want to store it in the fridge, take the seeds and pith out (I use a soup spoon to scrape them out) and then dust the cut side of the pumpkin with cornflour. It will keep in the fridge for weeks like this. Every time you cut a piece off dust the fresh cut with cornflour.


I'm still picking capsicums and eggplants, and freezing them for winter casseroles and stews. The basil is still going strong and I've been able to dry a bunch every couple of days; it smells amazing as it is drying and I can't wait to use it in my cooking.


The catnip has finally gone to seed. That means pulling the flower heads off and gently shaking them into a paper bag to collect the seed for next year. I use catnip to make a safe personal insect repellent, and it really works. It keeps mosquitoes and sand flies away, two summer pests that seem to love my arms and legs. Real catnip is hard to find, so growing it solves the problem for me. Next year though it is going into pots - it took over the garden bed and I'd rather use the space for food.

Well that's the condensed version of what I've been up to.

And now daylight saving has finished, I need to remember to get the washing off the line early! So, before it gets damp, I'd better go and bring it in. It will still be warm from the sun and fresh, ready to put straight away.



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7 comments:

  1. Your cards look amazing Cath. So beautiful. You've given me more ideas along with Annabel and Mr Google.

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    1. If you hand't mentioned your card making I'd never have taken the box out of the cupboard. Found lots of ideas online, tried sneaking a few peeks in magazines but these days they come in plastic bags! It's been a long time since I bought a magazine, I was really shocked :) Perhaps too many Cheapskaters were sneaking peeks instead of buying :)

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  2. The cards are beautiful Cath! Wendy has been going so well on her cards as well.
    I love knitted or crochet dish cloths. They are a lovely gift.
    The pumpkins look amazing. I find pumpkin so useful... pumpkin scones maybe the favourite though.
    You are doing well on the email replies! I hope lots of people come on board the Cheapskates lifestyle as you can continually learn new things and save so much. Have a lovely weekend.xxx

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Annabel, I've really enjoyed making these cards. I always do our Christmas cards so these have been a nice change and a good excuse to play in my paper and sticker stash :)

      Thank goodness pumpkins keep so well or I'd be beside myself thinking of ways to use them all up! My fave is roasted, then maybe soup. I use pumpkin (or sweet potato) mash in cakes - makes them so moist and cuts down on the fat needed.

      I'll get through all those emails eventually! I've really enjoyed meeting so many new people, and it would be amazing if they could all learn to love living the Cheapskates way.

      We have sunshine here again this morning, and it's my day off so I think we'll pack lunch and go for a drive somewhere nice for a picnic.

      You have a lovely weekend too :)

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  3. I don't watch a lot of TV so I missed you on A Current Affair. I wonder if the segment is accessible on the internet? I haven't tried freezing batches of biscuit dough but it sounds like such a good idea that I really want to give it a try some time.

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  4. Hi Cath - your cards look great. Good luck getting through all your emails - WOW what a response that's fantastic. Remember to take some time out for yourself during the busy times! Tina xx

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  5. Getting there Tina, one email at a time :) And thank you, I'm pretty pleased with these cards. I'm working on a special one at the moment, need to get a wriggle on to get it into the post tomorrow! I'll put up a pic next week, after it's been received (don't want to give the surprise away).

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