Posts Tagged ‘bargain’


For Otis. As I sit every night at the moment, huffing and puffing grumpily into a dust mask as we scrape and sand hundreds of reclaimed hardwood parquet blocks, I try to remember that not every purchase of second hand goods from gumtree means blood, sweat and tears. Although Otis’ antique brass bed, acquired at a price to make the bargain hunter in me very pleased indeed, did require some serious polishing and a bit of repair work on three decorative spindly bits, it was nothing compared to the mammoth task of restoring Sol’s bed.

I really wanted a metal bed of a similar age to sit next to Solomon’s, which meant waiting a while for the right one in a reasonable location to pop up. But pop up it did, and we’re all really pleased, none less so than Oti!


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As often is the case, a quiet blog belies a busy time here at the cottage- the Easter holidays promted a huge push on the ‘garden’ (still more accuratey described as scrub land) and I’ve not been idle on the crafting front either. In addition to wee Fergus’ quilt, I’m still knitting ‘Quill,’ a Shetland hap-style wrap for my sister,which is a Jared Flood pattern. There’s no rush on this, and the progress on it creeps ever more slowly as each round gets larger. It’s great TV knitting, though (until I get to the rather more complicated-looking border!)

Also on the needles is another Old Shale baby blanket, this time in a dark grey superwash merino, which is soft and bouncy. I’ve knitted this (yep, another one of Jared’s) pattern several times now, so despite its lacey appearence, is also now quite happily mindless.


It’s the first Easter holiday we’ve spent at this house, and I must say I’m loving the days warm enough to spend outside but evenings cool enough to still warrant a fire. The cold, dusty hearth of summer is such a sad sight, I feel.

As always, the last weekend in April heralds the Banchory Scout Jumble Sale, a bit of a Deeside institution which raises in excess of £10,000 for the Scouts every year. It must be a mammoth undertaking, but, as ever, the queue snaked round the block. The bric-a-brac table was  full of hidden gems and slightly out of breath punters jostling for space as we raked through the piles of baking tins, china and a large porcelain white tiger figurine (which, along with two very, um, sculptural candelabras, was sold to a most satisfied chap). I did my best to steer clear of the embroidered textiles this year -tempting as they always are- because I am amassing a huge collection and am rapidly running out of space! Instead I bought some glass jars for flour, lentils and the like, for £2, and 9 beautiful hand thrown pottery mugs, interior and rims glazed in a lovely bluey green, also for the measly sum of £2. I feel very much the cat who got the cream as I sit here sipping tea.


I also bought two very large, very fluffy and -crucially- very absorbant towels for… the dog. A 5 year old German Wirehaired Pointer named Amber came to live with us just over a month ago, and after a few issues here and there, is settling in pretty well. She’s very sweet and very affectionate, and despite now having to sweep the floors pretty much constantly, the happiness she brings the boys and the joy of taking her for walks (good recall! A first for most dogs I’ve known!) is worth it.








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And all very red and Christmassy… I have figured it takes me three hours per calendar to embroider the numbers onto the pockets, so by that calculation have a mere nine hours to go!

These are the three fabrics from last year

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And two new ones, (chosen by a client way back in January!)

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On a different note, my hoarding of vintage linens continues: I picked up this sweet little crocheted (I think!) bit of floral lace for one pound in a charity shop.

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I think it’ll look nice on a cushion, similar to these ones I made my sister-in-law.

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I’ve had this date in the calendar for ages. After last year’s bountiful haul, I was positively gleeful with anticipation at this annual event, which is in its 40th year. It runs from 10-2pm, but get there early. They made £10,000 last year. It’s hardcore bargain hunting, with beat-up trailers, shifty looking antiques dealers, excitable boy scouts selling chocolate frogs and bacon butties, Northeastern grannies with their reusable supermarket bags ready to fill to the brim, and families upgrading children’s bikes.

Last year we went with a list which we ticked off pretty smartly. This year, with our own home to buy for, we went with measurements. And a tape measure.

Oli spotted a wooden blanket box/chest thing which he started to make enquiries about while I took pictures of lovely chairs, tables, a beautiful cast iron slipper bath with clawed feet, a great pair of old deck chairs -sold, sadly- and stacks of vintage suitcases. Steering clear of sports equipment and toys, I ventured inside.

The crowd outside was bustling, but the scrum in the hall -bric-a-brac table 3 deep- was unreal. Last year I was very pregnant, this year Otis wailed at me from his sling. He will soon learn about bargain hunting. I had the same feelings of missing out on something that must drive all thrifters, trawlers of car boot sales and charity shoppers. The feeling that somewhere was something that must not get away. I just needed to find it.

Nothing is priced at this sale, either, and the volunteers are not exactly expert antique/second hand goods sellers. There are some serious bargains to be had. I saw a very large rolled up eastern rug (one of those plain ones with little animals dotted about very sparsely) and was told it was £20- but by the time I had found Oli to discuss buying it, it had vanished. Rookie.

But we still made a few purchases: two demijohns for £1, two gorgeous embroidered tablecloths and a hand knitted baby blanket for £6 (rescued by me from a woman who wanted it for her dog’s bed!) and the aforementioned wooden chest.

The boys, by this stage, had had enough, and so we retreated to our friends’ house for a lovely lunch and cups of tea. It had been the first day of sunshine in a long while, and it is set to be sunny today. It feels like a tiny taste of summer.

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Ooh I do love a charity shop rummage. Especially a shop I’ve not been to before. A couple of days ago in the beautiful Perthshire village of Comrie, I managed to buy these very retro girl’s patterns, a pattern for a lovely looking lady’s dress (well and truly out of my skill range but couldn’t resist), some great big knitting needles to make a giant’s scarf, and a set of circular needles- all for £1.50. Happy days.


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Well they do say iconic Swedish high chairs are like buses- you wait ages for one and then loads come along all at once…

Following on from my post last weekend about our seriously bargainous Tripp Trapp (£3 although missing the large platform) we tootled along to our local second hand shop, The Boxroom today to get a big lampshade for Sol’s new standard lamp.

I was a bit gobsmacked to find not one but TWO high chairs, at £4 each, both missing their small platform. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together.

So baby 2 won’t be making do with a home-made jigsawed platform but one taken from today’s Tripp Trapp purchase! I feel absolutely ridiculous possessing three of the ruddy things but will be selling the remainder of the third one for spare parts. We did not buy the fourth one- there has to be a limit! So if anyone wants a Tripp Trapp for £4- head along to Banchory quickly!

Lastly- a photo of my boys on our wild rhubarb chase. Unsuccessful sadly!

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I can’t actually recall the last time it rained (although I know it was heavy as the watermarks in our bedroom became a great deal more alarming!) and the swallows are swooping and chirping to each other as the sun finally heads down. There’s a bit of a breeze -it is Aberdeenshire after all- but pop up a windbreak and all is well! We were given some rhubarb by the farmer’s wife (apparently it is growing wild at some secret location along the Dee) which I made into rhubarb fool with lots of home made custard and whipped cream. I had intended to photograph the fool sitting prettily in its wine glasses but, alas; we scoffed it before I had the chance. The tangy rhubarb and creamy custard kicked off the spring season very nicely.

Also in the cottage life department: the holz hausen woodpile, now struck from the ‘to do’ list emphatically by Oli. I think it looks great and the wood in it is seasoning much more rapidly than usual:

The logs on top are bark side up to form a sort of rain hat!

We had thought about going away camping this weekend, but the thought of sleeping on the ground when 34 weeks pregnant put me off rather. Plus it would mean missing the annual Banchory Scout jumble sale, which the tiny neon signs pounded into a grass verge assured me would be THE BEST EVER.

I had been forewarned that there would be queue, and so we arrived a good 20 minutes before opening at 10am to assure ourselves of a good chance at the best bargains. Quite the schoolgirl error. There had apparently been people there since 7am and the queue of patient bargain hunters clutching their reusable grocery bags snaked back about 70 metres past the caravan park and tennis courts. Bemused caravanners gave us all querulous glances as they strolled out for papers and ice creams and I must admit I felt ridiculous waiting for a jumble sale! But we were not disappointed. I cannot vouch for it being THE BEST EVER Scout sale, as it was my first one, but it was by far and away THE BEST EVER jumble sale I have ever been to.

I (stupidly) go to these events with a mental list of what I want or need and of course am always let down. The beauty of the second hand bargain is finding something you weren’t expecting but really need, or really love. We wanted a standard lamp for Solomon’s room and a Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair for baby number 2. Sol has one that belonged to my mother in law and they really are fantastic as they can be adjusted to suit the baby right up until adulthood. A bit too good in honesty, as if you have a second child you need to fork out the £139 for another one.

We paid our £1 entrance fee and immediately spotted a standard lamp for which we paid £4. I was feeling very pleased and smug and think it looks lovely by the big armchair in his reading corner. It definitely needs a new shade but the current one isn’t too terrible:

Aside from feeling smug at the lamp purchase I was also feeling utterly overwhelmed at the whole scene: packed with people furiously and busily browsing the outside stacks of furniture, bicycles, garden equipment, sports goods, and toys, we were informed of a one-way system inside the hall to prevent overcrowding. Small boys in yellow t shirts and scarves scampered about getting high on sweeties and vowing they were ‘definitely not going to have another bacon sandwich until 11 o’clock.’ A charming scout leader told us they made £13,000 last year. It. Was. Mental.

Then we turned a corner round some wardrobes and brass double bedsteads and came face to face with a Stokke Tripp Trapp. Missing one of its platforms and in need of a good clean, we bought it as quickly as was seemly for £3. Unbelievable!

This was followed by a bevelled edge fan mirror for £5 and some carving skis in good condition for -after much discussion- £10. They are no longer made but Oli looked them up online and found them for £300 new. It was too crazy in the main hall -one-way system gone utterly to pot- to really get a look-in at the clothes, linen or bric-a-brac. I just kept thinking ‘Antiques Roadshow! I bought it at a jumble sale for 50p! I didn’t know they were diamonds!’ but alas all the jostling and bumping was giving me braxton hicks contractions and Oli and Sol looked terrified at the general melee. We called it a day and retired to the sunny garden of some friends to regale them with tales of our bargains and drink beer and barbecue in the sunshine. Can’t wait for next year- Oli says he is going to save up!

Speaking of Oli it is his birthday today- as I type he is patiently returning a hysterical toddler to bed time and time again but a big slice of cake and a cup of tea await. Happy Birthday my love!

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