Posted in Art, Crafts, Creative presents, decorating, Hints & Tips, home, Recycling, Reusing, Self reliance

Dyeing with onion skins

I’ve posted this on my art blog, but not on my Simple Life. I have decided to post it on here as it is all part of my simple life aim. With my life, as with my art I like to try to have as little impact on the environment as possible, so I have been trying out a bit of Eco dyeing and combining it with my work.

Onion skins seem to be a good starting point because they need no mordent (a mordent is a fixing agent).

All it take is collecting the brown flaky skins from your onions until you’ve got about a carrier bag full and put them in the largest pan you have (or tin bucket) add a generous amount of water and heat it up.
Onion skins 2
Simmer for a couple of hours, strain, and you get this!Onion skins 3
Take it off the heat, add some wet fabric (not band new fabric, it has to be something that has been washed previously) and make sure you push it all under the dye that you’ve made using some tongs or with rubber gloves to protect against the hot water. Simmer again for another hour or so. Let it get cold on the pan or leave it over night and then take the fabric out and rinse it in warm water and dry on the washing line.
Onion skins 4

You can get quite a dark colour with this dye. The background of this cushion I’ve made shows the sort of colour you get. You can use the dye a couple of times more if you like and you just get lighter colours.
Onion skins 5

Free dye from kitchen scraps, not bad is it! 🙂

Posted in around my home, challenges, decorating, painting old furniture, Reusing, Self reliance, winter

Home Improvements

I Hope you all had a fabulous Christmas, we did. We spend the last few days doing some home improvements which were long over due.

Improving our working environment started in October and then came to a halt because of work commitments, so it was all hands on deck to finish what we had started!

We had these shelves made from shelving we bought with us from our old house, so we decided to re-use it to save money.

Improving 1

They are so fab!

Improving 2

Over the fire place we’ve hung some outsider art bought from Barrington Farm which is a centre for  adults with learning difficulties here in Norfolk.

Improving 3

We now have a comfortable and improved working environment that we are happy with! 🙂

Wishing you all a very happy and simple New Year 🙂

Posted in challenges, Food, Fruit, gardening, Greenhouse, In the garden, Organic Gardening, Permaculture, plants, Polytunnel, Reusing, Self reliance, spring


Well, I’m very excited.  My polytunnel is finally being finished. The frame has been up for a while but progress has been very slow. As you can see from the pictures, I’m a very happy Debbie!

Poly 1 Poly 2 Poly 3 Poly 4 Poly 5 Poly 6 Poly 7

As it is a second hand polytunnel there needs to be a bit of patching up and extra plastic bought for the doors, but we are nearly there! 🙂

Posted in Autumn, bargins, challenges, cooking, Food, Hints & Tips, In the garden, Permaculture, Recycling, Reusing

Brand New Fire Pit

Well, I’ve been wanting one of these for ages. Not to be all hip and trendy but just to be able to sit, relax and cook outside. I’ve always found bought bbq’s quite fiddly and usually too small and also very anti social because the poor person who’s cooking, tends to be a bit left out and this way everyone can be in charge of their own sausage!

Everything that has made up this fire pit and seats have all been found around our garden, it’s total cost is £0.00.

Things needed for this project-

Rusty trough or planter
A spade
Metal grid for cooking on
Something to sit on
Friends to eat your food

Fire Pit

Posted in bargins, collecting, Recycling, Reusing, Shopping local

Fakenham Market Finds

Being busy over the last few weeks we haven’t had a chance to browse our lovely market. I can’t shake the habit though, so here are the finds for this week.

Two hand towels for the kitchen…..Finds 1

some East Anglian beer (and other) mats…..Finds 2

and a teeny weeny Japanese bowl.Finds 3

Total spend £2.00 🙂

Posted in around my home, bargins, challenges, decorating, Hints & Tips, home, Recycling, Reusing, Shopping local

Decorating on a budget

I desperately wanted to decorate the lounge. I decided that after eight years of living here it was about time to make our mark. But it had to be on a budget!


Lounge 1 Lounge 2

Start day.  The paint cost £14.00….

Lounge 3

…..and doesn’t it look nice!

The wooden lamp bottom right cost £4.00 plus £6.00 for new wiring.

Lounge 4

The bookshelves were £100 from a local antique shop. We wanted good value rather than cheap as we want them to last!

Lounge 5

The lovely corner unit was again from a local antique shop for £55.00.

Lounge 6

I printed our blinds, so new blinds for free.

Lounge 7

So a juggle around with furniture and pieces of existing art and a new room for £178.00. 🙂