Sunday, 23 July 2017

Engineering where you want to be

Hello and Good Morning. 
I had a thought provoking and inspiring email from a reader which I thought I would share with you here, with her permission of course. There must be many people in the same position who are thinking and worrying how they will cope if they change full time work into part time, or retire altogether.  

Hello Ilona,
My name is Elaine. I also started work full time at 16yrs. By the time I was 56yrs, I felt that I could no longer keep it up. I had no life, divorced with one grown up daughter, why was I putting myself through this daily grind?
I tell you why FEAR, work was all I had ever known. Also scared how would I cope financially?
I was able to take early retirement, some thought I was an idiot as it was less money than taking it later in life. But I was totally burnt out. I looked on websites for how to cope, and it was always American's who had the big advice. Then by chance I came across your blog. Somebody British who I could relate to. You were living a great life with little money, and there was me sad not knowing what to do age 58 trying all sorts and ending up lost.
I am 59 next month and in a much better place. Although I was shocked that my state pension was now available to me at 66 and not 62 as the government had me believe, thankful to the WASPI women fighting this.
I do still work part time but when I want to, and even this is now getting too much, but I realise I have to keep going till 66 drat!
I have a car, paid off my mortgage and am taking your great advice off the blogs.
Thank you for helping me, why should I feel guilty about wanting a nice life?
Best wishes,

My story is that I started winding down when I was in my mid fifties, I cut my working hours which resulted in a drop of income. I wanted to get off the treadmill, wanted a better work-life balance, so the answer was clear to me, if I didn't spend anything I didn't have to earn it. I watched the bank balance go down and down, to almost rock bottom. When it got dangerously low I knew I had to do a couple of days work so I could pay my mortgage. 

A strange thing happened, I didn't worry, I didn't panic. I saw my situation more as a game, a game I had to win, and winning for me was yes, I had less money, but I had a lot less stress. It was fun jiggling with small numbers. Imagine someone with big numbers in big savings, big investments, big bank accounts, and big commitments. How do they cope with that? 

Money doesn't buy you happiness, as it has been proved millions of times. It is big news when a relationship breaks up and the acrimonious splitting up of the assets begins. Money makes people bitter, when they lose it they become even more bitter. It brings out the nasty streak in people. Far better to have very little and build a life around what you have, and be content in your own bubble. 

Elaine, you are in a good place, you have made the changes you needed to. A nice life doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Over the next five years do an audit of your situation, an annual review. List your needs and wants, move some of the needs over to the wants side. As you get older you may find that you need less, so you will spend less. Ask yourself the question, 'do I need it', before you open your purse. You may find you can chip away at your working hours, cutting them down bit by bit. Perhaps look for another part time job that you enjoy more, rather than just working for the money. 

Your nice life is taking shape, it will be what you want it to be. Keep on tweaking it, manipulating it, changing things. Life can only get better if you make it better. 

Have a nice Sunday everyone. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip 

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Make a lucky horseshoe

Hello. Remember this? The rusty old horseshoe that was on the front of my garage for years, then it fell off. I thought I might tart it up a bit. Stan the friendly library man has the tools at home to get rid of the rust and it looked like this when he gave it back to me. Looks nice and shiny. Could be left like that with a couple of coats of varnish to seal it. But no, I want to add colour. 
My first idea was to wrap strips of fabric round it, and sew beads onto it, Tried that but it just wasn't working, couldn't get the finish I wanted. Then I thought of painting it, but then realized it would probably chip off. Nail varnish, that's it, I bought some dead cheap from a car boot sale and still had some left. Next clear varnish, stick beads and sequins on with the varnish. A piece of wire threaded with beads makes a colourful hanger.

It's taken ages to get some decent photo's the light bounces off the shiny surface. I've done my best, photographing it in different places, and rejecting most of them, so here are a few of the bestest ones.

I'm very pleased with the result, it looks fab in real life.

It's looking like the early rain is clearing up, I'm off out in ten minutes, the Bowls Club has a coffee morning and I'm going to socialize. Enjoy your weekend, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Thursday, 20 July 2017

They'll be something in the bit box.

Hello. Post number two. Several people said they were looking forward to seeing what I did with the mirror. Well the after photo doesn't look any different to the before photo, from the front view. It's a bit different round the back. I stripped it down and cleaned all the parts with polish. The mirror didn't fit tightly in the frame, it was a bit loose, so the dust was getting inside. 
It needed an extra layer to make a tight fit, I have a roll of black sticky back underlay the sort you put underneath a vinyl floor to add a bit of insulation. I cut a piece to fit and stuck it on the back of the mirror, the put in a few veneer pins around the edge to hold it in place. 
Next I needed a new piece of board because the original had mould on it due to it being stored in the garage. I remembered the single bed bases I salvaged from my friends when they moved, just the job. It's a very thick cardboard, I cut it out with a Stanley knife.

 Next to screw it on the back. It needed washers to stop the screw heads biting into the cardboard and disappearing.. I don't have any washers so what to use instead?

Can you guess what they are? Answers on a postcard, no prizes, ha ha. If you haven't got the exact parts that you need, improvise. Job's a good one.

I decided not to paint it, the wood is in good condition, no marks or scratches, it looks fine as it is. 
Hooooray, the sun is out, I'm off out for an hour. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Waiting for the rain to stop

Hi. It's very wet outside, chucking it down in fact. Where are the cats then? Garcia is lying in the middle of the kitchen floor. I allow him to stay in when it's horrible outside. He can't get in his own house as everyone is out at work. 
Naughty Mayze. She is sharing a basket with a bag of onions on the worktop. I have told her that she is not to jump up on this side of the kitchen. This is my side, her side is opposite next to the sink.

Heidi is chilling out in the spare room aka the craft store. Oh dear, cat hairs all over my fabric.

Take it easy kids, I'll let you know when it's safe to go outside.

See you soon.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

New skips have appeared, whooopeeeee

Hello. Here is Mollie Dolly. She is going to a new home tomorrow. I was asked to make her for a friend of a friends new baby. Hope she isn't too scary for her. She has two tone yellow hair with red streaks, I used up some oddments of wool. Her legs are a bit long, but I don't suppose baby Mollie will be too bothered by that. Just hope she doesn't burst into tears when she sees those wide open staring eyes. 
She fits in with the rest of the clan. That's it now, no more, getting bored, move on to something else.

Look what I found last night while doing my three miles. A very nice mirror in a skip. I knocked on the door and the owner said I could take it, so when I got back I went in my car to pick it up. The back is not fixed on properly and a bit shabby, and the mirror is a bit loose, so I'll take it apart and make a new back for it. Not bad eh! Keep looking in skips peoples, you might find something worth saving.

I've been watching Sarah on Money for Nothing, luckily there are lots of programmes on yoootooob to get through which will keep me entertained for a while, as well as give me some ideas. Sarah goes to recycling centres and rescues stuff before it goes into the skip. She then gets it renovated and sells it. If anyone wants to have a look give this one a try. You might get hooked.

No rain yet today but it looks like it might come down soon, so I'm going to get outside while it's still dry. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip