Thursday, 30 December 2010

Cool 1970s Kingcraft kitchen scales

Just spotted this - fully working and fairly funky Kingcraft kitchen scales. They're the original 1970s deal, and cover both metric and imperial.
 They've got imperial and metric units, so you don't have to worry about converting any recipes, and with a couple of days left, they're selling for either £4.99 as an auction price, or £7.50 as a Buy It Now option.

 And while you're *ahem* weighing that up - it looks like John Lewis have got the Heston Blumenthal Orb Electronic Scales back in stock now.

Friday, 3 December 2010

1960's retro kitchen sink unit...

I rather like the look of this Remploy 1960's timber sink unit, with stainless steel top - the colours definitely work well together.

The taps have been removed, and there is some sagging which would need repairing but at the moment it's £10 with no bids and under 2 days left.

 If you can manage a little bit of repair work, you two drawers and three cupboards - the middle draw is a dummy panel and the handle needs re-attaching, but comes with the unit.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The search for the coolest washing machine...

We've had problems with our Zanussi washing machine for quite a while now, as it stops at random points in the cycle, meaning we have to drain everything and start again. So when it stops 3 times out of 4 it's immensely frustrating.
Luckily the shop has taken it back to fix and left us with a loaner, but it's prompted me to take a look at what's available if you want something that not only cleans clothes, but also looks cool.
It's a bit tricky, as the basics of clothes washing and design don't seem to have changed much, but then I found this:

 It's the OVO washing machine concept designed by Murat Ozveri, and yes, when it's not in use, you get a giant clock to look at. And when it starts washing, the screen also displays a load of information about the washing.
  Not just that, but it looks cool and the different colours you could choose would work well for most kitchens. 
  The only problem is that it was designed and built a while ago, but I can't seem to see it in any shops yet. Come on white goods people - we want more than just square boxes in our kitchens...

  Anyone seen any washing machines that are cool, and also available to buy? Help me out by linking them up in the comments!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A 1940's style kitchen unit for less than £1!

Now this has to be one of the best bargains we've spotted so far. A 1940's style kitchen unit in apparently good condition, and a nice colour-scheme which could slot straight into most places.
And it's currently 99p, with just over a day to run!

It's collection only, but for the current price you'd be able to buy someone a couple of beers to borrow their van or estate car, and you'd still have change from £10.
More proof that despite the rise in online auctions and shopping, it's still possible to find bargains if you spend the time and effort looking!

Retro cupboard with built-in extending table...

Another day, another great bit of space-saving retro furniture. Yesterday I discovered a kitchen cupboard with space for food and shoes - it turns out the same seller also has this great 1950s/1960s cupboard with a handy extending table.
Handy if you're in a bedsit, useful if you want to eat in the kitchen away from the rest of the family (Oh for some peace and quiet), or even as somewhere to put a laptop or iPad so you can check recipes while you're cooking without risking covering your electronics in batter!

The original glass appears to be fine, which is probably increasingly unusual, and like yesterday's example, it's starting off at £75. There's the usual wear and tear, and a load more photos on the auction page.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Cool vintage kitchen cupboard has everything but the kitchen sink...

If you fancy retro storage, but you're also short on space, this could be just the cupboard for you. Not only do you get kitchen cupboards, but the top drawer has an enamelled cutting shelf, the top cupboard has an egg holder, and the bottom features a handy shoe box and a rack, which could also be used for a variety of other things - vegetables or sauce packets for instance?
 OK, so it's a little on the shabby side, but given the yellow, green and pink colour scheme, a bit of repainting might have been needed anyway! And how else could you store all your food and footwear in one place?

The fact it needs a bit of paint probably explains why it's still at a reasonable £75 with two days left on Ebay. And you could fit in a quick bit of refurbishment in time for Christmas.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Heston Blumenthal Orb Electronic Scales

Whether or not you're a fan of Heston Blumenthal's food, his scientific approach means that you can probably trust him when it comes to accurate measuring devices. The fact that they also look pretty cool is a bonus.

They're obviously proving popular at £40,as John Lewis is currently out of stock online - but you do have the option to sign up for an email alert as soon as a new batch arrive. And there's still time for stock to turn up, and be sent out, to make it to you before Christmas...

Thursday, 25 November 2010

70's retro kitchen units going for £10!

The 1970s is an era which seems to divide people when you're looking at retro and vintage furniture. But these units not only look pretty stylish for something from the 70s, but they're also going for a bargain £10 at the moment with under 2 days left.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Glasswear bargains at Habitat of all places...

As much as I love finding things second-hand either online on places like Ebay, or offline in obscure little junk shops, I'm not immune to buying new. And I quite often find myself browsing and occasionally buying from places you might not assume I'd look, like Habitat, for example. We've still got a cool round purple light we bought in a sale years ago - even if we don't have anywhere to put it that's safe from a toddler's grabbing hands.
And a bit of online browsing found these wine glasses reduced for Christmas:

They're 'Twink' wine glasses, and although I could spend the next few months looking for something similar in charity shops, the fact they're down to £2.80 each means that actually it might be more efficient to buy them and spend my time looking for things which get me a bigger saving or are more unusual...
Here's the link for the Blue Twink wine glasses, and for the Red Twink wine glasses. They've also got champagne glasses in blue, assuming you're drinking champagne more regularly than we do!

And here's two personal insights - I'm not a big wine drinker, but I do drink a healthy amount of water, and it always feels a lot nicer to drink from a nice glass than from the bottle/water filter.

And most importantly - Christmas is coming up, and although some of my family and friends might look for obscure gifts, most are busy people and will want something they can grab from the high street. So having a little list of cool things they can pick up without much hassle means we can get stuff we want and need...

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Everything including the retro kitchen sink...

It takes a while to wade through the amount of stuff on Ebay, but eventually it comes up trumps. Or at least it would if I lived a little closer to the location of this sale...
That's right - if you've got everything but the kitchen sink, this auction running on eBay over the next couple of days could sort you out. And at the moment it's listed for the grand price of 99p. And that's for the 1950s kitchen sink unit, complete with taps, waste and large sink. 
It's tempting enough for me to be trying to work out if I can borrow a van!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Buying a stylish slow cooker...

Over the past couple of years, most people have been looking to save a bit of cash where they can - and we're no different. One thing we've done fairly recently is start using a slow cooker and cheaper cuts of meat, and you'll see that same advice in a lot of places. And the best thing is, it works! I never realised how a good casserole is perfect on a cold day - especially when it's ready and waiting for you....
But there's a bit of a problem - slow cookers are not the most attractive devices, which means getting them in and out of the cupboard... unless there's a stylish one somewhere?
This is about the most stylish slow cooker I've managed to find so far the Cuisinart CSC650U. It's funky in an industrial style, and I've found the cheapest place online to pick one up is the aptly named 'Kitchen Fun', which is selling them for £62.20.
That's £6 cheaper than Amazon...
And with a 6.5 litre capacity, you'll be able to feed everyone without any problems...

Friday, 22 October 2010

A serious piece of vintage kitchen furniture...

Want to get a retro or vintage 1950s feel for your kitchen without having to buy loads of little bits? Picking up one massive 1950s kitchen cabinet would save you a bit of time and effort!
By way of example, this is currently on eBay with a bit of time left for bidding:

OK, you'll probably need a reasonably-sized kitchen for it to work, but just look at all that storage! And even adding the cost of collection, it's shaping up to go for a reasonably bargain price... We're pretty tempted, but we've still got tiling to do - and possibly knocking down a wall before we can start refitting...

Thursday, 21 October 2010

12 retro kitchen cabinet doors - currently under £1

One of the top tips for updating or changing the look of your kitchen on a budget is to change the doors of the kitchen cabinets, rather than the whole unit.
So 12 retro kitchen cupboard doors in mustard on eBay for £0.99 is shaping up to be an absolute steal.

They've currently got 2 days left, and come with aluminium handles and hinge packs - utter bargain!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

The most practical kitchen apron...

There's something great about utility products - those that do the job simply, effectively and won't alienate either sex. As a bloke, I'm not exactly keen about wearing an apron while I cook, and if I do, it definitely shouldn't involve flowers or kittens. At the same time, most of the manly BBQ catchphrases look a bit stupid when Annie is wearing them.
That's why this is cool:

Simple, effective, kinda stylish, and yours for a bargain £14.99 from H&M. (Via @poppyd)

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Awesome retro slushie maker....

There's a lot of slushie makers around, and anyone that has memories of Slush Puppy machines and drinks has probably thought about getting one.
For looks alone, this seems to be the best to actually make it into a prominent position in your kitchen - although the reviews on Prezzy Box are all positive - those on Amazon aren't as complimentary.

But forget that for the moment, and imagine what happens when friends and family come over for a party. Do you want to be the guy or girl stuck to a slushie machine all day?
Or would you rather have an effectively limitless supply of slushie goodness all ready to go, whether it's for the friends of your children, or with a splash of alcohol for the adults?
Then I suggest to you....

Packing a whopping 3.7 gallons per bowl, that's 7.4 gallons of slushie goodness - and yours for just $2,999.95 (Down from $3449.99). And it might seem pricey now, but imagine how popular you and your offspring will be during warm weather. If you're more financially minded, why not charge the neighbourhood kids for a cup, and make the money back (Maybe even a profit!).
How's that for a DIY kitchen gadget - one that gives you a business and maybe gives you a profit!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Kitchen chairs for the designer freak you know....

I love great design, despite the fact my artistic talents are limited to words and terrible guitar playing. And personally I think these Pantone chairs are ace - although I suspect you'll need to be a design fan to properly appreciate them...
But it should help the next time you're looking for the right colour to co-ordinate your kitchen.

They're £54 each from The Holding Company. And could lead to inspiration for more funky colourschemes - our hallway is currently the same light blue as the chair hanging at the back...

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The geekiest kitchen utensil you've ever seen?

While I'm not a huge fan, I'm well aware that there's very little in the Geek universe which is more universal than Star Trek. Even if you come down on the Star Wars side of the debate, or you just can't overcome the memory of the Tribbles, you can't help recognising the icons it created.
And now the U.S.S. Enterprise can journey across pizza!
 It's like it was meant to be - but has actually been created by the talented people at ThinkGeek. And it's officially licensed, stainless stell and just $24.99. So if you're a Trekkie, or you know one, grab the Star Trek Pizza Cutter!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Do you really need to store cookbooks in your kitchen?

Cooking in our household tends to be split between Annie cooking nice fresh vegetable dishes for the family, and me trying something over-ambitious after spending half the weekly food budget on a couple of unusual ingredients.
So I tend to be the one that will actually flick through cookbooks for inspiration, or just to make myself hungry, and as a result, we’ve got a small shelf devoted to them in the kitchen, taking up a reasonable amount of room.
But do we actually need cookbooks anymore?
Obviously you’ve been able to get recipe websites for a long time now, or download the same books as e-books rather than print. But the trouble is, no-one wants a laptop perched next to hot frying pans or sinks full of water etc. So besides the people who actually bought an internet fridge, generally durable print books have stayed.
But what about tablets?
Not just Apple’s iPad, but what about all the new Android-based tablets that are coming out for a much lower price?
For the cost of two or three high quality cookbooks, you’ll be able to pick up a lower-priced tablet computer which has access to every recipe and image on the internet, assuming you’re likely to already have access to wifi in your house (just buy a wifi enabled router, set your security settings and away you do). Plus, you don’t have to leave a tablet laying on the kitchen counter next to a big bowl of something dangerous to electrical goods.
I’ve already seen pictures of people mounting their iPad into the front of a kitchen cupboard – high enough to be right in their eyeline whilst cooking, and away from ingredients which could hurt the tablet. Besides the risk of stream/condensation, it seems like a tablet in the kitchen is a logical way to be able to also access recipe videos etc, and possibly make shopping (grocery) lists and even buy them online, while you remember.
The only flaw I can find is that it relies on you wiping hands and fingers clean before using the touchscreen. They smear bad enough with just normal fingers rubbing over them, but add in some batter or dough, for example, and they might have serious problems… Maybe you could accept that buying a new tablet every so often, or using a wireless mouse which will need regular replacement, is the cost needed to save on buying any more print books, or needing any more storage space for recipes you might never actually get around to cooking?

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Update your kitchen cabinets with some new parts

One way to improve the look of your kitchen without spending thousands on replacing the whole thing is to look at what you can update and reuse. For instance, it's often possible to replace the kitchen cabinet doors and handles to transform the space, rather than replacing all the parts of the cupboards that you'll never see.
There are cheaper ways to find the parts, but I've just spotted some handy art deco kitchen cabinet knobs on ebay which would be just the thing...

They're being sold for £10 each, with £4.90 postage, but there appears to be the chance of a deal if you're buying in bulk. And if you're replacing a number of cabinets, or if you can find a friend that's also thinking about making some changes, buying in largr numbers is often a good way to save money.
Alternatively, there's always the option of checking out secondhand shops, reclamation yards, junkyards and even building sites and skips (obviously there are legal rules on just helping yourself to stuff that you might find).

 I've been thinking of taking that exact approach with our kitchen. The cupboards are pretty dull and not exactly inspiring, but it's pretty rare we'll ever see or notice the back and sides of them. So by replacing the doors, handles and possibly the worksurface, we'll be able to transform them. And we can even split the cost by leaving the current worksurface in place for the time being!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

1950s kitchen cupboard/larder - I must stop browsing ebay....

Every time I spend a few minutes taking a look around ebay, I seem to find something I'm tempted to buy. Someone stop me...

For instance...

Can't go too far wrong for £29.99 with just 15 hours left!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Potential kitchen unit bargain on ebay?

It's worth looking all over the place for kitchen-related bargains, and you'll never know what might turn up. Unfortunately we still haven't reached the stage where we can start amassing some furniture, which is a bit of a shame, as I've just spotted some vintage English Rose kitchen units, and they're currently at just £26.

As you can see, they're far less twee than the name might suggest! Built in the 1950's, English Rose of Warwick built high-quality fitted kitchens. And CSA, the company which made these cabinets, previously made the nose cones for the Spitfire plane!

Fully restored they justify a high price, but if you can find some in need of restoration like these, then you could grab a bargain. Just one thing to keep in mind is that you'll be working with metal rather than wood, so it helps if you're a panelbeater rather than a carpenter.

Obviously there can be a lot of competition on eBay, but it occasionally still comes up trumps, so it's worth checking regularly, and playing around with. Annie seems to find virtual window shopping strangely relaxing, so let us know if you'd like more eBay finds posted up on a regular basis?

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Raising money for the kitchen improvements

Well, I've just about finished emptying the kitchen and the fridgefreezer is now up and running again. Thank God for the ability to drink cold beer once more...

So now I'm back to the challenge of acquiring new things - and how to fund it with a budget which is currently next to non-existent.

The first thought was to sell any worthwhile kitchen contents on eBay, but there wasn't a lot of treasure hidden away. But there's plenty in the rest of the house. So a lot of things we don't use will be appearing on eBay, Amazon (particularly some high value books), and also on some useful forums for local sales.

And anything we can't sell online will be collected together to head down to the local car boot fair to see what we can raise. Hopefully we'll make a bit towards our goal in the short term, and that'll go into the pot along with some overtime...

So there's not too much physical progress, but at least some of the preparation is done. And one additional job has been added to the list - with a small child, the fact the gas meter etc is openly accessible in the larder is a bit of a worry. So I need to look at boxing it in to prevent small hands creating a big explosion!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Busy defrosting the fridge freezer

Not much progress to report as I've spent the last couple of days eating assorted old food from the freezer, ready for the titanic struggle against huge build-ups of ice (pun intended!).

Aside from the desire to sort the entire kitchen ready for proper work to begin, the ice layer was not only stopping the fridge freezer from working effectively, and costing us money to try and keep things cool, but was also starting to swallow up and encase various items of food.

So the steps are pretty simple

  • Empty food by eating it, or throwing it away. Anything you might want to keep needs to go into a cool bag or cool box - but it'll be 24 hours after full defrosting before you can put food back in with any confidence it'll be cold enough.
  • Unplug the fridge freezer, and open up the doors.
  • Grab towels etc to mop up the water - a baking tray can be quite handy as a water collector thin enough to fit at the bottom of the fridge freezer.
  • Ways to speed things up: A bowl of hot water placed at the bottom of the fridge or freezer (heat rises remember), or a hair dryer (if you're careful about mixing electricity and water.)
  • Don't use anything with a naked flame, or sharp objets because repturing the cooling coil which runs through every shelf in a freezer is a bad, bad thing to do.
  • You can remove the ice as it melts - but do it gently. Again - breaking cooling coil = bad.
  • Once all ice is removed, everything has been cleaned as per the instruction manual, and you're ready to go again, plug everything back in and leave it for 24 hours.
  • While you wait, go and buy some ice cream to celebrate, safe in the knowledge you'll have to eat the entire thing in one sitting.
  • Don't plan on cold beer for 36 hours...
And that's it, really.

I've started wondering about the best way to customise a fridge freezer. If I had the money, I'd be tempted to buy something like:

Unfortunately, that isn't an option at the moment. And I don't think some fun fridge magnets are quite enough for what we're going for...

Time for some kitchen appliance research!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

The one kitchen gadget I'll be fighting to keep

As you might be able to tell from my previous post, there's not much in our kitchen which we bought because we fell in love with it - probably the coolest two things we have are a funky toaster, and a Typhoon Retro Revolution Buick Red Bread Bin.

But there's one kitchen gadget which I believe is completely and utterly essential, and I'll be fighting to ensure it keeps a rightful place in our new kitchen. And here it is:

It's a Pure Evoke Flow DAB radio with a WiFi internet connection. Which means that I get the usual FM stations, the much wider choice of DAB stations (Which is a relief considering I'm out in the sticks and have specific music tastes), and the other big advantage is that I can get most of my favourite podcasts to access from the radio. I could use my computer, but the Evoke has a really good sound quality, and I don't want to be constantly moving a laptop from room to room and getting it covered in cooking fat and other stuff. Whereas the radio takes up a much smaller space, so it can be kept safely out of the way. It's the same reason I don't use an MP3 player - and it's nice to be able to listen to a load of DAB only stations for a change from my own music collection.

And although the touchscreen Sensia is pretty cool, the combination of working in the kitchen and using a touchscreen seems like a bad combination - and I know I'll end up losing the remote control

I could go for something which looks a little more retro - Pure, Roberts and other brands all have more retro styles, but none of them include the wifi internet access as far as I know:

So out of all the DAB Radios available, I think the Evoke Flow is definitely the one we'll be keeping in the new kitchen. Now to find some other hi-tech kitchenwear to match - internet connected kitchen mixer anyone?

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Step 1: Starting the preparation

Even without the budget to start acquiring new bits for the kitchen, there's plenty to get done in terms of preparation.

For starters, while I've got some time without the rest of the family team around, I'm busy sorting out everything so that we can start making a difference when they return.

And the first step is working out exactly how much space we have to play with, what we want to keep, and particularly how much storage we need.

Over the years, we've acquired the usual kitchen items - fridgefreezer, washing machine, tumbledryer, cooker and microwave - and each was bought as a necessity for the money we had available at the time, rather than the choices we'd have made if we had an endless budget. So which of these will work in the new kitchen, and which will we need to start saving to replace? And can we make them work in the meantime?

And aside from that, every kitchen builds up endless amounts of cans, jars and tins which have lurked in back of cupboards for years, alongside rarely-used cookery books and various pans and other stuff.

Add in the cleaning products under the kitchen sink, and the fact we also store a lot of our paperwork in our larder beside the alcohol supplies, and there's a fair amount of storage being used - but do we need all of it in our new kitchen? Could we reduce the amount of cupboards and shelves?

So I'm on a voyage of discovery to find out exactly what we've got in the kitchen, and what can go. And once that's finished, I can start measuring up for the new kitchen!

So before you start work on your new kitchen, it's worthwhile figuring out if you really need to replace everything you already have...

Image - rubbish emergency in Campania by Chiarra Marra on Flickr (CC Licence). It's not quite representative of the couple of bags of out of date jars I've removed so far, but it might not be far off by the time I've finished!


Saturday, 3 July 2010

How to find and save kitchen inspiration

When I'm not thinking about refurbishing the kitchen, most of my life is spent being a bit of a digital information junkie - both in my work and my spare time. So when we decided to start looking for ways to update and improve our kitchen, I started to research it in the same way as my other projects, using some handy internet tools.

Finding inspiration:

Blogs: Blogs are great ways to find new inspiration. Not only are they written by other people who are generally passionate about the topics they're writing about, but quite often they'll pick up on more obscure items that wouldn't make it into a mainstream magazine. The simplest way to start finding good blogs is to just search Google for a term like 'kitchen blogs' and find any that you like. If you want to keep up with them on a regular basis, you can normally subscribe either via email, or in an RSS reader like Google Reader

Photos: An image can often be worth a thousand words - especially when you're looking for visual ideas. You can find a huge amount of images via Google Image Search, but probably my favourite place is Flickr, as you can comment and find out more about the images that you like.

Websites and magazines:  There's a bit of crossover here with blogs and print magazines, as the bigger websites combine elements of all of them. There are loads of DIY and design sites worth taking a look at, and non-kitchen sites can be inspirational. For instance, I adore Make Magazine, which is a DIY site for the sort of people who play with electronics and circuit boards. Whether or not any of it makes it into my kitchen is another matter - but seeing what creative and talented people have done at least inspires me to get off my backside.

For real serendipity: One of the best tools for finding almost random selections of great stuff is Stumbleupon. Sign up, select the things you're interested, and click the Stumble button, and you'll be taken to something in that topic recommended by other users. Hit the button again, and you'll get another one. Keep going till you're inspired - it shouldn't take long because the quality level is generally pretty good.

And saving all this stuff for later?
I've already mentioned Google Reader and email subscriptions, but probably the most useful way to keep track of all this stuff for later is a social bookmarking site like Delicious, or Diigo

There are two reasons for this - you can save websites, articles, images etc just the same way as you'd bookmark them in your internet browser, but because you're saving them to an online site, you can access them from any computer (or smart phone), at any time. So if I spot something at work, I can save it and then find it quickly and easily on my computer at home, for example.

You can also 'tag' everything you save, and group those tags together. So if I find a kitchen picture which has a great fridge and a great cooker in it, I can tag it with 'kitchen sink' and 'kitchen cooker', and it highlights the reason I saved it, as well as meaning I can find all the 'kitchen cooker' inspiration in one place.

But I can also create a Kitchen group, and then put all the related tags in one place, keeping kitchen sinks, cupboards, flooring, cookers etc all in a group I can find.

The way I run all of this is to have an account with Delicious, and with Diigo. I use Diigo to save everything (They have a plug-in you can use with Firefox to make it really quick and easy), and I set up my Diigo account to automatically also send everything to Delicious. That way, if one site stops working for any reason, everything is backed up at the other one.

And that's it - when I've had time to find some more inspiration and carefully file it, I'll start sharing it on the site, so you can see everything I've found!


Thursday, 1 July 2010

What on earth is 'Patchwork Kitchen'?

Patchwork Kitchen is a new website for renovating, refurbishing and generally creating a cool kitchen, written by two people who are attempting to do up their own kitchen with a mix of styles, a lack of DIY skills, and a complete lack of budget.

The reason we're doing the site is that after dating and living together for a while we decided to buy a house which needed a bit of work, as it was the best we could afford as first-time buyers. So the weekend we moved in, we gutted and decorated the living/dining room. In the next few months we also completely redid the bedroom, and in the run-up to the birth of our first child we went to town on creating a great nursery.

And then everything stopped. We've made a little headway with the garden, but when it comes to the house, the combination of jobs and a family have meant that we've struggled to do more than fix a door handle and replace the odd lightbulb in the last two-and-a-half years.

So this is as much to help us as it is to hopefully help anyone reading - by publicly writing about our ideas, plans, purchases, how we did certain things and whether it works or not, we're hoping we'll keep ourselves motivated to complete a kitchen which is going to take quite a while. (We know enough to know that the time a project takes is inversely proportional to the money you can spend on it!).

And keep in mind my own father started renovating my parent's kitchen when I was a child and hasn't finished it over 20 years later, and you'll see the kind of genetic imperative I'm fighting.

But why 'patchwork' kitchen?

The patchwork name is a reference to the fact that we tend to disagree on almost everything we do. So although we've got some shared ideas of the themes and styles we like (cool, retro, funky, maybe 50's style, some bold colours etc), we're never going to settle on a strict theme and stick to it.
Plus when you're on a very tight budget, you're going to have to comprimise occasionally on the authenticity of every item, or you'll never get there.
Plus it sounds kind of cosy, which one of us liked.

But that's enough for an intro post, and I'll let the lovely lady of the project introduce herself without me getting in the way...

'patchwork' Dan