Some household tips for people trying to save some pennies

Throw dirty trainers and sandshoes in the washing machine.

Okay, so I thought I’d write up this week’s Canny Lass blog by giving you some tips on being a little bit more frugal and making things go further.

As our neighbours south of the border saw their kids going back to school last week (ours in Scotland went back mid August – it couldn’t have come quickly enough!), they will no doubt be dreading this: the return of the scuffed school shoes. I don’t know what my kids did when they were younger and at primary school, but they managed to wreck every pair of shoes I bought them within a few weeks. So, with that in mind, here’s a quick tip to cover scuffs and scratches on shoes. And it’s simple. If you don’t have in your home or you don’t have the cash right now to splash out on scuff coating, do this: get a felt tip marker of the same colour as the shoe and use it to ink in the scuffs. Don’t have a marker? Try using crayons instead. For trainers, that’s a bit more difficult. However, you can put dirty trainers in the washing machine and wash them. Stuff the toes with newspaper or kitchen towel once out of the machine and leave to dry overnight.

If you’ve run out of shoe polish, here’s a tip from 1001 Entirely New Household Hints (1937): rub half a lemon over the shoes and buff with a cloth. Lovely smelling and beautifully shiny shoes.

Use nail polish on runs in tights.

Do you or your daughters wear tights? Mine does to got to school and I used to wear them to work. Some time ago I swapped skirts and dresses for smart trousers purely because I hated wearing tights. The main problem was I could never get them to fit my long legs and the gusset was always hanging and it wasn’t pleasant. Anyway, I digress. Firstly, buy a cheap clear nail varnish and carry it about with you. If you get a rip in your tights and you don’t have a spare pair to hand, you can stop the rip by dabbing it with some nail polish. Yes, you will get nail polish on your leg, but this stops the rip from getting worse until you can change your tights. If you have a pair of those 40+ denier tights and you get a rip, cut the ripped leg off and retain the other part. When you get another pair of ripped tights the same, cut the ripped leg off that. Now you have two pairs of tights with one leg each. What you do is put one pair on over your right leg and put the second pair on over your left leg. You now have a perfect pair of tights (albeit with two parts going across your tummy, but that’s good cos it will provide additional elasticity to pull your tummy in a bit!).

Did you know that the first toothbrush was invented by a Chinese emperor in 1498 using hog hair embedded in a bone or bamboo handle? The idea became popular in Europe, but because the brushes were so expensive, some families had to share one brush!

Here’s one if you’re suffering from dark circles or bags under your eyes due to too many late nights. Soak cotton balls in camomile tea, allow to cool and then lie down with the cotton balls over your eyes. Bliss! Don’t have any cotton balls? Just use two camomile teabags instead: make your tea, squeeze the bags to remove excess tea, set aside to cool, use once cooled.

Petroleum jelly works wonders on hair and lashes.

Continuing on our beauty theme, if you run out of mascara, dab a tiny bit of petroleum jelly on your upper lashes (don’t do the bottom ones as the jelly could get in your eyes). This tip comes from the early 1900s and inspired chemist T L Williams to create one of the first commercial mascaras. He saw his sister, Mabel, apply petroleum jelly to her lash tips, so he combined the jelly with ash and created mascara. He then set up a company to sell this mascara and the name of the company? Maybelline.

You can also use petroleum jelly to tame wild hair. Rub a tiny bit of it on the ends of your hair and brush. For frizzy hair, rub a pea-sized bit of petroleum jelly in your palms and then smooth down your hair with it. And a dollop of petroleum jelly on gum stuck in hair will help remove it.

Hope you enjoyed these tips,

Dawn xx


Back into it this week after days of exhaustion

Okay, so last week I was full of great intentions to work hard and boost our income and generally be superwoman. And I managed it until Saturday. Saturday, I woke up feeling like I had been runover by a steam roller. Despite that, I still got up, fed all the animals and cleaned the house as my parents, sister and her kids were coming over that afternoon. I initially thought I felt tired because I had had some wine on Friday night, but the feeling lasted…well…I still feel exhausted. So, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, I rested up as best I could and it’s worked. I feel a lot better today. Think I maybe just have a wee bug or something.

Anyway, how are you all, my Canny Lassies (and lads)? Hope you’re all well. What have you been doing to be more frugal? My intentions were side-swiped, so we did have a takeaway on Saturday night because I felt so awful. But back into it this week. Despite trying to rest more, on Monday I re-did our monthly money planner and I’m back making meals from scratch. Made lovely home-made sausage rolls for dinner last night and the good thing is there are two leftover for lunch today for me and the boy (who is off school). The good news is I don’t have to make lunch as we have leftovers to eat. Yum. The sausage roll was easy. I bought shop bought sausages and ready rolled puff pastry. I squeezed the sausage meat out of the skins (you can’t buy sausage meat easily so had to buy sausages) and put the on the pastry. Dabbed the edges with some milk, rolled the sausage roll up and cut into portions. Brushed top of pastry with more milk and bunged in the over at 220 degrees until fully cooked. Served it with steamed baby potatoes and beans. Yum.

Today, I’ll get some small household chores done and maybe put some more patterns up in my vintage knitting pattern shop: Vintage Knit Treasures. I’m starting to get sales through so that’s magic. Really pleased. I’ve also been knitting for it and hope to have some items to put in the shop in the about three weeks.

I also wrote a couple of articles for Medium last week (follow me here) which I hope will garner some extra money.

This week, I am going to start putting some unwanted items of clothing up on Ebay and money raised will go into my Christmas gift fund.

Right, I am away to write my final blog of the week (I have three websites, links to the other two are above) on social media. See you soon.



New shop and a new FB group to join

So, something quite exciting has happened. I’ve opened my own shop on Etsy selling vintage patterns as downloadable pdfs and as original patterns. Called Vintage Knit Treasures, the new shop will also sell items I’ve hand-knitted from vintage patterns and my own patterns. This brings together two great loves of mine: knitting and vintage fashion. There’s a whole lot of patterns on there for ladies, gents and children. Plus I’ve got more to put on over the coming weeks, so keep coming back.

Second piece of exciting news: I’ve joined a private FB group called Debt Free Divas who are a group of ladies (in my age group mainly – late 40s/early 50s – but it’s open to any lady, especially those between 35 and 75) who help and support each other. This includes tips on frugal living, financial advice, business advice and much more. If you’d like to join the group, you can go here and request to join. Failing that, go to my author FB page – https://www.facebook.com/authordanelson – message me with your name and email and I’ll pass your name on. Come and join us.

So, how have you all been? I hope you’re doing okay. Today and yesterday, I’ve been busy with my social media, book writing and script writing businesses. It takes up a load of time, hence the reason why I’m writing this blog at 8.30pm! But I don’t mind. I was poor at keeping this blog going, but I really want to be better.

So, what frugal things have you been doing lately? I’m trying to stick to my plan of cooking from scratch every night, but failed magnificently today. I had intended to make minced beef, dough balls, potatoes and veg for dinner tonight. However, I failed to take the mince out of the freezer last night so it would be ready for cooking this morning. Then I failed to cook it for long enough, so by dinnertime, it wasn’t ready. Cue: quick dash around the store cupboard. We ended up having hotdogs, buns and beans – not the healthiest of dinners, but the kids were hungry and I needed to create something quick. We’ll have mince tomorrow instead. I used to feel really guilty if something like this happened in the past, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I’ve been writing and creating and pushing my businesses forward for the last two days. I’m not Superwoman. Unfortunately, the dinner was the thing that gave, but it’s now cooked and I’ll reheat it for tomorrow’s meal. Yum.

As well as starting up the knitting pattern business, I’ve also taken up the needles again. I’ve been knitting whilst watching tv – The Borgias (what a series! Amazing) – and the things I’ve been doing are going to go into my shop. So far, I’ve created a turban, a beret and am working on a vintage knitted doll (16″ and gorgeous). The latter will not go into the shop as, if I want to sell toys, I’ll have to put her through all sorts of safety tests first. That includes setting fire to her – yikes – in controlled conditions to ensure she doesn’t go up too quickly. It’s in case a child has her and is near a flame and the thing goes up and burns the child. I shudder at the thought. I’m also going to have to seriously abuse her to ensure she stands up to playing. It seems like such a waste of my knitting to create the doll and then trash her, but I’d really like to sell dolls like her as toys and not ornaments/collector’s pieces, which is the only way you can get around these rules. So, my poor little doll is going to take a bashing, but it’s worth it so that I can make and sell her predecessors.

Right, I’m going to finish up now. I have a few things to do before I retire to bed tonight. I’ve been on the go since 7am and am tired. Till next time.



Some frugal tips for smart cleaning

It’s been waaaaaaaay too long since my last blog post. Naughty Dawn. Sorry about that. I have been incredibly busy with my small businesses and writing and being a mum. I will try to make more time to do it. Blog writing is on my weekly to-do list, but sometimes I don’t get through it all.

Anyway, this week’s blog is about some frugal tips. I hope you enjoy them.

Dawn xxx


Some tips on keeping your clothes nicer for longer

Hello there! How are you all? Sorry I’ve not been around. Been dead busy writing – I’ve got three major projects ongoing just now, so unfortunately, The Canny Lass blog, has taken a bit of a back seat when it comes to me writing it.

So how’s things? What have you been up to in lockdown? As I said, I’ve been keeping really busy: am writing two books, am co-writing a script plus I’ve had loads of things I’ve had to do around the house. So, it’s been pretty busy. I’m really missing seeing a lot of family and friends. I’m at home with my two kids, three dogs and two chickens. I’m lucky I’m not living alone, but I miss some adult company! I have managed to keep in touch with family and friends via Social Media and by using Zoom, which has been a lifesaver. Thank God this pandemic happened now and not ten or 20 years ago when we didn’t have so many ways of keeping in touch!

Right, on to the blog. I’ve decided to share a few tips I’ve been putting together for Pinterest with you. Following are some tips on how to keep your clothes in tiptop condition so that they keep nicer and last longer. See you next time. Enjoy.

Dawn xx


A couple of handy household tips


bicarb for shoes

If you’re experiencing problems with stinky feet and you need to deodorise shoes, above is a great tip. Just pour some bicarbonate of soda in your shoes, leave and when you want to wear them, tap out the bicarb. Simple.

You can also use bicarb to deodorise carpets and pet beds. Sprinkle with the bicarb and then vacuum out. A bit like the Shake n Vac lady of old! Remember that ad?

Bet you’ll have this song in your head all day now! You’re welcome!

Here’s another wee tip… For those of you, like me, who hate cleaning venetian blinds!


Don’t worry about the vinegar smell, that will go after a wee while.

Dawn xx



How to keep your hands looking nice this winter and other tips

So, I didn’t get around to making soap and face cream last week. I was just too busy and had no energy. I’ve been working really hard on a number of projects, with more in the near future. Plus (confession), I’ve been binge watching The Stranger and Locke & Key on Netflix. What can I say? The kids were off on holiday from school this week and I wanted to relax a bit. Plus I had visitors. And wine. And too much chocolate.

Anyway, getting back to this week and I’ve decided to share with you some tips I pulled together for my client, Tranquility Holistic Centre, who provide health and wellbeing to the people of Helensburgh. I used these on their Facebook page and there are some good tips.  PS recommend Tranquility for massage etc if you are in the area.

beauty tipYou might also think about using cold, used teabags on your eyes. This is an old trick I learned from my granny. It works well too.


hairI’ve not tried this one myself, but I think it could work. Hmmm.


handsThis one I have tried and it does work. It leaves your hands feeling soft and lovely. Don’t worry, you don’t smell of olive oil afterwards, not if you’ve rinsed it off properly.

Give them a go and let me know how you get on.

Dawn xxx


Soap making and creating face creams

So, a couple of years ago, I went through a mad bout of intention: intention to make my own soaps, intention to make my own ointments and intention to make my own cheese. And I bought some equipment and ingredients to make them. Now, that intention was washed away very quickly in my busy life: I just didn’t have the time to do anything of this and I was too tired at night to be bothered making soap.

So, the equipment and ingredients have spent the past two years gathering dust in my study.

Not good. Especially as I am trying to be better at being frugal.

Anyway, today I have made the decision to give soap making a try. I bought the Reader’s Digest Homemade: Over 700 Everyday Items that are Easy to Make and will Save you Money back in 2011. I have made a few things out of it – food – but it does have a section for making our own soap and creams.

I have all the things I need to make them so I’m going to finally get around to doing it. Wish me luck!

Have any of you tried making your own lotions, potions and soaps at home? How did you get on?

In the village where I live we have a lady who makes and sells her own soaps and toiletries. I must ask her if she does lessons? Hmmm.

Anyway, I will leave you with this blog here. I’ll let you know how I get one. I may even have some soap to show you! 🙂

Dawn x