The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Feather your Nest Friday, 23 September, 2016.

After being away there is always the catching up and washing to do and so on. I also wanted to get straight back into my 100 Day Challenge!  Somehow my week flew by and I am not ready for Friday yet!

Some of the ways I saved money this week include:

I finished painting the living room!  (except for the window frame as Andy is doing a repair there, then I can do that too)

I made all the lunches and meals.

All the things from the op shop were washed up and put to use. I have gifts, new tops, a new cardigan and Andy has a new jumper and two pairs of good trousers.

Some of the ways I built up the nest include:

I planted Oregano and Capsicums.

Painting in the living room plus I re painted my dining room chairs. They look really nice!

I cleaned out the fridge top to bottom,  washed all the compartments and drawers etc. Also I added shelves to my fridge. I might be the last person to realise this but you can add useful shelves! As long as air circulates freely you can add stands and shelves!

First I added an under shelf basket. You can get these from cheap stores, IKEA etc. Mine cost $3.

This gives me so much room and less stacking of things!  The bottom line is if you can see things better you waste much less.
The shelf liners are IKEA placements, not new just washed and put back. These plastic placemats can be cut to line any size although mine fitted just right!

Next I put a wire stand on the top shelf.

In real life it has worked out really well! My jars and things go under the shelf and my little jars go on top. I don't know why I didn't think of this before but it is working!

Feeling smug with success I applied this to my cluttered kitchen island storage space where things are always stacked and ready to topple.
I just added wire stands and made myself two extra shelves...

Plate stacking shelves and all kinds of tiered shelves are available really cheaply now. IKEA has so many and the $2 and cheap stores.  As the week has gone on both the fridge and island shelves have worked really well!

I also added an under shelf basket to a laundry cupboard. No more stacking things! It is awesome!

Some ways I got ahead:

More went into my gift cupboard.

I added several things to my storage and pantry including batteries and honey.

My flannelette is torn up into super large disposable hankies plus cleaning cloths.

For my 100 Day Challenge this is what I wrote down:
(I did ok but didn't paint everyday!)

Day 27.  Saturday.
Cleaned the kitchen island shelves, added wire shelves, re arranged and sorted.

Day 28. Sunday.
Cleaned out fridge plus underneath and behind. Added shelves and re arranged.

Day 29.  Monday.
Sorted a laundry cupboard and added under shelf storage.

Day 30. Tuesday.
Cleaned skirting boards in lounge room.
Painting...  painted skirting boards and painted dining chairs.

Day 31. Wednesday.
Cleaned the dishwasher inside and out.

Day 32. Thursday.
Cleaned all the mirrors in the house to sparkle.

This brings me to today! Today is the only sunny day of the week! I have sheets on the line!  I might get some painting done this afternoon. Notice I am non committal... I am not sure yet!

How was your week? How did you build up your nest?
If you are participating in a challenge how did you do with that?
Truly, I always say it, but a little bit each day or even every week gets you there! Things just add up!
I think in terms of saving money, getting ahead, building up my pantry and gift cupboard, building up emergency supplies and back ups, doing something to make things work better, run smoother... and pre emptive strikes where you just know something is coming up and if you can get in early then it will go better!
There are good times when we can get ahead. Make hay while the sun shines!

I have a special and extra post in about a week. I just found a whole series of ways to save money, fill the pantry shelves and make gifts that are new to me. This is exciting as just when you think you are doing pretty well and you find some huge savings then it is pretty exciting!

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The Christmas Challenge. Thinking of themes.

I have been working away on finishing edging a pile of towels and mats that I had ready to do and have found that all the soaps I made earlier in the year are going to go nicely with these! They make sense together which is more good luck than good management!

When putting things away themes do help. That is something worth thinking about. Even colour themes are lovely as then things look good together.
I am going to show you Kelsey's gift that was mentioned in her Feather your Nest Friday post as there were a few requests to see and she has sent me a photo!

Her friend was getting married so she made an apron for her, recipe cards and a rolling pin. The recipe cards are gorgeous ones you can print for free from Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth. This is the perfect example of a theme working so well.  (A set of those recipe cards is a lovely gift for mailing someone!)
I remember Marion did this to great effect with a cookbook and an apron as well. These just seem so complete and lovely.

My gift cupboard has two main themes going. One is clean/cleaning as in soaps, power, powder puffs, towels etc.  The other is Pantry... which is labels, jam tops, recipe books, Bay Leaves etc.  This is good as any of these will go nicely with the cooking gifts I will be making soon and could go into hampers.
I have also saved small baskets towards making up hampers in December.  These complete the gift. I have several little wooden crates for the same purpose. I do not want to be hunting for these things in December.

There is nothing wrong with mixing hand made with purchased.  I have some heart shaped cake tins that were a huge bargain after Valentines Day. I have crochet edged kitchen towels.  I am thinking to add some pretty cake sprinkles or make up some of Mimi's edible glitter. Then I have a theme and a complete gift!
If you have friends who bake then this Edible Glitter is so so pretty. Start saving lovely little jars to put it in and do a few colours. This is so cheap to make and yet tiny amounts of this are really expensive in the shops. It is a gorgeous gift!  If you were feeling particularly generous you could write out the recipe on one of Jes' recipe cards and include it!

If you know what you already have in your gift cupboard then you can watch out for little additions that make you feel will finish the gift off.  It doesn't take much. I always think good packaging is a big thing too.

This all makes a gift seem thoughtful and lovely!  Working away all year really sets you ahead. This is really going to be paying off soon! And it is not too late to get a huge head start on Christmas!

The ultimate is having enough gifts for everyone and finding you have more than you need! I have been able to give something to a few extra people that I thought could really use some kindness and as well have had gifts for some Birthdays and other occasions well ahead of time.  This is like your pantry. It's as good as or better than money in the bank!

I hope your week is going well! It is so cold and like winter again here.  I am watching for specials on Christmas cooking ingredients. In October I make the Christmas cakes. So I know I need dried fruit, tinned pineapple and baking basics.  Putting away the specials towards your Christmas cooking really helps. They are never on special at Christmas!  All these little things save a lot and make December much easier. We want Christmas to be wonderful. Not a financial strain or stress, just beautiful! xxx

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Vicky Challenge. A catch up!

Last week we went away for a few days to the beach at Moonta Bay. I don't think it's sensible to announce going away online so sorry to just vanish.
I bought three nights on a travel auction early in the year. We got one night extra free as we went at a quiet time. I am so glad we did this!

We had a rest, (especially my painting arm!) and did lots of op shopping!

First I will catch up on my Vicky Challenge that I missed posting last Monday.

My main savings were all the painting for the week, cutting Andy's hair, work lunches and cleaning the oven top to bottom!  For that week I wrote $545 in my savings book.

Last week while away we still found ways to save although I can't say any painting or spring cleaning happened!

The first thing I do for a holiday is pack a basket of things for meals, coffee, tea, milk and treats. I am pretty sure I can safely count a saving of $100 there.

I did my nails and toes before we left to look nice! another big saving compared to a salon.

For the purpose of the Vicky Challenge (and to follow what Vicky actually does) I looked up some retail prices for things we found in our op shopping trips.
I am glad I did. This proved to be very educational!
i.e. one item alone was mind blowing. We bought a boxed and new set of Waterford Crystal Sherry Glasses for $5. I love crystal glasses!
When I checked online they are $199!
While I would never pay that we enjoy gorgeous crystal for pennies basically!

Other things I got that I was trilled with included three tops for myself, a gorgeous cardigan,  a wooden rolling pin, silver desert forks and old fashioned nets to cover a baby pram. (but also could cover food and picnics I thought)

Andy is a reader. Novels these days are $20 or so. He came home with about ten new ones for between 50c and $2 each. New they would have been $200 or so. He also got a pure wool grey jumper and two pairs of wool blend good trousers. Looking up the prices for these blew me away as well! They are really beautiful quality items that are really expensive. Yet he basically never pays more than a few dollars and this is a big part of our holidays. The country trips give us the time and the old style op shops that have such wonderful things for so little.

I found seven beautiful, as new, nighties for Kath in the nursing home. This is something she desperately needs. I bought her a new one recently and it was $30. Based on that  means the seven would cost me $210. But they were all around $3 each.  I have washed them up and scented them with lavender. They are in boxes with tissue paper ready to give her. So many that I did a pink box and a blue box. (Also I know she is fine with this as her only purchases are op shop ones but now she cannot get out to do this herself.)

Another find was a pair of beautiful old rose pillow shams with lovely pleated ruffles. But the rose blooms got me! They were 25c each!  ahhh happy days!

One op shop we went into was in Maitland.  This op shop is one I really like.  There were two lovely ladies in there looking after everything.
After a little while one of the ladies came over to me and asked if my name was Annabel?  I thought I must know her from somewhere!
When I said yes she said "from Bluebirds are Nesting?"
Yes...   This was Jo who has commented here before and she said she recognised me and the fact that I was looking for flannelette sheets did it! She knew it was me!
Jo was just gorgeous and we have a great chat.  It was so nice to meet you Jo! You made my day!
When we got into the car Andy said "Just how many people read your blog exactly???" hahaha and he felt famous as Jo asked him if he had been fishing!
It's a small word!

I must add I did find two sets of flannelette sheets later in the day. Some plain green for making mens hankies for when ill and the rest pale blue with flowers. I have washed them up and added fabric softener. They are on the line. I will get a huge quantity of my emergency super soft hankies. I might use some for dusters as well.

So it was a great week and in spite of terrible weather! Adelaide had flooding! Thankfully we were all ok and for us it means a well watered garden and farm. Spring has disappeared for now.  I had one day of sun between rainy days and I got almost everything washed and out on the line and dry! I had to finish a few things off inside. But it is all done!

Adding up my Vicky Challenge I can see we came out a mile in front. Books, clothes and treats all amounting to far more than we paid for the four nights away. I am amazed by that. And it was a lovely rest and great fun. So very happy. The tops and cardi for me, the trousers and jumper... each thing I checked the price of was $80 to $200! So you can  imagine how this all added up!

Thank you for all the beautiful messages for Jane and the prayers for Bluey! Jane asked me to thank you all so much. And today she is able to bring him home!
Now as far as I understand he still has an operation ahead of him but this time at home is a wonderful thing. So keep up the prayers. You are all so good and kind thank you.

My 100 Day Challenge had a five day glitch! So I am just adding five days to the end. And I am back to it, especially the spring cleaning!

How did you save and get ahead these last two weeks?  All these little bits and pieces count. Whether you are trying to reduce costs, build your pantry or savings.... or whatever... a little bit extra every week soon gets you there!
Have a wonderful new week.  xxx

Friday, 9 September 2016

Jane and Bluey.

Many of you feel like you know Jane and Bluey as they have become such a part of our little community here!
So you know Bluey has been in hospital and Jane has been giving updates.

Yesterday Jane messaged me and said she isn't going to be up to posting for a little while and that Bluey now faces a major operation and weeks more in hospital.

We need prayers for Bluey.  He has a lot to get through.

If you will pray for him or want to leave Jane a message I will make sure she sees them.

Thank you so much.


Thursday, 8 September 2016

Feather your Nest Friday, 9th September, 2016.

We have had everything this week including beautiful sunny days and a huge storm, torrential rain, lightening and everything in between!

Mostly though there are signs of spring everywhere and also signs hat all the pruning we did is going to pay off as things are shooting and growing fast! And the first blossoms and roses are out!

My 100 Day Challenge is going really well! Lets just say I have been sleeping like a rock!

Some of the ways I saved this week included:

Made all meals and work lunches etc. as usual.  This included a triple batch of Butter Chicken and all the sides. I gave the girls some of everything. The best thing is fresh Raita made from Mum's mint. That was delicious!

I changed some of my clothes over from winter to spring and changed handbags. I did it all shopping my own wardrobe. Plus I cleaned summer shoes.

I cut Andy's hair.

Some of the ways I feathered the nest include:

Loads and loads of spring cleaning and painting! I will add those things in to my 100 Day challenge further down. But it is really showing! Also this is decluttering as I go and I donated quite a bit to the local op shop.

I cleaned the oven as part of Spring Cleaning. This has to be the worst job in the house!  However this time I used a recipe from The Cheapskates Club that you can find  here.
The cans of cleaner from the supermarket take my breath away and are awful. This is natural, safe, no fumes and works like a dream! I made about double the recipe and left on overnight. It worked so well! I will never use anything else now!

I got ahead by adding things to my new storage including tinned fruit and evaporated milk.

For my 100 day challenge here is my report:

Spring cleaning:  Started oven clean by making up mix and coating everything.

Spring cleaning: Finished oven.
                           Took apart bed, turned mattress, washed wooden underlay in wool mix.
                            Both came up beautifully!

Spring cleaning:  Took down bedroom curtains. Cleaned dressing table.
Painting:              Scrubbed the frame to laundry window and sanded it. (was terrible mess!)

Spring cleaning: Washed makeup drawers and cleaned out makeup and cosmetics.

Spring cleaning: Cleaned skirting boards and washed them.
                           Washed window sills and inside windows and screens in bedroom.
Painting:             Painted a window frame, plus last of skirting boards in the bedroom.
                            Painted outside laundry window.

Spring cleaning: Washed bedroom windows inside and out.
                            Washed two wool blankets in wool wash to put away.
Painting:              Painted a small cabinet.

Spring cleaning: Cleaned window sills and inside tracks at back windows.
Painting:             Top coat on laundry window! This window was a wreck and now it is like new!

This brings me up to today!

It does me good to write it down and see how much I did do this week so far. A bit each day really adds up. I am almost finished the bedroom which is a big room and I painted all the furniture. I have the mantlepiece to go. The painting looks lovely and the whole room is fresher and brighter with sparkling windows and refreshed bedding! It is good as when I walk in I can see what I've done and the difference it has made.

I hope you had a good week!
How did you build up your home?
Please feel free to list what you completed if you are doing a challenge.
Today is day 19 of mine. I haven't painted everyday but I have just kept at it every day I can.  I am getting there!
The bedroom will be finished today I think then I can move on. If the weather is ok this will be back to the front of the house.  It is going to take several weeks I think. That's ok I will have 80 days to go!

Have a great weekend! xxx

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The Christmas Challenge. Show and Tell for August part 2.

Welcome to part two of the August show and tell!  Thank you again for all the emails and photos! As usual they are in no particular order and I have represented everyone.   That said, I sincerely hope I haven't missed anyone. I have been up and down a ladder this week so many times I am not sure what'Thank you all so much!s going on!
I have not been able to use every single photo but I am using as many as I can. Thank you all so much!


Maria was busy cooking. She made so many good things including Bone Broth and Herby Savoury Rolls ...

Both of these recipes came from Jes at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth.
Also Custard Biscuits...

Yum! I used to have a biscuit recipe that used custard powered... I'm looking that up again! (in Australia we say biscuits but the US girls would say Cookies)

Plus Lasagna and also her Mum's Dutch Veggie soup (using the bone broth as a base)

Knowing Maria this is just a fraction of what she cooks as she is always feeding her family, Grand children and helping others. I love seeing cooking! It says "love" to me. 

Mel made so many gorgeous things. Amongst them she cleverly used the packaging from a gift of tool shaped chocolates to make more! The package worked as a mould! 

Very clever Mel! Also I love that this is a great male present and I thought mmm also this could work with soaps. So watch the packaging things come in!  If the shape is good it could be a mould for soap, choices, bath bombs etc.

As well she made beautiful lip balms...

And an amazing Harry Potter themed gift and this is her sons Birthday cake...

Caramel flavour! Beautiful job Mel.

Even though Rachel was in last weeks post I have to add this photo of a sun hat she made over to pretty it up for herself...

This also shows how Rachel keeps spare buttons on wire hangers! That is very clever!

Kelsey sent a photo to show what Pappa made for his Grand daughter who moved into her new home. He makes fire starters with wood and wax. Anyone with a fire will know what a nice gift this is. He also uses wood that smells good. In Australia I think we could use Eucalyptus for this effect.

I have found a box of kindling, wood supplies and pinecones all really good gifts for anyone with a fireplace in winter. 

Marian has posted beautiful knitting in previous show and tells but she can also crochet and made this beautiful rug...

She said joining it all up was the hardest bit... I agree with hat!  But it is gorgeous!

And she also made super soft baby blankets. Love the sweet fabrics! 

Marian has babies arriving in their family! Beautiful work Marian!

Jeanette has been busy. She made two lace scarves. This one is in reds, orange and burgundy and I love the lace pattern!

I really admire lace patterns. For some reason I can keep track of a crochet pattern but not a knitting one. It ends up looking like modern art! Not in a good way.
Beautiful Jeanette!

She also made an afghan in aqua and cut up a tablecloth to make kitchen towels wth crochet edgings.

She says she has nine more to go!  I love having a whole pile of towels to work on so that makes me happy to think of. We have some op shopping coming up. I am going to look for tablecloths to cut up like this. It is a very economical way to make kitchen towels, napkins etc. 

Jen in NS finished an amazing jumper. Such beautiful knitting Jen. She also made her Mum a set of napkins and embroidered them beautifully.

Also socks  (and I love the colours!) and Mitts for her husband. Jen used a WW2 pattern for gunnery/artillery mitts and her husband will be able to use them in winter to bring in the wood. Wonderful idea and mans gift! 
As usual Jen everything is just lovely. 

Janine made...boxer shorts for her husband, Cargo pants for her Grandson and a dressing gown for her little Grand daughter. How beautiful! Excellent gifts to have ready for Christmas.

Also a knitted hat for her friends husband who is having treatment for cancer. He already wears it constantly so Janine is making him another. 

Thats so kind and I am sure appreciated.

You have all been so busy and everything is beautiful. Lots of variety as usual!

So here we are in September!  It's a good time to review what we have and work out what to make next so everyone is covered.  We want to avoid a last minute mad panic in December!  Keep your eye out for little additions. I saw beautiful big rolls of wrapping  paper for $1 last week so I got a few of those. Stashing things away when you see great specials all adds up too. I am never going to run to the shops to get a card, wrapping paper, sticky tape etc.... just keep a good supply at home. That is a saver in itself.

I hope your week is going well! And I hope you are inspired by some ideas here today!
What are you working on?  Also if you have some one you cannot figure out what to make then post in comments as we will all come up with suggestions!

We have sunshine and I am working on window frames and washing windows! xxx

Sunday, 4 September 2016

The Vicky Challenge. Running towards the finish line!

My Vicky Challenge for last week is good as painting and renovating certainly add to it. As Vicky said she isn't a professional painter but she likes her price!  Well, me too. If I do half a days painting I know that would have probably cost me a couple of hundred dollars!

The preserving and food photos in this post are from Teri. She has been busy building up her pantry with summer produce! I love seeing photos like these! Thank you Teri! 

This week I counted:
A final few hours of pruning before spring started. $100.
Painting most days last week (plus sanding etc) $400
Making all the lunches and fishing picnic $150
Did my nails properly (I wear gloves when painting but my hands are still a mess) $45
I was given lots of free cosmetics which as far as things I would normally buy and now don't have to means a saving of around $200.
Andy made the bed risers which saved at least $100.

So I wrote  $995! in my savings book.
I am really starting to look forward to doing my yearly tally on the last day of the year! When I set out to do this like Vicky does it seemed it would be an impossible task to actually be able to say how much I "earned" in a year! But I can see I am truly going to be able to do that!

My savings subject this week is DIY and just getting stuck into the things that need doing. There are obvious things that you do not attempt to do yourself for safety reasons and I don't mean those!  But your average cleaning up and painting, minor repairs and so on are really achievable. And this will save a fortune. Plus add value to your home.

As you know I am on a 100 day challenge to finish painting my house and spring clean everything! Today is day 15 but who's counting?!
I want everything done well before Christmas as that is a busy time and I want to be able to enjoy it and then be free to help when the new baby comes. So now is my moment!
Most of us start off the year with a big plan. One of mine was to paint the whole house inside and out myself.  And I got about a third of the way and needed up with a bad arm and then it was winter.  In order to finish this I really needed to come up with a plan!

What jobs around your place would you just love to have out of the way by Christmas? If you have jobs like these then join in the challenge!  Count backwards from when you would like to be finished by which might be Christmas or end of the school year or whatever suits you.
I can only tackle huge jobs by writing down a plan. It is just too daunting otherwise.
Sundays are my planning day. So I feel (kind of ) under control knowing that this week I am paining the window frames and skirting board of our bedroom bay window and spring cleaning my dressing table and makeup, including painting my dressing table.
Last week I painted our bookshelves in the bedroom...

Then they made the bedside tables look shabby in comparison and I painted those too. Then these made the headboard look shabby and I painted that too ... and so it goes.

I already got my dressing table done yesterday. First clearing it, washing it down etc then a fresh coat of paint.  I found this dressing table when I was a teenager in a farm house that Mum and Dad had bought and claimed it immediately!

This afternoon I will get on to washing the windows and tracks ready to get those painted. If I get it all done later in the week I will go back to work on the lace around the front verandah and the rest of the front of the house.
Each bit I get done looks so nice! I can see I did a lot in the first two weeks! So I am really glad I started!
Each area that I do inside is spring cleaned too and the painting finishes it off looking so fresh and nice.

In Friday's posts I am listing what I did toward my challenge.

If you have things you would just love completed around your place please join in! It might be to declutter one drawer or cupboard a day. Or re organise your pantry or whatever! But it is so nice to have done it! This is going to set us up for big new plans next year as the things on this years list are already done!
You will look back and feel so good you got these things completed and out of the way!
With something like painting if you get it set up then even 15 mins a day will see you finish it!

Have a great new week. It is lovely here today with sunshine streaming in the windows. xxx