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.

Monday, 18 March 2019

The Tuesday Afternoon Club, 19th March, 2019.

This week we have some photos from some of the Tuesday Club members who like to post here rather than in the Facebook group.  So even more ideas to inspire us!
 It is a busy day!  I am off to see the girls with Mum after I report my crafts, use it up and set things to good use.    If you would like to join The Tuesday Afternoon Club come over and sign up  here.  The goal is to encourage one another to make all we can and especially use up resources we have to fill our give cupboards, to decorate our homes and to help others.  We especially meet up and report in on Tuesdays!  So I love Tuesdays! 

Here today we have a photo from Jen in NS.

Jen is just about famous amongst us all for her stunning knitting, sewing and cards. As usual Jen this is all beautiful!

Lorna has been so productive making things for her new home including curtains.  Lorna also has an Ebay shop and you can find it if you look up Sewingcreations15.  She has been making bread bags...

I have to mention that I have tried so many things to keep lettuce fresh and have found a bag like this placed in the crisper is just AMAZING for keeping leafy greens fresh!

Also sleep masks...   

Lorna makes them many layers thick so they truly keep out any light.  There are so many things Lorna makes for her shop!  also she sells her garden seeds and herbs.  So industrious! 

Clare sent me a photo of her giant pumpkins!  In another photo her dogs were next to these and they are miles bigger than the dogs!  They are HUGE!  Clare previously shared a photo of a wheel barrow of giant sunflowers.  I asked her what is in her soil as the things she grows are gigantic!  I would love to grow these!!

I love pumpkins and thing they are beautiful.  I am hoping to be able to have my own pumpkin patch next spring, we need to improve the soil in the area I have room to grow them then I am set.  

Jen in NZ completed a blanket for her daughter.  This is just beautiful and her daughter loves it!  A project of this size is such a gift of love.  It is amazing Jen.  I am about a quarter the way on mine! 

Jen my Mum made me a pink and white rug when I was little... about the same size.  Chloe has it now! We still have it!  It is still in perfect condition too! 

Tanya made her sons some shorts.  They love camouflage print!

And one son a pillow with his initial on it...

She also made her little girl some very pretty skirts..

My girls loves skirts like this as they loved to be able to twirl and dance in them! 

Beautiful work Tanya.  You are so busy and achieve so much!

As it has been a few weeks now I am terrified I have forgotten someone! I hope not. 

Thank you all for sharing your photos!  There is so much we can do!  Busy hands make happy hearts! 
Have a wonderful day! xxx

Friday, 15 March 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 15th March, 2019.

I am sorry to be late with my post.  Yesterday we were out all day at some country field days.  It was so much fun!  Before I left photos would not load and the internet was slow. Then it was worse when I got home!  In the end I threw the towel in and decided to wait for the morning.

It was a very good week with glorious Autumn weather!

Some of the ways I feathered the nest, saved, got ahead or added to my pantry were:

I cleaned out my whole wardrobe and shoes.  This involved facing the music with shoes.  I cannot wear heels and so many shoes were mere fantasy and they have been donated.  I tried on everything and worked out the reason I never wore things.  I am weird about texture and colours and many things never are worn as they "don't feel right" lol so I was realistic that they will never feel right!  It was a big job but now I am down to a good workable, farm and country suitable, wardrobe and four pairs of shoes.   This did seem me order some good leather boots which already arrived and I love.  I live in boots in winter.  So these were my reward!

Mum and I did our day trip to see the girls.  I made little cakes with chopped apple through them (still using apples at every opportunity) ...

And I made chocolate cakes. They don't look very glamorous but they were a hit!

We had some rain! This was great and it meant we could begin wood cutting without worrying about starting a fire.  So we picked some close targets which were fallen trees and began work.  I am
thrilled about this!   It is hard work but good fun, it tidies up our yard, driveway and surrounds. It improves things for next fire season,  it gives us an endless supply of fire wood for our fireplace and then also bon fires outside.  It is really good!   So we worked out a plan, we have so much to do!   And we started a wood stack for our first winter fires.  I love a good wood pile!

Lucy and the girls visited!   I had a little basket for each of the girls and we went apple picking.   They seemed to see it as a treasure hunt!  They picked so many apples so fast!  Very business like about the whole thing.

When Scarlett filled her basket she would tip them out then start again! 
They loved it!   

This week I started covering the floor of the chook pen in hay.  There is a hay shed up the hill.  Each day I push the wheelbarrow up there, fill it with hay and spread this on the chicken house floor, in nesting boxes etc.   I want it to be a thick layer before the rain and I don't want the yard to get muddy.  So each day I do a load.  Already it is adding up.  Little bits add up!  Soon it will be so fresh, clean and snug for winter.  (it is a really big yard!)

Dad gave us some venison and Mum gave us some beautiful beef.  These were more than enough chunks of meat to make many meals.

I cut Andy's hair.

I cleaned all the windows, outside only though.   It was a nice day and they needed doing so I got out and went right around the house. Looks so nice!

On the craft front I worked on some crochet edges on towels, my sweet pea blanket and I have been sewing.  I am held up waiting on supplies.  I have farm theme pot holders.  (earlier I showed farmyard scene ones) these are animal ones...

I have been waiting on braid which was in the post box when we got home yesterday!  So now I am set.

Similarly I made pin cushions and am waiting on flower buttons to sew into the centre of each.

They will look much better when finished.  I have pins for them in pastel colours, some are butterflies and some are buttons or heat shaped. 
So soon these will be gifts in my gift cupboard.

I took a photo of a pink sunset over our old shed out the back...

Today is sunny and lovely.  I have some venison cooking in the slow cooker with mushrooms, onion and carrots to make meat pies.  I have seedlings to plant.  Hay to cart.  Washing to hang out... and so on!  I can get to sewing my trim on my pot holders if I get time.  

How did you build up your home, get ahead, save... stock your pantry this week?

Have a beautiful weekend!xxx

Monday, 11 March 2019

The Tuesday Afternoon Club. Rebecca's Post.

Last week we had a report from Alison who along with Rebecca founded our Tuesday Afternoon Club with their get togethers to make all their gifts on Tuesdays!  You will find so many ideas in these posts.  This week we have Rebecca's post.  I love the way the girls approached this!  Over to Rebecca...

Motivated by Annabel’s discussions on making gifts through the year so that by Christmas we would have a stash available to give away, two or three years ago Alison and I started getting together on every second Tuesday to create and craft.  Together was more fun, we shared the work and doubled the motivation, and between us we came up with a much bigger range of ideas.  I think last year was our best, so I would love to share what we did and what we plan for this year?
Our first step was to actually go shopping – but not to spend - to research.  We visited some of the top end giftware shops and looked, examined, smelled and considered, seeking products that we could make with our skills and resources and which our recipients would want.  We took notes on the packaging and which scents we liked and what we already knew how to do. 

We also hit the op shops looking for resources – cups to make soy candles in, sheets for fabric and even wrapping materials.  We of course also got on our computers, looking for ideas and tutorials – Pinterest was fantastic for this.  Alison made us a shared Pinterest board to make it easy to share ideas.  
Every two weeks we tackled a new project – soy candles, lotion bars, lip balm, soap and cards, so that by October we each had a cupboard full of goodies to give away, and then we focused on  
presentation – and if I had to say what was the best thing I learned last year in this project, it was how important how the gift looked was when we gave it away.  For instance, I have come to understand that people assign a different value to “homemade” versus “handmade”, and we considered this when we made our labels.  The last few months of the year, our crafty Tuesdays were spent looking at ideas how to wrap our soaps and lotion bars, and how to label our candles etc.  We found a stash of beautiful paper and card that my husband had rescued from being thrown away several years ago, and this made boxes of many kinds, labels, sleeves for soap or sewing items and bags to put them in.  We bought little brooches like Annabel uses, and pretty ribbon – not spending much, but making our gifts look amazing!

I have had so many positive comments from our gifts last year, including several who suggested  
we could go into business – I took that as the ultimate compliment towards our aim of trying to look professional with our product. Also, having had a discussion about how interested he was in environmentally sustainable food packaging on a school trip, I was pleased to be able to give my son’s 62-year-old male teacher a washable sandwich wrap and snack bags – filled with homemade spicy nuts and fudges as an end of year “thank you” present.

It was exciting to see how well received they were and that we were able to give away "Artisan" products that didn't feel or look like "budget" items - yet they were.
As well as gifts we also had a few craft days that were just for us or our families - when our own card stocks were getting low for example.
We also tried a few new things like making cheese together - Alison taught me how to make feta and I taught her to make mozzarella - we must do that again soon.

So what do we have planned for this year?  I am pleased to say we still have lots of ideas. 

After last year’s success, we will be making soap again (I gave away nearly all of mine for Christmas), and we may be brave and try colouring some this year?  I’m also keen to look at making some good stain removing laundry soap?

I would like to try making vanilla essence – found these cute little bottles at an op shop (unused, still with price tags) I am dying to use.

New Zealand is banning single-use plastic bag from the middle of this year – so roll-up shopping bags seem like a good present.  I made some years ago that I use all the time, so we will be making some of these.  Lightweight, convenient, simple to make – and a good way of using some of my fabric stash, of which I have too much.  Some will also be made of shower-proof fabric, so useful for messier items like meat.

The lip balm (pictured above) was a success last year so we will make some again.  We will probably invest in some more of the tubes as they are so convenient to use, and it is nice to have a product with such lovely ingredients in them.

Annabel and other Bluebirds have created some beautiful gift tags, so we will be making some of these.

We have lots of fabric we can use, so as well as the shopping bags, there will be several sewing projects.  One of these is little pot plant bags.  I made some low bags (from the cut-off legs from a pair of jeans!) to fit inside a drawer to store my daughter’s hair ties in, but taller versions with a pot inside would look sweet.  We plan to do cuttings and seedlings of basil, parsley and rosemary, in time for Christmas.

 Also to be sewed are these bread storage bags. They exactly fit one of my breadmaker machine 

loaves, are quick and easy to make, and as Alison suggested, would make great hostess gifts (with or without a loaf of fresh bread).

Garden Pat has posted photos of her lovely soup bowl cozies – Alison made me this one for

Christmas a year ago and I love it, so these are going on our list to make.

On our list also are bowl covers – we have both been playing with different ideas and ways to make them – I have bought some toggles to make some with, which will hopefully make them really adjustable.

We still have plenty of the PUL fabric which we made some snack bags and sandwich wraps with last year, so we will be making more of these.  Great for popping a snack in a bag or pocket and then throw in the washing machine when they get dirty.

We still need to plan some baby presents to make – always nice to have in the cupboard to bring out when it is needed.

So it looks as though we will have lots to keep us busy crafting this year.

Thank you so much Rebecca!  How exciting to have so much year ahead of us!  It is wonderful you and Alison have such a good friendship and you help each other so much.  I think both a deadline and regular dedicated days help with getting so much done.  Also having a buddy to work with is very motivating.  

The Tuesday Afternoon Club can be your buddy and we will all support your efforts to make your gifts and things for the home, set things to good use and use things up.  You can find us over here... 
The Tuesday Afternoon Club.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 8th March, 2019.

It has been another really good week!  After last weeks apple picking as you can imagine I have been working through apples!  And also pears as they are ripening daily.

Yesterday I made both the girls an apple pie.  Chloe collected hers and tomorrow is my day with Mum heading down to see the girls on their farm so the second one will be delivered then.

It is however one step forwards five steps backwards with the apples as our apple tree is still covered in them and each day I pick this many...

It is so wonderful picking apples. You cannot be unhappy when picking fruit I don't think!

When not using apples I am using pears.   One of the ways I used them was in a salad. We have crumbed brie and apple, rocket and walnut salad.  I keep on hand Mimi's Sticky Balsamic Vinegar and drizzled this over.  it was so delicious and we are having this salad again tonight.

On top of that each day I picked tomatoes.  This picture looks like I enhanced the colour or something but I didn't! 

AND the chickens have started to lay!  A couple of first eggs are hilariously small.  But they are laying!  It is only two weeks since we set up the new nesting boxes and hay etc and the nesting boxes have a couple of eggs every morning.  

Soon it will be five eggs every morning!

Some of the other ways we built up the nest and got ahead this week were:

I planted rosemary, thyme and organ to fill some spaces in the garden.  Also I planted flowers were I had lots a few things in the heat so all the gaps are filled back up.

As I was doing this I noticed a lot of little "weeds" and on closer inspection all my weeds are baby tomato plants!   So as I emptied pots I re filled them with baby tomatoes.

I made a pear upside down cake.

I made two honey and date loaves...

I made laundry liquid.  I got 12 bottles!!

I have been sewing but nothing is complete yet!

I made lots of cards.

I made a big rice salad and I suspect now that is the last of the cold meat and salad dinners as Autumn seems to have kicked in!  It is beautiful!  We have lovely days and cool nights.  Glorious.

We even had a tiny bit of rain.  Clouds were coming over and I prayed for rain.  A few minutes later I saw this...

We had several hours of light rain! 

I found ric rack braid in the op shop and several warm pet rugs for the farm dogs for winter.  Luke was pleased with these.

So that was my week more or less!  

Now I am heading into the kitchen to make chocolate cakes to take to the girls tomorrow.

I really hope you found ways to save, build up your home and get ahead this week.  Over on the Tuesday Afternoon Club I have seen some amazing efforts that are so impressive.  It warms my heart to see so much industry!   I love to hear how you feathered your nest! 

Have a wonderful weekend. xxx

Monday, 4 March 2019

The Tuesday Afternoon Club. A post by Alison.

Many of you will remember the earlier post we have from Alison and Rebecca that got  The Tuesday Afternoon Club started!  
If you missed that or need a reminder read that here.  It is really inspiring and since we are still early in the year there is still plenty of time to join in! 

Now are are having a catch up with what the girls are up to this year!  This week we have a post from Alison and next week from Rebecca. Then we will go back to some sharing here of what you all have been making especially for the ladies that do not have Facebook.
This group has grown and the ideas and work each week is amazing.  It motivates me heaps as I think how I better get moving or I won't have anything to post on Tuesday!  Right now I am about to go over and post my weeks work.  Anyone can share any time but we have a focus on meeting Tuesdays as deadlines are good, they get us moving! 

So over to Alison... 

Rebecca and I have started our year of crafting with a planning session. We looked at how our gifts were received, at the sort of gifts that other family and friends gave and received, and just kept our eyes open and made mental notes of ideas that we could use. We shared these ideas and have come up with an exciting range of crafts - some are old favourites that are always popular, and some new ones too. We're also getting so much inspiration from the Tuesday Afternoon Club that I think we need to have two Tuesdays a week to be able to make everything!

Candles with draw-string bags, petal box with lip balm

As Rebecca said, we're keen to make more soap, both for ourselves and as gifts. We were delighted to hear that our recipients were very happy with it, and we even had one report that it had helped one girl's eczema. I am continuing to look in op shops for additional moulds, and I may even enlist my husband to make a wooden mould for us. This would give us a more regular shaped bar of soap which would be easier to package attractively.

Hand-made soap with belly bands listing the ingredients. Another label on the back states the fragrance.

I have been using a shampoo bar from a local small business for the last few months and am keen to experiment with making them as well as conditioning bars to go with them. I'm keen to reduce our use of plastics as well as the use of chemicals.

Soup bowl cosy

Encouraged by Annabel's suggestion to look at what supplies we already have on hand, we are looking for projects to make with our fabric stashes, and my stash of cotton and cotton blend yarns. I have already begun crocheting a face cloth using a pattern that was posted in the Club pages. I have a good supply of this yarn so I will be able to make lots of things with it.  

Bargain tea towels from Kmart sewn into a lined swimming bag.

We're approaching this year of making with open minds - and also with open eyes. We both enjoy finding useful bargains at op shops and considering how such things might be used or repurposed in our homes or as gifts.

Tea lights in hand-made boxes

I feel that I am so blessed to have Rebecca as my friend, that we live close together and that we share similar interests and that we have a compatible skill set. There are some skills that overlap, and some unique ones that we bring together to share with each other. Rebecca is definitely the maths wizard of our pair, and when she does some fiendishly complicated maths all I can do is agree that “that looks right”. I think that Annabel has had a brilliant idea to create the Tuesday Afternoon group so that we can all share our ideas and encourage each other and maybe even make new friends whether we live close together or in another country.

Lined tote bag made from repurposed jeans

Candles with labels attached by wash tape

Thank you so much Alison!  All your ideas are amazing and everything you have made is so lovely.   I love how you researched to get your ideas.   Browsing some of the expensive stores myself lately I am seeing a lot of eco themed type gifts i.e. produce bags,  old fashioned wooden pegs, baskets, knitted cotton dish cloths, natural cleaning and skin care, fabric serviettes... heaps of things that Grandma used.  Many of these we can make!  Seeing the prices is really interesting too... and the presentation!

Next week we will hear from Rebecca.
I hope you all feel inspired! xxx

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 1st of March, 2019.

Today is the first day of Autumn in Australia!  I have been looking forward to this for months!  The only thing is we have to wait a couple of weeks for it to feel like Autumn.  Today and tomorrow are very hot.  Usually the heat can keep up for a little bit yet then suddenly it will feel like true Autumn.  I am so glad to see the end of summer.  It is the hardest season here.

There have been signs of autumn though. First of all the Easter Lilies are out.  They are everywhere!  

It was a really good week!  I did some baking.  Mum and I were heading off to see the girls.   I made chocolate cupcakes with hundreds and thousands,  I used some apples in an apple cake and some little gluten free cakes.

To make the apple cake all I did is mix up a gluten free (you could use regular) cake mix, our half in the tin... sliced up two small apples and spread them across the batter.  Then poured the rest over that and topped it with apple slices and baked it.  It was delicious.  I drizzled icing over it.  Warm is would be a good desert.   Mum did a similar one using pears over the bottom of the pan.  Then when she turned it over the pears were the top.  It was beautiful!

Harper isn't much of an eater.  She sat and ate two and a half cupcakes!  Scarlett picked out hers and scoffed that.  Everyone loved the apple cake.

The pears are all ripening!  Every morning another few are yellow rather than green.  It is amazing to see as they were so rock hard I never believed they would ripen. And they are BEAUTIFUL.  The nicest pears I have ever tasted.  So we are eating pears daily.

We were given beautiful lamb for the freezer.  I packed it up into meal portions.

Each day we picked tomatoes and herbs.

I mended a sheet as it was one of my good ones and I am not parting with it!

A beautiful packaged arrived from my Aunt.  It was lovely.  She had a friend travelling through a town nearby and he dropped off a parcel for Mum and one for me.  It was like a care package tied up with string and a note on top.  It contained beautiful bath towels and a wonderful cook book!
Also it made me think to take every opportunity when someone is travelling.  Postage has become impossible for parcels now.  We have to go back to the old way of sending things with someone,  when people visit send them home with their Christmas or Birthday parcels rather than post them later (several of you have mentioned doing that)  and saving good boxes to pack it all into!

One night I made pizzas and used up an enormous amount of cherry tomatoes.  They were delicious!

Mum gave me some jars.

Chloe, Luke, Andy and me went out to dinner at a local winery.  We sat outside and this was the evening sunset...

It was just beautiful and a fun evening.

We have Black Cockatoos and it is very difficult to get a photo but they are used to me driving along the driveway and I got an ok photo, it is the best I have so far anyhow.  

They are huge and they are noisy but I love them!

Wednesday night my Dad rang.  He asked me if I want to go apple picking.  Obviously I said yes!  It involved a 40 minute drive and instructions to turn right at the rocks and pine tree.  I was to meet him there at 10 am.  
Everything you do here involves packing. I loaded the car with baskets, a ladder and my long handled fruit picker.  I packed tea, coffee, cake, gloves... and off I went.

The big and very old apple tree had the hugest apples I have ever seen.  Dad said they were small due to a dry year!   The tree was over the ruins of an old cottage. 

Through that window you can see a tree.   That is a big old Mulberry tree!  It was too late for the mulberries but next year I will be there!  I write in my diary when to visit various trees so I don't forget.  So I have Mulberries, mid February, written in my notebook.

We had a cup of tea and a chat then got down to picking apples.

To demonstrate the size.... the small basket is my own apples which are a medium to smaller size.  The big basket is Dad's apples...

After this I continued on to Mum and Dad's and gave Mum a whole basket of these as she will start cooking with them.   Then I had the  journey home!

When I had time to craft I worked on my blanket and I made a start on pot holders, for my gift cupboard and some for my kitchen...

And I made bookmarks...

And healing salve, sleep salve and germ fighter salve.

Mum gave me some wool wadding so I can work on more potholders.   Inside the first ones I cut up some old blanketing that was damaged and it made good insulation.

So it was a wonderful week!   I feel like I have lots of little adventures here! 

Today and tomorrow are very hot.  In between watering and looking after the chickens I will be inside quietly card making.  I am so thankful that in bad weather I am never bored.  I have all the apples to deal with, pears, crochet and the table covered in card making bits and pieces.  I want to make enough to package up cards to give as gifts.  The small bits and pieces will become gift tags.

How did you build up your home and pantry?  I hope you found ways to save and get ahead. 
Have a wonderful weekend! xxx