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.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Use it up challenges.

I love a challenge. Sometimes when I need a bit of motivation I take part in various blog challenges like A Bowl Full of Lemons... she has all kinds of challenges. Last year I did a kitchen one with her which was massive but so good! What a clean out that was.

My friend made up a challenge this time last year called Autumn Leaves. You listed one task that you have been putting off or job needing doing, for the whole of Autumn. Each one of these was an autumn leaf. Then the challenge is to try and have each of them "fall" off your list over the three months of autumn. Listing things and ticking them off really works for me. I loved this challenge (as did others) and we all worked at ticking off all these pesky tasks until they were all done. What a difference it makes too. One a day doesn't sound like much but 90, one a day for autumn is huge!

I am re doing the autumn leaves challenge by running it in my journal this autumn and so far I have got some annoying things done and out of the way like washing the carpets etc and it is great. I love having these things done. The windows are part of this weeks challenge. I know I will feel great getting them done too and seeing them sparkle! I also find as we go further into autumn sparkling windows just let in more light and things seem brighter.

With craft supplies a use it up challenge can give you a stripy knitted rug or a patchwork quilt or lots of little gifts to give and end up saving so much money.

This weekend I have been having a finish things off session and a tidy up. Crafts do mean you end up with lots of stuff out. Having finished my cards that all can go away and be packed up. I have packed cards for gifts into sets of five or six and wrapped them in cellophane bags and tied up with ribbon. Some can have a pretty pen added or stickers or stamps even to complete as a nice gift. If I have suitable boxes or tins they make boxed cards which is lovely.

I used the last of my blingy buckles for some packaged soaps and I love this elegant silver/grey colour scheme from one piece of scrap booking paper I had...

I had hessian over from making my memory board and I made a table runner for the dining room table and six place mats. I stencilled the crown on them. I love them! Really they cost cents each to make. 

I used little peat pots and dried roses for my flowers. They kind of look rustic and pretty and used dried roses I had saved.

So some left overs amounted to quite a bit so far.

Really anything you can use up, make last longer or re purpose is going to save you money if you do that and keep your money in your purse. Another time I will do a use it up challenge in the pantry and freezer and have a week or two with a lower grocery bill. I will often do that when there has been a big bill come in and that will help with it.

But often we have cleaning products we haven't really used, or shampoo we don't like much or face cream that isn't used because it isn't quite right....  these are all great in a use it up challenge. Flylady taught me heaps of things. One is soap is soap! She keeps her toilet brush in a soapy solution and each day as part of the quick bathroom clean up she swishes the toilet with this soapy solution. Everything sparkles and smells nice. I have used up shampoos I don't like this way. Also as liquid wash for lingerie, also as bubble bath and also to re fill your pump hand soap. All work perfectly. Soap is pretty much soap. Wash your hair brushes and makeup brushes is another task for failure shampoo!

Left over unliked conditioner... I have used it to soften up knit wear as fabric softener in hand washing. Worked a treat. Or I put it through my hair before swimming to keep the chlorine out of it (thus avoiding the green tinge!) Or softened up towels in the wash.

Moisturiser that is less than thrilling can sometimes work as cleaner, or as body moisturiser or on your feet.

A lot of things come in pump packs. You can turn them into soap dispensers and fill them with all kinds of left over soaps and use them up. I keep one next to the laundry sink where Andy will usually go to wash his hands if he is really messy from working outside. Very handy. 

Since shampoos, cleaning products are usually expensive items, if you go through and reduce the unused things you have tidier cupboards and have saved money in a challenge like this. 

Powder/baby powder has a lot of uses too. It makes awesome dry shampoo and also absorbs dampness and smells so in sneakers, over a mattress that needs cleaning then vacuum it off.... think of it as dry shampoo/dry cleaning agent. It will absorb an oily mark from paper even.

Many challenges I have taken part in have worked on several levels. It is fun and motivating. They have meant my cupboards or home have ended up de cluttered and cleaner, I have saved money. But it's also the lovely feeling of achievement and success! Life in your own home is nicer. But it is so nice to stash your savings for something else. Andy is a huge Hugh Laurie fan. The other day I saw he is coming in concert to Adelaide and I'm sure Andy doesn't know about it! He will die when he finds out and the concert is sold out. But I had three hundred dollars I had saved from some of my challenges and I went online and got tickets to this concert. When they arrive in the post (this week hopefully) I will tell him I have an early birthday present for him! 
My friend Kallie used this principal to save up and buy her barista husband a good coffee machine for at home. It was a huge surprise for him. It was a great achievement on her part and so exciting to hear of his absolute amazement and happiness and see pictures of his coffee creations since.

Laine always talked about saving and making the most of your income. She made money go a long long way. Being resourceful, creative, stretching things. Sometimes there just isn't enough money but I feel terribly sorry for men who work long hours and very hard and it is never enough, the money just evaporates and they feel they are not providing sufficiently. This is very heart breaking for a lot of men. When you can say no, no I have enough, in fact since you are asking I have saved enough for us to have a weekend away... and see how this is. How beautiful. Not always possible but little versions of this make for happiness and a sense of achievement. 

We have beautiful sunshine and Andy is mowing the lawn and working outside. I am visiting Mum later to show her my new crochet stitch. I am so proud of it! lol This comes from doing granny squares for my whole life until learning new stitches last year and a new one yesterday. I will put up links to some of my favourite easy patterns during the week but here is my new one, it is my very favourite so far! (thinking of you Bridget)

Anyone who has enjoyed knitting or crochet will know the feeling/saving "I just have to finish this row" that's how I feel before I have to put it down, make a drink etc. I don't want to put it down! These simple joys are just gorgeous. They make life sweeter!


  1. Beautiful post Annabel, love your ideas x

    1. Hi Jacqui thank you! I hope you had a lovely weekend. xxx


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