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, 30 October 2014

Feather your Nest Friday 31 October 2014.

Each day I am writing in my journal the things that have been wonderful blessings in my day and the things I achieved towards feathering our nest. This is in part so I don't get to Friday and think "what have I been doing all week?"

The ordinary things we do day to day can be enough. We may do nothing extra aside of keep everyone fed and alive! Just this can be a full time task. And there are times nothing extra is possible. You know, we need to count all this as important work. Keeping things running, food on the table, linen and clothes washed, children happy, pets fed, lunches packed... whatever it is in your house this is all important stuff. And there are times especially with small children or sickness in the house just managing the basics is a huge achievement. We need to count it all. It all matters and it is all worthwhile.

The stage of life you are in is something to accept. When there is a new born baby a feather your nest achievement might be managing to clean or cook a simple meal. One thing I have learned is accept the stage you are in. It is fleeting. Enjoy and relish it. There will be time later for other things when there is no time now...

When you do anything to strengthen, nurture, nourish or encourage your family you are building up your home. After all there is no point having a beautiful well kept home if the family living in it don't feel loved and secure.

Some extra things I achieved this week to feather the nest were:

From re arranging some potted plants I ended up with an empty wide and low bowl type planter. And a shady spot with a space. So I thought violets in this bowl would work well. I looked at violets in the nursery which were $14 per pot. mmm I decided to dig up some with roots from my existing violet patch and plant them around the bowl. In the first days they drooped but I kept watering and now they are looking perky... they will soon enough fill the bowl and look lovely.

I washed a very large floor rug for Lucy. I spread it over the outdoor setting, sprayed it with Miracle Cleaner and hosed it down. I rubbed a few spots that needed it. When it drip dried enough we turned it over (I needed help with that) and did the other side. On the second day it was dry and looked like new. I don't know what rug cleaning would cost but I imagine this saved quite a bit of money and it's like a brand new rug. The Miracle Cleaner recipe is here.... Miracle Cleaner.

I vaxed the carpets. We have three rooms of carpet. I used miracle cleaner in my vax (it is a vac that has a wet and dry function) and miracle cleaner on stains and spots. (please note my vax is old, it won't void a warrantee or anything like that due to using a cleaner of my own choice) It came up so well and smells so fresh. A flyer in the mail said carpet cleaning on special was $129 for three rooms so that is what I will say I saved.

At the supermarket they had a trolley full of bagged up fruit and vegies at $3 a bag. Each bag had I would say about 5 kilos of produce. It all needed to be sold asap. It was all very good. I chose two bags. I ended up with about a kilo of apples, six bananas, a large red, a yellow and two green capsicums, two bunches of asparagus and whole lot more. Lucy came over and saw my mountain as I was unpacking and washing it. I gave her some of everything. Then I picked her a bunch of oregano, a bunch of parsley and a little bag of coriander. She was very happy! I have so many things I can make with all of this. It might be funny but I count any money I saved their households as something too.

Another thing I did... I almost never wear earrings but I have some gorgeous ones. I got them out and gave them a clean and wore some. And to make them noticeable I wore my hair in a half up style. This had the effect of I got out my pretty hair clips and cleaned them. So for a week I feel like I had a new hairstyle and new jewellery and the change is lovely. And I got comments. All for free. Years ago a jewellery told me to mix half glass/window cleaner with half dishwashing detergent and use a soft toothbrush to gently clean my rings. This is good for most jewellery not for pearls though. It makes things look like they have been to the jeweller for a professional clean. Clean thoroughly with this and then rinse. Work away from the sink in a bowl of water and a jar of this... I have a major fear of jewellery going down the sink. But this works miracles and things look new!

Here is a picture of part of my lounge with freshly washed covers. Wrestling the covers back on was better than a gym session!

I got an idea. Googling will get you more pictures on this but I took one to demonstrate. My daughter took me out to lunch. We shared a "tasting plate" desert. I keep seeing and hearing this "tasting plate" concept. So out comes a little selection of things looking gorgeous. Each one is quite tiny. My brain went !!! this idea of a multitude of things on a lovely plate or platter could be used to present a whole variety of left overs, things we need to use up etc that on their own do not make a meal. But all together as a "tasting plate" they look fabulous. And everyone can choose the bits they like. Bliss. It works equally well with sweet or savoury meals. So tasting plates here I come!

Yesterday I used some left over roast lamb and my capsicums and tomatoes from my bargain vegies and made pizzas. I made them for dinner, my husbands work lunch today and one for the weekend. They were really good. I also used up some soft cheese I had frozen.

Last week I discovered a lovely blog with the best name! It's called "If you do stuff, stuff gets done" by a lovely lady called Rhonda. Here is a link.... If you do stuff, stuff gets done. In true form Rhonda works hard, saves money and builds her home!

What did you do this week to build up your home? I will leave you with Rhonda's words... "if you do stuff, stuff gets done" I am going to remember this forever!
Like Flylady says housework done imperfectly still blesses your family. A lot of things are the same. We may not attempt crafts, cooking, cleaning and all kinds of things feeling our efforts might not be perfect or good enough. But they are, that is how we learn! This opens the door to trying new things and you never know how this might help your family or yourself! Often a small change can produce big results! This has been a year of many changes for me. Actually in my diary I am listing all the changes I made this year, the new things I learned and did for the first time ever. It is a long list. It is probably why I saved a lot of money this year in different ways. Some things I had in my mind as "too hard" turned out to be easy!

What did you do to build up your home this week? I hope it was a wonderful week. It is the last day of October. I hope to finish some things today and I will feel October was a very productive month. I love that feeling! Thank you for joining me in Feather your Nest Fridays!

Have a lovely weekend. The roses are out in my garden now, I am loving them!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Easy. Cheap. Amazing wreaths.

I always look in home wares shops and florists for inspiration and see amazing things at not so amazing prices! At the end of last year I saw table centre arrangements for Christmas and wreaths that were almost $300 each. I even took photos to remind me as they were lovely but...

I also noted the wreath I loved most was the exact size of a hoola hoop. On study I think it was a hoola hoop as the base. Interesting! Anything to do with floristry is expensive. I have been to Adelaide's florist suppliers and even there it is still expensive so a hoola hoop from a cheap shop is much cheaper than a wreath base. The arrangements were made of what you would say were fake pine branches the same is on a Christmas tree. Another idea is a pool noodle as a base if it can be joined into a circle.

In January I saw in Woolworth's a Christmas tree marked down to $3.75 because the box was broken. I grabbed it. And it has been waiting until now to become something!

Usually I see hoola hoops in cheap stores and just when I want a couple I could not find one. However I know they were about $5 before. I saw Andy had garden irrigation plastic pipe which is about the same thickness and he made some into circles for me as a substitute. He said they would have worked out under one dollar each so even better.

He also helped me cut up the Christmas tree with snippers. So what I ended up with was a pile like this and two hoops...

Two large wreaths used up my whole Christmas tree so I am watching out... last year I saw several Christmas trees in boxes on the side of the road. I figured people had bought a flash new tree and were getting rid of the old one. If I find one of these I will do the table centre pieces I am talking about.

Using florists tape I simply strapped pine branches around my "hoola hoops" in an overlapping fashion. The florist tape is green so isn't noticeable. Then I fluffed up the branches to look good. Each one I bent a little so it sat around the circle nicely.

The first wreath is for Mum and Dad. They have deer on their property so I did a deer theme. They also have a huge handmade front door and this will look amazing on it. If Mum is reading my blog she will see it!

The deer was from the supermarket and the ribbon and the tinsel was from Spotlight. All up this wreath cost under $20 still. 

Now for mine which worked out much less as I already had the birds and the next.... 

I nested my nest in and settled my birdie in with her eggs...

She reminds me of myself as she looks very happy with her glittery nest :)

I loosely wound tinsel and ribbon around the wreaths and finished off with bows and long tails that will sway in the breeze as these will both be outside and the breeze will give some movement. The covering the hoops with the pine was the biggest job, that took a little while. The decoration took minutes.

My base was black. If I was going to sell these I think I would spray paint the base green or cover it first in florist tape so it is entirely green then add my pine. Also a purchased hoola hoop would likely be pink or bright and need painting green or covering or these colours would show through.

But I have ended up with two huge wreaths for under $40 when the one I am copying would be over $500 for two! Which seems ridiculous but thats true.

You could do any theme your heart desires if you collect or find something you like. A little group of glittery pinecones would work too from our free things from nature ideas. 

I really enjoyed making these.

This afternoon I have to go into the city. I will be keeping my eyes out for more ideas I might be able to copy. It is amazing how cheaply things can be made. 

Have a wonderful day and enjoy this last week of October. Here it has rained and is really cool which is nice for the garden.

Now to watch out for a discarded Christmas tree for table decorations OR swags for the mantle piece! 


Thursday, 23 October 2014

Feather your Nest Friday No. 2.

Thank you to everyone who shared their savings and ways they built up their homes last week. Kaye used Rain Checks to save at her supermarket. This made me think of the fact that until a couple of years ago I had heard of rain checks and yet didn't know exactly what they were or how they worked. But since learning they have been a great saver for us! How many times has there been a great special that is sold out or you get the last one or two when you could really do with more? This is where rain checks help us out.
Just incase anyone is in the same position (and this is in Australia as I am not sure about overseas) my simple understanding is that if there is a great price on something and you would like more than is on the shelf or they have sold out mostly you can go to the service counter and ask for a rain check. Now and then a product will have a note on it saying "no rain checks" but I don't find this very often. The person at the service counter will give you a ticket and record what it is you are wanting. Then when your item appears back in stock on the shelves you simply take it as usual to the check out and produce your rain check ticket and you will get it at that special price still. (even though the special has passed).

This stops you missing out on amazing prices! I love this. What a help. It can help you stock up on something you would really like a few of or something your family use heaps of! 

So that is how rain checks work as far as I have experienced. Thanks Kaye!

Some of the ways I feathered the nest this week include...

We had a meal from left overs from the freezer (mostly) last night. I had two cheeses, tomato paste, salami, sun dried tomatoes, pineapple and left over turkish bread... so it became pizzas (sort of!) and enough for lunches the next day also. Very yummy and a heap of containers with a little bit in them are now used up. I pack my husbands work lunch in the evening and I love having something different to send him.

Earlier in the week it was hot. Apparently no one buys flowers on hot days so roses were reduced by half TWICE and I got two bunches of roses for $3. I don't usually buy flowers but this was too good to be true. I enjoyed them so much! 

And today I have hung them to dry. By drying them now before they start to fall apart they will dry beautifully. I can keep enjoying them or use them on parcels. Dried pink roses on top of a pink parcel with soft ribbon.. imagine! And this is how they look in my kitchen for weeks now.

I washed my couch and cushion covers. My couch is about 40 years old! My parents bought it then it became mine. When Andy and I first went out we sat on this couch!  I had covers made for it years ago that I love. It is a big job. But I wonder what it would cost to get them dry cleaned? I wouldn't consider it. I soak and wash and it took 4 loads today and two tomorrow I think. I haven't used a dry cleaner in about 6 years. Then I took in a dress. It cost me more to get it dry cleaned than it cost me to buy the dress. I haven't ever gone back! There is a way to clean most things. I added eucalyptus oil to the wash to make the lounge covers smell fresh. The sun will do the rest. 

I had a geranium out the front break apart. Wind I think. So I divided it and replanted and now have three. I did the same with a huge indoor plant now it is four plants.

Also I had a couple of days of no spend and just catch up on jobs that need doing at home. Cleaned, tidied, organised and at the end of those days I just loved how the house was looking and how I was feeling. Things smelling fresh, folding linen that smells of sunshine... lovely.

Some of our lovely things that we have have enjoyed but have cost nothing are:

In the evenings we have a sit outside. Every night this little bird comes and hangs around with us. He knows I will feed him and if I don't he just stands there staring at me. He is not frightened. Twice when we have been inside watching tv he has walked inside! We have french doors open when the weather is nice and have had to tell him to go back outside. And he does he just turns around and hops back down the step. 

The birds in our garden are so lovely. They have such personalities! Any crumbs on the cutting board go outside. It is all a free form of kindness and delight.

Our neighbours fence is covered in climbing roses, a whole wall of hundreds of them...

This just shows a section... the whole street just now is glorious, almost everyone has roses. 

They are maybe the best part of this time of year!

I have some things to do today and I will feel very happy with my week! I managed another major Christmas present this week. Very happy with that.

How did you get ahead this week and what did you do to feather your nest? I always say it is amazing how things add up. A bit each week towards Christmas or something added to your pantry for emergencies... whatever it is sooner or later you will be amazed how it all added up to an achievement.

Have a lovely weekend as we head into the last week of October! xxx

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Exquisite sugared flowers.

My last post was about the decorations I made from pinecones and gum nuts which were all things I found and collected for free. They turned into really pretty decorations. And a huge saving, I don't need to buy decorations for my parcels or my home.

Today I am following on with another collect for free craft. At the moment I have pansies, violas and roses in my garden. It is a beautiful time of year.
About two years ago I found two large urns on the side of the road! I couldn't even lift them but someone helped me... and now they are filled with pansies and violas...

To me they look so cheerful.

In March for Chloe's Birthday I covered a cake with sugared pink roses. It was so pretty and so easy. She loved it. I posted about it in March but here is a quick reminder...

Sugared flowers are so easy and quick yet look spectacular. And they last. They look lovely over a cake, cup cakes, nestled amongst a desert platter or even as a table centre piece. 

All you need (if you are going to use them on food) are non poisonous flowers, like roses, pansies, violas or flowers from herbs. You can easily check if a certain flower is safe or not online. If in doubt don't place it on food and maybe use as decoration somehow instead. 

Pick your flowers when they are in good condition and gently wash them. In a deep dish mix up a couple of egg whites until the mix is well mixed. Gently immerse your flower into the egg white mix and rotate to get a coverage of egg white. You want it to go into every nook and cranny. A cotton bud or small paint brush will help. Then lift up your flower and let it drip a bit so it is coated evenly and thinly with egg white.

Next lay your still wet flower on a bed of caster sugar. A large dish covered in a layer of sugar is great. Then sprinkle more sugar over your flower and rotate so that all sides are covered and even inside the flower is covered as well as possible. Shake gently if it seems too clumpy. 

This is very forgiving. It all looks wonderful when it dries, you don't need to be too fussy.
When you are happy you simply let them dry.

Gently rotate thicker flowers so they dry on all sides and if they loose shape you can carefully "arrange" them as they are pliable when still moist. When they are dry they are hard and more brittle.
They keep for days! So you can do this the day before you want them and they will look lovely on what you are decorating and hold up well.

For the price of two egg whites and about a cup of castor sugar I ended up with a tray of sugared flowers. Here they are still damp and drying and still look lovely.

As they dry they get sparklier and sparklier! 

In the end they look as if you bought them from a cake decorating shop and so pretty.

As I did this I kept thinking of uses for them. Over a cake for a gift, on coconut ice to give away, topping for cup cakes for a birthday or baby shower... ooh just so nice! Imagine red rose on a chocolate cake... Yellow roses on an orange cake...

And so exquisite, so easy and practically free if you have flowers in your garden or access to flowers.

Beautiful, beautiful things to not have to be expensive! These look heavenly.

You could cheat too. Chloe's cake, I confess, was a purchased sponge. It was so inexpensive and I whipped cream to fill it and used jam I had made in summer. The entire thing cost about $5. 

When you have fresh flowers they look beautiful on a cake just as they are but sugaring buys you some time and additional sparkle.

I hope making or decorating your own cake is a major saving sometime soon. And when needing a gift what is better than making someone a cake? Really it is a gorgeous and thoughtful gift and can be made for a few dollars. For added effect pop it on a pretty plate or cake stand and it will be spectacular!

We are having a very warm week. I am watering and gardening in the evenings which is very nice.
I have managed to finish another Christmas present and get quite a lot done. I will keep my savings and  things I've done to make things nicer for "Feather your Nest Friday". Thank you to everyone who joined in with that.
And thank you everyone who added ideas of small gifts to post that standard postage will cover. Between us all I now have a fantastic list of things that can be posted with only the cost of the card. This is a big help to many as postage is a big expense. I am amazed at the ideas we can come up with when we put our heads together! xxx

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Christmas decorations you can gather (for free)

Last time I went to the farm I mentioned I gathered pinecones and gum nuts with the plan of using them in Christmas decorations. (I also gathered some deer antlers but I will do something with them later.)

There are all kinds of things that are just beautiful that we can collect to use instead of buying bows and trims, baubles and sprays. Many of these are really expensive.

Actually, if you go to a newsagents and buy wrapping paper, gift bags, decorative elements, gift boxes, you could spend a fortune and still have no gifts to give! I'm going to cover most of these in coming posts as they can all be made really beautifully and really inexpensively.

Many natural elements look lovely in their natural state. ie gum nuts on brown paper with string looks really earthy and good.

But I am a glitter kind of girl there's no denying...

I used spray paint which was $3 a can in my local cheap shop. I bought one silver and one gold. This will do some baskets that need a spray for my gift baskets and a few other things. I always have glitter so I didn't need to buy that.

The colour schemes are endless. I can imagine doing pink and pink glitter! You could do silver and blue or red and gold, deep green, white on white...

I simply gave my collection a light spray and sprinkled glitter onto the still wet paint. You could dip them into glue then glitter, or use spray glue and then glitter. There are no rules. I just played and had fun. By working over a tray you can save glitter and re use it as lots escapes...

I used these gum nuts and pinecones as this is what I had. See what you have in your area that you might be able to collect and all year round keep your eyes out for things that you could use. Dried leaves, shells, antlers, feathers, interesting seed pods...

I have a giant basket of these now. My plan is to use them as decor at Christmas piled on cake stands, in the fireplace and on parcels. Also I think I will make a wreath and a hanging garland. Doing this I have lots of possibilities. But just piled into a sparkly container that would make a table centre piece. Or one each on a side plate around the table to hold the serviette in place... or along a mantlepiece. So many pretty possibilities!

I have gone ahead and wrapped a couple of presents I had ready to demonstrate how they look on parcels. I bought some beautiful wrapping paper for 50c a big roll in the January sales. Now adding these...

They sparkle so much! 

I can't wait to keep wrapping! Glittering parcels under the tree!

Apart from saving so much money getting things started now helps get you in the frame of mind for Christmas. After all this glittering and parcel wrapping I was feeling pretty enthusiastic!

Thank you for the lovely letters about my e book. If it saves one person a lot of money this Christmas then I am happy!

Have a wonderful

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Feather your Nest Friday!

I am so excited for our first Feather your Nest Friday after our "practice run" last week!

All week as I have gone along I have thought of things to write down that have made a difference in my home and saved us money. I have to say it served as an extra motivation too. I spent a lot of time in the garden this week and the flowers are beautiful! This is a lovely time of year. (Spring here) ANy time spent in the garden is good for me. Out in the sunshine amongst flowers is very uplifting and gardening is great exercise! Then I sleep well. Seeing things grow and flower is almost the same effect as the happiness of pets, both of these seem to make us happy.

These are my "Feather my Nest" tasks this week that saved us money and built up our home...

I removed a dying tree from a half wine barrel and turned this into another of my stacked pot planters. It is huge! It has 5 tiers and I planted them all. Some of the herbs I bought were out for $1 a pot. Between the wine barrel and the stack on top it makes a huge area for plants. If it is as successful as my herb stack (see last weeks post) then it will produce so much. Also it is near the back door so I will water it with left over household water. Tonight I watered it with water I drained from the pasta and run off from the hot tap in the kitchen.

I made Christmas decorations from free materials I collected. I will post pictures of them over the weekend. Here is a glimpse...

I also made heat packs. I used a dressing gown that doesn't fit as the material was so gorgeous and so soft. I cut it up to make quite a few. In stores these are between $20 and $30 and so far I've seen them in AWFUL material, not nice. To make they are costing about $3 each. These I filled with pearl barley. Wheat or rice work too. Warmed up they are so nice. Online you can find printable safety instructions to go with them for people who are unfamiliar. I couldn't live without mine they are so soothing to a headache. I guess I made half a dozen a year saving $100 or so. Lucy was wanting a new one and I took it to her, it felt so soft and nice and she was very happy!

I have been collecting jars as our apricot tree is covered in apricots... just little now but they grow quickly. When they are ready I made jam, stewed fruit, pies and we eat them fresh too of course. It is a busy week or two. This is how they are now, just babies but there are hundreds!

I rang our power company and asked for a discount and they gave me a further 5% off for the next two years. While I was at it I increased our gas discount.

Also made two meals that went into the freezer for emergencies.

I have a ring needing repairs. I asked in the city at a jeweller how much it would be and they quoted me  $325. I said I would think about it. This week I rang the original jeweller who is interstate. They will do it for $45! Of course I have had to post it by registered post and pay for the return but still it is a huge saving! I was thrilled with this one as I haven't been able to wear this ring that Andy gave me.

Things I do all the time like... trim my hair, have a conditioning pack and re do my colour (I never go to a hair dresser saving over $1000 a year given I have colour etc) and paint my nails, toe nails etc.

Use water from the bath on the front garden and water from the laundry on the back garden. in the kitchen I keep a jug on the counter. When I am waiting for hot water to run I fill that jug instead of water going down the drain. This waters my pot plants and something in the garden everyday.

Make my own presents. Anyone can do this even if you are not crafty! You just need a plan. See my ebook, it has an extensive plan to identify what you could be making and what your family and friends will LOVE.

Always cook a little extra and pack my husbands work lunch and drinks the night before. He never needs to buy food or drinks in a work day. Plus this is healthier and he loves it.

Always travel with food and a thermo of coffee!

Shop at the times my supermarket marks down meat and bakery items. To find this out I just asked the staff. They were so helpful. In my case 2 pm was one of the good times so that is when I shop. I never pay full price, meat is about half price and bakery is way less... ie turkish bread was 50c for four instead of over $4.

Combine my errands to save petrol. If you plan you can save a lot of petrol and also stop running around like a headless chicken. Planning makes you see "ohh I will be going there... on the way I could do this and this" and cleverly combine things. Big time saver!

Make my cards and gift tags.

For all of us there are probably a list of things we always do and have been doing a long time that we don't even think about or consider great savings but they are! They still may be ideas others don't know about. And some things, like me doing my own hair, I probably underestimate how much it saves me as I get a shock when I here what others have been charged for a cut or colour and blow dry. Sometimes we are talking about almost $200 for an appointment!

But it all adds up, none the less, to help our households, reduce pressure and increase security. There are so many things we can do ourselves. When stuck I go to You Tube to see if there is a "How to" on anything I am needing help with. It is amazing!

How did you go this week? Please know your work counts. It adds up to create a safe, happy, loving home for your family. This all does not happen by accident! It is your hard work. Don't let anyone tell you that you are not contributing financially if you are working at home! It is invaluable and will affect future generations as well as the health and happiness of your family now. What could be bigger than that?

Have a lovely

Monday, 13 October 2014

Little gifts that fit into standard postage envelopes. (very handy)

I hope you are having a good week. Yesterday I got so much done I was really happy with a good start at least!

I've been working on some little Christmas gifts that I can post. Every year I notice that postage is more expensive and I know I have to limit the number of parcels I post. The trouble is I love to send presents!
Last year I included in the blog a whole list of things H have found that are little gifts that will fit into a standard sized card and envelope. I am always thinking about this and watching out for ideas!

For gardening friends seed packets are really good. Especially if they grow into flowers or produce what a lovely present! I have added gift tags, craft labels, stickers, stamps, book marks, soap leaves,  tea bags, emery boards and all kinds of things. A pretty hankie will often fit too with some very flat folding.

This year I saw tiny little notebooks. They are around the size of a passport and the same thickness. Big enough to be useful! mmm I thought they will fit into a card and ordinary envelope! So I have been decorating them to match the cards I have been making. This gives me another dozen little gifts I can send away for very little and included in my ordinary stamp.

Every woman needs a note book in her handbag I figure!

If you have anything you use for tiny gifts please let me know. I try and keep ideas for this. I have several pen friends and love to write letters and include something.

I know that gift giving doesn't have to be an expensive thing. A thoughtful card or letter is a beautiful thing in itself. 

Little projects like these are something the kids could do and love making. Being able to give gifts they have made is a wonderful thing. FEELING they are contributing to Christmas and gifts is really important. My saved up scraps of trims and pictures gave me all kinds of odds and ends that look pretty together. Some of the trims were left over from when I sewed pretty edgings on to tea towels (dish towels) and other projects.

Today it is really cool and almost like we are back in winter. I am using this as a day working on projects and catching up on all the little things. I might make it to the sewing machine and start on some gingham serviettes I am dying to make sets of!

Have a wonderful rest of the week! xxx

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Feathering your nest.

I follow several blogs that do me good. They are blogs that lift me up, encourage me, motivate me and that I think of during the day as I go about things. This helps me too, to think on lovely things.

Of these several have something in common. Even though you would think it might be boring or tedious they have a segment where they list the little things they did during the week that helped them save money and get their work done.  Well, I love it! And others do too as I see others join in at the end in comments and list their own efforts.

One is The Prudent Homemaker.The Prudent Homemaker. She has a section called "Last weeks frugal accomplishments". 

Another is My Abundant Life. My Abundant Life. Wendy has a section called "This week's frugal tasks".

In a forum I participate in a friend has a thread that follows the seasons. This one is called "91 Blossoms for October" The idea is each blossom is a task that needs doing and everyday through spring to accomplish one "blossom". During winter we had Snowflakes! While one Blossom per day doesn't sound like much if they are all usually put off tasks over the season getting ninety one done and dusted is pretty wonderful!

Laine does one weird thing per day as I'll let her explain...

2~ I love to do one “weird” thing a day. This is something that I have noticed that needs to be done, like cleaning a lamp shade or wiping down a wall. Something like that. It usually only takes me a very short time, but it keeps up the housekeeping in a pleasant sort of way.

I love all of these!  They agree with me. They motivate me. They mean even little things COUNT. Little things add up to big things! Even the most daunting jobs are soon done and dusted when we do a little each day or as often as possible!

In my journal and in my mind I have been doing this for the whole year. As I consider the day I think of all of the things I achieved as far as the house and budget go. Then I feel happy and satisfied with the day. In my journal I list the things I achieved at the end of the week and the aims for the next week. Lists really work for me. I get so much more done with lists!

So it might work for you to consider all the little jobs as important. They are significant. They achieve all kinds of things. In an older post I talked about building up your home. 
"The wise woman builds her Home" This doesn't mean you have to start construction work!
It means we build up our home in all kinds of ways. We can build up our homes with love, cleanliness, organisation, decoration, gardening, home cooking, giving it atmosphere, making it safe, making it a place of learning... sooo many ways! All these things "build up" your home. Making your budget work, building up your pantry, your emergency fund, having a nest egg... these all build up your home too. Every thing you do towards these ends is building up your home.

When the girls were little I was so encouraged by Laine's Letters. I treated my job (as Mother and Homemaker) as the most important job in the world and God was my boss. This was the best thing I ever did. Those were wonderful days and produced good fruit!

So I am sharing it here, realising if it works so well for me that it might help others. I think of each thing I do to build up my home as feathering my nest. 

Last week these are some of the things I did to Feather My Nest....

I gathered fresh herbs from the farm and picked bunches of native flowers (see the last blog post)

I made a bouquet of roses from our garden to give away.

I collected natural materials to use in my Christmas decorations that were all free.

From my garden I picked mint to use in a raita to go with my curry. It is beautiful. Just lots of mint blended through thick creamy yoghurt with a sprinkle of cumin. That's it!

Also used plenty of parsley from the garden. Fresh herbs add flavour, look lovely and are full of goodness. I grow lots and it is such a good thing. I keep these right at the back door.

We watered our garden with recycled water from the house. (bath and washing machine)

I made Miracle Cleaner. I learned this recipe from Simple Savings and Cheapskates, both savings clubs in Australia. It is wonderful. Your whole home smells clean and fresh naturally as well after cleaning with this. I posted the recipe previously here... Miracle Cleaner.Miracle Cleaner I save bottles for this.

I finished and wrapped two birthday presents that I made myself. And I worked on more Christmas presents. I am making all my presents and am so happy how it's going! I can't imagine what it saves.

I did some research for my Dad for which I was paid.

It is so helpful to acknowledge the things we do that are contributing to our homes and finances. My friend Mimi does this by considering the dollar worth of things she does and imagining what you would have to spend to buy these things. So making a lunch for family and friends instead of going out, making a birthday cake instead of buying one and so on. The savings in one day are more that either of us could earn outside the home! When you consider your worth that way it is amazing what the savings are. Our work is so important! When I hear someone say they don't feel they are contributing financially by their work at home I just want to cry! It is a huge contribution and worth a fortune!

I am going to post weekly how I feathered my nest. Maybe "Feather My Nest Fridays" or something like that.

How did you Feather your Nest this last week and how did you save? 

Now we just had a holiday Monday so the week is a short one. I have a long list of goals and had better get moving! But if I achieve my list I will have done a lot  and have lots of frugal accomplishments.

Today is so sunny and beautiful so I will try and soak up some sun as well. Have a wonderful day. xxx

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Making the most of what you have.

Last week I had a few days at the farm. It was lovely. Being spring everything is flowering and the paddocks are still green and beautiful. Mum's garden if full of native and wildflowers.

As far as flowers go I should have been born in England. I love Roses, Canterbury Bells, Hollyhocks and the list goes on! But there I was and I had an abundance of native flowers to help myself to.

So I used what I had. I knew I could give bunches of flowers away and they would be loved. Lucy was going to her husbands Nana's and she could give a bunch to Nana. I could give some to Kath in the nursing home... so out I went with the snippers and gathered. In no time I head heaps and I was loving the sunshine, the birds, exploring the garden and the bush around the house.

As I put them together I remembered at home I had wide red velvet ribbon that I could add to these.

There is something about playing with flowers too... it is very uplifting. I loved it.

Every time I walked inside for more string or something birds would land on the flowers and start eating them! 

Next I picked Bay Leaves and Rosemary. I tied these up with rustic twine ready to hang in the kitchen. Lucy's Mother in Law is a wonderful cook and we made a bunch up for her. So nice to give! 

And fresh produce with no chemicals or sprays. Home grown organic things.

It is such a happy and abundant feeling to pick and gather what you have or what you come across and work out what can I do with this?

Nan was a wonderful florist. I don't think she ever bought anything. She used what she came across, had in her garden or gathered. And won Royal Adelaide Show ribbons every year for years on end!

Next I went walking and gathered gum nuts and pinecones. The gum nuts I will show you later in the week. They are for free Christmas Parcel decorations, instead of buying bows or things like that. And the pinecones are going onto Christmas wreaths and I'm making decorations and garlands. All will be practically free. 
Then I gathered more pinecones for our fireplace.

Then I slept well from a beautiful day in the sunshine and just being surrounded by Blue Wrens and happiness. And the evening spent crocheting while Mum knitted!

What do you have in the garden or maybe is in the garden of family members or friends that you could use in the kitchen, make into gifts or gather for your vases? Sometimes we can be blind to whats around us as we are so used to it! 

Today I've been gathering in my own garden at home. Yesterday my daughter was in an accident. We were all very lucky she is bruised and sore but not seriously hurt. I went to bed thanking God over and over last night.

So I have gathered these and popping around to her place in a minute...

It is so nice to feel surrounded by so much abundance. The rose bushes are covered in buds so I know later in the week I can pick more and give some to someone else and have a vase full in the house. 

It doesn't have to cost anything to give. I am amazed at what I could gather and give and use as well... I picked parsley and mint too in the last couple of days end used both. And I have crafts to do with my pinecones and gum nuts. 

Have a wonderful week! xxx