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, 27 November 2014

Feather your Nest Friday 28 Nov.

Here we are almost into December! It was a good but a bit hectic week. Plus I had a migraine which sets me back. I am lucky I don't get so many as I used to though. It was a mild week too which is a big help, everyone has more energy when it isn't hot.

Thank you for so many comments and emails on Wednesdays Pantry and Preparedness blog. I feel so convicted about the importance of this. If you are interested in the subject make sure you see the comments as they are full of experience and advice. I'm in awe over what some of my US friends have experienced! The last comment (as I write) is from my friend Helen. Yesterday she was in Brisbane when a shocking storm hit. The army has been called in to help and I am seeing it on the news. Oh my goodness. Helen says the QLD government has been urging people to prepare and even had workshops to teach people. But even so there have been families with no water in the house walking outside in danger to go to the shops and then finding them closed due to no power. So all this only adds to my determination.

So for Feather your Nest Friday we think about how did we build up our homes and save money this week. Many days I am doing what Laine did and listing my achievements for the day as I then focus on how much I got done and feel good about it rather than all the stuff I still have to do! It is nice to have that sense of achievement at the end of the day.

This week:

I made Apricot Balls for some small thank you/Christmas gifts and treats. They are really good and so simple. I collect chopped apricots (and dried fruits for cakes etc) when on special.

The recipe is...
500g chopped apricots. Finely chopped is best.
1 can (440g) condensed milk.
1 cup fine desiccated coconut.
Extra coconut to roll in. The balls, not yourself.

Mix all together and roll into balls. You can choose how big you want them. Roll into extra coconut to coat them. Done!
Package up, I usually do packs of 6. Keep refrigerated. I keep them for a couple of weeks.

These became little gifts for nine people I like to give a little something too for Christmas and as a thanks. Plus we did some "quality control"and ate some too.

Andy found salvaged some wood planks. So many possibilities!

I got him to cut them into chopping boards then I oiled them with olive oil. They will form the base for some gifts... a giant one and half a dozen smaller ones... The larger one I will cover in cheese and nuts etc as a hamper gift with the chopping board as the base and wrap it all in cellophane and a big ribbon.

So they were free and I really like them!

I have been assembling gifts I made throughout the year. I add together things that make sense in some sort of theme like here.... soaps I wrapped, wash cloths/cleaning cloths I crocheted, note pads I decorated... and choose colours I know my friends and family like. Starting in January makes all the difference! I get to December with so many things, half the time I have forgotten them but they all go into the present cupboard. This bit is really fun. I took years to reach the point where I really make most of my gifts but I finally do!

I made an under the kitchen sink shelf. I used a board that was the right length from the shed and two bits to hold it up so not cutting and no nails or anything BUT it works! It is stable and gives me a shelf to improve my space. This was the only cupboard that needed something and I saw an expandable under the sink shelf you can buy but then thought why don't I just do this? I could ask my husband but he is super busy with work just now. I'm kind of proud of my little invention! (although I can't see myself winning any wood working awards)

A $5 Woolworths card came in the mail. I will wait and use it on some good half price specials and turn  it into a $10 value... or maybe more in the after Christmas sales.

I gave Lucy a mixed bunch of herbs for her kitchen.

I picked roses, they have been beautiful and the hydrangeas are still coming out.

I hope you had a great week and have a lovely weekend. Today I am having a catch up day, wrapping some presents to post, getting lots of little things done and making a place to put the Christmas tree. Tomorrow the tree goes up! Usually I do this on Dec 1 but that is Monday so the weekend is better.

December is an expensive month for many people so we have lots of opportunities to save and Christmas gives us lots of chances to build a beautiful atmosphere in our homes. That is priceless and beautiful memories are made that last a lifetime. How exciting and beautiful! xxx


  1. Love everything you have done this week. The boards look fabulous! I've saved while away by activating an offer to spend $100 and get $15 voucher to spend the next week so it has worked well for us considering woolies is the only supermarket here! I bought a $30 mobile internet voucher which helped qualify and gave us internet for the fortnight. I've cooked all meals except one so far so that saves heaps while away. Looking forward to reading everyone's comments. Helen, thinking of you and everyone affected up there. xoxo

    1. Thanks Kaye! I hope you are having a lovely time! After these chopping boards Ill never pass by timber again! They were free to make so I am really happy with that. You will probably be in full Christmas swing when you get home! Im putting up the tree

  2. Another productive week Annabel. The chopping board gifts are a wonderful idea.
    I have had a few issues with migraines and sensitivity to light. My DS (doctor)suggested I have some Ibuprofen in my bag and to take them when one starts and it mitigates the effects. Please check with a pharmacist though as we are all different. I had my eyes checked by an opthamologist this week and I have cataracts that are contributing to the light sensitivity. They don't need to be operated on but I feel happier knowing it's not my imagination.
    Well done Kaye on your savings. It is not easy when away. Best wishes to the Brisbane readers.

    1. Barb we sound very alike. I have fair eyes... I cant even see outside without sunglasses, I get sort of like sun stroke if in the bright sun long... its terrible! Also flashing lights send me off. Then when I do have a headache I want darkness.... to me it sounds we are similar in this for sure. In summer we do all our swimming etc in the evenings and thats lovely... or I would have a headache. I sound like a vampire the more I say... I had my eyes tested recently... Have a lovely weekend! xxx

  3. Golly gosh has it been a week already? I cant keep up lol!

    You are so organised Annabel. I am not sure where this week has gone to. Hubby is back at work and I have been trying to get back into routine, although not very successfully. Yesterday was spent baking for the local markets that are on tomorrow. I always bake for the Salvos as they have a cake stall that they raise money with. Today I did more baking but was disappointed when two of my cakes didn't turn out. They turn out any other time! Oh well cant do much about it, so they will just have to make do with what I have managed to make.

    This week I feathered my nest in the following ways; I used cold water to wash the clothes with, and did a little washing each day as I knew it was going to be a busy week. I also folded and put clothes straight away to save on ironing. I use a battery operated radio to listen to throughout the day. The batteries last for ages. I shut all the blinds and added a heavy blanket to a couple of my windows to keep the heat out. I don't turn on the air conditioner until I really have to, usually mid afternoon, and I turn it off before going to bed. If it is warm at night, we use the fans instead. I haven't spent much money this week, I don't think I have even been to the shops! From the garden I picked two zucchini, some rhubarb, kale, tiny tomatoes, baby spinach, carrots and one cucumber. Hopefully next week will be a better organised week for me.

    I love those chopping boards, what great gifts! Apricot balls taste lovely, and are a favourite of mine :)


    1. Tania I seem to take a week to get back to normal after being away. First the unpacking and washing etc... then catching up on mail, email, the garden, it just seems to take a while! You are very good to donate to the Salvos stall. I hope you could save the cakes that didnt go right for a trifle or something! It is going to be warm here over the weekend so I am guessing that is pretty hot for you. I hope not too bad. Welcome home I am glad to have you back and home but I hope you had a great time! xxx

  4. Annabel, glad you are feeling better now. That storm didn't hit us here in Toowoomba but we certainly got some strong gusts of wind when it was hammering Brisbane and last night. Power is still off in several suburbs there.

    I meant to take a photo of our hydrangea bush for you. There are so many flowers this year for some reason. Thanks for that recipe. I might make some Apricot Balls for gifts too. I love those buckles you have on the soap. Did you buy them or are they repurposed?

    1. Im glad you escaped the worst Nanna Chel. Do you dry your hydrangeas? Many florists wil buy them but I think they are so useful and pretty. I just love them. I saw massive pink ones in the nursery and was very tempted... The buckles were left over from a card making project... they are so pretty and handy as they sit nicely when a ribbon goes through them. Spotlight had them in packs of three. But I have bought op shops shoes for the glittery buckles so keep your eyes out for them. xxx

    2. I don't usually dry them, Annabel. Thanks for the info about the buckles. So pretty.

  5. My home was hit by the Brisbane storm on Thursday night. The hail left our fly screens in tatters, broken windows too. Some water in the bedroom. But we got off lightly. Your preparedness posts are timely as we get lots of summer storms here in South East Queensland. Thank you for your great blog posts this week.

    1. Thank you so much. I'm glad it wasn't worse for you, this sounds bad enough plus it must have been frightening. From memory Jan /Feb seems a bad time in QLD. Your storage area sounds good, that would keep the temperature down and steadier. We have to go by our own climate and conditions. It is dry here (mostly) but gets very hot, we get quite a bit of mid 40s in summer. Have a lovely weekend, I hope theres not too much mess to clean up!xxx

  6. Lovely post.. Really like your blog and so glad I came across it.. Looking forward to enjoying it in the future..

    1. Thank you very much Faye and welcome. I just put my Christmas tree up and am having a cup of tea before I attack the next thing... now I will have a look at your blog! Many thanks. Annabel.xx

  7. Lovely blog once again Annabel. I just adore the way you put everything together & make little packs of goodies (which always look so beautiful) from nearly anything you set your mind to. Amazing & VERY inspirational.

    Having just been the recipient of one of your gorgeous present boxes I can honestly say they are utterly divine & everything I ever imagined. Thank you once again dear Annabel it was one of the best presents I have ever received & will always be treasured. In fact I have decided that everything is going to stay in it's original packaging & placed in my bedside cupboard to be used as a "comfort box" for many many months (I can't imagine anything that would give me more pleasure). Hugs gorgeous lady. xxxSusan

    1. Dear Susan, The idea of a comfort box is so lovely. We all need some nurturing, TLC, comfort, pampering sometimes. I am so glad you liked everything but in my mind it wasn't as good as the parcel you gave me. That too made my day/week and was such a lift. Wrapping things in pink bows is my idea of heaven, it was all fun for me! Lots of love,

  8. What a great and timely post Annabel. I love what you say about turning a $5 gift card (which seems insignificant) into something more valuable by using it in the sales. A very astute way of managing something that would normally be spent on a throwaway. Gorgeous roses

    1. Thank you Mimi. Bring on the after Christmas sales... last year $5 would buy almost half a turkey! Seriously. It is a big stock up time for me.
      We are still enjoying roses, it has been a good year for them. Have a great week, it is bound to get busy! xxx

  9. Dear Annabel, where did Friday go? I wrote down my list as I completed things:

    Gave our little dog a hair cut.
    I also wash our dog ourselves with Purina Dog Shampoo. It costs $8 per bottle and lasts nearly 12 months. She is bathed twice a week.
    I watered my herbs.
    I learnt to make our own Pizza crust using yeast. It turned out so well, that I am thinking of investing in a Pizza stone.
    I bought a bottle of Coles Domestic Cleaner and used just cents worth to restore my stained tiles on the bathroom floor. Ditto for the Kitchen bench and my two white coffee tables that had tea stains on them.
    I made the sugarless fruit cake from Cheapskates.
    I recycled ribbon from Christmas last year. Rolled up and stored nicely, it could be used again.
    I used my wrapping paper and bags and tags bought from Coles after Christmas last year for 75 % discount.
    That's the weeks worth, so thanks ladies for the encouragement.
    Love Helen


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