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, 12 February 2015

Feather your Nest Friday, 13 February, 2015.

This week started off well before the ink was even dry on last Feather your Nest Friday! As I finished last Fridays post I headed off to my aunts to pick fruit. It was quite a warm day but I didn't even notice as picking fruit and my aunts garden are both so lovely and so  much fun.

Oh my goodness it was wonderful! We picked Figs, Plums and Quinces. This is some of my haul, when I got home I spread it out on the outdoor table...

Over the weekend I used figs to roast with roast chicken. This is just a lovely combination.

I also made fig paste. This goes with cheese and crackers and on a cheese board it it so good. Plus it keeps absolutely ages. I will give away a couple of these... (after packaging) Essentially it is like jam, about half fruit and half sugar but it is cooked down to a thick paste consistency. It was on the stove top all day to reach that point.

I took so many photos in my aunts garden but too many for one post so will use them other days as well. To add to the loveliness of the day she gave me two big bags of jars that she had saved and washed. She knew from my blog I had used heaps of jars and was getting low. As I loaded them into the dishwasher I said to Andy how jars just make me happy! He said "I know" and he does, he might not understand it but he knows I love jars! They came out all sparkling ready for my jam making this week. Plus there are some bottles with lids so I might make plum sauce. This is as nice a gift as anyone can give me. They are full of possibilities to add to my pantry.

On Sunday Andy came home and said "I think I have something in the van you might like" mmm interesting! So now I need to mention I am clearing my craft room and having a craft cupboard so that I can set up a little nursery for when the baby arrives. I had decided to get a cot from Ikea as Lucy is planning on a few babies so I might as well get set up! Even at Ikea a cot is around $300 depending on what one you choose of course plus then the mattress etc. This is what Andy had in the van...

You guessed it. Road side find. So far I have checked it's measurements against safety standards and washed it out on the lawn with bleach. It is gorgeous and has moulded swags at each end. I could hardly believe it! It is nicer than any I have seen and Lucy saw similar ones she was loving for over $1000.  So this just made my day. Amazing. I keep looking at it! I was over the moon about this!

I got strawberries for $1 a punnet and froze some.
Also very cheap lebanese cucumbers and tomatoes. 

I made my last figs into more fig and almond jam. My easy jam making method is here and with this Fig version I add the almonds in the last ten minutes of cooking. They make it. My Dad and I used to fight over the almonds in the jam so now I just put in plenty so it isn't a matter of life and death or like winning the lottery to get some almonds when you dig into it!

I made up a double batch of miracle cleaner. This is my must have cleaner. The recipe and other cleaning things are on this post.Clean and Fresh.

I had a couple of lucky things. I had to go to the doctor and was in there a fair while. She charged me a standard appointment when it could have been much more. Then when I came home I found I still had some medications she wanted me to take. One of them I know was very expensive ($50) and I still had it and it was still in date. So this was another big saving.

Every day and every week there are so many opportunities to make the most of what comes our way and to save. I am always amazed how this adds up and if you put a dollar value on it what it would be worth. And different seasons seem to present different opportunities. Now is my opportunity to build up my pantry and freezer with all this fruit so that's what I'm doing!

How did you build up your nest or save money this week? I hope it was a good week!

I am ending with a photo of my aunt in the garden. Her watering can is like Mr McGregor's from Peter Rabbit, I thought it was beautiful!


  1. Oooh I need a clap button! love your dear Aunt & her gorgeous painted toe nails :) great work Annabel the whole post me smile & that cot is just divine! Multiple Brownie Points for Andy. xx

    1. You have good eyes! My aunt always has stylish shoes and painted nails!
      Tonight I am telling Andy how everyone thinks he is a very good husband which he actually is... the things he brings home and what he goes through to bring them! Re the heat... yes hot now but we have had mildest summer ever overall so I am grateful for that... although hoping we dont get too much after this! xxx

  2. Oh Annabel! What a thrilling find on the gorgeous baby cot! It was meant for you without doubt! It's just got Annabel written all over it! Andy wins the prize for Husband of the Week...hehehe! And that fruit, the fig paste, the plum sauce...well what a perfect nesting week all round. I've had a lovely week as well. I've baked nectarine cupcakes with $2kg fruit, made onion confit to gift to my sons and husband for Valentines Day, and polished up a little 18K gold and pearl pendant that was Mums, to gift to my 15 year old daughter. This may well be the last year that Mum and Dad are her Valentine. I've also collected mangoes which are just laying on the ground outside peoples fences for the possums to eat, and made Mango and Sweet Chilli Relish, planted more herbs (mint, shallots, and perennial coriander), and made a substantial school lunch every day, including little meatballs, noodle salad, baked goodies, and home made Turkish Delight. My husband and I have repaired our front stair banister rails ourselves, he sawing and hammering, and me painting. We also replaced a guard rail on our side ramp for our son who is in a wheelchair. I mended two blouses that needed buttons and restitched buttonholes, took in the legs on some yoga pants and a school dance troupe sports top, that my daughter wouldn't wear because they looked odd, so now she wears them, and embroidered some little heart cushions for her to give to friends for Valentines Day as well. That's a happy week :)

    1. Mimi walking along and picking up Mangoes sounds like something out of a fairy story to me as it sounds so exotic! Helen was given lots of mangoes too, just wonderful.
      You had a beautiful week! The treasured peal pendant is a divine gift for your daughter and so sentimental.
      Have a restful weekend after all of this! xxx

    2. Yep, free mangoes are a dream in Melbourne.

    3. And here was I all swoony over your free figs and plums Annabel, and Wendys home grown!

  3. Dear Annabel, Mimi and Susan, I love Fridays especially now because of this series! It blesses me all week as I think about what I'm doing to build our home. Mimi....what an inspiration you are to us all.
    Annabel...we are all going to love this cot! It is you to a T and nothing new in the shops could have compared. Andy is a wonderful husband and he is going to be such a support to you all as another generation joins your family.
    This week, I've made wonderful bread rolls using a quick bread recipe from the West Ladies of Homestead Blessings. Also I did a moisturising treatment on my hair using thick conditioner to really soak it and then having a shower cap on for an hour. The conditioner was brought for $3 for the bottle and so I probably used 20 cents worth. I also made a new simple cake and copied more recipes into my recipe book so I just don't have an electronic copy.
    I watched some music concerts online. I tried a new recipe of Moroccan Date and Chic Pea Dahl which was absolutely delicious and frugal to make.
    I mixed hot water, a few drops of orange oil and half a teaspoon of rose geranium oil in a spray bottle. I sprayed each room's timber floors and wiped quickly over it with a wet dry mop. A girlfriend visiting said " Your house smells beautiful!"
    Have a wonderful weekend dear ladies, Love Helen xxx

    1. Helen, what a lovely week there. Where do you find your online concerts?

  4. Good Afternoon lovely ladies
    It has been a fast flowing week here and I am very happy to be finished work for this week and preparing for the weekend. I was a little worn out after work this week and slow at doing "extras" but we did have some great moments.
    *I prepared all meals at home
    *I found a new and free source of lemons. There were a lot of green ones on the tree so as they ripen I will be picking them also free grapefruit. I don't eat grapefruit myself but I do think I could make a jam with it....maybe
    *I picked up three more hours per week work permanently
    *I worked four hours at house cleaning today in addition to my normal work hours
    *I was able to bring home another 10 jars from work
    *I made a new recipe and the girls loved it (Mexican Tortilla Stack)
    *I researched making my own Taco and Tortilla seasoning and will give one a try this week
    *I coloured my own hair
    *Did my own facial hair removal
    *Waxed my daughters eyebrows
    *Discovered a few new recipes for Beans that the girls are willing to try
    *I watched a TV series free online
    *I was gifted (for Valentines Day) A towel rack installed in the bathroom, and a man hole cover for the hallway and a new shower head installed in the bathroom. Yes my darling Valentine is very practical but that is why I love him. He is taking me and my youngest daughter out for lunch Tomorrow as well
    *I finished another gift for my DIL's baby shower
    *I downloaded a free eBook from the Hillbilly Housewife on cooking beans

    Our passion fruit vine finally flowered this week so I am hoping there will be passion fruit on the table soon. I have been keeping the water up to the vine in the hopes of a bountiful crop.

    The baby cot is magnificent Annabel and Andy is a gem to get it for you. I know there will be years of baby joy ahead.

    God Bless all and bountiful week ahead
    I love this blog and I love Fridays

    1. Mel you are a dynamo! As always you have had a greatly productive week. It is lovely to read. Thank you.
      I think your practical Valentines Day presents are wonderful and you still have something else to look forward to tomorrow as well!
      I am very interested in this Mexican Tortilla Stack recipe if you have time to share/describe it. I have been trying lots of new things the last few months and loving it.
      Well done on the extra hours work. I can see you are making up for lost time last year in everything you are doing. Its only mid Feb and you have done so much! Have a lovely weekend! xxx

    2. A manhole cover? Please do explain.

    3. Janell that is to cover the access in your ceilings where there is space to gain access to wiring and so in in your roof. There are so many things with different names between Australia and the US!

  5. I also love the little cot, Annabel and yes, it has your name all over it. Andy certainly is the husband of the week. Your fig paste makes me drool as I am giving up sugar to bring my cholesterol level down. It looks fantastic and I imagine it tastes wonderful too. Have a relaxing weekend!

    1. Nanna Chel I know Im lucky that Andy will stop and grab things for me even if he isnt sure... but 9 times of of ten he is right!
      If you can eat fruit figs are just lovely with cheese etc. This preserves my bounty for a few months at least. Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

  6. I'm GONE on the new babybed! Is it precious, or what?!?! Eagle-Eye Andy! Pennies from Heaven!

    I must share the fig recipe with my Danielle. She not only adores their heart-shape when cut but their taste as well. This would make a great gift for her made by her sissy, too!

    Hugs and happy weekend,

    1. Kelley I love your expressions! Yes Andy has an eagle eye. So do I! Oh the things we find. :)
      If you are looking for recipes for fig or quince paste there are plenty online. Here Maggie Beer is famous for her pastes and this is where I got the idea in the first place. Hope that might be helpful if the girls try this.

  7. Beautiful bed and a wonderfully full week, have a lovely weekend. Good for your hubby on the roadside rescue!

    1. Thank you Kathy and happy weekend to you too (and Valentines Day)
      We have some great luck with our finds, this one was so perfect! xxx

  8. Mexican Tortilla Stack
    500grams mince meat
    1 can crushed tomatoes
    80 grams (tiny can) corn kernels
    cheese grated 6 tortillas
    Tortilla seasoning (Taco seasoning) + add 2 teaspoons cornflour

    Brown mince and add tin tomatoes, corn 1/2 cup water and Taco seasoning. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes stir occasionally. Set oven to 180 or 160 for fan forced.
    Layer 1 tortilla with 1/5 of meat mixture and a sprinkle of grated cheese. Repeat until one tortilla on top and sprinkle this with cheese. Bake in oven for 15 minutes then let sit for 5 minutes before slicing. I served it up with Salsa and Sour Cream on the side with a green salad. Very nice as a change and new to us.

  9. **SWOON ALERT**

    Dear Annabel,

    Has there EVER been a more perfect baby crib in the entire history of mankind for your first grand baby??!!! I mean really, just all kinds of Shabby Romantic gorgeousness looking all darling with the moulded swags and such! What a treasure to find. I'm in awe. Is there such a thing as too perfect? If so this piece takes the prize. What a great big God who supplies, and what a wonderful husband to not pass it up!

    Andy is husband of the year! Truly he is. He is a man who knows his lady!!!

    I don't know her, but if only for the way she's dressed in her garden complete with toe polish I instantly adored your aunt! I can't wait to read her writings.

    All the figs and fruit and jam oh my! You have been feathering away, Annabel. What a week you've had.

    A really busy week here. Cooked at home, 1/2 priced grocery week, mani/pedi for me, manis for the girls (complete with heart decals on some of their nails :) Ironed my hubby's shirts, all my regular housekeeping plus decluttering my youngest daughter's closet. Put a box together for the dv thrift shop, Finished all handmade Valentines with the kiddos. The kids were very creative and the cards they made were seriously adorable, they taped a candy onto each one. I know we could have just grabbed a box at the dollar store and we've done that...but this was time spent together, laughing and talking and being creative and I treasured every moment. The twins are my youngest and they are in 4th grade, and things are changing. Sorry to get so sentimental I'm just so aware of the growth and changes right now. I want to savor every single minute of it. Also, I am homeroom mom for one of the twins...I have 26 kiddos today for an hour and a half. I'm so blessed, it has stretched me and taught me so much, mostly about the little things being completely priceless. For example, taking the time to make bookmarks with the kids complete with home made yarn tassels...I'm stressing out, "what if they find this boring", "what if they don't enjoy this", etc...and they completely eat it up. Sigh. I am in charge of their holiday parties for the year including field day in the spring, end of the year party, and Teacher Appreciation Week. I have been busy with 26 Valentine goody bags, organizing the snacks, games, and crafts they will enjoy for today. Annabel as you would say, a diamond day.

    I'm off to organize all of party supplies into the car and head to the school. Thank you to EVERYONE for sharing, I read and re-read every single comment here. I learn so much and I love Fridays!! Big hugs to each and every one of you. xxx

    1. I knew you would love this cot! How perfect is it? What are the odds? Not odds at all I agree it was sent.
      Colette I did a lot of crafts with the girls. Their friends would want to come around and do crafts at our house. I had mothers offer to pay me to do crafts with their kids! Because many people dont and kids just love to be busy and make things. it gives them a great sense of achievement! So they would have loved you! I am so glad to hear all of this, it is wonderful! You are so right. This time flies by. These days are golden. What you have invested into them is so important.
      The Valentines Day things sound just lovely and so much fun.
      Then I love the hearts on the nails! And that you had a half price grocery week as well.
      I basically admire anyone with twins as I always wondered how I would have managed. And you have different ages and a lot going on as well so I just think you do wonderfully.
      Have a great weekend. It is hot here! Staying in and keeping cool!

  10. I agree with all the commenters here that your husband is a keeper and that baby crib is wonderful! It is so pretty and unique, I've never seen one even similar.

    I've had a thrifty week with lots of cooking at home, one thrift store visit and of course I made some great purchase at my favorite CVS. Husband managed to fix our big desktop computer at no cost. We got some tax refunds and I put them into savings immediately.

    1. Rhonda I was reading about CVS on your blog. We dont have that and really we dont have coupons here. Sadly. In fact we only just got Costco and we are HOPING to get Aldi sometime soon here in Adelaide. We need it as prices can be pretty high. But thrift stores we have! And I went to several this week! Have a great weekend and thank you for your

  11. How exciting Annabel. A free cot !!! Your husband has a keen eye for a bargain. I love your auntie's watering can. Very stylish and much better looking than a plastic one.

    It looks like you had a very productive week. LOVE THE JARS !!! I get excited over jars too. I think it's all the possibilites they hold.

    Here's what I did this week. Photos are on my blog. -

    * Baked lots of peanut butter choc chip biscuits using homemade dough from the freezer.

    * Portioned out $20 worth of chicken fillets into seven meals and froze in snap lock bags.

    * Refilled the dish washing liquid and diluted it by about 30%.

    * Made lots of small rissoles and flash froze them raw on oven trays. They were then portioned into meal sizes and put back into the freezer. The will be great for quick and easy meals especially on hot days with a salad.

    * Collected kitchen water and poured it onto our fruit trees.

    * Bought two as new recipe books from Savers for $3.99 each less 15% discount. One was a muffin book and the other was a biscuit book. They have been put away for Christmas presents. I picked up a lovely cushion for a bed for $2.55. It looks new and has been put away for a birthday present. I also bought an assorted bag of cotton reels and ribbon for $ 2.55. The cotton will be used for sewing and is worth at least $18.

    * Gratefully received some salad, bread, croissants and nectarines.

    * Used some old Christmas cards to make 38 gift tags for future Christmases.

    * Altered a dress for myself and one for Jessica.

    * Hand washed the dinner dishes a few times this week. There wasn't enough to put the dish washer on, We usually only use the dish washer for afternoon tea and dinner dishes together.

    * Gratefully received a large amount of vegetable seeds from an online friend who cannot plant them. There are enough seeds for the next year or two of everything we usually grow. This is a huge blessing for our family and were are so thankful. Thank you so much Jenny. xoxo

    * Picked corn, beans, tomatoes, raspberries and one lemon this week.

    * Baked a double batch of chocolate choc chip muffins.

    * Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread.

    * Darren rigged up an old beach umbrella to shade our raspberry plants. The fruit was getting bleached by the hot sun.

    * Saved the washing machine rinse water for the next load. Saved the shower warm up water for some plants.

    1. I knew you would like the cot Wendy it saved me buying one and this is so nice it is better than what I could buy anyway!
      You had a great week. The seeds from Jenny were a big help, I imagine all they could produce for your family.
      I have had a block of chocolate that melted terribly. I am going to chop it up and use it in muffins like yours, in place of the chocolate chips.
      We are lucky today in the heat we have cloud cover but most days this hot I have umbrellas over things.
      Have a lovely weekend! xxx

  12. Wow I love that cot Annabel, what a great find by Andy! I am sure there are going to be some happy babies sleeping in there. I love the photo of your aunt. I have a watering can like that, my dad found it somewhere in his travels and gave it to me.

    I have enjoyed reading over everyone's efforts this week. We can learn so much from each other. Such a sweet little community you have going on here.

    This week I;
    ~Picked tomatoes, kale, celery, cucumbers, capsicum and zucchini from the veggie garden.
    ~Also picked the remaining figs and froze them for later.
    ~Baked two cakes.
    ~Cooked homemade meals including hamburgers and chips. So much better than the junky ones.
    ~Three no spend days.
    ~Saved household water to water trees.
    ~Got the washing dry in half an hour yesterday!
    ~Finished my boot toppers

    Stay cool this weekend Annabel,


    1. Tania especially considering the heat you did so well! For everyones information Tania lives several hours north of me. It gets hotter as you go up! And she had 47 degrees so far already this week (possibly worse today) which I think is 117 in US terms. Anyway hot! Good fro drying washing lol!
      I have told Andy everyone has praised him over this cot! He loves the attention :)
      I hope you are ok today... so far we have cloud cover which is a good thing.
      Also I hope your garden is holding up! Many thanks Tania xxx

  13. What a wonderful bounty for you this week with all of the luscious fruit, jars and the amazing cot Annabel!! Words fail me with such a find. Amy commented that the detail looks like angel wings which she thinks is absolutely fitting for you to have been "given" xo It is just perfect and so "Annabel" that I doubt you'd have bought any better. Just wonderful!

    I had fun spending my $10 voucher at Woolies this week. I made a little game of it seeing how much I could buy with only using it. I bought grapes for 95c kg, zucchini, green beans, bananas $1.67kg, 2 x 1 litre long life milk, vinegar and ended up with 3 bags full. I had not even spent the $10! I was 45c short (my guesstimation a bit off!) so bought a cherry ripe to share with my DD for $1. So a great bounty of food and a treat for 55c in total.

    I am quite alarmed by the prices of fresh produce though! It is becoming more and more of a super sleuth exercise finding great seasonal buys or mark downs. The local f & veg is a great place to get seasonal (local) produce and bargain markdowns. I bought some local nectarines 1.99kg and also local tomatoes 99c kg and markdowns were apples and fresh cauli/carrot mix less than $1 kg. Thankfully all of our stores are very close by each other which makes going between them all quite convenient. You could walk it all if you had a drag along trolley or two! NQR had golden syrup flavored oat sachets in the 10 packs 50c each. I bought a lot of them as the price is comparable to the homebrand equivalent of plain oats. They are nice as the intended breakfast (tried one) and also I am thinking great additions to pie crusts, biscuits, pancakes and other baking like crumble topping. I notice they are "past date" by a fortnight, so will likely freeze all of them and they will be fine for ages. They are sealed in little foil packs as well so should keep well.

    I stocked up on powdered milk and honey thanks to your information too.

    I really enjoy reading about everything that everyone is doing each week.

    1. Kaye now I will look at the motifs on the cot as angel wings! Thank you both for that! I hadnt seen that but now I do!
      I love your challenge with your $10 voucher! You made it go a mile! What a good challenge.
      I agree there are some scary prices on fruit and vegies. Like here broccoli is out of the question just now! But then there are some good specials and mine have been tomatoes, strawberry, cucumber and zucchini. So I have bought up big on those plus my free fruit. I am realising when broccoli is down in price (like $3 a kilo or less) I am going to buy up big and start freezing it in portions. This does mean we eat seasonally and dont eat the same things all year around which is good really. Having shops close together forces them to compete and try and out do each other which is such a good thing for us! And then swoop on specials like your oats, when we see them! One big thing is having time to shop like this. If we had no time and just paid whatever to fill our list the grocery bill would be astronomical! And many things I find are marked down and not advertised specials, just end of the day or yesterdays bread etc. I look in all the spots I sometimes find great mark downs and it takes a little while!
      Thank you so much for commenting as I know you have been very busy! xxx

    2. I always pray before I shop. It's amazing the amount of bargains that God provides for me.

  14. Wendy I agree. I pray before shopping and pray while making out my list, too. I believe it is a great help!

    Here's what I was up to this week. It was a short week for savings in my home


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