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.

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Thursday, 5 February 2015

Feather your Nest Friday. 6 February 2015.

This has been a busy week. I think it got February off to a good start!

The weather has warmed up but that is normal for this time of year and we were very lucky to have it so mild for so long. That was a saving in itself. No air conditioning and less watering.

This week I was able to use some jams as a little gift.

I picked some cuttings of a palest pink geranium and a heap of pretty succulents as well. All free plants!

My own little Quince tree produced half a dozen Quinces this year which I picked to cook next week.

Someone  else moved out of the units and left behind heaps of stuff. I swooped on a carpet sweeper!
I always did the carpet sweeping for Nan. Mum had a carpet sweeper for years! I have wanted one for ages! I have had two re chargeable hand held vacuums that have both been worse than useless. The idea is for quick clean ups in between a proper vacuum. In theory. You know when you keep running over something and it won't suck up but you think it should so you keep running the vacuum over it? It would be miles faster to bend over and pick it up but no...
An old fashioned carpet sweeper takes no power. I have been using it every day and it picks up much better than my useless electric one! This is great. What a find. I can't wait to see who moves out next and what they leave behind!

I made biscuits. Some to give away as a small gift and some for us.

With the last of the last (and very soft) peaches I made Peach Crumble. Lana had commented that she made Peach Crisp. I had never heard of this. I think it turned out to be one of the name differences between Australian and the US like Biscuits and Scones. I googled and it seems to be what we would call Peach Crumble. Best idea ever!  I just made it as I would apple crumble and it was he yummiest thing ever! Thank you Lana, I made several of these and they were just wonderful!

I have always liked the saying "make hay while the sun shines." This is how I feel about using up the fruit when fruit is coming in or making the most of beautiful weather and washing and drying the quilt when it's hot!

But there are times when we need down time. We need rest. I've said I waste less time overall if I have a rest before a headache gets really bad than if I keep going. But whatever it is there are times we are sick or exhausted or injured and we have to rest.
And there are seasons where we are flat out with a new baby, a sick child or something that is taking all our effort.

These times are ok! Everyone has them. And so when I am well I think "make hay while the sun shines!"
Two years ago I got something nasty and was really sick for about six weeks. It was terrible! Well, there was no feathering my nest I was just trying to get through it! But overall it is ok. You just do what you can when you can.

I am talking about this because just now I know someone injured and confined to bed and someone struggling and unable to do the usual things. Also I know I have a reader with a new born baby! In whatever circumstance there is only so much you can do! Don't be discouraged when you have had a bad week or a sick week.  Be encouraged! 

Today I am off to see my aunt and her lovely garden. She called me to say she has a bucket each of Figs, Quinces and Plums for me! Now, I know this free fruit time is not going to last much longer. This is another time to make hay while the sun shines. This helps me to save money and build up my pantry! 
It is a reasonable drive to get there but there are several lovely op shops in her area plus a fantastic vegie shop I can go to on the way home. So it becomes a great day in many ways and a great start to my next week of Feathering my Nest!

Yesterday I had coffee with a lady I met recently. I gave her some of my Fig and Almond jam as she said how much she loved it. Making a new friend I found out she loves preserves and she has a lemon tree! I said to her if she likes Lemon Butter I would make it for her in exchange for lemons. Deal! And so I have a new source of lemons.
I am mentioning this as I get a lot of free fruit and this is how. I ask. Make it known to people that you make jam and pies etc and ask if they have spare fruit, offer to do a swap.... knock on the door where you can see fruit falling to the ground... let your church family or relatives and friends know you really appreciate produce. Reward them with a jar of jam or a pie. Doing this has always kept me in free fruit.
Depending on where you live this could work with vegetables or other things. But here there are good fruit trees and a good variety of them so it mainly works with fruit.  It is an example of "ask and you shall receive" it really works, you will be amazed. 

How have you saved money and Feathered your Nest this week?  Every little bit helps!

Have a wonderful


  1. Love your post and cooking! So yummy. Really great read.

  2. What a wonderful week you've had as usual Annabel. I love hearing of the lovely free produce that comes your way! No free produce here, but I did have a big saving by defrosting my refrigerator. I know that sounds odd, but we were told a year ago that we would have to buy a new fridge as ours was on it's last legs. Well here we are, it's still going, and all I have to do is defrost it about every 8 weeks, and it keeps kickin' along! It's great discipline too as it forces me to deal with all those unidentifiable containers with murky contents, most of which turn out to be something really yummy like my home made refried beans or pumpkin soup, which we then get to enjoy totally! I couldn't agree more on asking and receiving. It's a real life mantra for me too. More tasks this week... I've made McDonalds style fish burgers with home battered fish, which meant that one single fish fillet fed three of us, and made my own Greek yoghurt which provides us with yummy breakfasts and desserts for several days for just pennies. I planted some coriander, parsley, basil and sage, and made some gluten free gnocchi which we ate with fried sage leaves and brown butter for dinner last night. I served it with exotic multi coloured tomatoes on the side and it looked fabulous and tasted even better :) I hope everyone has enjoyed a productive week. Thankyou for your lovely posts on Fridays...Mimi xxx

    1. Mimi I am amazed by your gorgeous meals. I think I need a lesson in Gnocchi. Sage and brown butter sounds beautiful. Did you take photos of this meal? I really want to learn what to do with Gnocchi as I have no clue. It is one of the things Hilde keeps on hand too and so I am thinking I am missing out on this. I have eaten it and it was divine but that is the extent of my knowledge.
      Have a wonderful weekend. Many thanks for a glimpse into your kitchen. I agree going through the fridge and what we have is a big saver, keeping on top of things before they are past their best. I need to do this as I am back to using fruit (from today) and wanting to make the most of everything and waste none! xxx

  3. Dear Annabel

    Another wonderful Friday post as always.

    This week has been busy and I must admit a little stressful. I sometimes get a little discouraged but then I decided to stop that train of thought and know I accomplish more when I am in a grateful, upbeat mood. I am starting a journal tomorrow just for my accomplishments so that I can show to myself that I am being the best I can be.

    This Week's Feathering
    *I held the family celebration for my eldest daughter's birthday here last Sunday. I made everything from scratch and saved myself a very tidy sum. I stuffed and roasted two chooks, made potato salad, coleslaw and my 14 year old daughter made a greek salad. I found bread in the freezer which had been there for ages and I thought was no good but when it defrosted it was lovely and fresh tasting so I served that up rather than buying rolls. The girls and I took leftovers to school and work for lunches. I saved two left over bottles of soft drink that my son bought to the lunch for my youngest daughter's birthday party coming up.
    *I ate a filling and healthy and cheap (rolled oats) breakfast every day and took a healthy lunch to work with me to try and stop snacking.
    *Cooked all main meals at home and packed snacks and lunches for school from home
    *I queried a doctor's account and saved myself $95
    *Watered the passion fruit vine (which has flowers on it woohooooo) with the water from the drinks tub I used at my daughter's birthday
    *I read some of the blogs from your side bar and was very inspired
    *I found a very cheap source of cooking tomatoes and fresh seasonal fruit. I will not use it this year as I am not up to preserving fruit this season but I will certainly be going for it next year
    *Made my middle daughter coleslaw for her school lunches using ingredients on hand
    *saved the little bit of corn kernels left from a meal and sent it to school with my daughter for a snack (she loved it)
    *found $2.75 in the bottom of a handbag I hadn't used for a while

    I am off work tomorrow and do not have the girls here so it is going to be my house cleaning and organising day. I am actually getting excited thinking about it. Yes I know I have no life but a clean home is a happy home to me.
    God Bless all and have a great week.

    1. That was a very good week Mel! So many good things and very good on the doctors account that you checked that!
      I do understand the chance to get stuck into the home and make things as you want. It makes a difference to how I feel and how things go for days and days! I just hope it is not too hot and your air conditioning is up and running now for you.
      Is the cheap source of tomatoes local to you? I would be interested in finding this. I am on the other side of town but Andys job has him running around everywhere so potentially I can ask him to stop by places! He has pocked up good fruit and vegies for me at a market in Port Adelaide a few times. So it is possible I could make this happen too!
      Have a wonderful weekend getting things done! And have some rest too! xxx

  4. Lovely post today Annabel, it does sound like you had a busy but enjoyable week.

    I haven't had a very productive week, and did just what I could. Cooking, washing, dusting, vacuuming etc. I did take my kitchen curtain down to give it a wash and the window a clean, but haven't got to put it back up yet it and now the heat has arrived. Its 41C outside as I write this at 5pm. I think we were spoiled to have such a pleasant January. I have picked figs ready for jam making. I started sorting through the large collection of jars I have in storage in our outside room, and have come to the conclusion that we have way too many of them!

    Enjoy your weekend Annabel.


    1. Tania the heat is hard! And we have been lucky and its going to hit sooner or later and this is an introduction I think! It is very easy to be exhausted in the heat and also not sleep well. You always do a huge amount. A bit quieter week is not a bad thing! I hope the garden copes alright.
      Have a lovely weekend and rest if you need to. xxx

  5. Hi Mimi and Mel, two lovely posts to read. Almost like a visit to your homes. Thanks so much. This week seems to have flown on wings with very little achieved in my nest. I did wash my lounge covers yesterday which are white. I'm always amazed how they come up like new just using warm water, cheap detergent and a tablespoon of nappy soaker. They dried in the sun and have that lovely crisp finish to them.
    We have been living on an abundance of free mangos that were given to us. It's such a help for breakfasts, smoothies at lunch time and desert at night.
    Have a beautiful weekend everyone and Annabel.....thank you for a fabulous post. Love Helen xxx

    1. Helen clean and fresh lounge covers is a fair achievement. Washing mine is a massive job!
      The mangoes are such a help and so healthy too. When I am given fruit that becomes our fruit for eating, what ever it is, until its all gone. Today I got my figs, plums and quinces! Plus it was a wonderful day as we picked them and considered other fruit coming on in the garden, limes, ranges, lemons...heaps of stuff! Beautiful.
      Have a lovely weekend! xxx

  6. I am glad you enjoyed the Peach Crisp/Crumble!

    I have been laid up with a very sore leg this week but I know it will get better and I will be back to work around the house soon. On Tuesday I cooked a whole chicken with vegetables for supper and we have been eating from the chicken all this week. We have one more meal from it for tonight. A savings in work and power to cook a new meat each night.

    What a blessing to receive all of that fruit. Fig jam is my favorite. There were no figs here last year because we had a late freeze that ruined the crop.

    Have a good day!

  7. Dear Annabel,
    Thank you for such a nice post! I so look forward to Fridays, everyone inspires me. This week I was fortunate again to meet my savings goals, added another stocking stuffer to my gift stash, kept up with reading other frugal blogs for learning and inspiration, sorted through my freezer, made a pot of chili with beans and froze three portions for meals later :) I juiced a bunch of lemons, and many into tablespoon-sized measurements and froze them in cubes for later use. Of course I have an abundance of free citrus in AZ right now and I hate it when I need fresh lemon and they are 2/$1, or even more. So here's to hoping I can completely avoid that until next winter! I also cut a bunch of parsley to dry. I did not get a box together for the thrift shop. There's always next week! I am learning as I read what others do and how they live, stock and care for their homes and families that:

    1) I have so much to learn
    2) I am already doing a lot of good things
    3) I will always have room for improvement on every level of making my home a haven from the world.

    I have struggled on and off with a headache for over three days now. It seems to be stemming from some knotted muscles in my right shoulder. It's worn me out. I know that you all know how we can get discouraged from being in pain and/or sick. Well, the really neat thing is that in spite of how I've been feeling (and I feel like that affects the home atmosphere/what I get done, etc....) my family has told me on a few occasions this week how much they love being home, and home is their favorite place to be.


    I feel accomplished with that! Everyone have a blessed, wonderful weekend. Thank you for sharing. I'm so encouraged! xxx

    1. Dear Colette, I have had a three day headache also. So I couldnt believe that. At nights it has been bad and I have felt a bit low over it. And there you are in the same boat. I hope yours has improved. It is very hard doing things or just managing with pain. How people with constant pain manage I do not know.
      Still you had a good week! I agree on the lemons etc... we have so many then none and need to buy them! You will be glad of that frozen juice later!
      WHen your family say they love home, love being home you know you have created the right kind of home! You know this will be their loving memory of the home you created and they will want to create their own! Do you know that is a way your children have already risen up and called you blessed!
      There is nothing better than feeling there is more to learn and learning new things! Like my excitement to be learning new cooking and pantry things from Hilde. Or what I have learned of late from A Working Pantry... she has given me ideas where I think WHY didnt I think of that? That kind of thing!
      I love Fridays too. I already have a whole list of things for next Friday as I just had a day of really good savings and the fruit from my aunt.
      Have a wonderful weekend and I hope your headache is gone. xxxx

  8. Another very fruitful week for you Annabel :-) Nice to know I am not the only person to keep running the vacuum cleaner over something it won’t pick up. I have a cordless vac for my daily vacuuming – (it doesn’t always happen daily but that is what I am for) and a ducted vacuum for my main weekly vaccum. The ducted system is very old and only has one outlet for plugging in the very long vacuum hose, but still works really well. Just before Christmas I told my husband that our cordless vac was broken as it was emptied but still not picking up from the carpet. My husband took it outside and cleaned the roller, and it worked perfectly again. Congratulations on your free carpet sweeper.

    This week I went back to work on Monday for the first time in twelve months. Only 1 day a week as yet. I have been on income insurance for about 7 months and those payments are 70% of my normal income. So every day I am at work it is like I have had a 30% pay rise. I saw my specialist on Tuesday and had my Port-a-Cath flushed at the hospital straight afterwards. (A Port-A-Cath is like having a computer port in your chest that is linked to a catheter – soft tubing- that runs to a vein. It is so the medical staff don’t have to use the veins in your arms for giving meds and taking blood. They just “plug in” at the Port).

    I have also had Labyrinithitis for a few weeks, it has been going around town, some people have had it so badly they have been hospitalised. When it hits it is a bit like being on the worst ride at the Royal Show, everything spins wildly. I am almost over the virus now.

    I have tried a couple of new easy dinner recipes this week and we really enjoyed them. One was a easy sausage casserole and the other was a spicy maple chicken recipe. I made a cinnamon tea cake and a peanut butter slice, which is my favourite slice and my husband’s least favourite. On Thursday afternoon I was going to run a couple of errands but had a two hour nap on the lounge instead, I literally could not keep my eyes open. And you are so right we do need to stop and rest at times.
    Yesterday we had new carpet laid in our three bedrooms. This was part of the insurance work being done following the burst pipe in the kitchen last October. So the house is looking much improved now. I hope you have a lovely weekend Annabel.

    1. Sherri, a big week for you! I think its very wise to go back to work one day at a time. It is a big adjustment. Sorry you have been sick on top of it, no wonder you were asleep on the couch!
      I love trying new dinner recipes! I have learned a heap of new things lately and it is so exciting. Especially when they are really good! Some that could be doubled and make a frozen meal or a meal for another night... I love those as we all need a night off. Especially true when working.
      I am sure the increase in income will be welcome and helpful.
      I hope the weekend can be a big rest for you. I am not sure if next week you work one day or two? I hope your virus is gone anyway so it will be easier. I thought you achieved A LOT for the week! Well done! xxxx

  9. Annabel the cheap tomatoes were at the Lyndoch local store. I work at Williamstown and my daughter sees a specialist at Lyndoch. Also the cheaper fruit was at Williamstown in a home. Hope that helps. Though tomatoes you would probably get very cheap at Gepps Cross Markets though to be truthful I haven't been there in a while
    Melissa xxxx

    1. Thanks Mel. I used to go to Gepps Cross regularly but it is a fair distance and now with only two of us home it is not so worth it. But if you do go I found that one hour before closing and buying last minute got me by far the best deals as they dont want to take produce home so prices are slashed right at the end. Amazing! I will tell Andy to let me know if he gets to Lyndoch next week, it could happen! Have a restful weekend! xxx

  10. Oh my goodness Annabel I just re-read the entire post again and I forgot to tell you that laughter is the BEST medicine!!! Your description of vacuuming and re-vacuuming over something is hysterical in my opinion because we've all done that! My kids were like..."Mommy, who are you laughing with??" HA!!!! love to you all

  11. Here's my frugal list for the week -

    * Diluted a bottle of white vinegar by 50 %. I had an empty bottle so I poured half into it and topped it up with water. It's great for cleaning but not suitable for cooking.
    * Made seasoned bread crumbs from scratch. Some were used to make KFC drumsticks.
    * Made a muesli bar slice. I would have taken a photo but it was a little over baked. Still yummy though.
    * Saved the shower warm up water and poured it into my watering can and used it to water the fruit trees.
    * Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread.
    * Gratefully received two plum puddings. I'll give one to a family member and the other one was portioned into single serves and frozen. Darren is the only one in our house who really enjoys plum pudding.
    * Made a children's Christmas apron and chef's cap as a present for Christmas this year. The material panel was on clearance after Christmas a year ago for $1.
    * Saved some large glass jars. I'm going to use them as presents by picking a bunch of flowers from the garden. I'll tie twine around the flowers and place them in the jar. The jar will be decorated with a wide strip of wrapping paper and a ribbon. I've seen these on The Prudent Homemaker's blog and they look lovely. Cost is zero. I'll post a picture when I make them up.
    * Picked strawberries, raspberries, beans, tomatoes, zucchinis and corn from the vegetable garden.
    * Darren used some of our compost on the veggie garden.
    * For some reason we didn't use as much milk this week and I had almost three litres to use with one day left on the expiry date So I made creamed rice to use up about two litres. We had it for dessert two nights running. I had it for lunch two days and Jessica was in heaven eating it for breakfast.
    * Gratefully accepted some free sandwiches.
    * Found some older face washers and hand towels in the linen cupboard to replace the tired ones I was using in the kitchen. The really old kitchen ones were moved on to the laundry as mop up cloths. I never buy kitchen sponges or wipe up cloths. I use the slightly old and faded face washers instead. It's great as I can change them over at the end of the day and throw them in the wash.
    * Baked a triple batch of chocolate choc chip muffins. A few were eaten fresh and the rest were frozen for lunch boxes.
    * Bought chicken fillets a $6.99 kg from Tasman Meat. Bought Pineocleen and Pantene shampoo and conditioner at half price from Coles..
    * Dried all the washing clothes horses and the line.
    * Kept the heater off all week and only used the evap. cooling for a couple of hours

    1. Wendy I remember what a week I would have when the girls went back to school. I loved holidays but when they went back I would clean organise cook and get back into routine.
      I saw Brandy's vase of flowers gift too and thought I must give more flowers from my garden. I am going to send you a picture too that is a similar idea. A new florist opened up nearby. It is gorgeous and I look as I can get ideas. They had very big vintage style jars. Each had a little bit of dirt in the bottom and a few succulents and a few stones. String around the top and a label. Now they did look nice. But very very simple. They were $49 each. So I snapped a photo! Yep $49 and if I collect succulents when I can and jars from the op shop I could do this for under $2 each.
      You had a great week. A good list! Thank you for sharing it here I really appreciate

    2. Gosh, I didn't think my list would look so long on your blog. I remembered to copy and paste it this week. Much easier than trying to remember everything.

      I forgot to say that I bought one of those battery operated carpet sweepers advertised on tv. You know, the red one that reaches under furniture. I bought it from Big W for about $60. It lasted a couple of months before the battery wouldn't charge any more. So I took it back and bought a manual carpet sweeper for half the price. It's great for a quick whip around.

      Can't wait to see the photo. I have a camera on my phone but I wouldn't know how to use it. I have a Nokia and I only learnt to text when I was travelling with ACA. last year.

  12. Wendy that list is amazing puts me to shame.

    Hope everyone has a frugal week ahead.

    1. Mel, everyone's list is just as important as the others. We are being good stewards of what God has given us. I'm sure our families love the blessings too.

  13. Amen to that Wendy. God Bless and have a good week


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