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 March 2015

Feather your Nest Friday, 13 March, 2015.

We had a short week this week due to a public holiday. Technically, yes, it is still seven days in a week! But the routine is changed and I don't seem to get so much done. So on Tuesday I got a wriggle on and tried to make up for it!

A weekly review and lots of lists help me get more done. When we talk about building up our homes, feathering our nests, it can mean a lot of things. Building up relationships is also building up your nest. It is strengthening your home. Some weeks we might achieve more in one area than another. All progress is progress! But considering our achievements helps us see how much is possible. That progress has been made. That definitely helps me feel happy and more positive than only looking at what needs doing rather than celebrate what has been achieved!

There are so many reasons that saving money can help you build up your home. Security for one. There is nothing like an emergency fund and some financial leeway to create a buffer between us and unexpected circumstances. And there is nothing like a pantry full of goodness to create another buffer between us and shortages, full prices, the takeaway shops, the times we are rained or snowed in or the times the bills come before the income has come in.

We can incorporate any goals we want into our weeks. It is just amazing how small steps add up!

This week I feathered my nest by:

Doing some deep cleaning. Like moving the bed and wiping down skirting boards etc.
Tidying up and making the dining room table look lovely.
Trying new recipes.
Further building up my pantry.
Improving the first aid kits.
Improving the meal situation in the freezer. (and pantry)

This week I saved money by:

I had a day I didn't have to water. We had rain! Just enough to wash everything and freshen everything up.

I can't wait until we get the first good rains. The garden is dry in spite of all the recycled water it gets. But this was great as a start.

I baked a birthday cake for my brothers birthday. He likes a fruit cake. So I made him one and I doubled the recipe. This recipe makes one very large fruit cake. So doubled I made three medium plus two tiny fruit cakes. It is a recipe that improves with age. Also this makes it a perfect pantry cake. It keeps at least a year. Having this on hand is wonderful. Unexpected visitors, a gift, a busy time, it is a great cake to have in the cupboard. The recipe is here. I have set one aside to take away on our holiday. One for Andy's birthday cake as it is his favourite. We had one mini one for desert and one mini one I sent to my Dad.

As a gift for Dad, along with the little cake, I sent him jars of plum and jars of fig and almond jam. He is mad about old fashioned jams like these. It was a big success he rang me up so pleased!

We experienced some culture in an arts festival in our city. It was a light show and the evening was beautiful. It was totally free and a lovely night out. Checking for free events can be a really good idea.

I made some extra meals by cooking double or triple. This included tuna mornay which saved cooking one night. When I do this I try and make it different. One night I served tuna money in vol au vent cases. Then two nights later I served it with breadcrumbs and cheese baked over it. Both were yum.

I picked basil and chillies form the garden.

Lucy is finishing her nursery. I was able to give her a lovely bookcase and a bedside table. These were both things she said she needed. I told her I had one of each in the shed! Both were road side finds. The shelves were handmade heavy wooden shelves and the table was a Queen Anne style little bedside table with drawers. She was so pleased and yesterday I saw how they turned out when painted up! Gorgeous! So that wasn't my money saving but a big one for her. I love being able to do this!

I couldn't show you this before or Helen would have seen but for her birthday I made kitchen gifts and added pantry items! One gift was gingham serviettes that I did a crochet edge on. Helen loves red in her kitchen. So I made the whole parcel red. This was easy to do and she loved it. Making presents overall saves me a lot of money and I can make things just to suit what someone loves. This was a success! (At Christmas I had made her a red gingham tablecloth).

I am starting a frugal craft, a rag rug. Here is Nanna Chels tutorial that she posted this week. I almost have enough fabrics for this. We have a chance to go to some country op shops coming up and I will get the material I need then. My ambition is to make a heart shaped rag rug for next to the bed and for the little nursery I am setting up. Nana Chel's Rag Rug Tutorial.

I love reading how people save money and the things they do. Patsy was out of her usual shopping area and decided while she was near other shops to check out the prices. She struck gold in some amazing specials. This reminds me of the verse "she brings home food from far away places." Many times exploring new markets, shops, garage sales etc we come across things we would normally never see! For us the country op shops are so wonderful and if we didn't check them on trips away we would just miss out. I come home with gorgeous fabrics and everything I need for planned crafts, presents and clothes too. So always remember to "bring home food from far away places." Some of the best fruit and vegetable buys I have ever had are from far flung suburbs out of my normal area. But calling in on them has turned out so well! Being ever watchful is always going to help.

On My Abundant Life Wendy has started a column to alert each other to great specials of the week. This is such a good idea. Straight away via her blog and face book I saw two of my favourite brand shampoo's were half price at Coles! Helping each other find specials is a wonderful idea!
Wendy also posted recently how her daughter spotted tomatoes at a fantastic price. This helped Wendy heaps and I thought I wonder how many teenage daughters know WHAT is a bargain price on fruit and vegies and would both NOTICE/watch out and alert their Mother? Very impressive. And this is what we need to do. Use the eyes and ears of all our family members and friends! Get everyone on board, tell them what to watch for, what you are looking for. Andy has sent me a text saying "is $2 good for cauliflowers?" as he has seen them in front of a shop.... yes it is!  Get everyone on board to help you and work as a team.

I hope you had a great week and I love hearing what you did to build up your nest and save money. We both learn new ideas and encourage each other. As we "encourage one another" we are helping each others households as well!  xxx


  1. Annabel, you do the most beautiful handwork! I'm not sure what a serviette is but it is beautiful! Must check out the rag rug tutorial and the fruit cake recipe ... I love all things home!

    1. Thanks Patsy, Another word for serviette would be napkin. For wiping your fingers at the dinner table.. if that helps.
      The fruit cake is a great pantry item. Have a lovely weekend! xxx

    2. I thought that might be it! So Beautiful!

  2. Thank you for the continued inspiration Annabel :) Rag rugs have been on my list for a long time so I will watch the tutorial. Thanks Nana Chel.

    1. Me too Barb for some reason it has taken me this long to get to rag rugs when I've always loved them.
      Many thanks xxx

  3. I've scheduled going through the linen cupboard this weekend. I know there are sheets there I could put aside for the rag rugs as you had mentioned keeping them for that purpose Annabel.

    This week I've sorted the top freezer of the fridge. I've set up baskets similar to my fridge space and have also set a day each month in my diary for clean out. If there are bread ends, I'll process for breadcrumbs and any bits and pieces will need incorporating into meals asap or be thrown out! I make these challenges so I can work more resourcefully and efficiently. I have a $20 card from woolies to use. It seems that late afternoons Wednesday have been great fruit and veg scores for me there. This week was 94c kg white nectarines, tomatoes 99c kg, beans 2.99 kg. Potatoes were 4kg $3 @ Aldi. Pears were $1.50kg at Coles, as was watermelon. I'll set a challenge to see how much I can get for my $20 gift card next week.

    My mother gave me beautiful crystal salad bowls, milk glass plates and a cookie press my grandmother used to make Christmas cookies when we were young! It is a Sawa 71 still in its original box. I'm looking for recipes on the internet now for it as the book was missing but all intact otherwise. I love old wares, but particularly ones that tie us to childhood memories. Bliss!

    I saved 31c a little on a tank of fuel! It is much more expensive where we live but had to attend an appointment out of town, so took advantage of the price difference. Coles still offer 14c litre if you spend $20. We stocked up on toilet paper!! The overall savings practically paid for it.

    Hope everyone has had a great week also. xo

    1. You had a great week Kaye. I love everything your Mum gave you! I also have the old fashioned biscuit press and all the patterns. But so far I havent had success with the right consistency for the dough to come through and not break. If you find the formula please let me know!
      Your vegie buys were excellent. Now you have found a good time to go that is a big thing. Once I find "the golden hour" I stick with it and plan around it. Big difference!! I cant wait to hear how far you can stretch that gift card!
      Have a beautiful weekend and thanks for a wonderful

  4. Annabel I did look for a heart shaped rug when I was working on the tutorial but could only find a pattern you have to pay for from a lady who I think is in the US and seems to make rugs and patterns to sell. I think her name is something like Aunty Phil. She does have a YouTube video but it is mainly promotional. I will let you know if I find anything.

    1. Thanks Nanna Chel, I will start with an oval one so I get some idea of what I am doing and then have a go!
      I have to do a good job as I will have to post a photo of how these turn out! Thanks for the

  5. Hi Annabel, now everyone can see my serviettes. I love them!
    One of the things that you can do to make rag rugs is tear your fabric into 1 inch wide strips making them as long as you can( a bit like peeling an apple) . Using a large crochet hook or knitting needles, make your rag rug.
    Kaye, we are all thrilled at your acquisition of your old wares from your family. Fabulous discounts as well sweet friend. Love Helen xxx

    1. I had forgotten the coast was clear and I could post the pics now! Before I couldnt let you see them!
      I like the idea to crochet the rugs. I think I will try both. This would suit both our homes dont you think?
      Have a lovely weekend Helen, I hope you have the nice weather we are having its just

  6. I have a number of rugs made of wool coats that were cut into strips and braided and then sewn into ovals. My Great Aunt Bonnie made them. I have one in front of my kitchen sink because it is very thick and comfortable for long standing.

    I have been working on finding uses for sour milk. We sometimes just do not get the milk used quickly enough. I have found a tweeked a bread recipe that will be a regular recipe now and also a delicious pancake recipe. I also have a donut and cake recipe that I want to try.

    Here in the USA we had the change to daylight savings time this past Sunday which is hard to adapt to and must be the lowest productivity week of the year. I am hoping for getting more done next week.

    1. Lana I love the rugs your Aunt made. I had not thought of wool and using coats! I know someone who cuts up wool coats and accumulates squares which she makes pure wool patchwork blankets with. What an idea. A pure wool blanket now is very expensive. And they look so nice. She does manly ones in dark colours and tweeds etc and girly ones in pinks and blues etc. Really they are fabulous. Now I have more things I would love to do!
      I have a banana cake recipe that calls for sour milk. If you think you would use that let me know and Ill post it. It uses one cup of sour milk.
      We have a change in daylight savings coming up. I find the first few days like mini jet lag! So imagine 8 hours difference etc in actual jet lag. I think it would kill me now!
      Have a good weekend and great week next

    2. I love the idea of the wool blankets from coats! My aunt bought the coats in thrift stores in Florida where they were most likely donated after ladies moved there from the north. I was with her one day when she bought a whole pile for $1 each. She takes them apart at the seams and then washes the pieces on gentle cycle and hangs them outside to dry. She is quite old now and will most likely not make anymore rugs so I treasure the four that I have.

      Thank you for the offer of the banana cake recipe. My husband would not be fan so I would not make it. As empty nesters I try to make what we both like since there are no children to gobble it all up.

  7. Great post Annabel! I love how you organize, craft, cook, and help others out! It gives me such inspiration. Glad to hear of your rain, I can send you plenty of snow that is melting, lol. Hugs, Nana

    1. Dear Nana, I am thinking you must be glad of melting snow and spring. It is lovely here now. I could have this all year round.
      Thank you for your always kind comments. Have a wonderful weekend, Love

  8. Annabel, this is so fuuny. You've put a link to my blog and I've put a link to yours too. Great minds think alike. The serviettes look lovely and you always present your gifts so well.

    I've had a very productive week with lots of great specials bought to fill my cupboards, baking and cooking completed as well as being wise with what we have. Here's what I got up to this week -

    * Gratefully received some glass jars from my friend Leesa. Thank you so much. Those salsa jars are the perfect size for my relish and the lids are apple green in color ( my fav ).

    * Gratefully received some sandwiches, and egg and bacon muffins

    * Mended lots of socks. They had holes in the toe area so they were worth mending.

    * Spent some time making birthday cards. I only have a few stamps and ink pads from many years ago. As card making can be an expensive hobby I've taken my lead from Annabel at The Bluebirds Are Nesting blog. She makes beautiful cards using pictures from magazines. Here's a link to her blog. at

    * Cut up three old socks to use as garden ties.

    * Froze three single portions of leftover chicken curry. These will be written into the menu plan as a free meal.

    * Picked a handful of raspberries each day and froze them.

    * Dried the washing on the line for free. It looks like I've reduced my washing to 5 loads a week without compromising on cleanliness.

    * Saved the shower warm up water. Some was poured into the washing machine and the rest was used to water my mango plants. They are looking quite healthy.

    * Made up a batch of dried seasoned bread crumbs.

    * Darren bought two litres of chocolate flavoured milk for 50 cents. It had one day left on it's use by. We don't normally by flavoured milk but this bargain was too good to refuse. Darren and the girls had a couple of glasses each to drink that day. Megan used the rest to make icypoles.

    * Bought 10 kilos of chicken drumsticks at $1.98 kilo. Darren and I divided them up into 15 meal portions ( 4 drumsticks ) and froze them. We also have rain checks for another 15 kilos which we'll redeem throughout the next twelves months when we need them.

    * Made two chocolate cakes at the same time. One is for us and the other is for morning tea at church on Sunday.

    * Bought the supermarket bargains listed here Grocery Specials.

    * Found three cushion inserts at Savers op shop for $2.99 each. A few cushions on our family room couch and Megan's bed were looking a bit flat. Spotlight sells the inserts for about $10 - $15 for the size I needed. I'd been waiting for a sale but Spotlight doesn't seem to reduce them often. I'd never even thought of looking at Savers, but there they were. Three near new ones just waiting for me.

    * Cut and whizzed a few bars of soap in the food processor I added this to my bucket of powdered soap that I use to make laundry powder.

    * Picked a bunch of roses from the bush in the chicken coop.

    1. You had a great week Wendy! The pictures on your blog of all this were just lovely.
      Thank you for the link up too! You did such a good job of your cards!
      Each week you have had some free food! It is amazing. God is blessing you, thats what I think.
      Once again what I said about your whole family watching for specials is shown by the chocolate milk find! The idea to make the rest into iceblocks is really good, I thought of chocolate paddlepops. That is what it would taste like> yum!
      I hope next week it just as good. This is wonderful. We are all doing really well and I am convinced it is the encouragement we give each other. xxx

  9. Dear Annabel,
    Thank you for another lovely post! The serviettes you made for Helen are gorgeous! I showed Bill that fig & almond jam again and from his response I think I'm going to have to learn how to make that! What a nice week it seems you've had even though you had a public holiday.
    This week I feathered my nest by: organizing/purging household files/paperwork. I kept up with my regular housecleaning, copied Wendy's honey-mustard chicken recipe to give it a try :) I added some stuff to my first aid kit. I worked part-time, and I can't tell you how much we need this extra income right now so I'm truly grateful. I stayed on budget with my grocery shopping, and I have another box of miscellaneous items for the domestic violence thrift shop. It's not hard to come up with a box a week from a family of seven! We were able to meet our weekly savings goals in spite of some large bills we have coming due. Can I just say that I refuse to budge on that? If we don't stay persistent on the saving end, I think we will get derailed and lose sight of those particular goals. I treat it (the savings) as a bill that must be paid. It seems to be working for us. I volunteered in my daughter's classroom one morning. My kids took lunch to school all week. We ate our meals at home. I made my girls' favorite, chicken with red coconut curry. I made my son's favorite tacos. I have really cute individual displays in the hallway (magnetic boards) for the four kids school aged and still living at home with us, and I freshened those by changing the pictures & pretty 12x12 decorative scrapbook paper as the underlying mat behind each. They are adorable and the kids love their little displays! I am working on a gallery wall in our main hallway and it is really fun to nest away in our home. I waxed my bonus-daughter's eyebrows this week, visited with extended family last night, and meal planned for next week. I made a goal to reduce my remaining monthly grocery spending by half. With careful prep and planning it will work. I'm surprising my hubby with a date, shhhhhh :)
    I love Fridays and I so look forward to everyone posting. I pray you all have a blessed weekend, wherever you are! Never forget that the work you are doing in your home for your family and loved ones is the most important work of your life. xxx

    1. I love Fridays and look forward to this so much too! It helps me plus it is a joy to count up how we did.
      Then we get the weekend to have a little rest before getting going again for a new week.
      I love the magnetic boards and also the gallery wall. This week Lucy was repainting some photo frames. You can often get really nice frames that repainted become gorgeous. That can help with the framing... I have found many in op shops. Some have had icky pictures in them which I just remove and paint the frames and voila! lovely frame that would have cost $30 to buy (usually can do it for about $3)
      I am so pleased you made you savings goals even though I know this month is a tough one. Cutting the grocery bill by half is a big challenge. Some of my recipes for those times are simple pizzas, pasta based meals, impossible pie/zucchini slice etc. soup... and use it up challenges where you treat it as a challenge to use up frozen things and pantry things to create new meals. Also left over night and toasties night where everyone assembles their own fillings and you toast sandwiches. These stretch the grocery budget and help a bit.
      The main thing with the fig and almond jam is to use blanched whole almonds and add them in the last ten minutes or so. The combination is delicious!
      Have a lovely weekend. You did so well. Thank you for sharing your week, I love it! xxx

  10. Feathering the nest....A much gentler term than prepping. I'm going to use that one. Another blogger I follow was asked about being a "prepper", she responded that she is just a traditional housewife. I think it keeps us under the radar. lol

    I stopped in at the big box grocery store today specifically for bananas. I spotted their clearance cart for produce. And green peppers. They usually sell for over $2 pound but were on sale for $1.29 a pound.....except these less than perfects for 69 cents a pound. I probably bought 12 pounds (about 36 peppers). Tomorrow I'll dice and put them in the dehydrator.

    1. Thank you! Great buy on the peppers! That really adds to your supplies this week.
      Yes, once it was normal to have the best pantry you could possibly have. It was called sensible. Squirrels and ants do it. Those little extremists lol!
      In my case I think of myself as a hope to be Proverbs woman who is not going to be afraid of the winter... whatever winter maybe as I think it can mean cold weather/snow/lean times/ hard times/ ???? any time that your supplies get you through.
      Thanks so much for your comment and welcome! xxx

  11. Hi Annabel, loved the gingham serviettes, what a lovely gift. I loved very much the knitwear you sent for my new grandson. Haven't seen him in the top but have a pic of him wearing one of the hats and he looks somehow like a little old man in a hat, how can he at only one month old??? But he does, he sort of has a worried frown and he looks gorgeous. Thank you so much, the parents were tickled pink too.
    The thing I love about this blog is that you describe your life so richly and I believe it encourages others to do the same.
    I had a good shop yesterday, went to costco with my son and his gf. One of the things I bought was a 3kg tray of mince and I made up 15 meals of meat. I added a couple of kilos of tomatoes from our veggie garden, basil and parsley from my herb garden as well as homegrown shallots. Then I added a tin of baked beans (pureed in my thermomix along with about half a kg of carrots, half a bottle of red wine, a bottle of my tomato puree thingy I made in the thermie last week and half a bottle of shop tomato paste languishing in the fridge. Got 13 meals of just plain cooked meat which can become spag bol or meat pie or shepherds pie or whatever. Then made two lasagnas. All for 20.90 of meat and a few other cheap or virtually free things. Love labelling and stacking things in my freezer. I also got a tub of natural yoghurt. 2kg for 5.30. Will be making muffins by the ton tomorrow and freezing for lunches etc. Wonder if you have any ideas for a huge lot of natural yoghurt. I haven't bought that quantity before. They had a huge tray of fresh cooked hot cross buns, 24 for 8.99 so got them too. Have split them up into fours and frozen them too. It's nice a couple of times a week to take a packet out for breakfast.
    Today I was to be found in my glasshouse. I inherited it when I bought this place and we have made shelves. I have propagated some lavender, fuchsia, hydrangea and azaleas. Need to set up a sprinkler thingy soon, cos i'm a bit over racing out there multiple times a day to drizzle with water. I used to grow plants for a friend who had a nursery and really enjoy getting my fingers dirty.
    Then we sat to watch the grand prix. I saw lap 10 then woke up to lap 57 of 58. Oh well, it seemed pretty boring anyway. The dogs were both asleep too.
    I've applied to adopt a 13 year old dog from the animal rescue place. Hope to get him, he's had a terrible life. If we can give him a year or two or more full of love and happiness then I feel that is what life is all about. Here's hoping. We're just under 10 acres so he'd have heaps of places to explore, especially with the other two girls.
    Well there's my weekend in a nutshell. Again, loving your blog. xxx

    1. Thank you Fiona! What a nice message to greet me tonight. I am having a before bed read...
      Oohh I hope you get this dog! If you do please tell me what kind he is. I wonder if they know his age or are guessing? Anyway I say he can be rejuvenated ... most of the dogs in our family have lived well into their 20s this includes bigger dogs, which usually live shorter lives.
      For the yoghurt try my use it up cake as this freezes and is good...
      Also I freeze yoghurt for more muffins and this cake. Freeze it in portions. It works fine later in cooking.
      I am so glad the smaller hat fits now. One is for later... Hats are needed in winter as their little heads get cold. How funny he looks like an old man! lol
      Very impressed with your propagating. Plants cost a ton. They make awesome presents too.
      By coincidence tomorrow I am having my mince cook up. I also will do spag sauce and freeze in portions... lasagne and some pasta bake concoctions. Mostly for the freezer for when the baby arrives, for us and them depending on who is in the worse state!
      Next I am making a huge chicken and vegie casserole then making that into pies. A pie is a good transportable whole meal I always think. I will make a stack. So I am improving the meals in the freezer. I also love this. You feel very virtuous when you have meals neatly stacked and labelled going into the freezer!
      It would be fair to say you had a very productive week. Using your own tomatoes and herbs too. Wonderful.
      I saw on the news one of the race drivers apologised about the race, or his race maybe, being boring. So it wasnt just you! haha at least you saw the finish!
      Thanks for a gorgeous comment. I bet you get the dog as many people might not adopt an older dog... I hope so. xxx

    2. Thanks Annabel, I"ve printed out the recipe and will have a go today. I've left myself today free to do home relaxing stuff. I've had a few out jobs including yesterday almost all the day travelling to and from the city for a health appointment. Not enjoyable. but i did get to spend 3 hours with my grandson. Even when he threw up on me for the first time I didn't mind. He is the most adorable baby. Chicken and veggie casserole sounds yummy. Is that recipe on your blog? No don't answer that, I must go look. Really you have so much content on here, could spend hours. Oh and I do hope very much that we get the dog. He is so cute to look at and to think he was ignored and left outside for 12 years. Makes me want to cry with frustration (in fact I did cry over him, and probably will when i meet him). But, we both want to give him some love for whatever time he has left. My ds and his gf who live here with their own adopted (ex puppy farm dog) are also very excited. So four adults waiting with bated breath to meet this little fellow on Monday.
      have a good day. xx


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