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.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Pantries and Preparedness progress report.

I have to say knowing I have a pantries blog coming up is very motivating. I think to myself I had better do this and hurry up and do that or I will have nothing to report! So it is helping me make progress!
I hope joining in here will have the same results for you. I am participating in Patsi's weekly challenges and that works in the same way, I am always thinking I don't want to have to say I didn't get around to the tasks I said i would do! This happened to me once, never again! It's the buddy system, what a good thing it is!

The other thing that is working and always seems to work for me is making a list. Currently I made a to do list for my pantry and preparedness every week and try and work through that. Lists work for me. The joy of ticking things off a list is ridiculously satisfying. Some people will think this is mad. Others will totally understand!

Thank you for the ideas last week on storage and finding space! Plus just hearing your progress is fantastic. Also on both sides of the world the snow and ice then the cyclones in Australia... it is so incredible to hear about how everyone deals with these things. Helen has a post next week about how she managed with the incoming cyclone.

Following on from  storage ideas I have a few pictures to show you. Glenda posted about her shelving system that sounds amazing. She is covering the shelving in her sewing room with a curtain. This can look so nice! It reminded me of a picture I had kept from a magazine. This would make any shelves look perfectly beautiful in any room.

This picture is a few years old. The curtains were IKEA linen. It was used to cover an open wardrobe but it would work the same to cover shelves. I love it!

I have kept scrapbooks of all things I've loved, recipes and ideas since I was fourteen. I don't like to keep cupboards full of magazines etc. I just tear out what I do want to keep and so many years of ideas are in half a dozen scrap books. They don't take up much space and they are pure joy to go through now and then!  If you have cupboards full of magazines after doing this you have a free cupboard for pantry supplies!

After curtains to conceal storage I remembered good old fashioned table cloths. Nana kept all sorts of things under tables and hidden by the cloth. I had this picture that reminded me of it and thought you could have shelves or baskets or boxes under there and who would know? Sometimes the old fashioned things are the best!

I also had this picture which shows a blind used to cover shelves instead of a curtain. It also shows how one bookshelf had baskets on top and a basket on the side to make heaps of clever storage space. I love that!

Another one is baskets. I get baskets from op shops and paint them. The ones in op shops are usually an orange- ish brown and I paint them french grey. (So they look like in the home ware stores I lurk in). On the weekend I noticed all the dressers and wardrobes in Provincial Living had huge baskets on top for storage and the fact it looks nice. There is nothing to stop you painting unattractive baskets any colour you want. They are very inexpensive in op shops. (and very expensive in home ware stores).

Some of my past basket makeovers are here and here. Even terrible baskets can be made to look lovely really easily! The ones I started with in these pictures were op shop baskets. They have so many uses for storage.

This week I started to build up my kitchen pantry now that I have so much more space in there. I added small baskets to categorise things and get it much more organised. It is such an improvement!

I started on a better first aid kit for the car and on first aid and medicines for the house. I bought two organiser boxes from the cheap shop. They are quite flat so one will sit under the seat in the car and be out of the way. It will take me a few weeks to stock them but I started. In the car one I have included water, asprin, band aids, sting ointment and so on.

I downloaded a free app on my phone so I have free instant first aid instructions. I used First Aid by Australian Red Cross. There are plenty of free ones. Then you have a first aid icon on your phone to go to when you might need it. A really good idea is when you are waiting somewhere open these kind of apps and learn your way around them. Then when you need them it is really fast and easy. I am really liking this one as it is categorised so you can find what you want quickly and easily.

I also downloaded an app that makes your phone into a torch. It really works well too! There are different ones for different phones. It is called Flashlight and is also free. While in some emergencies you would want to carefully conserve your phone battery there are others that is not an issue and a light would just be very handy!

I added surgical gloves to my first aid kit and car first aid kit.

I added tuna, coffee and canned tomato to my pantry.

Now I am setting some goals for next week. In part it is good to have goals to work on and partly it is a matter of taking advantage of fantastic specials and making the most of things that come your way and never miss an opportunity to build up your pantry!

How did you go this week? Even one small thing is progress! We will see how much we can do in March and make it a great month!



  1. Hi Annabel. What great progress for you and thankyou for the information on the various phone apps. What an incredible age we live in! I love the idea of curtains hiding supplies. My Nanna only had curtains, never cupboard doors in the kitchen, and it's an idea seeing a bit of a revival if Pinterest is any indication. I remember Mum draping beautiful bedspreads, Winter blankets not used in Summer, and tablecloths over huge plastic tubs containing oats, flour, milled wheat, and rice. We'd use them as side tables in the living room. You have me on the hunt for wicker baskets now. I see them all the time but don't buy them, but how lovely would they be, filled with pantry supplies, and covered with a vintage embroidered tablecloth, threaded with ribbon in the hem to draw it in like a shower cap, and tied. You could almost make a feature of them. This week I replaced batteries in all of our torches (not thinking I could use the phones as one!), and tidied the medicine cabinet. We have everything in there from painkillers to Imodium, Stingose, and Emla gel which is a numbing gel and good for all sorts of things. That's as far as I got, but that's better than nothing. I'm off to check out some other ideas for preparedness. You are good at this....better than I am! Mimi xxx

    1. It sounds like our Nan's did the same things. And yes I am noticing in the kitchens the old under sink gathered shirts (which I love) and skirts across cupboards... so pretty but yes they hide stuff! And the covers over boxes of goods! Keeping stocked up was normal and sensible.
      I see you making over baskets with gorgeous linings! This could be big! So many possibilities!
      I had not heard of Emla gel. I will look into that. Stingose is something I keep everywhere!
      Torches and batteries are sensible. The phone app is handy when you are caught without a torch and for your handbag but actual torches are still necessary. We could probably do with a few more.
      Thanks Mimi I love hearing about what your Nana did. xxx

    2. More inspiration Annabel ... I can do several of the things you mentioned! Thanks for another great post!

  2. Annabel if you purchased painters drop sheets from places like Bunnings and Masters (and other hardware stores) you would be able to sew up a simple curtain similar to the top picture for very little money. Another thing you could use to create curtains would be some sheets - I picked up some pretty ones last week from an op shop, couldn't leave them there.

    I love hardware stores, especially the ones out in the country - you never know what you will find.

    I have just given me pantry a bit of a tidy up because I needed to fit in some tomato paste that I had purchased from grocery run. They had the tubs cheap and a couple of other things - we are stocked up on the batteries we use the most of (AA) and some of the 9 volt ones as well, again Grocery Run. Sometimes they have these items so much cheaper than even the best specials at the supermarket.

    My 'phone is a basic one so cannot download apps but that is a great point about when you have time to just sit and refresh yourself about what needs to be done - it can be used for anything not just first aid.

    I am going to book myself into a free CPR course being run by the local ambulance group over on the Island - it was advertised in the local paper and is being run at the library over there. There might be other places that offer free first aid or CPR courses.

    This week I spent some time on Pinterest and found 2 small desk areas that I fell in love with - I am now plotting and dreaming about creating my own.


    1. Dear Lynette, You are right, I think calico drop cloths would be fantastic curtains or tablecloths. They are thick and heavy too. Also sheets can be lovely and a great source of large amounts of fabric. I love them for all sorts of things.
      Thanks for the tips on Grocery Run. There seem to be some places that are miles cheaper for certain things.
      The CRP course is a great idea especially if its free. I did mine and it was quite expensive to do. I possibly need a refresher but I will study it up and see if I can remember everything. They say in a crisis it comes back to you. I hope so! It is not just preparedness and stocking up is it, its also knowing how to do things and the skills to manage in all sorts of circumstances.
      Many thinks for your comments Lynette you are always very helpful. Love

  3. Thanks for the phone links, Annabel. I will download them onto my Smartphone which sometimes isn't so smart :-) Some good ideas there which bring back memories.

    1. lol Nanna Chel some of the stuff on my "smart phone" isnt very useful or smart! But it is really good to have some things that are either useful or lovely! I like the calculator that is handy

  4. I love hardware stores, too, Lynette :).

    Several years ago I made up emergency first aid kits for both vehicles. The house is stocked in a specific location with bandages, bandaids, splints, topical antiseptic creams, alcohol wipes, peroxide, masks, etc, etc. We have various locations for a wide variety of storage items.

    I purchased heavy duty, large fishing tackle boxes for the vehicle emergency kits. I liked the advantage they had of keeping the herbs, topicals, etc, blocked from the sun, as well as, the multi-compartment and two layer option. The different sized compartments, within the tackle boxes, allowed for a nice diversity of emergency supplies, including an emergency flashlight, handwarmers, a small sewing kit, as well as, medical supplies. One of the fun aspects of preparing is looking at items in a different way to see how they can be used unconventionally :).

    This past week, after the inventory, I added ten pounds of coffee, six bottles of organic tomato juice, four jars of organic tomato paste, and 18 packages of frozen organic vegetables to the storage. The frozen vegetables will be dehydrated shortly. All items were on sale. I was low on several essential oils, so twenty bottles of various oils were added, also.

    I need to go through my magazines and cut out what I want to save, as it's been awhile since I've done that. Thank you for the reminder, Annabel.

    Whenever I purchase a pattern, my husband kindly makes a copy of the front of the envelope and the back, with yardage amounts. I put these copies in plastic sheet protectors in a notebook. Whenever I fabric shop (at great sales only) I take the notebook with me, so I can choose fabric accordingly and know how much to purchase.

    Last night I decided to make a garden notebook, so gathered the glue stick, copy paper, sheet protectors, and found a spare notebook in the office supply closet. I will cut out pictures and pertinent information for all the potential plantings I might use in the future and place it in one notebook.

    I have been going through the household notebooks, which I keep in my study. I categorized all the loose recipes, placed them in sheet protectors, then in eight labeled notebooks. The recipes I use most frequently from cookbooks, I listed on notebook paper by cookbook name and page number and placed it in the informational food notebook. The remainder of the household notebooks are a work in progress :).

    I very much appreciate your blog, Annabel, and always look forward to your next post.

    1. Glenda you are amazing! I am learning from you Im not so sure about the other way around! But going along together and encouragement count for a lot and I really appreciate your comments and information.
      Your tip for anyone who sews is a very good one. It is a big saving purchasing just what you need.
      These days I dont really buy magazines except sometimes at op shops. But in the past I bought a lot. For many years I had favourites. And they gave me a lot of ideas and education. If I still had them all I doubt we would fit in the house! But no mostly I use pinterest and blogs for ideas. This hs been a big money saver and space saver too. But I love my scrap books of ideas. I have recipes, fashion, home ideas and crafts. So it is pretty easy to find things when I go looking for them.
      Two Christmases ago I made my son in law a first aid kit for his van. I used a fishing tackle box! I thought the same about all the compartments plus the easy carry handle and also for him it looked masculine and I thought he would like it. He is a plumber and always in the wars re injuries!
      I should ask him what needs replacing in that kit.
      You had a great week in both organisation and stocking up!
      Thanks so much for your helpful comments

  5. At the risk of being a wet blanket, do be careful about the flashlight apps you download onto your phone - my computer geek son sent me here and I will share the link- -The stuff that is out there these days is just scary!!

    1. Thats ok Kathy its amazing isnt it. I thought this when I found out smart TVs are listening to people. But we have a dumb tv so that is not an issue yet!
      I went onto settings on my phone then privacy... and then photos, first. Several apps have requested access to my photos! Although not flashlight yet. So I have turned them all off. It would be a good idea for everyone with smart phones to frequently go through the privacy settings as when you get them every thing is on! I have had several sessions of turning things off. If someone gets access my stuff is pretty boring BUT still we need to be aware. Its like I searched online for fridges one day and from then on facebook and all adds were for fridges! mmm
      So yes we need to be careful, thank you.!

  6. I am in the process of re-stocking the car first aid kit. Instead of full packets of Paracetamol etc I just use a couple of strips of each from our everyday stock. Don't forget to check expiry dates on items at least every few months. We have a couple of slings in our indoor first aid kit but you can use a cut up sheet for this instead of buying slings specifically. Don't forget a small pair of scissors and a roll of tape such as micropore for holding dressings on.
    Baskets seem to be in short supply in the op shops here, I want them to store the extras in the bathroom. And one specifically for manicures and pedicures, that way it will seem more like a salon experience.

    1. Maggie that is a really good idea to break up the packs and only keep a few tablets in the car kit. Here the weather is hot a few months of the year and heat ruins the effectiveness of some things. So that would be a good thing to minimise that issue. Also the scissors!
      Some of the cheap shops do have baskets, target, IKEA etc also but Im not sure how the prices are.Inside my cupboards I have used plastic baskets from Cheap as Chips which is our local bargain shop. They are really nice and really inexpensive.
      I love the idea of a manicure and pedicure basket! Easy to cart around as well!
      Many thanks! xxx

  7. I added many cans of tomatoes and white kidney beans to my can storage. I took all of the tomatoes and beans off the shelves and dated them on the tops with a marker and reshelved them in a more organized way. I am glad to have that done. I do need to add some cans of chili beans from Aldi next time I go.

    1. I must stock up on more tomatoes, tomato paste etc. as it is such a basic and useful in so many ways.
      We are getting an Aldi hopefully next year! I really look forward to that. Helen says she saves so much with Aldi.
      You made great progress this week. Week by week it just adds ip so much. Thanks

  8. lovely post again Annabel. Can I ask you about the baskets please? I have a couple of baskets that I bought years ago but want to change. I like the colour you have chosen, french putty I think. So, question is, is it spray paint or do you use a brush?

    The app security thing is a worry, why do they think we need to let them have access to our photos and messages and contact lists. Consequently, I only have a couple of things on my phone. Use it constantly for internet but don't bother with apps for that reason. Quite scary I think.

    I am the same as Maggie, make sure to only put a sleeve at a time in first aid kits that are not stored in the house. Also and this is just something that you get used to after a while, take the tablets from the end that doesn't have expiry date on it. That way if you like to peel or snip off the used tablet sheath, you can and you still have the date to get rid of it.

    Yesterday I made in my thermomix a tomato paste thingy, i made four large jars. Got the bottles sterilised in the oven and then boiled in big stew pot. The seals have popped down, so Im hoping that they are ok. I've put one jar in the fridge and three on the shelf. Will be interested if you have time to comment if that is correct. In the past, I've always made this sort of thing and frozen immediately. However now we are in a rural area, the power is a bit sporadic and I worry about losing loads of stock.

    Off to do some reading now. Hope your day is great Annabel.

    1. Sorry I was so slow on my reply Fiona. Yesterday got away from me!
      With the baskets like in the picture above in a bright colour spray paint is fine and fast. But it tends to give a glossy finish. It may be possible to find really matte finish but I havent found it so for french style baskets I use tinned paint and get a flat colour. Im thinking the chalky paints would be even better, to give a natural "I was made this way" rustic/vintage look.
      I set myself up outside with a big cloth over the table and paint away! To get the colour you want if you already have a basket or item in the right colour take that in and get it colour matched.
      On the tomato... which sounds lovely... I am unsure with tomatoes and there is something extra risky with tomatoes... so I freeze. If your power regularly goes out for a few hours and you keep your freezer full then I wouldnt worry but if it goes out for a day or more then that is a problem! Sorry Im not much help on this one.
      Thanks for your tip on keeping the date on tablets. I am applying this as I am working on my car kit today.
      Thank you! Have a lovely weekend, we have a long weekend for Adelaide

  9. Hi Annabel & hello to everyone!

    I love to see what everyone is up to! Annabel thank you for the information on the smartphone stuff, I'm very techno-challenged and I will have a look at mine later for sure.

    It's so beautiful to see all the the **pretty** ways to store things. Clutter is my nemesis. If things look or feel cluttered (which they often do) I FEEL cluttered! Except my crafting table...when it's cluttered I am happily busy on projects :) That said, it's inspiring to figure out pretty ways to store things and have it feel nice and streamlined. Thank you for the pretty images. Even though I am in a nice-sized home with a roomy pantry and nice laundry cabinets, there are still so many issues of children's puzzles, games, books, crafts, toys, get the idea.

    I love how you say "even one small thing is progress"! I am organizing all of my cleaning supplies. I am figuring out quickly that miracle spray can eliminate many of these once they are used up which makes me HAPPY! Also, I'm making my first batch of liquid HE washing detergent. I'm excited as this can be a really big money-saver. Hubby already had a big 5-gallon bucket to mix it in. I am a big believer in doing what works for you and your family, and if this works as well as I've been reading then I'm just thrilled! More savings here and there really make a big difference. We have a few hefty bills we are trying to aggressively eliminate and I'm like a crazy woman with every single penny right now. That's just the season I'm in and I'm doing my best to keep a balance.

    The comments are all so nice! Everyone have a wonderful day wherever you are. Happy homemaking, pantry-stocking, clever diy-ing to you all.

    Thank you Annabel for another beautiful post! xxx

    1. This is a funny one Colette... I love beautiful hotel rooms and spaces that are stylish and uncluttered. They make me feel happy and calm! On the other hand cluttered messy spaces make me feel kind of unsettled! Chaos is stressful to me. Overwhelming.... I have stuff and I get in a mess plenty of times but overall I need things looking nice and under control or it wouldnt be a good way to live. It would stress me out. Speaking of this today is a day of cleaning up and catching up for me, I have too many projects going on! :)
      I really think simplifying cleaning products can save a lot of chemical exposure, make the house healthier, save money and space. There are so many fancy products with big promises! The cleaning isle at the supermarket is massive! They are alluring because they promise a sparkling house that smells of roses. I know lots of people who buy heaps of them but their houses arent clean as the product actually doesnt do the cleaning, you have to get it out of the bottle and do that lol Truly this is a big area I have improved on and the miracle cleaner has helped a lot as it has replaced a lot of things. And the house really smells good. One tip is to fill all the sinks with an inch of hot water and add a splash of miracle cleaner to that. Then leave for half an hour or so while you do something else. Then come back and wash over the sinks, let the water go (this will freshen the drains too) and polish them up. After this it smells like you have been cleaning all day.
      Sorry to hear about your bills. I hate big ones looming. You will feel wonderful when you get them out of the way!
      Love and thanks Colette. xxxx


I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for

Spam is never published... if you are advertising a product or selling website your comment wont be published. I am inundated with stuff about drugs, horses and weird things! I am not going to publish this stuff! Thank you.