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, 1 October 2015

Feather your Nest Friday, 2nd October, 2015.

Welcome to October! This is my month to make Christmas cakes. Already! It is a great month to start doing something every week towards Christmas. I've been getting some dried fruit, coconut. almonds etc as they are on special over the past weeks.  It spreads it out and beats paying full price for any of them.

The week has been beautiful. True spring weather. Over the weekend and today it is warming up and that will be a bit of a shock.

The flowers I am noticing everywhere this week are Hollyhocks. This is an area that seems most people have them and many are five or six feet tall so they are so visible..

This week I saved money by:

I completed a Christmas present. Even down to the wrapping! Next week I am having a post about pantry related gifts...

I made over a gift bag. You know the ones from stores that are in a carry bag? I just cover the logo and re make it to use as a gift carry bag. You can make them for any occasion. It is like card making on a bigger scale! Ask everyone to save these bags for you! Here are some from last time...

Next week I am posting about inexpensive Christmas presents and wrapping. There was a discussion on A Working Pantry face book page that got onto inexpensive gifts to make. I love that page! So I thought I would post some ideas that look great but cost very little. Anyway making over shopping carry bags like these is another thing that is a big saver and looks good.

I have recycled water onto the garden, line dried, made all dinners and lunches etc.

Planted more basil seedlings. Also other herbs are big enough to pick now. I am using fresh oregano, thyme, parsley and chives.

I made a left overs meal and used things up.

I have been adding glitter to cards that I want to use at Christmas...

I feathered the nest by:

Washing the pillow protectors. Some of them are fluffy wool covers. They all washed up so well and dried on the line in the sun. You could feel and smell the freshness afterwards. Lovely!

Added an LED lantern, hand warmers, water and tinned food to the pantry.
Added a hanging storage pockets to the cellar thanks to Vicky's idea.
Also built up the emergency fund a little bit.

How was your week? How did you build up your nest and save money?
This week went a bit too fast for me. But I have today! And tomorrow is Grand Final Day here which is a big sporting day. I am making snacks for the afternoon to make it a bit special and fun. Neither of our teams are in it so the bright side of this is we can watch it stress free!
Have a lovely weekend! xxx


  1. Annabel, your made over bags are beautiful! I'm curious to know what you have wrapped as gifts in the picture? They look so pretty! I'm looking forward to your post on pantry related gifts!

    1. Dear Patsy, This gift is a practical gift of things like herbs and spices, vanilla beans, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and so on as a pantry gift for a friend. I am planning gifts to both buy and make from the pantry,maybe it will end up being a couple of posts as there are so many possibilities!
      It was a great week on AWP fb page! I loved it! Have a good weekend and thanks you! Love

  2. The Hollyhocks are stunning. I have not been feeling well this week so not much of anything got done, I did make out my menu for our Christmas day gathering.I normally make finger foods and have added a few new recipes.

    1. I hope you are feeling much better. You did what I do when not well, planning! Have a restful weekend and I hope you are back to your usual self for next week. With love

  3. My Christmas gifts have been added to. I have powder puffs, lavender bags and perfumed powder in pretty jars all completed. Posted the photo on your Facebook page. Love how they have turned out. I have also made a Christmas table runner and Christmas pot holders for a young friend who just loves Christmas and would love to deck her house out more but does not have the finances. These were made out of scraps I already had in my cupboard. I have started a men's luxury pamper pack for my military son. So far this week, I have made him some delicious coffee and milk soaps, a shower bag and have crocheted up a scrubby in blue cotton.
    its a friends birthday today and I have made him a baked cheesecake. We had an abundance of bananas so whilst the cheesecake was baking I had two banana cakes going as well. One for the freezer and one for morning teas this week.
    From Vinnies I picked up two beautiful liqueur glasses and two glass coffee mugs. I'm going to make some lemonchello and will box this up with the glasses. I have some lovely coffee I got In the Whitsundays. I'll grind some and place in a cellophane bag. I'll box the coffee glasses, coffee and some home made chocolate chip cookies for my Dad. This week has seen lots started and some things completed ready for Christmas.
    Thank you so much for the continued inspiration and an idea of just how much time is required to get all I want to do done. Happy days.

    1. Dear Jane, Firstly thank you for posting the photo! Everything looks so nice. I messaged you back tonight...
      Wow to everything else you have been making! It all sounds fantastic. Also I am betting the cheesecake was a very appreciated gift! It is quite hard to add up the savings but it's not just that it is also that gifts are so special. And really there's so much enjoyment in it. The things you have planned are brilliant. And feel free to send me more photos as I love to see.
      It is such a help starting now. There would be only so much we can ever do at the last minute and nothing ever goes well when rushed anyway (I can testify to that!)
      Have a great weekend and thank you for sharing all this, it is a joy to read and see the picture too. With love,

  4. Annabel,
    Your bags are beautiful! I will miss hanging my laundry outside everything smells so fresh. I am still working on garden produce peppers, peppers and more peppers!
    I can't wait to see all of your Christmas gift posts I want to get started soon. I found those hand warmer things in my guys' hunting stuff and they never use them so I moved them into my emergency supply box! It is getting cold here and we will have to start using that wood soon! LOL I am thinking about making something for my grandkids to hang to organize their weekly school outfits. Kind of like the shoe pocket wall thingy except it will be more personalized and their Mama can put each days outfits in the pockets and their clothes for the week would be ready and make school mornings run a little smoother. I thought of that because Addy the baby gets into everything and plastic drawers she would have emptied in no time! What do you think?

    1. Dear Vicky, if I lived near by I would swap you gift bags and crafts for peppers! That is a bumper crop you have there.
      I love the outfits of the week idea. That would be a great help and if you do this take photos as its a great idea that could help others. Routine and organisation on week days is a big help! I am better myself if I plan what to wear the night before. I am not a morning person. I should eat breakfast before I go to bed that's how bad I am! Lol
      Have a great wekend. With lots of love,

  5. Those bags are gorgeous, who would of thought to re-cover them as gift bags. That is why I love your blog for such beautiful, thrifty ideas that I would never think of myself.
    Am following your pantry stocking up ideas as well. I learn so much from these posts, thank you for sharing. Ruth.

    1. Dear Ruth, Thank you so much! Next week I am planning some more inexpensive things to make for gifts. And then pantry gifts... I am looking forward to this as I just don't think things have to cost much to be lovely.
      I am so pleased you are liking the pantry series. It motivates me a lot to write as I go. I am pretty sure I get more done this way but I know I am learning a lot.
      Thank you very much for commenting. Have a wonderful weekend, with love,

  6. Oh Annabel! The Hollyhocks are so pretty! Your gift pile is growing all the time, and I am full of admiration that you've wrapped things already. Your gift bags are so frou-frou and gorgeous. I adore that pleated effect you do with the crepe paper. Well done on the nest feathering too. You are such a great example, just constantly adding little things. We can all do that. Yesterday I added half price body sprays, shampoos, toothpaste and sanitary items to my Shop, and scored some of Aldis' fabulous Moroccan Argan Oil which is as good at $8, as the L'Oreal for $22. Then most of my week was spent preparing for what we know will be a frantic time next week, leading up to 3 nights and a matinee of Dance Recital for my daughter. Of course, it's back to school week too, so that makes it doubly busy. I've frozen lots of zucchini and carrot slice, and made protein balls for snacks. Mangoes are appearing now, and they're surprisingly inexpensive, making me think we must have had a good season, so I've pureed and frozen smoothie cubes using those, strawberries and banana, and thick Greek yoghurt. You might have seen the Smoothie Cubes in the freezer section of the supermarket, and as we know, that's all they are. So they'll be wonderful for quick and easy breakfasts and afternoon teas. There's a big batch of chicken noodle soup on the stove...really fragrant with middle Eastern spices, and that will be dinners to take and microwave in the Green Room where the performers all eat. That, lots of water as the weather is warming up all of a sudden, and early nights between now and Tuesday, when 10pm finishes will be the norm with full dress and tech rehearsals, should see us through. It's a fun time, but exhausting, and eating nasty takeaway would only see us more tired. It's Grand Final day for our Football on Sunday evening, so we're having gluten free lasagna for dinner. The boys are looking forward to it. Not me so! I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      I see you have football ahead... yesterday here was dominated by footie, I quite enjoy it but helped by the fact I can crochet or craft all that time. I wrapped soaps to glamorize them and crocheted flowers! Amazing what I got done in the time actually. And now we have daylight savings... evenings will be more outside.
      Well done on getting head for school and dance week. I know this makes such a difference. There is only so much possible in a day. Made ahead meals are just the best.I have been using more of them lately which means I need to be making some more!
      Have a great week. With love, Annabel.xxxx

  7. Oh arent those Hollyhocks just beautiful. Your made over gift bags are really pretty to and im looking forward to your next post lol :)

    1. Dear Karen, Thank you! I am making some Christmas themed recycled bash so hopefully I can show photos of them next week. I get everyone saving these bags!
      I love Hollyhocks especially pink ones. They are quite tough once they get established. There is a sea of them right now. Have a lovely weekend, love

  8. Annabel, yes your bags certainly do look beautiful. I always like it when I am given white bags as you can do so much with them. I have been gardening this week so hopefully my seeds will come up and save me from having to buy too many veggies over the next few months.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      I love those bags they are so handy and easy to makeover.
      The heat hit here yesterday so it was a day of watching and watering as I dont want to lose any seedlings!
      Have a good new week! With love,

  9. Annabel we follow two different football codes here and both grandfinals are on this weekend. Weather is going to be great up here so will be fitting in a few outside jobs before the games commence.

    Have a great weekend everyone


    This week I was expecting a friend who is up from Melbourne to call in so cooked a basic impossible pie using bacon instead of ham as I usually do. It turned out similar to a quiche in flavour which has made my husband happy (he could live on bacon and eggs) - unfortunately my friend had to put off her visit until Sunday so I will be making another basic impossible pie.

    I finished knitting the pink blanket I was working on - it is tucked away with the blue one waiting for me to start weaving the ends in.

    The man who my husband got the shed shelving from popped in late last week to see if he wanted more shelving - after much thought my husband popped into the shop and said yes - it arrived late this afternoon so tomorrow it will be put together and my husband can continue with organising his bits and pieces in the shed.

    We had a discussion about extra pantry storage in the shed and have now got it all worked out - we have a gentleman's wardrobe that was picked up minus doors for something like $5-00 years ago (my husband made and fitted doors to it) which once fitted with some extra shelves will work a treat.

    Today I had my appointment with the naturopath and she is really pleased with how I am going - I am feeling the best I have in a very long time. It was also grocery shopping day today - I decided to concentrate on what was needed until the next shop - just an Aldi shop, it was chaos on the Island due to the long weekend, end of school holidays and the fantastic weather we are expecting for the weekend. I was in and out as quick as I could, luckily the carpark I like, which is shaded by a small tree was free and the car was not too hot when I got in it to leave.

    Aldi are adding new lines all of the time now - today I spotted more packet cake mixes and also steamed puddings.

    The new Aldi is still a few months away from opening because they gutted the existing shop.

    This afternoon we had the electrician in to see to our smoke detectors that go off at the weirdest time with no smoke around - we have two new ones even though the others were not that old. Hopefully that has put an end to the being woken in the early hours of the morning.

    1. Dear Lynette,
      What a busy week! All good things too. I am sure extra shelves in the shed will be a good thing. Also I know what you mean by a gentlemans cupboard and think many things can be stored outdoors very well. That should be very handy. I had a little cupboard like that years ago, it was Pa's. It had a hanging space and lovely shallow drawers.
      Bacon and eggs make for many meals so that is a fairly easy to please husband. A bacon and egg sandwich could be a stand by at all times!
      Have a great new week Lynette. It was hot here yesterday but so far today pretty reasonable. With love,

  10. We have been working on cleaning our bedroom and moving back in. There was grimy dust everywhere. All the bedding is freshly washed and ready to remake the bed. Pictures need to be rehung and such and hopefully we will be out of the guest room tonight or tomorrow night!

    1. Dear Lana, I remember renovation dust from when we did the kitchen. It gets into everything. But fresh linen and your new room I am sure you will love it! Maybe you will be moved back in by the time you read this, I hope so! With love,

  11. This week I baked some treats by scratch three days in a row, made homemade pizza and bread, and used up leftovers to make things stretch. My husband and I decided to try drastically lowering our food budget (it has gotten quite out of control). We are also going to use cash instead of credit. These are two very big steps for us! Looking forward to the challenge...with a bit of trepidation...😉 Thanks for the encouragement you give each week toward being frugal and wise in our spending and work at home.

    1. Well done Marie! The food budget is a big area we can control and save so much. I find using cash also helps and thats what I do. Also if I save a few dollars somewhere I try and but the very best buy in fruit or vegies or something with that and get a lot of meals out of it. Using up left overs and not wasting anything is a big factor. I hope you see a big difference for your efforts. I just want to encourage you! Wendys advice on The Cheapskates Club has probably been my number one helper (and My Abundant Life) I think getting ahead with your pantry means never paying full price for anything and having easy meals on hand and then I dont need takeaways. Each little thing adds up! This week I got a heap of focaccia rolls for 50c the whole lot. This will be the base of a few meals for us, I just pop them in the freezer. Love bargains like that!
      Have a wonderful weekend, you are doing really well! Love

    2. Thank you Annabelle! I didn't realize also how the Lord would provide in unexpected ways? We were given half a watermelon and a plate of grapes today, along with a pumpkin cake, and I found a large bag of bananas marked to $2 and a large bag of apples marked to $3. I was supposed to take caramel dip to a party yesterday but felt uneasy about spending the extra $ from our food budget (I'm trying to figure out how to make it all stretch), so I decided to try making it from scratch with ingredients I had on hand. Oh my! It was delicious and tasted better than the store bought, we saved a few dollars; and saved about 45 minutes time by not going to the store. I might use the recipe for Christmas gifts too. Thank you for the blogs you mentioned, I will check them out.

    3. Maria this is a lovely report to read. Firstly yes the extras were such a bonus! Homemade caramel is delicious! And a very nice gift I agree.
      The blogs mentioned are on my side bar, I thought I should let you know that. xxx

  12. I do love your made over gift bags they are so pretty. Looking forward to more gift ideas. I love hollyhocks too and they can be quite tall.
    This week I have cooked all meals and line dried all washing. I have washed all our doonas and bed linen. Made some marmalade for christmas hampers. I have bought the dried fruit for my Christmas cake (your recipe is so nice and gets lots of compliments) and like you try and make it in October. I vacuumed and washed my car as it really needed it. I also added a few tins and a couple more dry ingredients to my pantry. So all up it was a good week.
    Have a lovely weekend and enjoy the football, we have footy finals too on Sunday.
    Debbie xx

    1. Dear Debbie,
      That was a very good week! I crocheted and wrapped soaps to pretty up during footie! Got an amazing amount done but then there is pre finals and after finals TV so it goes on and on! But I enjoyed it!
      I am planning on starting on cakes this week. I want to make some individual sized and big enough for two... as gifts. Plus our own and one for my Dad who loves them and takes them traveling up north.
      It is lovely having freshly washed doonas etc. I love the difference it all makes.
      Have a great week! With love,

  13. We've had a good many rainy days of late or at least foggy/misty ones, so work on my front porch was stalled. I got plenty done this week. There is always an area to tidy or consider neatening up somehow isn't there? This is my weekly post:

    1. Dear Terri, I am glad you managed plenty this week. Thank you for posting your busy list. I hope you are having a lovely weekend. With love,

  14. Thanks again for several wonderful posts! With school and Awanas Bible Club in full swing I haven't had a chance to thank you! And thanks to Vicky, Roseanne and Teri. I sure appreciate all the great ideas your blog shares.
    Thanks for blessing me,

    1. Dear Leslie, You sound busy but in a good way.Thank you for commenting even you are busy too. I hope you are having a good weekend and have a great week next week. With love,

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

    * Picked, blanched and froze some broccoli from our garden. I also diced the stalks and froze it to be used in casseroles.

    * Picked silverbeet for a couple of meals.

    * Made Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins and sold them to a cleaning client.

    * Fed the compost with all kitchen scraps.

    * Sold four dozen eggs to friends and neighbours.

    * Made lots of cards for up coming birthdays.

    * Mended two pairs of socks.

    * I thought my broccoli was almost finished. When I went out to check on it I found enough florets for another meal.

    * Sold four of my handmade cards.

    * Bought four packs of 16 roll Kleenex Cottonelle on clearance in Big W for $5 a pack. This was reduced from $15 and the rolls are extra long with 270 sheets each. I don't usually buy this brand but the price was too good to refuse.

    * Bought some binder books in Big W for 20 cents each. These will be good for the girls for school and Uni.

    * Darren emptied a compost bin onto a veg garden bed. This lifted the soil level for free.

    * Gratefully received some teabag samples from Cath.

    * Went craft shopping with Cath and picked up some bargain card making supplies. I bought lots of embossing folders for $3.38 each These retail for $6 in Spotlight. At one shop they had lots of free card making brochures. Some had images I can cut out to use on cards. Some even had free papers to use.

    * Only spent $5.50 this week on milk and bananas.

    * Bought some clearance bargains in Big W. Packs of 5 cards and envelopes for 50 cents. Packs of AA batteries 10 per pack for 50 cents, iphone screen protectors 3 per pack for $1. Packets of Bic pens 25 per pack for 50 cents. Plastic sheet protectors ( for paper ) 100 per pack for 50 cents. I was very careful to only buy what we can use.

    * Dried the washing on the line and clothes horses. Saved lots of shower water and washing machine water for each next load.

    * Made a quadruple batch of laundry powder.

    1. Dear Wendy, Excellent week! Great bargains too. The extra soil and upping the soil level is great. This helps with not drying out so much in the heat also. I am trying to do this in all my pots and beds. And you did it with free compost so good!
      Well done on selling some cooking as well. Thankyou for sharing your list, it is encouraging for everyone to see. Hope you are having a good weekend, love

  16. Just reading all that everyone has written makes me need a nap

    1. lol I know what you mean! Busy little bees. If you read Wednesday and what Vicky, Teri and Rosanne were up to you might feel the same or TIREDER if thats a word! xxx

  17. Dear Annabel, I love the gift bags. I have some to make over and you have given me excellent ideas! Thank you! I'm also excited to see the gift ideas you are "brewing" up!

    Those pink hollyhocks are beautiful! As you are warming up, we are cooling down. Two days of off and on rain have been so nice!

    We found 12 oz. packages of bacon for .99/each. They were close to the sell by date but they are now wrapped and in our freezer. This is the thicker cut of bacon, so a bargain for us. Tomorrow we are having bacon and tomato sandwiches!

    My week was spend helping family, again. But in-between, I was able to start cleaning some of the garden, putting hoses away, etc. and doing the usual house chores. I agree with Cath when she wrote on another post that "chores" don't seem like work when one enjoys them! :)

    Have a good weekend all! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri, I think of helping family as feathering the nest. Family is the most important thing. But it does cut into some things we might be doing! Still, you did great on the bacon. I used bacon in lot of things and it makes so many meals even the tiny left overs like in fried rice.
      It is just satisfying to get things done and ready for the cold weather in your case, hot weather in mine!
      I hope you are having a great weekend, With love,

  18. Your hollyhocks are gorgeous Annabel!

    I have been feathering my nest all week. Pulling everything out and sorting, cleaning and organising. I didn't spend any money at the supermarket this week, quite an achievement for me :)

    Have a wonderful week Annabel,


    1. Dear Tania, Thank you! I read your post of what you did in the week and it was awesome! So many good things! Hot today! I am thinking it must be hot there, stay cool and I hope the garden is ok. With love,

  19. Inspired by your suggestions, I dug out my scrapbook materials and corsage-making ribbons and flowers and rubber stamping materials and I ran to the craft store and the dollar store and bought some new supplies and I made CARDS for the first time in forever. And I had a ball. The good news is I still have lots of supplies (I had more than I thought in my stash) so I can make more cards soon.

    One word: FEATHERS.

    I'll post some pictures on my blog and/or Facebook at some point. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Cards with feathers! oh yes please I would love to see them. I am so glad you are making cards and some from supplies you have on hand as well.
      Thank you so much for commenting, I cant wait to see this!


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