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, 10 December 2015

Feather your Nest Friday, 11 December, 2015.

It has been a busy week. I am pretty sure everyone has been the same, it's just like that this time of year!

I finally got all my parcels posted and now I just have a little wrapping to do.

Some of the ways I saved money this week:

I used a $5 voucher from Woolies for a few extra items.
I collected 600 points on Flybuys  (using a voucher that got me all these free points with a $30 purchase)

My friend Hilde took me out to high tea as a gift. That was beautiful. She also gave me lots of lemons. I filled this plus another basket.

I made Shortbread Biscuits. Last year I made it into large rounds, this year I made biscuits. It is a very easy non crumbly recipe. It's so nice!

This is the recipe if you would like it... Shortbread.

I gave biscuits as gifts to the neighbors and to Andy's workplace. Also to Chloe, my niece and others...

I went through all my ribbons and wrapping papers and have used up lots of little bits for these parcels. So they are all different but interesting!

This week I got a large turkish bread for $1 and froze it to use as pizza bases or toasties in an emergency.

In the garden I am picking a lot of herbs and a cup of cherry tomatoes every couple of days.  There are hundreds coming on so I will have supplies for just ages.

In the garden I have my first pink Lilly. This was given to me as potted flowers last year and when it finished I planted it and hoped. Then it disappeared and finally it shot and grew... but now it has just started to flower!

How did you save money and build up your nest this week? Today and over the weekend I am working on Christmas atmosphere. I have had wrapping paper etc on the dining room table. I am clearing all of that to do a nice Christmas table. Plus putting lights up out the front. There are lots of presents under the Christmas tree both to give and for us as well! It is coming together but I need to put some effort in now. There is a window of opportunity to feel Christmassy and build up the excitement.  Kids or adults it doesn't matter! I said to Andy last night does he think Father Christmas will come to him? lol
And I hinted he will NEVER guess what he is getting.  I feel so smug as I have got him a gift I know he will LOVE. It's two things, both he will be surprised and go crazy over. I love it when I can find things that are just perfect! (I will post photos after Christmas to show you). See... I am so excited!

There are little things we can do to just add to the magic of Christmas. One of the girls favorite memories is that they would sneak in under the Christmas tree at night when the lights were sparkling and eat supper there before bed. Like in a little sparkly wonderland.  Another is that we would have one late night and drive around and see the light displays on the houses. They LOVED this.  Truly a lot of the best things cost nothing.

Having deer at the farm we have antlers. A couple of years ago I gave a giant one to a friend who has little children. I told her to toss the antler on the front lawn before going to bed Christmas eve....  the next day her little boy found it. He flipped. It was PROOF Santa had flown over and an antler must have fallen off a reindeer! He still has that antler in his bedroom from Santa's reindeer! She said it was the best present ever!

Make a little Christmas spirit for someone.

Our last Show and Tell for this year will be on Monday. Thank you for all the photos! If you have been making Christmas presents and would like to share I will include them on Monday, just email me  It is lovely to see what everyone has been making and I have so many ideas for next year now! It is very helpful to everyone to see what you are doing. And I think it helps us build up confidence to make our gifts. Even this week giving shortbread I was amazed. You would think I was giving gold. The humble biscuit isn't so humble. One person said they hadn't had a homemade biscuit since last Christmas when I made them! So they were a success. Even at work Andy's workmate said "your wife makes biscuits!!!" as if this is the best attribute going. :)

Have a lovely weekend! xxx


  1. Hello Annabel, I'm writing from the middle of the USA. I've made nothing for Christmas. It's so strange. I usually make most of our gifts. Too busy working and driving this year. I enjoyed dropping by to see what you've been up to.
    Do visit sometime!
    Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage

    1. Dear Laura, I will visit thank you! Have a wonderful Christmas, Love

  2. Oh Annabel, I truly love Christmas spirit! I have my husband going with his Christmas present too! Such fun!

    1. lol Patsy that is so much fun. Andy is like a kid. He loves presents and gets all excited. He had a life of not many presents until I came along... I am glad you are feeling the Christmas spirit... me

    2. That is precious, Annabel. Don't ya love spoiling them and making up for not so good memories?

    3. Mary yes. Its never too late! its a big opportunity to change things into something new. I love

  3. Annabel, another post full of joy and festive cheer from you! I love it. How wonderful to have found the perfect gift for your Darling. It's so good when that happens! Lots going on here too. My little granddaughters have enjoyed unwrapping a new Twelve Days of Christmas ornament each day (2 sets, so 24 leading up to Christmas Day), so a new tradition is born there. I wrapped them individually and gave them to my daughter-in-law and she films the girls each morning and sends it to my phone. They are so precious! And of course when the girls grow up, they each have a set of Twelve Days of Christmas ornaments to take to their own home. I've performed lots of Random Acts of Christmas Kindness, leaving folding paper fans and Angel cards in peoples trolleys when they are standing outside waiting for taxis, helping the school teachers tidy for end of year, and delivering bunches of glossy foliage as bouquets to the volunteers at the local thrift shop. I've built up my stores by making jam from odds and ends of fruit, harvested fresh herbs, dried coriander seeds for grinding, and gifted lots of gift wrapping bundles. I've missed our girl terribly as she has been away on a Christian Youth Camp, but we collect her tomorrow, so it will be lovely to have her home. I hope everyone has had a happy and productive week. Not long now! Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      Im glad you have a DIL that shares such moments with you. That is lovely.
      I love all the ways you have invested in Christmas spirit and been kind to others. This makes all the difference!
      I am hoping to have that kind of week this week. I have visiting to do and am looking for opportunities...
      Have a wonderful week. It will be busy but I hope special too. With lots of love,

  4. Dear Annabel,

    We are in winter in the U.S., so the lemons and tomatoes look heavenly :). I like to grow cherry tomatoes, then throw them in pint or quart canning jars and freeze them. They are delicious when thawed and they freeze so nicely.

    Lemons are so useful and healthy. Do you use the peels to make lemon zest to dehydrate?

    Your lily is a very pretty color.

    So glad you had a good week. Have a nice weekend.

    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Very soon I hope to have peaches! These things are the sights of summer. Mind you we have also had hot weather, wind, fires and other not so wonderful summer things too. But the good things like the fruit I am grateful for.
      I always use the lemon peels, quite often to make lemon cleaner. I love the fresh smell of that.
      Have a good weekend to you too, with lots of love,

  5. I loved the memories you shared in this post Annabel. Especially about your girls eating supper under the Christmas tree lights and the antlers! Just wonderful. xo

    Even with grown up girls, they still love driving around looking at the lights. We have been reminiscing about places they loved when children. Making special memories together does not need to be expensive!

    I have had $40 worth of free dollars from Woolies this week. I ended up buying half price bakery (bread, rolls etc) markdown meat and half price toilet paper. So, it was $80 worth for free! This all helps so much. I also had $10 free from Big W, and put that towards an item for my granddaughters first birthday! It was also reduced in price as last one in stock, so it was a saving as well. My Coles shop over the past 4 wks has netted me $100 towards some grocery money for next year now. I have been able to buy some Christmas items, chocolates etc half price to qualify this along with basics.

    All of this shopping around is so worth it to build up my pantry. I never buy unnecessary purchases just to qualify offers. I hope to live out of the pantry now until the end of January. (Apart from fresh food of course!)

    We bought solar lights to put up in the front garden, as it is difficult to access power out there. They are minor compared to light displays we've seen, but something at least!

    Hope everyone is enjoying all their last minute preparations. I find it is important to keep "Joy" in Christmas and not be too rushed to enjoy the season.

    1. Dear Kaye,
      I love the trick to double the value of vouchers and it makes things go so far. That was a really great amount of free stuff!
      I had a busy week until today and the weekend where I can be home. Next week will be really busy. BUT then the few days before Christmas I can have quiet days, hopefully. It can get too rushed and too much and it does ruin it.
      I am saving money for after Christmas sales, the supermarket ones. This starts my year off with massive savings usually. So I am hopeful.
      Have a good weekend! With love,

  6. Hello my friend,

    I love the biscuits and how you have wrapped them. I also love your pink lilly. I love Lillies! This week I have tried to spend as wise as I could and tried to turn down frivolous wants. I got created and made a few things from scratch. I am researching several ways to begin to build our pantry. I have got a lot of wrapping done. Today I worked on gifts. I am making Joy Jars for my Aunt's. Little Jars with scriptures and promises to encourage them. They both have had a rough year. I found a small beginner sewing machine for my daughter. Neither one of us know how to sew but this is my goal for the new year.

    Love and Blessings!!!!!

    1. Dear Chrissy, You will love sewing and so will your daughter! Even with very simple straight line sewing you will be able to make so many lovely things!
      I love your gifts for your aunts too.
      In my Pantries and Preparedness series I wrote a post about how to build you your pantry for free and another how to build up your pantry when you have very little to spend on it. Some of the ladies added amazing comments and ideas. This might help you, well I hope it might.
      I am also working on my goals for the new year. Its quite exciting! Have a lovely weekend, with love

    2. Hi Chrissy,
      I have found that You tube has great videos for beginners and advanced sewers. My daughter bought me a sewing machine and I could not get the threading correct. What do you know they had a video for threading my machine. They have many other videos on sewing. Have a blessed Christmas.

  7. Hi Annabel. Could you tell me where you got those paper (Chrissmasy) bags that you put the shortbread in, the ones with the reindeer on the front and the one with the clear plastic window. Thank you Michelle xxxx

    1. Dear Michelle,
      I know I got the window ones from Neds. In SA that is a cheap shop. And the other ones I think from Spotlight. I know Spotlight had a lot of packs of different designs. Also plain white and colours. They are good as they are sturdy.
      Otherwise I use cellophane bags, both cheap shops and spotlight have those in heaps of sizes. I hope that helps. With love

  8. I hope you don't mind me butting in Annabel. The Reject shop (NSW) had the window bags a couple of weeks ago in a few different designs.

    1. Thank you Janine thats helpful. We have The Reject Shop here too. I havent been in there for a while though. But some cheap shops we have other states dont. Although I think they may all have the same or similar things... hopefully. Many thanks. xxx

  9. I absolutely love how you wrap things Annabel! I am really average in that department! You have inspired me to try harder. Think I will have a go at your shortbread this weekend, it looks lovely.

    It seems the weeks of my kids having chicken pox have caught up with me this week, I've been really tired. We did manage to have my sons birthday party a week late, and then he started school on Monday, so that has been exciting. Just three more days of school left, so I'm really excited about our holidays starting soon. I am going to have a baking day tomorrow, and have a go at pickling cucumbers?! Seems easy enough lol.

    Have a great weekend

    1. Dear Jen,
      After the family being sick I think you would be exhausted. I hope everyone is better now. But it takes a while to catch up!
      I watch all the time for food presentation ideas. Of everything I think cellophane bags and cellophane sheets are the most wonderful things. They look crisp. Next year in the Christmas challenge I hope to have lots of posts on food wrapping etc that are easy and inexpensive.
      I hope your baking day and pickled cucumbers turn out well! With love

  10. I love Christmas time Annabel, so much to do, but everything is fun and not a chore. I was up late last night making shortbread - I had to try out my new biscuit cutters :) It must be OK, no one is complaining about it. I use my mother's recipe, it's a Christmas tradition in our family and it wouldn't be Christmas without it. Have a lovely weekend,

    1. Dear Cath,
      Family recipes are the best. I love shortbread and really its one of those things that are so good but also inexpensive really. A luxury though.
      There are many things we would all be upset if they didnt appear at Christmas. Mum makes a slice that is one of them!
      I am so glad you are enjoying Christmas. Me too! Have a lovely weekend with love

  11. Wow! That is a gorgeous lily!

    1. Thanks Lana I am hoping for some more... I love pink! xxx

  12. I have had a few days away and now am recharged for what is going to be a bigger Christmas than originally planned. We popped into my mother in law's place on the way home and there is no way that she is up to doing anything towards Christmas, so no baking has been done, no meat has been purchased and of course the ham is still only a thought as well.

    My husband's sister who usually does the buying (I help with the cooking) of the meat has been flat out with her own mother in law and looking after her grandson.

    So tomorrow I need to make a list and 'phone my sister in law to find out about the meat purchase that she usually takes care of and anything else that needs organising or doing.

    Last count ( this afternoon with my mother in law) was that we had 18 coming for Christmas lunch but the numbers will probably increase before Christmas Day.

    We did have a good break, mind you my husband had to work. I found a fabric place that was to die for - cheap fabric, trims etc but the space in my suitcase was a problem so I limited myself to what I needed.

    At the airport we saw powdered milk - a 1 kg packet for $23-, buy 3 get another for free. Also the marshmallow skewers that you made previously were $4-95 - they had a light weight cardboard father christmas cut out on the top of the bag with a smallish lolly pop like a chupa chup as the tummy (poking through a hole cut out in that space).

    I also got a copy of the recipe book had been handing out - not sure if I will get time to do the tea towels now before Christmas but it is defiantely on the January to do list.

    Have a great weekend everyone.


    1. Dear Lynette, It sounds like a good thing you had a little break!
      That fabric place sounds heavenly! I would have had a great time in there too. I love finding places like that!
      It sounds like you are going to have your work cut out... also with 18 and counting...
      I hope you have a good week! With lots of love,

  13. Oh, I LOVE the reindeer antlers story! Hope I remember it ;) And I love the reminiscences of your daughters: eating dinner under the tree with the fairy lights and the Christmas lights drive (we do that one and I remember my Dad taking us girls when we were young). Priceless memories, really. I think Jesus would be pleased at the happy memories we make around His birthday. Lovely of your friend to treat you to Tea also.

    1. Dear Mary,
      Thanks. I love SCIENTIFIC PROOF such as the antlers :) The girls still talk about Christmas things they loved. They think it was magical. They are very nostalgic about it all.
      I hope I can do the same for Harper but also think of ways to make things magical for us all as adults as well!
      Many thanks Mary, with love

  14. Dear Annabel, It looks like you have had a good week. High tea sounds absolutely wonderful! We don't do that sort of thing here, but I really wish we did. I know this probably sounds very silly, but I've actually had to look up how to "properly" have tea, you know, with little sandwiches and scones and clotted cream, lol. But I guess that's one of the fun things about homemaking- you get to have your own sort of little culture in your home, even if people don't drink their tea hot in Texas ;) And your lily is beautiful.
    This week I haven't done much except the basic housework, but I have saved by drying my clothes on the line, washing our vehicle, and bathing the dog myself. I was actually very excited about our power bill this month. The company we are with gives their customers a credit at the end of the year, and I was able to get it low enough so that we don't owe anything this month and a good chunk will be covered next month. This I think is mainly due to the fair weather allowing me to have the windows open and dry laundry outside.
    We got a free meal for singing at an event. We also were invited to the company Christmas party that my husband does odd jobs for. This got us another free meal. I thought it was nice of the boss to invite us since my husband is not an official employee. As a "thank you", I gave the boss and his fiancee a jar of my apple butter (wrapped up nicely of course), and they absolutely loved it! You are right about homemade food being such a hit.
    I also made your exfoliating facial scrub. It's wonderful, as my skin had been looking so dull. I have had fun going back through your beauty posts, as I am more inclined to try that type of thing in the winter when it's cold and I start to feel cooped up in the house.
    Well, I didn't intend to write you a novel, lol! I hope you have a lovely weekend. --Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      I wish you lived near by as I would invite you to high tea or afternoon tea. I have a pale pink tea set and multi tiered cake stands and you fill them with little treats. Scones jam and cream are my favorite but also savory things. It is lovely and pretty! Plus I love tea and drink gallons of it!
      The exfoliating scrub is messy but it works! Do it a few times a week and you will see and feel such a difference. Plus your moisturizer soaks in better. Takes years off!
      I think its nice too about the invitation to the work dinner. I love when people acknowledge someone's help and contribution. It was awesome getting two meals out!
      Well done on the power bill. What a handy time of year for a saving like that also.
      Have a great weekend! With love,

    2. Annabel, Thank you so much for saying you would invite me to tea. That is very special to me. We have some friends from California that are vacationing in Australia right now. I have no idea what part, but of course I immediately thought of you when I found out. The pictures they have sent are just beautiful. --Kelsey

  15. Another week of working to save...I've had family in visiting this week and it feels I've done little in many ways but I know that isn't true! We've eaten meals every day and none of them were splurges, we've washed and cleaned and had fun as a family. I share about it here:

    1. Dear Terri, Thank you for sharing your week. Time with your family is the best thing and memories are made. Have a wonderful week. With love

  16. I had my last day of school for the year yesterday. We celebrated with a Kris Kringle gift giving amongst the staff. I made a quilted water bottle holder with water bottle and a quilted pencil case. The young woman receiving the gift loved it. I had the water bottle in the cupboard from when they were on sale earlier in the year. The quilted fabric was part of an unfinished quilt top I picked up at Vinnies. Today I am finishing off a European cushion cover and diary cover for my niece. The fabric is from my stash. My Christmas gifts are finished once this is done. I have already completed my Dad's Birthday gift for February and started on hubby and sons gift for March. Life is good.
    PS some much needed cooling rain is currently falling. Life is brilliant!

    1. Dear Jane, Well done on your lovely gifts! I have the January presents done but you are ahead of me as I am not up to March! How good it is to be ahead!
      We could do with the rain... it is going to be really hot this week... not thrilled about that!
      You have done really well and now can enjoy other things than hunting for presents. Have a lovely week! With love

  17. Annabell,
    Your shortbread looks lovely in the cute packages. I love shortbread so I only make it very close to Christmas or I have to make sure to give the gifts away very soon. Sounds like you are very ready for Christmas. I love wrapping packages it was my very first job when I was a teenager. I worked at Woolworths it was amazing the set up they had with all the
    paper on giant rolls, rulers along the counters.To make sure
    you got just the right amount of wrap and ribbon. I even learned to make bows. It has saved me a lot of money over the years.
    Have a blessed holiday season.

    1. Dear Patti,
      Wrapping skills are very handy! Truly well wrapped things look so much better!
      Thank you so much. A very happy Christmas to you too. With love

  18. Your pink lily is just beautiful. I carried lilies at my wedding, so I have a soft spot in my heart for them. Thank you for sharing your lovely photo.

    My biggest accomplishment this week was hosting the church staff (my husband is the head minister) for our annual Christmas dinner. One of the ladies, who used to work as a florist, said the candy bouquets looked fabulous, as though I'd bought them. I floated on that kind compliment for the rest of the evening, as you may imagine!

    While baking the cakes and yeast rolls for the party I listened to the unabridged audio version of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. The gentleman who read it did all of the voices and dramatized it so charmingly. It made my baking all the more pleasant, and thankfully I didn't get so engaged in the story as to accidentally mix up the sugar and the salt or some other disaster.

    We also received some venison this week from a friend who hunts. We were so grateful and rejoiced over it. We love venison! It came just in time, too, because I am supposed to make taco meat for the Christmas party the young people from church are having tomorrow. The venison will be lean and healthy and perfect.

    The makings of Christmas cookies/biscuits and fudge and our Christmas dinner are in the pantry, a supply of Christmas music is at the ready, and my son is home from university for a month-long break, so I'm feeling quite celebratory. Here's wishing everyone a marvelous week and lots of fun getting ready for Christmas!

    1. Dear Leigh, I love pink and I love Lilies so these suit me.
      Well done on your decor for the tables and the cooking and I saw the turkey and it looked sensational!
      It is wonderful that you have your son home. No wonder you are celebrating. Just enjoy. That is beautiful.
      I am pleased about the venison too. My brother keeps deer so we get some sometimes. It is healthy and lean and the ultimate in free range! What a wonderful bonus for you!
      Have a great week and enjoy it, it is a time where it is busy but also special. With love, Annabel.xxxx

  19. Oh Annabelle! How I love your blog and your enthusiasm! I found you much to late for my Christmas this year, but I do plan on joining in on your January challenge and I can't wait!

    1. Dear Jenn,
      Thank you so much! I am so pleased to have you in the January Challenge. By this time next year you will have so many gifts made you will cover Birthdays as well. It is amazing how doing something every month adds up.
      Thank you and have a good week! With love

  20. The biscuits look great Annabel. I love he packaging.So professional.

    Here's what we got up to -

    * Collected six brown paper bags from the Sovereign Hill shopping trip. I asked the family to get one each time they shopped. I'll be recycling them and giving them a makeover

    * Cut up three cereal packets to put between chops and hamburger patties when I freeze them

    * Used a Coles gift card that was given to us to buy our holiday food.

    * We bought as much food and snacks as we could from home to save us money on our holiday to Ballarat.

    * We used holiday spending money to eat out when we were in Ballarat. Nothing was put on credit.

    * Kept the curtains closed on hot days.

    * Picked a small handful of raspberries and a few strawberries each day.

    * Sold some eggs.

    * Filled up both cars with petrol when it came down to $1.12 per litre then used a discount docket to get another 4 cents a litre off.

    * Cut out lots of images to use in card making and gift wrapping. These images were freebies from some card making brochures.

    * Made lots of pita chips.

    * Made dried bread crumbs from saved up bread crusts in the freezer

    * Darren and I made some Christmas cards using what i had on hand. This is our first year of making Christmas cards, so they are a little basic. We'll get better as we get more ideas ( and time ).

    * Blessed my friend Cath with a raspberry plant Darren grew from a cutting. I wrapped it up using saved plastic from store bought flowers. Cath loved it and can't wait to pick her own raspberries next year. These plants retail for $15 in Bunnings. I also gave her a bunch of hydrangeas from our garden ( her fav. flower ).

    * Stocked up on half price grocery specials of batteries.and crumbed fish.

    * Picked silverbeet for one meal.

    * Gratefully received some zucchinis and cranberries from Cath.

    * Found some balls of Bendigo Mill 100% cotton for $3.60 and some netting for knitting padded coat hangers also for $3.60. I used my discount card to get the price down from $3.99 each. The netting will be also used to make bows for cards and other craft.

    * Did the usual water saving tasks for the washing machine, shower and kitchen sink.

    1. Dear Wendy, That was a very good week. I love Bendigo cotton. Mum buys this and sometimes gets me some. I love it. It knits or crochets up beautifully.
      Have a good week. I know it will be busy but I hope it is lovely as well. With love

  21. Annabel, it's me again ;) I need help! My DH's b-day is Christmas Eve and I could use some great ideas for making his day magical. He's so good to me and asks for nothing for himself. I am making a special dessert for his day, but beyond that and a few little gifts, I'm stumped. You're so good at this stuff --- help! (Please)

    1. Dear Mary,
      Ok challenge accepted! Well because its Christmas eve there are a few things. He probably grew up with his Birthday flying under the radar and on Christmas eve you probably dont need more to do or much more food... so I would do something you can get ready and done now and produce then.
      I would buy a lot of small things he likes... from non perishable food treats to a book, or gold tees or whatever he is into. If it was my husband for instance I could include fishing lures, lunch box treats, books... I would wrap up 8 or so small gifts to look lovely and give him one per hour all day! At the beginning say he is having a whole ay of treats. It would be a bit fun and special. It may sound childish but I have hidden presents and said they are hidden all around the house and how many there are. This was actually hilarious as the child like behavior comes out! (never buried too deeply here anyway!)
      OR I would write a card and using the time you have to think about it list all the things you appreciate about him. That would mean a lot.
      I hope that you give him a memorable and special day! I hope you will tell me what you do! With love

  22. Aw, those are precious ideas, Annabel! Thank you so much - I'm going to do them and I will write and let you know how it went over ;). Bless you, Darling!


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