The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Feather your Nest Friday, 1st April. 2016.

Welcome to April! And almost April if you are reading in the north! I need some time to look at March as a whole and think about the new month a bit. This week has been busy but I felt I didn't get so much done.

In this case sitting down to look at what we did do (rather than the things I never got to) has helped me see we achieved plenty and I should feel much better about it than I do!

Also last weekend and Easter seem a long time ago!

Since my last Feather your Nest post we took up that old carpet and transformed the office. It looks really good now and somehow more stylish and professional.

Over Easter my present to Andy was a tray of Brownies. Since Valentine's Day he has been talking about Brownies!

Never making one of anything I made two trays. I found last time it froze well. Some will come on our trip and some will be handy in winter, probably when I have made soup for dinner and we have a desert. 

Andy trimmed the hedge out the back.

I made a tuna mornay and one night served it in vol au vents and another as a casserole. 

I altered two tops that I never wear as they were too long. Fixed! Now I love them.

When at the Chemist I was offered samples. Just after talking about samples too! So I said yes pleased I love samples!  I think she gave me more due to my enthusiastic response as it was about ten items and included a lovely hand cream, a cleanser, a moisturiser and one was a Burts Bees face cream.

I made three more heat packs. One of these was for Lucy. She likes velvet like I do. This was a remnant from Spotlight.

We planted an apple tree last year.  The first apple has appeared! 

Well, it's a start!

What I didn't do was any painting and I haven't finished replying to your comments on Wednesday. 
My back is heaps better so I am set to start painting again this afternoon and tomorrow. And replies are coming!  

So I did get some things done. The office floor is the biggest thing and huge home improvement. 
I have two new tops to wear since I fixed a fault with them. And I got ahead with a few deserts in the freezer.

Nightly "our" two Mud Larks come to visit. This one will sit on Andy's head. 

But the last few weeks a Willie Wagtail has come too. You can see him in the background just past Birdies Head.  He is getting quite tame too. These guys entertain us endlessly!

I hope you had a good week! And I hope April will be good for us all. I am aiming to get my front fence painted this month. If I get that done then I will go onto the front veranda and lattice work etc. This is exciting as it is going to change the look of our house so much! I think it will be really pretty.

How did you build up your home and save money this week? What are your hopes and goals for April? A new month is a good time for a review and stock take. I think we got a lot done in the first quarter of the year so I am happy with that! 



  1. Those brownies look great Annabel, no wonder Andy loves them - I can almost smell them. This week not a great deal here, I have tried my hand at making tulle pom pom's, they worked out nicely. I also made a photo book (on iPhoto, so from Apple) with pics of my ds's engagement party. The book came in uber quick time today and looks great, know they will love to have that. I thought i might do one of my dgs of his 1st year. I've also been cooking a lot of things as well. Painting the outside of your house is going to be fun, back in the late 80's I painted the whole front of my weather board home and every single time I came home I got a buzz. Have a lovely weekend. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona, What a good idea to make the photo book! That is a lovely keep sake and gift. Also tulle makes beautiful pom poms! I am very fond of tulle.
      I am really looking forward to how nice the house is going to look! I did some painting today, the inside around the windows at the back. The outside to go. Then the front fence and front veranda. I can't wait. It is dull and dark now. Yet there is pretty detail, carving, wrought iron lace work... it will all stand out when painted. Just not enough hours in a day!
      I will get there...
      You did well I think, lovely ideas! Hope you are having a good weekend. With love

  2. Dear Annabel, wow what a lovely feather your best Friday today, brownies, home grown apple(s) , beautiful and friendly visiting birds , such wonder!. I love how you got some wonderful samples, I love getting free samples and a visit to the dentist becomes almost ok because of the free toothpaste sample products!. I remember once my Dad at a private dietician clinic and he was given a goody bag with toothpaste and tooth brush a magnet with the clinics details , a pen and notebook etc. my parents also got free goodies from their accountant when getting their tax done.they got water bottles and pens and shopping list pads and a big to do list notebook . Anyway sorry to go on , that just reminded me that goodies like free samples sometimes come when you least expect it!
    . My week has included: Easter with my parents as described in the Vicky challenge saving me a lot of money and giving me a lovely time , I made some more cards, found a gift that I had been given ( not really gift for me but included in jewellery making items I was given) , it is beautiful and will make a lovely gift to give to a friend. I bought Easter bubble pens for my nieces half price, a silicone baking mat for $3 instead of buying chocolate !. , I decluttered some more junk and saved money on getting a professional ( if you haven't guessed I live in a fairly small home and love " junk" as in books, craft items, magazines etc) .
    I went to the movies with my mum and lunch too as a treat from my parents, We had takeaway as a treat shouted by my Dad after a long tough day. I visited my gran and had a lovely afternoon catching up with family for Easter and had a chat about what services I may be able to receive to help me ( my Aunty goes to church with people who use a service I may be able to use) . I went to lunch with my mum and she got seniors discount, which was lovely to see. All this takeaway and dining out is a rare treat for us.
    I used cuttlefish for my budgies that I get given by a friend, I also finally put a toy I have made for pink and Floyd in their cage ,they love now love it even though they were a tad timid at first. I have had my usual two hours of subsidised cleaning, I have also done all the usual things and one last thing have earns $20 rewards points this week by doing my groceries as normal!.
    I had a rather good week actually. Take care Annabel and have a great weekend everyone. Love Barb W.

    1. Dear Barb,
      The free little tooth pastes and toothbrushes are the best bit about going to the dentist. The only bit actually as I don't like going! lol
      The cuttlefish I see in the supermarket and pet shops. It is great getting them from a friend or the beach. we do that too. Ricky goes through them fast!
      I am glad you had such a good week! I hope you re having a good weekend. I got some painting done again today, yay! With lots of love

  3. Those brownies sure look nice! How wonderful to have your apple tree fruiting...and I bet it won't be long before you get rather large crops too...mmm all those apple pies, crumble etc! 😃 I love the way mud larks are always in pairs and that's a great photo of one at the feeder.

    1. Thanks Maria. We used to have a lovely apricot tree that produced heaps! It was wonderful. But a year ago it died from a disease. I was so upset to lose it! We had to plant something else in its place so we got this apple tree and it was pretty small but it has grown heaps. So next year hopefully we will start picking apples.
      Yes our Mudlarks are always together. They had a baby and he came too for a while. The photo he is literally 10 inches from my iPad! They also come inside but I have to tell them "out you go" !
      Have a great new week Maria, with love

  4. Dear Annabel. What a lovely week, and I am thrilled about your! Now that we have fruit trees, I find these things quite exciting! Brownies look yum, and I know what you mean about shortening tops. Even a dress that you no longer like, can become a quite lovely top. Lace trim makes things look lovely too. I've had an odd week, but still achieved more than I expected to, just by 'doing one thing, then one thing more'. I baked little date cakes in square muffin pans, which makes them look quite upmarket, and iced them with icing and lime zest, made a huge Thai Beef Salad with noodles which fed us twice, a Chicken soup that also fed us twice, and took many, many French Lavender cuttings to strike and plant out. Our lavender is doing beautifully, so I think there'll be lavender gifts of all kinds coming up too! It's school holidays of course too, so I spent time with my daughter, which was the loveliest thing of all. I hope everyone has a good weekend. Love, Mimi xxx

  5. A wild bird that sits on your husbands head- :) That must be so fun!
    I'm starting April with all bills paid as of last night and a pretty full kitchen and am planning to have a very low spending April.

  6. Hi Annabel!

    What a feathery week you have had, after all!! The velvet is nice. The velvet/velveteen ribbons caught my eye, as I had some when I was little. Mmmmm, I might like to buy some more some day!! Are there such things as ribbon samples?!

    I love your mud lark. (I've just learnt another name!) I agree with how bird antics can be so entertaining. My husband says that we are television for the animals, and they are television for us. (We gave up television, essentially, around the last federal elections, only watching it four times last year - for the Melbourne Cup horse race, & State of Origin football between Queensland & New South Wales.) One time, I accidentally dropped a pen lid out a window. I decided that I would pick it up when I should next step outside, but, shortly after, I heard a flutter of large wings, and realised that the BLUE lid was on its way to a bowerbird's nest! When clearing the weedy lantana, we sometimes find old wren's nests. Last winter, I checked on a small nest at ground level, & found a pair of tiny eyes shining back at me!! I find watching the littlest birds very relaxing.

    How did we feather our nest this week? Well, my husband needed to help his back, so the old pillows, including the feather one, are replaced with a quality latex pillow, bought at a ten percent discount by accepting a store card - which is about accepting advertising until we decide to unsubscribe. I did wash the ravages of summer off the windows, freshened up towels with eucalyptus (leftover from wool wash), cleaned the backup car & cut a trail through the choko patch that's taking off. The Eternal has made some special touches - a pumpkin plant in the scrap area, a mock orange shrub flowering for the first time, my orange tree growing another layer, and a wild grown native cotton tree taking off! I love to potter around and see these things!

    Oh yes, my Mum leant me a small box of DIY booklets - about seventy-five of them! They cover home topics like lamp lore; haircutting; making home made glues, pastes & putties; & so on. I think they are proud of my work at home! Dad reworked one particular floral arrangement in colours to suit Mum's interior decorating (Mum likes whites & elegant, plain styles). I did a 'Miss Emma', telling Dad & Mum that 'Annabel would love that'! I'll have to send you a photo some time! Then, today, I made your miracle muffins in my diesel-powered oven. I put a small spoon of my citrus peel kitchen syrup in the middle of each, & topped them with leftover crumble/crisp topping & my $1 walnuts. I served some with custard, & I found it refreshing - a pick-me-up, even!

    The fresh biblical year, as signalled by the moon, begins in about a week, with Passover occurring on the fourteenth day of the first month. Christ did for us all what nobody else could. My hopes and dreams are entirely dependant on the Eternal making a way. His law, as His word says, is life to me.

    I really thrive on your posts! Thank you!!

    Rachel Holt

    1. Rachel, your comment about hopes and dreams being entirely dependant on the Eternal really calmed my anxiety! Thank you!

    2. Dear Rachel,
      You made me laugh as the Emma moment has become famous I think. Also it is lovely that you would think of me and I am sure you are quite right that I would have loved the white flowers.
      I love the Passover. And I am continually amazed how God can make a way or provide even when it seems impossible.
      Your week was lovely especially in the garden! And productive!
      I think the DIY booklets might have some invaluable tips.
      I have never seen a Bowerbird but would love to! We do have Wrens at the farm... Superb Blue and a few Fairy Wrens. The blue are everywhere and fairly tame. Not like the Mudlarks though! I really adore them. And the nests are just so sweet.
      Have a great new week Rachel! With many thanks! Love

  7. A bird sitting on my head would freak me out! Pretty cool though!

    We are working on getting things squared away for hubby to be away for 15 days. So many things in this house are on high shelves and things that I never think about. We are trying to be ready for anything that could come up while he is away.

    Don't worry about the replies! We know you are busy keeping your home just like the rest of us! Happy weekend.

  8. Annabel, those brownies look delicious and how smart to think ahead by making two, one to eat and one to freeze. The velvet heat packs are beautiful. I was able to pick up a few samples this week too. You've had a good week, getting the floor done in your office was a big job! Glad your back is better.

    1. Dear Patsy,
      It was great to discover the Brownies freeze perfectly. So many things do and it is so good to have things on hand.
      I am glad about your samples. Vicky is a champion at getting them and now I make more effort. Very handy for supplies. I hope you are having a lovely weekend! With love

  9. Oh, Annabel, it sounds like your painting is going so well and smoothly! I'm glad for you to have that accomplished and envy you the speed with which you're getting things done. It will be so much nicer to be indoors for winter in freshly painted rooms.

    I accomplished some of the visible things I wanted to do in March but thought I'd mention something not so visible. I've spent quite a bit more time of late driving a couple of my daughter's friends to and from their events, including some in which my daughter wasn't a participant. Both of them are from single-parent homes, so I feel it's important for me to help their families when I can and to invest in the lives of the teenagers. It doesn't show many results now and it takes time away from other tasks, but I would want others to help my children if they could, so I drive when I can. I'm fairly certain other ladies fill similar roles for young people in their lives and churches, so I thought I'd mention it since it's an "accomplishment" that I often overlook. Way to go, all of you backup moms and grannies and aunties out there!

    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Dear Leigh,
      Thank you, your renovations are more major than mine so I think you are doing well!
      I really agree about counting the time invested in your daughters friends and families. These are important times and many times we underestimate the help of such things as rides and being available when needed. Very important. And truly worthwhile.
      Many thanks Leigh, with love

  10. it's great to be able to watch bird life in your own backyard, how wonderful that the mud larks get so close, I'm curious to know what you are feeding them?

    1. Years ago I wanted to feed Blue Wrens and I read that grated cheese was good as it is protein and they love grubs which are protein. Well, they went mad over it. Mudlarks also love grubs so I tried grated cheese and yes they love it too! Its important to only feed them snacks rather than them get dependant on our food but we give a small amount nearly everyday. They turn up every evening but sometimes in the day also. If I don't go out with the cheese and the back door is open they sit on the step and wait for me. If I still don't they walk inside towards the fridge as they know thats where it is kept! They are pretty smart! xxx

    2. nawww that is so sweet! - and very smart :o)

  11. Hi Annabel,
    I like your idea of looking at how much got done, rather than things not done. Your sweet, positive attitude is so encouraging! I needed a bit of encouraging this week as I haven't been feeling too well. We missed the Easter service and the holiday celebration with friends and family. I was glad I had taken the eggs for the big hunt to someone I thought would get there earlier, so didn't have to worry about disappointing the children. I had signed up to bring drinks, too, so my older daughter bought some and took them for me.

    I'm feeling quite a bit better. Got our taxes done and e-filed today. That's a big relief here in the US. Yesterday, I helped our neighbor get the last of her citrus picked. It was nice visiting with her. I brought home 2 large bags of lemons and quite a few grapefruit. I thought another friend would like the grapefruit, but found she doesn't need them right now. Wish I could offer them to you :-). I plan to put them in smaller bags and take them to church. Perhaps some of the folks can use them or they can put them out in the food pantry. I want to add more lemon juice and zest to my freezer. Thought I was done with lemons, but couldn't resist.
    Your feathered friends are cute! We enjoy watching and listening to birds.
    The weather is so nice right now! We have roses, snapdragons, geraniums, and other flowers blooming. Our tomato plants are setting fruit. We have a couple peaches on our fairly new tree.i enjoy this time of year so much!
    We've been having some necessary work done around the house. Quite a bit has needed to be paid workers, but my husband and a wonderful neighbor have been busy, as well.
    I stopped by the grocery and found 70% off. I think we have enough chocolate for a long time!
    Wishing you and all a lovely weekend and Happy April!

    1. Dear Elaine,
      I really hope you are feeling better. I am sorry you missed out on Easter activities especially after getting ready for the egg hunt etc. But Im glad it went ahead and I bet the children loved it!
      Yes we have to look at what we did do. Usually it is a lot and we can feel discouraged if we only look at what is still on the list!
      Do you know that many times here a lemon is $1. That is $1 each. Other times they are 50c each. And there are so many uses for lemons, all citrus really. I love the scent too.
      We also are enjoying gorgeous weather. I am loving it! I am sure spring and autumn are so much easier than summer and winter.
      Your garden sounds just lovely!
      I do hope you are back to your normal self and have a good new week. with love

  12. Dear Annabel, You still had a busy week! Even though you don't report it, we all know that you also blog three times a week and reply to all of our comments and emails. We all really appreciate this and I know that must take a good amount of time. We all understand if you are late with replies or don't get to them :)
    I think that is so neat about the birds. And funny that they will go in your house towards the refrigerator if you haven't fed them.
    With the brownies, one thing I do sometimes is substitute the oil in the recipe for melted coconut oil. This gives them a chocolate coconut taste and my husband loves brownies this way!
    Once again, I didn't write things down this week. The results are twofold. I don't see that I did much and I wasn't motivated to do more. So next week, I really need to write things down! Then again, last Friday I was hoping for a less busy week and I got it! One big thing though, was that I made lots of progress on packing in the kitchen at the ranch. I think I did so well since I had taken a small break from it, and I was ready to go again after that. After seeing what came out of those cabinets, I don't have to worry if my stuff will fit lol. Other than that, I made all breakfasts and packed lunches and coffee on workdays. I also made my FIL's birthday gift. Besides the basics, that is all that comes to mind tonight.
    I hope everyone has a lovely and productive week to come! Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      I am hopeless if I don't write things down. Most of the time its hard to do it and so I have a pad on the fridge and a pad next tot the bed. I jot things down and it might be one word like "hedge" is there now to remind me to count that Andy trimmed the hedge. One word will often give me the reminder later. Then when I get time I add them into my savings diary so they make more sense!
      I am wondering about the stuff coming out of the cupboards? Is any of it lovely and vintage? Or saleable or do you donate it. I think I have romantic notions of what might be in an old kitchen and what you might find. Vintage things are quite collectable and some valuable. Even hand beaters are really expensive here. And thing like rolling pins...
      You are making great progress! It is hard working on two houses but one day you will be down to one house to concentrate on and that will be wonderful! I also have romantic notions of a farm garden, orchard even!
      And chickens of course!
      Have a great new week. Thanks for mentioning the time I spend on the blog. It is a bit. But also it motivates me as I think if I don't get cracking I won't have anything to report! Lots of love,

    2. Dear Annabel,
      Much of what has come out of the cupboards is not farmhouse style, I'm afraid, as that just was not their style. Some of it however is still very beautiful and much of it is interesting with a story behind it. Papa (husband's grandfather) was stationed in Japan during the Korean War and sent a china set back home to his mother. He also brought several sets back home with him. All of that is at the ranch, and that is one of the reasons it has taken me a good amount of time to pack it all up. There was also a lot of pink glass and milk glass, which I think is beautiful. All of these things have already been willed to the granddaughters, so those things have been boxed and labeled with the recipient's name on it. My FIL has been very kind and told me that whatever did not go to someone, I could go through and set aside what I wanted. The rest is being boxed up and labeled. I have no idea what he wants to do with it though. Thankfully, that is not my decision to make.
      So I have set aside a little stash :) There is some clear cut glass, several vintage white linens (which actually are farmhouse-y), a few table decorations, and a silver tea service. Also, when I was packing up the china cabinet, I came upon a butter dish, and as I took the lid off to wrap it, I found a letter in it. The dish was an anniversary gift to my husband's grandparents from Papa's mother, and it belonged to her mother before that. The note said it had been through the Civil War (1860's). How cool is that?! I will ask, but if there are no objections, that is in my stash :)
      They built the ranch house in the 1970's and have lived there since, so there is quite a bit of accumulation. I found a jar of apricot pie filling, which had apparently gotten lost, that was at least two decades old judging by the wrapper lol! Also, a cook book entitled "Cooking with Electricity." Some things I found, you would just not expect to find in a kitchen. In one of the very top cupboards in the back was a tiny jar of water with a label that read, "From the Jordan River." Papa was an archaeologist and had done some work in Israel and had apparently brought that back with him. Wow! So, yes, packing the kitchen has been an adventure. :)
      And of course we will have chickens and a garden! As you may guess, I love English cottage gardens. There are a few stone walls and I dream of roses cascading over the tops. I get excited just thinking of it! Lots of work ahead of us but I think it is so much fun to dream and plan, and eventually, gradually make those things happen within our means. I'll keep y'all updated on our progress, of course. Love, Kelsey


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