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.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Vicky Challenge. Making do.

This week for The Vicky Challenge I am including a letter from Vicky that got me thinking about this subject... Making Do.

Vicky also just taught a pantry building class. For anyone new this is the introduction to the Vicky Challenge which is a good place to start here. We meet every Monday with our Vicky Challenge progress and new ways to save.
Now over to Vicky:

With so many things going on these days I know many over the last few years who have lost income due to job loss, medical bills and increased cost or loss of health insurance. And since we have discussed so many aspects of homemaking I thought maybe a discussion on making do would tie in there somewhere.
Although we can tend to glamourize how Great Grandma did this or that out of necessity do we really understand what she did on a daily basis for years and not just occasionally? Many were poor and never reached middle class status. And while times have been good the middle class is getting hit hard at the moment.
Or maybe some are just starting out and finding things a bit overwhelming. We live in a culture of instant gratification and excess. Everything should be bigger and better and disposable. I cannot picture my Great Grandmother being a Diva or a Princess.
No Great Grandma wasn't a Diva she made do. During the War and the Great Depression and times before she made do. She wasn't able to just go get new furniture it was covered with something when the wear and tear started to show.(I do this and have different covers to change out the look)  Nor get fast food because she didn't feel like cooking or get a new out fit for every occasion. Her children didn't have a closet full of clothes and a room full of toys they tired of within a few weeks. They made do by slitting the toes of the shoes so they could wear them longer, they patched everything, children made do by being creative and imaginative. We think it oh so quaint to put flowers in a mason jar Grandma did it because she had no pretty vase and couldn't afford one. Maybe none of her stuff matched and she had no money in her change purse, but she didn't feel less than because of it. She knew she was needed and did her best.
If you're in or heading into a situation where you have to make do, I can tell you from experience that it isn't always fun, but attitude can be everything. I like to look at it as a challenge even though others are telling me I should have better! There isn't anything that paint or some material can't improve. I know a few who get upset and will call me and say I am so tired of making do I want this or that. I want not I need. I have learned many things from making do. And I still have it a lot better than Grandma did.
So if you are in the position right now that you have to make do with everything, you will find just how well you can do with little and be proud that you have the fortitude to do it. There is joy to find in making do believe it or not. When I look back on the day there is that sense of accomplishment and pride that I didn't have to push my Mr. or make him feel he is not an adequate provider when he does his best. They say there is a lot of fighting over money in marriages and since we discuss so many womanly things we need to give them their due as well. It is a part of the ebb and flow of frugality. By appreciating the hard times we can grow and learn and not fall in the trap of taking things for granted.

Lots of things spring to mind here. Recently Dad was lamenting the fact that a famous Australia (who he doesn't like!) made their fortune by taking advantage of people... in that they can buy stuff from the stores and pay for it in two years time. Which of course is everywhere there days! But to Dad that is not right, if people can't afford something then they can't afford it and you save up! You make do meanwhile. And there are lots of ways of making do!

Funnily many times when I have made do no one would know. Other times I have had family come to the house and ask "Do you STILL have THAT lounge?" as the lounge we have I can remember laying on recovering from Glandular Fever when I was sixteen. And Mum and Dad had it long long before that. That makes it at least 20 years old. Ok, that's a lie, that makes it around forty years old!
Well, I don't care. Years ago I had covers made for it. I am always washing these covers but it still looks pretty good! 

Lately I have made do with the paint in the shed and other cast off paint. It has been fine!
I made do with what's in the fridge to invent different pizza toppings.
I made do with a lot of crafts and used up things I already have...

There are a lot of ways to save by making do, until something just right comes along, until we have the money saved up or until circumstances change.

During WW2 it was a British campaign to Make do and Mend. We can really stretch resources when we need to. During the war there was not only food rationing but also clothes rationing. People had to learn to make do and mend and fast! Improving our sewing skills and mending skills alone can be a huge saver. 

So I am trying to think "how can I make do?" as often as possible and it brings out some creativity too!

This week my Vicky Challenge...

I reseeded the lawn and am generally trying to renovate it. Except I have no idea how much this would cost to have done? Or buy new turf?

Painting, sanding, filling cracks... more than last week $300

Finishing pretty hankies for gifts... $40

Decorating the baskets for use at home and some for gift hampers. As they are now they would be quite expensive in shops... I will say $100 (six so far)

Picked Quinces, I got 4 kilos.  $20 I think I can make them into $50 with of Quince paste but I haven't got that far yet!

My Spaghetti sauce cook up and meals frozen... saving $30 This ensures further savings as we never need to buy take away.

Made all packed lunches... $100.

Made the boys fishing day food and packed drinks etc to save them buying anything saving $50

I make out my savings to be about $760 without including the work on the lawn.

I hope you had a great week. How did you go?

Each week adding new ways to save (or reviving old ones) and being aware of the value of what we make and do seems to be working for me. I am amazed at the value of things and how many new things I've discovered in the last twelve months especially. That makes it exciting to me! Be willing to do things differently, make changes, learn new skills and try new things. Sometimes the results are staggering especially when you work out the savings over a year. This is all building up your home. It is a good feeling!
Have a wonderful week! xxx


  1. Oh how this resonates with me - our lounge suites are older than that Annabel - one was my grandparents and I have a photo of it being carried into their rented house in the early 1930's ( they rented that house until they pruchased it in the 1960's). The other is a mid century modern one (1960's) that was left behind in a previous house. We could get quite a bit of money for the later one if we sold it but we could never get anything as good to replace it.

    I am going to be away for quite a while - not sure how long yet so hope that everyone continues to see the benefit of their savings.

    Keep well everyone.


    1. Dear Lynette,
      I hope everything goes ok while you are away I will be thinking of you. And I am so glad to find someone with an older lounge!
      We will look forward to your return with love,

    2. A few years ago we were desperate for chairs in the living room. I bought two chairs off a friend for $5 each. They'd been passed about her family and I think had been used by every child in the family! That meant I was something like owner #5 of the chairs. Katie took one of those when she moved out and used it for another five years and the second chair still sits in my living room going on year ten I think. I've recovered it, bought a slip cover for it when I tired of that and have boosted the cushion up with new foam that someone else gave to me. It's the best chair in the house, in honesty and I expect will last me the rest of my natural life and then go on to someone else. That chair convinced me to buy furniture used and cheaply because I can buy far better than I can otherwise afford.

    3. May the Eternal be surety for good while you are away, Lynette. We will look forward to hearing from you again.
      Rachel Holt

  2. Hello Annabel, happy Monday!. I loved today's post, thank you Vicky for a wonderful account of what it is like and was like for our grandmas and great grandmas to make do. I am able to say that I have made do myself recently. I did not have the energy or ability to go shopping to the larger shopping centre for gifts this last week soI made cards for 3 gifts and I looked in my gift cupboard and also when I was able to go to the local smaller shops for a few minutes I made use/ do with what the local news agency sells. I bought a gift there and then added it to my gifts gift cupboard to be able to give a respectable gift. I also made do with the baking I was able to do instead of buying biscuits ( cookies) or shop bought cake . I made savoury rolls and muffins that take 5 minutes to prepare.
    My Vicky challenge savings this week are made 12 more cards $60 saving approximately, made savoury rolls and muffins instead of buying them ( again) , saving of about $ 50 , was given some chocolate by new friends$8 saving, was given a book $10 saving, was sent a parcel of cards made by ladies from cheapskates from the card swap I had to pull out of due to illness $ 40 saving and another parcel card making goodies $75 saving approx( I will be able to make about 25 to 30 cards , saving me $5 per card so that is a conservative saving . I saved $25 on groceries , I am receiving 5 more meals from my parents, saving on me cooking . I will cook a few meals and saves buying takeaway ( which I hardly ever have) .I bought some meat for us all this week so a saving of $20 but some weeks my parents buy most of the meat, we take it in turns. Also I saved a small amount on electricity by only using the dryer when absolutely needed$5 saving. I borrowed books and magazines from the library instead of buying some $25 saving roughly. I got a free craft magazines with my magazine loyalty card $10 saving . I used my run off / warm up water to water my plants $5 approx. Ialso saved $50 on taxi fares( approximately) this week by planning my trips and also staying home . I saved $ 10 on magazines by getting some from my mum and gran.finally I saved $ $140 on doctors fees by being bulk billed by my doctor and waiting to see him instead of seeing a doctor who does not bulk bill. Total savings approximately $530 , unless I the regular things such as subsidised cleaning, free jobs that dad does here, etc. thanks Again Annabel and Vicky. Have a great week everyone. Love Barb Woodford.

    1. Well done Barb! You have managed well especially with not being very well.
      The library is lovely for magazines too I notice. And another thing is pinterest, craft blogs etc but also many magazines have very good websites. Some are amazing.... Martha Stewart is good, Country Living... I used to get a British magazine called Prima... it had so many crafts and that group has a good website. Also American Womans Day etc have great websites.
      I hope you are feeling heaps better. Rest as you need to. The weather rinse very nice here and its better indoors anyway!
      With lots of love,

  3. Making do can be seen as a challenge to your ingenuity, and certainly something to be proud of! I love your lounge, by the way! Your baskets are gorgeous, and I love the little birdy on the hankies!

    We are in the middle of renovating (with paint and hard work) our master bedroom. Most of the paint so far has come from remains of other projects and I have used the same brush that we have been using each summer to paint deck boards to do the edges on ceiling and walls and on the trim and floor boards! In this case, it was a pricier paint brush initially, but has saved us TONS over all the mileage we've been able to give it! I have also gone thru the work to wash the paint tray (I think we've had it for close on 8 years) and a roller or two to keep costs down. I'd rather have a little money to spend on some decoration for this room, rather than spend all of it on convenience for the foundation! :)

    Making do can often free up some money to use on situations where it is more needed. It may even be considered a skill to be learned/taught, as it may not really come naturally to us these days, but can be a lifesaver/changer!! I have repeated often to myself your mantra, Annabel, "You can have anything you want, as long as you don't mind making it yourself!". :)

    With love,

    Jen in NS

    1. Thanks Jen! You know me and birdies... so I have found birds are on my hankies... but also butterflies and flowers.
      This should be called the painters club! There are many of us painting. It is hard work! I seem always covered in paint. I hope its going well and you love the results!
      I love you remember me saying that... I really think mostly I have been able to make things, copy things, make do and get pretty much the result I want. Saying that I am just now making a chandelier. Its only a candle chandelier but I will post a pic on Friday and later maybe have a tutorial. It has cost me about $10 to make and I really like it.
      Keep up the good work. You are saving money and making thing lovely at the same time! With love

    2. Can't wait to see that chandelier, Annabel! Our room is looking beautiful, and so clean and bright. I painted as a student for part of a summer in uni and I can remember having paint on me that I couldn't get off for the entire summer! :) Like flour on your nose when you're baking...proves you've been working hard..ha ha!


  4. Great post Annabel. Your couch looks uber comfy. Love it. You've certainly had a good week. Have you tried making the two ingredient pizza bases. Roughly half and half flour to greek yoghurt, knead a bit then roll out. So very tasty. I know I can always make pizza bases at the drop of a hat and nobody doesn't like them, even my youngest son who does not like yoghurt. The dough has a fresh taste of yoghurt before cooking, and then makes a beautiful base.
    Vicky, great comments about making do. I like to make do as well. I get a great sense of pride and accomplishment when that happens.
    Have a lovely Monday to everyone who reads this beautiful worldly wise blog. Fi xx

    1. And I forgot to say, I get a little buzz every time I see the tea towel I wrote the bluebirds are nesting on for you.

    2. Dear Fiona,
      Thanks! Well I love my Bluebirds tea towel and its in my kitchen in the centre of everything! It makes me happy! Thank you this was such a gorgeous gift!
      Yes I like the pizza base. I do it with a bit of yoghurt and a lot of milk. I found that out once when I ran out of yoghurt so I made up the difference with milk and it was just as good! Oh yes! I just realised that was making do when I did that! lol
      Have a great week! With love,

  5. Lovely words, that are oh so true! xx

    1. Dear Mel,
      Thank you. Vicky is very inspiring to me. She has said things and Ive had those !!! moments thinking why didn't I know that? And truly new ways of doing things!
      I hope you have a lovely week. Your beautiful creations will be featured on Wednesday! With love,

  6. Hi Annabel. The hankies look beautiful. The lounge looks great too. I had my last lounge for 25 years and recently bought a new one, but kids, grandkids still miss old one as they used it when sick, resting etc. they have lots of good memories. they said they felt better just lying on my lounge. My grandson has taken the old lounge for his first home. Doesn't want to see it go. so sometimes old is comforting with good memories. xx Ann

    1. Dear Ann, Thank you! I am glad I am not the only one to keep a lounge along time. I feel this way too.. I have slept on this lounge so many times and the girls grew up on this lounge! If they were sick it was like a bed in the lounge room!
      But your lounge lives on so that is great! It is true there are many memories! It has been round for ever!
      Have a lovely week. I am sewing a couple of hankies a day in between other things but really loving it. I have this floral fabric in pinks and blues and also some vintage sheets with roses. All lovely for pretty hankies. With love

  7. Thank you for the reminder to make do. Your hankies and baskets are so lovely! I have been meaning to tell you, I was reading on another blog about life insurance, and that it is wise to insure homemakers/stay at home moms. It was talking about the money such a person saves the family each year, as well as what it would cost the working spouse to take on all those extra responsibilities, whether in time or by hiring someone to do them. They made the point that say, for instance, a stay at home mother passes away while her children are still young and living at home, wouldn't it be so very beneficial to the family if the father was able to pay someone to do many of the things the mother did so that when he comes home from work he can be with the children instead of having to take on the extra responsibilities, or possible even an extra job due to increased expenses because of the loss of the wife's "work" at home, the ways she saved expenses by being home (childcare, meals, and other ways she saved the family money). I hope I've made sense. Your call to the Vicki Challenge brings awareness to how much we can save, whether employed or not, and I thought this could be another way to look at it.

    1. Dear Amy, You are exactly right. The value if you had to pay someone for shopping, taking care of children, cleaning, cooking, managing, gardening etc etc would be just astronomical if you had to outsource all these things.
      You made sense perfectly! And on top of all of that a Mothers love and care cannot be hired or replaced since it is all done with love and care. Truly huge!
      As I am on this journey I am certainly earning what these things cost to hire someone to do or buy. Sometimes I am stunned! I feel good that I have poured my heart into my family and home. Best thing I ever did and it is still! With love and thanks,

  8. Dear Annabel and Vicky, This post is so good. I started to post a really long comment and it was turning out to be a whole book, so I'll try to be a bit shorter lol. My grandma has told me stories of what it was like growing up dirt floor poor in the '30s and '40s. The most amazing thing to me is that they didn't know they were poor because they were so happy. I think many people are in financial trouble these days because we have been conditioned to think we have to have it all, whether we can afford it or not because we are somehow entitled to it. But many things we think we need are really just extras. I have to laugh when people come over to my house for the first time. I almost always get compliments on it, but if they only knew how little I spent on everything! I'm not saying that to brag, I hope it is an encouragement. Everything I own was either given to me, bought second hand or on super clearance, or handmade. When there is no extra money for things, the best thing to do is just keep it clean and it will look nice. We live in a single wide trailer, which is not what most people "aspire to" when envisioning their dream home. But do you know what? God blessed us with this place when housing was hard to come by (the biggest obstacle standing in the way of two nineteen year olds with zero credit history in a housing shortage wanting to get married) and I am so thankful for it. To be totally honest, I love my home and we have been so happy here.
    Ok, finally on to my savings for the week. I was given a bag of clothes from which I kept three shirts and a pair of lounge pants for my husband; I did laundry at my in-law's; earned a five dollar gift card; returned a blouse and opted for store credit to avoid return shipping; saved on the phone bill; started a batch of dandelion infused oil for lotion; baked Texas-shaped cookies for our Independence day; got five free boxes from a local business for packing at the ranch; cut our personal allowances in half for the month; cooked all breakfasts, packed lunches, and made coffee on workdays; harvested 54 lbs of oranges from our tree; and received a gift card for my birthday. In total, I saved $309.11. That means I beat last week! Woo hoo! I hope everyone has a good and productive week! I appreciate all of the encouragement I receive here. Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      You can write as much as you like since I enjoy it so much therefore others must too!
      I find it gorgeous that your Grandma said she was so happy she didn't think she was poor. That brings tears to my eyes. I have heard something similar where adults have said when they grew up they realised they had been poor but they never realised as children as they had a happy life and family. This is beyond beautiful.
      Kelsey I have a similar situation. People comment on things and so many of the things they think are fabulous I actually found on the side of the road!
      I am very interested in your Dandelion lotion! You will have to say how that turns out.. I will show you lovely Texas cookies on Wednesday, I loved the blue flowers that went with them.
      Oh also... I think Texas is very similar to our landscape and farming land.
      You managed a lot and it added up to heaps. With preparing to move and everything involved you are doing very well. Just keep at it and you will get there. I hope you feel satisfied with your achievements along the way. When there is a big project we have to live along the way and keep things going i.e. meals, shopping etc. It is a lot! You are doing well! With love,

    2. Kelsey,
      You are doing an excellent job! And you are very right about just keeping things clean and they look nice. I have brought home many treasures that after I cleaned them up there was a real treasure hiding under the layers of grime.

    3. Kelsey I love reading your comments. I find you so clever and kind. Your home sounds wonderful. We are the same. We live in two bedroom unit with our son and also get questioned about when we are moving. Yet our home feels so cosy and joyful. My grandfather grew up in a house with his 4 brothers and sisters and him sharing a sleep out. There was a change room (curtain) for clothes changes. Nowadays it's expected to have a massive house, for families much smaller than this. Sometimes these things make me question if there's a like between this and the rise in depression in society. Nevertheless, I proudly value time over possessions. I love the thought of your home, it is very encouraging. Love, Bridge

    4. Dear Bridge, Thank you for such a sweet comment. I am glad you find comfort and joy in your small home too. One of the best things is it keeps you closer to loved ones, and like you said, time is more important than possessions. My husband will tell you my dream home is actually a small cottage, not a huge house, for that very reason. I prefer a cozy home filled with love to a showpiece. You and I just won't worry about the naysayers :)
      Also in reading your comment further down and the comments of the other ladies, it looks like we have some pretty special grandparents. I am very thankful for these examples. Have a lovely weekend Bridge. Love, Kelsey

  9. We are definitely luckier than Great Grandma as we have the internet so we can find solutions to problems, and learn how we can make do. If Great Grandma didn't know how to do something she had to find someone who could. Someone who could do it for her, or teach her how to do it.
    We can now quickly get onto YouTube or Pinterest or whatever and find that someone, somewhere in the world, has had the problem/issue before and how they sorted it.
    And our 'modern' tools (sewing machine, hose, oven etc)make jobs quicker and easier too!
    Love hearing all the ways you've added to your home, Annabel xx Fiona

    1. Dear Fiona, I agree! We have every helpful piece of information at our fingertips. And friendships and encouragement all basically free. I think of the earlier women on farms etc and really many would have been lonely. It is very possible to be lonely in the city too. Because of the internet you can find like minded people with the same interests and it is lovely.
      Also as you say we have what I call the handmaidens... washing machine, bread maker etc. I have heard people say they don't have handmaidens as women did once and I think hello! yes we do and we don't have to feed them!
      Thank you so much Fiona you have given me an idea for a future post as all these things are big helps and money savers. With love,

  10. Making do is something we have had to do for many years. We turned this into a bit of a game in our household. I hadn't realised how this making do had been passed onto our grown children until a comment from the DIL. She had wanted to purchase a new lounge. The one she and my son had was a nice comfy one but the covers were getting faded and old. My son pointed out that she had just been given a new sewing machine so why didn't she have a go at making new covers. This was what they did and the result is quite wonderful. I'd say the lounge will be around for a while yet. I too keep things and am not likely to replace the old with new unless required.
    Hubby is enjoying the Vicky Challenge and has started putting in his additions to our weekly savings. This week he did the lawns and edgings on our large block, $40. His food bank shopping $50. Hubby has put in new towel holders in the bathroom and we recently got a new toilet. This has left some of the wall needing patching in the bathroom and a large space needing patching and painting in the toilet, $200. I completed a pure wool QS crochet blanket for my sons Birthday, $200. Pressure washed the long veranda, $75. I banked a cheque from jury duty, $40. Lunches and coffee, $125. Hubby helped out our neighbour and was gifted a pumpkin, some cucumbers and a quiche $15. That's a total of $755. Woohoo!

    1. Jane,
      That is so terrific that the making do skill has been passed on. And I am very glad to hear your Hubby is enjoying the challenge as well. The men can see their achievements when it comes to saving for our households as well!

  11. Hi Annabel
    I love your blogspot. Especially todays post, which I read after I had replaced buttons and turned the collar on my husbands shirt so it struck a chord with me. My daughters are also pretty good at making over old furniture and decorating on a budget. Make do and mend is not only good for our household finances but also for the environment.
    This week I made a pegbag ( like grandma used) out of fabric from the opshop. ( sturdier than plastic). Have varnished a chair frame ready to re-cover. Bottled tomatoes to use later on. Next main project is a new ironing board cover once I've checked out the fabric stash. Thank you for the inspiration your site gives to us.

    1. Dear Susan, Thank you very much! It is true that making do is often recycling and saving on rubbish and waste. A win win!
      Your peg bag and ironing board cover will be lovely! You and your daughter sound very good at making things and making things over! I love that! With love

  12. Annabel, you have certainly done a good job with those baskets. They look just lovely and I can imagine you filling them up with goodies to give away. I also love that lounge. We don't have one anymore as a colleague gave us her recliners and the lounge was uncomfortable so it went to another home. We all have short legs in this household and some couches can be too high ;-) I just covered the recliners with the same coloured covers. I hope it has cooled down for you in SA.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, Short legs here too! I like the lounge as I can lay down, sleep even. There are times this is lovely! If you can make lounge covers or do upholstery that is a fantastic skill to have. A lot of older furniture is much better quality. With love

  13. Dear Annabel

    Funny how the thinking processes work. Today I was sitting there thinking about how I can make do this week as it is a very small pay week for us, and as we went away over the weekend, I thought perhaps I can make do with what we have in the pantry and just head to the fruit shop on the weekend for little bits and pieces and stay away from the supermarket. I can make do but it is funny that it is just convenient when we go to the supermarket we just seem to get those few extras....."extras" add up.

    Our Great Grans did not have the supermarkets to get extras, they did make do, and make do was a way of life. As a society today we are a disposable society. If something is broken we throw it away or give it away, we do not try to fix it, if a stain appears we throw it away or give to a charity....why bother to soak it when we can just buy a new item. Society is very wasteful in many ways.

    As a parent though it is funny how we tend to make do a lot, I know if I put myself first and buy something I need, I tend to feel guilt...guilt that I am buying for me.

    Sometimes I think we all just forget to take a step back and think "I can make do" or "I will make do for a while longer"

    At the moment my vacuum is broken in many ways but I am making do....the head has stopped spinning and we have taken it apart but to no avail, the vacuum was over heating and stopping and would only work for 2 minutes at a time, so we took one of the filters out and now it goes very well, sucks everything up even without a spinning head so we are happy to make do until it actually stops working, rather than race out and buy a new one. "I can make do"

    Enjoy your week

    Love Aly xxx

    1. Dear Aly, I hope you are doing well on your making do. Between the pantry, fridge and freezer I hope you find many possibilities. Maybe even invent something new! In our household various versions of fried rice are good use bits up meals also various pizzas, pasta toppings etc. And there is nothing wring with toasted sandwiches either.
      I wish I had learned more from my Grandma about this. She never wasted anything I know that. She made a lot of soups and scones too. I notice the very old cook books re far more economical as they were from her day.
      I hope your week goes well and things get back to normal for you all! With lots of love,

  14. Dear Annabel I truly love your blog it is such a source of inspiration thank you. I have just started my Vicky challenge and I was rather shocked this week at how much I saved. I downloaded some kindle books that were on a one day special of being free. That alone saved me £56! I made Mother's Day cards and a birthday card which was a saving of £9. I repaired a cardigan which I love instead of binning it - it would have cost me £49 to replace. I made the most of the lovely Spring like weather and dried all of my washing outside so I saved £15 as I didn't use my tumble dryer. I made my mum a beautiful handmade frame with a picture of the grandchildren for Mother's Day. It would have cost about £50 on etsy. We are too decorating and I found some wallpaper I adored but it was £68 a roll and way out of budget I was feeling a bit low about it as I haven't found another one I liked. Well I went with my husband to a discount decorating shop and there was a wallpaper nearly exactly the same as the one I chose for £6 a roll!!! I was over the moon so I grabbed the 3 rolls I needed and made a saving of £186!!

    My biggest saving was yesterday my parents came down for Mother's Day and all of the men went to a local sports game. My mother asked if I would take her food shopping. I thought this was a bit odd as they live 2 hours away and my mum works in a grocery shop. Anyway as we were walking down the aisles mum was sticking the trolley up on basics - pasta, rice, flour etc and putting lots of treats in like branded cereals, chocolates etc. I only needed cream and eggs so I didn't get much. Well anyway after we had paid and her shopping came up to £197 we got to the car and she told me it was all for me!!! She said she had watched us scrimping and saving and was so proud of how we were coping she wanted to help us. She knew we wouldn't of accepted money off her (we don't need any at all it's just we have used all our savings and are trying to build them back up so are being very frugal and make do and mend) she wanted to help us in some way. Well I cried in the parking lot I am so thankful that I can save three quarters of our grocery shopping for the next month because of my mum. It has also built up our pantry a bit since we used most of it when times were hard. Also as she works in a grocery store she had bought me things that were in special offer. I have 8 tubes of toothpaste (saving 16) toilet paper, kitchen roll, and laundry powder. That again is another £80 savings. I few so blessed.

    Laura x

    1. Laura that is a wonderful blessing!

    2. Annabel,
      You have had a very good week and your baskets are beautiful. A pretty basket here can be pricey. Rick had gotten some cans of spray paint somewhere and he keeps trying to pawn the one color off on me well since it's spray paint I can't mix it and it's the ugliest shade of pink I have ever seen! And I love pink! I told him the only place I would ever use it is on the backside of the wood fencing facing the woods so I don't offend anybody with that ugliness! Eww. I asked him if my son helped him pick it Oh get Mom this unicorn diarrhea she'll like this! Ugh!
      It was a slow week again so for my savings I gave myself a detox bath $20, added in Feb.'s woodburning savings $400 bought specials on chicken and ham $35 and I finished a crochet washcloth for my gift trunk. I hope you have a wonderful week and want to thank all of the lovely ladies for their kind words!

    3. Dear Laura,
      Thank you so much! Welcome to the Vicky Challenge! I am so glad to have you here.
      It is a journey of discovery! Partly it is fun to see what we can save and also it is motivating. Its often a massive surprise too!
      I am so thrilled for you about that wall paper! I love wallpaper by the way! The difference in price was incredible!
      You sound very creative and willing to take on things yourself! We are going to get on great!
      It is wonderful what your Mum did for you. Not just that but how she recognised how hard you work and all you do. That means a lot. How lovely for you! Yes... so let it help you get going ahead with your pantry as this is a big asset when things go wrong, times are tough.
      You really have had a wonderful start and big savings and getting ahead. I always mention getting ahead! So many little things help!
      I loved hearing these lovely things and feel so happy for you! Keep up the good work Laura and say hello to your Mum, she sounds beautiful to me. With love

  15. Annabel,
    I really enjoyed reading this post. This week my savings came more from just doing at home than savings while shopping.
    I made all our meals and snacks at home except for one night when Husband wanted to take us out to celebrate a new bid for work!!! It is a big job and should last several months.
    Husband and I sowed grass seed then covered it with straw before the rain starts next week. And he set the tiller up for me and while I tilled the garden areas he moved branches and rubbish. I know doing this ourselves saved a lot but I really don't know the amount.
    I baked 36 muffins for the freezer, cinnamon bars, and a caramel chocolate chip cookie cake. I cooked up a huge crockpot of pinto beans to use with our meals. I bought a box of mixed greens on clearance and dehydrated what was not eaten fresh. Sometime this week I will put that through the coffee grinder and make green powder for smoothies.
    Coloring my hair is a big saver. I did mine and daughter's touch ups. There was a bit of color left and I offered to color my son's hair surprisingly he said yes. Both dd and ds have very dark brown hair so the soft black color looks nice on them.
    No savings on this yet but....I'm learning how to milk a goat! I'm so excited about this. Right now Husband is the only one that knows how to milk but we all hope to learn.
    I'm going to estimate about $800 for savings/insourcing.

    1. Dear Ginger,
      My grass seed is up and looking good! Funny we were both doing that. I hope yours takes off too. We had a heap of rain which has helped.
      I agree about doing your own hair being a big saver. We all do (the girls and I) and only yesterday I said to Lucy it won't be long and Harper will need her first haircut! It is growing heaps! And it was decided there and then that she or Chloe will be doing it. No use starting with hairdressers now. Plus Harper will like it if Aunty Chloe is her hairdresser!
      I did work out that all of this saves me two and a half thousand dollars a year which sounds ridiculous!
      Goats milk! That will be fantastic! I think goats milk is excellent. I have milked cows and goats but not very well! I hope you get the hang of it and go well.
      With love and thanks,

  16. Annabel, this post is so important. I think we have lost our way a bit with consumerism. For all the recycling hype, living green, reducing our carbon footprint and so on, very few people actually 'make do'. Our Grandparents were the original Greenies, so how have we strayed so far from that? I think you have to not only have the mindset of 'make do', but nurture one of 'the shops do not exist'. Our grandparents made do, because shopping one minute away was not possible. We could not buy things on the internet for mere cents that sell for ridiculous amounts, and even things like colouring your own hair, were a bit! So our mindset here is not 'make do', rather 'what would we do to solve this if the shops did not exist'. It's amazing how creative you get! Lots of love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      I think we lost the plot entirely! lol
      First there was crazy consumerism. Now there is minimalism and decluttering and throwing it all away. Its a bit nuts!
      And yes our Grandparents would laugh... they were using their own shopping bags, composting, not wasting anything, mending etc and never threw anything away. Now there are young ones who think they invented "been green".
      We do have amazing resources at our finger tips. If we want to fix something or make something the instructions are right there. It helps to make do and mend, recycle etc with so much info to help us.
      I hope you are feeling better from your flu. With lots of love,

  17. This is so well written and so very true. My grandma wore even our hand me downs around the house. Kids today have no idea how easy they have it. Since we have moved to the country the hubs and I make do a lot.

  18. Hi Annabel!!

    This is a wonderful topic - making do. I know one grandfather of mine used to build with even a truck chassis in the work - in times when people really did have to make do. This same grandfather became a hoarder, and we have some of his hoarded tools today!

    My parents have had to update their lounge suite for models that better support their backs, and the sweet old, cream, vinyl-covered lounges are lined up for me to keep!! I am looking forward to that. My parents like giving me things, knowing that I'll use them! Sometimes it's large tin cans or plastic yoghurt buckets and plastic bottles. Other times there are lovely, quality items (second hand) from their friends or op shops. We all enjoy this sharing!!

    I really appreciate hearing how the older generations made do, just as I appreciate hearing about the things your Nan did, Annabel. You and Vicky work so well together to portray this!! While the challenge of such lifestyles should not be underestimated, I also think that the difficulty is over exaggerated! I have found that cutting firewood is not so overwhelming once I'm used to it. Collecting kindling sticks is actually relaxing. I didn't care about an engagement ring, so our new little US Lopi fireplace was considered part value of an engagement ring - and we both knew which we preferred! We have since bought a floor display model of a larger fireplace, and it uses less wood than the first! On some 'quick heat' (big sticks, mainly) and a couple of small logs, a beautiful meal can cook for several hours on the cooktop. Even bread making is not at all strength sapping, as it had been described to me, but then, increasing the rigour of one's work does make one stronger (just as it was for the people of Israel, as slaves in Egypt). No, life here is not easy, but it is rewarding and satisfying when each little step is achieved. It makes me feel like I own every accomplishment!

    By the way, Annabel, my wool wash has finally set! I was ready to pour the liquid wool wash (made using non-pure soap) from jars to bottles today, only to find that it had set in the cooler weather! I can put spoons with it, after all!! I can hardly wait to wash with it again!!

    Thank you, Annabel and Vicky. I appreciate you both!!

    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel, It sounds like your family is very good at recycling and sharing as well. This is very good. Hard work is a good thing. You do not need to be going to the gym when you are chopping firewood and collecting kindling! I love collecting wood. I grew up doing that. I still collect wood and pinecones wherever I go for our little outdoor fireplace. People buy it in bags at service stations and I always just collect it!
      I hope you like the wool wash. The scent in the clothes and blankets is lovely. They are very soft.
      I love the sound of your wood stove and bread. Also things simmering away on the wood stove. I grew up with that.
      I hope you have a very good week Rachel. With love,

  19. Dear Annabel, I'm sorry this comment is late coming. The thoughts you and Vicky have about making do and mending resonate with me, as well. My parents and grandparents were examples to me. I love it when I sometimes see glimpses of these skills in my children, too. Your baskets and hankies are beautiful! You have such a knack for making lovely things.
    Some of the ways we make do include being aware of what food needs to be used and basing meal planning on it. I made a huge pot of beans with a ham bone for flavor and meat. After cooking, I had about 1-1/2 cups of meat from the bone. I've been making lots of meals with the abundance of produce I got from the produce event---pasta sauce for meals and the freezer, salad, several zucchini dishes, zucchini for the freezer, fresh tomatoes and food to share with others. My husband is a help, and we sometimes enjoy working together on the make do projects. Your lounge made me think of our porch swing. My husband has done several repairs to it. Then, when the AZ sun caused the valance to shred, I sewed a new valence and my husband made a support for it
    February was a good month for saving. My total was $1,550.16.
    Some of the things done so far in March include:
    Free flashlight and discount at Harbor Freight $10.59
    Grocery trip combining senior discount, sale, e-coupons and paper coupons.
    Paid $116.96. Saved $195.39, plus earning gas points and a bonus 200 points
    which will give additional 20 cents off per gallon. I bought things to go with
    What we have on hand and to provide additional meals for the month,
    Easter candy and some pantry items, hoping to be able to make only
    minimal purchases and stay out of the stores the rest of the month.
    Used gifts and wrap from my gift closet for a birthday $12.50
    Made the most of a rotisserie chicken for several meals plus 4 cups of rich broth.
    Picked more citrus from our neighbors for ourselves and to share with friends.
    $25 or more value.
    Four pair capris on sale for granddaughter with discounts and free shipping
    Saving $25.99.
    Total so far for March $380.45.
    Thank you for your lovely, encouraging blog!
    With love, Elaine

    1. Dear Elaine,
      Your cooking sounds wonderful and all that ham! It sounds very abundant and good in your kitchen.
      I would love a porch swing! I used to see them in the old movies and think how beautiful.
      You had a huge total for February and by the looks of it March will be at least as good as you are off to a good start.
      The price of a good cooked chicken has recently come down here due to new stores opening. I find it cheaper to buy a cooked chicken now that to cook one myself. I love to put chicken on top of a pizza and it gives us an extra meal. It is very useful!
      Thank you for your report it was wonderful! With love

    2. Elaine, I love the way you and your husband work as a team to make do; it's really sweet. How thoughtful of you to buy some capris for your granddaughter. love bridge

  20. Dear Annabel,
    It is such a lovely community here. Last month was a bit of a whirlwind. The doctor found nodules on my thyroid. I had a sonogram and they found 3 suspicious nodules. They are going to biopsy 2 of the 3 suspicious nodules tomorrow I am beliving for a good report from the biopsy the majority of Thyroid nodules are benign. My daughter will take me tomorrow.(Prayers are welcome :)
    I Kept up with my frugal ways.Cooked most meals ate at home.
    Hung all laundry. Packed lunches and snacks. We used many items from the pantry and freezer. We were able to
    get some free things from Costco. Making do is wonderful
    and such a great way to save.
    Have a blessed week.

    1. Dear Patti,
      Thank you so much! Well, I will pray and Im sure others who see this will also. As I am typing I think you will already have had the biopsy but maybe not the results yet. I will be thinking of you!
      Please let me know how you go! With love, Annabel.xxxx

    2. Thank You Annabel. I had a great surgeon. He had
      done the procedure about 6 thousand times before.
      So he was a pro. I am recouperating today (swollen and bruised and sore neck and throat) I am very glad
      it is done. I will have results in 2 to 4 weeks.
      I am beliving for a good report in Jesus name.
      I am so glad the I have many meals made and frozen. It is a huge blessing. I am so glad I have been feathering my nest and now it comes in
      With Love,

  21. My husband has been out of work since before Christmas. I'm keeping a good attitude, praying, and making do. I write about my thrifty week too. Please visit!

    1. Dear Laura,
      I saw you had a lovely parcel from dear Rhonda! She is a beautiful person.
      I really hope your husband finds some work. I hope things will turn around for you soon. In my pantry series I have many free ways to build up your pantry. Also if you are not there already A Working Pantry is very good for free and inexpensive ways to being in food. I find that very helpful.
      Thank you so much for commenting! With love

  22. Dear Annabel and Vicky:

    I'm late to the party this week, but I so thoroughly enjoyed this post and all of the wonderful comments. THANK you for putting the time into this, and for all of the beautiful pictures, Annabel.

    Everything you said Vicky, is so true. My grandma (dad's mother) told me many stories about her days as a young woman, then wife & mother. She raised my dad, aunt, & two uncles in a cold-water flat. My dad was her firstborn at the end of WWII. She had a washing board, a clothes wringer, etc. She ALWAYS kept everything as neat as a pin and took care of everything. She used to tell me "I don't know why women complain about doing their laundry, you just throw it in the machine nowadays and it does all of the work for you!" OUCH! LOL She had such an appreciation for, as Annabel calls, our "handmaidens" (I.e., washer, dryer, crock pot, dishwasher, etc etc), because she clearly remembered how time consuming the old way was. Anyway, her encouragement really stayed with me. She had to work outside of the home at certain times in her life, and there were also times when she stayed home with her children. Whether home or a job, her ethic was unsurpassed.

    She advised me that wherever I found myself to be at any given moment, to learn everything about that particular task and do the very best I could. She cautioned me not to compete with others, but to compete with myself and be the best that I could be.

    Now that I'm older I reflect on this and realize she was telling me that so I would avoid the pitfall of unhealthy comparison. How I miss her, but this post reminded me of so many good things! Thank you for this!

    Annabel, a big fat AMEN to what you were commenting to Mimi...YES!!! There must be a balance between consumerism and minimalism...maybe a future post one day??

    With love,
    Colette xxx

    1. Colette, your grandma sounds beautiful and what an inspirational woman and I love the way she said to just try and be your best and to not compare yourself to others. She sounds wonderful. Love, Bridge

  23. I am sorry I am late to the party too. This post is incredible and so very true. Even my grandma, when she married my grandfather in the late 50s, never have a car, and only had one bike. She had to take two buses to get to her mum's house. She has taught me to always use what you have and to think outside the square. I think sometimes when you have to make do you become creative and think outside the square. To this day she has found sheets/ curtains to redo her chairs. So clever. This is a skill and I hope I can pass it onto my son. Love, Bridge Amazing post!

    1. Thank you Bridge! While you still have your Nan learn everything you can from her! She sounds like a wealth of experience and information. Get her to teach you her best recipes and write them out for you. Trust me on this, one day you will be so glad you did this!
      It is a skill to be inventive, creative, able to improvise etc. A great skill we can develop! Thanks so much Bridge! xxx

  24. Dear Annabel and Vicky, This is a great post! Making do is how I was taught by my mom, grandma, aunt and mother-in-law. Over the last few years, I've learned more ways and lately have been so grateful for these teachings and wonderful examples from those I love!! :) We have truly been blessed!! I only recently found out my grandparents (mothers side) lost their farm in the depression. All the years of growing up, I never heard that story but I was taught to not waste, use up and make do!! :) Wonderful memories and we used our imagination to play, made lots of homemade gifts, snacked on homemade treats and my mom used all our leftovers. (she still lives the same way today)!! :)

    Annabel, I love the hankies, baskets and learning so much from you and all your readers! Thank you!! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      My Nans never wasted anything. They talked a bit about the depression and the war but not much. Now I am understanding what they wasted nothing. I wish I had asked more questions. But I did observe!
      They had skills and experience that I think we need them here to teach us! I am so glad you had great teachers in your life... and you continue their work! They would be very pleased with your Teri and I am sure your Mum is! Thank you so much re the hankies and baskets! With love

  25. Good morning! Just a little note to let you know that this article has been FEATURED today on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! Thank you for joining us and have a wonderful week!

    1. Thank you so much Jes!I have just let Vicky know and am thrilled! xxx


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