The little birds...

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

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Feather your Nest Friday, 2nd December, 2016.

We are now in December and it was the first day of summer here for us. Summer is my challenging season. I am trying to think about the things I do like about it which are swimming and the beach, salads, easy meals and BBQ's....   oh and fruit and making jam and fruit pies! Actually picking fruit would be one of the best things of all!

It has been a really good week and big!  I realise it more when I look at the list I write down.  I keep a kind of dot points list on the fridge or I would get to Friday and if someone asked me what have I been doing I would draw a blank.
Well that is why I jot things down...

Some of the ways I feathered the nest this week include:

Inspired by Mimi's gorgeous soap making I have been saving rose petals and buds.

Just picking them is beautiful. And the scent is heavenly. 

I have a lot of already dried little pink buds and baskets of yellow and white petals.

I also picked a lot of parsley seed heads. I am going to share those around and the excess I give to the birds.

Earlier in the week I made a lot of Gingerbread and made up a gift basket for my Uncle. Instead of Gingerbread men I made Deer.  (ok technically a Moose)

This baking gave us snacks and I gave away packets of biscuits as little presents.

I also packaged up some of the soaps I made in January. This gave me two gifts that I needed this week. I used boxes that are meant for baking. They were perfect! 

This is the very last of the soap I made so in January I will get back to making more.  

Allie helped me for about 6 hours this week. This was a big help! We were talking abut soap making and she went home and made her first batch! She made one with coffee that looked amazing!
Between us we got a lot more painting done.  I reached the end of my 100 day challenge on Tuesday. 
While I did get heaps more done because of the challenge I am not finished painting. I wanted to be finished by December.  I think I have about three days to go.  Maybe over the weekend I will reach the finish line!

Like soap making Sour Dough bread was on my list of things I would like to try/learn.
You know when you have something you would like to try but something holds you back? Originally with soap making it was the fear of the caustic soda.  That turned out to be easy as there are so many good tutorials to follow and so many methods to make soap that it shouldn't stop you.  
With Sour dough my issue was the starter and the mystery of it.
Having mentioned this To Nanna Chel the next thing I know there is a mystery parcel at my doorstep!

Nanna Chel sent me some sour dough starter!  Hers is called Gertrude and as it is alive she thinks it should have a name.  Meet Gertrude...

Andy looked worried. He asked me exactly how well do I know this lady? When I asked why he said "how do you know that isn't Anthrax or something?" 
And this is how I found a name for our starter.  Anthrax.

I followed the instructions and was doubtful thinking I will for sure kill this thing!  Being someone who likes a back up plan I reserved some just incase. 
But two days later it looked like this...

So it was up and running quite happily!

The next day I added flour and water to one part to make what they call the sponge... which becomes your bread. The other part I saved and that is what keeps you going for next time.

I think I was helped by warm weather.  My dough rose happily as well...

First I made plain bread. It was really yum but I think I slightly undercooked it. Five more minutes next time. 

Next I made rolls with some seeds added...

They wouldn't win any prizes for shape etc but they were delicious!
Both times I timed things toward having warm bread at dinner time.  Then I used it in Andy's lunches and froze some.

Today I have a bowl going that looks like the first picture... and tomorrow I am making dough again and rolling it out in polenta for pizza bases.  So hopefully that works.

It has been really fun and interesting. The instructions seemed daunting at first but step by step they just worked!  Thank you so much to Nanna Chel for getting me going!  I can add this to new skills I learned this year.  I am so pleased! You never need to buy yeast as you are farming your own! It is fabulous!

Yesterday I put up the Christmas tree. I am finishing decorating today.  Harper is coming over to play and help :)

I hope you had a wonderful week. How did you build up your nest? Have a lovely weekend. xxx


  1. Dear Annabel,

    First of all, your bread and rolls came out superb! well done! They look so
    delicious! Had a giggle over the anthrax! :-)

    I do think a fear of things like caustic soda hold me back also from soap making. I see lots of bloggers and youtubers making it though. Have you seen the fabulous soaps Tawra at Living on a Dime makes? I love their YouTube channel!

    Your photos always look so beautiful. It is a joy to come here and a wonderful community you have gathered and built also. Just such an encouragement. Xo

    Love, Kaye xoxo

    1. Kaye, soap making is not hard. You just need to follow the instructions carefully. Give it a go. You'll love the finished product.

    2. Dear Kaye,
      I am going to see if Tawra has the soaps on her blog. I would love to see! Put this on your 2017 new year list. You will really enjoy it.
      Thank you for being part of this little community Kaye I value that you contribute so much plus all your support you give me. With love

  2. Annabel, your starter looks good and so does your bread. Sourdough bread is so good! I have baked it off and on for many years. We are currently in an 'off' season but you have inspired me to get back to it. I don't think I have ever seen roses as beautiful as the ones you grow, I could just sit and soak up their beauty right on! I love learning new things and am already thinking about what I want to learn how to do in 2017. I need to make some more soap as well but it will be a January goal as I don't want to add anything else to December. Have a great weekend!

    1. Dear Patsy,
      I have always loved roses. Some I planted and others were partly established here. Our climate is good for them here though. To me they are a glimpse of heaven.
      This means we will both be making soap in January I think!
      As for what to learn and what goals for next year... I need time to think but I know I want to set a lot of goals for the new year. It worked to really make things happen this year. I think I have learned heaps the last couple of years and I have loved it. I think one thing will be listening to you and what you have learned from the recent big blackouts and what you have been through. This will be valuable information.
      Have a great weekend! With love

    2. Annabel, I still have several things to share in my preparedness series. We experienced and learned so much during Hurricane Matthew and afterwards. I'll get back to it in January.

  3. Congratulations on your sourdough success!!! My daughter was here today and we were talking about giving it a try. Her children are 2 and 4 and the two year old looks exactly like me. We showed her a picture of me at her age in front of the Christmas tree on a tricycle. She said, 'That's me!' Daughter said, 'No, that is Nana'. We could not convince her! It was hilarious! It is fun to have grandchildren old enough to talk to and they are quite the talkers.

    It has been a sad week here as a nearby mountain resort town burned and 10 people died in the fires that burned around 150 buildings, many were homes. So many have fond family memories of that place including us from many years ago.

    Enjoy summer and those wonderful roses! We are hunkering down for the winter here.

    1. Lana I am so sorry about the fires. I Do pray that they get them out soon. Your grandbaby sounds like a delight.
      Much love,

    2. Lana, we are greatly saddened with what has been happening in this area to the land and to the people. We have many fond memories of vacationing there and driving to to see the fall leaves. Cookie

    3. Dear Lana, I have seen in the news about terrible fires and saw shocking footage. Is that Tennessee? Fires are horrific. We have had terrible and massive fires over the years around our state and at our own farm. I feel sick thinking about them and we are just going into fire season.
      How beautiful that you have a little look alike! What beautiful ages they are! I had Harper over for the afternoon. She will be two in May,, awhile yet. She is chatty too although a lot of it makes not much sense!
      Have a lovely weekend. I hope the fires are put out. With love

    4. Yes, Gatlinburg, Tennessee. So sad.

  4. ha ha ha Anthrax, had a good laugh over that!
    great post
    thanx for sharing

    1. Dear Selina, thanks! Clearly I trusted Nanna chef quite well but Andy wasn't so sure! I hope you have a great weekend! With love

  5. Annabel, I am so pleased Gertrude behaved for you. She might sulk a bit though at being called Anthrax! LOL! Chris from Gully Grove who presented our sourdough workshop has just written up her tutorial for making sourdough the way she does it from start to finish. So that is a great help. You have had good results with your first attempts. Well done!

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, I like Chris' tutorials and I used her bread recipe with the honey in it. I got on well with that so I will call it my go to recipe I think. I had no spelt flour so I just used all plain.
      I ended up with two batches of starter one is ahead by three days. The second one is increasing in volume like a monster but will be made into a whole heap of pizza bases tomorrow. If these work out I will be thrilled as pizza is my useful use it up and takeaway alternative meal.
      I need to practice shaping the bread and am not sure whether I want to use a bread pan or go free form. I think free form... if I can shape it nicely.
      Practice I guess.
      Many many thanks! Love

  6. Dear Annabel, what a lovely and big week you have had, your bread rolls look delicious and so does your was great that you had Allie to help you again , how kind of her .
    Before I tell you about my week I want to send my best wishes to Glenda , I have been thinking of you Glenda and hoping you are doing ok.

    My week has included 2 hours of subsidised cleaning which feathers my nest and cleans it, and 2 hours of subsidised meal prep , well I had an hour on Monday and I will have an hour this afternoon.

    I have been going over my budget because I have had extra expense added with the extra services and in January my chemist are increasing the cost of their packing fees for Webster pack medication, not by much but it is an extra cost. I have decided to challenge myself to have a handmade / repurposing / up cycling year next year and i will make more gifts, reuse items and think of other options before I buy something new. I will not do without the neccesseties but I have a lot of things that can be repurposed or used and nowdays there are so many websites such as Pinterest with handmade gift ideas etc plus I have gotten so many ideas from you Annabel and from Mimi and Wendy's blogs too. Anyway, I want to get ahead so that I can have a really great holiday or two next year and also make Christmas and birthdays special plus have a really good emergency found.I also want to decrease my clutter.
    Other ways I have feathered my nest and got ahead this week are I received a lovely gift from a swap on the Down to earth forum, 2 beautifully handmade cloths and 3 little handmade pouches ( made out of scrapbooking paper) with my favourite brand and type of tea in them and two little soap bars and a postcard from my swap partners home town, I am very fortunate . I received some more fried rice from my mum which is delicious and cheap to make. I had lunch at my parents place yesterday and spent the day in their air conditioning, saving me money on food and a trip to the shops ( sometimes on really hot days I go to the shops if I cannot go to my parents place as I feel the heat terribly) .
    I am almost finished my Christmas shopping , yay!. I also found a few more gifts in my gift cupboard which I had forgotten about , saving me from having to buy gifts for those people. I apologise for my huge comment Annabel, I got excited about my plans for next year as if I can manage to do what I want to do I will save money and get ahead.
    Have a great weekend Annabel and everyone , love Barb W

    1. Dear Barb,
      I think it is great you are thinking about next year and what your goals will be. A use it up year sounds great! You are right that with pinterest etc we can find something to make with just about anything we have plus ways to do things and save money etc. it really is brilliant!
      Your gift from the swap sounds lovely. I am thinking a lot about tines like that as they are good to post. Postage keeps going up too. this year I made a rule that all my Christmas parcels (well almost all) will be larger envelope sizes rather than boxes. And yes it has saved me but I found even these are $15 international. So next year I will have to go down in size even more. We have to just adapt when prices go up. It can be hard!
      Your meals and helpers sound great!
      Barb I melt in the extreme heat myself. And we won't talk about power going up! But stay cool and as comfortable as you can. It is exhausting otherwise. Drink plenty.
      Well doen on your Christmas shopping. I love your posts don't apologise! With love

    2. Dear Barb,

      Just wanted to add how much I always enjoy reading your comments! Your plans for 2017 sound great! I will be reading along with great interest.

      Love, Kaye xoxo

  7. Hello! Your bread looks amazing. I love sourdough and researched it not so long ago but gave up. I'll get back there again one day...

    1. Dear Michelle, I have to say that when I read instructions on sour dough my brain exploded. It was too daunting. Having the starter sent to me pushed me over the line and I decided to just get it started and so that was just a few instructions. Once it was started then I just followed the next step to make the "sponge' and then the recipe... and so it unfolded one step at a time. I am using a blog called Gully Grove. Now I feel like a lot of instructions I saw made something fairly simple really complicated. You have to find someone you understand what they are saying. Some people can explain things to you and honestly the more they explain the less you understand it! hahaha but true! This lady I seemed to get on with and it all worked. And now Im getting the hand go it soon I won't even need instructions mostly I will just keep repeating the same process.
      Anyway pizza bases next.
      Have a great weekend! With love

  8. Hi Annabel. You soaps look great in the boxes. Very luxurious. I'll post my frugal task list tomorrow after I post it on my blog xoxo

    1. Dear Wendy, I will look forward to that and your blog is part of my Saturdays!
      Thank you re the soap too. I know you also enjoyed soap making and did well with it. These boxes were from a cheap shop, they came flat and designed for cup cakes. They were really good!
      I was out cutting rose buds again today and hope they come in handy on my soap in the new year. Much love,

  9. Dear Annabell,
    What a lovely week you had. The bread looks wonderful. I bet your house smells so good. The soaps are just devine I love the packaging. I sent my brothers Christmas box off and when I went to wrap his gifts I could not find any Christmas wrap so I sewed fabric bags and used some brown paper and it turned out really cute. I also sent him a small
    Christmas tree,ornaments,candy canes, a stocking and a Christmas tree skirt I made. I wish I would of snapped a picture. It really looked like a home spun Christmas.
    Have a wonderful week.

    1. Dear Patti,
      Thank you! Today the house smells good again as I am making pizzas and using this sourdough. Its an experiment!
      Your brother will be so happy to get your beautiful package! I hope he is doing better. And you send him decorations! That is lovely! What a beautiful parcel. You are a lovely sister!
      Your parcel is an idea for us all as something like that arriving in the mail be be a beautiful gift for almost anyone. With love

  10. I'm not sure which is more beautiful...the soap or the bread!

    1. Just so long as nobody eats the soap!

    2. Thanks Debby! I was feeling very happy with all this production. I hope you have a lovely weekend! Love

  11. Annabel my mouth is watering from looking at that delicious bread and the gingerbread. YUM!!!!! Anthrax? Be careful who you say that to.
    It has been a busy get the house in order week. There has been many loads of washing done to get the curtains and the couch covers clean and free of the plaster dust.
    I put up our very sad and anorexic Christmas tree yesterday, Katie has been adding tinsel and ornaments to try and fatten it up. It's a lost cause but the tree will do us for this year.
    Currently having a massive heatwave and missing out on the storms the rest of SE Qld has been getting.
    Have a wonderful, productive weekend.
    Life is good.

    1. Jane, heat wave?! I chose a good day for burning two boxes of paper that just never got burnt over winter - outdoors, in the heat! I've been making us hot cups of tea. This is my second day on peach leaf tea! It is mild, and rehydrating! It's like sitting beside a water hole here!! We're waiting for a lot more rain, too!!
      Regards to you and Bluey Bluebird,

    2. Dear Jane,
      I hope your renovations are all over now. The mess is awful I feel your pain still remembering when we did our kitchen. I thought I would NEVER get all the dust cleaned up!
      I saw that QLD had crazy storms and crazy heat AND massive hail stones in some places i.e. like golf balls or bigger. Hopefully you didn't get all of these!
      Have a great weekend! With love,

    3. Annabel not a drop of rain here. The storms build up and then pass us by. All we have is high heat and humidity. A friend in Gympie has renamed her car 'Dimples', after a storm that went through on Wednesday.

    4. Jane you really didn't want the storm that came through late yesterday afternoon - it turned day into night.

      We are having the high humidity too as most storms tend to go around us where we are.


  12. Dear Annabel,
    Your sourdough bread looks so yummy. I loved the idea of packaging the soaps in bakery boxes. So many new things to learn and do.

    As for nest feathering I did some grocery shopping yesterday and found organic lemons at $4.20 per dozen, making them approximately 35 cents apiece, down from $1.49 apiece. Rachel's citrus jam, lemon butter, dried lemon zest are now on the agenda. Sewing and finishing up more gifts has occupied a lot of time this week.(photos to follow.) As well as all of the usual meal preparation, and other household duties.

    The Army-Navy football game, which is a big deal in our home, is tomorrow, so we'll be glued to the TV for a few hours. Wishing everyone a beautiful weekend. Cookie

    1. Oops, I made a mistake. The Army-Navy game is next weekend. Alabama plays tomorrow. Same thing in our house. Cookie

    2. Cookie, I'm the one, now, waiting for the seasons to roll around to, hopefully, get to make the wood fired version of the citrus jam again. It was wonderful! We have none left to enjoy!!

    3. Dear Cookie, I had those boxes on hand and didn't think of using them for soap. And I kept looking for boxes... then I had a moment of clarity and realised a box is a box! Now I will watch out for more like this as they were really cheap.
      I am glad you have lemons! Today I juiced a dozen so they don't get wasted plus saved the peels. I love the scent!
      We love football but ours is Aussie Rules... we are currently off season and long for the return. That is when I get a lot of crochet done!
      Have a good new week! With love


  13. Hi Annabel!

    Just your two photos of roses in the basket would have been wonderful today! Your roses are so beautifully beautiful, and look so refreshing from our hot Queensland vantage point today!! I'd like to learn more about the basket. It is so pretty!! I have an old metal fishing basket that I was allowed to take when we pulled down that timber shed some time ago. Right now, white seems an appropriate colour for it, like yours!

    I'm sorry to hear of the fire tragedy from Lana. Many Australians share that pain.

    As for Glenda, she is an example of one who sits back patiently, praying for those in need around her, when she is in need herself. There are so many, like Glenda, in daily need - gluten intolerances, expectant mothers, ..... For all these people, may the Rock be life to you all. May He encourage you in His ways. There is none besides Him!

    My husband and I laughed at Andy's reaction to the starter. He is right, you know! Not everyone is as sweet as Nanna Chel! Then I had to laugh again when I read that Andy had the bread for his lunches!! Our men do make allowances for us, but their reactions can save the day!! Can Andy rub his eye yet?

    Somehow, with so much going on, my week doesn't seem so important! I have, though, finished my outdoor work, and am changing to a summer mode, with relaxing sessions of music, stitching and other craft work to break up the looooong summer hours! We solved the mystery of the spotted snake. It is a healthy, spotted lizard! We've seen a carpet snake for the second time in recent weeks. (I don't know if it is coincidence, but I tend to see one close to heavy rain.) Don't worry; we don't have carpet! Then, I saw a goanna at our place today! It pattered, like a duck, and ended up in the cedar tree out in the paddock! We go around in gumboots for safety - yes, in summer!! We have had small amounts of rain. We need lots more!!

    Phew! You have brought us summer refreshments today! I am thankful!

    With very warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Thank you, Rachel. Here in the USA the fires are usually out west. Here in the southeast where we live we have never seen such a thing as this year. Many of our beautiful natural mountain areas will take decades to recover. It is heartbreaking. Thankfully we have a had rain this week and the fires are greatly reduced or put out after many weeks.

    2. Annabel, it looks like a fair contingency of your Bluebirds are Queenslanders! When I think of Bluey's use of the term 'mob', I picture a quiet mob of cattle contentedly grazing in the outback somewhere. The Americans have a different view!

      While we don't have peaches on the tree, we do have peach leaves. Having read up on peach leaf tea, I skipped the cold water infusion method (since we boil our water, anyway) & made a big cup of two-leaf tea. Fresh leaves do smell peachy! It is a delicate, rehydrating tea. Just a few minutes in the drink is enough for the leaves, since there is a light bitterness like the seed has. Even my husband tasted it, and thought it alright. I've decided it's just what I need this summer, and I have thoughts of drying leaves, too! Do you have any peach leaves nearby?!

      Starting to look like a peach leaf,
      Rachel Holt

    3. Dear Rachel,Thank you for your words to Glenda. Yes she always prays for everyone and she has been most unwell but is improving I am happy to report.
      We can relate to the fires that is for sure. They scare me so much as the possibility is around the corner.
      Indeed Andy was fast to overcome his reservations and totally converted now as since we have had a pizza night and this made the most wonderful bases. Plus you can't kill this stuff with a stick and it just keeps rising and rising!
      You are running a reptile park over there. I worry about goannas wanting to run up things. I would be running in the opposite direction! haha I am not happy around reptiles!
      We also have had rain over the weekend for us. Quite glad of it as it watered the garden well.
      Have a great new week Rachel! With love

  14. Dear Annabel I may just have to try making sour dough bread myself next year. I did a bread making course at Victoria Market years ago and never made anything that I learnt - it was a 2 week course and in between the two lessons I was diagnosed as wheat intolerant. I decided to finish the course, because I had paid for it. That was way back in 2010. I still have the recipes and course notes.

    Last weekend we had our immediate family Christmas - it went well and we got to learn more about our daughter's boyfriend as they stayed over. I have a new street directory so the old one can be used for crafting.

    I worked in the shop on Wednesday - we had a storm hit in the afternoon which I could see as I was driving home. Luckily the house windows were closed up or the rain may have got in, the road was quite wet when I arrived home.

    We are looking at really hot days which isn't great when there is Christmas cooking to be done. My mother in law asked if I could do it yesterday when we saw her for her birthday.

    I have just about everything here for the basics that she usually have so I can do a little at a time, weather and 'fridge space permitting. (Will use one of the recipes that Tania gave us for the 'balls' as well as make the traditional rum balls using my mother in law's recipe).

    Not sure how many are in for lunch, when asked my mother in law said 'just the family'. Last year it was 'just the family' and we had 30 for lunch.

    Hope that you get your painting finished this weekend, I know how hard you were trying to get it finished by December.

    Have a great weekend everyone

    Prayers for Glenda.


    1. Lynette,
      Did you get the link for the Impossible pumpkin pie? Cookie

    2. Thank you Cookie, I have had a look at the recipe and it is on my 'to do' list.


    3. Dear Lynette, I have seen continual reports about extreme QLD weather. From hail to heat!
      Just family being 30 people means you have to be prepared for anything! That is a lot!
      I hope you feel happy with your daughters boyfriend. Who they choose is a big impact on their whole life. It is a relief when we get to know a good choice has been made!
      I really hope its not too hot for Christmas. The US ladies must wonder how and why many of us still do hot lunch etc ... we do, at the farm is is always hot Christmas lunch and then cold dinner. Sometimes it has been really hot. One year there had been a bushfire up to Christmas eve and near by was blackened and still smouldering. Thats an Australian Christmas for you!
      Have a good week! I think I must apply for the rum bad recipe... I have never made rum balls and love them!
      With love,

    4. Annabel, we also had a bush fire here as well. Lit by two thirteen year olds who will probably just get off with a smack on the hand (disfunctional family). Thankfully with the storms I no longer wake up smelling smoke.

      It was not that close to us, walking distance and the entry into the town. It did come close to houses though.

      My mother in laws recipe is quite easy - everything can be found in ALDI apart from the rum (unless your ALDI is allowed to sell alcohol (ours are not). I'll email it to you.


  15. Dear Annabel,

    My favorite parts of this post:

    Ok technically a moose
    Meet Gertrude
    How well do you know this lady LOLOLOLOL
    How do you know that isn't anthrax or something? ~INSERT FITS OF LAUGHTER HERE~

    SERIOUSLY belly laughing out loud by myself at home! Bill would totally argue with you that you must leave that bread alone, he loves a doughy center on any baked item, he calls that baking perfection!

    My week has been a blur, no list to share but all of the usual fluffing, feathering, and crazy contentedness my life brings. All Christmas decorations are up and this is one happy house, that is for sure.

    I'll keep my list proper-like next week and report back!

    With Love,
    Colette xxx

    1. Dear Colette,
      Some runny stuff happens! It makes me laugh too. Im often the casual one and Andy the cautious one. The poor man never knows what is going to happen next around here.
      I like doughy centre in sweet buns, sticky buns etc so I know what Bill is saying. mmm I wonder if this would make buns?
      I just imagine your house looks lovely! And it sounds very happy! That is wonderful. It would be very busy. December was always hectic when the kids were at school, many functions, events etc it was quite exhausting. Have a great new week. Yes please have a dot point list as I bet it is long after a week! With lots of love,

  16. Dear Annabel, I had a good belly laugh at the Anthrax comment. My husband is a bit the same. Suspicious lot, men! Annabel, honestly I think that growing something beautiful, making something beautiful, and baking something beautiful have to be three of the most gratifying tasks of life. What you've shared this week falls into each of those categories, and it's just a feast for the eyes and the soul. The sourdough rolls look yum! How lovely of Nanna Chel. I do so envy your roses, as despite trying and trying and trying, and nursing them along like you wouldn't believe, only five of my 30 rosebushes planted last year, have survived. They are amongst my favourites, but my two MOST favourites a Madame du Brabant (which I ordered specially) and a Cecile something, died, and I'd planted several of each. Sigh. Nonetheless, when I look at our lush tropical garden, it's hard to be sad for long, and of course I did have success with masses of French Lavender. So we focus on the positive! This week I made some lavish soaps as you saw, and to anyone hesitating, don't be put off by the Caustic Soda issue. As long as you wear gloves, and take sensible precautions, it's not a problem at all. And look what gorgeousness you can create! We went to a magnificent Carols service in one of the large cathedrals in our city, eating at home first, and stopping for ice cream afterwards in preference to making it an expensive night of dining out, and honestly, the Carols were so divine and uplifting, I thought to myself, 'if I could walk outside now and see snow, my life would be complete'...well not really, but you know what I mean. Imagine girls in sparkling evening gowns, men in dinner suits, coloured lights playing on the vaulted ceiling of a huge cathedral, and snatches of Bible verse interspersed dramatically between glorious Carols sung in 20 part harmony. Double sigh. I babysat my granddaughters, and spent valuable time with my nearly grown daughter, and took enormous satisfaction in feeding my family well from freezer and pantry. So for me, a wonderful start to the festive season! Rachel, as I was reading your comment, a thunderstorm has hit us here. Yes, we Queenslanders live a bit differently to those in the South, don't we! Much love to all...Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      We have to go with our climate and I would find your garden very lush and gorgeous. Roses here thrive even if you ignore them once they are established anyway. Some things I would love to grow are just no good and its an uphill battle.
      Your soaps were divine. I am so inspired to get up and going again. Saving rose buds and petals madly.
      The carols sound lovely! I feel quite emotional on occasions like that. Beautiful and also gets you really in the mood for Christmas.
      Your weather sounds quite scary at times and has made the news a lot lately! I hope ti will be a bit calmer and milder for you!
      Thanks so much Mimi. oh... the sourdough made wonderful pizza bases. Andy is happily eating it and didn't die. lol
      Have a great week! With love

    2. Hahahaha! Glad to hear your husband is alive and well, even after the Anthrax was baked into pizza bases....hehehehehe! Mimi xxx

    3. Yes, Mimi, by the time we learn various survival tips, we find that we've become bits of characters!! By the way, I saw the carpet snake and then we DID get heavy rain ..... so I just keep observing!

  17. Hi Annabel,
    The bread and the soaps look great. Packaging certainly gives everything a boutique look.

    I can't wait to try your gingerbread recipe. I plan to make the gingerbreads for the grandchildren to decorate. Last year I purchased gingerbread, and while GS had fun decorating (GD was too young to decorate last year), the gingerbread itself looked anything but appetizing.

    We're on the big "cleanup before Christmas" routine at the moment - gardens, house, cars etc. Hopefully, we'll be done by the end of the week.

    Best wishes,

    1. Dear Janine,
      Harper got stuck into those biscuits. They were huge and she just worked her way around the edge with her little teeth. I hope you like it!
      I NEED the clean up before Christmas ... and to put away every trace of painting things... that would be lovely. Almost there.
      The girls used to make gingerbread girls with bikinis... the bikini tops were smarties... I don't know if you have those they are a bit like M and Ms... Anyway decorating was really fun and entertaining. I loved that!
      Have a great new week! With love

  18. Here's my frugal list for the week Annabel,

    * Baked four loaves of bread with extra goodness.

    * Picked the first raspberries of the season. So exciting. We are so glad we spent $15 per plant ( we bought 2 ) back in 2014. We have recouped the costs a couple of times over with the fruit and extra plants to give as presents.

    * Kept the heating and cooling off for most of the week.

    * Dried the washing on the line.

    * Saved lots of shower water for the washing machine and saved the washing machine rinse water for each next load.

    * Mended holes in tow socks.

    * Made pizza for dinner using this recipe and bits and pieces we had on hand. This pizza is so much better than anything we have bought.

    * A lovely friend leant me her die cuts ( for card making). I spent many happy hours using them to make lovely shapes using paint sample cards and gifted paper.

    * Darren and I went to Masters ( again ) to buy a few bits and pieces at 60 - 70% off. While we were there I picked up lots and lots of paint sample cards to use in card making. By the time I took a few of each color I could use, my bag was quite heavy.

    * Gratefully received lots of rhubarb from a friend.

    * Jessica cleaned out her wardrobe and I scored a dress.

    * Hand washed the dinner dishes twice this week.

    * Cleaned the dishwasher using bi carb and vinegar. Gave it a wipe out with miracle spray.

    * Cleaned the kettle using citric acid. I poured the boiling water onto some weeds in the hope they will die. If they don't then I'll use vinegar and detergent.

    * I needed two gifts this week and was able to find lots of goodies on my present shelf. One present was for a friend of Jessica's. This friend had arranged for a gathering of old school friends but they all backed out at the last minute except Jessica. We were able to give her a bag of goodies including handmade soap I'd made earlier this year. The other present was a last minute Kris Kringle. In a gift bag I put a soap, fancied face washer and some chocolates.

    * After church last Sunday Darren and I found four brand new timber pallets on the side of the road. They were in our church's estate which is full of factories. Some time soon we hope to make some outdoor furniture or a big box. Stay tuned.

    1. Dear Wendy, That was a wonderful week. Garden pat here with her husband makes amazing things from pallets and they sell them. Many possibilities!
      Having a die cut machine would have been great fun and useful!
      Chloe cleaned out her wardrobe and I scored a cardigan so that was similar here.
      Have a good new week! With love


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