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.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 7th December, 2018.

It has been a week of this and that.  Mainly December is going too fast for me and I have things to get to the post office asap or I will be too late!

We have had two days of heat.  It was far from the worst heat we will have but a glimpse of farm life in the hot weather.  Yesterday I covered all my garden veggies with old sheets and net curtains.  Still some things I missed were burned.  But it is mostly doing ok.    It is so hot doing the watering morning and night.  I always knew that in the heat I will need to stay inside mostly during the day and having loads of projects to work on will be good.  I have a lot lined up... craft time will finally get some attention!

Early in the week I made two batches of shortbread.   This is so good.  It is very fast and easy since you do not have to cut out shapes,  I just press it into a deep dish pizza pan.  It needs a side so you get a neat edge... I always do it with baking paper underneath.   This recipe is not crumbly... in fact you probably need to add flour until it is not sticky but it is silky smooth.  The recipe is here.

I made a second bach using gluten free flour.  Well it tasted beautiful but it was so crumbly.  So I broke it all up,  put it into snap lock bags and belted it senseless with a rolling pin.  I have re named it "crumble topping" and "cheesecake base."  It will be beautiful for both of these things! 

Early in the week we had some rain.   I could see rain in the distance and soon it poured here.  

This was wonderful!

I baked a ham with honey over the top.  This gave us cold meat for this weather and I don't have to use the oven at all on hot days.  I do a heap of salads and it is so easy and we love it.

My roses from last week were past their best so I salvaged some buds and hung them up to dry.

I have quite a supply of dried roses.  They are lovely on parcels, soaps and food packaging.  A bag of dried roses or petals is a gift in itself to somehow who loves making beauty products etc.

I took up two pairs of jeans.

I made a big lot of honey gingerbread.  This is so nice.  The whole family lines up for this.  Chloe has a post box at the end of her driveway like I do.  I put a tin in there for her to find.

I took a tin up to the girls.  This recipe is very easy and cuts into shapes nicely.  The recipe is here.

We still have never turned on the tv although we do have one.  We sit outside most nights and eat our dinner and these guys and their antics entertain us...

They nest in the hollows of our big gums.  

I worked a crochet edge around more kitchen towels.  Also I tried a new stitch to start a heap of wash cloths.  I am hoping to learn one new stitch a week and make a wash cloth.   I need to write down the names and where to find how to do each stitch as I will lose track of which is which and how to go back to a previous one.  Mainly I get them from you tube as I am no good at following patterns but I can watch and copy. 

I thought patterns were difficult until I found out almost all patterns are only chain, single and double crochet.. in different orders.  

Every night I check the fruit trees.   Dad came today and said I should plant a Quince tree and I agree. 
The mystery fruit now looks like this...

I am amazed how fast they are growing.  

I have to tell you that Maria's daughter had her baby boy safely today and Maria sent me photos!! He is gorgeous with so much dark hair!!  So a very happy day.

My chickens will be ready to pick up next week.  And we are going to look at some geese next weekend!  

I hope you had a good week.  How did you build up your home, save or get ahead?
How are you managing in this busy season?
When I get some spare moments I wrap a parcel.  Little moments add up!
All day today the internet did not work.  Tonight finally I can post and I am really glad to look over the week... and doing so I forgot to mention the biggest thing...
Andy changed the van over to a ute. In US you would say truck I think.   The van could not even get to Mum and Dads farmhouse, this is how rough the roads are.  So it had to be done.   Andy is pretty happy with it.   I think of this as a big investment and part of our preparedness and setting up a homestead.  So this was a big thing for us this week. 

Have a wonderful

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Feather Your Nest Friday, 30th November, 2018.

The last day of November!!  Once is is December Christmas is here!

This was a MUCH better week.

Thank you for the overwhelming and beautiful response to the prayer request.  I can report that J is home from hospital and doing well.  There have been some very promising signs and good days.  If you will keep her in your prayers for healing from her past trauma that would be wonderful.  Her Mother is very grateful to you all.

Some of the ways I built up the household this week included:

I had left over strawberries that needed action fast.  They made up on lovely jar of jam.

Over a year all my little batches of jam add up!  I can always but together a basket of different jams for a gift.  I used one of my tiny dried rose buds as decoration.   During the week I used a dried rose bud and string when wrapping a birthday present and it looked so pretty.  

Chloe gave me an owl to add to my guardians on the veranda.  So far the cockies have not got into the veggie patch so my hawke and owls may be helping...

She also gave me a heap of rose images from books for my card making...

We took a day trip to the farm that Lucy and her family are moving to in January.  It is two hours south of here.   It was a beautiful day and such a pretty drive.  First there are vineyards and roses along the sides of the road that just go on and on.  There there are pine forests.  We took a picnic with us.   We saw Emus running between the pine trees.

Half way is a town which is my main regional town for shopping etc.  This is where we pick up mail that needs a signature (other mail comes to our post box out the front) and the town is so nice.  It is like stepping back in time.  Gentlemen open the door for you, everyone chats.  I love it!  

At at farm in the south we had a good walk around.  The home is a huge old homestead.  There are roses everywhere.  Obviously I picked some!! 

These are so strongly perfumed they scented the car and the house all week.  They are heavenly.  There were hundreds of roses in lemon, creamy peachy colours, pink...
There were two huge fig trees covered in the largest figs I have ever seen!  They were not quite ripe enough but I think maybe two weeks and we will go back because we also found a cherry tree, covered in cherries!!  I am guessing two weeks on those too.  So if we plan a picnic we could come home with a car load of fruit and flowers!  

During the week I went over to Mum and Dads.  I picked a big basket of fresh Bayleaves.

I am drying these to package up as gifts.  Most cooks use Bay Leaves.... they are full of goodness and expensive to buy.  And Mum's are organic! 

I made a cheesecake in the slow cooker.

We have a hose dripping on one fruit tree at a time.  I move it every evening to the next one.  While I am there I inspect the trees.  Each night I can see that fruit growing! 

Andy bought a cupboard in a second hand store.   While there I was looking at a pile of bags... they were like a shoe or veggie bag and very old.  A very fine cotton like a voile.  Each had a number stencilled on it.   I was jus thinking mmm what could I do with these?  The man said to me do you like them?  I expressed my interested in using them to make SOMETHING and he said "here take a heap!" and handed me a pile.   The pile turned out to be 22 of them.

I am going to make Santa sacks and gift bags from them.

This week we had our first Kangaroos in the paddock out the front.  First there was a huge one hopping across the paddock.  Then a smaller one.  The next day the smaller one was back and came up close to our yard.

I cooked a big pot of spaghetti sauce.  I don't need to cook tonight and have some for Chloe and Luke as well.

Janine very helpfully sent me photos to show me what a bakery is charging for very small fruit cakes.  Cleverly she put her purse next to the cake to show just how small this cake is..

Look at the price!  A cake a little bit bigger is shown in the next photo.

This is so good to see.  We constantly under value the gifts we make.  When I work out my savings for the week I try and guesstimate how much I saved on the things I made.  Keeping up to date on prices is helpful when doing this.   It gives us an idea of the enormous savings to be had.
Thank you so much Janine!   Next time you make a tray of scones, biscuits, cakes... calculate what they would cost to buy!  

I did some Christmas wrapping.  Some of my essential oil gifts are now wrapped and ready. 

I had saved nice little boxes to package them up in.

I worked on my crochet edge kitchen towels and got a few more finished.  I am also learning a new stitch so I can make decent looking hand towels and face washers from crochet cotton.

Maria's daughter is having a C section to deliver her third baby next Friday.  She has had a lot of trouble with her past babies deliveries so they are feeling nervous.  Anyone who will pray for that family please do as they have had a very hard year but they have a Christmas baby coming! 

Tomorrow Chloe and I are heading off to a small town that is having a Christmas market.  The tiny market I went to a few weeks ago was just wonderful.  This one is miles bigger!  It seems everyone has a side line, grows, makes and sells something.  I am so excited!  The last market I met three people I have kept in touch with and that have made me things to help my own Christmas crafts.  One make me labels for bottled gifts, one made me gorgeous essential oil bracelets.   I hope to get lots of ideas and maybe come home with some seedlings and who knows what else!
This will also be a change to explore a town not too far away which will be really good.

How did you feather your nest this week?  I hope you found some savings,  got ahead somehow and found a way to add to your pantry.

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

Friday, 23 November 2018

A big request.

In my Friday post I mentioned wonderful friends and true prayer warriors.  It is not too often I post a special post that is a prayer request.
I thought I had a bad week but a Bluebird here messaged me tonight and her week was a parents worst nightmare.
For privacy reasons I will say J is the most wonderful friend.  Her daughter, also J, tried to take her own life.
The daughter had a very traumatic thing happen to her when in high school.  It was something  that went on and on.  She has the most loving family and is the most gorgeous girl but she has never recovered from it and everything has been tried.  These parents have gone to every length to find ways to help.
This is not the first time this has happened.  Any of us with kids can imagine the horror... and the worry that sooner or later she will be successful at ending her young life.
Nothing has worked... some things have helped for a time.
So I offered that given there are Bluebirds that are really serious and when they say they will pray they really will... that we can gather together and pray for this girl and her parents.
We have had more than one instance here where prayers have been said for someone and they have made an actual miraculous recovery.  I have seen it now several times.  When I had given up on someone and they recovered!
When I was a teenager this was what convinced me to make my own decision for God... through prayer my Uncle recovered.  It was so remarkable that the doctors and the nurses of the hospital he was in formed a guard of honour as he left the hospital!  Months later I saw him.  He could not speak properly because of all the tubes he had down his throat for so long.  He leaned over to me and said "I know what you did" and I sat there dumbfounded... and he said "I didn't believe in God before but now I do"  and then I knew my prayers and what I had said to God were known to my uncle who could not know... and so this was the point I felt "Ok now I know for sure."

So miracles happen through prayer.
If you will pray for J and J this would be a hope where at the moment they don't feel too hopeful.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 23 November, 2018.

I am late posting today as we travelled up to the city.   I have done some of my running around so now I have time to sit down for a minute.

This was a really horrible week!  Normally I am pretty cheerful about things and optimistic but I cannot pretend this was a good week.  But we all have them!  It was just really stressful and worrying and I ended up sick from it.  eek!
Everything has turned out ok I think but now I just feel a bit shell shocked,  run down and getting over a migraine.

The good thing is the week is over haha!

So I will report what good I can.  Here are some of the ways I built up our nest this week...

We both saved quite a bit of money on insurance.  With country addresses and garages we found we had big reductions in our insurance rates and also registration.

I made a batch of Blueberry GF Muffins and froze a supply as well.

I made a big batch of vanilla yoghurt.

Andy wanted to know what do I really want for Christmas?   I said a composter.  Like one you turn the handle and it makes your leaves into compost.  He said he thought that was a terrible thing to give your wife. I said well that's what I want.  
Then he asked if I had another option.  (Can you sense resistance?)
I said yes I do I would like Geese.  
So now we have ordered Geese!!!  
These are the owners geese and we are waiting on the next eggs to hatch as we are not ready with a fox proof yard for young ones yet.   But the idea is to get them young so they are super friendly like pets.  

I mainly only like pets that are useful.... They mow the lawn, keeping grass down,  they kill small snakes and they warn you when anyone unfamiliar comes in the yard or up the driveway.  Like guard Geese.   So they have jobs to do!   But I will love them as pets too.

My birthday is in January.  If he asks I will say composter again haha! 

Luke brought sheep in to eat down the grass along the driveway and around the outside of our yard.
This keeps it neat and reduces fuel should there be a fire.  This is just down the driveway past out yard gate...

This is very good and they do an amazing job!

In the garden I have baby zucchinis, tomatoes and squash!  

I know once these get going they are super fast to be ready to pick.

Finally I am back to crochet and crafts.  I have been working on kitchen towels.  I got these gorgeous cow towels from K mart. 

I just work a crochet edge around them.  I got one whole one done on the trip up.  So I will get another one finished on the way home!

We had several days of rain.  It was weird weather and a lot of people had storms but we had the best of it which was rain.  This was fantastic and did my garden so much good and my fruit trees plus the wider farm.  And it filled the rain water tanks back up.  Also not having to water was so nice like a rest. 

One of the best things I can share is how when you are in a mess and can't think straight it is wonderful having friends who will pray for you.   There are two Bluebirds who gave me wonderful advice and prayed for me.  You know who you are!  Really these are the times when you know who your really good and valuable friends are.  So many of you are beyond good friends and are exceptionally wonderful.   We are meant to keep company with good quality people and I am humbled by how good you are.  

How did you build up your nest things week?  Did you save, add to your pantry, get ahead somehow.
Our son in law came and sat with us one evening.  He is so lovely.  We were talking about how there are times things just go along and thing pretty much stay the same.  Then there are times you can "make hay while the sun shines" and get ahead in different ways.  And there are times things just go backwards!   And that is why... when you have the opportunity to get ahead, save, stock up, put up, get your presents wrapped or extra jobs done then do!  As there will be times you cannot and things go backwards.   Be like the ant and consider it's ways!  (Prov. 6:6)

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Catching up on Show and Tell. Last one!

I had to have just one more!! Things too beautiful not to show!

First we have Lorraine.  Her Grand daughter is crazy about Unicorns.  Lorraine made this gorgeous card for her...

Inspiration for all the card makers amongst us! 

And this pillowcase...

What a beautiful present! 

Loraine also made a gift for her caravanning friends..

I am sure they loved it!!  Both gifts were exactly what the recipient LOVES.  This is a sure way to gift making success.   Just lovely Lorraine! 

And now to Jen in NS.  She was busy crafting for her annual Church fundraiser.

She made cards,  pot holders (which I love) and kitchen towels...

Crochet pot holders,  heat pads,  coasters...

And socks and mittens! 

I would want to buy all this.  More I want to make it.   When I see gifts that I know I would love to receive then I know this is what I should be making!

Thank you both for posting your photos!   
After so many amazing hand made items I am feeling excited to start off a new year.  We are going to start in January with a big challenge to get as much made week by week as we can.   It seems to be encouraging to have someone to report to and share what we have done so this is what we are going to do!  We are going to join Alison and Rebecca and get together every second Tuesday.   What we will be able to do will be amazing.  If you missed Alison and Rebecca their story was posted just last week.  Getting together regularly helped them achieve an enormous amount!

I hope your week is going well!  xxx

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Catching up with Show and Tell, Part 6.

Our Show and Tell has caught us up a lot with what many of us have been making.  We also touched on lots of things i.e. making things can fill the present cupboard but also save money, be fun, help others, help charity and so much more!  This year I have noticed quite a few of us have launched small businesses to bring in an income as well... or expanded on ones already up and running.  Increasing your skills gives you lots of options and options are good!

I am turning this post over to Kelsey as she achieved her goal of starting an Etsy shop and her story is really encouraging and I hope it helps others!  

   I have loved crafting since I was a little girl. I would often have projects scattered across the kitchen table as I kept my friends and relatives supplied with handmade cards, pictures and magnets for their refrigerators, paper chains, painted rocks, you name it!  As a young teen, I learned to knit and sew.  Unfortunately when I got older, crafting was pushed aside, and by the time I got married I felt it didn't have a place among my more "practical" homemaking duties. It wasn't until I discovered Annabel's blog that I realized how wrong I was!

    As I became a regular Bluebirds reader (and after devouring all of her past posts!), I saw all of the beautiful things Annabel made for her home and loved ones and how beautifully they were presented.  When she started the Christmas Challenge and Show and Tell, I was further inspired with the photos and stories from ladies all across the world sharing things they had created. Everyone was using their diverse talents to bless others with homemade gifts and build up their homes. It was all beautiful and practical, and a regular part of their homemaking. I knew I needed to start crafting again.

    I began making my own cards and gifts and sending pictures in for Show and Tell. Everyone was so encouraging with their comments on my work, and friends were saying how they loved receiving my handmade gifts, wrapping and all!  The more I made, the more my confidence grew and a few people would say, "You could sell these!"  After a while, I really began to consider it.
    With our move to the ranch, my husband starting a new career, and then having a baby, I knew I couldn't commit to selling at markets and fairs, time-wise or cost-wise.  I didn't have a lot of space for inventory, or funds for big start up costs, and my schedule was always changing as our son grew.  I needed to be flexible, knowing that my home and family would always be my top priority.  I began to dream of an Etsy store.  This would allow me to make things as my time and budget allowed, and if I needed to, I could walk away from it for a while. I also wouldn't need to leave my home, which was huge for me! I did lots of research, praying, and discussing it with my husband. I decided it was really something I wanted to pursue and I started the process of opening Spring Creek Loft (named by my husband after setting up my wonderful crafting space in our previously unused loft!)

    Plans were pushed back several times as different circumstances came up.  I also had my doubts about whether my work was good enough to sell, if people would want to buy it, if I really had the time, if I could handle the taxes and business aspect of it, etc. I felt my photography and computer skills were lacking, too. With all of these disheartening thoughts, I was reminded of the servant in the Bible, who through fear, buried the talent his master gave him instead of increasing it and prospering. I also thought of the Proverbs 31 woman, who through her skills and industry, blessed and prospered her household with things she made and even sold.  She did all of this without fear.  With this in mind along with so much encouragement from family and friends, I didn't give up.  Annabel talks often about learning new things.  I decided I would take whatever obstacles I faced one at a time and learn from them.  After months of research, creating inventory, taking photos, ordering shipping supplies, and putting the final touches on my page, I finally opened my Etsy shop in September 2018! It is a dream come true!

    In researching opening an Etsy store, one recurring piece of advice was that you have to love what you do, and I truly do.  My theme at Spring Creek Loft comes from the very thing that inspired me to start crafting again--gift giving!  I sell cards, tags, gift card envelopes, clothes pins, jar toppers, and recipe cards.  Soon I hope to add gift bag sets.  All of my products reflect my lifestyle and things I enjoy, such as flowers, gardening, country living, hand-written letters, cooking, baking, and crafting. Each of my products is a labor of love. Early in the morning, late at night, and during nap time, I am up in the loft happily crafting away.  It has been a blessing to me and hopefully it is to others as well.

    I would like to thank Annabel and everyone who has encouraged me over the years with their kindness, encouragement, and friendship. You have been a big influence and help in many areas of my life, and my Etsy goal wouldn't have been accomplished without all of your support and lovely comments.  Thank you so much!!

Well done Kelsey! Your story is very encouraging!  I love your Scripture quotes.  I think of the Proverbs verse about how a skilled workman will come to know Kings!  Skills give you options!  We must work on our skills.   No one falls out of bed and is a skilled craftsman on day one.  All skills need practice and work.  I often hear someone say they are no good at this or that... yet in truth they tried it once or twice.   While we all will have natural gifts and talents leaning more in some directions these will still take practice and work work work!

With Christmas coming I wanted to have a post with some of our Etsy shops and other businesses.  It has also become too expensive to post internationally so now I choose my gifts from the country they are going to and postage becomes a non issue!   Please someone tell me you have a business in New Zealand.... I have no one selling that I know in NZ!  

Kelsey's store is called  Spring Creek Loft which you can find here.  Already a lot of Bluebirds have supported her and helped her! 

If you have a business (and I can think of many of you who do!) please post your details and link in comments.  Over on Facebook which is here you can also share a link, photos and anything about your store or business.... so we will have a little Bluebirds business directory.  I am hoping we all might do some Christmas shopping this way and also like and promote each others pages etc.

Thank you Kelsey!  Thank you everyone for a great Show and Tell! xxx



Saturday, 17 November 2018

Catching up with Show and Tell Part 5!

What an epic Show and Tell this has been!  I hope everyone has found some ideas, I definitely have!

Today we have Tanya.  She is a marvel... she has eight children, lives in the Australian outback and home schools!

Tanya taught her son to sew and he is so proud he completed a quilt for his little cousin...

Well done!   It is a beautiful quilt!

This reminds me so much of how Mum and Nan both took the time to teach me so many skills.  I loved it all!

Also Tanya made shopping bags for gifts...

It is designed to fit on the supermarket trolleys hooks.  Very handy!

Also mug mats... using old jeans and shopping bags!

And a big batch of homemade soap..

Beautiful work Tanya!   

Teresa wrote and shared a quilt she made up for her friends baby...

It is all soft flannel,  all from her own stash so it helped her use it up challenge,  and she prayed for this little boy as she worked.   What a beautiful gift Teresa!  

Thank you girls for sharing your work! 

We have one more show and tell in this round then we will begin again in January.   The last one is a big one!   And very inspiring! 

I hope you are having a restful weekend! xxx