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 11 December 2014

Feather your Nest Friday. 12 December 2014.

This week had some spending. I guess I have to expect that at this time of year! But two expenses are medical and it has made me think about when unavoidable medical bills come at a time when you have other things to deal with. I am going to work on growing our emergency fund next year.

Anyway here we are so close to Christmas and the end of the year!

This week I made lots of progress with my posting parcels, gift wrapping and general organisation of all the things that need doing!

I saved quite a bit of time and petrol by thinking things through and combining trips and events.

I made refrigerator pickles. These are great to use up excess product and a way to preserve things that might get wasted. My husband loves these! They take about two minutes to make! Cucumbers were on a big special which is why I made them.  I will share this method soon as summer harvests really start when it is most handy. I made a few jars. This one I layered so it's like a salad in a jar.

This week I made Melting Moments. I made a double batch. This is the recipe.

Melting Moments.
250g butter melted.
1/3 cup icing sugar,
1 1/2 cups plain flour,
vanilla essence.
Melt butter and stir in other ingredients. Roll into balls. Squish slightly with a fork and bake 20 mins in a lower oven about 150degrees.
Stick them together with pale pink icing if you want.
Really good!

 I used these as several gifts after packaging them in cellophane bags. They are quick and easy to make.

I saved money with a little trick. I have always loved biscuit moulds. You can get amazingly beautiful shortbread moulds. I loved one that was just under $50. Now you can use a biscuit forcer but not all recipes work with them. So sometimes I am still wishing to press an image into a biscuit. The good old fork to press cookies down works pretty well. Here's an idea to get a fancy imprint.  If you look at the bottom of pretty glass or crystal vases, candle sticks and glassware often there is a pretty pattern in the glass. Old style vases like these...

I have heaps of them but you can get them at op shops so cheaply. Underneath see if they have a pretty pattern...

Well, there is your biscuit mould! I just rolled my dough into rounds. Once my baking tray is covered in them I just squish each one with my vase.  If the dough is too sticky and is sticking to the glass keep dipping it into flour so it is dry and press.  You get a pretty imprint that bakes in.

Once you discover this you start running around looking under all your vases and candle sticks! Some have amazing patterns! How useful! Well now I look to what I can use to press in patterns and haven't bought anything expensive. After I did this I thought a bit of glazed cherry would look lovely as the centre of the flower! Next time...

Thanks to my friend I discovered a new op shop. This will be handy next year. Also a fruit and vegie shop nearby with fantastic prices and specials.

I have to say being busy impacted the household this week. I need some days home to restore the balance! The atmosphere suffers. So over the weekend I hope to make things quite, have the pretty lights on and have lovely evenings. Starting tonight!

So it wasn't a perfect week by any means! And next week my daughter and son in law are moving house! It will be nice when they are in their new home for Christmas and that is all done!

Have a lovely weekend. It does get a little like this at this time of year. The shops are so busy, everyone is in a hurry...  But we don't want to miss the moment because of it. I want to enjoy and celebrate Christmas and appreciate all the wonders of it. We had had a wonderful year really with so many things to be thankful for! 

How was your week? What did you do to feather your nest and save money? I hope it was good and the weekend brings some rest and rewards! xxx


  1. I love how your cookies turn out. I do the same and I absolutely love how pretty they look. May I share my savings post? If not, then please delete this! I so enjoy reading how you save each week and looking at how lovely you make your home.

    1. Thanks Terri. You are most welcome to share your savings post. It saves you re writing it! I think leftover days and use it up days are not only a saving but a bit of a rest too! Many thanks. xx

  2. Well, aren't you tricky?! The vase imprint tip is just so nifty - I'd make some biscuits to try it out but am still recovering from your apricot balls! ;)

    1. I know its too late but... step slowly away from the apricot balls and no one will get hurt... lol
      This works great on the shortbread for gifts... just give them away quickly! xxx

  3. Dear Annabel, those biscuits are simply beautiful. You're right, we will be turning things over to look at the pattern on the bottom. I thought your comment about adding the cherries was lovely. It's often these little touches that make something special but cost so little. Can you imagine children growing up and remembering " Granny's flower biscuits"?
    This week I cut and coloured my own hair. I used to spend over $700 per year at hairdressers, then I started using coupons only and getting it down to $300. Since listening to you, I now do my own, and it costs me $24 per year.
    And the best part, no disasters, and I love feeling that I have the skill to do it.
    I bought cheap window cleaner, which I always do. I put half of it in another empty spray bottle that I just finished, and filled both with water. I have tested it on both mirrors and windows and there is no difference. I was thrilled.
    I bought a kilo pack of Hummus marked down to $1.80. In the process of using some each day, we have discovered some new recipes. You can use in mashed potatoes. For the number of pounds of potatoes, say one, you add 1 tablespoon of butter when cooked and drained, and 1/2 cup of hummus, salt and pepper. It's delicious.
    I also made your impossible pie today Annabel, and used up the end of the Sour Cream, and some baby spinach. I cut up four sun dried tomatoes finely and added to the mix as well.
    Have a lovely week everyone. I'm off to copy the Melting Moments recipe into my book. Love Helen xxx

    1. One kilo of hummus for $1.80 is bargain of the month I think! I love the baby spinach impossible pie. A few sun dried tomatoes really add to things.I think that would have been delicious. Plus if there are left overs its just as nice cold.
      The saving on your hair is massive. My own would be some ridiculous cost in the thousands probably. And you are right we never have the disasters... years ago I was in tears several times when a trim turned out to be the loss of all my hair or some terrible colour happened...all of which you still had to pay for even though you were trying not to cry! It is all so easy and I save on time too as I pop colour in a keep working or do a trim that takes two minutes. I have Nanas old biscuit forcer. In the new year I will make flower biscuits with coloured centres and start my flower biscuits tradition! xxx

  4. Hi Annabel. What a great idea for biscuit patterns. I'm now going to look underneath all my crystal vases. I have plenty - new and very old.

    1. Thank you Wendy, it is really fun to find what patterns we have fro free right under our noses!
      Have a lovely weekend and a rest, if

  5. Hi Annabel, love your blog, my mum Nanna Chel told me about it. Its beautiful and very inspiring. Mum said to tell you hello and bub hasn't arrived yet!

    1. Thank you Jasmine for commenting! Say hi to your Mum. She is a legend you know! She has been very good to me.
      Good luck with the baby. My daughter is having a baby in May and I am so excited... this is the first. I hope to hear good news soon of your new arrival. A Christmas baby! That is so exciting! xxx

  6. Your idea for using vases for imprints is brilliant! I saw on Pinterest where they used crochet doileys to imprint on shortbread and I thought it was clever! I know you'll understand my excitement that my mother is giving me biscuit molds that my old nanna used to make Christmas biscuits every year! (Cookies for your American readers here I'm talking about! ) she is also giving us a stack of crochet items my nanna made. I'm very excited and will get these from her next time we visit.

    1. Kaye I would love to see your Nanna's molds that is such a wonderful thing to inherit. And the crochet! That is wonderful! The paper doileys are very handy and you get a huge number in a pack or you can sit and do like when we were kids and fold and cut to get a doiley like pattern! Thank you Kaye! xxx

    2. It was a lace doiley they used on Pinterest Annabel. They pressed the cloth imprint into the cut out biscuit/cookie dough and it gave an interesting look. I'll send you the pin if I can find it.

    3. Hi Kaye, I understand your excitement. I have my Grandma's doilies and just love them. Some would be almost 70 years old.

  7. Great list Annabel!

    My featherings for this week are;

    I had a big cleanup outside, swept up leaves and washed everything down that was dusty, removed the spider webs from windows and around the veranda. Little blighters move right on in when the house goes quiet from being away. I planted into pots some portulaca's and petunia's, coleus and spider plant, watered pot plants and rearranged them. I also planted two passion fruit vines in the ground. Inside I did the normal things like vacuuming, mopping, cleaning bathrooms, toilets etc. I caught up on all the ironing and tidied the shoes in the laundry. I managed to get some Christmas cards written, posted or given out. I menu planned, and cooked from scratch, stewed some apples that needed using and froze them. I bought lots of organic shampoo and conditioner while it was on special. Picked up some mince reduced down at Coles. I had a couple of no spend days earlier in the week.

    By the way those biscuits look awesome, and so do the pickles. I would definitely like to know the pickles recipe, its sounds pretty easy. I'm off to see if I have any pretty patterns now. I am going to be disappointed if I haven't lol! But not to worry the markets are on this weekend so might find something there :)

    Enjoy your weekend Annabel and rest up,

    1. Dear Tania, Thank you! I think I will get this pickle method posted on Monday as its very handy. Men seem to love pickles. Several women have said to me they dont care for them greatly but their husbands are mad over them. Well that is how it is here! But they preserve vegies so well when there is a glut and its like ready made salad in emergencies! You list was huge! I think you deserve a restful weekend and hope you get some relaxation... next week and next weekend will be busy for us all I bet! I hope you have some vases with good imprints! Love

  8. What a fabulous idea for biscuit moulds. So clever! I had an out of the ordinary week – we are having renovations done due a pipe that burst under the kitchen sink in October. Anyway the renovations to the kitchen were finished this week. Yay! Now we only have the bedrooms left to go. I had my first specialist appointment - following the completion of my treatment two months ago - and he gave me clearance to begin a gradual return to work from January. So I had a lot to be grateful for this week. Now what have I done to feather my nest? Let me see, when putting everything back in the kitchen cupboards I took the opportunity to reorganise where everything is kept. (I have to say I found so many cake tins and muffin pans that I didn't know I had – it was like they had dropped in from another dimension.) So now I have all my kitchen accoutrements organised so things aren't buried under other utensils and I can find everything easily.

    1. Sherri you had a fantastic week! Your medical clearance is a pretty wonderful Christmas gift!
      Well done on taking the opportunity to re organise the kitchen and get all that done. You will start the new year very well with all that done. Plus cooking etc will be easier which is a big help. I hope you are having a great weekend. I am doing some wrapping! xxx

  9. Hello Annabel, I just joined the Cheapskates forum and will be able to login as soon as it is approved. We had an unexpected PayPal refund so it sort of didn't cost me anything.

    1. That is wonderful Rhonda! Look for Wendy (the Wendy who comments here) and read through her monthly posts on her $300 a month grocery challenge. She ahs a family of four. Food prices will be different here to in the US of course but here that is REMARKABLE and she is so inspiring and I love her posts. I post as Annabels, not very often but I should post more! The newsletters are very good and you can read all the old ones and Caths blog. You will have lots of lovely reading to do! xxx


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