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 January 2015

Feather your Nest Friday 2nd January 2015!

What a big couple of weeks! Busy, wonderful, tiring... lots of things all at once!
And a new year has arrived! We will be getting into savings right away. We need to build up our emergency fund and have quite a few resolutions and aims for the year!

Even though it was Christmas and New Year and so not your average week we still had savings and there were still ways we built up the home.

Last night we had a lovely night building up special time together and we splurged a bit on dinner out to celebrate the new year. It was just wonderful. We had the best time and the food was just amazing. It was worth it, really we celebrated, looked over the year we just had, and talked about our goals for this year. I loved it. Now to make up for it...

These are some of the ways we built up our nest last week...

We came home from the farm with figs! I love figs. They were from my brothers farm. I made jam with almonds. The almonds go in the last ten minutes. This is so good. When I was little my Dad and I loved this jam and we basically fought over the almonds. lol So when I grew up I resolved to put enough almonds in there that it's not a matter of life and death to get one! Andy loves this jam too. It goes well with cheese which might sound funny but its much like quince paste or fig paste in taste. I make all my jam in the microwave the tutorial is here Easy jam making. As I mentioned if you are adding almonds add them in the last 10 minutes which is after you have blended or mushed up the figs.

Figs have so many possibilities. I saved some in the fridge. Some to serve with soft cheese on a cheeseboard and some I roasted with roast chicken. I copied a meal I had once at somewhere fancy! ... it was roast chicken pieces with roast vegies, gravy and roast figs. I had never eaten figs this way and it was delicious. I added the figs in the last half hour of the roasting. It worked! It was beautiful.

Plus my jam has added to my pantry and I have a couple of small gifts.

I have been collecting storage containers for my cellar/pantry project. My beautiful friend Helen sent me these gorgeous jars as a surprise gift. Perfect and so pretty for storing all sorts of things. I just love jars! 

I saved money on my new diary/planner. Last year I had an Erin Condren planner and it was great but it was expensive. I am using an ordinary planner this year and added highlighters, sticky notes and the things I found most lovely about last years planner. I love it and it has saved me heaps of money. Also my pencil case is an unused glasses holder which is just perfect!

I know using a planner overall saves me so much time and money. And stress! I can plan my week to involve less trips out, save petrol and not miss birthdays or appointments etc. Plus it is really motivating for me. At the end of the day I write down things I achieved. It is one thing to have a to do list but we need to consider all we DID achieve and feel good about the work we did. When I see my list I (mostly!) feel satisfied with my day and sleep well on it! 

I want to share with you an idea that is very frugal and stylish. My friend Mimi sent me gifts and the wrapping!!! I didn't want to wreck the wrapping so I took photos! She uses good old fashioned butchers paper that you can buy by the roll. Then she writes artistically across it suitable words in french and uses tulle for ribbons. Tulle makes wonderful ribbons and bows very inexpensively.

So this is from Mimi and its so stylish and what an idea...

Mimi has a blog full of frugal and gorgeous ideas...A Tray of Bliss.

I hope you had a wonderful New Year. How did you build up your home and save money this week? And what new ideas can you use this year? Last year I saved in some major ways by trying new ideas. This makes me wonder what can I do differently this year to save and do better? It is really amazing when you find something that you know can work in your own household! Well I am hoping I learn lots of new things this year that will help us out.

Have a wonderful


  1. Lovely ideas, Annabel. The fig jam would be delicious! I love Mimi's artistic style. :D

    1. Thank you Flora. Mimi makes lovely things. I will be trying this although my handwriting isnt so great! xxx

  2. Hi Annabel, I've been feathering my store cupboard. I've made lots and lots of jam this week with very cheap fruit. I've also made tomato relish for the first time. Like you, I'll be giving some as presents as well as selling some. That way I make a little money and we can eat jam for free.

    1. Wendy I think you do so well to cook for the family plus the freezer meals etc plus to sell. I used to sell trays of lasagne to a coffee shop. That was quite good. I am thinking now of starting again with biscuits or something as I have the opportunity to put things in a craft co op shop... so thinking! I just love making jam so that could be a possibility

  3. I love fig jam Annabel. Apricot and fig are the two jams that are a favouite in our household. I will be picking my figs soon as our tree is loaded once again. I use my mum's fig jam recipe which uses vinegar, this helps with the keeping quality of the jam. It tastes delicious but is cooked on the stove top between 3-5 hours. I like the idea of adding almonds to add a nice touch. Crackers, cheese and a dab of fig jam = yum!

    I am really impressed with your planner idea. I haven't been near the stores for quite a while, but I will definitely have to make a trip soon to get one :)

    That is very clever of Mimi with the gift wrap idea, it looks very effective doesn't it? And such a nice gift from Helen, those jars are wonderful to put preserves in.

    I had a friend bring around a box full of jars. There are some really big jars among them so I will be able to use for storage in my pantry, this will help me organise things a little better.

    Have a lovely weekend and stay out the heat. It is 46.4C as I type this!


    1. And we also both love to make jam! (another thing)
      Tania my planner helps me feel things are under control. I am sure it relives some stress for me.
      Mimi has lovely ideas... and very pretty.
      I cannot believe its 46.4 (I mean I know it really is !) but its 42 here and thats bad enough. It is so tough on everyone, the animals and the garden! I hope a change comes tomorrow.
      It is wonderful about the jars! For the pantry and also for jam making they are so good. I love jars! Have a good

    2. I have a few people who give me jars too. I LOVE homemade jam and couldn't go back to eating supermarket jam.

  4. Hi Annabel! I'm so excited to read this post and the wonderful comments. To answer your questions: how did I build up my home? How did I save money?-- I meal planned, shopped the freezer and pantry before looking at the grocery ads and I'm having a no-spend/verrrrrrry low spend grocery budget for the next two weeks. I also planned a Scrapbooking/memory making session with the kids before they return to school on Monday. The day after Christmas I went to my favorite craft store and stocked up on wrapping/card supplies at a fraction of the regular retail, and shared some with my eldest daughter (she's 21 and a student, trying to help her learn as she's not inclined to my ways yet ;) What new ideas can I use this year? I put a card-making date on the calendar so I can be intentional and ready for specific friends and family (colors, themes, etc) FIRST.... Then of course I can make pretty all-occasion cards as well. The best idea for our family that will help loads: started a running list of who needs what item of clothing, and marked my calendar for trips to Goodwill on their half-priced days only. I have 5 kids total with 4 still at home. Side note:all at the same time a few weeks back, the three youngest needed jeans. On Goodwills half-priced day, they all got nice, gently-used denim for $2.49 a piece! Finally, I started my yearly saving envelopes in specific categories that help control and plan ahead, I.e., school yearbooks, back-to-school clothing/shoes, emergency fund, Christmas.

    Also, Annabel, the biggest change for me? Reading your blog and actually starting to plan for next Christmas (a little at a time), right now... so exciting! Sorry to write such a long comment but I really wanted to share some of the things you've helped inspire me in becoming more acountable! The other sweet ladies who comment on your blog are equally inspiring <3. Happy New Year to all, let us make it a great year.

    1. Planning for Christmas all year builds and prolongs the excitement. It's much better this way that racing around at the last minute buying anything.

    2. Dear Colette, What a wonderful post it is a joy to read! You did so much to build up your home and save money. Well done! It is always really handy to have spare cards on hand and any occasion ones plus tags. This alone I think saves hundreds a year. We are coming onto very hot weather. This can be frustrating but I use the hot days to make cards and other fiddly things and later it saves me money to have them on hand. What a wonderful week! When we think of it this way we realise how important our work is. The value is just huge. I cant wait for next week now! Thanks for posting! xxx

  5. Hello lovley Annabel, last night I was so inspired by your previous post, particularly the phrase "plan to succeed". I have made it like motto with daily choices, it already changed my mind about eating after dinner & exercising in the wind.

    This week to feather our nest I had a go at DIY haircuts, which I haven't done since the 80's.

    I didn't grocery shop this week so we were forced to get creative & use up random things, like sunlight soap instead of dishwashing liquid. My boys discovered hot dog sandwiches, saves me buying rolls & they enjoyed them. I also made up lemonade & my son made frogs in ponds with the last of his advent calendar Freddos.

    Hope the extreme heat passes quick for all.

  6. I combined all my doings of the last two weeks into a large Holiday post. Then I had a nice fresh start for this new year. One of my readers commented that she was really excited for a New Year this time around. I feel the same anticipatory excitement myself.

    1. Thank you Terri you did heaps! I love the Father Christmas and baby picture that is a treasure!
      This week I am really trying to implement the new things I want to start and include in the year. I hope to get my first food into my cellar too! Many thanks.xx

  7. Thank you for your blog. I enjoy it:) This is off topic, but was wondering when Laine will be starting her new blog and how do we find out about it?
    thank you

    1. becky I think everyone is wondering the same thing! I will write to Laine and ask how its going. And I will post on the blog immediately any news or links to anything Laine has written. I cant wait either! xxx

  8. Annabel,
    I know that this is post is over a year old, but I had to jump in and tell you that the idea of using the glasses case for your pens is GENIUS! I've been a casual reader of your blog since the beginning, but have recently been enjoying myself hugely by going back to the start and reading all your posts. However, I couldn't wait to comment on this one. I went op shopping a couple of days ago (motivated entirely by you, and I had a lovely time), and found a basket full of glasses cases for $1 each, and couldn't resist buying 3 - glasses, sunglasses and ??? Now I have a use for my spare case - brilliant! Thank you so much!
    Ok. Back to your blog...
    Rebecca T

    1. Dear Rebecca, I really appreciate your comment! thank you!
      This year I have more about these glasses cases. They are strong and come in nice colours too. They are great also for mini first aid kits, sewing kits, travel kits i.e. all your medicines in one place and so on. So it will be a post on various emergency kits and these as your container as yes they are mostly free or super cheap! So thanks, Im glad you liked it! With love

    2. Your reply reminded me that I use a glasses case when I go on holiday for all those bits and pieces I usually keep by my bed - lip balm, ear plugs, headphones, a tissue etc. I can keep it all in bed with me in easy reach. Great for when I'm on sports trips with my son and staying at cabins in camping grounds. Rebecca


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