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 29 January 2015

Feather your Nest Friday. 30th January 2015.

The last week of January! I always think January is a big month. Recovering from Christmas and holidays and possibly a time of recovering from spending more money than usual. Then thinking about what it is we want to achieve in the new year and our goals and dreams.
Then we get back into regular life and it flies! So it is really good to keep our goals in front of us and have a little review. So I'm looking over the month and having a little plan.

I had another really good week! My pantry is going ahead in leaps and bounds and my cellar is up and running.

So the ways I saved money and feathered our nest this week include...

My afternoon with my friend Hilde and all the pantry tips she gave me. I posted some of these in comments on Wednesday but more to come! It was so much fun and she gave me so many ideas  just on pantry recipes that will be so handy.

Plus we went op shopping. I had wonderful luck and got three gorgeous cardis. I have a thing about really fine knitwear. I don't like thick or chunky things at all. But really fine knitwear is usually expensive. I found a blue/grey longline very fine knit Witchery brand cardi for $4, A fine Laura Ashley black knit cardi for $5 and a leopard print cardi, also really fine... for $4. I love them all. I washed them up and am so pleased. I was so excited about these as I live in cardi's in winter.

I also found a lovely vintage cotton sheet with pink roses on it. I always buy sheets if they are good cotton and pretty prints that look Shabby Chic-ish. Where else can you get several wide meters of pretty cotton fabric for $3 or so? Also if I see sheets in very old or soft brushed cotton/flannelette I get them and wash them up and tear them into large hankies for when anyone is sick. They are so soft they are the kindest thing for bad colds etc. These are the softest hankies you ever had. You can throw them in the bin, it was cheaper than packs of tissues. If I have plenty of these I made cleaning cloths. I fill big jars with them and pour over some miracle cleaner so they are moist and ready to use.

 My friends daughter had a baby girl. I am able to go to my cupboard of things I've made ahead and find a gift that I can send her. My gift cupboard is wonderful. I am now trying to keep a selection of baby things. Mum does this, she knits and crochets plenty of baby rugs, little hats and things and she always has them ready to give far and wide. They are beautiful hand made things. So I was able to do this and wrapped in pink tissue and ribbon my soft pink rug to post....

I had a use up left overs night and made pizzas. I used up so many bits and pieces and they were really good. Also they made several work lunches.

Our neighbours went away and said we were welcome to pick fruit. I went over and picked peaches. So yes I have MORE peaches. I needed a ladder and even them used a broom to pull down branches. It was up and down a ladder for an hour and I got about two more buckets full. They are really big white peaches. We have had peaches fresh and cut up every night for a week. The freezer is full of poached peaches and pies. I have kept the girls in fruit as well. I've made peach jam. Now I need to act on these immediately as they are pretty ripe.

Over the last couple of weeks we got a few around the home repairs done, general tidying up and due to milk weather the garden is looking lovely! These all help!

What did you do to build up your home and save money this week? I hope it was a good week and that January started the year off well.

It really is amazing how much all that we do saves money and generally builds up our homes. If we can think of a list of little ways to save money on food, gifts, services, utilities and ways to build up our pantries, emergency funds etc they all add up and we build a buffer too that protects us when unexpected things happen. Mimi baked a divine chocolate cake and said that in a cafe it would probably be $7 a slice or more. It's true! The whole cake doesn't cost $7 to make and we can enjoy sharing it all week! (for her recipe pop over to A Tray of Bliss) This is an example of what is in the shops vs what we can do ourselves!

I normally post Pantry/preparedness on Wednesdays. This week I made some discoveries that I think amount to urgent information we all need so I will post this on Monday. 

Have a wonderful weekend! xxxx


  1. Your lists always make me feel like I can achieve anything Annabel! Thankyou for mentioning my cake recipe too. I'm always disappointed on the rare occasion I buy a café made cake or slice. A mouthful or two and I've had enough, and then feel bad that I've wasted the equivalent of the ingredients of a WHOLE cake on one slice that I didn't even enjoy! Well anyway, here's my list of what I achieved this week...Monday I made my home into a Home Beautiful by cleaning and polishing, and bringing armfuls of fresh greenery inside to pop into vases. Tuesday I spent the final day of the school holidays with my daughter, just having time together. We also made enough school lunch food to save up to $80 on school canteen purchases. Wednesday I baked again, ensuring that we had healthy snacks on hand, and got some bargains at the supermarket, saving us $20 on meat for the week. Yesterday I was working on the blanket I'm knitting for my little granddaughters birthday next month. It's in the palest pink and it's just like a cloud. I saw a similar one in an upmarket baby store for $300! Really! And all it's cost me is $30 in lovely wool, and some time. I also finished off some alterations and mending. That alone is a great saving as I know many who discard clothing as soon as a button falls off or a hem need stitching. Today I've decluttered the pantry and fridge in readiness for shopping. I love doing a mini stocktake each week, just to ensure I'm not shopping for things I don't need. It's a great strategy. I can't wait to see what everyone else has been up to. I love your philosophy on having a gift stash. For me that used to mean buying marked down things that I never could find a recipient for. Now it means using my hands and my heart and making something with love. Mimi xxx

    1. Mimi what a lovely week.
      I really hope you take photos of the blanket you are knitting I would love to see it, the description is heavenly. And yes those are the prices at the home ware and baby stores! It greatly encourages me to just keep making things!
      Your routine will change now with your daughter back to school but I know you made the most of the holidays with her.
      The overall impact of a good clean, some foliage or flowers in vases and so on is wonderful... a house blessing as Fly lady calls it and I can see why!
      Have a lovely weekend. And I hope February is as productive! xxx

  2. I made more peach jam this week. Also some tomato relish, Miracle Spray, spag bol sauce for the freezer and peanut butter choc chip biscuits. I also mended some clothes and sewed a new scarf from a top I no longer wear.

    The rest will be revealed on my blog tomorrow.

    Have an awesome weekend Annabel. xoxo

    1. Thank you Wendy. I find joining in on your frugal accomplishments helps me be accountable. I actually love to write down things and see what Ive done! It is really good to consider all we did not just all we still have left to do.
      Have a wonderful weekend. xxx

  3. Again, a delicious post Annabel. I've been back reading through your old posts, reading things you have made and done and I wish for a minute I could be a little tiny fly on the wall in one of your rooms, just to have a look and absorb. The way you describe your life is so beautiful. I love the gorgeous pink pillow of softness that you have ready to go in your gift cupboard for your friends daughters child. Your own grandchild too will be so blessed. I'd love to know what Wendy's blog is. Is it one listed on your side bar. I already read mimi's as well and will note that cake recipe. My plan for january was to eat whole food as much as possible. We had takeaway twice. Both those times we shared a large pizza, it was not half as good as anything home made. Now the pizzas on your page above look delicious. Did you make the dough yourself? February's challenge is to set up the pantry list. I have a separate room (it was called a box room) in this house that is surplus to all needs as the man and I have a huge study we share and he has a hobby room and i have a sewing room and there is a guest bedroom and our room of course and this box room. It's crying out for shelving and stocking up. I'd love to learn about preserving in glass. Haven't yet got through all your writings to see how you do it. Then there is the choosing of glass. Do i go mason jars, or ball jars or what? Hmm. Must get back to your old posts and keep reading. Keep up the good work. Fiona

    1. Thank you Fiona you are so sweet! I have only been blogging a bit more than a year but I am gradually gaining momentum!
      Wendys blog is My Abundant Life and yes on my sidebar.
      Wednesday in comments I posted Hildes beer bread recipe. Barb posted she uses that as pizza bases. I use just about anything as a pissz base. I will buy bases when they are on special or I buy amazing specials on things like turkish bread when they are $1 or 50c and freeze them. Then I always have "bases" I just cut them in half longways and away I go. But otherwise I use the recipe where you use greek yoghurt and flour (google 2 ingredient pizza dough) This works a treat. Only I use part milk and part yoghurt as you can't tell and I press it into tins rather than roll. Use flat tins not the ones with tiny holes as it sticks in those...
      When I make pizzas I make 6 or so too.
      Now I know you have had storage and pantries in the past too. Please tell us more about what you did and how you did it over the weeks on Pantry days as this is very helpful. We are all trying to improve so any experience is really helpful.
      Re jars.... I have always collected jars from op shops. The older the better as they are that old fashioned thick glass with bubbles in it. They are gorgeous but the thickness makes them really strong.
      Very often preserving jars and kits are in op shops, garage sales, free cycle etc.
      Our local cheap shop is selling preserving jars in slabs or 6 or a dozen in all sizes... I would think this would be aust wide except the names of the stores change.... ours are Cheap as chips and Neds. You can probably check online. I do not do preserving as such with the jars submerged in water although that could come yet. I will make jams, relishes, chutney etc and then I will freeze pies, cobblers, stewed fruit and poached fruit. I do all these in glass jars.
      I am egging you on to get going on a few crochet stitches and soon you will have a cupboard full of baby rugs etc... especially when you have time "off" so to speak..!
      I will take some more photos of baby embroidery and rugs etc. and post too since you asked me earlier...
      Thank you for such encouragement! Some days I really need that!
      Have a lovely weekend! xxx

    2. Be wary of the cheap preserving jars. I bought a slab from Sam's Warehouse over a year ago. The lids do not tighten well and the pop lid doesn't always pop down.

      I have friends and family save jars for me instead.

  4. Another beautiful post Annabel. Love your new cardi's, so soft & feminine (& it's obvious you don't live in Tasmania if that's all you need for winter, LOL). I had a friend knit a gorgeous little outfit for one of my special small reborn dolls last week, goodness there's some clever people out there. Pity I can't post a photo to show you. Sending love & hugs, Susan xx

    1. Thank you Susan. I imagine it is a lot cooler there... also I run hot plus live with my sleeves pushed up!
      I would love to see the knitting for the doll! You could send via fb or email if you have time... I had a friend who knitted for tiny dolls. She used bike spokes sharpened for knitting needles! I still have some of the things she made for my girls dolls. Amazing!
      Thank you so much for your comment! xxx

  5. Hi Annabel

    This has been a hard week for me in adjusting to working again, I have been very tired constantly and have achieved very little on the home front but I am working on trying to make myself more productive. This week I have:-
    ***Asked a friend who was throwing away left over Halloween Sweets if I could have them and she freely gave them to me, I am using them for my daughter's family birthday celebration.
    ***I reduced the amount of washing powder used in each load
    ***The cat was leaving a little wet food every feed and so I reduced what I gave her until the amount was all eaten
    ***Ate a solid breakfast every morning to reduce hunger mid morning and snacking
    ***Picked two refundable bottles out of my client's bin and put them in my refund pile
    ***Made a baby bib for my Grand Daughter
    ***Ate all meals at home or took food for lunches to work
    ***Accepted a gift of fresh nectarines off a friend's tree

    I hope you have a great week

    1. Mel I hope you get some rest over the weekend. I totally understand that after being sick that going back to work would be exhausting. Plus you did extra with the house cleaning etc. I hope you might be able to get weekend sleep ins or half a day in bed even!
      You still did very well! Isnt it funny what people throw away?
      I am pleased about the nectarines! That might save fruit purchases this week and at the moment the stone fruit has been beautiful.
      Have a good weekend and thank you so much for sharing your week.xxxx

  6. Hi Annabel
    Well a big week here for us with DD4 starting school. I have cooked up a few items so I can freeze for her to take for her lunches, cooked sticky date pudding ...well muffins, been busy getting the canteen organised to open next week

    I saw on another posting your wonderful find on the machine.......that was a magnificent find I must say. Another fantastic find today on your cardi's for winter. You really know how to shop. I find the op shops up our way are either a little over priced or the stock can be of very poor quality......sometimes I wonder how it makes it through to the shop.

    DD4 wants to enrol in dancing, so a trip to town each week, so will do my shopping after dance classes each week to save on fuel

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend


    1. Dear Aly wow school! 4 sounds so little but Im guessing she is almost 5 now. Doing your own baking is such a good thing, saving money and healthier but also controlling whats in things with allergies etc.
      It is a big adjustment going to school and the routine and I think tiredness is a big thing too. I remember we used to have a rest day now and then when absolute over tiredness was an issue! (still remember this!)
      I hope it all goes really well.
      I know you have long distances to deal with (and heat!) so combining everything when you do trips is a good idea. Dance classes sound very cute!
      My op shopping success has me wanting to go again... I hadnt been in a while.
      Thank you for commenting! xxxx

  7. I love those kind of sweaters, too. I do keep a thick black one with a full zipper on the coat rack all winter for when I am chilly though. It is about worn out and I could never replace it I am sure.

    I have done peach crisps and frozen them unbaked. I put my peach slices in salt water to keep them from browning and then prepare the recipe in a disposable pan that I have saved from something else. They can be baked from frozen but take quite a while extra to get them done. I usually try to take them out a few hours in advance to thaw on the counter a bit and then bake.

    1. Lana I had not heard of peach crisp so I googled it. I think we would call it peach crumble. Either way I am going to try it tomorrow with the last peaches and they need cooking and that looks delicious and different to what I have made so far. So thank you!
      I need a couple of thicker coats too but I still go for something super soft and unstructured sort of. I need to be on the watch out for more. They are so handy. It was a good week. Thank you for this tip! xxx

  8. Dear Annabel,
    How is it possible January has come to an end?
    Your post is excellent, I love love LOVE the sweater! I'm glad you landed some great finds for yourself.
    This week I feathered my nest by: mopping the floors in the kitchen, family, and living room, did our big costco shopping, saving $44.00 off the total bill by waiting until those particular "must have items" were on coupon. I should mention the $44.00 is just the beginning of the savings...the breakdown per item versus the regular retailers cannot be beat, not even when I use a coupon with them. For example: the stain remover I use at the least expensive retailer by me is $2.45/22 waiting for it to go on coupon at Costco, I pay $0.79/22 oz...that is a 68% savings! BTW: I haven't found a homemade stain remover that works as well and is cheaper, but I'm still looking and experimenting. I sorted another box for the thrift shop. I ate some words and they went down alright...there was a time when I was younger (and obviously foolish) when I used to say "never" to certain things...well, I don't do that anymore. I am actually learning about canning/pressure canning. I cannot wait to make my own sauerkraut! It's expensive to buy and not expensive to make. (It's just the simple things, right?) I have digestive issues, so I've increased fermented foods among other changes to my diet and the difference is completely worth it. I gathered the supplies out of my (huge) scrapbooking stash for the kids and I to make our Valentine's cards. They were perfectly content when I told them we were not buying store cards this year. In fact, they got excited and had lots of creative ideas :) I met my savings envelope goals for the week, which means we reached our goals for January. Praise God! I added two stocking stuffers and a Christmas gift to my gift stash. I signed up for a crochet class. It's close by my home and once I have a little hands on, I think the YouTube videos you suggested will be excellent for me. I added a new "pantry only" meal to my cookbook, along with Mimi's chocolate cake and Annabel's tuna mornay. I found fabric 50% off to put towards making Wendy's "fancy face washers" :) My big cooking/freezing day has been rescheduled for February. May I ask for continued prayers for my oldest daughter? Thank you Annabel for mentioning her in a previous reply. Yes, worry over a child is the worst. She's doing better but we have a long way to go. I think I've mentioned she's 21. God is able.

    Thank you to everyone for posting and all of the beautiful ideas and encouragement! I value your postings more than I can adequately express. xxx

    1. Colette you deserve congratulations on all you achieved in January and your savings!
      Last year Adelaide got our first Costco. And we are getting an Aldi sometime soon too. These are new to us! I am so impressed with your savings.
      Now Im getting to know you love cards and paper as much as I do! :) You have made me decide to make some Valentines Day cards and tags and sweet things.
      Now I can hardly wait for you to be crocheting! Seriously you are going to love this! Once you are up and away, if you like any patterns I do I can tell you the exact you tube tutorial I used. All the ones I have used are super easy. And so much fun. I find things like this are very good for me as they absorb my attention and are relaxing. So I get all these nice gifts made with a kind of double benefit!
      I certainly will pray for your daughter. I have been through periods of worry and remember well how that was.
      I am very impressed you are learning about canning. Please let me know how you go with it and your sauerkraut.
      Well done on so many efforts on so many fronts. They add up to a wonderful January! And thank you for sharing them here. Encouraging each other is just worth so much! xxx

  9. Annabel I have used a flannelette sheet to make pyjama pants, but I have never thought to use them as disposable hankies. Such an interesting idea! I hope I remember it the next time Don or I have a nasty cold. I googled the 2 ingredient pizza base recipe you mentioned, wow, that looks easy.

    This week I made rice salad from left over rice and vegetables that all would have gone to waste otherwise. My husband visited the pawn shops yesterday and bought a good second hand 16 piece air impact wrench set for $40, he was very happy with his purchase. I checked the specials in the supermarket junk mail and we bought, not bulk supplies, but extra supplies of coffee and toothpaste and ice-cream was half price so we bought two tubs, and a bottle of conditioner that was really reduced in price. Our docket showed savings of $40. I had planned to spend the day baking yesterday but chemo fatigue set in so I only managed to bake a chocolate slice and a ginger bread cake with lemon icing.

    Thankyou once again for all your inspirational ideas and motivating posts.

  10. Sherri I wash and tear up the soft flannelette sheet and fold the squares neatly and stack them. I keep them in a large snap lock bag in the medicine cabinet. Then if someone is really ill the supply is there. Thankfully not needed very often but two years ago I was really sick and they were a blessing!
    My husband just loves getting his tools and things the way your husband did! He just loves those shops.
    I find sitting down and looking through the junk mail can be very worthwhile for stocking up the way you did. This is how I have found some of the best prices ever!
    Well done on the rice salad! Rice salad and also fried rice are so good for using things up and are so yummy!
    I am sorry you are having to go through chemo. I think you are doing amazingly well to get so much done. I hope you can also get some rest over the weekend as you probably need it. Many thanks for your lovely and encouraging wordsxxx

    1. Thanks for the extra information Annabel, I was wondering how you stored the squares and where you kept them. Your method makes a lot of sense.

      I had my last chemo in October, so that is well behind me now. The last dose of chemo was huge as it was for stem cell mobilisation and collection, and the fatigue should last no longer than 12 months after the last chemo. I am starting back at work one day a week from next week and my working days will increase over the next few months until I am back full time in June.

    2. Sherri that is a huge milestone, being able to go back to work! It will be a big adjustment and there will be tiredness but it is really a wonderful thing I am so pleased for you. And Im so glad you are through that treatment. Upwards and onwards now! I hope your first day back goes well I will be thinking of you! xxx

  11. Another good week in your house Annabel :)

    Those peaches looks so yummy! As does Wendy's peach jam she posted on her blog. Someone give me some peaches!

    Sounds like you a had a really lovely time with Hilde. Those are great op shop finds, I tend to go for the lighter cardi's too.
    I have just tidied my linen cupboard and found an old flannelette sheet in there. I was going to rip it up for rags, but I like your idea better. Not that I catch a cold very often, but others in our house do.

    My feathering this week included:
    *Cleaning out the linen cupboard and taking away anything that I don't use.
    *Cleaning out my shoes. I don't know why I think I need so many!
    *Cleaning the bathrooms with miracle spray. I did spend a little money on pretty towels for our bathroom this week.
    *Washing and drying the bed linen in this gorgeous weather we are having.
    *I started sorting out things in my spare room. This has been the dumping place for my excess clutter that is not needed anymore.
    *Cleaned out a couple of shelves in my kitchen,
    *Swept up the leaves outside and tidied the bbq area.
    *Hubby made some growing containers out of things around here that weren't getting used. Like an old council bin and blue container.
    *I baked two loaves of bread, two cakes including that delicious one of Mimi's.
    *I cooked from scratch and tried some new recipes.
    *Stewed the last of the nectarines.
    *Picked tomatoes, cucumber, kale and celery from the veggie garden.
    *Picked figs and grapes. Hopefully I get enough figs for jam.
    *Fueled up with petrol in Gawler when we were there last weekend and paid 99c instead of $1.20 here. I also paid a visit to NED's. Hmmm really nice stuff in there!
    *I managed to pay some extra off on our mortgage. I love seeing the total amount reducing.
    *Two no spend days this week.

    Have a lovely weekend Annabel,

    Tania xx

    1. You had a great week Tania. I was born in Gawler and lived there when I was little! Also I love Neds. They have great jars and big preserving style jars that look quite vintage!
      I am glad you tried and liked Mimis cake!
      And it sounds like you are still de cluttering and cleaning out. Helen is doing this too and finding it is making room for things she really wants to do as well. Very pleased!
      THe weather here is lovely again today, I am so grateful for how it has been and enjoyed it so much! Plus its so much easier to get things done than in the heat.
      Your produce from the garden is amazing. It is like a proper market garden! You wil be flat our keeping up with the produce but it will build up your pantry and freezer as well I think.
      Oh I should mention there are some really good op shops in Gawler... three I like... one is the Vinnies. I have had very good success in them.
      January was really good! Now to February! Many thanks Fiona. xxx

  12. Hi Annabel, I am newly following your lovely blog and this week to feather my nest, I made your lovely peach slice/cake you mentioned in an earlier blog. My family adored it, so yesterday I made five more - one for Mum & Dad, one for Bestie and the other three I have put in the freezer to pull out in a few months time, when peaches are no longer in season - it will be delicious with cream, icecream or custard. Thanks for your lovely blog. x Sapphire (from SS).

    1. Hi Sapphire I am so glad to see you and happy you found me! Welcome!
      I am so pleased you got on well with the peach pie/cake Im not sure... the pie has the peaches all over the bottom, the cake has fruit spread over the top... either way both recipes save so much fruit and freeze so well! (and are easy!) I have had a ton of peaches and been making both plus jam. This time of year is fantastic for fruit and it is so good to have some in the freezer for in winter. Well done and Im sure everyone was so happy to get them! Thanks for telling me this.
      Tonight I still had left over peaches as I was given some more. I made a crumble which turned out great and Ill post that recipe next Friday.
      Thank you so much for your comment, I am so pleased to "see" you! xxx

  13. Dear Annabel,
    What a crazy week! We were hit with a record breaking blizzard on the East Coast of the U.S. Thankfully, my pantry was stocked and I made a lot of food the day before. We never lost power, but I came down with a nasty illness and have been pretty much bedridden all week. Not good with four litlles who have cabin fever! We still have barely passable side roads so it's a good thing to stock up when possible. Couldn't do much this week but I did make myself a large quantity of bath salts for soaking. I took a large lidded canister of clear glass, dumped in a few cups of epsom salts, a few cups of baking soda and lavender essential oil. Put a large seashell in as a scoop...I probably saved fifty dollars, at least, based on what I paid last time I purchased bath salts at the health food store.I will probably dump some powdered milk in when I can get back to the store.
    Seeing your posts helps when you're down with illness!

    1. Marybeth we heard about the blizzard coming and how huge it was! It sounded frightening and Helen and I spoke about it being an example of why we need to be prepared! I am glad you were stocked up and are ok but sorry you are sick.
      Epsom salts is great stuff and what the spas use as it really detoxifies and is lovely for your skin too.
      I hope you are feeling better or can see a doctor if you need to. It is really hard being sick with little kids to look after!
      When you are well I would love you to tell the blizzard story and circumstances on the preparedness and pantry posts as it is a good reminder of how importance preparedness is. I am so glad you had everything you needed in your home and were alright!
      I hope you feel much better soon! xxx

  14. Hello Annabelle! I so look forward to stopping in to see what you have to share each week. I'm a little late this week. I had a lovely day filled with family and babies and just focused on the really good things for a little while. It was such a blessed day for me! Here's my fugal post which went up late today.

    1. Terri thanks, you had a busy and good week (well except for feeling unwell that day) I am so glad you got a beautiful day with family and babies to enjoy! I loved your quilt also...
      It is lovely to be able to look back on a week and feel pleased with it! Have a wonderful February! January is over so fast! xxx


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