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.

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Thursday, 8 January 2015

Feather your Nest Friday, 9th January 2015.

I really hope you had a good week. I think goals and resolutions come into play as we get into some "ordinary" back to life days after all the holidays and celebrations. Keeping them at the front of your mind and keeping them from drifting away is the thing. I just re write them in some form every week or write some steps I need to take this week and that helps a lot.

Here it was very hot and now we have rain. As we had heat and bush fires the rain is wonderful! The garden is soaked and I can have a break from watering. That is my first saving to mention. It looks like I might not have to water for a week. What a help!

Today I had a lovely day as I visited my aunt. All the following photos are from my aunts garden.

Firstly I am allowed to have plums which are almost ripe. There are not buckets of plums to pick, more like wheel barrows full. Knowing this gives me time to prepare. I am planning to bake a plum cobbler that Helen makes as I can freeze those. Along with jam and eating fresh ones of course.

I came home with Hollyhock seeds which I hope to grow. They are between a cream and a lemon colour. I would love these in the garden.

The other things almost ready are Quinces. I just adore Quinces. Cooking them is just a joy as they turn from rock like to soft and deep ruby pink. They also have a wonderful scent.

The whole garden is inspiring as it is an ordinary size really with a huge amount of fruit trees all covered in fruit.

Plus flowers! I am pretty easily side tracked by flowers. The whole afternoon did me good. And the promise of fruit is lovely. I have jars saved up and pie dishes etc now I will stock up a little on sugar and things I need to make plenty of pies and also freeze stewed fruit as I love stewed fruit in winter.

Now to how I build up our home this week...
I have nothing to brag about with finances. We are waiting on the insurance company in regard to Andy's van. So that is a big thing this next week or so.

Otherwise I used the heat to my advantage while I could. I washed the underlay on the bed. It is a very thick wool underlay. If you did this in winter it would have to be tumble dried or professionally cleaned. By doing it in the heat it is dry and back on the bed by evening. I wash it in the machine with wool mix and I add Eucalyptus oil added to the wash. This kills dust mites plus makes it smell lovely.
It came up beautifully and after the day in the sun it was lovely and fluffy. Back on the bed it smelled of sunshine. The next hot days I will do the doona and pillows. This is a big saver and no chemicals either. Sunshine is a wonderful freshener and cleaner.

Also I have found something that probably most of you already know! I bought a beautiful old tablecloth from an op shop in white and it had yellowed stains. But the fabric was beautiful vintage damask so I risked it. After soaking I washed it and I could see that the yellowish marks remained. I decided to dry it on the line and that I would cut it up and use what I could. After two days on the line in the sun the stains were just gone! So after that my whitest whites tip became to leave things out in the sun for as many hours as possible. It makes them so white! And amazingly removes stains. (For free!)
The reverse is true for colours and black. I hang all the blacks in the shade so they never see the sun at all!

All the water from the washing was used on the garden at a time when it was needed most.

I bought a cooked turkey at a wonderful mark down. It gave us cold meat during the heat without ever turning on the stove and was so good. It was too much to get through fast enough so I froze two portions enough to make two pies or some into a mornay. So that is a couple of meals taken care of later.

I made a big rice salad and added lots of things. That was really good and used up all kinds of bits and pieces.

During the heat I covered all my smaller plants with umbrellas and sheets. It looked terrible but saved everything. In past years even tough things have burned. So now I have a box outside where I keep covering materials and out they come when it hits 40. This is a big saver.

Cleaning and arranging gave me happiness and made things look and feel nice. These things are no cost ways to improve the atmosphere and just feel better ourselves.

Today I am going pram shopping with Lucy! We are off for an afternoon of looking at baby things! Really this amounts to one of those diamond days in our lives. I will treasure it.

My aunt had a bowl of blossoms in her kitchen. Just blossoms in a little water floating in a pretty bowl. They smelled divine! So simple, lovely and stylish. And free from her garden.

How was your week and what did you do to save money and improve your nest? I note we all come from different places in the world and weather is a wildly varying factor! But everything else remains the same. The things that make a house a home, the things we can do to make a difference and the Word of God, this is why I think I can feel like someone I have never met is just like a sister! Because when we meet we are all sisters in Christ and there is a certain instant understanding. Many of us will have experienced finding it hard to connect with other ladies that have the same interests as they can be thin on the ground! This is probably why when I found Laine my heart just leapt to see there was someone who was exactly the person I needed right there for me! The beauty of the internet and blogs etc is that we can widen our net and make the most wonderful friends and location is no issue!
This is how I have found so much encouragement! Thank you! xxx


  1. You are certainly an encouragement to my girl, Annabel. She loves your blog. Your roses are so beautiful it makes me wish we had a few growing as they would grow well here but hubby doesn't like the thorns and the couple we did have growing a while back must have died during the drought when we stopped watering flowering plants. I hope the insurance company comes to the party regarding Andy's van. Have a relaxing weekend.

    1. Thanks for telling me this Nanna Chel. Tell her she is doing the most important job in the world and never let anyone tell her otherwise!
      I keep adding roses. I love to grow my herbs and vegies but I still keep adding flowers as well. The fruit in my aunts garden makes me want to squeeze in more fruit trees somehow! We have a lot of rain coming they say over the whole weekend. Have a good weekend too. Love

  2. I do hope insurance (or something else) works out for Andy's van, what a nuisance.

    We went to the library as a family & drove a bit further to one with a (good) cafe & sat there to escape the humidity & heat for a while, it was lovely! Found some books I have been enjoying too.
    Rain is watering my garden too now & our tank is getting topped up which we need.
    I walked around the s/market & picked items but then put them back as I really didn't need them, just seemed like a good idea while I was there. I only bought what I went for, lunch items for the kids & their friends today. That was a victory in itself.
    I froze or used up random leftovers in the fridge.

    Pram shopping sounds lovely Annabel, hope you have an extra lovely weekend to top it off!


    1. Thanks Karen! Pram shopping was really fun so that was just a nice afternoon. Baby stuff is so awesome now!
      It has just started raining again here. We could get up to two inches over the weekend! What a difference this would make!
      Have a lovely weekend and enjoy what is left of school holidays! xxx

  3. Hello Annabel, I was looking forward to your blogpost as have been missing you on SS so, however, I am just so grateful for your knowledge and wisdom on this blog :) I'm due in May with our first baby too (like Lucy). So if you two have any baby buys/ setting up nursery ideas, I would love to hear them. I have commented on your blog before, I think I am blueskies or bluebell, I cannot remember my name lol. I also wanted to try your lamb recipe in the slow cooker- I did today and we LOVED it. I have left overs, so plan on putting some aside for DH's lunch boxes and will make a pie tomorrow. Thank you so much for inspiring us! Love, Bridge

  4. Dear Bridge,
    Thank you so much! Im glad the lamb turned out well. It is so good to make pies with the left overs as it is like a totally different meal and you can freeze them too for when the baby arrives. It was a really fun day! The baby things now are amazing! Lucy took a few prams for a test drive lol I think she needs her learners plates!
    I will be posting lots more about babies and managing and so on. But my biggest thing is that looking after your baby and family is such an important job. I wrote a post called that might be suitable but mainly I think dont let anyone tell you caring for your children isnt an important job! It lasts a really short time. It is really hard soem days but it is so wonderful!
    How exciting that you are also due in May! I will be posting lots of crafts and ideas for babies as I cant help but be making things! And as time goes on and we get up to different stages I will do posts on making baby food and all of that kind of stuff!
    Thank you for your comment I am so excited for you! xxx

  5. Hi Annabel, thanks for your lovely inspiring posts, they are always so refreshing and inspiring! I read your blog everyday while I am feeding my baby and I always look forward to this time. I loved your post the other day about 'do the next thing'. It helped me get through the afternoon when the baby was screaming, I didn't have dinner cooked and the 6 And 4 year olds wouldn't get out of the bath and get dressed. I just kept thinking ok, what's the next thing? so it sure helped me through! Thanks for the time you put into your blog and the kindness you share through it, it is really beautiful. God bless, Jasmine

    1. Thank you so much. I remember it well, the dinner time and bath time when it was often the busiest time of day. Oh yes I sure do!
      I am glad this simple thing helped you as its helped me many times.
      I hope you have come across my posts about how precious the time is and how short when you have a small baby. It is so tiring but it is so special and important.
      One of the biggest helps to me was getting dinner on in the morning when things were better than evenings. I very often put the crock pot on or would thaw a pie I had made another day and so I only had to actually serve dinner not prepare it. This helped hugely (I was on my own so had no helper...) I have posted quite a few crock pot recipes and this year will add a lot more. I hope that helps!
      I love the thought of you reading when sitting down feeding the baby. I used to read Laines letters late at night when I needed some encouragement! Many thanks and love, Annabel.xx

  6. Dear Annabel
    Another encouraging post. I love the fruit. Wishing I had some bearing trees at the moment but that too shall come. I have room for four fruit trees I think maybe five so I am planning carefully what we will have, and am saving for a Spring planting.

    I am so glad the fires have abated and am giving thanks for this beautiful rain, No need for watering and I am happy to say I lost no plants in the heat even though all the plants out the back are new plantings last spring.

    This week has been one of blessings in my home. The new ducted air-conditioner I was gifted was installed yesterday, On Tuesday I got the all clear to return to work this coming Monday and after six months off no pay that is such a blessing, I completed my first aid certificate which is compulsory for me to return to work and my roster was emailed out to me. In addition to these wonderful gifts the girls and I were taken out to dinner by a friend and his family was there and we enjoyed the company and the meal. I remain pain free and my wound continues to heal.

    Frugal tasks for this past week:
    *Waxed my 17 year old's eyebrows at home for her date today
    *Used washing machine water to water the trees in the heat
    *Ate all but one meal at home
    *Made do with pantry/freezer/fridge supplies
    *Back to school supplies purchased and was less than last year. The girls recycled pencil cases and back packs, along with some books that were barely used last year. They cut out the used pages and changed the labels on them.
    *I found a pair of work shoes I hadn't used as yet so they are going to be Miss Pamela's school shoes and I will use my current work shoes for another year. Miss Ebony is recycling her school shoes for a second year I just replaced the worn shoe laces and gave them a polish. Even if they last one term it will be a saving but they still look good.
    *Looked for cheaper prices on the few staples I need to buy today and have a short list of what is needed, Buying up on Whiskers dry cat food and Basmati Rice while on special
    *Made fried rice in bulk and froze it for use when I return to work

    I also had a lovely experience sharing a bible verse that a friend pointed out to me on Facebook with both Miss Pamela and Mr Daniel (my eldest age 27). I was thrilled that Daniel went onto read more of the chapter of the bible with his fiance and Pamela and I had a nice chat about it. Since Daniel is marrying in May I thought I might look up some more pertinent ones that I can share and he can further study,

    I made another gift for my expectant Grand Daughter and I am so glad you were involved in buying the pram for your lovely girl. How exciting. We have two birthdays in the house for February Miss Ebony is turning 15 and Miss Amy is turning 24. The years are flying by in a heart beat.

    All the best for a fruitful week and I am thinking of you and Andy praying that your transport problem is soon remedied.

    1. Mel I am so pleased you are well enough to go back to work. It has been a long six months for you health wise and you kept such a good attitude.
      It is beautiful to hear of a Bible verse shared that then becomes a discussion.
      Your sewing for your coming baby Grand Daughter is beautiful and Im sure will be treasured.
      Your list of savings is wonderful. Many would agree that the teenage years can be the hardest budget wise. I found that too. So you are doing a brilliant job!
      Also preparing easy meals for work nights like the fried rice is such a good idea.
      I will be thinking of you on Monday as you head off back to work and hope it goes well. At least we wont have to water our gardens for a while, thats a saving in itself! Have a lovely weekend! Many thanks

  7. The flowers were all so gorgeous in this post, Annabelle. How lovely it must have been to be in that garden. Here in Georgia, the daffodils are just beginning to poke their heads out of the ground. One of my favorite spring flowers!
    Here's what I did this week to save in my home:

    1. Terri I once grew daffodils here by keeping them in the crisper of the fridge (the bulbs) for several months first to get them cold enough! They are gorgeous.
      I love your vintage paper holder! I totally relate to your good nights sleep... that is the best medicine for me! You had a big week! It really is amazing what we can do in a week. In one way they fly by. But in another way if we look at everything we did a week is a significant amount of time. I love to feel I achieved things! Many thanks

  8. Dear Annabel,
    For the love of all things beautiful and pretty I cannot get over your aunt's garden! How nice for you to spend time there.

    Im still praying for resolution of your vehicle situation.

    I've enjoyed all of the other comments so much. We truly are sisters that is for certain! What did I do to save money and improve my nest?
    I had a half-priced grocery week
    I made a pot of soup and froze some for later
    I've already made 20 birthday cards, some get wells, thank yous, and more gorgeous gift tags than I can count. I enjoyed every minute of it!
    Cleaned my studio/craft space from top to bottom with a rearrange as well. It feels so much better in there!
    I've returned to projects that have been at a stand-still since before the holidays
    I've been diligent with the fridge so nothing turns
    We are on track with specific savings envelopes
    I've meal planned for the rest of the month, still working out the grocery list based on what I have so we can take it easy on the food bill this month
    Started making my mother in laws birthday gift for February
    I'm making my own miracle cleaner from your post! :) very excited for that
    Started a huge donation box for the local domestic violence shelter
    Focused on actually setting the table nicely, and having nice background classical music, they all love it when I do this! atmosphere is important
    Scheduled a date night with my husband. He's going to love it!

    So thank you everyone for your encouragement and ideas and thank you sweet Annabel for hosting this lovely meeting place :)

    1. Dear Colette I pointed out your comment to my aunt! I will be back there in a couple of weeks to pick plums so I think I will take more photos!
      Thank you for your prayers. The next week is a big one re this van situation so I really appreciate that.
      I would LOVE to see the cards and tags you have made. (I am using the lemon tree pictures next Friday on Feather your Nest Friday) Making cards is a really big money saver. In the shops even tags are quite expensive. it is nothing for a card to be $10 here.
      I also have savings envelopes. This helps me put money aside.
      I hope you like the miracle cleaner. Are you able to get Eucalyptus oil there? Otherwise lavender oil works well.
      Oh and I love that you made the table setting look nice, I think that really sets the mood for meals and the look of the house.
      Well you did LOTS. Well done!
      And I love to hear this. Thank you so much. You encourage me right back (and I especially needed it this week)

  9. Hello Annabel,

    Such lovely photos as usual :)

    I have a new liking for quinces too, My mum gave me some last year and I found a recipe for Quince Compote cooked in the slow cooker. Oh my it was so nice, I was almost sad when I had eaten the last bit of it.

    Did you know that rain will also remove yellow stains? Probably rain combined with sunshine would do the trick. If the stain is stubborn try a bit of lemon juice on it, and hang in the sunshine.

    For my feathering this week I:
    *Squeezed lemons into ice cube trays and used them in nice cold water this week to help quench our thirst during the heat
    *Cut green scourers in half to increase their use
    *Grated zucchini and froze
    *Line dried washing out in the sun and under the verandah
    *Cooked from scratched and tried a couple of vegetarian meals
    *Made two batches of yoghurt
    *Made a batch of bread rolls
    *Cleaned out my pantry and part of my kitchen. I removed a large box full.
    *Kept house closed up in the heat
    *Finished knitting some boot toppers
    *Sold excess eggs
    *Put pot plants out in the rain

    Hope the insurance company comes to the party with Andy's van, that will be a huge relief for you.

    I will be doing a pantry post on my blog tomorrow :)


    1. Hi Tania, I am a terrible water drinker but if I just plenty of lemon juice in water or soda or mineral water then I happily drink heaps. Plus it is so good for you. Lemon ice cubes is a wonderful idea.
      I havent tried rain on stains. Now I will try that.
      Im glad you have discovered quinces. The juice they make when stewing is also beautiful. Quinces and custard is lovely.
      I hope you are getting plenty of this rain (without any flooding!) it has been slow but steady here so far. About an inch all up I think.
      I will be there reading your pantry post! I am a week behind in my plans but I hope to catch up.
      Putting pot plants in the rain seems to do them so much good and I havent done that yet. I forgot. I will do that tomorrow!
      You had a good week. I hope the rain continues and also I hope you put the boot toppers on the blog sometime as they sound lovely to me.

  10. I hope you are enjoying this gorgeous weather today Annabel. Miss Pamela helped me weed the garden this morning and this afternoon we spent some time looking at fruit trees to plant next Spring. Not sure if I want the dwarf variety or not, I need to do a little more research. Pamela has been helping me in other ways as well, hanging and bringing in the wash and I bought her some much wanted DVDs they only cost me $11 in total

    I was given a voucher for two months free on Quickflix and it has been very enjoyable to watch some nice movies and documentaries. I will cancel it when the membership when the free period runs out.

    Back to work tomorrow and I am very excited by the thought and by the encouragement of your followers comments as well as by your blog. You are a blessing Annabel

    1. Mel I dont know if this is true for everyone but I have got on better with ordinary fruit trees over dwarf ones. Even in pots. As you can prune trees anyway or train them to a fence or whatever. But others may have had more success.
      Good luck on your first day back tomorrow! What a turning point after going through so much these last months!I hope its a good day and that you feel good. Im sure it will be a gradual process to build up your funds again but that is for us all, each step is a help. All the best for tomorrow! xxx


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