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 18 June 2015

Feather your Nest Friday, 19 June, 2015.

I feel kind of sorry the week is nearly over already! Mainly as I was getting lots done and time is going too quickly!

I saved money in lots of ways and it was a really good week!

Firstly, (and I get to really enjoy this one) I attempted to take some baby photos of Harper.  Well, that wasn't so easy. Baby photography is really hard! But I noticed, even at the hospital, it is the in thing to have professional baby photos. This didn't happen back when I had children as far as I know. But now it seems to be the thing. I don't know the cost but I would not think it would be cheap. And rightly so as it isn't easy when they are so small! I don't even own an actual camera lol but who lets minor details like that get in the way!?

So my photos are not professional but everyone seems to like them. Mum especially went crazy over them!

There are about a dozen that we all really like and show Harper as she is. Which changes daily as each day she smiles more so I will have to have another go sometime soon! And this just shows that these are opportunities as they grow so fast.

The photos also made a nice gift to Lucy, Mum and Chloe so far.

I sent a gift to my Dad. It was a basket with a pot of my self seeded parsley, some plum jam and some fig and almond jam from my summer jam making.

He loved it! It was essentially a gift for his pantry. He rang up most pleased. The cost of this whole gift was tiny. It was all just effort.

I made 5 liters of stock from a chicken carcass as we had a roast chicken one night. The next day I removed the left over meat for use in lunches then put on the crock pot full of vegies and the carcass. It turned out so well. Then next day I made another lot of pumpkin and sweet potato soup.

We all use heat packs like our life depends on them. I think my life might actually depend on mine. For migraines, aches and pains and for warming the bed, I love my heat pack so much. It also saves on medications, for me at least. Mum and the girls use theirs just as much. I like them better than a hot water bottle as they mold to the shape of you and around you. This gets the heat where you want it. So you can make them different shapes also... ie Lucy likes hers long and narrow and she wraps it around the back of her neck, where her headaches stem from.
All of ours were looking sad and worn out. Lucy took hers to hospital I noticed. So I made a batch of new ones.
In the chemist they are over $30 each and in hideous patterns and horrible fabric.  You want beautiful soft material that feels lovely against your skin. Velvet, very soft fleecy, very soft wool...
Jacqui had given me beautiful soft 100% pure wool blanketing. I added some embroidery as these were gifts but this is not necessary!
The same concept can be used to make little ones for hand warmers and in pockets. This is beautiful for someone who has to go out in cold early in the morning. Establishing safe heating times is the thing. To do this on something small heat in small increments until you know that 1 minute (or whatever) is the correct time. They should be really warm but not burning hot. Once warm they stay warm for ages.

Mum's is blue...

Chloe's is lilac and mine is pink.

Lucy's was pale blue velour and long and skinny as she likes it!
These are so cheap to make. Also if making them for a gift you can download instructions and safety information if you google for them. For a gift I would normally do that.
I fill them with pearl barley from the supermarket. I use about a kilo of barley. That is about 2 pounds.
These microwave for about 3 minutes. The first heating some moisture comes out, this is normal. After that I think if you use them daily they last a year or two.
You can use wheat or rice, although I have not tried rice. There is really nothing to them.  And everyone was so pleased to get a new one!

I finished my freezer challenge that I did with Wendy on Cheapskates Club. Now my freezer is almost empty, used up, cleaned out, re organized and unrecognizable! Over the weeks this challenge saved us money as we used things up and that money became a pantry fund. Thanks Wendy!

While I was on the last stage of cleaning the freezer I cleaned the fridge, took it apart and washed all the shelves and drawers etc and organized it. When the fridge is clean and organized nothing is "lost" or wasted as you can see everything.

I want to let you all know that Tania has a new blog. She has a tutorial on Homemade Pasties which would suit us all I think! Pasties are such a handy thing to make! It is here at  One Contented Homebody. Sometimes I cheat when making pasties. If the freezer section has good specials and on Aust. chopped vegies I will get some packets of those to go in my pasties. This means less chopping and I make a huge batch. Tania's tutorial makes it easy and they freeze really well. Also great for using up left over vegies. It's a lovely blog Tania and I love the name!

I hope you had a wonderful week. How did you save money and build up your nest?

One last photo. Not so professional looking but it just cracks me up... xxx


  1. Annabel, the photos of Harper are simply beautiful! Thank you for sharing all your news. As you know I am working through eating out of my pantry. We have been on it since April and this morning, I noticed that I can really see some space. Another few weeks, I can haul out what is left and give it a clean and reorganise it.
    One of the most important things is that I have really had my pantry stocked with things we actually use.
    That was a result of reading Pantry Blogs and hearing from people not to store things your family don't like or aren't used too.
    It's been lovely with the colder shorter days not to HAVE to go shopping.
    On Tuesday I had a lovely day with a friend visiting....we toasted ourselves in front of the fire, ate homemade fare, and watched a DVD. It saved a fortune on going to a cafe and to the movies.
    Annabel, your heat packs are simply the nicest I have seen anywhere. Your embroidery is outstanding.
    I wish you would open an online shop. Have you thought of that?
    I'm off to see Tania's new Blog.
    Love Helen xxx

    1. Thank you Helen!
      I agree we must stock up on and store things we will use. Some things seem like a good idea but never get eaten! Once you are re organized I think it will be like my pantry... I made more room. Actually I was amazed how much more.
      I love not having to go out and my days at home and the pantry means I never need some random thing tat I have to go get! It is lovely.
      Have a great weekend and thank you for the comments about Harper! xxx

  2. Oh, Annabel, such sweet pictures of Harper! Thank you for sharing and the photos always look professional!! :)

    This week we did lots of "catching up" around the house. Things that need doing but sometimes get put on the back burner. I also chopped up 7 packages of onions for the freezer, had a few tomatoes and green sweet peppers to dehydrate. These were given to me.

    I will be blanching some broccoli from the garden and thinning beets. Hoping the peas will start growing as there's tons of blossoms on the plants.

    Tania, I love your new blog. Some blogs I can't comment of because of the profile. But I will be reading it regularly! :)

    Annabel, the heat packs are beautiful!! Such lovely embroidery work! Have a wonderful weekend! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri, I love catch up days! I feel I get ahead on them and that is priceless.
      Your onions for the freezer and things to dehydrate were adding lots to your pantry. I know you would make good use of anything you are given... it is an opportunity too good to miss.
      Have a wonderful weekend! xxxx

  3. Hi Annabel,
    I love your photos of Harper. She is such a sweet little thing! And your embroidery is incredible. I think I'd want to hang them on the wall rather than put them in the microwave! Lol
    I make my heat bags using rice and soft corduroy material and it seems to work well. We've had ours for a couple of years now. I'm going to make my son a new one using an old pair of his flannelette pyjamas that don't fit him anymore.
    Have a lovely weekend, Stephanie. Xx

    1. Thanks Stephanie! Corduroy would be nice, its like velvet with lines through it I always think! Also flannelette would be good. (that also makes great throw away hankies if you cut up old things... when someone has a terrible cold!)
      Have a great weekend! xxx

  4. What a very sweet looking baby! And I love the embroidery, so beautiful.

    1. Thank you very much Sarah and thank you for commenting! xxx

  5. Annabel, your embroidery looks like something out of a magazine. Perhaps you should open up an Etsy your spare time of course :-) Now you know how hard it is to take photos of a bub. You need a lot of patience. LOL! I found that out when Isaiah was born. I was just looking at my pantry and thought it needed another clean out to find what is lurking at the back.

    1. Thanks Nanna Chel that is a lovely thing to say.
      I used to be a better embroiderer as I did more and sold it in a shop in the Blue Mountains. And I did private orders. (when the girls were little). Now sometimes I think of having an online shop but then I make several of everything for the family and then several of everything for my Christmas presents and birthday presents. So it is kind of like a shop but gifts instead! And savings instead of earnings, overall.
      I really love the name Isaiah. Good name.
      Lots of love,

  6. I just want to jump through the screen & hug that tiny little body, what a cutie! Just love her little turned up nose, she is SOOO beautiful. The hot packs are fantastic Annabel, they make beautiful presents & are utilised so much this time of year. Love & hugs, xSusan

    1. Dear Susan, Thank you so much! I find Harper irresistible and have to kiss her and carry on... lol
      I think its cold here, Tasmania must be colder! Thank goodness for heat packs.
      Have a beautiful weekend! Lots of love Annabel.xxxx

  7. Adorable photos of Harper. Jess tells me $300 is pretty much the going rate, she paid $100 for hers but not with a professional photographer, a good amateur.

    I love the hot packs, they look too beautiful to use! So lovely and beautifully embroidered. We would all buy these if you sold them I am sure!

    I didn't spend much as we have been unwell so not many trips out. I did finally fuel up the car saving $8 which I take off the toilet paper cost! We then pay $12 for 40 rolls of Quilton, so that helps. I've already amassed $10 more flybuy dollars, but forgot to deduct it at register. I did buy both cooking and whipping cream today at NQR for 50c 300ml. Mostly all in the freezer now. They are so handy for pasta, soup and on top of hot desserts or pancakes. I have even whipped up the cooking cream and it holds long enough to use on scones even.

    Having a good stock of pantry and freezer items is such a help. I used up more of the freezer stocks and made stock and veg lentil soup which we ate this week.

    We just had pumpkin soup from the freezer tonight with some cream and some four seed rolls sliced up for dinner. It has been so good having some emergency food on hand. You really want home made food when you are feeling unwell, especially soup!

    1. Dear Kaye, Thank you for telling me that! What I will do is maybe have a serious try to take reasonable photos once a month or so. Then we will have a record. Other than ordinary snaps of course... and I will consider it a good savings too!
      I am sorry you havent been well. There is so much going around.
      The cream special was fantastic! I must think to freeze it and to watch the dairy section for that. It has so many uses. I dont check the cream for specials. I will now. I do a whole loop of spots I check for specials and miss this one.
      I agree... soup is a great thing if you arent well. And having some to heat up is a very good idea. I made a lot this week and it is all gone so Im starting again!
      Have a nice weekend and I hope you are feeling better! Lots of love, Annabel.xxxx

  8. Dear Annabel,

    What wonderful and precious pictures of Harper. She's so cute!

    Your embroidery is stunningly gorgeous. The heat packs are so pretty.

    Not a big week for progress around here as we are finishing up getting the previous house ready to list on the market, so most of our time has been there. I did manage to rearrange the large freezer and the three refrigerator freezers; clean out the spare refrigerator in the laundry room; do a bit more organizing in the master closet; and put together a 'needs' list for the large walk-in food storage closet. As I said, not much, but every little bit helps, I suppose.

    I went shopping yesterday for groceries to stock several areas, but surprisingly the shelves were not stocked well, so I could only purchase a couple of items of each which is what was left on the shelf. We noticed a while back that periodically the shelves aren't stocked fully, so we asked the manager of the store (we chat with him regularly) what was up. He said it's a supply issue that might not get better due to drought conditions. At present, the supplies of some items are hit and miss. The egg case was fully stocked, which was actually very good considering the current chicken/bird issues. I will be thinking ahead and doing research on what might be in short supply coming up; then I will be purchasing large quantities of those items.

    So glad you had a good week. Thanks for another wonderful post.

    Love and hugs to you.

    1. Thank you Glenda! That is really interesting about the shops and what the manager said. I think asking like that is the best thing. I got a lot of information on powdered milk, shortages etc. just by asking the staff. They knew all about it. Also when I first wanted to know when mark downs were etc I just asked and they were more than happy to tell me. Heaps of times people say how hard it is to work out these times. I say why dont you ask them? Ask and you shall receive!
      Working out what normally comes from California and where else is an alternative might reveal some interesting results, I would like to hear that.
      Have a great weekend. Some sun is shining here so I will get my sheets dry! Lots of love, Annabel.xxxx

  9. Annabel, your photography is beautiful and so is your handwork. Is there anything you can't do!!! I'm thinking some heat packs with lovely embroidery would make some great Christmas gifts ... I think I will put that on my gift giving 'make it' list.

    1. Thanks Patsy :) Wheat packs are really good gifts and your Christmas, being in winter, that would work so well. Also the hand warmers. On to your sewing day list! Not much fabric needed and also I watch for softest fabrics in clothes etc that I can cut up and use. If you use a thinner fabric do double layers... Have a lovely weekend! xxx

  10. Sweet, sweet baby pictures!

    I have many, a drawer full in fact, of the heat packs. We have ours filled with rice and they have lasted many, many years. Recently I made new ones since ours were looking sad too. I just cut the corner off the old ones and transferred the rice. Mine are very utility and not beautiful like yours! The ones filled with rice can also be kept in the freezer in a plastic bag and are ready for anything that needs a cold pack.

    It is very, very hot here as we are in the summer months. We are just trying to keep cool! I have even iced my coffee twice this week. I found a recipe to make it at home and am really enjoying having it iced whenever I want.

    Have a good week!

    1. Lana, this makes me think maybe the rice ones last longer. I will try that.
      It is a good idea to keep a cold pack too as cold works so well on reducing swelling.
      We are the opposite it is really cold! But we do have some sunshine today so I have a hope of getting the washing dry.
      In summer we get it pretty hot... about 118 for days on end. (blah)
      I love iced coffee... that sounds like a good thing about summer!
      With thanks,

  11. The pics are endearing! The blankets are beautiful.

    1. Thank you Cindy! And thank you for commenting! xxx

  12. Those photos are wonderful! Professional photographer? Who needs them!

    P.S. Darling baby, too! : )

    1. Thank you! I will have another go soon too and hopefully capture some smiles. I enjoyed it and just used my i pad!
      Have a lovely weekend. We have some sunshine today and it is so nice! xxx

  13. Beautiful! This is a great idea for my mother's birthday.
    Thank you, Leslie

    Also little Harper is so precious!

    1. Leslie, I make my Mum many of these and she uses them constantly! They are a great gift and so inexpensive.
      Thank you so much! xxx

  14. Oh Annabel, Harper is just beautiful. Just like the other ladies in her family! I agree with the other comments, is there anything you cannot do?! :) Your photographs are stunning and they capture the real essence of Harper (which I much prefer), rather than a fabricated shoot. We thought we were the only ones not paying for a professional to do baby H's photos. We have taken our own too. I heard a friend pay $1500. I'm sure they will love them, but I'd rather stay home for that bit longer!
    This week I kept up with pumping/ breastfeeding, which is not easy for me (as my bub doesn't latch well and is one hungry growing boy). I count every week I do this, a saving. Met up with other first time mums from our antenatal class for a catch up at the clinic so saved on going to a cafe and our babies could make as much noise as they like. Bought coffee at half price and walked for exercise (free). We made your use it up fruit cake again and it was absolutely delicious and saved so much for DHs morning teas. Am trying to slow down and appreciate every moment because it is already going too fast. PS- your embroidery is beautiful.

    1. Dear Bridge,
      I think photos are so precious but you can certainly take your own! And keep doing it over time and capture precious moments. Overall something like $1500 is better saved, paid of the mortgage or in your emergency fund or pantry!
      (oh please send me some of your photos!)
      Well done on the feeding. Each week is good. It isnt easy though!
      I am glad you like that cake. Always watch for specials on dried fruit and grab them. I double the cake and hide one as they keep so long. This comes out sometime special or in an emergency! Andy loved dried apricot so I put in quite a bit of chopped apricot and he really likes that.
      I am so glad you are going well and also that you know to enjoy the moment and that it is precious. I wish you lived near me! I would be a pretend Aunty :) Lots of love, Annabel.xxxx

    2. So happy you knew it was me! Glad you received the parcel. Annabel, I just wanted to show you my gratitude (albeit in a small way) because you share your wisdom, passion and knowledge with us and in turn make all of our lives richer and more blessed. You would be the best Aunty in the world :) I am off to email some pics :) Thank you again Annabel, I always feel so uplifted on here. Love, Bridge

  15. Your sweet grandbaby is darling! And the embroidery on your heat packs is lovely. Is that difficult to do? Do you have any advice on learning how?


    1. Hi Marie, thank you! for the embroidery I would try some books from the library and also go to you tube and search "wool blanket embroidery" and a few searches like that for tutorials. There are lovely magazines called Inspirations magazines that are very good. They are good for designs. My biggest tips are to learn a few different flowers and to use different mediums and mix them together... so everything I do I have some plain thread, some sparkly, some wool thread, some beads, some ribbon... and the give that variety. Also to choose colors that you like together. It can be really simple and effective. It is really enjoyable! I hope you saw my Mouse wedding blanket... I love little stories! (Look in embroidery section or google to find Bluebirds are nesting mouse wedding... I dont do as much as I used to but now with Harper I will do more! Thank you so much! xxx

    2. Thank you Annabel, the mouse wedding blanket is delightful! Embroidery looks like something you could do free hand, perhaps without a pattern once you learn how. I think I will take your advice and look into learning how sometime. 😊

  16. Wow Harper is growing fast Annabel, she is such a gorgeous little girl. You have done a fantastic job with the photos. And those heat packs are so pretty, I love your handicraft.

    Thank you for linking to my blog, I have had some lovely ladies visiting over there :)

    I haven't kept track of my doings this week, sometimes it is second nature to just do what you always do. But...

    ~I did have four no spend days this week.
    ~Paid off a big amount on our mortgage as we sold a car we didn't need. Also we will save quite an amount by not having insurance and registration to pay anymore.
    ~Cooked every meal from scratch.
    ~Sold excess eggs.
    ~I haven't had to water the garden because of the rain.
    ~Baked some more bread.
    ~Made some of Wendy's peanut butter choc chip cookies...YUM!
    ~Picked two more buckets of mandarins, one for us and one for my daughter.
    ~We were gifted two little fluffy pom pom chooks (silkies), they are so cute.

    Have a lovely weekend Annabel.


    1. Tania you are welcome!
      You had a fantastic week! Selling an unnecessary car saves so much as you say on insurance etc but paying that off your mortgage! That is just wonderful and will save you so much money! That is brilliant.What a week!
      Also the rain is a big factor, no watering and selling eggs! I feel really so pleased for you.
      And the silkies! I used to have those! I am really thinking about getting some bantams. Maybe better here in the city than chooks?
      Have a great weekend! With love,

  17. Lovely photos Annabel. Harper is growing so quickly.

    It's been quite a busy week. We celebrated Darren's 50th birthday on Wednesday. We've been busy cleaning the house ready for his party on Sunday and Darren has finished painting the windows in our bathrooms. Here's the frugal tasks we completed -

    * Made lots of pita chips to serve with dip at Darren's party.

    * Mended a couple of tops.

    * Turned the heater down to 18 degrees when possible.

    * Hand washed the dinner dishes a couple of times this week instead of using the dishwasher.

    * Baked two loaves of white bread and two of wholemeal bread.

    * Made double batches of choc truffles and lemon slice for Darren's party.

    * Made sweetened condensed milk to use in the above recipes.

    * Bought about 18 months supply of Vegeta stock powder on sale in Coles this week.

    * Dried some washing on clothes horses. With Darren's party on Sunday I didn't want wet washing around the house so a few loads went into the dryer.

    * Cooked a leg of lamb and roast veggies for Darren's birthday on Wednesday. There was enough lamb left over for another meal this week.

    * Cooked beef stew in the slow cooker. There was enough left over for another meal. It was wonderful to have two nights off from cooking.

    * Made sure the curtains were open when the Sun was streaming through the glass.

    * Megan and I made Darren's birthday cards using supplies we had on hand. I printed some birthday greeting off the internet to put on the cards. Darren said they were amazing and the best cards he's received. That made us smile. I'd looked in the $2 shops for cards and wasn't happy with what was available for $1, $2 and $3. The cards we made worked out to be 25 cents each.

    * Donated a bag of clothes to Savers and received a discount stamp.

    1. Dear Wendy, You will be busy today getting ready for the party. I love that you have been putting away food for this and getting ready for quite a while.
      I am sure it will be a wonderful day!
      You had another good and productive week full of savings.
      Have a great day tomorrow and wish Darren Happy Birthday! With love,

  18. Dear Annabel,
    What a beautiful baby! Excellent pictures, too! Little Harper is changing so fast, I love that you're documenting with the photos! Sounds like you've had a great week. Of course I cannot get over your handwork as well. I'm so happy you accomplished so much.
    This week was good.
    ~I've reorganized and wiped the shelves out in my pantry. I've taken serious notes on what my family does not favor as far as dry storage goes, and have adjusted accordingly.
    ~Sadly, our extra fridge/freezer was on it's way out when I discovered that several items near the front were already thawing in the freezer. We did not take any chances, and we chucked that meat out. I'm so grateful it wasn't the whole freezer. So many things we cannot control and have to find the goodness in it anyway.
    ~I baked
    ~Planning for Cole's 13th birthday in a few weeks and have been buying food items for his celebration and spreading it out with my regular shopping.
    ~Found three new recipes I'm quite sure my family will like if not LOVE :)
    ~Checked out three books at the library, two on canning one on GF recipes
    ~Raspberries, Strawberries, and Blueberries on sale...MUFFINS!!! :)
    ~Hubby finally got the garage to accommodate the two cars as it SHOULD....instead of looking like a hoarder lives here :) Oh and not to throw him under the bus...unfortunately I would fall into the aforementioned hoarder category. God Bless Bill for his patience with me and letting go of stuff.
    ~Spent a few hours prepping for Scrapbook weekend coming in August
    ~Watched a youtube video (several times) on kneading bread. I honestly never knew how, I've only ever made quick breads and have used the bread machine. I am GF but my family is not, so I'm going to try to make Wendy's wholemeal bread.
    ~Not frugal~ Took my twins to their favorite Greek restaurant just to watch them enjoy their favorite meal out and chat with them. I loved it.
    ~one small box for the dv thrift shop
    I always say it, I just love Fridays and "visiting" everyone! I love the lists and I say a prayer for all! Thank you Annabel for a beautiful post as always. So positive and encouraging! xxx Colette

    1. Dear Colette, Thank you for all your encouragement! I am glad you had such a good week and a special time with the twins. I am a big believer in getting time individually with kids. Or in twins case together! Those are special times and not always easy to get when life is busy etc.
      Also you learned a new skill! I am big on that. Each thing we learn is a help. We can just keep on learning.
      Well done on the garage. I am thinking these days that anything not useful or important is better gone to make space for stuff that is useful and important! Also I am selling some stuff and using the money for the emergency fund and my pantry. A win/win!
      The freezer wasnt so good though. I am glad that didnt wipe out everything.
      Have a great weekend! I hope after your scrap booking weekend to get to see some of your work. I am thinking of the lovely photos of the school dance that I saw... and the lovely colours...
      With lots of love, Annabel.xxxx

  19. Oh, such a beautiful baby - you must be having such fun! And such beautiful photos. I am commenting here because I saw such a beautiful baby photo framed at someone's house recently - just the baby bare toes peeking out from a lacy, knitted blanket, in really soft focus. Thought you might like to have a go for your next photography session:)

    1. Thank you Jo! I love the picture you described! I will have a go. I was reading up tips on baby photography and read to get in close and capture the tiny details. Which is like this picture you saw. So I will be trying it!
      Thank you for sharing this I really appreciate

  20. Annabel, I love Harper, she is gorgeous. There is nothing like a baby's skin, especially when you see a lot of it. Your photos are very good quality too, I love the one that Jo told you about, I have seen one of my grandson like that, it looks lovely.

    Good to hear you had a great week. Fi xx

  21. oh and ps...... your embroidery made me giddy. You have such a skill Annabel. You are the best embroiderer I have ever seen. Forgot to say that, I was just having a quick look/post before. Fi xx


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