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, 4 June 2015

Feather your Nest Friday, June 5, 2015.

Our first week of winter has been cold and I think I had somehow forgotten what winter is like! We have to make the most of the season we are in so for us it is soups, stews, evenings in the warm with candles and fairy lights, knitting and crochet and lots of crafts to work on. This time is good as I get lots of things made and my present cupboard re stocked. It is a great time to concentrate on rugs and blankets as they keep you warm as you work on them.  I finished Chloe's Moroccan Wedding Blanket. (well, imitation Moroccan Wedding Blanket). This was quite a big job.

Chloe sent me photo's of how it looks on her bed and in her room...

Houdini likes the fluffy bits apparently. Sparkly nesting material potential?

I have moved on to scarves and next a rug with pom poms along the edge.

This week was pretty good. Some of the ways I saved money were-

Mum's friend gave me 8 more giant jars with lids. I would say these hold about 2 kilos of sugar size wise. Now I have 11. I am using these for a lot of dry goods in my pantry. I am writing her a thank you note and begging her to keep using the same coffee!

Mum gave me a pavlova base. I decorated it with lots of fresh berries and then shared it between our three households so everyone had a mid week treat.

I made chicken quiches using Lucy's recipe. I made one large and a dozen small ones.

Pumpkin was 70c a kilo at our green grocer so I bought 5 kilos for soup.

I made chicken stock using mainly left overs and ingredients from the freezer (part of my use it up freezer challenge). In the freezer I had celery, garlic, parsley so they went in.

Oranges were $1 a kilo so I got some for eating fresh and some for making Sunshine cake next week.

I am nurturing along lots of seedlings in the garden, mainly herbs.

Some of the ways I built up the nest were-

I added quite a bit to the pantry and cellar.  Some canned goods plus dried fruits.

Also I warmed up the living room with throw rugs and the same for the end of the bed.

Learning new skills is building up your home. I am thinking of having a "learn a new skill a week" series... Thank you to everyone who posted links to tutorials on Wednesdays blog. If you have a skill that is useful, money saving or home building think about making a tutorial. What is obvious to us as we have been doing it for years might be really useful to someone else. Thinking this I am making a mini tutorial for Crock Pot Chicken Stock for Monday's post. A stock can be largely made from leftovers and scraps and then becomes a very tasty and nutritious base for your soups, risotto, a glaze, sauces, gravy... anyway I will get to that Monday.
My next new skill is (hopefully) dumplings. As in dumplings over a casserole, dumplings over caramelized apples and so on. Thanks to Sue who has helped me with this! Dumplings are a very good way to stretch a meat meal.

Other "nesting things" to include would be that Harper gained weight and that makes me happy!
Here is Aunty Chloe with her...

She is such a little character. Look at that little face and those little hands!

All Mothers will know that "the nest" and everyone being well and fine includes the whole family. We all help each other and build up each others nests. If one isn't right no one is right!

I still have today to go...  I am making creme caramel in the crock pot tonight, soup is cooking itself now so at dinner all I have to do is put the stick blender in and blend.

A little bit of sunshine is peaking out so I hope to make the most of it.

How was your week? How did you save and build up your nest?  I am noticing a lot of nest building pantry wise amongst my friends and blogs I follow. There is great security from knowing you have on hand things to cover most situations.
There are so many ways to build up your nest. Spending time with your family is building your nest.

Have a wonderful Friday and weekend! xxx


  1. Harper is so beautiful! She looks so content and settled that is the look of a baby who feels totally loved safe and secure. Thank you for your post you have inspired me to cook simple comfort foods for my family as an act of love for them It really makes a difference to our lives What starts as simply saving money becomes so much more. I find I am now doing lots of simple things each week and it just gets easier to do as a routine. Thank you enjoy the long weekend Shelley

    1. Dear Shelley,
      Thank you! I am so happy about your cooking. It is such a funny thing how it is more than good nourishment and good economics, it shows love and care and so many things. One of my easy ways is to make an extra batch of something or double a recipe and freeze some or make a pie etc and extend everything. It is really helpful. And my Crock Pot of course! When the family walk in and smell cooking you can see how much they love this, it is so welcoming and lovely.
      Every little thing you do makes a big impression and big difference. You would be surprised what is remembered in years to come!
      Have a wonderful weekend! Love Annabelxxxx

  2. Look at that little sweetie! How adorable! The blanket looks absolutely fantastic. Did you just make it up as you went along or follow a pattern? My daughter would love one, I'm sure.
    Very busy cooking there. It has been freezing and pouring rain here for the first week of winter. I think winter really wants to make sure we know it is here!
    I have a friend who keeps her Mocanno coffee jars for me. They are great for pantry use with the vacuum lids.
    Have a lovely weekend!

    1. Thank you Jane! I just made up the blanket. I looked at Moroccan blankets on Pinterest... then got yarns in the colors for Chloe. I knew I needed sparkly silver plus textures and rows of fluff. To get enough silver bling I sewed on rows of silver braids as well as crocheted with silver yarn. I made the tassels... I thought it would take forever honestly! It was actually easy in that it was just double crochet. It could be knitted too...
      I am pretty sure these jars are the same ones... I am hoping the lady will keep saving them for me! This is go great for my pantry.
      Have a lovely weekend!xxx

  3. Harper is beautiful! The blanket is really pretty. You obviously do beautiful work. I've added several things to my pantry this week the last thing today being 7 quarts of squash I canned. I harvested the squash from my garden this morning and tonight they look like jars of sunshine sitting on the table.

    1. Patsy I love jars lined up, to me it is so satisfying to see that! Great happiness!
      Thank you, I think Harper looks kind of like the cat that got the cream in her little expression! Now I have finished this blanket I can get on with lots of other projects! Have a great

  4. Don't forget golden syrup dumplings, with custard, cream or ice cream, one of the all time favourite desserts and so easy and very economical. Is the recipe for crème caramel anywhere, I would love to make it.

    1. I love golden syrup dumplings! Very hard to beat!
      I will post the creme caramel recipe Monday as I do it for the crock pot recipe. It is very easy and delicious. A good thing to use up eggs too.
      It can be made in the oven or crock pot as long as it sits in a tray of water. I find the crock pot easier as it is always difficult lifting out a water bath from the oven without sloshing it! But either way it works. So Monday for that one. Have a lovely weekend.xx

  5. Annabel your post about the Crock Pot has started me thinking about using mine for baking as I remember back in the seventies when they became popular that they were promoted as being able be used for all types of cooking but most of us just used to use them to cook casseroles. A while back I even got rid of my old one which would now be treasured as a vintage Crock Pot. LOL!

    This week I made calendula soap after putting dried off calendula petals in a Moccona jar with olive oil and sitting it out in the sun for a few weeks. Looking forward to your next Crock Pot post :-)

    1. I love the vintage crock pots... I have picked up a few in op shops and garage sales!
      Your Calendula petals in olive oil sounds beautiful! And soap! Im heading over to see if you have posted pics... or a tutorial... as this sounds just lovely! xxx

    2. Sorry Annabel, I haven't posted about it yet. Will do soon though.

  6. Dear Annabel and Friends,
    I have to say that Harper is the dearest little girl already! Chloe's blanket is simply gorgeous. I can only imagine how warm it is.
    This week has been a nesting week for me as well. I have been busy with other things and getting back into my home has seen my joy expand with some cleaning, rearranging, and cooking. All of this builds our homes. I also have been putting out about 10 tea lights in different lanterns or containers and they have provided little glowing pools of warmth and light.
    Today I changed companies with house insurance after 17 years. I used compare the and found a much better deal. All small things, but they encourage us along.
    Have a lovely weekend everyone, Helen

    1. Dear Helen,
      I am so happy you have had this time home to nest! I know you love to.
      I also know you would love Harper. Your heart would melt!
      The way insurance is they dont seem to reward loyalty. It seems to pay to change or threaten to! Well done as these can be big savings.
      Chloe's blanket got to the stage it was heavy to turn around when changing rows! So it is really warm. She really loves it so it was worth it and an interesting project!
      Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

  7. Baby Harper is just beautiful! I love how sweet baby hands and faces are, every movement is just so fun to watch. Our baby Jack is also gaining.
    I'm hoping to blog soon. As I have time, I am getting things at home in order.
    Have a wonderful weekend :)

  8. Dear Annabel,
    Harper is precious and so cute. Chloe is beautiful and there is definitely a facial resemblance between the two :). What a wonderful picture of the two of them; auntie and niece.

    We have mostly been working on the previous house in order to list it for sale. I did continue doing more organizing around here and managed to finish my vanity organization, jewelry organization, and more in the master closet. This weekend I will focus on my study. Organization is key for me to function well, have a smooth day, and be calm, so it's definitely feathering our nest (LOL).

    I keep a running list of items that either need replaced or I need to add to our personal belongings or our home. I wait for sales to come up with coupons and then purchase them. This week Macy's had a sale on three items I had on my list, so for the three items I paid $84 and saved $177.

    Natural Grocers has the organic coffee we like on sale, so I purchased four cans this week and will add four cans a week until the sale ends on June 30. They all go into the pantry for future use and the savings is $3 per can.

    Monday, I spent with my ten year old grand daughter and it was such a blessing. A nice work break day for me and some fun time together. We went to the fabric store (she likes sewing), to the nursery to purchase some flowers and herbs, out to lunch, then home for a game of Phase 10 cards (her favorite). Grandchildren are very precious and grandparents have time that parents don't to listen, play, and pass along wisdom, as the Bible tells us to do. We consider family time feathering our nest, also.

    Have a wonderful and blessed weekend, Annabel. Thank you for all the work on the posts; everything you pass along is very beneficial.

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Your Grand daughter sounds lovely and I hope to be doing the same as you with Harper... sewing and cooking and all kinds of things. You are exactly right theres no use having a nest without having anyone in it. The care of everyone is building up the family and the nest. The wisest investment!
      I also do not function well in a mess. I would go crazy quick! I still do get in a mess sometimes but I work like crazy to get out of it as I hate it. Also I am always trying to make things work better and clearing out things that are not needed. I dont like clutter. It has to be loved or useful.
      Your specials shopping is great. We can do so much better shopping this way.
      I hope you are having a lovely weekend. It has been sunny and beautiful here and I have made the most of it with a line full of washing out drying. Lots of love,

  9. Dear Annabel,

    Do I gush over the baby or the blanket first!???!!??? Oh my goooood-NESS!! The baby of course. She's so gorgeous! I can literally sniff that gorgeous baby-smell just looking at her photos! Such a little lady. Yes, she is surely up to something with that little expression :) Of course Chloe is a stunner as well. She looks like a very proud aunty indeed! The blanket is soo elegant. I see that Chloe must be her mum's daughter just seeing that bit of her room! I know that blanket had you thinking it would take forever, but WHAT an amazing finish! I'm so happy to read about you buzzing away in your home like a bee. I know this makes you very happy which in turn makes your family very happy! :) This week I feathered my nest in many ways. We started by having a family day at the water park. The two older girls have been there a few times in the past, but the three younger kids had never been there. We decided we would invest in season passes to the park which is 10 minutes from our driveway by car. It is open daily part of May, all of June and July, and half of August. Then it is open on the weekends through October. Two visits per person pays for the season passes, so this was a very deliberate purchase for our family of seven. We had a car picnic in the middle of the visit, with cold meat sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (that's considered very American, right?) LOL potato chips, strawberries, and other goodies. Of course we had a talk with the kiddos before we ever went...telling them that we could do this as a family by saying NO to the shocking vendor food and beverage prices there and saying YES to car cooler picnics. They loved it and we've started our summer in a great way! Other ways I feathered were:
    -Taking inventory of my two freezers and pantry and listing the things I need, and using the things that need to be used
    -Thankfully made deposits in all savings categories
    -We've had all meals at home
    -I baked
    -Made a pot of cream of potato soup & a tray of enchiladas
    -I've been picking zucchini and squash daily as well as a few cucumbers
    -Got two boxes going for the domestic violence thrift shop
    -The children and I are starting our summer reading
    -washed the floors
    All in all a very nice week! I love Fridays! Just now as I'm typing, it's begun to rain and the garden gets a free watering :) Even in my very busy weeks recently where I haven't posted I'm so encouraged to come here and read what everyone is up to. It feels like the most encouraging visit with friends.
    Much Love,
    Colette xxx

    1. Dear Colette, This was pure happiness to read! So many good things!
      It is funny you should say it but Harper does smell yummy. I always notice that its so lovely.
      I can see your family is going to get a lot out of those season tickets. What a good idea. What a fun summer they will have! There are so many fantastic picnic things too... I will think about this as portable treats will be a big hit and be so handy for you.
      Have a wonderful weekend. I hope next week is as good for you as this one! With love, Annabel.xxxx

  10. Hi Annabel, it looks like Harper now has a hairdo. So cute. The blanket looks lovely and the red shoes at the foot of the bed are adorable.

    Here's what I got up to this week -

    * Made Jessica's birthday cake. She decided to have cupcakes which was easy to do. I cut off the tops to make it easy to decorate. I ate these tops for morning tea for a few days.

    * Jeesica went out to tea with a few friends for her 18th birthday. They came back to our place for dessert and a movie. The cupcakes were for her friends as well as the apple pastry roses and choc coated strawberries I made for dessert.

    * Darren pruned the raspberry bushes in readiness for the next season. He's taken 18 cuttings and planted them. If they take, we'll have more raspberries next season and maybe some plants to give as presents ( RRP $16 each ).

    * Saved the box, ribbon and plastic from Jessica's birthday flowers. These will be handy for giving bunches of flowers from our garden as presents.

    * Saved the shower water for the washing machine.

    * Cleaned the dishwasher with bi carb and vinegar.

    * Diluted the vinegar by 50% to make two bottles.

    * Saved a ribbon from a box of chocolates. I'll use this to decorate a card.

    * Made dried bread crumbs with crusts I'd been saving in the freezer. I'll season them when I finish using the last batch.

    * Gratefully received some flowers and homemade vegetable stock concentrate from a facebook and blog reader. Thankyou Emily. It was lovely to meet you.

    * Made muesli bar slice for school lunchboxes.

    * Fed the compost bin and worm farm with the kitchen scraps.

    * Made a batch of hot chocolate drink mix. It's a recipe from the Cheapskates website that I've tweaked to suit our own tastes.

    * Saved lots of bread bags from a charity bbq. They would have been thrown into the rubbish bin otherwise.

    * Made two loaves of white bread ( for my girls ) and two wholemeal loaves for Darren and I.

    1. Wendy, Chloe loves everything sparkly. I dont know where she gets it from :)
      I hope everyone reads your blog and sees the pastry and apple roses you made. They are so lovely.
      Isnt it funny, once you make cards, how suddenly you see potential card making supplies everywhere! I dont know if you get any coffee or products that when you open the lid there is a tin foil bit you have to take off first... some coffee has them. It is like thin tin. THAT is really useful in card making. If you save it or know someone who drinks that kind of coffee get them to save it for you. I will post ways to use it sometime soon. It is fabulous stuff and free really as most people throw it into the bin.
      I am glad you had such a good week and Jessica obviously had a wonderful birthday. Have a good weekend. xxxx

  11. Annabel, The picture of Harper and Chloe is precious! And the blanket you made is beautiful! Plus, pictures of yummy food!
    I've gotten a bit more organizing done, took care of the yard and garden, and from the orange peels left from squeezing juice for my cranberry sauce, I made candied peel. They are drying in the window sill now and I will use them for fruit cake this fall.

    So glad you were given more wonderful jars! Have a nice weekend. Teri

    1. Dear Teri, I have oranges at the moment as they are fresh, in season and cheap just now. I have a lovely cake I make with oranges that is beautiful in winter as it seems fresh and bright.I will not waste the peels (as I usually do) and follow your lead, thank you.
      I have a project going with the jars. And I am sending a thank you and jars of jam to the lady who sent them. (along with encouraging her to keep drinking the same kind of coffee as they are giant coffee jars)
      Have a lovely weekend to you too. Lots of love,

  12. Annabel, the finished blanket is just gorgeous! It also looks so warm and quite glamorous.

    Harper is just the sweetest little darling baby girl! Aunty Chloe looks so very proud of her and rightly so! :)

    I've been attempting to declutter my freezers, but continue to refill them with things I've made! I froze a lot of cheese that I'd bought cheap and filled snap bags with pieces of cut up pumpkin. I'd forgotten that tip until it was mentioned here about putting raw pumpkin away as is. It will be very handy for roasting. I hope to make chicken stock in my crock pot like you do next week. Just need to get enough space to freeze it all!

    I'm looking forward to the post about creme caramel in the crock pot. Yum!

    1. Dear Kaye,
      Using things and adding more is the sign of a well used freezer! I think you will love the stock done this way. My soup today using it was so nice. Also the stock would be wonderful for baby food or the basis of many meals. Very nutritious. The bones in stock are good... there is goodness that comes from marrow bones etc... I used to get the butcher to cut through bones especially when the girls were little so I got the marrow into the stock. Nan taught me that!
      Also the creme caramel was really gorgeous and it is much easier than in the oven.
      We had sunshine all day. I did a ton of washing and got it all dry and back in.
      Hope you are having a good weekend, Lots of love,

  13. Oh annabel, harper is such a little sweetheart! If I saw her I would give her so many cuddles it's not funny!
    The blanket looks so beautiful! I like to crochet and knit etc. except when I start something I never seem to finish it :( hopeless i am haha.
    Have a good weekend xo

    1. Thank you Anne! I often have a fair few projects going at once! And some take a long time to finish! Now and then I have a finish it off or use it up challenge. I use a lot for gifts that helps me get them done too as the deadline looms! Just now I have several scarves on the go at the same time.... mmm! Hope you are having a lovely weekend, thank you! xxx

  14. Harper is such a little doll, so gorgeous Annabel. The blanket turned out stunning, it looks beautiful on Lucy's bed.

    My fluffing this week included;

    ~Organising and thinking about adding some pretty touches to my home. I am currently crocheting tiny white daisies to make a bunting for my kitchen dresser.
    ~I used up out of date cream to make some delicious scones, with homemade apricot jam and whipped cream.
    ~Mum gifted me a big heap of bananas, some pomegranates, a couple capsicums, one eggplant, a bag of apples, one avocado and two bags of grapes. These came from the local shop in their home town. They take excess and tired food around to mums. It is a blessing to be friends with the owner.
    ~I have chopped the bananas up and placed in the freezer for smoothies and cakes.
    ~I am going to make a delicious apple pudding with the apples tomorrow for dessert. And I might try drying some outside.
    ~I bought and chopped up a whole pineapple and put in the freezer. I will use this for smoothies and pizza. I am so tired of not being able to buy Australian tins of pineapple.
    ~The weather here has been beautiful. Nice sunny days and I am getting my washing dry outside on most days. The nights are getting frosty though :)

    You have a wonderful week Annabel, and give that gorgeous little cherub a kiss from me.


    1. Dear Tania,
      You really got my attention with white daisy bunting! That sounds gorgeous! Please post pics on the blog when it is up! You are giving me ideas...
      Lovely supplies from your Mum. Having a fruit and vegie shop owner for a friend... just wow! I know you would use and make the most of all of it.
      We had trouble here for ages with only foreign pineapple. But just recently Golden Circle is back.
      We are having the same sunny days, cold nights. Could do with rain really but the days are lovely!
      Have a wonderful week Tania. Love Annabelxxxx

  15. Hi Annabel, the moroccan wedding blanket looks amazing. Well done. Bet Chloe loves it. I'm betting you get some orders for these. Also the pav, a simple dessert, but made so lush with those plump berries.
    Have you made golden syrup dumplings? I make them once or twice each winter, they are lovely in a bowl with ice cream or cream. I cook them on the stove, not the oven. I've not had dumplings in stew for years, mmm, something to have again. My youngest son took me to the shops last weekend and he purchased a cast iron pot and lid from Aldi. On the Sunday, he asked us over to his bungalow for dinner. He had made the most amazing stew. It was so tasty. His gf said maybe we should have cooked rice too - we had it just as stew with potato carrot etc. I asked him last night when he came to dinner where he got the recipe from and he said it was inside the box. So glad that he is getting a little more adventurous with his cooking. It was the best stew I had ever had. He used a cheaper cut of meat too - chuck steak.
    I always find that whatever you have talked about during the week, I want to try it too.
    Harper is gooooorgeous. Simply beautiful. Great pic of Aunty Chloe too. My little grandson is 4 months next week and is reacting to everything. He giggles now when you jiggle him about and my son gives him whizzy plane rides and he drops his mouth open in the hugest grin, too excited to make noise sometimes. I am completely besotted by him and am so happy you have this as well.
    Fi xx

    1. Hi Fiona... I make a desert with the same ingredients as Golden Syrup Dumplings but it looks more like a cobbler... in a sauce... maybe I need to try actual dumplings? I am working on a post about dumplings for stews etc.
      It is a lovely story about your son asking you to dinner and the wonderful recipe was inside the box! He is on the right track by the sounds of it! A cast iron pot is a great investment.
      I understand being besotted. I think of Harper all the time as I am going about things. She is in my mind all the time like being in love lol
      I have lots planned this week, all things going well. Sunday is my "rest and review" day. Hope you are having a lovely weekend! xxx

  16. Annabel, that photo of Harper and Chloe is just beautiful. Both are such beauties. Chloe is so stylish and Harper is such a pretty little girl. She just looks so content, she can feel all the love around her. That blanket is stunning too. Fiona is right, you are sure to be begged to make another. They would sell for hundreds in the shops. I love how you said family time is feathering the nest too. Because mostly I am lucky to get the washing done, and dinner on the table each day with a newborn lol My heart has been so happy this weekend. DH has been home, so little H, DH and I have been having lots of family time- snuggling together, watching movies and just appreciating every moment. We feel blessed. In terms of home- I review our finances weekly and this helps us keep track of every dollar, we have used up our meals in the freezer, I bought some bigger clothes for little H from the closest op shop (some overalls, how cute!), and we made sushi at home when we felt like going out for it. I can't wait for your slow cooker series, it is just what we need. Lots of love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge, Thank you!
      The best thing you can be doing is what you are... spending time together as a family and enjoying your baby. It is a very special time.
      You sound very sensible to me with your finances. Thats what we need to do, be aware and keep track.
      Little overall sound just so cute!
      Tomorrow I have a goo basic slow cooker post I am working on. With a baby you will know what I mean about how it is late in the day... if dinner is already done things go so much better!
      With love,

  17. Well I'm behind as I've had a horrid virus, but just wanted to add my congratulations on finishing Lucy's blanket. I'm only crocheting shaggy trim for mine and it still feels like it's taking forever, so I can imagine you must have thought you'd never get to the end! But what a beautiful result and just not something that money can buy in terms of the love poured into it. Harper is just beautiful of course, and Chloe has long brown hair! I always imagined another blonde! Beautiful photos of everything as always too. My slow cooker has fed us well while I've been sick, and I've had time to work on my version of the Moroccan Wedding Blanket too. Its very different to yours and it just goes to show how we can take an idea and make it our own. I've also had fun making oversized hankies from a burgundy flannelette sheet, and trimming them with wide black lace. They look so ooh-la-la that I almost wish I had a sniffle, so I could use! Everyone is so happily busy and it's so good to see. Mimi xxx

  18. What a BEAUTIFUL blanket. It is just beautiful and that room is so cozy looking.


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