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 9 July 2015

Feather your Nest Friday, 10 July, 2015.

Today I am staying in, it is cold and raining. We need rain so this is good! And I have done all my running around for the week. I am cleaning and lots of "finishing things off" jobs.

It was a good week! I have had several weeks in a row where I feel I have got ahead a bit. It's a good feeling. Some weeks you can be busy the whole time and really you're just staying afloat. However thats better than sinking! Other weeks, well, we all know about them. That's why a getting ahead week is a good thing!

This week I had orchids bloom. This is a great long spray of orchids that just suddenly there they were! (long after thinking "this thing is NEVER going to flower")

Really it is gorgeous and enormous! Just lovely.

Some ways I saved money this week:

I washed up all the jars my aunt gave me ready for sterilizing when I make jam or relish in summer. I love having a good supply of jars ready. My jar cupboard is looking healthy = Happiness.

Jes had a tutorial on making plum sauce. I will be trying this in summer. Look at the color! (here)

I found a rain barrel so I can increase out water supply for free!

This week I found some great specials and went to a store I don't often go to for some comparisons. I came out with several big savings.

I made a cheesecake in the crock pot. This is such an easy way to make a cheesecake and it was yum. I was able to share portions around...

I will include the recipe in an upcoming crock pot post. Basically, anything that needs to set like a custard, cheesecake etc is a dream in the crock pot.

Pumpkin was on special so I made heaps more soup. 

Also... I made and finished two Christmas presents! I will do photos next week of Christmas presents so far. This is good, it feels great and I am so pleased with them! 

Some ways I feathered my nest this week:

I brought the orchids inside.

I helped Lucy with a nice meal and Chloe build her pantry.

We added the rain water barrel. I include that as it is security.

I added to my pantry and cellar.

I found out about the after hours Doctor and emergency medical appointments.

And I learned much more about drying foods and also found some on going savings.

I hope you had a really good week! 

How did you build up your home or save money? Just know the difference you make in your home with all that you do. It is all worth more than diamonds! xxx


  1. Annabel, I've had a busy day adding to my pantry ... 4 pints pickled okra, 9 pints squash pickles and 7 quarts canned squash. I've been able to stay home this week which is a savings in and of itself. Your orchid is beautiful!

    1. Dear Patsy, Sometimes the best savings of all come from staying home and getting stuff done! That is a lot of canning which is wonderful!
      Have a great weekend! Lots of love

  2. No building up the pantry Annabel, but building up the firewood. I have been driving the tractor from here to there with the trailer full of firewood. Have helped unload the smaller stuff too. We have a wonderful supply of wood and already are stacking wood for next winter. My partner was using the splitter and my son was using the chainsaw so a really productive time. We are lucky to have a lot of fallen trees down in the back acres as well as heaps of huge pines that we will topple in years to come. They aren't native and the council are happy to get them down. They stop all undergrowth too and the native stuff won't grow happily near them.
    We have just gone for a drive to drop my partners tax in at the accountant. We know the crossover times so, on the way up and the way down the mountain, we stopped and watched two puffing billy trains stop at Menzies Creek and wait so that each one could then continue on (single line you see). So we saw 4 steam trains, in this cold weather they are spectacular with extra steam.
    On the way down, we were discussing preparedness and both had lots of input about what we could do here, i.e. no worries about heating, cooking and water. We will be building up our stores too as time goes on. But more of that when i get back working too. It was all very relevant and topical to what you have been doing.
    Your orchid is absolutely beautiful. Just a stunner.
    Weather here is on the turn. (hence a couple of hours of firewood duty this morning).
    Hope you have a great weekend. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona,
      That is fantastic Fiona and good work! Here I notice firewood is between $300 and $400 a ton. It is like gold or something! Having your own to chop and stack is so good. I love just seeing a wood heap. Very nice! Also you are clearing well for summer and fires etc. so it is a win win.
      Steam trains chugging along my be so scenic! Really I felt I wished I was there with you hauling wood. I have done a lot of that at the farm over the years.
      It is going to be very cold over the weekend they say. You will be right! You also have a great set up. Have a wonderful weekend! Love

  3. Annabel, that orchid was worth waiting for! Simply beautiful.

    I have used the crockpot more and found that mexi mince (like taco mince) is fabulous cooked this way. It stays so hot and tastes amazing cooked like this. Also, chicken stock in a crockpot - amazing. I can't wait now for your wonderful cheesecake recipe!

    Otherwise I have added more to the pantry. I bought coffee beans and tea at fabulous prices. I bought a massive box of marked down produce for just under $10!! I bought chicken for $2.99 kg whole and drumsticks. There was space made in the freezer over the past week, but full again now! ;-)

    Bought enough formula for my granddaughter, between my daughter and myself, to have 3 months supply now. She is on solid food now at 6 mths, so the biggest time of supply worry is over. We have some (unopened) infant newborn stage 1 formula for friends having newborns very soon, in case of shortages and feeding difficulty. They can be helped out if needed. It lasts unopened 2 years.

    1. Dear Kaye,
      I am so glad you are finding the crock pot a help and a success. I totally agree how the flavors work... long slow cooking really draws out flavor and blends them. I think it applies to casseroles, stews, curries, spaghetti sauce mixes, soups, stocks etc. they all improve.
      Left over formula also can be used to make up things like rice cereal etc. But it would be handy to have on hand anyhow.
      The box of produce sounds very good and so do your other bargain buys. This is the way to put away extras! Have a great weekend and keep warm! Lots of love Annabel.xxxx

  4. Annabel, You had a wonderful week! And I agree, the orchid was worth waiting for! Just beautiful!! :) Your cheesecake is stunning. Such a great way to "bake" a cake! And I just love your cupboard of jars!! :)

    This week has been busy. I've added to my pantry, stocking up on items that were low. We pulled the peas out and planted beets and carrots. Also, thinned the beets that are growing. The chard, cauliflower and broccoli will need picking this weekend and I will blanch some of it. We are using our garden veggies each night at mealtime. We've been getting some much needed rain!

    I made tags for two birthday gifts and worked on some organization. All in all, a good week.

    Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri, I knew you would like my jar stash! It was very run down with hardly any left. Now it is almost full.
      You had a good week. Your garden sounds lovely and productive. We are having rain too which we need, the farm needs it badly.
      Have a great weekend! With love

  5. Dear Annabel, what a beauty your orchid is! Oh and your cheesecake looks Devine.
    This week has seen me starting on our tax preparation. I am the keeper of receipts and files for us, so it's easy for me to assemble it all ready.
    I also managed to wash and dry all my cushion covers, and my lounge covers. It took two days to from start to finish, but everything is nice and clean.
    I also applied Old English Furniture Polish from the US to scuff marks on our timber floor. I refreshed our kitchen cabinets with it, and also four lovely timber chairs that we bought for our verandah for $3 each.
    It's a lovely product that makes marks less noticeable and feeds the wood as well.
    I washed and sorted some vintage china in readiness for a high school girls programme that runs for 8 weeks. I use the china on the final day for a morning tea and gift it to them to remind them that " they are fine china and deserve to be treasured".
    It's great catching up with everyone!
    Love Helen xxx

    1. Dear Helen,
      I will be glad to get our tax done too.
      The chairs sound like a real find. $3 each! Things come up so well with some polish.
      I can just imagine the vintage china and Im sure the girls love it. What a good message to give them. Have a lovely weekend! With love, Annabel.xxxx

  6. That is one stunning orchid Annabel, well worth the wait I think!

    Love the look of your cheesecake, who knew that they could be cooked in a slow cooker. This is something I must try, it looks so delicious!

    You are getting quite a collection of jars there. I have mine stored in plastic boxes out in Phil's shed and keep some of the smaller jars inside.

    I have had a really good week. We did go away which cost for fuel, food and accommodation, but we did get to bring some goodies home from my parents place.

    I was gifted some oranges, pineapples, strawberries, avocados and onions.

    Mum gave me two large jars to use in my pantry.

    Dad gave me a pot plant stand and vintage table/trolley.

    I dried breadcrumbs, parsley and thyme by the fire.

    Sold excess eggs.

    Bought cheap bubble bath to use as hand wash.

    I don't like to write this here, but we had three young roosters in the chookhouse, and there was lots of fighting going on, so now they have a new home in our freezer.

    I have been pulling weeds and giving to the chooks, this makes their eggs nice and yellow.

    I am still picking mandarins, there are so many of them. They are hanging like bunches of grapes.

    Have a lovely weekend and stay warm in the freezing weather,

    Love Tania xx

    1. Dear Tania,
      I am not a rooster sympathizer so dont worry. Roosters and I dont get on well since I am not an early riser! Greens are so good for the chooks! And they love them so much. I am always on the watch out for thistles etc as treats.
      You had a really productive week. I love that you are using the fire to dry things. I think its a brilliant method.
      I hope you are getting rain... we have a storm due to hit at midnight.
      Lots of love, Annabel.xxxx

    2. Tania, Just thought I would let you know that the roosters would have ended up in my freezer as well ! Love it!! Teri

  7. Annabel
    I have put some fruit crumbles in my freezer, made Jam with our crop of strawberries and went to the weekly fruit and veg market to get cheap fruit to jam this weekend. On my list of jam making .....blueberry and cherry jam; plum and pear jam and nectarine jam with cinnamon. We have the blueberries growing but I had to get the cherries , plums and nectarines from the market. They were cheaper than our local store though 😀
    Have a lovely weekend
    Heidi x

    1. Dear Heidi,
      Well done! I love the fruit combinations you have chosen. Beautiful.
      With berries apple can be added especially if you want to stretch the berries a bit. These make lovely gifts too. Sometimes I give a little basket of three small jars of different flavors or something like that but it looks really pretty. I love making jam! Seeing all the jars lined up is lovely!
      You are making me look forward to summer! With love

    2. Thank you for the suggestions esp. Giving as gifts! Wonderful idea.
      Heidi xx

  8. Your cheesecake looks amazing! I have been using my crockpot to cook most of our meat now, since reading your crockpot posts, except for chicken breasts, those always dry out for me. I do not have any racks to fit my crockpots, so yesterday I stuck forks all around the bottom of my round one and places ribs on top. This worked great!

    1. Dear Marie, The forks was a good idea! ANything that does the trick is fine! Egg rings could work too....
      I will post the cheesecake recipe and method soon... it was so easy and quick and yum. Really the easiest thing ever but a cheesecake seems kind of fancy!
      I am so glad the crock pot is helping you out. Thanks for letting me know. Lots of love,

  9. Dear Annabel,

    You had an excellent week! I love your orchids, how gorgeous. They are so expensive in the store. What a simple luxury to have your own! I am going to start growing more flowers as I love them so much and can put them around the house. I also love all of your jars. I know all of the jar loving gals are going to be swooning over that picture :)

    All of the comments are just the BEST! I'm glad Tania posted about her roosters, that had me laughing until tears! :)

    Marie might want to try putting the chicken breasts in the crock pot when they are still frozen, on the low setting and of course with such a lean meat you need to add some water/sauce/hydration. I've had success without them drying out this way. I learned from someone in a comment on Brandy's blog long ago.

    I feel like I've had a visit to everyone's little corner of the world so now you can visit mine :)
    This week we met all savings goals
    Made Christmas gift tags to make that "mind shift" for myself...July is nearly half over then school starts in August then BAM!! The holidays are here
    I started making Christmas presents, collections of cards in themes to start :)
    Made two different pots of soup and froze some
    Made two meatloafs for the freezer for busy nights
    Made chicken broth in the crock pot
    Made taco meat to freeze ahead for 4 meals
    portioned and froze 11 lbs of wild-caught salmon bought at 1.99/lb. Still unbelievable!
    Added 18 bottles of barbecue sauce to my pantry at .79 cents a bottle. Still hunting for a homemade recipe the girls approve of :)
    Added baking supplies and water to my pantry
    Inventoried all of the kids' clothing to see what needs to go and what needs to be bought for the coming school year. Ugh why did I put this off?!
    Made a box for donation to the dv thrift shop
    Took many notes from the blog posts I've read to add to my homemaking binder
    Had a little review with my kids about gifts, talents, giving, and our time
    Baked goodies for everyone

    Thank you for the Feather posts, Annabel. They are so encouraging! Have a wonderful weekend.

    Colette xxx

    1. Dear Colette, What an absolutely fantastic week! You must feel good. There is nothing like the feeling of achievement of a great week and great savings.
      Now we know what happens at Tania's house to the annoying! lol I am from a farm so such harsh realities dont phase me but some people who die with their leg in the air. lol
      Finding flowers that grow well in your area is a great thing. Just now I have yellow roses and being winter and pretty gloomy they are really cheerful. And go very nicely on top of my orange cakes. (Making one today as have those free oranges)
      I hope you have a lovely weekend. You did so well.
      Getting kids onto making things and helping with Christmas presents is a good idea. They love to help and they learn so much. And Grandmas etc love anything they made! (double win)
      Lots of love!

  10. Wow on the orchids! Your jar cupboard is fabulous!

    I added 25 pounds of bread flour and 6 jars of salsa to my pantry at low prices.

    I put epsom salts on all my tomato plants and they are looking better. I read that tea is beneficial for geraniums and watered 2 pots of cuttings with it. They are really doing better now. I found that the polka dot plant will root from cuttings so I am planning to root and pot for gifts.

    It has been so hot here that we are only venturing out in the early morning to do needed work and then getting inside for the day. It is staying hot late so we cannot even go out to the porch swing to watch the fireflies without being uncomfortable.

    Have a nice weekend!

    1. Dear Lana, I use the left over tea here too on plants and it seems to do them good. We are the opposite weather wise it is cold, stormy and pouring! But same result, I am not going out either.
      I would love to see Fireflies. I used to think they were fictional like fairies! When I found out they are a true thing I was amazed! They SOUND magical and I would love to see them.
      You have a good weekend too. It was great adding all that flour and salsa to your pantry. With love,

  11. Not much happening here due to surgery and then the bath being removed - lots of planning though and I have come up with an option to create more shelving in the shed, just needs a bit of DH's handiwork to create it as I picture it.

    I did pick up cheap coffee to go in the store cupboard, chicken breasts for the freezer (which I also defrosted and took an inventory of) and I tried a recipe for mac and cheese in the slow cooker. Needs a little tweaking but seeing as we do not eat mac and cheese I think a post it note in the recipe book will suffice should I make it again.

    We are expecting really cold weather so there will be soup in the slow cooker this week, I have a part packet of barley to use up so that will be going in it, it is something that I do not use a lot of.

    I have cloistered myself in the office away from the dust post surgery and am spending the time sewing together some knitting that I have done. Am trying to decide on my next project as I like to have my hands busy at night.

    DH's week off is nearly at an end, still so much to do in the front room, it has turned out to be the worst room in the house so far.

    Love the orchid and cheesecake Annabel.


    1. Dear Lynette,
      You and Wendy are in the same boat this week. I think you have to rest and recover and take it easy.
      Macaroni and Cheese is a good emergency meal and kids meal too. I used to add bacon and that was a hit. I might try it in the crock pot but havent yet.
      It is pouring here and very stormy during the night. Seems the cold blast is across the states. Good weather for staying in and keeping warm.
      In the evenings I love to be working on something. Would drive me batty just sitting doing nothing! I have started on Christmas presents and find what I do in evenings really adds up fast. Have a good weekend.
      Lots of love,

  12. Beautiful flowers Annabel. Also love your bottle cupboard. It's great to have a supply ready for jamming season.

    I'm not sure where my week has gone. I seem to be busier in the school holidays that when everyone is at work and school. In the midst of all the comings and goings, I did manage to get a few frugal things done. Here's this week's list -

    * Cleaned the inside of the dishwasher with bi carb and vinegar and wiped it down with Miracle Spray

    * Made muffin sized quiches with tomatoes given to us and silverbeet from our garden.

    * Made some apple rose pastries with apples given to us. The pastries were for a church lunch.

    * Made chunky roast beef and vegetable soup using left over roast beef and vegetables given to us.

    * Megan made a double batch of lunchbox chocoalte choc chip muffins for school and home snacks.

    * Picked a big bowl of lemons from our tree. I'll let them sit for about a week before juicing. I did juice some older lemons and froze the juice in ice cube trays.

    * Picked silverbeet to put in a spag bol sauce. My girls were not happy about this as they don't like silverbeet. I'm in the process of having major dental work done and I can't chew things very well so the shredded silverbeet was perfect for me.

    * Megan made a big pot of chunky chicken noodle soup to help me feel better after the dental work on Tuesday. She used chicken stock I'd made in the slow cooker and frozen months ago. I lived on this soup for a few days. Very yummy.

    * Picked a bunch of daisies from the garden to brighten up my kitchen.

    * Mended and altered two tops for Megan.

    * Only spent $4 at the shops on milk. This is the third week running that we've only needed milk. We still have plenty of fruit and veg in the fridge and freezer plus we have been blessed with some.

    * Did the usual frugal things with saving the washing machine water and drying clothes on clothes horses..

    1. Dear Wendy, When I took the photos of my jar cupboard I was thinking "Wendy will love this!" being a fellow jar lover!
      I bet you are glad to have this week over. Dental work is not easy. The soup was just the right thing. Very good for you.
      I always found school holidays a very busy time! Understand that!
      Have a good weekend. Really you still got a lot done considering everything! Lots of love,

  13. Beautiful orchid! I look forward to your upcoming posts on using the crock pot - your cheesecake looks perfect!

    I added to the pantry. I picked 6 pounds of carrots from my tiny city garden, blanched and froze them. I brought home leftovers from a catered work at lunch and put in the freezer in quart bags (tons of brown rice and mixed steamed veggies).

    You motivated me to work on our hurricane preparedness. We bought 5 gallons of water. I ordered a small solar panel and a battery pack that we can use to charge our cellphones in a power outage (made by Goal Zero). I figured out what else we need to buy to be prepared and will purchase a few items each week. Thank you for getting me moving on that!

    1. Dear Debbie,
      Cheese cake recipe coming Monday I think...
      Six pounds of carrots is a great crop from your garden! Well done! Also what a good idea to freeze those left overs and not let them go to waste. Good basics too that will be useful. Good thinking.
      I am very pleased you are adding to your preparedness. While I hope you wont be needing it imagine how glad you will be if there is a serious Hurricane. I dont really know how much warning you get with them... but everything already done frees you up to do other things and be ready.
      That must make a big difference in a bit of a crisis! Keep at it, a little bit here and there really adds up! Love

  14. Annabel, this is a bit off subject but I will forget if I don't tell you now..have a look at Faye's blog post today where she has a link to this fabulous looking recipe for Rose Talcum Powder which would be right up your alley

    1. Thank you so much for this Nanna Chel! You are spot on! I love this! I adore powder, make powder puffs too and love rose scent. Trifecta!
      Thanks for thinking of me. I will actually do this and soon.
      Also now I have a nice new blog to read. Many thanks! xxx

  15. Hi Annabel. We've been away as you probably guessed and I have missed my favourite blogs so much. I deliberately disconnected completely while we were gone, and a good thing too, I think. It's funny what a lure the computer or the mobile phone are. Take the temptation away, and you really don't miss them. Well not much anyway! Your orchid is just stunning and you are as busy as a bee as always. We just returned yesterday so I have nothing to report as far as feathering my nest goes, unless you count unpacking miniature bottles of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, nursed all the way home from a villa in Tuscany as 'feathering' I'm so pleased to be home and can't wait to catch up on all I've missed. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Welcome home Mimi! I have though of you so much and hope you loved your well earned break. It sounds like you did truly get away from it all. I am so pleased and cant wait to hear about your discoveries and ideas! (and photos on your blog I hope!)
      It is very nice to have you back. Not maybe the best weather to return to!
      With love, Annabel.xxxx

    2. Yes the weather was a shock! Coming from 38C to 7C was a bit of a fright, but we've stoked up the fireplace and snuggled into our PJs and slippers and it was kind of lovely :)


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