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 30 July 2015

Feather your Nest Friday, 31st July, 2015.

The last day of July! So there goes another month! While it is nice to look back over the week and see what we achieved it is lovely too to think about what we did during the month. I also love a new month! What goals to set for August? Here August is the last month of winter. I know one thing to aim for and that is getting some more Christmas presents made. Finish all pruning in the garden... enjoy the last month of wintery cooking... use the cold dark nights for crochet and crafts... and I will have to think about the rest!

This week flew by and attempts to have a slower week didn't really work. But I am happy that I achieved a few things and worked through my various lists!

So this week I saved money by:

I finished a couple more presents. Some of them are just working an edge around really huge french themed tea towels (kitchen towels). They are giant sized with french images and french script.

I was given MORE lemons! This was my third bucketful. It filled two big baskets.

With these I made more lemon butter. Some for gifts and some to give back to the lady who gave me the lemons. On one I tied a tag with the recipe and easy way to make it. 

Next I will juice a lot of them and freeze the juice in ice cube trays for summer drinks. Also I made up two batches of Miracle Cleaner. In place of the Eucalyptus oil I used lemon juice. I also steeped the lemon skins in it for a day and then strained it. It worked! I thought it would as lemon juice smells good and so fresh, cuts through grease etc.  The only thing I am not sure about is if it will keep. Once I've established that I will post the recipe. I hope it keeps as I love it. It makes the house smell beautiful and I made a ton of it!

Another thing I want to try is adding a cup of lemon juice to a white only wash. I have white sheets and white doona cover so I will try this. It is meant to have a strong whitening power.

I collected all kinds of containers from around the place, Mum gave me some and one from an op shop (thrift store) for my future potting up day to make little succulent gardens.  Also got beautiful little pebbles for this at $2 a bag.

This is one that I started growing about two months ago. This is a blatant copy-the-idea-from-the-florist-craft. I have posted about their ideas and prices lots of times... well, this one I started for myself (the next ones are for gifts) and it has grown a lovely little flower! it looks so sweet and cheerful on my table... 

For this I had used a bowl I had, dirt from the garden, pinched succulents from Mum's garden and $2 of baby pebbles. So total cost is $2. It is a really big bowl and looks nice I think. It is three times the size of the florists anyway, that are $49 each.
Now the plan is to do a dozen or so smaller ones for gifts.

I found a beautiful doona cover in the op shop that is pale pink with big pink roses. I bought it to cut up and make tea towels.  Doona covers, sheets, curtains, are all good ways to get vast amounts of fabric very cheaply. I love this fabric and it is so pretty! I will make the print the front and use a plain cotton to make the back... this makes it thick enough to use as a kitchen towel. I will get a fair few as it is huge.

I sourced other fabric from the op shop. I needed lace so I bought a single lace curtain, washed it and cut it up. For $5 I got about 6 square meters of lace.

I went to the Chemist warehouse for Andy's scripts and saved a lot. When I say a lot I filled 6 scripts. The saving was over $60. I have decided each time I do this to save some of it and use some of it to build up my pantry. They also have the cheapest dish washing liquid, bleach, hand soap etc so I grab a few of those with my savings and add to my pantry. For the South Australian ladies this is Chemist King. 

Some ways I built up my home...

I added to the emergency pantry. 

We added a little to our emergency fund.

I have been pruning roses and working in the garden when the weather is good enough.

I cooked a meal for everyone, packaged it and delivered it so that everyone had help on Wednesday and a good meal.

And I learned some new things!  Thanks to some wonderful ladies who write to me with their pantry tips and experiences I am learning loads. New skills and knowledge can save a lot of money.

I hope you had a wonderful week and month! How did you build up your home and save money this week? 
Each week I add a little to my pantry. I am amazed by the results of this. Patsy is having a $5 a week pantry challenge at A Working Pantry. She has a face book group too which is very chatty and ladies share how far they made their five dollars go. I really love this. With smart shopping some ladies have got so much for their $5! I always say it but little bits really do add up!

Have a lovely


  1. Annabel, thank you for the mention about A Working Pantry's $5 or Less Pantry Challenge. It really is possible to build a well-stocked pantry with as little as $5 a week. I love to shop at thrift stores for things that I can turn into fabric and it is the best place to find lace on garments that can be removed and used at a good price! I hope you will post a picture of your tea towels you are making from the doona cover. I love the edging you put around the french themed tea towels .. it is perfect for the towels. I enjoyed this post, you are so encouraging and inspiring!

    1. Dear Patsy, Thank you! I love the $5 challenge for exactly the reason you said... for that amount we can build a great pantry, its just consistency. Also it makes a bit of a game/challenge of it which I love!
      As already said a few times since Wednesdays post we can feel a bit alone working away at home. Joining in on challenges like yours means we have good company! Its very nice. I did a freezer challenge with Wendy recently and I got so much done because of it! It is really a big help.
      Have a great weekend! Love

  2. Another great and inspiring post Annabel, finding your blog has really perked up my world, you have me redesigning my nest so to speak. I have always tried to keep a well stocked pantry, and quiet a few times have been thankful i did but always just skimmed through, you have opened my eyes to putting a bit more thought,effort and planning to my reserves. Your gift ideas are lovely and certainly the types of presents i would love to receive, so i m quiet excited to get started on some gift making , more fun than shopping and more personal. I'm off now to hap a cup of tea and make my goals for August and check out the $5 pantry challenge Thanks Annabel

    1. This is so nice to hear Cassandra, thank you.
      Today I am working on some presents and will post it Monday as it is an easy and very inexpensive one. Much of what I am saving by making my own presents is going to build up my pantry and my emergency fund. So it is a win/win. (I love killing two birds with one stone type things!)
      The $5 challenge could really work miracles in a pantry and overall preparedness over a year, imagine!
      Thank you so much, have a lovely weekend. Love

  3. Lovely post to read ,as usual Annabel :-)
    My week has been at a calmer pace, as this month as brought changes .In preparation for repair/reno work to our house, Ive been chipping away decluttering small areas like cupboards , drawers , wardrobes, bathroom cupboards.
    Cooking nourishing soups so that I eat well , the tendency not to when eating alone.I don;t mind having 2 nights in a row with the soup, I just add others things. eg tonight's dinner is a thick soup using a bacon hock and veges and beans and I added more bacon which I had at lunch and my leftover tomato bits.
    I have plenty of muffins in the freezer(city girl plenty not country girl hehe) and have made a yummy layered slice for the weekend, to give a contrast.
    I thought I would mention my pantry change , as you know Im keen on having a store, but since I am decluttering and trying to keep a more positive attitude, I decided to bring it all the the kitchen pantry and focus on what we would really use and would work if power failed or even if sickness prevented shopping trips.
    The bigger emergency items are stored in the laundry and hall cupboards not far from the kitchen.They take up a lot of space as it is.
    In my 40 years of married life that I have kept stores, they have only been used when one of our family has been unwell or given out to whoever needed it at the time.
    I also started last week on gifts up to February , that is birthdays and Christmas.Whilst I have made gifts in the past Im finding that buying online or in sales works best for me, but I will bake for some gifts and use nice opshop plates to give with the baked goods. I think it's great we all share ideas like this and do what works for us and what is available in our area. And I do love seeing and hearing of yours and everyone's crafting and making and baking :-)
    Have a lovey weekend and thankyou, love Maria xx

    1. Dear Maria,
      I am so happy to have you here! I still love our original group and memories of it. Of them a few have joined in here which I appreciated so much! But others I have never heard from and have had to think oh well life moves on and for a reason and try and be positive about it!
      With living in an earthquake region I think your emergency preparedness is a really good thing. But also having stuff you use and can rotate etc makes sense. And I bet you do what I do... which is think of the kids and Grandkids as they are not necessarily so prepared or experienced enough to think too seriously about it. So we are kind of an umbrella over all of them!
      I am glad you are planning ahead for good food when you are on your own. This is so important! Especially if you are on your own more than once a year! My friend who lost her husband... I am keeping an eye on that as it is a risk of being home alone and we mustn't let it happen.
      You are too modest about your crochet...that counts as crafted gifts! I love the hats you made!
      With love and thanks so much for commenting! Love

  4. I just love those tea towels! Your gifts are always so wonderful and creative.

    This week I qualified week 3 of my Coles shop. Next week is the final shop, then I will get $50 to spend. I will see if I can buy Telstra credit with it - likely not, but I will report if I can! That way I can use the $50 I normally use for that to buy various items for my pantry. We might be taking a trip over to the SPC Ardmona outlet soon, and can usually get some good buys there or even at NQR. Otherwise, will seek out some good or half price deals at Coles!

    I bought more great buys on markdown or specials at my favorite fruit and veg shop. They had really juicy lovely Mildura oranges for 99c kg this week. They are the nicest we have eaten this season. Some leftover no one liked in the fridge were juiced and frozen. I did a similar experiment with orange rind and vinegar, Annabel. I am hoping to make orange cleaner or add it to miracle spray. It has to be left two weeks.

    My daughter and I coloured each others hair. We watched some series on dvd free from the library. All of our washing was line dried or finshed inside by the heater.

    It felt a bit more spring like today. A new month tomorrow, last month of winter! I actually love a lot about the season, except getting laundry under control! :-) it seems to overtake the house with drying racks!

    1. Dear Kaye,
      Thank you re the tea towels... I will have to talk to you about your colors... I have it in my mind your kitchen has red, green and yellow... I better check with you so you get suitable colors!
      Oranges for 99c is really good. especially when they are really juicy. I feel like I need oranges and lemons at this time of year.
      We used to have doing each others hair days. It was quite a bit of fun and some ridiculous savings!
      I would love to be able to go to the Ardmona outlet. (for those reading this is a canned fruit factory) I hope, if you do, there are lots of bargains.
      Have a lovely weekend. Yes one more month until spring! Lots of love,

  5. love the tea towels Annabel, especially as they are French themed. This week DH and I have installed curtain tracks and curtains in the lounge and our bedroom, the house now looks more lived in and comfortable. the spare room should have been done today but on one of the rare occasions I opened a tin i cut my thumb and I don't want blood on the ivory paint lol.
    This afternoon while browsing all the local op shops I bought a small tin which has tulips painted on the outside, hopefully next year this will hold bulbs of some type. Unfortunately I didn't get the size I was looking for to expand the herb growing in the undercover area. Last weekend we bought 2 barstools and I am now looking for cushions for them, with specific colours in it makes it a little harder as I would prefer to get the cushion/material from op shops. These stools need to have cushions on them before I can start painting the dining room table and chairs, otherwise we have nowhere to sit except in front of the t.v.
    My nest is slowly being feathered in the way I want it.

    1. Dear Maggie,
      Putting the finishing touches on a room and collecting the things you need and want is really lovely.It is wonderful seeing it come together and I think the challenge of finding things is fun too. In a way it never ends as we always have little changes and keeping it nice.
      I am sure the right fabric will appear. I love op shops for fabric. It is amazing what you can get!
      Have a wonderful weekend. I am glad you made so much progress on your home this week! Love

  6. Dear Annabel,

    What gorgeous tea towels! Your work is always so beautiful.

    I love your collection of bottles and they look so pretty with the lemon by-products in them. Bottles elicit such a homey warmth; they somehow shout 'comfort.'

    We had a family get together last weekend and a grand daughter here for a couple of days this week. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with her, so just mostly played :).

    We, also, rearranged the guest room; decorated the guest bath; used up some food that I had pre-made from the freezer; planned our next two months; did a bit of yard work; and did our daily 'company ready' chores. Not much, but small bits this week.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Ut is lovely to have that time with your Grand daughter. I like that you had good fun playing around with her! That is what I hope to do too!
      I keep a lot of bottles in my jar cupboard for concoctions like this. Lemons smell really fresh and clean, I am enjoying using this.
      I hope you have a lovely weekend that is restful. With lots of love,

  7. Annabel,
    I love your tea towels! You have inspired me so although right now is a busy season for me I went through my materials and I have some ladies handkerchiefs that I am going to make a quilt for one granddaughter and some really cute heart shaped buttons that I want to put on a quilt for another that I may get to start in a few weeks. My doggie got a nasty cut that I had to stitch and it broke my heart. I like challenges and try to keep dinners at $5 or less and also my sons have never cared for school lunches so I buy stuff to pack and keep the cost below what the school lunches cost. I dried spinach outside and then some celery since it has been so hot. Hung laundry on the line to dry and put some white things out that I wanted the sun to bleach. I added a little to the pantry this week, I like to try to add each week even if it is just 1 item or even a sample. I also canned green beans. It has been a busy week, but I like being busy all spring, summer an fall so I can enjoy the quietness of winter!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      I love the sound of your projects! I have to say in summer I dont get much sewing or anything done because I will be in the garden, making jam or pies and dealing with fruit, swims in the evening and so on. So winter is indoors etc and this is when I can really get projects done. We have to do what work we have according to the season or we would miss the chance!
      You are doing exactly the right things for the season youre in.
      Soon we will have swapped seasons... we have four weeks of winter left.
      Have a great new week! With love,

  8. Hello Annabel, I can just imagine how nice your home must smell with all your lemons, I am guessing you smell fresh and lemony too.
    I am enjoying the Facebook pantry group too.

    It is a very busy and full summer here with the 2 newborn grands and my parents are moving from their home of 50 years in Texas to a brand new retirement apartment in our town.

    1. Dear Rhonda,
      Two new Grandchildren and your parents moving close by! That is a lot going on and all beautiful! Also after 50 years that will be a big adjustment for your parents but I hope they LOVE it!
      I am already thinking about my $5 pantry challenge for this week!
      With love,

  9. Annabel those tea towels look wonderful.

    My week didn't really get started until Wednesday once I got over a headache that started after we got home from Farm Fantastic - walking on too hard ground for a length of time must have jarred my neck.

    Wednesday I worked on my Coles list so that I could get week 3 out of the way working towards the fly buys points deal - I also cashed in an extra offer that was on the docket from the week before so points are mounting up on top of the expected points at the end of the 4 weeks.

    Thursday I had my hair cut and then headed to the shopping centre firstly to put in the medical claims for my recent surgery and then to do the Coles shopping - I didn't know that Medicare had moved so I had to locate where they were and then adjust my plans. Thankfully by the time I got to Medicare (which is no where near the shopping centre at all) I was only waiting a few minutes before being served then I could head home - maximum total spent there would have been at the most 15 minutes - so much better than I anticipated.

    Friday my husband had to head out to the other side of Brisbane to sort out some problems for work face to face - that meant I was home alone so of course I managed to get the cleaning done and the floors washed without having to keep tabs on my husband who always finds a reason to walk across newly washed floors.

    During the week I also learnt that Golden Circle are opening up a factory outlet shop not far from us - they currently have a shop the other side of Brisbane. I use to head to the SPC shop at least twice a year when we lived in Melbourne.

    We also had some family stuff happening, a wedding invitation and my mother in law ending up in hospital due to her heart condition - this all happened during the wee hours of Thursday night/Friday morning. My husband was notified by one of his brothers as he was leaving work lunch time yesterday so he popped into the hospital on the way home. Not sure when my mother in law will be home but my husband's siblings that have retired have that all sorted out.

    I did manage to get a little bit of knitting done - would have been more apart from the headache.

    Have a great weekend everyone


    1. Dear Lynette,
      I get headaches too and know what its like! Especially a bad one that lasts more than a day. I find it hard to think straight, concentrate or sleep, let along get much done.
      A Golden Circle outlet would be a great asset. I notice here recently it is very hard to get GC pineapple. In Woolies they often only have overseas pineapple which I wont buy. I love Golden Circle and trust it.
      I hope you get a restful weekend and feel much better and that next week will be a "normal" week for you!
      Here it has poured all night and is still pouring (midday) it is a long time since we had this much rain. I will be staying in and maybe doing some sewing.
      Lots of love,

  10. Dear Annabel,

    I love your tea towels too, and I also like the idea of using second hand linen for making other things. My Mother in Law gave me a couple of double bed quilts a while ago and I had been wondering what to do with them Thank you for the idea to make tea-towels. I am also thinking of a couple of aprons as mine are getting a bit grubby.

    With the miracle cleaner, I am thinking that the lemon peel/skin might be a better option to add. It would infuse and make a sweet lemony smelling product. I hope that the lemon juice keeps for you and works okay. I read recently that using a lemon cut in half to clean scum of tiles. Just rub it over the tiles. I think I would add a bit of bi carb for extra strength. I am yet to try it but I have lemons in abundance at the moment.

    This is how my busy week went. I blinked and it was gone...

    Three no spend days.

    I cooked meals from scratch, and made extra meals for hubby to take to work. He was away for three days.

    Used the hot water on the fireplace to wash dishes and add to laundry water.

    Sold excess eggs.

    I didn't have to cook two meals this week as no one was home for those nights. Yay a night off is great, two is even better!

    Used leftover drinking water to water plants.

    Picked some tomatoes and capsicums from the garden.

    Was gifted a bag of lemons and huge bunch of homegrown rhubarb.

    Had a couple of Spring like days this week, so no problems getting the washing dry.

    Paid extra on our mortgage, it is exciting to see it drop.

    Have a lovely week Annabel.


    1. Dear Tania,
      I am going to reply to both your comments here as they go together. Just look at all you did this week and all you do every week! It is hard to do but if you add up the $$ value of all the cooking, cleaning, harvesting your own food, general savings etc. I am betting you save more than you would make after tax out at some job. Plus as you say you have been there for all the kids throughout.
      I just love material in sheets, doonas, curtains etc... it is so much! If a pattern you like you are set! I back t towels so that they are thick enough with a soft cotton or sometimes a doona will have a plain back and pretty front so I just use that. It turns out a pillowcase is about the right size for a tea towel so I just sew them together and add a trim or edging! And a pillowcase filled with a piece of toweling (I do double thickness) and add an edging or braid makes a great bath mat! They can be really pretty. Another thing is serviettes or hankies.
      I will let you know on the lemon cleaner so far so good and it smells so good.
      Have a lovely weekend! With love,

  11. oh..I just love the French towel! And the succulents!

    What I'm most excited about from the last week was that I was able to get a bit of extra pills to have on hand with one of my medications. Last month, I had to stop taking 1 medication because I had abnormal lab work. After 3 weeks being off, my labs normalized and I restarted the medication. In the past, I would have put off refilling my prescription until I was almost out of pills, but thanks to your posting on emergency preparedness, I refilled my prescription at the regular time it was due, thus giving me an extra 3 weeks to have on hand!!

    I will have to check out the $5 pantry challenge as well. It sounds like a good way to keep at it along with everyone else.

    Checking your blog is my favorite way to end the week. Enjoy your weekend!

    1. Dear Debbie,
      Good thinking on the medication! Just keep rotating so that your newest ones go to the back and use the oldest, then over time none go out of date.
      You will enjoy the $5 challenge. It is amazing what we can add for $5 especially using specials and mark downs and its fun hearing what people got for that! But it helps keep me at it. It sure adds up too.
      Thank you so much for your encouragement. We encourage each other I think! Have a great weekend. With love,

  12. Those French towels are just gorgeous! What beautiful presents. I love the succulents too. Your gift recipients are just so lucky. Such beautiful crafted items, made with love. You have put those lemons to a great use too. So clever.
    This week I have been trying to sell things on Gumtree so I can build up a kitty. There are a few things on our wish list around home so I am motivated to sell- like a back fence for our courtyard. The things I don't sell will be donated. I made some thank you cards using some photos of Henry and a free app on my iPad. That saved at least $30. Also bought a high chair for $10! So I was happy. I have written a list of people we will gift to for Christmas and my plan is to make lots of foodie gifts. Mum and I are planning two days in October of cooking and making our mango chutney. I love checking your blog too over a cuppa, it feels so nice! Love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      The whole key to making presents is to start early and do something every week. I found those tea towels and thought they look stylish so just adding to them and then I will likely give away with some bunches of herbs or some cooking...
      It is a great idea to sell unneeded stuff. Some towns have Facebook buy sell swap sites too and I know some ladies have had success with those as well. I hope you can add to your savings this way for your fence and things.
      A high chair for $10 is a great buy! Something you will really need pretty soon.
      Another thing that can be made in October and kept is Christmas cakes. For gifts I like to do individual sized ones. They work out well if made October as then they have matured and taste amazing in December! I use ramekin baking dishes to cook them, just the right size. In December then I wrap up in cellophane and tie with a ribbon etc. They are a big hit! Its just something that can be made well ahead of time. Also what a fun time you will have with your Mum! That sounds like ti would be really good fun plus you will get heaps done!
      I hope you have a lovely weekend! With love

  13. Loving the plants in pots as gifts..... They cost so much in shops and I never thought of making one up myself!
    Have a wonderful weekend

    1. Dear Heidi,
      See Shelleys idea below! This would make them into birthday, get well, cheer up etc gifts and be such a hit. Keep an eye out in friends and families gardens for these. I have really built up a collection without ever buying one! At the moment I would have at least 30 I can pot up! They just multiply so quickly and are so sweet!
      I hope you have a great weekend too! With love

  14. I was so busy this week. I barely had time to get on the computer. What I remembered to detail for my week is just a portion of all I did, lol. It feels good to be back in my routine once more.

    1. Dear Terri,
      I loved your individual portion deserts and that you have peaches! This makes me quite look forward to summer!
      Thank you for posting! With love,

  15. Hi Annabel another lovely post I am really loving making small succulents in either white pots or glass jars to give as gifts. I add a thin wooden stick with a flag attached which has a greeting on it such as Happy Birthday or Get Well Soon I make the flag out of srapbook paper and print the greeting on the computer Cheaper than a card but always well received I always have a few made up. A greeting such as Thinking of You is great to give to a friend having a hard time Wooden sticks available at reject shops xx Shelley

    1. Dear Shelley,
      I love your idea! My brain went into overdrive on this! If you ever want to share a photo of this I would show all the ladies to give them the idea.
      I just potted up some tiny little flower shaped succulents just right for this.
      Since you said this I went on pinterest... and saw the idea of using two sticks on either side of the plant and making a little banner across it... like for a party. Oh so cute! I love to find an idea that is so adorable!
      Many thanks! With love,

  16. Mother always said that when a plant flowers, it is in its ideal environment.

    Hugs from Nova Scotia, Canada,


I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for

Spam is never published... if you are advertising a product or selling website your comment wont be published. I am inundated with stuff about drugs, horses and weird things! I am not going to publish this stuff! Thank you.