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 2 July 2015

Feather your Nest Friday, 3rd July, 2015.

Time for a review of the week! I have a lot to be thankful for and had a good week. It is really good to see progress and have happy things to report.

Some of the ways I saved money this week:

At the supermarket I found packets of pizza bases and also wraps for 60c. They all had been almost $6 a packet and I would never usually buy any of them. I got 8 packs and they are all in the freezer. The wraps had 6 per pack, the pizza was two large per pack. This is the base for some fast meals in a pinch.

I also got pumpkin for 69c a kilo and tomatoes for $1.90 a kilo and got heaps of both.

On Wednesday I visited my Aunt. She had flowers and pretty china all ready and waiting which was lovely.

Her garden was full of produce including orange trees heavy with fruit...

We picked oranges and I came home with both oranges and limes. At the moment citrus is in season and Adelaide is wonderful for citrus trees. In winter all this brightness is really lovely.

I was also given flowers! My Aunt has a way of having flowers in bowls and on plates like floral carpets. She had them on an outdoor table, the kitchen bench and scattered around. They look heavenly. When I got home I made my own on a platter...

Also she had saved up jars for me. It was five bags of jars, almost 50 in all shapes and sizes. This is wonderful and my supplies for summer are looking good!

I was reminded of a handy craft. Years ago I made my Aunt an album for photos or recipes. I had purchased a plain album and covered it in lovely images I thought she would like. As she loves chooks and produce I went with that theme. She had it out and I was reminded of it. It was well used and full of recipes.

For the card making girls or anyone wanting a simple craft for gifts this is so easy. If you go with images you know a person will love you can make diaries, journals, cook books, photo albums etc. You could do a pantry book! It is personal, useful and lovely. The album I had used here was only a few dollars and I did a series of these with different themes for different people. It was really fun and gave me many gifts. Really, it is like card making on a bigger scale. I think I will do some as cook books for my pantry themed gifts. For plain books, journals etc look in cheap shops. Cardboard covers are good, plastic covers are not so good. If you make a journal a matching strip of velvet ribbon makes a lovely bookmark. Beautiful journals are expensive to buy but really cheap to make and personalize. And now is the time to get started on Christmas presents!

Some of the ways I built up our home:

I added quite a bit to my pantry and cellar and I learned things!
We added to our emergency fund.
Easy meals were added to the freezer.
I also realize I am much more watchful and that is good for the home and family.

I hope you also had a good week! It flew by so fast. Thankfully I still have the day to do things. I am soaking labels off some of the jars and washing others. Some were already clean and ready for me as my Aunt put them through her dishwasher. Then I will get them stacked in my jar cupboard ready and waiting for summer. I have soup to put on and cleaning up to do!

How did you build up your nest this week? There are so many things we do everyday that keep things going, add to our comfort and security.

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx


  1. Annabel, Such lovely pictures! The flowers are just gorgeous! The citrus looks delicious!! And bags of jars! Hooray!! What a wonderful day with your Aunt!

    Did you do a post on picture albums? I have looked through some of your craft posts but not all yet. I use old notebooks, cover them with fabric in colors/designs suited to the recipient. But I really like your idea of using a collage of pictures!! Fabulous idea!!! :)

    This week, I picked and blanched veggies from our garden. We also ate them at meal time. I also added to our pantry. We were running low on several basics. My husband shopped during his lunch hour (he takes his lunch to work each day but goes out on the days he needs to buy gasoline and checks a couple stores for specials) and found whole chickens, chicken quarters and ground beef all for very good prices, so we added a bit more to our freezer. Some was used for dinners.

    I am grateful for all your posts! I put a whole chicken upside down in the slow cooker today! Yum! I also did a bit more organizing and tossing/recycling "stuff" lol Good week!

    Have a wonderful weekend! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      I haven't done a post on albums other than to show journals Chloe makes me as a gift, very early on.
      I hope from this picture it will give the idea of how something plain can be made really personal or themed. I really love the eggs, feathers etc myself and think I might do some as cook books, pantry notes etc for my pantry themed gifts.
      Your husband is a good shopper and help! If everyone keeps an eye out this is a massive help as far as bargains etc go.
      Im glad your chicken turned out well. So many uses for left over chicken too.
      Have a wonderful weekend! Love Annabel.xxxx

  2. Annabel, your aunt sounds like a woman I would enjoy chatting with! We've had the twins most all of the week which has slowed us down but hasn't stop us. I think it is very important to work with what life brings our way and instead of giving up and saying "I can't" digging in instead and finding a way that we can ... regardless of how small that way is. This principle applies to our pantry building ... when we can't do what we want or normally would, we do what we can and be thankful we can do that!

    1. Patsy you are a big blessing to those twins. Important work.
      You are absolutely right. I like that saying Do what you can with what you have where you are!
      People wish they had this or that. If life gives you lemons then make lemon butter, lemon meringue pie, lemonade... There are opportunities all the time! Its the CAN do attitude!
      And lots of small bits add up just as surely.
      Thanks so much, it is great to have had a good week. Have a lovely weekend! xxxx

  3. Dear Annabel,

    Your pictures are always so gorgeous. We can't grow any citrus fruit here and never get to see it on trees, except in pictures. It was so nice to see the fruit thick on trees. We live in an altitude of over 5,000 ft and a very short growing season; normally the max is 4 months.

    Your album was very pretty. What a nice gift for your aunt. Your post jogged my memory that years ago I would quilt fabric covers for albums and embroidery the person's name on it. That was about 40 years ago, so it seems like another lifetime and I had completely forgotten about it.

    This week, as I commented on the Preparedness post, I spent most of my time making out a year's worth of menu's with ingredients used, and calculating the 'real' amounts of food necessary to prepare those meals.

    We have stocked up on food for years, but just purchased what I knew we used regularly. I found that, throughout the year, I would use more of some items and less of others or our tastes would change or we'd go to the same meal over and over and use up more of one item and run out. Fortunately, there was always the opportunity to go to the store to restock the items that we ran out of due to using more than anticipated. In the future, that opportunity might not exist.

    This past winter, I spent a dedicated amount of time putting together recipe notebooks, divided into categories and sub-categories; much like my household preparedness notebook. It was much easier, having all the beef recipes together, the tofu recipes together, the chicken recipes together, etc.... to make up a year's worth of varied meals and to compile ingredients for all of them. I make up a lot of my own recipes, so it was helpful to have them written down instead of floating in my head.

    In a crisis situation, the primary household cook might not be the only one cooking, so having menu's made out; the location of the recipe; and the ingredients to use, will help tremendously for anyone who is doing the cooking. My husband likes to cook and he was grateful for the work I did to make it easier for him to know what to do.

    The result of the compilation was a trip to Sam's Club yesterday for a stock up run. I have two more store lists to shop from and a long list of foods to purchase to dehydrate. We normally grow our own food to dehydrate, but having just moved and starting our garden over, we will purchase it this year.

    Your jars sound absolutely delightful. It always makes me smile when I see gleaming jars lined up filled with food :).

    Love and hugs, Glenda

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Embroidered journal covers would be gorgeous. Also Bible covers, cook book covers etc. Embroidered pillowcases are a lovely gift too. Its the tough of personalization!
      The amount of meals we go through in a year is staggering. But it easy to be wrong about amounts needed on hand. Your system of working it out is really good.
      It sounds like you are going to be very busy dehydrating food and putting away purchases. It is a big job. But a good one. They are food days.
      Thank you so much, have a great weekend! Love Annabel.xxxx

  4. Hi, Annabel. I really enjoyed your pantry post earlier this week along with this one, of course. The Highwayman and I had quite the lengthy discussion when I read to him Brandy's post and the comments. It would be seriously difficult for us to tow a pantryful around in our caravan (RV), but we are going to do SOMETHING for preparedness.

    How did I save money this week? Last night I stitched a "Happy Birthday" card. In my grocery cart the other day I had a selected greeting card for a friend's birthday. Then I was in the office supply aisle and saw an entire package of vibrant card stock for the same price as one greeting card ($4). Take one guess what I DIDN'T buy and another guess at what I did buy!

    My handstitched card turned out adorably! I used embroidery floss as a "rainbow" of 12 colors and for the "i" stitched a white birthday candle with metallic gold flame. I will share it on Kelley Highway soon!

    I also gleaned some quality clothing pieces that will travel well in the Pacific when we get back there. Mostly tops for which I will make some skirts to complement. Also, several pieces can be worn with a white skirt!

    I had several skirts to take in at the waist as I've lost 19 pounds from my recent lifestyle change (a result of realizing my poor relationship with sweets, bread and flour products). The skirts feel much better now and don't look so baggy.

    I was only able to cook one meal recently in the Crock Pot here in the Li'l Dutchgirl (traveling a lot and being hosted by others). While I was at my dad's for Father's Day weekend, though, I showed him how to prepare a simple large meal that he could enjoy over several days. For our Father's Day meal, I rubbed a mixture of Pink Himalayan Salt and fresh ground pepper into two thick pork chops and placed them in the bottom of the Crock Pot on LOW. A tablespoon of water and on went the lid. I had him set a timer and later we put in a Corelle cereal bowl right on top of those chops. In the bowl we put two washed sweet potatoes. (I like to serve those or apples as the perfect side dish for pork.) I chopped up two nice salads with beautiful greens, carrots, yellow bell peppers and tomatoes. Dampened paper towels kept the salads from drying out in the ref while we enjoyed our day looking at old photos. (Dad had just moved.) Mmm! Was that meal delicious! We served the potatoes with real cow's butter and the salad with a raspberry vinaigrette he had! The chops needed no sauce, no dip, nothing! They were perfectly cooked! Dad was amazed at the ease of that meal, and since I left, he has been making great use of his Crock Pot!

    Well, I'm sure I've done a lot of other things to keep my nest fluffed and tidy. God is good, every day.


    1. Dear Kelley,
      I just loved hearing about that meal! And also how now your Dad is crock pot cooking! That is just wonderful and a joy to hear.
      Now I have to say I would have LOVED to be listening in on that conversation with your husband about what you thought about the blog and what was said...
      The card you made sounds lovely and I cant wait to see it over on the Highway!
      This was beautiful to read! With love, Annabel.xxxx

  5. Hello Annabel. Once again, beautiful pictures, especially the citrus. For my birthday last month, SO bought me a dwarf orange tree which is already growing 2 oranges. I can't wait for them to be loaded with fruit like your aunt's tree is.

    You motivated me to start building my pantry. I was too *busy* to get out and pick strawberries during the Florida strawberry season (I won't make that mistake next year!) and my own strawberry plants only produce enough for me to eat fresh. But our Aldi had California strawberries on sale for $1.29 a pound. I bought 2 pounds. We ate 1/2 pound fresh and canned a small batch of whole strawberries in vanilla syrup. We grow a lot of bananas, so I think serving the fresh bananas with the strawberries in syrup will be a nice change and a way to use up our fresh bananas that we get tired of and would stretch the strawberries. If we like this recipe, I'll do several bigger batches next strawberry season when I can go to the U-pick farms and get strawberries very cheap.

    I picked 2 Japanese eggplant fron the garden and made Parmesan sandwiches for dinner. I also picked my first butternut squash which I put aside and will bake up when other fresh veggies aren't available.

    Thank you for your inspiration!

    1. Dear Debbie,
      Thank you very much. I am pretty thrilled you are building up your pantry. I thought this was a daunting job but lots of little steps in six months have seen great progress! Its getting started then keeping at it and using every opportunity. Then its amazing! And should a storm, shortage, illness or hard times strike it is such a good thing!
      I cant believe you have bananas! That is exotic fruit to me. I can think of so many banana recipes! That is wonderful. Also strawberries are beautiful.
      The eggplant and parmesan sounds delicious!
      Thanks for commenting, I was so happy to hear this.

  6. Dear Annabel,

    What a great week you've had! I love the set up at your aunt's house. How lovely. Reminds me of my favorite aunt and how special she's always treated me. I need to send her a note.

    Kelley's comment was excellent! I wrote down her recipe exactly and going to give that a try, so THANKS, KELLEY!...I too would love to hear what she and the Highwayman had to contribute to Brandy's comments.

    This week I feathered my nest by cleaning up! We're having my bonus-son's birthday celebration here Sunday for swimming, BBQ, & piƱata fun!
    Made all savings goals thankfully
    Revisited my holiday gift stash to see where I'm at. Then I can make good use of many of the back-to-school sales that are coming up to get certain gifts
    Tried a new dinner recipe. It was a flop and I learned :)
    Found a cake recipe for the Birthday, I'll let you know how it goes
    took the kids to the waterpark with our passes :) Felt like a mini vacation
    bought boneless chicken breasts on an excellent sale ($1.77/lb)
    pre-formed all the burger patties for the party & froze
    made decorations for the party
    got a new stash of books at the library (for kids and myself)
    revised pantry stocking goals
    cleaned the mater bath...from top to bottom. Doesn't that feel nice?
    sorted through scrapbooking stuff...I seriously cannot let so much time pass between projects. August scrapping adventure weekend will be here and I want to be ready!

    In all of our feathering/taking care of our families, do we remember to take care of ourselves? I often fail in that way so I had to share this.... I had a headache for over two days. That's bad enough, but then nausea settled in. I think most of us would rather anything than awful, spinning-your-head, sinking-your-stomach nausea. Thinking back to the last time that happened... I was scheduled for a chiropractic adjustment for my lower back that gets wonky from time to time. To my surprise, the nausea immediately went away, the headache went away within an hour. So in remembering that I called the chiro and they fit me in. I have felt fine since Wednesday after the adjustment. Well worth my copay and time, I have way too much to do! :)

    As always Annabel, thank you for this place to meet and be encouraged. I come back and read every comment and replies as the days pass. Everyone have a wonderful weekend!

    Colette xxx

    1. Dear Colette,
      What a good week! I understand about the headaches... nausea sets in at a certain point and then there's trouble. Over tiredness is my problem/trigger.
      Pacing ourselves is easier said than done!
      Have a great weekend and a rest. I hope next week is as good! Lots of love,

  7. I love the roses and tea cup Annabel. Very pretty and I'm sure it made the cuppa taste even better.

    Here's what I got up to this week -

    * I gave both Jessica and Megan a haircut. Their hair was due for a good trim. This saved us $10 - $15 each.

    * Made a litre of vanilla yoghurt using some natural yoghurt given to us as a starter.

    * Baked two loaves of white bread with chia seeds and two wholemeal loaves.

    * Filled up my car before the school holiday price hike and used a discount coupon too

    * Gratefully received a couple of boxes of clothes from a family member. There were lots of jeans and other items we can put to good use. All were in as new condition.

    * Froze two single serves of a pasta dish.

    * We've started using newspaper in the bottom of the chicken coop nesting boxes with a smaller amount of hay. It gives the boxes better insulation during the colder weather and means we don't have to use as much hay.

    * Made Annabel's Golden Syrup pudding. This is a very frugal pudding and wonderfully comforting in Winter.

    * Refilled all my spray bottles with Miracle Spray.

    * Started saving the washing machine water again. With the two big birthday celebrations lately, we just didn't have time to do it. It's great to get back into the routine.

    * Dried most of the washing on clothes horses. Some was put into the dryer.

    * Watered all our pot plants and bulbs with water saved from the kitchen.

    * Gratefully received some meat and vegetables. Most of the vegetables I blanched and froze straight away as I couldn't use it quick enough.

    * Donated another couple of bags to Savers and received some discount stamps. Megan bought some tops from Savers as she's doing work experience shortly at a local hospital.

    * Baked raspberry and white choc muffins for snacks.

    * Picked lettuce from our garden for two meals.

    * Collected a fair few eggs. One day we collected four eggs from five chooks. Not bad for the cold weather

    1. Dear Wendy, What a productive week! And your chooks are being productive as well!
      The haircuts probably saved even more. The last time I heard the local hairdressers were charging about $80 a trim here. More for extras... and so having say a cut, colour, blow dry was almost $300! (lucky I never go to the hairdressers!)
      You will be happy... I am starting up on crafts next week! It is time to start on Christmas presents in order to make them all!
      I hope you enjoyed the pudding, it is a real winter warmer!
      Have a great weekend! Thanks so much for sharing Wendy, Love Annabel.xxxx

    2. Yep, we loved the pudding.

      I can't wait to see your crafts. I'm excited already xoxo

    3. Miracle Spray, Wendy, is this a homemade recipe? And for what is it "miraculous?" *wink*

      Thanks, Wendy!

    4. I see that you found the recipe on my blog. It's miraculous for many things to do with cleaning. xoxo

  8. Those roses and that china is beautiful! How thoughtful of your Aunt and to collect those jars too. That is just lovely. I agree with the comment above, it is lovely to see jars filled with food. I too, had never thought of a cookbook or journal like that. Making cards has become fun because of you, so this would be a great next step. I would love tuition on this too. We were lucky this week. My extended family came up and instead of going out and spending lots of money, we had beach BBQS (in Qld, so it's not cold), and were given fish and cooked it all up for everyone to have with chips and salad. My grandmother is very crafty too so we spend time at op shops yesterday having lots of fun, looking for materials and buttons. In fact she made a beautiful bunny for baby H- all out of things at home. She didn't buy one material...even the calico was from a plum pudding and his mouth is silk ribbon off a dress. So special. DH is servicing on his car, saving us lots of money and I bought an Annabel Karmel baby food cookbook for $2. Thank you for another great post. Love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      The big thing with card making and making covers for books like this is to collect collect! There are certain themes I collect, usually from magazines but sometimes even from junk mail, used wrapping paper and anywhere... mine are soft colored roses, bling ie gems, chandeliers etc., beautiful gardens, cooking and produce. After seeing my Aunts book I thought why didnt I make myself one! lol. So I will make some more.
      What a great family get together. What could have been nicer than that!
      I am loving your Grandmother. Bridge, while you have her... ask her things like her best inexpensive recipes and advice. Maybe even get her to write them out for you? I am telling you that one day you will be so glad you did. They are full of knowledge and know how to stretch a dollar! Yours sounds gorgeous.
      It wont be long and I will be making baby food for Harper so I will do some posts on that. I have promised to help with baby meals. (mainly as I would love to) and it is a big savings and very healthy. Anyway, timing wise, I hope this might be helpful to you too.
      Have a lovely weekend! I am so glad you are enjoying making cards! love Annabel.xxxx

  9. Lovely photos!
    Our grapefruit and tangelo trees have small, green fruit on them since we are on the summer side of the world. With the intense heat, 115 F a few days ago, my gardening is mostly maintaining here in central Arizona. I do have some basil plants and sweet potato plants that do well in spite of the heat.
    Making some cards is on my list for this weekend. My daughter and I will share supplies and have the fun of doing it together. I also want to put together a little photo album kit for my granddaughter's 6th. birthday. Congratulations on the birth of your first! We have 3. They are such a blessing!
    I was able to combine sales, coupons and the 10% senior discount at the grocery store. I usually get items we need and want and mainly add to my stockpile only when it is an especially good deal, but have started adding more things to increase my pantry. We had $1 off on gas and took both vehicles to get the most from it. Most meals were made at home. Lots of other little things that add up.
    Thank you for the encouragement! Elaine

    1. Dear Elaine,
      I dont like the heat! We get that kind of heat and hotter like 118 and sometimes for days. It is very wearing. But my basil loves it as long as I keep the water up. This is making me glad I am in winter though!
      Card making with your daughter sounds lovely and the idea of the photo album kit for your grand daughter is great, she will love that!
      I am so glad you are adding to your pantry. I am looking at Greece today and the shortages etc. It could happen anywhere. Our pantries are a big insurance policy! Thank you so much for commenting. Love


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