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 16 July 2015

Feather your Nest Friday,17 July, 2105.

It has been a cold and wintery week with lots of rain. This is good as we need the rain and its great for the garden and the farm. Also I get lots of crafts and cooking done in weather like this.

Just at the time I have lots of free citrus I also have yellow climbing roses. It is just a happy accident that they always come at the same time. So one of my money saving things this week was to make my Winter Sunshine Cake and top it with roses from the back fence...

I have non spectacular cake decorating skills so I always use fresh flowers and the color is just right!

(This recipe when cut looks equally yellow... the recipe is in the cooking section here.).

Other ways I saved money and built up the nest this week were:

Trying some shops outside my normal ones and comparing, buying some great specials and mark downs.

Finishing another Christmas present bringing my total to three!

Making roses. In part for the tutorial I am working on and in part for a gift and for a vaseful for the house. While I do it I am surrounded by roses which is so lovely! Even the mess of this going on is a pretty mess!

I made up moth repellant bags to out in  the wardrobes as Andy has had a couple of tiny holes in jumpers... so I have my suspicions. These are cloves, bay leaves and cinnamon.

Every month IKEA send me a voucher. As Chloe had things she wanted to purchase I was able to get $15 of free stuff which I put to really good use! Dividers for my crock pot! (will post soon in a side dish crock pot post).

I found cheaper ways of sending gifts in the mail and mail generally. I need to change my ways with post parcels basically.

I was able to add to my pantry and cellar. I would say now my pantry is the best ever and is looking good. This feels like progress!

A cookbook I don't like but that has beautiful photography is being turned into cards. The photos are glorious so that's what I decided to do as the recipes all have thirty ingredients like eye of a gnat that I am never going to buy.

Around the house I have been having a re arrange. This has had a domino effect and seen a few messes but using things I already had in new ways things look fresher and I love it! Of course then as you move things you clean and so it goes. But overall effect is great and no cost improvements.

Chloe printed me some more jar labels onto sticker paper. The Internet is full of free stuff that can be used or made into gifts. Jess on Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth has gorgeous printables. She has pantry lables, canning labels and the most gorgeous seed packets.

I discovered some great new things. I seem to be on a steep learning curve as far as cooking, pantry skills etc go and much of it is thanks to the beautiful letters and comments I get. Teri is preparing a lesson just now on saving money using powdered milk ie in cooking.... and Glenda is working on lessons as well! These ladies, like Vicky, have years of experience in canning, drying and "putting up" food in all kinds of ways. I am soaking up the information.

Heidi asked what are good websites for learning more... I suggested A Working Pantry, Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, the blogs on my side bar...  and also companies like Ball Canning have great information web sites. You tube tutorials can be fantastic teachers if you search what you are looking for. Free lessons on anything! 

I still have lemons, limes and oranges. Lemon Butter is next as I do not want to waste any of these. I have found that if I mainly use lemons I can add limes or an orange and use these up too and it still works out just fine with a slight variation! All going well I will get this done today.

I hope you had a wonderful week. How did you save money and build up your home? It is so nice to look over what we achieved. I do have a couple of things still on my list but if I get moving I will hopefully get them done! 

Several times this week the same thing has been highlighted... Vicky said it and Mimi wrote a beautiful post about it... if we treat saving money and our homes and families as our job we achieve so much. I am not a lay on the lounge watching daytime tv person and never have been as I think I have work to do and it is my job!  There is so much to do and never enough time!

Saving that I have learned I achieve much more if I pace myself through the day. I stop and have cups of tea and a lunch break. Kind of as you would at work. And then off I go again in a burst of "getting stuff done".  If we worked out all our savings it would be mind boggling!

Have a great weekend. I think I will have my rose tutorial up on Monday. xxx


  1. Your cake looks beautiful and the roses just set it off. Loved reading this post, it reinforces, encourages and supports my own life ... and we all need that from time to time. I'm anxiously awaiting your rose tutorial! Thank you for mentioning A Working Pantry!

    1. Dear Patsy,
      Have a wonderful weekend. It was a good week! My goals I set on your fb page really help me along.
      Lots of love,

  2. Annabel, your photos of your Sunshine cakes topped with the golden roses are amongst my favourites...this one is no exception. What a lovely week you've had and how heavenly to treat moths with those little organza bags filled with sweet and fragrant things! A good week here, with some early Spring cleaning done on everyones wardrobes, as travelling with one bag for three weeks is a good reminder of how few clothes we really No baking as my oven is not working....sigh. This is a far greater imposition than it first appeared, as it's not just 'no cakes', it's 'no roasts, no casseroles and no yummy Winter pasta bake'. I've had to be inventive with the slow cooker (thanks for your tips earlier this week), the grill, the microwave and the stovetop. Who knows? Maybe the oven will get the flick like our excess clothing did. Cleaning was considered obligatory, so I obliged, and photo viewing and filing commenced for future memory making :) I hope everyones week was lovely and fulfilling. Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      Every year the roses obediently follow the free fruit! So handy!
      You are set with your crock pot for casseroles... and pasta bake is good too...roasts well, pot roasts which I know are not quite the same but still good. Puddings ... but not cakes so much... but I know you will be inventive and manage.
      I hope you are settling back in at home. I always think that takes a while after a trip, catching up and cleaning etc. seem to take a while.
      Have a lovely weekend! With love,

  3. You have had a wonderful and productive week Annabel!

    I am also having a rearrange at the weekend. I should be able to more readily find some gifts that are stashed in a few different areas at present in my bedroom! It will help to start matching gifts to occasions and get everything prepared ahead.

    I probably should have put this comment in on Wednesday, but it has been a really hectic week with far too many appointments and time out of home this week. I have felt like I’m playing “catch up” all week. Some weeks are like that! :-)

    This week I still feathered our nest by adding even more to the pantry. I have nearly filled all the gaps and have been working week by week to do this. We were blessed with a meat pack worth at least $35 I worked out. I also found a bounty of marked down veggies again for $10 this week in total. That freed up a lot of money I then used to add a lot to my pantry with meals almost taken care of for the week with these items. I also added to my gift “store” with some very good specials on soaps and gift wrap etc. I added to my “toiletries” store as well. So I have made soup and apple crumble cakes and added packs of all sorts of things to my freezer as well as meals for this week from the produce.

    You reminded me of dried beans the other day, so I am planning to use up a lot of them in the next few months. Thankfully they last for years! I bought long life milk for $8 for 12 x 1 litre. The pantry is so well stocked now!!

    1. Dear Kaye,
      It was great getting that meat pack! what a bonus!
      Also the fruit and vegies. It is almost fun working out what to do with things like this to use them up.
      Apple crumble cakes... I think I am going to have to ask for this recipe when you have time!
      Your pantry and stores are going wonderfully! Well done! I know you have been busy with extra things but you still have done very well!
      With lots of love,

  4. Annabel what a great week you have had. I love your cake! In fact I tried making your beautiful Winter Sunshine Cake as a surprise and as part of a gift for my Mum's birthday. I had her over for morning tea and everyone raved about your cake (and secretly I am not the best cake cook but you write so well, you make it easy for me to follow). I loved your bags to repel the moths, even they are so gorgeous! I have to say I am not a big fan of those recipe books that call for 30 ingredients either. How clever to still use the book. While we had a busy week with family, I try and run our household budget like a business and account for every dollar. So I tracked our spending. I also exercised for free- between excellent you tube clips for fitness and utilising the beach and bush walks nearby it saves a fair bit. I used up our left over spaghetti sauce and turned it into a pasta bake. Lots of love, bridge

  5. PS- I also googled formula and China (as of special interest to me) and goodness Annabel you were well before your time with this news. I couldn't believe it.
    I'm going to stock up this week. Thank you Annabel for sharing so much. Love, bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      There is no better detective than a Mother or Grandmother! lol I did think the media was a bit slow on this so it goes to show we have to keep an eye on things ourselves.
      I am so glad you liked that cake! It is really cheerful and yum at this time of the year. I just made lemon butter... I dont know if you get free or cheap lemons where you are but if you do this is really good. I just fill a sponge with lemon butter and whipped cream. I usually just buy a sponge and fill it. But it looks spectacular! Next week I will post my latest lemon butter it takes about ten minutes in the microwave and is so easy.
      Well done on your savings, budgeting and making a meal from left over spaghetti sauce. That was a great week! With lots of love,

  6. Hi Annabel! The cake is beautiful and I would like to make it for three girlfriends who will be coming to lunch soon. They just co-hosted a wonderful 80th birthday party for me and I want the lunch to be a special thank you! However, I am unable to find the recipe. Would appreciate a link or.... Thank you so much! Shirley

    1. Dear Shirley,
      I just added the link into the post for you. Bridge let me know she just made it and was so thrilled with it as it was a hit! I love hearing that!
      Shirley it is quite a large cake. It can be make into two smaller cakes also.
      With love,

  7. You have had a very good week Annabel, your sunshine cake is just gorgeous. I love the way you decorated the cake with real roses, so sweet.

    I have been busy this week after reading Mimi post about "our job." I made a list of things that need to be done and I have started my "spring cleaning" early. I have been sorting, cleaning, organising and decorating. I even tackled my windows today. I have eleven windows and most of them are large, and it takes me forever to keep them looking nice. So I thought if I could do a couple a day, I will eventually get them all done.

    I cooked all meals at home this week, except for tonight. The kids (adults) are making their own.

    Washed and line dried clothes between showers this week. A couple of times I had to finish items off in front of the fire.

    I dried some more breadcrumbs.

    Saved pre sink water to water plants and add to washing machine water.

    Sorted through my freezer and threw out some things that were getting a bit old. The chooks got most of it, so not really wasted.

    Made your golden syrup pudding again. A favourite with my family.

    Swept up and tidied outside under the verandah. This gets neglected over winter as no one likes to go out there when it is too cold, including me.

    Pulled some more weeds, dreamed about Spring and starting a new flower garden.

    Have a lovely weekend Annabel,


    1. Dear Tania,
      I hope some rain fell up there too. We had quite a bit. Today is sunny and I have clothes and sheets out hoping they will dry!
      I loved Mimis post too! Yes it is our job and it makes the world of difference to a fair few lives! I find that very motivating.
      Have a great weekend. You had a really good week and I am glad you enjoy that pudding! It is perfect cold weather food!
      With love,

  8. Dear Annabel,

    Your cake is gorgeous. Roses in winter are a real treat :). You are surrounded by the most refreshing and beautiful scenery.

    Winter here is frequently anywhere between 30 F and -30 F. Last November we had a straight week of -35F. On top of that, in winter, we often have wind gusts of 60 mph or a steady stream of 35 mph winds. We chuckle when we hear weather reporters emphasize how strong the wind gusts are in the East and South and call them hurricane force winds; just a normal winter day here.

    I did a lot of vacuum sealing, this week, of spices purchased in bulk. I, also, spent some time repackaging large packages of frozen organic fruit into smaller packages and vacuum sealing them for the freezer. We did some storage shelf rearranging which enabled us to almost double the space in one area.

    I took my sewing day this week (finally) and hemmed three blouses and repaired two pairs of capri's. Tops are always too long for my short frame. I decided to redesign a turtleneck I had into a vest, so did that also.

    Not a terribly productive week this week, but got a little done.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    Love and Hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      It is amazing how sometimes re arranging will free up so much space!
      I am so glad you got your sewing day at last! That was great and you achieved some good things.
      It sounds like a pretty productive week to me!
      I think the cold you get would come as a real shock to me!
      I hope you have a lovely weekend! Lots of love,

  9. Thank you for the suggestions Annabel :) I think this weekend will involve having a go at making your cake!
    Just finished filling 9 jars of blackcurrant jam from our fruit bushes! Inspired by all you achieve though.... Off to set some goals for next week ;)
    Have a lovely weekend
    Heidi x

    1. Dear Heidi,
      Well done! Blackcurrent jam sounds just beautiful and I imagine the deep color.
      Setting goals and lists really helps me. I dont always get everything done but I do enjoy crossing things off and I know that makes me do extra things just to see them crossed off!
      That said I am having one of those bursts today to finish bits and pieces here!
      You have a good weekend too, With love,

  10. Dear Annabel,
    Your recipe for the Winter Sunshine Cake has been copied so I can make one when citrus is ready here. We have mature tangelo and grapefruit trees and a baby Meyer lemon. Neighbors with whom we are good friends have an abundance of citrus, including lemons and two kinds of oranges that they generously share with us. I'll be busy in a few months juicing, grating, freezing and enjoying them. Looking forward to trying you cake!
    There have been a couple of events at my daughter's work with lots of yummy pasta leftover. She has enjoyed it for lunch and also brought home a bit to share and freeze for later. A lot still got discarded, but I am thankful she was able to keep some from being wasted and add a bit to our freezer pantry, too.
    I made a Costco run and picked up a case of canned soup, case of canned beans and 4 large jars of peanut butter for the pantry. Found boxes of individual packs of peanut butter for a good price, which will be nice for travel and the pantry.
    A friend gave us 4 jars of rhubarb jam she made for us. I made 5 jars of peach jam.
    I wasn't sure how I was going to manage it, but have figured out a jug I can keep in the shower and a pitcher I keep by the sink to save warm-up and rinse water. We aren't on restriction, but live in the desert where water is precious.
    I received some Shop Your Way dollars from Sears and Kohls cash from a friend, which made free or cheap items for birthday gifts and a new planter and covered baking/storage dish for me.

    1. Dear Elaine,
      When the season is right this cake and lemon butter are both wonderful to make! It is so good you have citrus around you!
      Between our conversations it is amazing how much free food is around and left over. Wendy often mentions getting free food. I also would not waste it and would use it, freeze it etc. and count it as a great bonus!
      I keep two large jugs in the kitchen to save the cold water that comes out first before hot water starts running... that goes onto my herbs etc near the back door. Also I use a plastic bowl in the sink to do dishes then that goes on the garden too. Our state is dry although we live in a reasonable rainfall area. But we recycle all the laundry water onto the garden etc too. Or our water bill would be just massive! It all helps!
      It was great getting to add to your present cupboard like that!
      Well done on all your savings this week! With love and thanks,

  11. Annabel I love the roses, miss not being able to grow them here - will try later on but for the moment I will just have to enjoy yours.

    My week has been a bit unusual - getting over the surgery and having minor building work done at the same time was not supposed to happen. I had it all organised and then the builder had to defer it for a week. Anyway it is done now and he even gave us a $100- discount.

    I did my usual monthly shop at Aldi on Wednesday and had to go back for my husband's butter yesterday. I do not do extra trips so thankfully I had a chiropractor's appointment yesterday or I would have been unhappy.

    Spoke to one of the regular staff members yesterday and she told me that they have trucks in 3 times a week - Monday, Thursday and Friday - not what the young fellow told me on Wednesday. They seem to be training a lot of new staff so perhaps there is a new store being opened somewhere else.

    I popped into the largest op shop on the Island yesterday and found some cane baskets that I intend doing up and using for pot covers inside and also a'phone. One of the ones that plugs into the wall. Our 'walkabout' 'phone has died and I am tired of buying new ones when this happens. DH tested out the 'phone and it works so now we just need to get a 'phone jack in the office.

    I have kept up with the washing, the dust is still waiting but then given the work done and the winds we have had it would have been a lost battle.

    Next weekend we are heading to Farm Fantastic - this is like the commerce section at the show with trucks, cars, water tanks etc as well as other companies who deal with home goods, garden products etc. I have the Guide and need to work out the list of what I want to look at - the 5 in 1 fruit tree, and the attic stairs are the two that currently spring to mind.

    While it does cost an entry fee it is easier to speak to suppliers direct in this sort of environment and works out way cheaper than going to the home show as they run a shuttle bus from the closest station and we just drive and park in the street then catch the shuttle bus. We also buy out tickets through RACQ at a discounted rate.

    Have a wonderful weekend everyone.


    1. Dear Lynette,
      The farm show sounds really good! I used to go to Field days that were that kind of thing... one one hand tractors and water tanks and things but on the other hand all kinds of country things and it was fantastic fun.
      When our Aldi opens I will have to ask you about shopping at Aldi, what you like etc as I know it is really different but I am determined to shop there at least in part. I cant wait!
      Just now I am painting little cane baskets I got from an op shop. I find them so useful for hiding all kinds of bits and pieces and organising. I am still on the watch out for more.
      I hope next week is more normal... no surgery or recovery, no builder etc! Those weeks are quite hard! With love,

    2. Annabel I think you might be in for a new look Aldi - A Current Affair had a segment on the new look stores either last week or the week before (Cath may know).

      Aldi is interesting to shop in for the first couple of times. Where I go to there are a lot of retirees so lots of couples shopping which makes for interesting times ( a bit like being a fly on the wall sort of thing).

      Tinned tomatoes were 59 cents, this is their normal price so no need to head to the supermarket in the other direction that had them on special for the same price.

      I am sure that between Cath, Wendy and myself we will be able to help you out with Aldi.

      No builders or anything happening this coming week so I can get the kitchen cleaned up - will have to leave the bathroom for a bit longer because the strenuous exercise needed to clean the bathroom after the builder has been in is not going to agree with the mouth. So it will be a quick wipe over this week.

      I can also return to a special project I was working that I need to complete and post off - had to put it away due to the dust.

      The meeting about emergency planning is on this week so my husband and I are going to attend - I want to see what has been talked about with the authorities - we have no police nor ambulance stationed here so I am thinking that with weather events we should have at least 1 of each.

      This group is relatively new and I think they may have too many things they are trying to achieve in a short space of time.


    3. Dear Lynette,
      Aldi have bought a block not far away from us so we are excited about that development!
      Just the price of the tinned tomatoes you mentioned is AMAZING. This is going to be a game changer!
      I will be interested to hear any good ideas or information that might come out of your meeting too. Love

  12. I think I hit publish, too soon! Hope you have a lovely weekend! Elaine

  13. The cake and flowers look amazing Annabel. Such pretty colors. Very soothing for the soul.

    With the weather being so cold this week I've tried to stay busy on my days at home. I just love cooking and baking good wholesome food for my family and as Annabel says " feathering my nest ". I had a lovely day with Cath form the Cheapskates Club. Of course we talked about all things frugal as well as the up coming Adelaide workshop. So exciting !!! Here's what else I got up to this week -

    * Made a couple of cards for my stash.

    * Made up lots of biscuits using a packet mix bought after Christmas for 5 cents. It was meant to be a gingerbread house but I don't have time for such a fiddly thing.

    * Emptied the bottom of the wheat bix packet into the Dried Seasoned Bread Crumbs container and gave it a good shake.

    * Kept the curtains 90% closed during the cold days. They were open just enough so that we could see our way around the house.

    * Hand washed the dinner dishes a few time this week.

    * Fed the chickens handfuls of grass and clover to keep their vitamins up during the cold weather

    * Finished using up two lipsticks by digging down into the tube to get every last bit of it. I got another 6 weeks use out of each one.

    * Found an old eye shadow in my travel toiletry bag that didn't have enough in it to take away. So I've put it in the bathroom cupboard and have been using it every day.

    * Bought my mum a bunch of flowers for her birthday. The tissue paper the florist used went soggy straight away and wasn't a nice color. So I used some of my stash of florist colored plastic wrap to make it look better with craft ribbon I had on hand. Gave my mum a handmade card from my supplies.

    * .Made a bulk batch of fruit crumble topping mix.

    * Redeemed a rain check for 4 litres of Moro olive oil for $20. I've had this rain check for almost 12 months but waited until I was low on stock in the pantry ( and I needed the room to store it ).

    * Wiped out the fridge using water and a microfibre cloth. I saved the water from rinsing out the cloth and used it to water some pot plants outside.

    * Came in under budget for groceries from June 16 - July 15. I only spent $237 out of $270. The left over money went into the food slush fund to buy future food specials.

    * Bought lots of chicken fillets from Tasman Meats for $5.99kg. They were portioned into meal sizes and frozen.

    * Made a double batch of pumpkin scones using cooked and mashed pumpkin I'd frozen last year when it was cheap.

    * Saved the washing machine water and dried most of the clothes on clothes horses.

    * Made 1 litre of homemade yoghurt.

    * Froze 3 single serves of left over meals. I'm trying to get a stash together as next Tuesday is the last of my major dental work. I'll only be able to eat pureed vegetable soup and custard for a few days so I won't be wanting to cook for the family.

    1. Dear Wendy,
      I love the "slush fund" concept! I now do this in several areas... ie a saving in one area will be my slush fund for my pantry. A saving in another area will be my slush fund for massive mark downs I might find. I really like it. It makes saving a bit here or there really worthwhile to build up the fund!
      You achieved heaps in your week! I hope you have a lovely weekend, with love

  14. Annabel, love the orange cake. How thoughtful of the roses to be ready at the same time as citrus! I also love the spice bundles and you made them just beautiful! You had a very good week!

    I finished making several batches of jam. I also made a little room in the freezer by canning the chicken and beef broth. Cooked extra chicken for busy nights, which helps put dinner on the table fast.

    I cleaned and did a bit more organizing of my recipes. I went to a thrift store and found a few pint and half-pint jars! Also, a few more candles. I did save money by staying home five days! And I added a few specials to the pantry. I like the $5/week challenge Patsy is doing on her blog. I will try to follow.

    Have a good weekend! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      That was wonderful finding jars at the thrift store! I love that! And the candles are a good buy.
      I am following the $5 challenge too! I think using great deals, specials, mark downs etc $5 can go a really long way! Besides it is fun to try this. And consistently adding small amounts is always going to overall add up to more than one big amount. I really like this. As it is I have three $5 cards from Woolworths (our supermarket) so I can use one a week and see what I can get with each $5 to add to the pantry.
      You have a great weekend too! I am working on roses (still) but it will be ready Monday! With love,

  15. I have a lot of padded envelopes if they would help you with your postage. I came from Brandy's blog. Just let me know if you are interested. mountains 2009 at g mail dot

    1. Thank you for your kind offer! I am located in South Australia though.. where are you? Sometimes people dont realize where I am ... but if you were in SA that would be wonderful!
      And welcome too! I love Brandy's


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