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 8 October 2015

Feather your Next Friday, 9 October, 2015.

I have to say that the weeks I begin with a list of goals I end up getting more done. Or maybe more things that feel significant? Planning and lists just help me. Even if it's a list of three things to do today then that seems to help them to happen.

On the other hand when sickness strikes or some other spanner in the works you don't even have time to look at the list!

We started off with a hot couple of days but the rest of the week has been lovely. Today is warming up again. Mild weather is a great help in getting things done I think.

This week I saved money by:

I found some bargains. One was a pack of turkish rolls (4 large) for $1. They become pizza bases or focaccia dinners.
Another was beautiful fruit loaf for 52c. This works when I am dying for something sweet, I toast this.
All go into the freezer for when I need them.

I continued on with wrapping soaps and making face washers (cloths).

Did my own hair colour, trim,  painted toenails etc. This saves some ridiculous amount!

Re dyed two black tops black. I do this a couple of times a year when black things no longer look fresh and new, this does the trick.

I earned a $10 gift card in a survey.

I made my first Christmas cakes. I have a really large one and a medium sized. 

Now I have fruit soaking for the next batch will be a medium cake and maybe six small ones, all for gifts.
This is one of those times the house smells fantastic and Andy is snooping around trying to get a taste.

At a cheap shop (Browse n Save for the SA ladies) I found what we call TV dinner plates. You can freeze left overs in them so there's a complete meal ready to go. I love to make up roast dinner meals this way. Anyway I have been wanting some. They were $1 for packs of two and came in two shapes and layouts. 50c each, a base and a lid to seal them. I got six packs! 

Making up meals like this from left overs is a very handy thing. Not wasting food for starters but a delicious home cooked roast ready to go when you're sick, busy or whatever is lovely. No takeaway needed.

I am managing to get about twice as much recycled water onto the garden by doing a few things differently.

I feathered the nest by:

Adding to the cellar and pantry. Each week I add something. This week tinned salmon, instant coffee, batteries and water.

Learning new things. From Wednesday's post and the fantastic comments I found some great things that we could add around here and some that Andy would totally love as a gift! :)

I hope you had a great week! On Monday I will go on with the inexpensive Christmas gifts and this time things we can cook or assemble as food gifts. 
A catalogue arrived in the letterbox with some very worthwhile specials so I am popping out to get those as it is only five minutes away. So this might add to my savings and pantry for the week! xxx


  1. I just adore your drive and no matter what you always manage to get so much done. The gifts you made are beautiful.My grandmother use to at Christmas make us such beautiful home made gifts. She use to make these granny square slippers, I loved those. Not many people make homemade Christmas gift's any more.I give food gifts and so far they have been received well.

    1. Dear Tealady, Thank you that is a lovely thing to say! Well dont on making food gifts. I am sure they are loved and appreciated.
      Next week that is one of my subjects. So far I have made fruit cakes and mini fruit cakes but lots will come later in December.
      I would have loved your Grandmother I am pretty sure!
      With love

  2. Annabel our weather has changed up here - turned wet and cool after the heat of earlier in the week. I am enjoying this cooler weather mind you I didn't sleep much last night, wasn't feeling well so couldn't settle.

    We have had (or I should say I) some wins with the rentals this week - the property manager will hopefully realise that I know what I am talking about now that things have been proven to be either more expensive when he has been doing them (cleaning the trashed rental) or getting someone in to look at the leak in the other rental.

    It has been one thing after the other that he is now having to eat humble pie over and of course I could have had the job done quickly and for a lot less money.

    This morning we had all of our doors and windows measured up for some screens - these are not security screens but will keep the bugs, flies and mosquitos out of the house and allow us to have everything open at night to let the heat out and the cool in.

    Being an old house and having so many French Doors it is tricky to get screens that will work so this is the best option - I didn't want to go through another hot period with a target on me for the mosquitos and other bugs to use me as a pincushion.

    I also found a good special at Kogan for some soap that I will gift to my Red Hat Society friends for Christmas - at the same time I also found packets of 6 cakes of soap for 98 cents so I have got 10 packets coming along with some tins of potatos so have added to my store cupboard as well.

    Tomorrow we are heading out to a place that I use to go to quite a bit - there is a shop there that is like an Aladdin's cave of fabric and other things all at good prices so that is perhaps going to be the first stop, a couple of other places are also on the list and are within walking distance and I think the vintage/retro shop is as well.

    I want to see what the prices are like and if they have any toys from that period (I have decided that my items that have survived my childhood can be moved on).

    Last Saturday I purchased some yarn that was on Gumtree at a really good price so now I have added to my huge stash of yarn but am already working out what I am going to do with it - really depends on the weather, as long as it is coolish I can knit.

    I have also found my hairdresser and spoken to her - she is opening up her own place so I can return to someone who knows my hair and doesn't charge the earth for a basic haircut.

    Have a few things to do over at the rentals this afternoon as well as a trip to Chemist Wharehouse to pick up a few things - some days are like this - busy, busy, busy.

    Have a great weekend everyone


    1. Dear Lynette,
      We. have two sets of french doors also. It is lovely to be able to let in the cool breeze flowing through... but not with bugs!
      The treasure trove of fabrics sounds great fun to me! That will be a lot of fun. You had a busy week, I hope you get an enjoyable and relaxing weekend.
      Also you reminded me... I have not looked at Kogan for a little while, will have a look over the weekend. Many thanks! Love

  3. Annabel we just saved heaps of money by buying five chairs in good condition at the Lifeline shop at the tip. They just need a good scrubbing down and eventually they will be recovered once I decide on a fabric and watch for when it is on sale. We need some more chairs if my girl and her family visit over Christmas. Have a great weekend.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      The chairs sound like a great find! And HOPEFULLY will come in very handy at Christmas! :)
      Have a lovely weekend! With love,

  4. I'm going to look for those TV dinner plates. A different way to put those leftovers to good use. This would have especially come in handy yesterday when we did a lot of outside work. Thanks for tip and have a great day!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      I have seen the plates or similar are on Amazon. In lovely colours too!
      Thank you so much! Love

  5. Dear Annabel. Your gift pile must be growing impressively! And the leftover meal tray things look really useful and practical. A great week. Well done. Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      The gift pile is looking good! We have a lot of Birthdays in the family and friends in January so this hopefully means I am ahead with those as well. I will know once I start making piles of who gets what!
      When the kids were little I had similar divided plates. The kids liked them they were like being on a plane or something! Kind of a novelty but useful.
      I am on to some cooking gifts... With love

    2. Dear Annabel, I love what you say about it feeling like being on a plane! That's so true. We have Bento Boxes and often eat from them, Japanese or not, for that very reason. You're so clever to think of these little pleasures in life. Love, Mimi xxx

  6. The weather is warming up again here and the days are just glorious. I do love those tv dinner sets, I'm going to see if I can find them here in amy of our cheap shops as you say they would be perfect for baked dinners and with summer coming it would save turning the oven on for a full baked dinner.
    This week I made my Christmas cakes and intend to make another lot in smaller tins to give a gifts.
    I finished crocheting my blanket but just need to add the embellishments but that might not happen till I finish christmas gift making.
    I crocheted a swiffer (sweeper) cover to see if it would be any good on my wooden floors as the purchased one is wearing out and it works perfect so i'll make a couple more so I can wash them and have spares.
    I made chocolate crackles with the grandkids and they had so much fun.
    I cooked all meals from scratch, I dried the washing on the line.
    I got a large wardrobe given to use as we needed a new one. That made me clean out my wardrobe and get rid of clothes that I haven't worn for a while.
    I also continued spring cleaning the spare room that has been a room that we put stuff in when we didn't know where to store it, That has been cleaned out now and stuff put away where it should be.
    I made a few cards for gifts.
    I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    Love Debbie xx

    1. Dear Debbie,
      I think we all have a place to put things that we dont know where to put! Oh yes this has led me into trouble many times! mmm enough said about that!
      I love the crochet swiffer cover!!! I know just what you mean. If you would post on fb or send me a picture I would love that. I have a heap of left over cottons from face washers etc... I could do stripes and use them up.... this is a really good idea. (you can say no to this of course!)
      I am onto some baked gifts as well. Things are starting to add up. Im even a bot excited at the thought of Christmas now.
      You had a very good week. Well done on all the ways you are really getting ahead. It is wonderful. With thanks, Annabel.xxxx

  7. I used to pack up leftovers in small tubs for my son to take in his little cooler to his summer job, but now that he's back at university I had thought to get some of the divided paper plates to make dinners for our freezer. Those covered plastic containers you found are far superior! Now I'll know to look for some over here. Thank you!

    1. You are a good Mum! I have seen the plates on the blogs of some of the ladies... A Working Pantry I think... on the amazon ads. In pretty colours too.
      I hope that helps. Have a lovely weekend! With love

  8. So many things to drool over Annabel! Your blog is so uplifting and encouraging and I always feel so inspired reading your blog. Thank you for sharing your talents and gifts with us. I love those hand towels(they are gorgeous) and wrapped soaps. I love these sorts of presents. They are made with love and can be used! I love your Christmas cake. I would love to attempt to make them next week. I have questions- how do I know when they are cooked? How do I store them for Christmas? I am thinking these cakes and some of our homemade mango chutney will form some gifts. I haven't had a chance to crochet in ages, but I'd love to do some when we go on our little family holiday to an island not far away. It's very laid back and I cannot wait (it doubles as my birthday celebration. I couldn't imagine a better place or with better company- that being my DH and our son). My mum fractured her elbow at work so while she hasn't been able to pick up Henry, she could entertain him while I did lots of cooking. We had our big plumbing job done and felt proud we could offer cash (thanks Annabel) with the help of our emergency fund. I love lists too, makes me feel so good to cross things off and centres my energy. Clever idea about the dinners- never thought of freezing a roast! Clever! Lots of love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      First the cakes. This is one of those things that once you have done it once you are set for life! The best thing is you can make them so far ahead. But yes each size tin is different and you have to test them. The recipe is here...
      Line your tins. This mix will make six or so little cakes or two large...
      Dont have the oven on too hot and set them down lower. Watch as the tops can get too brown. If I am having trouble with that I will cover them in foil to stop them browning further. As a guide about two hours is the time for a medium cake. Just keep an eye on them and once brown and looking good use a skewer to test the middle. It needs to come out clean and the cake is done. You can see if it is still too goopey! If in doubt let them go longer as underdone is bad and they will not keep. Over done, well you cant tell!
      If you use tuna, the larger tins, they are awesome to save and turn into little baking tins for these cakes. Just a nice size for gift giving ie to Grandma and others.
      I wrap them up in cellophane or the cellophane bags. On Monday I will have some pictures. As long as they are sealed they are fine and will keep a year. Just be sure to not wrap and until properly cool. Wait until next day.
      Also if you see nice tins the right size that is another good way to give them away.
      AND finally... they can be heated and used as Christmas pudding!
      Pheww! Sorry so many instructions!
      A roast freezes amazingly well. Mum taught me that one. Gravy and all!
      Your little holiday sounds wonderful! Yes take crochet... when you have less work to do on holiday this is your chance.
      Your poor Mum! I would imagine lifting might be out for ages too.
      Good work on the emergency fund. I hope cash got you a discount. It usually does at least. You are really getting ahead which is wonderful!
      With lots of love,

    2. Just sticking my nose in, but you can tell when a fruit cake is cooked properly because it sings!

      If you take it out of the oven and the fruit is singing - sounds more like squeaking actually - then the cake is done to perfection.

      I've always used this to test the "doneness" of my fruit cakes, the kids loved to hear the singing when they were little :)

    3. Cath I had never thought of this! Today I actually was cooking these cakes and when I got them out I listened. Ok you CAN hear the fruit bubbling away. And it was cooked! Now I will always think of the fruit singing! xxx

    4. Thank you Annabel for this wonderful information. These tips are brilliant. What a clever idea about the tuna tins. I plan to make some of these this week. I count it all as practice and hope my son grows up with these lovely traditions. Lastly, does the brand of dried fruit matter? I was going to get the cheapest brand...I can ask you this on Monday in your post. I can't wait for Monday's post!

      Thank you too Cath- this is what I also love about Annabel's blog, I feel so much support and encouragement from everyone. It's beautiful!


  9. Another good week for you Annabel. I have not seen those dinner plates before, they sound like a good idea.

    My nest feathering has taken second place this week because I have had a busy week with two nieces and their children visiting from Adelaide during the school holidays.

    I had quite a few no spend days and I paid extra on the mortgage, plus I started up our own medical fund. I am putting money away to cover any medical expenses etc that might come up. Phil had two impromptu visits to the dentist and it left a big hole in the bank account! We are pretty healthy so we opt not to be in private health. Here in the country the medical services are all covered by the public system.

    I continued working on the garden beds. It was 38C here yesterday and I am already over the heat for this year! The veggies I have in are doing well. It has been over a week since I watered them, so the wicking barrels work great!

    Picked some lettuce and baby spinach to use in salads and on sandwiches.

    Lined dried the clothes this week. No problems getting them dry :)

    Left the air conditioner off as long as possible. It was not put on before 3pm. I only used it when the heat became unbearable. We used fans instead because they are cheaper to run.

    Saved the run off water from the air conditioner in a bucket to water plants.

    Made a slice using leftover cereal crumbs. Yum!

    Hopefully I can achieve more next week when my life settles back down lol!


    1. Dear Tania,
      The other day I washed a top and hung it on a hanger under our tree. Then I watered a few things. Then felt the top... maybe 15 mins later? It was dry! So I took it in. Fast turnaround!
      Well done on your week even with little visitors (who I am sure had a wonderful time!)
      My Nan ran a pretend health fund. She found out what health insurance cost and put that amount in her own fund. She always had the money and ended up miles ahead. It was really good! Quite a smart option!
      Have a great weekend! With love and thanks, Annabel.xxxx

  10. My youngest asked for sugar bowls for Christmas. I was out today and popped into two thrift stores but not a sugar bowl to be had. I'll keep looking. I stumble upon things all the time.
    I had a busy and productive week. I restocked my freezer with beef and added to the chicken so both freezers are full now.

    1. Dear Terri,
      It is wonderful to have a stocked up freezer! That makes a good week.
      I see a lot of crystal and cut glass sugar bowls. I love them! You will come across one I would think. Its amazing what turns up!
      Have a great weekend and thank you for sharing your week! With love,

  11. Hi Annabel

    Wow your Christmas cake looks delicious.............I could have a piece right now
    Those TV dinner plates look fantastic and something I would use. I have never seen or heard of them before so I must look out for them.

    I am hoping to find some time in the coming weeks to make some home made gifts. I have nearly finished my Christmas shopping but will be posting most again this year, so most are vouchers with a few home made or fundraising items I have picked up from the school through out the year

    Have a fantastic weekend

    Aly xxx

    1. Dear Aly,
      Postage is a big consideration. I am forever looking for light gifts to post. It seems to have got a lot more expensive to post a parcel.
      You are well organized and doing well!
      I am guessing it is pretty warm up there although I am not sure how humid it gets. Hope you are having a good weekend too! With love,

  12. I went to a local market this morning and picked up a pack of 6 handmade goat's milk soap for $5. Now I need to sort through my craft stuff for some suitable ribbon the the wrapping drawer for some pretty paper. I might even have enough time to make some face washers

    1. Dear Maggie,
      Goats Milk soap is just lovely. Soaps with face washers is a match made in heaven! (so I hope you get time!)
      Local markets are great and a great place for ideas as well as lovely produce. Have a great weekend, With love,

  13. Here are this week's frugal tasks. A bit of a mixed bag. I like variety and my home life certainly gives me that.

    * Dug up the wayward raspberry plants and re-potted them. If they survive, I'll be giving some as presents.

    * Made up a birthday present for a friend using things I had on hand. I gave a jar of tomato relish and a couple of packs of cards I'd made.

    * Made a big pot of curried sausage casserole out of sausages given to us. We got 12 serves from it. Lots went into the freezer.

    * 'Stocked up on teabags, choc melts, choc share bags and tinned beetroot all at half price. I used my food slush fund for these bargains.

    * Made a batch of Dried Seasoned Bread Crumbs.

    * Saved the shower water for the washing machine. Also saved the washing machine water for each next load.

    * Dried all the washing on the line.

    * Planted out the tomato plants my Dad gave me. Also planted lettuce, dwarf beans and climbing bean seeds. I'm using an old plastic doona cover packet as a mini hot house to get the seeds growing quickly.

    * Grated up 8 bars of laundry soap for when I need to make laundry powder. I like to have a bucket full of grated soap ready to use. By doing it now, I don't need to do it during Summer in the heat.

    * Ate free freezer meals ( leftovers ) two nights this week.

    * Made pizza for one meal using pita bread and ham that was given to us a while ago and frozen.

    * Spent under $10 this week for milk, fruit and veg.

    * Picked silverbeet for one meal.

    * Sorted out my Christmas present list for this year and made a great start on next year's birthday and Christmas list. I've added lots of homemade goodies to save money.

    * Used frozen cooked apple to make apple crumble using the crumble topping mix.

    * Didn't vacuum and mop on Wednesday like I usually do. This saved 20 minutes of electricity plus boiling the kettle twice to mop the floors. I usually vac and mop twice a week so it will still get done over the weekend.

    * Used my watering can to water the veggie plants and seedlings. This saves heaps of water as I'm only watering the plants. If I used the hose , I'd be watering grass and dirt as I move the hose.

    * Ripped up school notices for my little magnetic clipboard note pad

    * Lined the bathroom bins with recycled freezer bags. Usually I use bread bags but I was getting too many freezer bags stashed away.

    * Saved dish washing liquid bottles for future workshops.

    * Darren poured worm tea on our fruit trees.

    * Started using my homemade soap this week.

    1. Dear Wendy.
      You got ahead in a lot of things! It will be lovely using soap. It will also continue to harden over time which makes it last longer and longer.
      Have a wonderful new week! Thanks for motivating me! With love,

  14. Erghh I just wrote a comment that has disappeared I think!
    Anyway, I was basically saying that I'm looking forward to your edible Christmas gift posts! I think I am going to focus more on these than sewn gifts from next year, I love that they are able to be made in bulk and can often be quite cheap to make. Plus, is there really anything better than receiving food as a gift?! I'm going to give onion chutney a go today, have loads of onions and a friend made me some and gave me the recipe so hopefully it turns out as well as hers. Still have quite a few sewn gifts on the 'to-do' list, I'm a bit over it to be honest. But I desperately don't want them on next years list, so will keep plodding along. None of them are particularly quick, I should probably have made them for birthdays so they were more spaced out throughout the year. Oh well, there is still time and I have a really exciting sewing project to start next year so I have a huge incentive to get them done!

    Have a great week

    1. Dear Jen,
      I agree that food gifts can be very inexpensive and yet would cost heaps in the shops. I have seen a jar of biscuits for $30 in the shops, let alone a tray of shortbread or anything fancy. Im working on that post now.
      A month ago I had a mountain of sewing! It was daunting! Each day I did a bot even if it was only 15 mins. and I got it all done! I was amazed how these little bits of time added up. So I hope you get yours done as you will be pleased if you do. Its kind of a relief.
      Have a great week! With love,

  15. I'm most thrilled about being able to get a new rug for the sliding doors in our dining room which go out to the garden. Our old one was looking very sad. The new one I just love, is non slip, washable and a pattern that matches the dining room chairs. Regular price was $35 (which of course I would never pay). It was 40% off - I had a $10 coupon I received in the mail - and paid the balance with a gift card that I've been making stretch as far as possible - so no money spent out of pocket and I still have a few dollars left on the gift card!

    I was able to add a few things to the pantry for cheap and got some bags of popcorn which I put away to make up a Halloween goodie basket for my college son.

    I'm looking forward to your posts on making food gifts and I'll be checking out your Christmas cake recipe now! Thank you for sharing with us!

    1. Dear Debbie,
      Your rug was better than a great buy! Also new rugs make everything look better. I have the same effect when I get new ones and the old ones are dingy! But yours was basically free!
      I need to convert the recipe so it is also in imperial measurements, sorry about this. When I started my blog I never dreamed it would get as far as the US. Online converters work well so I hope that helps in the meantime. With love

  16. The Christmas cake you made is very different than the spongy cakes we make in the USA. Would you share the recipe with us? In fact most of the baked goods are new to me and I would love to be able to try them.

    1. Dear Kathryn,
      Tomorrow I will link to the cake with some extra tips. Yes it is a dense moist fruit cake and it keeps a year. It is similar to Christmas pudding.
      If you get a few recipes for baked goods they are so handy! It isnt hard, once you have made any of them once you are set for life! With thanks,

  17. Another productive week, Annabel.

    Just wanted to add that Decor sell the red microwave divided plates here in Australia. I bought some awhile ago at Woolies half price, just can't remember the cost. It is called a segmented microsafe plate if this link is not direct to the item. They are very sturdy with a lid suitable for freezer, micro, dishwasher. Not a bargain like the ones you have Annabel, but hopefully available nationally if anyone is interested.

    1. Dear Kaye, Thank you, I never knew that. I was thinking too off all the times I have heard of children who dont like their food all squished together but separate. This would suit them too. Also a good way to deliver a meal to someone. Thanks! With love,


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