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.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Pantries and Preparedness. Quietly getting others started.

Almost every week someone tells me that they wish their adult children, family or friends were better prepared for emergencies.  It is a source of worry.

Over our long weekend three banks online systems were down and the banks were shut. Interestingly this happened twice before in the last few months.  This time it lasted about two days. People were caught in all sorts of trouble. On the St. George Bank face book page I did a little reading. This was on day one and maybe half a day in. There were so many comments from desperate people. One I will give as an example was a mother of a young baby. She was telling the bank she was furious, she had no nappies and did not know what they would be doing for dinner that night without access to her money. Over the weekend there were hundreds of messages like these. Now she wrote that after six hours of the online system going down. Can you even imagine after a few days? What about a week or several?
They cannot imagine their credit cards not working, ATMs not working, they cannot conceive it is even possible. Complete dependance and cannot get through one day.
Is this a worry? The mind boggles at what would happen in a major computer glitch, power failure or any other event that closed down these systems.

Possibly systems going down for a few hours here or there is a good thing, letting people know it can fail and to have back ups. You would hope these things would be teachers.

Anyway, we cannot make anyone prepare. And with family and perhaps especially our kids saying too much can be counter productive. We can teach and encourage and set an example. A great thing is when they ask how to do something and even better when we see them doing well, being wise and thinking things through. Lately I have heard some good stories of this especially when they reach an age that they are noticing things like job insecurity and are planning for the future.

One thing we can do is think about the gifts and help we give. Kind of helping with preparedness by stealth!

I have a couple on the go at the moment. Firstly candles. Lovely candles are a great gift. Useful and you have just helped someone have light in an emergency.

Rather than buy super expensive ones I am buying inexpensive packs that look like this...

Then making them over to look like this...

A couple of ladies mentioned that many people do not have matches anymore! This is true. Once matches were given out as freebies with business names on them and so on but not anymore. So people may not have matches. Again these are necessary in preparedness.
However matches are pretty ungiftable. (I don't think that's a word!)

I got packets of the really giant long matches... yep they are ugly... but to go along with the candle gifts...

I simply made them over in a Christmas theme...

These have been fun to do. Like card making kind of.

Thinking on this some of my sneaky-by- stealth -adding -to- someone -else's- preparedness -gifts are...

For a family gift a BBQ. Then they have an alternative way to cook, boil water etc. Plus a lot of great outdoor times.
Others for a family could be:
Camping equipment.
First aid kit. 
First aid training.
Picnic blanket, car blankets.
A water purifier.
A hamper of preserves.

For a man a Swiss Army knife. Chloe and I went in together and got one for Kato. He loves it. I know that gives him a handy and helpful thing especially in emergencies.
Some more for men....
A chainsaw.
A fishing rod, lures etc.
Car phone charger or solar phone charger.
A good radio that takes batteries.
An excellent torch.
Stainless steel drink bottles.
An esky. (cooler)
A good winter coat.
Protective gloves.

Some for women: 
Lovely candles.
Winter coat, gloves, scarf.
Preserving kit.
Pantry items.
Storage tins and jars.

Some for teens:
A great torch.
Cool drink bottles.
Solar phone charger.
First aid training.
Self defence training.
A good sleeping bag.

This is over to you! What would be good ideas for gifts that have a preparedness and general helpfulness factor? Gifts that are useful and could be very handy.
I have been thinking a lot about this. In my preparedness I try to have things to help the whole family. But there are limits to what we can keep and how much we can store! Getting everyone thinking about taking care of themselves is the best thing we can do. And slip a few handy things into gifts! 

I hope you are having a good week. I have fruit for Christmas cakes soaking and all sorts going on! xxx


  1. Dear Annabel -

    As I have been ramping up my own preparedness, I have also been thinking of my children. Both of my children are adults out on their own. My son takes preparedness very seriously and has even taken a class at the community center on the subject. He will give me pointers! My daughter is the opposite - she feels prepared if she has 3-4 days of food in the house and does not think about if there is no power or no ATMs - so naturally I worry about that.

    You've given lots of good ideas and I can't wait to read what your readers add to the discussion.

    I have already been thinking of giving each of them a cookbook for the holidays. Something that covers everything like the Joy of Cooking. They both rely heavily on the internet for looking up recipes, so I think it would be useful to have an old fashioned actual printed cookbook to use if there is no internet.

    Along those lines, maybe a gift basket with a Boy Scout Manual, Swiss Army Knife, a flashlight, etc as another gift idea.

    1. Dear Debbie, I love your boy scout themed idea. That is a great one. Many of the items in this would last years into adulthood.
      Your daughter is still 4 days better prepared than many of the people whos comments I was reading and that is a start! Many thanks,

    2. Hi Annabel & Debbie
      I too thought of the Boy Scout theme for older boys and even men may like some of the ideas? I recently picked up a torch that you plug in and it charges during the day ( we have PV, so that keeps our electric bills down) then at night the base becomes a nightlight or if the power is out you can use as a torch! Small and lightweight... So I plan on getting a few of those as gifts, but loving your idea of dressing up the boxed candles.... Could do that with toiletries/ soaps too?
      Heidi x

    3. Oh! And seeds for my dad are another idea 😀

  2. A couple ideas to add to your must:

    ~ An oil lamp and bottle of lamp oil. Great for emergency lighting or for decorating at the holidays.
    ~ The battery operated candles that look real. I love these to keep by each family members bed if we lose power. No worries of starting a fire and they are easy to turn on if you wake during the night.
    ~ A French press for coffee. It's great when you have a way to boil water but might not have electricity. I can handle most anything if I can have my coffee!
    ~ A large thermos jug. Great for the beach or a picnic but also good for preparedness, if you lose power fill it with water and ice. Cold drinks with out having to open the fridge.

    Hope these help!

    1. Dear Kim,
      Thank you for your ideas. I just got a coffee plunger which I think is the same thing as a French press. They muse very good coffee too. No fancy machines or pods needed.
      I love the thermos jug too. Very helpful. I think the battery candles would be especially sensible around children and are a very good idea. Thank you so much for your thoughts! With love,

  3. Hi Annabel! I love what you did with the candle package and the match boxes. Very nice!
    I too have been thinking of gifts I can give to my family, while keeping preparedness in mind. Last year, my sister and I shared the expense and sent a bucket with a month's supply of emergency meals and a way to heat things, to our mother in a far off state. It was too heavy for her to lift but a helpful off duty fireman, there to clean out the gutters, toted it to the basement where it sets, ready if or when needed.
    I have given cast iron cookware to my children, knowing it is excellent for now and necessary if it comes to cooking over an outdoor fire. Cast iron skillets, griddles and dutch ovens make wonderful additions to a cook's equipment. Don't forget LONG wooden spoons for stirring and a heavy oven mitt or two and a heavy duty trivet perhaps.
    Fire extinguishers are a really thoughtful gift. Duct tape. A box of screws or nails. A sharp ax or hatchet. A wedge for splitting logs. Garden tools like a good spade, rake,hose, wheelbarrow ( you can carry a lot in one of those). Tea lights to use along with clay pots to make a heater that will warm a room. Magnesium fire starter. Packs of batteries. A windup radio. Rain ponchos, sunscreen, extra shoe laces. Packages of heavy socks. A compass. Binoculars. A Leatherman tool. Handheld can opener! Little packages of Super glue. A Heavy duty for beverages and wide mouth for keeping meals or leftovers hot for later consumption. Straight razors that need no plug. Blood pressure monitor and extra batteries. A barber's scissor. A good knife and a way to sharpen it. A sewing kit with extra thread, needles, buttons, etc. A package of safety pins. Reference books about edible plants/foraging, medical care when there is no doctor, drug reference book and along with that, Fish Antibiotics ( they are exactly the same as human antibiotics) for their 'fish' of course.
    If your loved ones are in their child bearing years, cloth diapers, diaper pins and rubber pants in graduated sizes would be welcome, perhaps. At the other end of that spectrum, a large box of condoms for a post apocalyptic scenario!
    How about a 5 gallon bucket from a bakery or home improvement store, a new toilet plunger and a good length of clothes line and clothes pins for a tried and true approach to laundry duties.
    Garden seeds and a new trowel or hand pruner. A promissory note for a fruit tree or a couple of blueberry bushes to be sent in the spring. A rain barrel. Black hose.
    Box of bullets. Gun cleaning equipment. Lessons in self defense. Walkie talkies and a home station for short distance communication with the nearby friends and family.
    Perhaps a special kit to be kept in the trunk of the car in case of emergency. Bungee cords, tie downs, extra tarps. A clock that winds or uses batteries. Oil lamps with extra wicks and mantles and jug of oil. Fly swatters and mouse/rat traps could be very useful but not particularly choice for a special occasion gift. When all else fails, give the gift of gold or silver in coin or jewelry.
    There are MANY things which could be given that have a practical use. Just be sure to put some thought into it and know your recipient so your choice is acceptable in their sight.
    Thanks for the opportunity to brain storm with you , Annabel. It has been interesting to follow your blog and see your progression in the area of preparedness. You are doing really well and the best part is, you make preparedness a beautiful world with all your wrappings and stitching and pretty ways. Blessings, Cindy

    1. Dear Cindy,
      Thank you for an awesome comment and your ideas! You have so many great ones. The cast iron cookware is a life long lasting gift and a brilliant one. So many practical and useful things.
      Thank you for putting time into this, I know there will be readers who take great ideas away from your suggestions.
      The progress I have made this year has a lot to do with generous people like yourself. With love,

    2. Wow Cindy, what a fantastic list! Thank you for sharing your knowledge in this area :)


  4. We could cope without ATMs at present thankfully. However our most imminent and current threat is from bushfires as there is one burning about a ten minute drive away and there are bushfires burning around the country. When interviewed people always mention when they have lost everything is that they have no photos or keepsakes of their children as they were growing up. That reminded me that I need to put some more photos onto my external hard drive as that would be easy to grab during a quick exit. Also having some photos stored online is also an idea. Hopefully any power outages wouldn't be permanent. If they were I think photos would be the least of our problems.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, I am sorry there is a nearby fire, Fiona has one close also. What a start to the season. It is a shake up. This worries me as the farm is quite vulnerable due to large amounts of scrub and a nearby national park.
      Yes it's a reminder of what needs doing and getting ready.
      I hope the situation has improved. With love, Annabel.xx

  5. Annabel, another thought provoking post from you. You really are the epitome of cleverness with those matches! I've done a similar thing with the Swiss Army Knives and rather flash looking lighters a couple of Christmases ago. Everyone thinks of lighters as a thing for smokers, but of course a lighter can also light candles, a fire, a BBQ burner, a camping stove, an oil lamp, and so on. If an actual lighter causes you angst, those long slender ones that are legitimately for lighting candles are another good option. I agree with Cindy that the old fashioned things like cloth nappies and nappy pins and waterproof pants for babies and toddlers are a godsend in an emergency and how did we ever come to be so dependent upon disposables anyway? As a young Mum back in the 70's, I took great pride in making my babies nappies from softest printed flannelette and pastel towelling, and washing them daily. Baby wipes did not exist either, and a pile of soft home made washcloths was a necessity, soaked and washed with the nappies, with cotton wool and pink Johnsons baby lotion being the preferred method of cleaning baby. To this day the scent of that lotion transports me back to being a young mum! Nanna Chel is spot on with the family mementoes too. Upload pictures to iCloud or DropBox, keep some off site with other members of the family, and if the worst happens, then human life is always the most important thing. Great post. Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      I really do like the idea of a nice lighter. They are kind of stylish! And as you say useful in many many ways.
      Cloth nappies and wipes etc could be an absolute life saver. And yes! we have become so dependent on all these things that didnt even exist 50 years ago! Maybe we are lucky we know how things were done at least and can replicate these times if we need to. Younger ones genuinely dont know what you did before baby wipes and so forth.
      This is an interesting subject! I found it greatly fascinating that Mum grew up without TV or toilet paper and many things. And before sanitary products were in stores. When dinosaurs walked the earth lol!
      Have a lovely restful weekend! With love and thanks,

  6. Great lists and ideas Annabel. I love to give wind-up radios and torches - they are so handy, no need to worry about batteries and kids (even teenagers) just love them.

    I give them to adults to as a part of a "just in case" picnic set based on the one we have. Whenever we go anywhere out of the city, even if it's just a half hour drive into the hills, I take this picnic basket "just in case".

    It has two mugs, tea bags, coffee, sugar, little UHT milks, a spoon, wet wipes, a sharp knife, a wind-up torch and a wind-up radio (I bought them both at Kmart for under $5 each), a cigarette lighter and a small first aid kit.

    I add bottled water (refilled drink bottles) and a thermos of boiling water and usually a few pieces of fruit when we go out. It comes in handy if we decide to stop for a cuppa but it has actually been used twice when we've been in the middle of nowhere and got stuck and had to wait for help to arrive.

    Now I make them up and give them as a car warming gift to younger folk when they buy their first car and to older friends who like to go driving/4WDing on their own. The whole thing costs under $20 to put together using op shop baskets (I'm always on the lookout for nice picnic baskets at op shops).

    1. Dear Cath,
      I have been slow with my replies and just replied to your comment in Monday post also. Lucy's family has been unwell and so it goes...
      I just love your just in case picnic set! I will be looking for picnic baskets too from now on. I already love picnic baskets but as a gift this is brilliant! It's late tonight and now all I feel like doing is going op shopping!
      I love a thermos. We have several and fill them before setting off on a trip. Best invention almost ever.
      The ideas coming in are wonderful. I will never give a non useful gift again, there are too many things that are so helpful.
      With love and thanks,

    2. Thank you Cath, you have just given me some really good ideas about what else to buy my daughter this Christmas. She has just bought her first car! I will look for wind up items today and add in with her car themed gift.

      We have a strong backpack in our car instead of a basket. It is a picnic one, came fully packed as a bonus with our dishwasher many years ago. The dishwasher has since died and not been replaced, but this sturdy backpack still goes on! It has obvious advantages if we were in a situation. We keep old fashioned maps in there as well as the usual items.

      I do have an attractive picnic basket we use for planned outings! The car one is more for emergency situations. :-)

    3. Dear Kaye,
      Yes I thought of your DD with the car idea! I think a torch and flat shoes are great in a car.
      I think as well knowing what to do if a car breaks down, how to pull over safely and who to phone... all those are things to practice.
      I hope you are having a good week. It is almost over again! With love,

  7. Hello Annabel, thought provoking ideas. Yesterday I got a real taste of preparedness. I was home. It was 36 degrees, terribly windy and wild. total fire ban. Ok, got an idea? I've got views to a distant mountain range, glorious normally. Then my power went out. Got an emergency sms. Stating watch and act on a bushfire not yet under control. On a road that starts approximately 3kms from my place. The fire was about 12 kms down that road. So I raced outside. Walked down to the front of my place, could not see the mountains. Hot smelly bushfire smoke everywhere. I rang my partner and he said collect your things and the 3 dogs and get ready. And it hit me, I don't have a battery radio. So tomorrow I am going out to buy one, a good one. I could get internet on my phone but radio is not that easy to get. So a battery radio is an important thing. Not only for fires but in awful scenarios such as terrorist attacks. I've got 9 windup torches hanging on various door handles throughout the house. I have a huge suitcase, it contains my precious things. Baby photos, mementos, drawings, my dad's special things, you'd know as a mum what sort of things would be in there. My teddy as well lol. The plan is to shove that in the boot and take the animals and go if there is huge fire. We have two places lined up to go so that is ok.

    We are investigating sprinkler systems and the like but don't have that done yet.

    I love what you have done with the boxes of matches, who would know that beautiful box contained something as mundane as matches. Have you decorated both sides?

    I'm aware as you are that the younger generation aren't as good at this sort of thing and I have always tried to be prepared enough for all of us.

    hugs from Fi xxx

    1. Dear Fiona, That is a shook! I hope things have improved and the danger passed.... This brings home preparedness that is for sure. Very good you got a message of warning.
      A generator is needed with a sprinkle system. From the farm I know the power goes out and the water... we have a dam and a generator or there would be nothing. It is beyond scary and there have been some shocking fires over the years. This is our high risk thing here...
      Yes I did decorate the whole box right around so it looks nice each way. I am keeping the Bluebirds one!
      With love,

  8. brilliant post
    gets one thinking about how much we aren't prepared, will have to work on it
    thanx for sharing

    1. Dear Selina, Thank you! Truly little by little gets you there. I am amazed how things have added up for me so far this year. We are much better prepared than a year ago. Thanks so much, love

  9. Dear Annabel,

    This is a much needed and wonderful post. Everyone's comments elicit such good ideas for all of us.

    We have given baskets of Dehydrated/powdered foods with a very long shelf life; gift cards to preparedness businesses; and books on preparedness.

    Many in the younger generations really don't take prepping seriously. They might have enough for a few days, but for the most part, they don't see that anything bad might really happen in the U.S. They are wrong, of course, because even a small incident, such as you mentioned with the ATM can cause havoc in a household that is unprepared and mindlessly living day to day. It sounds like some don't even have a day's worth of anything, but rely on those debit cards to see them through.

    Anyone following the Dave Ramsey financial program will have cash in envelopes, which is a blessing, if the banks were to close due to a disaster, major emergency, or power failure. There are some in the younger generation that are serious about their finances and they will be better off due to the cash envelopes they keep with their grocery money and bill money.

    Some people are wary of keeping cash around. A good safe is a must if anyone keeps large amounts around, but it is wiser and safer to keep small bills in cash for the milk one might need or a loaf of bread. If the registers aren't working (and none will be if there is a power outage), then taking two dollar bills to buy a loaf of bread and realizing no change will be back is planning ahead. That is, of course, providing anyone can find a business that sells anything open. Parents of younger people, who live on their own, might want to keep envelopes of small bills around to give to their children, just in case.

    Dehydrated foods in canning jars with pretty deco and ribbons is a nice gift, also. A basket of basics and the recipes to make several items out of them would also help anyone out in a time of need.

    There are many ways to use hampers or baskets to design personal gifts that include enough items for, at least, a week or more for the elderly. Some elderly live alone and don't have the money any longer to stock items as they did when they were younger. If they have been displaced from their home and moved to a smaller place they don't have much room either, so being creative is essential when gathering items that they can and would use to eat and care for their needs.

    Thanks again for such a great post, Annabel.

    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Thank you so much for you ideas and thoughts on this. Your comment on dehydrated goods reminds me also of the gift in a jar mixes where it is everything for a soup or cookies in a jar ready to make up.
      I think cash is essential. While some are wary of it I am wary of having none! A card, as demonstrated on the weekend, can be absolutely useless. The Dave Ramsay cash envelopes are a very sensible thing.
      Thank you so much Glenda, with love, Annabel.xxxx

  10. Beautiful gifts and smart, too! Loved how you made them over...they look very expensive. :)

    1. Thank you Tracy! We are on the same track, I am just reading your blog! Love

  11. Some great ideas and I love what you did to pretty up the matches, ATMs down cause all sorts of problems as people don't carry cash any more, they need to keep a little cash in an envelope hidden either with their pantry or shop or hidden somewhere incase of an emergency. Even just $50 will get most out of trouble.
    I know my kids shop over the weekend so if online banking is down they would be in trouble, they don't have a stockpile.
    I think a windup torch and radio are a great idea as they are always ready to be used and you don't have to worry about batteries
    Gas lights used for camping or oil lamps would also be good.
    One of those little gas burners that use the little gas canisters are cheap and would be a god send if there is no power.
    I made my Christmas cakes yesterday and they smell amazing, They are now stored away for Christmas.
    Hope your having a wonderful productive week
    With love Debbie xx.

    1. Dear Debbie,
      Thank you for your ideas. The gas burners you mention, Andy has one for camping and it is small but the canister lasts hours. It is brilliant and as you say would be a saviour. I must get spare canisters for it.
      My first cakes are done too. I have another batch soaking then Im done!
      Many thanks and I hope your week is going well, with love,

  12. Dear Annabel, This is a great post! The gifts of preparedness are such a wonderful idea. Your candles and matches look beautiful!

    The comments have great ideas. I might add that having extra blankets, pillows, even sleeping bags would be good to have. I like the idea of extra thermos for both cold and hot water/drinks.

    I know many people could use some/all of these items! Thank you, Annabel. Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      Thank you so much! I agree, spare pillows, blankets etc are a good thing to have. I love all the ideas that the ladies have contributed. So many clever ideas that would be so good to have on hand and make good gifts.
      Have a lovely weekend! With love,

  13. Annabel a timely post especially as there are fires raging in various states of Australia, floods over in the US and the list goes on.

    I am thinking the wind up radios and torches will work for my two - I am sure that they are like most of the young ones and would not even dream that the ATM would be a problem for them.

    DD has just the week moved into a share place for a few weeks until she gets settled at work and then makes a decision on what she is going to do as regards to accomodation. She has a habit of leaving things behind in share houses because usually someone else lays claim to the pots and pans that she has brought in.

    So I need to think of a sneaky way of doing something to help her be prepared - no use leaving it here because if we have flooding we get cut off.

    I read your post and shook my head because I could not get over a mother leaving it to the last nappy before buying more - hope she didn't leave it to the last scoop of formula as well.

    Have a great week everyone


    1. Dear Lynette,
      Living with other people poses interesting considerations. Other people could be an asset ie safety in numbers etc or a liability depending! So I hope it will be the first one.
      As you say there are so many things going on at the moment that it is quite sobering. The floods look historic and the fires an early start that is a worry.
      I wonder if your daughter could have emergency supplies in a backpack in her vehicle that way not go missing from flat mates etc?
      I know you will come up with some ideas and there are some wonderful ones the ladies have shared.
      With love,

  14. Annabel,
    First for some reason I find it very funny that you think the matches ugly! And second does anyone actually open your gifts? They are so pretty! At the Kmart near me they have battery operated fans I am thinking about getting a few of those as gifts. They are not those little things they are about 12"x12" the heat can be very hard on some people and if burning wood it can help circulate the heat. And little battery operated DVD players and of course batteries. Have fun with your Christmas cakes I bet your house smells divine!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      I can hear you laughing. I find a lot of packaging terribly ugly like dish detergent. As soon as I get it home I pour it into a pretty decanter. UGLY!
      The matches were in a league of their own though! I soon fixed that! :)
      Battery operated fans are a good idea. Its the heat that is the problem here for us.
      The house is smelling good and next lot of fruit is soaking! With love,

  15. Brilliant ideas once again Annabel!! :)

  16. Dear Annabel,

    What an excellent post! I don't know why but when I look at those matches I'm laughing with Vicky! It's the look in the redhead's eye lol they are awesome once you glittered them up! Ok there's so much good info here. The stealth...I like. So many people think crazy or paranoid in relation to preparedness and that concerns me. When was it ever ok to be so dependent on everything and everyone else? I don't like such a false sense of security.

    Ok you can call my comment, "preparedness gifts for the completely resistant and totally unprepared 20-something"....I'm trying to teach my eldest, as she's had a tough moment a few times without ATM access. But something that frustrating once or twice, and one would think she would get that lesson down permanently!? Nope. Sigh. I'm going to employ more stealth tactics as you say and hopefully she will catch on. With some it is really baby steps or you'll meet complete resistance. A nice emergency sewing kit for the purse, lip balm, battery operated candles and strictly pantry recipes where you just add water or just mix a few items together are good starts. The recipes can pass as "if you're sick or just too tired to really cook, all you do is mix these/all you do is add water", etc. I'm printing and binding a few for her, along with the packets/canned items in a pretty basket. I'm doing it with that thought plus the added guise that she's too dependent on take-out ;) So it's still a girlie-kinda gift, but we know what it REALLY is! I originally had the idea of printing and gifting a few useful things from the SOS (soup or sauce mix) pantry post for anyone who'd like, I think you have that under Teri's posts? My youngest see our preparedness efforts as a way of life so (I'm hopeful) it will be more natural for them.

    Of course along with this, we have to balance the idea that many people don't want to think ahead for whatever reason. Then when we give them tidbits here and there especially in the form of a well-thought gift, maybe our momma-hearts will rest a little better! Thanks for starting this great brainstorm of ideas.

    Much love, Colette xxx

    1. Dear Colette,
      Thank for sharing this! I love the thought of mini "survival kits" whether sewing, mini candles and matches etc. I think theres a big idea here!
      Many "helpful" things can be as you say passed off as "just in case you're not well" and other scenarios where help might be needed.
      It sounds like the ATMs being down has struck there too!
      I had to smile that you like "stealth mode" we will have this in our minds now as a way to get around an issue that needs getting around! Which really is often with teenagers but handy with everyone!
      Thanks so much Colette , have a lovely weekend! With love,

  17. Annabel, you have a gift for taking the practical, everyday things of life and making them beautiful. Who knew preparedness gifts could be made so beautiful! Lots of good ideas here!

    1. Dear Patsy,
      Thank you! A little bit of fancying things up goes a long way!
      Thanks so much! Have a great weekend! Love

  18. Dear Annabel, what a great and practical post once again. I apologise as I thought I had already commented, but maybe I forgot to hit 'publish'! What you've done with the matches is so clever and creative that it just bends my brain. I would honestly never have thought to do this. I too recall when little matchbooks were given out for free everywhere. I guess that was part of the 'smoking is sophisticated' culture that's now very outdated. Another alternative to that is of course, lighters, or the long slender, tapered candle lighters. Lighters too, are associated with smoking, and everyone forgets that they're a jolly useful thing for lighting BBQ's, fireplaces, candles, lantern, lamps, and camping fires! There are some very pretty ones available, and providing you also have lighter fuel or lighter gas on hand, they're more durable and less likely to deteriorate if they get wet and so forth. When you're thinking of preparedness for storms and flooding, that's a bonus. Everyones ideas are really eye opening and informative, and I agree with Cyndy's thoughts on the nappies. In making our lives 'easier', we've actually forgotten how to survive without disposables. When I was a young Mum, I took great pride in making nappy (diaper) squares from pastel towelling and softest flannelette, as well as waterproof pants to go over them (we called them pilchers!). A line of clean nappies on the back yard clothesline was a familiar sight, and an indicator of a new baby in the home. Baby wipes too were non-existent, and baby was cleaned with cotton balls in pastel colours, and pink Johnsons Baby soothing for the bub. To this day, when I smell Johnsons Baby Lotion, I'm transported back 35 years to when my sons were tiny. So those are other things to keep on hand I guess. A couple of dozen soft, cloth baby nappies, made from recycled sheets, and pins, could be a fabulous thing to have around, even if just to pass on to someone in need. Of course you'd need the bucket and solution in which to soak them too, so perhaps a gift of those could be useful too. If they never use them as baby items, they'd still be wonderful as dusting cloths for years to come. Wonderful ideas from everyone. Thankyou. Mimi xxx

  19. Annabel,
    I forgot to ask are those cards you printed or bought? I just them love them and you made them look even more special.

    1. Dear Vicky,
      Do you mean the card on the front of the candles? also maybe the images on some of the matches... both those were cut out from bought cards from the $2 shop... Hope that helps! Love

  20. Loved this post Annabel. So much brainstorming going on here, that I have nothing more to add lol!

    Keep up the good work!


    1. Dear Tania, Thanks! There is more than one way to skin a cat they say! lol
      I am glad you liked it.
      Have a great weekend... warm I would think...
      With love,

  21. Hi Annabel

    Well unfortunately people get caught out like this all too often
    I always have a spare $50 note stashed away in my purse and then each week I put away either $5 or $10 in a hidden spot for such emergencies especially for cyclone and wet seasons here (not needed here so far) I also have a piggy bank filled with $1 coins in case I need small change

    Your matches look fantastic. I must admit we do not have any. We use a gas gun as it is much safer with DD5 than matches. We have a few of these around such as in a high cupboard, emergency kit, a locked cupboard in the garage.

    You have some very handy ideas here

    Aly xxx


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