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 17 December 2015

Feather your Next Friday, 18th December 2015.

This has been a busy week and a hot one. We are having days in the 40s and nights in the 30s (that's hundreds and eighties) so there isn't much relief at night. To get this is pretty normal in Adelaide but we didn't have a hot summer last year and it is a shock to go back to it!

I did lots of Christmas visiting and giving out presents too. But even though it was a hot and busy week I still have so many good things to report I am actually quite excited! It was a good week!

So some of the ways I saved money include:

I made Coconut Ice. This gave me small gifts to give on all my outings this week.

The recipe is easy and it is so pretty. Coconut Ice.

On my drying ladder I had pink rose buds already dried. From other years I know this is perfect for decorating this. I had picked them from Mum's pink rose bush. Well, they are lovely! Roses are great for decorating food, soaps and all kinds of things. This was an 100% free added touch!

After decorating all my Coconut Ice parcels I had a heap of rose buds left for something else. Truly dried flowers are so handy!  So I have these toward another project...

Last summer I sugared some roses to cover a cake. If you have roses and no sprays they are gorgeous on cakes, cup cakes etc. Nothing will beat them and it is free!

I made baby food for Harper. I want her to have bone broth in her vegies so I used a lamb shank and vegies and let it simmer all day. Then I froze it in muffin trays and turned them out into snap lock bags.

This was my little way of helping. Now, on The Vicky Challenge I would write down a saving of $70 on my days list as I worked out that my crock pot produces something like $79 worth of baby food if you bought it in little jars from the store. My ingredients were less than $9 to I will say I made $70 for this effort. Not bad as I guess cutting up vegies and fiddling around all up amounted to well under an hours work (not counting it's cooking time while I did other stuff!)
If you missed The Vicky Challenge it is a challenge starting in January which you can catch up on here.

I visited my Aunt and she gave me bags of jars! Amongst them were two huge old jars, one with a lid and one without. I am going to paint the lid and add a rose and keep that one for my storage collection.

The jars will be ready for jam and relish making which is coming up very soon.

My Aunt also gave me oranges from her tree. I am using them in salads and we had two last night this way.

Chloe and I hosted an afternoon tea for my Uncle. Since he lives alone we had an afternoon tea to give him his presents. On Wednesday it came up how expensive going out for lunch or coffee can be. Well, this is what we do. Being for a man it is not one of my pink china days though!

The Coconut Ice came in handy again and we told some hilarious family stories and it was really nice.

This is how many cherry tomatoes I pick each day at the moment...

They are really handy and we are keeping up with them!

Andy's workmate (who I keep sending Christmas cooking to) sent me this...

Don't you love the Christmas greeting? This is 120 metres of baking paper! He knows I bake and thought I would like this! And I do!

A friend of my Nan's Loris went into a nursing home. All her life she has been a prolific sewer. She made Chloe and Lucy layettes when they were born. Just beautiful. As her home and sewing room was packed up much of her material was saved for me! I couldn't believe it! A lot of it is suitable for baby clothes ie material for baby singlets that is a tube and you need no side seams. It is three large garbags full of fabric. I am already planning what to make. Piles of embroidered baby singlets for starters...

This is a tiny glimpse of the huge pile as I just don't have time to fold it all up yet.

THEN my friend Wendy (not blog Wendy another one!) messaged me she had found a double bed sheet set with pillowcases for $5 and would I like it? She thought of me as it was pink flowers...

I can see this as little nighties for Harper.

Sheeting is a great way to get miles of soft cottons very cheaply. Vintage prints make wonderful Pyjama pants, pillowcases, little dresses etc. I am also thinking hankies...

The hot weather was useful for one thing and that was I washed out doona and it was dry right through and back on the bed. I saw locally a shop that cleans and refreshes doonas for $60. (seems crazy) so I will count that as $60 saving ala Vicky Challenge. In the hot weather I find I can wash things like the doona, the underlay and pretty much anything. I can also dry anything ie herbs, tomatoes, apricots etc. About the only good things about the heat!

This week I visited Kath in the nursing home. I took pink tinsel to decorate her room and presents for now and for Christmas Day. My soaps gave me gifts for other residents and volunteers. It was a really nice afternoon and I felt very Christmassy after this. You don't have to do very much to make someone's day that is for sure as her excitement was much bigger than my effort. I am really glad I did that. There are a lot of really lonely people. It is terrible. While I was there I discovered someone else who has no one that visits or gives them anything. My uncle told me that the nursing home where he visits there are many people who have NEVER had a visit from a friend or relative. Never once.  So this is a potential easy thing to do to make a huge difference to someone.
Because Kath is a fair distance away I find I can write a letter every week where as I cannot visit every week. But she loves a letter. Letter writing is also a great way to help someone who is lonely, if visiting is difficult to do. Letter writing could be a whole ministry of it's own!

I also picked up hair dresser brochures and price lists from two hairdressers I walk straight past on the way in to the supermarket. These are so I have a quick way to work out what I save per year on hairdressing for The Vicky Challenge. Oh my goodness I have had a shock! I have to work it out but this is the kind of thing I will only have to figure out once and I can put in a monthly figure for all of 2016. Lets just say it is lucky I do my own hair! This already is a very revealing exercise in what I save on this alone! In your case it might not be hair services it might be something else but when you see what is being charged for things you do yourself without blinking it is a shock!

How did you build up your nest and save money this week?
I hope it was a great week and that the last weekend before Christmas is a lovely weekend for you.
I am trying to have a quieter time for the next few days... and stay cool.


  1. Hi Annabel. Gosh what a fabulous week you've had! So many good things coming your way, and I'm not surprised. What you give to the Universe is always returned many times over, and you give so much! We've had a gorgeous week of delivering fans and angel cards to people waiting at bus stops in the heat. They are so appreciative! My daughter is in the middle of making a birthday cake for a friend, and we are wrapping gifts. I've had my nearly 4 year old granddaughter for a sleepover which was great fun and gave my son and his wife a night off. I've sewn a number of last minute gifts, made cupcakes for a daycare breakup to give my daughter-in-law, and posted parcels. A good and lovely week all round. I hope you get some relief from the heat there. Lots of love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi... ohh the four year old sleep over would have been so sweet. I can just imagine with you and her young auntie!
      As usual you have had a good and busy week with extra nice things.
      At the moment it is 44 here. Hotter at the farm too.
      I love the sound of both the fans and the angel cards! I would almost take a bus for those!
      Have a good weekend and Christmas week. It is a busy time but also exciting... With love,

  2. Dear Annabel,

    You had a wonderful and productive week! What a blessing you were to all of those people.

    We just got 16 inches of snow here. We see the forecast is up to the 40's for a few days coming up, so the melting will begin. It was 12 degrees F when we got up this morning.

    You saved a lot of money this week!! It's interesting to hear about the savings.

    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Your snow is as far opposite to our current weather as I can imagine! You are freezing and we are melting! I think the snow is very pretty though and Christmassy.
      I was really lucky with my week. Have a lovely weekend! With love,

  3. Annabel, I was gifted with 3 very large garbage bags of fabric from a 98 year old woman's collection recently too. Isn't it wonderful to receive such lovely and useful gifts? Enjoy your next few quiet days! Merry Christmas!

    1. Dear Patsy,
      That is amazing! I know you will put that fabric to very good use. It will get you going on great gifts for 2016! It gets you ahead in many ways!
      I will start sewing in the new year. Have a great weekend, with love

  4. Hello friend,

    I tried to have freezer meals available for my family for my days when my health will not allow me to cook to stop my hubs from doing take out. I had some meals ready this week. I was in bed 3 days out of this week.

    I did simple Christmas gifts for our church helpers, office staff for my church and husband's work. I am posting on these tomorrow.

    I used some containers I already had but rarely used to make Candy Jars for gifts. I dolled them up with tulle.

    I said NO to a lot of outings that would have ended up costing me a lot of money.

    I wanted to tell you that I think that those sheets would make lovely hankie's. I collect hankie's. I use them for church as well.

    You were blessed with some great goodies. But you also did a lot of blessing this week. I love how you have such a giving heart.

    Mrs. Chrissy T

    1. Dear Chrissy,
      It is so hard when sick! I hope you are feeling much better.
      Some things that help us are "fake takeaway" ie pizza or hamburgers we put together at home. The ingredients are easy to keep in the freezer and this is faster and cheaper than takeaway and seems to work! We so far had takeaway one time the whole year and that was something I picked up at a bakery for a treat. Believe me it wasnt always like this!
      I love hankies too! I have seem gorgeous vintage ones from op shops, so pretty.
      I hope you are feeling much better soon and have a wonderful Christmas. You have had a big year! With love

  5. Annabel,
    It is so nice to see that with all of the blessings you bestow upon others that you are receiving some as well! I am envious of your baking paper and such lovely fabrics. Homemade baby food is so much better. I had lemons to use so I made Wendy Gower's lemon cordial and Jes's lemon syrup. I made homemade peanut butter cups for my husband, his favorite and lots of fudge to give as gifts. I still have cookies to do. I have been drying clothes on the drying rack and not using the dryer. I rounded up all of the samples I have been stockpiling of bodywash, shampoo, deodorant and things like that and made my son and his wife each a stocking. I topped the jars of home canned foods I am gifting with tissue and ribbon so they are ready to go and baked the pie crust for a pan of chicken pot pie soup and got some of the pieces cut for Emma's Christmas tutu. Have a great weekend!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      That was a really good week. I love baking paper. I will line even a pie dish with it as you never have terrible baked on anything to wash off!
      You did heaps. I hope its a good weekend! With love,

  6. hello Annabelle. wishing you a happy and safe christmas. I hope you have a lovely time with your family. I really look forward to your posts. I dont know how you do all you do and post about it too. Take care. love Ann xx

    1. Dear Ann, Thank you so much! It helps me get things done when I have someone to share it with so it motivates me.
      I hope you have a lovely Christmas too and also New Year. With love,

  7. Hi Annabel.I love reading your Blog. I really look forward to it. You are so generous of nature, so positive and cheery! I just wanted to ask, how do you actually wash your doona? Does it fit in your machine? Thanks Michelle xx

    1. Dear Michelle,
      Something weird happened to my first reply to you! Ill try again! I currently have a feather doona and previously a wool one. I always washed them both. I use wool mix liquid detergent in warm water and in the machine. My current one fits in my machine, the last one I used Mums bigger machine. On a hot day it is dry again by bed time. We give it lots of good shakes and I do while it is drying on the line too to fluff it up. It has worked well and feels great. Even though these and the underlay are covered they still need a wash and this is how I do it. I hope that helps!
      Thank you so much! Have a very happy Christmas! Love

  8. I just this week found your site! It is lovely with much inspiration. I look forward to following you.

    1. Welcome Lynn! Have a very Happy Christmas! xxx

  9. What a lovely week of giving and receiving and saving Annabel, love what you do! We are having wintery weather here 10-15C opposite of your weather .My week has been more of a tidyup of card writing and gift sorting for my family .Gift bags all ready to go for Christmas day. Gifts to girlfriends given or sent.Visited my lovely aunt (sick)with flowers she loves.Baked 2 slices and bagged individual pieces added bling and gave out as small gifts this week , some with Christmas cards.
    Took several bags of tinned and dry food to the Sallies and tonight I thought Id make dinner with some of my pantry stores to test it as an emergency stores easy meal, it was and hubby had seconds :-)
    Merry Christmas to you , Andy and Family, with love Maria xx

    1. Dear Maria,
      That was a good weeks work! Also it is great to know you have pantry meals that are good. They are extremely handy!
      Have a wonderful Christmas with your family, with love and thanks,

  10. Annabel, I don't know how you can function in that heat you are having. 44C is forecast for tomorrow. Can you believe that? Thankfully a cooler change is on the way though. My daughter and family arrive on Sunday from the Outback and the hottest day next is going to be 29C so they will probably freeze. LOL! I hope your Dad is still improving.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      One time we had over 43 for 10 days. One time we had 46. It is awful. It is 44 now and we very hot all night. Worse Christmas Eve looks hot. Worse! The farm is usually hotter so it if it 44 here it is 46 or 47 there. Im not sounding very positive am I?!
      Dad is doing well thank you.
      Have a wonderful time with the family. The children must be so excited about the trip, coming to stay, Christmas... just everything!
      How beautiful! Enjoy! With love,

  11. Looks like you have had a wonderful week! Thank you for sharing this inspiration with us and hope you have a peaceful and lovely weekend :)

    1. Dear Jes,
      Thank you! You have inspired me so much this year. Thank you so much. Have a really wonderful Christmas and New Year. With lots of love,

  12. Annabel, everything looks so beautiful! What type of paint do you use on your jars? Merry Christmas! Shirley K.

    1. Dear Shirley,
      I have used all kinds of paint according to what I have but mostly house paint/ceiling paint left over from the house and found in the shed. However usually I add a few drops of red and make it pale pink. I keep a jar mixed up now so when I get a new jar like this lovely one I have the paint and it takes me less than a minute to paint it. I also keep transfers ready. I get them from Arwen Moore Design studio (online) I just love jars! I hope this helps.
      Happy Christmas and New Year! With love

  13. Good afternoon Annabel,
    It is so odd seeming to me that it is warm in Australia at Christmas when it is cold here in the USA.
    I like your big roll of baking paper- it is called parchment here. I sure do prefer to use it when I bake.

    I go to my parents retirement home often and I try to chat with every resident we see and I encourage my grandchildren to also visit and smile.

    Sounds like you will be sewing after Christmas. Now I am off to look up what a singlet is :)

    1. Dear Rhonda,
      It is so hot here today! I could do with some snow!
      We have a lot of different words but I didnt know this one! So here a baby singlet is the under garment maybe you might say vest? Not sure, it is soft and the first layer on the top half! When I make them I will post pics.
      Have a really wonderful Christmas with your family! With lots of love,

  14. Annabel, I so look forward to your blog posts. It is like a big gift in itself. It's my time in the week where I stop, have a cuppa and slow down. I always feel so uplifted here and worthwhile. You cannot put a price on that. I loved how you did the afternoon tea for your uncle with gifts, that is so thoughtful. The baby food sounded delicious, what a good combination. I love the idea of using lamb shanks. Such a clever idea using the muffin trays too. Perfect size. How lovely of your Nan's friend to give you that material. I bet it will be appreciated and valued, so it would feel good for your Nan's friend. It is such a clever idea using sheets for material. I found a beautiful bedspread of little sailing boats for my son's bed when he gets older. It cost $6 for the set and of little sailing boats for my son's bed when he gets older. It cost $6 for the set and is in great condition. I love how you are so upbeat and positive. Many people would just whinge about the heat, but you make the most of it. You are using it to dry herbs and wash blankets. So clever. Kath is lucky to have you as a friend, I bet she is lovely too. The gift of time is the best gift. I wrote a comment on Vicky's post, but lost it. I just wanted to say thank you Vicky and Annabel with your help on gifts and the way I think about my work/ money. We had a good week. I was like a kid on Christmas Day at a local car boot sale. It was wonderful. I bought some toys for my son for a $1, some cloth nappies, some clothes for my son and duplo. I was so excited lol. I made your scones Annabel for a family member this week and they were greatly received and appreciated. I am trying to 'revisit' my shopping docket to see if there is something I can do without or make myself. So far I have dropped paper towel and use cloths, make my own Mexican seasoning and now making our own yogurt. So it is a start. Have a very Merry Christmas with your family. Lots of love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      Thank you so much and thank you for all your comments and encouragement. It was a wonderful thing to "meet" you and become friends (for anyone reading one day something was said and it turned out I knew Bridge's husband when he was a little boy! One crazy coincidence!)
      That car boot sale was awesome! Truly popping into these sales, op shops, fetes sometimes.... garage sales etc... can be so fantastic. Duplo alone is very expensive. While I am on that something like that can go into a mess laundry bag and then on the top shelf of the dishwasher.... this gets things clean like new!)
      I dont like the heat but I never need to buy a dehydrator! Or pay for doona cleaning! There are times of the year where we can use the heat or the cold to our advantage someways anyway.
      I love the bedspread you found! What a bargain!
      Have a wonderful Christmas Bridge and enjoy the special firsts of your babys Christmas. With love

  15. Annabel your coconut ice is so beautiful! I absolutely love it, and last week was going to a girls night and needed to take a plate. I decided to make a bit of a dessert platter with different treats on it and thought some coconut ice would be I made it, and put it in the fridge to set. Cut it into squares and thought hmmm this is a bit softer than it probably should be, but went with it anyway. Well luckily the platter I used had different 'sections', because as the night went on, my coconut ice squares became one, until at the end it was more of a coconut ice dip!!!!! It was hilarious, and gave great comfort to my friend who regularly has kitchen disasters lol. The stuff I still had at home was fine so long as eaten straight from the fridge, but it's safe to say next time I need to work on my 'playdough like consistency' that you talk about in your recipe! So as it turned out I was unable to gift the rest as I'd planned and had to work my way through it myself. Pretty rough for me lol.

    I have absolutely loved reading your blog this year and wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a relaxing break :)


    1. Dear Jen,
      Oh no! I havent had it do that but temperature must be a factor! If its not too late you could roll it into balls and roll in coconut for an entirely new presentation!? Thank goodness you were relaxed about it and laughed. Maybe I should say firm playdoh consistency? It should be pliable, not crumbly... or else the opposite happens and it is hard as a brick.
      Thank you so much and have a wonderful Christmas Jen. With love

    2. I think your instructions are spot on, was more the person following that was the problem!!

  16. Dear Annabel, Wow! You had a really great week. I think the dried roses are beautiful on your coconut ice. I would be thrilled to get a gift like that! And what a blessing with all that fabric. I am looking forward to getting into my gifted stash, too. I am sure your uncle loved the tea, and Harper is very blessed to have you make nutritious food for her.
    My husband's 25th birthday was this week, so I made him special meals all day and baked his favorite cake. We had his grandfather over and it turned out to be a really nice day.
    I canned a batch of the sweet potatoes I bought on special and it yielded seven quarts. It was my first time using a pressure canner and I was SO nervous, but it all turned out ok. I still have about 30 pounds of sweet potatoes left though! I will use some in a casserole and I want to bake, mash, and freeze the rest.
    I earned some money singing at another event.
    I kept up with the regular housework.
    Today we picked up my husband's little sister (she's 11 and lives in another part of the state) and she will be staying with us for at least a week, maybe two. I love it when she stays with us. There will be lots of hot cocoa, board games, crafts, baking, laughs, and visits to the ranch.
    I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Annabel. I agree with Bridge. Your posts are always a gift and I love to relax with my morning coffee/afternoon tea while I read them. They are always beautiful and encouraging. Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      You had a very productive week! I love what you did for your husbands birthday.
      I bet his little sister is having a great time with you! That is a lovely age and she will remember everything and love doing things with you. Actually she can probably be quite helpful too. When the girls were that age they were quite good if I made cakes they would do lovely icing and so on. They loved crafts and any kind of activity... it was really nice.
      This will be a busy week I would think! Enjoy it all and I hope it goes well. With love,

  17. Annabel, all that fabric is a wonderful blessing. I'm sure you'll make good use of it.

    Here's what I got up to this week -

    * Gratefully received a box of jam jars and some crochet wool from my Cheapskate and blog friend Maureen. She was over my way and came for a visit. We had such a lovely time we talked no stop for over 5 hours.

    * Gratefully received some gifts from a friend to be given out as we see fit. This will help us with our newly slashed budget for next year. This is such a blessing for us.

    * Picked lots of raspberries. I'm now starting to freeze them to make jam.

    * Cleaned a friend's holiday house. This was a great bonus for the budget.

    * Bought three tray of mince and a few groceries using flybuy bonus dollars on my card. With the price of mince doubling, this is the only way I can afford to buy it.

    * Seasoned the dried bread crumbs I made last week.

    * Stocked up on Praise salad dressings on sale at 1/2 price in Coles. I now have enough for this Summer and for Spring and part of next Summer next year. The girls will be in heaven as I'll be able to make lots of pasta salad.

    * Filled up both cars using discount dockets to get the price down to $1.05 a litre for petrol.

    * Sorted out Megan's school books for next year. I wasn't able to purchase any second hand as it's a new curriculum for 2016. The good news is we should be able to sell them at the end of the year as 2016 is the start of a five year curriculum. Jessica was able to pass down two of her novels for English and another three for the following year.

    * Closed up the house when the weather got hot. We only turned on the cooling when really needed. I came home from work on Monday and the house temperature was at 29 degrees Celsius. Instead of turning the cooling on I opened up all the windows and doors to let a breeze in. By the time Darren and the girls came home, the house temp had reduced to 25 degrees Celsius.

    * Megan made some peanut butter choc chips biscuits from freezer dough while I was at work.

    * Gratefully received some crab apples and home grown beans from my parents.

    * Ate out of the freezer as much as possible.

    * Line dried all the washing. Saved the shower water and washing machine water for each next load.
    * Poured the kitchen sink water on the hydrangeas

    1. Dear Wendy, Thanks for sharing your week. Craft or sewing supplies are so good! All the things we can make.... I have been planning.
      I am slow on my replies so have a good Christmas week. I hope everything goes well. WIth love Annabelxxxx

  18. I didn't feel I'd done much this week. Not sure why. That's partly why I 'keep account' during the week, to remind myself that even when I feel I'm doing little, I'm still working hard at it.

    1. Dear Terri,
      I just have to write things down. I can get to the end of a week and wonder what I did! Yet know I was busy doing something! I feel much happier with myself when I can see what Ive done!
      Have a good Christmas week! Probably busy... but exciting too!
      With lots of love,

  19. Our Church gets a list from our local nursing home every Christmas and we buy gifts for those who have no one. We let the youth group help do the shopping and delivering the gifts. We also make goodie bags with a tangerine, peanut butter crackers and assorted candies for each resident at the nursing
    home. It is such a wonderful feeling to see all those smiles, they all appreciate the visit and just being thought of!

    1. That is a very good arrangement between the nursing home and the church.I am amazed how many people dont have anyone, visitors or any support. It is wonderful the youth group helps as well.
      All these things make Christmas time extra special. I hope you have a good week and beautiful Christmas Day! With love

  20. What a good idea to have a tea for your Uncle! Your setup looks so lovely, even without pink china. ;) I'm guessing the time together was more important than gifts. So special!

    I have also started handing out gifts and am having a marvelous time of it. We visited a relative at a health care facility and took large candy bouquets to the staff. They were pleased to be remembered with treats. We also took a potted poinsettia to our family member, who does not have a sweet tooth, with instructions to enjoy the plant and then toss it out after it fades. Poinsettias don't keep well here and we wouldn't want the room cluttered up at the health care facility.

    My daughter and I had a cookie decorating party with some friends. We used homemade buttercream and colored sugars and made a huge mess, but we had such fun chatting (and sampling)! Our friends took home cookies and full tummies.

    Merry Christmas, Annabel! I hope your holiday is healthy, happy, and filled with all the best things the season has to offer!

    1. Dear Leigh, That sounds like such a good week. Spreading some joy comes back to us many times over. The cookie decorating sounds lovely too. My girls loved things like that. We did gingerbread men and turned them into girls with dresses, jewellery and bikinis!
      Have a wonderful week. Thank you for all your support. With love


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