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 7 January 2016

Feather your Nest Friday, 8 January 2016.

The first week of the year and we are off and running! This week I really wanted to set the tone for the year, get challenges going and get myself going! I made a lot of changes in what I am doing at home, health, projects etc and so it has been a big and busy week.

Actually it seems way longer than a week. I've hit Friday really tired!

But it is good to hit the ground running and have lots of plans to look forward to.

Thank you for all the amazing comments and support in The Vicky Challenge and The Christmas Challenge. I have been going well with them both and will update on Monday and Wednesday.
I have an extra post I want to get out too about our time. It is a good thing to think about now as there are so many demands on us and we cannot do them all.

We were lucky with milder weather. It was warm but not too hot. This helps! It has helped the garden too.

Some ways I saved money this week:

I planted basil. It grows the best when I plant in January. The last years I have ended up with giant luscious basil and had so much I gave away huge bunches. So this is a future saving!

We picked cherry tomatoes every day.

Found three amazing bargains to put into the gift cupboard. Will show those Wednesday.

I dried some of our Hydrangeas and these will be used in crafts during the year.

Some ways I got ahead:

I have two gifts completed for up coming birthdays and added easy meals to the freezer.

Some ways I built up the nest:

I kept fluffing up the lounge room and it looks so much nicer! I put out some cushions I made from vintage fabrics and old curtains.

Then I went onto the kitchen/dining area. I haven't finished the table yet but I have a new table cloth I made and I re arranged cases of flowers...

Next is the bedroom as the floorboards look so nice. This has transformed the room. When I have finished I will put up photos. It is all just re arranging, cleaning etc. I haven't bought one thing.

Each week I will continue on my pantry challenge. This changes now as I also need to be rotating. For anyone starting out I did a weekly post last year and covered lots of subjects as I learned myself. There is a whole section in the index "Pantries and Preparedness".  It is an ongoing thing and I add anytime I have the chance and take every opportunity. This week I was able to add laundry products and today I am making jam.

I hope your year is off to a good start. Having a planner is my number one help. Each day I have a list I try and work to and each night I write in what I achieved. Looking over what we did is a very good thing. We should feel good about what we did! Looking back over the week helps us plan our next week and see how we are going. I am really happy with how things have started!

How did you save money and build up your home this week? Lots of people would have children home on school holidays. I loved that time! We would do a lot of crafts and cooking. We would re arrange bedrooms and cover books etc. In Australia it is the heat we are dealing with and the US ladies it is the cold! But we all have so much in common, trying to do the best we can with what we have.

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx


  1. I always love your pictures Annabel, the ladder you use for your dried flowers is gorgeous, i have one outside, its a hand built step ladder and i might try to do something with that, at the moment its holding a few mosaic shoes lol. Your roses and hydranges look beautiful. Ive been picking basil , lettuce, tomato's, strawberries, beetroot and carrots, almost ready to harvest zucchini and cucumber and my pumpkin is going mad haha. Lots of fun xo

    1. Dear Karen,
      I love ladders. In my last house I had one suspended in the kitchen for all my pots and pans. Baskets sat on top and herbs and flowers hung from it as well. Now I have one for tea towels, one for bath towels, my drying rack as well. I have collected them. Old people with sheds is my tip!
      it sounds like you have a lovely garden. That is a wonderful harvest.
      I just put in my basil... hoping to be able to make Pesto later.
      Have a great weekend! With love,

    2. Annabel, do you have a recipe for your Basil Pesto? I grow Basil in the summer (it's winter here now) and I always have so much. All I can think to do with it is to dry it. Many thanks! And your flowers are beautiful. Are the ones on your table real?

    3. Dear Joy, This is Mimi's which is really good, easy and uses almonds. Pesto is often made with pinenuts which are very expensive. Also it is good with rocket and basil...
      I love it as a pizza topping or as a dip with crusty bread and cheese. Its beautiful!
      Hope that helps! Love

  2. Your table looks lovely. Your Basil is also beautiful. I am reading and learning about when to plant Herbs here in my area. I am planning to make a list of things I feel we will benefit the most for with planting and begin preparing for this. We have a few months before planting items.

    I have been just studying, learning, and practicing cooking from scratch still.


    1. Dear Chrissy,
      Well done on learning so many new things. It is such a huge money saver to make up things from simple ingredients. And no additives etc for your family either is an added bonus. If you have flour and eggs and a few basics you can always make something. These skills we all need to work on.
      It will be exciting when you get to spring planting. I will be excited when we get to autumn here as the heat will be over! Have a great weekend! With love

  3. Dear Annabel,
    Just mostly early Spring cleaning around here this week. I did do some baking for the freezer, but not alot.
    We added to the pantry with a large organic beef order and Vitacost had a great sale on some items we use, so we saved on those.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Spring cleaning and stocking up are very good "build up your home" achievements. Also big jobs. I hope you have a lovely weekend too! With love

  4. Hello Annabel, your cushions look beautiful and they remind me of some my mum made from vintage sheets and lace years ago, they look similar to yours actually Annabel. I have had 3 no spend days this week so that is one way I have saved, I bought 3 little nail polish kits for $1.30 each for gifts for young girls , I will add something to it for a lovely inexpensive gift, I also bought 2 gifts for my Aunty for Christmas and her birthday in the sales, so I am slowly building up my gift cupboard again. I am also starting to make more cards for gifts too, using materials I have here so that is another saving.i always think I haven't done much when I read your feather your nest Friday posts Annabel or Wendy's frugal task posts on Saturdays but this week I have managed ok. Thank you for such a lovely blog Annabel I love reading your posts. Have a great weekend , love Barb

    1. Dear Barb,
      I just love the old rose prints! One of these cushions was curtains first.
      You did well with your bargains and getting ahead with your gift cupboard. When we need a gift and have something its even a saving that we dont go out and go looking! A saving in time and money probably.
      I am wondering if you also make gift tags? The reason I ask is sometimes tiny leftovers are not big enough for cards but will be ok for tags. And sometimes when making cards I mess one up... (actually more than sometimes!) and then often I can cut it down to make a couple of gift tags. They look nice tied to food gifts too, a jar of jam etc.
      Have a lovely weekend to you too! With love

    2. I do make gift tags Annabel, I just made one today actually, I love making them and yes you are right, I have done the same thing when I mess up a card, turned it into a gift card. I have decided that this year all of my cards and gift tags will be handmade by me unless I want a very special card that I don't trust myself to make. I love rose prints too. Thank you Annabel. Love Barb

  5. Oh Annabel you cushions are just so beautiful. I love roses and
    Lace. I stayed home the last couple of days so it was no spending. Win win. I also started to write in a large old unused diary what needs to be done. This weekend I plan to sort out my sewing, card and scrapbook supplies so I will be able to make some gifts. Aldi have handtowels on special tomorrow, so I will check them out to see if they can be embroidered. Have a wonderful weekend.

    You mentioned your Pantry and last year I followed the Pantry blog and also built up mine. It as helped so much. I now have to follow up with Inventories. Love Christine.

    1. Dear Christine,
      I am really thrilled you build up your pantry along with me. Truly it is a very good thing to have and a buffer against all kinds of eventualities.
      Each week I continue to add and yes now rotate and manage it. I am just trying to get into the habit of putting things away and rotating something as I go.
      It sounds like you have good supplies. We will get them turned into great gifts. Some scrap material ideas coming Wednesday! Have a lovely weekend! Love

  6. At the moment the weather isn't too hot so DH and I are working outside, trying to improve the clay soil, ready for planting autumn veg and flowers.
    I already have several birthday presents in the cupboard, bought during the sales last year, I now need to do make more.
    After reading one of your posts I bought a doona cover to upcycle as cushion covers but can't find any suitable doilies for the effect I want. I will keep looking. Just this afternoon I told DH, that second best is not good enough anymore, I will manage with what we have until I can get what I want.
    I have saved all my Christmas cards for using as gift tags, or to use parts next Christmas.

    1. Dear Meg,
      It is warming up here this weekend! We have to work as you say according to the weather. Once its too hot I will be sewing inside!
      I hope you find suitable doilies. I think they will turn up. If you want lace ones and depending how you want to use them lace curtains are really useful. I am always cutting up old lace curtains! But stick to what you have in mind it will turn up.
      I love sheets and doona covers! So much material usually for maybe $4 or $5 here at op shops. Getting the right prints and colours a bit harder but I find them! Thanks for your comment Meg. Love

  7. Annabel,
    Your things are all so lovely! Before Rick cut the big tree down I used have a ladder against it with flower pots and when the flowers were blooming it was so pretty. I haven't done any feathering, but as soon as we get a gentleman helper I am ready for the new furniture! It may be weird, but I don't really care for couches. I would be happy to just have chairs and tables and each having it's own cozy space. I did make another shutter planter this one for myself. I got a seed catalog and I have been drooling over it! I want to grow everything so I have to narrow down my list and then order. I love seeing your posts you have such a beautiful home and it is inspiring to see how lovely you've made it thank you for sharing so much!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      It will be so nice re arranging and getting in your new furniture!
      I have a couch you can sleep on. Its good ie if not well I can lay there and see the tv etc. That is my use for a couch!
      The other day you said you werent crafty! And now you are making a planter! You ARE crafty. I think a pretty seed catalogue is a good craft item. A reader the other day said she cuts up the seed catalogue and makes seed packets from the pictures to package her seeds in! Good idea?
      Have a good weekend! With love

    2. Vicky you are crafty and a maker!!!! You are MAKING us all count our dollars, thanks to Annabel organising the Vicky challenge, you have hundreds of people all around the world doing what you do. Fi

    3. Vicky, we gave up our couch years ago. Our living room is small and we have four comfortable chairs. I'd love to squeeze in two more but I need the chairs first anyway, lol. Still, a living room can be quite cozy without a couch. It was not uncommon in my great grandmother's era to have nothing but rocking chairs in the main room.

  8. Hi Annabel,
    I love the look of the dried hydrangeas,they look beautiful,
    i have a few roses i dried and will see how they go,i hope to grow hydrangeas in my new place,i heard somewhere that if you put a few pieces of old nails in the soil near the roots the flowers come out multicoloured :)

    1. Dear Mel,
      I have heard that about the nails also. I found out some hydrangeas readily change colours depending on the soil and another wont change. Our white ones out the front stay white no matter what but our blue our the back get more blue or more pink depending on the soil. Either way they are pretty though!
      I love dried roses also. I hope to use some on my soaps this year. With love,

  9. It just makes me so happy for you that you now have a lovely bedroom floor for just taking up the carpet and cleaning! I can picture you smiling in the night just like I did after the awful wallpaper came down in our master bedroom. It still makes me happy to see those beautiful painted walls!

    I saved $66 at the grocery store with sales and coupons. That trip included 8 bags of our favorite coffee for just $11, the regular price would have been $48. Along with stock we had on hand we will not need coffee for at least 6 months. I also bought a $50 gas gift card for $40.

    I made 32 Christmas gift tags from our Christmas cards for free and have put them away for when it is time to wrap gifts.

    We have finalized the plans for our kitchen work and that begins on Monday. I am happy with the choices we made. We will have a new kitchen for a reasonable cost. We could have spent 2-3 times what we are spending.

    It has been very cold here this week. We have brought out the throws for snuggling under on the couch instead of turning up the heat. Dressing in layers also helps to keep us warm. Hot tea is lovely in the evenings with a leftover Christmas cookie from the freezer.

    We only ate out once this week for $4.95. This is a major thing as hubby just loves to take me out so that I do not have to cook. Bless him for caring so much about me!

    Have a lovely week!

    1. Dear Lana,
      I can imagine your delight at the absence of the wallpaper just like me and the absence of the carpet! I still get a surprise every time I walk in after a week. I am on to painting too. Not everything but all doors, skirting boards, the front fence, the front of the house and the whole laundry. For starters lol!
      We did our kitchen the year before last. It was a big mess for a while. We used the BBQ every night and I set up a table with the kettle, sandwich press etc. It was kind of like camping! It was all worth it in the end. I hope your kitchen turns out wonderfully!
      Well dont on the good shopping and all the gift tags. We are off to a good start! With love and good luck with it all on Monday,

  10. My husband's place of employment gave all employees a gift card for food items. The amount for each person depends on how long they have been employed at the business. My husband has not been employed there too long, so our gift card was for $200--and much appreciated! I went to the store and bought a few necessities, and then I realized that if I shopped the sales, my gain would be several-fold! For one thing, the item(s) would be free, and then depending on the number of sale items I bought, the savings would increase. (I hope I am making myself understood here.) So I stocked up on lots of bargains and I still have half of the gift card to use next time. One of the items I bought was ripe bananas, 10 of them for $1.49, and so far, I've made 4 loaves of banana bread with various ingredient add-ins (walnuts, blueberries, chocolate chips). We have enjoyed eating this fresh and I have some put away to give to my bachelor brother. Plus, the house smells so good and is warmed up when I bake! A win all around!

    1. Dear Joy,
      What a wonderful gift from your husbands work! How good they do this! You thought jyst what I do. A gift card can be used to buy sale items. So I would say your $200 card can become a $400 value just like that! It might just take a bit longer. The bananas were fantastic. This is really getting ahead. It is fantastic. And you even have something to give. I hope you have similar success with the rest of the card. And next Christmas hopefully you will get it again and your husband will have another year of service there!
      What a great week Joy! With love

  11. Hydrangea are my favorite flowers. I am blessed that we have a dozen bushes of them in my yard! They grow well where I live. Can't wait to see what you do with them. My home could use a freshening up too. I always feel that way come winter. I think it is because we suddenly need to spend all our time indoors and I end up with a desire to look at something new and bright- all the while making each room feel cozy. I'll be taking a look around soon to see where I can be creative.

    1. Dear Melissa, It is really amazing what a difference moving things around, freshening things up, makes. It feels really nice. All those Hydrangeas must be lovely! They give you dried flowers at the end too. I love the softness of them. We have white out the front and several blue out the back and one pink one.
      Have a lovely weekend! With love

  12. Annabel, I too love the cushions. Your posts always give me "Why didn't I think of that?" moments. I work a full time job outside the home and my cleaning seems to take longer than it should. I have the living room done and all the Christmas put back where it belongs. This weekend while I am off, I plan to do the dining room. As I get older the energy levels just aren't there like they used to be.
    I have started making gifts for this year. I have been knitting a few stocking hats while I watch TV with my husband at night. Thank you for all your wonderful posts...they keep me motivated.
    Paula in Kansas

    1. Dear Paula,
      There is only so much we can do in a day. I find many things I end up doing a few minutes at a time and over a week or two it gets done. It is wonderful you have a week off! I hope you both enjoy it and achieve the things you want to.
      Well done on starting your gift making. I have something lovely you might like coming up for the knitted or crocheted gifts... I just have to put it together first but it makes gifts look so professional! I need that for the things I crochet.
      Thank you so much for your kind comment! With love

  13. We raise our own animals so this was a big week for getting meat into our freezers mainly lamb and pork. We do our own butchering so that saves us a lot. I've decided to leave up the white Christmas tree and decorate it for Valentine's Day. It's a project dd and I are doing together. I shopped a few after Christmas sales and along with gifts purchased some candles to enjoy during the cold winter season. I have been completely deep cleaning the pantry and kitchen one section at a time so I did more work in those areas. Those are the only extras as right now all my children are sick and I'm a bit under the weather myself. Your photos as always are lovely. Ginger

    1. Dear Ginger,
      You had a big week. Being from a farm I know the work involved in packing away meat etc. Many whole days spent on that. But how fantastic to have full freezers of home grown produce. I know it saves a huge amount of money too.
      Also the deep cleaning is time consuming so you have been working hard. I hope you get a restful weekend. It is so good to get the year started well. Thanks so much Ginger, Love

  14. Lovely post, as usual!
    We are having our winter here in AZ. It has rained several days and is cloudy and cool today.
    I have some tomato plants that I started from seeds waiting for me to get them planted. Roses, petunias and a few other things are growing nicely. Basil seems to grow well here, too. Citrus is ready to pick. My husband and I picked probably 50 pounds from our neighbors, who are very generous with their abundance. We have a couple of trees, as well. My multiplier onions and aloe vera are thriving. Between seeds I have save and some purchased last year, I hope to get some more things planted soon.
    I've made a couple trips to the grocery store with good savings from sales, coupons and senior discount. More details to come with the Vicky Challenge.
    Two six packs of holiday towels are tucked away for next Christmas. They were on clearance from $24.99 each pack reduced to $5 each. With $10 Kohl's cash, they were free.
    Most of our meals have been at home. I made a huge pot of soup that has really been nice with the cooler weather.
    Most of my feathering has been in decluttering and organizing. It makes me happy to keep passing things we don't really need to others who might enjoy them. My husband and I also enjoy our home when it is less cluttered. It is work in progress.
    After looking through my fabric supplies, I have quite a bit I can use for gifts. I have a few things in mind and am looking forward to getting ideas.
    Have a lovely weekend!

    1. Dear Elaine,
      How fantastic to have all that fruit! I really love citrus in winter. We tend to get a lot of oranges in winter and its a lot of good vitamin c! Also I make my Sunshine cake which in winter is really lovely and bright.
      Well done on the savings. I cant wait to hear. I am adding everything into the challenge and yesterday found a major saving I am very excited about!
      Decluttering and organizing is good work. I also love being able to donate goods or pass them to someone who can use them. I always feel the things we do need come to us as well as if it is a giving circle.
      Wednesday I have lots of things to make with fabric bits and pieces so I hope this will help. It is great you have supplies! Have a good weekend, with love

  15. Dear Annabel, Your pictures are lovely! The hydrangeas are huge! You had a very good week!

    I've been shoveling snow, working on organizing and cooking from scratch. Also, stayed home all but one day, so that saves!

    Have a wonderful weekend! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      I have never shoveled snow I can only think it must be very hard work! And right now it is really hot so it even hard to imagine!
      Staying home certainly is a saving. No spend days are good. I hope your organising is going well. A bit each day works! With lots of love

  16. Annabel, visiting your blog is like a breath of fresh air that invigorates and refreshes you! Beautiful flowers and beautiful pillows! My gift truck is almost empty after the holidays and so I am focusing on restocking it. My current gifts, that I am working on, to go in my gift pantry are emergency sewing kits to go in vehicles or purses. I found some small tins on sale that will work great for this! I'm looking forward to your 'challenge' posts!

    1. Dear Patsy,
      I love what you are making! I hope you will show them in a blog post. Very nice gift too.
      Thank you so much! I think we have got the year off to a good and positive start! With love,

  17. Annabel your blog never fails, I just love reading it. You haven't mentioned the hens for a while, are they laying for you yet? Whilst I recover, I have been decluttering. I try to do this after Christmas especially and then during the year. I have been ruthless. I have a big stripey bag, it's knee high and about 60cm wide as well, almost full and all good things that the op shops will love. I"ve culled each room of the house, it feels great. My lovely man has recently made a nice herb bed for me in the garden (I hate it lol). Previously I had pots around the laundry door, easy to get to when cooking, especially in the dark. Now I've got a traipse of about 100 feet. Not far in the scheme of things but no longer a convenient easy option.
    The photos you use in your blog are beautiful too. I have hydrangeas the size I've never seen before, must love the country soil. He cut them back twice over the year and they are still well over six feet tall. Maybe I should cut some and dry them too. I'd hate to get to your project and go oh bother why didn't I do that too.
    Can't wait for Monday's post. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona,
      I have never seen Hydrangeas that size! Dried Hydrangeas were $2 each to buy and that was years ago. I would dry everyone. They are stunning! You must take photos as these sound amazing!
      No eggs yet. And two roosters. This is bad as we have to exchange the roosters... which is tomorrow. We knew the odds were half and half. So I will do a chicken report soon. We really love them actually.
      I hope the herb garden grows well so it is worth the dash. I love herbs and pick so many. By the sounds of it your soil there is beautiful. Hope you had a good weekend and have a good week ahead! with love,

  18. I love the new cushions Annabel. They are SO you xoxo

    Here's our frugal list for the week -

    * Saved more tissue paper, ribbon, gift boxes and gift bags from some Christmas presents I've put to use.

    * Picked lettuce, strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes and beans to use in our meals.

    * Dried all washing on the line. Saved the washing machine water for each next load.

    * Used the shower warm up water to water all our potted plants / fruit bushes.

    * Made dried bread crumbs from saved crusts. They seem to multiply so quickly. Oh well, much better than throwing them out.

    * Tied up the tomato plants with old cut up socks.

    * Sewed 8 more hand towels with some Christmas material. I'm trying to build a stockpile of hand made presents just in case extra birthdays come up. I love them so much I think I'll keep some to use in my kitchen next Christmas.

    * Darren picked a couple of beautiful pink roses from the garden. He placed them on my bedside table as a suprise.

    * Bought a Boysenberry plant from Bunnings to add to my collection of fruit plants. I repotted it into a larger pot we already had.

    * Had the evap cooling off for a few days. I love the in between weather when you don't need heating or cooling. Just the fresh air from outside.

    * Made pizza using pita bread and bits and pieces in the fridge. The rest of the pita breads from the packet were made into pita chips.

    * Planted more bean and lettuce seeds for continual picking.

    * Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

    * Megan went through her school book list and found we had all the stationery on hand in our stationery box. I always buy a few extra binder books and pens when they are on sale in Big W each year.

    * Darren has painted both girl's bedrooms over the last week and a half. He was able to get a good price on the paint and used some equipment he already had on hand. This gave the girls a perfect opportunity to sort through everything in their rooms. From Jessica's room I reclaimed a pair of green and pink curtains. I'm not sure if I'll keep them to put back up when she gets married and moves out or if I'll use them for craft projects. I also reclaimed a plastic tub with lid. Darren will use this in his car to bring home coffee grounds from work..From Megan's room I reclaimed some stationery, a book light, a torch and other useful items.

    * I gave Megan a haircut..

    * I ripped up lots of Jessica's old school papers to use as note paper. I think I'm set for the next few years.

    * Made a batch of soap using my fancy moulds. I put a a photo of the finished product next week.

  19. Dear Annabel, I too love your cushions! My couches are a light green ticking material and I have been keeping my eye out for floral material to make into pillows for it.
    The beginning of the week my husband had to travel for work, so I took the opportunity to do some light decorating, rearrange pictures, and do general fluffing. I also gave the bedroom a good clean, mowed the yard, moved some furniture around, dehydrated orange slices, and put some leftovers in the freezer. I managed to spend only 10 cents the whole week. I'll share my savings on Monday :)
    I hope you have a lovely weekend. Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey, Sorry for very late reply. I bet everything looked lovely after all of that. I think it makes things look and feel fresh and nice. And you did all this and spent 10c! Well done! Love

  20. I had a good week with a good bit of savings all through the week. It does seem this first week slid by awfully fast! Still for the first week of January I've a new look in my living room, the dining room is freshened and the master bedroom will soon be completed with a mini makeover. There's so much to do that I can hardly think where to start! Here's my post which includes some of my Vicky Challenge items as well:

    1. Dear Terri,
      You are off to a good start! it is busy and time does fly. At the farm we have deer and in the is terrible to hit one (for everyone including the deer!) but I am glad no one was hurt.It does a lot of damage.
      I have been re arranging and tidying too and its so good. It feels like a new lounge room and bedroom so far.
      Have a lovely weekend! Thank you so much for your kind words! Love

  21. Hi Annabel!!

    You're wonderful!!

    I am quite aware that the old Australian "tall poppy syndrome" still exists, so want to make sure that you know that I have appreciated the way you have thrown yourself into your new and continuing challenges. While I consider that the most important thing about my own mother is that she was always at home for us, I also love to see others doing well!! Take Vicky & her husband - that log splitter & the trees it splits is awe inspiring. So is the way my husband can pull down an engine & get it all back together again. The way you & Andy work as a team is wonderful, too. Added all together, they nearly equal the value of the tiniest birds (and the sweet relaxation they provide us!), homegrown flowers & the way animals make us laugh!!

    That inspiring encouragement you generously gave prompted me, in a busy day, to spend time on a marathon project, & pick up a musical instrument at the end of the day!! Now I know I can do a little of these each day to achieve my goals.

    "The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul;". Psalm 19:7

    Have a good day.

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel, Thank you what a kind comment!
      I am also amazed at Vicky and her husband. He is very inventive. I thought with that there is always an income as people always need wood. It is a basic. Very clever.
      I had many years on my own with the girls. So I extra appreciate a man who makes things, fixes things etc. It is great!
      I hope I get to hear about your marathon project!
      Thank you so much for your encouragement! With love,

  22. Hello Annabel, how I look forward to your posts. I love sitting down with a cuppa and having some quiet time. It's a joy in the week. I love your flowers, they are displayed magnificently. I also love your cushions. I love your method of writing lists and then writing down what you did each day. So empowering. I love how you utilise your time, like you say 10 minutes here and there adds up. We have had a great week. My DH has been home on holidays and it has been so lovely. We haven't saved too much, but have been able to do a lot more because of our savings. We evev had a little family getaway. It didn't cost too much extra, we took our own food and did lots of cheap things like swimming in lakes and walks etc. I made baby food and used cloth nappies. I also finally made your shortbread, DIVINE!!! My first time of making shortbread ever and it was a success. I have to ask- with the mixing and the kneading, how do you know when you have done it enough? Any golden rules? I plan on eagerly joining on the Vicky Challenge. I love this. Even for us it is making small changes, we love going out, so this week when we met friends we shared a pizza. A lot cheaper than two main meals. So I guess it is thinking outside the square. Thank you to you Annabel for your generosity and encouragement and to all the lovely ladies that contribute. It's so delightful to be on here. Love, Bridge

    1. re the shortbread thank you for the recipe too. I successfully made a huge mess in the kitchen and the floor whilst making the shortbread for Christmas gifts(the mixture kept sticking to the rolling pin despite adding more flour) lol BUT the end result tasted delicious. The shortbread biscuits also looked lovely wrapped in cellophane bags and tied with some gorgeous ribbon I'd bought at the op shop.Thank you too Annabel for the brilliant and lovely ideas/pictures re packaging. greatly appreciated.

    2. Dear Bridge,
      Sorry for a slow reply. I was thinking about what you had said and then thought !!! I havent replied!
      I am glad you got on well with the shortbread. I always do it at Christmas but really you can use other shapes and do it any time.It is a nice gift. Sometimes I cut a glazed cherry and put in the middle, this is nice. If you have a heart shape cutter they are nice for Valentines Day (pop in the lunch box!) re the mixing... I think just get it nice and smooth so it rolls out well. With butter things vary ie on a hot day it will all be stickier. So think play doh!
      Small changes do add up. I hope you have a great new week! xxx

      To Wendy above, thank you! Cellophane bags look so neat and crisp. I love them! Thank you I am glad they worked out. I just said to Bridge that butter will differ ie on a warm day be sticky. You can put it all in the fridge for a bit and let it firm up then roll. I have needed to do this on hot days. Hope that helps!

    3. Wendy, the shortbread in the cellophane bags with pretty ribbon sounds beautiful! Such a clever idea! I love this community you have created Annabel.

      Thank you Annabel for your recipe. I was so excited to make it and that it turned out. My DH said to me can you please make that again soon?! It was a real winner! Yes, that's exactly what it did, it was sticky, but now I realise it was because it was a hot Summer day. Thank you xoxo Love, Bridge

  23. Good morning Annabel and everyone else, love the flowers and sneak peak into the garden.

    This week has been all about getting my huband back into work mode, he works from home which impacts on me, even more so if he isn't fully into work mode.

    We have had the drainage hooked up so the backyard should not flood, the electrician has been in and looked at the job, now we wait for the quote and when he can do it. The old shed will hopefully be removed this week - it was part payment to the fellow doing the drainage.

    Once the shed has gone I will have a concrete pad to have the clothes line set up nearby, our Colebrookdale outside setting (it is one of those really heavy metal tables and chair settings) will have a spot in the yard and I will have a place for the pot with my lemon tree in (when I get the lemon tree). Perhaps the old wheelbarrow will also fit into the area and I can pop some herbs in it?

    We have been and measured up the bathroom at our rental and spoken to the builder - work starts Feb 1st so I need to get everything here for then. Tiles look like they may be a problem - the wall ones are OK but the floor is the problem, I want tiles that are 200 x 200 but that is not fashionable so of course the larger size is going to require extra cuts for drainage etc so we are stuck between a rock and a hard place at the moment.

    Earlier in the week my husband picked up a small desk that was left out the front of the house next door but one to us. It is not very wide, needs a new top and a freshen up but will work in this space when I make the move to a lap top rather than the old system I currently use.

    Currently he is working on the front hall way - the condition is on par with this room and the front sitting room so will take lots of weekends of work to get it done, even though it is not a very large area.

    I have worked out a couple of things that I will do outside the home - one is the Red Hat Ladies, it is a nice social meeting and for the cost of a hot drink it is a great couple of hours. The other is a once a month meeting that I can drop of anything ready for the knitting group I belong to. Again, apart from petrol it is a cheap social morning. I did look into the Wednesday craft group but that is $10- per term and $5- each week. As Annabel has said there are lots of tutorials on the internet and on previous experience with classes I have found that the teacher doesn't always make sure that everyone is up to speed.

    Hope everyone is having a great weekend



    1. Dear Lynette,
      You have lots going on! Sometimes Andy works at home and I understand just what you mean about that and routine.
      I think I would love to come to your knitting group. I really like seeing what people are making and I need to improve my knitting.
      I love the idea of the herbs in the wheelbarrow. That would be beautiful. I want to do that now!
      Have a great week. The weekend flew by!
      With lots of love,

  24. Wow that basil Annabel!! It must smell amazing. I am so happy for you that your floorboards are so lovely, we have gradually been pulling up our carpets as we have finished painting rooms and they are just beautiful. I love wooden floors in bedrooms with a nice rug, and apparently they are a great option if anyone in the house suffers from dust mite allergies (my son does).

    This week I made a two-tiered wedding cake for some friends, I find it quite daunting to do that sort of thing, but am very happy with how it turned out. And that it's finished! It cost me $50 in ingredients for a large cake that I imagine would have cost around $300 to buy. So that was our gift to them and they were really grateful.

    That pretty much consumed me for the week, though I found an amazing bargain at a department store which got my present box restocked a bit. I bought nine platters for $3 each, original price $40 each! And the best part is that I actually picked them up because i really liked them, not because they were on sale! So I may keep a couple, but for the others I think I will fill them with treats at Christmas time. Stoked!

    Today is my son's birthday so am making another cake, a wrestling ring this time lol. I sewed him a wrestling mask yesterday too.

    Have a great week, looking forward to the challenges starting!

    1. Dear Jen,
      That was an amazing week! Well done on making the wedding cake! I think probably these days the average cost is well above $300 too. It was a wonderful thing to do! And now you are on to another cake!
      Your deal on the platters is amazing! I got three cake stands for $5 each and was thrilled. I think nine platters for $3 is even better! How fantastic!
      Jen you must be totally transforming your home by paining then revealing beautiful floors. Very exciting!
      I love that you will take on tasks that are very creative... I want to see these cakes some time. I hope your son has a wonderful day! With love


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