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 11 February 2016

Feather your Nest Friday, 12th February, 2016.

The last week has been "soap week" basically! I got a little bit of painting done but not much so far as most days I made soaps. However this was one of my goals for the year and I am really pleased!

The week flew past.

Some of the ways I saved money this week were:

I got two off cuts of beautiful fabric from Spotlight really cheaply. For $2 I got pale blue softest thick fluffy fabric suitable to make heat packs in winter and cream ruffled fabric that I will recover lampshades with.

I earned a $5 Woolies voucher from shopping points.

Found an old style tin watering can on the road size. I love it!

I cleaned my dishwasher, took out the spray arm thingys... and cleaned it properly. Big difference!

Decorated my wool wash to make it suitable to give as gifts and also some of the laundry liquid.

I planted lots more parsley seeds into pots plus packaged up some seeds to give away.

Repotted two hydrangeas I was given for free.

Sent two presents in the mail and stuck to my small to post rule!

Made several batches of soap. This gives me supplies and gifts. I will package them for gift giving later as now they need to dry out and mature. Meanwhile it looks like a soap afternoon tea party as they are around the house on my cake stands and plates. I like it, they look pretty and smell good.

All the recipes will be next Wednesday on The Christmas Challenge.

Some of the ways I feathered my nest include:

Repainted a table. Looks much better.

Spray painted another cake stand.

Re painted a pretty tray.

Decorated a giant candle in my hallway.

I got ahead quite a bit in my gift making, soap supplies, and a years worth of laundry liquid!

So it was a good week.

How was your week and how did you save money and build up your home?

Two things are happening today that should help me build up my home lots! One is Chloe is returning from the country with buckets of figs! She and my niece went picking figs on three trees. Three giant fig trees, covered in figs. Two kinds of figs actually. I might not get them until tomorrow but they are coming!

AND tonight I am meeting Cath and Wendy at the new Aldi and we get a private group tour/introduction, samples and info. I am very excited. In the letter box I have had two specials leaflets which have been amazing and I signed up for emails also. I can see this is going to radically change my shopping budget. I am a willing learner. I know this potentially could save us a lot per year. So I intend to be a star pupil! I hope I will learn some tips I can share with you next week!

Have a great weekend! xxx


  1. Annabel, Your soaps are beautiful. I look forward to getting the instructions for how you made them. I really haven't done much the past few days due to a TMJ/jaw/tooth issue but hope to get some things done over the weekend. I am ready to get back to work!

    1. Dear Patsy,
      I am sorry you have had a rough week. I think tooth pain is one of the worst things.
      The soaps are very very easy. I have a favourite too!... all recipes next week! With love

  2. Annabel you are going to love shopping at Aldi - I have found that it not only saves money but time.

    This week I have been 'home alone' - not a bad thing in the scheme of life because I have been able to sort out a few rooms and deep clean them without having to worry about my husband and business calls.

    I have also worked on part of a project I had in mind.

    Today I picked up some cheap plastic pots at a hardware shop, a couple of weeks ago we had the flood proofing done in the backyard and a plant had to be removed - it is an old plant with lots of large bulbs that I am going to pot up and nurture and when the driveway is done they can be planted along the fence side which will be a narrow garden.

    I also picked up a dwarf lemon tree - no price on it as it had just arrived but I know with certain things that if you do not pick them up when spotted then you miss out.

    I also found a set of bedside tables that I think out daughter will like to do up to match her bed - the local op shop has a special on their furniture everything is 1/2 price so I got the two for $12-.

    They have been knocked about a bit and being pine will take kindly to a sand and revamp - she has gone for the bleached wood/beachy type look.

    The best thing is that I got a really good report from the naturopath and she is calling me her star - while I do not follow everything all of the time I do it most of the time and it has paid off. She was astounded that I was coping with the humid weather so well.

    My husband is home this evening but is 'on call' tomorrow - hope he doesn't bring the 'flu home with him because they have all had it where he has been working.

    Have a great weekend and enjoy tonight.



    1. Dear Lynette,
      I did love Aldi. I am amazed. The savings are HUGE. It was very educational plus a lot of fun!
      Dividing the plant to end up with lots more is a big saving. Plants are expensive so that is a good project.
      Well done with your health. Many changes are hard to do but if they pay off in a noticeable way that is very motivating and worth it.
      The bedside tables will be lovely for your daughter! They look nice but are very practical. Oh the things I keep handy next to me because of my bedside table! Road side find too!
      It sounds like you achieved heaps. Alone time can be like that, you can just get on with things!
      I really hope the flu or any bug comes home... hopefully not! With love

  3. Where did you find the cute measure spoon to put on you pretty jars? They are so cute. Your soap has inspired me to try making my own for gifts. Have a great week!

    1. Dear Sue, These scoops came from Spotlight, they still have them. There were four per set. I love scoops! Previously Woolies have had heart shaped ones! I wish I had bought more of those!
      Sue to make some soap. I will post the recipes next week. It is SO easy and fun and such nice gifts. You will enjoy it so much! With love

  4. Annabel,enjoy your ALDI tour. I have never heard of that type of event before. I guess you know you can make up your shopping list online on the ALDI website at least you used to be able to but I haven't checked lately. All the products and prices should be there and I think you just click on what you want and then print out your list to take shopping with you. That way you know how much your shopping is going to cost before you leave home.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, I do not believe Aldi have had an even like this before, ti was Caths doing. And took a long time to make it happen.
      Thank you for the tip about online.
      I had a great time and am shocked how much I can save.... I mailed you... also was wondering if you could pop to Aldi in lunch break or after work for a few minutes as judging by last night if you have the specials brochure the savings are incredible. Or maybe ask a friend to pick you up certain specials. It could be a money saver, I can see the savings are huge now.
      Have a lovely weekend, love

  5. Beautiful.....beautiful soaps. How clever you are.. enjoy the ALDI excursion. Thanks for sharing. Cheers Jo

    1. Thank you! I did enjoy Aldi! Very much! I am amazed! Love

  6. Dear Annabel, wow, doesn't your soap look just beautiful! Enjoy your Aldi tour...I'm sure you will learn so much.
    This week we built our home by spray painting some picture frames and printing off some new artwork to go in them. The cost was $1.99 in total and it has refreshed the lounge room for the change of seasons coming up. Thanks so much Annabel for the lovely photos that illustrate what you have been busy with. Love Helen xxx

    1. Dear Helen,
      I loved Aldi! I learned so so much! Very excited!
      Paint is amazing. I painted a tray and a cake stand and just that things look better this week. Oh and a table.
      Have a lovely weekend and I hope your pictures turn out nicely. With love

  7. Looking forward to seeing your fig ideas as we have three trees! Your soaps are lovely :)

    1. Dear Jes, I love figs. I make fig jam containing blanched almonds. This is a favourite in the family especially my Dad and Andy. I do roast chicken with roasted figs and vegetables and mashed potato. That is lovely. You only roast the figs at the end i.e. for 15 mins.
      Also I stuff figs with goats cheese or cream cheese and wrap them in prosciutto then bake. They are divine!!! This is a real treat. There is also a recipe where you boil them in syrup then dry them in the oven and cover them with dark chocolate to make incredible chocolates. I have tasted them they are chewy and delicious!
      So figs this week... soaps last week! Thanks Jes! Love

    2. Great ideas! Thank you!!! So far we have just made fig jam, make fruit/grain bars with the jam and we also flash freeze them on trays to put into smoothies. They are an alkaline food and very good for you (especially to counteract all the acid in that cup of coffee that I love)... Have a lovely weekend! :)

  8. Hi Annabel!

    Your photo frame beside the candle is elegant in lace!

    You might need warning signs beside your soaps, saying, "Do not eat!"

    Today, I cooked up what I had cut up two days ago as preparation for my first ever batch of marmalade. I had to make some executive decisions when, cooking on the fireplace, I couldn't reach gelling point, & had no reliable chilling in the freezer - with the power down - for the chilled saucer test, ..... Time was running out, so I made another first for me by using the 'citrus syrup' as it was in hot, dry jars & turning them upside down for five minutes to create the sealing vacuum. ..... It probably didn't help that I cut down on the sugar. This is yet another learning process for me! I note, from an old Australian recipe book, that marmalade was often used in baking, so I'm thinking of this & citrus other things like milk shakes!

    I had meant to tell you that, recently, for $1.50, I bought three (second hand) tiny crochet hooks, made in England. Maybe this will become a crochet club?!!

    Thanks for your site!
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      Marmalade makes a lovey glaze over a cake, I know that much.
      I had photo frames that were brown and wedding photos to frame. I stuck lace tot he frames to create texture then painted them white. They worked out really nicely for wedding photos!
      I love such things as the English crochet hooks. I must tell you that last night I saw Wendy as the Aldi night and she wants to earn crochet so I gave her a set of pretty coloured crochet hooks to help her along! A crochet hook has a lot of potential! So we may become a crocket club I think! Have a beautiful weekend! With love

  9. Your soaps are gorgeous, Annabel...I especially love the pink flecked ones!

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen,
      They have turned out to be a happy mistake Jen! At least I made a few discoveries! Thank you so much! Love (Have a good weekend!)

  10. My favorite thing in my Aldis here in the states is their Eoropean chocolate at a fraction of the cost elsewhere.

    1. Dear Brenda, I bought two types of Dark european Chocolate for Andy to try as he loves dark chocolate. Even the packaging looks beautiful and luxurious. I was very impressed with everything!
      With love

  11. I love the soaps and the jars and bottles the wool wash is in. I am hoping to try making the wool wash this weekend. I am looking forward to seeing how you package the lovely soaps. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Thank you! I will have to wait a few weeks for the soaps to dry well but I have packing in mind and are collecting the things I need. Packaging is a big thing isn't it, to get that luscious look. I will share pictures for sure. Many

  12. All your soaps are so pretty Annabel, soap making is addictive and makes wonderful gifts. I have made some wool wash ready to wash woollens for winter and are you going to share your recipe for the washing liquid, I make a powder.
    How lucky are you to have access to large fig trees. I have a small one in a pot that I get a lot off. Figs are my favourite fruit and I love fig jam.
    This week I have finished a shawl I started last winter before I had my hand operated on and I can knit again, I persevered until I could. I made spicy pear paste to have with a cheese platter. I made bread rolls and cheese scrolls for the freezer for lunches. Made some chutney. Hemmed the bottom of a few towels that were frayed on the bottom and now will get a lot longer out of them.
    Hope you enjoyed the Aldi visit and loved there products. looking forward to finding out any new tips that maybe I don't know.
    Have a great weekend, Love Debbie xx

    1. Dear Debbie,
      I will post the laundry liquid recipe next week. It is really good. I like liquids a lot.
      I get the figs today! I will have to assess how ripe they are and deal with them from there. I hope to make some meals i.e. roast chicken and figs and figs with cream cheese and proscuttio etc and also jam. I put blanched almonds in the jam, I have them ready, plus jars etc.
      Also figs are a crazy price in the shops! Did you notice that? I little container of 6 figs was over $5 making them almost $1 EACH.
      I would love to see your shawl! I am so glad you are able to knit again!
      Well done on all that lovely cooking and repairing towels.
      I did love e Aldi. I learned so much. I will add everything I learned into a post next week. With love

    2. Hi Debbie!

      Spicy pear paste!! Sounds lovely! One year, my Dad gave me quinces from his tree, & some cloves to cook them with. It was lovely. Since I am the only one in my household to eat quince, & I wasn't preserving at the time, I had to invite my parents around for date & cinnamon bread along with two types of 'ice cream' - lemon and quince! It was fun, & I still had cooked quince left over.

      I wonder what spices you pair with pear?!

      Rachel Holt

    3. Hi Rachel, I added cinnamon stick, whole cloves and a little grated ginger. I took the cinnamon and cloves out when it was cooked.

  13. You will love Aldi. A full trolley at Woolworths would cost about $300. A full trolley at Aldi with all the same products costs me about $200. I still get surprised every time I shop there when they tell me the total.
    Marge xoxo

    1. Dear Marge, Last night I learned exactly what you are saving. I was amazed. I can see I will be able to roughly half my shopping bill. I am so excited! I came home with some products to to and so far everything is BEAUTIFUL. Im a convert! Have a great weekend, thank you. Love

  14. Annabel your soap looks beautiful as do the jars of washing soaps, i always shop at Aldi's now and have done for about 6 months, i love it. Hope you had fun with Cath and the girls xoxo

    1. Dear Karen,
      Thank you so much! Have you calculated how much you think you save now with he change to Aldi? A couple of ladies last night took their normal chopping lists and bought the same things to do a direct comparison. With amazing results! It was so interesting, I learned a lot last night! And yes it was so much fun! Have a lovely weekend Karen!.love

  15. Oh, my goodness! Your soaps do look like pretty little tea cookies/biscuits all laid out. How sweet! Your house must smell heavenly!

    My big accomplishment of the week was that I set the tile for our kitchen back splash. This was one of the tasks we were going to hire out, but our tile guy, who is also a friend, got sick. He and another contractor friend gave me some coaching and encouragement, so I had a go at it. My husband ran the wet saw and backed me 100% and so far, so good. I have to put in the grout tomorrow, so that's when we'll see how well it actually turns out.

    I'll be eager to hear if you like Aldi as much as I do. I hope your class and shopping are loads of fun!

    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Thank you Leigh! I have been following your progress on the kitchen! Good on you for taking on this job! When we did our kitchen I plastered a wall. The man at the hardware store told me I couldn't do it and we needed to hire a professional. PFFFT! I learned how to do it (you tube!) and did a pretty good job too! I hope the grout went well and you are proud of yourself! And what a saving!
      I do like Aldi as much as you! I LOVE it. Friends told me they halved their grocery bills. Now I see how and that it is easily possible. Also everything we have tired so far we have LOVED. I am very excited! This one change could amount to a huge savings per year.
      Plus it was a really fun night!
      Well done on all your work! With love

  16. I switched to Aldi shopping about three years ago and we are totally converted to them. I can't buy everything there yet, but I'd say we do purchase 85-90% of our grocery there and halved our grocery bill.

    Had a lovely week. It was one of those, "Oh I've done nothing at all" sorts of weeks in thought but in fact, it was not a bad week and there were savings, some large and some small.

    1. Dear Terri,
      I am switching to Aldi also! I can see why you did! What a discovery. In our state they only opened a week ago. We have four and another four coming next month plus later in the year I will have one five minutes away.
      I haven't read your post yet but I will. I have been dealing with two buckets of figs! With love,

  17. Your soaps look great and I am looking forward to the tutorial. I am glad you enjoyed your trip to Aldi too. We are having a blast of extreme cold weather so I am going to spend some time consolidating holiday items in the basement. We had a pretty good week here last week and I've been continuing to build my pantry. Have a great week!

    1. Dear Melissa, I saw on the news about the cold weather coming in! I have never experienced below zero temperatures so I can't even imagine. I think its quite frightening!
      It is great to have projects to work on indoors though when weather is bad. Here it is in the heat... and I will sew etc and feel quite content inside.
      Well done on building your pantry. There will be times when you are so glad you did it! With love Annabel.xxxx

  18. Dear Annabel,
    Your soaps are lovely! I didn't think I was interested in making soap, but you are changing my mind!
    Some of my seeds are beginning to come up! I'm continuing to plant more seeds and flowers. We bought some new flowers that I have been planting, as well as transplanting and dividing some others. I thought of you when I planted some parsley seeds :-).

    I made an extra large batch of lemon pie bars and shared a plate with our neighbors who are so generous with their citrus. We ate some, but I managed to put a few in the freezer. I looked up your orange cake recipe, hoping to make that soon.

    Hope you have a good weekend. Happy Valentine's Day! Elaine

    1. Dear Elaine,
      Happy Valentines Day to you Elaine! The lemon bars sound lovely.
      The soaps were very easy. I think pretty moulds are the key. However they were very inexpensive and you can get anything! Ebay is miles cheaper than soap stores. I am ordering some more to make fancier shapes... I just love them!
      Many thanks! With love

  19. Dear Annabel, You have had a very productive week. Your soap is just beautiful and I am really looking forward to Wednesday's tutorial. And what a blessing with all of those figs!
    This week didn't seem very productive to me, but I did manage to get a few things done. I began cleaning out my closet and setting aside the clothes I never wear, as well as arranging "new" outfits with what I already have.
    I cleaned out the chicken coop and added fresh straw to the nesting boxes, bathed the dog, and painted an iron table that was left here by the previous owners. It was red and yellow (ugly to me) and now it is white to match the rocking chairs on my front porch.
    We decided to use the free bricks we got from the dump to build a small patio and started working on that.
    A new farm and ranch supply store has just opened in our town, which I am very glad about. We live in a small town and have to drive about thirty minutes to get to a similar one, so this will help us quite a bit. This weekend, they had grand opening sales, and my husband bought me a bird feeder, which I have been wanting for a long time. The birds have discovered it and I am enjoying watching them.
    We took a trip to the city (a rare occurrence) where I was able to purchase several craft items that I need for a few projects I want to get started on. Everything was on sale (I planned the trip around the sales) and even better, paid for almost all of it with gift cards. So I added a lot to my crafting stash for very little.
    I purchased the hardware to hang my farmhouse window, so I will be working on that this coming week. I also decided what to do with my white shutter and now have it decorated and hanging in one of the bedrooms. I have had to order a new battery for my camera, but as soon as it comes in, I will be able to take pictures :)
    I am glad you enjoyed ALDI and your visit with Cath and Wendy. I hope your week to come is wonderful too! Love, Kelsey

  20. I have not commented before but have been enjoying reading your blog.
    I love how you make your gifts so feminine and pretty! The bottles and soaps are so pretty. I also shop at our Aldi's! Nancy

    1. Thank you Nancy! I am so glad to have you here.
      Well after my trip to Aldi I am a convert! It was great! Thanks so much, love

  21. Those soaps look fab! I also made a big batch of laundry gel this week xx

    1. Well done Mel on the laundry gel. I am loving mine. And soap making is a bit addictive! xxx

  22. Dear Annabel, Happy Valentine's Day!! I love how you displayed your soaps! The glass jars with PINK scoops and beautiful tags are just lovely!! :) The wool wash and liquid clothes wash look too lovely to use! lol

    Your picture frame is beautiful and looks so nice with the candle display! I'm so glad you were able to go to Aldi's and spent time with Cath and Wendy!

    We recovered 4 chairs (2 with pink upholstery fabric and 2 with pink rose fabric), all with materials on hand! They look so fresh and pretty, now. I didn't care about them not matching as they are all used in different rooms.

    I also had a busy baking week. I made cookies, cream puffs with vanilla crème pudding and homemade raspberry pie filling, chocolate zucchini cake, and granola. I made all meals at home including egg foo yong for the first time. It was delicious (I served it with homemade fried rice) and we decided this will become a new to us menu item! :) Everything came out of our pantry store and we have lunch box goodies for the coming week!

    Have a wonderful week! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      Thank you! I had a week of all kinds of soaps. We will be clean at least!
      I just love the sound of your pink chairs and the pink rose fabric! That makes me happy just thinking of it. And I would think it fine to mix them together also in fact I think it would look lovely. Well done on doing this!
      What a great amount of cooking. Yum. So many beautiful things. And trying something new is good too. Especially when it turns out well!
      That was a great week Teri! With love


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