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 5 May 2016

Feather your Nest Friday, 6 May, 2016.

I am truly having trouble deciding what to say about this week! It was basically ok but I had some moments of feeling really blahhh.  Mostly I think because my energy is still low from not being well and my arm is too sore to paint!
Two good friends were really sad as well. Both were over the loss of relationships. It was spreading. I felt the same as I feel I have lost some friends and supporters recently. When you don't know why it is hard. But this is part of life. Both my friends had done so much to help others and then this! They are broken hearted.
It has happened to us all I am sure. It hurts and if you are tenderhearted then that doesn't exactly help.

Then just when I needed it two letters came to me that lifted me up. They were simply kind and encouraging and that is all I needed. Which goes to show how being kind and encouraging to others might make all the difference in the world to them. And it might come at just the right moment as you never know what struggles someone might be facing..
And then I got an email from a dear friend and reader this morning. Her husband has just lost his job. In the context of the blog I should say ANOTHER husband has lost his job as there are many.
This email was thanking me as Bluebirds has helped them be ahead and be in a way better position than they might previously have found themselves in. In fact her husband thanked her so much for being so prudent with the household and money and how wonderful it was. And she thanked me for helping her in this!
Well, that made me feel there is a point and to focus on what I should be! And there is a need.
I have actually lost count now of the families who have lost jobs this year.  Even the most unlikely jobs that have been faithfully attended to for forty years!  Just "go home, take a bus and leave your phone" kind of dismissals. Utter devastation.

However things are get ahead while you can in anyway that you can. The pantry, the emergency fund, meals in the freezer. Just do it.

When you share your week and your saving and creating ideas you are encouraging someone believe me. Thank you to everyone who has hung in there with me!

This week I saved by:

I made a big batch of "Fridge Soup" using up left over veggies from the fridge and freezer.
Also a big pot of Chicken Soup. One part of the chicken when poached became a couple of meals for Harper. (which she loved!)

I turned my $20 Coles voucher into $40 worth of free groceries.
And added more store points towards another voucher.

My phone contract was up. It was a two year contract and I learned years ago that then they give you a free upgrade. So now I go in basically on the day! And I have a much newer phone at no extra cost. Plus my old phone is now Chloe's and an update for her. The first "smart" phone I had I kept for years as I didn't realise that if you are on a plan you get free upgrades. If Chloe did not need a phone I would have sold it online as there are phone buyers that give you cash for them. Very happy with my phone as it has a great camera!

I made a big lot of spaghetti sauce. I do a mince and tomato cook up. It becomes spaghetti sauce, pizza topping, tacos, lasagne and many things.

Andy came home with fish again! He is on a roll with the fishing. More Salmon.

I pan fried some fillets with butter and lemon. When I go to the supermarket I look at the current price of fresh fish and Salmon is $27 per kilo.

I got ahead by:

Two types of soup in the freezer.
Spaghetti sauce in portions in the freezer.
Fish fillets in the freezer.

I feathered the nest by:

Prettying things up. I have a beautiful hallway with two chandeliers. As chandeliers go they were very basic and not blingy. But I love chandeliers so much and am very grateful to have them. So I went on to Ebay and found crystals to be really inexpensive and I ordered ten feet of garlands of crystals plus droplets. I spent a long time up a ladder adding all of these! It cost less than $30 all up to really add so much that they look so much better and bigger!

It was a good week to add sparkle. And everyone who has come in the front door has noticed! 

Any light fitting with "arms" (even the bronze or gold old style fittings ) can have crystals added. It was really easy to do!

I found a tree on the side of the road. It is a standard Ficus. Chloe and I had just been to the local nursery and saw that larger trees in pots were hundreds of dollars. We were staggered at the prices. And on the way home there was this! Nice pot and everything!

It involved calling Andy to see how far away he was. But he was nearby and there quite quickly and the tree was in his van in no time flat!  It's almost as tall as me. (although that is not so tall) The reason it was on the side of the road, I am guessing, is that it has been against a wall and is sparse on one side. Well, I can fix that!

There are Lilly's flooring in the garden...

I added quite a bit to my pantry and supplies. Canned soup, Polenta, spices and creamed corn.

We had rain and things look fresh. Then we had a sunny day yesterday and my washing was out! It is beautiful and sunny today as well. I will try and get more washing done.
I am about to make Cornbread to go with all these soups I am making. I make it up as Muffins and freeze lots.

I hope you had a good week! How did you get ahead and save?

Keep at it. Consistency really pays off. Some weeks will be better than others but everything adds up!


  1. Dear Annabel,

    Your chandeliers look magnificent! You have a truly beautiful home, so elegant and welcoming.

    You did really well managing so much while not feeling tip top still. I have also been sick this week, so that slowed me down! The weather has been cooler and wet too, so the changes seem to bring the colds bugs out! I was so grateful for lovely soup I had made (veg lentil with chicken stock) finding some meals or leftovers in the freezer is like finding gold in times of sickness. It has been a great encouragement I have learned from your blog to prepare ahead stuff. I put my "maidens" to work as well, namely the crockpot for fuss free meals.

    I was able to earn $70 of free groceries from the latest promo through Coles. Like yourself, I will look for half price deals to boost the value.

    I added in some brown rice and flours to my stockpile. Shopped the sales for good prices on fruit and veg. It is amazing the differences in prices for the same items between stores.

    Hope everyone has had a productive week. Even on what we might think as a "bad" week, there are still things we seem to manage to get through. Preparing ahead is a definite bonus for the blah times. Xo

    1. Dear Kaye,
      I wonder if we had the same bug? A lot of people seem to have been sick. I hope you are feeling much better!
      Soup and handy meals in the freezer are wonderful. As you have said to me we need nourishment when sick and that can be hard but between good things on hand and the crockpot something good can be simmering.
      Since Aldi here the prices in some things i.e. bananas have come down so much! But the difference between shops can be huge. This week it was $4 a kilo difference in parsnips between two shops I checked. That is a lot!
      Well done on the grocery points. That is a wonderful amount!
      I hope you have a good weekend and feel better. Next we will have to get the freezers replenished after this time of using handy meals! With love and thanks,

  2. Annabel, your home is beautiful and big! I'm sorry that you have not felt well this week and have been a bit discouraged. Please, please, please never underestimate the influence you have and the encouragement you give to others through your blog. I am doing lots of little things this week such as planting a garden, harvesting herbs and working in the greenhouse. There is much to do this time of the year.

    1. Dear Patsy, Thank you ! I love our hallway it is really beautiful. But I think it makes the house look grander than it is! I fell in love with the hallway when I first looked at this house!
      You have lots to do with spring. It is all a good investment though to a good harvest and pretty garden.
      Thank you for your kindness Patsy. You have been very encouraging to me all along. With love

  3. Hi Annabelle. I've never commented before but I just wanted to lift you up a bit today and tell you that I read your blog all the time and I really love it. You sound like such a warm, kind-hearted lady and you inspire me. Have a lovely day. Erin.

    1. Erin is so right. I've "known" you since you had, what? Maybe seven followers? (My Kelley Hoghway days.). Annabel, you get sweeter and grow wiser. Your encouragement to others is a seed you constantly sow, and you shall reap.

      Love your spirit, dear girl. Keep up the good work AND word.

      *hugs* from Guam,

    2. Thank you so much Erin. That is very kind of you to

      And to Kelley, thank you! That is a long time now! Thanks for sticking with me and all your kind words and contributions. xxxx

  4. Annabel, thank you for posting this. I am in awe of your beautiful chandeliers! And I am so grateful to you for this blog and for all the precious people who post here frequently; we encourage each other!

    This week here is how I got ahead: made gluten free corn bread (just found out last week I have celiac disease, so no wheat for me), and most of my lunches at home vs eating out which saved quite a bit. I also saved $90 on buying generic printer ink for my printer and it works great! I also refrained from stopping by my favorite thrift store after work today, and instead went to the (free) library to pick up some good reading for this week-end. Not that I would have spend a great deal at the store ($3 per book is a bargain!), but every little bit adds up. Blessings to everyone, stay healthy, and remember that self-care is a ready remedy for the blahs! Hugs, Teresa

    1. Dear Teresa,
      Thanks so much.
      if there was ever a time to need to be gluten free its now. There is such a lot of information and wonderful recipes when years ago I don't think there was much. My Mum is gluten free but intolerant rather than Celiac. The Jamie Oliver website has a huge gluten free section and it is really good.
      That was a huge save on the printer ink! And the library is a wonderful resource and a great way to have lovely things to read for the weekend. Many thanks Teresa, with love

  5. Dear Annabel , I am sorry that you have been feeling blah , please know that you mean so much to me . I am so very grateful to you and your beautiful blog and very grateful to Wendy for leading me here via her blog . I have learnt so much from you Annabel and made a lovely friend . How wonderful to get such a valuable tree free, some people just do not realise what they are getting rid of . My week has included: subsidised cleaning, subsidised social support for one of my cents care ladies to do errands for me ( I do not go with her) , saving my Dad a trip down here and saving me on taxi fares and time and energy if I don't feel great, I made savoury muffins and rolls very cheaply. I turned one $8 chicken into 4 meals for myself plus maybe soup / stock from the bones. This morning a young man turned up at my gate saying he had an order from the housing department to clean up all the leaves in my front yard , he also fixed my front gate. Both these things saved me money and saved me asking my Dad for help. I changed internet companies and because they mucked me around they took $10 a month of my charges and gave me 10 extra gig a month until the end of September as well as a free modem. I bought a craft magazine and received a free due and free embossing folder ( for my sizzix big shot). It makes buying the magazine worth it. The dies and folders are not cheap either. I received 3 meals from my parents this week and some lemons from their tree. I think that might be it this week Annabel. Please take care and be kind to yourself. Love BarbW.

    1. Dear Barb,
      It is really wonderful you get help and support and how much difference that makes to you. And the man to rake the leaves and fix the gate was a big bonus!
      I am glad your internet issues are sorted out and you are back online. I didn't see you for a couple of days and was worried if you were ok! This explained it.
      Thank you for all your support Barb I really appreciate you and all your comments. with love

  6. Blubber head here. I cried at your post. There's so much sadness in the world. I'm on site at my project having a lunch break and went "oh hooray it's Friday what has Annabel done". You always make me smile. You take it easy with your painting injury please. Have a lovely weekend xxx Fi

    1. Dear Fiona,
      Hugs! I know your heart is like mine and its heartbreaking at times when you are a sensitive person. Also that you help people a lot. All I can say is all that goodness and helpfulness will come back to you. And anyway when there is sadness in the world doing things to help and make someones day better is more needed than ever.
      I hope you have a good weekend. I think you must be tired as I know you have had a lot of work to do. With lots of love

  7. Annabel, I am at the airport waiting to board to fly up to see my grandchildren. I am sorry you haven't been feeling too good. Your chandliers are looking fabulous. So inviting when you walk in the door. Have a great week. I won't have much internet access up there.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, I hope its a great trip! Enjoy every minute! With love,

  8. Dear Annabel, Your home is beautiful! I love the chandeliers! So elegant!

    You had a very good week. I do hope you are feeling better. You are such an encouragement to me and your pictures and posts always lift me up! :) I look forward to each one! I know I have been so grateful for our pantry/supplies lately. I haven't added much but can always get a meal on the table even when it's not on the menu! Grilled tuna sandwiches is a favorite. :)

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Rest up a bit! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      Thank you so much! I remember how last summer more and more produce came to you and you were flat out cooking and preserving. I hope this summer holds the same and your pantry is well and truly replenished! We certainly all have times when we are so grateful for our supplies.
      Have a lovely weekend! With love

  9. what a beautiful looking hallway Annabel. Look after yourself, with all the work you have been doing lately and then that bug, it's no wonder you aren't feeling too good.
    This week I have baked bread, and now have a slice cooling on the bench. Today I pulled all the furniture out from the walls in the bedroom, wiped down the walls, vacuumed the carpet, but still need to make the bed unfortunately.
    I have been slowly doing some knitting, yesterday I added some bling to a plain notebook for a friend's birthday, then wrapped it in plain brown paper and added a large bow made from my ribbon stash.

    1. Dear Meg, Thank you very much! As I have painted I have been washing skirting boards. And pulling furniture out etc. it is a big job and dusty. I am a bad duster I think. But after it is so fresh and clean. It is worth it.
      Your gift for your friend and the wrapping sounds lovely!
      I love the cooking. It cheers everyone up to have something baked and even the smell of good cooking.
      Have a lovely weekend I hope you get some knitting done. With love

  10. Hi Annabel, I know I haven't commented much recently but I am 'playing along' at home and read your blog regularly! Knowing there is a like-minded community 'out there' even though most of us have never met is such a comfort sometimes. Take care, Angela

    1. Dear Angela, thank you for that. There is a lot of power in encouragement and company. And not feeling like the only one person doing something. Thank you so much for commenting and telling me this, with love

  11. Hi Annabel,

    I'm sorry to hear that you've been feeling a bit down. You do so much to brighten our lives, always lending an ear, so compassionate and supportive.

    I gifted one of my sewn travel bags (with the accessories) this past week to my DSIL for her birthday. She was soooo appreciative not just for the gift, but also for the fact I'd taken the time to make it myself. I'm telling you this, because it was YOUR encouragement that convinced me to continue making gifts (I'd been pretty much insulted by someone else about giving 'homemade' gifts). Annabel, thank you for the encouragement.

    This week I made 2 batches of biscuits (ANZAC's and choc peanut), a cranberry/choc chip/sultana slice, a tea cake and a rich chocolate cake (for SIL's birthday). All bar the chocolate cake and 1 batch of biscuits are in the freezer.

    This week I almost finished crocheting a cardigan for myself which I started last year, but had to stop working on when the weather became too hot.

    I hope everyone has a great weekend.

    1. Dear Janine,
      Thank you for telling me about your gift giving success! I think it is no wonder that your SIL appreciated the gift and also felt special that you would go to so much trouble making her something. It is encouraging too! Well I am so glad and this is what we need to hear as we have all wondered the same things even when we see what we are making in the shops!
      Beautiful cooking too. I hope we get to see the cardigan!
      Thanks so much Janine, with love

  12. Hi Annabel,
    Never under estimate the amazingly positive impact you have on so many lives. You are inspirational, creative, kind and extremely generous. Thank you so much for all your wonderful encouragement. Cheers Jo

    1. Dear Jo, Thank you for such a kind comment. The encouragement is mutual! Have a lovely weekend, with love,

  13. Hi Annabelle, Just popping in to tell you that I always enjoy reading your blog and so look forward to catching up with your ideas and encouragement..
    Take care and rest if you can so that you will feel better and more like your old self soon.

    1. Dear Helen, Thank you. It is a rainy weekend which is good for a bit of a rest and I am doing that. I hope you have a lovely weekend, many thanks, with love

  14. Dearest Annabel I know how hard it is to be positive when so much around you is not going so well. My friend that I help is living in a problematic situation - I worry about her and she knows this. Not that I think her partner would do anything to harm,, her physically but mentally he is trying all of the time. She works 2 jobs, including her Avon and he expects her to do everything including the evening meal yet he is home all day. She told me the other week that if she was younger she would leave. I have reminded her that she needs a 'running away from home account' but of course that tends to fall on deaf ears.

    Earlier in the week I heard of the death of someone I 'knew' via a savings group I belonged to - she was only a few years older than myself. A reminder that we are not here for ever and life is worth living to the fullest.

    We are in the throes of the NBN happening in our town - the work has caused havoc on our main street and as one person said today, it would be great if we were advised when the streets were being closed.

    This week has been about technology in our house - my PC and tower have been retired and I am now using my husband's old laptop. Better for my hands if I use a mouse which caused much tooing and froing with my husband as he said I was the problem not the mouse he had set up. It was dead and had to be replaced.

    My new 'phone was our daughter's - again I have had a bit of a problem with it but have worked out how to get around it.

    Today was the Ladies Lunch day. Ended up with 25 with some of them new. I found out one lady is a retired horticulturist and she loves helping people with their gardens - not being use to the climate and soil (sand) I think she is going to be a godsend.

    There is also a move to set up a craft group - as we know sharing our skills and doing are beneficial to our health.

    We are getting cooler nights which means better sleep for us both.

    Have a great weekend everyone.


    1. Dear Lynette,
      I feel for your friend. It is hard when you can see abuse and the other person doesn't really. But sooner or later she might see it. I thought i was too old to re marry and look at me!
      Somehow the thought of a "dead mouse" is really funny and its funny how the meanings of thing shave changed so much!
      I like having a lap top as I can get comfy somewhere and I really love that.
      I am wondering if I also knew of the lady you mentioned for the savings site... I have not heard. We knew many of the same ladies...
      The ladies lunch sounds like a handy place to meet people and a horticulturist could be very helpful! I love the idea of the craft group. Imagine the skills that could be shared? Even the company and just seeing what others are making I find very inspiring. Maybe even a swap i.e. unused supplies and unfinished projects swap!?
      I agree on the cool nights = better sleep. Much better for me. Even better cold night and a hot pack!
      Many thanks Lynette. Have a lovely weekend, with love

  15. You find the best things by the side of the road :) Andy is truly a great husband to help you haul it home. I am thankful for my good husband too.
    I am so sorry about your friends losing jobs and relationships.
    We have 2 big brushed nickel chandlers, I'm wondering how they would look draped in crystals, yours are stunning!

    1. Dear Rhonda,
      I love road side finds! I have had so many great ones!
      I think the chandeliers would look lovely with crystals. The easiest ones to manage are the garlands as they then also give you easy loops to add individual crystal droplets to. The garlands I got were only about $8 for ten feet. (from China and free postage!) Also you can paint chandeliers if you were keen. On pinterest I have seen a lot re sprayed. If I found one or got on in an op shop I would take off the fittings, respray then bling it up. In fact I would love to find and make a chandelier this way! I would love one in my lounge room or bedroom! I better start looking. But nickel or bronze etc still look lovely with crystals. It makes them sparkly but also bigger if you increase the overall volume of the light fitting, if you know what I mean.
      Have a lovely weekend, with thanks,

  16. Annabel I know what you mean when you say you have been feeling blah. You chandeliers look simply magnificent and so grand.
    I have always thought that Bluey and I were a bit odd for walking our own path. Because of your blog, your encouragement and the wonderful ideas shared by yourself and others I no longer feel odd. I feel special and I feel a part of some thing that is wonderful. Yes it is about home and family, but what is more important than that? The answer to my own question is nothing! Absolutely nothing!
    We, like many others, are on a very limited income. We don't live poorly, we live well. The only way we can do this is to be very focussed on getting the best for our dollars and by thinking outside the box. This wonderful blog and its readers, provides inspiration and practical ideas to assist us in living a wonderful life and a life lived within our budgets. Love, love, love it.
    So Miss Annabel, lift that head of yours, square you shoulders and be proud of all your efforts.

    1. I agree with you, Jane. The sweetness in your words brought tears to my eyes! We're going soft!!
      Rachel Holt

    2. Dear Jane,
      Thank you for everything you said... I really appreciate it. Its a world gone crazy that living within your means and being happy makes us the odd ones out. I am not sure where it will end but should one thing go wrong many people would be unable to manage as they can't cook or garden or do practical things and are in so much debt etc. Its kind of crazy! Very vulnerable. Also I notice everyone went mad on being stuff and now everyone is mad on getting rid of stuff (decluttering) lol which meant all that work to get all that stuff is now a lot of work to get rid of it. hahaha is it just me or is that funny?
      Home and family is all that matters really. It is a lot of work to keep all of that going in itself. The two of you are a truly wonderful team and I appreciate that as I was on my own for a long time and now I have Andy. He is like Bluey, always making, fixing and turing his hand to what needs doing. What an asset! We are lucky!
      Thank you for all your encouragement and friendship Jane. So much. With love

  17. Hi Annabel!

    Yes, your extra touch with the chandeliers looks perfect! You know, I once asked someone a question about a vintage item in their kitchen, and was surprised at the answer, "You can't have it!" I admire how you are brave enough to share the beauty you build in your home. A chandelier wouldn't suit our home, yet I am enjoying yours!!

    I do believe there are times for proving the truth of the path we're on. Just as the chandelier droplets, your work is like the refreshing rain that does not return empty. See the comments!!

    We've spent more than we'd like lately, and continue with our home goals, regardless! Guess what, Annabel?! I picked up a paintbrush today!! I'm at the start of my apprenticeship, and just getting acquainted with painting, sealing the back and top of a cupboard with a broken white paint that needs using up. There was a funny wasp-like insect that puddled in my work. Later, when I was running late to get back inside for the second coat, some insect flew into my eye, and stung me under the eye. I'm guessing this is the painting bug that got me!

    Mum gave me some tea towels of quality linen. They dry dishes really well. I love that! The other night, I heard music wafting through the bush. Someone must be learning a wind instrument, and I found it quite funny and sweet at the same time. Circumstance found us in an op shop while passing time. I ended up with two 'latch hook' tools for a one dollar total. I've got rag work in the back of my mind!! This is fun!

    You're right. Persistence pays off at home.

    With appreciation,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      Painting is a miracle worker. If you have a clean smooth surface you are set. Also my cheats tips are just wrap your brush in plastic wrap when you are leaving it for a short time. I put the whole paint tray into a zip lock plastic bag, even over night. And just start again the next day.
      I like the thought of music wafting through the bush. Lovely! the birds might sing along!
      thanks so much Rachel, Have a lovely weekend! With love,

  18. Hi Annabel,
    I hope the weekend coming up will bring you back to health and happier times. we have had an extremely stressful week bad news after bad news for people we love and care about who live well outside our state and the feeling of being helpless to help them just makes things worse somehow.
    but I have been reading your blog and the comments made by your lovely ladies and it has helped me through.
    the gifts yesterday were beautiful and your photos today are gorgeous.
    I did have an amazing bargain on Sunday, we went to a "garage sale" that was advertised and it turned out to be a food photographer's selling up of all their props.
    I spent $35.00 and have the bases for approx. 20 foodie gifts just need to cook up a storm closer to the day or Christmas. Also saved by cooking out of the pantry and freezer all week. We had forgotten how good a tin of salmon is when cooked into a mornay with veg, rice and white sauce and cheese and breadcrumbs on top, even the leftovers drew positive comments from the folks at work.
    I thank you again Annabel and co and will try to comment more often instead of just lurking in the background as you all brighten my day so much
    Cheers, Bevo xx

    1. Dear Bevo,
      I am so sorry for your bad news. After I wrote this post I heard the most dreadful news of a family my Dad knows. It was so awful he was crying. It put things into perspective for me. Lets hope next week is better!
      Thank you for telling me the blog is a nice place for you to come. That is so nice to hear.
      What an amazing garage sale! you would never expect that! Oh my goodness! That would be heavenly! Im so glad for you. I can imagine lovely things! Good investments too.
      I love tuna mornay. So that would be similar. I just love this an it is a great pantry meal.
      I hope you have a lovely weekend. Thank you for commenting. It lifts me up! With love

  19. Always love your blog and look forward to it every few days. Love those chandeliers with the work you have done. I saved money this week buying deodorant on sale and my medication from the cheapest pharmacy in my area. Most meals made at home and washing hung out in the sunshine (desperate for rain here). Take care and have a lovely Mothers Day on Sunday.

    1. Thank you very much! It has started to rain here. We need it too and the farm more so. They say it is coming but so far a sprinkle only. The sound of solid rain would be very welcome.
      Also I have found a big difference in the prices of medication at different pharmacies. Once I thought it would be a small difference. For us it is $10 or more even on one packet! Huge difference! Now I know that it saves us so much!
      Thanks so much, have a lovely weekend. With love

  20. Dear Annabel,

    Today is the day our data supply was replenished, so I can come and visit and comment again!!

    It just goes to show you that everyone can have a moment when it all just seems to pile up and make you feel a bit despairing. I can only echo what everyone else has said, that you have helped me so much...I think of your words all the time when I am getting down about things. Did you know that because of you and the tips from Cath at Cheapskates we have been able to pull ahead so much this last year that we were able to pay off one of our mortgages a couple of weeks ago, years ahead of schedule? (Our mortgage was split in two in order to take advantage of different rates, etc.) And I have no doubt that if we continue to follow all the lovely advice you give, we will be able to be FREE from the second one in less than 2 more years! As you are always saying, it all adds up.

    That's just one financial example, but your cheerfulness and kindness are an even bigger inspiration to me and I consider you to be my mentor in so many ways. Besides, your taste is impeccable!! That hallway with the chandeliers!! Swoon.

    We love you, Annabel!

    And Happy Mother's Day!

    xx Jen in Nova Scotia

    1. Dear Jen,
      THANK YOU for telling me that! It is fantastic news! You must be so pleased to make such significant progress. I feel so proud of you!
      And two more years to go with the other half is amazing too. Imagine! Jen this is so good. You are setting yourselves up very well. If the blog has been a help to you then that really makes me happy.
      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. With lots of love,

  21. Dear Annabel,
    I pray your arm heals quickly. You are such a blessing. Your genuine loving and caring spirit shines through in your blog. Your posts help so many people.

    Job losses and hard times are worldwide. In our city the current unemployment rate is about 7.2%. There are so many job losses, with no hope for employment soon, among workers in oil and coal in this part of the U.S.

    My nephew (a single Dad of an eight year old daughter),lost his job and is frantically trying to find another. He lives in another state and wanted to move closer to us as he has no support system where he lives now. The jobs are hard to come by here, so he is staying put for the moment, and trying to find some work where he currently lives. Hopefully, in the near future, we will see some changes that will boost the economy.

    There are a lot of very low paying jobs that are part time with no benefits around, normally, but even those are getting scarce as unemployment affects every aspect of society. People without jobs don't buy and the result is less jobs in the retail and service industries.

    Your chandelier is gorgeous. Your home is absolutely breathtaking; that hall is beautiful.

    This week I did some cooking ahead and freezing meat into meal sized portions. I honestly didn't get that much accomplished. It's been more of a planning week, with workers in our yard, and decisions on sprinkler placement, garden bed placement, etc.

    I did continue to cut smaller pieces of leftover fabric into squares for future projects. I am trying to cut various sized squares to use up small cuts of fabric and scrap pieces. I will make small projects for gifts and giving out of them. Cutting ahead when my muscles are doing okay, allows for times when I can't cut, but can sew. I've spent too many days wishing I could sew something up, but wasn't able to cut that day. This way, I can be assured a project is ready.

    Have a wonderful and blessed weekend.
    With love and a big hug,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      I really feel for your nephew. Family support would be so good for humbug yes he needs a job too. Just the end of the week here another 600+ jobs announced to go in our city, that was one day anyway.
      Cooking ahead was great especially as you are so busy with major garden projects.
      Now that I have a sore arm I think the cutting out when you can idea is really good. getting ahead with bits you can do is great then you can go on with the sewing at least. It is very frustrating to be held up when you want to be doing things!
      Thank you for your comments on the house. It is a really pretty house and painting it is really highlighting that. It had dark colours that I think dulled down things and now they pop! Well they will when I get back painting again!
      Many thanks Glenda for all your support. with love,

  22. My heart goes out to all of the ladies who are experiencing loss this week, not only jobs and relationships, but also the passing of loved ones. Mother's Day in the U.S. is on Sunday and it can be a hard day for those who have lost children or are unable to have them. Please allow me to offer a huge long-distance hug to those who are mourning any kind of loss while others are celebrating.
    Along those lines, I'm glad you received some needed and timely encouragement, Annabel. I've been blessed by your work here at Bluebirds. Thanks for all you do!
    We didn't spend much this week other than paying our daughter's tuition for her summer dual enrollment class. Dual enrollment (getting both high school and university credit for the same class) is less expensive than full university tuition, but it's still costly. I've been able to cook from the pantry and freezer to help our cash flow and minimize the drain on savings.
    My mother-in-law is still cleaning her craft room and gifted me more fabric and paper punches. One punch is a lovely tag shape, which of course made me think of you, Annabel. But most paper crafting reminds me of you since you're the one who prodded me back to it!
    I hope all of the U.S. Moms have a lovely Mother's Day and that all of you ladies have a nice weekend.
    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Dear Leigh, We have Mothers Day here also. Yes I can see it is a hard day for those who have lost their Mum and many others... and we know of someone who just lost a baby and it is too terrible to think about. Except I can't stop myself from thinking about it. :(
      Your Mother in Laws craft room is a real blessing to you! I know you will use any thing you get and make the most of it! Its looking at something and considering what you can do... I know you will come up with ideas!
      Thanks for all your encouragement Leigh! With love,

  23. Dear Annabel, I am fairly new to your blog just finding it last fall (US). I look forward to reading your blog posts every week. You truly are an inspiration. Thank You :)
    I'm sorry for your friends disappointments in losing the relationships as it has happened to me also this week. There must be something going around in the air! I just shake my head and go on, what are you going to do.

    1. Dear Laurie, I am sorry you had a sad week. I am tending to agree its going around! Well it is hard. But I am having a bit of a restful weekend and getting back to myself. I think illness and pain knock you out and so do disappointments. Shaking your head and going on is the thing to do! Thank you very much and I hope next week is much brighter for us all! With love

  24. Annabel, Your hall is beautiful and what a wonderful idea to add the bling to the chandeliers!

    I had a $50 gift card to Kohl's that I had won and used it for kitchen towels, slippers and socks. I looked for clearance and sale items and ended up saving $69 on the $49.78 that I spent!

    Again, how wonderful to have all that salmon in your freezer!

    My husband is actually moving into a new job that has been brought back to the company from outsourcing. But, that means who ever was doing that jog for IBM is now out of a job as happened to my husband when he worked for them. Unemployment in our area of the US is way down right now but my heart goes out to all of you whose husband's have lost jobs. We have been there many times and your wise planning will see you through.

    I have spent little on groceries for the last two months as deals seemed lacking at the stores but this month the deals seem to be back so we are filling up the pantry and freezer with needed items.

    Thanks for always being here with these wonderful posts!

    Lana in SC, USA

    1. Dear Lana, I am glad of your husbands new job! That is excellent. I really need a US map and to dot on it where everyone lives. Many of the ladies are from oil areas that are of course in a big down turn. I noticed a lot of the famous big stores are closing many down and other well known shops closing altogether. Many commented on a big fabric shop they have loved and has also closed down! This is how it is here. I am glad your area is doing well, that is a relief.
      Also I notice that the deals come and go. I had many weeks of no real bargains. Then a few again more recently. We have to watch out for them and strike!
      Thank you so much Lana. with love

  25. Hi Annabel,i love chandeliers! my mum had them in our house growing up in the 70's and i still love them today,I gave one of the ladies i do home help for a powder puff i made, as a mothers day gift,she just loved it, so much she gave me a peck on the cheek lol she is 100 years old and she her self used to made soap and did crochet.This weekend iam going to made some lux flakes soap i will post them to you when i finish them,have a lovely weekend x0x

    1. Dear Mel,
      I love chandeliers except for the cleaning! But even then I am glad of them!
      I am so glad your powder puff was so well received! They are lovely. Much better than most shop ones. This lady being 100 would be a gold mine of information! Just think the times she has lived through... the great depression, two world wars. Imagine. I would like to interview her! It is lovely you are so sweet to her!
      Thanks so much Mel. With love

  26. It made me smile to read about your "fridge soup" as I do that, too,at the end of the month. I call mine my "plunkit soup" as anything left in the fridge gets plunked into the soup pot! Also went to lunch with a friend (her treat) and had ordered navy bean soup to go with a sandwich. The soup was so bland I asked for a container and took it home. Added it to my soup. Ate some for three meals and froze three portions. Shirley

    1. Dear Shirley,
      Plunkit soup is a great name! there are so many things that can go in. Lately I have frozen anything I can manage to use just now and it is surprising how this adds up. It is really nourishing too.
      My friend Sue started me on "Fridge Pizza" this is when she uses up all kinds of things as pizza topping to use them up. But then it can be "fridge fried rice" or "fridge pasta" etc. Its great to use up things and be inventive. This can be a massive saving done every week. People toss out a lot of food!
      Have a lovely weekend Shirley with love

    2. Thanks, Annabel! I like the idea of "fridge pizza" and will certainly be trying that. Always love your posts. You are so amazing. Shirley

  27. Dearest Annabel, For a girl who's not feeling great, you have managed so well this week. I agree with all the other ladies that your chandeliers are simply stunning.
    I always remember that I heard Joyce Meyer say that when you encourage a person you add courage to their heart, and when we discourage each other, we take courage from a person.
    It's so true!
    This community of people show that life can be lovely, interesting and each of us have so much value to contribute.
    Have a wonderful rest this weekend, and enjoy and celebrate the gift of Mothers Day.
    Love Helen

    1. Dear Helen,
      thank you. they are wise words. I know we are meant to encourage one another and build each other up. Joyce's words are lovely. It is true. People need encouragement. It is a battle we are fighting at times!
      Have a lovely Mothers day to you too Helen. With love and thanks,

  28. Hello Annabel, I just had to comment on your post today - WOW! What an impact your entry hall has! It looks wonderful.I'm a long time lurker on your blog, it's my first "go to" when I'm on the internet, and is always so inspiring. I've just realised however that never leaving a comment or introducing myself is quite rude, so I apologise. My favourite series of yours is the crockpot series, I must have read it dozens of times and it's inspired me to get mine out and really use it. I'm still looking for inserts though.
    take care
    Kim x

    1. Dear Kim,
      I really appreciate that you did introduce yourself and am glad to meet you! It is so nice to know! Also now you have said this I should add to the crockpot series. You can use oven bags to seperate something in the crockpot. That works quite well. Ikea have a collapsible steamer that is great for peas etc on top. I am so glad that helped you and you have the crockpot now helping you more. It is so valuable. Something I should add to the series is you don't have to cook the whole meal in the crockpot for it to be a big help. I might just fill it with potatoes baking during the day but then grill meat at night. It has still helped me to have all those potatoes ready. Or corn... etc.
      Thanks so much Kim. with love

  29. I have been following your blog for a few months here in the US, and I just want to tell you not to be discouraged. Your blog is so pretty and when reading it, it is like talking to a friend. Be encouraged, you are touching people all over the world with your homey writing and pictures, and the careful way you respond to all of your commenters. Please keep it up, I look forward to your blog!

    1. Thank you very much for commenting! And encouragement! When I started out I was writing to a group of ladies I knew really well so I was just talking to friends. I have kept that going as I feel I am just talking to friends only now I don't know some of them personally. Although I wish I did! Thank you so much! xxx

  30. Big Hug Annabel!
    Isn't it funny that we can be like a hand in cards? One person discards us for whatever reason and someone else picks us up and they have the winning hand then!
    Your chandeliers are stunning! I envy you those because I have low ceilings. And kudos on the ficas tree it is so lovely! And the cost of them wow!
    It is so wonderful in this crazy world that a beautiful person like you can share so much with so many. You have helped me with so many things and I am so very glad in my heart every day that you have come into my life! And I love each an every lady who stops by every week to share. I hope you feel better and have a lovely weekend and just know Annabel that you are loved!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      You are right that when one relationship ends then there will be another person that might need us and it will work out. I do think in the end to all works out as you might have helped someone a lot and it will come back to you somehow someway in the end.
      Thank you for your friendship and always being so willing to help! With love

  31. Dear Annabel, sorry you haven't felt the best this week. Never underestimate your impact on everyone who has visited your blog. You keep all of us motivated even when we don't feel the best ourselves. You are a very kind and caring person and it certainly shows to all of us, I think a lot of us are the same and know exactly how you are feeling. Rest your arm for a bit as you have been painting a lot and you don't want to do any damage to it.
    You hallway is spectacular and a real showpiece to any who enters, those chandeliers are very beautiful and really make an impact.
    This week I have got a head a little by make a mince sauce too like you and it is useful in so may meals. I added a few more things to the pantry but I probably wont add too much more till I move in a couple of months.
    Ive been doing extra hours at work so have been a little tired and have been taking it easy
    You have a great weekend and a wonderful Mothers Day
    Love Debbie xx

    1. Dear Debbie,
      Thank you! And thank you re the chandeliers too.
      You are moving! That is a big thing and yes I would run my pantry down then get started on building up a new one. How exciting. I hope it si a good and happy move for you.
      Working extra hours would be very tiring. I hope you get some rest over the weekend and also have a very Happy Mothers Day. With love and thanks, Annabelxxx

  32. Dear Annabel, you are such a big blessing to me and my family. I want to thank you for this. I cannot imagine the hard work involved or the sacrifices you make to write this blog. However, I am so appreciative. Without you and your blog, I don't know where we would be. You give me strength and encouragement and I feel supported to walk a path that sometimes society discourages, if that makes sense. I want to be the best mother and wife, I can be, and you empower me to do this. Just this week, I was asked to work some extra days and I felt really guilty saying no and almost out of that guilt I said yes (we work hard on our budget all the time), but then I stopped, breathed and remembered your blog. There is nothing more important than being with my son. Thank you for encouraging me in this and making me feel that my role as mother and wife are important. I feel so, so positive and uplifted when I read your blog. I look forward to it. It is very hard when you are already feeling not 100% and then you get 'kicked' so to speak.
    The chandelier in the hallway looks stunning! You have done so well to make soups and sauces. I am impressed. I am trying hard to prepare dinner and cook as much as I can in the morning, it helps so much. I made a cream of celery soup this week, which helped with lunches and I made a zucchini slice, which helped. I'd next like to try and make some scrolls using the yogurt recipe. Love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge, Thank you so much. I think its incredible how much pressure there is on young Mums. Lucy is at the same stage as you and I see it with her. This last week she had Harper sick. I told her when you have a sick child if you get a meal on the table at night and keep things afloat THAT IS success. That is enough. She needed to hear that.
      One of the things that I find is actually an easy tea is a roast. Or anything that is basically a tray bake. Get all the veggies cut up early in the day and do lots. Then just remember to put it in the oven at the right time! This then gives cold meat for rolls etc for lunches or even wraps for the next nights dinner. Or fritters!
      A cheats roast is a cooked chicken from the supermarket... just now these are so cheap here that it is cheaper to buy a cooked chicken than cook one yourself. I do a big tray of roast veggies and add the chicken for about the last 20 minutes. Its such an easy dinner!
      Bridge you are building strong foundations. That is so important. Be really proud of what you are doing and count the savings you make and add those to your wage. It will be a lot!
      Have a lovely weekend. And thank you. Love

  33. Dear Annabel, I'm truly sorry about the blah moments in your week. I hope the comments have cheered and encouraged you! You have made such a difference in so many of our lives through your blog. We appreciate all you do and for taking the time to share it with us each week. You are an inspiration.
    Ok, your chandeliers are gorgeous and your hallway is stunning. Wow! Now I know what you were talking about when you said you had to paint ornate trim work! I also love how your home is so full of light. Just beautiful.
    Well, as you know, my week was eventful. We took a trip to the city (before our unfortunate news) and the craft store was having a paper crafting sale. I purchased supplies at 50% off and added several things to my gift cupboard as well. We shopped grocery specials and did well there too. We also purchased a diffuser, which I had been wanting now that I have essential oils.
    Mid week brought some changes and saw me reworking the budget, seeing where we could make cuts and coming up with a different financial plan.
    The rest of the week I have been going through things and so far I have cleaned out our closet, the kitchen cabinets and drawers, and the garage. We are planning to have a garage sale next weekend. We also made a sign advertising our ducklings and half our chickens and posted it in town.
    I packed all work lunches and coffee and cooked all our meals this week. I also boiled excess eggs to make egg salad and we will use this for sandwiches instead of purchasing lunchmeat.
    And a bit of exciting news! I was telling my husband about making coasters from all of the wood we have and he really liked the idea. He suggested we open an Etsy shop! I'm excited about this and have been looking into how it works. We have so much wood available, I think it might be a success.
    I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Annabel. Thank you for your encouragement and help. With lots of love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey, Thank you so much. You noticed the house being light. That is my biggest thing to have light and sunshine. Nothing is lovelier to me!
      I am thinking you will be busy getting ready for a garage sale. I hope it goes well! Actually I hope it goes wonderfully!
      Eggs in sandwiches are yummy!
      Kelsey an Etsy shop would e wonderful idea! This is where social media is your friend. The world is your oyster with something like Etsy. I sent you a picture on pinterest which I hope you got... of coaters with a little floral transfer onto raw wood. So lovely! Also nature and rustic are two big themes for weddings just now... and even natural wood cake stands. I will send pictures.
      Thanks so much for all your kind words, with love, Annabel.xxxx

  34. Hold in there, Kelsey. You and your husband are important to us!!
    Rachel Holt

    1. Rachel, Thank you so much. I just love this little community. Annabel's posts and everyone's comments have been a big help to me. With love, Kelsey

  35. Dear Annabel,
    I love your blog and have been encouraged so many times by you
    and the lovely community here. I am sorry you are feeling
    a bit down. I pray you feel better soon. Sorry to here of the relationships and job losses. Losing a job is devistating and it happens so often these days. I am very thankful for all the wonderful tips on money saving getting ahead and encouragement to make our own gifts. My
    disabled brother had to move out of his apartment this last month because they are no longer taking his Veterans
    housing at that complex :( Due to your money saving tips
    we were ahead enough to help him. So he did not have to go to the street. He lives in a diffrent state and does not do well were I live. We were able to help with the things he needed to get started again. You have made a huge impact on my life and now my brothers.
    Gog bless you Annabell. Here is a great big!
    Much Love,

    1. Dear Patti,
      You would think that a Veteran would get high preference and help. I hope he is ok now. I am so glad you could help him. I find it horrific they would kick a veteran onto the street, or any person...
      Well thank you for telling me how you could help him and that the savings had a flow on. That means a lot to me to hear. And maybe this is a good reminder. It might not be us but a family member who suddenly needs help and if we have a pantry and some savings we might be able to come to the rescue, at least to some extent. Well done Patti. With love,

    2. Hi Annabel,
      Yes he is doing well. He has moved into a new to him
      apartment. We were able to help him with some basics
      he needed, To start over. Thank you for being so kind.
      Have a blessed week.
      With much love Patti

  36. I'm sorry that you are your friends have been hurting and that another reader's husband lost their job. It does seem to be happening more and more lately. We have been in that position before and it is scary.

    I have to be honest and tell you that I have severe chandelier envy! Your home looks so gorgeous with those high ceiling and the new bling you added to the chandelier just makes to look so regal and yet laid back at the same time. Love it!

    1. Dear Debbie,
      Thank you.... I am sorry you have experienced job loss but hope things are all ok now.
      Thank you too re the chandeliers! I am so pleased with how much nicer they look! Thanks so much! With love

  37. Annabel, the lady Lynette mentioned was carol H from SA. She changed her name to poppet. She did all those recipe books. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona,
      Oh no, I remember Poppet. She was tireless putting all the recipes together and emailing them out to people. How sad. Thank you for telling me. Love

    2. It was sudden Annabel. From what I heard, she "just passed away this morning". That was a week or so ago.

      I must say Annabel that you should be cracking your head on those chandeliers each time you pass, because you should be floating high on the wonderful wonderful words from your blog friends. I've read all the comments and you are seriously LOVED! From now on you should never underestimate your worth to us all. Thanks and hugs. Fi xxx

  38. Dear Annabel,
    Your hallway and chandeliers are gorgeous! You have accomplished a lot, even with not feeling well!

    Thank you for your lovely blog! I so enjoy your encouraging words and photos! Even when I don't feel I have been able to do much, I am encouraged to keep going and that my efforts will all add up.

    I am enjoying learning a little about Australia through your blog, as well. Maybe you really should get a map and put a little pin by where your followers live :-). My home is in central Arizona. It is in the southwest U.S. We have been enjoying a couple days of cooler weather, but will be in the 100+ F for the long summer.

    As for feathering our nest, we have been working on some landscaping. I suggested we use a leaky wheelbarrow for a rustic planter. My husband asked if he could paint it John Deere colors, green and yellow. It turned out very nice. He also helped me get the water lines to my garden redone. I am continuing working on cleaning and decluttering. Took advantage of senior discount day and a few other good deals, but am working on eating items from the freezers to get them better organized. I was able to go to the produce event a couple weeks ago and got a lot of lovely produce for $10. Stuffed peppers, tomato sauce and grated zucchini are now in the freezer ready for use.

    I hope you and the other folks have a lovely weekend. I was sorry to hear of the job losses and losses of relationships. Happy Mother's Day! Love from Arizona, Elaine

    1. Dear Elaine, Thank you! I am going to follow your suggestion and make a map, thank you for telling me your location. Australia and the US are both such large sized countries with all kinds of climates and terrain!
      I know there are some other readers from Arizona. I feel that Texas and Arizona have a lot in common with our climate etc.
      I think a wheelbarrow is a lovely planter! I have a friend who made a John Deere tractor quilt. I loved it. If theres a baby boy in the family he will be getting something like that!
      It was great to get so much fresh produce.
      I hope you had a nice weekend and Mothers Day! With love,

  39. My household grew by one these past two weeks and will grow by two more in two weeks time. I haven't stocked up as deeply as I'd hoped I'd might but I've done what I can and will certainly be working at stretching meals and rooms and all else.

    1. Dear Terri, These are the times we are glad of anyways we got ahead! You are very busy! Have a greta new week. We are having a storm today and heaps of rain but it is welcome as our fair needs it so badly. So the sound of rain is a good sound! With love and thanks,

  40. Hi Annabel
    I'm a bit behind in catching up with your blog as I've been in hospital with my very sick teenage son. Your post struck a cord, I'm one of these people that hides my feelings and always looks strong for everyone else. But I must say after d last few weeks with a d stress I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed and for better words blagged. But u made me realise its OK to admit that. And whilst I rarely comment or send in a photo (which I must to one day) I truly enjoy following your blog it is uplifting, real and inspiring.

    1. Dear Kathleen,
      I should think you are exhausted. Firstly I hope your son is ok. And this means he is home again.
      During these times life goes on hold and its survival mode basically. I always think as parents we do everything during a crisis and often after the crisis is when the wheels fall off and we feel just terrible. Well we are so stress and behind on sleep and everything else.
      Truly just do what is needed right now and allow lots of catching up time.
      Where possible take some time for yourself, sleep, and go quietly. I hope things are all much better now. With love Annabelxxx

  41. Hi Annabel,

    I'm also late catching up on your blog! I'm a long term reader but first time comment-er (de-lurking myself!) I know how hard it is with job losses - my partner has been out of work for 3 years. Luckily I am a master planner/cheapskate! He is on board and does his best with helping out - he is the main cook so fortunately I come home to a home cooked meal! I am wondering about the salmon your husband catches, it looks like Australian salmon (my partner catches heaps of it!) rather than lovely pink salmon. Do you just cook it like regular fish fillets? I don't actually like the taste of it very much compared to the lovely pink salmon you see in the supermarkets! I will eat but prefer it as patties rather than fillets. I have to say I love your chandeliers - they are so fabulously glamourous!!

    1. Dear Melissa,Thank you for de lurking! I really appreciate it!
      I would say the fish is Aussie salmon as it isn't pink. IF Andy cooks it he does a beer batter and fries it. It I cook it I pan fry it in lemon and butter (lightly) It is really lovely and we just use the fillets. We have quite a lot of fillets in the freezer, we freeze them in portions. Also I think its really healthy and a huge money saver, its about $27 kilo just now.
      I am sorry your husband is out of work.It is really hard. I know a few people having some success with advertising to do odd jobs, lawns, gutters, household things as there seems to be a demand for that and it can fill some gaps. It seems like the full time job is a thing very hard to get now. Everything's casual. Some areas it is very very hard. I hope he finds something soon. You redoing a good job with your planning and managing and teamwork. That is a big thing! Well done. With love Annabelxxx


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