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 30 June 2016

Feather your Next Friday, July 1st, 2016.

Welcome to July! This is the middle of winter for us. And the launch into the second half of the year! I am thinking of all my goals for this year and am I half way along with those?  I am behind with painting as I think I have done about a third not half! But on gift making I am about right, more or less!
I will study my list and think about this! I know we have done a lot i.e. two rooms of polished floorboards, freshly painted woodwork and skirting boards, fresh yellow laundry etc.
A review is good. Some time thinking about these things helps me know what to attack next!

This week I got off to a running start and fizzed a bit at the end!
Firstly, on the weekend I did lots of cooking.
I had a bag of fresh oranges I found on a big special so I made my Orange Sunshine Cake. This time I made it in muffin trays so they were easy to freeze in portions, send on the fishing trip, lunch boxes and give some to the girls.

I made 36 small and 12 larger ones (in a Texas Muffin tin) so that was a lot of cake!

During the week I had a spaghetti cook up in my new Aldi stock pot. It holds so much more than my usual big pot. I did 6 kilos of mince (that's around 12.5 lbs) with 12 onions, tomato sauce, oregano etc and simmered it for a couple of hours.

From this I made a spaghetti dinner then set about portioning it into two portion containers to freeze. Also I left some in the fridge. This makes lasagne, tacos, pizza topping etc.

Then I made pizzas. This fed the boys on the fishing trip, lunches, a dinner and one given away.

Next I made sausage rolls. These freeze great too. I made 36 large sized ones.

They are yum! I gave some each to the girls and they are really handy to have put away. Andy took some in his lunch box each day.

I had some left over pastry. With this I made jam tarts. 

This is a non recipe. I just put some homemade jam into each pastry and bake. When they are done it looks like you are clever and made pastries.

You can add some cream, pipe in some custard, ice-cream, fresh berries or anything you like. And voila! It looks nice and they taste lovely. Sprinkle over icing sugar at the end.

So basically the freezer is full again, everyone was fed, lots went out as gifts of help. I keep the lids of boxes as sort of disposable take away food trays.

Other ways I feathered my nest included:

I emptied out a part of my pantry where I keep storage tins. Somehow these just weren't working so I have set them out where I can see them and added labels. Now I know what's in them! And also I have more pantry space.

We made a major investment for our preparedness and bought a generator. If the power is down we have an alternative. We have wanted to do this for a long time and I am so happy about it.

I added to my pantry.

Almost finished my crochet blanket. Will be finished over the weekend!

I bought an icing set so I can do better icing on cakes! Now to practice.

How was your week? How did you build up your home, save money, get ahead, add to your pantry?
All of these things are wonderful.  Make hay while the sun shines. Or in our case, while it rains!

Have a lovely weekend! xxx


  1. Hi Annabel, I think I should move into your house. There is so much deliciousness happening.
    We had a cold patch of weather that saw me not wanting to step foot outside. I did of course have to visit the garden to see what needed to come inside. This week we have been enjoying corn on the cob with butter and pepper, steamed broccoli, bak choy, and chinese cabbage. We've also had dessert in the form of golden syrup dumplings, Hilde's scones and Wendy's Whole Orange Cake. Fresh orange juice has been our choice of drink. I made one bottle of blow your head off Sweet Chilli Sauce. This is guzzled down in this house. I also put away a jar of rosella flowers in syrup into the present cupboard.
    I visited an ill friend with a basket of hot scones, mango jam and cream. She had some other visitors and the scones went down a treat.
    This morning I went out to the local Betta Electrical and picked up a Russell Hobbs 6L slow cooker for $31. Score! I'll retire the old one for soap making.
    Bluey has been busy turning his tip finds into an outdoor fireplace for himself. He likes to sit up in the shed with a whiskey in front of his fire. It's a collection of metal drums of various sizes and it does pump out the heat.
    The caravan has been completely emptied, cleaned out and required items have been returned.
    Our daughter has her first Office based day in her new position tomorrow. Lunches have been organised and suitable clothing sourced and adjusted as required.
    Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane, Your week sounds great. As does the food! I will tell Hilde you made her scones too. All very warming... which is needed!
      Visiting someone with scones and accessories is so nice. People love this. Its a very caring gift.
      The slow cooker was a bargain! I couldn't live without my slow cooker, it really is my best helper.
      The outdoor fireplace sounds fantastic! That will likely become a gathering place as everyone loves a fire.
      I hope your daughters first day went well. Have a lovely weekend Jane, many thanks, love

  2. I hope that your painting arm is ready to go again Annabel. You have done lots of other things while you were supposed to be resting your arm so do not be upset about only getting 1/3 of the painting done.

    My week has been varied - a friend from Red Hat invited us over to learn about vegetarian cooking - she had precooked so many different things for us to try. We started off with some sweet items and a cuppa and progressed to tasting other interesting items using the canned alternatives to meat or cottage cheese etc then finished off with lunch of a savoury tart and salads. We decided to give her $5- each I think it was the best $5- spent in ages, not just because of the food either. The company was pretty good as well. We learnt about TVP which is a shelf stable item that can be cooked up like mince once it has been rehydrated.

    Must admit that even though I didn't eat as much as everyone else I still couldn't eat tea that night.

    Wednesday I was out and about visited my preferred fruit and veg shop - before I head out the door I check on other shops that I am passing. The butcher in the same same shopping centre had skinless chicken breast fillets for $5-99 a kilo so I picked up 2 kilo (all I had room for in the freezer). Trays of pork chops were marked down as well - I picked up 2 saving over $12- and $11- on the marked prices.

    Thursday I packed up a box from my store cupboard for the next door neighbours - he had a fall a couple of weeks ago that has meant that he hasn't been able to work. They have rent to pay and no matter how good a tenant you have been often landlords will not give you any lee way. Not knowing what they eat it was a bit of a mixed box of tinned veg and other bits that they can make some meals out of, a 500 gram tin of coffee (I know he loves his coffee) and a 1 litre container of shower gel for her.

    While we are still waiting for payment for my husbands 3 weeks away for work and then some other work he has done since getting home we have a very good financial cushion and $30 dollars worth of items isn't going to send us broke. One company has a 30 days after they receive the invoice rule and the other place is 21 days after they receive the invoice.

    This week I picked up some strawberries marked down by 40 cents a punnet, a nearly 3 kilo bag of oranges marked down heaps ( they are small oranges so I think the whole orange cake will take 2 oranges).

    We did the Aldi shop today - I usually do it but this time my husband came with me - he could not get over how quickly I can repack the trolley after it has been through the register.

    Our daughter is coming tonight - we are having home made pizza for tea. Tomorrow I will get to see her new vehicle.

    Have a great weekend everyone -


    1. Dear Lynette,
      Thank you... I think I will start painting as soon as it is spring and hopefully if I go along steadily I will be alright and get it done.
      The cooking morning sounds like it was really fun and educational. It is great learning something new. What a good idea!
      You are wonderful to help your neighbour like that. Well done. I am sure it encouraged them a lot too that you cared.
      I have learned you have to get quick in Aldi! It goes through like a rocket! You have obviously mastered it!
      Have a good weekend! It is still really cold here, I am staying in and hopefully embroidering tomorrow, except to go out and vote!
      With lots of love,

  3. Dear Annabel, wow what a productive week you have had . All that baking and cooking looks delicious. It has been a quiet week for me , not much nest feathering going on . I did do a few things : used $10 supermarket rewards dollars to buy 4 large bottles of pine o cleen which is on half price special this week so effectively I got $20 worth of product for free!.
    I also received meals from my parents, had my usual two hours a week subsidised cleaning which helps Me enormously , received a beanie knitted by my sister and received a gift in the mail from a friend . I also line dried washing where possible and made fridge pizza which I made from ingredients in my fridge and freezer, this did me for dinner last night and lunch today and I have enough for lunch tomorrow too, I think that is all Annabel. I am hoping to do some craft tonight and on the weekend Have a great weekend and stay warm. Love Barb W

    1. Dear Barb, You still did very well! I love a pizza to use pall kinds of things and they are yum!
      I know we are doing the same thing tonight, staying in and watching the footie. the best thing to do on a cold night! Have a lovely weekend Barb! with love

  4. Hello Annabel, oh my goodness, I have just looked at the gifts on Wednesday's post. Amazing! I know every receiver will feel very blessed with those gifts. That skirt your mum made, is just adorable. Maybe your mum should contact Alannah Hill, the designer? In fact she could put her out of business! haha. It is just so beautiful. That cot is absolutely magnificent too. As is the knitting and cooking. I'm so impressed. It has been a tough week with my sick toddler, but I still have managed to achieve some thing, which I am pleased about. My mum looks after my son one day a week, and I was able to gift to her and dad extra potato bake (thanks Annabel for the inspiration), and some ratatouille for some side dishes. I also went an extra week without grocery shopping, and became very inventive with meals. But it showed me, we still have food, even when we think we have run out. I got some reduced meat, and made some chocolate muffins. I couldn't believe that from just checking our phone/internet bill that in very small print, they had charged us $120 to change to a casual plan. I called them and initially they said the charge was correct and then told me no, I was correct and then refunded us. Just for a 10 minute conversation. I was happy. I found some tights for $4, that were originally $189. We had a really nice time having an afternoon tea picnic at the park with some of my friends. Such a nice way of catching up with friends and much better for my son to be outdoors rather than in a coffee shop. A hot cup of tea and a some delicious snacks; costing us all very little. I am so impressed with all of your cooking. What a great way to do spaghetti sauce. I love the idea of using lids of boxes as a a transporting food option. You are so clever and so creative. I am excited to hear about your icing methods. I'm afraid, I could be much better in this department. Lots of love, Bridge P.S. Thank you also, to everyone who comments, I love reading your ideas and it is so kind and thoughtful of you Annabel to reply to us.

    1. Dear Bridge,
      Things are difficult, including sleep!, when you have a sick toddler. Still you did very well and I hope he is much better now.
      Well done on stretching the meals and being inventive! I find things like a potato bake can be really inexpensive to make and a big meal stretcher plus everyone loves them! It was lovey giving your Mum some of your cooking.
      Very well done on the $120 charge. Keeping an eye on these things can be a huge saver... they seem to be snuck in everywhere. Bank charges are another one. They just about always back down and reverse them!
      You also had fabulous bargains! At this point I am thinking you are in front by HUNDREDS.
      Meeting at the park is such a nice thing to do. The children are far happier. You can relax more. And its a saver!
      The girls are funny about my lids. Usually they send them back which I think is basically a message that I can refill them if I like! This week I am planning apple cake so back they will go with slices of cake or little cakes I haven't decided yet!
      Really Bridge, that was a wonderful week. Thank you for your comments on Mums knitting. The girls grew up dressed in her things and now Harper is. Since then she has made a blue skirt and is now working on a pink one. All in multi stripes and textures.
      Have a good weekend! thank you for your joyous comment, I look forward to hearing about your week. I can see all the ways you are doing well and getting ahead! It is excellent! With lots of love

  5. I have done some baking each day this week too Annabel. Also some meat dishes and foods to go in the freezer. It is freezing over here, rained every day and just typical winter. Only a couple of days ago I printed out your sunshine cake recipe and will give that a go. After being inspired by you, I am going to buy a slow cooker shortly. Off to vote tomorrow and then home to finish up the next lot of wheat bags I have made for the animal carers. Have also cut out several pairs of hand warmers as well. Have a lovely weekend and don't forget to vote. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona,
      Sunshine cake truly brightens things up! Your cooking sounds great. And having good meals in the freezer is wonderful. The back up plan and being ahead!
      I am hoping you will love your slow cooker. I feel I need to add to my slow cooker series. I think it is the most helpful appliance ever. I walk in to the smells of something yummy and bless the day I started cooking this way!
      Have a happy sewing (and voting!) day. I am planning much the same... with embroidery. With lots of love

  6. Dear Annabel,what a big batch of spag sauce and lovely orange cakes , you have been very productive .
    I too appreciate that you reply and encourage us all here , thankyou.
    This week Ive made 2 batches of pumpkin soup 2 recipes , different ingredients with the pumpkin but similar result ,smooth and creamy.Some for our lunches , freezer and today i took some for lunch to an unwell friend.
    And tried several recipes from the Diabetic 4 Ingredient book.Fruitcake,Tahini slice, chocolate, and 2 crackles, plus 2 dinner recipes.
    Caught up with a friend and visited a local craft/art gallery , some interesting and lovely items there and its free to visit.
    Found my credit card had been hacked so got onto that quickly.That was a surprise!Felt tizzy but calmed myself down.
    Visited an unwell friend today.Came home with a new loaf recipe to try.Made that after dinner,delicious, just had 3 small slices mmmm. Also made a quiche for take a plate tomorrow to a social Im going to. And laid out my clothes as family come in morning and time runs away.
    Our small freezer is well stocked with home made bread and soups,it's been colder this week and today especially but it was sunny.
    Have a lovely weekend , love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria,
      I want to make pumpkin soup again next week. It is my favourite by far. I looked this week and the prices were really high so I put it off. Fingers crossed for next week.
      Oh no about the credit card. I hope the bank were good about it. They must lose so much money this way. But it would be upsetting and worrying. I have had to cancel cards where charges won't be stopped... so I will not do automatic debit because of this. But it can happen anyway and so easily apparently.
      All your cooking sounds beautiful! You were declared a domestic goddess after all those cooking photos on Wednesday and I agree!
      Have a lovely weekend! Thank you for sharing your week! With love

    2. Gosh thanks Annabel, I had to go back and look to see what you were talking about ,for my honorary title from dear Jane :-) Love Maria xx

  7. Annabel you have had such a good week. I was very tired this week and so did not do as much as I should have. I dried my washing in front of the heater inside. I cooked all meals from scratch and on the days I was very tired I pulled out of the freezer a single serve meal each that I had put away for bad days.

    I have done a budget for the net three months with a more detailed look at it. I made another baby bib as a gift and organized patterns for more gifts. I saved $160 booking flights to Sydney to visit my parents in eight weeks time by taking flights at an "inconvenient time". Makes no difference to me in fact it makes it a little easier as it means I can get a lift to and home from the airport.

    Stocked up on needed groceries when they were on sale saving me a fair amount and did the rest of my groceries at Aldi. I am bulk baking a few things this weekend after work including pumpkin and sultana cake, orange cake, chocolate balls and hedgehog slice, something for everyone. I continue taking breakfast and lunch to work and for the DDs to have at school/university.

    I am trying to eat a little healthier for the coming eight weeks until I go away again in the hope of losing a little weight

    Well God Bless and look after you and yours, may you have a blessed weekend

    1. Dear Mel,
      I was very tired by the end of the week (including now!) and you have more on your plate than me I am pretty sure.
      Thats a good saving on flights. And also on the rides, that is a big help.
      Have a good baking weekend! It will keep the house warm. This is the time for it, I don't use the oven much in summer but now it is lovely and warming. It certainly builds up the freezer supplies too.
      I even think I can get clothes dry. After rain yesterday it looks like tomorrow will be sunny! I know you will be doing the same, getting things washed and dry.
      Many thanks Mel, I hope you get some rest too. With love

  8. Dear Annabel,

    I loved reading all that you and everyone else accomplished this week. All of the pictures are gorgeous, especially the jam tarts, which I'm going to try and replicate this week. It's been somewhat problematic to get online with any number of computer glitches, so I've just seen the show and tell, and the skirt your mum made for Harper. It's beautiful and she looks so adorable in it. It is so inspiring to see what everyone is doing.

    This week was kind of an off and on rainy one so not much got done outdoors. I went "shopping in my closet" took everything out and made up new outfits with the clothes in there. I love doing that. I also cleaned out the kitchen junk drawer, rearranged the pantry to make room for this years canned goods. My husband and I went to the thrift shop (I think you call them opportunity shops) and I was thrilled to find a set of vintage sheets that will match the carpet in our bedroom. They're floral, king-sized, and will be made into new curtains, and if anything is left a runner for the bureau. Cost, only $2 dollars. We found a new silk tie for my husband for $1 dollar. We went to Lowes to get more paint as the shed needs another coat of paint, and I got some metallic spray paint and some chalk spray paint, for other redecorating and gifts. For the bedroom redecoration I'll be spraying assorted size mason jars with the chalk paint and filling them with dried hydrangeas from my garden. I've been saving all sorts of cans to turn into candle holders and they'll be sprayed with the metallic paint .again, for redecorating and gifts I just need a wind free, sunny day to get this all accomplished. Yesterday I grocery shopped at Aldi's and got lots of great bargains. Went to the Dollar Store and got some notebooks to keep track for the Vicky Challenge, did some knitting and quilting. It's my husband's birthday this weekend, so I baked him his favorites, sticky buns, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, carrot cake with cream cheese icing. I told him with all of that the celebration will go on for months. That's it for me. Wishing all a beautiful weekend. Cookie

    1. Cookie,
      LOL I have been washing out some cans for the same reason! I just haven't decided what color I am going to paint them yet.
      Also good job on getting the notebooks! You will amaze yourself with how much you save.

    2. Dear Cookie,
      Thank you for your encouragement to me! Thank you for commenting even though you are having computer issues. They are so frustrating.
      Happy Birthday to your husband! You have made it a wonderful celebration with all that cooking and I bet he feels special. That all sounds beautiful. Sticky buns are my pick, yum!
      The sheets for your curtains plus the silk tie were fantastic buys. Curtains can be terribly expensive. This is a great way to do it. Massive savings.
      Your decorations sound lovely too.
      If you figure out the savings for the Vicky Challenge you will be AMAZED at what you just saved as I can see it is hundreds. A silk tie here is at least $50, a tray of sticky buns... they would be $4 per bun, a set of curtains at least $100 and so on!
      Have a great weekend! You really did very well. Many thanks for sharing your week! With love,

    3. Hi Vicky,
      I finally decided to paint some cans metallic gold, some cans metallic silver and I'm still toying with the idea of doing a few for the bedroom in chalk paint. One of my real light bulb moments last week was when I wanted to make a recipe that called for a pan that made mini round cakes (not cupcakes) and it was upwards of $15 dollars on Amazon. The realization struck me that tuna cans were the exact right size for the little cakes. They worked out perfect and no special pan required. Cookie

  9. First let me say that I live in the southeast USA, Georgia to be exact, will be retiring in 1 week and love following all the frugal & saving blogs. Although I do have a question. I've seen "mince" mentioned several times. I'm not familiar with anything but "mince meat" which is a fruity type pie filling in my area. Are you referring to meat, if so is it a particular meat (beef, pork, chicken, etc) or is it a veggie. (Please feel free to laugh at this question). I have to admit I'm a true GRITS (Girl Raised in the South) Thanks Nancy.

    1. Nancy,
      I have had my own laughs at the US use of the term "ground" beef. The first time I read it, I thought, "Well, I know cattle don't fly, so maybe this type of cattle are raised on a particular type of ground - as some new fad!" In Australia, we can buy "minced" beef, minced lamb, and so on. That's what we call "mince". Fruit mince, of course, is a mix of dried fruit that gets baked into tartlets.
      Rachel Holt

    2. Dear Nancy,
      I forgot this might be called something different there! This happens to me all the time! I think it is called ground beef there. That would describe it anyway. We also say minced meat for the fruit mix at Christmas which is confusing!
      Mince or ground beef can be expensive. Once it was a cheaper thing now its not but I wait and get it on a good special then make up a big lot. then it has many uses. Plus freezes so well.
      I hope you have a very happy retirement! I bet you will be busier than ever and enjoy it immensely! With love

    3. Annabel, Thanks for your reply. Look forward to following your blog. Planning lot's of time for quilting.

  10. Annabel,
    Yum! everything looks so good! I love your new stock pot I must say I don't know what I would do without mine. The really big one really helps me to get a lot of tomato juice canned at one time saving me lots of time. Anyway as far as feathering my nest as always I hang the laundry out to dry. I had to clean off the deck thanks to Mr. Raccoon, I started a new compost bin and it is close to the house so I can just go right out the deck door off the kitchen to add to it instead of having to walk across the yard. I used Epsom salts I had on hand for the peppers and tomatoes in the garden, I got some good deals on packages of beef cubes that were marked down and had a $1 off store coupon on them plus I added more cheese to the freezer, I got chicken for .49 a pound and got 40 pounds and have been making batches of dog food and bone broth over the last several days and will be canning the broth to add to the pantry, I also have been working in the pantry getting everything boxed up and clearing off the shelves so we can put down the new flooring and make that Todd's room and then onto his room which will become the new pantry room. LOL Rick wants to argue with me about it so I told him I want a pretty pantry so I'll design my own and he can just do what I want for a change and mind his business! LOL He likes the industrial look , I do not!!
    I cleaned out the fridge and now have some things I need to use up so will hop on that. Milk that is getting close to it's date so I'll make scalloped potatoes again! LOL I know I make them a lot sometimes, but that is one of my favorite foods! Sometimes I add ham and cheese or celery and onions and parsley it just depends on what I need to use up. I want to thank all of the ladies who comment I really love reading what everyone is doing and thank you for hosting every week!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      What a good week! You got heaps done and I am excited about your new pantry! And having a whole pantry room! Wow that will be good.
      So I am hoping things go well this weekend! I can't wait to see how your pantry turns out and I like a pretty pantry too!
      I am making scalloped potatoes again next week too. Its been requested! This time I am adding crispy bacon bits. I used a sprinkle of french onion soup mix. Hilde taught me that! Pancakes are another thing I make up a heap of if I have milk needing to be used up.
      I just love reading what everyone did in the week too. It is my favourite time of the week, the review!
      Good luck over the weekend! With love

  11. Annabell.
    Just lovely! I have been following along with Vicki challenge,feather my nest and making gifts my laptop broke 😢i am trying trying to type on the kindle but it has a mind of its

    Own. It is lovely to follow along. I am making aprons and gift hampers with premade mixes. I was going to include some of mimic edible glitter if I can find some small bottles. Your food this week was ohlala. The generator is wonderful.
    Have a blessed week.

    1. Dear Patti, Thanks for commenting even when you are having these troubles!
      I love the sound of the aprons and hampers! Beautiful combination!
      Mimis edible glitter is so so pretty and a perfect gift for cooks. Seriously this is a good idea as the cost to make is so little but edible glitter is quite expensive to buy. Nice little jars for it is the thing... but even little cellophane bags could work. I am thinking of baby food jars with the lids painted prettily. Its in my plans!
      Thank you so much! Have a lovely weekend! With love,

  12. I think I kept afloat this week. I feel a bit like I've been swimming upstream when the rapids are rushing downstream, lol, but I've been holding on. My family will be moving into their own home this weekend.

    1. Dear Terri,
      I like the idea of frugal bootcamp. I think there are always thing so learn and try. We get into habits too and sometimes a review reveals unexpected things! I love finding something new that will work for me. Its amazing too how you come by them. very often it is a comment from someone that leads to a new discovery.
      I hope you have a lovely weekend and that the move goes well for your family. How exciting for them! With love,

  13. Hi Annabel!

    You're getting quite a collection of interesting characters that make good reading here!! Welcome to Cookie!!

    The only problem with your scrumptious cooking and baking was that I was reading your post while waiting for a late lunch, and it added to my hunger!! My husband has been working hard to grind down rust on metal, give a rust treatment, clean the rust treatment off and then get the quick drying undercoat on when the day is at its warmest. Hence the late lunch!

    I love the look of your orange cakes - and your icing style looks joyfully inviting! Nevertheless, I am sure you will delight in your new icing methods. A piping bag would be so much fun!! When you mentioned adding cream or custard to your tartlets, I thought that would be wonderful. Putting all your kitchen work together with Jane and Bluey's is rather exceptional! Mango jam would be wonderful!

    My week was made by small highlights. With olive oil jumping in price by twenty percent, and the winter nights being so very long, my husband realised that we could probably burn our sunflower oil without smoking, since even the olive oil will smoke with a very long wick. This worked! With only a 3mm/eighth of an inch wick, we are burning the cheaper sunflower oil. Then, one evening, we had the balance of hot water from the generator wrong, so the shower was not hot. The result was a hair conditioning that I must try to replicate! My hair was so happy that I wore it out with a fancy ribbon! Life sure can be funny! What else? Yes, I was using a laundry olive oil can (with an impromptu lid) to simmer cloths for sterilisation. This, I found, is another helpful tool for stain removal - although not the 'be all and end all'. (It's like using an old copper).

    Some tidying, and working down the list I set for myself, brought some satisfaction, as did folding up a hand-me-along old quilt to go inside one of two op shop fancy big pillowcases (more shabby chic style, 'though soaking was required) to form a quillow (like Jane mentioned as gifts for men). This is good for an extra bolster in a chair by the fire, or for sitting up in bed reading Bluebirds!

    The best feeling comes when seeing the dog trotting happily around in his new bright pink coat, along with the fact that it stays on very well. This is heartwarming.

    This morning we were visited by a family of five or six magpies. We don't normally have them, but they were here just the other day, too. We love their warbling music, but would not want them swooping on us in nesting season. One young one was eating from a banana skin. The bower birds are about, but keeping mostly hidden. Maybe they are camera shy?

    I am looking forward to seeing some Nova Scotian carrots, and Vicky's tomatoes and other major kitchen gardens!! Good on you, gardeners!!!!!

    It's a fairly still, sunny winter's day. A walk sounds good!!

    With warm regards to all!
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      When you mentioned old coppers this reminds me how Nan was always bringing things to the boil... to clean them. I must ask Mum about that. Everything was boiled!
      I think in Spring the Bower birds will be out and about. I hope so! I am wondering what they eat? I have Murray Magpies and a Willie Wagtail that come daily for grated cheese. the Murray Magpies will eat it from your hand, the Willie Wagtail is getting a bit closer everyday!
      Have a great weekend Rachel. I am really enjoying everyones reports, it is a hive of activity really and very uplifting! With love

    2. Hi Rachel,
      Thanks for the welcome. You brought a smile to my face with the "ground beef". It's so interesting to me to read the different ways we refer to thing. I am a quilter and I'm just taking a guess at this, but is a hand-me-along quilt a family heirloom that has been passed down to you,or is it what we would call a utility quilt, one that has loved and used well? Cookie

    3. Cookie, I love the quality that comes through your words. As for the "hand-me-along quilt", it's a lot simpler than that! It gave me a morning laugh to realise the discrepancy here! My parents give me what I call "hand-me-along" declutterings from their home. This item was really my first doona, and Mum told me that the inexpensive polyester filling was well worn. Well, it's not too far gone, so it is the inner makings of a quillow. I'm sorry to disappoint you, yet it is now a functional part of our little home. I'd love to hear (& see!) about your quilting and other work. I went to patchwork quilting classes when I finished studying at age twenty-one, and learnt to make a queen size sampler quilt. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
      Regards, Rachel

    4. Rachel, thanks for the clarification. I'm not disappointed at all, but admire your creativity in giving something a new life. Sampler quilts are such fun as so many techniques are taught. I hope you will continue making quilts. Cookie

  14. Hi Annabel,
    I just found your blog and what a beautiful blog it is. Feels like a very comfy place to curl up with a cuppa and read by the fire.
    Love, Rosemary xo

  15. Dear Annabel,

    My goodness you had a great week of nest feathering. All that scrumptious looking food, yum yum! It always feel good when you get ahead with cooking and baking. I can see why people do the once a month cook up, it would make life so much simpler.

    I have had a pretty busy week, although I am meant to be still on holidays. That will end Monday.

    *I cleaned two houses (income)
    *I cooked from scratch for every meal this past week.
    *Made two date loaves.
    *Worked out a menu plan for next three months. That feels great!
    *My thoughts have been focused on frugality this week. I have come to realise that I do many thrifty things without thinking about how much money I actually save. I am going to start writing things down.
    *I am consciously turning lights/power points off to save electricity.
    *Line drying the laundry, and using the heat from the fire to finish them off.
    *I am using up food stores I have here and limiting my shopping.
    *Three no spend days.
    *I picked up some reduced steak the other day.
    *Starting Wednesday morning I will be stalking the supermarkets for any meat specials.
    *Picked up a reduce packet of fruit buns for $2.00.
    *I have nearly finished the knee rug/blanket I am knitting.
    *Made some more washing powder.
    *Getting about three eggs a day from the girls, just enough for baking.
    *Bought some baby spinach seedlings, we eat a lot of this.
    *Bought shampoo and conditioner on special.
    *Paid extra off on the mortgage, it is getting exciting seeing the debt reduce. Cant wait to be debt free.
    *Did some op shopping and picked up some pretty bottles/jars to use for gifts.
    *Started a savings fund for our next holiday.
    *Made my own yoghurt, this saves heaps of money.
    *Picked mandarins and oranges for juice.
    *Picked tomatoes and capsicums.

    I think that is about all :)

    Wishing you lovely week,


    1. Dear Tania,
      You have hit the ground running from when you got home!
      If you can find the best meat department to stalk and the best time... this can be fantastic. At my Woolies one good time is 2 pm. Sure enough they are marking down then almost always. I believe they also do a late afternoon markdown but thats not so handy for me. I asked the staff and they told me this and since it has worked. The other one is late, the last hour before closing, when the next day is going to be a public holiday. I have stocked up then. I hope you find this time in your supermarket, I just plan my shopping around it. Makes big difference.
      I love getting buns etc on sale. I warm them in the oven and they are wonderful treats! Also they make the best bread and butter pudding!
      Love all your savings plus harvest!
      I hope you have a really good new week. With lots of love,

  16. Dear Annabel,
    All of your food looks so delicious! There is nothing more comforting than good, hot food in the winter. Cooking and baking makes the house so cozy.
    This week I have had so much fun at the ranch cleaning (no, I'm not being sarcastic:). I like to see things being transformed. It is so hot outside, but I can't help but go out in the mornings and work a little. I was going to wait until fall to tidy up outside, but yesterday and today I washed windows and screens, and I cleaned up the porches. I moved some of my outdoor furniture and potted plants from our other house to the ranch, and the porches look so nice. I swept the sidewalk and trimmed the hedges in the front. Big difference!
    I also have been cooking for three men! So far it is going very well and it makes me so happy to see them enjoying my cooking so much! I know my week for the Vicky Challenge will look great as I am saving them so much money. Thursday we even had company so there were six at our table. This is a big change for me as I am just used to cooking for two people. But I am loving it!
    Oh, I forgot to say... The porches had been neglected for quite some time, so I first started by reaching the cobwebs with a broom (not that those don't come up overnight!). Then I discovered a cluster of spiders on the ceiling, so I reached up to knock them down with my broom, and the whole ceiling started moving with spiders that I had not seen! I would not be exaggerating if I said there were a hundred spiders! Well they started falling down on top of me and let's just say I was glad the men were not home to see and hear me lol! I decided to get the water hose and spray them after that.
    I did not comment on Wednesday, but I want to say what a good job everyone has done on their gifts. They all look professional! Little Harper is just clothed with love, isn't she? You and your mum's work is so lovely. I am very impressed with Bluey's cot as well.
    I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      You have come a long way in the last few weeks! There you are at the farm now and getting it into shape as you want it. And yes, while its hot then work inside. The outside can wait until it cools down.
      I hate spiders. I am nt a fan of sprays and poisons but I spray spiders! Yikes!
      It is a big thing to suddenly be cooking for more people but you will soon know the quantities you need and adapt to cooking big amounts. And I am sure they will all love home cooking. Plus sitting down together to a meal... that part is very good too. I think when the table looks nice and people walk in and smell cooking that is the nicest thing ever to come home to!
      Have a very good week Kelsey. You have got so much done and it is wonderful to hear! With love,

  17. Thought of you wanting to give gifts to prepare for an emergency.

    1. That looks like an interesting blog.

      Thank you for the link Anonymous :)

    2. Thank you! I didn't know about this blog and I think it looks really interesting! Thanks! xxx

  18. Hi Annabel,
    I just wanted to let you know I made your golden syrup pudding last night! Oh. My. Goodness!!!! It was amazing! Sorry for all the exclamation marks but it really was fantastic. I told my mum I made it and what was in it and she thought you were very clever coming up with something so easy, tasty and cheap without even using an egg. So thank you for a wonderful recipe that will definitely be used many, many time.


    1. Dear Melissa, Thank you for telling me! I am glad you liked it. When I make it I usually double it (for more people) or make two so there is one to warm for another night! You can make it with our without sultanas too. I am so happy if this is a handy recipe for you! With love


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