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.

Sunday 10 July 2016

The Vicky Challenge. Do a little research.

My Vicky Challenge went pretty well last week. A little bit of this and a little bit of that!

Some of the things we did that were a saving and I can put a $$$ value to were:

Andy changed my windscreen wipers. They weren't working at all!

I did a shop at Aldi and saved $40 off usual prices.

The lovely big jars I was given have added storage space and I always think of what people pay for storage containers! I would rather buy the food.
Even at $4 each this is $20.  But boy are some storage containers expensive!

I took up jeans saving $15 which is the going rate I am told.

My total lounge re arrange and refresh didn't cost a thing but it is like a whole new room!

I made all work lunches and sent coffees etc. Saving $100.

Also a lot of cooking enabling me to share some. I made all meals plus some things went into the freezer. I am guessing another $100 saved between the potato bakes, custards, mornay etc.

I pruned the roses. I have a way to go but I think if I hired someone to do that it would have been $60 or so.

And I managed to dry all the linen etc on the line desire it raining almost every day! I had one window of opportunity with some sun and went like crazy to get it all done. Then the line was covered and on my phone I got a weather warning that was warning of flooding! Talk about cutting it fine but I got it all in and it was almost dry. I used my dining room table to finish a few things off! But they were put away clean and dry by bedtime. phew that was close!

My savings subject today is research. I think we all do this when we are making a bigger purchase as the internet makes it so easy to compare prices. It is certainly miles easier than going into lots of stores to see how much they are charging. Let your fingers do the walking as they say. You can check out ratings and reviews as well. In the last few years I have been amazed how much I have saved by doing this. When we did out kitchen I found out that Ikea appliances are Westinghouse brand. Really? So my oven is Ikea... which is Westinghouse. Only so much cheaper! And I just LOVE it.

Research showed me Aldi Caviar compared to La Prairie products for a tiny fraction of the price!
Many times the revelations from a little research have been nothing short of amazing!
I think we assume things that have been true in the past and lately I have found that not assuming anything has really paid off.
Here in Adelaide (years ago) to buy a feather and down pillow the department stores were the only choice. I have given everyone one good 95% down pillow over the years. These have become so loved, taken everywhere including hospital and overseas! Also the prices have gone up and up.  At last check I am now looking at $249!
This time while I am looking at one for a gift I thought I had better search online and see what I can find overseas or possibly via Aldi or elsewhere.... thinking IF they even have them.
Low and behold IKEA do. They have 95% down pillows.  I would NEVER have thought IKEA would have these. Just assumed wrongly.  Theirs are $89.
So I went in and felt, fluffed and investigated. They sure look and feel the same.  This is a saving of $160!
Whatever it is don't assume. Do some research. Fifteen minutes of price checking and looking elsewhere can pay big dividends!

Although the way the internet snoops on you can be disconcerting you can use it to your advantage. If you do a search for best prices on fridges then the next time you go onto Facebook or any blog you will see fridge ads. mmm. Well, use this! Search for a few things you are actually looking for. Then at least the ads you are bombarded with will be for things you are  actually interested in. I have found some great deals this way. It is instantaneous. If I searched now for storage containers then went to send an email... the ad on the side would be for storage containers. Creepy but can be useful. We might as well let it be a help.

With the pillow savings my total this week is $460.  I am happy with that.

How did you save last week? I hope you are increasingly amazed at what it would cost to pay someone to do many of the things you do, or buy the things you cook or make. It has been a real eye opener for me. I love looking at prices now! I am still constantly shocked! I look whenever possible in craft stores, gift stores, gourmet food shops etc. It is quite funny, I will come home and say to Andy "I saw a tray of Lasagne" for $55!" and he will say "really?" looking surprised. (true recent story!)  Other prime examples are six gluten free biscuits for $16.  Or a hand knitted scarf for almost $300!  Truly, the things you make and do add so much to your household!

Have a wonderful week! xxx


  1. We needed a new bed as did our son so took advantage of the end of financial year sales and got beds at half price. These aren't replaced all that often so it is worth buying a good quality mattress when you get older and the aches and pains kick in :-) Sales are pretty good at the end of the financial year here in Australia. Not sure about overseas.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      I really believe in having a good bed! It is a really important investment. I love my bed! I was given some money from my Nan when she died and I bought the best bed I could buy. It is one of the best things I ever bought! And I am glad you did well in the sales. I hope you will be very happy with them. End of financial year is good for such purchases that is for sure.
      Half price is wonderful.
      Have a good week Nanna Chel. I am listening to more rain as I type! With love,

  2. Speaking of feather pillows I use to work at a dry cleaners and we use to uv the feathers to sanitize them add more if needed and put it all in new ticking. So if you do have a feather pillow look into getting them refreshed instead of replaced.

    1. Dear Tealady,
      I regularly wash the pillows and I use the wool mix. Then tumble dry them which takes ages and I have no dryer but I can use Mums for this. They come up so well, are plump and smell fresh. Lucys pillow is over ten years old and it is hers I want to replace and give her the gift of a new one. But I never thought of adding feathers to them! I have had to sew up a hole because feathers were billowing out one time! Possibly too... two old pillows could be made into one by combining feathers... or just an old one could be saved to use to top up others. I never thought of that! Thanks for this! Once you have a down pillow it is beautiful and I haven't been able to feel the same about any other kind! With love,

  3. Hi Annabel!
    Your jars are lovely. Checking prices for things everywhere is good! It really shows how much can we save that others are willing to spend. I have not time to add my totals completely yet, but I do know it's around $375. Summer is here and there is always so much more work to do. It's all paying off though! I am so grateful for the sunshine that dries the clothes and the chickens that give us eggs and the soil that produces food. Doing research is excellent advice! Also asking for a better deal. I hope everyone has an excellent week!

    1. Hi Vicky!
      I can hardly wait to see pictures of your garden and produce, and new pantry! Your kitchen garden is a really serious project!!
      Rachel Holt

    2. Hi Rachel!
      Thank you I can't wait to get it all done! You probably won't be too impressed with the new pantry though as my husband and I have different ideas on how it should be! LOL

    3. Dear Vicky,
      When your harvest starts coming in your Vicky Challenge is going to go through the roof! I can't wait for that.
      Asking for a better deal is really good. I have become much better at that plus offering cash. I am good at that as it has been so successful. It saved me $300 the first time I did it so no looking back!
      I am glad the weather is good. This week is shaping up good for you! With love

  4. I find also that Pinterest has been so helpful to me and a wealth of information, ideas and knowledge available through links to various blogs, etc. Same goes for YouTube, so many tutorials there! These are the positives of the internet, but it is creepy having your searches become instant bombardment for ads!! I also like search sites like, for instance, Booko to check prices on books and dvd's as gifts. I think our library service has saved me over $2,000 in the past year alone! I borrow rather than buy so much stuff now!

    Even on a quiter week (after my mega spend up on bulk food last week) there are still ways to save each week and constantly add to my Vicky challenge total! These are real savings also, not just on what I didn't have to pay extra for an item by buying at a lower price. Our bank balance increase over the past six months attests to it! ;-)

    Thanks so much Vicky for the inspiration of this challenge, and Annabel, thanks so much for your constant reports and ideas each week! I find great ideas also from everyone in the comments. It all really keeps me focused. Much appreciated! :-) love, Kaye xoxo

    1. Dear Kaye,
      Thanks for the recommendation of Booko and also the library. Yes massive savings there.
      Well done, if your bank balance is increasing then you are doing a lot of things right that is proof!
      Thanks Kaye, the comments are full of ideas. Also as we come from different areas and backgrounds it seems to mean we get different perspectives. The US ladies helped me get much further ahead in the pantry area as they have a rich tradition of it and I hardly knew anyone here doing it! Until I met you and Wendy and now others.
      I hope you are having a good week. It is a massive storm here just now. 30,000 without power... but we are ok so far...
      With lots of love,

    2. Kaye,
      It makes my heart so happy to hear your bank balance has increased that is so wonderful! The library is an excellent money saver! When I cut books and magazines out of the budget it saved me tons! I am sure your mega spend up on bulk foods will save you money and get you ahead pantry wise so great job there and in all of your getting ahead!

  5. Dear Annabel,
    Another good week of savings for you! Your cooking and baking makes my mouth water!

    I haven't totaled or posted my savings for a bit. I must admit to being amazed and encouraged! June came in at $1,415.88, bringing the total for the first half of the year to $7,547.35. My total so far for July is $723.64.

    Some of the savings were from the following:
    Grew and planted sweet potato slips. Harvested a few zucchini, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and green beans. Was gifted heirloom tomatoes and saved seeds. Went to produce event and got organic watermelon, acorn squash, and tomatoes, as well as yellow squash, honeydew melons and the biggest butternut squash all for $10, saving $48. Still adding to my compost. Gifted a pretty stainless steel container with charcoal filters for saving compost inside before taking out.

    Coupons, sales, clearance and senior day at the grocery store.

    I cooked most meals at home, made extra batches, made homemade bone broth, etc., Had fun making French toast with our granddaughter when we were visiting out of state. Son made sausage and bacon for with it. We made 2 breakfasts of it. I cooked 2 dinners with enough for some lunches and some chicken enchiladas for the freezer. Made a double batch of zucchini/blueberry muffins and two small loaves when we got home $50.

    On our trip, we were able to use points to pay for a hotel, saving $150, plus 2 dinners and two breakfasts free $40. Because of a little problem at one hotel, we were given a $10 gift card to fast food.

    Got out the sewing machine to make a pillow bed to take to our granddaughter. Valuing it at $50. Also did a bunch of mending and alterations making some clothing usable again and repurposing a couple things.

    It must have been the week to rearrange rooms. I did a bit in our family room, along with some cleaning. The room seems a lot more open.

    Both my husband and younger daughter have been sick with colds or flu. They have made good use of the tissues, cough drops, soup and cold medication in the pantry.

    I hope you have a lovely week! It is supposed to be 112 F here most days this week, so I will likely stay inside as much as possible.

    Love from Arizona, Elaine

    1. Elaine,
      Wow that is fantastic savings!

    2. Dear Elaine,
      Wow that is so exciting to see numbers like that and how it is adding up. You must feel very good about it. I think it increases our confidence to see what we are saving like that.
      I loved the pillow bed and will be making one for Harper in the future.
      All that produce for such a small price was wonderful!
      I hope you are all feeling better. You sound like my family last week. It slows everyone down we were just on a management plan basically!
      We have the opposite weather it is really cold and stormy but the result is the same... staying inside is the only solution!
      Thanks Elaine I am so thrilled for you about your good week savings wise but also that your totals are really so good. With love,

  6. I like the idea of doing a bit of research. This week a friend who walks her dog at the beach at much the same time as I, was complaining about how our little dogs were both having a great time rolling in something disgustingly smelly. She had just taken her dog to the doggy parlour and could only afford for the dog to be shampooed this week. The cost $40. OMG!!!! I use slightly more expensive vet shampoo on our dog as she has a skin condition that does not react well to the cheap shampoos. As she spends a lot of time inside and on furniture I like her to be clean. She gets the sand rinsed off her and towel dried when we get home from the beach and a shampoo once or twice, more often when she rolls in dead fish, a week. A full service for my friends smooth coat Jack Russell( same as mine) at the doggy parlour is a shampoo, blow dry, ribbon around her neck and nail trim. This costs my friend $67/week. I'm going to start adding doggy shampoos into my Vicky challenge savings.
    Bluey and I have had a good savings week. He has shopped around and our insurance paid for the replacement tools. He's been able to upgrade with one of the tools so is now a much happier camper. The rabbit traps are no longer being set each evening. We are installing new solar panels on the caravan. Once again Bluey researched the best product available and was able to source these locally. He also managed to have $200 knocked off the price of the panels and installation at no extra cost. He is quite a clever man. These are an investment for us. We do a lot of free camping as we travel so the panels will assist in us staying out of costly caravan parks. The panels will pay for themselves very quickly.
    I picked up a new bright, bright, bright (insert happy dance) doona cover set that was on an EFYS at Spotlight. Original price $180, I paid $40. Woohoo!
    There has been a lot of bulk baking and freezer meals are now available. A number of gifts have been made using what is in the craft cupboard. I have been on Etsy to see how much people are selling their wares for. I am choosing the median price for my items and using this in the VIcky Challenge.
    This week we have saved a little over $1120.
    Life is good. In fact it's sensational!
    PS Annabel a panoramic canvas print at Office Works is $67. I bet there are cheaper options online.
    PPS. I received a large plastic bag, king pillow size, full of new corks, no bottles.

    1. Jane,
      My beagles get skin conditions and my female was the worst she was scratching and losing hair so I make homemade doggy shampoo that is glycerin(which helps the coat and skin stay soft) apple cider vinegar and Dawn dish soap. It works very very well on my on my doggies.

    2. Thanks Vicky, I will be giving this recipe a go. The vet shampoo is rather expensive and if this recipe works for Cobber we will all be doing our happy dance. PS. Vicky do you have a blog that you show photos of your garden that we hear so much about?

    3. Dear Jane, I wonder what people did before doggie beauty parlours? Washing a dog in generalist hard especially a little tiny one. The laundry sink was always the dog bath in our household. Well, yes you can count that as a savings!
      I am very glad about Blueys tools. I hope he ends uo with everything he needs and is very happy with.
      We better keep our eyes out for more cork projects. Pin up boards would be one.
      The solar power is a good investment. This is setting yourself up and as you say a future saving. Thanks for the info on the photo canvas. I am looking into this!
      That was a good week! It sure adds up! Thanks for sharing your savings Jane! With love,

  7. Lovely post Annabel, I don't want to sound like a stalker (lol) but I always love Monday, Wed and Friday because I jump on and read what you have to say. I say this with my hand on my heart, no BS, you are the only blog that I read 100% of. There are many others i look at but there's no set pattern to those. I love to read what you are doing and so often what you have done, crops up in my house i.e. particular cooking.
    Today I went to the local shops to get fresh library books, check the post office box and grab some chicken feed - my girls are GUTSY. They eat from the s second they are awake until dusk. I think it might be a throwback from being in battery farm. No other chook I've ever had has eaten the way these girls do. I have got roast veggies in the oven, we have meat free Mondays here. Unless like last week, family come, if it's just my partner and I, we have no meat. The fire is cranked up, supposed snow here tomorrow or Wednesday. So my partner and son have spent the last hour refilling the woodpile. We have a great shed that houses the wood and then bring wood from there to the main house and unit every few days.
    I wonder if you have ever tried vertical potato bake. I saw it the other week and tried it, it is really nice because the top section of every piece of potato crisps up as opposed to only the top layer in a traditional potato bake. I am not sure if i saw it on the Whoot or pinterest. It was a lovely change anyway and looked spectacular waiting to be dished up.
    I had no idea that Ikea had their own brand of oven etc, but were really westinghouse. It is amazing what you can research when you are interested. I too love a good pillow and pay a steep price, once again will look at ikea. I forgot to say my partner loves the heat packs that are pocket sized. I will spy him working outside and then look again and notice he is standing with his hands in his pocket before going back to work. He said they are """""amazing""""" so I can highly recommend them. Rabbiting on as usual. Have a lovely week Annabel, you deserve it. Fi xx

    1. Fi I made the handwarmers for my Bathurst nephews. They love them. Thanks for the great idea.

    2. I bet they love them up there in the cold Jane. Glad you made them.

    3. Dear Fiona,
      Thank you! You encourage me a lot. I feel like we are all on this journey together and it is so nice to be able to share it and not feel alone. That means a lot.
      Now your chooks probably need plenty of fattening up plus the cold weather, everyone is hungry! Bulk them out with scraps, weeds especially thistles and grass and whatever you can find, I think you do that already. Some of the fruit and veggie places will give you a whole box of leaves and trimmings and this is a bonus. Good coloured eggs and your feed goes further!
      I love that you made hand warmers and they were a hit! They would be so nice for anyone who has to wait at the bus stop or in the cold in the mornings, school children... any of us like at sporting events when its freezing! This could really catch on!
      I think you better send me a pinterest pin of these potatoes. Sounds good!
      The wood pile sounds lovely. I think they are a beautiful sight and they spell warmth and security to me. You have a very good set up for keeping warm! Which is good considering the current conditions! With lots of love,

    4. Hi Annabel, I can't find the actual image I used but there are loads if you just google "vertical potato bake". I don't know how to get a photo onto here. It's all very simple, but just very spectacular for a different take on an old fave, and I know everyone especially Kato love your scallop potatoes. Our yard is blanketed in white now, it's like snow but is actually hail. It looks so pretty. All 3 dogs must have known it's coming because they all raced to the door a mere few mins before the hail came, and they all did their outside business and raced back in front of the fire. Hope you have good weather. Fi xx

    5. Dear Fiona,
      I laughed at your comment because if you are a stalker I am too lol! This is a very lovely blog with very lovely people. It brings beauty, help, and encouragement to my day. Thank you Annabel and everyone.
      Love, Kelsey
      PS. I always read all of the comments, too (in a non-creepy way, lol).

    6. Hi all!
      On the front cover of this month's Coles recipe magazine is a beer and beef slow-cooked pie topped with a stack of bakes thinly sliced potato brushed with butter, garlic, salt & thyme. It looks like good, tasty winter food to me!

  8. Dear Annabel

    I do not keep a strict record of my tally in the Vicky Challenge, however a stop in at a bakery called it to mind for me this week. They had scones which were not as high as mine selling for $2 each and this was without the jam and cream just plain scones. Good grief I made 12 of them this week for DD and I and what we did not eat I froze for later use. There was $24 for scones which had an out of pocket cost for me of 75 cents for the lemonade and I only used 1/5 of the bottle and $1.20 for the cream I dressed them with.

    I also made three pumpkin and sultana cakes and these are quite large each. A small sultana loaf in the bakery was $6. One of mine would have made three of the bakery ones. So $18 x 3 = $54.

    I accepted gifts offered to me of 12 oranges and 6 lemons so perhaps $5. I also accepted a gift of a packet of Tim Tams, 4 litres of soft drink, 9 lamb loin chops and a packet of 3 socks from one friend so totalling maybe $30. I was gifted all that Bendigo Woollen Mills wool priced online this without postage was $100 and the cross stitch kits I received would be well and truly priced over $250.

    I bought op-shop clothes for DD18 and myself for $9-50 which new would have been over $300 (50 cents an item). Including Jag jeans from another op-shop for $1 priced online at $89. I would say I am well and truly on track with massive savings this fortnight. I coloured my hair, did facial, pedicure and hair removal via waxing at home.

    I have added gifts I have received because I find that many people will not be open to accepting gifts. I take everything I am offered and if I do not use it I can guarantee I know someone who. It is not always easy to lug things home or sort through a lot of op-shops but it certainly is a huge saving.

    I made a gift that cannot be bought in stores in my cross stitched bibs and I am starting a knitted beanie and scarf for my DD's upcoming birthday out of the gifted wool and if you can imagine what these things cost to buy you know the bargain I get as well as the thrill of making them myself.

    God Bless and have a great week

    1. Dear Mel, The scones are an example of the costs! When you price a dozen or how ever many you made yourself it is a shock!
      You had an amazing week for freebies between that lovely wool, citrus, chops etc. That was fantastic!
      With your cooking, beauty treatments and crafts you really have had good savings. I also accept all kinds of things that come my way as often I know of someone that it will be just right for. I feel like a distribution centre sometimes! But I love to do this!
      I hope you are keeping warm Mel. As I type this (Tuesday) it is the worst day in a while I have to say! At least we have power, I hope you do too! With lots of love,

  9. Hi Annabel!

    It looks like you have some of my jars, only you have more!!

    As for doing research, we have found, in a number of cases, that we have to do our own research simply because the sales people do not know enough (or there are no sales people!) or because the market is not designed for people who like to do as much as possible for themselves.

    The other day, I saw pretty pink ceramic rolling pins at Aldi. When I was researching different types of rolling pins at home, I saw that someone had commented on that very one. They mentioned that both handles had come off with the first use, revealing clay/soil as the weight in the Chinese manufacture. Now I've lost interest!! I think that was useful research.

    I was also able to do research to find a new vegetable seed supplier. I was easily able to whittle it down (via the internet) to a supplier of heirloom seed, with lesser postage and seed prices (by keeping everything simple) who doesn't earn enough to pay (&, therefore, charge) GST. While I am currently trying the seed, I also appreciate the name - "Succeed Heirlooms" (Qld)! The value of this research will be assessed by the crops harvested.

    Research, too, has been a major key in my being able to find low cost, quality solutions to everyday dilemmas. One recipe in a book provided the laundry liquid which works so well for my water situation. Online research gives me instructions on time honoured ways, which too few people are willing (or able) to share. These require few, if any, purchased products. Real life research, such as when an apprentice hairdresser was receiving instruction on scissor cuts while working on my husband's hair, give highly valuable tips, also. I appreciated that one so much, & use it! That saves us an hour and a half round trip (that's time & fuel) along with the haircut fee. I started off with what we had - paper scissors!

    An area of research interest for me is the plants around me. I am amazed at how useful they can be, & how much there is to learn about applying them, quite simply, in our lives. Research, to me, is life giving, & that I love!!

    Research introduced me to you all!

    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      Word of mouth soften good information and an easy way to research. Especially from someone you know and trust. That is a short cut I often use! Also I agree about the plants. Learning what grows locally and the uses for things is really useful information.
      The seeds is an interesting one. Successful propagation methods too would be interesting to research and seed gathering etc.
      I hope you are having a very good new week, possibly good op shops finds also!
      Thank you for your ideas on researching things. You are right, many times sales people will know nothing much about the alternatives etc.
      With love,

  10. Dear Annabel,
    What an incredible savings on the pillow, as well as other things. Now that I've started price comparing it's amazing how some places charge whatever the traffic will bear, while others are quite reasonable for the exact same item. This week I was looking for the Lyles Golden Syrup and found it on Amazon for $9 for 11 ounces. I thought it a bit pricey all things considered so I decided to look for it when I went to the commissary. There it was $5 dollars for the exact same bottle. A savings of $4. Now that I have a bottle of it I'm going to make the recipe that I saw on recipe link and do a taste comparison. If they taste pretty much the same I will make it at home in the future.
    This week was an add to the pantry week. I found a sale on large cans of chicken breast, 6 for $11. Usually $3.50 per can so a savings of $10. I made 3 8 oz jars of pesto sauce with basil from my garden. Amazon is selling the same size for $10.16 per 8 oz. so a savings of $30.48. I'm finding that sometimes Amazon, while very convenient, is not the least expensive. I dried lots of herbs but haven't weighed them or costed that out yet. A dozen and a half
    banana muffins saved $36.00. Bought blueberries in bulk, 20 pounds for $64. In the stores they're $3.99 for half a pound. A savings of $4.78 per pound or $94.60. Sometimes the stores will have a loss leader and charge 99 cents for a half pound with a coupon and a limit of two boxes just to lure you into their store. Total storage savings this week was $139.00.
    The garden is starting to produce and yesterday I harvested 10 zucchini, a dozen beets, about a quart of radishes, and a handful of green beans. All meals were made and eaten at home. Garden clippings were put into the compost bin. Made a bottle of bug spray with oil and soap for the garden pests. I think that's it for me. Wishing everyone a beautiful week. Dorothy

    1. Dear Annabel,
      That above post is actually from me, Cookie, which is my nickname. Sorry if I caused any confusion.

    2. Dear Cookie,
      I am so glad you told me that! Thanks I thought Dorothy sounded familiar!
      I am so glad you found Golden Syrup! Now I hope you like it in the recipe. I think you will though!
      Well done on shopping around. As you say about Amazon it is not always what you think and can be surprising. But thankfully we have choices and it is fairly easy to compare around. That is an advantage these days.
      10 zucchini is heaps! What a good start to harvesting! Zucchini are so useful as they make many things.
      Well done on the cooking and the bulk buying too. That was a very good week! Now I hope this week is as good! With love,

    3. Do you know you can make your own Golden Syrup? It is just sugar and water boiled until it turns golden. Then you add boiling water and more sugar
      and a wedge of lemon or lemon juice and simmer for 45 minutes. Add to sterilized jar and lasts for months. It just cost pennies to make. Google or You tube the recipe you will be suprized how easy it is.

  11. Hi Annabel,
    just a quick note to say thank you this blog it is a life saver for me at the moment.
    it encourages me to treat the tight money times as a challenge not a chore and to be proud of the 4th meal made from the roast chook not moan about "chicken again" haha it's amazing how far it stretches with different veggies and pasta or rice.
    haven't tallied up yet but it's looking like light at the end of the tunnel by Aust / Sept fingers crossed it should be fine, just it time for the weather to warm up a bit and time to start the garden again, our chooks are being very helpful also we are getting about 5 eggs a day so the extended family are getting the odd eggs as well win / win everybody happy :)
    I love the large Mocanna jars and you've added an Annabel touch they look lovely.
    I thought of you and young Emma the other day -25th June my co worker bought her daughter into work as she was on holidays and no one to watch her, this kid is amazing and so I mentioned to her it was only 6 months to Christmas, her face lit up and she replied - that's fantastic I have to work out my Christmas card design and work on my list of who will get them, she's only 11 but thinking of others and what she can make - it is so refreshing to hear that instead of - "oh I want etc. etc"
    that didn't have a lot to do with the Vicki challenge but
    she has Annabel potential like Emma. Creative , likes pretty things and likes to share.
    Cheers, Bevo xx

    1. Dear Bevo, Thank you! I am sorry you are experiencing tight times but also there is the flip side of the things you will learn and I think you have plenty of company as a lot of those reading have had job losses and the reduction of work hours, rising expenses etc. I am very aware this is a big issue. It is for us locally as job losses are all around. I am glad to hear you think things will pick up as the year goes on.
      Anyway it helps to have company and encouragement! It can be really hard and lonely. Gathering ideas from others can sometimes help as often I think I never even thought of that! And it is a tip from someone that I can use. So helpful!
      That eleven year old sounds like a lovely girl! I want to do crafts with her! She sounds like she would love the things my girls did, craft days etc.
      Vicky little Emma is a keen little learner and helper. I love to see this as they learn and absorb all of this and remember it always! I was so little when Nan taught me crochet patterns and remembered them always!
      Have a great week! You are doing a good job. With love,

  12. Thank you for the information on the pillows - another item to add to my Ikea list. They are building a store not far from us and I cannot wait.

    Research is something that I usually do - when my husband gets involved it goes by the way. An example is the small freezer we purchased a couple of years ago. I mentioned that we needed a freezer if I was going to continue doing monthly shops, next thing we have a small freezer (as in bar fridge size) and there is no way that it can hold what I need it to hold for our monthly grocery shops let alone anything else I may want to put into it.

    I lasted until this year then said that it just wasn't working and we needed a new freezer - handed over the research and the purchase was agreed on.

    I haven't been keeping tallies of what I am saving - no places like you have Annabel to compare the prices. Have done the usual as in making meals from scratch. Made some muffins for my husband's sweet tooth. Made some strawberry jam.

    My husband washed and cleaned my car inside - no idea on the cost for that elsewhere but I know that it would be a princely sum seeing as he also polished it too.

    I have miracle cleaner and wool wash to make up for my friend after
    I have been across to the naturopath and done a couple of small things on the island.

    Pumpkin soup out of the freezer for dinner tonight - my husband is having a filling done and seeing as he has problems with the pain relief they use his mouth usually ends up quite sore.

    Craft corner is organized so tomorrow I will move onto the next space.

    Rachel I will be interested to hear how those seeds go.


    1. Dear Lynette,
      It is surprising what IKEA have. I just never thought of something like these high quality pillows. The same with Aldi. I never knew what they have in the weekly specials. I am still learning there. I think after the full twelve months cycle I will have a better idea. Each week is still a surprise. I never knew they had over tools, furniture, electrical, linen etc. Im still surprised each week i.e. the have coach lights this week and we need a new one for the front door. Never would have thought to wait or look there!
      The car inside and out and polish would be well over $50 I think.
      I have soup on... soup is ideal for after dental work or any illness too.
      Have a good new week Lynette. I know you have a few things happening there. With lots of love,

  13. Dear Annabel,
    Yesterday evening my FIL was telling us about his friend who is a commercial chicken farmer. I commented on the price of eggs at the store and laughed that I didn't realize how good a deal I was giving my egg customers, as I hadn't bought eggs in so long and was unaware of the going price for free range eggs. He said he never pays attention to prices, he just buys what he needs regardless. I thought, I sure could save you a lot of money! (And I was thinking of how we were just talking about this!) But he probably isn't the only person who does that. My husband was this way when we first got married until he saw how much I saved by shopping around, doing research, and reading reviews on products. Now he is happy to tell me when he gets a deal!
    I had a good Vicky Challenge week. Sunday we ate lunch at our pastor's house, and again on Monday for Independence Day. He cooked brisket and sent us home with a whole one. I cooked a crock pot full of beans and made a big batch of potato salad. That lasted several days and I still have brisket that I am going to freeze. One night I shredded the brisket and added barbecue sauce for sandwiches. We were also sent home with chicken, three loaves of homemade bread, and dessert.
    I cleaned out the sewing closet and saved some fabric remnants and vintage dress patterns.
    I paid bills online and in person.
    I was given six pounds of figs from a relative with a fig tree. She said to come whenever I want to pick figs. While at her house, she showed me some of her paintings and handmade quilts. I was just in awe of her work. She is my husband's great aunt and a very sweet and talented lady.
    We went shopping and I bought craft supplies at half off and two nice tops at a discount store that sells leftover department store merchandise. This is also where I got my crocheted bath mats at a very good price. I shopped grocery specials as well.
    All of this, plus cooking and cleaning gives me a total of $412.75. That is the best I have done in several weeks so I am very happy with that. Thank you again for this challenge, as it is very motivating!
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey, When you get chickens again and a lot of eggs you can increase your prices! There is a big variable with eggs. But people like true free range farm eggs and will pay for them.
      Wow to all that food! What a bonus! well done on making the most of it.
      I loe your husbands great aunt! She sounds lovely and the type of person that you can learn things from. Quilting ! Painting! Also figs.... one of the best things I did with figs was pizza with cream cheese, figs thinly sliced, a drizzle of sticky balsamic vinegar and baked then topped with rocket leaves. Amazing!
      Plus jam of course!
      Kelsey I want to see your crochet bath mats if you have time. My SIL gave me one last Christmas which has a crochet edge and I love it as an idea I could do for gifts! I would love to see yours!
      Fantastic savings! You are getting back to normal life now since moving and it is showing in your savings! This is wonderful!
      Thanks so much for sharing this Kelsey! It is great to hear. With lots of love,

  14. Hi Annabel,

    You have had some great savings this week! You are so right about researching and comparing prices. I was looking for some inspiration on Pinterest for homemade toddler/baby gifts as this is my focus for the rest of the year and I came across some felt mobiles, like the woodland animal one I made. Someone was selling similar ones on Etsy for $120! Mine cost me literally about $2 worth of material! I have our home insurance due soon and I will definately compare prices before renewing.

    1. Dear Mel,
      I am really glad you saw these prices! Your mobiles are gorgeous and I have come to love the woodland creatures and use some of them for little embroidery designs. I think I said to you once about things to hang across the pram as an alternative too, to a mobile. These things are really expensive in the shops and thats for mass produced ones not handmade!
      The other day on Easy I saw glitter felt! I never knew it existed... GLITTER FELT!
      I hope you are having a good week! With love,
      (ps you could have your own ETSY shop I think!) xxx

  15. Hello, Annabel! I'm trying to catch up after several weeks of computer problems, being out of town, and doing the work to sell our current home and purchase the next one. I've missed being here and particularly enjoyed seeing all of lovely the Show & Tell items.

    As part of the contract to sell our house we had an inspection that revealed a couple of things we didn't know needed to be fixed...and of course we had to pay a professional to fix them since that was also in the contract. But we did our research and asked around so we found two pros who did what needed doing for less than the going rate, which saved us hundreds of dollars.

    Then my old laptop died and had to be replaced, which was costly, but my husband is a "geek" and was able to do the setup and install the necessary software for me, saving us the hourly rate of a professional installer.

    Lesson: Skills are more valuable than stuff. ;)

    Blessings, Leigh

  16. Dear Annabel....what a great week! I've been very absent, without internet, and sometimes without electricity! At home mind you, so of course there's a story attached. I won't bore you with it here! That said I achieved much (a lesson in being prepared and as Leigh said, having skills up your sleeve), and generated a good value for my week. Certainly up in the several hundreds in gifts alone. Looking forward to catching up on all I missed! Love, Mimi xxx

  17. Saved the bones from sale steaks and made broth. Enjoyed making jam with the wild blackberries. Huge yard sale deals.
    Also I vacuumed and cleaned out my van which I figured was a $10 savings from the local car wash.
    Thanks again for this challenge. It is inspiring our entire family.


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