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 18 September 2016

The Vicky Challenge. A catch up!

Last week we went away for a few days to the beach at Moonta Bay. I don't think it's sensible to announce going away online so sorry to just vanish.
I bought three nights on a travel auction early in the year. We got one night extra free as we went at a quiet time. I am so glad we did this!

We had a rest, (especially my painting arm!) and did lots of op shopping!

First I will catch up on my Vicky Challenge that I missed posting last Monday.

My main savings were all the painting for the week, cutting Andy's hair, work lunches and cleaning the oven top to bottom!  For that week I wrote $545 in my savings book.

Last week while away we still found ways to save although I can't say any painting or spring cleaning happened!

The first thing I do for a holiday is pack a basket of things for meals, coffee, tea, milk and treats. I am pretty sure I can safely count a saving of $100 there.

I did my nails and toes before we left to look nice! another big saving compared to a salon.

For the purpose of the Vicky Challenge (and to follow what Vicky actually does) I looked up some retail prices for things we found in our op shopping trips.
I am glad I did. This proved to be very educational!
i.e. one item alone was mind blowing. We bought a boxed and new set of Waterford Crystal Sherry Glasses for $5. I love crystal glasses!
When I checked online they are $199!
While I would never pay that we enjoy gorgeous crystal for pennies basically!

Other things I got that I was trilled with included three tops for myself, a gorgeous cardigan,  a wooden rolling pin, silver desert forks and old fashioned nets to cover a baby pram. (but also could cover food and picnics I thought)

Andy is a reader. Novels these days are $20 or so. He came home with about ten new ones for between 50c and $2 each. New they would have been $200 or so. He also got a pure wool grey jumper and two pairs of wool blend good trousers. Looking up the prices for these blew me away as well! They are really beautiful quality items that are really expensive. Yet he basically never pays more than a few dollars and this is a big part of our holidays. The country trips give us the time and the old style op shops that have such wonderful things for so little.

I found seven beautiful, as new, nighties for Kath in the nursing home. This is something she desperately needs. I bought her a new one recently and it was $30. Based on that  means the seven would cost me $210. But they were all around $3 each.  I have washed them up and scented them with lavender. They are in boxes with tissue paper ready to give her. So many that I did a pink box and a blue box. (Also I know she is fine with this as her only purchases are op shop ones but now she cannot get out to do this herself.)

Another find was a pair of beautiful old rose pillow shams with lovely pleated ruffles. But the rose blooms got me! They were 25c each!  ahhh happy days!

One op shop we went into was in Maitland.  This op shop is one I really like.  There were two lovely ladies in there looking after everything.
After a little while one of the ladies came over to me and asked if my name was Annabel?  I thought I must know her from somewhere!
When I said yes she said "from Bluebirds are Nesting?"
Yes...   This was Jo who has commented here before and she said she recognised me and the fact that I was looking for flannelette sheets did it! She knew it was me!
Jo was just gorgeous and we have a great chat.  It was so nice to meet you Jo! You made my day!
When we got into the car Andy said "Just how many people read your blog exactly???" hahaha and he felt famous as Jo asked him if he had been fishing!
It's a small word!

I must add I did find two sets of flannelette sheets later in the day. Some plain green for making mens hankies for when ill and the rest pale blue with flowers. I have washed them up and added fabric softener. They are on the line. I will get a huge quantity of my emergency super soft hankies. I might use some for dusters as well.

So it was a great week and in spite of terrible weather! Adelaide had flooding! Thankfully we were all ok and for us it means a well watered garden and farm. Spring has disappeared for now.  I had one day of sun between rainy days and I got almost everything washed and out on the line and dry! I had to finish a few things off inside. But it is all done!

Adding up my Vicky Challenge I can see we came out a mile in front. Books, clothes and treats all amounting to far more than we paid for the four nights away. I am amazed by that. And it was a lovely rest and great fun. So very happy. The tops and cardi for me, the trousers and jumper... each thing I checked the price of was $80 to $200! So you can  imagine how this all added up!

Thank you for all the beautiful messages for Jane and the prayers for Bluey! Jane asked me to thank you all so much. And today she is able to bring him home!
Now as far as I understand he still has an operation ahead of him but this time at home is a wonderful thing. So keep up the prayers. You are all so good and kind thank you.

My 100 Day Challenge had a five day glitch! So I am just adding five days to the end. And I am back to it, especially the spring cleaning!

How did you save and get ahead these last two weeks?  All these little bits and pieces count. Whether you are trying to reduce costs, build your pantry or savings.... or whatever... a little bit extra every week soon gets you there!
Have a wonderful new week.  xxx


  1. Sounds like a wonderful getaway and bonus treasure hunt! I love visiting thrift stores in other areas. Welcome back!

    1. Thanks Debby, it was great. Have a wonderful week! Love

  2. Annabel, I hadn't thought about counting the savings on items I find while thrifting and adding them to my Vicki Challenge totals. Thanks for the tip! You did really great and purchasing the nighties for Kath was such a special thing to do. The crystal is beautiful and the old fashioned nets for baby prams will soon come in handy for your family. Looks like you had a great time!

    1. Dear Patsy,
      I did this as Vicky does. She is right. i.e. one top I bought I know the brand and the price and I love the style. I am short of summer tops. I love what I found. It is about a $75 saving. So it is a real saving. Its fantastic really. We stocked up on a few things. Plus some things are treats!
      I would much rather save that money and build up my pantry and emergency fund!
      Back to work now, and we are both home from being away! Love

  3. Annabel, I was hoping you were just away and not flooded out as we heard about all the rain on the news. Now I can relax :-) That is such a beautiful and thoughtful gift for Kath and the way you have presented it is just lovely. She will really love it. Of course Andy is famous...we see what fish he has caught all the time. LOL!

  4. Welcome home, Annabel. It was good you were both able to get away for a bit and relax.
    I can't believe your op shop finds! Waterford crystal for $5!!
    You're amazing.
    Have a great week,

    1. Dear Janine,
      In the photo I had taken them out of the box and removed the stickers and washed them up. I should have taken a photo in the box! Vicky said with eh decluttering craze op shop finds are better than ever. And bargains like these!
      You have a good new week too! With love

    2. Based on what I've been told by antique shop owners, such bargains might be a little more common. It seems that the younger generation is not at all interested in china, crystal, etc. I know that my friends are having no luck either getting their kids to take them or finding someone to buy them. The shop owners are awash with sets of beautiful china.

    3. Dear Debbie, I think you're right and its the best news I ever heard! In fact this week my neighbour says she is cleaning out her Mothers home and there is all this crystal... and she is thinking of taking it to the op shop! I mentioned my enthusiasm and I am allowed to look... so I am so excited! All this and yet the department stores sill sell crystal for hundred of dollars! Unbelievable! Love

    4. Yes, and what a great bonus for the bride that decides not to register and goes on a treasure hunt! Since my best friend's daughter turned down an offer for grandma's china, my friend is now using it for their everyday lives. She said their everyday stuff was chipped and quite a few pieces were broken in earthquakes. They were originally going to buy a new set and I suggested they save the money and use what they had. She was tickled by the suggestion and did it. She loves that they're using them instead of just dusting them!

  5. Dear Annabel, I am glad you both had a lovely holiday. I know Kath will love her nighties and that crystal is gorgeous. I love the first photo you used on your post today Annabel, isn't na true beautiful?.
    My Vicky challenge has included a trip away to the Gold Coast and my 40 th birthday so I was a bit indulgent . Some of that indulgence was offset by frugalness . We went to a club for lunch in our first few days away and we were given discount vouchers to use , so we went back there on our last full day of holidays and I used a buy one get one free voucher to buy two pizzas which were meant to be small but two small pizzas fed me for lunch and Dad sampled some too at lunch time and the second pizza fed us both for dinner. I still had two vouchers left so my mum and I were able to get $10 off tea and cake for both of us , so our afternoon tea cost us each $3 for English breakfast tea and a huge piece of cake each. Savings here approx $20
    My parents payed for my lunch on my birthday which included a cup of tea and a vanilla slice, total saving for my lunch $22 approx.
    I met up with a forum friend for the first time and she paid for my lunch and drink one day saving about $27 .
    My parents would not take any money for petrol , which I had planned to pay them , saving me about $30.
    I was given birthday money from my parents and I took advantage of an offer at one of my favourite clothes stores ( buy 2 full priced items and get the 3 rd item free) . I spent $9 out of my own money on 3 beautiful tops , saving me approx $120 .
    My sister and her family gave me a gift voucher as part of my gift , value $20 , saved me $20 off my new kettle.
    I redeemed $20 cash out of my club points on Sunday , saving me $20 . I used it to pay for my lunch and raffle tickets.
    I think there is more but that is enough for now Annabel!. I apologise for a huge comment!. Have a great week Annabel and everyone Love BarbW

    1. Oops, hi Annabel Sorry to comment again but I forgot to put a total for the week, approximate savings were $240 . A fairly quiet week, but I am sure there was more!. Love BarbW

    2. Dear Barb,
      I am so glad you had a wonderful birthday and holiday! And also gifts! A break is a good thing and also its nice to be home again. I think its a good sign when we are so glad to be home after going away. I feel like that, I love my own bed too!
      Now you will have to start saving for something else or your next holiday!
      I hope you are having a good week. It is really cold here! With lots of love

  6. Wow, Annabel, what a great week of savings, even while vacationing. Way to go!
    My husband and I are (like you!) painting the exterior of our house. I should probably figure that in to my Vicky challenge soon as we are about half way done painting. We also shop at thrift stores. I have purchased so much high-quality clothing for hardly any cash. Just in the past few weeks, I've purchased brand name capri pants for $2 on end-of-summer sale, a lovely striped, long sleeve top (brand name) for $4, and a like new purse for 99 cents. It's a treasure hunt as you never know what you'll find! Glad you and Andy had some relaxing time away. :) Blessings! Teresa

    1. Dear Teresa,
      Thank you! Well yes you should include the value of all the work of the painting. I found out the value a couple of ways and it will be different according to where you live and the kind of house. I googled the average price of having a house painted in our city and I am doing inside and out so I looked that up and it was $25,000! I also asked a couple of people who had their houses painted in recent years. The figures were all similar. So I am counting $24000 as the paint has been less than $1000.
      The clothing buys are just great! It is such a saving. We can still have lovely things and good clothes without breaking any budgets!
      Thank you so much and good luck with the painting. I still have plenty to go! With love

  7. HI Annabel, It was lovely to meet you and Andy. What a great surprise...made my day too! Sounds like you had a wonderful getaway...great op shop finds. The gifts for Kath are very kind and thoughtful and your presentation is gorgeous. I thoroughly enjoyed our chat. Cheers, Jo

    1. Dear Jo,
      It was lovely meeting you too and I can't believe you figured me out. You should work for Scotland Yard I think!
      Thanks for replying to Rachel also... there was a young Jo who commented and Rachel recalls her.
      I think five of the nighties came from your op shop. I can't wait to get back over there. Truly miles better than op shops in the city!
      Also well done on working there and being such a help. I know that op shop raises money for a very good charity (disabilities and the families I think) and that would be very important for the area.
      With lots of love,

  8. I'm so glad to hear about Jane and Bluey! Glad you got away too to such a beautiful spot. Oh the deals you got! I think sometimes people just don't know what they have and that makes it a great deal for us! Have a great day!

    1. Dear Vickie, Thank you! yes there are some amazing things to be found. Things we need and treats as well! Plus it is fun! I never feel as if I need retail therapy as I have this!
      I hope you are having a good week! With love

  9. Hello Dearest Annabel,

    Have to say I just adore the beautiful goodies you found whilst on holidays but the thing that made my heart sing more than anything was the gorgeous nighties for Kath & knowing how beautifully you would present them & her delight in receiving :) made me smile a mile wide.

    I found some gorgeous pink dessert glasses op shopping the other day, will send a photo to you via email as I know you of all people would appreciate how pretty they are.

    Sending love & hugs
    (Susan's Perspective)

    1. Dear Susan,
      Thank you so much! It is fun for me to make up a present and I think I get as much joy as Kath will.
      Thank you so much for showing me the parfait glasses! I can't wait to show everyone as there is a summer idea there too. They are so gorgeous and luxurious and pretty. Like the crystal you can get them for very little which is amazing.
      I hope you are not freezing there as it is very cold here! And raining still! With love

  10. Dear Annabel,
    I'm so glad you and Andy had such a great time on your trip! What wonderful things you found op shopping! Everything you found is lovely. I think that is the nicest thing, you buying nighties for Kath in the nursing home. You are so thoughtful and I bet Kath will be overwhelmed.
    How cool you met Jo during your trip! I bet you were both surprised and it sounds like Andy was too lol. You are famous with your readers anyway!
    Our nearest op shop is thirty minutes away and unfortunately isn't a very good one. But the key with thrift stores is that it never hurts to look because you just never know. My husband and I went in the other day during their half off sale and I came out with a wool blanket, a nice hardcover book, and three music records (one of which has become a new favorite) for under $5. Saturday we went to an estate sale and I bought two milk glass vases and two milk glass candle holders for just 25 cents each. Down the road was a garage sale and the lady had a HUGE box of Ball canning jars that I bought for $12. Cheap! So I had some success these past two weeks as well.
    Other ways I saved were the usual cooking and cleaning, but I have been terrible about writing things down!
    I also sewed an apron for a friend who is getting married. I added a set of recipes (printed on JES's rose recipe cards) and a rolling pin for a gift. She loved it and was so touched that I had made the apron for her. She just kept saying how special it was. Well, you can imagine how great that made me feel! She is so excited to care for her husband and home, as she has been praying for God to send her the man he has for her for several years. I am so very glad for her. (I think a lot of girls nowadays would take offense at receiving an apron, rolling pin, and recipe cards as a wedding gift!)
    I am glad to hear that Bluey is home. I will keep praying for him and Jane. I am also keeping Lucy and the baby in my prayers and hope all is well there.
    Glad to have you back Annabel! Have a lovely week, everyone.
    With lots of love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      Your finds were fantastic! My heart leaps at the mention of Ball canning jars! Yes I think garage sales, estate sales etc are all worth checking out. You just never know. It paid off for you! Plus that is a lot of fun to find such useful things.
      Jes has very handy things to print! That sounds like a gorgeous gift and an apron, rolling pin and recipes go together perfectly. I am very pleased for your friend too!
      Thank you very much for your prayers (from both families) that is appreciated.
      I hope you have another good week! With lots of love

  11. Hi Annabel!

    How nice it was for you both to have some quiet time away, and for Barb, too!

    While things have been rolling quietly along here, I have been wondering how people have been going - Jane and Bluey; Vicky with her canning; ..... May the Eternal strengthen us all in His work!

    Do you do a little fishing yourself? (That's an effective fishing shot!) Is Jo the same as Jo 'your protege'?

    I was imagining Jes's citrus cleaning solution in one of your decanters! Where ever did I get that idea from?!! Silver forks -- very good!! I'm glad you were blessed!!

    It's a bit cool here in Queensland right now, yet we've been having plenty of good garden rain! I've been using wild grown plants and weeds (chickweed, broad-leafed plantain, thin-leaved dandelion leaves, warrigal greens, young cobblers pegs/Bidens, and native geranium/cranesbill, with mint) in meals, and one (verbena - especially for knotted neck-shoulder area, tension and a brittle metabolism) for cups of tea! They're wonderful, and lush, right now! Their qualities are notable.

    Mum leant me a book on old household lore, and I appreciated reading about rations for travel by ship. People had to supply timber shelving for plates, and string to keep things from falling off! They would obtain spare clothes from relatives and, with little water available for washing, just throw them overboard when finished with! Ship rations were plain, so they were supplemented with home preserves, home cured meat and so on. Food is so important!!

    I am keen to try steamed cup cakes - in enamel cups! I have some leftovers from fresh preserves to put in them!

    I'd love to see Kelsey's apron!!

    Enjoy your week!

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Hi Rachel, It was really wonderful to meet Annabel and Andy. I am a different Jo. (It would be nice to be Annabel's protégé)....I am just a great admirer.
      Love her blog and all her followers. Cheers Jo

    2. Dear Rachel,
      Well I have tried to fish but Im not too wonderful at it. Mainly I leave the boys to it! Im a willing fish cooker though!
      I think steamed cakes would be nice like little steamed puddings. I like the idea of cups and individual serves! that gives me the idea to do summer pudding with the bread and berries this way... how lovely this would be!
      I will ask Kelsey if she took photos! I loved the sound of this cooking gift! It was a lovely set/theme.
      I hope your week is going well. this is cryptic... I think your bowerbirds have mail.
      With love

  12. Dear Annabel,

    What a lot of fabulous finds on your trip!!! My husband just gave me a bottle of cream sherry for my birthday and we hadn't a clue what sherry glasses actually look now I can look for some at thrift shops, too! :) (Highly doubtful I'll find brand new Waterford ones, but you never know!) I have been discouraged thrift shopping lately, as things are very overpriced here! It's cheaper in many cases to buy things new. I don't know if it's because we're near Halifax, or what the story is, but it's becoming very difficult to find a good deal. I'm hoping to find a nugget of a shop somewhere one of these days! Otherwise I'll need to really pay attention and try to go on sale days. I think it's really funny that you were spotted shopping...definitely a sign of fame. :)

    What a lovely thing to do for Kath, and to package them up so beautifully.

    So glad to hear that Bluey is coming home for a while!!!

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen,
      These glasses are little and gorgeous. Any tiny stemmed glass will be right. I like cream sherry!
      In the city many of our thrift stores are very expensive and ridiculous. Its the country ones I am still having luck with.
      What is the funniest thing to me is that I am known for hunting for flannelette! hahaha what a thing to be remembered for! So there you go!
      Thanks so much Jen, with love

  13. Oh Annabel, your purchases are amazing! I especially love the care you took in wrapping up the nightgowns for Kath. I bet she will be over the moon at your generosity. I, too, went yard saling and thrift shopping this past weekend and found some wonderful bargains. It was my birthday and my parents sent me a little money that was able to use to treat myself with. I bought four large sofa feather pillows for $2.50 each (which I promptly threw in the washer when I got home and they came out beautifully clean and fresh smelling). I have been wanting some pillows to go on the new bench that my husband and I made the other weekend (I sent you a photo, but I don't know if you received it or not). I also bought a Mr. Christmas music symphonium, brand new, in the box, for $20. This looks like an oversize jewelry box but it is a music box that plays records! I bought it for my mother-in-law and I know she'll love it. I looked it up online and it showed a price on eBay for $218! I also bought a round crocheted tablecloth for $1 and a brand new pair of men's Ecco brand shoes for $5! These shoes are valued at $200 but sadly, they do not fit my husband, but they will fit my son, so I am passing them on. I love bargains like these! Fond Regards, Jeanette

    1. Dear Jeanette,
      HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I love that you turned your birthday money into so much! Yes I finally saw the photo! Please take a photo with your cushions on the bench as I would love to see as they would really finish it off.
      Your other bargains were amazing too and I love that you have a gift out of one too. Another gift taken care of!
      Great shopping. I am so glad. truly these things are such bonuses. Who would pay those retail prices! (not us!)
      Many thanks Jeanette, with love

  14. Hello, Annabel!

    Welcome back! I was hoping that you were away and that you hadn't been struck down with the ick that seems to be going around. It sounds as though you and Andy had a wonderful, well deserved holiday :)

    How fantastic to hear that Bluey is able to come home! Continued prayers going up.

    How thoughtful of you to get nighties for Kath :) Please let us know how she likes them!

    Your holiday pictures are gorgeous!

    What wonderful finds you got! Our prices here are not nearly as good! I'm jealous :)

    How fun to meet Jo! I bet that was a pleasant surprise! And yes, it's a very small world!

    My MIL's birthday was over the weekend. She didn't want a cake, so I baked her a giant cookie using ingredients on hand. Savings were $38!

    Kelsey-I would love an apron, recipe cards, and a rolling pin as a gift! But you're so right...I think most girls nowadays would take offense!

    1. Dear Jenn,
      Thank you! It was a great break.
      I love that you baked a giant cookie! I have seen a chocolate chip cookie baked on a pizza pan as one giant one. Awesome idea. Excellent gift!
      I loved Kelsey's gift too. We all here adore it and as you say in the world there are people who frown on domestic arts. (World has gone mad!) Not us! I got a vintage rolling pin on my trip for $3! I love it! It is worn from use which makes it even nicer to me!
      With your cooking you would appreciate such things too.
      I hope you are having a wonderful week! With love

  15. What a wonderful week you've had, Annabel! Since fall is coming, I think I will take your inspiration and make more hankies so we aren't spending a fortune on Kleenex! I just need to find some "masculine" flannel for hubby! I'm sure I can find something in my stash! Lol!
    The rest of my savings this week were:This week I took advantage of a 2 day sale at one of our local grocery chains and bought boneless pork loins for $1.29/lb! The sticker on them lists the regular price as $3.99/lb! I bought 30 pounds and had the butcher cut 10 pounds into pork chops that I repackaged at home into 7 meal portions (about $2 total/meal that serves 6!!). The other 20 pounds I had him cut into 8 pork roasts which will each make 3-4 meals as I shred some into carnitas, eat some as roast! So for the $38.70 I spent, we will have many, many meals! Plus, for buying $30 worth of meat, I got a $5 OYNO reward, Plus because of my total purchase of food reaching $100 (almost unheard of for me!) I got another $10 off that order immediately!
    The rest of that order consisted of : 10 pounds of strawberries for $10. , 32 jars of Prego for 99 cents/jar (yes, we are brand snobs for Prego! Lol!) a gallon of milk for $1.59, marked down bananas, cauliflower, mini cucumbers and a bit more produce. Because of the produce, I earned an additional $5 OYNO ! So, after the sales prices and discounts, I spent $70 but came away with the additional $10 to spend on my next trip to the store! And we are now set for a year with spaghetti sauce and won't need any!

    I finished another quilt and have put it away for a gift. I began quilting a new baby quilt and will finish that in a day or two! All my quilts are made without buying any supplies- fabric, thread or batting. I just use my stash!
    Made meals at home and rotated things in my freezer to make room for the new things!

    I donated 3 more big trash bags of clothes that no longer fit me to Goodwill. Clearing out my closet lets me see what I do and don't have any more! I have jeans, dress pants,two skirts and 3 pairs of capris and 3 tee shirts, but I have now run out of any dressy top to wear with my skirts so I'll have to check SA for a couple! Losing over 70 pounds has changed my wardrobe up a bit as far as what fits!
    I am hemming 7 knit maxi dresses for a friend who has also lost weight and replacing the lining of one trench coat sleeve for her which will earn a little over $100! She's thrilled with my price and I can get these done within 2 hours!
    I had a coupon for JoAnns so I got the nice Schmetz needles for wide twin needle stitching and also a package of their needles for sewing knits for this job but they were 60% off through today! Yay!!
    We put in the brick floor for our gazebo using vintage stamped bricks (circa 1890) that we were given years ago! Had enough bricks that we didn't need to buy any! Have repurposed pieces of an old sidewalk that we broke into chunks into a wonderful patio floor near our grill! We do love reusing and repurposing things!!!
    Made another big batch of homemade Jiffy cornbread mix since I had used up most of my canister this week to go with our black bean taco soup. I am so glad that I not only labeled the canister with the recipe to use the mix, but also the mix recipe itself so when I get low, I can refill the canister! Saves so much time!!!
    All in all, a very good week!!

    1. Dear Gardenpat,
      Andy was desperate and using pretty rose hankies lol so I took pity and found plain green flannel. Only tonight I tore it up into squares and its lovely and soft. So thats my man supply!
      The pork bargain will be many wonderful meals. Yum. Pork, apple and parsnips are a favourite here!
      I saw some of your quilts! They are beautiful Pat. And you are fast! I am always like !!! she has finished another one!
      They are fabulous gifts and heirlooms.
      The alterations you are doing is a great extra income.
      Well done on your weight loss. I hope beautiful clothes come your way that are just right for you. I feel when we pass on things we don't need to someone else then good things come our way and it all works out.
      I love the vintage bricks!
      You had a really good week. I hope this week proves to be another one! With love

  16. Dear Annabel. I think you were wise to not announce your break, and I'm so pleased to hear you had one! I can't decide whether the crowning glory is the op shop find of the pretties, or the op shop find of an online friend! What are the chances, honestly? I've had an up and down sort of time lately, so I don't have much to share. But I'll happily cheer from the sidelines for now! Lots of love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      A break is so good! There were lots of good things! And really country op shopping is my best type. I hope things are ok and this week is good for you. You do a lot! With much love

  17. Bluey is home!!!!!! I did a quick trip down to Nambour, 300km there and 300km back yesterday to collect him. He still has the bile drain, pegged, coming out of his belly, so has to be careful. We are awaiting a letter to tell us when he has his surgery. This is a Whipples Procedure and the Drs keep stressing it is major surgery. Right now we are just focussed on getting him healthy enough to be able to endure this procedure.
    Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers. Please continue to keep Bluey there, as we need all the positive processes we can get. Bluey was quite taken that so many people would even think of him and sends his thanks.
    Hopefully I can get back on the Vicky and drastically reduced 100 day challenge. I have made very little in the last month whilst Bluey was in hospital and I was having to travel so far to see him.
    May you all receive wonderful blessings for your kindness.
    LIFE IS GOOD!!!!!!

    1. Dear Jane,so pleased for both of you ,that Bluey is home for a bit,and wish him good strength and calm before his next op.And will continue to keep Bluey in my thoughts and prayers ,Love and hugs Maria xoxox

    2. Wonderful news Jane! I hope you are both able to rest a bit before his procedure. Best wishes, Jen in NZ

    3. Dear Jane,
      This is awesome news! That must have been an exciting day for both of you!
      Bluey and you have won many friends and admirers here. We all want to see Bluey up and running and making awesome things again! Meanwhile getting well is number one. He can be planning what to make next!
      With love

    4. Hi Bluey and Jane!!

      A good dose of home can do wonders!! Enjoy this!

      With warm regards,
      Rachel Holt

    5. Dear Jane, I am so happy to hear that Bluey gets to come home and recuperate before his surgery. I believe that people recover far better in the comfort of their own home than they do in hospital. I pray that his surgery is scheduled quickly so that he will soon be on the mend! Love and prayers, Jeanette

    6. Wonderful news that Bluey is home and covered with TLC. We continue to remember you and Bluey in our prayers each day. Cookie

  18. Annabel, so glad you both had a great trip! Glad to know that your husband knows you have fans. ;) Your gifts to Kath were so kind.

    I have little to report for the Vicky Challenge. We moved to another state, so there is just work with all that. I did manage to save with home haircuts and all meals homemade. Savings of $300?

    Thanks for the inspiration all.
    Leslie (now in Ohio, U.S.)

    1. Dear Leslie, Thank you!
      Moving is such a big job! I hope you love your new place and this is a very good move for you. Unpacking and settling in is the next big thing. I am wondering if you have family or friends in your new state?
      All the best and I hope you will be very happy there.
      Well done on additional savings even with all this going on! With love

    2. Jane, it's sooo good to see your "LIFE IS GOOD!!!!!!" Being home does wonders...prayers continuing for the upcoming surgery!
      xxx, Colette

  19. Dear Annabel, that was a great opshop haul on your trip away!Fame has found you hehe I wonder who else will recognize you :)
    I was recently in an opshop down South and my girlfriend was admiring the crystal but it was not that cheap as your find/s.I said I don't think it's popular these days , my daughter is not a fan, although possibly may change as she gets older. I have some very old inherited crystal items and small items that have been given or passed onto me.The shop lady said it is becoming popular with young ones ? maybe that is just in her area.
    I cleaned out 2 bedroom dressers (seperate rooms) for family staying here for awhile , and some from my wardrobe and filled quite a few bags and a box for the opshop.
    Not much baking done this week,busy with meals and feeding a few more mouths.And daily washing to keep on top of. I did clean my oven with that moo cleaner , its not spotless but its a lot better than it was.
    With love, Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria,
      I am glad you got somewhere with your oven! Ovens are terrible really. Now mine is clean I am saying I will wipe it out with every use and also sometimes use oven bags to contain some of the splatter. Thats the plan at least. Plus in summer we BBQ more and I use the oven less.
      More people equals lots more washing!
      Your antique crystal sounds beautiful. It is so delicate that its a wonder it survives the years. I have a big thing for glassware with etching. Its all so gorgeous!
      Well done on the clean out. I hope this week is going well, with lots of love,

  20. Wow Jo, how lucky to meet "our Annabel". Great finds and a great relaxing week for yo and Andy. I simply can't believe the bargains you find Annabel. I'm sure Kath will be totally tickled pink with her new nighties. I bet she gets teary. How is Lucy going? I hope those rotten migraines have gone. Have a great week. Xx Fi.

  21. You have some beautiful finds! thank you for sharing.

  22. A few days at the beach sounds very nice ♥ Love your finds ♥

  23. Dear Annabel,
    I am so glad you and Andy got away. Your op shop finds are spectacular! I am positively loving the story of Jo spotting you looking for flannelette sheets! :) Blonde lady...op shop...flannelette sheets????...DEAD GIVEAWAY!!! This is totally hysterical. You're a celebrity! The gift for Kath is so touching, just gorgeous. I can't wait to hear how she receives it.
    I didn't keep track very well last week on my Vicky challenge, but last tally was at $325.00. I have been having a revisit & rearrange of dinners/cooking now that we are over a month into the school year and Fall sports are starting. I've been very focused on rebuilding my freezer meals. More specifically I'm finding single frozen serves of rice & curry, soups, lasagne, stir fry, chicken & roasted veggies to name a few, really help my family on the crazy days, keep us out of the drive thru, and it keeps our money in our wallet. Plus they give me a break from cooking every night. I can throw a salad or another veggie together quickly and we're eating at home. The other thing I'm focused on is the budget. The revisit has started with me writing down every single expense. We already keep our bills on a spreadsheet, I'm talking about the day-in/day-out, stop-at-the-store here and there type of stuff. I'm jotting down every single cent as I go. At certain times of the year there is a natural ebb and flow to our business so our income is not 100% consistent...I'm trying to figure out a better way to handle the few months that are a little bit leaner. Three weeks into my revisit and I think I've figured that part out. I did get the curtains up that I talked about previously and they are gorgeous! A huge saving handling those ourselves. I used your Miracle Muffin recipe last week and boy were they a hit! I stewed some chopped apples with lots of cinnamon for Apple Cinnamon Miracle Muffins and my kids were thrilled with them :) (For those wondering where, in Annabel's sidebar click on "stretch a meal and use it up"...that will take you to the muffin recipe) I got two dozen gorgeous filling muffins. Next I'm doing some blueberry and jam, and a savory with chopped spinach, onion, cheese and bacon. Thank you for such a versatile recipe. Those 2 dozen with a local retail tag of $3.00/a piece means 72.00 less my cost (approx 3.00 to make), about an hour of my time...that's a $69.00/per hour paycheck for me, right? They were way more filling than bought ones. Not to mention I know exactly what my kids are eating. Several were wrapped and frozen to put into lunch boxes and also to have for mid-morning snacks since their lunch hour is the latest at their school. Also, I found a super easy bread recipe that makes great buns, so I've made buns for pulled pork, burgers, sausages, etc. I double wrap each bun individually in saran wrap, then they all go into a bread bag and into the freezer. They thaw perfectly and hugely save me money. This is what I've been up to and even though I haven't tallied all of my savings it was a great week. Have a wonderful week everyone!
    Love, Colette xxx

    1. Colette, I really enjoyed reading your comment! You are full of life, and it is helpful hearing about recipes coming to life!

      Rachel Holt

    2. Dear Colette,
      Thank you for that comment I had a laugh. We better buy up the flannel/flannelette before it sells out world wide! lol!
      I agree about the single serves in the freezer. I cook up a big bag of rice all at once, let it cool and bag it up into single serves. This alone is great. Plus awesome for turning scraps into fried rice!
      Takeaway meals sound cheap until you multiply the order by the number in your family! Then its a lot. So your strategy sounds very good.
      I love a revisit! We all need to do it and more often than we think!
      Yay on the curtains! That is something major off your list. Well done!
      Those muffins will use up just about anything! I now sprinkle over brown sugar on the tops of fruit ones, or sprinkle over muesli... then cook... or put a spoon of jam right in the middle for a jam bomb centre... seriously you can stretch a bit of fruit or a few berries a mile. Plus they freeze and make a mobile breakfast too.
      I love the buns! Awesome saving there as well.
      You are going well Colette! Great savings and getting ahead!
      I hope this week is going as well. With lots of love

  24. Dear Annabel,
    Your holiday sounds wonderful and relaxing. And the op shop finds --
    Wow. I love Waterford crystal and have been very fortunate to have inherited it from my husband's family.

    Last week went by so fast it was kind of a blur. We had overnight guests for 3 nights,and blessedly the weather cooperated and we had lovely dinners out on the deck. I haven't tallied my savings on the cooking. Does not spending anything count (lol)? The garden is winding down here but still producing enough to pick some fresh veggies for dinners. Wishing everyone a blessed and productive week. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, Another crystal lover! This is good, you understand why I love it!
      Having guests is a busy time. I think not spending anything is good! that has to be a savings!
      I hope this week is good for you and you get lots out of the garden still. With lots of love

  25. Dear Annabel and friends sorry to arrive late but have been supporting my friend as she faces a new challenge with her partner who is still not home yet.

    I love your OP haul Annabel - I have always loved crystal and old glass so have quite a bit that needs to come out of storage. I asked for crystal for my 21st birthday (nearly 40 years ago) and have some wonderful salad bowls that when I checked prices recently I got such a shock. So expensive to replace so it has made me wonder about my other things and the contents insurance.

    I managed to find a flat white flannel sheet which is the start of the disposable hanky supply for my husband. Now that the weather is warming up I will be hitting the op shops looking for more sheets to add to the supply.

    I am so glad to read that Bluey and Jane are both well and that Bluey has gone home to regroup and get stronger.

    My computer seems to be behaving itself now - I suppose until they do something else without letting us know.


    1. Dear Lynette,
      I am sorry for your friend. Actually in a couple of ways I relate to her and her situation. So I thought oh no straight away...
      Crystal salad bowls would be amazing. My Mum has one that was given to her by visiting friends from Sweden. It is absolutely amazing.
      You are right ... warm weather is the time to get flannelette. In winter it is much harder. I have built up my supply now. Now the whole family is coming to me for them I need heaps!
      I am glad about your computer being better. I hate computer problems!
      I hope your week is going well. And you have time for knitting too! With lots of love

  26. Lovely lovely lovely. I do so enjoy your blog. Could you tell me how you added the lavender scent to the nightgowns?


    1. Thank you so much Marie! In this case I used a plain liquid fabric softener and I added a few drops of lavender to that. It worked really well. Another way you'd be to package the nighties up in a box and include a little sachet with some lavender or a spray of lavender spray. When the box is opened then everything will be scented. I hope this helps. I have a thing about things smelling lovely! With love

  27. I love that you saved more money on your vacation than you spent!! Woot! That's really good. And it argues for vacations, certainly.

    I have been working on my 30 day garden challenge. I have put in half of my asparagus bed, added 2/3 of a 20 foot row of different greens, and have started the flower border. Even with all that, there seems to be a monumental amount to do. But the small bites will make a difference. I just keep going back to that.

    Have a great week.

    1. Dear Cristy,
      Its so important to celebrate what you have achieved and it sounds like a lot to me! So just keep going! You will certainly reap the rewards.
      I love your row of greens! Well done! Each week will really add up. You are getting there! With love


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