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, 16 October 2016

The Vicky Challenge. My weekend.

Last weeks Vicky Challenge was a bit quieter. However I counted $200 from painting here and there... it was finishing bits and pieces off and then the front door. Also $100 from work lunches and another $100 when I got all my lounge covers put back on. It was a big job and took me a week! But imagine if I had them dry cleaner or the lounge professionally cleaned... or even if I bought a new lounge rather than continually look after the lounge from my childhood!
So I wrote $400 into my savings book.

Normally I post something on a savings subject. But I was away all weekend and that is just not going to happen so I will tell you about my weekend!

Chloe moved into a farm house. It is on her Grandparents farm. She has always been more of a farm girl...  The girls had the best of the beach and town life and farm life growing up which was wonderful.

We took Andy's van so we could move her BBQ and a few things for her that were still here in Adelaide. And we headed off Saturday morning.
I had seen the house before she moved into it. It is a good house. Big with great views!
She has been painting, pulled up miles of carpet, polished floorboards.... a mirror image of my year really!

As we drove up the drive way the first impression was the view and the amount of water. Since our storms we have continued to have a lot of rain. Everything is green and water is everywhere.

The other thing was the scent of eucalyptus and wattle. It really was beautiful!

This is Wattle. It is everywhere and the landscape is yellow! The Australian ladies will know this already! 

Chloe was waiting for us and had baked biscuits!

The setting is just lovely and I thought to show it as it is so Australian and it is green from all the rain. 

There are so many birds and the Cockatoos in the trees are noisy. In the evening there were flocks of them and it was quite deafening!

Chloe took this photo the other morning as she looked out the window...

Andy took his tools and did handyman jobs that needed doing. We went for a walk and saw the fig tree and various other fruit trees that are very old and flowering but we don't know what they are yet!

Having learned new things in the last couple of years I noticed I now have a source of stinging nettles and an endless supply of Dandelions!  Mel C makes oils and healing salve from these plus I see all kinds of uses for them. 

Plus I have a new place to collect gum nuts and who knows what I will find!

In the evening we sat outside and the frogs were croaking. All night there was a chorus of frogs!

Chloe has put solar fairly lights in all the trees around her. It was beautiful!

These lights lasted all night! 

Chloe hasn't been there long and she has started a pantry. Some of this will sound familiar! She has white and neutral and natural woodwork in the house. But inside her pantry she painted it blue...

It is a good start and one of the best things you can do for family or friends is encourage them and help them to build their pantry.

I will finish with a photo Chloe took in the morning when the fog is over the water and paddocks. 

It is beautiful. We had such a nice time. Mum came over to see us on Saturday then Dad visited on Sunday.  

So now back home to a new week. 
Plans have changed. Allie is helping me next week. So this week I will make all the Christmas cakes and do some ahead cooking.

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


  1. What a beautiful place! Your weekend sounds lovely and I love the fairy lights.

    A dandelion root tincture can be made by steeping the roots in vodka. It is good for cleansing the liver.

    1. Dear Lana, Thank you for this information!
      I love fairy lights too! I never had so much success with solar ones as Chloe is having... I must not have had the sensors in full sun. Anyway there were so beautiful... now I better get going with lots of my own. Have a good week Lana! With love

  2. Congratulations to Chloe! What beautiful land...the views are spectacular! Thank you for sharing :)

    1. Dear Jenn,
      Thank you! Im glad you liked seeing it... I probably used to take it for granted but now I see it is beautiful and so much wildlife and so many birds. And clean and not polluted etc so very lucky! Have a great week! With love

  3. Dear Annabel, thank you for another beautiful post, Chloe is very fortunate to live somewhere so lovely. Thank you for the gorgeous photos. Chloe looks like she is following in your footsteps with her nice baking. The lights in the trees look beautiful too.
    My Vicky challenge week included: gratefully receiving meals from my parents including a large meat and veg pie.$50
    Subsidised cleaning , saving $36
    Made two birthday cards , saving $10
    One hour decluttering , done by me instead of by a professional, saving $30 approximately.
    Received some vegetables from my parents $10 savings.
    I Bought some meat half price and saved $15
    I saved $50 into my Christmas account
    I stayed home and had no 4 spend days saving approximately $200 on taxi fares and things I don't need.this is based on days I have been out previously.
    Total savings for the week $400.
    I hope you have a lovely week Annabel.
    Love BarbW

    1. Dear Barb,
      Your Christmas account is going really well! I find the same Barb, stay home, no spend days are great plus I get more work done. All the food from your parents plus specials are very good. I hope this week will be another good one for you. I am baking today, I have two large fruit cakes in and another lot soaking in sherry overnight.
      Much love

  4. Exciting times for Chloe. I hope she will be ultra content. She sure is her mum's girl!!!!!

    Lovely post Annabel. Fi xx

    1. Thanks Fiona! Yes I could see a few things that made me smile and thought things I have said have sunk in! :) I could be content there myself. I feel like I can live either city or country. I think we have the best of both worlds because of the farm. As you know I love the birds and wildlife like you do. I hope you have a good week! With love

  5. Dear Annabel,
    Chloe's surroundings are so peaceful and beautiful. What a wonderful view everyday. There is nothing better than being surrounded by nature. Her home, I'm sure, will be very lovely, just like her mum's.
    I am so glad the visit was wonderful and you got to see your Dad and Mum, also.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda, I agree I think a good view is the best thing ever and there is peace in nature.
      It was great seeing Mum and Dad as well. They are so pleased Chloe is living at the farm my Dad is over the moon about it!
      With lots of love

  6. Annabel you have taught Chloe well. It was so lovely to see the photos of her new place. I love how the landscape in Aus is so different. It looked so cool and green. It's hot and dry here.
    My Vicky challenge was up and down during the week. I spent some time down in Nambour with Bluey and then came home. I've harvested tomatoes, beetroot, potatoes, sweet potato, asparagus, carrots and lettuce. Beetroot has been pickled and is in jars in the cupboard. Homemade compost has been spread over a couple of beds and then mulched with tree clippings that I put through our little mulcher.
    We have a large self propelled mower that I cannot even budge out of its spot in the shed. This week I rang a couple of contractors to find how much to have the lawn mowed. I ended up purchasing a small light mower and did the mowing, first time ever, by myself. I even took the mower out of the box and put it all together myself. By Christmas this mower will have paid for itself.
    Katie and I shopped for specials and did very well both for some work shirts for her and with savings in the pantry. I picked up a headlamp torch, large tarp and extra batteries for the emergency box.
    Life here is up and down and right now its a bit of a down time. Going to go and do some sewing as this helps me to focus on something other than myself. It's my happy space.

    1. Dear Jane,
      To visit Bluey and still harvest all that and pickle beetroot you have done very well. I think the light mower was the way to go! If you can manage this then its a good investment.
      Well done on adding to the emergency box.
      I am glad you can sew to relax and take your mind off things. I do the same, cook, crochet and sew etc and keep busy. I am no good if I just sit and think!
      On that note I can't wait to see what you make! With love

  7. What a beautiful place your daughter has! I love that your husband is like mine there with a helping hand. To see a kangaroo go by!

    1. Dear Vickie, Thank you! It is not in our understanding to pay people to do stuff we can do... now and then we are beaten by something and have to hire it out (i.e. electrical) but most things Andy will have a go at. Chloe had a dryer and drying rack to put up on a wall, shelves to go up, a door to hang and a whole list! I can't imagine how much this saves us all! I am glad you have a husband like this! Much love

  8. Beautiful pictures! I was tickled by the birds. So strange and wonderful to see them wild. Here, the few I've seen have been pets. Spoiled rotten pets, lol, but not free like that.

    And, of course I've never seen a kangaroo hop by my window!

    1. Dear Debby, I will try to get a photo next time of the sky filled with them. They are in big flocks of hundreds and the noise is crazy!
      I hope you have a great week, with love

  9. Thank you for sharing the pictures of the Australian landscape! Very beautiful! And also, nettle is a wonderful tonic herb for women and allergies. It is also a rich source of iron, calcium and vitamin A... I try and add it into my daily cup of tea! :)

    1. Dear Jes,
      I had German neighbours at one time and they cooked up stinging nettles which amazed me. Then it was you that educated me more! So I will be harvesting some and needing your guidance. But she sure has a big crop of it! With love

  10. Dear Annabel,

    This serene place sounds beautiful. How lucky for Chloe to be able to live there and add her personal touch. I love the pantry! And the fairy lights!

    I am sure she is going to spend many happy days in her new home.

    Lots of love,
    Tania xx

    1. Dear Tania,
      She has all the room in the world to plant more fruit tress and veggie garden as well. Its great! All the rain had made it so green. And more rain since. It rained all the way home too... I hope you are getting some of this! With love

  11. What an absolutely gorgeous setting for the house that Chloe has moved beautiful and peaceful looking. I've saved money this week by finishing a hand knitted blanket and giving it as a 50th birthday gift. The ' birthday girl' was more of an acquaintance than friend as I had taught 3 of her children. She had asked for Woolworths gift cards but I had a problem with what value would she I gave her the blanket instead! It's worth more than any card I'd be prepared to buy and was made from my yarn stash. And this week I started a baby blanket for a young friend's baby...also made with leftover yarn from previous projects.

    1. Dear Maria,
      What a beautiful Birthday gift! Yes I agree much more value as well.
      A baby rug will be lovely. When my children were born there were people who made hand knitted things. I still have them all! Very special to me.
      I would love to see your work Maria! With love

  12. Chloe's farmhouse looks like a gorgeous spot. What do you do with the gumnuts you collect, Annabel?

    1. Dear Grace,
      Last Friday I showed an idea I saw in a shop where little pinecones were strung together as a garland with string. It was just lovely and if you can find piece cones then super cheap! Other years I have spray painted gum nuts and pinecones, covered in glitter for decorations, table centre pies i.e. bowls of them, decorated my parcels with clusters of them and hung them on the tree. Normally I fill the empty fireplace with pinecones. I think there are just so many uses and often see they are for sale in shops! You could also try pinterest for many more ideas. I think they are beautiful and if you have them make the most of them. With love

  13. Hi Annabel!

    What a lovely outdoors post!

    You've made me want to move to the country, until I remembered that I am already there!! We've had a few fireflies lately. They are so beautiful!

    I know nettles are renowned for good things, but we're getting rid of the giant stingers! Ahhhh, we're tired of the poisoned needle feeling that goes right through one's nerves! Laugh, if you like!! Maybe I'll put some in lidded buckets for a couple of weeks, in water, to make compost tea for the garden.

    I am feeling empathy for Jane. I hope that, as rain refreshed us here this afternoon, that Jane may also be refreshed. (Also, Jane, having brothers, I didn't learn to mow a lawn until I was twenty-one, and then I had competition from my little sister! I really only mowed lawns to help my Dad in his gardening business, and would often come home with a protective layer of red dust! I think Dad's self-propelled mowers were Hondas. They took the strain off his knees, and didn't dig into the ground if cutting thick grass. If you want to try budging your mower, I might be able to get some tips off Dad for you. They're probably not more complicated than a sewing machine, and you don't need to be terribly big and strong to manage one!)

    There's so much to do!

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Rachel thank you for the laugh. The thing is I am big and strong and Katie is a 6 foot tall Amazon. We just couldn't budge the big mower. :0

    2. Dear Rachel,
      I think I would use the nettles for a fertiliser tea as you would with Comfrey. It sounds like it is very rich in nutrients. Not fun to deal with though!
      Thank you for the divine photo of the warratah! It is glorious! I am going to find somewhere to use the photo!
      I would love to see fireflies! I never knew we had them in Australia! We don't have them here...
      I hope you have a very good new week! With love

  14. Dear Annabel,
    Absolutely gorgeous pictures of the Australian landscape. Thank you for sharing them. Lovely to see the Cockatoos in their natural habitat as well as the kangaroo. How blessed Chloe must feel in her beautiful new home and surroundings.

    Keeping track for the Vicky Challenge has gone a little by the wayside for now. I have done some deep cleaning, pantry storage, cooking, etc. When time permits I'm practicing the french knots and boullion stitches. When the sewing room was cleaned out and reorganized I found tons of embroidery floss from projects past so I'm all set to go.

    We thank you all for your continued prayer for us. It means so much. Wishing everyone a beautiful and productive week. Many blessings to you all. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      Thank you! I love to see peoples gardens, kitchens and pantries. So I figured the landscape and animals would be interesting especially to the non Australian ladies. I see picture of a skunk or a chip punk and am amazed!
      Good news that you have lots of embroidery floss!
      I have been thinking of you and praying and hope you are doing ok, and managing to sleep etc. Waiting is awful. Have a good week and keep doing what you are doing as all the things you mentioned are great, with lots of love,

  15. Dear Annabel,

    I am popping in to say a quick "hello", as my Dad is visiting from across the country and we are giving him our full attention!! What a lovely move for Chloe! Thank you for showing photos of Australian farm scenery...MUCH different from here, that's for sure! Best wishes for Cookie's husband and thanks for the grub rose instructions so far!!

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen,
      Enjoy your time with your Dad! He must be very impressed with your garden I think.
      I think I need to see photos of your scenery now. I imagine it as I read about the bay near you and think it sounds beautiful. Enjoy your week! With love

    2. Dear Jen,
      Thank you so very much for your best wishes. It's greatly appreciated. Have a great time with your Dad. Blessings. Cookie

  16. I'm in total agreement about your lovely (and exotic to us!) landscape and wildlife!
    This week, I feel like it wasn't extraordinary, but as I reviewed it, it was still another savings that we can feel good about!
    This week we finished building our pergola over the BBQ grill! The pergola probably saved us a couple hundred dollars over the cost of having someone else do it for us!!
    We finished our concrete chunk patio space, reusing broken pieces of an old sidewalk that we took out on the other side of the house! Cost for that was only our time!!
    I bought 20 pounds of BLSL chicken breast for $1.49/pound and made 9 freezer meals with some of it! For the Italian chicken crockpot freezer meal, it called for chopped spinach but, since I didn't have any, I substituted Swiss chard (silver beet) from my garden. It also had tomato sauce and Italian seasonings in it, but since I had that very amount of homemade pizza sauce leftover in my fridge, I used that instead!
    I canned teriyaki sauce and put that on my pantry shelf. I ran out of brown sugar so I made up 5 pounds of it to fill my canister.
    I harvested a peck of Poblano peppers and another peck of tomatoes- both red and green and will ripen the green in the house.
    I bought 20 pounds of bananas for 29 cents a pound! I made 18 mini loaves + 1 regular size loaf of banana walnut bread for gift giving! I'll freeze some of the bananas for later use.
    I made another baby quilt from stash/scraps I already had- this one for upcoming granddaughter due in 2 weeks!
    Signed hubby up for topcashback ( like ebates). We each got a $10 referral bonus + hubby bought a promotional LEGO/DUPLO toy to use as Christmas gift for on of our GC that they gave him his purchase price back for being a new member. So that was $30 cash going into our bank account!
    Got a $3 check from Pinecone with $12 more coming! Was paid $25 for a simple clothing alteration!
    Cooked up 5 pounds of my chicken into chicken chunks and froze into 9 meal size quart bags for the freezer to use in chicken pot pies, soups, casseroles!
    I painted a wooden outdoor chair and an outdoor bench that we built and those are now placed in yard!
    I'm now painting a small cabinet I was given with some leftover white paint! It will fit nicely into the sewing room to give more storage!
    All meals from home, rotated food from freezer and pantry to use for meals, etc.
    All in all, a very good week!

    1. Dear Gardenpat, That was an absolutely wonderful week! I think your backyard is wonderful. You have continued to so so much work there!
      I love your productivity! The cooking, special buys, quilting... (oh my goodness you re fantastic with that!) and all the things you do add up to so much! And you thought you didn't have much to tell! I am so glad you took a few minutes to see what a lot of good work this all was. We need to do that. I love that you added to your pantry shelf as well and your painting! I am always painting it seems so I love to hear when anyone else is also!
      I hope this is another very good week for you. You are going to be able to look back on 2016 as a year you did so much! With love

  17. We put in new flooring last week and the house is in a fruit basket turnover state. I'm slowly getting it under control once more. I can't say I want things to look exactly as they did before. So far, no expense (except a partial cost for the flooring! We were given funds to cover all but $100). Lots of painting going on here, too and we're doing it ourselves. We've shifted furniture about and the house feels new.

    1. Dear Terri, That is the best expression ever and I can totally relate! That expression paints a picture! When we have been renovating this is what its like!
      It will be fantastic having your new flooring and getting things back as you want them. And you are another painting! There are a few of us painting away so we have company!
      Have a great week Terri! With love

  18. Congratulations to Chloe on her beautiful new home!
    We've put any other major updates to the new house on hold until after Christmas, so I've been pantry-building. This week I found chicken breast on sale and bought lots, laying individual pieces out on waxed-paper-covered baking sheets to freeze solid before bagging them up for the deep freeze. I also found frozen pound cakes for cheaper than I could make them and a good sale on jars of pasta sauce. The pantry and freezer are looking better.
    I'm also turning my attention back to gift-making and found several free patterns on Craftsy. I have the materials to make a couple of them but will need to source others while I'm sourcing wire and epoxy for a jewelry project.
    Have a lovely week!
    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Dear Leigh,
      I love hearing that you are pantry building. After a move getting a pantry built up again is a big thing.
      I am really looking forward to seeing what you are making! Wire and epoxy... and jewellery... this sounds very interesting to me!
      Have a great week! With love

  19. Hello Dear Annabel,
    I can certainly see your influence in Chloe's endeavors & I just LOVE the way tips & hints are handed down from one generation to the next :) makes you live on forever. Love & hugs xxSusan

    PS:Made my first bottle of Lemon Astringent today from the book & will try it tonight, photo on it's way ;)

    1. Dear Susan,
      Thank you! And thank you for the photo! It is great and I will post it in Show and Tell as it is great to see these recipes being made up. It is nothing for an astringent to cost $20 so this could be a big savings and lovely gift also. Also I am glad you are enjoying Jes' book and finding it useful. I have so many recipes lied up and have collected a lot of what I need.
      Thanks so much Susan, with lots of love,

  20. Chloe's farm looks likes something my husband and I would enjoy! I don't have much to report in the savings department as we've been busy with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Sounds like your painting is coming along really well!

    1. Dear Patsy, I think you would love it!
      I know you are just getting through a crisis and helping other people. What a time you have had! I hope soon things settle down and people can being to recover. Thinking of you, with love

  21. Annabel,
    Congratulations to Chloe on her new home it is beautiful there! I would love to hear all of those cockatoos and see something besides a skunk hop by my window! And to think there are all kinds of goodies waiting there for you to discover and add to your larder!
    Our week was the usual with eggs and doing things at home that save like hanging out clothes and paying bills over the phone, but Rick procured a big savings! He bartered and cost us nothing out of pocket and came home with a brand new corn/pellet burner that when we priced it costs $1000! We are going to put it in the basement. I added 11 quarts of chicken stock to the pantry $33 and it is really good! I got a nice sample of cat food $1 we used it as treats for the cats. I am trying to work on an afghan when I have time so I do have something gift wise at least started! LOL I hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      I would love to see a skunk! We just think the things we do not have are so interesting!
      Rick did a good job on that burner! This would be another alternative source of heating. Very good!
      Chicken stock is great, nutritious plus tasty!
      As the garden winds down you will get more time for crochet and crafts. I hope you have a great week this week! With love and hello Vicky's Mum! Love

  22. Chloe's new home is in a lovely location and her pantry space would be wonderful to have! I loved seeing the cockatoos and the kangaroo as well. Visiting Australia is on my bucket list and I hope to make it someday. We live in the country and get deer regularly (including a buck with a big rack of horns that laid by our waterfall and watched the two does eat the corn we had out for them)! I also surprised a baby possum on the back patio a few weeks back, not sure who was more shocked, me or it!

    My husband is away on business this week so while I'm home along, I'm plugging away on Christmas gifts! I'm knitting a lacy shawl that is just a simple knit stitch made up on larger needles. I also bought some bold printed fabric to make some "twilling" knots on for pillow covers for my daughters. Still have lots of ideas stored in my mind to make but am also buying a little here and there, on sale of course, to go with these gifts. I'm trying for us not to go overboard this year as we usually do.

    I still have bananas in the freezer to use up and I hope to get these made this weekend as well as other pre-made foods for the freezer. I try to keep our youngest daughter's freezer full of pre-prepped food as she is a college student and always busy. She'll be home this weekend so she can help!

    Cookie, you and your husband, and Jane, you and Bluey are all in my thoughts and prayers. Rachel, I'm so glad your eye is healing so well.

    Fond Regards, Jeanette

    1. Dear Jeanette,
      Many thanks for your thoughts. They are very much appreciated.
      The shawl you're knitting sounds lovely. Blessings. Cookie

  23. Thanks for sharing your weekend. What an adventure. My children were thrilled to see photos of the kangaroo and cockatoos.
    Nice you can help your daughter build her pantry.

  24. Just lovely! Thank you for sharing how peaceful. We have a couple of flocks of green parrots in San Diego that are so loud,but such fun to see. They are not native to SD but I have heard a storey about a pet store being on fire so they just released all the birds. Not sure if that is true but maybe. What a blessing for you to spend that time on the ranch. My grandparents had a ranch when I was growing up and all the cousins spent part of the summer there. Fun memories.
    Big Blessings,

  25. Dear Annabel, I'm late to comment here, but as soon as I had a spare moment, I was determined to revisit this gorgeous post. What a scenic and picturesque spot, and Chloe obviously has your gentle touch! The fairy lights in the trees, and the blue pantry, just oozes your influence. The views over the water are glorious, and how proud she must be to have such a lovely place to call 'home'. I wish her and you, many happy memories-in-the-making. Love, Mimi xxx


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