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.

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Sunday, 2 October 2016

The Vicky Challenge. Using things you once threw away.

My Vicky Challenge last week went pretty well despite a few interruptions!
As it is the end of the month I also add in what I save by doing my own hair, nails and toes.  This adds up to so much that it shocks me every time!
I added in $300 for the amount of painting I did.
$100 for the packed lunches.
And $100 for a skirt I made over. Years ago I had a lovely chiffon skirt that had laces sewn along the pretty edges. It had been expensive but I wore it constantly until it basically died! When away on our trip I found a very similar skirt so I sat and stitched lace onto it like the other one. This skirt only cost me $4 and the lace was from my stash!  Plus it turned out so well! Now I am looking to do another one.
I wrote a whopping $890 into my savings book! So this month overall turned out better than I thought!

Rachel's Orange Jam or Marmalade which uses up the whole fruit!

This weeks saving theme is about utilising things we have preciously viewed as scraps and thrown out. Continuing on from my post on Saturday about Jes' e book 100+ DIY Projects to make with Fruit Scraps (found here  don't forget the discount for us from the 3rd to the 5th use the code word loyal reader ) (also note it is the 3rd in Australia hours before it is the 3rd in the USA)

This opened up a whole world for me and the whole subject of what else do we throw away that actually could be really valuable and lovely used in another way?

In my mind scraps are different from left overs. To me left overs are things I recognise as food but you end up with too many. I have a Use it Up series and articles like Never waste one slice of bread.  And I hope to add more.
Scraps are the things I didn't really recognise as food but as the bits that were unusable. Or I thought were unusable! And there are a lot of them! How many things do we buy where part of it is cut off and kept and the other part thrown away?  Like the stems from a bunch of parsley or the green ends of the leeks or the leaves of the celery etc. We all use vs throw out different things and this probably varies from one country to another as well.

But many of these things are packed with nutrition and flavour. So how can we use them?

Stock is an obvious one and this is a valuable thing to make and has so many uses. Stems and stalks, peelings, all kinds of left over odds and ends all add to a stock.

Another is bone broth. Recently Maria made Jes' bone broth then used it as the base for a beautiful soup. It would be so nourishing.  I really think this is one of the best things you can make with scraps. I made Harper so much baby food with this as the base. The Beauty of Bone Broth.

Patsy at A Working Pantry has so many ways she uses up every left over. This is part of a series that is just full of ideas.... This is why. Part 3.  Nothing is wasted. You will find a lot of ideas on building up your pantry for free or very inexpensively on Patsy's blog.

Mimi makes Limicello as a quite luxurious gift and this uses up all her lemon skins.  The recipe can be found here and this is something that can be made well ahead of Christmas and about now would work fine!

Ahh the baskets of lemons I have had and wasted the peel!

Well no more! Yes has you dry it for many uses and infuse it for others. 

I have infused vinegar with lemon peels and made lemon scented cleaners for my home.  However sadly this was about all I could come up with until now. In this instance I used the lemon vinegar as part of the miracle cleaner and filled lots of bottles.

Jennifer sent me a lovely link which used potato peels very well! I will let you check this out, its good! Thank you Jennifer!

Here's why you should never throw out potato peels.

I have noticed that many of the famous chefs are saving the fat/dripping from roast meats in the same way that our Grandparents did. Did your Grandparents do that? My Dad still does! Well, its back apparently. After falling from favour now its a thing! Duck fat is considered the greatest thing on earth in relation to baked potatoes and people buy expensive tins of it in specialty stores.

Roseanne makes her own Pectin.

This uses up citrus peels and the recipe is in Jes' e book.

She also uses strawberry hulls and makes strawberry vinegar.

How did your Vicky Challenge or savings go last week?
What do you make using things that many people just throw out?

I have had fun gathering the things I need for some of Jes' recipes. I have glycerine now ready and waiting. Most of the other ingredients I already have as they are basic things. But I am saving  up bottles and watching for them in op shops etc. I have plenty of large ones, I need more small ones. And more soap flakes.

Have a good week! It is raining here again and I am pretty sure this will re start up the flooding. As with most big storms then you have the aftermath and this is going to include crops wiped out, the market gardeners who produce our veggies are ruined. Apart from their livelihoods I know that means possible shortages and very expensive prices coming.

Bluey is having a major surgery on Thursday.  Jane and  Bluey both could do with prayers.
And so could Rachel. She had a nasty accident and badly hurt her eye and face. She is at home now after a visit to hospital.
There are a couple of other needs and worries and God knows who they are so if you would pray that would be lovely thank you. xxx


  1. Just a thought Annabel, Maple syrup bottles are a perfect size for so many things. I use these bottles for my Bay Rum aftershave for the men in the family. They're not too big or too small.
    Coffee grounds and egg shells are something that are never thrown out here. Crushed egg shells provide wonderful calcium for the soil and are also a wonderful slug and snail repellent around tomatoes and lettuce. Left over espresso is watered down, 50/50 and is another wonderful slug repellent, sprayed on your lettuces. Coffee grounds are fabulous around tomatoes and also in your compost. Egg cartons and the inner of toilet rolls are fabulous to help balance out the green and dry waste in a compost mix. Maybe not exactly what you're getting at in this post but what I have to offer on the topic.
    Bluey says thank you for thinking of him. He also said to tell Rachel she needs to get better soon so he can find out what is happening with those wonderful bridge timbers. My best wishes thoughts and prayers also go out to Rachel for a swift and speedy recovery.
    Here's hoping the rains decide to move away quickly and allow everyone to get back to their lives. Stay safe Annabel.

    1. Dear Jane,
      Maple syrup bottles would be lovely. I need to find a big consumer of maple syrup to save them for me!
      Thank you for the tips on coffee grounds and egg shells. I have seen coffee grounds used in body scrubs and soaps too.
      I heard from Rachel this morning... she is mending slowly but reading and writing is very hard for her.
      The weather is clearing up. A lot of water around but things are improving. We will all be thinking of you and Bluey as the week goes on. Wishing you both all the very best and hoping to hear a good report soon! With love

    2. Jane, at which hospital will Bluey have his surgery? I wouldn't be surprised if we pass each other on our travels!!

  2. Dear Annabel , you did great with your week's challenge here as well as the weather challenge and power loss.Thank you for featuring my stock (from Jes's blog), I also made a second stock which was a new idea to me ,so thank you Jes for that).
    What good ideas using potato skins, I assume the skins are scrubbed first before peeling as dirt taste is not pleasant . The lemon peel infusions and strawberry hull vinegar, are more good ideas too.
    I do hope Bluey's surgery goes well and will send healing and prayers his way and to dear Jane as well.
    Poor Rachel , that sounds nasty with her eye accident , prayers sent her way as well.And to any others in need .
    I haven't been keeping tally for awhile ,but this week my daughter bought the groceries for me , saving me the job and $$.Today I was going to go out and buy an ice cream cake for my husbands birthday but I relented and made 12 butter cupcakes with chocolate butter icing, and served them on very old squarish two tier plates I inherited . Only 4 could fit on each plate , I put blue candles in the top layer cupcakes and my young grandchildren loved it.
    This morning I gave a lady at my class a lift home and she gave me a cup of coffee and some yummy eats that her culture have , that she had made, and then sent me home with a freezer bag of her home made pork dumplings and a full container of almond and sunflower seed biscotti she had made .That is the best biscotti Ive ever tried.Just perfect! Boy did we all enjoy both with dinner and afters .And as well she wrapped up two yummy sweet treats like coconut covered mound with a sweet centre for my grandchildren as they share the same culture as this lady.What a lucky girl I am :-)This was all very unexpected.
    For dinner I used my very trustee Tupperware microwave stack cooker and that worked very well. I have not used it as 3 stack for over a decade.I know the microwave is not to everyone's taste but it's been a great help to me over the years.The stack cooker is 3 round containers with the base being the deepest , then a shallower middle and smaller top layer , they sit on top of each other as they are all the same diameter. I cooked potato in bottom, meatballs in middle and a medley of 8 vege in the top all in 24 minutes, how good is that for a tired granny ;-)and we had the pork dumplings with vinegar as an entre.I think my hubby was pleased with his birthday meal and treats.
    I hope the weather is kind to you Annabel and others affected your way .
    Everyone have a good week,love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria,
      The birthday cakes sound beautiful and I think you got good value there as the kids were just as pleased as your husband!
      All this treats sound so good especially pork buns! Yum! Like biscotti too!
      Actually that recipe sounds amazing!
      Maria I think I had that exact same three stack microwave cooking system and I used it for years! It was really good. It was quite expensive and I got it way back when the kids were quite young. You cooked the whole meal in it and desert was usually on top...
      That was a really good week and it was lovely that your daughter bought the groceries!
      The weather is improving. Yay! Now it is poor Patsy and so many people facing Hurricane Matthew. I feel so sorry for everyone in its path as it makes our storm look like a lovely picnic. eek.
      Have a wonderful week, thank you for that picture it was so handy! With love

  3. Hi Annabel,
    Thanks for the update on Bluey and the news of Rachael's accident. Sending prayers and best wishes to Bluey and Jane and Racheal for speedy recoveries.
    Your did well with your savings this week, especially given the disruptions you've encountered. I hope we'll see a picture of the skirt it sounds very interesting.
    I'm not sure how much we would have saved this week, but in our bedroom we've painted top to bottom, and also washed the skirtings, wardrobe doors, venetians, curtains, bedcoverings and windows. I also managed to clear some space under the stairs to make room for supplies.
    I'm really impressed with what can be made with "waste" - it's making me rethink everything I now throw out. Funny, some of the recipes in Jes's book, I seem to remember my grandmother and mother making similar many years ago - I wish I'd paid more attention.
    Stay safe,

    1. Dear Janine, We have been doing the same things, washing skirting board and painting sound so familiar! It is a lot of work but the type of work where you can see such a big result which is really good.
      I love that you are creating a space for supplies under the stairs! It is amazing what we can fit in too. That will be great.
      I agree about our Grandparents. My Nan cooked everything up. They just didn't waste anything. I understand it now where I once didn't. I wish I had Nan now to ask 100 questions! But I think they would be proud of us too!
      Much love (and I hope you are having a good week)

  4. Dear Annabel,

    I love the sounds of your skirt and hope we can see it!
    My very best wishes to both Bluey and poor Rachel! I hope this isn't the same eye that got stung earlier this year! Speedy recovery to both Bluey and Rachel!!!
    We save our fat around here...especially when I make chicken stock, we get gorgeous chicken fat that I use for frying eggs or to saute vegs. in for other recipes or to use with potatoes!! I also save veg. scraps like you're talking about (parsley ends, kale stalks, onion bits, etc.) and throw them all into a freezer bag that I then dump into the crock pot with an old stewing hen and water to the top of the pot. This makes delicious, moist cooked chicken and broth at the same time. Hmmm...what else for scraps? Some things I purposely don't use as it's such good food for both our chickens and our goats, so I don't know if I'm the best source. But dried apple peelings are great for granola, etc., and the cores and peelings can be used to make apple cider vinegar. I use the green ends of leeks along with celeriac leaves to make to-die-for "salted herbs" that we use in soups, stews, scrambled eggs, etc. all winter long. Can't think of anything else right now, but am looking forward to reading other ideas!

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen,
      I do think when we have chickens etc then nothing is wasted ultimately! I think the save things up in the freezer system is good as we often don't have enough things all at once for stock but we can collect them over time. And I love your chicken broth.
      These salted herbs... I need to know more! How do you do this? I have not heard of it and it sounds really good!
      Many thanks Jen! With love

  5. "Junk" stock was the first thing I thought of as I was reading this post! I keep a tub in the freezer to save (well scrubbed) veggie peels for the next batch.
    One kind of peels that I don't use for junk stock are potatoes, so I loved the link to the recipe for roasting them. What a good idea! Thank you!
    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Dear Leigh,
      I love the name Junk Stock! I have to say I love the taste of potato peel so I always use that... but not in stock either. I am glad that recipe is a help to you.
      Much love

  6. Annabel, this post is just chocked full of good stuff! I'm going to save it and come back to it later when I have more time as we're working on hurricane preps right now. Thank you for the mention.

    1. Patsi here's hoping Hurricane Mathew decides to head out to sea and leave you all alone. If he does visit I know you will have all the necessary preparation done. Stay safe.

    2. Dea Patsy, You will possibly be too busy to even see this reply. I hope things are going well. I will be checking the news and situation shortly but I heard things terrible in Haiti. Im praying things will be alright. With love

  7. Dear Annabel,
    Thank you for the update on Bluey and the news concerning Rachel. They are both being remembered in our prayers, as well as are the medical staff that is or will be attending them.

    Your skirt sounds absolutely lovely and I hope we will get to see it soon.

    Now, firstly, this past week I made my first meat pie. It was delicious and provided about six portions. It was made from saving up bits of leftover meats and roasts for it as well as some of the trickle in from the garden vegetables to which I added others, for the light gravey portion pan drippings that had been stored in the freezer combined with some vegetable waters. Really, an almost completely cost free meal. I also used the skins and cores from the apples that were dehydrated and/or made into applesauce, to get 8 quarts of "juice" that will be made into jelly and mulled with some spices. 3 apple cobblers were also put in the freezer. I'm not sure what the full savings on this will be, but a quart of organic apple juice goes for about $3.50 apiece here, which is a savings of about $28. The cobblers are easily $10 apiece for $30, the applesauce, 4 quarts at $4 apiece for $16, I haven't checked the price on dried apples yet.

    Butternut squash was $.79 a pound at the farm market, while it was $1.79 per pound at the grocery store. I got 10 pounds for $7.90, saving $10. They were baked and frozen for later.

    We also save the fat from the chickens and render it with onions, as well as the fat when making broths. Beef trimmings of fat are a saved and rendered as well as the pan drippings from just about everything that's cooked.

    Making something useful and valuable out of what some might consider disposable or nothing is indeed a great gift. Blessings. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, You made a meat pie! At first I never understood that these were Australia... maybe they are British too I think... anyhow they are greta for using up all sorts of things and cleverly disguising left overs as a totally new meal! I am glad you liked this!
      The apple cobblers sound beautiful too.
      The squash was a big saving and thanks for sharing how you use dripping. With much love,

  8. This past week I extended a roast into two more meals, stretched a chicken dinner into two meals as well. I do not have to cook any more this week just reheat and make salads! That's a huge time savings and means I can work up to dinner time on any projects. John redid a wall in our bathroom and is now painting cabinets. It is a mini redo that has cost us the whole sum of $82 and that includes the wainscotting and moldings needed! I am sure that job would have cost four or five times that had we hired it out. I also got a primer coat and a coat of the wrong color paint on my last dining chair. This week it shall be painted the proper color, but over the past few months I've recovered the seats and sanded, primed and painted all four dining chairs at a cost of paint only, about $18 per chair. Consider please that I paid but $7 for all for chairs when I bought them. I don't think I can even buy a single dining chair for $140 these days and I've a lot less in my four! Packing up the house and moving stuff from the rooms that will be refloored next week. It makes the house feel very odd but it's also got us shifting things about from room to room too, completely changing it up as we go. I bought a new pillow cover for $2 on Amazon and recovered an old pillow. New ones similar would cost $65 each. Lots of savings!

    1. Dear Terri,
      You would have saved a fortune recovering those chairs yourself and with the painting and other jobs.
      I think if dinner is half made or just needs assembling etc it is a huge time saver that day. I love it! In summer we do a lot of cold meats and salads. Then dinner time is putting things on a plate rather than cooking them. Its fantastic.
      Brilliant savings Terri! With love

  9. I could not find a link for the home made pectin? You mentioned 'Roseanne', but no link? Thank you!

    1. Dear Joy, I think homemade pectin is a brilliant idea as many people buy it. I have never bought it as citrus added to jam sets it perfectly i.e. I add the juice of half a lemon to each batch of jam and that does it! I think there are other uses for pectin though as well... Anyway this recipe is in Jes' e book and she makes it easy. Also it is using up the scraps again and you would never need to buy pectin at all. I hope that helps, with love

  10. Hi Annabel!
    If anyone has grapes(mine have not been good for years) the white powder on the grapes is actually yeast and can be used for baking. If we don't use our peels for anything I grind them up and put them out for the birdies with other bird food. Broccoli leaves, cabbage leaves and pumpkin leaves are often thrown out, but are edible. After squeezing lemons there is still enough lemon power that I can clean my stainless steel sinks with them. The peels from fruit and tea make wonderful flavored teas. You can also make homemade dyes with different fruit and vegetable peels that can be quite fun!
    As far as my week it was slow compared to the last and I only wrote $200 in my savings, making over things is a wonderful way to make things as we like them. I got an ugly old sweatshirt one year as a Christmas gift and it had bells all over it and was just ugly! I removed all of the ugly and made a heart made of lace and it was perfect. I would love to see your skirt.
    Prayers for Bluey and Jane!
    And to our Rachel I am sending an extra big hug and hope that the eye injury heals quickly!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      Thanks for all your tips! I think the lemon on the stainless steel is really good!
      Plus yes! Many fancy tea blends include citrus peels!
      Haha I love the story of the ugly sweatshirt. I even love the line " I removed all the ugly" Truly with some thing sit you remove all the ugly then theres nothing left wiht which to work with! haha! Im glad you you had success with that!
      Thanks you for your messages for Rachel and Bluey and Jane, with love,

  11. Hi Annabel!

    Look - I can read!! The wind died down, and I spent a while in the sun, after three days of rest. The sunshine made such a difference, and my eye is coming back to life. Thank you all for your kindnesses. My husband has been a wonderful nurse, ensuring that I get rest. In a couple of days, the stitches should be out, by which time I think I'll be able to leave the dressings behind. I had some smiles at your comments. Thank you. Bluey, you're right; there's plenty of unfinished timber work to share! May the Eternal carry you through, as he has carried me. Where I thought I had lost my eye, I have come through with no permanent damage. It was a serious accident, Bluey, yet God made a way. I can trust Him. Be encouraged!!

    Such interesting and beautiful work you're all doing. My eyes have called it a day

    Regards to all,

    1. Dear Rachel,
      It was a joy to read that your eye is healing nicely. Our God is faithful. Cookie

    2. Dear Rachel,
      I have been praying for you and I am so glad to hear there is no permanent damage to your eye. I continue to pray for complete healing for you. How wonderful it is to trust in God, our Comforter and our Healer!
      With love, Kelsey

    3. Dear Rachel, I'm so glad you are healing so well!
      Fond regards, Jeanette

    4. Dear Rachel, This is very good news. You must have had a terrible fright. I am so glad your lovely husband has been wonderful.
      Keep resting and do everything they say!
      With a lot of love, prayer sea thoughts, Annabel.x xx and I hope next week is much much better! xxx

  12. Dear Annabel, these are great money saving ideas. Who knew there were so many ways to reuse items that we would normally throw away?

    The homemade pectin has sparked my interest. I know that mandarin seeds contain pectin and I save them in the freezer until I need them.

    Great post!


    1. Dear Tania,
      I thought of your beautiful mandarines.... did you know you can make vitamin c elixir and use them in soap making? I dint know this... plus the scent of mandarin is really lovely and the colour too. Many possibilities. I hope yours were saved from the storm ok.
      With lots of love

  13. Dear Annabel,
    Thank you for letting us know about Rachel and Bluey. They have both been in my prayers. I hope the surgery goes well and he and Rachel both have speedy recoveries.
    I have been looking through JES's book and I want to make everything! I love how the recipes don't have weird or expensive ingredients. We have an orange tree and I am just dreaming of all the beautiful things I will be able to make for almost nothing.
    I have not totalled this week's savings but I am at the point where I average a certain amount each week unless something unusual happens.
    This week's "extra" savings is something that will keep paying off over time. We traded my husband's truck for a more fuel efficient car! The cost of gas (which is actually really cheap right now!) was eating up our income. His truck averaged 13 miles/gallon but this car has been averaging 34mi/gal!! Major savings there. We just did a straight trade, so we have no vehicle payments. And the car is one year newer than the truck with the same mileage.
    We also saved on a little weekend camping trip we took. We enjoy camping but it is also a way we are able to travel without spending much. The park fees were $22, whereas a hotel would be upwards of $75. (And with our new car, it is so much cheaper to travel!) We did a little shopping but didn't buy anything, so savings there too. We visited museums for free and paid just a few dollars (my husband gets student discounts!) to visit a "pioneer village" and watch a Texas battle reenactment. We had a nice time.
    Ok, we all want to see your skirt! Maybe you'll want to be in Show and Tell?!
    Lol at Vicky's ugly sweater. Vicky, you always make me laugh!
    I hope everyone has a lovely week!
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      I knew you would love the e book! And you have an orange tree! Ok you are set!
      I am very happy for you over the car and it sounds like this will save you such a lot.
      I think Texas is a really interesting place so I would enjoy the history aspect.
      Ok sounds like I have to show this skirt... I will try and get a photo.
      Vicky made me laugh at that one too. She cracks me up pretty much everyday!
      I am glad you had a nice weekend away too! With love


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