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 31 December 2017

Welcome to 2018!

Welcome to a brand new year!  We have had a break and a bit of a rest. I have had time to think over the year that has been and I see we actually achieved a lot!  There are some things I will do the same and there are a lot of things that will be different in 2108!

I finally caught up with replying to comments so if you thought I must have fallen off the perch well now I have replied!  And I am so glad as many of you achieved great and important things in 2017 with a lot of effort!  I was very excited to read of these things, debts paid off! Credit cards paid off!  Deposits saved!  Wonderful achievements! So many skills learned!  This sets you up for a potentially amazing 2018!  It is good to look back and realise what we actually accomplished!

This week we are setting the scene!  There will be posts most days in order to set the foundations of what we are doing!   We are going to hit the ground running!  This will be the year you take a quantum leap in your goals and we are looking at our own personal health and fitness and our whole household.

Because life is hectic and so much comes at us at all times it helps so much to write things down and keep focused on them.  I have tired lots of ways to do this.  My most successful way has been to have planner and this is key... not to fill it in then put it in a drawer!  Fill it in and keep it out and look at it several times a day,  jot down notes and refer to it.  I keep mine either on my bed open on todays page or on the kitchen bench.   For the purpose of my Vicky Challenge I jot down a quick note here and there of my savings or else I would simply forget!
At least once a week take an hour or so and review the week that has just been and do some planning of the next week.  This hour is one of the best investments I made last year.  This hour saved me so much time overall!   When your week is there in front of you it is much easier to see things.  Many times I could immediately see I had too much on and cancel something.  Sometimes I could see if I grouped things I would save time plus fuel.  I could immediately see what I needed to do today and tomorrow to keep my bigger plans on track!

This year my planner is The Happy Planner.  I ordered it online and I LOVE it!   I took a whole day working on it!  You can use anything or make your own planner.  Take a look at A Working Pantry as Patsy has made her own and is sharing how she is setting it up as well.  You see someone like Patsy who gets so much done... yes she has a detailed planner!

I have set my planner up and today being on day one I can see the birthdays and events for the month,   and I know what I need to do today to get this party started!  😊

If you haven't already then I would say setting some serious goals is the biggest thing you can do this week.  Sometimes it can be scary to set goals...  as if we do and tell people and then we fail to deliver it is not so great!   But if it is something you really want and you achieve it this is so exiting.  Even something seemingly huge is not so bad when you break it down into small daily or weekly chunks.  You can do it!  

Some of my plans include my health and fitness.  I am staying grain free as if I do I am pain free!   I am now working on no added sugars.  I will not eat artificial sweeteners as they are awful and give me massive headaches anyway.  
I am committed to reading the Bible everyday and Bible study.
I have a household organisation and cleaning routine.
This week I am starting a sewing challenge.  There will be a post on this and the challenge can be adapted to any craft as well but we will be using up what we have and filling our gift cupboards back up. 
This year I will continue my Vicky Challenge as this has been such an eye opener.  I will have a post on this also as you can see how much your efforts save the whole household! I find it enormously motivating. 
We might have a country move coming up but we are waiting to see where all the family is first.  This made me feel up in the air but we have decided to pray and wait and meanwhile do everything we can to be organised!
We will still have the Christmas Challenge.  This is a huge money saver and keeps us learning new skills.  New skills are really important.  This can ultimately be used to bring in income, save money, barter and help in many ways. 
I am going to continue Feather your Nest Friday as I think it makes a world of difference to review your week, appreciate every blessing and see what was done.  This creates appreciation for our progress and also we see what we need to do next week to get where we want to be!  It is a chance to encourage each other. 
This year I am taking a leaf out of Sewingcreations and Gardenpats books and adding selling items to my household income.  I am not good at selling but I am going to learn!  

I feel better with a plan.  Sometimes deciding what needs to go is as important as what we need to get started!  If something isn't working it probably is not ever going to work.  Stop flogging a dead horse as they say... 

Find your motivation.   Some of my strong motivators are the way I feel if my home is in good order and if I am organised.  

Glenda gave me some beautiful stickers for my planner.  I am mentally five years old I think as I still love stars and stickers, pretty pens,  glitter etc.    When you know what makes you happy then include these things in your life!   Many simple things make me happy.  A pretty tea cup, a bubble bath,  anything sparkly,  my favourite perfume,  flowers.   If I work these into my day it is a good day!

I am convinced success comes from what we include in our average day.  Absolute mountains can be moved in fifteen minutes a day or even five! 

We have a whole year ahead and today is day one.  I have several things I need to do today to get my plans off to a good start!

Kelsey has shared her new planner which she made herself.   I love it!  

She also made some for gifts!  Her planner pages were free to print from The Cottage Market.
Kelsey also chose 18 Bible passages to guide her year and to memorise.  As I read them I realised many were exactly what I would have chosen!  This is beautiful.

And most beautifully Kelsey included Proverbs 31.  For most of the years the girls were young I had this posted on my fridge.  I had an old fridge I painted pink and covered in giant roses.  And Proverbs 31 decorated with flowers slap bang on the front.  I looked at that every day.  Most of the time the world was telling me I was wasting my time raising my children,  working at home, cooking and cleaning and creating.   But every day I was reminded of God's Word!   So this year I will go back to my scriptures in front of me where I can see them.   2017 was a year of the world telling us all kind of awful things.  But God's Word does not change, it does not become redundant or watered down it is true to the end of time.   

Thank you Kelsey!  

Well, that is enough for today!  Tomorrow we are going to see what one Bluebird aimed for and achieved last year.  This will give you so much inspiration about what you can do in a year if you set your mind to it!  We can accomplish so much in a week but what we can do in a year is amazing! 
Wednesday we will get started with a craft challenge.  We are going to use up what we have and what is available to us, learn new skills and fill our present cupboards right back up!

Have a very good first week of 2018.  
What do you want to achieve and create this year?  How can you break it down into weekly and daily missions?  I know we can encourage each other.   A little encouragement goes a long way! xxx

Thursday 28 December 2017

Feather your Nest Friday, 29 December, 2017.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!  I got what I wanted which was everyone together.  It was big and it was hectic and we were lucky with nice weather.  One of our biggest worries before Christmas is that it will be too hot!  But it was beautiful.

Mum cutting her Christmas Pudding.  This is Sago Plum Pudding she makes every year.
It is so good!

The person who enjoyed it most was Harper!  I am pretty sure this was the best day of her life!  She has older cousins who played with her all day and they were all just beautiful.

They had so much fun!  

This was Scarlett's first Christmas.  She wore a little deer antler headband 😍

Aunty Chloe with Scarlett.

It was just a lovely day.  I wish I took more photos but it was busy!   I will remember this day forever! 

I have to say when we got home I felt exhausted.  I think I am still in recovery mode!

So down to business... some of the ways we saved and got ahead etc. were:

I got a free chicken from Coles.  If they have no cooked chickens ask for a ticket to get a free one next time.  Most Coles do this.

Every year I made Nan's tomato pie to take to Christmas.  It isn't much of a recipe really but you can find it here.   I always LOVED this and Nan served it with many roast dinners.  It wasn't until recently that I realised it was a way she stretched the roast meat.  We always had lots of vegetables and this was an extra.  Left overs are great with eggs! 

We came home from the farm with left overs!  I love left overs!  I didn't cook a thing for three days. 
We had meat, eggs, cheeses, mini quiches Mum had made, wine, tomatoes, cherries, salad... it was wonderful!  

Even with eating cherries constantly I had spares so yesterday I made Brandied Cherries.  Today they are looking beautiful as the Brandy and Syrup are turning a beautiful ruby colour.

A couple of these will become gifts. 

I made yoghurt.

I was given shampoo and conditioner.

Now I am adding up my last Vicky Challenge for the year.  I am calling this close enough to the year end.  So tonight I will add up the whole year!   This challenge has motivated me every week! It has also given me more confidence to say that my work at home is an income.  And it is.  The things we do, create from nothing and cook etc are worth a lot.  If we had no time and had to buy all these things it would cost a fortune!

Today I have a lot of cleaning up and putting away to do.  Over the weekend I will put away the Christmas tree.  I like to get to New Years Day with everything put away and a lovely clean house.  To me this starts the year off well!  I have a lot to do!

I LOVE these days between Christmas and New Year.  I have started to write down all we did this year.  Truly, I forget half of it until I start writing it down.  We did a lot!  We have some major home improvements.  I made some progress with my health and fitness.  Our family grew!  
I look at the end of one year and the beginning of a new one as a big opportunity to have a review, make changes and plans.   I love a new planner and a fresh new year. 
And my new planner arrived yesterday!  It is gorgeous!   I get ridiculously excited about this! 
I cannot tell you how much a planner and writing things down helps to actually get things done!  I don't want to drift through a year, I want to set goals and achieve them!  
The last three years this saw us clean out a cellar and fill it with emergency supplies and food.
It saw us learn so many new skills,  set up back up plans like generators and rain water tanks and ways to cook in an emergency. 
It saw us establish an emergency fund.
It filled my present cupboard with gifts.
Last year it saw me paint the whole house top to bottom.
Even really big dreams are achievable when you break them down to week by week and day by day. In fact I am convinced the biggest things are achieved by what we do in tiny bits daily.

So on Monday we will get up and running!  If you want to join in think about what you want to achieve or change in 2018.  What needs to happen for your family? What do you really need to change?  What are you unhappy with?  
I tend to set goals in different areas i.e.  household, financial, health etc.  
Sometimes I realise the things I decide to NOT do anymore are just as important as the things I decide I need to be doing. 
Realising things that are just not working can be a really good thing.  This is the time of year that I take the axe to those things!  Don't keep doing something that isn't working!  
A review is a real good thing.  We have the power to change so much.  We are able to learn so much.

I want to thank everyone who has helped me this year.  In life I am always surprised.  I remember different hard times in life when the people you are sure will stand by you don't and the ones you doubted turn out to be your best friends.  I think that happens to us all!  We get surprises!   I always looked at this (after the initial shock) as good as really it is great to know what people are really made of and the truth rather than what you THOUGHT was the truth. 
And so it is with blogging.  I have had the most wonderful help from people  I have never met and never could have expected help from!  I have made the most wonderful friends!  I am so grateful!  You all have encouraged me so much.  
There are people who read and never comment but from a few lately I have found out they feel like they know us all like friends!  
As I began writing to a group of people who were my friends I have continued like this.  So I am just writing to friends.

This also means I need to review what I write.  A few times this year I almost couldn't write the blog as I was writing so much personal correspondence.  I know realistically I have to choose between the two or I am messing up my own home life and family life.  Usually I pretty much write everything on the blog.  I have had letters from people asking me how I am and what is going on?  It might be rude of me but I think well if they gave a flying fig they would already know!  haha! So this is honestly ridiculous to re write everything I just wrote!  So Im taking the axe to that!  

For many this year was not easy.  I can think of so many examples of this.  A fresh new year is very welcome!  But we also have so much to be grateful for.  That is what I am thinking about now.

Have a lovely weekend and Happy New Year! xxx

Thursday 21 December 2017

Feather your Nest Friday, 22nd December 2017.

It has been a busy week so far and I would imagine this is the same for everyone!   It has been a bit of this and a bit of that! 

Some of the things I did this week to save money and build up our home were:

I made my Coconut Ice for my neighbour and a few other gifts.

It made twenty packs and my rose buds went on top.

I picked tomatoes every day and used them in salads most nights.

I had eggs to use up plus lemons that urgently needed using so I made a batch of lemon butter and froze most of it.

Since little cakes are such a hit with Harper I made her chocolate cakes and took them around.  Most went into the freezer for treats for her.

Also I want to keep my sour dough starter healthy so I make something once a week.  This week I made a tray of vegemite and cheese scrolls.  Most of these will go to Luke for on the tractor.  Andy had a couple so he won't die of the no grain diet.  😊

The first part of the week was hot and we went swimming in the evenings.  This helps me sleep really well and my fitness is getting better!

We have yellow Lillies in the garden now that the pink ones have finished.

I decorate for Christmas really simply.   We have white fairy lights over the front gate and arbour.   My front garden angel has a halo...

We have a little Christmas tree and presents underneath.  I have almost finished wrapping! 

Yesterday we gave Harper her present as it is too big to take to the farm and back.  This was the biggest present of all!  I thought Scarlet will also love it when she is a bit bigger and hopefully it will provide years of entertainment.  
We got her a little kitchen.  I ordered it online and it came in ten thousand small pieces!  Andy spent a whole day putting it together! 

I cut up a pink kitchen sponge into little child sized sponges.  She has water in the sink and most of all liked wetting the sponges and wringing them out and wiping everything down.  Plus washing dishes.   It is a massive hit!   I am making kitchen towels and pot holders for it now.   Her Aunty Chloe is giving her a set of pink enable cookware to go with it!  So cute! 

Today is a gorgeous day.  I am trying to make the most of it.  I have all kinds of things to get done... washing, tidying up, wrapping.
Tomorrow I have things to make like Nan's Tomato Bake that I make every year to go with roast meats on Christmas Day.

I will post again probably next Friday. 
Have a wonderful Christmas.  Have a beautiful time with your family.  Do little things to make it magical.

The days after Christmas are my favourite days of the whole year.  A time to collapse.  A time to think over the year that has just been.  I make a list of everything to be grateful for and all we achieved.  Usually I am surprised by this as it is easy to forget all we did!  
Then I start working on my hopes and plans for the new year and the things I want to change or start working on.  I find the opportunity to start again so exciting!  
Usually I change the blog too. I haven't decided what next year will be like!  

Also I total up The Vicky Challenge.  I think it will be good but perhaps not as much as last year as the painting of the house was such a massive saver in 2017.  But it will still be satisfying to know how much I saved! 

Thank you all so much for your friendship and support and all the ways you have helped with comments, photos, recipes, tips, kindness and love.  It has been so wonderful and beyond anything I could have ever imagined! 

Tuesday 19 December 2017

The last Christmas Challenge before Christmas!

I am wrapping presents and have a sea of paper, cards and ribbons!
Many of my gifts are a combination of things I have made with a purchased item added in like this one which has face cloths, a power puff and hand cream.

This week I made Coconut Ice and this is the gift for neighbours and anyone who calls in. 

My dried rose buds came in handy!

I have had lots of glimpses of everyones last minute gifts.  Thank you everyone who sends me photos!

Jane has been making special pillowcases for little ones.   

What a hit this will be!   And for her Grand daughter'...

Beautiful!  Jane makes me want to hurry up and get my sewing machine out!

Teresa finished a baby quilt...

And gorgeous cards...

Well done Teresa, such a lot of work and so lovely!

Fiona shared an idea many of us can use.  She turned her sons art work into cards for her Mum.

It goes without saying any Grandmother is going to love this!

I think there is a lot to this... if kids agree to their art work being used as gifts and in projects this must build them up that we think they have created something good!  I kept a lot of the girls artwork as it was really good and I am so glad I did!  They both went on to become very creative.
Even the paintings of a small child could be made into cards... we will call them abstract!  :)

You can take a look at Fiona's blog here as she has lots of creative and frugal ideas to share.  Thanks so much Fiona.

Mimi finished up the year in a big way all with having her daughter complete high school and exams.

So many beautiful projects.  Above you can see a top turned into a shopping bag. This is so clever!   There are homemade marshmallows, luxury pillowcases, gift baskets and yummy things.  Head over to A Tray of Bliss to find more details on all of these and more!

Mimi's daughter has been life long friends with a lovely girl named Darina.  Darina is celebrating her 17th birthday seriously ill in hospital with something so unexpected and out of the blue and her life is in danger.  Would you please pray for her?  This is a blood problem.  Mimi asked if the Bluebird prayer warriors would pray.  I said yes and we have an excellent track record!  Thank you.

Tanya has made so many beautiful things...

Diaries and note books,  I have worked out I just love all kinds of books to write in!

I am pinching this idea... play tea bags for a little girl!  Harper would LOVE these!

Note book covers for her boys who love camo anything!  

Crayon and note book covers for the little ones...

This is all beautiful work Tanya!   Thank you!

All this work has led us to a few days before Christmas!   Now to enjoy it!  We will have next week off and start our Christmas Challenge for 2018 in January.  Meanwhile of course take every opportunity!  I will be watching for bargain wrap, saving ribbons and gift bags, watching for huge sales to put some new things into next years cupboard.  There are many times the gift cupboard is handy apart from Christmas.

The very best part is never having to run around frantically searching for a gift.  Those times are when we end up paying too much just out of sheer desperation.   Also never having to run out to get a card or wrap.  What a time saver.  I love my gift cupboard!  It pays me back in so many ways! 

Today I am off to Aldi for the last time before Christmas day.  I have some cooking to do to take to the farm.  

I hope your week is going well,  you feel like everything is under control and feeling the beautiful Christmas spirit.  xxx

Sunday 17 December 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. The year in review.

This is the last pantries and preparedness post for 2017.  I am really starting to reflect on the year and what we have learned and achieved.  I know for sure that setting goals and looking at them weekly has helped us come a long way.  It is now three years since I started!  
We had moved into this house and I had a small cellar which I never used.  I began to feel a strong prompting that I should be using it and get prepared.  And ever since that is what I have been doing!
It is truly amazing how much you achieve when you just keep at something even when you do it in lots of really small ways.

The main things we achieved this year were adding a rainwater tank and buying a bigger, more powerful,  generator.  We continued to build up supplies and I learned how to make many more things myself from sour dough bread and yoghurt to essential oils for fending off germs.
Also we are working on other things like bartering more and establishing extra streams of income.
These things are going to be high on my list in the new year.

In many ways this year wasn't easy!   I was sick the first half!  I just had one thing after another early in the year then the spider bites which made me so ill.  I will never forget it!  
We did two lots of renovations which means we now have a beautiful bathroom and new floors in half the house.  I love both!  But the removing lasted a few months and as anyone who has renovated knows it throws you into a mess that cannot be described!  It is pretty stressful!
Andy has had times of plenty of work and times of none.  He has then had clients who pay their bills and are thankful and clients who don't pay.  
My daughter Lucy has suffered migraines that become constant giving her no days off... now she has two neurologists and we still aren't sorted out although some progress has been made...

BUT the year had many blessings and I am celebrating those!  Firstly, Scarlett was born!  A second Granddaughter!

She is such a happy baby!   Everything is funny!

Harper was besotted with her from day one.  This is GreatGrandma putting Scarlett to bed ever helped by Harper...

This was an early photo that is my favourite and I have shown before.  Scarlett's constant companion...

Then Scarlett started to grow and they could play!  

This was exactly how Chloe and Lucy were!  It is so lovely!

Our other great celebration is Chloe and Luke's engagement.

Now we are planning a wedding for next year! 

So we have a lot to be thankful for.   And a Christmas of all being together next Monday! 

How have you increased your pantry and your preparedness? 
Are you in a better place than you were at the beginning of the year?
Start thinking seriously about your goals for the new year as that is what we will be talking about next!
Last week we were talking about using the Christmas sales and the season as a way to build up your pantry.  This week I am working on that as I am already seeing sales.   Usually I am too busy now to really notice and investigate.  But this week I am checking several places as if I can fill the freezer and re start my gift cupboard at amazing prices then that is what I am going to do!  I will probably have more success straight after Christmas though.  But either way it will send me into 2018 well ahead!  That is the aim!

Have a wonderful week.  Enjoy this very special time.  Make Christmas joyful.  Bless others and help them. Watch out for someone you can help... there will be someone right under your nose...

See you on Wednesday for last minute gift ideas! xxx

Thursday 14 December 2017

Feather your Nest Friday, 15 December, 2017.

Here we are ten days from Christmas!
I had a busy week!  Also I am sill replying on Wednesdays post but I will get there! And I appreciate your comments.  These days the comments form a really important part of the blog.  The ideas that come in and just the helpfulness to each other is what keeps me going.  I feel I have company in everything I do as I think of everyone!

Some of the things I did this week to save,  get ahead and build up the home were:

On Saturday I actually had a free day so I decided to cook.  I made two big pots of meat spaghetti sauce.

These were 2 kilos of mince (ground beef) per pot (2.2 lbs = 1 kilo) and by the time I added onion, tomato, herbs etc this about doubled it.  I simmer these for over an hour at least.  Lots of oregano!

With this I made five lasagnas.

Because of not eating wheat I thought I would use zucchini for one layer and egg plant for another.  I sliced them thinly and fried them.  It worked really well.  Next time I will factor in that these don't absorb moisture like pasta layers do though.... but anyway it was good.
Also Andy thought he is dying since he keeps losing weight and can't work out why.  Finally he mentions this.  I said it is because you haven't eaten wheat in two months.  He never noticed lol 

I made up freezer packs of the meat sauce as well.   Two lasagnas were for the girls.  This all went into the freezer.

A local cafe charges $15 for a take away serve of lasagna or moussaka.   I have over 16 serves here so they would charge $240 for the lasagna alone!  I like knowing these things.   This is what many people pay!

I was given some free lemons.

I made baked egg custards (using up more eggs) in the crockpot.

The two plain little ones were meant for Harper.  I have these beautiful little tea cups!

At the supermarket I got two trays of steak at half price.  I bought a tray of sausages and when I got home I repackaged these into BBQ packs and froze them.  It gave me heaps of meals for the freezer.

We started picking tomatoes.  

Since this first few they have come on fast, probably due to hot weather.  We pick a bowl full everyday and I won't need to buy tomatoes for a long time! 

Now I am up to Wednesday when I went to see Hilde.  Boy did we have a fun day!  It started out really hot but cooled as the day went on.  We hit the discount grocery store, fruit and veggie market and op shops! 

The biggest purchase I made was scotch fillet steak in a giant piece which I then cut up myself. This came out at half Aldi price and Aldi is already about half Woolworths price.  It is beautiful.  Andy was just like !!! when he saw this.  However once cut up it gives us steak once a week for six weeks.  

I got a really big bag of bananas for 43c!  

This one is crazy.  I got my hair colour for 33c per box.  It is normally $20.  I never pay that as I always buy it on sale but never for 33c a box!  I got 9 boxes saving $177 on hair colour alone.   These days are so worth it. Shopping around is so worth it!  If this was my saving for the day I would have been happy but I had many more!  Yes I had driven a bit further to shop.  Yes I spent most of a day doing it.  But my savings for one days "work" were hundreds of dollars!   To me that is fun.  With a friend it is even more fun!  Hysterical laughter plus big savings = good day!

At the fruit and vegetable shops they gave us free branches of Holly.  I will use this to decorate food gifts this week.

I also got a beautiful brand of sausages at half price.
I found a top for myself that I love for $5.
A Jamie Oliver cookbook for Chloe for $4.
This crystal lamp base ... it is huge.  It was $5 also.  Now to find a top for it...

I love it! 
6 crystal glasses (Waterford crystal) for $10.
A book for my Dad on Andrea Bocelli saving was $28.

Also five hair products i.e.  volumiser spray from a fancy brand saving several dollars per bottle. 

When in the grocery store I asked questions about what do they get in after Christmas?  When is the best time to come?  This place gets things the supermarkets want to move on plus things wholesalers and catering companies are finished with i.e. turkeys after Christmas!  So a trip is planned after Christmas!

Also Hilde and I hatched a plan.  She will go to her local supermarkets right after Boxing Day.  And to Rite Price.  If she sees turkeys for under $4 a kilo she will grab them for me. She has giant freezers.  So this is great I can cover more ground and different days!

At the end of the day my car was loaded up and Andy helped me unload.  Amongst all this I had op shop things that are on Chloe's list for the wedding.   I had huge luck there too!  This is secret stuff as to not give away the theme and style of the wedding! 
I had several cold packs and an esky to keep everything cold.  

I was still putting stuff away the next day!

Then I was faced with a huge bag of ripe bananas and still eggs in the fridge.  So yesterday I started on banana muffins.   I made 60 before I made dinner.   

This also used up a batch of homemade vanilla yoghurt for extra goodness.

I made one dozen in a smaller size for Harper.  For extra appeal I added my little ballerina cake toppers.  😊

I am delivering these this afternoon just in time for afternoon tea.

Muffins are usually around $3 each in shops here. So I feel I turned my free eggs, cheap yoghurt and 43c bananas into a lot! 

The rest are going into the freezer. I have two dozen for Chloe and farmer Luke.  

After dinner I made a triple batch of coconut ice.  It is still setting in my biggest baking dish.  Later I will start on slicing it up and packaging.  It has turned out the palest ever milk shake pink.  💗  We are invited to a neighbours tonight for Christmas celebrations so I will take a plate of this. 

So that was my week so far.  It will give my Vicky Challenge a boost as it was a lot of savings!  The freezer really got a big boost.  I love having heaps of meals to turn to if we need them. 

I hope you had a good week.  How did you build up your home?  It might have been more of a case of how did you keep up with things as this is such a busy time.  I remember when the girls were at school how extra busy December was.  It was exhausting. 

Have a beautiful weekend! xxx

Tuesday 12 December 2017

The Christmas Challenge. Bits and pieces!

It is pretty warm here today and was very warm all thought the night.  I went for an evening swim and that pretty much knocked me unconscious for the night!

Today I am heading off to see my friend Hilde for Christmas.  If it is too hot we might have to modify our plans but the idea is to hit the discount grocery and fruit and veg stores and op shops!

Yesterday I was out and about looking for a couple of things.   I noticed there are a lot of Christmas things already marked down a lot.  This has me thinking I might do some checking next week in those same stores to see if they are marked down more.  Maybe pre Christmas will be just as worth while checking out as post Christmas.  I will give it a go!

I can't share yet my own Christmas crafts as I will ruin my own surprises so I am sharing some of the photos I have had this week for inspiration and ideas!

Tanya made heaps of things.  She showed me this diary...

I LOVE it.  I told her this would be $35 in a store here.  She thought I was exaggerating until she went to a fair and looked around at prices and now she realises this is true!
Last year Bridge made me a fabric covered book with a brooch stuck on it for bling.  It is beautiful and I have used it all year for my Vicky Challenge records.
Soon I will be adding up my whole years Vicky Challenge.   Writing the savings down every week is very motivating.  I am not sure if I will beat last year but I hope so!   This has shown me without a doubt that our savings at home are so significant they equal a wage and there is no tax!   Thinking this.... I hope my efforts today produce some savings! 

Tanya also made beeswax wraps.  These are so useful but also lovely gifts.  (These too are pretty expensive to buy!)

She used fabric paint and stencils to decorate t shirts...

And made patchwork shopping bags...

Beautiful work Tanya!  Thank you so much for the photos!

Maria made Brownies and by cutting them into triangles they made little Christmas trees.
I thought this idea is lovely and could be used with any slice or even shortbread etc.

She made these for her Grandchildren.  Imagine them with big eyes seeing this!  So good!

You really can give a beautiful gift by cooking.  Right away I can think of several people who would love it if I made them a tray of brownies or fudge.  Going by store prices this would easily be a $100 gift.  I think  I am going to be giving away a lot more home baked gifts in the future.  

I have found so many lovely ideas on Shabby Art Boutique.  She has free printables that are Christmas themed labels to put on your home cooking.  Some cellophane and these labels would look amazing.  These are available here.   Many of her recent posts are full of gorgeous Christmas ideas.  She also has a little calendar to print out.  It is tiny and a gift small enough to post.  I would think card makers would find this really useful too. 

I had better get my skates on and head off.  I hope this day gives me lots of good things to report on Friday!
I hope your week is going well!   
How are your Christmas gifts going?  Are there any last minute good suggestions... these would be helpful as many of us will still need  last minute inexpensive ideas!  Something unexpected basically always happens! xxx