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, 11 June 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Make your own...

This week we are looking at saving both money and pantry space by making more things ourselves.  While I have always made things i.e. crafty things, it is in more recent years that I have been making cleaners, washing power, wool wash, baking mixes and so on.  Many of these things are surprising!  Not only are they very quick and easy they save a lot!

I got hooked on this when I decided we would stop buying our Friday night pizzas a few years ago.  For about a year we had a takeaway night and most often it was pizzas from a local shop that was amazing.   I started to make my own dough and copied some of their beautiful toppings.  When I figured out the savings I was completely shocked and thought they couldn't even be correct!  I was saving a whopping $2,600 a year.  One simple change saving this much was a shock.  
Since then I calculate the annual costs of all kinds of habits and purchases!

Gradually I have made more and more things myself.  Many things we buy we don't even realise that they are so easy to make!  A recent one is dark brown sugar. That stuff is expensive in the supermarket.  I use it often in my fruit cakes.  So it was with great surprise that I found out it is just ordinary sugar with molasses added.  It is as easy as adding one tablespoon of molasses to one cup of white sugar and stirring it.  Seriously!

For maximum savings the way to go is to consider making whatever it is you are always buying, that will save you the most. Start there.  It could be pizza or it might be fabric softener. But if it is a regular at your place you will find that over a year the savings will be considerable.

This subject will take a couple of weeks I think! But lets get started!

One of my most regular makes is Miracle Cleaner.  This stuff replaces so many cleaners and any need for air freshener as well.  Also it replaces anti germ wipes.   You can find the recipe here.
This also means you just reduced chemicals in your house as another benefit. The big trend is cleaning products that are safe or natural and they are expensive. You can make your own so cheaply.

The dusters in the jar are pre moistened for wiping down surfaces and dusting sessions. They smell beautiful!

I also make my own dusters/cleaning cloths to go with this.

I keep a supply of super soft flannelette for when someone is sick as well as they are so much softer than tissues or hankies!

My next best recipe is wool wash and also liquid laundry wash. These work so beautifully, smell just gorgeous and last ages.  You can find these in my sop making series here.

I have been able to give these as gifts as well.  The wool wash makes things softer than you can imagine.  All my blankets, underlays, quilts etc are washed in this. 

A beauty "make your own" is scrub and I wrote this here about an at home treatment you can do that is very close to salon microdermabrasion. (Except over a hundred dollars cheaper.)  Being cheap you can do it weekly which will always have better results than something you do a couple of times a year.  There are so many beautiful treatments you can do yourself.

Another area is making ready to bake mixes. I like to make ready to bake Cornbread mix. But there are so many you could do!

These cookie mixes were given to Chloe by a friend.  How good do they look!?  What a nice gift!

When Harper was smaller we worked out my crockpot full of baby food saved $80 per batch compared to the little pouches or jars you can buy.  We are about to be back to that with Scarlett!

Others include make your own Cream of anything soup mix! This is a serious saving!  
These can be found here and the comments on this post contain a lot of hints too.

Ready mixes can be beautiful gifts!  From all the dry ingredients for soup to hot chocolate they look good in a jar with a label and instructions.  Having mixes ready in the kitchen can mean whipping up a batch of cookies, scones, muffins etc is really fast.

Thinking of Hot Chocolate ... it is winter here.  Good weather to make up some of this.  Compare to store bought mixes and you will be amazed!  You can find MOO  (Make our own) Hot Chocolate  here.

Recently I found out about making your own baking flour (which I shared last Monday) and I am amazed that I keep finding out new things that can be simply made.  Cath from The Cheapskates Club explained it well.  She said clever marketing over time has convinced us we need to buy all kinds of things that we don't and they should be bought at the supermarket. So our lists have got longer and longer with things that are unnecessary and/or can be easily made!  From paper towels to fabric softener our Grandmothers would be laughing.
You can read Cath's article here and follow it up with thirty easy make your own recipes here.  Even if there is one recipe on this list that you can adopt it will be a significant saving.
If you let this sink in it is quite mind blowing.  There is so much we can leave off the shopping list.   Much of the time the homemade version is healthier as well.

Coming up we are going to look at our pantries from this point of view. Instead of trying to store everything we could need what about storing the ingredients to make everything we need?  This frees up so much space and saves so much money.  Everything changes!

It is a huge subject! From beauty to cleaning, cooking and even in the garden making our own has the potential to change your budget enormously.  Pick something to try.  Most are so easy.  Calculate the yearly savings, repeat!  There are things we haven't even considered we can make ourselves as we are just used to the idea that they are bought!  Think "could I make this" and you will see what I mean!

There are exceptions. A few things I get from Aldi are so nice and so inexpensive that it wouldn't pay to make my own. So you have to do a few quick sums! Possibly the biggest savings are things that replace something really expensive or something that replaces numerous products i.e. Miracle Cleaner.  
Even with things that are inexpensive to buy it is good to know how to make them  anyway! There might be a time you cannot buy them!

One of my goals this week is to find more things I can make myself, work out the savings and try them out.

What "make your own" recipes do you use?
Is there anything that you would love to know how to make yourself?

Have a very good week!  I have to empty all the cupboards, pantry, china, glassware etc from the kitchen and living room to get ready for my floor to be replaced.  I'm thinking of it as a massive early spring clean.  xxx


  1. Annabel, your photos are just beautiful. I would love to visit your pretty home but I hate to travel so I'm glad I get to visit you via photos. 😍
    Some things I MOO are a spice rub for the smoked and grilled meats my husband does, taco seasoning and we always have homemade red pasta sauce in the freezer.

    1. Dear Rhonda,
      Thank you! I am not keen on travel anymore myself. We love short trips around out state when we get a change but thats about it! Otherwise I would rather be home!
      Spice rub sounds lovely so does taco seasoning and pasta sauce! With all your cooking you probably automatically make many things other people buy! With love

  2. Dear Annabel and beautiful bluebirds,
    I love this post Annabel, thank you for sharing some of the many things we can make. I recently made miracle spray for the first time after putting it off for almost three years after hearing about it on cheapskates club forum and Wendy's blog.i love miracle spray and wonder why I waited so long to make it as it is so easy to put together.
    I also make my own honey mustard sauce for honey mustard chicken, very easy . I have a few things on my list to moo in the next few weeks. On top of my list is hot chocolate mix and I also will make Caths cafe au lait mix as I love lattes , I don't have them often , they are a rare treat but the mix looks so easy to make , the recipe is in one of Caths books and probably in the cheapskates club recipe file. I would also like to moo a few other things but those two are going to be priorities for winter as well as the cream of anything soup .
    Thanks again Annabel, love BarbW.

    1. Dear Barb, The miracle cleaner really makes your home smell good.
      Honey mustard sauce sounds beautiful! Now I need to go find Caths cafe au last mix. I love lattes too! I must have missed this recipe thank you for mentioning it!
      Thanks so much Barb! With love

  3. I have been making my own soap, liquid laundry wash, and miracle spray for years. I made your wool wash last year and am still using that batch. I have a lot of crocheted wool blankets and these have all been washed in this lovely wash. I highly recommend it and have given a jar to Mum who washes her handmade quilts in it. Might have to make another batch soon.
    I make my own compost, mulch and fertiliser(weed and comfrey tea and worm wee). I grow my veg plants from seed and have started growing more fruit trees and woody herbs from cuttings.
    All cleaning cloths are handmade in this household. I cut up old towels and use these as cleaning cloths. I have them as a backing to a square of cotton fabric. This fabric is usually an old sheet or doona cover. I place Velcro in the corners so that these squares then roll up. These are unpaper towels. I found the idea on Pinterest. I have made these as gifts for my sister and SIL's.
    I like the idea of starting to make more of the mixes for the Pantry. I really need to research this a bit more. Thanks for a great post Annabel.

    1. Jane I love the idea of the unpaper towels with Velcro in the corners. Thanks for sharing!

      Jen in NZ

    2. I absolutely love this idea! My husband is resistant to using anything except paper towels.

  4. What a great subject! So excited to get more ideas from all of you Bluebirds!!!
    Dry mixes I keep on my shelves include: taco seasoning, Old Bay seasoning, pumpkin pie spice, Apple pie spice, ranch dressing mix, onion soup mix, cream of chicken soup mix, cream of mushroom soup mix, zesty Italian dressing mix,garlic bread seasoning mix,dry Italian dressing mix, corn bread mix, basic cookie mix, quick baking mix, brownie mix, pancake mix, brown sugar.
    My home canned pantry includes: teriyaki sauce, BBQ sauce, Sweet and Sour sauce, chili beans, sweet chili sauce, salsa.
    I have made cloth Kleenex, old t-shirts cut into cleaning cloths, replacement cloth dusters,
    So, you can see, I feel happy with some areas of my MOO things but cleaners are an area that I need to start doing more of, so keep those ideas coming!!!!

    1. Dear Gardenpat,
      Thanks! You have a great list of things you make! I think I had better get some recipes from you. Brownie mix for instance ... that would make lovely gifts!
      Many cleaning Moos coming next week... with love, (the miracle cleaner is one of the best though!)

  5. Great post Annabel.
    In the past few years I've started "making my own", not so much to save money (though that is a great bonus) but to use less chemicals, and am finding it more and more addictive. I know I could easily make more, just haven't taken the plunge.

    So far I've made my own Miracle spray, weedkiller, shower gel (not very successfully), hot chocolate mix, taco mix, mint sauce, bread crumbs and cleaning cloths. I have the ingredients for your woolwash, but haven't made it up yet. I plan to start making my own condensed milk (a-la-Cath, cheapskate club) and brown sugar now that you've shown how easy it is to make.
    Enjoy the week,

    1. Dear Janine, I think you will like the wool wash. When you pour it into jars it looks like a liquid. But over night it sets to be white. You need a little scoop or teaspoon. It is really amazingly good as it transforms things to be super super soft.
      Next week I have lots more recipes coming so I hope some will be useful to you too. With love,

  6. Dear Annabel, as you know Ive been making our SS(miracle ) cleaner for years and use that in the kitchen ,bathrooms and laundry.I still have cleaners from years ago that I dont use much but dont like to throw them out because of the chemicals.(waste).I have made lots of laundry mixes over the years but I now find it easier to use an inexpensive laundry powder that I mix with baking soda or soap nuts.Also use a lot of white vinegar for cleaning jobs.
    Fancy you mentioning brown sugar and molasses as I ummed and ahhed about buying molasses just because mum use to give us black strap molasses every morning for good health argh we hated it lol.But it must have helped as we were rarely sick.You have given me some ideas to try , with thanks , love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria,
      It is a great idea to extend an inexpensive laundry powered. Clever! Some basics can be upgraded with a little addition!
      I have heard molasses is very high in vitamins and minerals. so I think your Mum was onto something! I think its high in iron too.
      I have a fair few new Moos coming up.... I have been quite excited to find some that will make a difference here and think how did I not know about these! lol! With love

  7. Dear Annabel,

    What an informative post, and I love those cookie mixes Chloe's friend gave her!

    I've been making my own laundry detergent for 10 years, now, and lots of other things, but I've been meaning to try Cath's condensed milk and get back to making some soap. We hardly ever eat out (like once a year), so we do make out own pizza, tacos, burgers, etc., and my hubby even makes the beer and wine! Cath's ginger ale and Rhonda's (Down to Earth) ginger beer are fab to make, too!

    We are having a heat wave, here. I've gotten in some of the garden, but it rained torrentially 2 nights ago, so have to wait for it to dry out more before I can go any further. Planted up some more of your carrots!!!!

    Had a nice visit with family, and I'm now looking forward to settling into a routine, again. It's weird how a good routine can be so comforting and grounding!!!

    xx Jen in NS

    P.S. Lucy's blog looks great!

    1. Dear Jen,
      I agree on routine... overall very peaceful and helpful. Sorry about the heat wave! I hate the heat. It is hard on everyone and everything.
      You make a lot! I didn't even think of beer and wine! I cant imagine what all this saves you but it must be enormous. Thanks for mentioning Caths diner ale. Mum used to make this, it is a great idea! With thanks

    2. Thank you Jen for mentioning a source for ginger beer. Interestingly, I'd been discussing with DSon yesterday that both my Mum and G'mother made their own ginger beer and thought I'd give it a go - I just needed to find a recipe for the plant.

    3. Janine,

      The ginger ale from Cath is very fast and very fizzy. Rhonda's ginger beer takes a little longer, as you grow the "plant", but probably a little "healthier" for the fermentation and all the lemon juice, but really, it's what we call "pop" (soda) and just a treat. Both are spicy, but the ginger beer a bit more. Love them both!

  8. Dear Annabel,
    I don't think there's much that I can add to what's been mentioned so far. I've not made the Miracle Cleaner yet, although I do have the ingredients to do it, as we've been using a MOO cleaner for years that we make up with just a TBSP or two of baby shampoo and water. It's a fantastic cleaner and degreaser. Baking soda is one of our go to products for almost everything including using it and tin foil for an effortless silver cleaner, shampoo, luxury bath products, cleanser, as well as an antacid if needed. I make ginger tea and a drink with ginger, applecider vinegar and water as an anti inflammatory for sore muscles, confectioners or icing sugar can be made just by putting sugar in a blender and processing it until it's a powder and suitable to make icing. Coconut oil makes a great makeup remover and moisturizer. Also great to use when making lotion bars. My pantry is full of all sorts of mixes that are homemade and I MOO mayonnaise, sauces, soups, ketchup.

    Since embarking on our new dietary plan, which is gluten free and mostly paleo/primal, I've been making our own gluten free flours, almond flour, coconut flour, as well as homemade almond and coconut milk. I love this exchange of ideas. Great post. Blessings, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      Thank you! There are a lot of ladies who would love your gluten free flour, almond bread and coconut milk etc. I might see if you could send me some of those if you have time. I notice anything gluten free is automatically much more expensive in the shops.
      In the beauty area I think these are the biggest savings of all. I totally agree about baking soda and its many uses! Thanks so much Cookie, with love

  9. So many good ideas! I used to make my own laundry soap, but have slacked with the business of life! My big store bought tub is getting low, though, so I'm thinking this will be my project for next weekend! I'd love to see how you're all storing yours.
    I pretty much only use vinegar and water to clean. I usually add a few drops of lemon oil to make it smell better, but I'll have to try the eucalyptus sometime too.

    I'm also going to be ordering some glycerin to try your face scrub, Annabel! I've been looking for something for my rough patches but just haven't wanted to spend the money on the expensive stuff!

    I'm thinking that hot chocolate mix would be perfect for gifts at Christmas time with a few marshmallows and maybe some peppermint stir sticks ... perfect for teacher gifts! I'd love to find a coffee mix to go with it!

    Does anyone have a good toilet bowl cleaner and glass cleaner they make? I live in a house of all boys, so I go through a LOT of toilet bowl cleaner!

    1. Tarin I make toilet fizzies. These are 1 part citric acid to 2 parts bicarb soda. I use drops of lavender or eucalyptus essential oil until the mix is crumbly. Be careful not to use too much oil or your bowl will fizz. I push the powder into little silicone ice moulds and leave to dry. After each messy toilet situation throw in a fizzy. Nice smell and skid marks come away.

    2. Thanks, Jane! I'm going to try those!

  10. Dear Annabel, Loved this post and I found a MOO on Cath's blog for Ant Rid. We have such an infestation.
    I will have to try your miracle cleaner and wool wash. If I didn't use so much brown sugar I would surely give that a try but I generally buy my BS in 25lb bags and store it in a food grade bucket. But good to know in a pinch.
    You have also given me an idea for Friday dinners!
    Have a great week! Laurie

    1. Dear Laurie, Ants can be a real problem. I hope this Moo works well for you.
      Pizzas also use up so many left overs! Very handy! With love

  11. I love the floral fabrics you use. Lovely!!

    1. Dear Lee Ann, thank you so much! I always watch for pretty old sheets in flannel, these become my dusters mostly. They are so very soft. And cheap! With love

  12. Dear Annabel, I am always learning from you, and all the lovely ladies who comment here! As you know, I love making my own mixes for the pantry, cleaning and laundry room. It's amazing how much we can do at home, and just buy the bulk ingredients! Have a good week! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri, This is a good subject. We are working towards a post with a list of basics to stock that enable us to make the maximum about of things... I think I might ask for your help on this as you make so many mixes and things from scratch. Start thinking! With lots of love,

  13. Dear Annabel and Beautiful Bluebirds!!

    Now this is a thought-provoking post!!

    I still love your wool wash, Annabel! I still love my laundry liquid, also!!

    Mmmm, Cath's recipe for ricotta is slightly different to the one I use. Hers could turn out softer, so I am keen to try it!! I have also seen a very similar recipe for cream cheese! I love how going back to basic principles makes life richer and more beautiful!!

    These days, we make our own sunshine -- warm fires and lemon butter/curd! Ha ha!! To clean cooking spills off the cooktop surface of the fireplace, I am using super soft wood ash! So far, my old work boots repair with wood sap, dried, looks worthwhile (after glue, duct tape, .... have all run their course!)!

    This is the track I'm on! I've a way to go!!!!

    Thanks a lot for the work you do!!

    Warmest regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      Well making your own sunshine sounds good to me. Tis reminds me also of Sunshine Cake... the one with the whole oranges! Like lemon butter it is just so cheerful. We are lucky just now as each day there has been some sun although the nights are cold. When we get a week of no sun then I will be making the bright and cheerful things to try and make up for it! With lots of love,

  14. Dear Annabel, I love this post. I think it's an ongoing challenge here to see how many things we can make ourselves. I love the Miracle Cleaner too, and although I still swear by Shower Power (we must be super grotty people, OR it's the fat in my home made soap, leaving a residue!) for our bathroom tub, the Miracle Cleaner certainly does just about everywhere else. I love the Wool Wash as well, and adore the scent and the sheer luxurious softness it gives everything I wash it in. I think that over time, your needs change, or you learn to pick your battles. As you and Maria pointed out, sometimes you find an inexpensive product that works, and this makes the idea of making your own, kind of obsolete. For me that used to be gluten free baking mix, bathtub scrub, various skin care products, body lotions and so on, and laundry detergent. These days I have less washing, but still make my own sometimes because I love the scent of it, but find that keeping the ingredients on hand, takes up more space than I have to spare. The same with the skin care and body care products. You can't buy just enough for a single batch, you have to buy lots of it, and lots of ingredients, so again, although cheaper over time, not necessarily completely practical, in terms of storing everything required. The main things we DIY here are food items like spice mixes (taste is better), baking and cooking pre-prepared food...your pizza is a perfect example...flavour infused sugars (lemon, cinnamon, vanilla), sauces like BĂ©chamel, Bernaise, Pepper sauce, Hollandaise sauce, that make a simple meal a bit more special. This alone saves an enormous amount of money, as I think we all know! Beautiful, beautiful photos! Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, Yes we need to pick our targets and I think if it saves a lot money wise it is worth it or else if it is much healthier then it is also worth it. Otherwise time and effort should go onto something else!
      Anything that we can DIY and enjoy as opposed to a cafe is a winner.... what about all the fuss over smashed avocado these days!? I guess you have heard about that. In fact this would be a perfect blog post for you Mimis smashed avocado I think! People are paying over $20 for avocado on toast, essentially!
      Thank you, thank you! Love

  15. Dear Annabel,
    This is a very important subject, for cost savings, health savings, and space savings. Thanks for the post and sharing your ideas and recipes.
    We don't buy cleaners, but have made our own with essential oils for several years. I make up salad dressing mixes, taco seasoning, and such items as those and store in glass canning jars with the wire hooks to keep them fresh. For long term, I store them in canning jars and vacuum seal them.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      I think your essential oil recipes wold be very good to have. I am trying to learn more about essential oils generally.
      Hopefully we will all expand our list of things we can make ourselves over the next few weeks! With love

  16. I love mixes. I make some of the ones mentioned here and also pancake mix. I also love the floral fabric you use. Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy, Thank you! Pancake mix is a very good one. With love,

  17. Dear Annabel,
    This is such a good topic and, as usual, you have presented it in such a lovely way.
    I usually clean with baking soda, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide, but I would like to give the Miracle spray a try. I have a bit of store-bought cleaner I am trying to use up first. I'd also like to try making Rachel's liquid laundry detergent. I've made the powdered kind before, but it was so harsh that it faded my dark clothes and I have been too afraid to try anything else! I expect I will be doing a lot more laundry once the little bluebird arrives (especially as we are using cloth diapers) so this would save a small fortune.
    Most of my cooking is done from scratch, but I'll also add that I MOO specialty coffee drinks, milkshakes, and iced tea (some people buy this by the jug.)
    I have also made shaving cream for my husband, and your exfoliating scrub is wonderful. Now to find a good recipe for moisturizer that doesn't contain coconut oil since my sensitive skin seems to have a bad reaction to it.
    A funny story... The other day my husband and I were out of town and stopped in an eating establishment. My husband took his own insulated cup in to get it filled with tea, and when the lady at the counter took the lid off and looked in the cup she exclaimed, "Wow! This ice is amazing! I have never seen ice like this. Where did you get it?!" My husband told her that we made our house. "Really?!" she said. I thought really this girl can't be serious but she was! They were just regular rectangular ice cubes, nothing special. So I guess I'll add that we MOO ice cubes lol!
    Annabel, I think this is a post I will have to take notes on and think over. I'm seeing some good ideas in the comments too that I would like to try. I hope everyone has a lovely week!
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey, That is a really funny story! I guess some people haven't even seen make your own ice! And you are right about iced tea, it is sold in shops ready made when it is so easy to make at home and so nice.
      I know you can make whitening soaker using hydrogen peroxide... this would be good for you with the nappies... I will find you that and post it next week. Lots of soaking buckets are very handy! With love


    2. Dear Kelsey!

      Once you've made the laundry liquid once (i.e. sorted out what tub and saucepan you'll use!), you'll find it to be very quick and easy to make! It's a fun job to me!!

      I was just thinking about the fading concern. I do know that I used to be able to buy both hydrated washing soda and non hydrated (which was better value, & I still buy this). My thoughts are that, if clothes are fading too exuberantly, you could lessen the amount of washing soda, or even use less laundry liquid/detergent. If the recipes had been written for the hydrated washing soda, then we likely need less of the non hydrated type!

      My husband taught me (yes, ha ha!!) to hang dark clothes inside out to dry in the sun. That helps!! I iron them that way, too!!

      Oh, by the way, the laundry liquid is great for soaking with. If your nappies are white, you can use as much as you like!! I find it is very soft on the hands.

      I love your ice story, too! Remember, the rich have ice in summer, and the poor in winter! You are rich!


    3. Kelsey, Love the ice story!

      Wanted to mention about the diapers...we used a smaller garbage pail with a snap on lid, cold water, and borax mixed in...the proportions were listed on the box, if I remember rightly, but I can see if my husband remembers (it was only about 10 years ago, so you'd think I'd still remember, but...). Anyway, we'd swish the diapers in the toilet and then put in the diaper pail and snap on the lid. When it was time to wash, hubby would dump the entire thing in the wash and we'd spin it out. At the time I didn't make laundry detergent, and as I am allergic to most laundry soaps, we played it safe for the girls and used Ivory Snow laundry detergent, and added another bit of borax to the wash...I think it was 1/4 cup. The borax is a bit of a disinfectant and also a whitener. Our diapers were colored flannel, and the color didn't fade too badly over time, but what was great was that all of those (what we indelicately called) "mustard" stains, would be gone from the diapers after the wash. Other friends used vinegar, etc., and their diapers were always stained, so we figured it must have been the borax. They always smelled great, too, after washing! The brand of borax we used was the 10 Mule Team.


      Jen in NS

    4. Thank you, ladies, for the tips! Rachel, I'm not sure which type of washing soda I used, but the recipe also called for baking soda, and as I haven't seen that in other recipes, I think that might have been part of it. If I ever make the powdered kind again, I'll try a different recipe and test it first on old clothes that don't really matter. But I will try your liquid recipe when I get my supplies together!
      Jen, thanks for the diaper washing hints! I have a friend who is currently cloth diapering and she uses the borax and water in a bucket method too. Glad to know it works so well! I'll be adding it to my list.
      Many thanks, Kelsey

  18. Dear Annabel and our many Blue Bird friends I have just spent the morning doing a clean of the kitchen, some areas were long overdue but as it looks like my husband doesn't see them it became part of my job today. I have used the 'miracle cleaner' for quite a number of years and I cannot imagine just how much money it has saved me though like Mimi I still use a commercial cleaner for the shower because my husband, as in the kitchen, tends to get 'stuff' everywhere.

    Mimi mentioned a hint on the savings group we use to belong to that I use when cleaning the shower - a broom - I have a nice soft one that I use so no scratching of the glass. We have a walk in shower so no need for me to worry about hitting the shower screen and breaking it. I also have an extendable handle scrubbing brush that I use for the grout on the floor.

    I pulled out a 'green cleaning' book the other day and spent an hour going through it - it is one of the early ones that was around. Think I have found the answer to the grease stains on the driveway.

    Still need a good weedkiller though so any ideas would be welcome.

    Kelsey that is so funny about the ice cubes - we make them all of the time here.

    I am testing recipes at the moment - I have my mother's sponge pudding recipe here that I need to test out using gluten free flour. When we were growing up this would be placed on stop of stewed apples and popped in the oven. It would work with any stewed or tinned fruit.

    I have a chocolate self saucing pudding recipe that I have yet to test out as a gluten free recipe. Last night I found a lemon one that I want to test out. Late last week I made up a packet date loaf mix and popped it in the slow cooker then made up the golden syrup sauce component from a recipe I found on line - poured that over the top of the date loaf mixture and all I can say is that it didn't last long.

    All of this cooking is to help come up with a batch of basic recipes that rely on simple affordable items.

    Last night I found a gluten free sour dough recipe using brown rice flour that I want to try - just need to make sure that I can get the brown rice flour from the Indian shop - they sell large bags of different types of flours which work out so much cheaper than the supermarket prices.

    It is cold, wet and horrible here. Real comfort food weather. Savoury mince for tea tonight.

    Have a great week everyone


    1. Hi Lynette
      I made brown rice and white rice flour by putting small amounts of rice in the high speed blender and it came out perfect. Cookie

    2. Lynette would you mind sharing the gluten free sour dough recipe please? I always feel terrible for my 9 year old when I make bread for the rest of us and he misses out. Gluten free baking can be so unpredictable, I hope your desserts work well :)

      Jen in NZ

    3. Dear Lynette,
      For weeds in the paving, cracks etc I sometimes boil the kettle and pour this along the cracks. This gets rid of little weeds trying to get started. So does pressure cleaning. Get them when they are small is a big help. (if possible!)
      The date loaf in the slow cooker sounds incredible!
      Now you have made me suddenly feel like savoury mince. That is something I haven't made in ages.
      I think the Indian and also Chinese delis and supermarkets can have amazing prices. They are fun to explore too. For spices they are excellent too. Bigger and cheaper packets of everything.
      I hope the gluten free conversions are successful. IF the sour dough goes well please share that as there are quite a few families that this would help. With many thanks,

  19. Wonderful post Annabel,i have been busy making more cards,and iam about to make a batch of soy wax candles using recycled cans like soup cans, then using card stock to cover the cans some will be put away for Christmas,yesterday i made your Hollywood bubble bath so relaxing after a days work have a great week and thanks for sharing

    1. Dear Melissa,
      I am glad you like the bubble bath! I love bubble bath and the whole big bubble experience! Glycerine is what makes the best bubbles but also it is nice for your skin. I really need to make some of this as it is ages since I did and I have lovely bottles saved up!
      Well done on the cards, they will be a big saving. And I hope the candles were a great success too! You have been busy! Come December you will be so glad! With love

  20. I love this post! I learned several years back to make my own "thieves vinegar." By far and away, that is the BIGGEST single money saver I have ever done! Because we have to list medical expenses on taxes, I was easily able to compare before and after. Before was $1500 higher than after my family started using that as the first choice and then only going to the doctor if it didn't work. Many times it did--without antibiotics. And we were all healthier too.

    I do some other MOO: things like cream of anything soup, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, taco seasoning and they are all nice. I have been doing them quite awhile and I like them, but I don't think they save me as much as that thieves vinegar does.

    1. Dear Cristy,
      This is very interesting! You have convinced me. Jess has a recipe for this... I will see if yours is the same or similar? Chloe has recently had big success with an essential oil for a preventative treatment for something she has problems with, she is thrilled. It has made me realise I need to go more into this.
      Thanks so much for this tip! With love

  21. Wonderful post Annabel, it made me think about what I do make and some things that I should be making. So, I make all my own greeting cards, rubber stamp cleaner, window cleaner, all purpose cleaner (which I think I'll replace with Miracle Cleaner the next time I make a batch up), laundry powder, I use white vinegar in place of fabric softener and cook mostly from scratch.

    I have recently started making week killer to use around our building out back and in our gravel drive. So far it works well.

    Your pictures are lovely and I'm going to be adding flannel sheets to my thrift store list.


    1. Dear ShelliaJean,
      You are doing wonderfully with all you make!
      Truly the flannel sheets are so handy. I soak them and wash them up and use your vinegar fabric softener. Then I dry them and cut them into either cleaning cloths, hankies for in sickness, sometimes other craft items. The older sheets that have been washed lots of times are even softer than new flannelette. I hem some if I love the print to keep them going longer but others I treat as disposable after a few uses. Last week my daughter and family had colds. I took around a bag full of flannel handkerchiefs and they love them. Just so much softer on sore noses. This means I always buy these sheets if I see them and make up a new supply! With love

  22. A great post Annabel, I love making my own if I can. The miracle spray has been a favourite for years as has washing powder, your wool wash is great.
    I have made a lot of different things over the years including Cath's café au latte recipe. There are also a lot of hot drink mixes and instant pudding mixes that were great when the kids were younger.
    When I met Glenn and he saw all the things I made from scratch he was amazed and I think he thought I was genius to be able to make these things, he had never seen things made from scratch before.
    I make probably the same as you and will be looking forward to anything new to try. Debbie xx

    1. Dear Debby,
      I think you impressed Glenn very much! All this doesnt mention the crocheting and beautiful things you create! I ma really enjoying finding new things... the bread flour and alternatives were a revelation to me. I am just mixing up the cafe au latte mix myself! Thanks Debbie, with love

  23. Hello Annabel and All!

    I am a firm believer in DIY where I can (and where it's feasible!) I make my own laundry detergent, stove top scrub, bathroom cleaner, and I have miracle spray, too. For most of my household cleaning I use a vinegar/water mix. I make gluten free condensed soup mix (extremely handy!) and sometimes gluten free flour mix. I usually make my own onion soup mix and cookies for lunches, too.

    I make my own dishcloths as I think they work better than what I can buy, plus they are fun to make! I also make my own cards.

    1. Dear Jenn,
      I have some left over cottons I think I will get making myself some dish cloths!
      You have a great list! These would save a lot and especially the gluten free items as I notice in the shops they seem to charge extra for anything gluten free. That could be a bit expense for families.
      Card making is another one! Cards are ridiculously expensive! Thank you Jenn! With love


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