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 22 October 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Everything old is new again.

This year has been really interesting from my preparedness point of view.  I didn't just work on my pantry but added a lot of new skills and practices.  Lately I have really noticed how all around me everything old is new again!
We have a store here called the Eco store which is full of things that are considered sustainable,  environmentally friendly and healthy.  Things like re useable coffee cups, shopping bags and baskets, beeswax food wraps and gals containers (so you can reduce plastic) stainless steel water bottles, water saving things like sink inserts.... and so on.  It is actually very nice and very trendy.   It is all stuff my Nans did!  They never realised how cool they were! 😊

I notice most of these things have several benefits.  They are non disposable so you save money.  They are non chemical saving your health and they are non littering.   A lot of people are talking about the war on waste.  And also there is a big trend towards home cooking,  growing your own veggies, chickens and alternative sources of power.  Homemade and handcrafted things are also the in thing.  Girls we are in fashion!

This is like my Dad. One year  khaki green and camo were in fashion. He said he always knew if he hung on long enough one day he would be fashionable! haha! He only ever wears khaki green basically!

This year Andy built me a new clothes line.  This is all I have plus an indoor drying rack for bad weather.

It runs by the latest technology of wind and solar power.  Completely free.

The lady over the road sits her clothes horse in the sun and yesterday it was on the front veranda. 

It makes me happy to see!  Another lady down the road does what I do too... she has a tree out the front and hangs her work uniform on hangers to dry in the tree. The wind irons it for her.  I have a tree in the back yard that is my hanging tree. 

Nan didn't have glad wrap/plastic wrap until later years.  She found other ways to cover food and pack Pa's lunch box.   I just made beeswax wraps over the weekend to be along the same lines...

Food on the table was covered in mesh or a netting throw.  Mimi got me back on to these! They are wonderful!

This was cooking by Chloe. 

I have been making my now kitchen towels for a few years mainly using recycled fabrics and the good ones I stitch on an edging.  

A lot of old sheets etc are turned into cleaning cloths. Beautiful soft ones are turned into handkerchiefs for times of bad colds and sickness.

These cleaning cloths were made up by Kelsey. I love them!  Nan also didn't have fancy cleaning products just a few basics and her house was always spotless.  She didn't have things like air freshener or scented candles either yet the house always smelled lovely! 

Another one is cloth to replace paper towels or serviettes/napkins to replace paper ones.  

She always did handiwork in the evenings and any time she sat down for a few minutes.  
I think of her when I crochet or knit.   I make cotton up into wash cloths and cleaning cloths.

We have chickens and grow some of our veggies and most of our herbs.
Baskets are used for everything from fruit picking to grocery shopping.  I have a basket in the car always!  Plastic bags are a big no no now but Nan never used them anyway!

My Nan would give me her change purse and I would walk to the corner shop with her basket and a list.  The shopkeeper knew her and I would walk back again with what she needed.  

Nan had ceramic cooking and storage dishes like corning ware,  pyrex, jars, tins...  kitchen storage jars were generally recycled jars.  Glass is back in again as everyone throws away their plastics now that it is found to leach chemicals into food.   So my op shop jars and recycled jars are in fashion too. (not that I care I have always LOVED them so much)

I recently got an old hand mixer so if the power is out I can still quickly mix up a batter or cake. 

I have sour dough bubbling and bread rising.   Roses drying and chicken marinating.  There are little domestic scenes in every direction!  The difference between my Nans and me isn't as much as I might have once thought.

More and more the simple things are beautiful to me.  I would rather be home making jam than on a jet.  I would rather a mending basket like Jane's than a fancy handbag. 

I am wondering what new things I will learn next year?  I am betting they will be old time skills.  The more of these we know the more prepared we are, the less we need from the store, the more we could manage without electricity, the more we save.   These are things worth working towards. 

This week I am going to be away at the farm.  I will post when I get back in about a week from now.  I am heading off on my own, op shopping on the way of course, and Andy will be home here working and manning the fort.  It is a very important week as there are some big decisions that affect the family.  
I hope I can make up for my lacking posts with a big one when I get home! And I hope I will hear of a lot of your nest building when I get back too!

How have you lowered costs with re useable things or by learning to make things yourself?
What skills would you really like to learn next year?   I am noticing we have so many skills here between us all.  For 2018 I am looking at having lots of tutorials on new skills.   So let me know what you would like to learn! xxx


  1. Dear Annabel
    Have a safe trip. I am sure you will find some wonderful bargains in the op shops along the way.

    I don't have a clothes line - in fact have decided that I am not putting one up until we get our extension done. I have worked out the spot and my husband agrees. We are 'future proofing' our house - making it livable for our old age so it will be up on the same level as our house.

    My current clothes line is a Mrs Pegs line - it is on the front veranda where it not only gets the morning sun but also some of the afternoon sun as well. It can be folded up and popped away if needed but generally it stays up.

    I know I have a pattern for a cotton shopping bag - you may have seen them in the Eco store. It is an old pattern and one I have been meaning to find and make. When I saw it I was reminded of my grandmother.

    Yesterday I spotted a wicker shopping trolley on a blog post from someone else that I follow - it was from Adairs. My grandmother had a larger square based one that when we were little she would pop us in it to save our legs when she went to the supermarket. We would then walk home without complaint.I wish I knew what happened to it.

    We have a Moringa (drunstick) tree growing in the backyard, it is only small at the moment but I cannot wait until we can start eating the leaves - it will mean so much more to our health, hip pocket and environment-no more little bottles of vitamins. That is if it lives up to it's recommendation.

    I have a batch of cleaning cloths soaking so that I can use them - need to make up a new batch of miracle cleaner for other things around the house.

    I also have an old wringer bucket in the shed that I want to start using - who needs one of the new spinner buckets and mops that they advertise on TV?

    Bendigo Woollen Mills has cotton yarn reduced - they have some pretty colours.



  2. Dear Annabel,

    I have just dropped in to catch up on what has been happening with the bluebirds. There seems to be so much activity, you are such an inspiration. Unfortunately the year has slipped away from me and I am behind with many things, but that is okay.

    This is a great post. I have moved away from plastic although it is difficult to get away from completely. Call me old fashioned but I use many items that my grandmother once used. My kitchen is mostly full of vintage things which I love to look at and use. That is a great idea to put a basket in the car, and something I will try and do in the future :)

    Hope you have a lovely time down at the farm. I love spending time with loved ones. I will be visiting my parents tomorrow, as I haven't been over there in a while due to other commitments. Hopefully things settle down for me soon as Christmas is fast approaching.

    Blessings to you all,

    Love Tania xxx

    1. Dear Tania, You are set up so well and are more self sufficient than anyone else I know! So you are busy! There are many things that you are doing that I hope to as well.
      Have a lovely time with your Mum and Dad. I was so happy about your new Grandchild! They must be over the moon about this too!
      A basket plus scissors are so handy in the car. I come home with fruit, flowers and goodness knows what so often! Thank you Tania, with love

  3. Love your ideas. I absolutely love re-using and re-inventing. That is how my home is decorated.
    Have fun this week and find lots of wonderful goodies. Will be anxious to see what you get.

  4. Enjoy your time at the farm, Annabel. I help find presenters for our simple living group and, as we have been going for five years and have covered lots of topics, I am on the lookout for new things to learn too.

  5. Dear Annabel,
    This is truly a wonderful post. I grew up in the 1950's, born in the 1940's. Your post reminded me so much of my childhood and my grandmothers.
    As always, I love your pictures.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Thank you Glenda! I love everything about the 50s and 40s! Beautiful. xxx

  6. I love those hand cranked mixers. That's one of those things you don't think about till you need it. Have a wonderful trip t the farm.

  7. Love this post!

  8. I am with you all the way! My Mom used plates and saucers to cover bowls and I do that too. Enjoy your time away. Can't wait for the next post!

    I am wondering if any of you kindred spirits make rolled dumplings and freeze them. I would love to do them ahead to have on hand like the ones you can buy on the freezer case at the grocery store.

    1. Thank you Lana. I hope someone has an answer for you on the dumplings! Have a good week. Thinking of

    2. Lana, I make dumplings from scratch but never thought about freezing them. I don't know why it wouldn't work. I'll have to give it a try.

  9. Hi Annabel, oh I love simple, homemaking posts like this one! I also love the nostalgic comparisons. It is nice to think I'm doing some things similarly to both my Nans. Have a lovely time at the farm and goodluck with your op shop adventures on the way! Kelly xo

  10. PS. I forgot to say next year I want to learn to crochet and to improve at baking and bread making. I also want to make more time to actually sew some of the many ideas I have in my head of what I would like to make for my home and children. Cheers, Kelly

    1. Dear Kelly, Thank you! The best thing I found with sewing was to decide to do 15 minutes a day. It doesnt sound like much but it works! It means you do need somewhere to keep things set up though otherwise the whole time is used up getting ready. But I get so much done this way! Have a great week, with love

  11. Annabel I hope all the decisions made are the ones best suited to all. Enjoy the trip and the catch up with the family.
    This past week I have been busy putting swaps together and have enjoyed every single moment of it. I purchased nothing for the swaps but was able to give from what I already have.
    Katie and I have been busy putting together an engagement present each for one of her special friends. Katie is making the most wonderful coasters out of tiles and printed black and white photographs. I have been making a table runner and matching serviettes. Neither of us have much money so we are using what we have here at home. We are rethinking and reinventing.
    Bluey is in the shed restoring a lovely old kitchen cabinet. It would have been built somewhere around the 1940's. He picked this cabinet up at the tip shop. Bluey is an old fashioned carpenter who is having the best time bringing this gorgeous old cabinet back to life.
    In our nuclear family we have many skills that are old fashioned. We use these skills to live a wonderful blessed life on very little. We owe these skills to our parents and Grandparents and hope that we too can pass these on to our children and Grandchildren.

    1. Dear Jane, Im glad you enjoyed the swaps so much! I cant wait to see these coasters! Also the end result with this cabinet!
      Good point... we are lucky to have had wonderful teachers and now its our turn to teach! Its important stuff. Plus we can help each other with skills too! Have a really good week! With love

  12. What a wonderful post Annabel. thank you, and I hope you have a wonderful time away and get some wonderful rest, fun and find some nice bargain priced items in the op shops too.

    There are many things we have learnt this year being
    - making jam, breads and rolls in our bread making machine.
    - how to shop more efficiently and cheaper by being super vigilant in only buying things on specials if we can and if they usually do come on special.
    - Being more organised when we go on long trips away to church functions to preplan and pick up things like fuel and groceries at far cheaper prices than we can in our small country town.
    - How to recycle and use quilt covers to make curtains for our home.
    - learnt to remake our pillows so they last longer from older ones and save the covering fabric once soaked and cleaned for other sewing projects. I plan to make cloth dinner napkins from this fabric when I get some spare time.
    - found out that our roadside assist club sells gift cards that we can use for both our groceries and fuel which saves us an additional 5% and couple that savings with buying most grocery items on special or waiting for fuel to be at it's lowest price cycle.
    - Been more aware to save vegetable steaming, washing and dish rinsing water to use in the gardens to save on town water usage.
    - enjoying honing in my trading skills and swapping items we have for items we need in our home to save on costs.
    - through reading and experimenting learnt that our electric hot water system will stay hot for at least 48hrs plus and doesn't need to be on all the time saving money on electricity costs.
    - saved leaves in the yards and composted grass clippings to use for mulch in the vegetable garden beds instead of spending the money on buying hay, which is super expensive around here.

    What I would like to learn next year would be to -
    - Make my own clothing using recycled and or sale fabrics I can find.
    - Hone my trading skills more to save money on purchasing items we need in our home.
    - Increase all our food storage and other items needed for household use to a 12mth level.

    I would love to see some more tutorials too Annabel and am always open to learning new skills of any kind.


    1. Dear Sewingcreations, You have had such a productive year! You must be happy with this! It is a funny thing but I notice it all the time.... people who really want to learn new things are like sponges and soak it all up and apply it where possible. I think of this as a teachable heart. I have just wanted to have a teachable heart and be open to learning and trying new things. From this I feel the last few years I have been on a massive learning curve and it has been so much fun but also helped us in many ways so much! I really cant wait to see what is next! You think along the same lines I can see. With much love

  13. A wonderful post! Love your clothes line fancy end pole. I had a clothes line at our previous house. Called it my solar drying area. Love, love the crochet edges on your towels. Love the cleaning cloths. I want to try doing edges like that this year. Working at crocheting foldover pot holders. Where should I send pictures for the Christmas idea post? I will miss your posts but have a nice time away!

    1. Dear Nancy, I would love to see your photos. Send to me and they will be on the next Show and Tell which I think will be Wednesday week. I have a sort of tutorial on the crochet
      if this is any help! There is just so much you can do with these! Even tablecloths, curtains etc.
      Andy just built me this clothesline this year. I had one before but not nice like this! With love

    2. Nancy, I learned how to crochet edgings using Annabel's tutorial and have never looked back. I'm working on some Christmas pillowcases that I plan to crochet an edge onto next. Edgings are addicting!!!

  14. Dear Annabel,
    Well it has been a while since anyone has called me fashionable, unless it is old-fashioned lol! That's fine with me. I agree with everything you said. The old ways are the good ways and there is a reason they are called "sustainable." Plus I think there is so much beauty in them, as everything you describe just paints a lovely and loving picture. I think your Nans would be proud.
    Thank you for showing my cleaning cloths in such a wonderful post! They work great. In fact they are hanging on my indoor clothesline right now! Our giant puppy thinks my outdoor clothesline is a whole lot of fun, so I haven't been able to use that in a while. Not so thrifty when your clothes are chewed up and strewn all over the yard.
    I have been learning lots of new skills, John is making sure of that! I am looking forward to what you have planned for next year and the tutorials, too.
    I hope you enjoy your trip to the farm and the op shopping along the way!
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey, I love your cleaning cloths! You present things so nicely. This all makes ordinary things like cleaning a lot nicer!
      The opportunities for doing things yourself with a baby are so many! And big savers. I think when it comes to baby food etc this is all much healthier too. I love that you have embraced the simple life and like you said in another comment about kids play, cubbies and outdoor activities too... these are similar to me... back to basics and wholesome. We need more of it! With love,

    2. Dear Kelsey, your cleaning cloths look great! What type of fabric did you use? I am going to make some shortly & was wondering what fabric combo works best. Many thanks, Kelly

    3. Dear Kelly,
      Thank you so much! I used flannel for both sides of the cloth. The dust really sticks to it well. Next time I make some, I will probably sew them right sides together, turn them right side out, and top stitch the edges, as opposed to sewing them wrong sides together and pinking the edges. It seems like the edges still come unraveled a bit in the wash. But they work wonderfully! I followed the tutorial (except for cheating by pinking the edges) on the blog Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth. Look for the "un-paper towels". Happy sewing!
      Love, Kelsey

  15. Dear Annabel,
    You are such an inspiration. I purchased some wax wraps last year and they are great for wrapping cheese. How do you make yours? It's great to hear we are in fashion!

    1. Dear Barb, I am going to post a tutorial in a couple of weeks time as I took photos as I did it. They were pretty easy but I have to buy odd things like pine resin and beeswax etc. I made enough though for our household and several presents. So it worked out ok. I really like them and they will cut down on plastic wrap for sure! Thank you for your kind words Barb! With love

  16. Annabel,
    Prayers go with you on your journey this week.
    Isn't it funny how what was a norm years ago is now looked at as trendy. Your Nana would be so proud of all you do.
    I think I was born in the wrong century at times because "the old ways" are my norm.
    Saving money in everyway possible shopping for everything from food to clothing. Mending clothes so they last longer and when they are at their end saving buttons, zippers, snaps off them and cutting the fabric for sewing projects, towels or rags. I remember my Mom having me iron her rags so she could fit more into the rag drawer. Or carefully taking a good zipper out of a piece of clothing to be able to reuse it in a new project. My husband laughed when I took our old suitcases that were battered and torn and saved the zippers and mess bags from inside. (My answer was, well you never know and a zipper this size is over $10).
    I love your clothes line, I always had one till this house, the town frowns on them. So unfortunately I can't have one outside, but looking into a large clothes drying rack I can set on patio next year.
    I have gotten back into making homemade bread since weather is getting cooler, it is so much better for us. Just thinking of all the goodness in a loaf of pumpernickle bread.
    Everything we do more at home is so much better for us, health wise, savings wise, and soul wise.
    Love, Rosanne

    1. Dear Rosanne, I think you nailed it with "soul wise" as that is true... slowing things down and doing things simply is good for the soul.
      Your knowledge and ways means you could manage in all kinds of circumstances... maybe even write a book! Thank you so much Rosanne, with love,

  17. Annabel, I absolutely love your clothesline. Mine is two steel posts with steel cross arms. It does the same thing just not as pretty as yours. In fact I have bedding drying on mine right now. I love to crawl into a bed with clean sheets that have been dried outside. One of the things I want to try and learn in the next year is to make lye and then make soap. I have been looking in the thrift stores for silicone molds to use. I know I can make them in loaves and then cut them into bars. So if I don't find any molds, I'll use a loaf pan. Have a good trip out to the farm. Paula in Kansas

    1. Dear Paula, I got some moulds on eBay and they were so cheap with free postage! I was amazed how good they are!
      I also love sheets off the line. They have a feel and scent that you only get with line dried sheets! Sunshine has a smell which sounds mad but its true! Its glorious.
      I don't know how to make Lye yet but have loved soap making so I am sure you will too! With love

  18. Note to Barb if she will. Where did you buy your wax wraps? Thank you. Nancy

  19. This is a beautiful and so timely post! I love the edging on the towels. I need some sourdough starter, wish I lived closer!

    1. Dear Chrissy, I regularly offer to post out starter and I don't mind if you are overseas. I just posted out a dozen batches yesterday! I will offer again in the new year and get busy drying some more so I will be glad to send you some. It starts up very easily and is wonderful starter. With love

  20. Dear Annabel, what a beautiful post, and one that truly speaks to my heart and soul. I know exactly what you mean about a domestic scene in every direction. I too, love this more than going out shopping and coffee-ing. The simple things in life are the best for a good reason...they cost less, they're better for your health and relationships, they teach us things we'd never otherwise know about our own capabilities, and they set us up for the good times and the bad. It's been my strategy for many years, to learn two new skills every year. Those can be anything. Last year it was general homespun things, from soap to cake decorating. This year, it's been more about looking after and valuing myself as my youngest child finishes her schooling. That's an important skill too, I think. Lovely, soothing, gentle post. Thankyou. Enjoy your break. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, I wonder what we will be lining next year?! It is exciting. It is funny I can spot more and more things that are "new" yet are old ways. One other is team outs and brewing tea without tea bags as now people are fining out the fabric in tea bags is questionable... and a pot of tea tastes better. And another... everyone is composting and up cycling etc. It just goes on and on! It is really kind of refreshing! A store near us that sells garden soil and so on had chickens today and they cant keep up with chickens apparently and we are right in the city. Lovely!
      Perhaps cake decorating can be on my list for next year, you have inspired me very much with yours! With love

    2. Yes, so true! All the skills we learned at our Grandmothers knee, are back in vogue. That's something to be mindful of, now that WE are the Grandmothers. The cake decorating is something that would come naturally to you I think. You have such a lovely way with everything. Love, Mimi xxx

  21. Annabel, you are speaking to my heart with this post. I love the slower, gentler ways and like so many others have posted, I want to concentrate on learning more of those ways. I have a clothesline but it's not as pretty as yours! My prayers are with you this week as you contemplate which direction your family's future will take. Enjoy and be safe!

  22. Dear Annabel,
    I hope your respite trip is lovely and refreshing. I also pray for clarity on your decisions and peace once they are made. Thanks for all you do, your blog is a bright spot for me.

  23. What lovely photos and post as always! I like the idea of continually increasing our knowledge and abilities in and around the home. We can certainly create a tremendously satisfying and delightful home life, regardless of our circumstances. Every year we get to build our skills and knowledge more and more. How exciting to think of all the fun and blessings that these humble things provide for us and for our loved ones! Love, Teresa

  24. Thank you for a lovely post Annabel. A washing line like yours is on my wish list for our next house. Have a good trip and happy hunting at the op shops!

  25. Hiya Annabel and friends,

    I love the photos, as usual! I hope your trip to the farm is lovely and you come home with all sorts of goodies from your op shopping!

    xx Jen in NS

  26. Posts about the 'olden days' always speak to me! Tho' I was a 60's baby, I spent a good deal of my young life with my grands and definitely depression era rooted! I know that their lifestyle rubbed off on me in many ways.

    It's so funny that you should mention that glass is back 'in'. When I started noticing things all moving to plastic jars, I started hoarding glass in my basement storage area! My husband kept asking me why I was keeping it all and I pointed out all the plastic taking over the world! He sees now how I use it for all kinds of storage.
    As my plastic breaks, I don't replace it.

    I think my future challenges involve rug making and bettering my sewing skills. I did a lot of sewing earlier this year, but I'm looking to get even better. I'm also determined to learn how to crochet those pretty little borders on things!! With all the embroidery I do, it seems like a skill I should master! My hankies would look so much prettier with it!

    1. Dear Debby, Embroidery and crochet edges are a match made in heaven! They are easy to do, like anything once you get going it becomes pretty easy! I am the same, a 60s baby but of course this means our Grandparents were WW2 and depression survivors! I wish I could ask them more questions now! But I did learn some things from them!
      I would love to do rug making... this might go on next years list! With love

  27. I love your clothes line. I have one too, just not as ornate.

  28. Such inspiration and beautiful pictures! Yes, I try to do things the way my grandmother would have.

  29. "I would rather be making jam than on a jet." I love that!

    This post so sums up what this blog is about. And what draws us all here to add our appreciation and our exciting discoveries. What we all seem to be discovering though is that we can learn and do more than we ever thought possible. The desire to become more like the woman of excellence in Proverbs 31 stirs us to achieve greater heights. It also drives us to seek the Father's approval and to be a blessing to our families.
    Many of us have felt the hurtful darts of jealous women. We hear, "that's too much work, why bother?" How do we explain? I truly believe we Bluebirds and those like us experience a level of satisfaction that many of our counterparts do not because we are creating a delightful home life as Teresa points out.
    What a blessing to be a blessing!
    Thank you, as always, Annabel. Blessings to all you ladies as you seek "the more excellent way."

    1. Thank you Leslie! I read this several times. Having been away I am behind on replies sorry! I am so pleased this resonated with lots of us and I feel more and more like it .... that as you say I would rather work towards being a Proverbs woman and the more I do the more content I am! Many thanks for your kind words! xxx

  30. Thank you everyone for your wonderful posts on this subject. I have had the best time catching up and reading what is here. I am finally home and have no hope to catch up but will post tomorrow a kind of catch up of what I have been doing! I hope you are having a good new week! xxx


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