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.

Thursday 11 January 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 12th January, 2018.

I am so glad I write things down!  Sitting here going over my week it seems like forever since last Friday!  It was a big week!

This is our fruit season and I had worried about this year as most of the trees that have provided us fruit belonging to neighbours and had all been cut down.  I prayed that I will still end up with fruit but I did not expect such big results!  And I still have more coming!
First of all I had the plums that I shared on Monday from my Aunt.  Most days I have been making something with those.

So far I have made lots of jam and it is just beautiful.   

I made crumble and stewed up big pots for stewed fruit.  I have frozen containers of these which I will use for the rest of summer.    Chloe will be here over the weekend and she will take some home and I am making my use it up fruit cakes tomorrow to take care of some more!

On the way home from my Aunts I went to a fruit shop and they had big bags of cherries out on an amazing special.  I love cherries so much and it is nothing for them to be $20 a kilo ($10 a pound) so I bought a five kilo bag!   (I got them for $4 a kilo)  So then I had a car load of plums and huge bag of cherries!  
These were so good and we lived on them for days.  I stewed up most of them which is exactly like tinned black cherries. 

The syrup is beautiful and the colour gorgeous!

Lucky I have Mum's freezer space which is about full after all of this! 

On Tuesday I headed off to see Hilde and do my further afield grocery shopping.   These days have been paying off so much.  And Tuesday was another success!   I found a new fruit and veg shop to try.   A lady told me about it on Facebook!   Well, this was a fantastic tip!   I ended up with half cases of strawberries for $4.  I have never seen prices like this.  These prices were about one tenth local prices.

I couldn't believe it!  I also got apricots for the same price.
This store will be on my regular circuit from now on! 

Other savings that day were hair colour for 33c a box as opposed to the normal $20 each.  I got 12 just to put away and keep me going for ages.  This alone was a saving of $236.   
Also shampoo, conditioner, volume spray all for equally tiny prices. 

I had afternoon tea with Hilde who gave me lemons and for my Birthday she gave me a vintage tea set which is just gorgeous!  It has little pink roses on a lemon background.  I just love it!

The lady I met on Facebook who had told me about the fruit and veggie store....  this was a funny one.  We both belong to a household organisation group.  She had posted that she was wondering where to donate lots of old linens.   I saw this and wrote to her and told her my daughter is having a country wedding and we are collecting vintage linens for projects we are making for this.   I sent her photos of how it is going to look.  I thought this was a wild long shot!  Also that she probably lived too far away.  She wrote back and said she had just what we needed and it turned out she lived fifteen minutes from Hilde's!  I couldn't believe it!  
So my next stop was her place on the way home.   I made a friend!  She has a beautiful home with a huge pantry!  She grows veggies and herbs.  She sews!  She was just lovely!  And the linen!  There was lace, embroidery and everything we need.  
On top of this she gave me a stunning Shabby Chic style mirror!  And olives she had picked herself. 
This was all too good to be true and once again I didn't get murdered meeting someone I met on a Facebook page! haha. 
Chloe is coming up tomorrow.  I can't wait for her to see all of these supplies for her wedding projects!   Then the sewing will begin!

Back home I have had my work cut out.  The apricots needed using first.  I stayed up late Tuesday night and made most into jam.  It is a beautiful colour.  

There are so many uses for jam all year.  Also a collection of jams is a lovely gift.  I thought I would never get to bed that night.  There I was making jam and I had a car load of unpacking to do which just had to wait!

Next I needed to work on the strawberries.  We ate some fresh for a few days and then I cooked up a huge amount.

The smell of them cooking was just beautiful.   So now I also have strawberry jam. 

The tree in the lane kept producing ripe nectarines and I picked about 13 kilos this week.  Luckily these will last a few more days before I need to use them.  

I packaged up dried roses and petals for a swap.  They look so nice in their box ready to go! 

Each day we picked cherry tomatoes.   I am using these up fresh in salads most days.  

My parsley is going to seed everywhere.  I started to pick the seed heads to package it up to include in the next swap party.

I need to count my total number of jars of jam and containers of stewed fruit... then I can finish adding up my Vicky Challenge.  It will be a good week!

Andy worked on a couple of projects towards his part of the Vicky Challenge but they will get included when they are finished, next week I think.

I am taking part in a book study with Patsy.  We are reading The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The first chapter is "Make Hay while the Sun Shines"  so I finally found out where that came from.  I guess that is what I have been doing this week!  

On Wednesday it was my Birthday.  We went to the beach in the evening.  It was so beautiful.  The water looked like a mirror and I snapped this photo before we left...

My sewing challenge is going ok but I missed two days due to fruit!   I will share what I have been making next week.  

I hope you had a good week!  How did you save, get ahead and feather your nest?
How are you going with your goals and challenges?  
How are you making hay while the sun shines?  Some of us are in heat and some of us are in freezing conditions!  We have to just go by the season we are in!

Have a wonderful weekend.  I am baking and working on the fruit I still have... and this is before the peaches in the lane are ready.   I never knew of this tree or the nectarine tree until I started my nightly walks.  To my amazement it appears no one picks any of it.  So now my nightly walk includes carrying a big basket! xxx



  1. Dear Annabel, what a profitable week you have had with the fruit and then making a new friend and getting all those linens. I was lucky with linen too this last week, a friend said she was getting rid of linen and would I like it for making the animal pouches. So I snapped up set of sheets and a quilt cover which has been washed and dried and partially cut out for the hanging joey pouches. I was amazed at the quality and wear in the linen, it was beautiful. I got the ladder out and got up as high as I felt safe on my own and picked 10 plump avocado's from my tree. If we keep them in the fridge and get one out each day, they ripen so we have an avo a day. Speaking of fruit in laneways, we had visitors the other day and commenting on our avo tree, she said in the lane behind her work was a huge passionfruit vine and avo tree and she said she was the only one that took them. She left that work (which is in my little village) and I thought I might walk past and check out the passionfruit. I wouldn't take avocado as we have so many.
    I love the sound of Chloe's country wedding, I can see it in my mind. It will be amazing. Hilde sure got you a great present too.
    I must ask you what your vicky challenge total was for 2017. I read a $30,000 total but from memory that was Vicky's???? Not sure. Anyway I couldn't find it. Would love to know how you go.
    My sewing challenge is off to a good start - 11 things made in 11 days!
    Have a great weekend, Fi xx

    1. Dear Fi,
      Well my 2016 Vicky Challenge was thirty something thousand.... $22000 was from painting my won house as I was quotes 25 and it cost me three... mind you A LOT OF WORK and a ruined arm... haha I thought this year would be less but I counted a couple big things... one was saying no to the insurance company and asking for a payout, it took ages and was stressful but it benefitted us by $10,000! Also doing the bathroom ourselves saved $8000. My total was $44000. I can list my savings each week! It sounds too good to be true and it was mostly small things!
      You have avocados! I would love that! I would also check out that passdonfuit for sure! Id be there!
      Have a good new week! So much to do so little time! With lots of love,

  2. Dear Annabel,
    What a blessed and productive week you had. The fruit looks gorgeous.
    Right now, we are in winter, but looking at your fruit brings me hope for more produce this summer. I am hoping our elderberries, cherries, apricots, and plums do better this year.
    The Little House on the Prairie series is one of my most favorite to reread. The Long Winter and Farmer Boy were my two favorites of the series. My husbands family married into the Wilder family in New York. There is a Hadley Wilder road to this day.
    Do you water bath can your jam for longer shelf life?
    Love and hugs,

    1. Thank you Glenda! I am fascinated by your elderberries! Now you have mentioned Farmer Boy I will read that. I think I will work my way through the whole series. You are related! Ill be asking you more about this!
      No I have never water bathed jam... it is not the norm here, at least I have never heard of it locally. It keeps for several years at least by which time it is always gone... if it lasts that long! With love

  3. Dear Annabel, I soooo love your posts of hand picked fruit and jam making. They just make my heart sing. You had a great week, and must feel a real sense of achievement! We've had a good few Cumquats and Figs coming on this year, and our Kaffir lime leaves find their way into Thai salads and curries several times a week. And yesterday, I ate our first home grown, and absolutely delicious, pawpaw (papaya). We do not have your abundance yet, but hoping soon! I've had a couple of really tired weeks, but still got the essentials done, and am giving myself a quiet time. Sometimes, that in itself is an achievement! Lovely post. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, Industry in the kitchen is very happy. I love photos of produce, cooking, baskets of goodies and jars of preserves, to me they are beautiful. I hope to get figs at some time, I better ask Chloe how the figs are going! I hope lots comes your way as I know you also make the most of it. Many thanks! With love

  4. Those cherries look amazing! And how totally cool that you have found a new friend. What a blessing!

    1. Thanks Little Penpen, It was a good week! xxx

  5. Hi Annabel,
    Your fruit looks delicious. I love how you get the utmost from it all. Home made jam and baking is always so much tastier. It astounds me how so many people will ignore such wonderful resources on their own doorstep. I wonder if people create their own "time poor" situations some of the time. Busy working all week and then busy all weekend. I cannot function like this. If I have a busy weekend out and about, then my next weekend has to be a quiet, at home one. I need this to be able to re-charge physically, mentally and emotionally.
    I have been writing down my daily spending in my diary since the 1st of this month. I do have a spreadsheet but my diary is quick and easy to access. I want to see where I can cutback on the spending leaks.
    Having said that we have spent big this week. All of it planned and paid for. We have had our car serviced and 4 new tyres put on, along with the brake fluid flushed and air conditioner replaced. All up $707. This was a priority before we go away on holiday next month. With an 8hr drive we want the car to be safe and ready to go.
    We have also purchased a new bed, mattress protecter and cool gel pillow for me $3000 all up. I am so looking forward to the new bed as we have got one with less partner disturbance, with the individual coils. I am not the best of sleepers so I hope this will help. While we have purchased the bed we wont pay for it until next year. The money is already saved in the bank but this way it stays there on the mortgage and helps cut the interest we pay in the mean time. We could pay it tomorrow if needed.
    I am really enjoying your posts as always Annabel. You put so much time, thought and love in to them and its so very much appreciated.
    Have a great weekend Annabel and bluebirds. I look forward to seeing what Andy has been up to in the Vicky challenge.


    1. Dear Mandy,
      I also cannot function being out or running around all the time. I had the day out Tuesday and that was enough for me although I babysat the girls as well and have little outings to the shops or to see them etc. It is very soon too much time out and things go downhill rapidly...
      Getting your car well sorted is a good thing and wise before a trip.
      A new bed is also a very good investment! A blissful bed is about the best thing ever!
      Thank you for your kind words! I hope you have a great new week! With love

  6. Annabel happy belated birthday for Wednesday. Love the photo at the beach. It is too hot here to cook as we don't have aircon and I am amazed at what you are preserving at present. As I have cut back on sugar I don't make jams etc anymore unless it is sugar free and then has to be kept in the fridge. I can't wait to see what you come up with for Chloe's wedding and I am sure it will be sensational.She is fortunate to have such a creative family. Have a restful weekend.

    1. Dear Nana Chel, Thank you! We have LOTS of wedding sewing to do but I think it will be very pretty.
      I find jam a great gift and my Dad loves plum jam so I made some for him first. I traded jam for eggs with Chloe. Now I have a lot lined up so much of this will be gifts i.e. three types of jam in a little basket with some herbs or something! I eat some but not much... I also like to add a dollop to muffins or biscuits or little cakes as it looks so pretty!
      I cant wait to see what classes and new skills you are on to this new year! With love

  7. Hi Annabel,

    Hope you had a lovely birthday. The jam looks really delicious. I have been thinking of making some, after reading your blog I have decided to do some this weekend.

    Marian Russell

    1. Dear Marian, If you have the fruit then go for it! If I do little bits I do it in the microwave as the colour is so pretty but big batches I do on the stove top. I am still going here, now on to nectarines! With love ps what are you making now!? I know you will be on to your gift making again! xxx

  8. Dear Annabel,
    I haven't commented for a bit. Had my knee replacement surgery on Dec. 22. Although the surgery went well, it and the recovery have been more difficult than I had anticipated. Quite a few have been praying for me. I am confident that the Lord will see me through. My husband has been a great help. Some friends and family have brought meals. We've made simple meals and a few meals I had tucked in the freezer. They sent me home from the hospital with a large fabric cover with elastic and Velcro straps and two hot/cold inserts. We have been using the ice packs, which really help with the pain. I'm glad for the help now and looking forward to having them in my first aid supplies. My daughter said they also work well when taking hot or cold food places.
    I took advantage of online shopping to get a few items we needed and was thankful to find several discount coupons and e-coupons for free items. My husband was able to just show up and have the order loaded into our car.
    This is citrus time in Arizona. Although it's a smaller crop this year, we have been enjoying fresh tangelos. Quite a few flowers are blooming nicely. I was able to pick a handful of tomatoes. The romaine lettuce is growing nicely, but not yet ready to harvest. Between a beautiful rain we had the other night and cooler weather, the plants need much less care.
    The photo of the beach on your birthday is beautiful! I am so glad you had a happy birthday!
    All that fruit looks so yummy! You are doing a great job keeping up with it all, too!
    I've had quite a bit of time to read and am enjoying getting back into more Bible reading. When I am getting around more, I would like to start attending a Bible study again. I'm also reading The Long Winter. My mom had given our kids a boxed set of the "Little House" books which I've been intending to pass along to the youngest grandchild. Since they are still here, I'm enjoying reading this one and may read more.
    I hope you have a lovely weekend. Thank you for all of your encouraging words and beautiful photos!
    Love from Arizona,

    1. Dear Elaine, It is good to have surgery over and done with but it can be really hard. I hope things are going better now. It was good you had some meals in the freezer! Online shopping also has its advantages in these times!
      Citrus! We get good winter citrus which I always think is like a ray of sunshine! Also the blossoms smell so nice!
      Today I finished the plums finally and tomorrow Im on to the nectarines! I think I need to read all the little house books. I saw some of the TV series when I was young but that is all.
      Thanks so much for everything Elaine, have a good new week! With love

  9. Happy birthday for the other day Annabelle. Wow, what a busy week you have had!

    1. Thanks so much Earthmotherwithin! It really was a big week! But good things! I am still going on fruit too! xxx

  10. All that fruit and the jams and preserves you made with it look absolutely delicious! I am tickled that you made a new friend and got some lovely things for your daughter's wedding. :)

    1. Thanks Debbie! It was a big week but so nice! Have a good new week to you! xxx

  11. I'm envious of your wonderful fruit but even though we are in the middle of a long winter, there are still opportunities that I'm finding to add to our pantries!
    I have added 8 pints of black beans and 8 pints of kidney beans to my shelves by pressure canning more of my dry beans! When I do this, we actually use our beans in meals rather than having them just take up real estate in the basement as dry beans!
    We built and sold a soap mold to a client and she gave our business card to another soap maker and this ne one has ordered display cases for her soaps like the ones we made our other client! After marketing a modern wooden bench that we built over the past 8 months, I happened to realist it for sale online and within an hour someone had come and bought it for the full price! Sometimes, it's just timing!!
    We were paid for an end table leg repair. With each sale for our business, we take a percentage to keep in the business and also tithe on the gross profit and the rest of our wages for the project, 50% goes into savings account and 50% goes to pay off debts. We also do the same thing with our personal checking account. We zero out our balance when the new paycheck direct deposit arrives and the excess gets divided in half- 50% to savings and 50 % to pay down debt!
    We ate all of our meals at home and used leftovers for lunches!
    Our chickens have not slowed down in their production this winter and are given us almost 4 dozen eggs/week! Currently we have 17-1/2 dozen refrigerated! Looks like I need to start making some egg dishes!!
    I have been doing a no spend food budget for Jan, buying as little as possible. Instead of my budget alloted $150, I only spent about $30 with extremely good prices on things I use regularly. I stocked up on 10 canisters of baking cocoa, 72 cans of cream soups and 5 blocks of extra sharp cheddar cheese! We certainly have been guided to exceptional clearance prices on things that will expand our pantries!
    From my sewing stash, I made a nine patch quilt using vintage hand pieced blocks from the 1930's that I was given from an state sale. I have a second one started. These will be for sale on our business site.
    All in all, a really good week of savings!

    1. Dear Gardenpat,
      OH the soap display boxes sound really good. I haven't seen them so I better go nosey on your store... anyone who makes soap would be interested in these!
      I don't know how the chickens cope with such cold! But obviously they do! I thought the way you wrapped up the coop was a good idea. Eggs are so useful!
      Your stocking up on great deals is awesome! I am still dealing with fruit but I am not complaining it is a good problem to have!
      I hope you have another excellent week after a peaceful and restful Sunday! With much love

  12. You've done so well Annabel, both finding free fruit and also those bargains. Your hard work will certainly pay off with big savings and lovely desserts etc in the future.

    1. Thank you Maria! Today I am making plums into my use it up fruit cakes with yoghurt. The yoghurt is the left overs I often freeze. I love making these cakes they look so pretty. Have a lovely weekend! With love

  13. What a wonderful week you had! Friendship, abundance of fruit from many sources, and other bargains. Wonderful! And happy birthday too!
    I found canned pumpkin on a huge clearance sale. I bought 10 cans for $5 total. I make a huge batch of gluten free pumpkin chocolate chip bread or muffins at least once a month. Have a great weekend Annabel and lovely Bluebirds!

    1. Dear Teresa,
      Well done on stocking up when you found a good sale!
      Cookie gave me a recipe for grain free pumpkin pancakes and I am trying these. I love pumpkin! Many thanks, with love

  14. Happy belated birthday! All that fruit is such an amazing blessing. I'm so excited to see and hear the wedding plans as they progress. My son got married on Sept., and we may have a daughter's wedding to plan before too long. I make cakes, and if I were close by, I'd love to gift your daughter a lovely wedding cake. I don't think we can ship one from the USA. haha. Whenever you say that you have no cake decorating skills, I always think how easily you could learn. My goodness, your fresh roses on cakes are just wonderful. You have such an eye for color and beauty! You just a few tips and practice and you'd be set!

    I got two bags of pecans from a sweet lady at church. They are so fresh tasting. I tried and loved the new Green Giant zucchini "noodles." I'm counting that as a savings because I've thought about buying a spiral cutting gadget, and now I don't have to purchase one. I actually just cut my home grown zucchini into chucks and cook it then put my meat sauce on it. I do like the zoodles in the winter, though, and for fun. I'm working hard on quitting diet sodas. I have found out that I love green tea. Hot, with lemon, unsweetened. I got a large pack of tea bags at the Dollar Tree, so that is a savings for sure! (I wasn't sure I'd like it, but I thought it'd be fun to try for a dollar.) My daughter found Toll House chocolate chips for a dollar a bag. She picked me up 10 bags. That's more than half price.

    I hope to participate in the next swap party. I needed time to think about what people could use and wouldn't cost excessive amount to ship. Happily, I have a few ideas now.

    I don't comment often, but I read and fully enjoy every post. Your blog brings sunshine to my gray winter skies!

    1. Dear Amy, If only we did love near each other! I would love to learn from you and your help on the cake! Thank you for your encouragement on this. I love to use fresh flowers as you've noticed as their beauty is my help on cakes! As time goes on I might work to learn more on this, with Granddaughters birthdays etc. Mimi makes beautiful cakes and so Im encouraged by what she does also. And the cost! Well this skill is a big savings. My friend Ethel who passed away... she was a wonderful are decorator and supplemented her income so much this way.
      I am so happy about your tea drinking. Green tea is wonderful. I think you have to try different teas until you find one you love and how you like to drink it. Once you do then its fantastic. Also I like a pretty porcelain tea cup... it sounds mad but it tastes better from fine china! And I like a little teapot too but don't use one all the time. Now if I am thirsty or tired I FEEL like tea. This is a great swap over soda. Well done.
      I would love you to be in the swap. Shipping is the issue!
      Thank you for your comment and encouragement! Sometime please do show me some of your cakes! With much love

  15. Hello Annabel and beautiful bluebirds :) .

    Annabel what a beautiful bounty of fruit you have got and you have done so well in increasing your pantry and also increasing the pantry of your family.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $283 this week including earnings from internet sales.

    Financial -
    - Banked another $141 into our house deposit bank account this week.

    Earnings -
    - Made $3.56 from the sale of broad bean seeds saved from our gardens on the internet.

    Savings on eBay listing fees -
    - Took advantage of a free listing promotion on eBay to list 10 items saving $16.50 in listing fees.

    Homemade cleaners -
    - Made 4lts of our own citrus vinegar with purchased vinegar and orange peels from juicing oranges in the home saving $14.94 over buying general purpose commercial cleaners.

    Savings by doing things ourselves -
    - A builder friend offered us some free shade cloth he had used on a job and then took off which we said yes to. The sun beats in on the front wall of the house and heats up the house and it was very hot in here with no air conditioning. This week we used it to screen off the front veranda using what we had saving $166.20 over purchasing shade cloth and the pipe we thought we needed to anchor it top and bottom with.

    In the kitchen -
    - Made all meals and bread from scratch.

    In the gardens -
    - Harvested a 745g beetroot and 3.24kg of cherry tomatoes from the gardens saving $42.63 over purchasing them in the local supermarket.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week ahead everyone :) .

    Sewingcreations15 .

    1. Dear Sewingcreations,
      How good to get offered free listings on eBay and how smart to take advantage of this!
      I think the shade cloth is great. I used to live in a house that one side was hit by afternoon sun and really heated up. I had shade cloth put up all along and it made so much difference! I found stoping the sun hitting the wall so much was better than anything indoor blinds or curtains did. Although both would help.
      That was a great haul of tomatoes and I love beetroot! Beautiful.
      You had another good week! Thanks so much for posting your savings as it is so good to see your ideas and how this all accumulates! With love

  16. Hello Annabel, thank you for the great post. I would love to know where the fruit and veg shop is , I live in the Barossa Valley but would travel for great bargains like the strawberries. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and thank you for all the work you put into this site , i know you are inspiring many of my friends. Regards Delwyn Mostert.

    1. Dear Delwyn, Thank you so much! I lived near Greenock when I was a teenager! I was born in Gawler. I went to Kaunda High school!
      Ok this new place is OHalloran Hill fruit and veg at the end of the row of shops. I have only been there the once so far but the lady who told me says it is always good. Further south the one I go to is Adelaide Fresh. You can follow them on Fb to know the specials and that is good. Next door is Rite Price and they have some amazing things. Closer is the place on Marion road called Francos Fruit and Veg 4/ 531 Marion Road. That is usually very good. Mel S had some that were on the other side of town, one was a market at the Old Spot hotel I think I will try to find out. I also think it pays to get friendly with owners if possible and say you make jam/relish etc and if they have almost too ripe produce you want it. Some may help you out. I didnt have much time on the apricots however about three days on the strawberries.
      Thank you so much for your lovely words and encouragement, with love

  17. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    My goodness, it was such a whirlwind going back to work after the holidays. (I am so very happy to have a good job to go back to, it is just an adjustment!) The past 2 week's efforts:

    Cooking and food: For the past few years, we have had a tradition of staying in on New Year's Eve and making a nice meal together. It is romantic and fun, it keeps us off the roads when other drivers may have been drinking, and it saves a lot over going out, even though we usually have a special treat. I roasted a small prime rib of beef (about 4 lbs) and we had it with homemade potatoes gratin and veggies. Of course the meat was a bit expensive, but our celebratory meal cost more than $100 less than that dinner in a restaurant. (I hope maybe this idea might help others - it is a nice way to have an amazing meal without the big price tag,) There was loads left of everything and we then got to enjoy a little "special holiday food" for our first few days back at work after break. A batch of homemade waffles made a nice breakfast treat on NYE day, and there were extras for the freezer.

    I also made a big batch of spaghetti sauce and meatballs that we used for work lunches, a roast and potatoes, oatmeal for the freezer, and pulled leftovers from the freezer for weekend meals. I made turkey stock in the crockpot and froze the carcass from a roast chicken to make broth later. Baked goods from the freezer made good work snacks. All work lunches were brought from home both weeks ($270 saved).

    Aldi had some great prices on fresh produce, so I purchased a bunch of apples, oranges, bananas, potatoes, celery, carrots, and other delicious things that will keep well. (Ok, bananas do not keep well, but any that are not eaten up quickly will be made into bread or muffins.)

    Household: My husband snaked a slow-draining sink in the master bath, saving us the $200 it would be to have the plumber come out and fix it. He also fixed a piece of furniture, saving $600 over having to purchase a new one (the parts were only $7 at the hardware store).
    I cleaned and organized my desk and "craft dresser", which had gotten a little out of control. Now I can find all of my printed patterns in binders and see the top of the dresser!

    Shopping: I stocked up on lotion at a semi-annual sale (50% off), and also purchased some clearance grocery items for the pantry. We bought 3 new books at the thrift store for $7 (retail would have been about $45). Seeds were 40% off at the farm store, so we picked some up for this year's garden (breakfast radishes, bush beans, cucumbers, sunflowers, marigolds, lettuce, rainbow carrots, squash, bee and butterfly wildflower mix, snap peas). I am excited to plant this year, with these new treasures and the seeds I saved.

    Entertainment: We watched some dvds and read some books that were borrowed from the library.

    Personal care and education: Taking advantage of workplace tuition remission, we saved $600 (half!) on my husband's tuition for this semester. My husband also had a haircut at home ($15 savings).

    Crafts/gifts: Lots of knitting - I finished some worsted-weight house socks and made good progress on a long-sleeved sweater, a lace shawl, and a bulky-weight shawl that will be used for snuggling up in at home once it is finished. I wove in the ends on two finished shawls and hope to block them this weekend.

    My husband used a gift card to purchase a nice light for his workbench. I used gift money to buy cozy sheepskin-lined boots and some knitting reference books. (My feet are happy!)

    A friend sent me a box of books that she had read and a skein of beautiful yarn. Such a sweet gift.

    I hope everyone has a great weekend!

    1. Dear Kathy, I love your New Years Eve tradition. And you are right, we can celebrate with a really wonderful meal even with special ingredients and treats at a small cost compared to going out. Also I agree on avoiding the roads! You had a lot of great savings! I would love to see your knitting too and it sounds like you are getting a lot done!
      The yarn and books from your lovely friend was a bonus for the week! I hope you have had a good weekend and are ready for a new big week! With love and thanks,

  18. Annabel,
    Your fruit adventures this week are amazing. How beautiful your pantry will be and filled with all your love.
    So happy you found a new friend and were blessed with all the linen for Chloe's wedding.

    I am dreaming of summer and when I can go to gleam fruit and berries from nearby trees and woods. Winter here has been a reminder of how very cold it can get to be. Our storms this season have brought in high winds and seeing a house only 40 feet away was impossible. It reminded me of "The Long Winter".

    "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" is a perfect phrase to live by. I always felt There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1. One of my many visits to Op Shops here I was blessed with an embroidery work of Ecclesiastes 3:1 To say I was excited when I found it doesn't explain how I felt.
    It takes a certain type of woman to search for bargains, to not look at free food with a frown but a smile, to be willing to do the extra work that it takes. Annabel, you are truly a Proverbs 31 Woman!

    A Very Happy Birthday to you.
    With all my love,

    1. Dear Rosanne,
      Thank you! This is all beautiful and I cannot relate to anyone who wastes food, lets the fruit drop on the ground... not be grateful for it. I think if people don't want it why wouldnt they donate it? I cannot fathom...
      I love your point too about looking at blessings with a smile and not a frown! This reminds me of the posts by Jess about the blessings of work and the joy of work!
      Thank you, you paid me the highest compliment! With much love,

  19. Dear Annabel,

    Whoa! What a big week for you! I am excited and tired for you at the same time! :) Sounds like Chloe's wedding is going to be beautiful!

    Lots of my challenges for myself this year are "internal" ones and I am making good progress. I am very ready.

    Lots of love,

    Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, Your challenges sound interesting! I am glad you are making progress. Step by step and week by week archives a lot! With love

  20. Annabelle, what wonderful bounty! I love the way you don't let anything go to waste.
    I think you've addressed this before, but I couldn't find it. Why doesn't the jam mold if you only cover it with cellophane and don't refrigerate it? Is it your climate? I live in Georgia, USA and I wonder if it would work here. I've always sealed or refrigerated preserves and jam and always refrigerate after opening. Your way seems much more efficient.

    1. Dear Phyllis, Thank you so much! Well I think its our climate. In our state all my generations did jams this way and I had never heard of anything else. But Jane in Queensland told me she cans the jam and they have humidity there. For us here if the jam has set properly, the jars are sterilised and it is sealed immediately they also years usually. If the set is poor for some reason I will put it in the fridge and use those ones first. I have three jars like that this time from a small microwave batch. Also even the ones opened are not necessarily refrigerated after opening. It is funny this is just my normal and I never thought about it until I found out other places do things differently! I do think climate must be the major factor. With love

  21. Annabel, you've had an amazing 'fruit haul' week! What a boost your pantry is getting! I'm looking forward to your next pantry swap as I should be able to participate this time. I've not had alot of savings this week ... yet. Our local Sam's Club is closing and they are having a sale on what's left in the store so I'm hoping to score some good deals there.

    1. Dear Patsi, I hope you do get great deals at Sams Club. I saw a lot of people sad about this closing. I will be so glad to have you in the swap! There are a lot of possibilities even with envelopes and small parcels! With love,

  22. All the fruit is wonderful! Here it looks especially good since we are having such a cold, cold winter and we are in for it again next week. Strawberries were on sale last week at Aldi but the delivery truck was stranded in an ice storm so they did not arrive at the store. I love the story of the vintage linens and I know that the lady whose home you went to was happy to meet you, too, because you are so awesome. :)

    We have now passed the anniversary of my husband's coma and hospital time last year. It was rough but a dear one told us to just go ahead and cry it out and it was so healing. Now we move on!

    My husband is just finishing up a plumbing repair to my bathroom sink. We were quoted $325 for the job by a plumber. The parts were about $25 so we saved $300. I waited on some dental work until we got into the new year so a $1300 visit cost us $130. We bought 24 cans of soup for the pantry for $7. It has been so cold that I am glad to be able to grab some for lunches whenever we need a warm up. I extended our Sam's Club member ship for 3 months for free today. It had expired Dec 31 so this was especially nice. Hubby's previous employer had paid for it for all the years he worked there so I was really grateful for this freebie. An alternative medicine practitioner whom we have worked with for the last 7 years sent me an email this week and told me that she wants to treat my husband for no charge for as long as we need her. We have been so blessed over the past year by so many! A friend spent 11 months looking for the used car we needed and saved us almost half off retail last year, too.

    Have a good weekend, all!

    1. Lana, I just wanted you to know that you have been on my mind often lately and I am praying for you. I am glad to see that you have been blessed with things that make you happy and that your husband is able to do some of the repairs himself. That is such a joy.



    2. Dear Lana, I think the first year after a big medical crisis or surgery is a long one and when you get to the time of year it all happened it is kind of a strange anniversary and a bit scary. If you can see how far you've come it can be good though. Your husband did great on the plumbing! I am doing the same with dental work... I used up what my insurance would pay for last year and thought I will wait for the new year to do anything else!
      I hope your Sams Club is straying open I saw they are closing over 60 stores and it was unexpected.
      You had a good week.... I have also been thinking of you and praying for Ally and her family. With love

  23. Annabel,
    Thank you for your lovely blog.You inspire so many to live with joy! I look forward to delving into all of your wisdom as I read through your web site! I happened upon your powder puff post and am excited to make some of those for gifts! I didn't find the powder recipe yet so I need to look some more. Fun! Your thrifty lifestyle is motivating in the sweetest way. This January we are not grocery shopping except for milk, etc..What a savings! 2018 is the year of use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without! Thank you for investing your time in those of us who gather on this gift of the internet, It is well appreciated! May you know God's continued wisdom and blessings!

    1. Dear Nana Jan, I just love power puffs! As it turns out in my current sewing challenge I have more fur fabric so will probably make more. Last year I made pink ones. The powder recipes are on this post ...
      There are a couple of inexpensive options.
      Thank you so much for your encouragement! I would love to see your powder puffs in the next show and tell! They are quite a luxurious gift! With love

  24. Busy Busy, some beautiful canning. We have no fruit on our place. I'm am thinking of planting some type of grapes for jam. Any suggestions and how long until I would get enough to get a couple of can of preserves? I'm de-cluttering my nest, one pile at a time per week. that would be piles of fabric. Then taking some pieces of those and making something to make the nest more comfy. I'm trying to think of a name for this to share weekly, again any suggestions?
    Since I'm new here is the swap local or on line. That sound s very interesting. What all is included in the swap if it is on line. Gotta go start on the next pile and finish a baby quilt.
    Have a Blessed day

    1. Dear allthingzsewn, It seems to take a couple of years before the first fruits on most things and the third and fourth year enough to make it worthwhile! Depending on where you live make it known to everyone you want fruit and are prepared to pick it... so many people let their fruit go to waste here at least.
      I would love to hear what you are making from your fabric! I love a use it up challenge! I am trying to think of a name for it!
      If you have fabric to give away maybe save some for the next swap... small pieces may be suitable to post locally or larger bits might be if there is another Bluebird nearby you who could pick it up. I run it here, on the blog and in comments and I connect people up who make a deal to swap. I would love you to be part of it!
      Maybe "one stitch at a time use it up challenge!" With love

  25. Wow, what incredible bounty you have been receiving! Those fruit prices are amazing. It is a lot of work to get all that processed, but will be so worth it once you do. Haha, I always say after processing all of the apples from my trees that I never want to see another apple ever again, but that sentiment wears off as we enjoy pies, snacks, and apple cider vinegar through the year until the next harvest.

    1. Dear Chipmunk, Apples are so useful. I think there is more you can do with apples than any other fruit. We have a small apple tree but not enough fruit yet to do much! I love apple fritters, cake and muffins, apple sauce, baked apples... apples with crumble and pie. I am happy to have a baked apple for breakfast.
      I know I will be glad of the work Im doing now, we will be using fruit all year in different ways. It is great that you make apple cider vinegar also! With love

  26. You must have more than 24 hours in a day to get so much done and so beautifully. I must share an idea that a friend used for her daughter's wedding. While there was a small ,traditional cake for the couple , the guests were treated to a cake bar where the cakes had been made by neighbors and families of the bride and groom . My daughter's wedding was in the summer and we had the old timey paper church fans given out as guests arrived.

    1. Dear Honey,
      I love the fans! That is gorgeous. Also I love the cake bar! This is all making me excited for wedding plans! Thank you for your kind comment, I often run out of day... this is what I say when I run out of time! Today it is more of a case of being really tired! But I got my cakes done and they are looking good! I used up another two dozen plums anyway! With love

  27. Hi Annabel, how lovely to hear about the linen and all the beauty and excitement of the upcoming wedding. We had some great luck feathering the nest this week. Bought an as new cream Lucas leather lounge suite on eBay for $400 from an elderly couple who had always kept it covered. It is in perfect condition and looks brand new, this saved four thousand dollars on buying it new from Freedom Furniture (Still a current model they sell). Also on eBay picked up a pair of new white and bamboo stools for the kitchen for $17.50 because the box was damaged (who cares the box went into the recycling bin anyway), these were rrp $114. Even the hard to impress teens thought we did well (; We also got some great meat and dairy markdowns at the supermarket, and from the op shop a lovely top and cardi for $4 and a beautiful raised cake plate for $5. We have been harvesting lots of tomatoes from the garden to enjoy in salads. Hope you have a lovely weekend. Love Lisa xo

    1. Dear Lisa, What an amazing week! A leather lounge is a wonderful buy and what a deal! That is just fabulous! You had one good deal after another! I think it was your week!
      The teens are probably learning from you more than you realise. You will see them doing these things in a few years!
      These were all good ways I count as savings and also getting ahead. We are picking tomatoes daily too and I just love it! Have a great weekend! With love

  28. Dear Annabel

    I am late again in listing my frugal wins this week. I had a good week. This week I

    * Spent only $10 on groceries
    * Worked another an extra 5 1/2 hours above my normal roster
    * Cooked all meals at home and took lunch to work from home each day
    * A friend took my daughters and I out for lunch
    * DP bought me dinner one night
    * Picked Granny Smith and Fuji apples off our trees
    * Picked the last of the Blueberries off our bush
    * Picked Cherry Tomatoes off our bush and found another self seeded tomato bush growing
    * Planted some cuttings and bulbs in the garden gifted to me from a friend
    * Got paid extra from working three public holidays this week and put all of it into savings for the first week in March when the family budget is in deficit
    * Put more things up for sale and found more to load up this week
    * Fed the dogs food scraps from work
    * Collected refundable cans and bottles from work

    Been a full on week without having a day off work so I am tired but coping though my body knows it's limits. Looking forward to reading all your accomplishments this week

    Love Mel S

    1. Dear Mel,
      Your fruit trees are already producing and rewarding you! This is great.
      The extra work plus the public holiday pay would be a big help. Well done on doing this extra work. You already do a lot! I hope you get a rest as you need that too. Once tired I find it is hard to catch up! Last night though I slept and slept which has helped.
      You had a great week of savings on the groceries! Have a beautiful Sunday it is such a nice day! With much love

  29. Wow, wow, wow is all I can say about all of that wonderful fruit! What an absolute blessed week you have had. I so can't wait for summer now!
    Glad you made a new friend as well.

    1. Thanks Cheryl! I have been busy all weekend with fruit! Yes it is a big blessing. I am done with plums now and on to nectarines! Each day I do some more plus I gave Chloe quite a lot! I hope you had a lovely weekend and have a good new week! xxx

  30. How blessed I am by this site and all the ladies who share here! Annabel can share her victories in savings with all of us and we rejoice. How great it is to have sisters who see God in the everyday! So happy for you all in your savings and blessings. God is good!

    I had to renew my drivers license and needed a certified copy of our marriage certificate. So I tried to order one online. One site claiming it was official wanted to charge me $65 USD! Well, I prayed and asked my husband for help. We found the site of the county where we were married. I called the phone number listed. The woman gave me instructions and told me my total cost...$2.50 USD. Amazing, I saved $62.50!

    other savings: shopped at the Habitat for Humanity's Restore. They are a thrift store for housewares, building supplies and furniture. We purchased a lovely 7 foot tall armoire for $60 and two french style chairs for $5 each. All of these I intend to gussy up with paint, but all are well built.
    So glad us U.S. ladies can be inspired by your harvest in the depths of winter. We enjoyed cherries in syrup on our sourdough waffles this morning. Many hours of picking, pitting and canning those cherries...but what a blessing.


    1. Dear Leslie, Thank you so much! You are a great encouragement!
      What savings! I am LOVING the sound of this armoire. That sounds right up my alley as do the french style chairs! Oh my goodness!
      There you are enjoying cherries as a result of your work when you had them fresh! I hope this will be me in winter! Thank you so much for all your kind words Leslie! With love

  31. Dear Annabel,
    Oh what a blessing all those plums are! And the prices on the fruit you bought, such a good deal. You have been busy making hay while the sun shines, for sure.
    How wonderful to have made a new friend and get all those linens. A country wedding will be beautiful, especially with you and Chloe doing the decorating. My cousin who had the country wedding (with the sunflower field!) had big hoops covered with strips of vintage sheets hanging from the rafters in the barn where they had the reception. They were like chandeliers and it was beautiful.
    This week we installed smoke detectors in our home as this house didn't have any, so I feel good about that.
    We received a big bag of baby boy clothes from one of the guys in the fire department as he has a boy just older than John (who turned six months on Monday!) and he says there is more to come. This is a blessing as we don't have many clothes in bigger sizes.
    With part of my allowance, I purchased an anniversary gift for Colton that I bought on sale. I managed to keep it a secret and surprise him, though we had some really close calls :)
    I saved tissue paper from a gift I received and ironed it so it looks like new. I told some friends I did this and they looked at me like I was from another planet.
    I have been meal planning and keeping to the budget, using what we have on hand and shopping sales. My husband is doing a 60 day weight loss challenge with the fire department so this has required extra planning on my part, but so far I am keeping up and we are doing well.
    We (by this I mean Colton) dug up the invasive plant out of the front yard. This is part of January's to-do list in preparation for ordering grass next month.
    I canned 7 quarts of bone broth and dehydrated apple slices from apples we purchased on sale, 10 lbs for $2.
    I purchased a gift card to the craft store at 10% off, as we are planning a trip next month. It came out of my allowance for this month but I will get it back next month plus a few dollars for planning ahead.
    I made 6 cards last week from last year's calendar. And I finished my first ever knitting project! It is a washcloth and I am working on my second one now. They are for gifts, even though the first one turned out a bit wonky. It was a labor of love and I'm giving it anyway.
    We have a huge window upstairs that the sun shines right into. This lets in a lot of heat and has caused sun damage to everything near it over the years. Heavy duty thermal curtains are expensive so we opted for hanging painters' dropcloths. They work so well, are so much cheaper, and they look great!
    I haven't added up the savings but it looks like a good two weeks. We are doing well saving and have accomplished a lot on our lists.
    I hope everyone has a good week!
    Love, Kelsey

    1. Hey, Kelsey!
      Loved that your friend gave you a funny look over ironing tissue paper. Remember to follow your convictions on being a good home-keeper. I think all of us here have had some slur against us over being frugal. But oddly enough, those are the people that later share what an example you were to them.
      I am so proud of you! You are ahead of the game. You are developing good skills now, early in your marriage, rather than after finding yourself deep in debt.
      " A prudent wife is better than rubies"

    2. Dear Leslie,
      That is such a beautiful comment. Thank you so much for the encouragement. I feel like I have had criticism from all sides lately so that is just what I needed.
      Much love, Kelsey


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