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 19 April 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 20th April, 2018.

I started the week inspired by Sewingcreations, GardenPat, Kathy and others who consistently report incredibly productive weeks.  When I think of the word "diligent" I think of these girls and many of you!  There are blogs I read and that is what I like about them too.... they are busy getting stuff done!  

 I made a good plan on Sunday as I find doing this always helps my week and the last few I have not done that as I usually would.  That was first.  Then I hit the ground running on Monday.
This did help my week.  I arranged to go to see Hilde and shop the fruit and veggie shops and op shops near her.  This day of travelling further afield to shop always pays off.   The verse that says "she is like a merchant ship bringing home food from far away places"  comes to my mind even when I do a short trip like this!  For half an hours travel the savings are enormous.

Hilde and I had tea and exchanged recipes and plans!   We are both making Mimi's Limoncello recipe.  I am set with my lemons which we picked from her tree...

This is the lemon tree. It is hard to show that it is huge! 

The roof you can see on the right behind it is a really high roof as the house is on stilts!

We also picked herbs.  This is Hilde's parsley she has these everywhere as they have self seeded and come up in cracks...

I came home with herbs plus Thyme plants.   

In the local shops I bought hair products and colour at my usual amazing prices i.e. my hair colour for 33c a box (vs $19 each locally) and heaps of veggies.   I loaded up the car with Queensland Blue pumpkins,  sweet potatoes,  baby cucumbers for 99c a kilo (2.2 lb) and everything I need for lots of soup.

In the op shops I found six crystal glasses for $7.50 which was good as recently I broke a couple.
I always admire how Rosanne stocks up on household supplies in the thrift stores.  I have a list of things that I think are good to stock up on and one thing is sewing cottons.   These are surprisingly expensive here now.  
I found these...

They were all real cotton (not polyester) and each bag was 4 for $1.  Almost all of them were new full reels.

This is what I ended up with all 25c each...

Forty one reels all up!  I have never been so well stocked up!

Also I have been adding first aid books to each first aid kit.  I have one in Andy's van, one in my car.  I need another first aid book for the house.  I gave the girls each one for their own kits.  I do this because everyone relies on the internet for instructions assuming it will always be available and the power will always be on.   I found two very good home remedy books to add to my household medical cabinet for $3 each.

Having seen Rosanne's medical cabinet and followed her thrift shopping I was thinking she would be happy seeing these!   Thank you Rosanne for your encouragement! 

I also found in a new looking black box... a beautiful black Bible with gilt edges.  In perfect condition.  What a find!  I just love it. 

From that trip I also have a huge cauliflower that is becoming cauliflower cheese tonight.  
It was a wonderful day!

At home I had some other bargains including large Brie cheeses for $1.50.

My Flybuy points and vouchers came in the mail.  This is kind of the closest thing we get to coupons here.   I went online to redeem my points to dollars I can use in Coles. 

It turned out that I have $50 to spend!  I will turn that into at least $100 with half price items and specials.   So I am really pleased and I then sat and stuck my weekly vouchers into my diary for the next few months.  

I realised I have not been counting Andy's work lunches in my savings.  For a while he was working at home.  Now he works in the city in the mornings and at home from about mid afternoon and I am packing lunches again.  This saves $100 a week but he assures me most of the guys at work spend all over the $20 a day that I count.

I made a big curry in the crockpot and made a raita from Mum's mint and homemade yoghurt.

This gave us two dinners plus a meal to put in the freezer. It was so delicious! 

I need to add this all up for my Vicky Challenge.   Andy already added his up to be $440.   That is pretty darn good!

Today I am heading to Coles where I might convert my voucher to pantry goods if I see great deals... I have heard they are clearing many brands of shampoo and conditioner...  I decided I better check this out. 

I hope you had a good week.  How did you build up your nest,  get ahead or save?  
Have a wonderful weekend! xxx


  1. Oh my goodness you have had one very busy and productive week. By the looks of Andy's Vicky Challenge savings, so has he.
    We had Mum and Dad drive up and spend last weekend with us. We had a lovely weekend together. Katie, Mum and I had a girls day out and Mum shouted us lunch at Hogs Breath. It was really quite lovely and very filling. This will be their last trip for a while as Dad starts radiation treatment next week.
    The weather will cool down one day. All my lettuces have bolted and gone to seed. I am letting them fall over in the garden and am hoping that a few seedlings will pop up. I have been spreading homemade mulch, transplanting tomatoes weedlings, strawberry runners, bak choy and mango seedlings. Lemons and limes are being cut up and placed in cold water jugs. The corn is starting to form, as are the rozella fruits. Compost went onto the bananas and the asparagus plants. New spears have been coming up and havent made it to the kitchen as they are so yummy and crunchy.
    Bluey bought home a plastic tank in a metal frame. He cut this in half. I now have two raised garden beds full of veg doing very well. Counting the good soil purchased from our local nursery both these gardens came in at $40 each. All the plants that have gone in them were grown from seed, most of it saved. By the end of the season they will have paid for themselves.
    I needed flannalette for a project and have used sheets I purchased. The cloth is lovely and soft and there is so much of it. I also cut off the elastic of the fitted sheet and unpicked the casing. I have added quite a bit of elastic to the stash.
    When Mum was here, she admired the lazy susan that Bluey had made for our dining table. She jokingly said that when he runs out of things to do, a lazy susan would look lovely on her table. Bluey has made her one. I am thinking I might run it down to her for Mothers Day.
    I love busy and productive weeks. Time flies and things get done. It always makes me smile to see what we have achieved. Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane, It is lovely you had such a nice time with your Mum and Dad. I hope your Dad gets on well with his treatment.
      Your garden is sounding great! It is really paying off for you more and more!
      Sheets are fantastic, the volume of fabric is so much! When I see flannelette sheets on big specials I am tempted... I still have some op shop ones in reserve....
      Wow on the lazy Susan. Your Mum will love that! What a wonderful gift! Bluey is amazing.
      I hope you have a good weekend and it is cooler... we were lucky and had some rain overnight even though today is sunny... so this is perfect. I dont know yet if the farm had it though...
      with lots of love,

  2. Hello Annabel and beautiful bluebirds and hope you have all had a wonderful week :) .

    How wonderful you were able to find that many cottons at such a cheap price and yes they are getting expensive to buy new. Wow on all those lovely lemons and parsley that you have also brought home and I am sure you will make some lovely meals and items out of them all.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $74.68 this week.

    Here is how we feathered our nest and saved -

    Financial -
    - Banked more money into our saving for our home deposit bank account bringing us to 24.76% of the way there.
    - Banked $80 into our bank home emergency fund.
    - Earned $4 from the sale of silver beet grown in our gardens which I used to buy some apples on special.

    Purchases -
    - Found a 3kg bag of Valencia oranges on special reduced from $5.49 to $3.49 saving $2.
    - Purchased 7.45kg of apples on special at Aldi for $1.99kg saving $11.25 on usual prices.
    - Bought 10 x tins of long life meat and vegetable ready meals on 50% off special saving $20 on usual prices.

    Gifts and blessings -
    - A friend gave me a grocery bag full of lemons for free she picked from a school she works at saving me $14.16 over purchasing them.
    - In return I gave my friend a bunch of silver beet picked fresh from our gardens.

    In the kitchen -
    - Made all meals and bread from scratch.
    - Made 5 bags of apple pie filling from the fresh purchased apples saving $6.77 over purchasing tinned apples.

    In the gardens -
    - Trimmed, separated and planted both canna lilies and native lilies into our newly made garden bed so we can amend the garden bed soil they came out of. We will be taking most of these to our new home when we have it built to save on landscaping costs.

    Have a great money saving week ahead everyone :).


    1. Dear Sewingcreations, What a good idea planting, growing and increasing plants for your future garden! Lilies are prefect for transplanting... great idea!
      As you describe your week I am noting how the abundant garden gives you things to trade and gift as well as for the kitchen. This is very good!
      The apple pie filling is a wonderful thing to make. I love apple. So useful for both sweet and savoury.
      Have a beautiful weekend and thank you! With love

  3. Annabel,
    Oh what a blessed shopping trip you had. How wonderful to build your home more affordably. Isn't it so exciting when you find a treasure at an Op Shop. Your sewing pantry has been blessed. Thread has gotten so expensive, it seems they want you to buy everything premade and not repair but replace. I rarely ever find craft items at my local thrift stores, most I find on the road with my husband. Mostly in the cities and towns he doesn't like going to, as he says in the middle of nowhere. I on the other hand look forward to those travels.
    Your library is growing, it is so good to add medical books to it, I won't say how many I have. You were blessed with beautiful Bibles also. Here it is hard to find any, the one thrift store that use to give them away for free closed. My treasured one is from my Ex Father-in-law, he was going to toss it into the recyclables, it is from the mid 1800's.
    Oh, I went to our thrift store yesterday, I had donations to drop off, I just had to go in. I was fortunate to find a twin vullex blanket for $3.99, a complete flannel queen bed set for $5.99, a French press for $2.99 (I looked on Amazon and they wanted $59 for it) also 2 very fancy tops for $3 each. So I felt very blessed.

    I do want to add, isn't it wonderful using crystal glasses for everyday glasses, and at a fraction of the cost of plain glass. It makes a meal seem elegant.

    You did wonderful this week. I am so proud of you dear.
    Love, Rosanne

    1. Dear Rosanne,
      Yes it was great and I thought of you the minute i saw the cottons. Then the remedies books topped it off. I am going to watch for more medical books. I need one more first aid one.
      This store also has free Bibles and I always check. This one with gold page edges just is so gorgeous. Im so happy with it.
      I also use a french press. I cannot fathom the cost or waste of pods which everyone here seems to use. A french press makes very nice coffee. Allie has a percolator that goes on the stove which is another non wasteful method.
      I use my special glasses all the time. I have some I used for deserts too with a little spoon. Yes it feels lovely and luxurious and at under $1 a glass well if I break one I can live with it. I love finding new ones and keeping ahead. Also I buy crystal as gifts now too as I know some friends adore crystal also.
      Thank you for your encouragement! With love,

  4. What a fabulous week you've had!!! That is one big lemon tree! You did really well finding the thread at the op shop, thread here is expensive. What is cauliflower cheese? I too have a list of things that I'm always looking for at thrift stores, it just makes sense! Have a great weekend!

    1. Dear Patsy,
      I will post the cauliflower cheese pic and recipe for you. It is kind of like macaroni cheese only with cauliflower. It is delicious!
      I am thrilled about the cottons. Couldnt believe my luck really on that one! It has built up an area of my sewing pantry! With love,

  5. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    What a great sewing find, and those lemons! That tree is gorgeous, I have never seen one that big. You (and all the ladies here) inspire me so much!

    Cooking and food: All work lunches and snacks were brought from home. ($150 savings on lunches, I would say $40 on healthy snacks.) I made a big batch of pasta and cleaned out the fridge. It was a busy week, so we also "shopped" our pantry and freezer instead of going to the store.

    Household: I cleaned out my closet and packaged up the things I have been planning to bring to the thrift shop. My husband put together a small bookcase to give us more storage in the hall closet - it is very well-organized now! We also moved a small set of shelves that we already had behind the couch to help organize dvd sets and provide hidden storage. It fits perfectly, is hidden, and cleaned up the last bit of the living room that was puzzling me. Also free!

    We went out to price kitchen countertops (again) - there is a great sale at a local store that would make the new counters less than the cost we had figured out for DIY. I will double-check, but if our math is right, this would save a bundle and we would be done in one day!

    We weeded everything and tilled the raised beds. Hopefully all of the late freezes are over and I willl be able to get my veggies in this weekend. We also mulched the flower beds, trimmed some areas, and made nice beds for a pair of volunteer trees that appeared (they look like my neighbor's very nice edging trees, so I think some of the babies landed in our yard). We laid down tiles for a small walkway in the berry patch for a cost of less than $10 for the 15" tiles.

    We purchased a gorgeous stained-glass hanging light for our dining nook from a sweet local gal - saved $200 off retail - and we are going to move the current fixture to a different part of the house where we need more light.

    Personal care, work, and education: I dyed my hair ($75 savings) and gave myself a manicure ($40 savings).
    I prepared our state and federal taxes, saving $150 over using a preparer.
    My husband used his dental benefits to have a tooth fixed; of course we will pay part of it out of pocket, but having (and using) the insurance saved us $2000. (I keep hearing folks at my work talking about having benefits, but not using them - so I thought it might be worthwhile to note!)
    For any equestrians - I gave my horse a DIY spa treatment (body-clipping and trimming chestnuts/ergots) - folks regularly pay $150 for clipping and I think $15 for the farrier to do ergots, but really it just takes time (and persistence to clean up the trimmed hair).

    I finished stitching my current Xmas ornament, and learned a new way to start a row of stitches that is much neater than the one I was using. Loop start forever!

    I hope everyone has a great weekend!

    1. Dear Kathy, You had a very productive week as always! Even your horse had a spa day! Many things really are just better and easier (and cheaper) when maintained rather than let go then the mess to fix up.
      Also good point on using any benefits we have and this also can be maintenance and save lots later.
      I do hope the kitchen bench works out! Having it done in a day would be great too.
      I have heard a lot of places still try cold so I hope you are in the clear now for gardening.
      Your organising and household things have all added up so much. Things must be looking very nice!
      Have a beautiful weekend. We have sunshine and a perfect day today (Saturday) and in the night it rained a little bit... so helpful! With love,

  6. Love your post today! I hope you have a wonderful day of shopping and visiting with your friend Hilde.

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    1. Thank you! A very productive day like this is fun but it pays off for a few weeks as I use and cook everything up! Have a lovely weekend! xxx

  7. We have an Army field manuel for first aid from WWI and it has such things as how to remove a bullet and even surgeries. We have always joked that we are well prepared in the case of an emergency! I agree that we rely heavily on the intenet and we should remember your advice.

    Coffee grounds and egg shells all went in the container garden pots. Everything compost able was composted. Hubby took the garbage to the dump which saves $6 a week. We shopped the grocery outlet store. 2 pounds of whole bean coffee was $3. We put 6 in the freezer. Packs of bacon pieces were 50 cents so we stocked up on those too amount other things. 12 packs of K cups that we use at the lake house were an amazing $1.58 so we got 6. We bought a $50 gas card for $40. We got 2 free cups of yogurt. Hubby continues to work on our big painting project. I tried a new bread recipe that was not one we will make again but I learned something from it. We enjoyed free flowers from our yard. We talked to our kids in Germany for free by Facebook messenger. We treated all medical issues with essential oils on hand. I boughty Mom a gift card for her birthday at the store where I could earn points. We shopped on senior discount day for a 5% discount on our groceries.

    Have a good weekend!

    1. Dear Lana,
      I am trying to have more things written down and more books that I would need on hand... I have a folder I am gradually putting in things for emergencies i.e. I started with homemade electrolytes...
      Also I am trying to have an information card to keep for each essential oil or homeopathic remedy and keep this in my medical cupboard. Then I know the uses/main applications at a glance...
      I am very happy for you to be speaking with your daughter and Grandkids in Germany. I hope they are doing well!
      You had a good week and it is great to hear the paining is coming along. With much love,

  8. What a productive week you had. I never would have thought to look for sewing supplies in a thrift shop but I may have to try that. And your mint raita looks delicious! I've started making curries with raita after reading your blog for a while. Also I made sausage rolls and my husband loved them (these are not common meals in the U.S.).
    I built up my home this week by traveling far and wide for items for my 10 year old daughter's birthday party. She originally wanted to have her party at a trampoline place but decided she'd rather do it at our house. This will save us quite a bit! I went to 3 Walmart locations to buy a bunch of plain white canvas shoes for the girls to decorate with sharpie markers. I also bought some cute prizes for a bingo game we already own. The girls will decorate their own cupcakes -- I already have decorating supplies on hand. It should be a fun and special day!
    I don't read many blogs, but I do enjoy yours very much, and I find if I read your post in the morning, it gives me an extra motivational boost to get things done that day!

    1. Dear Leigh, I have heard sausage rolls are not so common there... but they are so great and you can make them big or small i.e. for kids or man sized!
      The decorating shoes craft will be such a hit! It is something they can all do plus keep! They will love it. The cup cake decorating will be gorgeous too. I think this will be a beautiful party!
      Thank you for your kind words! I am all for a motivational boost myself and it is other peoples blogs that I find often get me up and going. I think we all just need that bit of encouragement and ideas from others on how they do things. thanks so much. I hope to hear the party was amazing! With love

  9. Annabel,
    What a great week! The lemons are so pretty and I love the cotton! The yellow gold one really caught my eye LOL! It was an ok week here. I earned $10 in Amazon gift cards and $5 for Barnes and Nobles which I will include in my mom's birthday gift. I gave Rick a haircut and shaved off his beard $20, had the neighbor girl give me a minor trim in the back $5 I saved $50 at Kmart sold 10 dozen eggs $20 sold 5 jars of kraut for $10 with the promise of my jars back and some canning supplies the gentleman doesn't use anymore. I was gifted 24 packs of seeds all recently purchased $55 and did a one tank trip using all gift cards even for a gas fill up. I used 1/4 of a tank of gas and between coupons and half priced saved $185 not counting the gift cards. Rick saved $200 and is taking in a load of scrap today. So not a bad week!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      Everything was really good but all the seed packets is the best thing I think! I cant wait to see what that all turns into! probably it will soon be in jars in your pantry! That was a great week! Also you have your Mums bday present organised! With love

  10. The lemons look wonderful and that parsley plant looks huge. So happy that you got so much. Andy is correct. It is outrageous how much people spend on lunch everyday. I got lots of great sale and freebies this week. My list is here:

    1. Wow you had great luck and free food and the towels! Well that was fantastic! You have to be happy! All those cookies too are amazing. I wonder if they would also be ok frozen I think probably if you had too many. Have a lovely weekend! xxx

  11. what great finds..
    And the lemon tree is beautiful. Would love to be able to grow lemons here.. ENjoy.

    1. Thank you! Yes lemon is such a useful thing! Have a lovely weekend! xxx

  12. Dearest Annabel

    I am late again with my comment for Fridays but at least I have internet though it has not been entirely stable, the result of living in a telecommunications black hole. DD came and visited and I sent her home with twenty meals, I only needed to buy a few things to make this up. I also sent her home with fresh fruit, bread and some pantry staples that I bought on great special.

    The bathroom is nearly finished and we are saving money by doing some of the work ourselves but that is all good in my book. I need new flooring and we are installing that ourselves also.

    I have been cooking what is in the freezers and pantry just topping up what I need so not a lot to spend. I have not quite finished all the apples off my tree and I have a lot of tomatoes in the freezer from last year's crop. I have mint growing wild as well so I am going to incorporate that.

    I have been working on gifts for DD's baby. I found a lot of toiletries that both DD's left here and a lot of stationary so I am using this up and not buying these things. I also bought seven hair colours for $3 each saving me over $10 on each or $70 all told.

    I booked a free hard waste rubbish removal through the council for next month and also they are having micro chipping for $10 per animal next month saving $41 so one dog and three cats are being micro chipped next month.

    I am being very diligent on cutting down my electricity and gas consumption hoping to get it even lower next month.

    Praying you have a good week coming up
    Much Love Mel

  13. Dear Mel,
    I am glad you have internet! You are just wonderful sending your daughter home with all those meals! That would have helped her so much.
    We have been through the bathroom renovating also doing some things ourselves. It was a pain at the time but so glad we did it now! Its a major improvement!
    I would love to see all you make for this new baby! I know everything will be beautiful! What an exciting time!
    I hope you have had a good weekend. We sure had lovely weather. Thanks you for sharing your very productive week! With love

  14. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds, great weeks all round! I have lemons everywhere too at the moment and we are loving it. I've made Lemon Granita, Lemon Syrup Olive Oil Cake, Lemon Butter, and preserved lemons for Middle Eastern dishes. The Lemon Granita was a special treat, eaten Sicilian style with Brioche Buns. Sounds odd, but actually truly delicious. Granita and Brioche is a customary Sicilian breakfast because the weather is so hot there, and I can see it becoming customary here too when the weather is warm. We planted out new herbs as some of ours had gone to seed and added a Rosemary bush to the garden, which will come in very handy. We also purchased a new bed for Daughter for a bargain price as it was an ex-display, so it came in at literally one quarter the price of the same thing 'new'. We sold her old bed for a great price too, as we included her lovely linen and accessories, so we ended up about even. Not quite as exciting as your roadside finds Annabel, but nearly! I also finished off my anti-bacterial hand sprays as my Mella + Moi labels arrived, and thanks again for that tip. They look very professional :) Have a great week everyone. Mimi xxx


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