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.

Monday 7 January 2019

Good investments.

This is my third post to get the year started!  First, The Tuesday Afternoon Club and lots of making and creating.  Second a use it up and set it to good use challenge. And now something about wise investments.  I think I have set my intentions and focus for the year!

There are a lot of things that I think are the best investments I ever made.  Some are investments of time and others are things.   With moving to the country we have had to make quite a few investments in equipment that will help us live here and manage some of the challenges.  Some are for safety too. So as circumstances change you have to re consider your investments.

My all time best investments that I can think of are:

Collecting big storage jars for most of my life.  Most have been 50c but these days I still might add one for two or three dollars.  I love them.  They store so much.

The same with Pyrex and Corningware cookware.  All from op shops!  I am not a fan of cooking or storing in plastic and these just go on and on.

Slow cookers.  Oh my goodness my slow cookers are my best handmaiden!  Some I have from new and others $5 in the op shop.  It is nothing for me to have three going at once!
Learning to use it and things like turning left over casseroles into beautiful meat pies has built up my freezer so often.  Right at this moment I know there are a dozen meat pies in the freezer ready and waiting.

Learning to cook from scratch, make stock and soups.

Learning to crochet, knit, sew and embroider.  And mending!

Chickens!  Chooks are one of the best investments!  Always having eggs and never having any green waste is just wonderful.  Plus bug control and fertiliser for the garden.

My non electric yoghurt maker.  I always have fresh yoghurt and never have to buy sour cream or buttermilk either as it substitute for them all.  Also probiotics!

Insulated lunch boxes, thermos, insulated travel mugs... picnic basket.  All of these save a fortune.  I cannot imagine what they save.  One time before we moved I worked out two coffees at work would be about $8 a day for Andy.  That is what his work mates spent.  And this didn't include the actual lunch.  He worked taking his insulated coffee cup or thermo everyday for five years.  Five working years at  $8 a day is over $10,000 savings in coffee alone.  I thought this has to be wrong but it isn't!
Imagine what the insulated lunch bags saved!

Twice last year I went on long day trips with my Dad.  Before we left I packed a picnic of rolls and slices of fruit cake, a thermos of tea,  a thermo of coffee, cups etc.  As the day wore on and we had travelled a lot of miles Dad pulled up under a big tree and we took a break.  Out came the drinks and the cake.  Dad  happily talked to me about all kinds of things out there on the side of the road, in this beautiful scenery and miles form no where.  I thought what a good investment it was to have made up these picnic supplies.  At that lovely moment it felt like the best investment ever.

Other things include:

My sewing machine.

My mix master.

A good mattress!

Essential oils and learning about them.

Decent first aid, medical supplies and a first aid course.

The things Andy has invested in is a whole additional list but he has a tool for everything and can fix most things.  Tools are a great investment.

So many skills are a great investment.  I took embroidery classes years ago and embroidery became a sideline income for me.  Each new skill we learn seems to pay dividends!

Maybe " the set it to use"  and making things challenges you will save some money.  If so investing in something that will save you more money (or time)  is a way to get further ahead.   You can multiply your savings many times over with good investments!

What are some of the things that have helped you the most?
What have you invested in that really paid big dividends?

Some investments we are planning now include fruit trees to establish a bigger orchard.
Because we invested in a trailer we can go pick up a heap of manure for the garden.  If we invest our time in this the benefits go on and on.  One good investment leads to another!

Tomorrow is the first Tuesday Afternoon Club "get together" on Facebook and next Tuesday will be the first one here on the blog.  xxx


  1. Annabel, You are so right with investing and learning.
    Learning new skills and practicing them is so important. This year as I failed last year I am putting forth the effort to learn how to knit. I have the needles needed, had collected them from thrift stores for less than $1 investment.
    I am re-evaluating and re-organizing my pantry to optimize it's use and stock the essential basics that can be built on.
    My best investments in handmaidens were my pressure canner, my kitchenaid mixer and my vitamix. I love the vitamix because I am also able to grind wheat and corn in it.
    I've chosen a pattern to make an afghan using my odds and ends of yarn, I will need to purchase the joining color but will use coupons for that purchase. Frugality in all purchases is my goal this year.
    Being part of your Tuesday Afternoon Club is a joy. I may even learn a few new skills from all the other ladies.
    Love, Rosanne

    1. Dear Rosanne,
      Thank you so much! You have always inspired me to learn learn learn. My medical cabinets thanks to your influence.
      I can knit but I crochet much better. But it is good to know how to do both. Mum does both equally. I am glad to have you in the club! Your thrift store finds and handmade items combine to be very frugal and beautiful! With much love

  2. One of my best investments has been a canner . I don't use it as much as I should or would like to but time does not permit. I have people at work saving jars for me and I have built up a nice collection of fowlers jars. For the last 7 years I have spent considerable time and effort honing my preserving skills. Now I know what goes into our food and usually where it comes from.

    1. Dear Hatsheput, A canner is a great investment. And letting people know that you can... love jars and produce too is such a good idea. Also building your knowledge is wonderful. I love fowlers jars. Here we have another old brand called Agee. I love them! I cannot go past them in a thrift store! thank you for your comment! Love

  3. Great post. So many things that a lot of people don't think about. Learning about and having these items could definitely benefit life and help not only ourselves, but family and neighbors as well.
    We surely are in the ties when we need to be prepared for anything.

    1. I agree Cheryl. You are right, what we do affects our family but also we can help others as needed. I am loving learning. There are some brilliant investment ideas from everyone here. I am making a list!

  4. Dear Annabel,
    This is all so true. Our list looks the same once again. I would add seeds as a good investment. Just a few dollars up front saves hundreds down the road with all of the food that can be grown.
    For us, a good investment was a heavy duty meat grinder. As we mostly eat venison that Colton harvests, the meat grinder allows us to do the butchering and packaging (Food Saver come into play here too!) ourselves instead of paying someone else to do it each time. The grinder paid for itself in just the first year we had it with what we saved on buying meat or paying a butcher.
    Another thing I can think of is cloth napkins to replace disposable. I use these every day instead of paper and just throw them in with my kitchen towels when it's time for washing so it is no extra cost to launder them.
    This is very much a no waste year plus spending very little. I want to focus my spending on things that will mean gain or savings. I feel like this is good stewardship. For example, I am about to order 100 plastic pots from Amazon for $12. I will plant seeds in these and divide plants I already have and pot them. Besides growing for ourselves, I want to sell these at the farmer's market. So to me that $12 plus a little for some seeds will hopefully turn into a lot more.
    I really love the challenges you have set before us, Annabel! They are exactly what I hope to accomplish in the new year and this is just the extra motivation I need to keep me going!
    Love, Kelsey

  5. Annabel, this is a lovely post on making good investments. Good investments come in all shapes and sizes and do not always involve large amounts of money. Other good investments could be investing in our health and in our preparedness. Great post!

  6. Dear Annabel,
    Useful and used household investments in tools, appliances, equipment are always money well spent. We have so many useful kitchen tools and appliances that have saved us thousands of dollars over the years.
    Years ago, we purchased a good electric slicer to slice bulk blocks of cheese rather than buy the more expensive pre-sliced packages. We, also, used it for slicing meats, vegetables to dehydrate, and vegetables to can.
    Other useful investments of small appliances, in the kitchen, have been crock pots, a griddler, canners and accessories, grain grinder, Bosch, juice extractor, stainless steel cookware and bakeware (lasts forever), a really good set of stainless steel knives, cases and cases of canning jars, a Berkey water filter, etc, etc. I would love to share why these items have saved us so much over the years, but due to an arm situation, I am limited on typing, so I apologize for the brevity.
    Have a blessed week, dear Bluebirds.
    Love and hugs,

  7. What a great way to look at those things that are of such help to us. My number one helper is the bread machine. It makes all our bread and dough for so little effort on my part. Then the slow cookers and I have several, too. Last year I invested in one that allows me to brown the meat and then add the ingredients and set it to slow cook. This is a great time saver and keeps all the flavor in the slow cooker. And what would life be like without a good washing machine? And dishwasher? I have a cabinet full of canning equipment here including two pressure canners. I plan to pressure can chicken this week. My husband has a full woodworking shop and has made many pieces of furniture for our use over the years as well as small items for gifts. He also has all the tools to work on cars and equipment like lawn mowers. As we have been looking for another house we are amazed at how many lack storage for these tools that we feel are necessary to live our lives. Kitchens are tiny with no storage because people do not cook anymore and many houses lack even a garage or other building to store lawn equipment and tools. We are passing those houses right by without a second glance.

    Looks like a great year ahead here with all the lovely Bluebirds.
    Much love, Lana

    1. And how could I forget my essential oils. We have spent years building our supply and have well over 200 bottles now.
      They never go bad so we will always be able to rely on them for our health.

  8. My slow cookers, my Instant Pot (which has saved dinner for us SO many times! And it's so easy to throw in just the right amount of dry beans in the morning so that I can turn them into something else for dinner. I used to cook batches of them in the slow cooker, then store them in freezer bags, but now that I can cook up just what I need, it cuts down on waste, which makes me happy), my bread machine (which I use just for kneading and rising the dough, never to bake it), my dishwasher, my sewing machine, they all do so much work for me and I'm so thankful to have them. There's still so much for me to learn, but I have a good system now and I'm on my way. :)

    Your chickens are SO adorable! They're not allowed where I live, and I don't think I would have them anyway because I would get stressed out and anxious over them too much, but I love seeing and hearing about other peoples' chickens! :)

  9. I love your posts!!! I look for them every morning.

  10. So looking forward to this subject. My good intentions are many and I am attempting to change that. Your eye candy is beautiful in this post as always Annabel. The graphics are beautiful on your big jars and I am going now to see if there might be a link with more info on them - hope so :-)
    Hugs and blessings from Arizona,

  11. Great post with great advice.

    I pack food and drinks when we travel, saves heaps of money. We take a large container of water from home so we don't purchase any bottles. That way we can have our cuppas with water from home not tap water.

    Thank you Annabel,
    Love Tania xxx

    1. Tania it is a great idea to take rainwater. A cup of tea made with pure water is totally different!
      I am amazed at the prices of food and drinks in road houses! And it isn't very good usually either. Taking your own is cheaper and healthier too. xxx

  12. My best investments have been the worm far, roller barrel composter and my mini mulcher. These have all helped me set up a productive garden in soil that was simply sand. I grow a lot in pots, oncluding fruit, and the compost and worm wee keep these healthy, strong and productive.
    I love my sewing machine and my overlocker and both get used most days. I love my silicone cake moulds that get used for my soap making. I love my dehydrator to help me keep the kitchen stocked with all manner of herbs. Plain cooking becomes something special with the addition of one or two herbs. I love my Vintage water bath canner that my son bought for me years ago. Each year it gets used to help preserve my jams, chutneys and relishes.
    I love the Nicer Dicer my SIL gave me. It makes grating, cutting and dicing so easy.
    Like your jars I have a collection of jugs. I use these for so many things. They can be vases, for brewing tea for the Kombucha, making up Miracle Spray, pouring soap batter, measuring, watering plants and serving cold water at the dinner table.
    I like this topic. Cant wait to see everyones 'investments'
    Life is a brilliant investment

    1. Dear Jane, You are making me more and more curious about worm farming!
      You have done so well to build your soil up and I have seen some of what you produce! It is amazing!
      I knew the sewing equipment would be a big one for you but I didnt think of the silicone modules! You are right they are a great investment!
      And the vintage canner!!
      I also love my slicer dicer!! Fantastically helpful. And funnily I also have a thing for jugs! I love them. Like the idea of milk in a jug is just much nicer.
      I like your statement that life is a brilliant investment. That is true. With love

  13. Your embroidery, Annabel, is just gorgeous. What a treat to have that skill. I like what you said about multiple crockpots going at once. Today I slow-cooked some drumsticks and was wanting to try a slow-cooker apple crumble recipe, too. But, I don't have 2 crockpots, so I used our Dutch Oven instead. Guess I'd have to say I'm really enjoying using the Instant Pot as it makes it so quick to fix a meal. Love my sewing machine, too.
    Blessings, Mary B.

    1. Dear Mary, Over the years I have picked up some crockpots in the thrift stores. They have all worked really well. I did kill on last year, the inner cracked. I have one from Aldi that has three inserts in different sizes according to what you need. This is pretty clever!! With fruit season I will have stewed fruit, baked apples, cobblers etc going. Thank you re the embroidery. I am a bit rusty now but I just practiced for years and learned new techniques... I want to get going again! Thanks Mary! with love

  14. My best investment is a sewing machine. It gives me hours of pleasure when I make my quilts, and the practical home enhancing goodies produced are decorative and functional.

    1. Dear Earthmother, Having seen your beautiful quilts and the amount you produce I would agree with you! Just amazing!! With love,

  15. Annabel you are so right a lot of things we buy are investments and as Patsy points out they need not cost a lot of money either.

    The items we have purchased that we consider investments are -

    In the kitchen -
    - Our mix master.
    - Bread maker for both bread and jam making.
    - empty jam jars with lids friends have washed and saved for me which I use for homemade jam.
    - The biscuit, cake, muffin and pyrex dishes.
    - Easiyo yoghurt maker.
    - Cook books on how to use food storage, make pies, biscuits and lots of other things purchased from Deseret books for anywhere from $1.99 through to $9.99 US when our dollar was $1.10 to the $1.00 of the United States dollar.
    - Our 2 x 400 lt freezers for storing lots of meat and homegrown vegetables in.
    - Good sets of saucepans, Lge steamer pot and many others.

    In gardening & shed equipment -
    - Ride on lawn mower.
    - 8' x 5' tipper trailer with cage.
    - Our Briggs and Stratton self propelled rotary tiller.
    - Hand tools such as shovels, spades, rakes etc.
    - Screws, nails, drills, reciprocal saw, whipper snipper, blower vac, screwdriver, alan keys and spanner sets and more.

    In the sewing room -
    - Fabric.
    - threads.
    - Ribbons, lace, ribbon roses, trims, sewing machine feet, bobbins, sewing and hand needles, good scissors.

    Medical -
    - A good first aid kit that I put together + replacement items.
    - Vitamins, minerals, pain killers and all medical kit inclusions.

    I cannot tell you how many times we have used our medical kit on both us and others over the years.

    There are just so many things and equipment that are investments in the home that you can earn extra money with and save time with as well.

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. Dear Lorna, I love your list! You reminded me of garden tools... they re big one. Good scissors is another! Medical is a huge one. My Mum has saved more than one life with her medicine cabinet and first aid kit.
      Looking at things as wise investments kind of has changed my spending. And my thinking in what is worth saving up for. I am on the look out now. A while back I got several big bags of good quality sewing cottons in a rainbow of colours and they worked out about 20c a reel. I knew they were a good investment! I am set for a long time!
      You also reminded me of books. I have some books I go to over and over as a reference.
      Many thanks! Love

  16. The best investment I have ever made was to pay into my works pension scheme, it enabled me to finish work at 59 (work enabled me to own my own property outright by the age of 55). I firmly believe that every woman should have an available income and savings of her own - we should never rely on another person to provide an income to keep us in life or our old age. This investment has also given me something that you can't put a monetary figure to but which is the most amazing fun and love and that is precious time spent with my Grandchildren every week. My Daughter has her own income and pension provision, as will I'm sure my Granddaughters - I was left with nothing once - it will never happen to me or my family again.
    Going on to the mundane, the next investment was a really good quality sewing machine, it threads the needle at the press of a button - I reckon it has saved me hours of time, less stress and frustration and the air doesn't turn blue so often xx

    1. I think owning your own property outright at 55 is just wonderful! And the security of that... priceless! Being left with noting must have been shocking but look how you came back from that! I love how you are watching out for your daughters and granddaughters welfare.
      And I think the self threading machine must be bliss! Yes a very good investment! Thank you for posting!xxx

    2. That’s a great investment for your financial security. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

      And I also have a self threading sewing machine, but silly me I still thread it the old fashioned way because I can’t decipher the user manual lol!

  17. What a great topic! Lots of interesting and smart investments, Annabel and Bluebirds! I’m thinking of a few additional investments to add: my education (pricey but has enabled me to do work I love and be paid for it), a safe and reliable car, a home (no one to raise the rent on me ever again), preventative doctor, chiropractic, and dentist visits (investing in my health), and here’s a clever one—improved insulation in the walls and attic space in my home! That is an investment in comfort and greatly reduced power bills. Love, Teresa

    1. Dear Teresa, I love your list! Health is a big one. Maybe wisest investment. I just thought of another too in relation to home... home security. We upped our security a few times. I think this is a good investment too.
      Insulation is a great one. The right car for our location was an important one... neither of our vehicles were suitable for the farm or roads around here. Not even safe for them.
      Thank you for a great list! love

  18. I think for us, the best investments have been the freezers. They save us so much money, and save me so much time. We have two chest freezers, a small 120L upright and the freezer over the fridge and they are all full. We eat as well as we do, on the budget I have because I can freeze what we grow or are given, and buy when prices are low. Three things I could't live without in our home: the freezers, the dishwasher and the vacuum cleaner :)

    1. Dear Cath, I didnt even list freezers! But I agree. I have two fridges now that I am on the farm too. I cant tell you how much a help this has been. Game changer! I can now seriously stock up and have freezer space for so much more. This is a major saver. And a major way to have meals on hand for when too busy etc too.
      I love both the dishwasher and vac. I have a vacuum story to tell on Friday!
      Also came home from a stock up trip and so much went straight into the freezer. I love feeling stocked up! Many thanks, with love

  19. I must be feeling nostalgic this morning as your posts took me back to day trips with my parents and grandparents. Between them, they would bring a big airpot and rolls, slices and a set of nesting aluminium drinking cups in a case. I now have them but don't use them due to the fear of ingesting any aluminium. We had some great times. My own kids are older now, but there is always a time when we need to travel and should be prepared with food and drinks. It can save a small fortune. I have had a few airpots from op shops over the years but they are delicate and I have broken the inside casing. I don't think they make them anymore so I will have to look out for a good thermos. I have started keeping large jars and will gradually transfer everything over as I don't like plastic either. Thanks for the great post.

    1. Dear Del, Now you have reminded me how my Nan and Pa would take us for drives! We would also set off with food and drinks! We had the same cups... each one was a different colour.
      A thermos can also get the inner shattered. But so far we have had good luck with them and love them. Thank you for your comment it reminded me of so many lovely times. With much love

  20. Hi Annabelle,

    im a long time reader, and when i was reading this post i was struck when you said that learning to sew, crochet and mend has been a good investment. Does that mean that you learnt these things later in life?
    I have always thought you had known to do these things for, like, ever...
    Im 38 this year and only know how to sew in a very basic, primitive manner (think yr 7 sewing class) and often wonder if im too old to learn! But know i have kids in school, mending uniforms is a reality - and all the uniforms that need mending are in a pile, unable to be worn until i pay to get them fixed!
    Im wondering - how do i go about teaching myself, you see, my mother passed when i was 19, my father when i was 24, ive done a lot of independent living, but have noone close to teach me...

    i love your blog and read often!

    1. Thank you for your comment! This is a very good question!
      I learned very basic sewing from Mum and Nan when I was little. I did expand on that a bit in my late teens. When Chloe was born my neighbour Dorrie showed me basic stretch sewing. I loved this and made lots of baby and toddler clothes.
      Nan and Mum taught me crochet and knitting at about 5 or six. Later Nan taught me crochet flowers when she was doing a class I think I was ten os so. I loved that!
      I learned embroidery more in my late 30s. I went to classes and a kind of group where we all gathered and worked on projects. It was wonderful. One by one I learned wool embroidery, shadow work and so on. I was so addicted and then I learned pin tucks and insertion laces etc in sewing.
      Mending was much later! And gradual! First taking up hems, then patching and repairs and so on. More recently I learned how to do hand rolled hems on handkerchiefs.
      No you are not too old to learn at all. I was lucky to have an early start with some things but I had a late start with others. The last two years I branched out i.e. with crochet I though it is time to learn new patterns. this is when I really discovered you tube. You need to be specific and look up skills i.e. how to take up jeans... how to replace a zip.. or whatever. Start with easy mending. Many things can be done by hand and I sometimes find that easier. So the smallest repairs first. And get the item back in use. Think each time how much it saved. If you know anyone with basic sewing skills ask them to show you how... but if not you tube or tutorials are your friend! Even if you manage half or three quarters it will be a huge saving and you will leaner skills... each one will help down the track. Don't be intimidated!
      If you were near me I would teach you. Where are you located? It is WONDERFUL you want to learn. And by learning you can teach your own kids. Truly learning a little bit makes you want to learn more and it is fun and satisfying! Also... dont feel things need to be prefect. We all need to practice! With love

  21. Posting for Kelley who is having trouble posting.
    -solar lights: for the yard. We have five along our front walkway and we enjoy their beauty as we say goodnight to friends who’re leaving after having dinner here. There are a myriad other practical uses for them, too.
    -a nightlight: It’s much cheaper to use it in a dark bath, and better on the brain to use a nightlight in the middle of the night so we don’t awaken our brains too much before it’s time. We have some that go off as the light fills the room, and in our baths, we like the kind you turn off and on yourself.
    -E6000 glue: I have extended the lives of more shoes, and repaired hundreds of items with this fabulous product. I keep tiny tubes of it in my suitcase, too.
    -Ziploc bags. Need I say more?
    -piano lessons: Dad and Mom might have paid the investment, but I reap the benefits. For your own kiddos, it’s so worth the money.
    -Oxyclean and Spray ‘n Wash/Resolve stain stick: These two products alone do the job and beyond! I always include these as gifts for new parents. Oxyclean has rescued more stained laundry, antique linens, even tile grout, and the list goes on and on. A stain stick is always in our suitcases, under every sink, at the laundry hamper and of course at the washing machine. It is amazing!
    -bed risers: At our US’s local Walmart, these are about $10 for four. Amazing what can be stored under the bed with bed risers. I know of a young mother whose husband figured out a safe way to raise their baby crib with them for additional storage underneath.
    -wicker or other baskets: For storing and organizing, these are aesthetically pleasing and functional. Last a hundred thousand lifetimes if they’re taken care of.

    To name a few!

    Love your list thank you Kelley! xxx

  22. At sixteen I bought a set of stainless steel stacking tumblers. They have lived in a car every since, over 30 years. They have been used in many out of the way places on my travels and at many get togethers with freinds when I was a young person and family outings.
    The other wise investment would be the sewing machine I bought as a 19 year old that is still going strong. It has sewed clothing for four children, countless rehemmings and mending for six people, many handmade gifts plus a mix of paid jobs to name a few. Ruth

    1. Dear Ruth, Those tumblers were a good investment! And your sewing machine has served you very well. How beautiful to have made all those childrens clothes. Also mending is such a big saver. Imagine what it all saved you over the years! With love

  23. Dear Annabel,

    These are all wonderful lists, and I found myself nodding my head in agreement over and over again when reading what everyone said. For me, the best investments have been:

    Seeds for a vegetable garden.
    My sewing machine...this was actually given to me, but I have used it so much over the last 15 years or so! From gifts to repairs to home decorating, and I started out knowing literally nothing about sewing!
    A good blender, food processor, etc. These tools in the kitchen really do a LOT!
    Our chest store all of that garden produce and meat bought on sale.
    My pressure canner...again, given to me, but has been a lifesaver!
    A clothesline!!
    And of course, one's health...including spiritual health...taking care of yourself each day is a very good investment.

    There are so many more. You are really getting me thinking!

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, Having seen your sewing I would say you benefited so much for the gift of a sewing machine! You really made the most of that wonderful gift.
      A clothesline!! Yes! I love my clothesline.
      A Blender!! I have a stick blender and it is constantly working.
      It does make you think. Some investments pay years of amazing dividends! With love,

  24. More from Kelley...
    I also thought of:
    -refillable foaming soap pump. I bought a bottle of hand soap in a refillable foaming pump bottle and just refill it. Stretches my dollar when I refill the empty bottle with 20% liquid hand soap and the rest with water. Now my hand liquid soap refill goes 80% farther!
    -beautiful cloth napkins. I find them by the dozen at thrift/op shops. I’ve even bought large rectangular tablecloths (cotton is ideal), cut them evenly into large squares, pressed the edges and sewn a dozen table napkins for anywhere from $1-$6. And my stain stick and Oxyclean get them cleaned every time!
    -purse-size measuring tape. Need I say more?
    -staple gun, caulk gun, glue gun. My guns! I hang door wreaths on my front door with knotted thick clear string (thicker than fishing line) and staple it at the knot to the top edge of the wood door with my staple gun. No door wreath-hangers to chew up the door. I’ve recovered chair cushions and ottomans with the staple gun, too, and it’s great for posting garage sale/yard sale signs. My caulk gun was recently used to fill a hole where we saw ants coming in and out. Gone! And my glue gun? Hello!
    -large cardboard boxes. I never get rid of the large cardboard box that a new purchase was packaged in. I split it at the seam and lay it flat to protect my garage floor when painting with spray paint or a brush. Fold it in half and slide it behind a shelving unit against the wall and it’s ready to use the next time.
    -turkey roaster. I’ve baked/roasted SOOO many foods in this little portable oven! Not just great for that 25-pound turkey! We plug ours in outside in the garage so we heat it up out there versus adding more heat to my already-warm kitchen. Our average daily temperature here on Guam is 82F degrees, so I don’t need the heat inside. Also frees my kitchen’s oven to bake other things at the same time.
    -Coleman cooler. I pack it on grocery day in the car with ice blocks inside to keep things chilled until I get home. I also “rest” my turkey/chicken, etc. in it after it’s roasted on Thanksgiving, holiday5 dinners, etc. (Poultry should be “rested as long as it roasted.”) I remove the cooked meat from the roaster and place it in a Dutch oven that fits inside my cooler. I wrap the Dutch oven with two bath towels and place all this inside the cooler. Put the lid on it and let it rest like that. Stays piping hot for at least four hours like that, and you can finish all of your other dishes for your big dinner. Chef Gordon Ramsey is where I learned this technique for piping hot, moist and delicious turkey or chicken, but caterers will tell you how great large coolers are for keeping food cold AND hot, too.

  25. My husband was either taught or learnt lots of household skills by his father, just the other day he changed the washers in the shower that had begun to leak.

    I have road side assist - yes I pay for it but there is no way that I can change a tyre on my own now that they use an air gun to tighten the nuts. I have also called them when I have been stuck in the shopping center with what turned out to be a flat battery.

    Travelling an hour away from home to the shop at Montville I have peace of mind (and so does my husband) that if anything goes wrong I will not be stuck on the side of the road at the prey of who knows who.

    As everyone else has added their bits and pieces I am not sure I have anything else to add apart from keeping an eye on your money and making sure that it is working as it should for you if you have it invested.

    My husband and I both worked in banks and have a special interest rate applied to our savings - it ran out the end of December so I was straight on the 'phone to make sure that we were getting that special rate once again.


    1. Dear Lynette, You reminded me of what a good investment road side assist is. Here we have RAA. They have reduced me several times. Just wonderful.
      Also good tip on keeping an eye on interest rates, investments etc. Thank you.
      Your husbands Dad was wise teaching him so many useful things! Thank you for your thoughts on this, with love,

  26. Annabel, several of your best investments would be the same for me! I would add my scrapbooks and the supplies I have built up to make them so our stories are written and preserved for future generations. Also, my camera, button collection, dutch oven, electric tea kettle, big mixer, and our Pur water filtering pitcher. My library of reference books for gardening, cooking, sewing, crafting, knitting and so forth are a big help to me. I love the binder I put together of our favorite recipes. I would also add our musical instruments and our 72 hour kits. The biggest investment we have made is in our home with acreage so we have room for a big garden and livestock, plus we have a wood stove so we are ok without electricity in an emergency. Truly, though, I would say the best investment I have made is in scripture passages memorized, along with hymns and praise and worship songs! I have really enjoyed reading all the bluebirds lists, so thank you all for sharing!-Carla

  27. I have been slowly replacing poor cooking items with better quality ones. The results have been so worthwhile! Fewer burned items, more evenly cooked, etc. And I've also been investing in jars for storage as well as quality glass storage for leftovers. You can see I focused hard on the kitchen first because I've always felt that it was one area of my home where we spent the most and therefore had the most need of making sure it was best used.
    Tonight as the little boys of the family played kazoo and harmonica and bell and danced about the living room while Grandpa pulled up YouTube videos on our tv that they played along with made me feel that the musical instruments he's invested in for their play was more than worthwhile. It is such a joy to see them 'play' and hear their natural ability for really making music is growing. And that's just two small areas!

  28. Honestly, my best investment has been the internet! All of this knowledge at my fingertips has taught me new skills, let me order things I could never find locally, and youtube has helped my husband fix countless numbers of things inside the house as well as repairs to our vehicles and lawnmowers.

  29. Hello Annabel from a very cold England, I must tell you I love your posts and I save them for future reference. The advice in this post is great. We live in a two room flat on the ground floor and have a stamp patch garden but it's enough to grow herbs and some veg which is my plan for this year. I love your Tuesday Afternoon Club, I'm learning more needlework skills and have lots of new stitches I want to learn. I've opened an etsy shop and hope to stock it with handmade things this year. Your inspiration is great and I appreciate it. Thank you. Kind regards Mandy xx


I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for

Spam is never published... if you are advertising a product or selling website your comment wont be published. I am inundated with stuff about drugs, horses and weird things! I am not going to publish this stuff! Thank you.