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 21 February 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 22nd February, 2019.

We had another very good week!   We also had beautiful mild sunny days as if it is Autumn already!

On the weekend Mum and I headed down to see the girls. This makes a day trip where we head off at 9am and get back here about 5.  Mum then still has to travel further back to her house.  We also do our shopping on the way home in our regional town which we love!
I had made up chocolate cakes on Friday ready to take.

The girls are finding that further south it is a lot colder.  Even in February they have needed scarves and warm things in the evenings.  Mum made Scarlett a knitted vest and both girls warm hats.

Harper chose one to model.

It was a glorious day.  We are planning to do the same next week. 

This week we finally got to a job that has been waiting.  We cleaned out the entire chicken yard,  took away all kinds of junk the last people left laying around.  We put in new nesting boxes and hay.  It looks so nice now.   I have always been confident that this yard and shed were fox proof.   But when we moved so much stuff I found a place a fox could have got it.  It was just tin shed sitting on sandy soil with a gap between the two.  A fox could easily dig under that!!  We are amazingly lucky.   We collected heavy rocks and filled up this space with those then filled it in with dirt.  I am pretty sure it is fox proof now.  Talk about lucky!

Last week I showed that I was given four boxes of little candles.  I started finding ways to use them as gifts.  I made up several of these "Blackout boxes"  for some birthdays coming up...

We started picking the apples.  Dad thinks they are Pink Lady variety.   

They are really good apples!  Every day I will pick a bucketful.  I am sure these were ripe as they basically fall off the tree if you knock them.  However many are still green so those I will leave longer.

I also picked a lot of tomatoes and I pulled out some that are finished and just looking messy.

We planted two lemon trees!!  This takes our fruit trees up to 6 now!  

Some of my white sheets were looking less than white due to rain water with gum leaves in it!  I did a strip wash soak and they came up new again.   This is probably old news to many of you but it is the hottest tub of water you can get, 1/4 cup washing soda, 1/4 cup borax, 1/2 good laundry powder.  Agitate it all a few times and leave soaking over night or a good few hours until water is cold. Then rinse and wash as normal.  It worked a treat.  I put a few stained kitchen towels in with it and they came out spotless!  

We now have an endless supply of venison.  This is a game changer to the grocery list and expenses.

I finished up my lavender sachets.  In the end I wrapped them each in a cellophane bag with lavender essential oil inside.  This was a craft from Fee's Little Craft Studio.  I love them!

And in spare moments I worked on my Sweetpea rug...

I am loving this.  I live to get to the next colour change!

So that was my week!  It was very nice!  Today is a lovely day.  Dad already called in for a cup of tea.  He is always up and off to work early.   I am going to get some washing on the line and some more apples picked.  

I hope you had a good week too.  How did you build up your home,  get ahead, save or add to your pantry?   It is so wonderful to find new ways to do things, learn new skills,  take advantage of new possibilities!   Make hay while the sun shines, that is what I say! xxx


  1. Dear Annabel,
    I think it is such a blessing that your parents are close by and you get to see them often. It is so nice, for you, to have a family support system.
    My week was mostly spent cooking and planning. I have quite a lot of frozen fruit that needs turned into jams and conserves. I, also, lost two days to a migraine.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda, Yes it is wonderful! This morning Dad again called in for a cup of coffee. He always checks my progress in the garden and he tried an apple. I am sorry about your migraine!! I hope you are feeling better. I always feel the day after is a kind of migraine hang over...
      Have a lovely weekend! I hope you get some jam made or some conserves! With much love

    2. Hi Glenda,

      I'm sorry to barge in like this but thought this might help you with your migraine. I used to have severe migraines for the last couple of years until someone advised me to take magnesium supplement. It helped me a lot. No more migraines since I started taking them about three months ago. I hope this could help you too. If you like, please try. You can get the smallest bottle of tables and if it doesn't help you won't lose much money. Good luck!

    3. Thank you, so much, MJ, for the suggestion. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
      I have taken 1000 mg of magnesium per day for years. I have Fibromyalgia and when my muscles flare-up and get very tight, it, often, triggers a migraine.
      I agree, Annabel, the second day is like the down side of the migraine.
      Many blessings to each of you,

    4. Dear Glenda,
      I hope you're feeling better. I would get migraines when the barometric pressure would drop but since supplementing with magnesium they're a thing of the past for me. This has been a special blessing this year as we've had so much inclement weather. I have found that the glycinate form of magnesium has worked best for me. Ki gadol elohai, Cookie

    5. Thank you, Cookie. I appreciate the information.

  2. You’ve been busy!!! We are buried under snow but have managed to get some baking done!! Have you heard from Laine at all lately if she was going to post again soon ? Love your lemon trees!!

    1. Dear Becky, Strangely I had not heard from Laine since December but this morning I got an email! I will ask her on the posting. I hope she might say yes! When it is so cold cooking is so good, you are keeping things warm and everyone happy when you are cooking! With love,

  3. What a wonderful week you had, Annabel! I always look forward to seeing what you've been up to! I had a pretty good week building up my pantry a bit: I made and canned beef broth, rendered the fat, canned chuck roast, canned ground beef, made and froze hamburgers, and froze six pounds of ground beef. Now I am looking ahead to the quilt show next week and will be spending a good portion of the weekend crafting :) Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Dear Jenn, You did very well with the beef broth and canning! You did build up your pantry! That is wonderful.
      Now I hope you love the quilt show and come home with so may ideas and inspirations! Enjoy your crafting! I hope we get to see the results! With much love,

  4. I had to chuckle at this: "Even in February they have needed scarves and warm things in the evenings." Living in the Northern Hemisphere, in the middle of the US, in Nebraska where we definitely have WINTER in February and it is Cold. We are gearing up for a(nother) major winter storm starting tomorrow afternoon (Friday). Lots of Cold, rain-sleet-snow and 40-50 mph winds that will blow those 8" of snow into big, hard drifts. With all this going on I'm going to go back and read all about the lovely summer you have had settling into your new home.
    Kay in Snow Nebraska

    1. Dear Kay, Yes it is summer here and usually hot hot hot! But south of us they have had really cool evenings. They will get a shock in actual winter! While you look forward to spring we look forward to autumn! I hope you get through the storm safe and sound inside in the warm! Have a lovely weekend! With love,

  5. Sounds like you have had another wonderfully frugal week Annabel and made lots of lovely things and gifts too :). Produce from our gardens are always a blessing :).

    You are so right Annabel about checking out smaller country stores as we took a trip to a town about 30 mins from us that we hadn't been to before to pick up other things, and found fantastic mark downs on meat in a Foodworks store there. We will check it out each time we go now that meat is getting so expensive with the drought and floods up north.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $447.37 in savings last week :).

    Finances -

    - I found a $190 transaction on my bank account that we didn't make and reported it to the bank, it is coming up as miscellaneous debit ?. The bank is waiting for 10 days and then refunding us this amount. Note to everyone check your bank accounts for nefarious transactions regularly.
    - On eBay I let them know about a glitch where they are charging us for free listings and they refunded me the listing fees charged.
    - We paid an extra fortnightly payment and a bit off our mortgage and have decided to pay off the standard mortgage payment and monthly interest each month to save money and time on the home mortgage.
    - I listed 7 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $11.55 on usual listing fees. I know I listed lots more than this but lost count during the week :).

    Earnings -

    - I earned around $18 from the sale of saved pumpkin seeds and a handmade A6 notebook journal cover in my eBay store.

    Purchases -

    - We asked at our local post office about a local property that looked like a wrecking yard and found it was a "collectors" home and all the items were for sale. Upon hearing this and knowing we were in need of a few gardening handtools and galvanised pipe joiners that we would have a look. We purchased 2 really old road pick heads, a rake head, a trench shovel, a post hole crow bar and 14 galvanised pipe connectors for $60 saving us $404.98 less the cost of handles over buying them in our local hardware stores new. Can you believe they now sell unbendable garden tools for $89.95 each ?, and the older ones never bent anyway. I could not justify this price and only paid $5 ea for the pick and garden fork heads.
    - Purchased 3.812kg of beef mince on clearance special at a little country supermarket for $5.42 per kg. I picked 4 of the largest packets I could find for $5 ea and saved $14.33 on our usual $9 kg prices here.
    - Purchased all on specials 4 x packets of potato chips, 1 packet of twisties, 2 shampoos, 2 conditioners, 2 norsca deodorants saving $16.51 on usual prices. We added these to our grocery stockpile.

    Organisation -

    - Went through my sewing and craft room and listed a lot of items that were not listed. Still more to go but I am getting there slowly.

    Water preservation -

    - Used grey water from our washing machine and grey water tank to water fruit trees in the yard and ornamental flowering potted plants. Also used saved shower warm up water and dish rinsing water to water potted herbs and fruit trees with.

    Hoping everyone else had a wonderful week :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. Dear Lorna, I laughed about the wrecking yard being a "collection" and also about the unbendable tools that never bend anyway. This is a bit like now products like corn on the cob with the label "gluten free" haha never had gluten anyway but someone will think oh hey they made gf corn! You have to wonder...
      Anyway now you know where to go and search for all kinds of things. I would find it kind of fun seeing what they had!
      Well done on spotting the debit on the account that wasnt yours! I bet this happens continuously and people just dont notice! Also well done on your eBay sales and listings!
      It was good on the meat markdowns. Yes meat is getting a terrible price. I was staggered by the prices in town. Then we changed stores and it is much better but still a big chunk of the budget. I would note the time of day you called into that store also but like you I would keep checking. Some have consistent times that are good. The evening before a public holiday can be very good too!
      You had a really good week and sounds like you are so in the swing of things in your new home and location. Love that the Post Office staff can fill you in if you ask questions. Local knowledge is a very helpful thing! With lots of love,

    2. Dear Annabel at least we have a local place to look for all things secondhand and I kind of mean "all", this place was amazing with the amount of stuff he collects including old vintage cars. This is his job just selling what he has collected over the years.

      For a bit of interesting information on garden and other tools is the really old tools were made of high grade steel where as the newer ones are not. I cannot tell you how many shovels, garden forks and other implements I have purchased new that I have bent, using them normally, in the first few uses and taken back.

      Perhaps the $89.95 ones do actually have high grade steel in them, but I have my doubts, and there will be no way I will buy a tool at that price anyway if I can get old robust stronger tools in good condition anyway.

      Gluten free corn now you have me laughing too :).

      Have a great week :).

      Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

  6. "An endless supply of venison"! Well, that certainly will help with the grocery budget! I love the idea of you picking apples from your own trees, it must be such fun for you, and feel like a justification for the big move back to the farm.

    1. Dear Earthmother, I always wanted to be as self sufficient as possible and we have made big progress on that. The produce and natural abundance really mean we would survive at least without the shops. And things are natural, not worries about chemicals etc which I love. I am hoping to be able to pick Mulberries in the new week! So that would be really good but I know for sure I have a lot more apples to pick! Have a lovely weekend! With love

  7. Annabel,
    You have had a very busy week. So happy that you and Mum were able to visit the girls. Your Mum put a lot of love into her knitting for the girls. Harper is growing so fast.

    Having venison added to your pantry is a wonderful blessing. What a great way to have free meat in the freezer.
    Your lemon tree looks so healthy, amazing it has new fruit on it already. Your orchard is coming along so well, impressive to say the least.

    I have had another week of travel with my husband. I feel like a merchant ship. No matter the town or city we visit I try to check thrift stores and regular stores in them.
    I found that prices at a walmart in a small town were so much more affordable than ours. I purchased embroidery bobbins, a case, needles and yarn there at a much more reasonable price.

    At the thrift stores I visited, I felt bad I didn't make it to town till after their 50% off day but Prayer I would be blessed.
    I found a Nursery Rhyme Book that i had as a child, I had always wanted one again for my child and grandchildren. Well there it was on the shelf, and an amazing 10 cents for it. I almost broke out in tears of joy.
    I also found crochet books and booklets, knitting needles, sewing machine needles, large rolls of elastic, embroidery floss and a crewel kit that was unopened. It was from 1972 and only ran $1.00 My sewing & craft pantry is definitely growing due to my travels. I have truly been blessed.
    I sat last night and put the new to me embroidery floss on the bobbins and into the case and just sat and admired it all.

    We also stopped at a Mennonite Store traveling from one city to the next. It was a very small store, it didn't even have any spices or herbs. But I was able to purchase 2 knives my one DIL was asking for, 2 quart containers of clear gel, a quart of molasses and some treats for husband.

    May you have a bountiful week.
    Love, Rosanne

    1. Dear Rosanne, I love your finds and that you treat travel as a chance to find amazing bargains and bring back this to stock the pantry, sewing pantry etc. Last year I found a lot of cottons on wooden spools. I was using some yesterday and I watch out continually for things like this that are basic necessities.
      I am thrilled for you over the book of your childhood!
      I hope you get a restful Sunday and wonderful new week! With much love,

  8. I just salivate at all your fresh fruit and veggies each week. I am so anxious for that time again.
    Good to know on the fabric whitening. Thanks for that info.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      This is our time of abundance and it is lovely. I dont like the heat of summer but I do love the produce! I think the new week will also have a lot of produce. I better get baking! Have a lovely weekend! Love

  9. Dear Annabel,
    What a lovely week you've had. Harper looks so adorable modeling her hat. Your Mum's work is beautiful. I absolutely love the lavender sachets and searched Fee's website but couldn't find the directions or any possible downloads of the girls. Would it be possible for you to share the link. I've tons of lavender from the garden and those are so beautiful.

    Like others in the US we've been having very cold weather, lots of snow, wind, and ice. We had a huge storm Wednesday and more expected to reach here over the weekend. So the greater portion of this week kept us indoors. Most of my "handmaidens" were put to good use this week -- dinners made in the slow cooker, a turkey roasted in the pressure oven, baked low sodium raisin bread for my husband and made strawberry jam from frozen fruit using the breadmaker, also baked a new recipe for gluten free chocolate chip cookies with almond flour that were egg free. Wishing all of the Bluebirds a good weekend. Blessings, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      Here is the link to the project..
      She is having a year of gift projects. I have a couple I am wanting to do already and this was so easy and I loved it! If you have lavender you are set!! If I saw these in a shop I would just want to buy them! You are able to print out the girls yourself onto fabric too.
      All your cooking while it is so cold outside just sounds beautiful. A turkey especially! While you are probably keen for spring to come we are waiting on Autumn! Have a lovely weekend! With much love,

  10. Oh, Pink Lady apples are one of my very favorite varieties. I love them dipped in Cool Whip mixed with yogurt and peanut butter. Your blanket looks beautiful; the ball you're working from is yummy. What wonderful memories you and your Mom are making visiting grands and great-grands on the weekends. You are (as someone wrote above) so blessed to have such a great family network. Which brings me to your dad stopping by for coffee -- how precious is that?!! I did have a great idea dropped into my head last night....we bought 2 twin-sized down comforters from Penneys on sale (Presidents' Weekend here last wkend). Got 2 twins cuz the king-size was sold out and I'd always wanted to try the Scandinavian way of separate blankets for each person. The comforters came last night and I was studying what I have to protect them from getting dirty (since all our duvet covers are king-sized). I realized I could sew 1 king sized cover in half and have 2 twin covers! Eureka--I was so happy to not have to buy new covers and use what we already had! Thank You, Lord, for good ideas ;). Enjoy your weekend with Mom and the girls! Love, Mary B.

    1. Dear Mary,
      I hope it works out well to make the kind size cover into tow singles! I think it should! There are many ways to do things!
      I am blessed with the family network. Now I am trying to repeat it and be the same to my daughters and grandkids... the close relationship with my granddaughters I hope turns to close relationship with their children some day!
      I have been picking more apples. They are amazing! And we have another tree to go pick as well only a different variety! And possibly Mulberries!
      Have a wonderful weekend Mary! Love

  11. I finished a fitted slipcover and refined a desk chair slipcover (toile is so much prettier on a desk chair, agreed?). I am trying my hand at crochet. So far I have aced the chain stitch, lol, but I will move forward. I am working to build my skills. I made rolls and cinnamon buns, purchased a half dozen boxes of whole wheat spaghetti to fill a need in my pantry.

    1. Dear Terri, Yes I agree how pretty toile is! And admire your skill to make slip covers. Things can be totally transformed with a good slip cover.
      Rolls and cinnamon buns sound beautiful. I am glad you added to your pantry too! Have a wonderful new week! With love

  12. Hi Annabel. I love how that little farm of yours is coming together. Pat has done amazing work with yarn yet again. Your Mum is such a creative soul and I see that this runs in the family.
    We have had some fun with another heatwave and a cyclone off the coast. It is at such a distance that we have been getting extremely gusty and gale force winds but no rain. Nope, not one drop. We now have a fire weather warning.
    Mum and Dad had a huge tree limb come down on their back veranda. The wonderful SES people came in, got it off the roof, cut it up and took it away. The people in this volunteer organisation are worth their weight in gold.
    I have continued crocheting my 12 point star blanket. The multi coloured wool I picked up in Bendigo a few years ago is all gone. I am now going to try and get a plain colour to compliment the multi colours and add some more to the blanket.
    It has been too windy to be outside so I have been playing around with multi media art pieces. I loved collage as a child and many years later, I find I still do. I have three small canvas finished and on the wall in my sewing room. I intend to make this area a wall of colourful collage.
    Bluey has been pulling old pallets apart and has been making what he calls, 'Rough as Guts' furniture pieces. He is currently working on what looks like a meat safe. I think Katie has already put dibs on it.
    Have a wonderful weekend. Life is madly blowing a gale, but where is the rain, good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      Mum is having such a good time making so much! Since her back was very bad she had to take more breaks and be careful. So she gets some crochet etc done. She is very productive.
      When the weather is terrible it is lucky we are so happy and content to get working on projects. I am excited for everyone (hopefully) to see what you have been making. You have inspired me actually...
      I would love to see what Blueys meat safe looks like! Pallets make beautiful boxes... i.e. think produce boxes like veggies used to come in. I love rustic!
      I hope rain has arrived properly by now! With love,

  13. gorgeous beanies & vest, cold already? gosh i wish we would have some cool weather, it's still hot & humid here (am approx halfway between Gympie & Murgon) fresh fruit that didn't seem to have fruit fly? so lucky!
    thanx for sharing

    1. Dear Selina, It has heated back up here now! Our fruit has no fruit fly in South Australia thankfully. The pears have started to ripen up in the baskets and they are beautiful! Have a lovely Sunday and new week! With love

  14. Dear Annabel, oh I love how your Dad calls in and has coffee with you. That makes my heart happy. It's always so nice to hear a good story like that. I love all your produce and I love how there aren't any chemicals on them! The Pink Lady type is our favourite here. I can only imagine how they taste! I just swoon over those cake toppers. They are beautiful! I think they'd make such special birthday cakes as well. I love your lavender sachets. They are so pretty- I love anything vintage. I have had a good week. Thank you for your encouragement and positivity- I found a dress for $1 and a Meccano set for the boys (future birthday/Christmas present) for $5. We were given beautiful antique wooden armchairs that were my great grandmother's- and that she had bought second hand, so we don't know how old they are. They have rose tapestry fabric and I love them! I love having my family's furniture. Not only is it older, but I think it has been made to last. Lots of love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      Yes I do love that Dad calls in. He has his own big cup and saucer. One time a couple of weeks ago I went up to feed the chickens. When I got back Dad opened the door and said "come in" haha so you could say he feels right at home.
      A dress is lovely to find and so is mecanno! When you see lego or mecanno this is worth putting aside for the boys! The rose tapestry fabric sounds RIGHT up my alley! I think you need to crochet a nice rush in the same colours... imagine that!
      What a good week! I hope the new week will be as good too! With love

  15. Annabel,
    You are doing so well! The apples are gorgeous and lemon trees too! I really like edible landscaping. And venison is a fantastic supply of meat especially when meat prices spike. Have you thought about getting some meat hens as well as laying hens? We are being gifted 7 chickens one day this week. People get them and then can't keep them. Your mum's work is just beautiful and the girls will look just darling. I've been doing a few rows a day in the blanket I'm working on, was gifted books, used my crock pots and have been doing more baking. Brown sugar muffins have become one of my favorites! I did add to the pantry with jars of pasta sauce and soup. If someone needs a little help it's a good lunch. Todd got engaged! They grow so fast. I am starting a hope chest for them along with my granddaughters items. Your fruit and veggies gets me excited for that season here. Such bounty to be had. Have a great weekend!

    1. Dear Vicky... I have thought about getting turkeys! Luke's Dad is a butchers we could do a deal.. so we are thinking a lot of this and a variety! We can get duck. It is awesome you are getting chickens for free! Do you know if they are hens or roosters yet? Either will be good though!
      Brown sugar muffins sound just beautiful!!
      You sure had a big week with Todd getting engaged! Lots to plan for now! And I love hope chests! Just beautiful.
      What a good week! I hope the new week will be excellent too! With love

  16. Hi Annabel,

    I'm late posting this, but have been tied up with bathroom renovations!!! I just love your sachets...they are really lovely. Your Mum does beautiful work and Harper looks so cute in that hat! I can just taste those lemons!!!

    We are making some progress on the bathroom. After much hard work (mostly by my hubby) and hair pulling due to inexperience, the shower/bath tile regrouting has been all done. One day to chip out all the old grout, one day to re-grout, and several hours to buff up all the tile to get rid of any excess grout. He is sealing the grout tonight, I think...don't want to have to re-do that job again anytime soon!!! Then he can caulk the join between tile and tub and up the corners/sides of the tile walls. It looks miles better already!! Perfect? No. But so much better. This job probably cost us close to $200, but I can't imagine how much it would have been to have had a professional do it, not to mention how long we would have had to wait to even get someone out here to start the job! And all the wallpaper is finally removed, with some patch drying on the holes in the walls and waiting to be sanded until after the grout sealing (keeping down the dust).

    In other areas, I started a crocheted granny square's looking cute! Finished a pair of knit socks. Made 4 loaves of multigrain bread, pumpkin cheesecake muffins, poppyseed dinner rolls, rhubarb crunch, and 2 kinds of cookies. Sold 5 doz. eggs. Repaired a knit glove. Pickled some eggs. Helped to get my eldest's resume and a cover letter ready to apply for summer jobs. Arranged a bank meeting. Gave some soup and some rolls to a neighbor who has pneumonia. Other than that, just the usual house cleaning, laundry, homeschooling, etc.. I am hoping to get through my seeds today and get a seed order together. Even though it is close to minus 27 degrees C outside today with the windchill (it is really blustery), spring is still going to be here before you know it, and I'll need some seeds! :)

    Having a butcher in the family is lovely...and all that venison available is wonderful!! Have a great week!

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, What big projects you have been working on. I remember pretty vividly when we did the bathroom. It was nightmare for a while. But afterwards it was just lovely! And the wallpaper, you will be glad that job is done! I love granny squares so I cant wait to see this! All the cooking sounds beautiful. You are very good to your neighbours. I am hoping the neighbour with pneumonia isn't the one with cancer treatment also. That would not be good at all. It is lovely you help and support them. Good neighbours are an absolute blessing!
      I hope your eldest finds some nice summer work. It is a big step going into first jobs!
      Seed ordering would be a lovely thing to be doing. Half the fun is in the planning I think! We are just trying to keep stuff alive as we are in a hot week again. I cannot fathom wheat minus 27 feels like. I have felt minus 1 or 2. Beyond that it is a terrifying mystery to me. I would actually be frightened!
      We are counting a lot of blessings with the meat, the fruit trees and all that is available here. It is quite exciting! Hope this week is going well so far! With love

  17. Harper is getting so big. She is adorable. Great job on the gift boxes. I would love something useful like that as a gift.

    I have been decluttering. I have been going through bins and boxes in the basement. Hubby took a truck load to the church. I have a pile for my cousin, aunt, daughter and a few items for friends. Glad people can use the stuff. My son has gotten into wood work so we need a place for him to work. Slowly making room.


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