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 28 March 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 29th March, 2019.

Can you believe March is almost over!?  I feel like I was just planning my year and here we are three months in.

It has been a really good week!  So much going on...

These are some of the ways I feathered my nest, built up our home, saved, got ahead, added to my pantry...

First of all you have to put up with a story.   My Dad pops in pretty regularly for a cup of tea and a chat.  And to see what I am up to around here.  Every time he comes he asks me in a slightly exasperated way WHY don't I have a kitchen table?  Our dining room table is in the lounge room which is big, like one end is living, one end is dining.  The other table we have is out on the deck which is where we mostly eat.   That is all the tables I have!   But I kind of agreed with him.  Ours is an old fashioned kitchen and I kept it as it was, original cupboards, sink and stove, even floor.  And a table would fit.  Well, a small table.  So Dad would drag a chair out of the lounge room to the kitchen and sit there saying it is much better to sit in the kitchen.  And he is right, I am always cooking or usually when he is here.   My Nan had a big old farmhouse table in her kitchen. I loved it.  It is true that the kitchen is the heart of the home.
So finally I took the hint and thought to please Dad I will find myself a little kitchen table.  It would have to be fairly small, narrow and long as that is the shape of the room and the space I have.
Then I remembered seeing a small table up in the top shed.  Right at the back amongst junk and spider webs.   So I planned to go investigate.  I went armed with fly spray.
Amazingly I decided the table was about the right size, it was sure rustic and farmhouse style but it was covered in thick cobwebs and you had to climb over all kinds of stuff to get to it.  So I would need Andy to help.  I sprayed a ton of flyspray to kill black spiders and let that do it's work!
Later we went up with the trailer and hauled it out.  I wore thick leather gloves and boots.  We lifted it up and started shifting it toward the door and something moved next to my left hand.  I screamed and dropped the whole thing!  It was just a spider web moving in the breeze lol 🙄
I truly nearly had a heart attack.  Anyway this all continued until we had it on the trailer then unloaded it out on the front lawn.  Then I was able to use a broom to clear twenty years of dust and then the hose until finally I scrubbed it down with Ajax and steel wool.
Now it is very rustic.  Too rustic for some probably but I love it!
Finally it was dry on Monday morning and Andy helped me bring it into the kitchen.   I found two chairs and popped a tray and a jug on it and it looked like it belonged.  
Two hours later who should turn up?  Dad!  He walked to the kitchen door and stopped in his tracks!  I said "Ta dahhh!" throwing my hands in the hair!   And he beamed and said "That's MUCH BETTER" and pulled out a chair and sat down.  So out came his own special cup and saucer and he had two cups of coffee.   So now he is happy!  
Vicky and I joked and said it was all done for our favourite piece.  (That would be zero dollars and zero cents!)

I made three reversible shopping bags from lovely fabric a Bluebirds sent me in our swap party.  I have been running out of bags on my trips to town.  I made the pattern up and was really pleased!

You can see the table and chairs here but I will take more photos when I am happy with how I have it set! 

I finished off my pin cushions.  I found bow and button pins to add to them. Underneath they each have a button and on top they each have a crystal or a flower. 

We used our apples, pears and figs in our meals.  I wrap figs in prosciutto and fill them with cream cheese and bake them.   We had pear, walnut and rocket salad,  baked apples with pork and apple pies.

I found a big bag of bananas marked down so I used them to make the cakes to take this week to see the girls.   That is today after I post! Mum is coming over and we head of at nine am! 

I made two dozen regular banana cakes and two dozen GF ones.

As I am trying to use apples up I made a heap of individual apple pies in my pie maker.  This lot are to take to Lucy today.

My tray is a lined lid of a big shoe box.  Well it works!

I added to the pantry with coffee at an amazing price.

My chickens are laying better and better.  I am getting four eggs a day so I have some slackers but I think they will all be laying soon!

Just as I thought I was getting ahead with apples we got MORE apples.  Dad said to go look at the old apple tree and pick the rest.  So we made a trip out of it and headed off down a track we had not explored yet.  It was just beautiful and a short cut to the beach!  This was back to the apple tree over the old stone house.  The apples that were left were way up high!

I had my long picking stick Andy made me. It has a long handle, a hook and a tin for the fruit to drop in to.  So we still got four baskets full.

The apples are a bit scruffy on the outside but good on the inside.  I put an egg in the basket to show how big they are!  

While poking around at the old cottage we found a big old cast iron box.  I think it had once contained machinery.   Anyway we needed a wood box at the back door.  We both looked at it and said "wood box!"   It is amazing!   

In the afternoon we went wood cutting and filled a trailer and our new woodbox at the back door.  This is really good timing as it could be only weeks before we need to start having a fire.

Early in the week we had some rain. It looks like we are set for some more which would be wonderful!

I planted cauliflowers and cabbages and some flowers.

So it was a great week.  Lots of progress here and there.  And that is how it adds up.  Week by week we can make so much difference and achieve all kinds of goals.  
Watching well to the ways of your household and being busy are important things!  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

Have a lovely weekend! xxx

Thursday 21 March 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 22nd March, 2019.

It was such a busy week.  A bit of a blur.   But still it was good and fairly productive.

Some of the ways I built up our nest, got ahead, saved and added to my pantry were:

As usual I make little cakes and took with us down to see the girls.  This trip I came home with some figs!   Harper came out with me to check the fruit trees.  I do this every trip!   This time there were ripe figs!

She is a careful picker as she knows about the sticky milk that comes from the stems!  

I am able to take a dozen eggs to the girls weekly now as my chooks are laying quite well.

I planted Hollyhocks and Broccoli in the garden.

We picked our last bucket of apples from our apple tree...

There are some really little apples.  Scarlett loves those! 

Using some venison I cooked up meat and veggies until they were very tender and made meat pies.  They were delicious and I gave Chloe and Luke eight.  I froze some.  For mine I used gluten free pastry.  I will do these again soon as they were great and a pie in the freezer is an instant handy meal.

I made a batch of vanilla yoghurt.

While op shopping I struck gold!   I have been trying to build up my supply of sewing cottons.  Several times I have found bags of cotton.   But still I look for cotton and don't have the right colour.  I got all these at 45c each...

Cottons are expensive and many of the older ones are better quality.  So I improved my sewing pantry!

A while ago I got a heap of free little candles.  First I made up blackout kits using the candles as the main component.  Now I am adding little decals to some ready to package up in groups of five with cellophane and a pink ribbon.

I had some very worn and soft flannelette from an op shop.  I had been a sheet.  I washed it up and made the girls super soft hankies for autumn and winter colds.   I also added some to the medical pantry.

These would make lovely cleaning or dusting cloths too but at this time of year I am thinking more about hankies!

I finally got my braid to finish my pot holders.  I like to put a loop on each one so it can be hung up if wanted...

I think I made 16 all up.

I made two honey and date loaves.

So it was a week of a bit of this and a bit of that!  it all adds up!  

I have loads to do.   Tomatoes need picking,  apples and pears need cooking, eggs need collecting,  spinach needs to be picked,  figs need to be used, my seedlings need watering.  It is a beautiful Autumn sunny day.  I think I will get some baked apples on.

I hope you had a good week!  How did you feather your nest?   Have a wonderful

Monday 18 March 2019

The Tuesday Afternoon Club, 19th March, 2019.

This week we have some photos from some of the Tuesday Club members who like to post here rather than in the Facebook group.  So even more ideas to inspire us!
 It is a busy day!  I am off to see the girls with Mum after I report my crafts, use it up and set things to good use.    If you would like to join The Tuesday Afternoon Club come over and sign up  here.  The goal is to encourage one another to make all we can and especially use up resources we have to fill our give cupboards, to decorate our homes and to help others.  We especially meet up and report in on Tuesdays!  So I love Tuesdays! 

Here today we have a photo from Jen in NS.

Jen is just about famous amongst us all for her stunning knitting, sewing and cards. As usual Jen this is all beautiful!

Lorna has been so productive making things for her new home including curtains.  Lorna also has an Ebay shop and you can find it if you look up Sewingcreations15.  She has been making bread bags...

I have to mention that I have tried so many things to keep lettuce fresh and have found a bag like this placed in the crisper is just AMAZING for keeping leafy greens fresh!

Also sleep masks...   

Lorna makes them many layers thick so they truly keep out any light.  There are so many things Lorna makes for her shop!  also she sells her garden seeds and herbs.  So industrious! 

Clare sent me a photo of her giant pumpkins!  In another photo her dogs were next to these and they are miles bigger than the dogs!  They are HUGE!  Clare previously shared a photo of a wheel barrow of giant sunflowers.  I asked her what is in her soil as the things she grows are gigantic!  I would love to grow these!!

I love pumpkins and thing they are beautiful.  I am hoping to be able to have my own pumpkin patch next spring, we need to improve the soil in the area I have room to grow them then I am set.  

Jen in NZ completed a blanket for her daughter.  This is just beautiful and her daughter loves it!  A project of this size is such a gift of love.  It is amazing Jen.  I am about a quarter the way on mine! 

Jen my Mum made me a pink and white rug when I was little... about the same size.  Chloe has it now! We still have it!  It is still in perfect condition too! 

Tanya made her sons some shorts.  They love camouflage print!

And one son a pillow with his initial on it...

She also made her little girl some very pretty skirts..

My girls loves skirts like this as they loved to be able to twirl and dance in them! 

Beautiful work Tanya.  You are so busy and achieve so much!

As it has been a few weeks now I am terrified I have forgotten someone! I hope not. 

Thank you all for sharing your photos!  There is so much we can do!  Busy hands make happy hearts! 
Have a wonderful day! xxx

Friday 15 March 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 15th March, 2019.

I am sorry to be late with my post.  Yesterday we were out all day at some country field days.  It was so much fun!  Before I left photos would not load and the internet was slow. Then it was worse when I got home!  In the end I threw the towel in and decided to wait for the morning.

It was a very good week with glorious Autumn weather!

Some of the ways I feathered the nest, saved, got ahead or added to my pantry were:

I cleaned out my whole wardrobe and shoes.  This involved facing the music with shoes.  I cannot wear heels and so many shoes were mere fantasy and they have been donated.  I tried on everything and worked out the reason I never wore things.  I am weird about texture and colours and many things never are worn as they "don't feel right" lol so I was realistic that they will never feel right!  It was a big job but now I am down to a good workable, farm and country suitable, wardrobe and four pairs of shoes.   This did seem me order some good leather boots which already arrived and I love.  I live in boots in winter.  So these were my reward!

Mum and I did our day trip to see the girls.  I made little cakes with chopped apple through them (still using apples at every opportunity) ...

And I made chocolate cakes. They don't look very glamorous but they were a hit!

We had some rain! This was great and it meant we could begin wood cutting without worrying about starting a fire.  So we picked some close targets which were fallen trees and began work.  I am
thrilled about this!   It is hard work but good fun, it tidies up our yard, driveway and surrounds. It improves things for next fire season,  it gives us an endless supply of fire wood for our fireplace and then also bon fires outside.  It is really good!   So we worked out a plan, we have so much to do!   And we started a wood stack for our first winter fires.  I love a good wood pile!

Lucy and the girls visited!   I had a little basket for each of the girls and we went apple picking.   They seemed to see it as a treasure hunt!  They picked so many apples so fast!  Very business like about the whole thing.

When Scarlett filled her basket she would tip them out then start again! 
They loved it!   

This week I started covering the floor of the chook pen in hay.  There is a hay shed up the hill.  Each day I push the wheelbarrow up there, fill it with hay and spread this on the chicken house floor, in nesting boxes etc.   I want it to be a thick layer before the rain and I don't want the yard to get muddy.  So each day I do a load.  Already it is adding up.  Little bits add up!  Soon it will be so fresh, clean and snug for winter.  (it is a really big yard!)

Dad gave us some venison and Mum gave us some beautiful beef.  These were more than enough chunks of meat to make many meals.

I cut Andy's hair.

I cleaned all the windows, outside only though.   It was a nice day and they needed doing so I got out and went right around the house. Looks so nice!

On the craft front I worked on some crochet edges on towels, my sweet pea blanket and I have been sewing.  I am held up waiting on supplies.  I have farm theme pot holders.  (earlier I showed farmyard scene ones) these are animal ones...

I have been waiting on braid which was in the post box when we got home yesterday!  So now I am set.

Similarly I made pin cushions and am waiting on flower buttons to sew into the centre of each.

They will look much better when finished.  I have pins for them in pastel colours, some are butterflies and some are buttons or heat shaped. 
So soon these will be gifts in my gift cupboard.

I took a photo of a pink sunset over our old shed out the back...

Today is sunny and lovely.  I have some venison cooking in the slow cooker with mushrooms, onion and carrots to make meat pies.  I have seedlings to plant.  Hay to cart.  Washing to hang out... and so on!  I can get to sewing my trim on my pot holders if I get time.  

How did you build up your home, get ahead, save... stock your pantry this week?

Have a beautiful weekend!xxx

Monday 11 March 2019

The Tuesday Afternoon Club. Rebecca's Post.

Last week we had a report from Alison who along with Rebecca founded our Tuesday Afternoon Club with their get togethers to make all their gifts on Tuesdays!  You will find so many ideas in these posts.  This week we have Rebecca's post.  I love the way the girls approached this!  Over to Rebecca...

Motivated by Annabel’s discussions on making gifts through the year so that by Christmas we would have a stash available to give away, two or three years ago Alison and I started getting together on every second Tuesday to create and craft.  Together was more fun, we shared the work and doubled the motivation, and between us we came up with a much bigger range of ideas.  I think last year was our best, so I would love to share what we did and what we plan for this year?
Our first step was to actually go shopping – but not to spend - to research.  We visited some of the top end giftware shops and looked, examined, smelled and considered, seeking products that we could make with our skills and resources and which our recipients would want.  We took notes on the packaging and which scents we liked and what we already knew how to do. 

We also hit the op shops looking for resources – cups to make soy candles in, sheets for fabric and even wrapping materials.  We of course also got on our computers, looking for ideas and tutorials – Pinterest was fantastic for this.  Alison made us a shared Pinterest board to make it easy to share ideas.  
Every two weeks we tackled a new project – soy candles, lotion bars, lip balm, soap and cards, so that by October we each had a cupboard full of goodies to give away, and then we focused on  
presentation – and if I had to say what was the best thing I learned last year in this project, it was how important how the gift looked was when we gave it away.  For instance, I have come to understand that people assign a different value to “homemade” versus “handmade”, and we considered this when we made our labels.  The last few months of the year, our crafty Tuesdays were spent looking at ideas how to wrap our soaps and lotion bars, and how to label our candles etc.  We found a stash of beautiful paper and card that my husband had rescued from being thrown away several years ago, and this made boxes of many kinds, labels, sleeves for soap or sewing items and bags to put them in.  We bought little brooches like Annabel uses, and pretty ribbon – not spending much, but making our gifts look amazing!

I have had so many positive comments from our gifts last year, including several who suggested  
we could go into business – I took that as the ultimate compliment towards our aim of trying to look professional with our product. Also, having had a discussion about how interested he was in environmentally sustainable food packaging on a school trip, I was pleased to be able to give my son’s 62-year-old male teacher a washable sandwich wrap and snack bags – filled with homemade spicy nuts and fudges as an end of year “thank you” present.

It was exciting to see how well received they were and that we were able to give away "Artisan" products that didn't feel or look like "budget" items - yet they were.
As well as gifts we also had a few craft days that were just for us or our families - when our own card stocks were getting low for example.
We also tried a few new things like making cheese together - Alison taught me how to make feta and I taught her to make mozzarella - we must do that again soon.

So what do we have planned for this year?  I am pleased to say we still have lots of ideas. 

After last year’s success, we will be making soap again (I gave away nearly all of mine for Christmas), and we may be brave and try colouring some this year?  I’m also keen to look at making some good stain removing laundry soap?

I would like to try making vanilla essence – found these cute little bottles at an op shop (unused, still with price tags) I am dying to use.

New Zealand is banning single-use plastic bag from the middle of this year – so roll-up shopping bags seem like a good present.  I made some years ago that I use all the time, so we will be making some of these.  Lightweight, convenient, simple to make – and a good way of using some of my fabric stash, of which I have too much.  Some will also be made of shower-proof fabric, so useful for messier items like meat.

The lip balm (pictured above) was a success last year so we will make some again.  We will probably invest in some more of the tubes as they are so convenient to use, and it is nice to have a product with such lovely ingredients in them.

Annabel and other Bluebirds have created some beautiful gift tags, so we will be making some of these.

We have lots of fabric we can use, so as well as the shopping bags, there will be several sewing projects.  One of these is little pot plant bags.  I made some low bags (from the cut-off legs from a pair of jeans!) to fit inside a drawer to store my daughter’s hair ties in, but taller versions with a pot inside would look sweet.  We plan to do cuttings and seedlings of basil, parsley and rosemary, in time for Christmas.

 Also to be sewed are these bread storage bags. They exactly fit one of my breadmaker machine 

loaves, are quick and easy to make, and as Alison suggested, would make great hostess gifts (with or without a loaf of fresh bread).

Garden Pat has posted photos of her lovely soup bowl cozies – Alison made me this one for

Christmas a year ago and I love it, so these are going on our list to make.

On our list also are bowl covers – we have both been playing with different ideas and ways to make them – I have bought some toggles to make some with, which will hopefully make them really adjustable.

We still have plenty of the PUL fabric which we made some snack bags and sandwich wraps with last year, so we will be making more of these.  Great for popping a snack in a bag or pocket and then throw in the washing machine when they get dirty.

We still need to plan some baby presents to make – always nice to have in the cupboard to bring out when it is needed.

So it looks as though we will have lots to keep us busy crafting this year.

Thank you so much Rebecca!  How exciting to have so much year ahead of us!  It is wonderful you and Alison have such a good friendship and you help each other so much.  I think both a deadline and regular dedicated days help with getting so much done.  Also having a buddy to work with is very motivating.  

The Tuesday Afternoon Club can be your buddy and we will all support your efforts to make your gifts and things for the home, set things to good use and use things up.  You can find us over here... 
The Tuesday Afternoon Club.

Thursday 7 March 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 8th March, 2019.

It has been another really good week!  After last weeks apple picking as you can imagine I have been working through apples!  And also pears as they are ripening daily.

Yesterday I made both the girls an apple pie.  Chloe collected hers and tomorrow is my day with Mum heading down to see the girls on their farm so the second one will be delivered then.

It is however one step forwards five steps backwards with the apples as our apple tree is still covered in them and each day I pick this many...

It is so wonderful picking apples. You cannot be unhappy when picking fruit I don't think!

When not using apples I am using pears.   One of the ways I used them was in a salad. We have crumbed brie and apple, rocket and walnut salad.  I keep on hand Mimi's Sticky Balsamic Vinegar and drizzled this over.  it was so delicious and we are having this salad again tonight.

On top of that each day I picked tomatoes.  This picture looks like I enhanced the colour or something but I didn't! 

AND the chickens have started to lay!  A couple of first eggs are hilariously small.  But they are laying!  It is only two weeks since we set up the new nesting boxes and hay etc and the nesting boxes have a couple of eggs every morning.  

Soon it will be five eggs every morning!

Some of the other ways we built up the nest and got ahead this week were:

I planted rosemary, thyme and organ to fill some spaces in the garden.  Also I planted flowers were I had lots a few things in the heat so all the gaps are filled back up.

As I was doing this I noticed a lot of little "weeds" and on closer inspection all my weeds are baby tomato plants!   So as I emptied pots I re filled them with baby tomatoes.

I made a pear upside down cake.

I made two honey and date loaves...

I made laundry liquid.  I got 12 bottles!!

I have been sewing but nothing is complete yet!

I made lots of cards.

I made a big rice salad and I suspect now that is the last of the cold meat and salad dinners as Autumn seems to have kicked in!  It is beautiful!  We have lovely days and cool nights.  Glorious.

We even had a tiny bit of rain.  Clouds were coming over and I prayed for rain.  A few minutes later I saw this...

We had several hours of light rain! 

I found ric rack braid in the op shop and several warm pet rugs for the farm dogs for winter.  Luke was pleased with these.

So that was my week more or less!  

Now I am heading into the kitchen to make chocolate cakes to take to the girls tomorrow.

I really hope you found ways to save, build up your home and get ahead this week.  Over on the Tuesday Afternoon Club I have seen some amazing efforts that are so impressive.  It warms my heart to see so much industry!   I love to hear how you feathered your nest! 

Have a wonderful weekend. xxx