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.

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


  1. Hi Annabel, frustrating isn't it when you are all geared up to do stuff on the computer and it won't cooperate. However you got there in the end. How gorgeous to see the girls "picking" apples. This week, despite my vertigo issues, I managed to do a few things. I needed to empty out the freezer a bit as there were 1/2 price chicken kievs at woollies that I wanted to stock up on so made a banana bread from frozen bananas, found 1/2 a bag with strawberries from last year when the needle saga was going on and made strawberry sauce to have with ice cream for dessert. I sewed loops on hand towels so they can actually hang properly on their hooks, made a birthday card and book mark as a gift for a DGF. I also zigzagged around three pieces of material for my next cross stitch projects. DH found that the bag in his weetbix box fell to bits as he lifted it out to put in his big cereal tin so he complained to the manufacturer and we got a 15 dollar gift car for woollies so that paid for 4 boxes with kievs. I have started about 5 weeks ago to use cash again for groceries and at the end of the week I put it away so at the end of the month I can use the saved money to buy for the stockpile and with another 2 weeks to go before the end of the month I have already saved over 80 dollars. all in all a very good week.

    1. Dear Magda,
      Those chicken kievs are delicious! That is amazing about the weetbix and getting a $15 card! Good on you for putting it to good use. I also do what you are... I pay cash and I have a seperate purse for the savings... these go to very good deals and specials so I kind of feel with those (like the Kievs) I double my money. This is a good way to shop. Once you are ahead then you never really have to pay full price for anything... you just wait for the next sale!
      I am sorry I was slow to reply... we had such a busy week! I hope this week was good for you! With love

  2. Dear Annabel and Lovely Bluebirds,

    You've had another good week, Annabel! The little girls look adorable picking apples with their baskets. What a fun time!

    I got some of my garden plants trimmed back and a few more transplanted. We had some rain again this week so the sprinklers were used less. I am so happy this winter's rain, coupled with snow in the mountains, has helped much of our state get out of drought conditions. When I went to move a geranium to another pot, I found the plant had two rooted parts that could be divided giving me two plants. I picked grapefruit and lemons again from our generous neighbors. I kept a few lemons, but took most of the fruit to the food pantry.

    My closet needed a going through to get rid of some of the things I might wear sometime, but rarely seem to wear. A bag of them is now at the church'es clothes closet.

    I've mostly stayed out of the grocery stores. My husband grilled ribs. I think we've had 3 or 4 meals from a small rack of pork ribs combined with a variety of sides such as coleslaw, one of the last sweet potatoes I grew, roasted asparagus, baked beans and applesauce.

    Happy Weekend!

    Love from Arizona,

    1. Dear Elaine,
      It is wonderful about your rain and snow and the drought conditions lessening. We are so aware of drought here. Where we are we have been fairly lucky but much of Australia has had drought so badly.
      It is so good having grapefruit and lemons. I love to freeze some lemon juice. Even in ice cube trays this seems to come in so handy. Those ribs sound delicious! We are also stretching meals a lot this way with various sides and it is really good. Sorry to be so slow to reply, this has been one busy week! With much love,

  3. Wow you have been so busy Annabel and the pot holders are divine as are the pink cushions too :) .

    I just thought I would mention that we also have had rain, glorious rain, and 40mm of it in half a day which will go a long way to filling up the household rain tanks and watering the parched grass :). I ran around in the rain and put water catching buckets everywhere to catch rain coming off the tank stand roof for watering plants too and DH ran around in it too to move the grey water hose to water a lot of the back lawns and native shrubs in the yard too. Drought does funny things to even adults and turns us into children once again :) .

    Our Vicky challenge savings last week added up to $1175.04.

    Internet listings -

    - Listed 13 free listings on eBay on a free listing and final auction value fee saving $21.45 on usual listing fees.

    In the kitchen -

    - Made 3 loaves of homemade bread in the bread making machine saving $10.47 over purchasing them in our local shops.
    - Made 2lts of MOO yoghurt and flavoured it with homemade strawberry jam saving $5.62 over purchasing it in the shops.

    House and garden maintenance -

    - Cleaned out our grey water tank that had vines growing through the top of it from a bogainvillea bush we cut down and excess sludge in the bottom saving $1000 over hiring someone to come in and pump it out. Yes I was inside it as I don't think DH's shoulders would have got in there and he probably would have got stuck having back injuries. He lowered buckets in and I filled them up with sludge and vines and he disposed of it. While I was there I also inspected the inside of the tanks for breaches and there were none, adjusted the pump further away from the edge as the float was getting stuck and now it pumps perfectly without us having to set it off manually :).
    - Pulled out 2 more upright posts from the vineyard when the weather wasn't stinking hot first thing in the morning.

    Purchases -

    - On a 50% off frozen goods promotion online in Woolworths we purchased 3 x 500g frozen blueberries, 1 x frozen passionfruit, 2 x 4lt Peters ice cream, 4 x 500g country harvest peas, corn and capsicum and 2 x pkts coctail spring rolls saving $29.50 on usual prices.
    - We went into our favourite op shop while we were in town for DH's doctor's appointment and purchased a near new complete easiyo yoghurt maker for $1, 2 music cd's for $1 for both, and 2 gardening books for $1 saving around $100 over buying them new.
    - Found Steggles chicken drumsticks on clearance for $1.99 kg and purchased 4kg saving $8 on usual prices.

    It has been a fantastic week for us here to stock up our freezer with absolutely low price freezer items and some secondhand good condition items too.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead.

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. I could so picture you and your DH running around putting buckets up to catch the rain water :D. Rain is exciting and does make us children again ;)

    2. Dear Lorna, I am so pleased about your rain! I can also see you racing around in it, these times I have used buckets, stock pots and anything I can find that will catch water. We had a drip in our shed and I always did this. With house plants I also run them all out in it to be washed and revitalised. I have several heavy ones so Andy has to help on those! So it is kind of a circus lol
      Recently I also got a spare easiyo as the spare inserts are very handy. I keep seeing them in thrift stores! They are amazing!
      Well done on the Woolworths sale. You did well with that. These are the times to stock up.
      I hope more rain comes. I feel nothing compares to full rainwater tanks... except maybe a great woodpile. I love both of these!
      I do relate to the cleaning of the inside of the tanks. Well done on that work it isn't easy. But the tanks being clean and you knowing how they are inside is so good. Turns out you did it all just in time too! Two of our tanks out the back are past saving so we are getting two new house ones. We are trying to hurry them along as rains will come soon, we have them ordered and budgeted for. Up the hill there are other tanks used to fill stock water troughs... they are also able to feed the house if needed.
      I am so glad for your great week and hope now this week has also gone well. With much love,

  4. Hi Annabel,

    Please could you share a pic of the boots you bought as I'm in the process of searching for some myself. Leather is ideal and should see me through many Winters.


    1. The boots I buy and almost all shoes are a brand called Zierra. They are so comfortable that the rest of you can be so tired but not your feet. I used to get sore feet, aching feet etc but once I changed to these I have never had a problem. They are wonderful! I got the new season slouchy boots in a deep burgundy. I already have an ankle boot in black. Once you know your size you can order online. I have had their boots now for about five years. I get several years out of them with wearing them all the time. usually I try to buy end of season at half price but this time I was desperate as now on the farm I need boots all the time! I hope that helps! xxx

    2. Thank you ever so much for taking the time to reply Annabel. It is so appreciated xxx


  5. Well, what a lovely week you have had! I love the way you are so excited at the progress you are making! Each season will have its own rewards and challenges. Your grandchildren are so lucky to share the outdoor life with you all. The only achievement I can claim this week was setting up a couple of wicking beds and clearing out another for an autumn planting. I also made sausage rolls! Eira in the suburbs of Perth

    1. Dear Eira, Thank you! Wicking beds ae wonderful and you will benefit from that work for many years. We are gradually growing more and more and its amazing. Last night we were talking about how there is no waste waste ever... when I pick veggies or fruit every scrap is loved by the chickens. When I was making a venison slow cooker concoction yesterday the tiny scraps went to the chickens, the bone went to Lukes dog, excess gravy went to Lukes dogs puppies! Every tiny morsel is used. We are buying less and less. So each thing on the list that is done such as your garden beds is a step to more self sufficiency and worth celebrating. It is all a fair bit of work. But who needs a gym!? The life's very good for the kids. They have both blossomed since being in the country! Also I am trying to teach them all I can and a work ethic, to love HELPING. Well done on the sausage rolls. They are so nice and handy, I love having some in the freezer. Suddenly with Autumn I am thinking of making pasties.... that might be next! Have a lovely Sunday! With

  6. I love the little cups for the cakes . Would you tell me please where you find them and sorry but also direct me to the instructions for the darling pin cushions?

    1. Dear Diana, I collect these cup cake cups as much as possible as they stand up and dont collapse like the supermarket ones. I am pretty sure you can get them on eBay, they come in a tube of about 20 I think. I get mine from the cheap shops. They all seem to have them here. They are cheap too and they come in so many pretty colours. Best thing ever! Now the pin cushion... if you google How to make a petal pincushion on You tube you will get the basic tutorial and see others similar. I didnt want a big button in the middle I want something sparkly or a flower... hence not finished yet. But they are so easy and so much fun to make! I used 8 ply wool as my yarn to form the petals as the colour of that is also a feature of the overall colour scheme. I could keep making them forever but I ran out of pretty fabric! I hope that helps. If you make some please show us! With love

  7. Annabel, The Girls look so precious picking apples. They will be trained well and in later life even enjoy it.
    You have been blessed so well with all your produce and I am so happy that you are able to put it all up for the coming seasons.

    I traveled this week so nothing was accomplished on the home front. Though my husband has decided on a sun room added onto the house this summer. I am thrilled, I will no longer need to share my space with mosquitoes.
    I was frugal while visiting thrift stores and only spent $5.00. I can home with a large print of a rose, I had intended it for the bedroom, husband had other plans and hug it in our den, he said it covered a flaw in the wall.
    I also found pressed glass dual candle stick holders with candles for $2 and a lip balm mold for 50 cents. There wasn't much at either thrift store and I saw no blankets nor sheets.
    Praying next week I am blessed in the next 2 cities.
    Prayers you continue to be blessed as well.
    Love, Rosanne

    1. Dear Rosanne,
      Thank you! For our first summer here and first six months I feel we have done well and been so blessed with produce of many kinds! As we learn there will be more!
      I think your candle stick holders and candles was a wonderful deal!
      I hope you have had a good week. I am very slow with replies and emails etc as this week has just been so very busy. I am trying to catch up! With much love,

  8. Chuckled over Scarlett tipping out her full basket so she could refill it. How happy to have the girls visit...Did they get to stay in their pretty guest room?
    John is working a bit more and the 'extra' cash is being diverted into two forms of savings: pantry/freezer stocking up and a proper old fashioned bank account. I want to be really aggressive with this, making hay while the overtime sun is shining!

    1. Dear Terri, I am sorry I am so slow with replaying, it has been that kind of week! You know picking fruit is fun when you keep emptying the basket to fill it again! I think you are wise on the savings... and having your eggs in different baskets. I have zero faith in government retirement set ups. They keep placing new restrictions on them here proving it is not OUR money and we may or may not ever see it, control it or use it. Many will simply die without ever having benefitted from it. So that is what I think about it here! We also are doing other things and like you say... make hay while the sun is shining! Wisdom is required for sure. Well done I say! With much love

  9. Dear Annabel,

    I'm glad you got new boots to compensate for all the shoes you had to get rid of! :) I love heels, so I'm glad I can wear them once a week to church, otherwise I'd have no use for them!!!!

    Your potholders are really cute, but not as cute as those little girls picking apples! Little kids love to help! It's so lovely that they are closer to come visit once and awhile!

    This week I finished a pair of cabled mitts and blocked them, and sewed a pair of pants for my eldest. My hubby got my sewing machine fixed!! He also bottled a batch of Cabernet Sauvignon and ripped up all the lino in the bathroom plus patched and sanded walls. I hung laundry on the line for the first time this year! Hints of spring! Got some pattern pieces cut out to sew a dress for a birthday, and crocheted a few more squares for my afghan. Made yogurt, mayo, chocolate pudding, oatmeal muffins, 2 loaves of Hungarian white bread, and a fruitcake for an upcoming baptism. Sold 8 doz. eggs. Hubby finished our tax returns, so we got those sent.

    Things are nicely busy, and we're enjoying some less intense weather!! Hope you have a great week ahead!

    Love, Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, You have to love a reward at the end of a painful task! :)
      Thank you re the pot holders. It was you who made me think of pot holders as I was down to none... and everyone uses them so very good gifts. Mum and Chloe are already lined up to pick theirs!
      I am amazed about your husbands wine making. Andy would love to do this!
      It is great about your sewing machine! Thank goodness it could be fixed!
      All your productivity in the kitchen is wonderful. I think that was a very industrious week! Sorry for my slow reply. The week evaporated on me! With much love,

  10. Annabel I am so envious that you get to spend som much time with those gorgeous little Grandies. Having said that mine are here at the moment and I am one happy and extremely exhausted Granny!
    I have done lots in the garden earlier in the week and was worried that with the horrid heat and drying winds I would lose a lot of the younger plants. Some were lost but most held on. Like Lorna, we got rain. We got some beautiful rain. Everything picked up again. I am so thankful for the rain. More cane hay has been spread. Within days of this happening domant seeds are popping up all over the place.
    My tomato and lettuce weedlings are coming up in places they have never been planted in. I have cracks in the concrete along the back that now have a lovely cover of strawberry runners. Rain is a wonderful garden starter.
    When my son and his fiance arrived they brought with Christmas presents from last year for Bluey and I. I have been very spoilt and gifted the most wonderful Janome emboidery machine. Jo gave me some lessons yesterday and showed me a few tricks. With the two little girls being here it is a bit difficult to have a lot of time on the machine. I can do that when they're not here.
    Bluey is making me a thread holder/spindle, for the larger cones of embroidery thread. This will sit on the sewing table behind the machine. I showed him what I would like and he is off up to the shed to see what he can find.
    Bluey has finished the meat safe and is now working on a bar made out of pallets. It is looking lovely. It will be quite rustic but will suit the spot he has chosed for it on our veranda. I will share photos on the Tuesday Club page when it is completed.
    For this very happy Granny, life is full of Grandie kisses and cuddles, good.

    1. Dear Jane, I am so glad you had your granddaughters over! I know this would have been wonderful for you. And the embroidery machine!!! Well you must be having a ball with that! Good on Bluey for helping you get your threads set up well. That will be a big help.
      I saw the safe. I thought it absolutely beautiful. I love rustic/farmhouse so I adore it. I would love to see the bar too so will look forward to that! Sorry on my slow reply... had to try and get a quiet day today to catch up, has been so busy. With much love,

  11. Dear Annabel,
    It looks like you have had a lovely and productive week. I love the pictures of the girls picking apples! What sweet memories they will have growing up on the farm.
    Sorry for my absence lately. My 14 year old sister-in-law has been staying with us this past week and a half and I am just trying to stay on top of everything. I have not written things down but we have had some big developments here on the ranch!
    First, I got some chicks! I think I have a problem. I am addicted to buying chicks. And plants too. I am up to 48 chickens! I am not planning on keeping the ones that turn out to be roosters though (except for two) so that is my excuse for buying so many lol. I hope to end up with about 35 or so.
    We also got the garden mostly planted. My SIL helped and she made me so happy when she said, "I always learn something when I stay here." That is just what it's all about for me and it melted my heart. She also said it was surprisingly fun to work in the garden lol.
    I am also thrilled that I got a rosebush from my husband for my birthday. It is gorgeous and I have already begun collecting the petals.
    Back in January, I ordered small pots to plant seedlings in with hopes of selling plants at the local farmer's market. I have been babying these plants for months and this last Saturday was my big day. I sold plants, sugar scrubs, and utility aprons. Despite the awful weather, I sold a lot! I paid for all of my supplies and still made a profit! I have a lot left over so everything I sell in the next few months will be solely profit. The aprons I made were part of my use it up challenge and were made completely from scraps. It looks like I will be sewing up more!
    Today I am excited as our local gem of a thrift store is putting on another bag sale: fill a trash bag with anything in the store for just $1 total! We will see what treasures I find today!
    I hope everyone has a good week. I will send pictures of the farmer's market :)
    Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      I love how little kids love helping and they can do so much! They love it! It is a game to them!
      I am betting your young SIL is following you along learning so much. She probably loves all you do and make. She can learn so much from you.
      Chicks! Oh please take photos I am as bad as you when it comes to chickens!! I love them! I have ten so you are winning by far lol maybe I need some more.
      Oh I just got to the next bit to see yes indeed your little SIL can even see herself learning from you. You are a blessing to her.
      I am sorry I missed your birthday! Happy Belated Birthday! A rose is a beautiful gift!
      Well done on the market! You made a good start. Like you said next will be all profit! There is a way to make stylish pots from newspaper. They dont last a long time but I will send it to you if I can find it.
      I loved the aprons! They were so pretty and made you stall look gorgeous too.
      I hop you had success at the thrift sale. I cant wait to here. Sorry so low with my reply... today I am able to catch up. It has been that kind of week but busy with good things so that is ok. But I am tired! With much love

  12. Dear Annabel,
    What a lovely and productive week you've had. The girls look so cute picking apples. You've inspired me to make some potholders and/or hot pads as gifts. The meat pies sound delicious.

    Past week seems a blur. My husband came down with a virus that's going around here and thanks to essential oils and some homemade cough syrup we got it under control fast, faster than most people I know who've had it and it's hung on for them several weeks. I've been dosing myself with On Guard so as not to come down with it.

    Mostly I've been planning items to make for the gift closet, making Easter cards, and a bit of sewing. Right now I'm sewing up some bunnies to put in a little cloth basket for my grandson. He loves taking things out and putting things back into containers. I got some small chocolate Easter eggs and will use the same bunny pattern only cut it out of paper, either sew them or glue them together and fill with the eggs, for my daughter and son-in-law. I baked low sodium bread for my husband. Here in our stores it's $7 a loaf. I made enough Spanish rice to put some in the freezer for other meals.
    I also sorted out craft books and now have a big pile to donate to the library. All in all it was a quite week. Blessings, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, I need to get more on to Easter. We have a few birthdays first so these kind of distract me! Your Grandson will love his little basket! It is so fun to have little ones when it is Christmas, Easter etc.
      You would think low sodium bread should cost no more. I never add salt to anything... just never. You dont even notice it. Salt is very sneaky added to so many things... this drives me mad as artificial sweeteners and wheat are the same, hidden everywhere!
      Good job on the craft books! I hope this week is going well. Sorry to be so slow to reply... each day has been so busy. Today I get a quiet day to catch up a little! With much love,

  13. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds, internet access is frusterating here too. Well done on sorting your shoes - good job done. Your grand daughters are gorgeous, it must bring back lots of happy memories when your daughters were little. I love love the pot holders - the material is awesome. I had a very busy week visiting back home and coming home to visitors. In between I managed to perserve a box of beautiful peaches I purchased on my way home, in my Fowlers preserving kit. Clare

    1. Dear Clare, It is awesome you got to preserve peaches! Well done! You must be so happy with that! Yes the little girls are like Chloe and Lucy all over again. It is wonderful. Thank you re the pot holders. My bread arrived now so I am able to finish them off! I hope your week has gone well! With much love

  14. Hello Annabel,
    Thank you for this lovely post. What really touched me in this post was your words “ little bits add up “. Sometimes I feel quite amazed by all you accomplish, however as I sit here reading and thinking I realise that yes, it really is all those little things that add up. This is my favourite time of year when I can work comfortably without it being to hot. This week I have done a little gardening, almost completed a sewing project. I’ve done quite a bit of mending. Tried out a couple of new recipes. Quite a bit of cleaning happened as well as having visitors each day. The rain here has been wonderful and our veggie garden is starting to take shape which is exciting for me as I have miss being able to just go out and collect what I need for dinner.


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