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 29 April 2019

The Tuesday Afternoon Club. A post from Kelley.

This week I want to share a letter from Kelley.  Her crafts and gifts are always just gorgeous and have a way of being incredibly special yet so inexpensive!   Truly inspiring and creative.  So over to Kelley I am sure this will bless your heart!  

Using scraps from a nightgown/robe set and a skirt I’d made, plus lavender bedsheet scraps, I made hats for my little granddaughter.

I made yo-yos with more scraps.

Inspired by some I saw online, I made these sets of felt bunny hair (alligator) clips for my granddaughters.

Using an old Mary Engelbreit calendar and a 70 year-old children’s book, I made Mother’s Day cards for my girls.  (Our older daughter is expecting #2!)  I did some French knots on the Engelbreit “wallpaper.”  Inside, I copied a passage from Louisa May Alcott’s  Little Women, forming a little book.

I read Alcott books to our girls when they were little.  During some passages, tears streamed down all three of our faces!  Here is the passage I copied for my girls’ cards:

Finally, I embroidered these Mother's Day cards. They too were inspired by a card I’d seen online.  The two on the right will be mailed to Dave’s and my moms.

Again, inside my own mother’s card, I copied a line from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women:

Isn’t that precious?! *tears*

Thank you Kelley!  

And so you see how much sentiment can make the most special and personal gift. Not something you can find in a store!  xxx

Thursday 25 April 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 26th April, 2019.

It was another good and busy week.  I hope you had a very Happy Easter.
On Saturday I visited the girls and took some Easter cooking and treats.  The lamb came with me in the car!  I had bottles prepared and off we went.  The girls loved him!    Before we left I noticed the lamb had a dirty side where he had sat in you know what.   So I made up a bucket of water and thought what do you wash a sheep with?  Then I thought "I know, wool wash!"  It worked a treat and he smelled lovely.  It was only a patch wash not like a whole bath...

I had made more quiches and took two dozen and honey gingerbread cookies for the girls.   My biscuits didn't look very glamorous but they liked them and they were demolished!

This all caught me up with the eggs and I also gave Lucy a dozen.  Then when I got home I went and collected more eggs! haha!
I search Lucy's veggie garden for thistles and also brought home some chard and spinach for the chooks.  They just go crazy over this!

Mum and I are heading down to see the girls today so I go with a big IKEA blue bag to fill with chicken greens and my garden gloves and scissors.

The rest of Easter long weekend was spent with everyone working on pulling down an old (and dangerous) shed at Chloe and Luke's.  It was a big job.  Luke had the tractor there and when he had time he drove it over here and went up behind the sheep yards and dug out big tractor scoops of sheep manure and drove them down to the house.  He dumped several scoops in the fruit tree yard... this will be for new fruit trees and my pumpkin patch!   Then near the veggie and flower gardens and finally some for Andy to spread on the lawn as fertiliser.    I can't quite guess how many wheel barrow loads one tractor scoop is but a fair few.  This was so fantastic!   We joked that his Easter gift to me was a pile poo but I said this is the best gift you could ever give me!   Now I can plant pumpkins, trees, build up my veggie and flower gardens and more! 

This week we had some rain on and off.   Not enough but something.  We are really desperate for rain. 

I made up a batch of Miracle Cleaner as I was completely out.  I love this for the way it smells and that it is natural and kills germs.  The spray bottle once had Aldi cleaner in it and I saved it and soaked off the label.  

So many containers are actually quite nice to recycle for make-your-own things.  The foaming soap dispensers are easy to refill too.

I visited Mum.  I came home with a big basket of Bay Leaves. 

There is some Rosemary tucked in there too... this was for a lamb roast that Mum gave us.  She also gave us some beef.  It was fantastic as they are big bits and will make many meals!   Also it was lucky... Mum asked if I had room in the freezer.  Because of the new (yet old!) freezer from Adelaide I now had plenty of room so I could say yes! 
The old freezer, having been in a shed for years, was a bit scruffy.  Despite a good clean the top had marks.  I covered the top with marble contact paper and it looks amazing and matches my kitchen bench tops!   Appliances that are scruffy or marked can be painted, have a chalkboard front, be covered in contact... seriously they can look fantastic.   I once painted an old fridge pink and had roses all over it.  I loved that fridge! 

It is Andy's Birthday coming up.  His favourite cake is fruit cake so I made one for him and two extra.  They store for a long time and I love to have cake on hand for visitors.  A fruit cake is a good gift too.

Sure enough Dad turned up so I opened the little cake and sliced it so he could have some.

I made a tray of gluten free scones and froze them to go with soups etc.

The lamb (who is now called Scooter) is 12 days old.  He has done so well and skips and plays and follows me everywhere. Then suddenly early in the week I thought he wasn't so energetic. Then in the evening he couldn't even stand up!  I thought it was curtains.  I reviewed everything and found maybe I was diluting his formula powder a bit too much so I strengthened it.  The amount I was giving was right.... anyway within two days he was back to normal and now he races ahead of me to feed the chooks as he knows where to go!   He also likes to come in to see the chooks.  They are less keen! 

I was given four beautiful plants for the garden for Easter.  These were the best gifts!   I planted them all right away.

I have been working on my crochet blanket and a fairy garden and cupboard.

Near the kitchen I have this little door that Harper was fascinated with.  Once it was a laundry shoot then some genius put a water heater there.  So it was a door to no where... and not pretty!

I have been working on it to make a fairy cupboard.  This is so far...

The little Blue Wrens are my favourite part!

Yesterday I made little cakes to take with me today for the girls...

And also a chocolate cake for Chloe and Luke and one for us.  

So it was a great week and we went ahead in leaps and bounds especially in the garden department.  I am saving for fruit trees.  Normally they go in during winter.  So we can dig and prepare the spots for them now and make protective surrounds.   Soon this yard will be the lambs yard too for a while.   

I think one of the Bantams is going broody so soon I can do my swap with Allie and hatch chickens!  
And Harper and Scarlett's dog is due to have puppies THIS WEEKEND!  

In what ways did you get a chance to get ahead,  build up your pantry and supplies, save and feather your nest?  I hope it was a good week for you too! xxx

Thursday 18 April 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 19th April, 2019.

It was another busy week!  The first thing was Harper came to stay with us over night on Saturday.  This was her first night away from Mum and Dad.  Well, she was just an angel and we did card making and we made a special book of photos and stickers.  She loved it!  She made everyone presents and was so proud of them!  She loved collecting the eggs and at night we went outside and looked at all the stars and the moon and she LOVED that as well!

Some of the ways I feathered the nest this week were:

I bought an organic chicken and made a big pot of chicken stock.  This is in readiness for cold and flu season.  I had that going in the slow cooker the whole day.  Thank you Sonia for reminding me to make some chicken soup ahead.
Next I took some of the stock and made chicken soup with plenty of bay leaves, garlic, onion, celery etc which we had for dinner on two nights.  
I froze batches of the stock ready to make more.  I have everything on hand to make chicken soup at any time.

This week I planted out some garlic that was shooting so hopefully I will have a whole row of garlic.
Then I planted Brussel Sprouts.  Andy doesn't like them but Dad does so I added those to a little space I had.

Tuesday morning Luke came to the door holding a tiny newborn lamb.  I had told him this year I will take a couple of orphan lambs and calves.  It was on my shopping list for Wednesday to get ready for this and buy milk powder, teats etc.  But this was Tuesday!  I had nothing!
I took the lamb from him and off he went!   It was so small and I don't think it ever had a drink.  Luke said the Mum was dead.   Andy was on his way home from an appointment... so I messaged him and he was able to stop in town and get teats and milk powder.  Then I Googled how to make a colostrum replacer and followed that.  I did 600 mis milk, one beaten egg and a spoon of castor oil.  You feed this until it is all gone then go on to lamb formula.  The first day I thought the lamb would die as it was very weak.
However lo and behold after the first couple of drinks he brightened up and now he follows me everywhere!  He is still extremely tiny so he is on six feeds a day.

In the shed there was a giant box and I made this into a lamb play pen.   It is also warm and safe at night.  Now I need a little enclosure on the grass for day time.  

When I did shop I also got calf milk and so now I am ready for anything!   I hope to take him and his bottles with me to see the girls!  Then they can feed and nurse him. 

I had frozen pasty mix left over when I made bulk pasties.  I got that out and make some more as I now had fresh pastry supplies.

Andy went to the city and brought back a fridge and chest freezer.  These were in the shed at Mums house and we used to share them.  Now no one is in the city anymore we brought them back here.  So I have an additional freezer!   The fridge will be for when shearers are here, they need milk and drinks etc.   So these are a huge helpful addition. 

I am Easter cooking.  Yesterday I made chocolate cakes for Chloe and Luke.   I did not buy Easter eggs, instead I cook for everyone.

Then I made Quiches in King sized muffin trays and these are going over today as there is a working bee to pull down and old shed.

Today I am making more Quiches to take to Lucy and Easter biscuits (cookies) which will be bunnies with marshmallow tails.  (hopefully!)

I now have beautiful stove kettle.  It is mainly for when the fire is going we can have free hot water everyday.  I love it!

During the week I made over some jugs and vases I got for $3 each at the op shop.   I almost forgot to take a before photo and had started painting but you can see the bright colours and designs still kind of...

I have finished two of them.  The third will be different.

I love them now!   The nests are just a paper serviette. 

From having Harper here I am inspired to make a fairy garden so I have started on that...  maybe some pictures next week.

So that was my week!   I hope it was a good week for you too.  How did you get ahead, save, build up your pantry and feather your nest this week?  

Have a very Blessed Easter!  xxx

Monday 15 April 2019

The Tuesday Afternoon Club, Kelsey's market stall and chickens.

Last year we saw how Kelsey had turned her crafting into a small business when she opened her Etsy store Spring Creek Loft.  I think this is good for us to see as the option of extra income from the things we make is a very good option to have.  Now Kelsey has expanded and is attending some local markets.  This was her first week...

I think you will agree she has her stall looking so pretty and appealing.  If I was there I would be drawn to it!

She made a ladies version of tool belts and hanging up they made her stall stand out also.

I said I thought these could also be adapted to be egg collecting aprons!  I have seen them with a row of little pockets for eggs! 

Kelsey grew all sorts of little plants to sell..

And made hand scrub..

Kelsey has expanded her chicken collection and is planning to sell eggs.  She has different varieties of hens so she gets pretty colour eggs such as blue, brown, green and speckled.  Oh my goodness! 

And she has chickens! 

So there is a lot of industry going on here!  It is just lovely!  I am pretty easily led  when it comes to chickens so Kelsey has really encouraged me to get more!    And now I have "hatched" my plan with Allie and I am waiting on the bantams to go broody again.  

There are quite a few Bluebirds who have made a sideline from their crafts, cooking, sewing, card making, egg sales and preserves.   Sometimes it doesn't take much to make a big impact on the weekly budget.  Pennies saved and pennies earned both help!  I think very often we have a talent or resource sitting right under our noses and we don't even realise.  In a similar way to making our own gifts it takes some confidence building sometimes to set up an online store, sell our goods at a market or just show people what we are making!   This is why looking around at the market place is a great idea as Rebecca and Alison do.  You will see things and be surprised by the prices, what is selling well right now and think "I could make that!!"   

Thank you Kelsey for sharing your photos!!  Next week we are seeing what Kelley has been up to! 

Last week I did forget someone!  I had the feeling... sorry Penny!
Penny has grown in her confidence to give her cooking as gifts and worked on presentation.   These are both issues I have been through... gaining confidence to give things I have made and good packaging has a lot to do with it.   Penny made gluten free biscuits (cookies) and the packaging is lovely.  I told her here in a store I saw a packet of 6 GF biscuits for $16!

Penny also made a Raspberry and Almond cake for a friend and a Tea cake for a Hens Party...

I think cooking is a wonderful gift.  It is a treat and often the gift of help also! 

Now I am off to post on The Tuesday Afternoon Club group.   It is very motivating to meet up every Tuesday! xxx

Thursday 11 April 2019

Feather your Nest Friday, 12th April, 2019.

It was a big week and seems a year ago since last Friday!  Then I somehow lost a day thinking today is Thursday.  Back to reality...

The week started with the start of shearing and the whole state had the most terrible dust storm.  It was a dreadful day.  We weren't the only ones affected badly as even a highway was closed.  But here it was awful and the little bit of green grass poking through from some rain was all dried out and I could see the surface of our paddocks blowing away.   Some were left just like bare sand dunes.  For the first time I truly felt the heartbreak of what a farmer feels I think.   I had to stop looking out the windows it upset me so much.

The following day Mum and I had our day trip to see the girls.  It was a wonderful day.  We set off at 9am.   Armed with the usual baking and knitting!

I was able to pick figs, zucchini and capsicums in the gardens. 

Also I noticed many big thistles in the veggie garden and loads of spinach.  I picked a big bag of each to bring home for the chickens.  So this was helping weed the garden and my chickens loved it!  I will take a big bag just for thistles every trip now. 

I managed to get a photo of Harper and "her dog" Kelly.   When they moved to this farm a farm worker had several dogs and this dog was not popular with him.  I don't think she was mistreated just more unloved.   Anyway Harper fell in love with the dog and would go to visit him and the dog appeared to adore her.   It became a love affair obvious to absolutely everyone including the dog owner.  He said Harper could have the dog!   So just like that Kelly moved houses and after about five minutes she seemed like she had been their dog always.  
With a mature dog they exercised a lot of cautions as we don't just trust dogs with children.  But with lots of supervision it soon became apparent Kelly has the patience of a saint and she has been just wonderful.
I got some photos on my phone and Harper was so excited to have photos of her and "her dog."  

Scarlett just loves her too!  She is holding her hand up they way her Dad taught her to do if she is feeding Kelly something.    When Scarlett wakes up from her sleep she asks "where is Kelly?"  Then where is Harper?"  In that order!  

Harper looked at all the photos then held my phone down in front of Kelly's face and showed her.  She said "Look Kelly!! That's you!!"   And Kelly looked interested! 

A few weeks back when we were there I said to Kato and Lucy... "do you realise Kelly is pregnant?"  They both looked slightly shocked and wide eyed, mouths open.... I turned to Harper and Scarlett and said "you are getting puppies!!!!" and they were going "yippee yippee" and dancing around.  It was hilarious!   I would be guessing Kelly with have puppies in about two weeks.  

Well, we had such a fun day and came home with produce and treats for chickens!

I made some of the zucchini into a bake with tomatoes Mum gave me and onions.  I top this with breadcrumbs and grated cheese and bake it.  This is wonderful as a side with a roast, steak etc and was delicious.

I got busy and dehydrated lots of apples.  It took just ages but they turned out so well.  All the rounds went into the dehydrator...

The odds and ends went into the slow cooker and for the first time I made American Apple Butter.  I had never heard of this in Australia.  It is so nice!! 

Vicky helped guide me with this.  I don't care for cloves so I left those out.  

Next I dried some figs.  Now I have so much dried fruit!  I learned finally to use my food saver and packaged it all up. It is so good!   Everything is sealed and air tight.  Looks kind of professional too! 

My niece Ally came and cleaned out our gutters.  She said she didn't want money so I gave her apple butter and dried apple as she told me how much she loves it.  So I gave her a big pack.

Ally and I made a deal.  She has red hens and a white rooster but her hens won't sit.  I have no rooster and Bantam hens that never stop sitting.  So some of her eggs are coming over here for my Bantams to hatch!  I am so excited.  We will share the chickens!    I cannot wait to have chickens!

I made two chocolate cakes. One was for Chloe and Luke.  And two Date and Honey Gluten free loaves.  

I did a trade! It was so generous of Tania... I always wanted a soap dispenser like Nan had.  To me this could save a fortune on dish soap.   Tania offered to send me one!  I traded her some essential oil blends I made up.   

Tania had also added some home grown and dried Basil and Oregano!  Thank you so much Tania!

Mum gave me six of her knitted hand towels!!

My "stock the present cupboard" craft was just assembly.  These button cards are a free print out from Shabby Art Boutique.  I purchased bulk buttons from Ebay...

These will go into little cellophane bags then into the gift cupboard.  I figure these will post in normal mail.  Most of my friends either knit, crochet or sew all all of them!  

Yesterday I went to the op shop and did a big grocery stock up.  It was a huge day.  I am still unpacking!   I got some warm bedding for the farm dogs and a vase and two huge jugs.  They are a good shape and size but hideous colours.  Over the weekend I am going to give them make overs! 

We did more wood cutting and bon fire building.

I planted Snow Peas into the veggie patch. 

So that was my week!   If you could have seen me peeling sixty giant apples as that is how many I went though! It was even a treat for the chickens to get so many peels and cores!   I had some left from the apple butter too, when the slow cooker was filled I made an apple butterscotch pudding.  

Today is sunny and lovely.  We need rain badly though.  They are still shearing.  As I type I hear dogs barking and men whistling them instructions.

I hope you had a good week and found ways to get ahead, build your pantry and preparedness,  do nice things for your family and home.   I am finding grocery shopping increasingly expensive and we have to be smarter and adapt to high meat and vegetable prices.  Fortunately I can buy less and less as the garden produces more and we have meat from the farm.  I watch the catalogues closely now and just stock up on the specials.  Are you noticing this where you are?
We might have a post on how to beat these rising prices.

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx

Monday 8 April 2019

The Tuesday Afternoon Club, 9th April, 2019.

The Tuesday Afternoon Club has grown and grown!   If you would like to join in the main club is here.  It is a private Facebook group so that you can post what you are making without your friends and relatives seeing their gifts!   It is also a friendship group and we are holding a Swap Party in a few weeks time.

Now and then I post for some of the ladies who do not have Facebook here and this gives us even more ideas and inspiration!   The next two weeks I have additional posts from both Kelsey and Kelley.

Today first we have Jen in NS.   Jen made knitted mitts for my Aunt!  I had written to Jen as my Aunt was mad over her stunning knitting especially the cables.  And Jen made my Aunt these cream mittens!   This was just so lovely. So they traveled all the way from Nova Scotia to Adelaide!
Also here is a watch cap that Jen made for Mission to Seafarers and trimmed and embroidered kitchen towels.

Plus slippers to put away for Christmas time for her youngest daughter...

Jen you are amazing and your kindness to my Aunt was really a big blessing to her!  Thank you!

Next we have Tania.  Tania took the pincushions several of us have been making and made them into a bouquet of flowers.  This could be lovely as a way of giving one to each guest and decorating a table at the same time, like a bridal shower maybe!

Beautiful idea Tania! So pretty!

Cookie has been making little bunnies for Easter and all from fabric scraps.  She used a free pattern found on The Enchanting Rose blog.  These are her gifts for all the toddlers in the family.

I thought this also might make a lovely table centrepiece, or bunnies might be beautiful place markers on a set Easter table... so many possibilities! 

Kaye had been telling me she was going to begin card making.  Next thing she is making gorgeous cards like this....

And lovely bookmarks like this!

Kaye they are just so pretty! 

Also Aly had been telling me how she was learning to sew.  I love it when I hear about leaning new skills!   She has already learned so many sewing techniques as you can see here in her Christmas tree...

And her table runner...

Aly you are doing the most wonderful job you should be so proud! 

This leads me to... if there is a craft you want to learn just do it!  I hear so often how someone wishes they could crochet or whatever... really mostly you are a day away from basically knowing how to do something like crochet.  After that it just takes practice!   You can find free tutorials on almost anything, You Tube is my usual source of instructions. 

I hope I did't miss anyone!  Next week we are going to see what Kelsey has been up to as she has been creating so much that apart from her Etsy store she has had a market stall.  Her ideas were so good I thought many of us might be inspired by them.  the following week we are seeing what Kelley has been making and you will love it!

I hope you have had a good week of making and creating, using things up and setting things to good use! xxx