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 14 February 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 14th February, 2020.

As usual I am having internet troubles but I will see how I go!  It could mean rain is coming so that is ok!

This week we had a lovely visitor.  This Wallaby hung around the yard for a day and a night then moved on.

He was somewhat friendly. You can see him looking straight at me but he never hopped away.  Mum has had one in her garden too.  She gave him carrots!

Some of the ways I have built up my nest this week included:

I picked lots of fresh basil from the garden.  I also had fresh homegrown local garlic from a market.

Pesto is so easy to make and it is one of those things that are just all about glorious ingredients.  I am hoping to make another batch tomorrow.  We have warm but not hot weather and a little bit of humidity and things are growing like rockets!
I gave a jar of the Pesto to Lucy.  Scarlett is a big fan.
Lucy sent me a photo of the first meal she made with it.  I have to say her meal is a lot more photogenic than mine, so here is hers!

I also think I can tell you now that Lucy and Kato are expecting a baby mid year!   This is wonderful and we are all so excited.  As you can imagine! 

I made the girls cup cakes and Mum and I took our day trip to visit.  These are beautiful days.

This week I had luck at the op shop!  The thing I needed most was fabric. The ladies in this op shop know me now. I am defiantly a regular.  Because I have looked for bedding for lambs and puppies and all kinds of things they always ask me how everyone is going.  One time a lady helped me by taking me out the back and letting me loose to got through bags and bags of pet bedding.  That was when I found that some of the "pet bedding" was pure wool brand name quilts and underlays that were new!  Some of these were my best buys ever as I paid $5 each and when I got home I googled the brand and price and one of them alone was $880!  Needless to say ever since I have checked the pet bedding!    
Another day a lady helping me find pet bedding was asking so many questions about the lambs.  That day I had twin lambs in a basket in the car so I said come out and see them!  She came out and was so excited and amazed she went back inside and ALL the ladies came out to hold the lambs.  I feel this increased my popularity lol!  
Anyway... this week they asked me what was I after today? So I explained I am sewing everyday and  a bit held up because I have some lovely prints but not plain cottons for backing.  They then took me out the back room and said to feel free to go through boxes of fabrics!  I sat on the ground and went through the boxes.  I found lovely ginghams and plain cottons, just what I needed.  I needed up with about $12 full meters of pure cottons for under $10.   While at it I looked in linens... I found three mattress protectors and grabbed those.  These are to go on the beds in my cottage project.  Each week I have collected for this project.   I also grabbed (for $5) a larger mattress protector. 
Once home this turned out to be inside out... it was in a plastic cover and I had not spread it out... it turned out to be a pure wool thick double bed underlay.  The thick wool type that are usually several hundred dollars.  I don't think it had ever been taken out of the packaging!   Another also turned out to be mislabelled and is a pure wool quilt!   I estimate that one was worth a couple of hundred dollars also!   Sometimes I can't believe it! 
Oh, I also got Dad some bone handled knives and a set of pale blue flannelette sheets.   I was in the op shop so long but it was worth it!  
I got home to the farm at 5 pm and had to run around like mad to get the garden watered and everything done before I ran out of day!  

We started a lot of work on the cottage.  Oh my goodness I can't tell you the mess.  It had putrid rotting carpet, rusted out sinks, dead bees and bugs...  actually scary to be in there.  
For anyone new the cottage is a deserted little house not too far down the driveway from our farm house.  It once was what we would call a single mans cottage.  Or Jackaroo's quarters.  It is not glamorous or stone or anything ... it is just a little hut.  It has two small bedrooms.  It is not fancy at all and needs a lot of work. The inside is so bad there is no way I am showing anyone until I have improved it! 
But I decided it is my 2020 project.  The first year here we were flat out cleaning up around the house, planting gardens, improving fire safety,  getting chickens and making the house nice.  We had so much to do.  I thought the cottage, if neglected for a few more years, could reach the beyond saving stage.  To me that is a waste.   A cottage could be useful... it could generate an alternative income.  So I decided to do it up and make it into a farm/nature/country themed get away.   
It has some things going for it.  There is a lovely little front veranda and it looks out over a gorgeous view,  it is surrounded by beautiful trees and in a very peaceful spot.  I can work with this!

Dad asked me what I was doing with that cottage?  So I told him my plan. He said it was a very good idea and "you are always doing something!" haha!
Several of you have asked me to show it... hope you are not disappointed!  But when I am done you will think it is better!

In the garden (aside from picking the basil) I planted thyme,  capsicums, broccolini and harvested cherry tomatoes. 

My little bit of sewing everyday is getting me miles.  Amongst the things I made were Lettuce and fresh produce bags inspired by Bridget.

I always use cotton bags for hams, lettuces, greens... but I have been using old pillowcases... so now I have upgraded a bit.  Also I made some for gifts and am happy this is a gift that when folded up fits  in a card!  Bonus!  I am always on the look out for gifts I can make that I can post as a very small package or in a card. 

Then I went on to using up left over fabric and made produce bags. These ones are as light as air and to collect your produce from the supermarket.  This saves on so much plastic.  They also fold up so small to take with you... and that means they fit inside a regular card to post too!  

I was able to make seven.

Then I finished another cotton shopping bag. I am completing about one a week.  

Each day I have continued to fight on in the pantry!  I have cleaned, washed jars, filled and labelled, moved things around until it looks tidier, more organised and I have created space.  I have some empty self space I can fill and very happy! 

Now for an animal story.  Each day I go to collect the eggs.  As with everything I do Scout has to come too.  While I feed the chickens, collect eggs, fill water containers and so on Scout sits and watches.  Every single day the four ducks go over to talk to her. 

Scout doesn't bark at them. The chickens take no notice at all.  Just the ducks come over to Scout every single day!   The only animal Scout loves more than the ducks is Eddie.  She adores Eddie (the goat!) I will show some photos of the best friends when I can get them to sit still enough for a photo! I tell the girls these little stories. They love them. To me they are better than a book,  they are so sweet! 

Well, that is my week and it took me so long to post this as photos just didn't want to load. 
Tomorrow we have The Vicky Challenge and Vicky is writing another money saving post. Now this has inspired me and is something I have never done so I am learning too!

How did you save, get ahead and build up your pantry this week?  
I hope it was a good week for


  1. Congrats on a new baby coming! How joyful for the family.
    Love your stories - always entertaining. The little cottage is far from a shack. Looks bigger than my house!
    How neat to see the Wallaby in the yard all day.
    I just love seeing all the animal pictures. Thanks.
    Have a great weekend

  2. Dear Annabel, Congratulations on the new Grandbaby! So exciting! I loved your op shop finds this week. Wool blankets, what a find. I enjoy the picture into your world.

  3. Loving your pictures as always Annabel. Did you pot drawstrings in your bags? The animal fabric is so lovely. I haven't been too creative lately with Mum's accident and hospital visiting.

  4. Annabel, your posts are like a breath of fresh air and so inspiring. Congratulations on the new grandbaby! Your cottage doesn't look bad, the important thing is that it has a good foundation and solid structure. Everything else can be remodeled … remember what our house looked like when we rolled it onto our lot!!!! Now that was some 'ugly on wheels!!!' I'm looking forward to Vicky's post, she is full of wise know-how and information.

  5. Congratulations on the forth coming baby!
    Your charity shop buys are amazing. I had to leave 5m of a beautiful painted linen the other day, because I just couldn't carry it, it was 2m wide too! I did buy myself a lovely china breakfast cup and saucer, it's the biggest breakfast cup I have ever seen and it has a morning glory pattern. I paid a massive 50p for it and have been using it ever since, tea just tastes so good from it. It's a little thing, but one that has made me inordinately happy!
    I also bought some small wire baskets in the pound shop, they're about 8" square and are just SO useful. They make organising things a little bit fun and look so nice when they're in use. I have one with my hair and skincare products in, another with herbs and spices, one with my makeup (that one has a ribbon threaded through the wire and a little cameo brooch pinned onto the bow) but my favourite has side plates and saucers stacked vertically in it. There will be more of these baskets featuring in my life!
    I got out, in what was literally the calm before the storm and started the spring clean up of my tiny little backyard last weekend. It gets no direct sunlight, so I'm very limited in what I can grow, but I call it my garden for my soul. Currently I have a large white Camellia in flower there. Anyway I have decided that this year I will concentrate on the structure of it and not plant too many plants. I would like an arch, but don't know how feasible that will be and I want to put up something to help screen me from the neighbours a bit. I also want to make a dedicated area by the gate ( the only bit that gets any sun) for sitting. Let's hope our weather allows!
    Hope everyone is well and has the best possible week.

  6. It sounds like you found a treasure trove at your op shop!! Well done!! Your making friends with those that work there reminds m of my sweet produce market ladies who are always giving me things for my chickens and discounting other produce that they know I’ll use! I usually bring them little jars of relish or mini banana breads that I’ve made from produce that they gave me a great deal on! I am indebted to them for their kindness!!
    On my sewing, I’ve been plugging along on my Sheet of Stamps king size quilt top and it’s starting to move along quickly. The blocks I am working on right now will use 880 2” squares to make. The alternate blocks I’ve already made only used about 800 squares! So the whole quilt will probably use about 2000 squares! Hopefully, that will decrease my stash of 2” strips/squares! 😱 But I doubt it! Lol!
    A friend of mine was working a temporary side gig for a company that makes edible gifts and she was assigned to strawberries. She was to discard any that were not perfect size, shape, ripeness for their chocolate covered strawberries. She was shown and instructed on their extremely high standard for their strawberry presentation. The owners of the company liked what a hard worker she is. Yesterday, after work about 10 hours (day before Valentines), they asked her if she would like to take the “discard” strawberries home. We’re not talking moldy, rotting strawberries! Their shape or size might not have been perfect for what they needed.
    So she came home with about 3 flats of big beautiful strawberries! She gave me 1.1/2 flats today because she knows I won’t let them go to waste! So today will be strawberry day at my house!!

  7. What lovely news Annabel, a new baby on the way! Congratulations!!! I hope Lucy has been well and not suffered from migraines this time.

    You really did do well at the op shop! Wow what great finds. And so much fabric! What a huge saving, fabric can be really expensive. Those cupcakes look lovely. The produce bags are great! Your sewing is really adding up.

    I too tackled my pantry. It is one where you pull the shelves out and as you pulled them out, you were in danger of something falling on your head or foot lol. So out everything came, all shelves were wiped, all containers were filled, and things put back in order. What a difference! I fit so much more in, and can find everything easily. The rest of the kitchen needs a rearrange as well, but this has given me a boost in morale for sure!

    This week I also managed to tick off some admin type jobs like changing medical centre, setting up direct debits etc. So slowly I am beginning to feel a bit more organised!

    I'm so excited to see your cottage as you work on it. What a neat project!

    Have a lovely weekend
    Jen (NZ)

  8. Congratulations Were on the new grandbaby!!

    We are at the lake this week for rest and recharging. We have slept a lot and read good books. We would love a stay at your enchanting cottage!

  9. I think your little cottage will shape up beautifully and will become a lovely farm stay retreat.I love reading your posts and they inspire me to keep on with projects around my home. Thank you Annabel.

  10. Congratulations on the new expected grand baby. You accomplish so much and what a big but fun job doing up the cottage will be. Could I ask where you got the crochet bag pattern? I want to make some like that for gifts too. Thank you.

    1. Dear Val, The actual pattern of the stitch is Trellis by Attic 24 which is lovely and easy. The bag itself I just made up with basically two rectangles then I add chain for handles and work them to be thick enough and worked so they are attached well to the body to support a fair bit of weight. I cant read patterns... Attic 24 is good as she shows pattens in pictures row by row! I can follow her! There are a lot of free patterns online and even a crochet market bag Facebook group which has a lot of patterns and ideas. I hope this helps! With love

  11. Congratulations to Lucy and Kato. This is wonderful news.
    I am exhausted after reading all your exploits this week. I need a cuppa and a rest for a little bit. I only have 24 hours in a day, I think you sneak an extra couple in somewhere.
    This week I have been spending the early mornings and late evenings in the garden. I have spread about a think layer of mulch hay. With all the lovely soaking rain we have been getting, I want the soil moisture to stay there. The thick mulch should help. I have also been planting out seeds and have had a pretty good strike rate. Today tomato seeds will go into seed trays. I'm hoping that by the time this lot are fruiting we will have cooler weather and I wont be fighting the fruit fly. These beasties are currently pigging out on the little pumpkins. The pumpkins are getting to golf ball size and falling off. It is quite disheartening. I wont spray so this is something I have to live with.
    My Airforce son got home on Thursday after a 4 month deployment in the Middle East. The DIL didn't tell the little girls he was coming home. They were at Daycare. The DIL filmed the little girls reaction to their Daddy when they saw him. It was so precious. Both screamed and squeaked and just wanted to be held and cuddled by him.
    Life is all my family is safe good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      Thank you! It is a good idea to keep that moisture in! My garden needs mulch. I need a hay that does not sprout weeds this has been my problem.
      It is the best thing of the week, your son coming home. I cant imagine your relief and joy!
      I have some pumpkins and not everyone that forms goes on bigger but some do. Not sure why but maybe a vine can only support so many... not fruit fly here. I am watching as so excited to see baby pumpkins. A few are about 8 inches long/across. They have had lots of water and manure. Fingers crossed for more.
      I am so pleased for your little Granddaughters to have their Daddy home. With love

  12. Annabel,
    I read often but don't normally comment. Just wanted to say congrats on the baby news! I can't wait to see the cottage completed and I am sure people will love to stay there and see all the animals. I just love your stories about your farm animals. It always makes me smile.
    Thank You!

    1. Thank you so much! I do appreciate you commenting. I get so much joy each day from the animals. xxx

  13. Annabel, I would be the first to visit your little neglected cottage - it looks lovely. Always enjoy your posts, lovely to read all the things you do.

  14. A new baby is always such a heartwarming event. Congratulations!
    I love your crocheted shopping bags. It is not a skill I have. I am working on my sewing instead and am about to make my daughter a coat.
    I used some basil this week in a cake!! I had to take a cake somewhere and googled to see if there was one that used basil and I found a recipe for lemon, basil and yoghurt cake. An absolute hit! I will try it again but use SR flour instead of the plain plus baking powder. I too have been tidying in the pantry but I am donating to the op shop not bringing things home. I have a large cane picnic basket that I did try to sell for a very small amount and I was surprised no one wanted it. It too will go to the op shop! I appreciate the space and the sense of calm that it gives me more than the monetary or sentimental value of things.Did you ever embroider those tablecloths I sent you? I still have one in my to do pile!!
    Maybe it will be a job for the cold winter nights!!

    1. Dear Barb,
      Thank you! On both the baby and the bags!
      A coat for your daughter is a big project. But a good one!
      That cake sounds so interesting? I do use yoghurt a lot in cakes. And I love basil! Barb I have been working on one! I used to embroider so much but I cant get away from crochet. I think I go through phases!! However my old wooden kitchen table looks beautiful with old style cloths so I need tofinsh some. I keep everything to do with embroidery as I love it so much.
      Yes actually winter is the time as there is more time indoors... With much love

  15. Congratulations on the coming new baby! We are also expecting another little great grandbaby the end of July! You accomplish so much! Love all the things you find at the op shop. Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy, Congratulations to you too! Thank you! Some weeks are better than others but the country op shops are so much better than our city ones which have become very expensive. Next week I have to do some travelling so I am hoping to get to a couple of different ones. Have a wonderful new week! With love,

  16. Wow Annabel you have got so much accomplished and so glad you picked up so much lovely cotton sewing fabrics so cheaply to back your quilts with and use for other projects too :) .

    It has been rather a challenging week here which could let's just say we can describe as "it never rains but it pours" :o .
    We survived the week without scuba gear, flippers and a snorkel but we now really really love gum boots :) .

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $244.03 in savings for last week :).

    Free samples -
    - I picked up a free 600 ml of cream free as a supermarket tester saving $2.90 on usual prices.

    Groceries -
    - Put in a monthly click and collect grocery order combining a $15 off promotion, using our Wish e-gift card saving another 5% and coupled with specials to save $29.13 on usual prices. We found one road out of town that wasn't underwater :) through traffic reports.

    Pantry stocking -
    - With the savings above we stocked our pantry for free with an additional 12 tins of champignon pieces and stems and 3 tins of corn kernels.

    Clothing -
    - Purchased some more short sleeved t-shirts for myself on special saving $2 on usual prices.

    Gardening -
    - We weeded 3 garden beds between rain showers and DH whipper snipped between them too. I raked the grass up to put on the paths to deter weeds. One end of one raised garden bed has sunk like the Titanic but we will rescue it when it dries a little more :).
    - DH dug more of our yard rainwater drainage pit to the back of the creek and now the water is draining away nicely and we have no more floodwater near our back door. Yes he did it in the rain in swimming trunks, a rashie and gum boots after he had some skin cancers removed from his arm the same day :0 .
    - While he was doing that I worked out a quick fix for the rainwater tank pool that had rainwater going into it from the patio roof that was overflowing contributing to the flooding. I put in a piece of high pressure hose into the top of the tank, pulled out a 30 metre length of grey water hose we had and plugged it into it, ran it though some PVC rainwater pipe through a removalist trolley to get the right angle for the water to drain and put the hose further down the yard to stop flood water build up around our back door. It worked like a charm.
    - After price checking I purchased from the cheapest local retailer 126 metres of storm water pvc pipe, elbows, grates and elbows to mitigate the flooding of our yard saving $210 or more compared to buying it off other local retailers. We paid cash using our home cash emergency kitty and let me just say we are so glad we have it.
    - Something a little more out of the ordinary is that we and the neigbours dug out the poor Bunnings sub contractors truck that got bogged up to it's axles in our yard delivering the pipes to us. His truck was there for a day and we and many country neighbours with the aid of utes, recovery snap straps, a bob cat, many shovels and the aid of large hardwood planks got his truck out a neat day after he got here. Fortunately his friends took him home overnight. Oh dear we felt so guilty.

    Well that was our week in a nutshell but we survived and are still smiling :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. Dear Lorna, Oh dear I laughed that you got through the week without scuba gear. It is a big turn around if we think only weeks back to how dry it was.
      You added a good amount to the pantry. It is very good you have the drainage and the creek. This would be your first experience with so much rain in this house. That is a kind of test. So I am glad it is all ok.
      Oh my goodness on the Bunnings guys truck! What a mess! It was not your fault! And everyone tried to help which was wonderful. Ahh what an adventure!
      You have gone from dust to mud. It is hard to imagine! I am glad you can still smile with all this! With love

  17. Things are moving slow around here. I have been sick since the first of year and found out it was pneumonia a little over three weeks ago. I am feeling better, but it does take me longer to accomplish things as I have to rest often. Anyway, I have wiped out and organized all of kitchen cabinets, cleaned the oven, and organize the freezers.

    This week I plan to touch up some paint on the kitchen cabinets. You never know what else might get painted since the paint brush will be out!

    Congrats on the new grandbaby!

    1. Dear Wendy, I am so sorry you have been so sick. Pneumonia is a really slow thing to recover from as well. You will really need to make a lot of care.
      You have done very well to do the work in the kitchen! I am thinking you would get very tired quickly though. So dont over do it! Thank you re the baby! With love

  18. I know you will doll-up that cottage in no time flat. Shutters on the outside windows, a cute area on the front porch, all your thrift shop finds put to good use... Enjoyed the photo of Scout with the ducks. I sometimes wonder what animals know, that we don't know they know! If they could only talk!

    1. Thanks Joy! I have been away this week and I got smooch for a song for the cottage! I think front porches are important so I will be thinking how I can make it lovely! Animals are so much smarter than anyone things! With love

  19. I am so thrilled at your woolen haul at the Op-Shop. I haven't been in our local "Thrift Shop" in several months. I'm trying to declutter our home. But it probably wouldn't hurt to take a look weekly. I won't bring anything I don't Need. No wants.

    1. Dear Kay, Thank you! I have been sewing so much that basic fabrics I can use say for backings are a need. And today (Wed) I got two beds for the cottage! So excited to make more cottage progress!
      I also am on a use it up challenge with gift making... if we can turn what we have on hand into gifts this is amazing! I hope you have had a good new week it is almost over already! With love

  20. What great finds at the op shop! I'm enjoying seeing what you make with all of the lovely fabric, and LOVE the possibilities of your cottage!! We had a quite and satisfying week, making small progress towards our goals.
    *Found out we could buy the big bag of bunny shredded bedding in the back of the farm store with the feed products which is only 1/4th of the cost of buying the same thing in the front part of the store. I was grateful for the cashier pointing this out!
    *Continued my quest of purchasing as few trashbags as possible by using another pet food bag this week.
    *Got a load of books through the new inter-library loan program at our tiny local library. I got books on homemaking, organizing, hospitality, gluten-free cooking, building and growing in greenhouses, and finances. I feel like I have found a whole new way of doing research :)
    *Came in a bit under budget in groceries last week and got a notification from the auto insurance that it has been lowered a few more dollars this month.
    *More on my blog!

  21. LOVED this post! I'm so excited about your little cottage project and can't wait to see the gradual progress as you bring it back to life. Annabel, you are incredibly blessed to have op-shops around you that sell good items so cheap. It just doesn't happen here. Sadly, they are greedy and prices are ridiculous. We find our best bargains at garage sales but even they are becoming less and less due to the exorbitant cost of a small three line ad in the paper ($132, can you believe it?)...but I do know that when I have need the Lord always supplies. Congratulations on the next grandbaby!! xxx

    1. Thanks so much Jenny! I am excited about this project too... it just seemed so daunting at first. I think yes the Lord supplies. Our country op shops are mostly good some much cheaper than others. These tend to be the ones in the back of an old church and not the "commercial" brand op shops. I also find Facebook buy swap and sells quite good sometimes. I was so blessed last week and also this week! Thank you re our new Grandbaby! So excited!! With love,


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