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 23 July 2020

Feather your Nest Friday, 24 July, 2020.

Not an average week!   I headed down to help with the new baby, loaded up with home cooked meals and eggs.  I knew I would be going through a checkpoint where there are police and army personnel as Lucy lives a stones throw over the border.   When I grocery shop this town too is not far from the border however still in South Australia.
When I stopped to talk to the officers I was able to point to Lucy's house and say it is six paddocks "that way."   And they let me go on my way.  

 I had a lovely couple of days with the girls and the baby.  It was go, go, go but very good and so sweet!  I made dinner the nights I was there.   I took cup cakes filled with last weeks Lemon Butter.

On Monday it was time to head home.  This time I was heading into South Australia from Victoria which has a shocking virus outbreak.  So from the border I am now in quarantine for 14 days and need to have corona virus testing.   I did the first test on the way home.  So now I have a taste of what some people are going through.   I do not care at all about isolating except not seeing Lucy, the girls and the baby for over two weeks.    (And the prospect of it only being fortnightly and a life of quarantine each time I come back in.)  

At home I had a mountain of catching up to do and unpacking.    It had all been worth it and so I set about figuring out a new plan.  Sometimes you have to digest things a bit. 
 I decided to use my fourteen days to catch up here at home,  bake and put up as many meals as I can in the freezer and get into the sewing room.   I have continued to re arrange cupboards and make a lot more room for pantry extensions.    I am going to use this fortnight for all the good I can.

I began cutting out, using a purchased bandana bib as my template.   My first project is to make a series of these for Sidney. 

I have farm themed fabrics and I love them!     When these are done I will make a series of larger bibs  as well for early feeding days.  

So some of the ways I feathered my nest were:

I lined a whole drawer with lovely soaps.  Mel S told a story of how her Great Grandmother did this on the advice of her new Mother in Law at the end of WW1.  Well, her soaps helped the family through the Great Depression.  She had also stored fabrics and sugar.    I have already seen a time this year when NO SOAP of any kind was a available.   Suddenly, just like a hundred years ago, soap was so sought after. 

Next I made up a big batch of laundry liquid.   I love how it smells, I add a tiny amount of soap making colour to it, just for the joy. 

You can find the recipe here on How to beat rising prices in the laundry like Nana did.  Jane uses this recipe and that is how I got started.

While the soap making pot was out I made up two batches of soap in new moulds I have.   I got these on Ebay... also the same as Jane!!  Also I have found a few moulds in the op shops.   I have a bit of a collection now.  But I was so happy to try these new flower ones.   It was so much fun.  

The recipes I used were... the darker soap is Wendy's recipe and the lighter one is Nana Chel's recipe.  

Oops... my photo is only showing the lighter one.   Lots of photos will be up on Tuesday in The Tuesday Afternoon Club.

Both are excellent and simple recipes.   Soap making is easy and not intimidating at all.  Just follow the instructions!!    I have 23 of these pretty soaps drying.  I love them!! 
These will go into another drawer and be available for gifting or trading in the future.

I had several blessings... Mum gave me some beautiful pure wool yarn and some Arnica cream. 

I am attempting to strike basil cuttings in the window sill. 

Hay and manure have been added to the raised garden beds.  One bed is full to the top... the other two are getting there.

Each day the news seems to have been worse as our neighbouring state isn't doing well and the Prime Minister and Finance Minister announced budget figures and unemployment figures etc.   The Treasures said such things as "two world wars and a depression didn't bring Australia to it's knees and COVID won't either."   But the comparison is there... over and over the Great Depression is mentioned and compared to.   

And now this afternoon more news.   I will not be able to go see the girls even if I do quarantine for two weeks afterwards.  That is going to be out too.  As things get worse the rules change.  I don't think this will be improving for a long time.   The army guys and the police both seemed to expect to be at the border for a long time... like months.  One said to me it could be six months, they don't know.  

So as things unfold reality begins to hit.   I am thinking that I do have a way to send cooking in to the girls and the mail is also still running... time to get creative.  I am not complaining.  I know many are having a much, much harder time than this.  

How are things where you are located?  I hope you found ways to build up your home, pantry and garden.   I feel we need to think about spreading our eggs amongst many baskets.  And working to be self reliant in what we can and producing things too.    Where possible anticipate what is coming next in your area.  Not always easy though!   A year ago we would never have imagined any of this! 
Several times already this year I have found myself thinking "that escalated quickly."   I have been talking about preparedness for years now.   At this point I am pretty much reviewing everything but I am determined to use my time at home to do all I can. xxx


  1. Dear Annabel, I am so happy for you that you did go see your grandchildren while you could. I am finding the uncertainty is the bit that is hard to live with. My brother and sister in laws baby is due in Melbourne at the end of August. Currently they are in lockdown and there are very strict rules around baby visiting as well, so we don't know when we will meet the bub. I live in Victoria close to the NSW border - my daughter goes to school in NSW. She has to have a permit. The permit system has changed several times already. Today the school said they will be sending out letters shortly because as of Monday students needed the printed permit AND a letter from the school on them. Also because we live in a border bubble we are not allowed too far from the cross over point - a distance that keeps changing. My daughter has an orthodontist appointment in a few weeks and because that appointment is in another town - she and I will have to isolate for 14 days also. This week I have made lots of soup for the freezer and done some resorting from the house move three months ago. The guest room is starting to look like someone could sleep in there. Thankyou for writing another inspiring post of just getting on and doing the best you can. It really does help me keep going. Love Clare

    1. Clare, would it help to call the orthodontist for advice? Surely your daughter is not the only patient with this problem! Maybe they can delay or space out the appointments, or send you to a cooperating dentist in the state where you are located. (I can see orthodontists swapping patients for awhile, but I don't know if they will). Good luck!

    2. Hi Maxine, Thankyou for the Good Luck message. Border rules have now changed to any medical appointments are OK. So we won't need to isolate. Clare

    3. Dear Clare, Sorry I am so long to reply. It has been a big week. I am glad the orthodontist issue was resolved. Clare you are in a similar situation to Lucy and her family. It got more complicated this week. I hope things are ok there. So much changed in a week! I hope everything is ok. With love

  2. Annabel you had a very busy quarantined week! As for visiting - we've been getting dribs and drabs that we could be in lockdown until Christmas and 2 years before the borders reopen. Now I'm not a law breaker but if Dad or Mum (Wayne's parents) need us then I'll be going over the border! I will not leave them on their own for anyone - Premier, PM, police, soldiers or a wretched virus. Dad is 84 and lives alone. Mum is in the nursing home but they're back on limited visits. All because selfish, arrogant people won't observe isolation and stay at home. Love your soaps, Hannah made her first batch by herself a couple of weeks ago, she coloured them purple and added rose oil and they are so pretty. So our soap supply is stocked again. But today I've done an online order for groceries and added laundry soap and washing soda to top up the laundry stockpile. I think laundry soap is the best stain remover ever and it's cheap too. We are looking at other places for our money too, other than the banks. They are not stable, and even though in Australia we have a Govt. guarantee on deposits to $250,000, if the money isn't there it isn't there, and the Govt. doesn't have any left to cover the losses. Things are going to get tough and I'm amazed at the blase attitude of so many people who just keep doing what they've always done and aren't even thinking of getting prepared. This week I went through our fabric and haberdashery supplies and placed orders to top them up. I orderd more seeds. I've been making masks, lots of masks, and due to the generosity of someone who would like to be anon. and the sales from our blog shop, I've been able to PIF 18 to folk who didn't have them and would struggle to buy them. The weekend should be dry and sunny so we are planning on working in the garden, planting more, mulching, picking fruit from the trees, and just enjoying the sun. Have a lovely weekend. xxxx

    1. Dear Cath,
      I like hearing the info you get. I pretty much grab all insider information!
      Since the 23rd so much has happened. Not in a good way. The banking issues get more complicated when you look into Bail ins and it is very dubious if the guarantee is wear tight! I think I need to get back to mask making too... good idea. With much love,

  3. Sorry you won't be able to duck over the border to see the girls! That is hard, but at least you were there when bub was tiny! My own grandchildren used to live a long way from me -and it was hard. They got back here to WA just as our border closed for good! I hope you are keeping your spirits up, and know that this will one day be all over. Thanks for your lovely chatty blog, Annabelle.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Dear Eathmother, I deleted my reply to start again as I replied to someone else in the wrong spot! I do remember when your family were moving away. I am so glad they are back and with more children! And good timing!
      Thanks so much , what a week it was, with love,

  4. Annabel, your soap came out well. I wonder which of my recipes you used. I love those moulds. I have one of them. Here in Queensland lots of people I talk to or overhear think the virus will creep in as people try to sneak across our border from NSW. I stocked up on a few things today while shopping. At the end of the day God is in control and none of this is news to Him. We need to do our part and prepare as well as we can and look out for others too. You are certainly well prepared.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, The soap pictured is your Castile Bubbles soap but I didnt have the clay and left it out and hoped for the best. It is so rich and creamy...I have that same heart mould as you also. Thanks for such a good recipe! There are a fair few Bluebirds in QLD. They are mostly saying the same... a ton of people flooded over the border... And so we are in a similar situation... a lot of people dodged the border and probably still are but it is heaps harder now. I am nervous for Mt Gambier... so close to the border... So we are going day by day... With much love

  5. Annabel I so appreciate your positive attitude regarding having to isolate. It is very encouraging.

    Don and I have realised we have no spare wicks for the oil lanterns. So that has been added to our list of things to buy.

    I am glad that you got a visit in with Lucy before the border closed. God bless you.

    1. Dear Sherri,
      Thank you! I am slow to reply as it has been such a big week! I hope it was ok week for you! With love,

  6. Hello Annabel, in England we were unable to see family for about 3 months. Lockdown is easing. I think Parkinson UK is still advising us to be very careful, staying home as much as possible. My mother is considered as vulnerable so we have been able to drop food deliveries on her doorstep throughout the pandemic but now we are allowed to go in and properly visit. We are starting to see our sons and their families more often. Steve is starting to visit clients occasionally. We have decided to prioritise family and urgent client contact only.
    I am glad that we learnt how to cut each others hair. I have also learnt how to colour my hair well after a bit of trial and error. I spent £15 on good hairdressing scissors in March. Our hair grows very fast so we regularly had to have hairdresser trims.As my colour was on yesterday I calculated that we have saved over £240 in hairdresser visits. I am a bit ashamed to admit that we were spending so much. We will continue cutting our own hair!

    I am still propogating basil. I now do this every time I use basil. I cut long stems right back to the base, tear the 4-6 lower leaves for my recipe and drop the rest of the stem in the water vase which is now permanently on the window sill. This means the bottom of the stem roots but also where you took the leaves produces roots too. The £1 mother plant also remains strong this way and doesn't flower or bolt.
    I am continuing to stock up my pantry. This has to be store bought as I simply have no energy or physical strength to do my own preserves etc. But this is still a good thing. I now need to build up on toiletries more.
    I am not as industrious any more but I can still, "watch over the affairs of my household" 😊
    Lovely to visit here, as usual.
    Lynn, Staffordshire England.

    1. Dear Lynn,
      Three months is a long time. Dropping groceries off is still so helpful and practical.
      I cut my own hair and Andsy so this is an area we have been doing for a while and it is really handy!
      I have basil propagating, if it works! But I am trying it!
      Yes you can watch over the affairs of your household very well! Thank you Lynn, with love

  7. Such beautiful and productive work. I wonder if Lucy will be eligible for the cross border community travel so she can come and see you, or viseversa. I really feel for her with her little Sydney, not being able to have easy access to her mum! I'm sure she's tough and resilient like her mum too.

    I've had a busy week, doing some more cleaning out of my grandma's house. The treasures are amazing!

    I hope all are well. Love, Deb

    1. Dear Deb,
      Lucy does qualify as cross border. But this enabled her to go 50 ks and now it is 40ks. I am (and Mum and Dad) I think about 150ks away so this means we could go to Mt Gambier and meet there. Now the latest is she has to have weekly tests. But this is possible, currently and we did this during the week.
      I hope you continued to find treasures in your Grandmas home. With much love,

  8. Hi Annabel,your soaps are beautiful & i hope to make some liquid clothes detergent too soon. things are getting worse here in Victoria johns birthday yesterday and i bought him a nice cake no party,as we are in lockdown its my dad's 80th next month and his family from out of state cannot visit him i called in to see him yesterday and gave him some face masks and some shopping I did mask up and stayed a fair distance from him,it will be a while before I see him again as I want to make sure he will be safe a lot of older folk are really frightened by it all,i just get on with things and make my surroundings safe and the fridge freezers well stocked in case I need to help my family & friends,i really enjoy reading your blog posts for inspiration and just to block out what is going òn for a short time thanks Annabel x

    1. Dear Melissa, Thank you! Sorry it has taken me a week to reply and oh my goodness what a week it has been. I am glad you found a nice way to celebrate the birthday! A week ago the numbers we have seen now would have really shocked us... so it has not been good week. It is wonderful you prepare to be able to help the family and your friends. And this is why being prepared is important. We can do something to help when needed! With love

  9. Dear Annabel, I really feel sorry for you that you will not be able to see Lucy and the kids. Things are changing so fast. Here in Germany we are okay so far. But they keep talking about the second wave. In my personal situation with much pain I am not able to work on my pantry. There is still a lot of stuff which I was not able to put to the shelf etc. I had to cut the veggie box for a while, as I am not able to cook or preserve and I already wasted some. So I have to trust, that the Lord will care and provide what I need. There are people who go to the stores for me still and my household helper woman had to be tested. She had to stay at home for a few days, but came back to her job on last Thursday (just the day she workes for me, among others). So I was blessed. Her test was negative. I have still a lot of food here which will last a few month I guess. We can only do what we can. Love Heike xxx

    1. Dear Heike,
      I know you have not been feeling too well. But you always encourage others thank you!
      I am sorry for a very slow reply, it was a hard week.
      I am glad things are ok there in Germany. I am so glad you have someone to help you and someone to bring you groceries. That is a big help. I hope you get some relief from your pain. Thinking of you Heike, with love,

    2. Don't worry about slow replying. I know you have a lot to do. Thank you that you tell me that I am encouraging others. This is an encouragement for me :-). Thinking of you too, dear Annabel. You are such an encouragement too. Love Heike xxx

  10. I am sorry that the virus is impacting your family visits. It is so out of control in Victoria right now.

    I need to gain some motivation to do things. This week my son took me to Costco and I feel happier now I have some stock in the house. It feels good to know that there is stuff set aside for just in case. God bless and keep you safe.

    1. Dear Suzan, Thank you. It was great to go to Costco! A stock up is a good thing. I have never been to a Costco. I think I would love to! I have Aldi through which I love and hope to get to a couple more times this year. With love,

  11. So sorry you are being held at home without going out. Things sure are different. Your soaps are lovely. It sounds like you are keeping quite busy. I am so happy you got to spend time with the baby and family.

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Thank you so much. I hope your week went well. I am behind in replies as the week was challenging! Thanks so much, with love

  12. Dear Annabel,
    I'm glad you were able to spend time with Lucy and family before the borders were shut down. We haven't experienced guards or military at our State borders in the US, but our Governor has stated that if we were ever to travel to certain states we must quarantine for 14 days when coming home. In order to see our family we are using the technology of Zoom or Skype. My daughter's baby, which is a scheduled C-section will be August 7th, and we could use all the prayers that everything goes safely. I sent you an email with a news article that appeared here about Australia and I hope you received it.

    The bibs that you're making for Sidney are adoreable. Those lemon filled cupcakes look delicious. The soap is so pretty and looks so luxurious.

    Thiings that got accomplished here this week were harvesting of green beans and freezing 2 quarts of them. I made my own gluten free toaster waffles and froze them. More basil got harvested and three more pints of pesto got made and frozen. Lots of rosemary and oregano were harvested also and frozen in olive oil. I have added to my notebook of "homemade" recipe for items such as deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo bars, liquid soaps, mouthwash, salves and lotions, using things that I have on hand. Also recipes for condiments, meals etc. Today will be a baking day to stock the freezer with English muffins for my husband, some scones and other quick breakfast items. Aside from the heatwave we're having with high humidity, it was a very good week. Stay safe, stay healthy, Annabel. Wishing all of the Bluebirds a safe week. Blessings, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      The baby is so soon!! Sorry Cookie to be here so late. You will see when in my next post!
      I will be praying and have now written the 7th in my diary.
      It is great to have a notebook of such useful alternatives and recipes. Good idea.
      Many thanks Cookie, with love,

  13. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    Annabel, you had a good week and your soap is absolutely beautiful! The pink liquid and flower-shaped bars both. I'm sorry you will miss seeing your girls, but glad you did get to visit recently. We are all in this together with missing family and finding new ways to connect. My mid-70s mom has been texting me photos of her dogs and really getting into using e-mail - I love it and being able to have that time with her, since we would have to quarantine both ways if we traveled to her state to visit right now.

    This week I added some more baking supplies to my pantry; sugar and flour can be hit and miss here, but I was able to get 2 large bags, 20 pounds of each! I've been baking all of our bread and hamburger buns and making waffles, cookies, and quick breads, so we will definitely use it. I also got some cocoa powder for cakes, brownies, and hot cocoa. We find it can be cheering to share a treat together at the end of the day, just a little thing but it is nice to spend that time together. I was able to have a telehealth doctor's appointment on Tuesday and have some medication mailed to me - technology can be amazing!

    To build up our home, I keep cooking a lot and freezing extra, tending our garden -- it looks like we will have a lot of cucumbers soon, so I am looking forward to making pickles! -- and doing some knitting and stitching for gifts, home decor, and just for my own enjoyment. Keeping my hands busy truly helps with worries.

    The cases in my state are still increasing rather alarmingly, but my town is not one of the worst hit, and I am very thankful for that.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend and stays safe and healthy.

    1. DearKathy,
      Thanks so much! It is lovely you can keep in touch with Mum with messages and photos. You are right, we are VERY lucky to have these alternatives.
      Baking supplies are great to be socked up on!
      Also having these kind of medical appointments and medicine mailed! This is wonderful really.
      You are building up your home in many good ways! I am sorry with my slow reply. It was a big week so I am a bit behind. With much love,

  14. Annabel it sounds like you had a lovely time with Lucy's family. I'm sorry that you aren't able to continue these visits. I know you will be happy keeping busy at home but not seeing family is hard, especially with Sidney having just arrived. I think your attitude is great, and makes the most of an uncontrollable situation.

    I hope that the increased measures are effective and allow your states to open borders again when it is safe to do so. I'm sure Lucy is so grateful for all of the frozen meals you have given her in the last few months, some days they can feel like a lifesaver!

    I feel like I have baked and cooked all week, yet none made it to the freezer lol. We were given two big roasts which was pretty amazing. They will be several meals each. I did a large grocery shop this week and stocked up the freezer again. I did a stock take of pantry supplies and am fairly happy with where we are at, I know which holes to fill,and will continue to build this up.

    I'm continuing to work through rearranging things to make our home organisation better. It's slow going, but feels good with each area that's completed.

    Enjoy the extra sewing you will get done, I think it's lovely that while you can't see your grandchildren you are making them things with love. The farm bibs look great!

    Take care Annabel and everyone

    Jen (NZ)

    1. Dear Jen,
      Two big roasts are a wonderful bonus! You are doing well with the pantry. I am doing a similar thing with organising. And it does take forever. But I better know what we have.
      Making things to help when I can has helped me... I have sewn a lot! With love,

  15. I was happy to add a pulse oximeter to my supplies. Something I didn't know we needed until we did! We are in isolation also. Luckily my son can pick up grocery orders for us. Stay safe.

    1. Dear Christine, Chloe has been able to get me a few things too! Very helpful! I have two days to go! I never even knew we at home could buy a pulse oximeter so it is a good thing to have! With love

  16. Dear Annabel,
    I am so glad you did get some time with Lucy and the children. Stay safe and well.
    I have quite a bit to share, but, also, have a swollen right hand and extreme wrist pain, so I will only be able to hit highlights.
    A few years ago, I sat down and did a one year meal plan. I broke each meal down into ingredients, what in terms of items and amounts was needed to fix each meal. Then some multiplication and division resulted in how much we needed of every item we would use, food wise, for one year. Due to dietary issues that cropped up we didn't stick to those menus.
    I am now making the small changes where necessary and refiguring everything. Our goal, by September 30, is to have everything we need for this year and the next in our home.
    I would love to elaborate on the necessity of this from what we hear and see, but my wrist isn't going to cooperate :(.
    You are doing exactly what is needed. For those serious about being prepared for the future, please continue doing as much as you can do with what you have. Money in the bank is wise, but it won't feed anyone, clothe anyone, or protect anyone when things go completely south.

    May God Bless all the Bluebirds,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      I said to a family member just the other day the I felt we needed to prepare for 6mths (3 min) and after reading your message and what Annabel has written, I may revise my plans. Thank you!
      I hope your wrist heals soon.
      Love, Heidi xx

    2. Dear Glenda,
      I am sorry about your wrist. I hope it improves as I would love you to write more on this. I would love to hear what you are hearing and seeing too. You have always been someone I rely on as your observations and study set you apart!
      I feel the same with banks. I remember the queues of people outside the Greek banks hoping to be allowed a small amount of their own money.... their own money was virtually no good to them. This has stuck with me.
      You have a good goal. It is a big task! I might follow your lead on September 30 as a date and goal are good to have rather than thinking "one day." Have a very good new week and I hope your wrist is much better. With love

  17. Dear Annabel,
    I'm so glad you got to visit Lucy and your grandchildren and I'm sad for you that you won't be able to for awhile. Your soaps are lovely as are the molds you cast them in. I want to make homemade soap again as well. I saw a lovely beehive mold recently plus Jes (Strangers & Pilgrims) shared a book that I placed on library reserve.I do agree that soap seems to be in short supply here in the U.S. as well Soap (both liquid and bar) shampoo, and laundry detergent I always have a stock of because I tend to buy multiples of my favorite brand when it's on sale. Of course, Lysol spray and disinfecting wipes are very difficult to come by. i was super fortunate to be at Walmart when they stocked last week. You could have 1 spray and 1 wipe or two of the same. Within 5 minutes of the supply being stocked, it was gone. Then i made a quick store run for fresh things since I was out already. Our cases have risen in the past two weeks and I live in a large town, but on the smaller side by population count. Blessedly, we are still under 1000 cases (sadly, 16 deaths) in our county and that encompasses nine different towns.

    1. Dear Peidreaming, Wow you were just in the right place at the right time to get the Lysol and wipes! This is how things go here. New stock sells out so fast. And same with soaps... all soaps of any kind were basically gone and giant empty space
      s where they once were! So getting things when we can is important, I have learned that! I hope you stay safe and have a good new week, With love,

  18. Annabel,
    So sorry you won't be allowed to visit your family- I know the girls will miss your visits but I also know you will use your time at home wisely as you always do.
    I am busy trying to stock my pantry. I dug my first potatoes out of my garden yesterday. I now wish I would have planted more. I plan to put these in the freezer so if we go back into lock down here I will have that supply.
    We are expecting a few warm, sunny days here so my family and I will spend those at the beach. We will treasure those days and hope they allow us to forget about the world situation for a short while and just relax and re-energize.
    Take Care to Everyone
    Pacific Northwest of United States

    1. Dear Anon....I live in Idaho, the Famous Potatoes state, and I've always heard that you can't freeze potatoes. (Commercially frozen potatoes are processed in ways we don't have available). In actuality, I have frozen twice-baked potatoes with no issues. Before you get too involved in freezing your precious crop, get definite instructions and freeze a few, just to try. I, personally, would focus more on proper storage of the raw potatoes, but that's just me.

    2. Thank you so much. Being able to go to the beach would be just lovely! xxx

  19. So pleased that you were able to see the grandchildren and I hope that it won't be too too long before it can happen again. You certainly made good use of your time at home - the soaps are beautiful and I always love seeing your pink laundry detergent!

    Things are ok here at the moment. Most of the province has moved to stage 3 of reopening but my city of 3million is still at stage 2. I'm actually dreading going to stage 3 as I see too many people not following the rules! This morning it was two transit staff members boarding the subway train and pulling their masks down. When I objected I got an earful from one and the other one said he had asthma and it wasn't being enforced anyway (true - they call it mandatory but no one is actually enforcing the mask rule - idiots)! But it was funny - as we pulled into the main transfer stn. (where there are usually supervisors & inspectors) they pulled their masks back up before getting off the train - either the "asthma" miraculously disappeared or they were more afraid of getting a reprimand from a supervisor!

    I have managed a few visits with friends - but outdoors only - and I've had a couple of restaurant meals out on a patio (no indoor dining as yet) - but honestly, I feel like locking the door again and just hibernating! The next thing on the agenda is trying to get the kids back to school in Sept. - no one is quite sure how that is going to work. Most of us expect a second wave come Oct./Nov. and to be put back into lockdown. Honestly -I wish they'd do like Australia and bring out the police and soldiers - but they are too afraid of somehow offending someone!

    I am adding more food and non-food supplies on each trip to the shops and I hope to be able to buy some new glasses and a pair of good leather walking shoes (but the winter stock hasn't arrived as yet) and really - that's all I truly "need". I know that a few of the Australian bloggers have mentioned clothing and linens being hard to find so thought that I'd try to shop early. Normally by now the shops would be full of sweaters and winter coats (even though most days are above 30C) but not much seems to have arrived as yet (not many planes coming in) so we may be looking at the same sort of shortages happening here.

    I look forward to this post each week and hope that all of you in Australia stay safe.

    1. Dear Margie,
      It is really hard as you say with people doing their own thing and there isn't much consistency. Our rules keep changing and they have changed their advice on masks so many times it is ridiculous.
      I need new glasses too. I am glad you are adding to your pantry as you can! Thank you so much. I am sorry for such a slow reply. When you read my new Friday post you will see why. With much love,

  20. Hi Annabel and your soaps, baking and bandana bibs are beautiful :) .

    So glad you were able to see Lucy and the grandchildren for a few days and sorry to hear that this may not be able to happen in the future for some time :( . I know you will make the most of any challenging situation and send some beautiful parcels by mail to the grandchildren though, maybe some homemade dry cake & other mixes with instructions that the girls can make up at home could work too via mail ?.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $27.44 in savings last week :).

    In the kitchen -
    - Made up 1.1 kg of strawberry jam in our bread maker from strawberries we had purchased for $1 per 500g previously and frozen saving $10.94 over buying it.
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    In the gardens -
    - Harvested 3.1 kg of mandarins from our fruit tree saving $13.50 over buying them in the supermarkets.

    Finances & internet listings -
    - Listed 10 items on a free listing promotion on eBay saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.
    - Banked more money into our 3 month living expenses emergency fund which we have now achieved :). We have decided to save further for a 6 month living expenses emergency fund.
    - Found unspent money in our budget and banked it towards our home maintenance fund to replace a house stump, 2 inside ceiling panels and reinforce shed beams. This brings us to 30% of the way to our target amount to hire tradespeople to do the work.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. Dear Lorna, Thank you for your postage ideas. I THINK I am able to send a parcel this week to the border and Lucy can collect. Well, I am hoping. This means I could send a packed cold pack and lasagne and such things. I posted sweet cards and letters to the girls... Chloe posted those for me.
      CONGRATULATIONS on reaching your goal! I truly feel so pleased for you. And I was waiting to see your next goal and you already set that! I say you will make it by Christmas. The strawberries were a bargain when you got those! Also the fee eBay listings are great. I know several ladies now selling masks. Those are selling well. In QLD I am not sure as I think your covid numbers are low, it all depends on what happens next I think!
      I hope you are having a lovely weekend and we all get a good new week! With love

  21. I love the bibs you made! I hope this ends soon for your family. Glad you got one visit in.

    I found some inexpensive tea lights that burn for 6-7 hours. So I bought a case of 200. They will create good light and are very portable. I have little glass French Yogurt jars to put them in. Incase we loose power or don’t want to light our oil lamps. Great indoor and out.

    My pumpkins only seem to have male flowers. Tons of them only a couple female. I pollinated the few females with a Q Tip. Crossing my fingers to see if I get any?

    I made restaurant blender salsa with all my tomatoes. I got the recipe off Pinterest it was delicious. It keeps 3 weeks in the fridge or freeze it or can it. It didn’t last a week. Gobbled up.

    Prices seem to keep rising so anything that is on sale I try to stock up on. I was able to get some more Eucalyptus wood for our wood burning stove. It won’t be seasoned till next year. $300 a cord , I was glad to get it for free.
    Blessings and good health to you all.

    1. Dear Lynd,
      Would you be able to put your salsa recipe here? I have quite a few tomatoes at the moment and would love to try it :)
      Love, Heidi xx

    2. Oh Lynd! You brilliant brilliant girl you! You just made me realize that these glass baby food jars I've been saving could be tea light lamps too! Thank you!!

    3. Dear Lynd, Oh that Salsa sounds good!
      The candles are a great addition to have on hand. I am glad for you on the wood! Eucalyptus is what we have here and use too. It is wonderful. Hard wood that burns well for a long time. The prices for wood are astronomical! So that was a big bonus! I hope your pollinating the zucchinis works too! You did well. Have a lovely weekend! Love

  22. Blossom and I were pondering The Ingalls Family out on the prairie alone for years with hardly any social life and only a few visits to 'town' to stock up on flour, sugar, cloth - such basic things.
    They rarely saw or heard from any family, and this was normal for pioneers of that era (even in Australia).
    We've become a society so used to the luxuries of a supermarket, a car to visit people we care about, social media for even more social interaction...and because of this we've no concept of what it means to stay home, to have extended seasons of not visiting, to only be able to use what's in your house supplies for many, many months, perhaps a year or more.
    Our lives have now changed permanently, and as a Christian we know from the Bible things will only get worse the closer we come to Christ's return.
    So thank you for your posts, your examples of stocking up, making do, preparing for barter and learning new skills. We will all need to know this and do them.

    1. Dear Jenny, Thank you.... I have read many of the Little House on the Prairie books. The Long Winter was one that really got to me, the way Pa become skinny... as obviously he was passing up food so the girls would be fed. I always think of that. And the very basics they were thrilled to have. And the gratitude. Well as you say things are far from that. I heard someone say how in the end times people will have no gratitude anymore. There is such entailment and attitude and this is true. I feel surrounded by lessons. You are in a similar situation to me regarding the having little Grandchildren. Much of my pantry and additions are with them in mind. We need to pray a lot... and make the most of everything. God is providing in so many ways and I am seeing the same... work, skills, bartering... I feel like I am becoming Nana and understanding her in a new way! With love for your thoughts on this,

  23. Hello people,
    Well i can give an opionon from the other side. Both Mum and myself have tested positive for the virus. I am so thankful for the health care we are receiving in home.

    We have a police officer door knocking once a door to ensure we are isolating. They have the right to come at any time of the day. They have put our bins out. My mum is in her 90s and they try and come at the same time, mum doesnt get out of bed much so when they are expected i sit on her bed which is the front room and just pull the curtain back and we wave at the officers. We also have the Dept of health call us daily and a nurse comes every 3 days. Our cases are deemed non life threatening which has enabled us to stay home and with mum being almost deaf and blind she is coping much better.

    I cannot thank all the people who are involved in our care enough.I get food deliveries and request they be left at the letter box. Our medications are delivered to us, we have a 24 hotline if we need help overnight.

    Hopefully our next swab next week is our last!

    How did we catch the virus I honestly dont know. We dont go out had been isolating, hand washing all the time, then in lockdown I dont like to finger point but i did spend an evening in hospital with a kidney stone 4 days before my symptoms started.

    I plan to do a big shop when we are cleared and hopefully life can go back to normal for us, Take care all Leanne

    1. Dear Leanne,
      Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I am so sorry both of you have the virus but so pleased you are doing so well. Also it is wonderful you can care for your Mum and she can be home in her happy familiar environment. And it is levelly to hear what kindness and care and support you are getting! Gosh that is nice to know.
      I can imagine how it will be wonderful to be cleared and able to do things again! I am only in isolation without the sickness... I dont mind being home but to sick is another thing entirely! Thank you for posting and I hope both you and your Mum are fully recovered very soon! With love

  24. thank you for yet another uplifting message Annabel. Here in Western Australia life is pretty good but that could change so quickly - I think the way this virus spreads is really quite frightening. People here are getting too complacent (and I admit to being guilty) regarding social distancing...... partly because it’s automatic to hug our friends. I don’t think a lot of people realised how important the physical touching is until this time, but now is not the time to relax. And you are so wise, as are many bluebirds, to continue to stock up, be creative and stay prepared. Lesley x

    1. Dear Lesley, Thank you! I am quite hopeless at social distancing as you say especially between friends and family. Also I seem to have a sign on my forehead that says "tell me everything" as strangers tell me their life story and so on. So it is hard. So is not touching surfaces... or your face! Oh my goodness once you become aware of it you realise how often you do it. Not easy! I hope WA continues to do so well. Sometimes distance and isolation are very good. Overall Australia has this... but now with Victoria being so bad you are in a good place! With love,

  25. Annabel & Bluebirds
    I shopped for extras to fill our pantry this week in a discount store. I will go again next week, and continue to do so while I can. It is so easy to get used to the next “ normal” that is introduced and relax my efforts!
    Glad mother and baby got to have a nana visit :) Hopefully you will see them again very soon.
    Have a blessed week
    Love, Heidi xxx

    1. Dear Heidi,
      I hope you were able to get back to the store and build up your pantry some more. The new normal keeps changing! It is changing here daily... So being prepared is a very wise thing. With much love,

  26. It was a good week overall. I have been keeping the 8month old boy for the past three weeks and little got done but somehow I managed to squeeze in time enough to dust all the walls in the house and weed a couple of flower beds and one morning I ran over to the next county to pick up a produce bag subscription from a local farmer. This morning I went into our small town to visit the flea market. I wore my mask even though there were only a handful of people in and we were all very well past our six feet apart rule. I found a lovely print of a portion of the Proverbial Woman looking well to her household for $1.50. I checked to see if she had sheets or napkins or tablecloths all of which are generally older an better quality than we get nowadays but no luck there, so I satisfied myself with local honey and the print and two thick books to read.
    For the most part our lives have changed little. We don't shop or eat out as recreation. We generally do our grocery shopping twice a month and we tend to try to build our pantry in those shops. But I have been thinking of many things, like wicks and oil for my lamps, candles, soaps, sheets, curtains even especially the black out curtains so necessary in summers here. Not just food.
    Our county currently has as many cases as they had in the height of the virus but we are just in the double digits even yet, not in the 1000s due in part to the fact that our county is very rural.
    School starts next week and while an online experience is offered, I know from sad experience that internet here is lousy and in some instances even cell phone service can't be had. It is a poor rural county and there's little reason to have satellite towers nor can many families afford it.
    It is hard to find the right balance for people who desperately need to work not because they are deep in debt but because they truly must , and protect all who need to be protected. There are no easy answers to any of this we face. But as said, we can offer to help others if only the neighbor next door or the family and do all we can to insure WE do our part to keep others safe.

  27. Dear Annabel,
    These are certainly different and difficult times, although I know things really are much easier for us than what many are experiencing.
    We finally had rain yesterday after more than 100 days. It was wonderful!
    I'm glad you had the time with Lucy. Sidney and the girls. Your soaps are beautiful!
    Our refrigerator went out and, although I joked that it went out while we've been staying in, it has added some stress to our days. Neighbor friends and family have helped so we have lost very little food, but having food in different locations and keeping an ice chest cold has added a bit of stress.
    My neighbor who has been sharing extra from what she gets at the food pantries has been really helpful in adding to our pantry. This time, besides a lot of other things, there was a container of shelf stable milk and one of powdered milk. Given our current refrigerator situation, I was especially glad to get them. I try to think of things they might need such as laundry soap to share with them. After I have pick out what I would like, there are usually 2 or more boxes that I can share with other neighbors.
    I have been keeping a notebook with substitutions and recipes that use shelf stable foods, besides my usual recipes or uses.
    Wishing you and the Bluebirds a safe and good week with love from Arizona.

    1. Dear Elaine,
      Sorry I am so slow to reply. It was a heck of a week! I am so glad you got some needed rain!
      It is bad when your fridge goes out more than you do! haha!
      The additions to your pantry are wonderful! Also exciting to see what you get! I think substitutions are a good subject. We can get around shortages and lack... with some ingenuity! Thank you Elaine, with love

  28. Annabel so nice you did get to see the family and new beautiful bub.
    2 weeks spent busily improving and preparing is not time wasted. I too love the bibs.

    We are in Qld and had new grandbub arrive in June. We thought we would not get to see her although we live in the same state. But bit by bit as daughter's time came closer we went from no travel to 50 klms to 150klms to all the state.
    So very quickly we drove to see her when she was a day old before the rules changed. Luckily they didn't.
    We have just done a second visit and she has grown so much. But each time we have self isolated before we go, as we are not sure about what we are told to do with virus and little ones. We want to hug and kiss our grandkids.
    I think the control of this virus is in the peoples hands. Government can only do so much. Many need to pull their heads in, perhaps for the first times in their lives.
    Here we make the most of what we have, are thankful and enjoy our blessings everyday.

    1. I am so glad you were able to see your Granddaughter! I agree with need to take care ourselves before visiting as you say. What a time to be born, or to have a baby! I do agree with you and the majority of people are good and sensible and it only takes a few idiots to ruin things for the rest. I notice this... many people will just not be inconvenienced. They re going on holiday or to the party or whatever as it is their "right" and they honestly dont care. These are the ones I am worried about.
      Yes we need to be thankful and keep things quiet and simple. It is a one day at a time effort.
      I hope you have a good new week. My first week went very fast! With much love

  29. Hi Annabel,

    I am learning about bulk buying to a)save money b)build up a well stocked pantry. This week I bought 15kg of locally grown caster sugar from our local bulk food shop. The shop sells the sugar from big bins (you can buy as much or as little as you want) for $1.95/kg but when you purchase in bulk you get a 20% discount, so I paid $1.56/kg such a great saving and now I have a great big lot of sugar stored which I will use in baking and making jams and other things. If stored properly it should last indefinitely.

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Bulk buying can be really good. It is more work to repackage and store but the savings can be worth it. And yes sugar will last! That was a good buy! Well done. With love,

  30. Dearest Annabel, I went to the shops yesterday to Coles and no lux flakes to make your laundry liquid. I am disgusted at the prices of one's in the store and want to make my own. I'm so sorry to hear you're cut off from Lucy, and the girls ! Prices of food especially meat has risen significantly. I'm praising the LORD for my new job, a few hours each week. When thousands continue to lose work and the unemployment rate is almost 10 percent. With love, Sonia in Sydney

    1. Dear Sonia,
      I also glad about your job!! Keep your eye out for the Lux flakes astray are multi useful. I think the true unemployment is far hight but it is masked by low hours worked and also job keeper etc. We think 20% maybe. So extra good that you got some work! With much love,

  31. Hi Annabel and Bluebirds

    I hope everyone is safe and well.

    What a lot you have had to deal with Annabel, but best to be safe and keep the grandkids safe. Things seem to be changing rapidly and constantly.

    Our friend is due to have her first child in a few weeks and whilst excited, she is a little apprehensive with the rules here coming back into effect around hospital visits.

    On the weekend I had to visit a small shopping center and was taken back with one store I walked past. They had a notice up no we are not closing down (very limited stock) we just get our stock from oversea's. A little disheartening as there would be so many Australian suppliers whom I am sure would love to have them purchase from our shores.

    Your bandana bibs look wonderful. Love the fabric.

    Last week I mention that I was doing a short free course, well I have now decided to do the full course at a cost but am really looking forward to learning a lot more on essential oils, food additives, preservatives and fragrance and how it effects our lives. So far this has been an eye opener. Look forward to sharing somethings with you.

    In the meantime I hope that you, your family and the Bluebird community all stay safe and well

    Take care
    Aly xxx

    1. Dear Aly, The corse sounds wonderful! Essential oils are just so valuable and I knew nothing about them a couple of years ago. The whole course sounds really good.
      Yes having a baby now or really any hospital stay is more complicated. I hope everything goes ok for your friend.
      Thank you for your kind words Aly. I am sorry to take so long to reply it has been some week! With love


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