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.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Everything old is new again.

This year has been really interesting from my preparedness point of view.  I didn't just work on my pantry but added a lot of new skills and practices.  Lately I have really noticed how all around me everything old is new again!
We have a store here called the Eco store which is full of things that are considered sustainable,  environmentally friendly and healthy.  Things like re useable coffee cups, shopping bags and baskets, beeswax food wraps and gals containers (so you can reduce plastic) stainless steel water bottles, water saving things like sink inserts.... and so on.  It is actually very nice and very trendy.   It is all stuff my Nans did!  They never realised how cool they were! 😊

I notice most of these things have several benefits.  They are non disposable so you save money.  They are non chemical saving your health and they are non littering.   A lot of people are talking about the war on waste.  And also there is a big trend towards home cooking,  growing your own veggies, chickens and alternative sources of power.  Homemade and handcrafted things are also the in thing.  Girls we are in fashion!

This is like my Dad. One year  khaki green and camo were in fashion. He said he always knew if he hung on long enough one day he would be fashionable! haha! He only ever wears khaki green basically!

This year Andy built me a new clothes line.  This is all I have plus an indoor drying rack for bad weather.


It runs by the latest technology of wind and solar power.  Completely free.

The lady over the road sits her clothes horse in the sun and yesterday it was on the front veranda. 


It makes me happy to see!  Another lady down the road does what I do too... she has a tree out the front and hangs her work uniform on hangers to dry in the tree. The wind irons it for her.  I have a tree in the back yard that is my hanging tree. 

Nan didn't have glad wrap/plastic wrap until later years.  She found other ways to cover food and pack Pa's lunch box.   I just made beeswax wraps over the weekend to be along the same lines...


Food on the table was covered in mesh or a netting throw.  Mimi got me back on to these! They are wonderful!



This was cooking by Chloe. 

I have been making my now kitchen towels for a few years mainly using recycled fabrics and the good ones I stitch on an edging.  



A lot of old sheets etc are turned into cleaning cloths. Beautiful soft ones are turned into handkerchiefs for times of bad colds and sickness.


These cleaning cloths were made up by Kelsey. I love them!  Nan also didn't have fancy cleaning products just a few basics and her house was always spotless.  She didn't have things like air freshener or scented candles either yet the house always smelled lovely! 

Another one is cloth to replace paper towels or serviettes/napkins to replace paper ones.  

She always did handiwork in the evenings and any time she sat down for a few minutes.  
I think of her when I crochet or knit.   I make cotton up into wash cloths and cleaning cloths.


We have chickens and grow some of our veggies and most of our herbs.
Baskets are used for everything from fruit picking to grocery shopping.  I have a basket in the car always!  Plastic bags are a big no no now but Nan never used them anyway!


My Nan would give me her change purse and I would walk to the corner shop with her basket and a list.  The shopkeeper knew her and I would walk back again with what she needed.  


Nan had ceramic cooking and storage dishes like corning ware,  pyrex, jars, tins...  kitchen storage jars were generally recycled jars.  Glass is back in again as everyone throws away their plastics now that it is found to leach chemicals into food.   So my op shop jars and recycled jars are in fashion too. (not that I care I have always LOVED them so much)

I recently got an old hand mixer so if the power is out I can still quickly mix up a batter or cake. 

I have sour dough bubbling and bread rising.   Roses drying and chicken marinating.  There are little domestic scenes in every direction!  The difference between my Nans and me isn't as much as I might have once thought.

More and more the simple things are beautiful to me.  I would rather be home making jam than on a jet.  I would rather a mending basket like Jane's than a fancy handbag. 

I am wondering what new things I will learn next year?  I am betting they will be old time skills.  The more of these we know the more prepared we are, the less we need from the store, the more we could manage without electricity, the more we save.   These are things worth working towards. 

This week I am going to be away at the farm.  I will post when I get back in about a week from now.  I am heading off on my own, op shopping on the way of course, and Andy will be home here working and manning the fort.  It is a very important week as there are some big decisions that affect the family.  
I hope I can make up for my lacking posts with a big one when I get home! And I hope I will hear of a lot of your nest building when I get back too!

How have you lowered costs with re useable things or by learning to make things yourself?
What skills would you really like to learn next year?   I am noticing we have so many skills here between us all.  For 2018 I am looking at having lots of tutorials on new skills.   So let me know what you would like to learn! xxx










Thursday, 19 October 2017

Feather your Nest Friday, 20th October, 2017.

It's Friday!  It has been a good week!
First of all thank you to everyone who participated in the swap party!  For my part all the parcels will be ready and posted on Monday.  I have been busy drying heaps of sour dough starter and that is all ready too.
I just published some more comments in the swap post so be sure to check and let me know if you need any more contacts. I think I will say Sunday it is closed down for this time and we will do it again early next year.  I hope everyone gets lovely parcels in the mail!

This week I built up our home and saved money in lots of little ways...

I added a kettle to our BBQ set up for boiling water if the power is out.  Previously we just used saucepans but this is easier for making cups of tea etc.

I got two sets of good sheets on a huge bargain!

My spray bottle was almost empty so I refilled it with miracle cleaner.  To do this I simply put in about an inch of the cleaner into the bottle then fill the rest with water.  Cost is a few cents!   The recipe is here plus how to make your own cleaning cloths etc.  This all saves a fortune and your house never smelled so good!

It was a week of roses!   Our garden is blooming just now and it seems to have come all at once.

We have yellow roses down the side and over an arbour...


Yesterday I started picking them.  Jane made me realise that I could use dried rose buds as gifts and in swaps!  So while I usually dry lots to use on food like my coconut ice and on soaps and bath bombs etc. I am going to try and dry enough over the summer to make up packages for my gift cupboard.  Jane also told me you can buy dried rose buds by the gram and they are expensive.  
This is what I picked just yesterday...


The buds will today be hung upside down to dry. The flowers I will just enjoy and then dry the petals.

Out the front we have a tree covered in palest pink blossoms.  It is now raining petals every time there is a breeze.  


I just love all of this and the scents are beautiful too.  I have honeysuckle at the front door and this is always open if the weather is ok so the whole house smells beautiful.

I made peanut butter biscuits again this week.   I am making them every week as Harper likes them so much but also I am doing an experiment with going grain free.  My whole life I have suffered aching legs.  Some of my early memories are Dad rubbing my aching legs.   That has been my normal.  But since early this year when I got the spider bites and infections on my arms I have had badly aching arms.  After months of this I found I was taking tons of painkillers as aching legs plus arms makes it seem like everything aches.  I was getting fairly miserable.  I read a lot that many people go grain free to reduce pain but that sounded mad to me.  But then Laine told me she is grain free as she has a chronic condition which causes a lot of pain and by doing this she has improved her life and can still do things she couldn't otherwise do.  And I was willing to listen to Laine as she gets so much done! 
At this point I was desperate and thought I have nothing to lose!  So I got organised and on October the first I went grain free.  I thought as an experiment only.  
On the fourth day my leg ache and arm ache disappeared.  Today is the 20th day. I have had two days with mild aches rather than 20 days with major aches.  I am amazed.  I have more energy too. MUCH more energy.  Each day I am still improving.  And this week we started our summer swimming so now I added lapping the pool and still haven't ached!  
I also went to the doctor this week.  I told her what I was doing and I expected her to roll her eyes but she didn't!  She said that apart from anything else for a woman my age (menopausal) this was the best thing I could be doing!  WHAT? No one ever told me that before.  
I am not telling anyone to do this or that it would be right for them. But this has amazed me and I cant believe the benefits so far so I thought I would share it as there might be someone reading who is suffering quietly and you just never know. 

These cookies are just  1 cup peanut butter (easier to work with if it has been in the fridge) 1 egg and 1 cup of sugar rolled into balls.  (I use much less sugar though)


Press with a fork, bake in a low oven (they burn easily) for about ten minutes or until lightly browned.   They are very filling.  No flour!

I am still baking things like scrolls and cakes for the family.  If I have something for myself like these cookies I am ok and not bothered.  That is not to say I won't fall off the wagon at some point!

This week I did a big spaghetti sauce cook up. 


Chloe came home from her trip!  I sent her home with two nights worth of the sauce.  For us I made zucchini noodles and Andy likes these and so no pasta.   This all gave me four dinners to give away,  and eight batches to freeze plus two nights of dinners for us.

I made vanilla yoghurt.

At the discount chemist I got a cleaning product for one cent! 
And we have hit our safety net amount and the rest of the years prescriptions will be only the minimum amount which I think is about $5.

We started having BBQ's.  This keeps the kitchen clean, the power bill down, we eat outside in the evenings and it is lovely.  Usually this time of year we do a couple of BBQ's a week maybe three times a week in summer. 

My dried fruit is soaking for my Christmas cakes.  This year I got most of the fruit from Aldi and it is lovely.  


I have enough for four large cakes but I will make them up as 8 smaller ones.  That is part of my work today. This will take 20 eggs! 
I always make these in October as they improve with age. And they last a year so I usually hide a couple.  That recipe is here.

Coles sent me a $40 voucher and coupons to save more points.  I will sit and stick these into my diary this weekend.  Usually it is one coupon per week.   Doing it last time earned me this $40.  I will use this on half price items and turn it into $80 value (at least)  It is a great way to add to the pantry.


So that is my week!  It was pretty good! The highlight was Chloe getting home!

I hope you had a good week. How did you feather your nest, get ahead, save... build up your pantry?
I am off to get these cakes cooked and hang up my rose buds.  
Have a lovely weekend! xxx









Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Sorry for no post today!

Sorry I didn't get my Christmas Challenge post up today. I have been drying sour dough starter, replying to all the emails and sharing addresses etc to make sure everyone gets their swaps!
There is still at least one new swapper with a wonderful list so be sure to check that out!  I will run it to the end of the week then we can start again in the new year!
If anyone did not get the email addresses they needed please let me know.  I hope everyone has lovely parcels arriving in the next week or two!  See you on Friday! xxx

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. The first Bluebirds Swap.

Thank you to everyone who already wants to join in the swap party!  And for all the photos as these are very helpful.  I can already see this is going to take a while but it should be wonderful!  And if it is a success then maybe we can do it several times a year... we will see!

Here is how it will work.

In comments post if you would like to offer a swap to anyone who has posted pictures today.
Post 1.  What you have available to swap.
        2. What you are looking for in exchange or hoping to find.  If not sure say open to anything!
        3. What country you are in and if you want to keep it within your country or are willing to post internationally.  An envelope size restriction could work i.e. I am going to say I am willing to post up to size A3 envelope overseas.
        4. It is fine for someone to get multiple offers. They can choose the best one for them or divide their goods up etc.  No one should feel obliged to make a swap and no one should feel offended. If this swap doesn't work out another one will!
     
If you see someone if offering a swap "speak" to them by replying to their comment.
Watch your comments to see if someone has replied!
If a swap is agreed on email me at brinkzi21@hotmail.com and tell me who you are swapping with.  I will need email addresses to exchange.  I will then let the two parties nut it out and exchange postal addresses between themselves.

Most of the ladies here I already know or have corresponded with.  I have found everyone so lovely.  But I can't offer guarantees! This is a goodwill exercise.  Don't post anything of enormous value.
Seeds, food and plants cannot be posted into Australia.
Give me some time as I could end up with my hands full! 😊

I think that is it!

First we have Vicky.  She makes gorgeous little girls Tutu's.   She can make any size, length or colour.



Vicky does Tutu dresses as well.  She is willing to swap for lots of things!  She loves things to build up her pantry, gift cards, vouchers, items for her present cupboard.  So very flexible! Vicky is in USA but I think she can post anywhere if postage is covered.  She wants me to note she does the skirts and dresses, not the cape in this picture.

Next we have Belle.  Belle in in Australia.   She has a treasure trove of buttons,  handmade papers, organza ribbon, gift tags,  paper flowers...









There are a lot of amazing things in these pictures.  It might make it easier to make an offer for things by saying picture 1,  picture 2 cut outs etc.  


Next we have Tanya.  It is really Tanya who gave me the idea of a mail swap! Thank you Tanya!


Tanya is in Australia. She has hand towel and washers, Homemade Beeswax candle, pretty paper clips, handmade Christmas Cards, handmade scarf, lip balm in a little case, lavender soap, ribbon bag,  Trim Healthy Mamma Cookbook, spices, baby clothes, recipe cards.   Tanya is in Australia and offers to fill a 3 kilo bag of goodies. She would like to swap for fabric bowl covers, (she loved the ones Jane made me) pretty country flannelette fabric wipes (like we do in the miracle cleaner jars) and I think she is open to all kinds of suggestions too.  It was Tanya who sent me all the beautiful swaps I showed the other day and each item was presented gorgeously.
Update: I told Jane about this and she already made the blow covers especially for Tanya!

Barb has die cut shapes for card making. She has bird and teapot designs that are lovely.  She makes embossed papers...


Barb has sets of lovely sticker labels for craft items...


Also Nautical themed cut outs...


Barb is in Australia.  She would like to swap for handmade cards, soaps or Twinnings English Breakfast tea her favourite. I already struck a deal with Barb! 

Lorraine made six beautiful Christmas cards. She is in Australia.  


Ok, I am in love with the bird one! 



Thanks so much Lorraine! These are wonderful.

Rachel has knitting patterns.  She is in Australia.   She just wants them to go to a good home!



Vickie makes peg bags. She is in the US but says these are very light and doesn't mind posting anywhere.  


I think Vickie can make them in your colour scheme ...

Cookie is offering 100% cotton fat quarters...



Also patterns...  Cup cake oven mitts!   A gorgeous ruffle bag...


Quilts patterns...


Cookie is in the US. She doesn't mind swapping things individually i.e. you can pick a pattern or particular piece of fabric etc...


Holley has a whole selection including greeting cards, black cards, bookmarks, ribbons and she is including a bracelet...



Holley is in the USA.

Amanda has made gorgeous Christmas cards to swap.



Thanks so much Amanda! She says she doesn't mind posting anywhere as they are light. They are just lovely!

I forgot Jane's swaps!  Well I just didn't see and missed part of her message!  She has several key rings a trinket box and her handmade  heat pad which she says is about the size of a normal placemat..



She has beautiful hand crochet 100% wash cloths, scrubbier and make up remover pads...


I love these!  Sorry Jane for my mess up.x


My own current swaps are packets of organic Bayleaves from Mum's garden,  vanilla beans and sour dough starter.  I will post anywhere! 

Jane made me realise that dried rose buds are something I could be using as gifts and swapping!  I never thought of that so I am going to start drying lots more rose buds!   These will be ready for the next swap!

Be brave and jump in as you never know... your surplus might really bless someone else.  We might have happy spin offs too.... nice things in the mail,  maybe friendships formed, maybe pen friends! 

And obviously swaps will be taken up and they are limited but there is nothing to stop any of us from saying ok I will get to making some more, collecting some more and I will get back to you! 

If you agree on a swap please then email me at brinkzi21@hotmail.com and let me know who you are swapping with and either I can pass on your address to them or you can email them yourself... let me know which you prefer please.
Give me a little time too as this could be like unravelling a can of worms! lol!

As well all know craft and handmade items are expensive.  I hope this swap helps everyone along with their present cupboard or pantry in some way!

Have a great week.   Chloe is on her way home now!  It is warm and sunny and lovely. xxx

Feather your Nest Friday, 13 October, 2017.

This was a much better and more normal week!   I love Fridays when I have plenty to report.  😊

Friday night Chloe came over to dinner before flying out on Saturday morning.  It was a lovely night.
I made my super easy crockpot cheesecake.


We had leftovers for the weekend! 

During the week I made cupcakes for Harper.  I made them ballet theme!   I got these little decorations on Ebay and have a big pack of them.   


These were a hit!  She would eat a bit then put the ballerina back in what was left.

I made vegemite and cheese scrolls.  I love the sight of dough rising!  I made man sized ones and child sized ones...


We saved a lot of money!  Today we have cement being poured in an area in the back yard.  I have been waiting to get this done for so long!  It is too much for Andy to have done on his own.  We got a quote and considered it.  Then I used the local suburb newspaper and rang around for comparison quotes.   A guy came to look at the job.  Then we offered him cash.  Well, that had a magical like effect and we saved $1,100! 

I found several bargains at the store including Brie for $1.90 so I got several. 

I potted up the little succulents from the garden day.  These pots needed filling and replenishing so I started with those...


It must be succulent week as I had a road side find!   This time it was a case of having to ring Andy as there I was with two big Agave plants that I could fit into my car and one that I could not even lift! 


The big one in that tall bucket is taller than me!  I would love to know what a nursery would charge for that!  They are all for Chloe who is planting a garden that can handle times of no watering.  I showed her a picture and she is thrilled! 

I sat and packaged up Bay Leaves.   The packs in the store have five or six in them.  I make my packs about twenty each at least.  I got 21 packs.


I haven't worked out my Vicky Challenge but this will be a big one!  Bayleaves alone are worth 50c each in the supermarket.   Scrolls are $4.50 at the bakery!   So I better do my maths!

This week we have had beautiful days and soaking rain which is pretty much perfect!
By the end of today a messy area of our yard will be cemented.  This is an area Andy uses as a workshop, tools etc.  I will be so glad to have it done.

There are a lot of flowers coming out.  Things are starting to look lovely!

How did you build up your home, save money and get ahead this week?  It all counts!   I hope it was a good week for you!  xxx