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.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The Christmas Challenge. Show and Tell part 2 for January 2018.

Last week we had a great show and tell and the photos have just kept coming!  Thank you very much!  I think we are off to a flying start for the year!

Amy made cup cakes for her sons wedding.

She made 150!  Over the years she has made the children's birthday cakes and now their wedding cakes.  She took a class 22 years ago and this reminds me how Laine invested in a class to learn cake decorating and how much that paid off!  This is just wonderful!

Apart from being so personal imagine the savings over the years. These are just beautiful.

Amy also just learned to crochet.  Now she is already making gifts!

She says try a new skill! It is so wonderful!
Thanks so much Amy... I was slow to see your message to me, I hope you saw my eventual reply!

Phyllis made her Grandchildren Christmas pillowcases....  I am using this idea next Christmas and making Father Christmas or Angel Pillowcases!

Wendy is making room sprays...

Her daughter helped her come up with a label to complete them.  With the trend towards natural cleaners and fragrances and essential oils this is a really lovely gift.  

Marilyn worked crochet lace to add to hand towels.

She works her edgings or lace then sews them on.  This is a really good idea especially if you find it hard to work through the fabric as that can be tough on your hands.  

These are just lovely and this is a great way to do it.  So many things look wonderful with a crochet trim or edging.  I have an old post on ideas for this here... Simple Crochet Edgings and things you can make over with them.

Kelley worked on a crown of thorns for Easter...

She also made hand stitch cards with the names of her friends...

I think everyone would keep their card forever, this is a lovely idea.

Kathy completed a kitchen cross stitch that is just lovely...

And beautiful knitted socks as well...  Love the colours!


Fiona sent me a beautiful embroidery...

She showed me another which was a nesting chicken.  Thank you so much Fiona! 

Barb worked on cards...

Well done Barb you got a lot done in January I noticed! 

Cookie was very busy...  she made a Valentines Day table runner...

This reminds me I better get thinking about Valentines Day!

Embroidered shells...

A knitted hat...

And scarf...

Cookie said the flu in her area is very bad and they are staying home and inside.  This is a time that being stocked up and happily busy working on things is very good.  I know the flu changes and mutates... so it would be different but also that it goes around the world.  The flu here only ended in about October.  It was the worst flu in years.  It was frightening how bad it is.  It shook me up how sick people were and Lucy, Kato and Harper had it.  Hospitals were over full.   If this is near you take every precaution... 

Kelsey made a gift for a friend using what she had on hand. She made knitted wash cloths and bath salts.  I always note how well Kelsey puts things together she is a good stylist!

It all looks so lovely!

She also sewed a little dress for their friends baby girl...

This is just so sweet Kelsey!

Thank you to everyone for beautiful emails and photos. There is something here to inspire everyone and give them an idea of what to do with certain items we might have in our supplies.  
Now lets move on to February and make the most of it.   Today is the amazing triple special moon and I am staying up to see it!

I hope your week is going well!   I feel this was a big January!   xxx

Sunday, 28 January 2018

The World within your Walls. Pantry Peace.

In 2016 and 2017 I posted weekly about building up my pantry and preparedness.  There is a whole series on this you can find in the index.   We covered a lot including  totally free ways to get better prepared   and stocking your pantry for free.   Most of all I learned that slow and steady and taking ever opportunity soon sees you with a well stocked pantry.

Just because I am not posting weekly on this now doesn't mean I am not still working on building my pantry.   Each week this is an important thing for me and I participate in weekly pantry goals which I post over with Patsy at A Working Pantry.

I am really passionate about this.  Your stores are better than money in the bank.  In a crisis, even if the power is out,  the bank will be closed and no use to you.  But your food and necessities will be.

Jane's scones... whipped up from pantry ingredients. 

Having a week stocked pantry is a really important part of having a peaceful home and a house that is really a sanctuary.    Running to the grocery store for one or two things is such a drain on time!  We are busy enough!  Having to buy things when they are not even on sale is just a drain on the budget! If you are stocked up during the sales you just use things from your pantry until the price is down again.  I menu plan from what I have and what the best deals are.

Jane's fruit cake.

If the pay doesn't come through,  the power is out, the stores are closed, the streets are not passable... whatever it is... if you have a well stocked pantry you will just keep things going at home just fine.
If dinner plans don't work out you can quickly whip something else up.  If visitors arrive you are fine.
When there is sickness in the house there are healthy meals to just heat up and everything you need for a big batch of bone broth or chicken soup.  If someone needs emergency assistance you can handle that too.
This is peace and security. It is your back up plan.   It really is a way to build up your home that makes a difference in so many areas.

Jane continually makes the most of free and bargain produce. 
Also she swaps produce with her neighbour.

 A beautiful walk in pantry would be nice but I don't have one.  I have the usual kitchen cupboards and I am lucky to have a little wine cellar.  It isn't full of wine it is full of our emergency things like back up cooking plans, lighting, batteries, duct tape, water, food...
I have an entertainment unit that is full of food rather than DVD's and several stashes around the house.   Hilde has a laundry cupboard as her pantry.  You can add book shelves to a spare room or be like Vicky and turn a whole room into a pantry.  If you have a seldom used spare room consider this!
It just isn't about a cupboard or a room, it is just about getting ahead, being prepared and making hay while the sun shines!   I love they way the US ladies say they "put something up"  I never had heard that before.  I think of it as "I put something up on the shelf for future needs" and I think it is beautiful.

Pomegranates ... I need a lesson on how to use these as a tree is dropping them on a street just around the corner! 

The wise woman is not afraid of the winter for many reasons.  Some of them are that she works hard with her hands, she is like a merchant ship gathering food from afar, she plants, she makes,   she trades, she provides food for her family.  She is prepared and laughs without fear for the future!

Maria made my use it up fruit cobbler.  It looks beautiful! 

Teri gave me a really good laugh.  She posted on her instagram this quote that is kind of the opposite story...

Don't be upset about the results you didn't get from the work you didn't do.

I am not sure of the source sorry!   I can't say anyone here has this applying to them.  But you do see it an awful lot and pretty much everyone is having a chuckle as someone comes to mind.  haha!

Often it is work to turn free food or great deals into meals for the family and things you can put away for the future.   And also it is work to use up something that might be wasted but this is another way of getting ahead.   
This leads me to today!  I have peaches to use up and more to pick.  I have herbs that need harvesting.  I am grocery shopping so I check for great deals that I can add to the pantry.  Last week our store was clearing out all the small tins of pineapple.  It was discontinued and out for an amazing price!  So I was able to add ten cans of pineapple to my stores. 

Jane's mango and chilli relish.

Another aspect of pantry peace is having it well organised and to be making the most of it, rotating your goods, being able to see what you have or to keep an inventory.   I often need to have a review of what is in my freezer and to be careful to use things and make room for more bargains!   

Over the last few years my pantry has come so far!  Many of you have helped me enormously with this!  It has added so much security and help to our home.   

What kind of pantry do you have?  How does it help your family? 
Do you need to work on replenishing or organising it? 
Do you have pantry ambitions?   I do!  I want to add more things to do with health and build an essential oils and remedy pantry.  But that is another story! 

Have a really good new week! xxx

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 26th January, 2018.

Today is a public holiday here as it is Australia Day.  So far it is very quiet and it is meant to be hot but it is raining!  The weather report says there is zero chance of rain.  I think it is more of a case of a zero chance of the weather report being correct.

I am so glad to be sitting here looking over my week.  It was a really good week and this helps me appreciate it.

Starting from where I left off last week... I finished up using the last nectarines.  I used up the last nectarines several times as I kept getting a few more.  I froze a lot of stewed fruit and we ate this for breakfasts and deserts.  In hot weather cold fruit is so good.

I started picking peaches from the lane way tree.  I am still amazed no one else so far appears to be picking them.  The tree is covered.  Like the plum tree I can pick baskets and so far I have made no impression at all.

 I have filled a basket as full as I can carry each night.

After the first night I have taken a step ladder with me too. So there I go walking down the street with a basket and a ladder.  When I say night this is around 8 pm as it is still daylight then and this is a bit cooler as it has been really hot so evenings is when you do watering, anything in the garden,  outdoor work! 

It seems with a ladder and a basket I can carry 8 to 10 kilos home.  (about 17lbs) and this has been every night.   On Wednesday night I got two loads as Mum was going home to the farm so I picked a basketful for Dad and a basketful for Chloe.   We packed them into flat boxes for the journey back to the farm. 

We had Mum's and Lucy's Birthdays two days apart.   I had afternoon tea here.  

I cheated on the cake as it was so hot I didn't bake.  But it was a success.   The little girls had a beautiful time as well as the actual birthday girls!

Harper had her own mini china cup plate and saucer and sat on a large cushion.  

She pretty much got stuck into everything and drank cups of water tea.  😊

We had singing and candles twice for entertainment value! 

Everyone took home cake.   Very happy!

Some savings during the week included:
Cartons of cream for 31 cents!  
Two lamb roasts half price.
Two trays of lamb chops half price.
Two containers of ricotta cheese for 80c
I froze most of this so it was a wonderful stock up!

I used my Flyby points to get a free large ham and pay for some general groceries.   I added lots of things to my pantry like tinned pineapple, beetroot and tomato.   I had $40 to spend but it went further buying specials.

We picked cherry tomatoes every day. 

I had some beautiful mail!  Jane sent me homegrown and dried herbs including her chilli (which comes with a warning)  I am so happy as I love building up my spice cabinet.
Julie sent me the sweetest gift tags and pretty papers!
Jacqui posted a parcel of embroidered linens towards out wedding projects...

Oh my goodness thank you Jacqui!  Chloe was so excited! 

Yesterday I was driving past the Quince trees I keep an eye on. They are in a park.  Also they are visible to thousands of people daily.  This time I stopped and went to inspect properly.  Many were on the ground and many were pecked by birds.  It was now or never.  So I got my trusty big basket out of the car and picked the good ones.  

As well as so much traffic past it there is a seat under it and a car park next to it.  So why does no one pick them?   
To top this off when I got home I checked the current price of Quinces.  I nearly fell over. They are currently $2.40 EACH. 
And my favourite thing to make with them is Quince Paste and this comes in tiny little tubs for around  $5.   
I always look up the prices for my Vicky Challenge!   So I had $200 worth of Quinces it turns out.  Heavens knows what they are worth once turned into Quince paste!  Yet no one picks them!

I am needing to deal with the Peaches first and happily Quinces will wait a while.

My sewing has had to go on the back burner for a little bit or else I will lose fruit.  But with the long weekend hopefully I will get back on track.

To top it all off I had a road side find! 

I have always wanted the old sewing machine drawers as they are perfect in shape and size for storing bars of soap (and other things) and look so pretty.  I got five and they are ornate and carved along the sides as well.  I am amazed.  And also this old utensil holder... which also would be beautiful with a plant sitting inside.   I did the worlds fastest u turn getting to this lot! haha! 

My weekend will be one of making peach pies, crumbles, cobblers etc. and eating them fresh!  I am making quiches from my cream and eggs to eat with big salads.

How did you build up your nest, save or get ahead this week? 
Take a break to see how far you have come and all the things to be grateful for.  
I hope you have a lovely weekend! xxx

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Our present making Challenge. Show and Tell for January, 2018.

We are heading toward the end of our first month of working towards re filling our present cupboards.  I think a lot of us are off to a good start!

First we have Jane.  Jane, I think you are capable of anything!  She regularly sews, bakes, crochets... but she decided to try embroidery...

This design is from Jenny at Elefantz.  You can find this on the right under favourite blogs.  She has many free designs to download.   This is so lovely!

Jane also finished a baby rug...

A very good start to the year!

I wanted to show a gift from Bridge. She made me a photo album with bluebirds on the front...

I love it!  

Mary made her husband a shirt...

Beautiful sewing Mary and it is good to include some mens gifts as I think they are harder!

Also Mary and her husband re covered the headboard on their bed...

Just beautiful Mary!

Phyllis sent me a lot of wonderful photos and some good stories!  She can make anything!  

She made her Grand daughter doll clothes. 

She made a second identical set so her Grand daughters best friends doll could be dressed the same!  😍

These are so cute, the dressing gown linen matches the pyjamas! 

A baby quilt...

Phyllis says she goes with the "more is more" way of thinking! This is so cute.

Janine made pillowcases.  These are a great gift. Patsy and I have also been making pillowcases and I am building up a supply.  

Janine has shown an idea for a boys pillowcase as well which is great.   Beautiful work!

Marilyn trimmed towels for gifts...

This is a very versatile idea as you can do any colour scheme, theme, or any size towel, face washer, hand towel etc.

She also made the most adorable doorstops...

This is a great idea for small amounts of material.  I love them!

They are like little door guardians and she puts a note with them that they have to be given a name.  So she keeps hearing back the names people have given them!  

This will do for this week and we will do more show and tell next week!  If you would like to share what you have been making just email me at  I love to see what you are making and if we share our ideas it is really helpful. 
I always end up with ideas and some inspiration!   I think my next direction is making things for Harper's dolls as she is very keen on dolls and has a baby pram...  she would love little sheets, pillows and blankets etc.  I have small bits of material and odds and ends of pretty trims so I am set! 

I hope your week is going well!   I have been picking peaches!  Last night I got a huge basketful and then could hardly carry it home!   
What are you working on just now?  During the day I get a little bit of sewing done. In the evening I work on a cotton baby rug.  (while watching the Australian Open)  It all adds up! xxx

Sunday, 21 January 2018

The World within your Walls. Get the handmaidens working!

A big chunk of keeping things nice at home is work!  Work to keep things clean and fresh,  keep up with the laundry,  keep meals on the table and everything it takes to keep on top of things.  And it is never ending!   But the results are so good!   We feel so much better when we are on top of it all and things look lovely.   When linen is fresh on the bed, things are aired and floors are clean I feel happy happy happy!  Peace and beauty in the home is the goal but it takes a lot of work!

Most of us have good days and bad days on this!  The two things that help me most are thinking of housework as a workout (as it is!) and getting the handmaidens working.
It was Laine who first made me realise I have handmaidens.  I think this came from a letter someone wrote to her that went something like "it was all very well for the Proverbs woman as she had handmaidens and we don't..."  the old  "It's all very well for others but not for me!"  But Laine pointed out where maybe once there was a woman washing clothes and another making the bread now we have washing machines and bread makers.   They are doing the work of hours of manual labor.  If you have ever hand washed or even used an old machine like Nan had with the wringer... you will know how much hard work it was!   It took all day!  The trick is to realise we have handmaidens and to make the most of them. Get the handmaidens working!

First thing in the morning I think to myself "ok, get everyone going!"  All my helpers can be going at once.   I put on some washing.   If the dishwasher is full I put that on.  Often I will add some items so that the dishwasher is doing some dusting for me too.
Get the slow cooker going.  Maybe the whole meal,  perhaps baked potatoes as we are having a BBQ dinner or maybe stewing some fruit.  Usually something.  Sometimes two or three are all going!
Often I will have a main in one and a desert in another.

My slow cooker cheesecake.   
Very easy desert that lasts all week! 

Because of these handmaidens working to my advantage I always have meals in the freezer. Left over soup is frozen in containers...

I made curries, casseroles and stews in large quantities so several dinners are taken care of and so really my handmaiden gives me nights off! 

Many of the casseroles become meat pies.  These go into the freezer too.  And so my handmaidens provide emergency meals and save us from every needing to buy takeaway.  

These hard workers save so much money as well!  

You might have a bread maker...  I just use my mix master with the dough hook and then "someone" is doing the needing for me.

Other handmaidens might be robot vacuum's,   garden watering systems,  dryer,  food processor... you might have office handmaidens too like "someone" is answering the phone for you!
So now a lot is happening!  The day is up and running and moving along.

Very often I hear someone say they are too tired at night to make dinner.  I just think they forgot to get their handmaidens working.  The morning is the time to get things started, BEFORE you are exhausted, and before the busy evening when babies cry, little children are tired and there's bath time, homework, after school sports and so many things that seem to happen all at once!   For most of my life if I was trying to make dinner then it would have been interesting.  Usually I have it made or part made earlier in the day which at least makes serving it possible.   As I mentioned the other day setting the table during the day is another way to help with the evenings.   It makes you look readier than you actually are!  😊

My friend Frances had five teenage boys at one time.  She organised her handmaidens well.  She had her bread maker timed to have a fresh loaf just in time for the boys to walk in the door home from school.  They were treated with the smell of fresh cooking!   She had it timed to be ready at breakfast!

Now and then I need a review of how I am using the things that could be helping me.  If your appliances aren't working properly, maintained and kept clean they start to become less and less helpful.  If your bread maker or mix master is in the bottom cupboard and you have to crawl on your hands and knees to even get it out then you probably just conclude it is easier to not use it!  We have to set things up to HELP US!  I learned a lot just from this post here:  The Baking Centre.  A little work invested to set things up well can mean your handmaidens are much more useful!
We might have appliances we don't even know how to use properly with functions we don't even know we have i.e. many bread makers will make jam, the dish washer can take care of things other than dishes like the filter on your range hood...  and many more!   If you use laundry wash bags for little bits and pieces the dishwasher can handle all sorts of things like small toys etc.

How can you get your handmaidens helping you more?
Are there any that you would like to have that you don't now?  Appliances can be very inexpensive with things like buy, sell and swap groups etc.
You can truly multi task with a few workers all going together.  This can really get the ball rolling!  It is a good feeling!

Have a wonderful week!
I am making afternoon tea for Mum and Lucy as they have their birthdays two days apart!  You guessed it,  I set out the table yesterday!
Last night I went walking and collecting the last nectarines.  There are a few more there, just tiny ones.   And I checked the peach tree.  Oh my goodness there are hundreds and they are a deep peach in colour.   Still firm although a few are falling.  It is time to pick them before the birds get them all.  So tonight I will go with my big basket and I think each night this week.  I am so excited!  I can send Dad and Chloe peaches too when Mum goes back to the farm.  Peach cake... fresh peaches for breakfasts. Grilled peaches and salad,  poached peaches!
I am making hay while the sun shines with peaches on the laneway tree! xxx