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, 27 February 2018

The Home Pharmacy. Sickness in the house.

Last week Andy was sick as a dog. He planned this all along to test out my essential oils I think!  He had it all.  Cough, runny nose, sneezing, headache, congestion, the whole smorgasbord.

I was well past trying to prevent illness in the house and instead had to go to trying to prevent the spread of it and getting Andy better.  So I thought this is a good time to post some absolute basics that really form part of The Home Pharmacy.

One of the first things I always do is get chicken soup going.  I keep everything on hand to be able to do this anytime.  Chicken in the freezer, many items are dry goods from the pantry, there are always veggies in the crisper....  so I can put it on straight away.   You can find my recipe here Cure all chicken soup.  Another option is to keep it in the freezer already made up.

I am also including Mimi's Chicken soup as we all have our slight variations and honestly if you become good with this soup it is so beneficial so here is hers... Luscious Warming Chicken Soup.

Mimi wrote another post full of things to do when there is sickness in the house.  She has some money saving tips on such things as electrolytes.  These skills are something we should all have yet these days a lot of people would be in trouble if the pharmacy was closed.  Skills like these are so important!  Feel Better Recipes.
I think that our own home pharmacy could consist of all of these things and it includes skills, recipes and the ingredients needed.

I also realised a few things. My old fashioned super soft sick day handkerchiefs are suddenly the best thing ever.  I make these and stash them away in our medical cupboard.  I keep giant stacks of them in zip lock bags.  They are big squares of super soft worn and washed ready flannelette.  Most I just make them  from old sheets and they are meant to go into the bin after use when someone is ill. Because no one in the family ever wants to throw them out I also hem some and do wash those but I save these for less seriously sick times.  Once again I was glad of these.   You don't believe the difference until you try them when your nose is sore.  So many times I have been pleased I have a big supply.  This was when I was making a big lot recently...

After making my essential oil roller balls my next project was to get to use and understand my diffuser. Chloe gave me my first diffuser as a gift.   Things lined up so that now I have my On Guard blend essential oil, my diffuser and sick husband so this got me going.   I cannot believe how much I love my diffuser!

This is funny as just like with the roller balls suddenly I was thinking how did I mange before?  What took me so long?  The house smelled really good and Andy liked it.  I told him this was my germ killing blend.  I kept this going and I used my roller ball on my feet at night and generally did things to try and not get sick myself.
I realised I really want a diffuser for the bedroom as well as the living area and ordered one.  So basically I went from never using a diffuser to wondering how I would ever do without one.
Andy loves the doTERRA Easy Air blend and says it helps.   I have mainly had On Guard going and Easy Air for Andy when sleeping.   I learned to close the doors to rooms we are not using so that the vaporised oils are in the room we are in.  This is an issue with open plan areas but I am amazed how quite a large space is still ok.  But a one room space like the bedroom where I can shut the door is even better as the room really fills with a lovely waft of essential oils.  It is beautiful.

For years I have used Miracle Spray and this is my cleaner that I have used to kill bugs, wipe door handles, surfaces etc. which you do 10x more when someone isn't well.  I love this recipe and it smells amazing. Your house smells clean.  Many of you will know this recipe already.  Miracle Cleaner. 

I made ready to use cleaning wipes with this also.  And my next stack of sick day hankies was in this picture too! 

I always have Vitamin C, Echinacea, Olive Leaf Extract and Garlic.  I start taking these as soon as anyone isn't well or something nasty is going around.

In the last few days I had quite a few things I had ordered online arrive and this was timely.   I have been reading about Thieves Cleaners which are a Young Living product.  Different essential oils brands have their own version of the traditional famous Thieves Blend.  doTERRA have On Guard. Hopewell Oils have Plague Defence.   Rocky Mountain Oils have Immune defence.  These are all great blends but you can also make them yourself.  I have been experimenting with this and loving them.  That is a post coming up.

The week was a general reminder to have the place well stocked, to have basics on hand and it got me  to have a crash course on my diffuser.  Now I love i so much!  Your diffuser will come with instructions so that part is easy!

What are your tried and tested treatments in your household?
Do you have things you would like to improve in this area?
For us it is the last day of summer!!!  Tomorrow is Autumn!  This is so exciting to me.   It also means we are getting ready for flu season.
For the US ladies I want to add that I know how the flu season has been there.  Australia had it so terribly and it caught a lot of people by surprise as we had gone out of winer into spring and people were still getting it.  It seemed to extend late and I thought this was unusual.  So beware about that.

I feel I am learning learning and getting somewhere.  Andy is feeling much better. I got out of it with the sniffles.  I have used On Guard and Oregano Oil for myself a lot.

I hope your week is going well!  xxx

Sunday, 25 February 2018

The World Within our Walls. Kelley's Inspiration Station.

Last week we saw how Kelsey had moved into the ranch and managed to add a woman touch and create for herself some areas to write, sew and have quiet time.  She took what she had and made it so lovely!

Today we are having a tour of Kelley's craft room. She calls it her Inspiration Station.
My craft room is my downfall.  I have cluttered myself out of it.  Most of my house is in pretty good shape but not this room.  When I don't know where to put something I put it in there.  And so I have made my own room unusable and it is certainly not inspirational.  Doing this also means the quiet and peace I should have from escaping into the craft room is ruined and it can't be doing my actual creativity any good either!   So I am currently working hard to make it over.

Kelley has created herself a very personal place to work.  Like Kelsey this obviously is a success as the things she makes are beautiful!
Kelley has explained what she did to make this room and her set up, the things she makes and how she uses them. I am sure you will find this inspiring...

- Spray paint the frame of a folding table, recover the top with pretty fabric, and top it with glass.
USE:  I love to craft, cut, glue, decoupage, hand-sew, sketch and draw at this table.
- Make slipcovers for ottomans using thrifted tablecloths.
USE:  Ottomans are great because they can be easily moved anywhere else in the house.  Even better, the slipcovers are washable!
- A floral tablecloth cut in half and thumb tacks make instant valances.
STORY:  This beautiful 1950s linen tablecloth was still in the package when I bought it.  The previous owner must’ve had a “someday” frame of mind, only “someday” never came.

- Pad an old bulletin board with a piece of embroidery.
USE:  This bulletin board has served two other family members and been in our household for nearly two decades.  It has cork and batting under my DIBBLE embroidery, making it a great place to pin ideas I rip out of magazines, or drawings of my ideas for future projects.
- Hang an old ceramic scissors holder as a flower vase.
USE:  It’s just too cute to put scissors in, wouldn’t you agree?
- Fill shoes with flowers as wall art.
USE:  I have a thing about shoes, antique shoes.  I love to use shoes as wall art!  Perhaps some very special feet walked in those shoes.  When I see them on the wall, my heart smiles!

- Display your handmaidens in a pretty, organized way.
USE:  (a) I nearly pitched this old thread spool holder, and instead, padded and covered it with fabric.  Since the tropical sun fades any thread I display, instead, this piece holds measuring tapes and embroidery hoops.  (b)  My broom and dust pan match my Inspiration Station!  (c)  A wicker basket holds felt rolls.

- Rip off an old lamp shade cover and stitch a piece of lace to it.
USE:  It shows a great deal more light with this prettier lamp shade.  I also decoupaged the stand because the old finish was faded.
- Turn a floral-beaded dress into a sewing machine cover.
I bought the dress at a thrift store, knowing it would make a darling sewing machine cover.  All the flowers are beaded!  It’s precious!
- Spray the wrought iron base of an old Singer machine and top it with a slab of marble, glass or wood.
USE:  I saw this idea in a magazine more than two decades ago.  I bought the old sewing machine for $35 and before you could say “sewing machine,” I had it unscrewed off of there!  Makes a great desk, too!  
- Fold a poster board into a dress as wall art.  Trim it with lace, buttons and pattern tissue ruffles.
HOW:  Look online at ideas for paper folding.

- Spray paint a desk lamp's base the right color.
HOW:  Tape off everything well before spraying.  Light sprayed layers, and several layers— that is the way to spray paint for a professional finish!
- Bookoupage a desk— decoupage using book pages.  Top the desk with doilies and a piece of glass.
HOW:  The more yellowed the pages, the better I think for decoupage!  I especially love to bookoupage with maps!

#6  Park a desk in front of a window-reflecting mirror or by the light of a sunny window.
ME:  I especially love to work during daylight.  At my desk is where I love to savor Wednesdays (“Quiet Day”), write, read, plan my embroidered greeting cards other projects, and all our beautiful days.

It hasn’t cost a lot to surround myself with pretty, useful handmaidens in my Inspiration Station.  Mostly, I have shopped my own house!  The “rubbish" one has could be repurposed into useful, dependable handmaidens.  Look again at it with fresh eyes!  

Thank you so much Kelley!  There are a  LOT of ideas in this post. I am pinching a lot!  The doilies under the glass on the desk and the recovered lamp are two I will use. 
Most of all I am just motivated that I need to keep going and get my own room into ship shape.  I made quite a bit of progress in the last couple of weeks.  A room like this is my dream.
Now I know a whole room is not possible for everyone.  But maybe a desk is in the way that Kelsey used a small space for her desk and made it a little retreat in itself.  Wall space can be used with very little floor space!   But to get these lovely spaces both ladies created them.  And we can too.  Even if it is your bedside drawers you can create something lovely, just for you.

To do this we might have to have a big clean out, clear clutter,  re organise... and this is where The World Within our Walls is heading next.... cleaning and organisation!

Have a wonderful week!  xxx

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 23 February, 2018.

It does't feel like Friday!  I don't really know what day it feels like.  The week has gone fast.
I headed off to the farm on Monday.  I had a good trip but for the first time ever I had no luck in the op shops and came away with nothing. I could hardly believe this!

Before I left I did some shopping and stuck gold with a leg of ham for $3.50 a kilo and some of Andy's favourite things i.e. salami and other deli meats. With me going away these were great and also they were mostly things that will keep ages.  I saved $38 on these things alone.  When I came home I baked the ham and we have ham and salads for dinner as well.

Also before I left I made two little gluten free cakes for Mum.  I just used the Aldi packet mix so she could find out what it is like (as she uses another one) and while I was at it I made myself two little orange and almond cakes to try out a grain free recipe.  These turned out really lovely and were nice to take away with me.

At the farm Chloe gave me eggs and picked me figs.  These are the first figs this season!

Some of these will be dinner tonight.

Dad came home with apples.  He said he had picked them on the side of the road.  Since apples are not exactly common in the south east I said I bet I know what that tree is!  I used to pick apples every year on the side of a main road at an intersection way out in between two towns. Sure enough he picked them from that same tree!   So I made a tray of baked apples for dinner that night.

They had dates, sultanas, sago, golden syrup... they were yum.  Dad loved them and later I caught him scraping off the sticky baked on bits with a spoon.  😊

I brought home about two dozen apples so I have those to cook with as well.

I found a little nest. It was finished with and just starting to get weather damaged.  But it is so lovely.  

I love that a bird will make something exquisite from what she has.  In this case a lot of spider webs! 

Mum gave me six bottles of shampoo and conditioner and 9 moisturisers!  I will add these to my stock.  

The biggest windfall of the week was Mum gave Andy a machine... I don't know what it is called.... but it measures blood thickness.  Andy has to monitor this as he has a stainless steel heart valve.   When traveling, or say if living in the country,  this constant monitoring is difficult and can be expensive too.   The cheapest we could by this device for is around $800 (that we have found so far) and Mum had one in the cupboard that is not used.  So I came home with this and just now Andy is learning how to use it as it comes with a video to watch etc.  So this will be a big boost on The Vicky Challenge this week! 

My spare time (late at night!) has been spent researching essential oils.  Boy have I found out some interesting things!   I also have a lot of crafts to post.  So I am just going to have to forget about my Wednesday post and regular routine and do extra posts as I can to get through it all!   It has been so interesting and I have realised that learning about essential oils is a great part now of what I would consider my pantry and emergency preparedness.  

I hope you all had a good week!  How did you save, get ahead, stock your pantry or build up your nest? 
I am unpacking, working on apples and figs and washing! xxx

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

The Home Pharmacy. Guest post by Melissa.

As you know I have been away at the farm. I jut got home!  I had a good and busy time and have a ton to report!  Bluebird Melissa has been helping me lots and I said as she comments here and she knows lots about doTERRA essential oils perhaps she could share some knowledge with us.  Thank you Melissa of saying yes!   

Essential Oils for Calming & Sleeping 

Hello everybody my name is Melissa and I have recently started to share my love of essentials oils with others to begin building a doTERRA business. I suffer from an autoimmune disease called Hashimotos, which means my body stopped my thyroid from working. One of the side effects of this is that I now need to eat a diet that has no gluten and very little dairy and sugar. This can get a bit dull and so when I realised doTERRA has oils that are food grade (such as peppermint and lemon) I began to look into the essential oils more. I started to use essential oils in my home 12 months ago but became quite passionate about them once I could see how much they were able to help my children to calm down and sleep, as well as using them to make my home-made cleaners more effective and we have also had some success using easy air to help one of my children who used to suffer from croup.

Today I’m going to share with you some of the doTERRA blends that can help with calming the body and sleeping. Now, I need to tell you all that I am not a doctor and I don’t know everything about you so please if you’re unsure about using an essential oil or if you’re worried about your health, please have a chat to your doctor.
The first blend that we like to use in our house is peace. Peace is a blend which contains vetiver, lavender, ylang ylang, frankincense, clary sage, marjoram, labdanum and spearmint. Peace as a blend that can be diffused or applied topically (diluted with fractionated coconut oil). This blend promotes peace and feelings of reassurance. You can diffuse it to help you sleep or apply it if you have anxious feelings. This blend can help you to feel calm and composed again. I have a friend who uses this blend in her classroom as she is teaching kindergarten and it helps the children to feel calm as they begin the day.

Another blend that we love in our house is balance. This blend is made up of a combination of Spruce Needle/Leaf, Ho Wood, Frankincense Resin, Blue Tansy Flower, and Blue Chamomile Flower. In our house, we love to combine the balance blend with frankincense in a roller bottle with fractionated coconut oil. We roll it up our son’s spine before he goes to school and it helps him to separate from me. While we find this oil helpful for calming anxious thoughts, others may find it helpful when sleep is alluding them. You can also apply the roller bottle of balance on your wrists and use it as a perfume as well. If this blend interests you, you may find this information sheet from doTERRA helpful:

A blend that we find especially helpful for sleep is Lavender Peace.  Lavender peace is a blend that is made up of Lavender, Marjoram, Roman Chamomile, and Ylang Ylang with the warming aromas of Hawaiian Sandalwood and Vanilla Bean. This is such a restful blend, we find it works really well with frankincense at bed time. The frankincense helps to calm a racing mind and the lavender peace helps to reduce feelings of tension and stress. Lavender Peace can be used in a few different ways, you can apply it to the bottoms of your feet before you go to bed, you can diffuse it or you can mix 2 or 3 drops into either coconut oil or coconut oil and Epsom salts then add into your bath (the oil will help the oil mix into your whole bath).

The final oil I’m going to briefly discuss today is Lavender. Lavender is also a very calming oil and is often helpful for sleep. You can put lavender in a relaxing bath before bed, apply it to the back of your neck (with fractionated coconut oil) or diffuse. You can also apply a small amount of lavender to your bedding to help you to sleep through the night. 

If you would like any more information or to talk to me about ordering any of these oils I have a Facebook page here (it’s called Melissa Carter Essential Oils):

If you would prefer, this is the link to purchase directly from me. Please be aware this means you will pay retail price for your oils, whereas if you give me a call I can help you to purchase your oils more economically:

I can't thank you enough Melissa.  I never needed help as much as today!   I am far behind on everything here!  
I love and swear by the Lavender Peace that Melissa mentions. It was one of my first oils as Chloe gave me this knowing I can have sleeping issues.  I feel as if I never want to go anywhere without this oil.   I also have the Balance Blend which I love too.

If you do not have a source of essential oils Melissa will be pleased to help you and if you would like her Facebook page that would be just lovely.   Following her page has been very helpful to me, this week she has posted that doTERRA have had buy one get one free offers everyday!  Thanks to her I knew about it!  She is also available there to answer your questions.

Being away I did have a chance to do lots of research!  
I will be back tomorrow to report what I have been up to.
I hope you have had a good week so far! xxx

Sunday, 18 February 2018

The World Within our Walls. Creating a space for you.

This week we are thinking about how we can make a space in our homes for ourselves.  I think every family member should have at least some area that is their own little sanctuary that they feel is a quiet place for them.  It should be comfy and reflect their own likes and needs.  While we all want to be together as family we all also need time on our own.  I am the type of person who needs a heap of time alone or I could a bit crazy! Today though we are working on a special place for us.

Very often we put ourselves last.  There might be space issues in which case our own personal spaces that are special might be our bedside table,  the chair we sit in during the evenings or somewhere to sit outside and have a cup of tea in the sunshine.  But we can do something!  

If we possibly can it is just wonderful to have a place to sew and craft, to write, to plan and think!  A little space that is a joy to us.  Decorated in a way that makes us happy!  I am working on a desk area for myself and on improving my craft room.
We can really make the world at home so much nicer with some imagination and for me being able to create something adds to my contentment so much.  Being happy and content at home is the most wonderful thing.  If your home is a retreat then your own little space is a retreat within a retreat! 

Today we are getting to see how Kelsey made herself some personal spaces.   She had a lot of work to do and took advantage of a loft space.   I knew Kelsey was working on this.  She took a "nothing space" and made it so fabulous for herself.  Here she can sew, work away on projects and have moments of quiet.
Taking on an area that has been unused for a long time can be daunting.  It was like that with my cellar.  At first I was too chicken to even go in it!  But now it is so useful!

Kelsey and her husband moved out to the family ranch.  It is a good house but it hadn't had a woman touch for a long time.   I knew it would take a while for Kelsey to make it home for them and get it feeling like home for her.  She started on the kitchen and pantry.  And she soon had these up and running.  Next she happily needed to create a nursery!  😊

Now to the loft.  I am so thrilled with what she created!

There is great storage,  a big surface for cutting out and sewing, a pin up board, lighting, baskets.... 
Kelsey said that really this space is hers and she can make it as girly as she wants as the men in the house won't be hanging around here!  

What struck me is what a good investment of time and effort this is to our future productivity!  And happiness!   And the use of a previously unused room!  
Sometimes too we have a space that has been allocated to something... but really it is never actually used.   This are fair game in my opinion!

Next Kelsey needed a desk.  She used everything she already had although some things were in storage.   For her desk she just found an unused nook.   She set it up with stationary,  her Bible, a lovely picture and light...

She made curtains out of painters drop cloths.  These worked out to be very inexpensive curtains and I love them!

Finally there was an odd space in the house.  It is narrow and a fireplace is on the other side of this wall.  The thing is the window looks out on a great view of miles of beautiful countryside!  So Kelsey has made it her quite sitting or reading place.

Kelsey you have done such a good job of taking what you have and making some spaces just for you!  Very inspiring! 

Next week we are going on with this and Kelley is sharing with us her Inspiration Station.  If you are creative or want to be creative then having somewhere to work is such a help.   Not only that but it is a kind of escape and really relaxing to drift off into your own little world even if it is only for a few minutes!  

Do you have an areas in your house that you feel are your own or that you have decorated just as you like?
Would you like to work on this and set yourself up a little desk, side table, work station or dressing table?  There are many other options too,  a chair in the sun,  a tray of bath salts and bubble bars next to the bath...  it could be anything you like. 

Today I am heading off to the farm.  I think my normal post on Wednesday will be late, maybe Thursday!  But I will get to it as I have both The Home Pharmacy and craft posts to do!  
Have a wonderful week! xxx

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 16th February, 2018.

We were so lucky this week with mild weather and a cool breeze in the evenings.  So much easier!

Some of the ways I saved and feathered my nest included:

I made yoghurt.

I picked the very last of the peaches. This was about 7 more kilos (14 lb)  so over all I had ended up with over 100 kilos of peaches.  This kept me busy for three weeks!

These gave me (and the wider family) beautiful fresh fruit daily,  peach crumbles, pies, cobblers, stewed fruit and cakes. The freezer is full. Mums freezer is full!
All of this when I doubted I would get any free fruit this year.  It came on top of my Aunts beautiful plums.   Now I have started on the Quinces.

The first thing I did was make a big batch of Quince Paste.  This is so delicious and keeps ages.  It sells for $5.50 for 100 grams in the supermarket.  
I cut mine into 18 portions a little larger than this.  

It goes with cheese and crackers or on a cheese board.   So yum!
I will give some as gifts too as once you have had it then it is a kind of addiction!

I gave Harper the bike I found once I had it cleaned up and decorated.   Complete hit!

She has baby in the back. 😊

For Valentines Day I baked a large heart shaped dish of Chocolate Brownies.  This was desert and then I cut it into squares and froze heaps to go in lunch boxes.

I cut Andy's hair.

Lucy gave me some moisturiser which I put away to use next.

I had my car serviced and tried a mechanic that Lucy uses. He comes to your house and so this is a huge time saver.  His price was cheaper than the dealer I had been going to.  Then I offered him cash and it was half again!   And he was fantastic!   This was a big saving and now will be in the future.

Finally I got somewhere with one of my New Year plans... to learn to sell things.  Lucy had given me some children's clothes that were surplus or rejects from her online store.   I set them up on a stand and took a photo.

I offered them as a single lot as I didn't want a crowd in my house or too much drama.  I said $100 for it all.  Then I posted on a Facebook local buy, sell, swap group.  They were sold in five minutes and picked up by the end of the day.  There was a queue of reserve buyers.   I was amazed how easy this was.   Success!  Also stuff out of my craft room!
Now what to sell next!? 

I have been working on my craft cupboard and organisation.  I have along way to go!

Andy had Vicky Challenge savings this week which amounted to $550!  He is very pleased with himself. 

So that was my week!   I am pretty pleased.  

How did you save, get ahead, add to your pantry or any other good thing?  
I feel I am working on many areas all at once at the moment.  Everyday I work a bit more on my craft organisation,  a bit on general household organisation,  each week I am rotating things stored in my cellar and most days I have been working through fruit.  I figure if I keep chipping away at them all sooner or later I will get there! 

Have a lovely weekend!  xxx

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

The Home Pharmacy. Getting started with the oils for you.

Thank you for such a helpful and positive response to last weeks post!  Because I am learning these posts are probably really boring for anyone well ahead of me but I will really appreciate your help if you want to contribute.  And for others like me who are just starting out I hope we can go along together and learn in leaps and bounds!

Thank you also for so many suggestions of specific oils and how to use them, books and websites etc.  This kept me busy in every spare moment all week.  It was very helpful!  I went on to order Manuka Oil and several other things as a result too.

As it turned out I had a chance to really test something out.  And this leads me to a good point to start....  when ordering your very first essential oils pick things that will help you with your most urgent and common needs.   My first list was something to help with getting to sleep,  something to keep germs at bay when bugs are going around and something for me when I get a sore throat.  I get a really terrible sore throat a few times a year and I have for years.  Once it starts up it sticks around.  It is the type where you don't want to swallow it hurts so much.  I hate it!   And I have tried EVERYTHING!   I mean, I have had it for years so I really have tried it all.... except essential oils!
A few days ago I felt fine but tired.  In the night I woke up from the pain of a really bad throat.  It had started up and was terrible.   Straight away I thought about what I knew I am in for!
Even though it was the middle of the night I at least managed to remember my oregano oil which is what I had on hand especially for this and bad colds etc.   I already had it in a roller ball diluted with a carrier oil.   So I got up and rubbed this on my neck and a lot into the glands, you know... sort of on the side of your neck under your ears.... which were a bit tender.   Then for good measure I rubbed it into my feet.  I had a cup of tea... and settled down to sleep again.  Andy woke up and I said I am sorry if I smell like the botanical gardens but I am trying out my oregano oil.  lol
In the morning I didn't have a sore throat.  At all.  This has NEVER happened before.  Never.
Instead of being happy I thought WHY has no one ever told me about this before!  Why when I have been to the Doctor a hundred and fifty thousand times over the years didn't I get told to try this?
It makes you wonder.

Anyway I am so impressed!

This week I will share a few really basics that got me started and helped me.
I both read up and asked around about what oils I could buy to get started that would be most useful to me.   There is no use buying random oils and having no clue what to do with them.  And no use buying things you won't like.  I know Peppermint is useful but I hate the smell. I would never use it.  I went by the most pressing concerns I had and just got three oils initially.

I knew I wanted pure essential oils and this matters.  After that I was slightly put off by cost.  Really small bottles seems very expensive.  This varies a lot depending on each oil.   It might be possible to chose the less expensive of the options suggested to address your concerns.

Then I realised your small bottle consists of drops.  We are talking about using droplets as this is very concentrated.  Some oils are used in cooking and there are conversion charts that show the strength... i.e. one drop of lemon oil equals two whole lemons in a recipe.  What you are buying is very concentrated.  If you keep it in a dark cool place it is going to last a long time.
Next the oils are mainly diluted before you use them on your skin which means they go even further.
It  is great to make up rollers with your own oils or blends.   Whoever sells essential oils seems to sell these.  They are also available on Ebay, Amazon etc.

Mine are 10ml.  I have a little funnel and they are filled with a carrier oil like almond oil or coconut oil.  You need the coconut oil that never sets which is called Fractionated Coconut Oil.  Once again this is also going to last you ages as you are using less than 10mls  (33 ounces) to fill a roller.

In your roller you put your drops of essential oil then top it up with your carrier oil and shake.   It seems there are differing opinions on how many drops of essential oil to use.  I used five drops but I am reading now to use ten.  I still found five smells quite strong and it has been effective.  So you can work that out and maybe try it and see.   But this means you get a nice little container of useable oil from just a few drops of your bottle.  Suddenly you start to see how far a bottle is actually going to go as the roller ball seems to last just ages!

I found writing on my bottles just rubbed off so I needed a stick on label.  You can label them with the name of the oil or the purpose... like I have Sleep which is Lavender.  But then I have Oregano as I can remember what it is for.  As long as it helps you use them!

Last winter when the flu was everywhere I dabbed my On Guard blend on my wrists and under my nose before I went anywhere.   This year I will also be diffusing it at home.
I keep my sleep blend on my bedside table and also my Oregano oil so I can grab it in the night if I need it.

So this is my start and already it has helped me!  
Next is to expand to some more oils as I learn about them and what would be beneficial.  And also to work through the needs of other family members.

I have a diffuser and I really don't know how to use it so this week I will be doing a lot of reading on that.
As I am including herbs, home remedies, vitamins and homeopathy in my medicine cupboard I have a lot to learn but it is really interesting.  I have always used garlic, echinacea, vitamin C and then started using  Olive Leaf extract.  My own olive leaves are almost dry so I can start making my own.
I have Oregano and Rosemary tinctures almost ready too.   I am also looking for an actual cupboard to be my Home Pharmacy all in one spot.

Wendy kindly let me know there is a free Essential Oil course coming up.  We don't know what it will be like but are hopeful and we both signed up.  You can find this here.  Thank you Wendy.

And Patsy is thinking about spring and here is her list of medical plants she is growing...  Gardening 2018 Medical Herbs/Plants.   A medical garden is a wonderful idea and when essential oils are expensive we can still benefit from the medical properties of herbs and plants in other ways...  i.e. teas and infusions...

I think this is like anything else... a little bit each week really adds up!  And it is easier than you think at first!

What essential oils have you had success with?
Do you make up blends as so far I have only made single oils into roller balls...
Do you have tips on saving money while building up our supplies?  Or on how to make supplies last as long as possible?
Last week there lots of incredibly helpful comments and really following all these up led me to so much information and so many things that are very useful to me.  Thank you!
I will try to work through one subject at a time as we go along.
This week I am trying to figure out the best way to use my diffuser.   Also I am going on to make some essential oil cleaning products.

I hope you are having a good week!
Somewhere I also have to fit in a craft and present cupboard post!  Busy busy!


Sunday, 11 February 2018

The World Within our Walls. Using what you have.

When we want to refresh or change things around there is really nothing like a good clean to make everything just seem better.  And I love a change around.  It makes a big difference and has that effect of a major spring clean!
Very often we can make things that little bit nicer without spending anything... like a "shop your wardrobe" session we might be able to refresh a piece of furniture or re use something in a new way.  Have you noticed very often our most beautiful things are away in a cupboard somewhere?  Sometimes putting things into use,  displaying them or re using them somehow is a great way to make things look lovely.

Instant improvements in my house seem to include throwing a fresh tablecloth onto the table, adding something nice in the middle as a table setting...
-putting a little vase of flowers in the bathroom,
-freshening up the hall table as it is kind of the first thing anyone sees...
-the same for the area around the front door.... I treat this like part of indoors so that it looks clean and fresh.
Another disaster zone the looks better instantly with a re arrange is my lounge room coffee table.

Bigger projects are a coat of paint which can transform things incredibly.  I just saw someone with pantry shelves that looked like marble.  It was contact paper!  Oh my goodness it looked so nice!

Jane provided todays pictures! 
She made over her chair and foot stool. 
This is so Jane!  She loves bright colours and loves patchwork. 
This is perfect for her home. 
If I walked into someones home and saw this I know I am going to really like them! 

In the school holidays we used to often have a bedroom re arranging day.  This would be an excuse to have a complete clean out and at the end the girls would feel that they had a "new room" but most of the time it was just a re use and refresh and things looked so different in new places.   It was so much fun.  I was always amazed what a difference a day like this could make!  You can have a big impact just using what you have!

I recently joined a pantry and organising Facebook group.  Often someone will post a picture of a room in the morning (very often a pantry) and then how it looks by the end of the day.  These are great!  A day of cleaning, organising and putting it all back... what a difference a day makes!   These all make me want to pick a target and get going!
So often we have things that can be put to good use in a make over like this.
An old ladder can come in to store your blankets or towels...
Baskets might fill the bottom of your pantry for veggies or paper products.
Look at everything from another angle and see if it can be handy somehow!

Really mundane things like cardboard boxes can become stylish pantry organisers.   Or formula tins or big coffee jars!   Take a look at this pantry where much of the storage is just old cardboard boxes...
The Most frugal Way to Organise your Pantry.  Very inspiring!

The other day Jane was recovering the cushions on her outdoor setting.
How pretty does this look!?

So much can be done just using what we have!  Making something over is very satisfying!  You end up with something unique rather than mass produced too!

Jane's very comfy but worn out sewing chair...

And now! Just lovely!

I am on a mission to use what I have and organise my craft cupboard and craft room.  It is a bomb right now.  Hopefully I will also find things that I can be putting to good use in other ways and make some gifts for the cupboard as well.  

What have you are used, made over,  revitalised in your home?
Do you have anything that needs a facelift or something that you KNOW COULD be useful but you are just now sure how?

Truly so many things can be charming and lovely yet they are in the back of a cupboard somewhere.  Giving them new life is better than shopping!   If we get busy on this I am going to have a "Show and Tell" for our home makeovers.... it could be your re arranged pantry,  or any re used, fixed up item!  I think this could be so interesting! 

Have a wonderful week!  It is much better here with lower temperatures! Yay! xxx

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 9th February, 2018.

This has been a much quieter week!  It has been hot and headachy weather.  I had a headache I couldn't budge.  I knew it was time to slow down.

The highlight of the week was Scarlett's Birthday.  She turned the big 1 and we had a picnic in the park.   It was a beautiful day.

There were pink cup cakes and Harper thought these were just fabulous.

We had everyone there, Great Grandma's and cousins and Aunty Chloe and Luke (the big kids)

As you can see it was a lovely day and a beautiful park which is two streets away from us.  It is filled with Kookaburra's  that sang the whole time. 

Some savings for the week were:

Luke gave Andy a heap of yabbies so that was dinner one night.

I was given jars.  Just wen the jar situation was getting grim two bags of jars came in!

At the supermarket I found some bargain steak so that became dinner that night.

I picked the last of the peaches... or close to the last...  some I sent home to Dad.  Chloe took a bag home too.  I think I picked about 15 kilos this week  (over 30 lbs)
We lived on fresh peaches which are so nice cold from the fridge on a hot day.  I also froze more and made a crumble. 

Mum came to the city for the party with a bucket of farm honey.   It is 15 kilos of pure lovely honey.  So beautiful.   The going price seems to be about $15 a kilo so this added $225 to my Vicky Challenge!  Very happy!

I had a roadside find.  I cleaned up this little bike for Harper.  I added stickers.  It is not in new condition but it is the next size up from what she has and she will have fun with it!

Otherwise it was a case of trying to stay cool, water the garden in the evening and keep the stove off! 

Thank you for the huge response to Wednesdays "The Home Pharmacy" post.   Thank you for so much help!  I can say this week I have learned so much already. 

How did you feather your nest, save money, get ahead or build up your pantry this week?
You might have been struggling with cold weather instead of the heat! 
Have a wonderful weekend!  xxx

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

The Home Pharmacy.

While I am working on fruit every day I haven't made much progress on my present cupboard so today I want to start up a subject I have been planning to introduce this year.
I am a slow starter although I guess life experiences have gradually built up my confidence and made me want to learn more about natural health and remedies.

My very basic introduction has been years of using natural cleaners that I mostly make myself.  I love the smell of Eucalyptus oil or Lavender oil and would far prefer to use these at home that things from the cleaning isle that take my breath away.  I feel confident with them, that they kill dust mites and so does sunshine (on my bedding) and that my house is clean, fresh and healthy.  I basically don't want toxic fumes in the house!

Years ago I went to a Homoeopath and she was by far the best "doctor" I have ever been to.  She knew things no one else ever even mentioned.  When I met her she told me I was a person who couldn't stand windows shut or a lack of fresh air or to be in confined spaces.  How would she know that?  She seemed to know everything!  When I was pregnant with Lucy it took ages to get a positive pregnancy test so no one was sure.  I went to see her and she looked around the corner as I sat there in the waiting room and said "Hello Annabel!  Oh, you are having another baby!"   Just like that! She didn't need a test.

When the girls were small I started using Rescue Remedy and I had a couple of oil blends that were relaxing and helped with sleep.  I would rub the girls feet with these and I considered them miracle workers.  I also used some oils in the bath and found them so blissful and relaxing. To me finding ones you really just love was the catch,  I found Patchouli, Rose, Ylang Ylang and Geranium just perfect for me.

Last winter the flu here was really bad.  (And now I see it has been equally serious in US.)  Chloe gave me Oregano Oil which she swears by and On Guard Blend which is based on Thieves oil blend. This is an old  "protection from germs"  essential oil mix.   I had Lucy's family sick and Harper was so ill.  I sat and nursed her as she cried and felt I was doomed to get sick myself.  Years ago I had the Beijing flu and will never forget.  The last thing I remember is I was on the floor and giant spiders were coming to get me. Then I remember being in hospital.  
I know it came on fast.  I suddenly ached all over so severely. In the middle of the night I had trouble getting up to go to the bathroom.  I knew I was in trouble.   With this memory I thought I might be in trouble again and I had nothing to lose by using Chloe's oils.  I rubbed the Oregano Oil on my feet at bedtime and every time I left the house I dabbed On Guard under my nose and on my wrists.  I also did the obvious hand washing etc.  
Amazingly I did not get sick.  Everyone around me did.  So this built up my confidence with these oils and made me want to learn more.

When my Birthday came around I asked for more oils!  I was also given a diffuser.  So my collection is growing!

Saying all this I basically know nothing!  I am on a journey to learn.  I think it could be an important skill and asset and an addition to the first aid kit and general preparedness.   My pantry is in pretty good shape and I continue to work on it.  I think this is a way to improve preparedness generally.

This is in Chloe's kitchen. 
She has a medicine cabinet and an essential oils cabinet.

I am not giving advice and not selling anything.
I just hope to learn and benefit and for it to be part of my preparedness and pantry.

Jess was one of the first to get me started.  Her e book had me reading up on how to make tinctures and essences.  This book is huge and full of information and recipes...  100+ DIY Projects to make with fruit scraps.  I really started to learn something.  For instance it had  not occurred to me that the rosehips in my garden could be make into vitamin C syrup.  I noted that this kind of knowledge could be very good in hard times.

Jess also has extensive reading in her section The Art of Aromatherapy DIY's which is a really good place to start and she has heaps of links there to make up all kinds of good things from household cleaners to remedies.

Then she has Create your home pharmacy.  Here you learn how to make oils, teas, tinctures and so much more.  

Patsy also egged me on.   She takes turmeric for its anti inflammatory properties and buys her own gel capsules to make her own tablets.  She makes fire cider to ward off sickness.  Her blog has a section called The Medicinal Part of my Pantry.  She suggests some wonderful books too and I am working my way through those!

These links will help you start off if you are wanting to learn.  I have noticed many are very interested when it comes to trying to prevent the flu and building up immunity.   I am!

I probably timed this badly as Lana is very good with this and she is away at the moment!  Glenda is extremely knowledgeable in this area and professionally qualified as well.  She has helped me greatly and gave me a book of herbs and their medical properties.   So if you are just starting out then follow along.  If you have knowledge, experience and can suggest websites etc then please share.

Please do your own research on everything, check things thoroughly such as interactions between medications and herbs or essential oils and get your doctors advice!

Do you have any remedies that you strongly believe in or make?
Have you had success with essential oils or herbal medicine?
What would you like to learn?
My first goal is to be better prepared for flu season which starts here in about April.  I am wanting to know more about prevention and building up immunity.  So this is a start! xxx