The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 16th March, 2018.

The week has flown by! It has been a mixture.  Every week I find that what I get done on the weekend and then on a Monday sets the scene.  I always try and do as much as I can on Monday's to get the week off to a good start and knock a few things off my list.  If I do this I seem to get lots done.

I have been drying Olive Leaves.  I crushed some up to send to Patsy and some to start a big batch of Olive Leaf Extract.

Mum had been here and she left to go back to the farm so I sent a tray of little cakes for Chloe and Luke.

We have had lovely Autumn weather.  I took on the job of re potting my Fiddle Leaf Fig trees (indoor plants) as they had grown so much!   Suddenly they seem huge!

It was a bit of a circus but it didn't cost a cent as I had really big pots I found on the side of the road and I took apart my herb pots as they need refreshing at the end of summer.  I had spare soil from that.   Now they look even bigger as the pots are larger. 

I was given $30 in free postage stamps.

Andy had a big week and his Vicky Challenge Savings amounted to $560! He is proud and says "don't forget to tell the ladies" haha! 

I was given 14 pairs of designer jeans. Not my size but I said yes as I googled the prices!  I am going to sell them!

Harper hasn't been eating her carrots.  So I made carrot cakes.  Since carrots aren't popular I decided calling them Carrot Cakes might not be the smartest so I called then Bunny Rabbit Cakes. 😊
This worked! They weren't scoffed at the same rate as Banana Cakes but they have been eaten!

I also tried out a grain free carrot cake recipe as I was dying to have some cake.  Jenny asked for the recipe so I thought since there are a few gluten free (plus also grain free)  cooks here I will include it.

It is 350 g grated carrot.  (3/4 lb)
1/2 chop chopped pecans.
5 large eggs.
1 teaspoon baking powder.
1/2 teaspoon bi carb soda.
250g almond meal (1/2 pound)
1 cup dark brown sugar.
1 teaspoon cinnamon.
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
1/2 teaspoon ginger.

Line a cake pan with non stick baking paper.  I have found each time I have made an almond meal cake that it looks cooked and the middle isn't really cooked enough!  So I made it more as a slice in a thinner layer in a square tin. Then it is easier to tell.  Look for it to be risen, golden and a skewer come out clean then add a few minutes.
Sorry no directions just whip the eggs and sugar first then add the rest.... I was looking for butter or oil but it has none.
Anyway it turned out just like carrot cake! 
I used cream cheese plus icing  sugar plus golden syrup for icing... for Harpers cakes and mine.  Do whatever cream cheese icing you like.  
It was good!

Later in the week I had a big spaghetti sauce cook up.  I made two big pots full.  This gave me two dinners and I froze the rest into meal size portions.
When I have things to freeze most of it goes over to Mum's freezer.

I stacked in ten meals of meat sauce.  I brought back frozen stewed cherries.  I have so many things now in that freezer!

Also I made play doh for the girls.  I made it pink with glitter...

Then I had a fun hour of making snakes and balls,  the two top choices! 

So this was my week!  I don't have to make dinner tonight since we are having zoodles with my meat sauce.  

Chloe sent me this last night...

Luke got a working dog puppy!  To me he looks guilty like he just did something naughty.  This is probably more something he is planning to do!  

How did you build up your home, savings, pantry or any other area of your nest this week?
Have a good weekend.  We have a state election here.   
I am planning to see if I can get my sour dough starter going for gluten free bread.  I wanted to have a wheat free pizza base and when I saw the prices in the shops I decided that is it I am converting my sour dough to GF.   I want pizza at least now and then!

Have a lovely weekend! xxx

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Christmas Challenge. Show and Tell for Feb. (catching up!)

Finally I think I have caught up with Show and Tell, after this post anyway!  There have been so many ideas I can use. I hope you find the same.  Also in this post seeing what Kelley has been making I can now picture her working away in her sewing room as I now know what that looks like!  So she has been busy!

She made little dresses and sun hats both from her stash of fabrics and from old bed sheets!

So much beautiful work in these!  It opens your eyes too that lovely fabric can be found in places other than an expensive store. 

Kelley also made gifts of purse sized tissue (kleenex) holders for her friends...

I love these and I love making a stack of the same item. This really does help build up the gift cupboard.

She also stitched cards...

Well done Kelley and even with travel and a new Grand Baby you achieve so much! 

Tanya made the sweetest gift for Harper.  Little fabric tea bags.  They are just gorgeous and such a hit! 

What an idea fro pretty little scraps! 
Also shopping bags...

Re using baby formula tins for all kinds of purposes...

Tanya also made beautiful baby shower invitations for her friend.  You are so productive Tanya and al with homeschooling too. So well done!

Vicky has been working on a Shabby Chic style patchwork quilt. I love the soft and faded colours! 

So pretty! 

Jen (from NC) blew me away again with her knitting...

She made this cardigan for herself. Amazing work Jen!

And she embroidered napkins for her Mum.  So beautiful and a lovely gift.   I think your Mum would treasure these Jen.

Cookie has been making  bags....

You are so talented Cookie!  And I know she has also made lots of baby items as she has a new Grand Son!

Mimi has  made beautiful  and useful things.  This is a home deodorising blend that can be sprinkled to clean anything from your mattress to your carpet.  A kind of dry cleaning really.   And very effective!

You can find the recipe here.  If you like natural cleaning and essential oils this is for you! 

Thank you all so much!  I love that we can make beautiful things, lovely gifts,  beautiful our homes and build up our present cupboard all with our own work and using things we have.  What happiness!

I hope your week is going well!   It is beautiful here.  Autumn days are the best!  xxx

Sunday, 11 March 2018

The Home Pharmacy. Cleaning products.

While cleaning products are not strictly part of the home pharmacy they are strongly related.  I began with wondering how can I use On Guard or any of the germ busting essential oil blends to kill germs on surfaces, wash hands and so on.

For a long time I have used Miracle Cleaner knowing that the vinegar and  Eucalyptus oil in this does kill germs and sanitises really well. Plus it smells so clean!  And I use the wool mix with Eucalyptus  in it that also has the same effect.  This plus sunshine is so good and things are so fresh and beautiful.  I will keep using these as they are great and so economical.  I have loved this as it is not full of chemicals and does not take my breath away when I use it.

More recently I have been shocked to find that many cleaners we use on things like dishes have toxic chemicals.  I sort of expected toxic chemicals in bathroom cleaners yet no so much in dish detergent! You can find a list of really common cleaning products that contain toxins that are known to cause cancer... (yet they are sold anyway) here on the Hopewell Essential Oils - Cleaning with Essential Oils page.  They have recipes for cleaning products plus down the bottom this most interesting list.

I saw that the big essential oil companies sell whole ranges of cleaning products. These appeal to me greatly.  The prices are high i.e. one product is 1.8 litres for $189!  They are diluted for use but still so is Miracle Cleaner for a couple of dollars a bottle.  So this is how I decided to experiment with making some of my own cleaners.
Because I am planning to use some as gifts I decided to go all out and get some lovely bottles and labels as these would also be endlessly re filled.

I ordered some labels and am so happy with them.  I got them from Mella + Moi on Etsy.  They make everything look professional.  I need to get more now!  They are easy to apply and there are so many choices.  I am kind of thinking my whole pantry needs these!  Mella+Moi also do roller ball labels which I would love.  They look amazing.  Making up roller balls to give as gifts is quite economical and a great way to get someone started in essential oils too!

I called my germ busting cleaner Thieves as to me that is the traditional name that goes along with the legend of the thieves that beat the plague.   This is said to be how this combination of oils came about.  That's good enough for me!

The larger spay bottles came from Essentially Audrey.  They came with a letter thanking me for supporting her small business. She has raw ingredients, bottles and recipes!
You will find recipes there for everything I made except I have used On Guard as my essential oil.

This is all very flexible...  On Guard is made up of Orange, Clove, Cinnamon,  Eucalyptus and Rosemary essential oils.  Thieves is made up of much the same with the difference of Lemon.  Plague defence is the same as On Guard ingredient wise.... Germ Fighter from Plant Therapy is another... they are all so similar.   So if you have some of these essential oils or all of them you can make a sanitising mixture without buying the actual special formula.

One batch I made is half water, half Vodka plus the essential oils. My ratio was one cup water, one cup vodka,  20 drops essential oil.   Vinegar could be substituted for the Vodka.  This is suitable as a room spray or a cleaner for things you want to disinfect.

I also have tried using my regular Miracle Cleaner recipe and adding Rosemary, Clove and Lemon to this (as I have those) or adding a few drops of On Guard.
I am very happy with this!

For my hand soap I just used a plain liquid soap and added some On Guard to it.  There are also Foam Soap dispensers available and they make soap go a really long way.   Again there are so many ways to do it.

Trying all this out I ended up with a great supply plus presents.

I also wanted a sanitising spray i.e. to wipe a surface when out and about.  I got some small spray bottles for this.   I decided to carry little packs of wet wipes and use a spray of this and then just wipe over the surface.  I used Vodka in mine but you could use vinegar also.  Both work.

Ok I need the nice labels on these too but I had to improvise! 

Currently I am waiting on tiny spray bottles i.e. purse perfume size.  It never ends once you get the bug!

I was listening to a Doctor being interviewed on TV last year and the subject was avoiding the flu.  He said hand washing is still the number one thing you can do to avoid picking up things.   This basic thing is still number one.

The scents of Eucalyptus,  Lemon,  Rosemary etc are all so good.  Things smell clean.   Of them all I slightly prefer the scent of Germ Fighter from Plant Therapy.  But they are all good and I have used more On Guard than anything else.  It is very satisfying cleaning with something that leaves a good scent.

If you have any tips on sanitising with essential oils,  recipes for cleaners you make,  tips for household management when there is illness in the house please share.  I am learning.  We are all learning.   I chose this subject today over The World Within Your Walls yet it goes together as a clean house is also something lovely.  I love it when I feel everything is clean and fresh!  So satisfying!

We have a public holiday here today and the weather has cooled. It is lovely.
Have a wonderful week! xxx

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 9 March, 2018.

This week summer was having a last try to hang on!  Hopefully after tomorrow we will be free of hot days.  I ignored this and went on with change of season cleaning.   I have been working on rotating a lot of pantry goods and things I have in the cellar. This has kept my grocery bill lower and I have just been buying great deals, milk and fresh veggies.

My medical cabinet is coming along and I have found a Homeopath who will help me and she sells remedies in her online shop.  Somehow this took me years to work out but I have always wanted to have homeopathic remedies in my medicine cabinet.
And I have been making up household cleaners, room sprays and purse sprays with essential oils.   I will have a post this, it will be next week I think...

I made up a big supply of Miracle Cleaner.  I had all my supplies on hand and wanted to make a big bottle of this for Hilde as a present.

It turned out a really pretty colour,  the colour depends on the dish liquid or detergent you use and it was a pink one!

I poured all the honey out of the big bucket into jars.  Some of these jars are huge ones.  I didn't want it to crystallise in the bucket in winter as then it is hard to handle so I was glad to get this done.

It was 15 kilos of honey. Some of these will be gifts also.

I had eggs from the farm ganging up on me so I decided to make up fruit cakes.  I made seven cakes in two days using up 20 eggs. 

They are all wrapped up now.  Some are put away for months.  One will got to Chloe's and some will end up back on the tractor with Luke!

I got a free roast chicken in Coles as the visit before they had run out so I asked for a ticket for a free one. 

We have a long weekend coming here.  I hope to get lots more done in my "Autumn Cleaning" and pantry rotating. 

Mum is heading back to the farm tomorrow so this afternoon I am making cup cakes to send back for Chloe and Luke.  

I hope it was a good week for you. How did you build up your nest, save, add to your pantry?
Have a lovely weekend! xxx

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

The Christmas Challenge. Catching up with Show and Tell.

I have been so busy on Essential Oils I am behind with Show and Tell!  My own crafts have been taken over by working on my craft room organisation and I am getting there!
I love to see what you have been making and I think we give each other so many ideas.  So this week and next week we will catch up with some of the beautiful things you all have been making.

Thank you to everyone for posing me so many photos!  I love seeing them all and hearing what you have been doing.  I try and represent everyone with what I post here although I can't always fit every photo. Also if you sent me pictures of cooking these will likely appear in other up coming cooking posts!  Thank you so much! 

First we have Jane.  She has been busy and some of her gifts are timely as they are Easter themed.
This is her Grand Daughters Easter gift!  

The little bag is so sweet.  

And her Easter card...

Jane's love for her Granddaughter is beautiful.  I think this is all just so gorgeous.

She went on to make a whole collection of cards for her supply...

I was recently in the news agency and most cards are $8 or more now. So big savings here as well as being personal and unique.

I have to show you one more!   This set of skirts she also made her Grand Daughter...

I love them!  Jane you are one industrious woman! 

Cookie sent me a wonderful idea.  Beautiful floral papers for crafting and card making are everywhere.  They are beautiful and many are quite expensive.  Cookie just chooses some floral fabric and takes it to the colour photocopier! 


Kelsey has been working away in her sewing room too.

I love these!  If Chloe has a boy I think tractors will be a big theme!  (this is forward thinking since she is not married or pregnant yet!) 
Kelsey had a tip for the crunchy toy with the tabs.  You fill them with a piece you cut out of a cereal bag. When it is played with it makes a scrunchy sound.  Brilliant! 

She also made herself a nightgown. Beautiful work Kelsey! 

Janine S made a gift for a friend... a crochet vest.  Oh my goodness I love this. 

Janine I think your friend would have to be so thrilled that you would go to so much trouble for her. This is just beautiful. 

I hope you are inspired by these ladies.  My needle work months are coming... when we are out of summer and the weather cools I am not needed in the garden so much.  Also football comes on TV and we actually watch some TV which we most don't in summer.  So suddenly I get lots of crochet and embroidery done!  I love it!  And we are almost there!

If you would like to take part in next weeks show and tell please email me at  I would love to see what you have been making!

I hope your week is going well.  We have lovely weather and I am off to Aldi this afternoon. Each day I have been "Autumn Cleaning" and I think I am getting somewhere!  
See you on Friday! xxx

Sunday, 4 March 2018

The Home Pharmacy. Essential Oil company comparisons.

I am sorry I am out of my usual order today.  It was this or nothing!  But I have been waiting to post this as I am so excited by some of the things I am learning.

The most helpful thing I have found so far with getting started with essential oils is beginning with what I need to know the most and with the oils that suit our own needs.   I do not have to know about every essential oil, I can start out with the ones that are going to help with our current concerns.   So I first looked for an oil to help me get to sleep, something to kill germs, something to build up immunity and something for Andy.   It quickly turned out his "thing" is doTERRA Easy Air.  He loves that stuff.
It is way less daunting when you start out with one or two things, research those, and build up some confidence.

My goal is to have an Essential Oil and Homeopathic medicine cabinet that addresses the most likely things that are issues for us.  This includes flu prevention and treatment.   I feel like I have come a long way in a few weeks and had chances to test things well.   A few things have amazed me... the Oregano Oil for my sore throat,  the Easy Air for when Andy couldn't stop coughing and the germ fighter blends in the diffuser.  I have loved all of these.

To build up your collection as you identify what would be good for your own family is gradual as it is a considerable investment.  Although I have found the oils go an incredibly long way, they are used diluted and they last a long time (see my post about that here) it is still going to take a while to buy the oils you are wanting.

I have found the price variations between brands of essential oils staggering.  I naturally assumed cheaper oils just equal less quality.  Lana was the first to point out that simply isn't true.   First of all you need 100% pure Essential Oils.   Anything the uses the word fragrance i.e. fragrant oil or anything other that 100% PURE essential oil is no good.  There are a lot of variations to consider.
After that there are probably hundreds of essential oil companies.  Some that come up time after time when you look for reliable, reputable, pure etc are Plant Life, Young Living, doTERRA,  Eden's Garden, Rocky Mountain Oils,  Stillpoint, Floracopeia,  Aura Cacia, Rhada Beauty,  Hopewell,  Nature's Sunshine .... the list just goes on and on.   I can't hope to cover or mention them all.

So far I have tried doTERRA,  Young Living,  Lively Living  and Hopewell.
I will always love doTERRA since it was the first I used, it is great quality,  reliable, locally available.
So I think I will end up with two or three favourites.  Also this way you can take advantages of specials like last week doTERRA had buy one get one free promotions on certain oils.  I am certainly open to trying more.  I want to have the best selection I can and feel confident with using them.  As Lana pointed out when trying to prevent illness fast action/early intervention is required. Things need to be on hand.

Lana is really experienced with essential oils and she put me on to Hopewell Oils.
Glenda is a fully qualified herbalist, nutritionist  and Naturopath and she recommends Nature's Sunshine and she has toured their facility.  So I know both these brands are used by professionals.

I am working in Australian dollars and with international orders you have to factor in exchange rates and postage.  
Here is a quick example of the price differences in four companies with 100% pure oils.
For each one  I include their version of the flu and germ fighter.

Young Living.
Lavender 15ml  $51.65
Frankincense  15ml $162.25
Thieves 15ml $76

Lavender 15ml $37.33
Frankincense 15ml $114.33
On Guard 15ml $53.33

Plant Therapy.
Lavender 10ml $6.95
Frankincense 10ml $14.95
Germ Fighter 10ml $9.95

Natures Sunshine.
Lavender 15ml $20.25
Frankincense 15ml $104.95
Shield 15ml. $31.45

Hopewell Oils.
Lavender 15ml $8.40
Frankincense 15ml $19.00
Plague Defence 15ml $14.00

So you are seeing what I mean!   It is not a few dollars we are talking about it might be over $100 a bottle!   This made no sense to me at all...
Going into the WHY of this is a can of worms involving claims made on bottles, insurances,  multi level marketing vs buying from a home company, advertising and more including giant court battles!
One thing that seems to have big factor is the companies that say you can ingest the oils are paying big insurance premiums.  Other pure essential oil companies do not say you can ingest them although they may be the same thing and thus avoid some of the liability and necessary insurance cover for that.   Anyone I have spoken to who is qualified advised not ingesting oils without professional guidance.  (And more... you must be sure you have no adverse reaction, no interactions with drugs you might be taking or even other natural remedies).

I read up on about fifty companies.  I found I was put off some i.e. they were too new age for me and I was drawn to others... I was impressed by disclosure of how the oils were made, where the plants are sourced,  safety guidelines,  being able to ask for help,  extensive information and education that you can access for free.  I also liked a larger range with explanations of what they are used to treat.  So after you have a list of reliable companies your own personal presferecnes will come into it.

As I have only tried out a few I can only comment on those.  As I said I love my doTERRA oils, everyone so far.
I love the Plant Therapy ones I have and the Germ Fighter is beautiful... it does not smell conventionally nice... it just is somehow addictive to me!
I bought two oils from Lively Living, an Australian company. I am happy with those although they had a smaller range and no "thieves" equivalent which I am am looking for.

I am so impressed with Hopewell Oils.  Even though they are in the USA and I need to pay postage they are so fast to arrive.  The postage included I still come out much cheaper.
Their parcel arrives with a hand written note, detailed usage and safety information,  what carrier oils to use, a dilution chart to help with mixing, how to test for sensitivities before you get started,  and info about their business which is a Christian Family business.   I made a second order with them. Within hours they have emailed me to say it is in the mail.

I would say do your own research. I am just starting out!  But just my little bit of research has helped my medical cupboard along a lot.   Now I can allocate funds to expanding my supply and trying new oils and get a lot for my $$$.   Really I had no idea of the variations.  With so much confusing information I think asking someone who is a Homeopath, Naturopath or Herbalist is a big help.  They are unlikely to be using substandard oils.

I also would say if in doubt then stick to what you know to be reliable.  There are many shops that sell little bottles that say "Essential oil"  but they are not and the words "100% pure" are missing, they are just a fragrance oil and not therapeutic at all.  Probably the opposite as full of artificial things.

If you have a brand you trust and like please share.  If you see a professional natural therapist then what brand are they using? This is interesting!
We want the best quality and reliability that we can trust and we want to be able to afford it.  This is going to make a big difference to the kind of complimentary medical cabinet we can have and to what we are willing to try.

I am finding it so interesting!  Now I am on to making my own cleaners with essential oils. Some brands have large cleaning item selections from dish and laundry detergent to room sprays.   There are some that are over $100 a bottle!  I am pretty sure I will have some recipes coming up that will be comparable for very little!

Have a good week!  It is cooler and lovely here.  Some true Autumn has arrived! xxx

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 2nd March, 2018.

It was a busy week!  And we saw the end of summer and the beginning of Autumn!  I can't tell you how excited I am about this.  Summer is my least favourite month.  It is dry, we have fires, the garden ends up looking awful...  But I love Autumn!  We have beautiful days and cool nights.  So I am doing a happy dance about this!

Today I am going with Chloe for her wedding dress fitting.  What a day!  I am so excited!

Andy is much better.  He had a very sick week but is doing well now.  So I didn't get heaps of extras done it was more a matter of keeping up.

These are some of the ways I saved and got ahead this week:

I found some great bargains in the supermarket.  I found half priced steak and we had some for dinner and I froze two lots for other nights.

I used bananas from the freezer and left over yoghurt to make muffins for the girls.

I bought the ballerinas from an Etsy shop called The Dream Peddlery.  She really does peddle dreams I thought with her creations....   I make a lot of things. But if I buy something I love to get it from a small home business.   If you like paper crafts take a look at her shop too.

I worked on using the figs Chloe gave me.   We had them baked with cream cheese and prosciutto 
one night.  This is before baking...

I served them with rocket, a simple salad, and sticky balsamic vinegar.
Another night I did them baked with cream cheese and honey and served them with ice-cream.
Also I made jam with figs and almonds.  This is so good!  The colour turned out quite a deep burgundy...

I made yoghurt.

Every spare moment I worked on my craft room and craft cupboard.

During the week I got this photo sent to me by Luke...

This is my fruitcake he is eating.  I interpret this to mean "this is good please feel free to send more"  and this is all the encouragement I need  😊   (you can see he is on the tractor and the dry paddock) 
Chloe rang and she had just saved her chickens from a Wedge Tailed Eagle!  I told her to try and take a photo at the same time as flapping her arms if it should come back!  These are HUGE and can easily carry off a chicken.  But she has never had this happen before! 

I hope you had a good week!  How did you build up your nest, get ahead,  add to your pantry? 
I am off to get ready for this wedding dress fitting.  Days like these are very special! xxx