Feather your Nest Friday, 6th October, 2023.

It has been a big week!  I am so glad to sit down and look at my list and photos. 

Most of my week revolved around having my Granddaughters here.  I always plan ahead so we have some new crafts and things to do.   We also went and visited Mum (Great Grandma or Nana Pat) and that was a great fun day.  Mum had pressed flowers for the girls to make cards.   We came home with a bucket of flowers which I tried in the freeze drier.

I knew the Lavender would dry but was not too sure about the Daisy or Bottle Brush.   They all turned out really well!

I am thinking of all the edible flowers that could be used on cakes!  So many possibilities!  (The above photo is the freeze dried result,  so after not before!)

The craft projects revolved mostly around Christmas.   We made crystal Christmas decorations for the girls teachers.  I had saved the crystals from broken chandeliers.   The first job was to wash and shine them all up which was all done on the outdoor table.   Then each had a ribbon,  tissue paper in a little box and card.

Another project was key rings.   We used silicone beads (which feel so lovely) and they were easy and looked great.

They were really proud of the results.   I gave them each a lovely big box for everything that needed hiding until Christmas.   As they added to their boxes they were so excited!

Another gift we made were bookmarks...  a laminator gives us a lot of possibilities! 

We wrapped soaps and added some sparkles to make them festive. 

On Tuesday afternoon we went to see Aunty Chloe and the boys.   Tuesday morning we spent the whole morning making different coloured play dough.  I made eight double batches!   Each needed kneading until smooth and a fair bit of glitter was added!   I had a couple of containers I saved from toys and we used those as packaging.  We made a set of colours for Tom and Chase and a set to take home to Sidney.

They absolutely loved this!   And the boys all loved it too! 

At Chloe's the boys have little tractors.  We went walking/riding depending on your age.  Tom is in charge of gates.  No one else is allowed to open and shut gates apparently.  😊

Fresh air and sunshine,  animals, making things... helping with the work in the garden...  We never have the TV on when the kids are here and they never once have asked for it. 

The swing Andy made was a big hit.  They played on that so much plus generally running around and playing with the dogs who love them!

In between all of this... I took eggs to the swap table and got Dahlia bulbs and a Geranium cutting... both pink!   To plant the Dahlias I had to do a quick google as I have never grown them before despite loving them.  

We had rain which was a big help.

Some of my Capsicums were big enough to plant into my garden beds.   More Zucchinis were planted out in the orchard.  

After taking the girls home I've had a couple of big sleeps and a clean up!  THEN I got everything out of the present cupboard!   This was so exciting!   As always I had forgotten things I had made earlier in the year.   Now I am working out all I have,  what I still need and begin some of the parcels that will be posted.   For The Tuesday Afternoon Club members this is when all our hard work pays off! 

So it was a happy week full of goodness.  You can't ask for more than that.   I hope you had a good week with lots of ways of building up your family, home, pantry and garden.xxx

You can find The Tuesday Afternoon Club here.   

The Play Dough recipe I used was:

1 cup of flour, 2 tsp cream of Tartar, 1/2 cup of salt, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 cup of water, stir all together, add food colour... cook on a medium heat in a saucepan.  Stir constantly, it comes together and forms a ball.  It takes about 5 minutes.   Once it is a soft ball of dough turn it out into a bowl to cool.  When it is cool enough knead it until lovely and smooth.  I doubled this amount each time.   Save little buckets or containers with lids and you have a very inexpensive but great gift!  xxx



  1. I am so inspired by all the wonderful things you did with the children. You have so many good ideas! I have a question. How long will the play dough last? Does it go bad after a certain time?

    1. Dear Mrs. White, Thank you so much. The play dough lasts a few weeks if kept wrapped. It dries out if left out. We get a lot of playing out of it. Many thanks, Annabel.xxx

  2. You had a beautiful week. Those tractors - our boys had John Deere tractors with trailers, they were called the ham sandwiches after the JD at the farm.When AJ was about 3 they were in the shed and his uncle and father were talking about something and in the conversation the tractor was mentioned, then uncle asked where "it" was. The 3yo pointed to the tractor and said "what's that, a ham sandwich" and from that day all JD machines are ham sandwiches. Thanks for the memory! I have my present box out too, it's so much fun! Little piles everywhere, I can't wait to get them all wrapped and sent.

    1. Dear Cath, Boys and their tractors! We are both having the fun of reviewing everything we have made! Im saving boxes for packing and posting… It is exciting! Now I am planning the Christmas cooking. I feel ahead and on track! Its so nice! With love Annabel.xxx

  3. Sounds like it was a great visit with your grandkids. And it also proves that your time spent in preparation was well worth it! A few years ago, you introduced me to the concept of a gift cabinet. I have had one for the past few years. It is such a relief to need a gift and walk to a shelf and have some choices. This summer, I moved and am now in the middle of a renovation so it will sit empty a bit more. I hope this fall to start restocking ;). I gave the last gift away last weekend! Hilogene in Az

    1. Dear Hilogene, I hope you can soon start your new gift cupboard. It is so nice to never have to rush out and look for a gift, cards, tape or paper! I just go to the gift cupboard! I hope the renovations are going well! With love, Annabel.xxx

  4. I used to make this when the kids and grandkids were smaller. So much fun for them! Your grandkids look like they have so much fun. You plan very well! Cute keychains and cute grandkids!

  5. Dear Annabel,
    Your week was wonderful. The girls and Tom are beautiful and all your activities were like out of a fairytale. I loved the post and all the pictures!!!!

    I am back at work after a week of staycation - we have celebrated my birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary by going out to the restaurant where we were married, with our godparents and our son. This does not happen often so it was special.

    We have cooler days and nights and by the time I get home it is almost dark outside, so the garden slowly is taken to sleep, the chickens are happy with all the green scraps, and in the evenings I got to homeschool my boy at some school subjects as he has a big exam at the end of the school year, so we start early.

    I think I have finished with the big preservings - until the quince and the grapes are rippen, we found cooking oil at a very good price so we bought half a dozen bottles - but all the other prices are going up each month.

    The war goes on. A new Russian drone attack on Romania's border, on the Danube, took place last night. In our country (but I see this all over Europe, too), the Russian propaganda grows (!! ) bigger everyday and I feel so stupid being lied to, and worried about the future. We had 40 years of very hard life and no liberty of talking, going out of the country or living with dignity and I don*t want that for my son.

    Some weeks, when I don*t comment, it is because of the gloom and grey I see for the future. I still knit for other orders ( I have orders until the end of the year), I cook some good meals now the weather is cooler, still harvest some wallnuts, tomatoes and hazelnuts and we prepare for the blue grapes - there will be some good homemade red wine.

    Sending you all my love ang good thoughts, Laura_s_world from Romania

    1. Dear Laura, I think you are amazing - all you achieve living under the stress of war as you do. I am so happy that you got to celebrate 25 years of Marriage. Congratulations to you and your husband. I enjoy your comments on Annabel's blog. You are a very industrious woman. I will continue to pray for you. Love from Clare (Australia)

    2. Dear Annabel, The photos of your week are glorious. What happy, gorgeous grandchildren you have. They will have such happy memories of time spent with you. My Mum's birthday was yesterday. I baked and decorated a cake for her. I had found a sweet little ceramic teapot with flowers decorated on it to put in middle of the cake. I remembered to measure the cake pan with a ruler to get the correct size and the cake turned out well (I have a bad habit of picking a too big pan and the cake dries out). I also was able to make up a bouquet of flowers from my garden to take, Mum loved that. Love Clare

    3. Dear Laura, Happy Birthday and anniversary! It was a big day to get married on your birthday! Also bigger now because I know it is also your Mums anniversary, that is hard. I am so glad you had a wonderful celebration! I was so pleased you got the time off to slow down a bit. Laura if you do not comment I will try to reach you. I didnt know about his most recent drone attack on your border. Our news barely covers any thing except lies and rubbish so things like this arent mentioned. I do google daily, Ukraine news, Romania news… to try and know. I dont pretend to understand I only know how much I also would be worried about my kids and Grandkids. Keep doing what you are doing. You have done a lot to get ahead, have your garden and chickens and bring in extra income. You are doing a wonderful job and we are praying. With love, Annabel.xxx

    4. Laura I so admire your attitude of persistence in such a troubling situation. My prayer is for the safety of you, your family and your country. Your posts are such a reminder of doing what we can, no matter the situation we find ourselves in. Thank you so much for posting.

    5. Laura I admire your strength in the face of all you see around you and know it cannot be easy. Know that you are thought of by us all and I send you hugs and added strength all the way from Australia.

      Keep doing that you are doing and looking after your family so well and continue to prepare where you can.


    6. Thank you, dear Bluebirds. Very often, you are my strength ❤️❤️❤️ With much love, Laura

  6. What a lovely time you all had. Thank you so much for sharing! I am filling away all your activities and ideas for the future. I love it that plan ahead. So wise!
    That is why there was no need for TV.

    This week has been a week of harvest. My children all work for a local farmer. They shuck corn. My mother in law lives near the farmer. So we had the chance to pick apples and pears at her small orchard. Then the children were off to work. I was so pleased to make the most of the drive to the corn farm. We got loads of fruit! What a blessing that they were all so large, too!
    A friend blessed me with some small potatoes from her garden. We enjoyed them as "smashed potatoes" with meatballs for dinner last night. Also I tried a new recipe: Carmel Apple Bark. It was a hit! I found the recipe online.
    I have one Christmas gift nearly finished: a crocheted infinity scarf. And I look forward to giving some homemade vinegars away as well. I don't always get to add to my gift cupboard for Christmas because there's so many birthdays. Good problem to have thought. ;)
    Blessings from Ohio,

    1. Dear Leslie, All that fruit is so amazing! What fun too! In our family we have a bunch of Birthdays in January. So as I figure out Christmas presents I am often also working out birthdays. It is just a very busy time of year from here on in! With love Annabel.xxx

  7. You could make lovely bookmarks with pressed flowers and your laminator.
    I saw baubles once that you could put flowers in also. Janine

    1. Very good idea thank you! xxx

  8. Hello Annabel and everyone,

    Those freeze-dried flowers are beautiful, there are such a lot of uses for them! What a nice week you had with the girls.

    It is busy time at work for me, so I am just trying my best to get an extra thing done each day, mostly on the weekend, if I can. A baking day yielded some praline apple bread, roasted veggies, and chicken bone broth. A gardening day meant lots of spent plants (mostly the zinnias, which are done now) were removed, lots of green beans and 2 bell peppers harvested, and rosemary cuttings potted up. A painting afternoon got the trim outside our bedroom bay window painted and the garage and storm shelter door touched up. I also unclogged one of the bathtub drains, and felt like a superhero when it was done. A quick browse through the big thrift store gave me 5 balls of yarn in pretty colors for $4.19.

    Crafts-wise, I started 1 cross-stitch; and finished 1 cross-stitch on a weekend day, and have been doing a few rounds of knitting as I get a few minutes (socks, sweater, and shawl in progress). I've not finished much at all lately for the gift cupboard, but did find some very nice candles half price, so purchased some of those.

    My husband is doing ok, and we have been fortunate with an uneventful couple of weeks. Now that it has cooled off a bit, we have been spending some time each evening on the patio and that seems to help with his spirits. (I got some white and red mums at the garden center this weekend when they were having a half-off sale - they make it very cheery now that the petunias are done for the year.) His appetite has decreased some, so we met with a nutritionist who made some good suggestions. If anyone has ideas for foods or recipes to help tempt appetites or encourage weight gain, I would so appreciate it.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

    1. Dear Kathy, While it is busy at work I think you are amazing what you get done after work and weekends! I understand that with your husband "uneventful" is very good! I think sitting outside does lift spirits. The outdoors or a drive... all very good.
      Candles are a great item to add to gifts! A sneaky preparedness item but also beautiful! With much love Annabel.xxx

  9. It is so lovely to see kids being allowed to BE kids, rather than mini-adults glued to their phones. They will remember the good times they spent with you forever.

    1. Thank you so much! Yes I agree. Kids should be running around, climbing trees and having a wonderful time. Thank you!xxx

  10. Dear Annabel, I love your recipe of sunshine, outdoors, animals, craft for children. I bet they slept well too. Gorgeous pictures- your grandchildren are beautiful and it gives me so much joy to see children enjoying these things. I sometimes think this is why I haven’t slept as well, I haven’t been outdoors/ moved/ gardened enough. I love, love, love what the girls made. I made a big batch of cauliflower soup and then also milo falls and fruit muffins. The cauliflower soup was then the sauce for a tuna pasta bake. The little member of the family who is the fussiest ate it up. I’m going to a couple of garage sales this morning. This is one reason why cash is needed. Lots of love, Lily

    1. Dear Lily, Thank you! Some outdoor time and exercise really works for me re sleep. The more the better. Your soup and milo balls sound beautiful. So does the tuna bake. I made Tuna Mornay this week. which we love! I hope you might had had good yardage sale finds! With love Annabel.xxx

  11. My garden is starting to come up! I have yellow and green bush beans, beets, carrots and cilantro coming in. The lettuce is starting to form leaves and I will be able to harvest in another week or so. I am so excited by this.

    I have used the internet to look up how to un-shrink a blouse, how to propagate a plant and whether or not harvesting and planting seeds from a lily was viable. I purchased a set of polishes for my granddaughters to use to polish their nails for less than one bottle typically costs. They have nine new colors to choose from replacing some that had gotten gunky.

    I made bread, bagels, cookies, pizza, and all supper meals at home this week.

    The temperatures are going down starting tonight. I am looking forward to the cool down of our year.

    I love, love that you helped the girls start a gift box of their own and can't wait to hear what all they will add to it as they gather their own ideas.

    1. Thank you! Your week was very productive! I am very impressed with bagels, everything sounds delicious. So good that the garden is coming up! I bet as the week went on you had more things coming through! xxx

  12. Annabel I love the activities you set out for the granddaughters they both look like they had a fabulous time making bookmarks, play doh and key rings and special presents for their teachers. Lovely you were able to take eggs to the swap table and come back with lovely cuttings to propagate and plant out some capsicum and zucchini plants.

    A week here of home organisation, maintenance and cleaning which I needed to catch up with now that DH is feeling better.

    Deep cleaning
    Damp dusted the table in the rumpus room, skirting boards and other furniture in there and DH vacuumed out the window and door tracks.
    I wiped over all the fronts of the kitchen cabinets to get dirty marks off them and sorted kitchen benches and wiped them over and the splash backs.

    Home maintenance
    As we saw on the weather forecast we were supposed to get rain which we haven't had in some time. We washed down the home roof, and gutters and cleaned the filters in the rainwater tanks. The day later 9mm of glorious rain went into the clean tanks we had professionally cleaned by a local tradesman.

    DH and I went through our stored clothing and we packaged up clothing that was too big and too small for me and took a load to the local op shop to donate.

    Bought a 2.882kg Steggles roast chicken on markdown for $3.39kg, 5 packets of natural chip company chips on half price sale for $2.35ea and 2 x 4lt Peters ice creams on sale for $8.70. We also bought other staples and used our 4% off racq e-gift card to save in total $29.87 on usual prices.

    In the kitchen
    Cooked two loaves of combo wholemeal white bread and cooked all meals from scratch.

    Hope everyone has a wonderfully frugal week ahead and I pray for those in Gaza Israel conflict where war has now broken out.

    Lorna. (SW Queensland Australia).

    1. Dear Lorna, I am sorry to hear your husband hasn't been well. I hope he is heaps better now. Damp dusting is the most satisfying as it does the best job!
      So good about the rain and clean tanks! Just so valuable to have good clean water. With your beautiful home baked bread and good savings it was a great week! With much love Annabel.xxx

  13. Hello Annabel and Bluebirds!
    A big Thank You for all those amazing comments I just finished! It’s truly unbelievable all you get accomplished led by our leader/worker/blogger/Grandmother/you name it : Annabel!!! You all put me to shame!
    I find Laura’s insightful commentary on Ukraine and the fighting yet keeping trade going, so interesting!! Plus little tips here and there from everyone or just someone’s accomplishments for the week!!
    Tomorrow will see me finishing 2 more editions of this blog to get my M/L Donna all caught up!
    Did I mention including local charities, services like Firemen, Veterans’ groups, etc when you write your Christmas cards? They’ll really appreciate your thoughtfulness!
    That’s all. Tomorrow we start “eating out of the freezer with homemade beef and noodles from Amish lady this summer! Yum!! Homemade by me deep dish lasagna next!
    Have a great week all of you out there in Bluebird land! Love to all,
    Rick in Florida and Donna in N Indiana XOXO


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