Feather your Nest Friday, 1st December, 2023.

We are in December!  Christmas plans are in full swing.  You will be glad to know the budgie has settled in.   😊

Some of the ways I feathered our nest this week included:

A trip the the thrift store.  I found crystal bowls for $2 and plan on using them for the salads at Christmas.  
Also a pure silk scarf... I have been saving these to make silk scrunchies and pillowcases.  Also I picked up a nifty little pot holder.  It makes scrap paper into seedling pots.    Now I have another use for all the brown paper that comes into the house in parcel packing.


I finished covering my gift boxes.

I also finished sewing the buttons onto cards.   It was like a challenge to turn chaos into something lovely!   

This gave me 23 cards which I can use as small gifts.   

A friend gave me the gift of beautiful pure wool.   It is enough to make a single bed blanket I think!

I will start off with a cot size blanket and keep going until I run out... then I am going to dye it.   Working with wool I will wait until Autumn to start. 

My cook up for the week was pasty slices.   I made an individual pasty each for dinner and for another night... then I made family pizza pasty slices which is similar to what my Nana used to make.

Pasties are packed with veggies,  they stretch a little meat a long, long way,  they are a meal on their own and they freeze like a dream!  

As I aimed to make family sizes I began by trying to fill my baking tray with one giant pasty.  As I went along they got bigger and bigger.   After the smaller ones for us I ended up with four that were massive! 

I keep relish on hand so I can give this with them.     I was very happy to get four family meals frozen.   The scraps of pastry were turned into "jam danishes." 

Yesterday I went out to lunch with a friend.  It was just bliss.  We sat outside overlooking a vineyard,  gum trees and watched Guinea Fowl and Black Cockatoos.   I brought home two pizzas thinking this would mean no cooking for the entire day.  This is our first take out for the year!   Well,  with salad we got two dinners and they were gorgeous.   We also were supporting a local business.  😊  My friend is very knowledgeable with farming and animals and she offered to come and help if any of our cows have trouble calving.   I am very grateful!

Speaking of the cows.... I am doing the daily rounds and feeding the cows apples.  

No calves yet.  I think they are a couple of weeks away.    There are only four that are pregnant.   BUT our friend sent over a bull on loan.   He is here for a holiday and he is a really good looking bull too!   This will mean September/October 2024 we will have calves again!   What a bonus!

The cactus I bought weeks ago had flowered and I was told it would be a year before it flowers again.   But this week I got a surprise! 

Amazing!  I was feeling very luck at this point.   Then I got a call and two guys who have used our cabin before asked if they would come at super short notice.   Like tomorrow.  Luckily I was able to say ok and they arrived with a huge box of fresh fruit and veggies.    As I washed it up I took a couple of photos but there is more.

These are like mystery boxes and after getting things washed and put away I begin to menu plan around it all.    Today was step one, I made the Beetroot into pickles.   It looks beautiful.

I got two tall jars.     Tomorrow I am going to freeze dry sliced bananas and kiwi fruit. 

I made the second batch of Christmas cakes.   Now to get them wrapped and decorated.

Chloe has a worm farm and she gave me a bottle of "worm tea" which went on to my cucumber and tomato plants.

A couple areas of my pantry were a bit low so I did a giant grocery order when Andy went to town.  I am so lucky to be able to do this.   It took a fair bit of putting away but I really did add to my pantry this week.

Thank you to everyone who commented on my Nana post.   I was really overwhelmed!  💗   I will see you Monday with Nana's list of free ways to make Christmas special.   The Nana series is coming to an end and 2024 will be a fresh new start.  I have big plans!  

How did you build up your nest things week?  We LOVE to hear! xxx


  1. Hi Annabel. Houdini is a gorgeous little Bluebird. No wonder he is settled in.
    This week I cleaned out my baking pantry. I found that I was low on sugar so took myself off to the local wholesaler for 15kgs of it. This is stored in buckets and decanted into Marcona jars that live in the baking pantry. I also picked up a large container of some herbs and spices that we were getting low on.
    I purchased two apple green coloured bath towels and added an embroidery to each. These are for Mum for her Christmas present. She has already put in an order for soap and a crochet washcloth. She is now sorted for Christmas. I just have Bluey to go.
    My seeds, planted just before rain last week, are up and appear to be nice and healthy. We look like getting some more rain next week so I will get some more seeds in the ground over the weekend.
    It has been so humid since the rain. I am grateful to be able to turn on the new air cons and get deliciously cool and dry of sweat. The humidity has been in the 90 percentile range so it has been uncomfortable hot and sweaty weather.
    I visited with some of my gardening friends for a morning tea. I took mulberry tree seedlings and panama red passionfruit seedlings. I came home with paw paw seedlings, yarrow cuttings, Trinidad ghost chillies and Atherton Raspberry plants. It was too hot to plant these out when I got home so they can go in tomorrow morning when I water. It was lovely to catch up and wander through a beautiful and productive garden. I have come home feeling inspired to do more here.
    Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane, Well done on building up your baking pantry! The embroidery on the towels makes them special and personalised! Just a lovely gift for your Mum.
      I am glad you got to enjoy the air conditioning! The dehumidifying factor alone would be wonderful.
      A garden tour is lovely and full if ideas. That sounds like a very enjoyable catch up. Well we are up and running for a new week... have a good one! With love Annabel.xxx

  2. Annabel and Bluebirds, Hello!
    Annabel, what an amazing week you have had. True treasures found at the thrift store. Beautiful, delicious food prepared. Your produce boxed items looks so fresh and delicious.
    You truly deserve a days rest.
    Prayers the calves are delivered safely and in an area you will be able to see them.

    We had a slow week here, though it felt like it flew by. I did a lot of baking for family meals as we had our traditional Turkey Soup Night, it is looked forward to as much as Thanksgiving. Everyone went home with leftovers to cover at least 2 days of meals.
    I used the apple peeling from making an apple pie to make apple scrap jelly, I was able to can 8 jars, the kids went home with their choice of jars.

    My washer died, it was only 5 yrs old, the mother board went, it would have cost over $500 for a repair, so I started research on what was the best, reliable machine, it has a smaller tub than I am use to, but a much larger motor and a longer warranty that covers everything.
    So hoping it is delivered next Thursday, till then I am doing small loads of hand wash. Happy I have Mom's wash board.
    I sat and did a Defensive Driving course to decrease our payment by 30%, it was tedious and boring, but worth the savings.
    We didn't find much this week in sales, very few items, no meat mark downs and only 2 loaves of bread marked down.
    I used the few onions we had left out in the garage to make French Onion Soup for dinner, it was perfect for a damp cold night. I calculated it ran me less than $2 for the pot, including the cube steak I chopped up into it.
    Prayers for all Bluebirds, may all have a productive week ahead.

    1. Dear Rosanne, I love the soup n night you have following the Thanksgiving celebrations. You got good value out of that Turkey! The apple jelly looks beautiful... and so very nice to send family home with left overs and a selection. They will think of you every time they open some jelly! A very nice week! With love Annabel.xxx

  3. Hello Annabel and everyone,

    Annabel, that produce and your cooking look amazing! I can't wait to see your calves when they are born.

    All seems to be well here now. The day before Thanksgiving my husband was hospitalized for low magnesium - he was not making sense, so they ran him through the stroke protocol. I'm so thankful it was not a stroke, and he was released mid-morning on Thanksgiving and able to have some Thanksgiving dinner. Otherwise he is doing ok, but I am being persistent in following up with his doctors to try to prevent this from happening again. I baked lots for Thanksgiving and my dad roasted a turkey. The leftovers were a blessing and I have some turkey frozen, too. This week is a chemo week, and that has been going ok so far.

    Extra things went by the wayside, but this week I caught up on laundry, visited the grocery store, put up the Christmas trees and garland, cleaned out the fridge, and deep-cleaned the master bath (and unclogged the sink drain). My knitted sweater is finished, and I cast on a new pair of socks and put in a few cross stitches here and there. A few more ornaments were fully finished. Christmas cards were written and dropped in the mail. Hoping to do some baking this weekend!

    I hope everyone has a great weekend.

    1. Hi Kathy
      I just wanted to write a message to you because I’ve meant to so many times and never have. You are an absolute inspiration! The way you care for your husband is amazing and you remain so positive despite how challenging it must be for you. I hope his chemo goes well and you have an enjoyable Christmas.
      Jen (NZ)

    2. Dear Kathy, I am really sorry your husband needed a hospital visit but really glad it was not a stroke! It is good they gave you suggestions. I dont know if it is any use but I take a bath in Epsom salts and I know the body will absorb magnesium this way. I agree with Jen, you are an absolute inspiration in your dedication to helping your husband and all you do! It is great your Dad roasted the Turkey and you have left overs! They will be so helpful.
      I hope this weekend has been lovely and that the chemo all goes well. With love and blessings, Annabel.xxx

    3. Hi Jen,

      i wanted to thank you for your kindness and encouraging words. It means more than I can say. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season.


  4. I fed the Christmas cake and then made 3 jars of red onion marmalade. I had to buy the onions, but had all the other ingredients to hand. My sister surprised me with a hamper full of cheese, wine and other goodies, which will come in very handy for Christmas. We have got to the stage where we no longer like to buy each other knick-knacks or clothes, but prefer to treat each other to foodstuffs knowing that they will always be welcome.

    1. Dear Tracy, What a helpful and lovely gift from your sister! The onion marmalade and cake sound beautiful. I make an onion jam/relish I dont know what to call it but it is really good with so many things! Have a great new week, With love Annabel.xxx

  5. What a productive week you have had Annabel. I can hardly believe it’s December!

    Will the encouragement and inspiration I get from your blog and several FB groups I am in, I am more organised this Christmas than most others, especially the baking. This week saw me make 48 fruit mince pies, they are in the freezer and will come out when guests pop in or on special evenings ;) They take no time to thaw, in fact I think I even ate them straight from frozen last year!

    I found 2 bargains at the op-shop this week, a king sized flat bed sheet for $4. It is in pleasant shades of grey stripes, I have plans to make some pads for placing hot preserving jars on when they come out of the canner, and a new apron and I will even get some more napkins out of it. The colours tie in perfectly with my kitchen.

    I also bought curtain hooks for $2. There must be 20-30 large metal hooks in the packet. These are the type of hooks I use on my curtains, and while I don’t need any at the moment, they are quite expensive to buy new, so they are on standby should any of my old plastic ones break!

    I don’t do alot of veggie gardening in summer, I have found it is too hot and humid to keep everything thriving, but I’m experimenting by digging holes in my patch and burying my kitchen scraps! Come April when I really get back into the garden I hope that it has improved the soil fertility.

    I did plant a heap of jalapeño seeds as I am running out of cowboy Candy! They are in punnets and will take a while to get going, so they will go into the garden when I get them going. Oh and two tomato seeds were planted for staggering the crop.

    Have a lovely week Annabel and bluebirds, take time to enjoy the month as we head into Christmas 🐦

    From Cheryl

    1. Dear Cheryl, Well done on all of those mince pies! They will be so handy! The king bed sheet was such a bargain! The fabric sounds just perfect for kitchen projects!! This is the way to get material! Burying scraps should improve your soil as long as nothing dies them up. Hopefully the worms move in and eat it up. The Jalapeños and tomatoes do well hopefully for you!
      Yes we must enjoy the month and appreciate everything, as busy as it is! With love Annabel.xxx

  6. You've had such a productive week (as usual). I have a quick question: When you make your cards, gift boxes, etc., what type of glue/adhesive do you use? I was inspired by your old card-making posts (I've gone back and read every single post from both this blog and your original Bluebirds blog) and tried my hand at card-making. They turned out fine, but the glue I used (good ol' Elmer's school glue) tended to cause the paper to wrinkle a bit. Am I doing something wrong, or are wrinkles just part of the territory?

    Roberta in So. Cal.

    1. Dear Roberta, Thank you! You deserve a medal for reading back through my old blog and this one! I use a solid glue stick, no liquid for the reason you mention... unless I am doing a ruffle or adding lace. Use a glue stick and try and avoid any lumps... put down your image and rub it flat. An old credit card or something flat can help smooth it out but then you wont get the wrinkles. It will be perfect. Heavier paper images are better, lighter paper is more difficult. The calendar I used was quite a nice thin yardstick weight... I have images left from it that are smaller and I will turn those into gift tags. I hope this helps! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. Yes, that helps a lot! Thank you so much. Based on your suggestion to use old books, I had picked up some coffee table-type books from a thrift store/op shop to cut up. One was a wedding theme that had gorgeous photos—I think you would have loved them. I also used some bits and bobs of ribbon, lace, silk flowers, and twine to fancy up some of the images (again, ideas I got from you!). Now that I know that I should use a glue stick and credit-type card (a great way to use old/empty gift cards) to smooth things out, I’m eager to make some more! Thanks again!

      Roberta in So. Cal.

  7. Dear Annabel,

    I just wanted to say that I thought your last post was so beautiful and just the right thing to hear and read just before Christmas! I tried to comment on that post, but Google wouldn't let me. You had a wonderfully productive week...your cakes are making my mouth water!

    I was out all day, today...first to make the Advent wreath at church with greens from all around our little hamlet...lots of neighbors allowed me to clip a few boughs here and there of pine and cedar, and so I think it makes it even more special. Then my youngest and I shored up the shopping for any of the Seafarers' Mission shoeboxes that were missing any items from the parish collection...I'll get those packaged up this weekend and dropped off at the mission next week. Home briefly and then off with hubby to friends' house for dinner and, as you say, being refreshed and encouraged with other like-minded folks. Now it's definitely time to spend a few days at home...being out and about all day long is sure draining, even if it's spent doing fun stuff!

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend! xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, Thank you so much. Your community and church sound just lovely. The Seafarers mission is something beautiful to contribute to also... I am betting you have some warm knitting in those boxes. I think you know when you feel uplifted and refreshed you have been enjoying real fellowship and it is so important. I have the same problem... if I am out of the house much things really catch up with me-get on top of me! I have to plan pretty well so I can enjoy visits and outings. December is always the craziest month of all. Have a good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  8. The button cards look really cute Annabel! That’s such a good idea. And sorting a pile of mixed up buttons into neat cards like that really appeals to the organiser in me lol.

    Your Christmas cakes remind me of my mum’s. We all took a turn to stir it and she also did the almonds on top. You’ll package them up beautifully!!

    Two weeks of school to go! I’ve definitely made enough crochet washcloths for teacher gifts now. I’m doing a cross stitch for my brother which is going quite quickly. It needs to given how late I’ve left it lol.

    I’ve baked so much this week, a morning tea for kids teachers, cookies for sports coaches, some to take to a friend who is having surgery. It never fails to amaze me how much people love home baking. I guess because I do it every week to feed my family. People really appreciate that you go to the trouble of baking for them, even if we feel like it’s just a normal thing we do. My kids were pretty happy too as they got the leftovers.

    I absolutely love this time of year. There are so many exciting events on, then school ends and everything slows right down.

    Have a great week everyone
    Jen (NZ)

    1. Dear Jen,
      Your baking is such an asset. The price of food, the price of anything baked... they are all crazy but the idea that you baked something especially for someone is, as you say, very appreciated. These are the thank you I think are really important. All these people that put in the yard yards for our kids or us...
      I know you will love school holidays and enjoy this build up to Christmas! It is crazy busy but still so nice and so exciting for the kids. They end up both worn out and excited! Have a good new week... I got the cakes wrapped! With love Annabel.xxx

  9. My big goal for this month (December) is to try to keep grocery expenses lowered and to avoid grocery overall. I say this after just going in yesterday, lol. Kitchen/bath reno are supposed to start on Monday of this coming week. I have been waiting months for the contractor to be done with a job he took when he was supposed to have come to mine. Tomorrow I shall be busy setting up a makeshift sort of kitchen for us to use (in my living room along the entry way wall) and moving out the last bits of stuff to clear the way for the workers. I am feeling a bit anxious about it all. It's not a difficult reno, floor plan remains the same, no pluming is moving etc, it's just taking out old worktops and cabinets and putting in new. I really expect that won't last long. It's the bathroom reno, also supposed to be simple, but that is a little more detailed. We are attempting to make it ready for our most senior years when stepping in and out of the current tiny shower will be difficult. So we are putting in a larger walk in shower that doesn't require a big step up/down to get into it and will hold a shower chair when we come to that need.

    I think I am done with Christmas shopping. Now to begin the process of wrapping items and setting them aside for later.

    I don't know why but Google won't let me sign in on this or several other blogs. Odd since I am signed in on my own and have no issues opening other Google sign in areas, so I'm trying to remember to sign my name.

    Terri/Blue House Journal

    1. Dear Terri, You are in for a very busy month! I have been through the kitchen renovation and the makeshift kitchen on the dining room table. It will be nice when that is all done. Thank you for persisting as this comment came through.
      Great work on being done with the Christmas shopping, you are organised and ahead! Have a very good new week! With love Annabel.xxx

  10. Annabel
    Youve had a great week! The produce you get in trade is so worth it, each lot you show is fantastic. I hope the bull is a real ladies man and you get quite a few calves. I love your cows. They always look so happy.
    As for me I've been doing a lot of baking. Todd doesn't like blueberries so I'm going to use the blueberry loaf cake recipe, but substitute chocolate chips for him. I made the blueberry loaf cake, cream cheese cookies and peanut butter cookies.
    I've been hanging the wash by the wood burner to dry it works really well.
    We picked up a load of wood pallets a business had set out for free.
    I combined 3 smaller bottles of laundry detergent into one larger bottle to make some space.
    I had some veggies in a container left over from Thanksgiving and used them in soup.
    Our ladies are still laying about a dozen eggs a day.
    I made $10 in gift cards from surveys
    We took a few loads of metal to the scrap yard
    I got a few samples in the mail. They are small but come in handy!
    I've been working on some wash cloths for Christmas and a little holiday decorating.
    Veggie scraps went into the compost along with used tea bags
    I sorted through Rick's sweatshirts and we donated the ones that are too big for him now.
    Was able to get Todd some jeans for Christmas for $9 a pair
    I cleaned the sinks and toilets using a mix of Dawn dish soap, vinegar and lemon juice with some water. It works really well!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      Thank you! A choc chip loaf will be lovely for Todd. All your baking has been beautiful! You are getting a lot of eggs, that is fantastic!
      I am so happy you are getting gift cards! Also the scrap metal going is great. I know your Christmas decorating is going well! (For anyone reading you will see some of Vickys decorations tomorrow!)
      Have a very good new week! I have a feeling it is going to be busy! With love Annabel.xxx

  11. As always, thank you for putting in the time and energy to share your accomplishments. Your boxes, buttons, baked goods, produce, and canned beets are all so wonderful!
    I purchased a beautiful king sized duvet at the thrift shop last Friday. The lovely brocade was cut up and made into gorgeous curtains for my dining room. A contrasting pillow sham was sewn into a new pillow cover that sits on a bench in the same room. We are all loving the warmth the new curtains provide as well.
    God blessed my husband with many food finds at a local thrift shop that also passes out donated food. The grapes, avocados, Chinese dumplings, oranges, and bread not only saved us $$, but time as well. I didn't have to bake. I had more time to process pumpkins and catch up on mending. God knows our needs even before we ask.
    Blessings to all,
    Leslie in Ohio

    And thank you, Kathy for your great attitude! "Do not grow weary of doing good..." Galatians 6:9

    1. Dear Leslie, Thank you! And thank you for recognising Kathy as well. And the beautiful Bible verse.
      The brocade made into curtains sounds just beautiful! They will for sure give you insulation as well as beauty. The food your husband came across and not needing to bake meant you got that pumpkin on to the shelves! That is so good! What a great report Leslie! I hope you have a good new week too! With love Annabel.xxx

    2. Dear Leslie,

      Thank you so much for your encouragement and the lovely verse. Moments of kindness help.


  12. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds, I try to write again but somehow it does not appear on the blog. Maibe iit is the net, maybe it is my computer. I read everything, though, all the comments, and I enjoy it like talking with friends. Sadly, not many people around me think or act this way, so you are my like minded friends from whom I learn and get strenght when need it. Thank you. Nothing very interesting happened here - it is very cold, grey and wet. We have had minus zero temperatures even during day time some days . When we don' t have rain we have snow and viceversa. My second job is more demanding now, with holidays approaching - the on line butcher shop that I help out deliveres all over the country traditional products and it is busy these months. Lots of phone talking, computer stuff and boxes prepping. At home is the same - knitting (the orders keep coming) some home schooling twice a week, cooking, baking. The young white chickens keep laying every other day, despite the cold and dark. They get fresh water, fresh dry hay, good food and even fresh greens as I have started some lettuce ssedlings inside and I can rotate the pots. I have finished a knitted jumper for me in time for something new for Christmas, almost all the presents are ready but I shop very very carefouly, prices are inacceptable high. We did the budget for next year and we agree to pay attention to any penny - the budget is a bit tighter but we put some more towards savings - the retirement pension and medical care is scary in our country and I think ahead. It is not easy, my coleagues are shopping on line and vacationing almost every weekend and not thinking of savings, not to mention pensions, so you are my circle of wise people. If it doesn't reach you, I am thinking of you. Much love, Laura_s_world from Romania

    1. Dear Laura,
      Thank you for trying again as it worked! It is shocking to me that with war on your doorstep people are not thinking as we all do! Not too wise! But you are wise Laura! Your second job and third... the knitting... it is all a lot of extra work but I am thinking the butcher shop work would be less busy after Christmas... Good job on adding to your savings! It is amazing you are still getting eggs! They are happy chickens! Laura dont worry about those spending big and not saving. They are not thinking. They think someone will come along and save them... but I dont think so. I think of how the Bible says to think in 7 or 8 investments... to be prepared as "we do not know what might befall our land" and this is wisdom. Your garden and your chickens, your pantry... these are all investments. Also I know you are spreading goodness and joy as you deal with people on the phone and pack the boxes! I am going to check Instagram and hope you posted a photo of your jumper! I am glad you got something done for yourself! With much love, Annabel.xxx


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