Saturday 24 December 2016

Frugal Tasks, A Year In Review And Merry Christmas.

I've kept my days quite busy this week.  I worked two days cleaning homes,  then did a fair bit of sorting,  cleaning and organising around my own home.  The garden needed a little weeding and watering too. Here's what else I got up to this week -

*  Made a big batch of pita chips with pita bread that was given to us.  These will be great with dips,  cream cheese and camembert cheese over the holidays.

*  I went to Spotlight earlier this week.  They had 50% off all Christmas decos,  craft and material.  I stocked up on lots of ribbon for crafts and card making.  The ribbon was 60% off.

*  Saved the shower warm up water for the pot plants.  Saved the washing machine rinse water for each next load of washing.

*  Picked our first two peaches of the season.  We also picked boysenberries for the very first time ( just a few ),  lots of raspberries and strawberries.

*  Darren picked lovely pink roses from our garden for my bedside table.  They are the first thing I smell when I'm waking up in the morning and the last thing I smell as I'm drifting off to sleep.

*  Refilled the Miracle Spray bottles around the house.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  I used recycled bread bags to store the loaves in the freezer.

*  Gratefully accepted lots of bread bags from a charity bbq.  I turned them inside out,  decrumbed them and hung them on a clotheshorse in the sun to dry.

*  Darren and I picked up a few Christmas decorations last Sunday at 50% off.  They are a lovely light mint green and dusty pink / mauve color.  These will be the colors on our tree next year with silver.

*  Lined the bathroom bins with lots of recycled bread bags.

*  Made a batch of strawberry and apple jam using our strawberries,  lemon juice from our lemons and sugar given to us.

*  Refilled the foaming hand wash bottles with diluted shower gel.

*  Refilled a conditioner bottle and added water to the almost empty bottle to get every last drop out.

A Year In Review

Well, 2016 is coming to an end.  I must admit it's been a challenging year to get through. We lost a good family friend to cancer early this year.  Darren and I found it hard at times to keep going with our goals but we did manage to get a few things done. I'll be glad to start 2017.  It will seem like a fresh start.

Here are some of this year's highlights -

*  In January Jessica bought her first car.  She'd been saving since she started work at 14 1/2.  Her hard saving paid off and she paid cash for her three year old car.

*  Megan received her leaners permit  on her 16th birthday in January.  She's had fun driving to school and work on the weekend.

*  Cath and I travelled to Adelaide in February to help promote the opening of Aldi in South Australia. We had approximately 35 people attend our guided shopping tour.  We also had  fun catching up with Annabel,  Tania ( Outback Tania ) and a few Cheapskate Club members.

*  Jessica got her drivers licence in March.  That's when Darren and I started going even greyer.  It's hard to let our kids grow up,  but grow up they must.

*  During May I filmed a story for the Channel Nine News.

*  August came around and we had a new kitchen installed as well as new flooring throughout our home.  New lighting was installed too.  We were glad to say goodbye to bare light bulbs and hello to down lights.  Darren installed new colonial skirting boards too.  Our home was packed up and moved from room to room during these big renovations.

*  Towards the end of August a group of mums ( including myself ) set up The Crafty Mums Co op Etsy online shop.  We've been busy making and selling our cards and crafts.  Thankyou to everyone who visited our store.  Thankyou to our customers who bought our goods and for the wonderful reviews.

Once again I'd like to thank all of my blog and Facebook readers.  I appreciate all your comments and feedback on the topics I've shared.  We've become an online family who learn from each other.  I get a thrill to hear from overseas readers too.  We have quite a few readers from New Zealand,  America,  Canada and England.  The world seems quite small when we can chat and share our frugal tips.

May your Christmas be a joyful one shared with family and friends as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Ribbon bargains

Pre Christmas sales

In the garden

Our first peaches of the year

First ever boysenberries

Our Year In Review Photos

Soap making

Knitted dish cloths

Hand Towels for the Etsy shop

Jam making

Pumpkin soup

Darren's hot cross buns

Old kitchen

New kitchen


Cards for sale on Etsy

Christmas crafts


  1. Wendy,
    You've had a busy year! It has been a pleasure to see all you've accomplished and your frugalness is not only creative, but an inspiration as well! I hope the new year is wonderful for you and please tell Darren his hot cross buns look so yummy!

    1. Thankyou for your lovely comments throughout the year Vicky. I'll let Darren know.

  2. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas too.
    I only found your blog this year, and it truely does inspire me each and every week, Thank You for the time and energy you put into writing it each and every week.

  3. Merry Christmas to you Wendy and your lovely family and here's to a wonderful 2017. Thank you for your blog this year my favourite task on Saturday morning is to get up and read your week in review, it manages to inspire me every week. I look forward to what you are going to share with us in 2017. Best wishes Alexandra

    1. Thankyou Aly. It's been great getting to know you. I love the frugal tasks list too.

  4. Dear Wendy, What a big year! You achieved a lot. Getting through major renovations is hard too!
    Thank you for all your posts and encouragement! Have a wonderful Christmas with your family!
    I am looking forward to what we get up to in 2017! With love

    1. Thankyou Annabel. I'm hoping for a quieter year around the home. No major renos. I look forward to more crafting next year.

  5. Hi Wendy! I'm new to your blog and enjoy it very much. I just learned to crochet and would like to know what type of yarn you use for your knitted dish cloths. Thanks and Merry Christmas! Shirley Seattle USA

    1. Shirley, I use 100% cotton for the dish cloths. Mostly I find the cotton in op shops for a couple of dollars a bag 9 3 or 4 balls in each ). Your local material shop will sell it. It's also known as knitting / crochet cotton.

    2. Thank you, Wendy. I'll start searching after the new year. BTW I'm 81 and learned by watching YouTube. My first attempt looks pretty good. Want to do more as gifts. Thanks again, Shirley

  6. Wishing you and the family a holy and happy Christmas. Thank you so much for your entertaining and imformative blog throught the year. Looking forward to 2017. Thanks Wendy from Karin

  7. Hi Wendy,

    Well this week was a very busy week getting ready for Christmas. I love the bargain you got on the Ribbon and your "low" cost Jam, fantastic!!!

    Picked lots of things from the garden this week, lettuce, Silverbeet, Boysenberries, capsicums, Tomatoes and carrots. Used the tank water for the garden and washing and received the water bill and even know it was more than this time last year, our usage was less. We also received the Gas bill and lucky I check the bill. They had estimated the bill for some reason so I rang to ask why. I also went out and read the metre and our metre read 1414, the bill said previous reading start 1562 - 1748???? We weren't even up to the start amount as yet. He said they had put in the wrong figures in our last bill (Oct 2016) and he would have the gas metre read again and would end up as a credit, Yeah!!! Pays to check your bill and even your meter against the bill.

    I had to go to the Osteo as I had a stiff neck for about 5 days and when I got there, I waiting for 1/2 hour and Osteo didn't turn up, then he rang to say he was sick. She booked me in for the next day and I got my appointment for free (savings $60.00). I coloured my own hair this week and cut my fringe.

    All meals were made from scratch and the chocolate bickies you gave me on Saturday, I made a chocolate ripple cake to take to a friends house for dessert on Tuesday (apparently Chocolate ripple cake is her favourite, so thanks.
    I got some great bargains on Milk and Meat at Woolies during the week and even the man marking down the meat, told me what he was going to mark down and to wait whilst he did it, so I cleared the shelf.

    Today I'm busy cooking for tomorrow, Turkey, Cauliflower cheese and Sticky date Puddings to take to the inlaws.

    THANK YOU , THANK YOU, THANK YOU , so much for everything you've done, said and helped me with this year. We wish you and your beautiful family a very happy Christmas and can't wait to see what's in store for 2017.

    Blessings xxx,

  8. Wishing you and your family a lovely Christmas Thank you so much for all your wonderful blogs,and recipes through the year.

    warm wishes Mel.

  9. Gosh - it is a bit like writing your yearly PDR. Really I good idea to reflect and see what has been accomplished.

  10. Hi Wendy, what a year you've had! It's been a pleasure to read your blog and follow your happenings throughout the year. Thank you for all your advice, tips and well wishes. Hubby and I have noticed that we have been able to put away much more money back into the mortgage this year and you have helped us do that. 2016 for us has had ups and downs too but we are very happy for the festive season as things start to slow down. A very merry Christmas to your family and have a happy New year!


  11. Hi from the UK. Thanks for all the great tips on frugality this year. May you and yours have a lovely Christmas and a happy new year.

  12. Dear Wendy,
    Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thank-you for all your inspiration, great ideas and encouragement. Saying good-bye to loved ones is very hard...memories are true treasures. Congratulations on all you and your family have achieved this year. You certainly "walk the talk" and your blog reflects this. Your photos are amazing too. Thanks again. Cheers, Jo

  13. What a beautiful post. I am sitting here admiring all your craft and thinking I must take some photos of the things I make in 2017 and keep track. I am also getting ideas for lovely new gifts. May 2017 be a wonderful year for you all

  14. i, yesterday we were having friends to visit, the men went out for dogwalking and we two women chatted ahead. Not all frugality comes equal to both of us, we just try and keep what pleases us, whivh is a lot. My saying: first to the thriftshop, companyshops come second choice. One can try a bread baking machine for say 12 Euro, e new one costing over 80 Euro, after two bakings my DH said he did like our bakers bread better (baker across the road!0. So, back the bbm went to the trhift, I was 12 Euro "poorer" and wiser, instead of over 80 E! So, lesson learned, but I also bought an electric gourmet heater, same as we had, only, the dropped ceramic plate was useble, but with two corners off a constand reminder of picking it up too hot and dropping it. New ceramic plate was not available and if so, delivery would cost over 25 E and the plate over 30! Thrifted set missing one pan (hey, we have already 8) cost 10 E, home in backside car, no deliverycosts. Hurrah fot thriftshops. One tip: buy when you see what you can use, do not espect thriftshops to have what you want when you need it. Back to the visit. We were talking washing when on vacation with a camper, she does, we do stay at home vacations (at balconia, haha). She said after showering she had a whole bucket of warm/hot water in which she soaked the sheets, lid on. Next day rinse and dry in the sun, no need foR washing tokens. She also said, and this is something yoy may or may not have mentioned, she always takes dishtoweld with some wont-go-in-the wash-away spots camping, The soaking in soapy water, then wringing (no rinsing yet) and drying in the sun, next day washing as usual, the spot has vanished. I said I had the same experience, DH likes white inderwear, much easier to get spotless when sundried out of soapy water, as are dishtowels. So maybe this is new to other sundriers, it works best when hung in the sun out of soapy water, when dry wash as usual (think of the bleaching our foremothers did on the village green or back in the yard. Have a lovely 2017, the year I will turn 69, so I do remember the time before householdconvenences. The closest my mother came to them? A handturned wooden washtub, which went broke and she had to do scrubbing for 9 years! a washwringer (wentbroke a year later) and a canning jar with a handturned whipping cream cltching thing on top, that was it. But clothes were not washed as often as nowadays, my washing of two days would been her weekly washin and no deodorants available yet.


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