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, 13 October 2015

Pantries and Preparedness. Gifts and encouragement.

This year most of my gift giving is pantry related. Luckily in the family we all love our kitchens and pantries and that I have friends who do also. And then there is the "encourage others along" factor that I am trying to do.

A while ago Helen gave me a gift of a set of blue Ball jars from America. I was so excited as I have heard of these all my life and never had any. And blue! When they arrived in the post it was really exciting! Now that is a good pantry gift!

This got me thinking about gifts to give that would add to a pantry. Seriously, every time I use those jars I think of Helen. It is a really lasting present that I will keep forever. They make me happy!

This year especially I have given pantry related gifts and am making up many more for Christmas.

There are a lot of possibilities here! I am combining my hand made tea towels (kitchen towels) in this gift as thats still a kitchen related present but also something to do with the pantry.

Firstly Chloe helped me by printing and binding Patsy's E Book  (from A Working Pantry ). This turned out to be so inexpensive to make multiple gifts. This book will get anyone started on building up their pantry and inspired to do it. An alternative to binding is printing it and putting it into a plastic pocket folder. I look at this picture now and think why didn't I tuck a wooden spoon under that bow!

The next thing I added was printed labels which we printed onto label paper. Jes has so many to print for free at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth with all different kinds of labels for different purposes.
I also use The Graphics Fairy for pretty old fashioned labels.

So then I had labels, Patsy's Book and Tea towels...

Since I have been adding items from the pantry and have jars of jam, my little fruit cakes etc. that can also be part of a pantry gift. These are things that keep well and are so useful to have in your pantry. I also dried and packaged all those Bay Leaves and have a packet to go into each of these gifts.

Labels, jam toppers, tags etc are all so useful. Most of my smaller material scraps are cut into circles for covering jam tops. Gingham is lovely for this. I have made packs of them in cellophane bags and added ribbons to match. This is a really nice little pantry gift or gift for someone you know who loves to make jam.
So are labels. I find it hard to get pretty labels. Printing my own has helped. Otherwise go with the option of tying on a tag. This can also double as a gift tag and label. I write the contents on one side and the message on the other. I have also included the recipe sometimes.
These look really good tied to your food parcels. They add a lot.
Recently I used the photocopier to make up a huge number of Mason Jar tags...

I have used some already as gift tags and they are perfect for pantry gifts! But as food labels, labels around jars etc they look pretty and do the job too.

Packets of these packed in cellophane, in sets of six, are another gift to give.

For a larger gift I have made a little hamper of lovely pantry items that we all need.  I have included beautiful good quality vanilla, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs and spices etc. 

Then I wrap them all up as little treats. I did this for Helen once and said it was a gift of possibilities.

This was all packed into a little box to go in the mail. 

There are so many possibilities! I can think of great lists of them but I want to keep it to inexpensive and lovely. 
A wonderful possibility is finding vintage jars in op shops. Over the years I have found so many including boxes of them. Now these all washed up would be a beautiful gift. Imagine! 
Also a giant jar filled with useful things such as vanilla and sugar or packets of herbs...
A vintage apron and rolling pin (when I say vintage I am still talking op shop bargains!)
A baking tin filled with baking ingredients or a mixing bowl filled with ingredients.
Make up batches of your own Vanilla essence and give in lovely bottles.
A big jar filled with pretty patty pans and sprinkles for cakes.
A cup cake decorating themed gift.
Or Mimi's Sticky Balsamic Vinegar (as mentioned on Monday)
Little pots of herbs to go into the garden or windowsill. This is also adding to the pantry!

I always say use what you have. Leslie was saying that they are making the chopping boards. If you have fruit make jam. If you have lots of baskets make hampers. If you have fabric make covered cook books and jam toppers or pretty aprons. Truly, using what we have is a great place to start.

What are good pantry gifts you have given or have as an idea?
I saw something recently that I thought was lovely. It is a modern take on the old fashioned idea or edging your shelves with lace or trim. Oh my goodness... pretty trim along your shelves! The lovely tapes you can now buy that stick on and come in little florals! Imagine that!

Well, it is never ending. But what lovely and useful ideas that make your heart happy!


  1. Thank you Annabel for mentioning my e-book! I love how you've pulled everything together ... what a great gift!

    1. Dear Patsy,
      I think your book is a great pantry gift. I love it and its suitable for beginners or advanced. Pantry gifts would be a good chatting subject on facebook. I am loving those discussions especially the one earlier about stocking the pantry without going to the store. With love,

  2. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, Annabel! Any of those gifts would surely make someones heart go pit-a-pat! Washi tape along the front of shelves is so pretty, as is lace, or scalloped edging from continuous curtaining. So a gift of pretty jars to use as canisters and some Washi tape or edging for the front of shelves for a friend that loves a vintage or Shabby Chic look would be lovely I think. That's the thing too, to target the gift to the person. Not just to give blindly. I used to do that and it didn't always work. With a few little tweaks, the same ideas can be used to suit different people. A sleek silver or metallic Washi tape and Steel canisters would be a good replacement for lace or jars for a current look for someone else. A more modern print for teatowels, stainless steel or fluoro plastic kitchen tools instead of wooden spoons, twine instead of ribbon, white bowls or platters instead of pretty jars, and so on. It's fun coming up with different variations to suit people actually! A gorgeous post. Love, Mimi xxx

  3. Annabel,
    Such great ideas! I love them all. I made a very small batch of rose petal syrup this summer I am thinking it would look very pretty in a basket with some tea bags for rose petal tea. Not sure yet,

  4. I've given hot choc drink mix, white sauce mix, choc custard mix, laundry powder, miracle spray, biscuits ( cookies ),and fruit crumble toping mix. Obviously not all given together but I've done laundry hampers and baking hampers.

    1. Dear Wendy,
      I love all these mixes. And I love the idea to make laundry hampers. On Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth she has printable labels for laundry items and things to make. And pretty pegs etc. It is gorgeous! If you havent seen it you would love it.
      Also this reminds me I used to make jars of wool mix. It sets in a jar and smells beautiful and dissolves in warm water. I havent made it in years. I will find that recipe. Many thanks! I hope you are having a good week! Love

  5. Annabel, Martha Stewart has a video showing how to make easy paper edging Nice, simple and effective. Lots of lovely gift ideas in your post as usual. Thank you for all the work you do in putting your posts together. I know it takes time to take and edit photos and then write up a post.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, Thank you I will have a look at this! I think its such an old fashioned and sweet idea. I know ladies used to cut newspaper or white paper and cut it into pretty patterns to make their shelves look nice. Mum was always lining shelves with beautiful paper. I love it.
      I think the photos take me longest of all! Thank you! With love,

    2. Nana chel, I've just watched the martha stewart shelf paper video, how simple but how effective. Thanks. Fi

  6. Hi Annabel, thank you for another beautifully written and inspiring post. I love the idea of giving pantry items in a hamper. Last Christmas my parents gave me a stainless steel/ metal mixing bowl ( with a rubber base so it is sturdy for mixing) filled with baking ingredients, as one of my gifts. I loved it and use the bowl regularly.
    I am giving pretty mugs with handmade chocolates this Christmas as some of my gifts . The mugs cost me about $2 each ( reduced from $5.50 ) and the baking chocolate was $2 a block approximately on special. I will add coconut to the melted chocolate for something yummy. I can also add tea or coffee or hot chocolate mix to the gift if I want to. I have also bought a biscuit tin with photos of all different biscuits (cookies) on it and I am going to make chocolate chip cookies to put in it as a gift for secret Santa . I also bought a macaron making kit on sale after Christmas and will add 2 tea towels to that for a cheap but nice gift. Thanks again Annabel for some great ideas.

    1. Dear Brbara, What a nice gift from your parents and I bet you think often eras you use it.
      Your gift plans sound just lovely. It is amazing what we can do with a bit of planning. Also how buying ahead when there are specials helps a lot.
      Thank you so much for your kind works and encouragement. Love

  7. Lovely ideas especially if you have recipients who will appreciate the gesture. I enjoy reading your posts and admire your creativity and willingness to share your ideas.

    1. Dear Barb, thank you! My friends who like pantries and pretty things are easy to make for. Love! Men are often more difficult and a few people,I know who's taste I don't really know... food is great then if I can find out what they like. It takes some spying sometimes!
      Thank you very much for your encouragement, love Annabel.xxxx

  8. I love how you printed out Patsi's book into a gift! What a great idea! I will be doing this too... And thank you for including a link to our little blog :)

    P.S. Herbal honeys are another fun and useful pantry gift along with diy tea blends featuring homemade citrus peels mixed with tea, etc...

    1. Dear Jes,
      Thankyou! I have not made herbal honey. We get honey from the farm as a bee keeper comes and puts hives near the scrub. Once a year he gives us a drum of honey in exchange. So I have a source of honey....
      Thanks for this idea. With love,

  9. Good morning Annabel, thank you for all the wonderful ideas. I'm making all the men in our family a jar of spiced pecan ( pecan free just had to pick them). Would you please print a pattern for the Mason Jar tags they are so pretty and would look great on the jars of spiced nuts.

    1. Dear Sue,
      Thank you! I am envious you have pecans! Oh my goodness! This is a perfect example of using what you have.
      If am going to attempt to find a link to the jar pattern so you can go to that and print. Hopefully I will have found it by Monday's post. I have had this ages and forget where I got it! But it's very handy and I just sat and but them out and punched holes.
      Many thanks, love

    2. Sue,
      This is the mason jar design I used.
      I believe that I had to play around with the sizing and placement of images on the page to have several on one page.
      After reading Annabel's post I had to make some for myself. Such a cute idea!
      Hope this helps,

    3. Dear Sharla,
      Thank you! That is perfect and very good of you to post.
      I'm glad you made yourself some tags, they are really useful. With thanks,

    4. Thank you Sharla I will make tags tonight!!


  10. Love the gold wrapping and red bow!
    Heidi xx

    1. Thanks Heidi, truly ordinary little things are special with a bit of wrapping. I love to wrap things individually so they are fun to unwrap and make opening a present take longer. It sounds childish (and probably is) but it seems worth the effort. I will sit and wrap little parcels and tie bows while watching TV or doing something else! With thanks,

  11. You talk of the encouragement factor Annabel. It's certainly working. Great post. Fi xx

    1. Thanks Fiona! It's mutual! We are all egging each other on!
      I hope you are having a good week. It was hot here today but the next week or so looks pretty nice.
      We are starting swimming too which does me good and I sleep better. Hope you are not too busy... With love Annabel.xxxx

  12. Gorgeous ideas Annabel. While I was waiting for Hannah this afternoon I popped into the op shop next door and spent up big - the grand sum of $1.50! But I have the most beautiful embroidered scone holder for 50c that I have already taken a pattern off and a very pretty set of embroidered serviettes $1 for the four of them!
    The scone doyley is for my linen drawer, I know it will be used regularly. The serviettes are to be part of an afternoon tea gift I'm putting together.

    I also found some very cute little jars in the shed that I'd forgotten I had, so they've become two sets of spice mixes - Mexican, Italian and Asian to add to hampers for Christmas. I've made the mixes from spices and herbs I've bought in bulk so those sets have cost approximately $2 each to make - very frugal!

    My father-in-law has a macadamia tree that just gives and gives, and so does he! I'm going to shell them (or beg Wayne and the boys too, they're really hard) and then turn them into honeyed macadamia nuts, put them in cello bags, and tie them with raffia and a label.

    I'm just loving this series, I love making and giving handmade/homemade gifts, and your ideas are so pretty and always have me thinking of what I have and what I can do with it, thank you so much.

    1. Dear Cath,
      You know me... I love a tale of a good op shop find! You've got to stop throwing that kind of money around lol Well what lovely buys. I am very fond of linens and old embroidered ones are becoming much harder to find.
      Oh my goodness a Macadamia tree is a huge asset! Very healthy too. Now I am thinking of macadamia recipes. Andy makes a pork recipe with them... Which is beautiful.
      Thank you very much. I am working on another Christmas gifts post for Monday. With lots of love,

  13. Oh, the vintage jars from thrift stores (op shops)! I love those! I use them as vases for flowers cut from the yard.

    The two pantry gifts I have going are vanilla sugar and vanilla extract. They've been in progress for months and will steep for another month or so before I package them up. I have bottles and labels for the extract and some of the sweet little 4-ounce canning jars for the sugar. I may color some of the sugar and package it up to give as an early gift to friends so they can decorate their Christmas cookies.

    1. The vanilla sugar and vanilla extract are just lovely gifts. I linked to the vanilla sugar to Bluebirds fb page as a great Christmas gift to make now.
      AND I dont know why I never thought of coloring sugar for cookies? Oh my goodness I have visions of little jars of pastel colors! What a pretty gift! Thank you so much for this idea! xxx

    2. You're most welcome, and thank you for sharing the post! Vanilla sugar smells extra-good while you're using it to decorate cookies.

  14. Dear Annabel, I just love all your ideas! And I'm getting ideas from the comments also. I, too, want to make some mason jar tags!! :) Will get to that soon, I hope.

    When I go to the thrift shop, they wrap anything glass/breakable in plain brown paper. I keep each piece, "iron" it out and will use that to wrap gifts in throughout the year. I like the rustic/country look. Small pinecones add a nice touch too.

    I've used doilies from my grandmother to line the edges of my china cabinet. I've also used paper doilies in smaller areas. My mother-in-law lined her kitchen cabinets with contact paper (sticky on the back). I helped her once to change it out and boy was that difficult! LOL I like your idea much better!!

    Have a good weekend all and thank you for great ideas!! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      I love brown paper too. And string. I think it is just lovely. Our local florist which is super fancy and expensive uses nothing else! Well dont on saving it and ironing it,
      I have had some fights with contact paper that are something to behold :) One way to remove the hairs on my arms lol!
      Vicky had the greatest idea... instead of using contact to use vinyl or that plastic tablecloth by the meter stuff... cut it and then glue it in place. It wipes over but no major fights to get it to sit perfectly flat! Why didnt I think of this?
      You have a wonderful weekend too, with love, Annabel.xxxx

  15. I am so thankful for friends like you Annabel and this little community of like minded friends here on your blog.

    You inspire me to try new many great ideas in this post.

    Now to get moving on working on my gift lists :)

    I recently added some vintage lace to the shelves on my old kitchen dresser, it has brightened it immensely. I have been thinking ideas for my pantry shelves but they are so big. I was thinking of making a frill type fringe out of pretty material...still working on that :)


    1. Dear Tania,
      I feel just the same. Everyone is so lovely and helpful to each other. If one person asks another helps. Well, it is so nice.
      You have been so busy on your garden and spring is the time to do it. So its a wonder you have had time for much else!
      I saw a lovely idea that you might like... the lady used gingham ribbon along her shelf edgings. No hemming and no cutting! She softly gathered it as she glued it a bit like I do on the crepe paper ruffles... You could do any colour or pattern of course. It looks so sweet though.
      Have a lovely weekend! With love,Annabel.xxxx

  16. Reading back over this again as it is such a great post. I love the idea of building up the pantry for gifts. I think it's wonderful and how luxurious to for the receiver to receive such fine things. I love this little community too,everyone is so nice. Vanilla sugar, vanilla extract, herbal honey, Mexican spice... Wow! I thought today a good pantry gift for a new mum may be some typed up baby food recipes (can be used in the slow cooker), pretty bibs, baby spoon, ice cube trays and zip lock bags. Love, bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      I love the idea of a baby food making starter gift! That is so nice and many people dont seem to know how easy it is to make baby food. When your friends have babies remember this idea!
      I am just starting making Harper some things like stewed apples. At this stage ice cube trays are plenty big enough for her. Later I think the mini muffin tins good, then tip them into zip lock bags.
      Have a great week Bridge, with thanks,


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