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.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Making our Christmas Presents. Show and Tell 3 (Last one!)

I hope after all these posts showing what everyone has been making that we all now feel YES I can make my own gifts, save money and still have a wonderful giving Christmas.

This week I realised how many people come out of Christmas with debt. Instead of getting to the New Year ahead it is getting to start the new year behind. All year I have been harping on about ways to get ahead, have an emergency fund, build up our pantries and preparedness. So when I see wonderful efforts to make gifts and stay within a healthy budget I feel happy!

There is still a little time too...  and in January we have the Christmas Challenge which will aim to have us making gifts all year so that next Christmas you have so many things made you have spares for Birthdays!

Thank you again to everyone who has sent me photos of what they have been making!

Over the weekend I made some more small gifts (Coconut Ice) and I give these to the girls too for their own neighbours etc.  I make this every year. It is so handy to have small gifts to give. Truly, in many instances, a small gift and a note of thanks is all you need and is very appreciated.

Now over to you...
Firstly Melissa has been card making. I love seeing cards as there are so many ideas and it is lovely to see what everyone has come up with. These look gorgeous. (I love the birds!)

Sheila has been making felt food. I love play food! And all the pretend cooking and gorgeous things children do. My girls made play doh food and my Dad would pretend to actually eat it. You should have seen the girls faces! lol They would have loved this, then they could have watched him pretend to eat felt! ...

I totally love the fried egg and the Swiss cheese! Thank you very much Sheila.

Mimi has been making bouquets. They look so lush and professional and who knows what they would cost in a florists. But everyone would love one of these.

Flowers and foliage is suitable as a table centre or a gift of thanks and appreciation and look how luscious this looks! I keep my eyes open for things that are suitable. Just now I have my eye on a Holly Bush... thank you Mimi!

Martha has been wrapping match boxes as I did a while back on a post. Matches are something really necessary and yet easy to overlook in preparedness. Look how Martha made them over...

I love the bird! These look so festive and gorgeous.  Well done Martha. I also need to mention Martha is Vicky's Mum. As we have had Vicky's Grand daughter Emma also post crafts in this series that is three generations from one family!

Speaking of... Vicky has been making hampers. She has made several kinds but I loved this one...

This looks just beautiful.

Chloe's friend gave her a beautiful gift and Chloe told me I had to see it. Sue made biscuit (cookie) mixes in lovely jars. Truly Chloe was wrapped in this gift and knew I would love it. Now we have seen gifts in jar ideas before and I wanted to show you how nice this looks.

So nice and we could pinch the idea and make anything from hot chocolate mix to biscuits to soup mixes. Lovely.

Teresa has been making cards and making them into sets to give. I just love the deer design she has used. She placed glitter dots on as well and I love glitter so I loved this. I know this will be a well received gift. They look so professional.

Colette has been card and gift bag making. She has personalized some as gifts. ie her sister in law loves orange and is a cyclist so Colette makes sets like this for her...

Her SIL loves this and keeps requesting them! This is such a good point and we were talking about it last week... knowing your recipients personal interests, favourite colours etc is such a help. They are going to love your gift when it is in a theme and colour they like.

Colette makes the cards up into sets of 4 to 8 and sometimes includes tags also.

Thank you to everyone for writing to me, sending me photos and telling me what you have been doing.  I never knew this would turn into a series. Next year during the challenge I will have a show and tell at the end of each month as we fill our Christmas/present cupboards all year. It is really helpful to see what people are doing.

We can give beautiful thoughtful gifts and stay within our budget. It is possible to do both!

Have a wonderful week! I hope you can find some little ways to add some Christmas spirit to your week and for those around you. It doesn't take much. Today I sent two tiny prettily wrapped Christmas cakes with Andy to work. One is for his work mate. The other is for him to randomly give someone he meets. He said "I am really going to enjoy this!" and that was it. But it might make three days! (who knows!) Oh, and mine! It's that easy!   xxx


  1. Congratulations and a huge thank you to everyone for sharing their lovely creations! I've been "going to school" with this collection of ideas and hope to come up with my own versions. Everything is so pretty!

    1. I am the same. I love having a list of new things to make and am planning next year. I love seeing this! It warms my heart seeing such beautiful

  2. I have enjoyed this series Annabel and have started a list of things from it to make next year during your Christmas challenge. Thank you and to everyone who made a contribution to the series. It has been very inspiring!

    1. Dear Patsi, Thank you! I have enjoyed seeing the things youve made and your op shop finds. Its truly amazing what we can do! xxx

  3. Annabel,
    Everyone has made such wonderful gifts. It is really nice to see what everyone has been working on. I have been trying to use up odds and ends for the bags and hampers. I am sure whoever receives your tiny cake is going to be very happy. It seems sometimes it's the little things that make people the happiest. I love Christmas and handing out little things so I always make extra to give away just for the joy of it!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      I love how you have made up your hampers. I chose this one as I think the winter theme is a novelty to me as its hot here at Christmas!
      You have done a great job on all your crafts and gifts! With love Annabel.xxxx

  4. Dear Annabel, Everything looks beautiful. Everyone did such a good job, it's hard to pick a favorite. I have been getting ideas together for next year's birthdays and just random giving. I think homemade gifts are the best, not just for the price (though that is a plus), but because of the thought and time that goes into making them. Everyone clearly did a good with personalizing the gifts for the individuals. Thank you to everyone for sharing, and thank you, Annabel, for posting :) --Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      It is so good to have a list of ideas as we have moments of !!! and then forget them! I am working on a list too and quite excited to get started in January. The ladies have given me a lot of ideas. As Harper grows I will do the felt food for sure. With love,

  5. Dear Annabel

    Such beautiful gifts. Not every gift suits every person but you just cannot go wrong with this lovely assortment. Next week I am making shortbread cookies to gift to the neighbours and a few close friends. Now it doesn't matter if they themselves don't eat them at this time of year we all have visitors or house guests or even family calling in so cookies never go astray.

    My dear daughter Ebony has made a huge herd of Reindeer Candy Canes for me to take to the Nursing Home to give out to the fellow care workers, nurses and to some select Residents. The rest of them are going to the Lifestyle team to use on the Lolly Trolley.

    I am so happy to begin the challenges you are helping us stick together on. The Christmas Gift Challenge and also Terry's Challenge. I am saddened by the amount of people that do not plan for Xmas and end up in huge high interest debts. I plan for Christmas as much as I can but occasionally things do not go to plan but then I make note of this and work on it for the next year. Learning from our mistakes or our past experiences is what helps us perfect our frugality.

    You are a constant inspiration to us all and one of God's True Blessings

    1. Dear Mel, A lot of people get in a whole world of trouble over Christmas then wonder why they dont like it!
      That was wonderful of Ebony to make up the gifts for the nursing home. I am doing a nursing home visit today and I know they appreciate every kindness.
      Shortbread is a lovely gift. As you say people have visitors so it is an option to use it when guests come. All helpful.
      I am so glad you will be in with the challenges as your work and ideas will inspire everyone! With love,

  6. Dear Annabel, Love this series! Thank you so much for sharing others' wonderful gifts! Well done, everyone!

    I'm also making a list of gifts to make along with setting aside material and items I already have! It will be fun to work with "everyone" all year, getting ideas and encouragement! Thank you!

    Have a wonderful week. I love how you think of ways to share with others! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      Thank you! I totally think using up things we have is the best thing. Also I think should we ever run out things will come our way ie materials from the op shop, natural resources etc we just have to keep our eyes out!
      I hope you have a good week too! With love Annabel.xxxx

  7. Wow Annabel...they all look wonderful! So many variations on the cardmaking, and those mixes in jars are amongst the prettiest I've ever seen. Thanks everyone for the inspiration. And you're right...there's still time for DIY gifts. Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,Thank you! Chloe is so taken with the gift Sue gave her and they are so pretty. She has the cooking directions on the tags. They are gorgeous. Also I am thinking provided we had enough jars we could do a whole heap of these at one time production line style...
      I hope your week is going well! With love

  8. I love these show and tells. Thank you so much for hosting them. There are so many clever and resourceful people making things from the heart. Like Patsi said I am starting to get a list together of the things I can make for next year. I loved a response you made in your last post re hiding presents all over the house and watching the inner child come out of your husband. I have put together a man Shed survival kit, in a milk crate, for my hubby. I have collected bits and pieces all year and now it's looking quite interesting. Things like a thermometer, enamel coffee cups, he already has his kettle, a bottle opener in the shape of a skull, matches and so on.Looking forward to seeing his reaction.

    1. Dear Jane, It is really good fun plotting what to make next year!
      Im glad you liked my sneaky suggestions on husband presents! Seriously it is lovely to have a bit of fun and SEE someone's obvious excitement. We all still have soft hearts and little things can mean a lot. Also just thought and effort speak volumes... I hope your husband loves his gift, Im sure he will! With love Annabelxxx

  9. Annabel thankyou for sharing what everyone has been making, I am looking forward to getting a good start in January.

    I had a luncheon today with some wonderful older ladies - they would dearly love me to join their group but given that is not to be. I took wrapped soaps for everyone, an assortment of aromas so no one knew what they were getting.

    They were much appreciated and even though I didn't get some bling on them they still commented on how nice they looked.

    My intention was to wrap them in red then do a white belly band around that with a red ribbon on top of that then some bling - with all of the coloured paper I have here I had no red so I ended up just doing white wrapping paper and then the red ribbon around it - looked very festive.

    I still have a few left so might take them to my mother in laws just in case she has to rush out to get some extra gifts for people.

    While I was out I noticed Aldi had a small fruit cake (the size of a tuna tin) for $3-69 and then I found 2 hand towels (top one decorated) banded together as you do your soaps with the bling for $8-99.

    I know that doing it ourselves is going to save so much money.

    I had to laugh when I read the comment about Andy's work mate being surprised about home made biscuits - I think there are many skills like that disappearing from the modern life.

    Hope everyone's week is not too demanding.


    1. Dear Lynette, Your gifts sound lovely! Spare gifts would be very useful too I am thinking as we almost always need them.
      Well sending little foodie gifts to the workmate has been entertaining. Yesterday he got a tiny fruitcake. He was very excited about this and said on the way home he was going to buy cream. Andy asked why and he said he has to have cream on fruit cake and it would be his desert. Each little thing has been quite a hit!
      I hope your week is going ok too. Mine is busy but nice so far... seeing quite a few people. With love,

  10. Such beautiful gifts every last one of them stunning.
    My health has taken a sharp down turn, I will be having to have open heart surgery, so as of now I am bed ridden for most of this time ,so I will have plenty of time to work on my gifts.I am making soup mixes so a little flour in the sheets won't hurt any one.Hubby will set me up before he leaves.

    1. Dear Tealady, I am so sorry to hear this!
      I know you have faced a big operation before. I hope you dont have to wait too long. They are very good at these things now and that is a good thing even though it is still a big thing that is good to know.
      I will be praying for you! Please let me know how you are going.
      Now I am thinking of things you can do in bed! So many craft projects are possible in bed believe me I know! But also lovely things like reading and planning, letter writing etc. So even though I am sure it is frustrating I hope you will have plenty to do and feel happy doing.
      I can just imagine making up the soup mixes!
      I am so sorry to hear about your health but pray 2016 you will be back better than ever! With love, Annabel.xxxx

    2. tealady, I am praying that your surgery goes smoothly and you have a good outcome. Sending my hugs

  11. It really has been so inspiring and enjoyable seeing what everyone has been making. Getting a good start gift making from January and through winter and spring is such a great idea! I can really see the value of that when it comes to this time of the year and it is so busy. I have not made things, but did buy ahead and have saved for everything in my Christmas club all year. I do hope to be brave and do some homemade next year using your challenge Annabel. I've been getting some ideas together. :-)

    1. Dear Kaye,
      You have done so well on your pantry this year! I would love you to join in the challenge to add homemade gifts as well. This can be a saving in one area that frees up money for another area. I love this! I often give gifts that I have paired a bargain with something Ive made like in a hamper for instance. But making things adds a lot. Also always crocheting or something is relaxing too.
      Keep collecting ideas! With love

  12. Annabel, I love the look of the biscuit mix as well. I have seen them on Pinterest and they seem to be very popular. You Christmas gift series reminds me of this time last year when I was in the Outback with my daughter waiting for the baby's arrival and she made your apricot balls for a neighbour which she put into a little cellophane bag with a nice bow. Unfortunately after we had walked out in the heat and arrived next door they were beginning to melt. LOL! Life in the Aussie Outback!

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      I had no idea the apricot balls could even melt! Oh my goodness it must have been hot! I hate the heat and it is bad enough here so I dont know how I would go in the outback. Badly is my guess.
      I love the jar mixes as well. I am saving jars now suitable to do this next year. Maybe for Easter I am thinking.
      I hope you are having fun getting ready for the arrivals! With love

  13. I just wanted to thank you Annabel for your inspiration this year - your generosity in sharing your recipes and gift ideas, your help in answering so many questions, your thoughtfulness and sharing your blog with your show n tell series. I am so glad and grateful to have discovered your blog this year.

    You have revived my enthusiasm for Christmas. I am so looking forward joining in the gift challenge in January.

    1. Dear Janine, Thank you! Thank you too for all your comments and support.
      Also it made my whole day to hear that somehow I helped you feel excited for Christmas. That is really wonderful to me. I hope you keep feeling this way and it grows!
      I am so glad you will be in with the challenge. I know for sure you will be amazed at what you have made and ready this time next year. From experience I can say it is incredible how doing something every week all year adds up! I have many spare gifts, I can use some for charity plus I have birthday presents well ahead. It truly is a great way to get ahead in many ways. With love and thanks,

  14. Dear Annabel,

    Thank you for the posts on the items readers are making. There's a lot of busy, creative women on this blog that are wonderful to share what they are doing. Thank all of you!

    I am looking forward to the new challenge starting in January. I have already started a notebook of ideas :).

    Tealady, please let us know when your surgery is, so we can be in prayer for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you already.

    Blessings to all of you. Merry Christmas.

    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      I am glad you are praying for Tealady. I am hoping lots of ladies see her post and join in and pray.
      Thank you so much and I hope 2016 is a time we can be productive in so many ways. I am gathering my ideas too.
      With lots of love,

  15. Hi Annabel

    What a lovely post on what readers have been doing. The items that people have been making are just gorgeous. There are some wonderful gift ideas here and the cleverness of your readers are so inspiring.

    It is school holidays here and DD5 and I have done a craft or 2 but today she is unwell and at the moment she is sleeping beside me.

    I have done up photo books for family and friends at a cost of $5 and 3 calendars at a cost of $9.95 all with photos taken of DD5 throughout the year. I have printed off a school photo and a Santa photo for a few people that I don't give gifts to but are family or friends who are important to her.

    Sheila I love the felt food and I am sure my DD5 would also love this. Does it involve sewing or just cutting out the shapes?

    To everyone who has allowed us to see their handiwork a big "thank you" for sharing your ideas. You are a very talented bunch of people


    1. Dear Aly,
      The photo books are a wonderful gift and i bet peopel like your Mum could get nithing nicer!
      Sheila might see and answer and give a better answer than me as she has made the felt food... but i am planning it and think you could use fabric gllue or stitching to get the same effect. I think it is a great idea and craft! The swiss fheese though is just a cut out and there are probably many things you could do like that. A really fun craft. Also A Chat over Coffee has felt dolls and doll clothes which o love too!
      Thank you so much im glad you liked seeing the crafts and ideas.
      I hope DD is feeling better. With lots of love, annabel.xxxx

  16. Beautiful gifts that everyone made Annabel. I dont go into debt for christmas, dont use a credit card and never will. i did have plans to make all sorts of things like this but i havent. Over the next few days i will be making up some home made hampers for friends so i know i have to get myself into gear right now lol Id also love to do your christmas challenge next year to so i'll be looking forward to starting that. Thankyou Annabel for all your inspiration, it really means a lot.
    Karen xo

    1. Dear Karen,
      I hope your hampers come together well for you. You have the right idea about credit, what a trap it is.
      I am thrilled you will be in the Christmas challenge! We will have a lot of fun and this time next year you will have a great pile of presents! Many thanks! With love

  17. Dear Tealady

    Sorry to hear of your health taking a downward turn. I hope that you do not have to wait to long for the surgery. You will be in my thoughts.

    I must say that I had to laugh at your comment about flour in the sheets....what a great attitude you have

    All the very best to you.

    Aly xxx

  18. Everyone did such a fantastic job! So much time and effort into those felt foods. I know her children will appreciate it. Collete's gifts of gift bags and tags is so brilliant.
    I know most women would love that. It makes giving a quick gift such a joy if you have some fun bags just waiting to be filled. Teresa's cards would be helpful to those like myself, who are always forgetting to include a nice card with their gifts.
    Those gingerbread men cookie sets seem to promise a fun time of baking together! And so do the jars of layered cookie mixes. Although, I'd love having those jars on my shelf too much to bake with them.
    Thank you all for sharing!
    Merry Christmas,


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