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, 2 February 2016

The Christmas Challenge. Show and Tell for January.

It looks to me like everyone is off to a good start for the beginning of the year! Thank you so much to everyone who sent me photos and emails. I have loved it so much and enjoy this as I get to know you better.

I am starting writing this up and even now unsure if I will need to split it into two posts or fit it into one! I don't think I can include all photos but I will include something from everyone. It has been amazing to see what has been made so far!


These are in no particular order and I really hope I don't miss anyone out!

First of all Marian made her first project which is a towel, face washer and soap bag set. Her aim is to keep all her gifts under $10 and she came well under budget with this gift. These are stunning!


Teresa has been making cards. They are beautiful! I wish I could show them all but these are my favourite set...



Teresa is making cards to give as gifts in sets as well as cards to use herself. She made a special one with a french theme for her sister. Also she thinks of the persons favourite colours etc. 
They look extremely professional.

Jen in NS is knitting socks. These are beautiful! I can knit but not this well!  She also made marmalade which she included in the photo!


And Jen made cards using a lot of bits and pieces she had. How lovely are the shoes, handbags and birds!?


Christine made a blanket for her three year old Grand Daughter. It has pockets!


When the girls were little Mum made rugs with pockets for the bed and the car etc. The girls loved them as they would diva little toys hidden in them. This is so lovely!

Christine also made plant hangers to hang from her tree. She was given one as a gift and when she found out the retail price she decided she could make them. I am including the whole photo as it shows her lovely garden as well!




Mel made so many things! She has a blog Thrifty, Frugal, Fun. So you can see more of her creations when you have a moment but here is a sample...

Tied died t shirts...



Felt decorations...



And how cute it this? A child's fishing set...



Barb has been making cards to use plus give as gifts. 





I love the roses and butterflies.

Kelley has the crochet bug! She is working edgings around flags/bunting. It is just gorgeous. This gives me a lot of ideas...



As you know I love crochet edgings! Imagine how you could make bunting for a nursery, child's room, wedding... party! Ok I am really wanting to make some!

Helen made a scarf...


She used double yarn so it is very thick and soft and warm.

And also a rug...


And she is encouraging her church to start knitting for charity and included bring a ball of wool and knitting in an event to help get things going. I love this! 

Vicky made a ruffled sheet for her Grand daughter Emma. This is the one where instead of saying "thanks Grandma" Emma said "oh Annabel would love this!" lol Emma is eight. She has looked on the internet to find out how you get to Australia so she can come visit me!

Here we might call this a bed skirt or ruffled throw? 


It is fabulous! So softly gathered and dreamy.

Rachel has been preserving. She even worked out a way to use an olive oil can to boil water and a clever tool to lift hot jars. Very inventive.



 Rachel made laundry liquid and is knitting...


This looks like a photo from a country living magazine. It is heavenly. 

Plus ...


This is Rachel's Olive Oil Lamp that she made and knits by. I would like to sit there and knit with you Rachel!

AnneMarie send me the most beautiful photo of her children crafting. Also they decorated jars with pebbles, collected gorgeous succulents to make terrariums  as gifts and she crocheted baby comforters...


Also AnneMarie has been making preserves...



She made Mango Jam plus Spicy tomato relish!

Leigh made something special. In her church they give flowers to the widows and widowers for Valentines Day. I thought how lovely...



What a kind thought!

Janine S has been sewing. I am in love with her luggage sets. She has made travel bags, document holders, jewellery cases and luggage tags...




Just beautiful!

I am amazed at the wonderful things everyone has made! And it's only February!
This is just a sample of what has been made so far! 

Next week we will focus on Valentines Day as really the Christmas Challenge is meant to cover the whole year of gift giving before we get to Christmas again. There are so many ways to do something beautiful for Valentines Day and even little things to do as Leigh is doing that might make someones day that would normally get nothing, be lonely or sad on that day.

Thank you so much to everyone for your mail, emails, photos and sharing with me and with everyone. I am sorry I can't use every photo but they help me get to know you and give me so many ideas. Also I will still use some more of the photos in upcoming posts. So now I have a treasure trove of photos!

We will have a show and tell at the end of each month. I am trying to make things for birthdays and other occasions along the way so some gifts are used and some end up put away for later in the year or Christmas. I also want to make some rugs for charity. So it is a lot of crafting! But I love it!

We can safely say a lot was achieved in January! Now to get a new month going and work through February! It will be a good month! xxx 









58 comments:

  1. Annabel, my brain is reeling with the creativity of everyone here! I forgot to email you my candles! I'll do it for next time. Congratulations to all and gosh, I wish I was on the receiving end of some of those gifts! Much Love, Mimi xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Mimi, It is lovely to see! I would love to post your candles thank you and I will send people over to your lovely ideas. Getting the inspiration is half the battle I think as many times the components are simple and things we even have.
      With thanks, Love Annabel.xxx

      Delete
  2. Oh my ... I am speechless! What beautiful projects! Thank you to everyone who shared and thank you Annabel for putting together this post. I will most definitely be copying some of these ideas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Patsy, Thank you! I have three times this many photos too! And many ladies used up stuff they had on hand which I love. PLUS many ladies learned a new skill, tried something new and started something they have never done before! Very happy! I am trying to do all these things as it opens up a lot of new doors! With love Annabel.xxx

      Delete
  3. Ohh what a gorgeous lot of photos and makes from everyone ! Just beautiful, colourful, useful, handy you name it ,just love seeing them all. Thankyou Annabel and all here xx
    No photo's from me, as Ive had birthdays and other things to deal with.Started on the baby boy rug after finding some nice soft yarn to work with .Also have a scarf on the go too,slow work as I have to rest my hands a lot(RSI).I went shopping to look for some bathroom itemsand instead came home with 2 very good bargain gift sets which I can break up to go with hand made items. IM thrilled at finding them. Hand lotions,scrubs,apron, teatowel,rubber gloves and the containers they came will be useful too.They cost me a third of their retail price.Well done everyone! Love Maria xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Maria,
      I hope you will show the baby boy rug in an upcoming show and tell as it sounds like you got gorgeous yarn!
      Well done on the bargains for gifts! Dividing up packs is a really good idea.
      I want to make some infinity scarves, will start in autumn I think, I loved these last year.
      Many thanks, with love, Annabel.xxx

      Delete
  4. WOW Annabel, aren't those creations just amazing! So inspirational & makes me want to start a new project straight away :) the bunny rug with the pockets is just so cute & the bags with the matching purse/holder are absolutely beautiful but of course everything is lovely & should be commented on individually (but I don't have time LOL).

    Can't wait to see your next post, as usual I adore the pretties the most, especially your pink handwash dispensers, they're fantastic!
    Love & hugs
    xSusan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Susan,
      Thank you, I am glad you are inspired! I have a post coming up that I know you will really like :) You will see! I know you love pink and feminine things. They are my thing too I find them just heavenly.
      With lots of love, Annabel.xxx

      Delete
  5. What a start to the year!! So many beautiful gifts, and so much variety. The knitted blankets remind me of pictures of beds in children's books. I have always wanted one! well done everyone, I am feeling so inspired right now :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Jen, It is a great start! I think its amazing and imagine what we will all have done by December! Very happy! Many thanks Love Annabel.xxx

      Delete
  6. Christine Southern Highlands2 February 2016 at 17:36

    How exciting to see a pic of your own work on this blog. Everyone is producing lovely things. I particularly liked the luggage sets. What a lovely gift for a traveller. Gives me some motivation to get going for next month. Thanks Annabel for collecting everyone's efforts so we can see what they have been up to. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Christine,
      You did so well for January! Thank you so much for sending me photos and your email. Making things makes for a happy life. So does gardening! With love, Annabel.xxx

      Delete
  7. WOW !!! Everything looks so beautiful and professional. I'll take one of everything thankyou.

    I hope I can send you a photo for next month although I'm sure most people see my crafts on my blog. I'll get one of my girls to show me how to send you a photo Annabel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Wendy,
      I would love a photo to post and will direct everyone over to your blog to see more. I am VERY excited about you learning to crochet. And I am making soap so we are swapping just now!
      It is a great thing learning a new skill, it opens up new possibilities. Also to have things suitable to do at different times i.e. crochet is good in evenings and to take places with you which fills in those times well.
      Have a great February! With love Annabel.xxx

      Delete
  8. Wow, wow ,wow! What inspiring and clever ladies. I haven't crafted for a long time as I prefer to sew clothing, but I could be tempted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Barb, If you love to sew clothing you are set, aprons, children clothing for gifts or charity, lovely pyjama pants and so many things come to my mind that would be gorgeous gifts! For yourself and for others!
      In my mind one good skill gives you so many possibilities especially if you have fabric supplies and you sew! I wish my sewing was better. It used to be and I burnt out! So its basic now! With love Annabel.xxx

      Delete
  9. So many lovely ideas! Thank you, Annabel and ladies, for sharing them! I fully intend to "go to school" on this post and add to my list.

    Jen, did you create your bird design or is there a pattern or die cut I might hope to find? They're so cute!

    Janine S, are those your original patterns for the bags or is that something I might find? I love the sets you made!

    Thank you, everyone!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Leigh,
      I hope Jen and Janine see your questions... you would not be the only person wondering.
      So many beautiful ideas and I loved your Valentines Day flowers. With thanks, Annabel.xxx

      Delete
    2. Hi Leigh,

      Aren't the birds cute? No, I did not create the designs, I used two books for inspiration (and templates, though the shapes are not complicated). The book I used for the shoes and handbag was “Simply Beautiful Ribbon Craft” by Heidi Boyd, and the gorgeous book I used for the birds (and which has a million other lovely ideas I'll also be trying) was “Christmas Crafting in No Time” by Clare Youngs. These are both books that I checked out of our local library. I had so much fun making these, and so did my two daughters, who are 12 and 15 and who made a whole whack of original cards for their own use. They have a bunch of international pen friends each, and they like to include cards sometimes for fun. Really the best part was sharing the fun crafting time with my girls and coming up with beautiful uses for lots of things (envelopes, bits of paper and cereal boxes) that would normally be recycled or composted. :) Jen in NS

      Delete
    3. Hi Leigh,
      The bag is a free pattern on the internet - The Carpetbagger https://wkdesigner.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/carpetbagger/ (hope this is ok to post the link Annabel, if not, please delete). I did modify the pattern by making it lined.

      The document folder, jewellery roll and jewellery purse are patterns I made myself. They are not hard, I laid out my passport with an old boarding pass behind, then a couple of business cards beside these. This gave an outline size. I used the same size for the other items.

      Hope this helps.
      Janine

      Delete
    4. Thank you very much, Janine! I pinned the link so I wouldn't lose it.

      Delete
  10. Oh my goodness, I am loving everything that these amazing ladies has made. Definitely getting my creative juices flowing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Debbie, Thank you! The year is young so lots of time to produce lots of gifts! With love Annabel.xxx

      Delete
  11. What a fun and sweet post - a visit with so many women who work with their hands and hearts

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Annabel!!

    Thank you for your welcoming ways. You gave me the timely incentive to pick up on old interests & tackle them afresh.

    I love to admire other people's work, & imagine the efforts that have been invested. Thank you to ALL of the exhibitors. If times should become particularly straitened, you will have skills to bring comfort to the needy.

    To Jen from NS (I need to check what NS means), since we share the interest in knitting socks, I admire your work, & look forward to knitting a little more like you. Your beautifully made wash cloth is also impressive to me.

    Regards to all,
    Rachel Holt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Rachel,
      There is more than one Jen so I put NS which is Nova Scotia. You both have me totally inspired!
      Thank you so much your pictures are just lovely! I really agree too that skills are a very good thing to have.
      With love Annabel.xxx

      Delete
    2. Hi Rachel, Yes, I noticed your socks right off, too! How lovely! We wear a lot of hand knitted socks in our house...I didn't include photos of any that I repaired this last month. :) I love to knit socks...they are my "t.v.-watching" (a.k.a. mindless) knitting project to have on the go, and I aim to get a pair or two each month in the "gift tub". I'm not always successful, but January is such a good time to knit by the fire that it makes up for months like May, when I'm busy in the garden. Thanks for the compliment on the facecloth...that was definitely inspired by Annabel's crocheting!!!

      Delete
  13. Dear Annabel, I am just blown away by all of these crafts! All of the ladies are SO talented! Thank you for posting these photos Annabel and thank you ladies for sending them in. Everything is beautiful! Love, Kelsey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kelsey! It is very inspiring especially as it is so early in the year! Imagine gift cupboards by Christmas! I hope you have had a good week so far! xxx

      Delete
  14. Wowee! This is what I love...the inspiring photos! So much of what I have done this month is inspired by what I have seen and read on this blog, and I was sooooooooooo looking forward to seeing what everyone's been crafting for the challenge. It is just lovely to see all the goodies made with so much love...they are all wonderful! I really love how the patterned material pops against those red towels. Some new towels are exactly what I could use...I will echo what Wendy said: "I will take one of everything, thank you!"

    Thank you to Annabel for putting together such a lovely post.

    Jen in Nova Scotia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jen!
      Im glad you enjoyed it thank you so much for participating.
      xxx

      Delete
  15. Dear Annabel,
    Your gifts and the ones you shared are so lovely!
    Most of my gifts are still in the planning stage, but I love seeing what others have done!
    I am hoping to get a few handmade Valentine's done in the next few days.
    Thank you for sharing,
    Elaine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Elaine,
      I would love to see your Valentines. Thats what I am thinking about just now too.
      Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

      Delete
  16. Hi Annabel you have done well and so has everyone else. I have been busy with work so haven't done a lot of gifts. I have made a few lots of jam which will be used in hampers at Christmas. I have some crocheting on the go but nothing finished to show. I'm loving the variety of gifts everyone is making and it gives me lots of ideas.
    Looking forward to seeing more.
    Hope your week is lovely and productive, Debbie xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Debbie,
      It is a good time for jam making and I do this too... while fruit is around and cheaper too.
      You did a pretty supreme gift making effort before Christmas! Have a lovely weekend, I hope you get some quiet time, you sound very busy. Sometimes though its good just to take the work when its there and craft in quieter times. Both are building up the home, finances and everything. With love Annabel.xxx

      Delete
  17. All I can say is 'WOW' - wonderful gifts everyone.

    I love the fishing set which has been on my list to make but the weather we are having is really only for planning - it has been so hot and humid (don't pay attention to the Brisbane forecast).

    Thankyou everyone for sharing.


    Lynette
    XXXXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Lynette,
      The humidity must be hard. We had a lot of rain then heat and I found humidity awful. We all said it felt like there was no oxygen!
      There was some beautiful knitting which made me think of you. I would like to be close and learn cables with you and Mimi. Over winter a cable throw would be a wonderful project. I must ask... do you still need warm rugs in winter or is winter too mild for blankets? this is how little I know about winter in QLD.
      Have a lovely weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

      Delete
    2. Hi ladies!!

      I am in Queensland, & we have the fire on right now. Some days this summer have been a maximum of 19 degrees Celsius. We still have blankets on the bed. Annabel, we hope you did catch all that rain water. You've doubled your record rainfall for last month, we hear.

      Rachel Holt

      Delete
  18. Dear Annabel and Friends,
    How simply beautiful is everything! I would love to know how to make the olive oil lamp. Have a lovely day ladies. Love Helen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Helen!!

      I am delighted that you share my interest in this olive oil lamp, & how to make it. I will start by saying that it is yet a developing interest of mine, with ongoing improvement of home-made wicks. It all came together during the week after our property power pole was lost at the very end of last week. That means we are living off our own diesel-generated power for some parts of the day, & none for the other hours!! We've had plenty of practice, so it's no real burden.

      Anyway, for this lamp, what is required is a heat tolerant preserving jar (the top edges get quite hot), olive oil (recycled is fine), wire & wicking (either bought or home-made). A much smaller jar would still be good. The wire simply holds the wick above the oil (maybe a quarter inch above?) &, in this lamp, is bent over the side of the jar, trying to place the wick as close to the centre of the circle of the jar's mouth as possible (to keep the jar cooler). I am not yet an expert on making & trimming the wick. The wick in the photo was made by plaiting nine strands of a thick knitting cotton (it will burn when put to a flame, as opposed to cotton blends that melt). The wick was covered with hot water & then salt & borax - to make the wick burn longer & brighter. (The wick certainly burns long.) The thicker the wick, the bigger the flame. I was in a hurry, so don't have precise measures. The wick dried while I was away for a couple of hours. As you see, the flame was worthwhile. With the lamp placed between me & my knitting, I could see quite well. A tea light candle was hopeless. The lamp burnt for five hours before my husband decided to adjust the wick of the then low flame. It then burnt until morning & I estimate it burnt through a height of between a quarter to a third inch of oil overnight. The internet tells me olive oil burns clean, & has information on preparing wicks. Even cotton & linen fabrics can be made into wicks. I won't need to buy a lamp now!

      I'd love to read of your successes with your own olive oil lamp. It is certainly adding value to my life!!

      With warm regards,
      Rachel Holt

      Delete
    2. This evening, Helen, the point at which the wire grabs (& grabs LOOSELY) the wick is a quarter inch above the surface of the oil. Above this grabbing point is about half an inch of wick. The flame height averages an inch.
      Rachel Holt

      Delete
    3. Dear Helen, Thank you! Your knitting and the other ladies have made me feel desperately like knitting. It looks so lovely.
      I hope lots of ladies are inspired to knit for charity and for gifts. There is a big need. I can't wait to see what you make next! With lots of love, Annabel.xxx

      Delete
  19. Thank you Annabel for posting these pictures.

    I'm really inspired by Rachel's use of an olive oil can and egg rings for water bath preserving. It would be absolutely perfect for preserving a few jars at a time. I have never found a small pot deep enough to cover the jars but the olive oil can would be wonderful and I have one in the cupboard that I will keep when it is empty.

    I have a huge deep pot for preserving but when filled with water it's very heavy and really needs to be filled with lots of jars to make it worth the effort to get it out and use it.

    Thank you so much for sending in your picture Rachel, if you don't mind I will use your idea for small batches of preserves. I find making small batches to be much less daunting and much easier to achieve. So thanks to your photo and brilliant idea I'll be making a lot more preserves around here.



    Thank you both Annabel and Rachel, you have made my day.

    Ann

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go ahead, Ann, & all. I may be hungry one day, & be glad to taste some fruit preserved this way!!
      Rachel Holt

      Delete
  20. Hi Annabel,
    These are such wonderful gifts. I'm loving everything.

    The planter is really interesting and very different from anything I've seen here.

    It's good to see how much has been achieved in such a small amount of time.
    Janine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Jes, Thank you! Yes it is all very good for month one of the challenge! Imagine by December! Thanks so much, love Annabel.xxx

      Delete
    2. oops sorry Janine, I hit wrong comment! Thank you. I am so glad you enjoyed it. I am amazed how many photos I got and things I learned. It was a good getting to know everyone exercise too! Have a lovely weekend, love Annabel.xxx

      Delete
  21. What a lovely collection of homemade goods, ladies! Very inspiring! Thank you for sharing with us! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jes, it is a joy to come to your blog. Every time! xxx

      Delete
  22. Dear Rachel, Thank you for the wonderful instructions on making the olive oil lamp. I went back and looked at your photo after reading your instructions. It was clear to see. Thank you for letting us all know how little oil the lamp uses as well as how bright the light was! I'm going to show my husband and see if we can make one.
    Have a wonderful day, Helen

    ReplyDelete
  23. Great job, ladies! I'd love to receive any of these gifts. I'd even enjoy playing with that pocket blanket in the car, too!

    Blessings,
    Leslie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Leslie. Me too! I am going to make a pocket rug for Harper now. Lovely! Have a good weekend! xxx

      Delete
  24. Thank you for sharing mine Annabel!I love seeing what everyone has made :)x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mel for contributing! It was great. Have a wonderful weekend! xxxx

      Delete
  25. Oh my goodness, these gifts are beautiful. They look absolutely perfect and I bet the recipients will be so happy! Thank you for being so generous in sharing your talents. Love, Bridge

    ReplyDelete
  26. Dear Annabel, Lovely post!! Everyone is working so hard and making such beautiful gifts!

    Have a wonderful weekend! Love, Teri

    ReplyDelete
  27. All the gifts look so beautiful Annabel, i'd be so happy to receive any one of these. I meant to send you a couple of my pics but i just didnt get to it, hopefully at the end of Feb xo Thankyou Annabel this is really inspiring me xo

    ReplyDelete

I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for understanding.xxx

Spam is never published... if you are advertising a product or selling website your comment wont be published. I am inundated with stuff about drugs, horses and weird things! I am not going to publish this stuff! Thank you.