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 August 2016

The Christmas Challenge. Show and Tell. What we made in July. Part 1.

Thank you to everyone who sent in their photos and stories for July's crafts and presents made!
This is going to take two weeks to post! As usual I will include something from everyone but I can't use every single photo as it would take too many weeks. But I love seeing them all and it is so inspiring and so many good ideas!  Thank you so much!

You are all a clever bunch. And very inventive. The photos are in no particular order other than I've tried to spread variety across the two weeks.

Plus I am including some little extras. Firstly we get to see Mary's kitchen. After she showed us some of the things she had painted I told her I would love to see the whole room!

It is so pretty! I would be so happy and at home in this kitchen. Mary made the under sink curtain and painted the lazy susan in this picture...

Thank you Mary your kitchen is gorgeous!

With lots of baby formula cans available to me I was thrilled to see what Fiona has made. A supply of beautiful storage containers...

I love them! Imagine all the potential uses!  In the background is the memory board Fiona made as well. Beautiful!

My friend Nerilie just became a Grandmother again. She has a new Grandson. Nerilie and I lived in the same country town for many years. We used to got to an embroidery group together. Like me she has had a long break from embroidery but took it up again because of a new baby on the way. This is the blanket she made...

She did a beautiful job and I love the sheep!

Maria made a crochet rug for one of her Grandsons and is working on another for her other Grandson and one for her Grand daughter. She put her Grandsons initial in the corner.

It's beautiful, colourful and a big rug too. Well done Maria!

Rachel sent me photo's of timber that they have come by. I am including this for Bluey but I really wanted to see the photos as I love to imagine all the possibilities.  Rachel said they think it came from bridge supports. So it is huge. Don't ask me how they moved it!

Rachel now we want to see what it becomes next!

Meanwhile Rachel finished a quilt. She found the fabric and completed squares already made up in the op shop!

So Rachel set about assembling the quilt She backed it with two op shop blankets as she wanted it to be really warm then she quilted it. What a fantastic result! Truly beautiful.  I always say about making the most of things that come out way. This takes it to the next level! 

Rosanne made kitchen towels with a crochet edging. I love these! First of all you need to know she bought a large table cloth from the op shop for $1. She cut this up and hemmed the pieces to make cloths/t towels then she worked the edging. This picture shows half of them...

This is an example of how little such beautiful things can cost! I just love them and what lovely gifts too.  Many times I find lovely old tablecloths and they have a mark on them. When cutting them up this is no problem! You can make kitchen towels or serviettes etc. for so very little! Well done Roasanne. She also made her Grandson slippers.

Jen in NC completed socks. Take a look at the pattern! 

Jen also made both strawberry jam and strawberry reserves and included a jar of each in the picture. Beautiful. She also has other things on the go but won't say until they are finished! Knowing Jen they will be beautiful things too.

Garden Pat has been making trivets. We would call them place mats I think.

She is making ten sets! Each set is different according to the colours of her daughters and daughter in laws. I have seen a fair few and they are all beautiful. Plus she is fast at making them!

These are beautiful and I thought a very good idea for anyone with little bits of fabrics. Lovely work Pat!

Christine made the most amazing quilt. It is all made from old jeans! This is so clever, recycling and a brilliant gift for a man, boy, teenage boy...

I would say this will last forever too. I love the row of pockets along the side. For a child these count hold toys and books. Really beautiful work Christine!

Well I am at about the half way point so the rest will be next Wednesday.  Thank you so much to everyone for sharing what you have been making. Every time we do this I get new ideas and others must too. That is half the battle, inspiration and ideas.

Lets make August a wonderful month as suddenly Christmas is seeming a lot closer!

I hope your week is going well.  What are you currently working on? Do you have any supplies but are not sure what to make? We could all help each other with that.


  1. Oh, my gosh! Everything is so lovely, I wish we could put in an order .... in which case I would have one of everything.


    1. Thanks Janine for commenting on everyones work! xxx

  2. Annabel, aren't these just the best! I love the hand towels with the crochet edgings and that embroidery, oh my. Then there's the jean quilt, you're right, it will last forever. Love, love, love those trivets! Great work ladies! Such talent!

    1. Thanks Patsy! It is good to see isn't it! Thanks for commenting as it is an encouragement too. Lots of people say to me things like they re just learning etc but look at the work! xxx

  3. Dear Annabel,

    Truly gorgeous items again on show! I loved the fact a lot were from recycled materials, or something plain embellished in some way to make something so personal and special! All great ideas here. I have a few tablecloths aside to make into cloths. Some are a thinner cotton blend fabric, and could maybe become nice handkerchiefs. The pink one I bought is starring for a birthday dinner tonight for my pink loving DD! :-)

    Love, Kaye xoxo

    1. Dear Kaye,
      I love that so much was recycling too. It doesn't have to cost much to make amazing things that is for sure. Its fantastic!
      The tablecloths have so much potential. I look for them now as well as the sheets!
      A pink table cloth for a little girls birthday is just perfect! With love

  4. What a truly gifted bunch of women you have on this site Annabel, everything is such an inspiration & I love them all. The quilt made of jeans is particularly different & I love the pockets over the side.... brilliant! Sending you love & hugs Annabel & hope you're happy & healthy. xSusan's Perspective.

    1. Dear Susan,
      Thank you so much! Your own work is beautiful and you are really an artist. Thanks for commenting on the ladies work. We are doing well! I hope the same for you! With love

  5. Great work, but I especially love the jean quilt. The idea of pockets to put things in is an excellent idea.
    Well done everyone who has contributed, and love to see others kitchens too.regards Julie D from Pilbara WA

    1. Dear Julie,
      Hello and welcome!
      I love the pocket idea also! So smart.
      Maybe one day we should have a kitchen show and tell and a pantry show and tell! That could be so much fun! Thank you for the idea. With love Annabel.xxxx

  6. Wow some great ideas there, Annabel and it is inspiring to see the recycled projects as well. I especially love the idea of the pockets on the side of the quilt too. What a good idea especially for a little boy!

    1. Thanks Nanna Chel. I love that tool I would love pockets along the side of my bed for books, torch, glasses etc! How handy!

  7. Everything is just fabulous. What a wonderful group to belong to and be inspired by. Bluey is keen to see what those timber beams end up being.
    We met our little granddaughter, Matilda, today. In happy, oh so gooey, Granny heaven!

    1. How fabulous Jane! Little granddaughters are so much fun and adorable! Enjoy. Xo

    2. How exciting Jane - I bet your mind if full of lots of wonderful things to make.


    3. Dear Jane,
      Big congratulations to you both! What an exciting time!
      Thank you so much ofr commenting when you are away! With love

  8. Hi annabel, was in aldi saw the pink bathroom tumbler at $8.99 alone I had to say no. I can find cheaper in the dollar store although would have looked pretty. I cooked up your recipe for slow cooker corn beef and let me tell you it was mouth watering delicious. I a little to my elderly adorable Russian neighbour and said how delicious it was. I had it hot last night with veg and mash and cold today sliced with pickles. Can you please post recipes for jams and pickles etc ? I would love to learn to sew like you did the bunnies for Harper and also if I can without a machine ? I'm only 39 but desire to one day have a family and stay home to feather my nest. My friends think im a bit mad being thrift and making own washing powder etc. I would also be interested in making glycerine soaps for gifts as I have the rubber moulds meant for cakes. All these crafts look so lovely! One way I'm also learning to make do and save is using the 7 day food specials from aldi to base meals on.
    I stumbled on your article in June re medicine and having enough so it doesn't expire. Most have six months to a year to use sometimes more. I suffer a chronic lung disease with some nebulizer antibiotics and such only able to get at hospital pharmacy. They ask me how many months supply I want. With others though I need the fridge . This is why having your own pharmacist who knows you and your regime is so important and writing a list helps to going in wallet in case of emergency. I also have done a hospital for emergencies I go to hospital a lot and its nice to have your own things. Love sonia

    1. Dear Sonia,
      I am so glad you liked the corned beef! I am thrilled you shared it with your neighbour!
      Here is a link to how I make jam.
      You can really make any jam and mix flavours as you have things or thing will be nice... i.e. pear and peach, apple and blueberry or whatever you like. Very easy! Good gifts too!
      All my embroidery like you have seen is done with no machine, its all hand done. The easiest embroidery to learn is wool embroidery. Have a look in the library for embroidery books or on you tube for things you like to get you started. And have a play. That is the way to start. Plus it is so enjoyable!
      It is very good to be a bit ahead with medicines. I am sorry about your lung disease. You obviously have to manage that well so being ahead is wise. Also as you say a pharmacist that knows you and is helpful is really good.
      Mimis blog A Tray of Bliss is good for other preserves like relish and onion confit which I recommend . All her recipes are excellent!
      I hope your week is going well Sonia, with love,

  9. Wonderful ideas and gifts. I am not so talented and am now going to work harder on my crochet skills as I am in love with the tea towels, not to mention every other gift shown here today.

    I have found a blog site with wonderful free knitting patterns that I am in love with. I have made two baby jackets and one matching hat I am working on the second hat tonight. I am hoping to have a full baby gift closet soon

    God Bless you wonderful talented ladies.

    1. Dear Mel,
      You are so talented! I have seen your embroidery! If you love the edges on the tea towels I would be glad to get together sometime with you if you need any help with that. These edges look amazing on t towels, napkins, the edges of pillowcases etc. So really handy!
      If you want to share that blog wiht free patterns please do as there would be a few of us who would probably use it.
      I hope your week is going well! With love, Annabel.xxxx

    2. Annabel I would love to get together and learn this edging. I have done it before but it was many years ago. The blog site I adore is

      Marianna has beautiful knitting patterns for baby clothes as well as some crochet and then patterns for the holidays. She is very talented indeed and so generous to make so many of her patterns available for free

    3. Thank you for the link Mel! I will have a lovely look over the weekend and it will be useful to others as well I am sure.
      I will be in touch as an afternoon crocheting with you would be beautiful! xxx

  10. Dear Annabel,

    All of these crafts are wonderful!I love all the quilting and think this is something I'd love to try. I'm currently working on the Autumn page in the quiet book. xx

    1. Dear Mel,
      I can't wait to show everyone the winter page! You have given me the idea to do what we used to call "fuzzy felts" with felt shapes on a felt background I loved them! I am looking at felt online as I want pastel colours and soft colours.... now I find there is a whole world of felt out there!
      Thanks for contributing so much to next week Mel. With love

    2. Annabel I still have our children's fuzzy felts - I couldn't give them away and I think they will become useful when/if we are grandparents.

      Aldi have had a similar product but a large board with lots of themed cut outs - I use to use them when I was working as a teacher's aid - the teachers had never seen them or even heard of them but they were the best thing for starting conversations and writing.

      I have loads of felt here and also in storage, it is something that I have crafted with quite often. Dinosaurs and finger puppets to name a couple.



  11. Hi Annabel!!

    Thank you for Show and Tell. I've been waiting and waiting to, hopefully, see Janine's new socks, and what colours they've been made!! Will they be in the show next week?!!

    Anyway, I'd like to show appreciation for the contributors towards this Show and Tell episode. Clearly, the work all takes incentive and dedication in the making, and bravery in the sharing!

    To Mary, I'd like to say that her kitchen looks calm and refreshing! I love to see blue and green together, and that lacey shelf edging is particularly beautiful!

    Fiona, you've got me guessing what gifts will go in those tins! I really like the pink tin on the top, and also the licquorice-striped one!! I remember the stylish frame and memory board!

    Nerilie has put so much detail into her woollen embroidery. The fleece embroidery is amazing, and blue for the printing works so well!!

    Maria, you sure have gotten through a lot of work to make that rug! To be warm and comfortable in your loving work will be wonderfully secure for your grandson! It is still cold, so this is good timing!!

    As for the op shop-derived 'little house' utility quilt (Thanks for the terminology, Cookie!), it cost no more than $8.50 in outlay for materials!!

    Roseanne, your work with a tablecloth is a lesson to me! The end result, with your crochet edgings has, to me, a beautiful vintage effect. I hope your work brings you great satisfaction!

    Jen, I still love your socks! I haven't knitted nearly enough, myself!! It's really nice to have your strawberry preserves. I am wondering what is your favourite way to use them? You have a fine taste, and you should keep your aspirations high! I am appreciating the quality of your work.

    Garden Pat, I didn't know (until now) that a trivet was anything other than something to sit in the base of a camp oven to try to prevent scones from burning! You have good colour coordination, and the way you can cater for large numbers is amazing! Thanks for the education!

    Christine, I love pockets. I love blues, and denim. I thrive on repurposing and recycling. You have used them all, with beautiful workmanship, to produce this marvellous quilt! Hmmmmm, ..... pockets ..... old clothes ..... You are making me think!! Thank you!!!!!

    Then, to new granny Jane, Matilda is such an Australian-sounding name, and wonderfully so! Have you decided on your 'grandparent names' yet ... 'Grandad Bluey'?!! Enjoy your little Matilda!

    Thanks again, Annabel, for all the late (or early?!) hours and persistent efforts that you pour into your blog here. There is so much to learn, and it is so enjoyable to experience the interaction. I still hope you get more photos!!

    With warm regards, as the rain tumbles down on my little garden,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Hi Rachel,

      The strawberry preserves are very sweet, but the berries are whole and plump with a delicious "syrup" to accompany. To tell you the truth, we love it best over ice cream! (Especially a banana split made with--of course--goat's milk ice cream. :)) We don't really consider it a "food", nor exactly "essential", but it's definitely a treat! You have an heirloom quilt for an exceptionally cheap price---great job!! xx Jen.

    2. Dear Rachel,
      Yes Janine's socks will be in next week. She has done such a good job too!
      Thank you for your beautiful photos and contributing the quilt too. Its just beautiful. What a find too, to find the house blocks made up already. And in lovely colours. It was meant to be yours!
      Thanks also for commenting on and encouraging everyone as you always do. I really appreciate that.
      We will look forward to hearing all you do with all that timber. With love

    3. Thankyou Rachel for your kind remarks to me and everyone else here .Your quilt with the houses is lovely :-) love Maria xx

  12. Dear Annabel,

    All the pictures are a feast for the eyes as well as remarkable gifts. Everything is is lovely, unique and very inspiring. So many talented ladies in one spot.

    Most of my creative energy has gone into harvesting the garden and food preservation with just a little bit of sewing, knitting and crafting here and there. But now that it's slowed down a bit I'm hoping to get back to doing more. Thank you ladies for sharing your talents. I'm looking forward to part 2. And perhaps parts 3 &4? :) Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      When you have produce you have to deal with that first. You can gather ideas though for when you have more time.
      Thanks for commenting on everyones work! Past 2 is shaping up well!
      With love

  13. Dear Annabel,

    I just love those woolly sheep in the embroidery, and the jean quilt with the pockets, too! (Well, I love everything, as a matter of fact.) I have to hand it Rachel for persevering with someone else's half-finished certainly turned out wonderful! Thank you for the compliments on my knitting, Annabel...I think of you and your gorgeous gifting whenever I'm working on gifts, here. You certainly have inspired so many of us to make some lovely things!

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen,
      Thank you for contributing Jen. i love to see your knitting its gorgeous. It is funny that we are across the world and I also think of you especially in regard to knitting and vegetable gardening. It is lovely! Thanks for commenting on everyones work! With love

    2. Hi Jen,
      I happened to ask one of our farming neighbors how she keeps deer out of her kitchen garden. She said she uses old perfume, or purchases really inexpensive perfumes and sprays it around the edges of her garden. I didn't know if you'd ever tried that. She says it has worked very well for her. If what I'm doing fails at any time I'm going to try the perfume. Your socks are beautiful. Cookie

  14. Everyone makes such beautiful things and I love the fact that many are repurposed items! I have gained so much inspiration from looking at all of the hand crafted items that are shared here. I'm ready to be retired so I can craft and craft and craft! Fond regards, Jeanette

    1. Dear Jeanette, I agree that so much made from very inexpensive or recycled items is wonderful. It is exciting you are about to retire! You will be so busy with crafts and it is a serious opportunity to save so much money plus create gifts for others and charity too. I hope you find lots of ideas from these ladies! Next week is a fun one too! With love

    2. Alas, I believe my retirement date is at least 4 or 5 years away yet. I do love to work because I enjoy people so much, but sometimes I pine for a slower paced day that doesn't involve commuting to work! Fond regards, Jeanette

  15. Dear Annabel,
    What beautiful things everyone is making. There is truly a large group of very talented ladies on this blog. I am excited to see the entries next week.
    Blessings to all of you,

    1. Thank you Glenda! Next week is shaping up beautifully too! With love,

  16. I love seeing what our talented ladies and men produce each month. Lots of ideas there especially reusing the denim, which apparently is 'in' now.

    I did have a photo of some knitting I have been working on but my 'phone has gone to 'phone heaven and I am waiting for a new one to arrive so it will have to wait until then.

    Rachel you asked what I did a couple of weeks ago - I have been knitting jumpers for children for charity but after many years of doing that am now looking at creating a small income from my knitting.

    I have previously made done this but finding good outlets is hard.

    I can only crochet granny squares but many years ago managed to follow a pattern for a matinee jacket. It is just slower than knitting for me and also after having carpel tunnel surgery many years ago it is one movement that I need to be wary of.

    Have a great rest of the week everyone


    1. Dear Lynette,
      Thank you! Well I would love to see a photo! I will look forward to it when you get going with your new phone.
      The charity knitting you have done has been wonderful and I know it has been a lot.
      It seems we either prefer knitting or crochet. My Mum moves between the two. I am better at crochet but admire knitting more!
      I hope you find a good outlet for your work. It is beautiful! With love

  17. Thank you, Lynette, for your reply! It gave me reason to smile, and I'll be looking forward to your photo of your knitting. (Annabel, I did try to promote crochet! I really did!!)

    I can see the value in selling one's work via a shop. After all, it doesn't need to interfere with home life if the work is done at home and only delivered outside the home. This is what the woman that Annabel mentions in Proverbs 31: also did, as a role model.

    What an enjoyable club this is!!

    So far, regarding the Succeed Heirlooms vegetable seed, the broccoli, peas and swede are going well, as is the parsley seed from Dad and Mum. Actually, I am thinking of it as a parsley garden, and that alone will be of high value to me. One 'Aches and Pains' spray we like features parsley in its ingredients!

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

  18. I loved your post. Thanks for linking at The Art of Homemaking so I could find. I loved all the items. But I especially loved the dish towels. I didn't see a link back to the original posts. Can you share that link. I would like to see more and maybe see if she shared a tutorial.

    1. Thank you so much and welcome!
      This is the original post. I will ask Rosanne if maybe she would share a tutorial? I know she cut up an old tablecloth to make these.
      You might like to see some more crochet edgings and uses for them. ..
      They are so useful and make something ordinary into something amazing!
      I will see what Rosanne says. Her crochet work is always beautiful!. With love

    2. I asked Rosanne and she works hers differently to mine. She makes a chain the length she wants then works a pattern. Then she stitches this to the towel. However she didn't use a pattern for the edging. You could do any pattern you like or any thickness. I hope that helps! xxx

    3. Oh Annabel this gives me a great idea. My daughter brought home some small factory produced hats or beannies
      I added to one to make it a little larger a crochet edge.
      I used a large needle and the yarn to connect it to the hat this took along time as the weave was tight I never thought of doing the hand work then attach. This is brilliant now I have six hats that will be used for Christmas, after I make them bigger using a crochet edging. Oh how fun :) All the work is just lovely. So many talented ladies. So many wonderful ideas. I love that so many people are sharing their
      projects to enrich others lives.
      With much love.

  19. Annabel, what a fun post! I like seeing what real homemakers are making, it's so much better than glitzy magazines.

    1. Dear Rhonda, Thank you! I love seeing real kitchens and real cooking too. Real and working not styled and photoshopped. It is really refreshing! There are clever and hardworking people and its lovely! xxx

  20. Annabel, thankyou for featuring my work, I gave to rug to my daughter in law earlier this week, I think she was pleased with the initial too and that the rug will be useful as they have gone south to the very cold possible snowing areas.
    Its amazing seeing everyone's work , how different the items are and interesting ideas,I love it all!
    Have a lovely weekend , with love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria,
      The rug turned out so well. I love the idea to put the initial on it. That could be nice on an adults rug also.
      I can't wait to see the next two finished. While its till cold its nice to have rugs to go on with. Then I think Im going on to crochet edgings on towels and pillowcases. One rug to finish though!
      Many thanks Maria! With love

  21. Dear Annabel,
    I am late as I have been having internet problems, but I just have to comment because everything is so fantastic!
    I have been looking forward to seeing the trivets, and they are lovely. Thanks for sharing!
    The denim quilt gives me ideas, as well. My husband's grandmother saved every pair of worn out jeans and cut the legs off for scraps. When I discovered the box of denim, I decided to keep it. It would be a lot of pieces to attach, but I thought maybe I could try a braided rug? Now perhaps a small lap quilt? So many choices...
    A special thank you to Mary for giving us a peek inside her home. Your kitchen is so lovely and sweet.
    Ladies, everything is just wonderful. I agree with Janine, I wish we could put in an order! I think that every time I see Jen's socks.
    I hope everyone is having a good week.
    Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      Thank you for posting even with internet problems!
      I am so glad about the ideas for all that denim. Grandma saving all that denim was amazing! If you save some old jeans as well you will get the pockets too and I think they add something as we'll as I love the pockets along the side to put things in!
      I will be looking on pinterest for things to make with old jeans... expect pins!
      Have a lovely weekend as it is a special one before a big Monday! With love


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