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 June 2017

The Christmas Challenge. Revision.

Approaching mid year has me reviewing what I have made so far and thinking how can I fill up my present cupboard to where I want it to be!  I have a way to go!

This post will be boring to some (sorry) but from comments and letters I realise that I need to highlight some of my tutorials and my ebook as I think it is a case of I talk so much that they get lost!

So here goes...

I think the biggest help with keeping costs down and filling your gift cupboard is my ebook which you can find here.

Part 2 is here.
Part 3 here.
Part 4 here.

This was written a little while ago, and I would write it differently now, but the message would be the same. Use your skills and your resources. This will help you realise you probably have skills you don't consider! And you probably have resources you haven't realised ARE resources!  It also covers finding time, presentation and all sorts of things!  There are some creative ways to get things done!  I really hope it helps you identify ideas you didn't think of before!

I wrote a tutorial on crochet edgings. These are so useful as they transform ordinary and useful things into lovely gifts.

This  post should get you going! They are really very easy and fun to do. 

As far as crochet goes I notice how far crochet cotton goes and how inexpensive it is as a little bit goes such a long way.  The towels and hand towels I did for the bathroom... well everyone comments on them!

Then I wrote up how to do Grub Roses (Bullion stitch) 

Here are some ideas for using Grub Roses. 
And here is the tutorial...  Grub Roses 1
and here is part two... Grub Roses 2.

These are another example of something that costs hardly anything to do yet transforms things!

I have also known ladies who earn money doing these i.e. charge per grub roses and people line up to have them added to things!

I think paper crafts are one of the loveliest since they mostly cost very little but can produce amazing results!  

This was my tutorial on how to make Crepe Paper Roses. 

And Part 2.

I have made hundreds of these. They are a lovely gift or parcel decoration.   

Also there is an easy card making tutorial here.  Part 2 is here.

Card making is really fun and a huge saver when you consider how many we can buy in a year.  It is nothing to pay $8 plus for cards here. $10 for fancy ones.  But they make lovely gifts!  Package up a few in cellophane or a pretty box, add a pen... a lot of gift potential!  There are some more ideas here.
Like anything else you need to find your own style and images your family and friends will love. 
Making gift tags is so easy too and even these given in a little box are nice gifts as they are so useful.

Soap making was covered here. I tried and shared several methods until I found my favourite.  Soap is a good gift and is also really expensive in the shops. I greatly under valued this until I checked out homemade soaps in a few places.  $8 to $10 a bar seems to be the going rate.

I enjoy this as it is a way of mass producing gifts and adding quite a bit at one time to the gift cupboard.
And everyone uses soap. Hopefully! haha! 

These are some of my tutorials!  

In theory being mid year (almost) I should be half way to having my Christmas presents sorted and I'm not!  I have done ok with Birthday presents but that is about all!  Renovations, sickness, life in general has slowed me down!  So now I am making lists to get myself caught up!

How is your Christmas Challenge going?  Remind yourself of what it will feel like to get to December with most gifts taken care of, without spending a lot of money.  Getting ahead in one area helps every other area!  

It is so sunny and lovely today.  I am heading to Aldi and hanging sheets on the line! 
I hope your week is going well! xxx


  1. Wonderful ideas! I too love prepping early for Christmas.

    1. Thank you Laura! For us it is winter... this is a good time for me to make gifts as theres not really any gardening to do. What we do now will make a big difference come December! With love

  2. What a great collection of posts Annabel! Your e book series is how I first found your blog and I've enjoyed it ever since.

    I too have very little to show in terms of Christmas gifts, i have been giving homemade gifts throughout the year, but not really getting ahead. I have a plan though, does that count?! What I am very happy with is that I have only bought supplies to frame the cross stitch I made for my friends baby, nothing else crafty so far this year! And by framing it myself I saved around $50 I think.

    I am thinking I might make some of the unpaper towels. Jane mentioned on Monday for gifts, they sound awesome!

    Enjoy the rest of your week
    Jen in NZ

    1. Dear Jen,
      Doing the framing yourself would have saved heaps as it is really expensive. We are in the same situation... have kept up with Birthdays (which is good) but now need to get things put away for Christmas. I am including bargains, and also some groceries i.e. to make Christmas cakes in October and then other Christmas cooking. Better than being it full price in December!
      I want to make the unpaper towels also! With love

  3. Annabel,
    I love your tutorials everything you do is always so beautiful. I have yet to tackle the pretty edgings without cheating. LOL! I have not been able to make anything yet except a quilt top which I need to finish off and an afghan that I started before we started renovating I need to finish that too. I have been able to add things like candles and dishtowels with store promotional gift cards that came in the mail. Once we get the renovations done I will work harder on getting more gifts made or gathering the materials to make things.

    1. Dear Vicky,
      I know what renovating is like and it impacts the whole house. I love adding bargain finds to the collection and your gift cards are very helpful.
      With the garden some of your gifts could be cooking related? Preserves make very good gifts!
      When our floors are done and your new room is done we will be unstoppable! With love

  4. Hi Annabel,

    It's lovely of you to summarize and put all those links in one post, and I love seeing your beautiful creations! I am not very far ahead on the gift scene this year compared to last year...probably because I haven't been diligent in making sure I have something to show you at the end of each month! :) I need to get going on some lists, too, and recalibrate.

    After a very hot and humid day yesterday that literally sucked the life out of us, today is sunny and supposedly only getting to 16 degrees C, which I am so happy about! It's when it stays hot and muggy all night, as well as all day, that the heat really starts to wear a person down. I love the heat and sunshine, but I have a hard time with the humidity! The cooler day means I can make bread, which we're short on, and not heat up the house even more! :)

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, You have also had visitors and things I notice so that could be it!
      I know what you mean about heat, it is draining on everyone and everything! Happily we are in winter as I would rather be cold than too hot!
      Ok so I would love you to share in show and tell so that is it you better get some pictures to me! :) with love

  5. Yes! Thank you for putting all that information in one post! I love the crocheted edges but still have not gotten around to tackling that. Love looking at all the ideas. Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy,
      The crochet edgings are amazingly easy. Give it a go as then you will be hooked! They are really fun to do and make things over. With love

  6. Annabel, I loved revisiting these posts! I especially love your powder puffs; I have yet to make these.

    Food gifts are always a welcome gift in my family and circle of friends. In the summer I usually am canning up goodies for Christmas giving.


    1. Dear Laurie, Thank you! The power puffs are very easy... this is the link to instructions ...
      I have found they are good gifts and light to post too.... and I make the powder as well scented with perfume.
      I love food and kitchen themed gifts, canned goods would be excellent! With love

    2. Annabel, I found your instructions to make the puffs on Pinterest along with how to make the powder. Thanks!

  7. Dear Annabel,
    I don't think you could write a boring post if you tried lol. Everything you do is beautiful and inspiring, and like the other ladies, I'm glad to have all the links in one post. I have enjoyed going through past posts. Your powder puffs are how I found you (through JES's link up)! Such lovely ideas, thank you for all you do.
    Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey, I am so glad you followed that powder puff link! Jean said she found me through the ebook. I never knew this. So I better keep posting link ups!
      I hope your week is going well... don't over do it! With love

  8. I love the powder puffs also and I know my 13 year old grand daughter would love them. I'd have to pair it up with some purchased body powder, and I'm thinking she'd love her own bath towel set too. I have my usual gifts stashed-- crocheted dish cloths and then I pair them with hand made dishtowels with appliques. I'm also making quilted pot holders and I can pair them up with the dishcloths, etc. I have completed a few quilts and one of those might be a gift... must do more quilts. I have made my own greeting cards, I use my photos printed off and attached to the front of the card.

    1. Dear Joy, Thank you! I am glad you found ideas that will help. The powder puffs are so glamorous and so cheap to make! I always make spares as they are good for gifts and all ages. I replied to your other comment with the link but now Im thinking in case anyone else is wondering I will put it here as well..
      I love pot holders as a gift since we all need and use them and they get terrible after a while!
      Quilts would be the ultimate gift!
      Thanks so much Joy, with love

  9. Annabel, I love revisiting these posts too! It reminds of a few things I wanted to do but forgot! Thank you!

    1. Dear Patsy, Thank you! I need a revisit of my list, ideas, pinterest boards, everything! This is a good time to do it with half the year to go! Much love,

  10. Everything is so beautiful!! And that picture of Chippy at the end always makes me smile!!

    1. Thank you! Chippy makes me smile everyday! He is a slight nut case! xxx

  11. Hi Annabel and Bluebird friends. I have been busy making things all year long but don't have a lot to show for it in the present cupboard. The majority of Birthdays in my large extended family are early in the year. All gifts were made from what I have. I have been pretty true to my use it up challenge. I did purchase some wool to complete the crochet blanket I made for Bluey for his Birthday. I have completed all Birthday gifts for the rest of the year. I can now concentrate on Christmas. Jen in NZ is thinking about the unpaper towels. I had a request from one of my SIL's to make another roll for her this year as the one I made her years ago is now in the rag bag. I think this will take care of the sister and SIL's. I also have a few old towels that I can cut up.
    I have enough faux fur to make up some powder puffs for the nieces, along with some pretty lidded jars for powder.
    I just ran away then and went and wrote these ideas on my whiteboard in the craft room.
    Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane, What a good idea to have a whiteboard of ideas! Love that! I need to write ideas down or they get squished by new ideas and I just lose track.
      I think the unpaper towels are a brilliant idea and gift. And money saver at home too!
      I am in the same situation as you... have taken care of birthdays and now need to crack on with Christmas! At least we have a good six months for this! With love

  12. I always find your posts so motivational. I have supplies on hand, just need to get cracking and actually make some gifts!

    1. Thanks Amanda! I would love to see what you make! Maybe joining in show and tell will be a motivation for you as I find it is for me! I think ooh I had better get busy or Ill have nothing to show! This works every time!xxx

  13. Dear Annabel, this is a lovely, lovely post. I can't think of anything better than revisiting some of your beautiful Christmas ideas. I particularly love those muslin facecloths and try emulating them often. Christmas will be upon us before we can blink I think! Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, Now that I get the facecloths for 35 c each these are a constant here... and they go with soaps! Win win! And they are lovely for babies... they are on eBay in packs of ten this cheap! With love

  14. Dear Annabel, Your blog is like a treasure trove of beautiful ideas and inspiration. I can't stop reading it, and it has inspired me to pick up my crochet hook and do some edges. Also, I might learn how to do some grub roses - they look so lovely. Thanks so much for all the time and effort you put into it.


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