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 12 April 2015

Beautiful images from old books...

On our trip to Tumby Bay our op shopping was a big part of the fun. I came home with three books I chose for the gorgeous images.  One was a Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic book and two were books on roses. Each were between $2 and $4 in price. The whole idea was that these give me images for making lovely cards!

I will get over 100 cards and tags from these! Cards really are very inexpensive to make this way! I had enough images to share with a friend as well.

This weekend I started making some cards up. These are really simple. I have made fancier cards ie with ruffles and written tutorials which you can find in my craft section. But these are stunning images and so I just make a simple card.

I began with the Shabby Chic book and made a series...

I love these, the chandeliers, the sparkle and soft colours!

Then I started on roses. These are lovely too! In some cases the pictures were stunning on both sides of the page and I had to decide! 

Also in early posts I showed how you can take a plain or recycled gift bag, add a picture and end up with a lovely gift bad for your gift giving. These are expensive in shops! But sometimes stores use these when you make a purchase. Then they have a logo or something on them. Well, just cover that and make your own gift bags! In our news agency gift bags are expensive. Cards are mostly about $8, tags even are a couple of dollars. Each thing like this you make is a big saving.

In another early post I showed how you can use lovely magazine images or book images as gift wrapping for small gifts. I always keep a selection of the larger pictures for gift wrap. The uses are endless! On that note posters, sheet music, jewellery catalogues... lots of things make lovely gift wrap...

I start with the largest images. Some were full page... these are great for wrapping something or for a larger gift bag. Then I make cards and small bits get used up on gift tags. This gets you the most value.

An example of wrapping is this time I have made wrapped soaps to go with my cards. I just buy boxed Dove soaps. I like the pink soap but any are fine. I wait and get them on specials. Usually $1 each. What started me on these was seeing a gift wrapped soap in a gift store for over $20. Seriously. So I have made so many of these!

Some of the larger rose images were big enough for this. I just add a bow or an embellishment... you can really use anything you have. 

These are really handy as a small thank you gift, teacher gift...  Also I often add one to a gift I am posting. Every time I have heard back how wonderful the parcel smelled when it was opened! 

These also would be a nice party favour. My tips are wrap tightly and neatly. Place your sticky tape so that your ribbon will cover it. Use tacky craft glue to secure ribbon and embellishments. 

These are so handy! 

My next gift is to pack up cards into a pack as a gift in themselves. You could add a pen or stamps or an address book. But really you don't need to... they look lovely. I use cellophane bags and tie them up with a bow. For my aunt I make gardening or cooking themed cards. You can personalise them to what someone loves. Then I finish that with a bow. This is a lovely gift and will save the person money as they don't have to buy cards for a while! 

So my three books which were $8 all up have supplied me with months worth of pretty pictures for all of these little projects. Books have much better quality paper than magazines so the pictures have a good finish to them. You could also cover gift boxes, plain books. diaries... the list goes on! 

I keep on saying that you don't have to be artistic to be crafty! There are so many ideas and once you get going it is surprising how the results encourage you to go on. The savings certainly do too. 

Beautiful images have so many possibilities. A stunning gift tag can become a bookmark. If you have lovely frames fill them with images from books are your art. Imagine doing this with gorgeous childrens illustrations for a nursery! (I have nurseries on the brain at the moment!)

I hope you had a good weekend! I have so many things on the go, several crochet projects, cards and soaps, cooking... then I decided to alter some winter scarves I have that are lovely but just too bulky for me so I never wear them... so the sewing machine is out and I am making them over. (or under really)

But now it is Monday I have a long list as there are a errands to run and we must eat and things like that!
Have a wonderful week! See you Wednesday for Pantries! xxx


  1. Ha, Annabel, must tell you I went into the local op shop the other day to donate some puzzles and I was standing there saying "think Fiona, think, what would Annabel find in here". I really was channeling you and thinking you could find this and that and take it home and make it into something fabulous. But my mind was a blank. I did though buy a lovely cane basket that has a large flat bottom, I have been storing my cake tins and biscuit trays in a big shopping basket but it has rounded sides and wasn't quite suitable so for months I'd go to the basket then have to go elsewhere to find the one i wanted, it was a jumble. This one will be painted a la Annabel but at the moment it was just washed and put in the sun for a while and now is lined with a pretty tea towel. But being square bottom and sides and a large hoop handle, all my tins fit. woohoo.

    Hope you have a great week too. Fiona xx

    1. Dear fiona, sorry I took so long to reply. I missed your comment at first. I am going between my iPad and Chloe's old computer and I have had a few issues!
      I love the basket for your cooking trays. I need another one to do this with pizza trays etc. I even have a space I could slide a basket if I could get the right size.
      I am not sure what puzzles they were but scrabble is really sweet for spelling out cute words ie as fridge magnets, along a mantle "merry Christmas" "happy birthday" and so on...
      We have rain I am listening to it now. Tomorrow Chloe, Lucy and I are going out to lunch together for a girls baby day... It's followed by a lovely baby store and shopping for last minute things. I hope to get some pregnancy photos. I never tire of looking at baby things. Hopefully I will find some inspiration of things I will be able to make.
      Lots of love xxx

  2. I'm going to check out books at our op shop this week as books go on dollar day! I hope there might be something there. We used your soap wrapping ideas for my daughter's baby shower and made tiny tags that said from my shower to yours. All the ladies loved them. We used brown paper with a strip of scrapbooking paper then a ribbon over that with tag attached. Some people will say they won't use soap, but dove has a strong perfume so I suggested they use in drawers/linen cupboards if can't use on own skin or gift it to someone who will use it! I love all the ideas you share here Annabel. xoxo

    1. Your baby shower favours were perfect Kaye. I have to say I have never heard of someone not using soap lol that is a funny one. Geeze grate it and make laundry powder or something, I would tell them about Flylady and say soap is soap! But nice perfumed soaps make everything smell lovely!
      I hope you find some good books in the sale. $1 is a great price! I am after currently Beatrix Potter books and Winnie the Pooh. Looking looking... they will turn up!
      As the weather cools I get more crafty things done, the summer seems to mean the garden takes up so much time. I have lots of things lined up!
      Have a wonderful week! xxx

  3. Annabel, what a wonderful idea using 'wrapped' soap as a gift or favor. Yours look so lovely. You've given me several ideas that I had not thought of before. Thank you for yet another inspiring idea or should I say ideas!!!!

    1. Thanks Patsi,
      I have some more coming... my plan is to make bunting from Beatrix Potter or Winnie the Pooh images to drape around the new babies nursery. So many things are really just paper products. Its all about the lovely images.
      Have a good week, I know you will be very busy!

  4. I bought two lovely books with cute or funny pictures in black and white of a variety of animals. I have made many cards from them and everyone loves them. Such a great idea with the wrapping of soap Annabel. I am always looking for teacher's gifts or small things to give my clients at Christmas.

    Have a great day

    1. Mel funny cards is a great idea and suitable for men as well. I always have more trouble with things for men. Except food... food is my number one successful man gift.
      A stash of little gifts is very handy. There always seems to be little occasions and things that pop up. I hope your week is going well

  5. Annabel, you are on a roll for sure! Isn't it wonderful that a random find like some pretty books, can yield so many gorgeous treasures? You might be interested to know that I showed our Dance Teacher and Head of Drama Department at the school, the wrapped soaps you sent me, and they are very keen to do something similar as a Mothers Day fundraiser. So it's certainly an idea that all women adore. I think the cards and gift bags would be a welcome addition to the stall, so I hope you don't mind if I share those ideas too. Thankyou so much....Mimi xxx

    1. Thank you Mimi I am honored anytime you like an idea enough to be able to use it.
      I am just dreaming that you could find ballet, dance books, swans and so on for the Dance and Drama department to do a fund raiser! I always look out for vintage ballet pictures. So lovely.
      Keeping costs down is perfect with a fund raiser or course... I cant wait to see (hopefully) what you all produce for this stall.
      Thank you... xxx

  6. Annabel, i absolutely LOVE your craft posts. This is one of my favourites. I just love all your ideas. They are amazing and so beautiful. There is so much money to be saved by making it yourself. Recently I needed a gift bag for my Dad's birthday. I didn't have a bag that was suitable for him so I made one out of a plain white one and used some wrapping paer as a strip and cut out a square to look like a present and attached a bow to it. It looked great and Dad loved it. I save all gift bags and store bags to reuse.

    I'm always on the hunt for magazines to use for cards, gift bags and tags. Using them for presents is a great idea too.

    You continually inspire me. Thankyou so much. You are a real blessing to myself and your readers.
    Cath loved your soap idea and I'm sure she'll use it in the future.

    1. Thank you Wendy this means a lot to me. I have loved seeing how your cards have turned out and loved seeing you have fun with it too. It is a huge saving but it is also really good fun! There is something about creating that is absorbing and so enjoyable that it is relaxing. Also I think there is pride in something we create.
      Your Dad's gift bag sounds great. Being able to upgrade things, recycle and make them into useful things is so handy. All kinds of things have potential too!
      Thank you so much for your

  7. Annabel, use double sided tape to stick your wrapping paper down and then the tape never shows! The parcels look so neat. I buy double sided tape from the $2 shop, I'm sure you could pay more for it from a craft shop or Spotlight/Lincraft.

    Just measure the length of tape you need, cut to size. Then carefully stick it to one edge of the paper. To seal, just fold the other side of the paper over. I run over the edge with a ruler just to make sure it sticks down all along the join.

    Wendy is right - I did love the soap idea, and I've already used it! I used some recycled gift wrap I had and a recycled ribbon from some flowers I was given to wrap a bar of my homemade soap to send to a friend I haven't seen for ages. Cost all up: maybe $1 - I didn't even need to pay postage, the gift was delivered for my by another friend :)

    Giving a heartfelt gift doesn't have to cost a fortune. I remember reading ages ago that 99% of the impact of a gift is the wrapping and presentation, and I believe it. When I get a beautifully wrapped gift or a pretty card I want to keep them as they are :)

    1. Thanks Cath, you are right the double sided tape would be wonderful! I will watch out for it in our cheap shops.
      I agree about gifts... I have had a few that were really heartfelt gifts... that meant a lot to me. I made my Nana an embroidered blanket and I know that gift she treasured as I had embroidered it for her. It was on her bed when she died... I am so glad I made that for her.
      I think making someone a cake is the same, it is a beautiful gift.
      I am still going on soaps this week and using up some broken jewellery... I will post pics if they are worthwhile! Thank you so

  8. Annabel I must say your posts are so timely for me. I went to an op shop with a friend the other day and bought 2 big bundles of magazines for $2 to make some cards with the pictures. Today I was looking at soaps wrapped very similar to yours in a gift shop and they were retailing for around $12.95 to $15.00 and I thought that was just a total rip off to the general public. I bet yours were made at a fraction of this price.

    Your cards are so wonderful and I love receiving mail from you. All prettied up and DD4 always thinks they are for her.......then she patiently waits for me to open them. The last one that came I was able to open without her as she was at school. When she got home and discovered the pretty envelope she was just beside herself.

    Last year I invested a small amount of money in one of those special cutters so that I can neatly trim my pictures. You can get them in the stationary section of Kmart or Big W......usually a green mat with the cutter.

    Thanks for the wonderful post and the inspiration

    Aly xx

    1. That is so sweet about your little girl! Now you have said this I have envelopes that are lined with glitter... I will save one for her as they are just crazily gorgeous!
      Please show my how your cards go! A box of cards ready for use is just so handy. Plus left over pictures are great fun for kids to cut up, glue, over boxes etc. I loved glue when I was a kid... haha nothing has changed!

  9. Dearest Annabel, you are so clever, my dear! I love the wrapped soap and the wrapping is so elegant and tasteful.

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful ideas and inspiring the world of blogging. Happy Monday! Hugs

    1. Thank you Stephanie! Have a wonderful week! xxx

  10. Annabel what a pleasure to read about your card making.

    Some weeks ago I was gifted a largish box of various coloured card and other papers that I would have suspected would be used for card making activities - I have sorted out what I am going to keep and the rest is being passed along to a friend.

    Last year I came across some note pad sets in pretty boxes, someone had marked them down to below $10- from their price of $15-00. I still have the boxes and now know what I am going to use them for - to store any pretty pages etc I find to make cards with. I also have magazines ready to be passed onto the op shop but I think I might sit and look at them with cardmaking eyes on - might be some pages that I can utilise.

    I need to pick up some other bits and pieces to make cards with so am starting a list with the double sided tape - spotted a cheapie shop yesterday that I might just have to pop into sooner rather than later - it is about 1/2 an hour away from here with a huge Coles which I noticed had a whole lot of items marked down yesterday so 2 birds with the one stone.

    All I need now are my stamps and embossing powders and to check my stamp pad - it might need replacing after being in storage so long.


  11. Dear Lynette,
    A box of coloured card sounds like it has so many possibilities! I think of all the free things to print off the internet too that can be used as labels, gift cards, recipe cards and so on. Apart from card making of course!
    I love sparkle so embossing powder sounds lovely as I used to use that at one stage and it was really fun.
    All these things are great especially when the weather is terrible... you are snug inside busy making things (and knitting!) and content!
    Exploring a new shop is always good. Near a big supermarket is handy... I find supermarkets vary hugely and some have better fruit and vegies or mark downs, each have their good and bad points. But going to further afield ones is often really good... I come home with all sorts of finds!
    Have a lovely week, Love

  12. Dear Annabel,
    Love love love this! I'm with Wendy I just love your craft posts! The get me all giddy to get with my supplies and MAKE something! Truly you do inspire and I love your ideas. I love how everyone here values the art of lovely, heart-felt handmade treasures. Just one of many reasons I know I'm in good company here! I'm still tied up in a major way with a paperwork project that is really undesirable, but there is light at the end of the tunnel! When it is finished I will have a rest and then get my craft on. I really need that to be content as well. When I'm really anxious it truly soothes and relaxes me, and you have something beautiful for yourself or someone else! I never find Rachel Ashwell books in the 2nd hand shops or thrift shops but I keep looking. I'm so happy it was just waiting for you! Much love xxx Colette

    1. I have been thinking of you Colette. I can't wait for your business to be finished so you can craft and cook and do all the things that I know make you and the whole family happy. Soon I hope!
      This was the only shabby chic book I ever found in an op shop. Very lucky. But roses I have found a few.
      I do find crafts soothing and they keep me focused on lovely things which is good in times of stress. Sending prayers... Xxxx

  13. Annabel, a lovely post as usual and very inspiring as well. I used to do a lot of papercraft and still have some supplies from those days. My daughter makes her own cards and now my granddaughters do as well. I was wondering where you bought the gorgeous sparkly buckles from. I keep meaning to ask you if they are from ebay. My handmade soap would look nice wrapped up with pretty ribbon and one of those buckles. You have given me an idea. :-)

    1. Hi Nanna Chel, I got started with buckles from an old pair of shoes. You can get them at Spotlight if you only need a couple. Otherwise etsy or eBay for big lots. Take notice of the width so it suits. You can use wider ribbon than the buckle in fact that looks nice. Anothe alternative is bits of old jewellery for a bling effect. It is ages since I bought mine and I bought a big lot at the time which was really good. Hand made soap is a gorgeous gift! I hope that helps. Xxx

  14. What a lovely post! I have several decorating books sitting on a shelf getting dusty. I was thinking of giving them away, but you have inspired me to make cards and such! Love wrapping the soap - and I love the fragrance of Dove. What a delightful idea!
    Thank you

    1. Thank you Laurie! I have to say I am eyeing some of my own books that I once loved, are full of fantastic images, but now sit around never looked at...good idea!
      I have more crafts using these images coming up, things for gifts. This is so cheap to make but the results look luxurious and stylish! Win/win! I can get Dove soap usually in cheap shops or on specials so I stock up then. It is lovely. Everyone is sure it is expensive soap as the scent is beautiful! Thanks you for commenting xxx

  15. Your cards are absolutely stunning Annabel and so is the wrapping of the soap. So much love and thought has gone into each and so I know the person who receives them will feel blessed. You have inspired me with your earlier card making tutorial. I spent one Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks back making 10 cards. I found a book of beautiful gardens and old children's books. I wanted to make some cards to thank people for their love, support, prayers and gifts for our little (up and coming) bubba. It was very relaxing and I thank you for your time in showing us.

    1. PS- Love, Bridge- (sorry I forgot)

    2. Dear Bridge, I thought it might be you! Thanks for that.
      I am so happy about your afternoon making cards and that you enjoyed it. Gardening books and childrens books would be perfect! The end results would be almost $100 worth of cards in the shops! Isnt that crazy!? I am so glad and hope you are a card maker forever now! Thank you for telling me! xxx

  16. This post was so much fun to read. It gave me some new ideas. The cards you made are gorgeous.

    1. Thank you Kali, I am working on a part two which will be other stuff to make from old book pictures. I am trying to build up my gift cupboard so working on this! Thank you so much. Xxx

  17. I'm still drooling over this post. It makes me so happy to look at your beautiful craft ideas. Thankyou again xoxo

  18. Your cards and gift bags are just gorgeous!! And guess what, I also do the rewrap soaps! I made my mother and sister-in-laws a nice grouping last year with printed images and coconut oil soaps. They were so fun to prepare and it felt like a boutique product after! Homemaker is a blast, I don't know why it has a bad wrap! ~ Thanks for sharing your lovely ideas with us ~

    1. Jes when I read how you love jars I thought we have a fair bit in common right there.
      I agree the wrapped soaps seem like they are from a fancy gift store. And homemaking is totally wonderful. You couldnt drag me away with wild horses!
      have a wonderful weekend! xxx

  19. Hi annabel

    First time reading this blog
    What fantastic ideas, Found you from Wendys Blog I have heaps of unused craft supplies floating around and this has inspired me to make all the cards/ other gift wrapping ideas i need for the year, Wonderful inspiration and has really opened my eyes Thankyou - Laine


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