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 17 May 2016

The Christmas Challenge. A bit of this and a bit of that!

Today's post is a mish mash of present making and results!

In the last couple of weeks I have had a few things on the go plus enjoyed the results of some making and giving! It is really an endless cycle.  The aim is to keep up with gifts during the year and still end up with a great supply stashed away for Christmas time!

Firstly I made glitter pegs. Pegs are the most useful item. I used them to hold the cheese packet shut and all sorts of things. You can even hang the clothes on the line with them! So cute ones are sweet to use and make a good gift.

Jes has a tutorial that is just lovely... here. I decided to glitter mine. The glitter is encased in glue and varnish so it will not fall off.

A lovely use for them is to hang photos up on a little "clothes line" to display in the house. This looks so sweet. Or stick a little magnet on the back and hold your notes on the fridge.

I made myself a life time supply and 12 packets went into the gift cupboard. As I already made wool wash, laundry liquid and crochet cleaning cloths I could add these to little laundry themed gift baskets.

I have enjoyed seeing Harper wearing some things I have made. Here she is wearing a little top I embroidered roses around the arms and neckline. The pants have a row of roses across the pocket.

I finished another baby rug. This is almost the same as the last one, with most of the same yarn. It is  all used up now!

The first one I gave away last weekend. I gave it to a young couple with a baby boy. I don't know them well but they don't have any family support so I thought a gift would be nice. Well, they appreciated it so much! That one had the little matching hat. I was so glad I could give them this.
Now I have a spare. And I have started a pink and cream one.

I made a couple dozen cards as I ran out. I just did simple ones with lovely images from a couple of op shop books. Now my supply is replenished! 

I use cards to write letters, thank you's etc as well as Birthdays so I tend to go through lots.

Mum has been using up wool left overs. She gives many rugs to charity. On the back of the chair is one that she used smoky and neutral colours...

The one at the front is all blues and she is still working on that one. They are all pure wool and so soft and lovely.  She makes tons of little hats also.

I have to show you something beautiful.
Mel told me how her husband made their son a Gnome House! It was all from things he picked up and cost a few dollars at most. She made Gnomes to go with it from pegs. This was a beautiful story as it was at a time they didn't have much money and yet the gift is so sensational...

It kind of speaks for itself in terms of creativity, love and work! I think it is just gorgeous. I thought I have to show this as something like it could be made for children into dinosaurs, action figures, fairies or whatever! And we have some very creative people here in terms of wood work plus that have children and Grand children. Wonderful! I really appreciated your pictures Mel.

Vicky had someone very kind give her rolls of wallpaper for crafting. She shared photos of what she made with an old roll of pink wallpaper recently and Clara saw this here on the Bluebirds. Clara had met Vicky at a pantry building talk at her church. She arrived at Vicky's house with rolls and rolls of beautiful wallpaper and said she thought Vicky could use it!  I wanted to say hello Clara that was so nice! 

 There is so much joy in creating and giving. I feel so content when making something that it does me more good than the recipient! 

What are you making and how is your present supply going? I hope you are having a good week! xxx


  1. Annabel that top Harper has on looks so pretty. I enjoyed spending time with my granddaughters and my little grandson and I had fun while Mum was out. He is a real cutie. Now I must get back into the swing of crafting once again. I love the rug you made.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, Welcome back! I am glad you had a lovely time and I know that a break is good too. I love that and then come home ready to go again on various projects and ideas! I am sure your daughter loved having you and your help while you were there! With love Annabelxxx

  2. What lovely, creative gifts Annabel! Thank you for sharing! And your mother's handiwork is lovely too (fruit doesn't fall far from the tree!). Thank you also for sharing the gnome house photo and what Clara gave to Vicky. There is so much creativity, generosity, and kindness out there, and I'm so glad you highlight it!

    As far as gifts, I sadly have nothing to report this week, but I am going on a short week-end away soon, and I plan to take some card making supplies with me which I plan to put to good use (and return home with a few dozen cards made up). Thank you for the inspiration! Blessings, Teresa

    1. Dear Teresa,
      Thank you! Mum has always knitted or crocheted every minute of sitting down. Her volume of work is just enormous!
      Thank you for your kind words. You are right, there is such kindness and creativity... its wonderful really to see.
      Have a lovely weekend away. I love to take something away with me to work on! With love

  3. Very inspiring things!
    I need to get busy on some things as well.
    We don't give many gifts, but there are always a few needed.

    1. Dear Annie, Thank you! One thing I find is that with making plenty of things I can give more and some to charity and just acts of kindness that would be hard to do if it wasn't for making things. It has a great effect and is a way of making a real difference.
      Mum makes baby hats, rugs and premie things for hospitals, rugs and hats for men in homeless shelters and rugs for people in need. Crafts can be a real ministry all of their own. Thank you for your comment! With love, Annabelxxx

  4. Annabel,
    I love all of the inspiring things you show. You make simple everyday things look so elegant. Mel's gnome house is genius! And kids are so great because it really doesn't take much to make them happy. I used to read a magazine that was all stories written by people who lived during the Depression and one lady wrote that when she was about 6 her parents had no money for Christmas as they were really poor so her mom took a box and lined it with wallpaper scraps and she used some scraps of material and made her a wardrobe for her doll she had. Her dad put wood rods in the box and made little hangers for her doll clothes and that was her gift and she elated to get it.
    I am currently sanding an old soda crate while I am waiting for good weather to paint. Right now it's either too cold or too damp. I have a good supply of dust cloths and dish cloths in my gift trunk and will probably make a few more. This challenge is keeping me going even if I am repeating what I make LOL!

    1. Dear Vicky, When I was little Mum made me a doll wardrobe like that! Im not sure it had wallpaper but I remember it had hangers. I loved it!
      What are you going to do with that crate? I have some old wooden boxes... in spring I am planting them up with a mixture of herbs to use as herb garden gifts. I think they will look good. I have three so maybe I will keep one.
      Now you have all the wallpaper you have lots of possibilities. I hope the weather improves so you can get on with what you want. Much love,

  5. That was so sweet of you to give the blanket and hat to the family that had little support. I know that your act of kindness will most likely be one that they will remember forever. Your mom also does lovely work. That gnome house...LOVE!

    1. Thank you Debbie. I just heard today from someone how much the young couple liked this rug! And they are having another baby so now I will make another one! It made me smile a lot that they liked it so much.
      I simply love the Gnome house too. I think I would like something like it in the garden as a fairy garden. So clever.
      Many thanks, with love

  6. Attempt number four at writing this. Fur baby is a bit groggy after surgery and is needing a bit more attention than normal. She seems to be sleeping so here goes.
    Our family has always believed in leading by example. This is something that you do with each blog entry. That lovely young family who received your gorgeous blanket and beanie, will pay your thoughts forward to someone else. This leads to a chain of linked positive happenings. We hear of so much negativity, that all these small, yet wonderful links are missed. I prefer to focus on the positive aspects of life and see such actions as your gifting as shining sparkly crystals. Continue to lead by example Miss Annabel.
    The gnome house has been viewed with great interest. I had to maximise the photo onto the computer for Bluey to have a good look. I would say that this wonderful idea has gone into his memory bank for future reference.
    I'm half way through crocheting a shawl for our daughter. As our girl is 6', the shawl needs to be of the larger variety. I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of the weekend.
    Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      I find a lot of negativity in the world and things to worry about! I really have to try and make the house a haven, think on good things etc. Gardening is something that helps and nature. Otherwise I can get overwhelmed with things that worry me.
      Oh and crafting! I feel really content when making things!
      Then I see such goodness and kindness. We need more of that.
      I really look forward to seeing your shawl. I love shawls, wraps, shrugs etc. I think a lovely gift.
      I thought Bluey might find the gnome house interesting.... with his woodwork. I think it is so fantastic and creative. The beautiful world of children imaginations and something like this is so perfect.
      Much love, From

  7. Dear Annabel, Harper looks so sweet in pink and embroidered roses :-)
    And yours and your mums crochet looking great for the colder months coming.
    Love the Gnome house, what a great idea and clever Mr Mel hehe.
    Busy here crocheting panels for rugs Im making in multi colours.Very easy but good practice for me.
    Bought more bits of lace and cards to decorate, and make my own cards I think Im sold on that idea now Ive got started.
    Made lots of batches of soup for our lunches,a big fruit cake, and meal ingredients with recipes we were gifted via a voucher at Christmas are being used this week.
    Today winter has shown itself 11 C and big downpours .
    Thankyou for your continual encouragement to us all and to everyone else that contributes their own piece of wisdom.With love Maria xx

    1. Dear Maria,
      The panels are a good idea Maria. I have made rugs and they get huge and heavy and hard to handle. Squares or panels would make it more manageable. Soon they will add up too and when you join them if you do a border or edging then that adds to the size even more and looks really good.
      Lace on your cards sounds very nice! It is lovely having a card supply.
      We are on soup here too. I love it. I got broccoli for $2 a kilo today so thats my next soup.
      Your cake looked beautiful. I know you're going to get requests for this recipe as Ill put the pic on May Show and Tell and a diabetic recipe would be very handy. So get ready for requests!
      As I crochet in the evening I think of you and wonder if you are doing the same as you probably are except I think you are about two hours ahead there. I suppose it is the same there... its dark about 5.30?
      Many thanks Maria, with love

  8. Lovely post today Annabel (as always). Today I stained the large deck and small deck at my investment property that is on the market as of today. It took me over two hours, small paintbrush and gorgeous colour stain. It looks amazing. Just last week I spent three hours gurney'ing the decks and two hours oiling them. but the oil soaked in so i decided to stain. the effect was instant. not exactly feathering my nest in the true sense, but when this sells my home nest will be nicely lined with feathers.

    i love the gnome tree that Mel's husband made. what a lovely thing for either girl or boy and your pegs are gorgeous. I've seen them around at a few places and I love them. You said the glitter was in the glue, is that how it doesn't come off?
    Have a lovely week. Fi xx

  9. oops I forgot to mention the lovely baby crochet rug you made for a family who don't have support, now that's the sort of kindness that makes the world go round. I've seen first hand the gorgeous hats your mum makes. You crafty girls are just lovely. Fi xx

    1. Thanks Fiona. You have been so busy! I love an instant effect and improvement like with your deck. Pretty satisfying improvements.
      Yes, if there is varnish or glue over the glitter it is kind of encased and won't come off. Maybe a bit with wear though. But I don't mind as glitter improves everything lol
      Oh I had forgotten about the hat of Mums! Yes she makes lovely ones and they are beautiful gifts. I have a pink rug going now so I must ask her to do a hat with he left overs. The last couple I gave one too jus loved it! Was very nice.
      So glad you are finished at the house. With much love Annabel.xxxx

  10. Hi Annabel!

    Have I told you before? - Your work is so beautiful!

    The embroidered roses for Harper look like a necklace and bracelets. They stand out so well, and so sweetly. Sparkly pegs? Of course!! That's a nice touch!!

    The creativity and fun at Mel's place just prove that the best things in life don't have to cost money.

    Your parents are wonderful!! There is a richness in bringing your parents' workmanship to the fore! The rugs that come from the hands of your Mum are lovely. You both have the same touch!

    Oh, by the way, I sent Dad a copy of the comments regarding his floral work. He said, "Thanks for the encouragement." So there!

    I'm loving your work, and those sweet, pink ribbons. Good on you!

    What am I making? Well, you'll have to wait and see!! However, I am, for the most part, using what I have ..... and loving it!!

    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      I will be looking forward to seeing what you are up to!
      I am very glad for your Dad to know his work is wonderful and admired. Keep going are my words for him and please let us see too!
      It is really beautiful to see what others are doing and what is done as a whole family too. I love that. I want to make everything basically! A few more hours in the day would be helpful sometimes.
      I hope you are having a great week! With thanks,

  11. So glad you tried the clothespins as they came out dazzling :) And your mother's crochet work and the gnome house are wonderful!!! Thank you for another inspirational post!

    1. Thank you Jes! I had a lot of fun with this! Another time I will do floral ones... thats the plan! With love

  12. Harper look so happy and is such a pretty baby :)
    I have some yard work to do today and then I may go glitter up my clothes pins.

    I've got the craft bead collection from my moms shopoholic days spread out. I plan to make bracelets this afternoon.

    I just love your blog Annabel. Your posts make me smile and want to do more.

    1. Dear Rhonda,
      Ohh craft beads! Mums shopaholic days are quite handy for supplies it sounds like! I am thinking of lace doilies with the beads around the edge for food covers! I loved those.
      Thank you so much! With much love,

  13. Hi Annabel,

    I'm crossing my fingers this comment goes thru, as a few lately seem to have been eaten by blogger! :)

    Firstly I wanted to quickly say that I enjoyed the last post by Teri very much. (One comment that didn't come thru in the end.)

    And then on to today...what a gorgeous lot of things! All the things you do that could just be so run-of-the-mill turn out absolutely spectacular and "top-drawer" in your hands, Annabel! I love your laundry-themed accumulations so far. And Harper looks so cute in her little top.

    I had a start when I saw that gnome husband made a similar one (not as many levels) for our girls when they were littler as a Christmas present. They had lots of fun with it, and it stills sits atop their bookshelf (for decoration now, for nostalgia's sake). Love it!

    And all the blankets you and your Mom have been making are so beautiful. A little bit of thoughtfulness sure makes the world a beautiful place!

    I "blinged" up a bottle of homemade Merlot wine for my hubby's supervisor for a "good luck" present, as he is moving to a new office. Forgot to take a picture, but it looked great with all black and white cardstock and bottle cap, etc. I am now down to 2 cards left for my stash of giving out for "get wells" and "happy birthdays", etc, so must get on that. But tomorrow is a milestone birthday in our household, so that's the focus for today!

    Have a lovely day, Annabel.

    xx Jen in Nova Scotia

    1. Dear Jen,
      Well done on the gift for the supervisor I am sure he appreciated it. I ran out of cards too so it was well past time to replenish the supply and really I still need to make more.
      I also would keep the gnome house forever! It will have so many memories and the fact that your husband made it too.. hopefully Grandchildren play with it!
      Thank you for persisting if you have had trouble with comments. I appreciate it. With love,

  14. Harper is so cute and when did she get so big? Lovely work everyone!

    1. Thanks Lana, She is a big one year old now! I am embroidering lots of little outfits currently.
      I hope your week is going well. With love

  15. Oh, goodness! Your Harper is such a cutie-pie! And how sweet she looks in your embellished top!
    Kudos to the clever family that made the gnome home! I think they could start a marvelous side business making and selling them. Those types of things bring a steep price at craft fairs here in the U.S. The one in the photograph is so beautiful and looks sturdy, too.
    Have a lovely day, everyone!
    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Dear Leigh,
      I also thought such a creative thing could be sought after as a hand crafted item. But also the hours involved might be too many! As is the nature of handmade things but maybe offset by the low cost of the components. Very clever people!
      Thank you re Harper! I am on to lots of embroidered outfits now, I have a little pile of clothes to add things to. They look so cute on her! With lots of love,

  16. Dear Annabel, Such a sweet picture of Harper! And the lovely roses you embroidered!!

    You always inspire me with your sweet gifts of kindness! Sadness in the world can be so overwhelming but then to read about acts of kindness; well it just lifts me up!! Thank you!! :)

    Love the gnome house! That reminded me of making small doll furniture (for our daughter years ago) out of a cardboard box, some batting and scraps of material. It was her birthday present and she loved playing with it.

    I love the sparkly pegs! I'm putting that on my to-do list, mostly to make "chip clips"! Such a great idea! Your laundry baskets will be such a lovely gift. I found brand new Christmas baskets at the thrift shop a few months ago and plan to make food gifts with these. I just love giving baskets of goodies and your idea of laundry items in a basket will be an amazing gift!!

    Your mom's hand work is just beautiful, as is yours! Thank you for sharing her lovely work!! Have a good rest of the week! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      Thank you! The Christmas baskets will be a great base for gifts. Mine look like being laundry ones as for some reason I keep making cleaning related things! But its a theme so that is something!
      I hope you are having a good week. I am so far.... lots to do today. With love,

  17. Dear Annabel,

    Everything is just gorgeous, and I cannot get over little Harper! I adore embroidery on shirts, socks, skirts, etc. So dainty and pretty. Thank you for sharing Mel's gnome house as well. It immediately made me think of our little Fairy Garden that we are starting. It has been on the "back burner" since last year. Well, included in my gifts from my children on Mother's Day were a: 1. A gorgeous Fairy for said garden, 2. A little flowered bench for the garden. OK! My kids don't need to say anymore, we will get on with it as soon as school ends for the summer next week. :) I have been saving money all year for Christmas, but have no report of anything I'm currently making. There are many things I want to start so I'll figure one out and get moving on it! Thank you for this post and sharing all of the creativity. I'm inspired! Also, I just read Teri's pantry post. Thank you for letting her share this information, it is so helpful!

    With Love,
    Colette xxx

    1. Dear Colette,
      Now that we have Harper I am thinking I must start a fairy garden. A couple of streets away some people have a fairy garden in front of their house on the curtsied under a bit tree. They have little stairs heading up into a hollow in the tree base! Love that! You know they are nice people just from that!
      Colette I truly find crochet or knitting in the evenings soothing. It settles me down just like my evening bath. I am coming over to your place to get you crocheting I think!
      I Know you are working on your pantry too and meal planning etc. Teri is a big help on this! Many thanks Colette! With love

  18. Harper looks so cute and happy, what a blessing! I will just repeat how neat the gnome house is. A lot of time and creativity went into that. -Kathryn

    1. Dear Kathryn, Thank you! I knew Grandchildren would be a blessing but I didn't even imagine how much! Thank you for commenting and your appreciation of the gnome house! I agree with you. With love

  19. Dear Annabel,
    Harper is adorable. I always love seeing your crochet. The decorated clips are a great idea.
    Have a wonderful week.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Thank you! I have a lot of crochet on the go at the moment. It is just the weather for it too. Now I am onto pink and cream. And starting some embroidery. I like having a few things to go between.
      I hope your week is going well and the weather has cooperated with the garden work. With lots of love,

  20. Hi Annabel,

    Those pegs look lovely! I bought some recently and decorating them is next on the agenda.

    Thanks for sharing the tree house and thanks every one for the lovely comments, my husband will be so pleased! Our youngest son (pictured) is now 10, and doesn't play with it as much so we are keeping it for potential grandchildren ;) xx

    1. Dear Mel, Your husbands handiwork has been such a hit and so admired. I would see it forever too and hopefully you have lots of Grandchildren who just love it! Truly I am inspired to do a fairy garden of some kind minus so many woodworking skills!
      Your son has grown up so much now! I hope your week has gone well Mel. With love,

  21. Dear Annabel, I love those clothes pins! And little Harper is just SO cute!
    The gnome house is really wonderful. I think a child would love this and the story behind it makes it all the more special. Mel's husband did a great job.
    I have been busy this week as we are getting closer to our move, and I was beginning to get a little stressed. I got my housework done early this morning, so I decided to spend the afternoon in my craft room making cards. Oh, I needed it! You are right that it is like therapy. Using magazine images has become my favorite method for making cards, as I enjoy looking through beautiful images. The cutting and glueing relaxes me and I can make a lot at a time.
    Your cards are lovely, as are your Mum's rugs. I really like the smoky colors in the finished rug.
    I hope everyone is having a good week! With lots of love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      I am so glad you could take a break and do some crafting. Yes it is truly a lovely distraction. Something I have learned from Mum and my Nan is they will work work work and then take a break and have something to eat and a cup of tea and sit and knit for a bit. Well then off they go again and work. I sort of have realised that taking breaks is a really good idea and overall we probably get more done and keep going longer because we did have a break. And I think they felt that getting some knitting done was still a productive time and part of their "work" but that it was like alternating between something physical and something quieter. It is really sensible. So your break was good for you but also productive!
      I hope things are progressing well and am really excited for you that the move is getting closer now. With lots of love,

  22. Dear Annabel , thank you for a truly beautiful and motivating and encouraging post. I apologise for being late to comment . I am recovering from a tooth removal and have not been keeping up with my usual comments and posts on forums much as
    I have been resting . In the last few weeks I have made some more cards and am gathering supplies for the notebooks, I have nearly everything I need here now. I will make some on the weekend.
    That gnome house/ tree house is amazing, I used to work in Child care and I have nieces and young children love to make believe, make up their own games etc, this is truly an heirloom piece made with love . Well done Mel and your hubby did an awesome job too.
    Harpers top is beautiful , pink - your favourite colour Annabel, or one of them. It is one of my favourite colours too. The cards you made are beautiful, very elegant .

    I am working on being a little more adventurous with my cards and so far so good , it takes work but it is a joy. I really enjoyed this pist thank youAnnabel
    With love Barb W.

    1. Dear Barb,
      I hope you are feeling heaps better. Thank you for your kind words. I am so glad you feel encouraged and motivated!
      I agree about children imaginative play. So sweet and I just love that.
      It is really good to try new ideas and styles as we learn and create things. Sometimes for me this is simply working out how to use something I have. At the moment I am planning gift tags using rick rac braid as I have all these little bits left over from when I made hankies. So I will see how it looks!
      Thanks so much Barb, with love

  23. Hi Annabel just wondering if you or anyone else is having trouble clicking on A working pantry?

    1. Dear Sue, It is working ok for me, I just checked for you. I hope its working for you now. Love

    2. Thanks for checking it must be my says This website has been reported as unsafe

    3. Sue just go there directly via google or any search engine. It must be a glitch. Also you can go via fb. xxx


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