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 3 May 2016

The Christmas Challenge. Show and Tell for April, 2016.

Last week I forgot to remind everyone about Show and Tell! Oops I was lagging behind a bit last week.

It is ok... I got lots of letters and photos anyway and thank you to everyone who remembered! And I need to do it over two weeks  as there are always a lot of photos so please, if you have been making gifts, send the photos in for next week via the Facebook page or to me
Thank you! You all helped me stay on track!

We are really getting into the year now! And we are starting to see the results of keeping at it month by month. As we give gifts during the year only some presents actually end up being kept all the way until Christmas. But still they soon add up and it is so exciting to have a range of lovely things put away and most Christmas gifts taken care of.
Keeping busy all year on making what we can is lovely. It adds to life. It uses things up. But not having to shop and spend so much at Christmas is the biggest thing of all. It makes the whole month of December so much better for many reasons. The budget one of them! Working on gifts all year round makes it realistic. The best intentions of making Christmas gifts in December when it is already a really busy time just makes it really hard to achieve. Starting in January it is really truly achievable!

Also we are making things for our homes! Lots of things I wish for I find a way to make or am just recycling somehow and I love to see those photos too!

In April Mary made over some jars. These just made my heart happy!

This is the kind of thing I adore as something simple and useful like a jar can be so gorgeous!

She also picked up a towel holder for a couple of dollars and made that over for her kitchen...

Mary these are just beautiful!

Jane has been sewing ...



What gorgeous gifts! Jane has a Grandchild on the way who is going to be the most well dressed and loved baby ever!

Kelsey had a wedding to go to. She made up a cleaning, caring for your house gift...

I love this. She made cleaning cloths and cleaning products.

I also love the bridal wrapping!

I have to show you Kelsey has ducklings. Her husband made this gorgeous duck pond! Notice the little ramp!

Leigh made gift boxes from craft paper she had. This is really good especially if you have lots of papers on hand. I love something else to make with scrapbooking paper etc. A supply of these would be very handy.

Leigh made a tutorial on how to make these. She also has a whole post on cards, gift bags etc full of ideas here.

Jen in NC has been knitting gorgeous socks plus making a range of gifts and cards.... all beautiful.

Jen your gift cupboard must really be growing. Everything is lovely.

Vicky had a roll of wallpaper. She used it to cover boxes and then package up cleaning themed gifts. She also covered storage containers with it. I love this as she used what she had and was inventive with it! And Emma was her assistant!

For my own craft supplies I had a parcel arrive from the US with the most gorgeous gift of fabric from Paula! Thank you so much Paula. I am dreaming and planning what to make with this. I love the Bluebirds of course!

This is part one! We will be back with part two next Wednesday.

Thank you so much to everyone. The variety is amazing and the ideas are never ending!

I hope you are having a good week. We have had rain which is really good as it was needed so much.
During the evenings I am working on two baby blankets, one is crochet and one is knitting.

Hopefully I will have lots to report on Friday so I had better get cracking!

How is your gift making coming along? I hope you found some inspiration from the ladies who shared here today. xxx


  1. Ladies, you are all so inspiring with your lovely gifts! Good work! I have very few homemade gifts to report but I did buy out a small shop's worth of fancy soaps that will make fantastic gifts, once wrapped and decorated. Almost 10 nice soaps too. Also, I am going to grate one and use it in homemade laundry powder that I may gift to one of my disabled sons who lives on a very fixed income. So I am going to count that too as part of a gift. Blessings to you all, can't wait to hear about and see other inspiring gifts all you clever gals create! Teresa

    1. Dear Teresa,
      The soaps will be great for your gift cupboard. All additions are welcome and I watch for possibilities and specials. Sunday here is Mothers Day... and so next Monday I expect I might find some great mark downs at the supermarket that could end up in my gift cupboard hopefully!
      I saw a lady on a blog made palest pink laundry powder by grating pink soap. It was so pretty and I thought why didn't I think of that. Also the lovely fragrance of nice soap is good.
      For someone on a tight budget practical gifts are lovely and useful. A great help. Lovely idea for your son.
      Lots more already for next week! Many thanks Teresa, with love

  2. Stunning gifts, everyone, and so varied too. There are some great ideas being shown.

    No gift making here this month, unfortunately. We've been doing the rounds of doctors and dentists this month, so it will be nice to get back into more creative things this month.

    I can't wait to see part 2 next week.


    1. Dear Janine,
      Im sorry to hear about the doctors and the dentists. Neither are much fun! Also the mention of dentists scares me in tow ways... pain and dollars!
      I like having something to work on in waiting rooms though... as our Doctor is often a long wait and that hour is a good chance to write a letter, knit or something. Then it is less frustrating.
      I hope May is better for you! With love

  3. What a lot of lovely gifts, Annabel. Thanks for sharing them all on your blog.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      Thank you! I am planning to make little skirts like you make. They are lovely. A sweet gift for a little girl.
      With love

  4. My word Annabel, we are a clever and creative group. Thank you for the link to Leigh's tutorial. I have been wanting to have a go at making some of these gift boxes for some time. No excuses for not doing so now. Jen's knitted socks look so lovely and warm. I can knit but don't think I have the skills to turn out a pair of luxurious socks. Kelsey's little ducks are so cute! Our children used to call the ducklings Cheapies as this is the sound that the ducklings made. Cleaning gifts given in such beautifully crafted wrappings is such a wonderfully thoughtful idea. I'm so looking forward to seeing even more wonderful ideas next week. Now I'd best go and write down all my new ideas for gifting before I forget. Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      Paper crafts are very good as they are inexpensive yet so many beautiful things. I can think of lots of uses for gift boxes too... from food gifts to party favours.
      I admire the socks too as my knitting is pretty basic and such things as turning corners scare me!
      Lots of new pictures have arrived for next week and ooh lovely things! Many thanks Jane, with love

  5. LOVE-LOVE-LOVE everything X 18!

    The ducklings....... and not an ugly one in the bunch!


    1. Dear Kelley, Thank you! The ducklings are all adorable that is true!
      I hope you are having a good week! With love

  6. Hi Annabel!

    Each exhibit is worth a thousand words!! I love seeing the work from every person!

    What a lovely wedding gift!! Now that is food for thought, and so beautifully presented! Thank you, Kelsey!

    The ducklings are stunningly cute and sweet! They are so colourful, detailed (See their beaks!), stylish ..... They have been photographed in sunlight, and they look like they are in a Country Living photo shoot! My husband likes the ramp! Well done to Kelsey's husband!!

    Thanks for the lovely show, Annabel! I don't know how you got those ducklings to participate! Well done!

    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      Thank you! I agree the duckling photo looks like it is from a lovely magazine.
      I hope its been a good week for you! It is going too quickly! Many thanks! Love

  7. What creative and lovely gifts people are making!
    I love the duck ramp :).

    1. Thank you Glenda. The ramp is adorable I thought. I want ducks just to have this. Mum and dad have ducks at the farm and ducklings often. They are lovely. I always go to check out the ducklings.
      I hope the week is going well for you there. With love

  8. I always enjoy the show & tell posts and seeing what everyone is making. What a bunch of creative and talented ladies! I wish I could see the delighted faces of the lucky recipients of some of these gifts. Maybe that could be a show & tell, too?
    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Dear Leigh, thank you for participating and such a useful tutorial. You have done great job with these. Much love

  9. Annabel, Your gift giving/Christmas challenge posts are 'eye candy' for me, I love them! In this post, I especially like the two pictures of cleaning themed gifts. This is something I can do!

    1. Dear Patsy,
      Yes think of the soaps, dust cloths etc they all look lovely together and are great gifts.
      I hope the weather is being kind and helping with your gardening. with love

  10. Annabel,
    I love the fabric Paula sent that is so pretty! I love everything everyone has done! I drool over the pictures each week. My gift trunk has quite a few things in it and I am very pleased! I also am getting lots of ideas as well. I think there are going to be a lot of happy people this year!

    1. Dear Vicky, Thank you for your photos! I love using what we have. You keep turning things around the place into great and useful items and gifts. Good work I say!
      With much love,

  11. Gee everyone has made such lovely gifts. Very inspiring. I feel like a naughty child having not commented for a week or so. I do love reading your posts Annabel and all the lovely comments. I hope in a week or so when I am back home to be able to contribute some photos of my own. Have a lovely week. xx Fi

    1. Dear Fiona,
      I will give you a "get out of jail card" just this once lol!
      You are a gem and I appreciate you very much. Sometimes life doesn't give us much time and all kinds of things ... but you are a great support to me and thank you.
      I look forward to you having time plus no pain in your arm so you can get back to your lovely sewing and creating. I think of you a million times a day as the Bluebirds kitchen towel is right where I cut veggies etc in the kitchen and I love it so much!
      Many thanks Fiona. With love

    2. goodness me a million times a day!!!! i'm flattered. and thanks for the get out of jail card! xx

  12. Dear Annabel, What a delightful surprise to see my little ducklings on your blog! I love to watch them, especially when they swim. I think they will quickly outgrow their little pond :) Thank you to everyone for their kind comments! I have passed them on to my husband!
    Everyone has done such a beautiful job with their gifts. I love seeing what everyone has made and I am always very impressed by the ladies' talent. Thank you for putting this together, Annabel and to the ladies contributing! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week! Love, Kelsey

    P.s. I wanted to note that I used the tutorials on Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth (in Annabel's sidebar) to make the lavender cleaning products and I used her printable labels as well. She has wonderful tutorials for many frugal and lovely projects.

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      Well the ducklings ended up the star of the show and the duck pond! Your husband is clever to have thought this up as it is the perfect design.
      Thank you for contributing. Your Wedding Gift was so nice and looked beautiful packaged up. I love the pearls.
      I agree about the tutorials on Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth. There are many and a personal favourite is the Peter Rabbit seed packets. But I love them all and it is a massive resource.
      I hope this week is going well for you! With love,

  13. Dear Annabel, what beautiful gifts! I never cease to be amazed by what this little group of friends showcases! The bluebird fabric is adorable too! I'm very much into the whole idea of pillowcases at the moment. Both bought and embellished at home, or home sewn in lovely fabrics. Everyone loves a gorgeous pillowcase, and they post well too! I'll send some photos. Wonderful work everyone :) Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      Ohh more pillowcases? I will look forward to seeing them and I am already saving things for this idea. It is very luxurious and special. I was in Spotlight and looked for motifs. I am thinking bridal offcuts could be good. Also really wide lace from ruffled curtains... anyway Im totally inspired! I love feeling as if I have a line up of things to do next and look forward to. With love

  14. Such gorgeous gifts! I truly would never have dreamed that decorating the lids of jars could transform them so much, they look wonderful. And as a fairly new preserving convert, pictures of preserves make me happy! The two cleaning gifts are so beautifully made, and I imagine are lovely to use. And the gift boxes look so professional!

    Wee shout out to Jen in NS from Jen in NZ lol, those socks!!! They are amazing! I can knit but have no idea how you knit socks and I'm totally in awe of anyone who can. I am quite certain that if I ever managed to knit a pair I would not be willing to part with them!

    Oops this should have been at the top but Hi Annabel :) I got a bit carried away lol. Despite my best efforts, I never seem to be ahead with homemade gifts, they always seem to be made just in time. But this week I sewed 20 lavender sachets, gifted four immediately and have the rest ready for gifts in the future. What a feeling! I'm so keen to keep adding now!

    Can't wait for next weeks show and tell

  15. Dear Annabel and everyone here,

    I am popping in to say hello and to ooh and aah over all the lovely things. I keep thinking my photos look a bit repetitive with the socks and starfish cloths reappearing, but I'm having fun! Those of you who knit and don't think you can tackle socks, it's not as hard as it seems...the biggest thing is getting your head wrapped around turning the heel, which is a piece of cake once you realize how it is constructed! The plain purple socks will be used as bedsocks, and they are knit in a chunky cotton blend on large needles, no fancy stitches, and a short cuff...a perfect "beginner" sock! Give it a shot, sometime! I love how we are all trying new things and learning new skills in this challenge, too. I have found I love doing the cards, though I hadn't really thought to try it much before! And a "hello" to you, Jen in NZ!!

    xx to all,

    Jen in Nova Scotia

  16. What a delightful post to read. Well done everyone on these beautiful gifts. I love the way they are all presented. The way these cleaning gift baskets are presented are just delightful. I am so impressed with everyone's creativity. Such a happy place to be- thank you everyone for sharing! Love, Bridge


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