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 10 May 2016

The Christmas Challenge, Show and Tell for April, part 2.

I have two baby rugs going. One knitted and one crochet. I notice that crochet is more portable so if I have to wait somewhere I take that one.  And both are about half way.
The cool weather and dark evenings are good for knitting or crochet. These gifts take longer but they make a major gift when they are finished.

Also I am working on a project from Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth. Hopefully next week I can show you!

So now to the last of our April Show and Tell.  Thank you for all the lovely emails! The gift cupboards are filling!

First of all I have to show you this lovely photo.

Rachel's Mum was de cluttering and adding touches around the house. This looks like it is from a Victoria Magazine!  Good motivation on my decluttering and tidying! 

Next Rachel's Dad made a topiary tree. It is amazing! He used a tree brach for the "stick" and covered it in gorgeous roses.

Just beautiful! Something like this would be worth hundreds in a store. 

Barb has been making cards plus is working on note books. She uses her little machine to press pretty patterns into the paper... 

Glenda has been sewing. She made her Grand Daughter a cushion for her room in colours she loves. This was after making her Grand Son a Star Wars pillow. 

I admire patchwork and quilting a lot as I have seen how much work goes into these.

She also made her Great Niece a Tote...

Even the handles are quilted! Glenda is using up small remnants to make gifts plus making up ready to sew packs. I think these gifts will be treasured.

Jen made Lavender Sachets...

Jen picked Lavender from a friends Lavender bush. She used fabric from scraps someone gave her. And she saves ribbon from inside clothes. You know the long ribbons they use to keep the clothes neatly on the handers in the stores? Jen saves those. So these were entirely free for her to make.
Very clever!

Also Jen said that it is hard to get ahead with gifts as we make them they go out the door! This is true. Making multiples like this is the way to do it as some make it into the cupboard.

She also has been making wash cloths plus made an initial picture for a child's room which I thought was lovely...

Now I hope I have remembered everyone!

I also had some great recycling themed photos come in. I am going to show those in a separate post as I want to build on the ideas of recycling and being inventive.  They are fantastic!

On the side lines there have been lots of discussions on various resources people have and what on earth can be made from these? Often Pinterest comes to the rescue here. If you type in your resource i.e. "wood slices" you have hundreds of ideas in a minute.  Doing this I noticed "branches" has a lot of ideas! So many natural things around us are free and make something lovely. In fact just now this is a big trend. There are rustic, country, woodland themed weddings. Stuff you find is featured in amazing table settlings and decor. And all costs the earth if you buy it.
So look around you. You may have many more free craft supplies than you even imagined!
The words "free craft supplies" are music to most of our ears!

I hope you are having a great week. I am about to move my fridge, clean it out, clean under and behind it and paint that little area that is hard to get to while it is out. I will be happy to get that done. It is only a few minutes painting and I love a sparkly fridge!

See you on Friday for, hopefully, a good weekly report! xxx


  1. Dear Annabel. Yet again I was so busy I forgot to email you my pretty pillowcases...I'm sorry! Next month! Meanwhile I am ever so impressed by everyones efforts. I would welcome any of those gifts. Another surprisingly easy thing to make is Bib Necklaces. Just stunning and they sell for hundreds...honest! Google Bib Necklaces and particularly the Martha Stewart tutorial and then Google Vera Wang Bib Necklace. You'll be astounded! Lots of Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Thats ok Mimi I know you are under a mountain of costumes and other things!
      I went and looked for that tutorial plus the Vera Wang Necklaces. I love Vera Wang... all gorgeous and yes I can see very makable! And I have a massive drawer full of bits and pieces! Thank you for pointing me in that direction! With love,

  2. Oh my word, more wonderful work from talented people. Rachel's photos always look like they've been professionally styled. So beautiful! I just think the letter picture is a brilliant idea. More to add to the todo list. Gorgeous quiting and clever card making. This is such a diverse and talented group.
    I'm in the middle of crocheting another shawl. This one will be for my daughter. I went to the end of summer specials and picked up a little rash vest and bikini pants for the granddaughter. This will be part of her Christmas present. As we live just up from the beach it's just the right thing for us to be giving.
    I've just potted up a very pretty bromeliad that will have had time to settle and to pup a number of times prior to Christmas. I used a pot I already had, potting mix we purchase in bulk and already had and a brom from my collection. A little bit of pre planning and my gardening friend will have a lovely gift.
    I love how this challenge keeps me on my toes and thinking about what else I can make or put in my gift cupboard. I love all the new ideas I get looking at the comments and at the show and tell photos. This December will hopefully see me doing more swimming and fishing and less stressing about what to give and where the money will come from to pay for gifts. I cannot put a value on the encouragement I get from these challenges. Thank you oh hostess with the mostest.

    1. Dear Jane, I agree about Rachels photos, thats why I had to include that first one!
      I can't wait to see this shawl. I really love your beach and where you live. this would be so lonely for the Grandchildren to enjoy the beach.
      I have saved some rustic wooden boxes. I am planning on planting them up with a variety of herbs in about September for spring and summer gifts. Thats the thing with plant gifts it takes planning ahead but makes great presents!
      Thank you Jane, I am glad this challenge is helping. This is already too much to do in December. Being well ahead is great. I try to wrap early December also as the closer to Christmas the busier it gets. This way we can do that!
      With love and thanks,

  3. The jug in the first photo is the same one I have on my dining table.

    1. Good taste Wendy! It is just lovely! xxx

  4. Hi Annabel , love the above show and tell items , have to say Glenda's tote is calling me ;-)I love seeing the variety here and ideas,so thankyou to you and everyone.
    Im getting hooked on making cards ,after I found what works best to keep me inspired. I tried to take a photo of them but doesn't look as nice as ones Ive seen here ie my photo as such. Anyway 4 have been given out and Ive another 9 or so ready . Can't wait to start on some new ones after a little shop last week for supplies.
    At last I found a rug/throw pattern that I can do easily , such a simple idea too . Funny how we can;t see for looking sometimes.So Im crocheting long narrow strips in different colours then joining and edging for my little grandchildren.At the moment I can sit easily and crochet different colours and then when I have plenty I will work out the best combos and what colour to edge each in.
    Other nest building time spent on soup making, and crockpot dinners and baking . I do find that cooking from scratch takes time and creates a lot of washingup.
    In the last week we have been out twice to dinner invites which was lovely . Ive managed to clean out some of our small freezer contents . Next week we are getting 4 days meals ingredients delivered (vegetarian), Christmas gift voucher redeemed from our daughter and son in law.
    Have a good week everyone !Love Maria xx

    1. Dear Maria,
      I am glad you are liking card making! I agree you kind of have to find your groove with that. I get stuck from time to time as I don't like how things are looking. Then I find a combination that works and make heaps like that. Just now I need a new idea and to make a lot as I have none left.
      Your rugs for the Grandchildren will be loved. I will try and take photos of the ones Mum used to make. The girls both kept theirs. They are heirlooms!
      The crockpot meals save dishes I find. I agree with you that cooking= dishes. I really try to keep things simple and minimise dishes. I like tray bakes and casseroles, its all in one dish. But if making a cake or muffins etc I do a lot as in that mess I might as well get a lot cooked!
      Baking paper is my friend. Even under a lasagne I put that as it reduces the washing up drastically.
      Enjoy your gift of ingredients! That should be interesting and useful! Many thanks Maria! With love

  5. Hi Annabel!

    So that's what a Victoria magazine is like? I never knew!!

    I showed my parents their posted photos. They are appreciative that others also find beauty in the floral arrangements. Dad has looked up topiary trees with his newfound computer skills, and has seen the high prices for pieces with fewer flowers. I'd say it has been good for him to share his work with you. A little morale boost here and there does wonders! Thank you, and enjoy the flowers - and jug!!

    I like how Barb can add texture to paper, and I really like the sparkly yellow flower centres! Glenda's use of bright colours in practical projects make her patchwork such useful gifts. The handles caught my eye, too. I learn from even little things like this! It would be lovely to have lavender sachets like Jen's in my cupboards. I suppose that very boyish frame would have to be hung out of reach of a little motorist's hands!! What a great gift!!

    I'm looking forward to seeing what you're making, Annabel! I love your style! Beautiful!!

    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      Your Dad could sell his topiary trees if he was inclined. Please tell him that.Especially with weddings there is a big market for floral work, centre pieces etc.
      I am painting less so crafting more and hope to have some work to show next week!
      I hope you are having a great week Rachel. With love

  6. Lovely photos as usual Annabel. I have not even been in my home nest for any period of time since Sunday of the week before last so have rocked out at about 7am and home about 5 pm. This is NOT my usual behaviour and I have not been able to enjoy or make things such as lovely meals. I walk past my sewing machine and sigh each night. The investment property will be on the market next week and I will heave a sigh of relief. I think it was Lynette who wrote a bit about getting hers sorted before, it's such a big job.

    Anyway, I do love reading all your posts and the pictures are always scrummy.

    Have a lovely week. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona,
      I know you have had a huge task on your hands. I can't even imagine how you have it all done so soon. I am worried about your shoulder. Having over done it myself Ive had a couple of weeks being a bit sorry that I pushed so hard and I don't know if I can compare arm pain to shoulder pain but it gave me a glimpse! Anyway the good thing is that once this is done it means some very good things. I have heard and seen too many bad tennant stories to ever rent out a place. It is too heartbreaking and the costs of fixing can be massive. You will be free of that. And you will have time to get back to a quieter life and eventually sewing! I look forward to that as your sewing is simply lovely.
      Meanwhile be careful, health is number one.
      Thank you, you are a wonderful support to me. With love

  7. Dear Annabel, Everyone has done such a great job! I'm sure each gift will be very well received. I am going to write down Jen's idea for the lavender sachets as I have so many fabric scraps and these would be a lovely way to use them. Rachel's parents did an amazing job. Her dad's topiary tree is gorgeous!
    I can't wait to see what you are making from Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth. She has so many wonderful projects.
    I hope everyone's week is going well! With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      It is good to know you have fabric scraps! I love sending you ideas and now I have another clue! They can be very nice on cards too. The only problem is too many ideas not enough time. I have to write ideas down or I forget them by the time I get a chance to do them!
      I hope its a good week for you Kelsey. You and your husband are a great team. This is such a help. Everything is easier when working together.
      With lots of love

  8. Dear Annabel, Thank you for this post, I love seeing what everyone makes and puts together. Rachel's parents have decorating flair, the display looks beautiful and the topiary is gorgeous.the cushion Glendale made is lovely , it includes purple my favourite colour , love it.the tote bag is beautiful too I love the bright colours and the butterflies.the lavender sachets made by Jen look great too, I love lavender.the initial picture is very clever and creative also , it looks excellent. Thank you for showing my card , I love using my sizzix big shot to emboss cards , it makes them look pretty If
    I do say so myself!. I hope I haven't forgotten to comment on anyone's work, everything looks beautiful. Thanks again Annabel .love BarbW.

    1. Thanks so much Barb! Isn't crafting good. It is a very happy and relaxing distraction apart from all the presents and useful things we can make.
      Have a lovely weekend! With love and thanks,

  9. Oh, I love everyone's sewing projects! The tote would be such a marvelous gift and so personal done in the recipient's favorite colors. Well done, ladies!
    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Thank you Leigh! The ideas keep coming in and the present cupboards are filling up! With love

  10. Such lovely things! I love Glenda's tote! The colors look so good to me and Rachel's dad's topiary is gorgeous! Everyone has such talent it is delightful to see each week! Thanks to all of the ladies who are sharing their work through photos and comments!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      Do you notice the men are getting a bit of a showcase lately! I think this is a big thing... everyone has talents and gifts. If we can harness all of that it is awesome!
      Your inventive husband seems to be able to make anything! Andy is pretty good like that. But I can't see him being too good with floral art. He would be hopeless at that!
      Much love, Annabelxxx

    2. Haha that is funny Annabel! Rick would definitely not be good with floral art! Now Todd that is a different story! He does very fine centerpieces and setting and decorating a table! I wish I had a picture of it, but one year he made one using dried leaves and pinecones and he went outside and found a birds nest a locust shell and an empty wasp nest and made a really neat centerpiece using these. He used a little glue and glitter and some other things, but it was really nice!

  11. Beautiful work and great ideas .. thank-you all> I am at present knitting a baby rug as I was given lots of (a very pretty pale green) 4 ply wool. The thing is I started in garter stitch and that did not look right! Unpulled and started to crochet- just up and own in trebles- not right either -unpulled and now I am a woven look k4 p4 rib type pattern. It is the best yet...but I have enough wool for another one and would appreciate some easy patterns. Many thanks. Jo

    1. Dear Jo,
      I am so glad you were given lovely yarn! Jo for baby rugs I like good old granny squares. They are easy and you can also do a straight line pattern rather than the round and round the square. I like that. Also I love shell stitch for a baby rug or a more chunky rug I like pineapple stitch. Look for these on You tube. They are all easy stitches one you have done a couple of rows.
      The yarn sounds lovely. And suitable for a boy or girl. If it is the green I think it also looks lovely with soft pink if you end up with left overs you could do a multicoloured rug.
      I hope I get to see the finished product! It will make a lovely gift!
      On You tube I like Yolanda Soto Lopez and Bella Coco. Hope this helps... with love

  12. Many, many thanks Annabel..... I am onto it! Cheers Jo

  13. Hi Annabel

    Such talent amongst your followers. How wonderful to view all the lovely finished items.

    Jen's sachets were a fantastic idea and all for free.

    I do have to admit to keeping those ribbons myself but more for DD5 for her crafting than for myself.

    The colours in the tote bag were vibrant and made me want to have one for me.

    Painting away at the moment on DD5's wooden box for her birthday which will have her initials on and some love hearts of course.

    Thank you everyone for sharing your talents, it is always wonderful to see what you have been making.

    Aly xxx

    1. Dear Aly,
      I love the box you are making and think DD will keep it forever!
      Many thanks Aly, have a lovely weekend, with love

  14. Hi Annabel,

    I tried commenting yesterday, but something happened with the "publish" button. I wanted to say that I love it all and the flowers are just gorgeous. We're just coming into flower season here...I love any that smell as nice as they look!!

    Can't wait to see what you've been working on!

    xx Jen in Nova Scotia

    1. Thank you Jen! I hope you have a wonderful spring and summer and lots to harvest! Have a wonderful weekend! With love


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