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 20 December 2016

The Christmas Challenge. Anything and everything!

This is it! The last post before Christmas!
I really hope that this challenge helped you to make more of your Christmas presents.  Bridge told me that she made covered diaries and fruit cakes as gifts and that preciously she really didn't have the confidence to give things she had made herself. Well, this is music to my ears!

I hope we have all gathered ideas for next year. I am formulating a list. Also planning on learning new things which just makes it twice as much fun!

Due to the week I am behind on replies and writing but I am still planning Fridays post then we will see! BUT I have big plans for 2017!

Firstly I want to show you a diary from Bridge which I can do as she sent me one!

I love it! I know I will be using it every day next year! Thank you Bridge!

Then something lovely from Mel C. She made me Bluebirds for my tree!

Thank you Mel! I love them!

Janine has been making Gingerbread houses with her eleven year old daughter...

Plus baking up a storm...

And sewing aprons which she has made for kitchen towels. 

Thank you Janine for sending me photos and telling me what you have been doing.
It reminded me of when the girls were home and the giant baking sessions we would have and the gingerbread we decorated. Some years we made gingerbread and make them look like certain people. It was hilarious as people recognised themselves which they then ate!

My presents are wrapped, my cupboard depleted and my year of making things really paid off. I combined things I made with bargains I found along the way, using up things I had and it has turned out really well. 
We are not stressing about the cost of presents and Christmas certainly isn't giving us debts or burdens, instead it is all joy.  I have had enough for charity, neighbours and a few gifts just because.

Thank you to everyone who participated in Show and Tell and sent in photos, stories, recipes and to everyone who encouraged them.  I hope you have all enjoyed wrapping and giving your gifts! 
I hope too that all of this made Christmas more wonderful for you.

There is still time for last minute making... I had a baking day yesterday and some more cooking today. But other than that I am done!  We are having a mini Christmas dinner here tonight and I am making a pavlova and my sourdough into a focaccia for the bread. 

I will see you on Friday for a wrap up of the week! xxxx


  1. Annabel,
    Have a Very Merry Christmas! You have done so much for so many, your encouraging words to all is a joy.
    I have just spent Sunday baking cookies with my Grandchildren, we baked gingerbread men, sugar cookie cutouts, Italian Ricotta cookies, walnut jam thumbprints, peanut butter blossoms, snickerdoodles, pizzelles and others I cannot remember now. We will be on the road before Christmas to take presents out to my Dad and drop more off at our Youngest's home. Then home to spend Christmas with my Son and Family. With your Christmas challenge I was able to make homemade gifts for all. Thank you for all the encouragement you have shared.

    1. Dear Rubies, Thank you and the same to you!
      Your baking sounds just lovely! These are beautiful times with your Grandchildren!
      Have a great Christmas! Thank you so much for telling me you made presents for everyone! I m so pleased! With love

  2. Annabel, I have thoroughly enjoyed The Christmas Challenge this year, I hope that you will do it again in 2017. My gift trunk was full to overflowing from adding to it all year ... by Christmas it will be empty and ready to start refilling again. Like you, working ahead all year has given us the gift of a stress free Christmas and in my opinion, you just can't put a price on that!

    1. Dear Patsi,
      Thank you! It will be kind of fun to start again in the New Year! And we al have new skills to use as well which I love!
      It does reduce the stress and cost of Christmas and increase the enjoyment
      Have a wonderful Christmas Patsi! With love

  3. Hello Annabel,
    Hope that you and your family have a happy and safe Christmas.I am know back on track and will be looking forward to participating in your Christmas challenge for 2017.
    Happy Christmas to all of the bluebirders as well.

    1. Dear Marian,
      Thank you very much! I hope you have great Christmas and all your family too.
      Your gift cupboard was very full! Thank you for participating and all the beautiful photos! I can't wait to see what you make in the New Year! With love

  4. I have enjoyed gaining ideas from your posts. Thank you for doing this. May you have a wonderful Christmas! Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy,
      Thank you very much! Have a wonderful Christmas! With lots of love,

  5. Annabel a compliment came your way yesterday from the Blue Man. Whenever something needs adjustment around here, I ask Bluey to McGyver it, and come up with a solution. Yesterday I needed to find a gift, knowing full well there was plenty in the cupboard, when Bluey said, "Cant you Annabel something". So off to the gift cupboard I went to Annabel something.
    This challenge has helped me get ahead and stay ahead. I have two Birthdays to cater for on Christmas Day as well as three more before the end of December. Done. Our beautiful DIL has her 21st on Jan 4th, and she is now catered for. I will definitely be continuing with this challenge next year.
    Just a little secret. I have been saving gold coins for about 18 months now. This was to cater for Christmas but due to everything being done I didn't need to access it. This money is going to be used to purchase the fishing kayak that I was going to get for Christmas last year, but couldn't as we had to spend the money on vet bills. I can now return my friends kayak as I will have one of my own. Woohoo!
    That little diary is gorgeous. Never thought to embellish like that. Another idea to add to the list.
    Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      That is a good one! Yes I will take that as a compliment from Bluey! haha I am in the company of McGyver! And well done on actually coming up with a present too! Gift cupboards are the best!
      Wow on the savings and being able to get something you really want! I notice gold coins don't look like much but they really add up! Someone posted how a coke bottle full of $2 coins is about $1000! This is an amazing way to save!
      I am glad you got an idea from Bridge. She doesnt realise how clever she is!
      I hope you both have a really wonderful Christmas! With love

  6. I am looking forward to starting the gift making for 2017! Thanks so much for all that you share with us, Annabel. May you and your family and all the Bluebirds have a very Merry Christmas! Shirley Seattle USA

    1. Dear Shirley,
      Thank you so much! I hope you have a beautiful Christmas too.
      Yes we will be up and running again on gift making in January! With lots of love,

  7. Hi Annabel and Mob!!

    It sure has been fun 'Annabelling' our way along! It has been just as enjoyable taking photos, sharing and admiring all the Annabelling efforts in Show and Tell! Thank you all for making this work.

    Bridge, your 'Bridge Design' diary is lovely and stylish. We're all enjoying it now that Annabel has one! This is a quality gift!! I can hardly wait to see what you make next!!

    Mel C, your pleasant felt stitching is so pretty as bluebirds!

    Janine, it is wonderful that your family is enjoying baking together. (Is that a snake on the verandah?!) Making aprons from kitchen towels is a rather handy concept!

    Well, Show and Tell hasn't been more fun since the start of school. Actually, I consider that it is much, much more enjoyable now!! Thanks, everyone!!!!

    With very warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    P.S. I read some of Laine's letters late last night! It puts a sweet perspective on our role as homemakers, and real!! There's a stack to read!!

    1. Thanks for kind words Rachel. You are really lovely. I felt proud as punch when Annabel told me that she would put it on the blog! Love, Bridge

    2. Dear Rachel,
      Hahaha yes good old show and tell lives again! I have to tell you this... when I was little guess what I took to show and tell? A birds nest! Essentially nothing has changed!
      Thank you for commenting on the work here! You are a great encourager Rachel especially to me!
      I am glad you like Laines letters! They are fabulous!
      With lots of love,

  8. Dear Annabel, the diary Bridge made is adorable. Love the little dragonfly. Mels bluebirds are so sweet and Janines baking, the gingerbread houses and the aprons are memories waiting to happen! We are off tomorrow so a final farewell from me, wishing everyone a peaceful and joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year. I can't wait to see what we all have planned for 2017! Lots of love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      Thank you for your words about Bridge's diary! She is off and running now in the world of gift making that is for sure.
      Have a safe and wonderful trip! With lots of love and thanks,

  9. Annabel, I love reading your show and tell from your readers posts- they are such nice projects.
    The bluebirds are just perfect for you ❤️ I am sure you smile everytime you see them.

    1. Dear Rhonda, Thank you! I have had a week of doing stuff and getting stuff done! :) Have a really lovely Christmas! With lots of love

  10. Thank you Annabel for sharing the journsl. Honestly, I was over the moon when you told me you would put it on the blog. I called DH! Lol Even DH couldn't believe it. It made my day! I always have felt so useless in making anything. Like the dunce of the class. So thank you Annabel for being so supportive, kind and very generous not only in spirit but with your time. I owe you A LOT! Then I got a second compliment today. I felt so happy because I gave some ladies a Christmas cake (your lovely recipe) with some cherries around it...well they loved it! I was so happy. So thank you!

    Mel those bluebirds are so perfect- so Annabel. What a thoughtful gift.

    Janine, I love the gingerbread house! It's gorgeous. I'm craving gingerbread now. Those biscuits look beautiful all wrapped up. You have made some lovely things.

    I have to say honestly, I used to dread Christmas...the expense etc. this year I'm so excited about it. Thank you for making it s magical one, Annabel. You have shown me the joy of Christmas.

    Love, Bridge

    1. Bridge, I think we're all proud as punch that you're proud as punch! Keep going!

    2. Dear Bridge,
      You made me smile a lot. This is just the beginning for you. I hope you can see others have loved your diary and idea to embellish it and it is stunning! You could not have given me a nice gift either. And well done on the cakes.
      Truly Bridge, it is just a confidence thing. Most of the time my crafts and ideas are simply copying an idea I saw somewhere and trying to do it in an affordable way. Not to mention this is backed up with photos and notes, you tube etc to help. And increasingly, knowing what shops charge for stuff! Then we go hang on! I could make that!
      Thank you for all your support and friendship and I loved hearing how this all has changed Christmas for the better for you. That is beautiful!
      Have a wonderful Christmas and making new things in 2017! With lots of love,

  11. Dear Annabel,

    The show and tell has been so much fun to so see, and so inspiring.

    Bridge, the journal is absolutely beautiful and such a clever and creative idea!!! I'm looking forward to seeing what you do next!!

    I love Mel's bluebirds! Absolutely perfect for your tree, Annabel.

    Janine, the gingerbread house is so cute and must have been so much fun to make with your daughter. It is definitely the stuff memories are made of! Blessings. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      Thank you for participating! You have had a really productive year! I look forward to seeing what you come up with net as well! With lots of love

  12. Dear Annabel and beautiful bluebirds ladies ( and your gentleman folk!) ,
    I just wanted to thank you all for your inspiration this year, the kind comments towards me and your support. I am looking forward to filling up my gift shelves with handmade gifts next year, I honestly did follow along but I only made cards and mostly used them ( except Christmad cards) throughout the year .i have some new blogs to follow thanks to Annabels blog , so I will be starting over the Christmas break to plan ideas and my gift making list. I have written a list of who I need gifts for and a few ideas of what to give.
    I have bought my mums 70 th birthday gift today ( well part of it) and want to make her something special , any ideas?!. I will be looking on Pinterest too.i think I will make my mum a practical but pretty gift , it will not be the main gift though.
    I have completely finished my Christmas shopping and I want to make a few things for Christmas still.I am going to makeover some little hessian gift sacks , I will add ribbon and possibly some holly leaves or a small decoration or maybe just the ribbon I have. These bags ( only small) will be used as goody bags on out Christmas lunch table.i have Bon bonds ( Christmas crackers) that I bought for 20 cents earlier this year.
    Love this challenge and all the lovely projects, well done everyone.
    Merry Christmas love Barb W.

    1. Dear Barb,
      You have been a great encouragement to everyone thank you for all your participation!
      I think a special card for your Mum and in it write all the ways you appreciate her. I think that would be wonderful for her!
      Your contribution to the Christmas table sounds lovely!
      Barb I hope you have a really fantastic Christmas and that 2017 will be a great year for you! With lots of love,

  13. Dear Annabel,

    That diary is so divine...lucky you! I love the photos of all the treats and presents.

    This is one of the most relaxed few days before Christmas I've had in years! Thank you for all the inspiration and wonderful tips and images all year long. I wish you and your family a very joyous and blessed Christmas with all my heart.

    xxx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen,
      I love that all your work all year has made these days more relaxed!
      I know all the gifts you made will be loved!
      Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year! With love,

  14. Merry Christmas Annabel and everyone!
    Hope you all have a beautiful 25th and fun and good health for 2017.
    Ive been a bit slack on here lately with one thing and another wanting my attention.Happy to say all my gifts are wrapped .
    Annabel I made your shortbread in heart shapes with cherries ,and 4 overlapping ,looked lovely in cellophane as gift.We are chomping through the rest., I made half a batch for trial and had to add more flour as my kitchen was warm.
    A few weeks ago I made some of the contributed recipes,Chloe's biscuits,Timtam truffles and the eggless date loaf, so thanks to those ladies who gave their recipes, apologies for not remembering names .
    Love to all and thanks , love Maria xxx


    1. Good job, Maria!!

      We need to make sure Annabel knows we love baking - so we can share more recipes as the days roll on! Thank you for baking!!


    2. Dear Maria,
      I love the overlapping heart shapes.... and thanks for mentioning your use of some of the recipes! It all sounds beautiful! I know you have had an extremely busy time lately. Thank you for all your photos and comments all year! Have a beautiful Christmas and I hope 2017 is a really good year for us all! With love

  15. Today is clean out the 'fridge day - that is after I get the Christmas items baked to take to my mother in law's place.

    We have had really hot humid days but last night we had a huge storm come through and things are a bit more pleasant - still humid but not as bad as it has been. So a better day to have the oven on.

    I cleaned out our daughter's 'fridge when we were down there on Sunday, found an apple and some blackberries that will be turned into muffins then popped into the freezer. We have some bananas to be cooked up so the freezer will be well fed before we head away.

    Funny how you try to empty the freezer and you create things to fill the gaps.

    My current plan is to use up what we have here and only shop for necessary items. I have a $100- gift card that came to us when we purchased the air conditioner - my plan is to at least double the value of it and to do that I need to use up what is on hand -as it is my husband's work has stopped so we will be using our stockpile to keep us going until it starts up again.

    I am already formulating some plans for next year - have always regarding paying full price for anything a major disaster so Tuesday I popped into Spotlight to pick up some things I was going to pick up last week and found some Christmas items that I would need for an item I wish to make 60% off - meant to be.

    Annabel I hope that last night went well and you have a good break away - I am sure that you will come up with some wonderful ideas for all of us next year.

    Wishing everyone a Safe and Merry Christmas - see you in the New Year



    1. Dear Lynette,
      I am really glad about you having the air conditioner. I am not used to humidity but as far as I can see air-conditioning cools and reduces the humidity judging by the water it collects. So both these things just make life more comfortable and the ability to rest and sleep is a huge factor.
      We are eating leftovers also which I love and serves the purpose of not wasting anything but also easy nights.
      That was very good finding things already 60% off. I am hoping to be able to stock up on wrapping paper etc after Christmas.
      I hope it all goes well at your Mother in Laws, you do so much work for that. Have a really wonderful Christmas!
      I am also cooking plans for next year. I wont be painting anymore so this should free up some time!
      With lots of love and many thanks,


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