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 13 December 2016

The Christmas Challenge. This and that.

As we are almost at the end of the year I am posting a bit of this and that as my Christmas Challenge post! Photos and stories have been coming in of home made gift success, money saving overall and pledges to do this again next year. I agree! Starting early was a good idea.

So this is some of this weeks photos and news!

Rachel pledged to learn to crochet. She is already an excellent knitter.  Photos arrived and I saw beautiful yarn in a basket in one of Rachel's lovely photos. Then I realised she had made the basket! It is her crochet!

I am amazed and love this! Now I want to make baskets...

I would say your crochet is successful Rachel!

She also sent me photos of some produce. She has been making Lemon Butter...

Also Lemon  Jam, Lemon Juice, Lemon Cordial...

To take a photo Rachel sat the jars around the big tree and thought they ended up looking like yellow flowers under a tree. Lovely.  When life gives you lemons there are wonderful things to make! 

Cookie made Lotion Bars.  She has been on a roll! I think these look just lovely. They are sometimes called massage bars also.

Jane tried a new knitting stitch and made a wash cloth. She cleverly combined knitting and crochet. The main part is knitted and the edging is crochet. Brilliant I think.
PLUS she made the soap! Just beautiful!

She also made coasters and gift tags. She will be surprised to see this as I took the photo!

These came in the mail to me! So lovely and I thought well I will just the a photo of this! 

Vicky has been decorating and making over paper carry bags. I remember last year I had a box delivered in the mail arrive at my front door.  I looked out and this box had Father Christmas on top and lots of stamps! All the way from Ohio a box had arrived from Vicky and she had decorated it. It was just lovely!  Vicky saves cards and images, just them out and adds to the top of boxes/parcels.  It was so nice that now I decorate boxes and envelopes to try and get the same effect!

Plus there are decorated pegs to hold them shut! 

Obviously I love these! 
I just admire what everyone has made. All year we have seen clever things that are inexpensive to make and just gorgeous. I have had many "why didn't I think of that?" moments!?

I have been wrapping, posting and fluffing around. I made Shortbread. This way of making it is super fast. No cutting out shapes and lots of trays in and out to cook them, just big slabs sliced into wedges.  I made two batches and it gave me lots to give away.

The main thing is to cut it right through while it is very hot still. It slices like butter. Then let it go cold and you have perfect  edges.

Cookie also made her three ingredient fudge.  This sounds like an excellent recipe! This is what she says:

This recipe ships well as it needs no refrigeration after it's made, unless you want to
speed up the setting process.  You can use any kind of chips.  I used
semisweet chocolate chips for one batch and a combination of semisweet
chocolate and butterscotch chips for the other batch, which gives it a
rum-like flavor.  The recipe, 2 cups chocolate chips or chips of
choice, 1 can of sweetened condensed milk and 1 tsp vanilla.  Combine
the milk and chips and melt in a double boiler or in the microwave at
30 second intervals (I used the microwave) and stir every 30 seconds
or so until melted.  Remove from heat or microwave and add the vanilla
or any other flavoring you may like.  Pour into parchment or waxed
paper lined 8 inch square pan and let cool to set.  Remove from pan
(lining it with the paper makes it easier) and cut.  I topped one
batch of mine with crushed peppermint and one batch with walnuts while
it was still warm.  Store in an airtight container.  At home I keep it
in the refrigerator and just take out a piece when we want some.

Thank you so much for the fabulous photos and recipes! It is lovely to see the last couple of weeks of Christmas preparations. 
I have called things off and slowed things down to stay home more and enjoy this time. By now the shops are irritating, just getting a park is the beginning of an ordeal! haha I am so glad I can now mostly do the things that I love about Christmas. I want to enjoy it.

How are your Christmas plans going?   I hope your gift cupboard is filling your parcels and your kitchen smells lovely! xxx


  1. Annabel, this post is filled with lots of Christmas inspiration! Love that pink wash cloth and Vicky's gift bags and pegs are just so cute! I'm going to steal her idea!!!! I love the simplicity of just staying home and enjoying the season.

    1. Dear Patsy,
      Me too. I feel like nesting now and staying in. Creating atmosphere!
      I am saving all cards and Christmas images to decorate next years parcels! Have a wonderful party! Love

  2. Annabel attempt number two at posting a comment. Our internet is cutting in and out so we will see how we go. There is so much loveliness in this post. Rachel's little flowers of lemony deliciousness are gorgeous . Her crochet basket show she is well on the way to being a crochet master. Lotion bars are on my 'round to it' list. Cookie may have pushed me into actually getting 'round to it'.
    You're baking looks delicious. I had Christmas cake on my baking list to get done. Mum and Dad visited with my Aunt, cousin and his daughter from South Africa yesterday. Mum bought up my Christmas gift, a boiled fruit cake. I had thought I might need to cut this up and freeze individual slices. Bluey has eaten a few pieces and has thoroughly enjoyed it. There will be no need to freeze any of this cake. This will be our Christmas cake.
    Mum also took home my Christmas gifts for the family. She and Dad will travel to my Brothers for Christmas and take the gifts with them. Mum also took gifts for my son and his little family. She is off to Sydney this weekend for Tilly's Christening. My Uncle, who was the priest who married Bluey and I, will be performing the Christening. Bluey and I wont be there due to Bluey still not being well enough to travel. At least Tilly will have her Great Granny there from our side of the family. Tilly will also be wearing her Daddy's Christening gown.
    I was surprised to see the coasters being presented here. I hope you like them as much as I enjoyed making them. The pink washcloth has been claimed by Katie. She tells me it is lovely and soft to use.
    Christmas is just about taken care of. We have Katie's 25th Birthday next week. My minion mad daughter is getting a sheet set that I am edging with minion fabric. I am also making her two European pillow cases and a bed runner out of the minion fabric.
    Life is good, Still too hot, but good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      What a good week you've had. The Christmas cake sounds lovely and so do the Christening celebrations and it is so handy you could send your gifts with family.
      I love the coasters! One is next to my bed right now with tea on it! I thought the fabric is so pretty. So then I thought to take a photo too!
      Your birthday gifts are so personal and special! And you managed all of these extra things near Christmas. Our family has a heap of birthdays in December and January too. I hope Katie loves her gifts but she will!
      And the fruit cake eating will be good for Bluey. Excellent!! With lots of love

  3. All those things look very lovely, the crochet is certainly a winner Rachael.

    I'll print out the fudge recipe to try next year sometime.

    Hope all is well with you Annabel. Fiona xx


    1. Thank you, Fiona! It turns out that my crochet here is not much different to what I learnt as a child, so I've had a head start - after all these years! I am looking forward to more crochet!

    2. Dear Fiona,
      Thank you for all the times you showed us pictures in show and tell! You have also shared a lot of inspiring cooking and chicken stories! Thank you so much for being such a support all year. With lots of love,

  4. Hi Annabel,

    Once again such beautiful offerings by everyone. I almost can't wait for the New Year to try some of the items I've seen on the Christmas posts.

    One question, if that's OK. What has used on the edge to decorate the shortbread? It really gives it a festive appearance. BTW, the gingerbread was hit with my sewing group and I still have plenty for the my grandchildren to decorate.

    Thank for all the recipes over the past few weeks.

    best wishes,

    1. Dear Janine,
      I am formulating plans for the NY myself. This is good. Probably I need to be writing them down.
      Around the shortbread I put a glazed cherry in each section. Or should I say Glace Cherry? Also a cashew nut would work. Another time I used a stencil and dusted with icing sugar.
      Oh I am glad you liked the gingerbread! It is nice and smooth!
      Thank you so much Janine! With love

  5. Hi, again, Annabel!
    Hi, again, Annabel's mob!

    These Shows are so much fun! It is a privilege to photograph home work, and share between homemakers! Thank you, all, for the interaction here!!

    Annabel, I can see that, in sending the photos as a collage of smaller pictures, that some went blurry on you when you placed them! Oops! I think I ought to send larger versions. Do you agree?!

    Anyway, Vicky, I love brown paper! These red cardinal birds of yours are really interesting! (My jars, of course, are topped with scrap paper!)

    Cookie, I'm learning from your work! Mmmmm, fudge made from sweetened condensed milk!
    (I know someone who loves caramel!!) For us, lotion bars could be good - in winter!!!! I just love the beauty of your contributions. You're a treasure!!

    Jane, your knitting looks so soft and gentle - and pink!! I am just waiting to see Bluey's knitted socks!! Those coasters of yours look clever, my husband says. They certainly are stunning and beautiful all at once! Can you give any hints on how you made them?!

    Annabel, the shortbread really turns out some elegant gifts for you!

    Oh yes, I meant to say, Annabel, that I really enjoyed making the little crochet basket! I'm placing crochet in the same basket as playing the banjo. They both give such a sense of joy!! .... and did you notice that the yarn I had to work with makes the basket a kind of French 'blue'?! Cute, hey?! I'm not finished crocheting yet!!!!

    With very warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Rachel the coasters are quick and easy to make. If you go onto YouTube and search for folded fabric coasters you will see a number of good tutorials on how to make these. Have fun making some.

    2. Dear Rachel,
      Well I noticed they were a little unclear but thought too bad they were still lovely! I agreed they looked like flowers round the tree and I was so impressed with al you did with lemons and made the most of them.
      Thank you also for showing us the basket. I can't figure out how you did this so fast! I am so glad you are enjoying it so much! I told you so! haha!
      Thank you for commenting on everyones work! With love Annabel.xxxx

  6. Everything looks lovely ladies!

    And dear Rachel, I have never heard of lemon cordial... Would you be willing to share your recipe? In the winter, I have tons of lemons to use up and I love variety! :)


    1. Hi Jes!!
      I found Rhonda's lemon cordial instructions quite easy to follow - at the following link!
      I also managed to make some very lemony citrus vinegar solution, which smells good enough to drink!! I look forward to drying citrus peels next season - thanks to you, Jes! I am enjoying my homemaking activities.

    2. Just wonderful! Thank you kind friend! :)

    3. Dear Jes, I think you may call cordial syrup or squash? Not sure.... but you make it up then add it to water to make your drink. You only need a bit i.e. a low ratio to the water... plus it usually keeps well. Really lovely! With ice in hot weather its the best!
      With love,

    4. YES, I did some research after and we Americans call it a syrup :) I found that squash and cordial were also used so thank you for confirming that... It is fun learning other terms. I have a few recipes like that in the ebook and didn't realize it was the same thing... I am going to branch out on my names next time! :) I hope your spring is going well! Love, JES

  7. Dear Annabel and the talented ladies of bluebird fame!,
    Everything looks lovely, you are all so talented. I will be making chocolate chip biscuits next week ( probably on Christmas Eve) , I will take photos and send them to Annabel with the recipe if anyone is interested?. My mum will be helping me and it is a very easy recipe that I have been making since I was 5 .
    My Christmas plans are falling into place after a bad week last week. I am so looking forward to having an airconditioned festive season and life!.
    I haven't made as much myself for gifts this Christmas as intended but I am happy that I got lots of bargains and have pretty much finished my gifts except for the chocolate chip biscuits and a bottle or two of pink champagne ( for gifts not for me!!) .
    Rachel I absolutely love your basket, you have such a talent for crochet and everything else you make!. I am inspired by you and the others here.Annabel , I think I must try to make the shortbread, if not for Christmas for New Year's Eve !.
    Vicks, the pegs and bags are just darling, they look wonderful, well done.
    Cookie the lotion bars would make a great gift in a pamper pack or a few together with a wash cloth or without .
    Jane , the washcloth and soap and coasters and gift tag look amazing, great work .
    Well, it's time for me to go to bed, past my bedtime but I am not very tired, too excited about Christmas!. The Christmas cheer and spirit has finally found me this year!.
    Love Barb W.

    Merry Christmas everyone.


    1. Dear Barb,

      I'm sorry you had a bad week. You've sprung to life again!

      Any recipe from childhood is well worth looking at. Biscuits are something I'm working on - especially since I found that my little oven plays up terribly at biscuit temperatures!! It makes it more interesting!! I'll be looking forward to your chocolate chip biscuit recipe!!

      Yes, I like the little basket, too! I'm enjoying my crochet learning, and hope you get to enjoy some more, too!

      Keep comfortably cool!


    2. Barb
      Thank you and I would love to see your biscuits and recipe!

    3. Dear Barb, I also would love that recipe! So yes please! Thank you so much for participating in show and tell this year and for commenting so kindly always on everyones work.
      I am hoping you have a wonderful Christmas this year! With much love

    4. Dear Annabel , Vicky and Rachel, I will email or message Annabel the recipe and photos. Rachel I love how you say I have sprung to life again!. I had a set back this afternoon when an elderly lady accidently hit me fair in the back with her trolley in a shop, it was such a tight space, we both had trollies and she couldn't help but hit me . She was so upset, I told her I was ok and said it was the initial hit and shock to my back that hurt. I am very sore now, I will sit with a heat pack on my back and eat my dinner!.
      I am fine honestly just need to make sure I will be ok tomorrow.
      Anyway, I hope you have a beautiful Christmas too Annabel. May you all be happy, filled with joy and love and spend time with loved Barb W.

    5. Dear Barb,
      I hoping that there are no after effects from the trolley accident. You're in my prayers. I'm looking forward to your chocolate chip recipe. Blessings. Cookie

    6. Oh dear, Barb! A trolley in the back is just what you don't need!
      Resting it early is a good thing. I hope you feel good tomorrow.

  8. Dear Annabel,

    Wow, again, to all the goodness shown here! I just love lemon butter (we call it lemon curd, here)...even though we can't grow lemons in our climate! The washcloth is beautiful, and the soaps are a perfect match. I love the fabric used on the seems perfect for you! The fudge sounds delicious and super easy and the made over paper bags are gorgeous, Vicky! Thanks for the tip about cutting shortbread, Annabel...I will file that one away for future reference. We have yet to get batteries for our camera, but I am sending my hubby today to get them, so photos soon, I hope, before everything is wrapped! :) Otherwise, I'll have to take "after" pictures.

    This challenge has been great to keep me on track and not procrastinate about finishing up projects as much as I'm wont to do. I love seeing everyone's work and have gleaned lots of great ideas! Thank you so much for hosting a Show and Tell!

    Our weather can't make up its's supposed to be minus 18 degrees celsius tomorrow night and then plus 12 on Sunday!!! Today it is supposed to get up to plus 3 so I think I will try to dig out my last head of celery and my last few celeriac from under the plastic in the snow...I don't think they will like minus 18! (Well, I won't either, but at least I'll be inside!!!)

    Love, Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, Years ago I used to be able to buy our real lemon juice in a bottle but I don't see it now. I made lemon curd many times this way when I had a lot of eggs.
      I will look forward to any pictures! Thank you for participating so much in show and tell. I am going to keep it going next year.
      I have never experienced anything like minus 18! Although I better google what is that in celsius! Sounds like your whole garden would be like a massive freezer!
      Keep warm and cozy! With love

    2. Dear Annabel,

      We do Celsius here, would be worse if it were minus 18 Fahrenheit, though I have lived where it gets cold enough that Celsius and Fahrenheit are the same...I think that's at minus 40. They now say that as the wind will be blowing hard, it will actually be minus 31! Brrrr....I'm quite sure that anything that's left in the garden now is a goner unless it's down in the ground (parsnips) and can be dug next spring. :) On the upside, we often don't have a white Christmas here...more like a rainy at least it feels nice and festive!

      Love, Jen.

  9. I am on to daily baking projects. Two dozen red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and some yummy cookie bars have gone into the freezer so far this week. Hubby says that it now seems like Christmas!

    1. Dear Lana, Red Velvet cupcakes sound just fabulous. That is something I have never made. Very spectacular.
      Daily lovely things must be beautiful and Im think your hubby is probably enjoying it very much! Much love

  10. Anabel, Everything looks so lovely!
    Does Cookie have a link for making the lotion bars?
    And do you have specific instructions for making the shortbread; a recipe?
    I have been searching your blog but unable to find it if there is one posted.
    I love the idea of dressing up the paper bags with the old Christmas cards.

    1. Dear Laurie, Cookie said that the recipe is on Living on a Dime. I hope you can find it from this. Google should bring it up for you.
      Yes my shortbread recipe is here...
      I found the butter runny and the weather warm and got almost an extra cup of flour into it and it worked out! So be guided by a good dough, not crumbly. I just pat it into the pan and always use baking paper!
      Many thanks! I hope you love the recipe! With love

  11. Hi Annabel,
    Great job ladies!
    Rachael will be so glad she has learnt to crochet, there are so many amazing things that she will be able to make. I have seen some amazing baskets made by crocheting over rope and might have a go in the new year.
    Loving the washcloth and soap and all the cooking that has been done. I have a small lemon tree and cant wait till it has a good crop and not just a few, will be making heaps when it does. Love Debbie xx

    1. Dear Debbie, I am really looking at making baskets next year now! Very useful.
      Thank you for all your photos this year. You had some massive projects! Have a wonderful Christmas! With love

  12. Dear Annabel,

    I can only say WOW again. The Bluebirders are a remarkable group of sharing, caring and creative women

    1. Thank you so much! We are very lucky with a lot of generosity and sharing ladies. Thank you! xxx

  13. I'm glad I had a snack before I read this post because everything looks so tasty! I have my grandmother's Divinity recipe but have never tried it, much preferring to make fudge and chocolate covered cherries. This year I dusted off my double chocolate biscotti recipe (Why did I stop making that, anyway?) and am planning several food gifts from that plus a jar of chai mix or hot cocoa mix.

    Thank you, Annabel and ladies, for lots of good inspiration throughout 2016! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Dear Leigh,
      Thank you for all the photos and ideas you have shared here this year. It has been wonderful. Chocolate covered cherries! Just wow!
      So many good things to make.
      Wishing you a lovely Christmas also! With love

  14. Dear Annabel,
    Whoops, I somehow hit the send key prematurely. Like I was saying, the Bluebirders are such a sharing, caring and creative group of women. I'm blessed to have found your blog. Your shortbread is something I want to make this. Fantastic idea to cut it while its
    still hot. The trick for me will be not to eat all myself and package it up for a gift to one of my friends.

    I,too, love the basket that Rachel crocheted and was wondering if she would share the pattern. Lemon butter is a favorite around here, and it looked so beautifully photographed with with the other lemon "flowers" in the trees. I've been studying your presentations Rachel and learning from you how to take photos.

    Jane, the wash clothes and soap are so pretty and feminine. They'll be on my list to give make for next year. And the coasters are so pretty too.

    Now that I've seen what Vicky did with the bags and clips I'm kind of sorry I have nothing more to get wrapped. I especially want to try to recreate the stocking bag. I loved the clips decorated with birds to hold the bags closed and how the word JOY is covered in glitter.

    It's so cold here now that I'm glad to be able to stay indoors. Blessings. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, Firstly Vicky said to tell you with her recipe melt the choice chips first, then add the frosting and vanilla...
      Thank you so much! You have been such a support to me and helpful contributor which is what makes this a little gathering place.
      I will see if Rachel has a pattern, I love these also!
      I think Vicky actually sewed that stocking bag on the sewing machine which I never would have thought of!
      The shortbread is super easy, fast and good. I used more flour when I made it this time... just go until it is thick and smooth... things depend on how melted the butter is and how arm or cold the kitchen is!
      I hope you have had a good week Cookie! With love

  15. Annabel your shortbread looks so good! I can't imagine anyone passing up a slice! And thank you for the peg idea I snitched it from you!
    Rachel your basket is so sweet and all of your lemony things are just so pretty! Your photos are always just so pretty you have a knack for it for sure!
    Jane I love your soap such a pretty color and your coasters and washcloth are true talent!
    Cookie so many gifts you've made this year! You have been a very busy bee! I also make 3 ingredient fudge, but instead of condensed milk you use a can of frosting. I love things I can make a lot of in no time at all.
    I hope everyone is proud of their achievements this year no matter what they are because it sure has been a very good year!

    1. Dear Vicky, I love that the birdie pegs have gone on. I use mine so much! They hold the cheese packet shut etc!
      Thanks for commenting on all the lovely work!
      It has been a good year! We have all achieved a ton! I hope things re going well there today! With love,

    2. Thanks, Vicky! I had to do something to get you some extra sunshine way up there!!

  16. Vicky,
    Is the recipe basically the same except for subing the frosting for the sweetened condensed milk and melting it all together? I love quick and easy too. Cookie

    1. Yes it is!

    2. Thanks. I'm looking forward to trying it. Cookie

  17. Such beautiful gifts! I would love to have the recipe for the lotion bars. I bought one of those many years ago at a craft faire and wished I had bought a dozen!

    I'd also like to know how to make the coasters. I have so many sports crazy people in my life, they'd make great gifts in team or school colors.

    1. Dear Debby... opps your reply is one comment below! sorry! xx

  18. Dear Debby, I know that Cookie used a recipe from Living on a Dime so I think you will find it if you Google that. They look so professional don't they!
    I just saw Jane said to look up Folded fabric coasters on you tube and there re good tutorials... hope that helps. Sounds like you have two new projects coming up soon! Thanks Debby! Love

  19. Dear Annabel,
    I think my comments from yesterday are out there in cyberland as I was having a little trouble with my computer. So here goes again.

    Annabel, I have a friend who dearly loves Walkers shortbread cookies (biscuits) and I'm planning to make your recipe this weekend to give to her. Making one large pan and then slicing it sounds terrific. I hope I can keep my fingers out of it or maybe I should just make a tray for here.

    Rachel, I love your crocheted baseket and I hope you will share the pattern because, like Annabel, I want one too. It's beautiful. Lemon butter (curd as we say here) is such a favorite for us. Your photos of it and the jam and cordial came out lovely. I have always admired how you put together a shot and am learning from your work on how to take a photo.

    Jane, the wash clothes and soap are so pretty and feminine. I love them . They're something I want to do for next year. I'm going to check out the link for the coasters. The are not only beautiful but very interesting looking.

    Vicky, your gift bags are wonderful and now I wish I had something more to be wrapped and shipped because I want to make some. I especially like the stocking and may just go ahead and make some up now for next year. The pegs with the birds are fantastic. They're something I'd like to try too.

    Thank you all for your very kind comments about my work. It's such a blessing, as Rachel has said to share our home work with other homemakers. Blessings. Cookie


    1. Dear Cookie,

      You're wonderful!!

      Firstly, I want to say that, around the time of this crochet, I was remembering a song - "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it ...." I was thinking of Kelsey, and our own lives, and this even applies to making something of crochet begun as a child. It is this work, as someone recently said, that we can admire in people.

      As for photography, my husband said that using the camera on his ipad is helpful! Well, he had a little laugh. It cannot zoom in like other cameras, though! ..... You're really talking about setting up a photo. I might have picked some aspects up from family traits, and I really do like to find the beauty in what can otherwise be a harsh world! We can learn together! (For Bluebirds photos, I am learning to fill the screen with a close up photo, especially portrait wise [as opposed to landscape], as these work better for Annabel's work.) Now I just need to email them in a large format so they don't blur, as well!

      Cookie, you made me laugh!! You see, I haven't learnt to follow a crochet pattern yet. I simply saw a basket I liked, and then followed my nose to make up my own. There is no pattern, so you'll just have to laugh as I describe how I made it!!

      Firstly, the basket is made in two parts - the side of the basket, which has a stitched side seam, and an oval base. To make the side, I made about sixty chain stitches and then did double crochet in each chain. I was baffled when learning that the top side is kept facing upwards in crochet, and didn't know which way to turn to keep the right side of the work looking the same ..... so I worked in circles!! (like knitting a sock, but with a gap where I would do the three chain at the end of a row and jump up to start the beginning of the next row!) Well, I was happy; I had consistency in the double crochet exterior pattern, and I joined it all up with a stitched seam! It looks like I did four rows of double crochet. Then how did I make the top edging?!! Good question! I think I did four single crochet in each gap.

      As for the oval base, I had seen instructions for making a similar crocheted circle. Again, I just followed my nose. (There would be patterns to look up, surely!) I made, I think, three chain stitches to form a tiny loop, and then worked single crochet in concentric ovals around this. I just stretched the stitches into shape, working a number of single crochet in the same gap at the bends. About halfway, I was running out of yarn, so changed to double crochet for larger stitches. The base looked small within the basket side, but that gives it a nice sloping wall. The side and base were stitched right sides together. I am thinking of closing my basket with a large button, and adding carry handles all the way underneath - for strength. Then I can easily take my crochet with me in the car!

      Anyway, I am happy to help, and please do have a laugh!!


    2. Dear Rachel,
      Thank you for the instructions! I'm smiling because following my nose with the stitches learned from Annabel's instruction is how the edging got created on my sweater! And I just kept going around the way socks are made too. That's a vert clever idea to close the basket and add carry handles. I'm looking forward to seeing that.

      There's a camera app on my laptop and that's what's being used to take my photo's. I'm still playing around with the editing function. For now it seems to be working out okay. Thanks for the link for making the cordial. I was surprised to learn a cordial on your side of the world is a syrup, while here it's an after dinner drink usually and alcohol in nature. Blessings. Cookie

  20. Hello All! I'm in wind down mode as we prepare to leave for our holiday soon, so you may not see me much. I'm so impressed by Rachels crochet, and what a brilliant idea to crochet baskets! They are gorgeous. The lemon butter is a favourite here too, and so creatively photographed. Love it! Cookies lotion bars just look lush, and Janes combination of the knitting and crochet and her sweet soaps and coasters, are all just beautiful! I love Vickys' made over packages clever! Annabel, I always look forward to your shortbread presentation. It's so pretty this year. Cookie, that fudge is getting a whirl here today. My daughter was onto it like a flash! I have to be honest and say that I am a little worn out with all the festive preparations and coming here for a visit is like a breath of fresh air. I hope everyone is at peace with how much they've achieved this year. I think we can ALL be very proud of ourselves. Well done Annabel for being our coach and mentor. Merry Christmas everyone. Love Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      You put that well.... being at peace with our year. I feel like that. I am in wind down mode also, finishing thing off, wrapping things up! And we have all achieved such a lot!
      I hope your holiday is lovely and restful. In part so you can come back fired up with new activities and inspirations for the new year as I am looking forward to that so much! But honestly we need a time to enjoy, rest and reflect and be grateful.
      Have a wonderful Christmas! With love

  21. Hello Annabel! Everyone's things are just lovely! I am always inspired, but I lack the skill to craft the lovely things I see here, and I do not have time in this season of my life to learn...but I finally figured out something I could do. We have a grapevine that grows like crazy along our fence. No matter how far we cut it back each year it seems to grow to greater lengths the next, and it only produces sour grapes. I decided to try making grapevine wreaths. I was able to form three small ones, two mediums, and one large. All of them are rather thin, and I think next year I will trim them earlier in the fall when the vines are still soft, but I am going for a rustic look and they are just right. My son is decorating one for his Sunday school teacher, and I am going to find some other things in our yard to add on to the rest for family members. If they turn out very nice I will give my husband one for his secretary. Thanks as always for your inspiration and also for sharing your reader's things. I love coming to your blog!

    1. Dear Amy,
      Grapevine wreaths are beautiful! What a good idea! And you can make them annually with all those vines!
      Thank you so much Amy. Have a really wonderful Christmas! With love

  22. P.s. We started our cookie baking yesterday but woke up to the startling and unfortunate evidence of mice in the kitchen and throughout a few other rooms, so Christmas things are getting out on hold for a few days. I'm trying not to be too discouraged, as this is not the most convenient time of year to deep clean, but i keep telling myself it will be so nice to have a very clean home on Christmas and starting the new year.

    1. oh no! Mice are terrible. I hope you can find where they got in. I have hunted for holes and stuffed them with steel wool and this stops them in their tracks... but you still have to get the ones inside. I hope you have success! xxx


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