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 1 August 2017

The Christmas Challenge. Show and Tell for July, Part 2.

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed savings tips on Wednesdays post.  The list just grew and grew!  There are some amazing savings there and some I have written down to take action on straight away!  I really know who my friends are when I see the great effort gone to in order to share helpful tips. Thank you all.

Now to more gifts made in July!  Once again I am using as many photos as I can and also hoping I haven't forgotten anyone!

Firstly we have an amazing achievement from Marilyn.  She learned a pretty square pattern on you tube and  just kept going...

Marilyn this is just magnificent and has made me decide on a really big project next winter. This winter I have made a lot of smaller things.  Next winter I am going back to a huge project!  

Next we have Rosanne.   She has been making travel bags which also can be used for produce bags i.e. instead of using plastic to bring home your grapes, small fruits etc from the supermarket. 

There are businesses selling produce bags now as everyone is less keen on plastic. So there are a couple of ideas here! 

Rosannes son and Grand Son are huge Dr. Who fans.  Last year she made one of them a Dr. Who scarf. This year she has made the other...

Amazing job Rosanne!  Dr. Who fans will be wanting to order these! 

Melissa K has been busy on her gift cupboard.  She used tins to make Christmas themed soy candles. 

These will be just beautiful at Christmas time! Thank you Melissa for this idea!

Jane has been busy. Even while away on holiday she keeps going! 

She made this rug in pineapple stitch which is my favourite stitch! 

And two other rugs!  This is a testimony to why you always want some portable projects. Then you can just take them with you and keep going even on the road.

I would never leave home without something to work on in the car or where I am staying!  Well done Jane these are just wonderful!

Mimi has been making gift tags and painting little roses.  

And roses from gorgeous velvet! 

Like me Mimi lives to a rose theme!  These are gorgeous Mimi!

Jen in NS  has been knitting...

I love your knitting Jen and also that you give us ideas for beautiful mens gifts.   I just always find mens gifts harder!

Jen and her husband also attended a 1940s themed event.  For this Jen made herself a dress and she cleverly downsized a mans fedora hat to be more like a stylish cocktail hat for a woman.  Well, it looked amazing (as I got to see!) and I can say they looked so authentically 1940s and are the most gorgeous couple! 

Thank you so much Jen.  I have seen ladies at the races with a mini top hat with netting. It is the same sort of thing, a downsized mens hat.  They probably pay hundreds! Not Jen!  

You are all inspiring to me! Thank you to everyone who took the time to take photos and write in. 

Now on to a busy August! Can you believe it's August already?  This is our last month of winter. Yesterday I saw a lot of blossoms and Magnolia's are coming out!  There are signs of spring in the air. 
In July my present cupboard really started to fill up. I have just kept going and will show you some of what Im working on next week! xxx

Ps our very own Kelsey was featured over at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth.  This just made me smile as look at her beautiful work! So proud of you Kelsey! xxx


  1. Dear Annabel and Friends, what a lineup. It makes me wish I had the patience to tackle the bigger projects. Alas I have the attention span of a gnat, and anything that takes longer than a day or two to complete, is beyond! As you see by my pea sized contributions! Still, it goes to show that you can achieve much even with a gnat sized attention span ;-) I love Janes crochet. And Marilyns blanket...oh, my, goodness! Melissas candles and Roseannes sewing and knitting, and of course Jens clever sewing and millinery are all inspiring. I'm stitching buttons and beads to doll cushions today, and quite enjoying the excuse to sit with my feet up. I hope everyone else is feeling motivated too! Congrats to Kelsey on being featured at Strangers And Pilgrims on Earth. I wasn't sure it was 'our' Kelsey, and it makes me quite proud :) Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, You achieve more crafts than anyone I know! Well I call her our Kelsey because she is a Bluebird! It is lovely to see someones work just shining and also encouraging others to do the same.
      Thank you for commenting on everyones crafts! We have a good variety and a lot of talent between us all! With love

  2. Wow, Marilyn's blanket is incredible. I am in awe. And also inspired to have a big crochet project on the go. It will have to wait, as I am not buying yarn until other supplies have been used up, I've promised myself!

    Love the idea of reusable produce bags, and what a brilliant scarf!

    Jane's stripy crochet is lovely, and I always love to see the socks Jen knits!

    The tins are really beautiful, I love candles, especially at Christmas time.

    Mimi, you crack me up with your comments about your attention span. I think you have an incredible gift for making things beautiful.

    Well done Kelsey for having a post about your gift making, you do a lovely job of creating several gifts within the same theme. I hope everything is going well with your new baby :)

    I have cut out so many squares for my sons quilt, I will start sewing together tomorrow! I was stoked the other day when my eldest son asked if I could make him one, I know there will come a point where he won't want mum-made stuff but I'm so thrilled he's not there yet!

    This was a wonderful post, thanks Annabel!!

    Jen in NZ

  3. Thank you so much for featuring my blanket, I feel very humble. Everyone of your blogging friends inspire me, as you do too. I can't wait to see your 'the bluebirds are nesting' emails arrive in my 'in tray'. My imagination goes into overdrive as I work out which ones I will try, and which ones are within my capabilities. I really want to make soap but the use of caustic soda frightens me. That is on my list of things to do soon.
    Thanks again Annabel, you are the best.

    1. Dear Marilyn,
      Thank you so much for contributing! It is safe to say everyone is inspired by your work. I am as now Im planning to save yarn for a really big project for next year. Do try the soap without caustic soda....
      I tried a series of ways to make soap and love this best. Also look on Going Grey and Slightly Green blog as Nanna Chel is an awesome soap maker. Caustic soda sounds much scarier than it is though!
      I cant wait to see what you might make next! With love

  4. Dear Annabel,

    Thank you for your kind words about my knitting and sewing...and about our being a lovely couple! :) I am in love with Marilyn's crocheted beautiful! I think the travel bags are a great and useful idea. The made-over tins for candles is a clever idea. Jane's crochet is beautiful, as usual...and you are so productive, Jane! Mimi, those velvet roses are to die for! It's all so inspiring!!!

    I got a strange bite yesterday when I was gardening and am keeping an eye on it. Luckily we don't have the kind of spiders you do, Annabel, but I am crossing my fingers it wasn't a tick...

    Off to get the outside work done before the heat of the day sets in. And then maybe I can put my feet up and finish up a baby hat for the neighbors' son and daughter-in-law...the neighbors are going to be new grandparents, and I'm excited as I haven't had a reason to knit any cute baby stuff forever!!

    Love, Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, Thanks so much for contributing! And for commenting on everyones work. I agree baby stuff is so sweet and nice to make! Thanks so much Jen, with love

  5. Wow everyone! You guys are amazing! I look at all that crochet and am so amazed. I have been working on the same small project for a week now and have had to take it apart 3 times for not being right. I can't imagine getting a whole blanket, giant scarf or hat and socks done!
    Oh, and that dress!
    The roses, the candles, the little bags and tags are all so sweet.
    Talented is what you all are!

  6. That cinches it. I must learn to crochet! What beautiful projects everyone! You all inspire me. I have several mending projects to finish up then on to bigger things.

    My 9 year old grandson requested a Star Wars pillow. He is quite the artist and drew out the design for me. He wants a black background with two light sabres crossed in the middle (one neon green, one neon red-orange). With such specific instructions, how could I not?

    He reminded me that I have made several skirts for his sisters but nothing for him. Clever boy!

    1. Dear Cheri, I love the sound of the star wars pillow! How special it will be for your Grandson! I hope you might share the finished project with us.
      Cheri... get on to you tube to start crocheting. You only need to learn three things... chain, single crochet and double crochet. Practice these. Basically everything is made of those. Thats it! You will love it, its pretty addictive! With love

  7. Just look at all those crochet projects! So much inspiration! I tried my hand at Mimi's roses and am continuing to fine tune them. I plan to make some cards and tags when I feel like I've mastered the technique a little more. I continue to work on my 100 Day Sewing Challenge and although I'm not going at a fast pace I'm still getting things stitched up. Jen, you are inspiring me to pick up my knitting needles again!

    1. Patsy, I'm thrilled you're giving the Swoosh Roses a go. I bet you'll love them as much as I do! Thankyou! Mimi xxx

  8. All of these projects (as well as the other ones that are featured regularly) are so gorgeous. I wish that each person who is so talented could provide directions and supplies needed to make their lovely items. If they have their own blogs maybe they could put instructions on them? What talent is represented on your blog. Diane

    1. Dear Diane, Mimi has a blog (A tray of Bliss) which has a lot of crafts. If there is a particular thing you would like to make let us know and the maker might help you out. Mostly we are using up things we have and many like Marilyn looked up you tube as she wanted to learn to make a puffy pattern granny square. Absolutely anything you want to learn is on you tube and has tutorials online. It is so fantastic! Thank you for saying everyones work is gorgeous! This is a big encouragement to everyone! And be encouraged to try what ever it is you would like to as it is so much fun to learn and expand skills. With love

  9. My toes just tingle at all the pretty things!! So much talent!!

  10. I just wanted to thank all of you lovely Bluebirds for your contributions. I have none to speak of being a lousy cook, a non existent crafter, the type of gardener who has (repeatedly) managed to kill mint....and I'm also not all that organised.

    That said, I read every post and wait for them to arrive because above all I love the positive and industrious way you collectively go about your lives. Striving for betterment is my favourite thing and you all have the spirit of doing just that which makes it a lovely place to visit and seek inspiration.

    1. Thank you Lorax for your lovely words to everyone.
      I really have to hand it to you with the mint! :)
      I also feel so happy you are reading and thank you for such a beautiful compliment that means a lot to me! xxx

    2. Lorax
      we are always our own worst critics and I bet you are not as bad as you say. There is a saying that if all you can make is one dish then make that dish well. Do you have a dish that you make well? What is it and how do you make it? That is a good start for similar dishes and then the cooking gets easier. Also maybe it is not your skill at growing things, but your soil? Things just don't grow right in soil that isn't good. If you are able to compost that would be a really good start to amending the soil later and maybe giving you some good mint. And although you may not craft you give such encouragement to others and joyful words are always nice to hear!

    3. Thank you Annabel and Vicky. I just keep plodding away at improving. Online friends taught me to knit because one once made me knitted slippers and I wore holes in them so had to learn to make myself some. It is the only thing I can knit....fortunately the only thing I want to to knit. I can cook. I have two cakes that people rave about (well, three but one is too much of a hassle to make so I prefer for people to not know that I can do it). A friend's cousin phoned me to demand that I make her a cake like I made for my friend. It is a rustic looking cake but tastes divine. I am working on growing things. Figured out they do better when I water them. LOL. This week I turned the buff cardboard from an old suspension file into gift tags with the help of a cutting stamp, satin ribbon and some magazine pictures. Turned out well.

      So, thank you, I take small steps. Better than taking none. ;-)

  11. Hello Annabel and talented bluebirds.

    Got to say just wow what a collection of talented people we have on here. Beautiful knitting, crochet, card and rose making and wonderful dressmaking too.

    Everyone's gift cupboards will be filled in no time with all your spectacular handcrafts :).


  12. I love everything, The talent displayed each week is always so lovely and inspiring. From the simplest to the most complicated every week there is such sights to behold! And I love it!

  13. Oh my, more lovelies to admire! I look forward every week to seeing everyone's makings! My husband's secretary of 8 years has a new job with a great big promotion, so I was very fortunate to be able to go to my gift area and I gifted her the blue wave afghan that I had made for my son. I will have to get started on another one for him, but was so pleased to have something I could give her. She is a wonderful lady and an awesome secretary, my husband is very sad that she is leaving, but very happy for her good fortune!


    1. Dear Jeanette, What a beautiful gift. I would think she would have been very touched that you would do something so special. This is one of the things I love about making gifts, being able to give thank you gifts and things that show a bit of care.
      I hope you have had a good week! With love

  14. I like the produce bags is there a link on how to make

    1. Dear debbie, No... but just google lingerie bags, wash bags or shoe bags as all are pretty much the same design. For produce bags you can use net or light lace curtains and cut those up. I say this as it is a very cheap and gorgeous alternative (plus recycling!) Roseanne makes loads of beautiful things but doesnt have a blog. Its such a good idea! Another thing... google produce bags and see some of the shapes, sizes and ideas and what they are charging for them! (a lot) With love

  15. Thank you everyone for so much encouragement and kind comments to all our crafters! I totally ran out of time to reply individually but thank you! xxx


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