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 19 December 2017

The last Christmas Challenge before Christmas!

I am wrapping presents and have a sea of paper, cards and ribbons!
Many of my gifts are a combination of things I have made with a purchased item added in like this one which has face cloths, a power puff and hand cream.

This week I made Coconut Ice and this is the gift for neighbours and anyone who calls in. 

My dried rose buds came in handy!

I have had lots of glimpses of everyones last minute gifts.  Thank you everyone who sends me photos!

Jane has been making special pillowcases for little ones.   

What a hit this will be!   And for her Grand daughter'...

Beautiful!  Jane makes me want to hurry up and get my sewing machine out!

Teresa finished a baby quilt...

And gorgeous cards...

Well done Teresa, such a lot of work and so lovely!

Fiona shared an idea many of us can use.  She turned her sons art work into cards for her Mum.

It goes without saying any Grandmother is going to love this!

I think there is a lot to this... if kids agree to their art work being used as gifts and in projects this must build them up that we think they have created something good!  I kept a lot of the girls artwork as it was really good and I am so glad I did!  They both went on to become very creative.
Even the paintings of a small child could be made into cards... we will call them abstract!  :)

You can take a look at Fiona's blog here as she has lots of creative and frugal ideas to share.  Thanks so much Fiona.

Mimi finished up the year in a big way all with having her daughter complete high school and exams.

So many beautiful projects.  Above you can see a top turned into a shopping bag. This is so clever!   There are homemade marshmallows, luxury pillowcases, gift baskets and yummy things.  Head over to A Tray of Bliss to find more details on all of these and more!

Mimi's daughter has been life long friends with a lovely girl named Darina.  Darina is celebrating her 17th birthday seriously ill in hospital with something so unexpected and out of the blue and her life is in danger.  Would you please pray for her?  This is a blood problem.  Mimi asked if the Bluebird prayer warriors would pray.  I said yes and we have an excellent track record!  Thank you.

Tanya has made so many beautiful things...

Diaries and note books,  I have worked out I just love all kinds of books to write in!

I am pinching this idea... play tea bags for a little girl!  Harper would LOVE these!

Note book covers for her boys who love camo anything!  

Crayon and note book covers for the little ones...

This is all beautiful work Tanya!   Thank you!

All this work has led us to a few days before Christmas!   Now to enjoy it!  We will have next week off and start our Christmas Challenge for 2018 in January.  Meanwhile of course take every opportunity!  I will be watching for bargain wrap, saving ribbons and gift bags, watching for huge sales to put some new things into next years cupboard.  There are many times the gift cupboard is handy apart from Christmas.

The very best part is never having to run around frantically searching for a gift.  Those times are when we end up paying too much just out of sheer desperation.   Also never having to run out to get a card or wrap.  What a time saver.  I love my gift cupboard!  It pays me back in so many ways! 

Today I am off to Aldi for the last time before Christmas day.  I have some cooking to do to take to the farm.  

I hope your week is going well,  you feel like everything is under control and feeling the beautiful Christmas spirit.  xxx


  1. Like! Like! Like! all these idea! I think I'm going to go with the 'covered' notebooks for gifts for next year's gift giving. I really like the option for doing spiral bound notebooks too! The possibility for decorating these are limitless! The foods look delicious and the sewing projects are just so pretty! The little tea bags are so cute but my absolute favorite is the artwork cards. As a grandmommie, I can tell you that a gift like that would be very well received! Well done Bluebirds! You have kept me inspired all year long and I look forward to more in 2018. Merry Christmas Everyone!

  2. And another prayer request. A 17 tear old girl in our church is dying of leukemia. The doctors have said there is nothing more they can do. Would you all pray for Alli, please.

    1. Dear Lana, I Will send prayers for Alli,xx Love Maria

    2. This is so sad Lana, I will include Alli in my prayers, and you take care of yourself also as it must be heartbreaking for everyone. Love Tania xxx

    3. Praying for both Alli and Darina. Please keep us updated.

    4. Dear Lana,
      Oh that is the most terrible news. I do not know the circumstances obviously.... but here there is a high success rate with childhood leukaemia.... but of course this might be a rare one or other factors but I want to check this isn't anything to do with lack of finances to fight it. I ask this because I had friends live in the US some years back and a teenager died because the family couldnt afford the hospital costs. Also I know there are special leukaemia treatments in europe (or there used to be) so although it might be a long shot I will say there are Go Fund me campaigns and other ways to raise urgent funds and that I hope the family can get opinions from other specialists as I always think get several expert opinions. If there was a fund raising thing I would promote it like crazy so do let me know if there is any hope for anything like this....
      I will pray and hope for a miracle! A Christmas miracle.
      With love

    5. Thank you Annabel! And all who are praying! Everything that can be done has been done and she has not responded to the treatments. It is so sad as she is an only child of a single Mom. I cannot imagine what they are going through. Our church family is praying daily at 1 PM EST USA time.

      I am sorry to hear of so many here with loved ones who are also fighting the cancer battle. Praying for you and your loved ones today.

  3. I'm from Illinois in the U.S and just love your blog! Everyone on here is so creative and helpful. I'm turning 55 this year and am still learning from everyone. I'm hoping to get all our debt paid off this year and I'm getting so much help here! I'll be praying for that young lady and sending special thoughts her way!! Have a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year! So glad I found you and the Bluebirds. Holiday Hugs, Patti

    P.S. I Had a cleaning service for 25 yrs and just love your cleaning recipe. While I couldn't always use natural on the job my home was no chemicals. (I worked with the courts and dealt with hoarder homes. Yep they really are that bad and the smells are beyond anything I could explain)

    1. Dear Patti, Welcome! I am so glad to have you here.
      Wow you had a very challenging job! In real life I have only ever seen (or smelled!) one house like that.... and that was plenty to give me the idea of what that must be like!
      I love the clean fresh smell of miracle cleaner. I keep some mixed up all the time plus some in a spray bottle.
      We are all on a big learning curve and I find it exciting! We came a long way this year... we will keep going next year too! Have a very happy Christmas! Love

  4. So lovely Bluebirds! I just love everything!The creativity in this group is so inspiring. I am ready for Christmas. We did our last shop today. I will put a few gift baskets together. We even have the gifts for our delivery drivers ready. Cookies of coarse. A cute quick gift from a little one is dip their hand or foot in paint,then put it on a Christmas ornament or piece of felt with the date. We will be praying for the lovely young lady. Merry Christmas everyone.
    Much love,

  5. Great ideas from all the Bluebirds, as usual!
    I can tell you that my mum absolutely loves her cards and has already sent a few to friends! I think I will be making her a set each year for her birthday.
    Now that we've had a cooler change come through, I think I will be able to get some Christmas baking done. I do plan on making your coconut ice (if I don't step on my sister's toes, who often makes it for us all for Christmas!) and some White Christmas - both of which I have never made before...
    But first I have to finish the gifts I am making for two of my nieces. I am making them beach/swimming towels with pockets and a pillow! I've spent several hours making the first one today, and it needs to be finished tomorrow. But the second one will hopefully be a bit quicker, now that I know what I am doing lol
    Wishing you, Annabel, and all the Bluebirds a happy, safe and relatively stress-free Christmas xxx Fiona

  6. Annabel, what a year it has been. I will definitely pray for Darina for a complete recovery. I love what everyone has made this year. Well done to all! Have a wonderful Christmas and I pray that 2018 will be a happy and healthy one for all of us. This year has certainly had its share of challenges for many.

  7. Dear Annabel, your pink powder puff gift looks gorgeous!and your yummy coconut ice pretty as always.
    Jane's pillowcase will be in great demand with the hero loving boys.
    Theresa's quilt has soft buttery and denim shades , a sure hit ! as are her sweet cards.
    Fiona's idea for cards is a winner for proud grandparents, and well done to your son Fiona with his drawings :-)
    Mimi's makes and bakin all look beautiful!
    Will send prayers for Darina,sad news at this time of year for your daughter , Mimi xxx.
    Tanya's covers look lovely and bright and cheery.
    Thankyou all Bluebirds for the reminders and ideas and photos,
    with love Maria xxx.PS and wish everyone a beautiful Christmas!

  8. have a great xmas & new year!
    looking forward to next years ideas
    thanx for sharing

  9. I know have some more ideas to help me next year in my giving! tea bags and notebooks are on top of them! Loving this! So sorry to hear about Darina She is in my prayers.

  10. What a lot of lovely items to finish the year off with. Well done everyone, it has been an exceptional year participating along with Annabel and sharing all your fantastic work. You have me inspired for 2018!!

    I will pray for Darina, so sorry to hear that she is unwell.

    Have a lovely Christmas with your family Annabel, and I will see you on the other side of the celebration. I cant wait to hear what bargains you pick up :)

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all you Bluebirds!

    Love Tania xxx

  11. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds,
    You all do such lovely work. It has been a gift this year to see all of the handmade items. Thank you for sharing ideas.
    I wish each of you a Merry Christmas and a very blessed New Year.

  12. Saying Prayers for Darina.

    Lovely gift ideas!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  13. Thank you very much for sharing all the ideas for Christmas all year and the time you put into this. I sent a couple e-mails sharing a couple pictures but they probably were never received. Have a blessed Christmas and I will be looking forward to seeing the ideas all the ladies share next year! Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy,
      Thank you so much! No, I haven't received these but I will go search because it is possible they went somewhere i.e. now and then computers send things to the junk file and other stupid things! I will search "Nancy". Otherwise please do try again! I would love to see what you have been making!
      Have a beautiful Christmas and Happy New Year! With love

  14. Dear Annabel and all Bluebirders,

    What a beautiful collection of gifts! I seriously need one of those powder puffs...that just seems the epitome of luxury! I also just love everyone else's gifts, but the play tea bags are just so cute and something I'd never thought of...lovely!

    Have prayed for Darina, and send best wishes to Mimi and her daughter, too.

    I am sorry to be delinquent in sending stuff is coming together, but I haven't been snapping any shots of anything. It is going to be fun to see everyone's gifts over the next year!

    Lots of love,

    Jen in NS

  15. So many good ideas! I can't wait to get started on next year's gifts! I'm definitely starting earlier next year so I have gifts to give all year long!

    I used recycled jars and filled them with your honey scrub for gifts this year. I embellished them with some twine and greenery, both of which I had on hand, printed out some gift tags and was good to go! I also made some pomegranate jelly and embellished the jars the same way. Both were very well received! I'll be packaging up some more baked goodies this weekend to add to some gifts. I'm finding homemade gifts are so well received! People are so busy these days, they don't have the time to make these things for themselves. I feel like it's so much more special when you spend your time making something for someone and you can get away with spending so much less.

    I definitely think I'm going to try the beeswax wraps for next year. I'd like some for myself as well!

    I hope all of the bluebirds have a very Merry Christmas! Thank you, Annabel, for your help this year. I have learned so much from your blog!

  16. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year with your family Annabel. Thank-you so much for all your encouragement and for helping share everyone's amazing creativity and skills highlighted in this segment of your blog throughout the year. Thank-you also to everyone for sharing their fantastic projects so willingly and by so doing creating such a great resource of ideas. (I love looking at the pictures!) Have a happy and safe Christmas everyone. Cheers Jo. (country town Op Shop one!)

    1. Dear Jo,
      Thank you! I really hope you have a lovely Christmas! It looks like it wont be too hot which is a good start! I hope 2018 will be good for us all!
      We never got over your way this year. But we hope to next year! With love and thanks,

  17. Oh, such wonderful ideas! I am inspired and have a list (I love lists) of everything I want to do.

    Praying for Darina, for Alli and for all who are struggling.

    My own mother is in hospice care and has taken a turn for the worse in the past few days. But I know that soon she will be no longer suffering and face to face with her dear Savior.

    Merry Christmas Annabel and to all the beautiful bluebirds you have assembled here. What a wonderful community!

    1. Dear Cheri,
      Thank you so much! Many hugs. It cannot be an easy time for you at all and you remain positive. I hope your dear Mum is peaceful and comfortable. Every blessing to you. With love

  18. Dear Annabel and beautiful Bluebirds,

    Everything is lovely and wonderful as usual! I have a plan to look back through all of these blog posts next week after Christmas is over and start my list for next year! I'm going to create my secret Pinterest board right now and put some things I just found in it before I forget!!!

    I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and blessed New Year!
    Prayers for those that are ill that they will be blessed with better health in the new year!
    Hugs to you all, Holley

    1. Dear Holley, I also need to do this! I would love to make a list of the ideas I can use and also have supplies that would be able to go into them! After Christmas we have hot weather so I need to get going on quiet things I can work on inside and get my sewing machine out.
      Have a wonderful Christmas! With lots of love,

  19. Dear Annabel and lovely Bluebirds,
    Prayers being said for Darina and Allie and for their families. The scourge that is Cancer is one I hope we will see removed from our lives. My Father has a procedure tomorrow on his prostate to help give him some quality of life. The tumour itself is inoperable. Having all of this at Christmas is so terribly difficult for the sufferer and for their loved ones.
    I hope that everyone has a wonderful time full of love, laughter and happy times.
    Life is a wonderful 'sand in your pants', good.

  20. Merry Christmas to everyone, I hope your holiday season is filled with love and making memories!

    Prayers said for both Darina and Alli.

    As always, the gifts that have been shared are wonderful! I wish I had a granddaughter to make the "pretend" teabags for. I'm storing this idea away on a list and maybe someday I will be fortunate enough to have a granddaughter.

    Annabel, thank you so much for the time, effort, love, and creativity that you expend and share with all of us! I have learned so much and have many ideas I want to explore in 2018. Continuing to pay off all debt is at the top of my list and walking a more frugal path is right there as well.


    1. Dear Jeanette, Thank you! And thank you for all your help and contributions this year.
      I am working on my goals for next year. There is so much we can do and the beauty of it is much of it is fun!
      Have a really wonderful Christmas! With much love


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