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.

Saturday 15 December 2018

Ideas from the Christmas markets!

I have been to three country town markets now and found them just wonderful!  So much fun!  The last one was an evening Christmas market.  These are all small country towns.   So many people are making and producing beautiful things!

Whether you want to craft or produce something for gifts or to sell (or both) new ideas,  packaging and pricing are all something to look at.   Quite a few Bluebirds started small businesses this year.  Having multiple income streams is a good idea. There are so many options!

Firstly, I think everyone can do something.  We don't wake up with skills, most of us have to learn and practise!  I have seen several friends go from unable to crochet (for instance) to being good enough to sell items within a few months!  Whatever it is we can work on it!   Next I think we might have materials on hand or natural resources just sitting there!!  All we need is the idea to go with it!
Ages ago I wrote several posts and we covered all kinds of things from how to decide what to make to finding time to get it all done.  You can find these posts here:

A Gift and a new week Part 1.

A Gift and a new week Part 2.

A Gift and a new week Part 3.

A Gift and a new week Part 4.

Sometimes you are sitting on a gold mine and don't even know it.  Maybe you have a natural talent for something and you don't know that as you never tried it!

The other day I saw that Anthropologie was selling small bunches of sticks tied with twine. I heard they were $42 and they sold old.  Wondering if this was true I went and had a browse on Anthropologie and found even better!!!  FAKE sticks... Birch... set of three sticks for $38.   If you don't believe me go over to see!   So it seems like if you have sticks or birch you have a resource!

Last week I walked past a florist with Harper.  So we had a bit of a nosey.   There was a bucket of gum nuts.   I have a tree of these exact same gum nuts out the front.

This had no price but next to it was a bucket of what seemed like odd bits and pieces all of which I have in the garden...

There were dried gum leaves...

And a wreath made of dried gum leaves...

You can see the prices.   It turns out pine cones are big money too.  
There is a lady with an ETSY shop and she just sells natural elements like gum nuts and so on.  It is amazing and she gets great reviews. So she made a business of stuff she can pick around her.

At the markets bunches of native flowers wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string sold fast.

There were a lot of candles with beautiful packaging i.e. gorgeous crystal containers with lids and lovely scents.   Some of these were stunning.  It make me thing to always buy the crystal containers at the op shop... when I have enough I will have a candle making day.  Most were charging $35 and up.

Cooking... there were queues at most of the cooking stalls.   One lady was well know by locals.  She was famous for her sausage rolls.   She also had gluten free slices.  I bought gf lemon slice from her.  It was so beautiful.  So now I am a local I know her too and next time will buy that slice again.  I was told my nephew ordered 100 sausage rolls from her and kept a supply in his freezer!   She was doing a roaring trade.

Essential oils, roller bottles, diffusers were all doing well.  The ladies on these stalls knew their stuff too and I tried things and learned things. This helped me plot some new essential oil gifts to make. 

Essential oil jewellery was doing well.  I bought a bracelet with lava beads in it.  These absorb your oil and both release the scent and being next to your skin your body absorbs it.  I have one I wear all the time.   If you are in Australia this girl Bare Feet Heart is gorgeous and was surrounded by curly haired little children.  She makes the most stunning essential oil necklaces. 

There were potted succulents, lavenders, rosemary trained in heart shapes, many plants.

Gorgeous labels for your pantry, drink bottles etc and you could order any words, any colour, any script.  I ordered small gold script to go on essential oil roller bottles...

Beautiful hand made children's clothes.

One I could see was selling well was handmade baby things.  She had bibs smartly themed in country designs i.e. cows, sheep, even John Deere tractors etc.   Genius.  Appeal to your customers! 

Hand made soaps, bubble bars, bath bombs etc.   Many were divine.  The cheapest bar of soap I saw was $7.  Most had deals i.e. buy 4 and get one free or something like that.  

A girl was selling her handmade jewellery and she packaged it using a shell from her beach.  I admired this as she could have spend a lot of boxes or something yet her shell made it stunning and 
charming and was free.  Clever girl.

Cards... beautiful hand made cards and tags.   

Scrunchies and bows.  Yes scrunchies are back.  Big time.  

Macrame.  Same as above, yes,  that is back too.  While you do your macrame you wear a scrunchies in your hair!   I lived through both of these before so can't quite get enthused.

One was very clever.... play doh in buckets, with sparkles, coloured sand and coloured rice in buckets.  She set up a little station kids could try it.  The coloured rice was gorgeous.  Her buckets all stacked up in pretty colours and sparkles.  Was all selling like mad.

Another was seedlings, fresh veggies and relishes, jams etc.  These people are known to locals from a local farm.  Everyone said their relish was amazing and people are always repeat customers once you try.   They had gift packs i.e. five jars stylishly lined up on a long skinny butting board all wrapped as a Christmas gift.  They were selling fast.

A stall with chocolates, nuts, apricot balls etc also packaged beautifully in gift sets for Christmas.  All the work done for you.   

Gingerbread houses.  Beautifully hand made and decorated.  Lovely.

Sprouting kits and packs of the seeds.  These looks really good!

A lady from vineyard was selling wreaths and hanging baskets all made from the vines.  They were beautiful.  Some hanging baskets she had filled with succulents. 

Anything environmental was big i.e. stainless steel pegs,  shopping bags,  produce bags,  natural cleaning products, drink bottles, reusable  coffee cups,  straws etc. 

We had so much fun on Friday night.   The market was in a town hall and the gardens around it were beautiful.  We sat out there in the evening and ate dinner.  Even the drive was beautiful as the road was lined with huge gum trees and it was just gorgeous. 

I am starting to write down my craft plans for the new year.  And saving up supplies!  

I hope you are having a lovely Sunday! xxx


  1. interesting finds at the night markets; wow those natural items are so expensive!
    just been catching up with previous posts, your mystery fruit almost looks like apples.
    there are so many good YouTube tutorials for crochet & other crafts it's become a goldmine; i've joined Craftsy & buy their classes when they're on special, have quite a few sock classes atm! wish i could remember the name of the lady i watched that helped with the edges, mine always went lopsided as I didn't know where to put the next stitch or the last one; think i just googled 'how to get a straight edge with crochet'? then i just looked til i found one i liked & could understand;
    looking forward to reading your blog again in the new year
    a merry christmas & happy new year to you & all your families!
    thanx for sharing

    1. Dear Selina,
      I agree... we can learn anything and when it suits us but going to You Tube etc. It is amazing. And as you say we can fix a problem, trouble shoot etc too. So helpful!
      Thank you so much and have a wonderful Christmas to you too, with love

  2. Wow! 😳 Those prices on the dried leaves and natural items are jaw-dropping!!!

    Your markets sound wonderful. I love those types of markets with hand made items. I think YouTube is amazing to find out any tips, tricks and tutorials of course. We learn so much from each other too and it is great that there is a resurgence of interest in all things home made! 😊

    You are a great encourager and I am looking forward to a productive (I hope!) year ahead.

    Seeing the wonderful items here in Show and Tell also has given lots of inspiration as there are some amazingly talented ladies here in this community.

    Thank you for all you do on this blog Annabel to bring some inspiration and joy into our lives. Xoxo Your hard work is appreciated

    Much love, Kaye xoxo

    1. Dear Kaye,
      We will get back to show and tell and loads of craft in the new year. I cant wait to see what you are making.
      Thank you so much for all your encouragement and support. I hope this busy week is going well! With love,

  3. Great ideas from the markets - there is so much talent out there. You have encouraged me to try making and giving some handmade gifts this year - I didn't have enough confidence in my own abilities but your blog has helped me through this - most of us can do something. I gave my first handmade gift recently to my Secret Santa friend at my sewing group and she loved it so much she posted pictures for everyone to see! I have several more handmade gifts to give to friends and family and I don't feel quite so nervous now.
    This is very much down to you Annabel so thank you. Happy Christmas to you and the family and here's to a happy and healthy 2019.

    1. Dear Penny, Thank you so much for telling me this! Well done! Your friend must have loved the gift!! It is very much a confidence thing for sure. I hope your confidence grows too as you get good reactions. In the new year we are going to have a lot of craft. I hope you might show me in show and tell what you have been making! Have a very Happy Christmas, with love,

  4. Dear Annabel,
    The market sounds wonderful, both for shopping and getting ideas. I love these markets and supporting them, especially now as I'm aware of how much goes into them.
    My problem is I want to do everything lol! For a while now I have wanted to sell produce at our local market. I am going to shoot for this spring as we want a huge garden and are working to make that happen. Plus my chickens will be laying. We also have lots of plants around the house that are multiplying varieties, so I want to pot some of those up too. I figure this won't be too much extra work because they are things I will be doing anyway. Our market is once a month, so not too much on top of my already busy plate!
    As for crafts, I want to make 2019 my use it up year. I have lots and lots of fabric and scraps, some of which I have had for years now! It's time to stop waiting for the perfect project and just USE it! I plan on making clothes with some of it (killing two birds with one stone as my wardrobe could use a lift), and other small crafts like bookmarks, lavender sachets, patchwork placemats, teabag wallets etc. I have lots of ideas pinned on Pinterest to get me started. Some of these will be for me, others for gifts, and maybe even some to sell depending on how much I come up with. I'm looking forward to show and tell to keep me motivated!
    Thank you for this lovely craft post! I'm going back through your other craft posts as well for inspiration and motivation. You made me laugh with the "scruncihes are back big time." I had a drawer full of these as a kid. Oh and also the people buying the fake sticks. I think that about deer antlers too as we have them here in abundance.
    Happy crafting everyone! I can't wait to see everyone's projects!
    Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      You have done so well already with your shop. If you have fabrics supplies and a use it up challenge you will be like Gardenpat... she did this with huge success! If you are saving or earning is amounts to the same thing too. It all adds up! Even tiny scraps can become motifs on your card making.
      You have deer antlers!!! I am sure you can sell those. If you did a market at Christmas time next year you could possibly sell them. With your garden and eggs you will have plenty of market possibilities!!! I love your plans for 2019! With love,

  5. Thank you for taking the time to type all these ideas out for us. You have me thinking now. I was picturing you out there at the market in the cold and then remembered it is summer there!

    At the lake house we have a hemlock tree with the most adorable tiny cones that look like a pine cone but they are only about 3/4 of an inch long. I am thinking they would sell. They only need to be harvested and packaged up in a pretty way. My sister and her husband sold Christmas trees in New York City for many years and one of their biggest money makers was just bundles of sticks that had been spray painted white. They were really beautiful just displayed in a vase. We have 2 and a half acres of mature trees that drop sticks every day for free! I am amazed at what the prices are on these simple things!

    Thank you, thank you!

    1. Dear Lana, It was a lovely warmish evening. So nice as we sat outside at a table and chairs and ate our dinner.
      I think your little pinecones would sell for sure! They sound gorgeous! They could be scented also...
      It is amazing what we have around us that could be useful, made into something, decor etc. Certainly anything natural seems to be big.
      I hope your week is going well... busy no doubt like mine! With love,

  6. Gorgeous ideas, thank you so much Annabel! I can't believe $195 for that wreath! I had them on all the inside doors on our house in Wagga, with red rosebuds in bunches at the bottom - but I made them from sprigs I picked up around the farm! Wish I'd kept them now, we'd have around $2,000 decorating our doors :)

    Scrunchies are certainly back and big time! Hannah asked for scrunchies in her stocking, so I had a look and the cheapest was $5 (Kmart) and the most expensive $17 (Sportsgirl). I came home and went through the fabric and ribbon stash and I've made her 7, one for each day of the week, using just scraps. Even the elastic came from the op shop. So a minimum of $35, maximum of $109 I didn't spend on simple scrunchies - so easy to make too.

    I love being able to pop over here and see so many beautiful ideas, lots of things I already make, but so many I can learn to do. The sharing of crafts and ideas from everyone is amazing and inspiring. Thank you everyone.

    And I'll be offline from Friday until after New Year, so I wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a wonderful 2019, full of blessings and joy and everything good.

    Cath xxxx

    1. Dear Cath, Seven scrunchies is a great gift!! Your daughter will love them!
      Enjoy your break and see you in the new year. We are going to have a lot of crafts!!! Thank you so much, have a wonderful Christmas! With love

  7. I wished I lived closer to our markets, I enjoy visiting them. Once a year we have what our town calls "Crafts on the Median". It is free to set up and there are always so many vendors with beautiful crafts. My friend set up a booth one year and was selling the same thing as another vendor and her prices were more expensive. She worried that she would not sell anything, but sold out. She asked one of her customers, why they bought from her and not the other vendor - she was told - it was because hers was packaged so beautifully that it was worth the extra money. I've always tried to remember that when I give a homemade gift. Annabell, I have gotten so many great packaging ideas from your sight. Everything you do always seems so lovely. Thank you for sharing with us. I love your blog. Cindy from Alabama

    1. Dear Cindy, I agree, presentation is so important! This makes all the difference! Thank you so much!! In the new year we are going to have lots of crafts and making. I will always try and include packaging ideas. Thank you so much! With much love

  8. Wow, so many lovely ideas. Thanks so much for sharing these with us Annabel. You must have felt like you were in heaven wandering around taking in so much beautiful creativity and inspiration. I'm sure you must be itching to get going on all of your ideas! Have a lovely week, Kelly

    1. Thanks Kelly, You too, we will all be having a busy week I think! I noted lots of things I want to make. And it is a lot!!! Once Christmas is over I hope to "take stock" and get making! xxx

  9. Wow Annabel, thank you for such an informative and helpful post. I have been thinking seriously of selling sour dough loaves, preserves, eggs, homemade items etc in the new year, so this post has come at a great time!

    Love Tania xxx

    1. Dear Tania, All these things would sell so well I think. Homemade anything is so popular. Maybe come up with a label that represents you too as this adds a lot of appeal. If you get going on soaps too this would be another very saleable item! Good luck! Love

  10. So many wonderful ideas to try!! As you know, I’ve been blessed incredibly in my Use It Up project for my sewing room stash of fabrics! What started out as a way to clear out some excess fabric became a way to add a real and steady stream of income! Every time I’ve thought- “Well, this item I’m selling has run it’s course and there won’t be any more sales”, another wave of sales will start! Last week I had over 32 sales in a 2 day period and so I figured after Saturday was quiet, that it was over. But no, on Sunday evening, 5 more people ordered and made arrangements to come over today (Monday) and Tuesday to pickup! Interesting thing is that most local pick up sales end up buying more than they originally ordered once they come over! After Christmas, it will still be cold winter weather here and won’t really start warming up consistently until May which means there may still be a nice market for my Soup Cozies and flannel Softies! While I’ll continue to market and replenish those as needed during that time, I’m already starting to search and consider other items to add for warmer weather and have even had friends as well as customers that I hadn’t known previously giving me suggestions for new things to make and market!! I feel so blessed beyond measure in every aspect of this little enterprise!

    Thanks for showing and sharing so many encouraging ideas! This has been such a wonderful venue to learn and grow in!!!

    This is one more area that can add to living providently and it’s empowering to feel like you can have a bit more control over your temporal security even as prices and cost of daily living go up!!

    Thanks for all you do to create the community of lovely bluebirds, Annabel!


    1. Dear Gardenpat, You have done so well! And worked so hard!! With plenty of cold weather ahead I should think you will sell many more soup cosies and softies. For a summer idea I am thinking veggie bags, produce bags... they have gone crazy here!
      It is wonderful much of what you have made is from materials in your stash!! You must have had a fantastic supply hidden away!
      I hope you are having a good week with the lead up to Christmas! With love,

  11. Hi Annabel, Yes, I understand about the macrame. It's funny how things seem to go in cycles and before you know it, they are back in fashion. The scrunchies are great and don't give you split ends the way some hair bands do, so I could definitely see myself making some more of these in time to come. Thanks so much for letting us know what was popular. I hope you and your family have a merry christmas and a happy and healthy new year.
    Love from Del

    1. Dear Del,
      I am thinking too of making scrunchies. Good use for little bits of fabric also!
      Thank you so much, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year! With love

  12. Dear Annabel, thank you for such a wonderful and inspiring post. Coming to your blog is like a ray of sunshine and full of love and happiness. Thank you. I LOVE markets! It’s my type of shopping! Individual pieces and usually outdoors. It also feels good to put money straight into locals’ pockets. I too need to get into crafting next year. You have given me confidence to try! I will comeback to this and write it down, I really need an ideas book. You are an angel! Can’t wait to hear about everyone’s ideas in the new year. So excited. Lots of love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      Thank you so much!! Your parcel arrived today!! I have not opened it but put it under the tree... thank you so much. I know you can craft, your journals were beautiful and now I know you are crocheting... crochet edgings make over many things too for a gift.
      Thank you for all your friendship and support. You just enjoy Christmas and all the excitement with your boys! With much love

  13. This year I have made and sold net veg bags, knitted string bags and jams/relishes. All have been sold by a family freind at the local over 50's complex. The family freind spent her working life in sales and has enjoyed the contact with residents plus enjoyed receiving bottles of goodies to 'taste test' and handmade soaps for her use in return as she wouldn't take a cut of the sales. Residents are keen for jams/relishes to continue in the new year plus friend is keen to continue. Thinking of making cloth bowl holders to use in the microwave for next year. Ruth

    1. Dear Ruth, It is wonderful you have a friend who will sell things for you! What a good arrangement! It sounds like she enjoyed it so much!
      I think bowl cosies, soft handkerchiefs, even heat pads would be good sellers? I think you are on to something really good. Well done! I love it! Have a beautiful Christmas, with love,

  14. Dear Annabel,

    These are wonderful ideas both as money generators and also as gifts. I am astounded at the price of that wreath!!! Thank you for posting the links to your Gifts series...I have found that so inspiring for a couple of years, now. I am really ready to get going on next year's presents...I wasn't with it this year, and it sure makes for a less relaxed and satisfying holiday to be prepared!

    We are officially in holiday mode today, and as of Saturday, hubby will have clear until the 15th of January off work, so that will be wonderful!

    Thank you so much for all the work you do to keep us all encouraged and inspired!

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, Have a wonderful time with no exams and your husband on holidays. That should be lovely!
      We will get the new year going with a big craft challenge! You still did heaps by most peoples standards!!! So just enjoy the season now and plan new crafts for the new year!! With love

  15. Dear Annabel,

    So many great ideas. I need to keep a journal of all these ideas because I tend to just do the same things. Your market sounds similar to the craft fairs that are scheduled from time to time in the mountains of N. Georgia and the Carolinas. Those fairs are irresistible! Foods and crafts and really specialized things like wood carving and hand-made furniture.

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

    1. Dear Phyllis, Your same things are a huge variety!!! But I also need to keep notes and plans to remind me of things I want to do and want to try! So many things to do, not enough time...
      I would love to visit your markets! What fun apart from the ideas too. Have a wonderful Christmas to you too! Thank you for all your friendship and support, with love,


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