Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gifts received

I have got to get a better camera - it's a shame to post such inadequate photos of these wonderful handmade gifts from my talented Mom. At the top is a gorgeous gray wool wrap, with a mother-of-pearl ring and one of my great-grandmother's tiny bone crochet hooks for the fastener. So beautiful - what a perfect gift. She also made this little pouch that is lined with a delicate patterned silk fabric; it was tied to the outside of the gift box, and held a pretty soap and a set of tiny antique ivory book covers, which I think I will bind together with some nice paper and silk thread to wear as a pendant. Mom is a great inspiration - she also knitted pretty short-sleeved cardigans for my sisters & sister-in-law, and sewed adorable corduroy jumpers for four of my nieces.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Before we drive off to visit the family, I thought I'd post these last-minute pocket notebooks I made on Tuesday for brothers & brothers-in-law. I wanted to give something thrifty (for me) but useful for the recipients. For sisters & sisters-in-law, I'm giving some pretty scarves I did *not* make, but bought months ago for an amazingly good price. In the past, we siblings & our spouses did a name-drawing & gift exchange; this year we decided to ditch that system and any gift-giving rules and just allow everyone to give what/if their budgets permit, no pressure. Since we only made this decision in the weeks after Thanksgiving, I didn't have much time to incorporate 6 more gifts into my schedule; next year I'll be able to plan ahead better. safely, and have a wonderful holiday!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Two more - and just one left to go!

I pulled together two last-minute baby gifts this weekend, which leaves just one more gift to finish. I'd been saving an accidentally felted cashmere sweater for a special project, and decided that a new baby's first Christmas is the perfect occasion. So I looked at some bear patterns and then just kind of winged it; it didn't take long to sew it by hand and I'm really happy with how he turned out - he is so soft! I also made this bunch of colored knitted balls for the same baby. They are so fast to make; I only wish I'd had the foresight to put a jingle bell or rattle in the center of each time, I guess!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


These are the gifts I'll be giving to coworkers. I packed them in boxes from a Martha Stewart kit I got on sale. The small upright boxes contain popcorn with caramel, butterscotch, & chocolate drizzled on it. In the square & rectangle boxes are: pecan tassies, brownies, more popcorn, wheat crackers, and molasses almonds, all of which I made in a frenzy one night earlier this week. Making cookie boxes is one of my favorite holiday traditions - I really hope these go over well!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Christmas story

It's my favorite Christmas story, actually, though I am biased - it was written by my Dad and printed in the January 1982 issue of Catholic Digest. And the "fifth child" in the story is me! My Dad showed me this story when I was a kid, and last year my Mom hunted it down and shared it with me again. Here it is...I hope you love it as much as I do.

"My wife and I were having a hard time of it. We were separated by my training program and expecting our fifth child. Although our bills were plentiful and our funds were low, we were looking forward to a few days together at Christmas.
A week or so before the holiday break, my wife attended a large prayer meeting. As she left, she noticed a conspicuous offering basket with the message, 'Share Your Love.' Recently reminded of the Scriptural injunction that it is more blessed to give than to receive, she hesitated only a moment before dropping in her last dollar.
A day or two before Christmas, my wife received a phone call from one of her prayer group leaders. He wanted to stop by for a visit that afternoon. We expected a short, pleasant visit with perhaps some prayers. We were totally unprepared for the envelope he presented to us containing over $300, including the dollar my wife had planted as a seed of faith."

And they're off

Here are the first two of three gift shipments, ready to be packed. One bunch is destined for the West Coast; the other will go to the Midwest. Most of these are handmade gifts, a couple are purchased gifts from my husband to my family, and there are two sort-of handmade gifts in the pile that I haven't posted about here yet. One is a mix CD of silly songs my husband and I compiled for our nieces, and the big pink bundle contains several of my dance outfits from when I was a kid, plus two pink poodle skirts my Mom made for my sister and I one Halloween long ago. I've been saving them in my cedar chest, but I thought it was time they were enjoyed by my sister's little girls who are getting big enough to wear them.

I did all of my gift-baking last night, and will be putting together goodie boxes tomorrow night, as well as wrapping the third and final shipment of gifts. There's one gift that will be missing from that box, as it's far from finished, but since we won't be celebrating with that part of the family until New Year's Eve, I'm hoping to finish by then, even if it means knitting until the plane lands in their town!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Approaching deadline

Clockwise from top left:
Two blank notebooks for a brother-in-law, made mostly with scraps of materials from work; a few of my holiday cards for this year, also made with scraps & salvaged materials from work; a rainbow spiral scarf for one of my nieces; and two ribbed cotton hats for two other brothers-in-law. I'm still working on a couple of crafty gifts and hope to start with all the food-gift making this week!