Given our discussion on holiday shopping, I'm wondering if any of you give handmade gifts for the holidays.
I suppose someone with four sewing machines and floor to ceiling shelves filled with fabric and a myriad assortment of crafting materials qualifies as a Crafting Geek. And this time of year I reach the Zenith of Crafting Geekiness.
My latest project are these little dolls made from pipe cleaners, embroidery floss and wool felt. (Just click the link to see them in Photobucket.) There was a fairy doll but Jessica, my 21-year-old daughter, fairynapped her. So now there's just Fiona the village girl, Minerva the wise woman, Rowan the herbalist and Brother Todd, the village priest. I'm partial to Rowan, with her little leaf-shaped apron. But for some reason almost everyone loves Brother Todd. I think it's the tiny cross hanging from his belt; I found it at a bead store and thought it would be perfect for him.
I thought it would be nice to make sets of these as holiday gifts. They're fun to make, although I do get a bit of a headache when embroidering or sewing beads onto those tiny outfits. Ultimately it's worth it, though. I'm considering giving them not to children, but to adults. Everyone could use a little whimsy in their lives.
My more complex holiday projects include these Christmas stockings I made. The crazy quilt one is made from vintage handkerchiefs. The snowy owl on the other stocking was fashioned after a drawing I did. I put little snowflake buttons all around him.
Of all the stuff I've bought folks for Christmas over the years, the one that I made myself about fifteen years ago was the one that was the most appreciated. It was for my mother. Money was really tight that year and I couldn't buy her anything. My mom is like a kid; she loves gifts so I felt terrible.
I had like five bucks so I went to the store and got a back of thirty Thank-You cards. Then I sat down and - picking out thirty of the best memories from my childhood - wrote her a note thanking her for each one. I thanked her for teaching me to draw my first bird when I was four. I thanked her for all the hours we spent horseback riding together. I thanked her for the incredible stories she told me and my sisters. I thanked her for the good feeling it gave me to come home from school and find the house warm, clean and smelling of homecooked meals. I tied the bundle of notes with a pretty ribbon and told her to open one note a day for the next month.
My mother never forgot that gift. And she told me recently that she still takes out those notes and reads them. That makes me so happy.
If you haven't done all your Christmas shopping yet or - if like some of us - you're emphasizing quality over quantity and expense, consider making something for your loved ones. Don't worry that it has to be perfect. I still cherish the hand-knitted scarf I received last year. It wasn't quite even on the ends but its imperfections are part of the charm and it will always be special because it represented the first knitting effort of the person who gave it to me. She knew I loved knitted things and took the time to give me something from both her heart and hands.
That's the perfect gift.
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