Sunday, December 27, 2009

Home-made Hokey-ness

Dear Blog,
I've missed you so.
The week/days leading up to Christmas have been abundantly full of festivities: Cookie Exchange. Field trip to the Gingerbread exhibit. Thrift store treasure-hunting.
I tried to make as many of my own gifts as possible...or to give gifts that are experiential or consumable.
I couldn't write about what I've been up to, because I didn't want to reveal any gifts before Christmas. You see, I fool myself into thinking that people actually read this blog! I know I'm mostly just talking to myself. But that's ok. Really.
Anyways, now that all of the presnts have been unwrapped, I can reveal without spoiling anything.
This year, I totally had time to do all of this:
1) Bake Coconut Macaroons, Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, pack them off and ship them to Florida in time for pre-Christmas munching. Then I discovered that the Coconut Macaroons are really fantastic dipped in chocolate...and so more macaroons were toasted and dipped for other gifts.  
2) I made jam for the first time ever. Strawberry Champagne Jam. Also, Pumpkin Butter. Those were given as gifts too. The jam has a beautiful, vivid color. But, my, oh my, is it ever sweet. I have warned everyone that they may just want to use it as syrup. Next time, I will use less sugar than the recipe calls for. I don't want someone's onset of diabetes to be on my conscience.

3) I made Kaluha Body Scrubs and Lavendar Lemon Cookie Body Scrubs as presents. Michael and I had a silky smooth slippery evening trying those out. We determined that they are Pure Awesomeness and that every couple should do the same. Really, they exfoiliate your skin, smooth rough spots, all while indulging in a delicious aroma-therapy experience. And they are edible and romantic. I think these scrubs are my favorite experiment so far!
4) I created some Man-lets for some manly/metro men in my life. Also made bracelets and earrings and necklaces for several lovely ladies. Many of my beads were from my jewelry and refashioned into new beads from bracelets turned into adorable earrings. The earrings and bracelet I made for my mom were from beads I bought off a monk...which you can read about in one of my previous posts (Namaste Beads).
5) I put together a felt board for Noah and created some felt creatures and shapes- Christmas themed- Frosty, a Christmas tree with ornaments and a star. And an underwater scene with a whale, octopus, and starfish.
6) I put together a dress up box for Noah from scarves, ties, and old hats from the thrift store.
7) I made some of my own wrapping paper out of Noah's fingerpaintings and other art.
8) I put together a book of my poetry and photos I have taken...mostly of Noah or nature pics.

Overall, it was very satisfying for me as the Giver to be able to make these things instead of shop. However, I don't know how the Receivers feel! Sure, sure, they all said thanks and smiled...but would they have rather received a tie or a candle or a gift card? I don't know?!
Another thing... it can be very time consuming to make gifts. I have the time right now, so no biggie, but when I go back to work or have another kid, time will be a little tougher to come by.

I must say that I was given some terrific gifts made by my Aunt Beth. She's been sending her own creations for a few years now, and they are TREASURES!  This year she made an amazing book for me...she took a philosophy book and "reclaimed" it with collage art, lovely pieces of lace, doors and flaps that open... The book has a gardening theme, so she included bits of wisdom and herbology throughout...and even packets of seeds. It is so detailed and personalized. Inspiring! I will have to photograph the book and post pics on this here blog. You just may swoon.
My gift creations weren't nearly as inspiring. But, to be fair to myself, I am still in the learning phase of craftiness. Aunt B is a craft-pro. I'll get better. My creations will become less hokey as I go! Let's hope!

I would love to hear about your experiences giving, receiving, and/or creating presents.
Hope your holiday was joyous!


Vegan Good Life said...

Well I'm reading, if that counts! As I'm sure many others are. I find your blog charming.

Homemade gifts are great. A co-worker made me the most charming ornament of items she got from freecycle. I cherish it. The 'value' of the gift for me is in the sentiment, not the monetary amount.

I kept the holidays very low-key - charitable gifts only. My loved ones and I decided to patronize local restaurants instead by sharing a meal (I do this for birthdays with a number of friends, too). We figure we are supporting our local economy that way.

That jam sounds delicious, and salt scrubs are a nice way to pamper oneself. Good job.

Merry Christmas!

MaddyG said...

I'm so glad you're reading, Vegan Good Life! ; ) And I'm glad you had a low-key (and I'm assuming- low-stress) holiay.
If you ever visit the Syracuse area, you'll have to patronize The Strong Hearts Cafe, where they have fantastic Vegan fare. Maybe I should do a post about it...which would give me a great excuse to dine there today! ; )
Happy New Year!

Katie said...

I am seriously impressed by your talents!! I am just not crafty enough to make too many things. I can bake bread so I gave my cinnamon swirl bread to many of my friends. I am now experimenting with homemade donuts and my next venture is homemade bagels.

Btw, homemade presents always mean more to me than the store bought stuff. Someone giving their time for me (the time making the gift) makes me feel loved. So I'm sure your family and friends loved the gifts that you made them :oD

theficklegirl said...

I read your blog! Your posts helped me survive finals of my first semester of grad school (which I aced by the way) and boy drama (rolls eyes). Also I was reading the previous comments and I love the Strong Hearts Cafe, the food, the staff, the ambience... It's a great place. Next time I'm in the area we'll have to meet there for coffee (or a vegan milkshake!) and I can tell you about my foolish NYC adventures and you can give me your sage advice.

MaddyG said...

Oh my goodness, cinnamon swirl bread sounds divine, Katie! You have lucky friends and family to get that kind of yumminess...and donuts, and BAGELS! I am a true carb-oholic!
Caitlin dear~ you just name the time and I'm there for a Strong Hearts date. I'm still planning on Atwood too! I'm happy you check out these silly ramblings of mine. ; )

Gray Sea

Gray Sea