The deal is this: Sanae and Ute pass along the details of a "maker" somewhere in the world and you make them a valentine's day gift. Meanwhile, your details are given to another party, and on it goes. Instagram, and thus the entire world (sarcasm font), is taken over with the beauty of crafting for others for the sheer love of it. The world turns on bits of carefully chosen fabric, paper, metal and wool.
As has happened in past years, I received my email with the details of my gift recipient just as we were heading out of town for our week long holiday. I figured I would spend the week stalking my giftee in cyberspace in order to come up with the perfect gift plan....
Only she didn't exist other than as a real, actual, unknowable person. What I had was this:
She loved natural fibres, simple/abstract designs and the colours blue, grey and yellow (mustard).
That was it.
Since there was no stalking to be done, and since she'd written almost exactly what I had written, I figured I'd set about making something that fit the criteria that I liked. Come to think of it that's what I've done every year (2015 here and 2014 here)
I'd taken my macrame book away on holiday with me, and the local variety shop had some jute twine in cream and blue, so I set about making my handles.They worked out OK, but my first attempt at the leaf shaped pendant was disastrous!
Once I got home I hit my fabric stash for grey linen, some grey and gold striped linen and mustard cotton lining to make the tote bag.
I loosely based the bag on one from a Stitch Idees magazine, using their technique to do the folded corners, yet I changed the dimensions considerably.
Then came the fun bit. My Valentine lived in the same city and so I had the luxury of hand delivering my gift. For that I'm truly thankful as I had a lot of other commitments on my plate and the extra time was relished. I figured I could spend on flowers what I saved on postage, so I filled the bag with blooms...
The paper is made from elephant dung, and it doesn't get more "natural" than that! The kids helped me with delivery and for the first, and possibly last, time they were instructed to ring the doorbell then run!
It turned out my giftee, Pip, was away for the night, but when she arrived home the next day the flowers were still fresh and she emailed me to say she was delighted with her gift. Phew.
My gift to receive, despite having been posted in ample time, arrived late. But of course it was every bit worth the wait. I barely got a good photo of the package, but it was decorated with the most fabulous pair of blue swans - as you can see I was distracted by, and straight into the chocolate!
But underneath the delicious dark chocolate (how did she know?!) is a gorgeous pair of tea towels and pot holders.
The fabric is a beautiful green/grey colour and the Lotta Jansdotter print is just the kind of simple prints that I do like. My kitchen linen has not, until now, been anything to be proud of, so I'm especially happy to have these to display when I'm playing domestic goddess (a role I play rarely, and badly, but find fun for a laugh!).
I made eggs for breakfast this morning, and A and I got all fancy with keeping our eggs warm and our plates comfy! :)
Caroline, who made these for me, blogs at CJ made. Go check her out, she makes fantastic clothes for herself and styles them so well. Just be careful, looking at her blog might make you want to rush out and buy those statement necklaces that some women wear so well! I really appreciate that making for me was probably a bit outside of her own personal style, but she did such a great job. Best of all, she rides a bicycle, and a nice one at that!
Thanks Caroline, it's been great to "meet" you.
A last bit of gift making was squeezed in, amongst everything else that was going on, when I learned of the Softies for Mirabel toy drive. The Mirabel Foundation is a group that helps children who are orphaned or abandoned due to their parent's illicit drug use. With the encouragmenet of Pip Lincolne, of Meet Me At Mikes, crafters can contribute handmade toys that are then matched to kids and distributed.
My kids helped me with stuffing the toys, and then started to complain that they wanted to keep them. We had a chat about parent's addictions that go well beyond the hoarding of fabric. How serious addictions affect people and their families and the kids may, perhaps, have realised for a moment just how lucky they really are. We sent Mr Rooster and The Monster off along with eight softie alphabet blocks that I'd made for P when he was a baby, and we hope they can bring some joy to other babies or kids.
Making, giving and receiving gifts is such a joy!
P.S. the purple wool is from a Benetton jumper that I bought in Paris in 2001 but sadly shrunk in the wash a decade later. I can still picture the store and remember trying it on and purchasing it. It makes me especially happy to see part of it waving back at me in the form of that little monster!