Tuesday, January 15, 2013


my beautiful knit socks, from my mama
Are we too far into January to celebrate the handmade gifts that were exchanged this year?  There is a certain amount of tooting my own horn here, I realize, but I feel like managing to get something made is a cause for celebration that the spirit if not the high standard of artistry is alive in me somewhere!   The holidays are merely a reminder of the great range of talents and gifts of the family and friends around us...I am humbled.  

A little homemade feels important to me, and if I had my druthers I'd remember to begin much earlier, so as to enjoy it all a little more.  The best Made gifts are those where I get to learn something along the way of making something someone else will love.

Dan's package decorations - he's our resident Master Origamist
More Mormor

One of my favorite made-for-me gifts was just that sweet combination of satisfying to make, fulfilling to give - a collection of medicines made from the garden and in the kitchen of my dear friend, Jen.  This was so inspiring to me; we attended the herbal conference together in October, and she got home and harvested dandelions and burdock, plantain and comfrey, and much more, planning far ahead for the salves, lip balms, tinctures and herbal vinegars she was to make for solstice gifts.  This dandelion tincture apple cider vinegar is so delicious as well as good for you, and I've been using it sparingly on my kale salad.  It is such a spot of brilliant summer in my winter kitchen.

Most of what I got up to was silly.  My sister is understandably very attached to her newish i-pad, and I couldn't help but make an animated companion to cloak it in when it needs to rest.

Dan helped me with the personality (ie, the mouth) of this fellow.  
We think his name is Angus.

old felted wool sweater = new ipad cover

I somehow managed to not get a photo of a cozy made for my mom's nook.  You'll have to imagine it - large snail eyes peering over the edge of the case...Eliza has become fascinated with belt pouches, which inspired me to make one for my neice...and it quickly became a creature as well.  I mean, why not??

The weekend before Solstice I managed to sneak in an art-making session with my friend Molly, under the guise of working on my basket , and she helped me finish a Japanese sewn binding on a book for Dan.  I was so happy to do this - learning something new and beautiful - and it was a surprise for him, which made it even nicer.  When we opened hand-hewn pens from my brother-in-law on Christmas night, it made the gift even sweeter.

tortoise shell stitch
Part of my motivation of posting these photos and sharing this gifts is to open the floodgates of making that I'm feeling are pent up in my winter energy.  So far it's come out in more wool lanterns and a couple of felted wool stones...we'll see where else I can direct that desire to create!


merry said...

I love the fact that both you and Alissa, and also your daughters, have found my love for making my gifts! There's something very personal in knitting, crocheting, felting, beading, whatevering a gift for a specific person in that you are thinking of this person the whole time you're working on the project. I like to think that I'm infusing love and positive energies into the gift that wouldn't otherwise be there.

Amber said...

Wow such beautiful things. Home made and wonderful! Such an enriching thing to do together, how lovely.x