Saturday, 31 January 2015

The $5.00 Homemade Gift Challenge

The $5.00 Homemade Gift Challenge

      I know you are all waiting impatiently to read about the results of the $5.00 Homemade Christmas Gift Challenge.  Now that it is the last day of January, it's time to share the details. 

  Jody, Barb, Cheryl, Dawn
(a year or two ago...)

      The challenge, proposed by Jody last Christmas, was that our group of four would exchange Christmas gifts that were homemade and cost no more than 5 dollars. 

Gifts I Received
Alpaca Hat and Pumpkin Spice Soap

       Cheryl knit us each a hat from the finest alpaca which she bought in the western USA.  She knit the hats while motoring across North America with her daughter Kathryn last summer.  Every stitch tells a story!  She assures us there was no “knitting while driving.” Cheryl also added a bar of locally-made soap purchased at Gagetown’s Christmas in the Village.  Mine was Pumpkin Spice and smells good enough to eat.

Early Winter Forest Bouquet and Christmas Tin of Home-Made Oatcakes
      Dawn had plans to make us “chemically-adjusted” pine cones which would provide a fireworks display when ignited.  However, on her trip to the woods, she was unable to find the necessary pine cones.  So she made Early Winter Forest Bouquets to attach to the Christmas Tin of Homemade Oatcakes.  Yummy!

Sweet Bread and Seasonally-Themed Dishtowels and Cookie Cutter
     Jody made us each a sweet bread,  lovingly baked, and wrapped in blue ribbon.  She included seasonally-themed dishtowels and a cookie cutter in her package.  Jody assures us that she bought those items post-Christmas last year and that they fall within the $5.00 budget.

Gifts I Gave
     Stepping outside of my knitting comfort zone, I drew on my card-making enterprise to create my $5.00 homemade gifts for my friends.  Each package was designed to represent my personal relationship with each of my “soul sisters.”

"Drink A Cup of Concrete" Card Collection
      In September 2013, Cheryl and I walked the Camino El Santiago in Spain together, along with 4 other friends.  So the cards I made for Cheryl were based on pictures and significant moments from that trip.  I call Cheryl’s card collection “Drink a Cup of Concrete…”, the beginning of a famous quotation and certain attitude we adopted on the Camino. 

"Lit Mitts" Card Collection
      My connection with Dawn has a lot to do with books we have read, or want to read, or should read.  Inevitably, whenever we meet, the discussion gets around to books.    So the cards I made for Dawn feature some of our favourite titles with matching mittens, of course!  I call Dawn’s card collection LitMitts.”

"The View from Above" Card Collection
     My connection with Jody goes back years before we were even born!  Both our family roots are firmly planted in the soil of Long Reach.  Through the help of my brother and Jody’s sister, I was able to get photos of Long Reach taken by Jody’s father in the 1940s from the steeple of St. James Anglican Church.  So Jody’s card collection is called The View From Above.”
 Life Philosophy

     As you know from my previous blogs, I am cheap and I like the challenge of making something from nothing.  So, of course, I kept below the $5.00 budget.  I had my eye on a piece of homemade paper which my daughter Julia has had tacked to her bedroom wall since high school.  She has been out of the nest for 7 years now so I knew the paper would not be missed.  I made the packaging for the card collections from that paper.

I cut the paper into 3 equal sizes.
 Homemade Paper from Julia's Wall
Folded it.   Sewed it with leftover alpaca yarn from the Titus farm in Gorham’s Bluff...
Titus Alpaca Yarn
Attached buttons from my mother’s button box, part of my inheritance.....
 Buttons from my Mother's Button Box

Labelled it with my father's turnip tags, another precious item of inheritance…
 My Father's Turnip Tags

And, voila, a package for homemade cards and/or an earthy evening clutch to be worn with gown and tiara. 

Package for Cards or Evening Clutch
I wrapped the packages in an old Friends poster (significant) torn from Julia's wall.
Friends Poster
 Tied them with yarn. 

Wrapping Yarn
And tagged them with my new line of Mitten Gift Tags. 
Mitten Gift Tags
      The $5.00 Homemade Challenge has been reinstated for next year.  I'm thinking along the lines of Doll Dish Cupboards or Milkstools. 
Doll Dish Cupboard
Milk Stool
Until Next Time.......