Lee Ann, I'm serious, stop reading now.
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A couple of years ago, my family started a meaningful and sensible tradition. The adults draw names and give to only that one person. (Not kids, of course. Everyone gives to the kids. They make out like bandits.) This means we can put a little more thought (or effort, or money, if you're so inclined), and it's considerably less stressful (or expensive) to shop for one person instead of the whole crew.
The hardest person to shop for is my dad. This is mostly because a couple of years ago my brother gave him a gift certificate for a Razorback tattoo, a gift so spectacular that no other gift will ever measure up.
The easiest name--the one we all fight for--is my mom. She is the most gracious person I know. I can promise you that there has never been an easier-to-please soul walk this planet. She loves (LOVES! LOVES!) anything. It is impossible to buy her a gift that she won't enjoy. One year my dad visited a craft show and bought her a free-standing, hand-carved cow. Let me repeat that, in case you missed it: he bought her a free-standing, hand-carved cow. It had purple ears and hooves, and it was holding a sign that said (I swear I'm not making this up) "Kitchen Closed: This Heifer Is Gone."
To this day, I have a sneaky suspicion that he gave her that as a test, to see if she would love (LOVE! LOVE!) it.
Anyway, I drew my sister-in-law Lee Ann's name this year. She's my brother's wife, and she is a remarkable woman. She's an artist, in the truest sense of the word--the kind of person who can casually glance at a pile of raw supplies and they suddenly transform into something spectacular. As an artist, she appreciates things that are lovely, sentimental, useful, handmade and eco-friendly. This makes her easy to shop for. Hello, Etsy.
I've been having so much putting things together for her, I couldn't bring myself to stop at just one gift. I'm not spending very much, but I'm getting things that I know she'll love. For starters, I got her a piece at The Vintage Pearl with her kids' names on it. Second, she loves going to the coffee shop, so I got her a handmade Coffee Cuff from Bon*Bons (these are so stinkin' cute, and they're only $7. Score!)
But I really wanted to make something for her myself, because I know that's the type of thing that means something to her. Anyway, I've been completely swamped lately, and I have a long and fruitful history of dealing with being swamped by starting craft projects. Perfectly logical.
So I've decided to make Lee Ann some hankies, handmade with flannel, and embroidered with her initials. That seems so personal, and she will appreciate that it's much more eco-friendly than wads of Kleenex. It's softer on the nose, too. I even did a little investigating about buying some organic flannel.
HOLY SHMOKES that stuff is expensive. Anyway, I felt a little intellectually dishonest shopping for organic stuff, being, as I am, a fan of Velveeta.
Instead, I'm going with with pesticide-and-preservative-laden-but-gosh-it's-cute-and-cheap stuff I found at JoAnn's. Look how great this fabric is (one side will be the brown floral print; the other side, with her initials, will be the ivory):
I'm planning to construct these identically to my burp cloth pattern, except they will square (probably about 10" by 10").
I realize it's really lame to write a blog post about a craft you're going to do but haven't quite accomplished yet, but I thought it was a fun idea some of you crafty girls might be be interested in tackling yourself. I know myself, and I know I will likely still be working on these December 24th, which wouldn't leave a lot of time for the sharing of the information, would it?
So, if I promise to keep my lips absolutely sealed, will you tell me what is the most meaningful gift you're giving this year?