Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Favorite Things: Gifts I Gave

At the risk of sounding a tad saccharine, I believe that gift giving can bring just as much, if not more, joy to the giver than the receiver.  The gifts we give send a message to the recipient, and I love showing friends, family, and sometimes strangers that I care about them, their interests, and what's going on in their lives.  And sometimes, it's just fun to make something shiny to make them go, "Ooooh, how did you do that?!"  ;]

Hence, for Day 2 of my "Week of Favorites" Countdowns, I present to you (get it? present. Ha!):

'Tis So Much Better to Give Than Receive -
Sarah's Top Five Gifts Given in 2011

5. Sparkly cookies.  Because who doesn't love glittery anything, really?  Especially glittery cookies that look like little butts.  I brought dozens to each holiday celebration I attended, and folks told me they were delicious.  Which is probably true.  That, or they were hypnotized by all the sparkle.

4. A cover for Ben's mom's NOOK.  She acquired the ereader Thanksgiving weekend, and did not have a case yet.  Sarah + her sewing machine to the rescue!  I followed a process very similar to the instructions in this tutorial, with a few minor adjustments (e.g. I figured the dimensions for a NOOK Simple Touch, used a strip of elastic rather than velcro, and I chose to have the device slide in from the top rather than the side).  There were a few minor snafus—my machine's timing is off now, so I had to finish by hand, and that elastic was a wily rascal!  All things considered, I think it's pretty cute, and I'm sure that NOOK is safe + snug!     

3. Saffy the Giraffe for my niece, Maude.  The moment I laid my eyes on The Simply Small Series of books, I knew what I was giving Maude for Christmas: a copy of the first Saffy book, and a handmade, stuffed Saffy the Giraffe.  I don't have a photo of the finished Saffy to share, but I'm pretty sure my niece approved.  The moment Maude laid her eyes on the giraffe,
Saffy went directly into her mouth. :D

 2. I sent a t-shirt to my adorable cousin.  The back story: a few years ago, when I was going through a tough time, a dear friend sent me a little care package that included an Angry Little Girls t-shirt.  That t-shirt did me a world of good.  Full of cheek and cartoonish anger, it literally made me laugh and smile each time I saw it in my dresser.  The shirt also helped me feel loved and supported; it became a symbol of my recovery.  A visual reminder that everything will be ok.  Fast forward to a more recent time when my cousin was going through a tough time of her own, and I knew what I had to do.  The t-shirt had served its purpose with me, and now it was time to spread a little cheer to someone else in need.  I love gifts that keep giving.  :D

1. 2011 marked my mom's 60th birthday.  Since that's kind of a big deal, I wanted to do something extra nice for her.  My mom freaking loves all things Disney, and hadn't visited The Land since 1994 (California Adventure didn't even exist!).  Again, I knew what I had to do.  In retrospect, what I didn't have to do was ride Splash Mountain in 58° weather.  But, the smile on my mom's face was definitely worth it.  :] 

Mary Blair concept art for Alice in Wonderland; Mom + me after Splash Mountain*

What was your favorite gift you gave this year?

Also!  Reminder that Janet is still giving away $ in the name of your simple Acts of Goodwill!  Jump on over there + tell her about all the elfin' you've been up to during this season of giving!  ♥

*photo credit for Splash Mountain aftermath: my wonderful friend, Valerie Rangel,
who also helped make the Disneyland trip for my mom possible. 


  1. What a lovely countdown! I couldn't help but laugh out loud when I saw your sparkly butt cookies! They are the beautifulest cookies I've ever seen! I think I need the recipe! (I think it will really win over my new co-workers since they all admitted to me in the interview that they eat junk food all day...yikes!) And the e-reader case and giraffe...and everything else was just too precious! Mel told me about the shirt--that meant so much to her. After all, Girls are > Boys!

    As far as my favorite gifts I gave this year, here's the list:
    3. I had an Etsy lady here in Eugene make my mom a "Three Peas in a Pod" dough ornament with our names on it! It was just hilarious!
    2. I had this young gal on Etsy make Mel & I matching "pea in the pod" stud earrings and a necklace with the three of us in a pod! Very Kawaii!
    1. I knit Matt a beanie (suitable for snowboarding, of course). It was tricky (my very first had) that had a nifty cable up the side.

    Matt's had was my favorite just because it was so much effort and he appreciated it so much.

    Thanks for inspiring me to bake butt cookies and sew! You're the greatest!!!

  2. Meliss! I think I need to make another list to respond to all your lovely comments:
    1. Thank you!
    2. Click on the very beginning of #5 above, "Sparkly cookies" - it should link you to the recipe. It's quite simple (be prepared for a WHOLE lotta butter though!). G'luck wooing the new co-workers! They'll love you, sparkly butt cookies or no sparkly butt cookies. ;]
    3. I love love love your gifts for your mom, Mel + Matt! Each is so perfect. Lucky recipients! And you know I love that you did a whole lotta Etsy-ing + handmaking yourself!
    4. I love hearing from you; you're the best. ♥

  3. Those sparkly cookies are faaabulous! Love!

    My countdown of favorite gifts I gave this year:

    3. The new book, 36 Hours: 150 Weekends in the USA and Canada, with a coupon for 36 hours in one of the destinations (for Will).

    2. Kiva gift cards (for lots of people)

    1. A Foster Feeding Kit from the Santa Barbara Zoo. We sponsored the two gorillas on behalf of some friends. They got a certificate, a photo of the gorillas, and two gorilla stuffed animals for the little girls in the family. I added cute name tags to the stuffed animals so that they would have the same names as the real gorillas at the zoo. =)

  4. I love gifts that are service oriented, experiential, and "not things"!

    And I gotta get my hands on a copy of that book . . . I can't wait to hear where Will decides to cash in that coupon!

  5. update:

    GASP - I love the illustrations in that book!

  6. Sparkly cookies? Um, wow. Just. Wow.

    I like that we're discussing gifts we gave, which is infinitely more fun for me than receiving (and it sounds like you're the same way):

    - A sonnet about text vs. pictorial art
    - An owl made from paper and mounted by my friend Courtney (at Paper Musings)
    - Family calendar for my dad - worth every second it took to make when he almost teared up after opening it.

  7. aw! I made a calendar for my grandma, which I hope to deliver tomorrow. I hope she likes it as much as your dad liked his, Alicia!

    p.s. sonnets + owls = so wonderful.