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Holiday Gift Give Away!!

December 2, 2010

Here, in cottage country, the snow already covers the ground.  As it continues to come down in large drops (kind of like fluffy puffs of white icing)  I can’t help but be reminded that we are getting ready to celebrate the end of another year and the beginning of a new one.  It is during the month of December that families and friends come together to celebrate.  And, to share in your celebration we thought we would host our first gift give away contest.

For the past 10 years, everyone in our family has exchanged handmade gifts at Christmas.  In fact, you can not purchase a gift from a store for someone unless you make a handmade gift as well.  Those homemade gifts are the ones that you really cherish.  They are unique and personal and made with lots of love.   Our home is filled with those gifts…I have ceramic hand painted Santa’s made by my sister, great personalized calendars from my nephew, a special one of a kind quilt made by my sister-in-law, a hand embroidered Santa from my mom, and Matt even knit me a scarf one year.  And, that’s just a few of the special gifts that fill our home with loving memories.

In the spirit of the holiday season we’d like to give  back to you!  As a thank you for sharing in our canning journey over the course of the last few months.  For our give away we have one copy of the Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving (donated by Bernardin) and a small  hand carved hanging RED dove (made by me).  We know a lot of you probably already have the Bernardin book but please feel free to enter anyway.  Share your ideas and if you already have the book…you can pass it along.

And, a holiday give away wouldn’t be complete without something handmade.  So, we are also including one of my hand carved birds on a spring…I’m an artist by profession and Thyme of the Season is my home studio. 

So to win…we’d like to hear about your special holiday gift giving ideas!  We know you guys are a creative bunch so we thought this would be a great way to pass on some of your ideas about ways to give back during the holiday season. To win all you have to do is leave a comment on this post sharing your special gift giving ideas (it can be something you’ve done in the past or something you plan to do in the future.)   Contest will end at 11:59 pm Sunday December 12th 2010.  This should give us enough time to get it to you before X-Mas.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. December 2, 2010 7:27 pm

    I’m so tempted to enter! I already have the Bernardin book, but your handcarved birds are so lovely.

    So, I’ll let others enjoy this fantastic contest and will pass it along to friends and family.

  2. Joan permalink
    December 2, 2010 7:43 pm

    The book I do not have,,YET! But I’d love the little birds made by you. So sweet. ME,,I grow a lot of my own spices and dry them. So for Christmas I’m going to be giving several bottles of fresh spices. With labels printed out by me. I’ve also been thinking about giving home made egg noodles and home made vanilla. I have one friend that will just love getting the vanilla.

  3. Sam permalink
    December 3, 2010 8:13 am

    Andrea, you are so talented, I love your little birdie! I love to bake, so at Christmas I spread tons of holiday cheer by doing a lot of baking, and when I entertain or go to someone’s home I always bring some along. Nothing says Christmas to me like my Grandmothers Shortbread cookie recipe. My new venture actually is preserving, I have not tried yet but am getting ready to make red pepper jelly, I hope! All the best to you and Matt for the holiday’s, the Dockrill / Prevett family!

  4. Pat Whittle and Calvin Whittle permalink
    December 3, 2010 8:44 am

    Hi the Turnbulls

    I just loved the information and pictures. Calvin makes a great dark Christmas cake.
    It is wrapped in a rum soaked cloth and everywhere we take it everyone loves it. Of course we are all over 30. I have been told that only the older set likes fruit cake. Keep up with your new adventures.\

  5. Andrew permalink
    December 3, 2010 8:50 am

    Great idea, Andrea.

    We’ve done lots of homemade gifts in my family over the years. My mum’s a quilter, and always makes ornaments for my children — one for each of them. The idea is that when they leave home and start their own Christmas traditions, they’ll have 18 or 20 homemade ornaments from Granna to get their tree started.

    One of my favourite gifts had a quirky homemade element to it. It was the last present, and when I opened it there was a note from Sharon telling me to look in the closet. “OK,” I thought, “it’s the old look-around-the-house gift.” You know — a note in the closet telling you to look under the bed, where you find a note telling you to look in the dog’s bed, etc.

    But then I came to the last clue: Look in the recycling bins behind Macaulay School. “Really?” I asked Sharon. She nodded, so the kids and I put on our coats, jumped in the car and drove across town to Macaulay.

    In one of the recycling bins we found (or rather, I found, because the kids had helped create this treasure trail) another note directing me to look under a bench at the fair grounds. And then to a tree in the parking lot above Bracebridge Falls. And then to another tree behind Riverside Inn. And finally to my in-laws’ garage, where I found my gift.

    The present was one of those temporary garage shelters, which was greatly appreciated. But the real gift was the hour of Christmas day fun that the kids and I will always treasure. (I’m sure the hour of Christmas Day peace and quiet that Sharon enjoyed was welcome too!)

    • Dawn permalink
      December 4, 2010 9:34 am

      I’d forgotten – my mom did that one Easter for me as a kid. Notes everywhere, even outside which lead me to a cabbage patch doll. She had red hair and her name was Susan Nadine.

  6. Janet Merkley permalink
    December 3, 2010 8:53 am

    You two are just amazing! This will put everyone in the Christmas spirit. My Father passed away in October. I was in the pocess of making him a personalized rag quilt. I am now finishing the quilt and giving it to my brother in memory of our Father. Merry Christmas everyone. Janet

  7. December 3, 2010 9:48 am

    Hey Andrea!

    When I heard you two were closing the studio I was wondering what you’d be up to next. As creative as always I was really pleased to see this unique canning venture. We Waglands LOVE canning but rarely find the time with two little ones. Keep us in the loop we love our local food… and of course handmade gift offerings. Your love bird creation that we got at Art of Remembering still resides in my daughter Caleigh’s room … it is well-loved. Keep creating you make such beautiful joyful things!

    now here’s one of my fav quotes from the grinch

    “He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!”

    Merry Christmas!!!


  8. Marjorie Donnett permalink
    December 3, 2010 11:19 am

    For our volunteer group holiday party, I am making party favors: I am making 4 quilted coasters tied in ribbon as party favors for each volunteer. I love these coasters because they absorb the moisture from cold glasses without drops of water running down the sides of the plastic, etc., coasters.

  9. Nic permalink
    December 3, 2010 11:35 am

    Handmade gifts are my favourite sort. It is making the time that is the challenge for me.

    This year I am trying to get to my sewing machine, to make some linen heart ornaments with little Christmas trees embroidered on them, and stuffed with a few cloves or a bit of cinnamon in with the rest of the filling. One year though I am determined to make matching felt slippers for the family, but that isn’t this year’s job.

  10. Gwen Wood permalink
    December 3, 2010 12:33 pm

    Merry Christmas!

    I love to make holiday gift items both big and small, and have several ready for gift giving. Sewing seems to be my favorite hobby at the moment but also enjoy some folk art painting especially tree ornaments.

    I also enjoy giving homemade cookie, treats, and snacks! Always lot to do!

    Enjoy the holidays and take time to enjoy the festive details!

  11. December 3, 2010 1:26 pm

    What an amazing idea to only give hand crafted gifts. I love it. One of the things I’m doing this year is making gift baskets with things we canned, such as pickles. This year with the gift baskets, I’ll include an herb plant to inspire others to garden. And seeds!! Also, cookies is always a great gift.

  12. Jen Blanchard permalink
    December 3, 2010 8:19 pm

    Hello Friend,

    I love that you do homemade gifts. In my family we draw names every year, and I always make the gifts that I give and I have convinced my family that it should be tradition that everything is homemade and they are all on board. So far I know someone is making a knitted cape, someone else is making a stone bench and someone else is writing a poem, which I can’t wait to hear because it is about one of my girls. I made my brother and his wife and girls all matching flannel one piece pajamas with the bum flap! and funky wooden doll press puzzels.
    My most favorite thing to do is to “tag” my neighbours. I sneak around the village to unsuspecting homes and tag them with treats and a note (I LOVE YOU MORE TODAY THAN YESTERDAY, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS TOMORROW, MERRY CHRISTMAS – YOU MAKE MY TULETIDE BRIGHT!!!) this year its felt mice with candy cane tails. It’s up to them if they keep it to themselves or “tag” someone else, but most spread on the cheer and it goes around quite fast like a batch of friendship bread. So far I’ve “tagged” 5 kitchen tables, 2 fridges, 6 cars and a medicine cabinet!!!! So much fun, but remember to take treats for the dogs if you plan on sneaking into their homes.

    Wishing you the most memorable Christmas yet. JOY BE TO ALL !!!! xoxo


  13. Barbara permalink
    December 3, 2010 9:03 pm

    Hi Andrea

    You are one amazing woman! A made-especially-for-someone gift is hard to top and your ideas are terrific. I am creating a digital scrapbook of long forgotten family pictures taken by my Dad over 40 years ago. I plan to give one to each of my sisters and will call them “When we were very young”. Merry Christmas!

  14. Dawn permalink
    December 4, 2010 9:31 am

    I’ve been looking for this book, it’s been difficult for me to find. It’s on my list for Santa! I hadn’t really thought about it until I read you blog but I do this without realizing. This year it’s your Spiced Cranberries. I made it a little while ago and I’m addicted to it and so are my three friends I shared with. We all love it so much I’m going to make more (so easy to make!) that will be going to everyone I give a gift too (plus the girls as a second/refill jar!). We’re recently engaged so we’re also giving pictures with frames we’ve personalized.

    I recently gave a spa treatment to a pregnant friend and made her scented epson salts to go with it – very easy! I’ve given calendars, coupons (free night of babysitting to friends with kids or I’ll take out the garbage…), and I’ve also gave a donation to a charity that suits a person I’m really stuck on – that hard to buy for person ie: my Grandpa!

    Our wedding will be no different, each guest will receive a jar of jam – peach for the girls and strawberry for the boys! Will help them determine where they’re sitting too.

    I enjoy making ‘things’ and sharing them with those around me – it’s an easy way to show someone you appreciate them and it’s fun too! Maybe I’ve even provided a few ideas.

    Have fun!

  15. StoneHorse permalink
    December 4, 2010 9:46 am

    When I was young teen I didn’t have a part time job and money was tight at home. My brother and I both having girlfriends knew we had come up with something clever if we wanted to get through Christmas with our respective relationships intact. Well, we decided that we’d make stuffed toys out of bits and pieces around the house. After scrounging we had some of our sisters’ old hair bobs, a few scavenged buttons, an old flannel sheets, fibre fill from an old pillow (no worries, we washed the materials!). We then traced the outline of the body parts on paper to later transfer to the sheet. I had decided on the classic teddybear, and my brother decided on a bunny. After transferring the outlines to the sheet we began cutting the pieces and prepping for the sewing. Borrowing some needles from my Mother we set about sewing the pieces together by hand. I was not very proficient at keeping the stitch work tight and close together, and the thread just wasn’t holding, so I ended up raiding my tacklebox for so low lb test fishing line…well, that did the trick! I figured what I my needlework lacked in finesse, I’d make up in strength! After several hours of threadwork behind us, we were relieved to be at stuffing part, then proceeded to close them up and sew on the bobs and buttons for details, my teddy had two button eyes, a bob nose, and a hand stitched mouth. Well, Christmas eventually came, and to my great relief, my girlfriend loved the teddy! I’m not sure why… it was lop-side, understuffed, and maybe even just a little creepy looking, but nethertheless she adored him just the same.

    20 years later I eventually reconnected with her on facebook. She’s married now with kids, and oh, she still has that decrepit bear among her keepsake treasures! As for my brother, his project apparently also met with success, as the recipient of the bunny he made is now his wife (and she still has the bunny!).

    Looking back, as much happiness it brought to me that the girls loved the toys we made, the greater memory for me was the time my brother and I spent together making them. Like it were yesterday, I can still remember the two of us, rough and tumble boys, hunched over our projects, needles and thread in hand (or fishing line!), and gabbing into the wee hours like a couple of old bitties. Never before were we so out of our element, but I can’t think of a time that we were ever closer than that moment.

    Thats my story to share of homemade gifts making.

    A very Happy Christmas to you!

  16. Sara permalink
    December 4, 2010 10:16 am

    My favourite Christmas gift was given to me by my youngest daughter Ruth when she was about 7 years old.

    Earlier in the year Ruth had broken a little sugar bowl that we had. It was no big deal, but Ruthie was so upset. Though I told her not to worry, she cried for hours and I felt terrible for the kid.

    Weeks later, Christmas morning arrived and Ruth was truly bursting. She presented me with a small gift that she had obviously wrapped herself. Inside was the little sugar bowl. She had picked all the pieces out of the garbage and glued them back together.

    The sugar bowl still has a place of honour in our kitchen and will always be one of my favourite things in the world. To me it represents not only the love I have for my daughter, but it acts as a reminder of what giving truly means.

  17. Janet Barton permalink
    December 4, 2010 6:59 pm

    One year I made the wisemen out of 2 litre empty pop bottles, styrofoam balls for the heads, fabric, beads, etc. for the clothing etc. One set for each of my married children, all a little different.

    Such fun to figure out something to make each year! Always looking for ideas!

  18. December 4, 2010 10:17 pm

    THat’s weird – I could swear this is the book I have, but it’s the “complete Ball” canning book and not Bernardin.

    Anyway, I’m planning a couple of posts on some gift things going on – probably in the next coupde weeks as soon as I can take photos. THe most amazing one came last week from my sister. She somehow created a spiral bound journal for me with scattered quotes and photos from the last year and a half of blog posts. It is quite spectacular.

    This weekend, I’m going to attempt something I’m a little afraid to do – I’m going to make a set of nerdy Dungeons and Dragons dice (you know, the 6-sided, 10-sided, 20-sided, etc.) out of fimo clay. I guess some clay and a razor blade might do it?

  19. December 4, 2010 10:17 pm

    oh, btw – beautiful bird!!

  20. cathie buchanan permalink
    December 5, 2010 9:37 am

    Hey what a great idea you have going glad you told me about this site Andrea maybe i will start to. See you soon Cathie

  21. Teri-Lynn Capobianco permalink
    December 5, 2010 9:51 am

    One year with the kids and my Mother-in-law we recycled the year before’s Christmas cards. We made ornaments out of them. Some we kept (and still put on the trees) others we gave as gifts, trying to give the person that sent the card the ornament we made from it.

  22. Kelly permalink
    December 5, 2010 8:24 pm

    I love your birds!!

    In the fall I love to collect the pine cones off the ground. With a round, metal wreath(purchased at any craft store),I place the cones in between the round wires(without using glue from gun). Then the last or top row of cones can be glued on with a glue gun. You can then decorate for hanging the wreath on the front door or for placing on the table with a candle in the middle.

    Bringing the outdoors inside at Christmas seems very special to me!

    You can also spray the wreath with a clear, acrylic spray) for a shiny look.

    Also don’t forget to use pine/green bows for decorating urns outside and for placing on the mantel and tables.

    Collecting the harvest shows in the home!

    Merry Christmas……

  23. dave and donna mcmillan permalink
    December 8, 2010 7:19 pm

    Love! Love! Love! all of your birds and proud to own a few. Love your new one. Missed seeing you at One of a Kind. Hope you are keeping well. I have made homemade cookies for friends and after placing them in a pretty box, I look for a Christmassy dish towel to wrap the box in instead of paper so two gifts in one!! Merry Christmas you both of you.

  24. December 9, 2010 11:34 am

    Love your work Andrea & thanks for offering it to us here 🙂

    In the past, I’ve made collections of handmade papier mache snowmen ornaments for the tree. Friends and family enjoy their expressive faces and vintage style….. It’s fun to hang the one intended for the host on their tree and see if they notice!

    Happy Holidays!
    ~ Johanna

  25. Andrea permalink
    December 10, 2010 6:46 am

    Now as far as gifts go. I’m Jewish, so its all about Hanukah. In our family we only get gifts for the kids . Now that all the kids are adults, we just get together and eat. This year we are celebrating it late (because I was in the OOAK show). It will be at my sister’s house- a combined Christmas/Hanukah event – her husband is Christian (Italian). I am making the potato latkes. In case you don’t know, latkes are crispy little potato pancakes. I make stellar latkes, which is good because I make people happy, but bad because they always want me to cook them. When you make latkes, EVERYTHING smells like latkes, thus, I always make them reluctantly and with lots of fuss so people will appreciate them. That’s my gift for the family. Latkes … trays and trays of latkes. You guys would love them.

  26. Carrie Harris permalink
    December 10, 2010 9:01 pm

    I’m enjoying all of your wonderful postings, though I’m a little overwhelmed and feel inadequate :)with my culinary and artistic inabilities. I enjoy baking and like to give a tin of assorted goodies to close friends and family. I have also been known to give them anonymously with a little note to people that could use a little extra cheer. I’d love to win the book as I have never canned, but want to start learning over the winter so I’m ready come summer. Merry Christmas and thank you for your great site !!!!

  27. shanna permalink
    December 10, 2010 10:11 pm

    Hi Andrea – thank you so much for the vinegar – can’t wait to try it at Christmas! Making gifts is such a great idea! My mom and I make gingerbread cookies every year to give away which I love, but with William now I really want to create new traditions for us to do as a family.

    So what I’d love to do is make homemade pasta with William and make ornaments for others.

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and we’ll see you soon!!

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