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Christmas 08: It Begins

Normally, I'm not thinking about Christmas until much later, but a couple of accidental gift finds have got me thinking. (I've also been knitting for months.) There are some cute finds that I thought I'd share.

Firstly, something I spotted months ago for honorary niece M.
Ice Princess (Wand (straw) with star ice cube attached (plus some extras to toss into a drink)).


Perhaps something similar for her brother?
Skull & Crossbone ice Cube tray

Last year, I decided to continue a tradition my grandmother started - which my mother continued - and give my brother's kids, K & J, a paper/book-themed gift. I honestly consider myself lucky that both kids enjoy reading, but if they didn't, I'd focus more on paper. I downloaded and printed a few sheets of these adorable bookplates for K, and plan to do some of my own design for J. (I used full sheet labels, which I hope will peel easily while keeping glue away from the books!)

For K, I'm continuing to supply her with Trixie Belden books -- this time, in the form of "vintage" copies from my personal collection (I got some even older copies for myself). I also want to find and frame a reading-themed print, perhaps one like this (please don't order this one! I need to buy it when payday comes):



I haven't worked out what I'm going to do for J. I try to keep their gifts even when it comes to quantity, but don't try to make them identical. Things like bookplates (above) and reading lights (last year), yes; every single detail, no.

Christmas Knitting
I did very little Christmas knitting last year, so it seems that this is the year for it. Jen's kids (3 boys and 1 girl) and Heather's kids (1 of each) are all getting hats, which are complete except for a crochet border on 3 of them. Niece K is getting a (fabulous if I do say so myself) stripey ribbed scarf. My SIL's parents are getting scarves (yarn purchased, but not on the needles yet). I settled on 3 colors each of Woolease held together, for colorful and thick results (and machine-washable, which is, I think, a requirement).

Random gift ideas

This is mostly for my own benefit. I don't think many people are reading this right now. If you are, as long as you aren't someone I regularly exchange gifts with this summer, you're fine (just click the link below to open the rest of the post). If you are someone I regularly exchange gifts with, and your birthday is between now and September, GO AWAY. ;-)

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Theme Gift: Superheros

At the moment, every 5- & 6-year-old male in my life is just fascinated with superheroes. I wish I'd found the following before I went on my robot kick!

I just picked up Klutz's Superhero Starter Kit (click on pic for link) yesterday, while shopping for a very belated birthday gift for my honorary nephew, C (He turned 6 in February (bad auntie!)). I was hunting for something else I knew he wanted, but couldn't get any help from the staff. I finally found myself in the Klutz section and spotted this little book/kit and knew I had a winner!

It's an exceptional book for the age group, and if my 2 younger nephews are still in the super hero phase at Christmas - and their parents haven't bought the book yet - I'll get it for them, too. Use a coupon if you can (it's $14.95), but it's worth it even if you can't. It comes with a cape (velco closure), masks, wrist-bands and 3-4 sheets of stickers to make emblems, plus a guide to creating your super hero name and dos and don'ts for super heros (do brush your teeth, don't blow your nose on your cape).

Also going along with the book is this excellent pencil from The Paper Princess.

Other things I've done for the young super heros in my life:
Cape, using Spiderman fabric for nephew N. (I also made a pillowcase and a couple of "silkies" with the same fabric (and have oodles left).)
Messenger Bag and Emblem Shirt for Flame Boy (C). His mom got into the action and made a mask and decorated a pair of pants and gloves with patches made from the same flame fabric (here)

Now, nephew J is into the super hero thing too, so I'm sure this list will be growing! Personally, I like these options better than just handing over pre-made costumes of an already established character. Letting the kids define their own character is infinitely better (in my opinion, anyway).

Theme Gift: Space

In my first post about the robots, I cited Lynne's great idea. She combined robots & space (which kind of naturally go together), but I kept finding robot things and ended up with too much and needed to split the ideas.

So far, this idea is a little sweet-heavy, but it's just at the planning stages. I have a year to go before the first one even gets close. But maybe you're looking for an idea. If not, I need a place to keep all my ideas.
  • Space- and Robot-themed Embroidery
  • Space-themed books. I have one so far, that I just stumbled on. It's a book of puzzles - reading on the left and a jigsaw puzzle on the right.
  • Space-themed Lollypops - can be ordered as an assortment (shown) or by type
  • Easy-to-find space-themed candy (from Lynne's post): Milky Way bars, Starburt, Mars Bars and Orbit gum. Also: Sky Bar and Satellite "candies".
  • Retro Wooden Rocket Pens

More to come, promise!

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Cumulative Robot "Index"

Knit Robot 1Anything new on the topic will just be added to this post. I might change the date to bump it up ( not sure). There have been enough robot posts, you know?

*I've since decided to split the idea into robots and space. So the first gifts (robots) will not include any of the candy ideas. NEXT year, I'll do a space theme, and include the Milky Ways, etc.

Get a Headstart

I'm not joining Holiday Headstart, because joining things seems to jinx them for me. However, I think it's a fine idea to get a little advance knitting done for Christmas, or birthdays. For my part, once I get my Red Scarves shipped, I'm going to A) work on some UFOs (either finish or frog) and B) knit up some felted bowls.


Amulet Bags Amulet Bags
Something I did last Christmas ('05) that might appeal to some: Little amulet bags from the book Oddball Knitting. I thought about each person as I worked on their bag, using bits of leftover yarn (in most cases) and small needles (size US4?). I put a tiny brass bee in each, and left it up to each person to otherwise fill the bag as they chose; you could select a special good luck charm (the book has some suggestions). I did deviate a bit from the pattern and just knit a wide rectangle and sewed it up, rather than knit on DPNs.

For most of the bags (3), I used yarn that I'd used for another project related to the recipient. Top right & bottom left: the fuzzy yarn is from scarves I'd made for them; top left: the top rust color is silk left from a hat I made for her son.

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More Robots

If there wasn't one already, I'm adding a tag for this subject. I'll be thinking about this until the gifts are delivered (last one in late May). So...

It's not too late to pick up the ROBOT GIFT WRAP at Old Navy! I went back to get another blanket and PJ pants for nephew N's* birthday. They were sadly out of the PJ pants**, but I did get a blanket, 2 little spiral books and the gift wrap. One doesn't have Christmas colors at all (I mean, not red & green - it's red & white), so I'll use that roll for the birthdays, and keep the red & green ones until next Christmas.

Good sign: when I got to my DB's house last night, nephew J was wearing robot PJs! He definitely likes robots, so whew! Of course, he's also asked for a knitted robot.

*While it's convenient to have 1 nephew on each side of the family the same age, I won't be duplicating their gifts every year. This year, they won't be identical, but similar. N's robot won't be knit, since his mom has the same pattern book. Instead, Uncle John will sketch a robot for me to sew out of felted wool. I also have an honorary nephew a year older. He'll be getting a themed package as well, but with some different "ingredients."

**It's okay! I bought plain PJ pants (the only ones they had in small) and plan to add a robot applique with the fabric I bought.

Merry Christmas!

Okay! Since I'll be delivering the last gifts this afternoon, and the one "endangered" person has taken a pledge not to peek here at all, I've gone through and taken out all the cuts, except for those that help with length issues. I also changed titles so they were less vague.

Going forward, while the user name won't change, I'll be using this blog to document gift ideas for events other than Christmas. I will continue to put adult gift behind cuts until the gift is received.

Thanks for reading! Having this little blog has helped me, since I really was bursting to share some ideas, but kept the recipients from finding out. I hope it's given some of you some ideas as well.

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I am DONE sewing! Done. I am not going near my machine for at least 3 days. Tons of pics for you, though.

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Quasi-Last-Minute Kid's Gifts

I have a few days, actually, but I need to put together gifts for some of my cousins coming to visit next week. My brother & SIL are splitting the cost with me, but I'm doing all the work*. A quick trip to the dollar store, one to a craft store, and a few dives into my fabric and other supply stashes, plus a little bit of sewing, and I'll have 4 pretty cool (if I do say so myself) gift bags, plus a gift for a teen.

Ages: 15 months**, 9, 11, 13, almost-15

What I settled on:
  • For all: appliqued T-shirt. Appliques are made, shirts are in the dryer. For the baby girl, it was almost impossible to find a plain toddler shirt that wasn't white. If I were willing to brave Great Lakes Crossing, I'm sure the Children's Place would have something, or maybe Old Navy, but there was nothing nearby. I finally found one at Sears, in the boy's dept., in a kind of sick pea green. It will be girlied up.
  • For the oldest (boy): Original War of the Worlds DVD (plus his Scout-themed shirt (he can sleep in it if nothing else))
  • For the middle 3: appliqued tote bag, stuffed with the shirt, plus some goodies like Sweet Dreams Spray, candy, bath scrubby. Plus... (I was thinking "road trip bag"):
    • For the knitters: 9 & 13 y.o. girls, 11 y.o boy - emergency knitter's ornament, pair of knitting needles in a ribbon sheath. Toying w/ the idea of diving into my stash for yarn.
    • For the 9 y.o.: Last pack of Crazy Crayons (always make extra) and a scribble pad.
    • For the 11 y.o.: Disney movie-themed word search puzzle & mechanical pencils
  • For the baby: a board book
If money were no object, there would be so much more. But time and money are factors. It's amazing, though, how quickly this adds up. I reckon I spent about $50 on the five gifts, not counting the things I already had, and including the 50% off coupons I used at JoAnn's. If you added up what all the fabric, interfacing, etc. cost, it could be pricey. This is why having a stash is GOOD.

*It's just the way I am. I was doing gifts, they wouldn't have time, and it would be weird to only have gifts from me. So, they help finance the deal, and their names go on the tags.

**Actually the oldest's baby