Friday, December 12, 2008

To Give or to Get. There is no Question-- A Superpowered Holiday Gift Extravaganza.

With Christmas around the corner, a gal can't help but be tempted to shop for all kinds of goodies. Or lust after all the wonderful things folks in bloggerland are finding to make and give their loved ones. I find that every time I set out to buy a gift for someone else, I come home with three things for me. Still there are a few things out there I've resisted the urge to buy but love just the same. Here are a few items that have made my wish list this year and a few items that I know would make perfect gifts for someone out there.

What fun it is to give...
Emily Martin's The Black Apple Etsy shop is a favorite for wonderful art, note cards, pins, and now paper dolls!

If you search typewriter key or scrabble tile jewelry on Etsy you can find endless shops with those items as necklace charms. Frankly, I find them charming! :)

I've been meaning to make some aprons all year, but I'm not sure my sewing skills are there yet. Still I love this pattern. I'd love to GET the pattern as a gift and then start making these to give to others! Isn't it lovely in red and blue?

Chronicle Books is a terrific independent publisher for all kinds of crazy cool books. I can think of at least one person who would love a book just for lists. And a person who would love this journal too.

I am also a big fan of reuseable bags. Ones like flip and tumble. Or RuMe. Or Envirosax.

I love Christmas music and every year I get at least one CD. This year, I've already purchased the Martin Sexton Camp Holiday CD, but I was thinking Sufjan Stevens box set might make a wonderful gift for someone. And I wouldn't mind getting it either.

Things I'd love to get include....
The red knit Alice band found on Dollyknits Etsy site.

A cuckoo clock like Grandma had in her living room. I don't expect anyone to drop a thousand dollars on this sort of expenditure and I'd probably be upset if someone did... I'm too thrifty for such nonsense... though if you ever hear of someone tossing one out... grab it for me! :)

And I love these little Flade figurines. They are nostalgic and cute and somewhat expensive.

And these wall mounted bookshelves. I just think they look very cool.

I'd also like a Half-Price Books gift card or a lefse grill, for my lefse needs. Maybe a magazine subscription to Everyday with Rachel Ray

A copy of Pippi Longstocking illustrated by Lauren Child or a Wonder Woman mug.

To make this festive link fest even more fun I've asked fellow bloggers, E. Louise, Minnemom, Sara, and Rachel Zana for some of their lists to share.
They provided me with lists and sometimes links. I selected the images from the links, so my disclaimer is that the items pictured may not the exact item my bloggie-buds had in mind.

E. Louise is a thrifty and crafty gal who knows how to create fantastic handmade items.

Giving according to E.
I found a website that links to ethical websites for comparison shopping.

I also like the idea of sponsoring a goat with Oxfam as a gift, that kind of thing.

This year I mostly made my presents: my godson is into Transformers but I didn't want to buy a chunk of plastic so since he's also into (and very good at) drawing I bought a blank journal and created a cover page with 'Transformers' as the title and some pictures printed on (downloaded from the web) and then in the Transformers font it says 'The Untold Stories by Thomas C.' so he can create his own. I'm pretty proud of that idea, as you can probably tell :)

Apart from that it was scarves and gloves all round, so I have crocheter's arm!

Oh, to receive....
Em doesn't the piddly list of goodies I have amassed. Instead she goes for the goods with gusto! Here are the four items topping her wish list this year. Santa? Are you listening?

1. Digital camera
2. Piano (real not electronic)
3. Big proper posh food processor/mixer/blender
4. House :)

Minnemom at Travels with Children may seem like she has a "one-track" mind (and it runs down Route 66!), but her blog is dedicated to travels and so it follows her wish list is too. L. and I were college buddies and our big celebration trip after completing student teaching way back when was to road trip from UND to Washinton DC and back again. 14 days, something like 14 states, 12 college campuses, a jillion museums and we were happy as clams. Actually I can't quite remember the statistics but we were well organized and well educated when we were done. I love the open road and exploring new places. She's infusing her little ones with the travel bug early on!

Some of Minnemom's Giving Goals in 2008:
Where to Go When: The Americas. (A little something for the in laws who have the flexibility we all crave in traveling)

Books for the kids about places we’re going to go or have already been. For example: Megan O’Hara’s lighthouse book now that they've been to Split Rock, and her General Store book now that they've been to Historic Forestville.

Why not Wish List, according to Minnemom:

An iPod Touch. I could sync our itineraries with my calendar, use the wi-fi to find travel info, play podcast tours in the car, and much, much more.

National Treasure DVD. Someone recommended it as a good film to watch before we head to Philadelphia. I saw it a while ago and had forgotten all about it

Roadside Attractions: Cool Cafes, Souvenir Stands, Route 66 Relics, and other Road Trip Fun. I’d love to see how many of these I’ve seen already, and how many more I can get to. These big things beside the road can be a lot of fun, especially when traveling with kids.

The Most Scenic Drives in America. I already received this (two copies, in fact!) at an early Christmas celebration. I love finding new scenic routes to take me off the beaten path.

Any “Places to See” or “Off the Beaten Path” books.

Most anything by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. The history, photo, and travel books they publish are excellent.

Things Rachel Zana is Giving this Christmas Season
as described by Rachel...

1. A stripey homemade afghan crocheted with Lionbrand's Thick and Quick yarn. It's thick. The blanket is heavy and perfect for snuggling (I think). Someone who saw me working on it described it as yummy.

2. Raspberry jam. Crab apple jam. Strawberry jam. Rhubarb jam. The products of our summer jam making extravaganza will be distributed to teachers at school, preschool, church, some of our neighbors, and various members of my husband's jam-loving family.

4. Homemade Scarves. Made out of that same thick yarn.

5. Each year I design enormous professional photography books with all of the most special images from the year to give to my parents and my husband's parents. I use a company that only works with professional photographers (I actually have a tax ID number so I can call myself a business to do business with them) but you can make similar books using a much simpler process with templates at and many other photograph developing company sites.

6. Connectagons. I'm really excited to give this to my daughter who LOVES to build things, and my trio of nieces in Iowa.

7. My children are each getting a very special puzzle from made by Grimm Spiel and Holz. I LOVE this company. It's all I can do not to go hog wild crazy and buy EVERYTHING they make. Unfortunately they make expensive things. The place with the most extensive collection in the U.S. is

8. Each of my kids decorated a ceramic plate for each grandparent and great grandparent in the family. We used plate decorating kids from, but there are other places to find similar products. The plates are safe to eat off and wash, according to the instructions.

9. Each year every capable member of our family composes several poems using magnetic poetry. I compile them in a homemade book that we give to my poetry-loving sister-in-law. The title of the book is "Really Bad Magnetic Poetry: From our House to Yours" This year we are creating volume three. She loves getting it. I type up the poems and print them. The youngest members of the family illustrate the pages in a very abstract fashion with light watercolors. I attach the pages to a 5x7 little scrapbook that I find every year in the dollar section at Target. The poems are always quite hilarious, and the project is a lot of fun.

10. We're working on a couple of holiday giving projects, like sponsoring a child through Compassion International and helping some orphanages in China and Haiti, as well as maybe buying some livestock for a family in need through or helping with some water needs through this organization:

Things on my Christmas Wish List:
The Christmas list that I gave to my mother who LIVES for buying presents at Christmas time included a lot of Rachel-specific items, like the following:

A. 14 heavy duty laundry baskets to put toddlers in and zoom around the room as we pretend to drive tractors at music class.

B. 24 sets of preschool sandblocks to use at music class.

C. A Rovner inverted ligature for my soprano clarinet.

D. An EZ notes magnetic white board (it's a white board that has treble and bass clef lines on it. You can place magnets on the lines or draw in notes to practice learning note names, intervals and chords on it . . . I want it for teaching piano lessons).

E. A Montessori movable type alphabet to use at piano lessons and with my kids

BUT here are some more normal ideas that I wouldn't mind getting:
1. I would just love for my family to clean up at clean up time without catastrophic complaining, whining, and general mayhem.

2. I think the game Batik looks interesting.

3. I really just love getting gift certificates to Barnes and Noble. I love wandering around the store with the gift card in my pocket for HOURS debating about the possibilities. There is also a really neat independent bookstore in my city that I really like visiting, too.

4. Stories. I love the gift of stories. Fiction. Biography. I would love for people in my life to just write me a story. Homemade books.

5. Red mittens from made by Wintergreen.
Wintergreen is a really neat company that designs and makes some TERRIFIC winter clothing in Ely Minnesota.

6. Socks. I love getting socks for Christmas. I hate buying socks with my own money.

A List of things I would Ask for if Money and Inconvenience Weren't of Consideration:
1. Time and funding and childcare to enable me to take a trip to Haiti for a week or two to volunteer in an orphanage.

2. Quilts. Handmade quilts. I love them.

3. A new full frame camera : the canon 5d or it's soon to be released sibling, the 5d mark II (although I'm not sure I feel very excited about the video capability hooked into my camera).

4. A Bass clarinet that plays down to low c made of grenadilla wood:

Sara at Midwestern Position says, "I am having a hard time coming up with a list even for my family this year, but I will tell you ideas that I have for others. I could give and give and permitting. I tend to give people things that I really love during the year."

To Give is better than to Receive, according to Sara:
Collapsable Market Tote - you can find these for $10 at TJ Maxx. I am giving lots of these this year.

Puffy Vests - had a great price earlier in the week.

Slippers - but I like to give the boot kind that are all knitty...old navy has some cute ones this year.

Netflix subscriptions - I am giving this to a few people because I love mine so much.

Taste of Home Cookbook - I love mine and find tried and true recipes with a nice twist.

Magazine subscriptions - has some amazing magazine subscription deals...some as cheap as $5 for a year!!

Kitchenaid Mixer - I am not giving anyone this, but I would if I could afford to. I love mine so much and know that anyone who does any kind of baking would appreciate it.

But if Someone Else is Buying....
I think for me...a vacation. A beachy vacation with colorful drinks.

A ticket to the Obama inauguration.

Whew! Great stuff everyone. What fun to follow all your merry links and think of the fun these gifts could bring. Happy hunting! Happy Christmas.

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