11/5/08

Handmade

In luxury shops these days you pay twice as much for any item when it has a label which indicates that it is "handmade". And then I have (in most instances!) serious doubts if it was really made by hand - or if the poor people who made it were paid proper salaries! Have you ever thought why do we really give gifts? Jean Anouilh ( a French dramatist) said: "You know very well that love is, above all, the gift of oneself!" (Vous savez bien que l'amour, c'est avant tout le don de soi! - Ardèle - 1949). So it follows then that if you really care for someone you should give yourself or rather of yourself to that person. With Christmas around the corner - what better way show someone you care but to MAKE a special gift? There are so many things in the shops (at exorbitant prices, I might add!) - does it really take a lot from you to just walk into a shop two days before Christmas and buy ten gifts? Would it not be much more special to make that special someone something? On the picture is a bottle of Lavender baths salts that I made one year for a friend together with homemade lavender and glycerin soaps. I bought a lavender hand towel and facecloth to add to the handmade gift. Does not this say - I have taken of my precious time to make you this - I hope you enjoy it! ?

Another very nice idea (which I love to do every year!) is to bake your own special biscuits. Throughout the year I collect tins and boxes etc. to use as packing material for these special biscuits! A good box to use is the Pringle Chips cylinder-like cases. Each one has a tight fitting lid. I spray paint them in a fun colour, stack the biscuits inside and decorate with ribbons and other Christmas trimmings - et voilà - I promise you - this is always an extremely popular gift! Empty cacao, hot chocolate and similar tins with lids also work well. I decoupage their outsides with Christmas serviettes and after I filled the tin I decorate with ribbons. Another popular gift is homemade chocolates. If you are going to make this you MUST buy the best quality chocolate you can lay your hands on. You can fill them with stuff, roll them in stuff and set them in fun shapes - this you also present in nice packaging. Baking shops sell colourant for chocolates as well as flavourings especially for chocolate. It is so much fun to make! If you have any other nice ideas please let me know!

The thing about giving a gift is simply to say - I care for you and please except this gift as a token of that love. If you made something yourself - the message is so much more poignant! I am of course not speaking of that instances where you buy someone that one special thing for a very special occasion! I speak about Christmas and some Birthdays and that occasions where you feel you just have to thank somebody who went out of their way to do something for you.

A few centuries ago, when there were no strategically situated shops around people usually gave something of their own away as gifts. They wrapped it in a piece of cloth and tied it with a ribbon. There is nothing more delightful to me than a beautiful package! I feel so important when I have this beautifully wrapped package in my hands - that I take forever to open it! My mother and sister knows this and they always present me with this extraordinarily wrapped packages! When last have you tried to break away from sellotape and gift wrapping? Look in your cupboards for pieces of discarded fabric. Do you know what? If you go the a fabric shop and buy different pieces of fabric and satin ribbons it will not cost you more than buying expensive gift paper and paper ribbons! I even think that in some instances it may cost less! I love the modern tendency where people give gifts in little bags.

Now, dear Reader, I hope that you are inspired for Christmas! Please share any brilliant ideas with us on the blog so we can all learn from each other. Have a nice day!

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