Before untying some literal ribbons, I decided to take the advice of yesterday's quotation and consider the less tangible gifts the day has brought me. So, the dangerous roads and grotty children mean that I will miss a Christmas Dinner I was invited to today, and one end of term lesson. Where are the gifts? Well, I will have a day of hugs from my boys (carefully avoiding a sore arm apiece) and more time to sort out the mountain of presents waiting to be wrapped on the dining room table. As we have two tables we can also get going on a game of Monopoly this afternoon!
The weather is as much a gift as a bother, of course. Our 'live outdoors' Christmas tree, which has no need to come indoors this year as we'll be in the UK, has been decorated for free.
And the town's Christmas Lights, always the most tasteful around our area, look particularly good in the snow!
So now let's untie the literal ribbons of my Handmade Christmas Swap, from Maria of Me and Ma. She's fairly new to blogging, but I bet some of you have spotted her clever numerical Advent posts! Do pop over and see her, and visit her etsy shop. You'll want to when you see what she made me!
Firstly these two beautiful angels. These angels are not just charming and hand made, they are also totally thrifted, with my Ultimate Challenge in mind. All the fabric in the swap came from offcuts from shirts belonging to an uncle in Ireland!
I am in awe. Irish shirts - just too cool on the trendy/thrifty circuit! I liked the angels before I knew this, but now I adore them! (Is this normal?)
The angels were joined at the next untying of ribbons by some heart decorations.
Love the beads. Can't wait to put these up.But there was more!Was this package really from the same Maria who commented, when she saw Karen's gifts to me: 'I feel under pressure now!'??? Oh no, Maria, both you and Karen really outdid yourselves. I'm the one who needs to be feeling the swap parania now! (Michela and I have discussed swap paranoia before.)
All these super tree decorations, so beautifully packaged. I love your tags and packaging, Maria. The presentation must really enhance things on your market stall. And then the decorations themselves - stockings and hearts! Oh, I am happy indeed.
Now, there WAS something for my boys as well, but I want that to wait for them on Christmas day, so forgive me for not featuring it here! And finally a handmade card. Spot the fantastic fabric on the pot at the base of the tree! What an atractive way of using up tiny scraps. Must remember it for next year. Thank you so much, Maria, for that very generous and creative and above all delightful swap parcel! If any of you readers have not yet been tempted by my links to Maria's beautiful crafts, let me just tell you that she makes utterly superb aprons, cushions, clothes, bunting and bags for children, in very colourful and original styles, including things for boys as well as girls, which is often hard to find. Visit now!And the final gift which I might never have remembered if it weren't for the snow, is this wood and what it represents. In January we had a terrible storm across the whole of southern France and Spain, and a huge percentage of trees came down - it changed the face of some of France's more wooded regions.
Ben has been observing the wood which fell in the municipal areas of our town, being piled up in the municipal depot not far from school. On Saturday he passed the depot and they were selling it - he'd been waiting for this opportunity!
But it transpired that this was no ordinary sale - it was being held by mairie workers, who'd given up their free time to chop the wood as it came in, and were now selling the wood for charity - the huge French annual collection via the Téléthon. Ben and I were both really moved by this example of how ordinary people have used their time and local opportunities to do something good.
There are actually a lot of gifts when you look for them!