Saturday, December 6, 2008

White Elephant & A Cross-Stitch Completed

When I was invited to the Homemade White Elephant party, I didn't know what to make. The party was in a few weeks and I certainly didn't have time for any of my normal projects. I started rummaging through my stuff, looking for a half-finished project that I could quickly complete. I stumbled on a finished Cross-Stitch Sampler. Perfect! I would get it framed and use that.

Cross-stitch often requires a special framer, one who knows how to stretch the material just right. Otherwise it can come out looking funky. And some framers can actually ruin your cross-stitch. Anyhoo, I found the good framer in town, the one with a cross-stitch specialty. I told her what I was going to do with my sampler and She told me I was crazy to give it up for a white elephant gift or any gift for that matter! After a brief conversation (which included many admiring remarks on her part regarding my sampler), I agreed. The reason...I had put years into that cross-stitch and the woman recognized that. There's not many people who recognize the labor behind the art. And I had, after years of not cross-stitching, forgotten that. So sad! She was a blessed wake-up call. Plus the framing cost $100. Considering the time, effort, and cost it is Definately NOT something I want to use for a white elephant gift! That's when I decided to make a quilt instead.

I picked up the completed and framed cross-stitch yesterday. IT. IS. BEAUTIFUL!!! I am SO glad that I did NOT use it as the white elephant. It is going to have a prominent place in my living room or dining room. Not sure which at this point. I'm just sure that it will have a prominent place. I mean, LOOK. AT. IT! It turned out SO GREAT!!! Hooray!!! :)

So Sarah, What did you get from the party??
I was number four to choose. All of the gifts were placed in black garbage sacks, so there were no hints about what a gift was. This being my first year, I wasn't sure about the "etiquette" required when choosing a gift. So I didn't feel or shake or man-handle any of the bags. I just grabbed one. By the way, turns out there are no etiquette rules during this game. The other ladies were not shy at all about feeling the presents, no, not shy at all! The shook them and felt them up good. Sheesh!
Anyhoo, I opened my bag and found this:

At first, when all I could see was one pastel oval, I thought it was an Easter gift. The tree is about two feet tall and eight inches wide. It's sitting on my piano in this picture. My oldest daughter, upon seeing it this morning, exclaimed in awe and wonder: "Someone made that tree?" Of course not silly girl! I explained that the tree wasn't homemade. The ornaments were.

(sidenote: I sat by the lady who made the ornaments, she was the best person to sit by. she knew who everyone was and what every gift was and she loved every present. it's always good to sit by the someone who is having the best time)

Some of the ladies were going crazy stealing gifts from each other. Not me. The gift I chose stayed by me the whole night. I'm glad because at times the stealing got a bit dangerous! ;) My kids think the tree is a great trade for my Sudoko quilt. They love the tree and already have plans for decorating it next year.

I wasn't sure what to expect last night. What sort of gifts people would bring? What types of homemade items? But now I know. Thirty-two women showed up. Three made jewelry--very pretty jewelry. Several made decorative items to display in your home. (Some of those items I had no idea what they were. All of my decorative stuff is some type of painting or sewing.) Several made wood items--painted with vinyl lettering or vinyl pictures. And a few made items from scrapbook papers. One other woman made a blanket...hers was the flannel type that you cut strips about three inches deep into the fabric, then tie the strips into knots. A very easy blanket to make with very cute results and involving no sewing. She also tied some jingle bells into hers.

There were only two other women who sewed their gifts. One sewed a reversible apron, then stuffed it full of goodies and put it in a cute basket--that she did not make. Haha! The other sewed little bags out of different red materials, then stuffed them full of apple cider and hot chocolate mixes, cinched up the bags around a cinnamon stick, and glues two little paper leaves to the package. They looked like little apples. She put her "apples" in a red coloander. Of course, me being in such a sewing mode, those were two of the homemade items I liked best.

Most of the items were a different sort of craft than I was expecting. I've been so consumed with sewing for so many years that when I was told to bring something homemade, all I could think about was sewing projects. So I spent a solid week and a half making my Sudoko quilt. My fingers and neck are still sore. Silly girl!! I could have thrown a flannel blanket together in an hour. Or made wood projects in a few hours. But I didn't think of those beforehand. It's kind of funny, because I've made so many of the projects that were brought as gifts. And they were lots easier. (But they are all packed and not staring me in the face, which seems to be the only way to jog my mind from sewing lately. Haha!!) I am SO going to be prepared for next year!!! Now that I know what to expect, I am going make the best White Elephant ever next year!!!

Oh! I almost forgot. I did have a good time at the party! I really enjoyed getting together with so many great ladies, so many FUN ladies. I'm glad I attended! :)

PS. I am not misspelling Sudoko. That's how it's spelled on my pattern.


Laurie said...

I still can't believe you made that quilt! And that cross-stitch is really cool! I didn't know about getting them specially framed. Good to know! With little ones, I just cut them the size of the frame and stick them in there! :D Maybe I'll have to do something nicer for the bigger ones...

Marilyn said...

i loved the cross-stitch. very glad that you kept it for yourself, since you have been working on it for more than 10 years!!!!!!!! the quilt looks very good.

Nancy Face said...

The cross stitch is beautiful...WAY too good for a white elephant! :)

Sabra said...

Don't forget the table runner that was sewn and the Amy Butler bag that was sewn. I hope you didn't feel shafted at the party.

Come well rested next year!