Friends of mine know (or should know by now) how much I love gifts. I love them. My pointed lack of shame in loving presents means that I 1. act like a 5-year-old upon receiving one (let’s just say, I don’t save wrapping paper) and 2. feel slightly more justified in my adulthood, having the courage to say what most people only allow themselves to think. Hiding your “I just got a present!” jig for when no one is looking is just another form of uppity adult acting, denying ourselves just one more little joy in the name of what is “proper.” It is one more social construct I choose to do with out, having given in to and been defeated by the constructs of “time”, “jobs”, and “taxes”. I abide by them but not always willingly.
As I mentioned in my previous post, this Christmas was small and concise in terms of material goods and it set the bar for how I am choosing to live out the next 10 years of my life. Less stuff begets less clutter begets less psychoses (not a new idea, but again, an idea I’m ever more devoted to as this year gets going). All minimalistic pontificating aside, I wanted to share with you in show & tell fashion the presents I did receive. The beauty of handmade gifts is that you don’t JUST get a material item; you also get a story, inspiration, and a higher connection with the person who made it for you.
1. A drawing of my totem from one Joan Hiller Depper.
For those of you don’t know the lore and spirituality around Native American medicine, the main ideas are encompassed by human relationships with nature, primarily animals, colors, cardinal directions, and elements. These relationships are often signified by totems, the medicine wheel, the medicine shield, and belief in a Great Spirit. You can read more about this here. Simply put, it’s not a religion I adhere to but there are elements of Native American medicine that I relate to, specifically the love and appreciation of animals.
I recently introduced Joan to my deck of Medicine Cards, after several hours of discussing astrology (which Joan and I are both very interested in, but Joan knows WAY more about). In a similar way that people use tarot cards, you are able to use Medicine Cards, seeking guidance from the animals that you draw from the deck. It’s all in good fun for me, but I am particularly in love with the concept of a totem (the family of animals that you can call on to guide you and define you). I was lamenting to Joan about the terrible design and illustration of most Medicine Card decks (I obviously have my priorities straight if THIS is what I’m discussing in the context of spirituality – “Why isn’t it pretty??? Waaaaaaah…”), noting that I would also love for someone to draw or paint my totem animals. Joan volunteered, the lovely artist that she is, and delivered this wonderful rendering of my totem just for me, complete with a bright blue frame. I was speechless and I hugged her for a long time.
2. One vintage copy of Heidi from The Parents Walla.
My love of books is pretty well-known and, though this gift is not handmade, it feels like it was made for me – orange fabric, vintage deco font, Swiss subject matter? Sold.
3. Handmade fingerless gloves/wrist warmers from one Dianna Potter.
Knitted goods are appealing for so many reasons, depending on what you value. In aesthetic terms, TEXTURE is something I value in my knitting. I’m always attracted to something I can grab onto and chew (figuratively, not literally). Dianna knew this when she knitted me these little gems, making my previous post about her that much more accurate. The lore that you should only knit gifts for other knitters holds true in the case of this gift; no one could love them more than I do.
4. Julianna Swaney illustration, “Drying Socks”, #10/10, from one very intuitive boyfriend.
What’s not to love about this illustration? Red wool socks. Fox. Tea. Tiny house. I set it in a vintage, honey-colored frame right next to my work table, so I can look at it all day. How lucky I am.
5. A Wash + Sew Travel Kit from Kelly Coller & Tony Secolo.
These 2 longtime friends have always been an invaluable resource when it comes to design, events, spaces, vintage, and other aesthetically-pleasing worldly ventures. That this little package was given to me is both surprising and unsurprising – they know I travel for a living, need soap for said travel and love cute things, but how could I have seen THIS coming? It’s a large dose of fancy, functional overload. Cruelty-free button-shaped soap in a washable, reusable travel bag? I can die now.