Monday, January 3, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

The joyous whirlwind that I call "going home for the holidays" is officially over. My husband and I are back home and I couldn't love it more. I spent the majority of today unpacking our car from the vacation of the past two weeks. We drove from Alabama, to New Jersey to celebrate Christmas a couple of times, to Pennsylvania to celebrate Christmas a few more times, to the mountains of Pennsylvania for the New Year, and finally back to Alabama. In an attempt to get back to normal I've been emptying bags and boxes and putting new and old things in their places. This process of going over all of our gifts was delightful. I decided to photograph my favorite gifts and share them with you here. Some of the gifts were handmade, some were purchased, and still others were a combination of the two. Even though this season of giving is almost over I hope these treasures will inspire a late gift or ideas for next year.

My mother-in-law gave me this wreath. It is handmade, O.O.A.K., and the coolest door decoration on my block. It is by KnockKnocking. Theses original felt wreaths are sold at
My grandmother gave me some cast iron skillets for Christmas. Finally! I've been admiring the collections that both she and my mother have. The smaller one is actually an old one from a flea market. The larger one is new. It came with a lid and I'm pretty stoked on that. Apparently cast iron lids for older pans are hard to come by. I can't wait to use them with some traditional recipes like german pancakes and pot roasts.

My mom is a ceramic artist. This year she made me a tile. I love the design. She said she got the idea for it from a children's book she recently read. I think this technique in a frame looks like a painting. The thing is, it is better than a painting. After she draws the image and glazes it magic happens in the kiln. The chemical reactions work together to give the composition depth and clarity. Her images are truely O.O.A.K.
This one is even better. My mom let my six-year-old brother use her supplies to make me a gift this year too. My mom is amazing, but her and Frank make a great team. You can shop her creations at

My aunt made everyone's gifts this year too. It's a family calendar. We all loved looking through it. She even labeled important dates, like birthdays and anniversaries, with photos. This idea, in particular, I found to epitomize the notion that you don't have to be an artist to make a gift everyone can appreciate.

I also got this cookbook. The recipes in it are amazing. Some of the soups are quick, some are more involved, but they are all topped off with killer olive oil. So in addition to the book I was given the kind of olive oil you never buy for yourself.
Another handmade gift my husband and I were glad to recieve was from our friend Heather. She is a Seed Collector. During her journies through the woods this fall she collected pine cones. She then came up with the idea to transform them into angel ornaments inspired by nature. Isn't it adorable? To me the idea was personal and original. 
My husband was the recipient of a few gifts I found to be killer holiday finds. Santa brought him the vintage beer tray featured above (flea market, $2) as well as the vintage flannels in primo condition, featured below. (flea market, $1 each!)

My husband was so stoked on these shirts. I couldn't believe what a hit they were. He wore them just about everyday we were up north.

These are two CD's that my husband got for Christmas. They are not vintage, or handmade, or O.O.A.K., but they are of particular note. They are but two in a series of CD's that were put out by the Buena Vista Social Club. Most of you are probably familiar. If you aren't, I urge you to check them out. The resurgence of this musical genius is a gift to mankind. The story of each individual artist in the group is inspiring. Check out the documentary too.

My list is not as long as Oprah's, I'm sure, but I hope it was more unique. I can only hope that all of you had as "homemade" of a holiday as I did.


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