29 gifts

Gift #29 Winner!

Woohoohoo! Vanessa (aka #4), c’mon down!

Mr. RandomMan picked Vanessa who told us this about a recent thing she’s done for someone else:

My husband was away on a business trip for a week and just got home Friday evening. While he was gone I wanted to surprise him with our bedroom being repainted and window treatments redone – fresh and clean – he loved it. I also embroidered on stock card paper a card for him that said I love You ! with a cloud around the words!
Gifted an infinity scarf that I made to a co worker.
Gifted hand knit socks to my daughter.

Which I have to admit, was one of my favorites. Surprising a loved one with a huge project in a really short time like that! You’d really have to plan it out to get it done so quickly, which is so sweet! I also loved Karen’s comment, who had just given me a gift (she did! And I loved it!) and Kate’s, who had to struggle to get a gift to her equally generous friend without being paid back in return, and Jessica’s, who has been sending cards out to friends (including myself, I got one just right this second while writing this!) — and all of them, really! I have to say, I’ve been having a bumpy couple of weeks, and your comments really made me feel like the world is full of lovely, generous, thoughtful people. So you kind of gave me a gift back. This whole gift thing rocks.

As for the end of my 29 Gifts challenge, here’s my final thoughts: I loved it. So much. But it was crazy hard too. And I think it might’ve been even more fun if nobody knew I’d done it, so they were like little no-reason gifts, and maybe I’d do it again that way one day. But I wanted to tell you all about it, and anyway, I also kind of liked dedicating a whole day to one person at a time, and letting them know they had this special day that was all about them, gift-wise. Also, here’s a funny thing: I could swear I got extra little gifts and nicenesses from people during this time too, as if the generous spirit was contagious! I hope it sticks with me, and I don’t get distracted by everyday nonsense and forget to keep doing these small nice things for people. It made me feel awesome, too.

So with Gift #29, my challenge is officially over. Vanessa, you win any two patterns of your choice from either of my pattern shops – I’ll email you shortly to find out which you’d like!

Gift #29: PATTERN GIVEAWAY!

Pattern Giveaway!!

Comments are now closed! I’ll pick the winner and post here on Saturday, March 23rd – WHEEEE!

This is it. The last one! The final gift. (Except that I still owe two. More on that in a minute.) When I first started this challenge, I knew I wanted to do a giveaway. I’ve done stuff with / for other internet-based friends, how could I not do the same for my readers?

Except the thing is … the only thing I really have to giveaway at the moment is my patterns! I hope one day I will have something more exciting, but I hope you don’t too much in the meantime. :)

So I will give away TWO PATTERNS to one randomly-drawn awesome winner, and the reason it’s TWO PATTERNS is because if you are a knitter you can pick TWO KNITTING PATTERNS and if you are a stitcher you can pick TWO EMBROIDERY PATTERNS but if you are, like me, both, you can pick ONE KNITTING PATTERN AND ONE EMBROIDERY PATTERN. I will email or send via Ravelry, or send by carrier pigeon, or get to you in any other manner you like!

More on how to enter in a minute, here’s the final rundown of my 29 Gifts challenge:

(If you’re unnaturally observant, you might notice a missed #23 – I swear I didn’t skip it, I just appear to have mis-numbered or mis-listed somehow.)

GIft #24: This is one of the ones I still owe. Someone I wanted to gift with something is away right now and I didn’t want to skip her just because she was busy doing something else. It didn’t seem fair. So I put #24 on hold until she returns.

Gift #25: I bought my Dad a new album I thought he’d like.

Gift #26: Lottery scratch cards for the whole family! No one won, sadly.

Gift #27: Big obscene Compost Cookies for my brother. Nom.

Gift #28: …. Um …. Ok, I admit it: I totally forgot! I got all distracted by something I’m working on, and I think I thought I already had it sorted. Except I didn’t. So I still have another gift to give today. I’m not sure exactly what, but I expect it’ll be a small family-based treat just to say thanks and stuff.

And Gift #29 is you guys! I hope you enter and take a chance to win! Especially if you’re normally a silent reader – I see my blog stats and reader subscriptions and I know there must be people out there I’ve never heard from!

So just leave me a comment before midnight (UK time) next Wednesday, 20th of March 2013, and tell me about a gift you gave recently. Or, even better, go out and give one and then come tell me about it! Don’t forget it doesn’t have to have been a formal, wrapped gift to celebrate an event. Just something nice you did for someone recently!!!

Thanks for entering!

Gifts #15 – 23

It’s the last week of 29 Gifts, the final stretch. I have really loved this challenge, I’ll be sad to see it finish. But it’s also been, well, more of a challenge than I expected! Before I started, I kind of thought it’d be good fun thinking up something to give someone Every. Single. Day. And I somehow also thought it’d be easy! But somewhere between Gift #15 and Gift #23, I hit an uninspired pocket and couldn’t come up with anything decent. There’s a few days in here that are a bit pathetic:

Gift #15: I sent a message to a fellow online-seller who’s been going through a tough time and had to close her shop for a while. We’ve never talked before, but I’m a big fan of this person’s product and thought she should know it. If I wasn’t doing this challenge, I’d probably have been too shy, but this was a good push to do it. So I let her know that her customers would be there to support her when she was ready to re-open and send my best wishes in the meantime.

Gift #16: This is where my lame pocket started. I wasn’t feeling very well for a few days, a minor cold or something, and I couldn’t muster up energy for anything. I put another postcard in the mail, this one to my BFF. It wasn’t just a saying-howdy postcard, but one I’d picked out specifically for her at the V&A Museum recently.

Gift #17: Only one of my knitter friends was available for Knit Night, so drinks were on me. I was happy to do it, but I wish I could’ve come up with something better to treat her to.

Gift #18: This is where I started to get my groove back a little. I treated my family to a pay-per-view movie, which I never, ever normally do. Pay for pay-per-view movies, that is, not treat – I always feel like I might as well just wait for DVD, so this was a splurge for everyone.

Gift #19: I made a wool sampler pack for one of my knitter friends who recently learned to spin. I remembered that when I first learned, I wanted to try different fibers and see what they felt like, what the differences were, but I didn’t want to spend money on pretty wool I didn’t know how to spin yet. I gathered up a small handful of various fibers and breeds for her to try.

Gift #20: Winston’s turn! I repaired up one of his squeaky toys, let him totally destroy it, then cleaned up the mess. This is not a photo of actual events, but an accurate portrayal nonetheless. Destroying stuff is probably Winston’s most favorite past-time.

Winston, destroying.

Gift #21: I made a wee donation to Project Gutenberg, which I think is awesome in every way. I also made sure to include a note thanking them for what they do.

Gift #22 (today): Today a family member starts a new job. Last night, I snuck around and cleaned up his home office to make it nice for the first day. I left a little note so he would see it this morning when he started the day!

Seven gifts to go.

Gifts #9 – 14

Another little update on my gift-giving challenge, here’s what I did for gifts # 9 through 14:

Gift #9: a mix tape (well, CD) for a friend,

#10: a small plant (babies from a plant of my own) for Carina, who I got to meet in London for the first time last week! She’s lovely. :) The plant I shared was originally given to me by a friend of mine, then it grew up and grew these little babies on the leaves, which I shared in turn. It’s like a chain letter made of plants.

#11: I wrote a really old-fashioned little note to one of my oldest friends:

Letter to a friend

I hope she’s received it by now! Gifts like these are sort of a stretch of the word ‘gift’, but I have to keep reminding myself that the point is to think of other people and what might bring a smile to their day. I imagined my friend collecting the mail and I hoped a very fancy letter – even if doesn’t say anything particularly exciting – might do that. I hope so.

#12: tiny chocolate bars in each of my family members’ favorite varieties,

#13: This was a tough one. I had NO ideas, wasn’t seeing anyone unusual that day, and it took until well past my bedtime to find another Kickstarter project I wanted to donate to. I don’t want to repeat Kickstarter / PledgeMusic donations constantly, but I do think this sort of individual project-funding is a wonderful development and I’m eager to support it. It’s like bringing back the barter system, and gives *everybody* the chance to pitch an idea and bring a project / product / album to life without relying on the few massive companies / labels that have come to almost exclusively determine what’s available. I love that small individual donations can help spread unique ideas and support the people that care enough to work on them.

#14: I started a little postcard swap with some online friends – again, a little bit of a broad interpretation of ‘gift’ but those guys are my friends and even if I don’t see them in person, I still wanted to do something for and with them. I still have to send out my postcards once I have everyone’s addresses, but they will count as #14.

And today will be Gift #15. I have an idea of what I want to do, but haven’t yet, so we’ll see how the day goes!

29 Gifts in 29 Days, Gift #1

Gift 1

For those of you up on things like bestseller lists, the title of this post might sound familiar. I am however, not at all knowledgeable about that sort of thing, so I’d never heard of this whole phenomenon. Apparently, there was a book called 29 Gifts, a non-fiction account of one woman’s quest to give 29 gifts in 29 days. Partly to distract herself after discovering that she was sick, but also because it’s an awesome thing to do. I’m sure the book can offer you more detail than that if you’re interested, but the point is that it inspired all these people to do the same, and then more people, and so on.

I heard about this from my mother, who heard about it from a friend, and it immediately struck me as something I wanted to do. The truth is that the book absolutely does not look like something I myself would read, mostly because I am terribly cynical and curmudgeonly and I can just guess that I would not mesh well with it.

But the idea. That’s a different thing. Remember my goals for 2013? Not resolutions, just things I wanted to work on this year, and the last one – and most important one – was to just generally be more positive. I’ve been doing lots of little things since January 1st to work towards this and not fixate on negative things and I do already feel the difference, but what could possibly be more positive than spending a month giving things to other people?!

It doesn’t have to be spendy gifts, just something nice. Gift-giving is one of my things anyway; one of my favorite things in the world is to find that one perfect thing, big or small, that someone will love and will make them happy. I imagine they won’t all be super-creative, 29 days is longer than it sounds and I’m sure I’ll have busy or uninspired days! But I will do something every single day. Starting today! The photo above is Gift #1 – a small package – making its way to the post office, where it was sent off to my BFF in the Netherlands. Of course I can’t show what’s inside (and other gifts will be this way too, since I’ll probably post quite a few of them) but I will keep track of the whole thing here on the blog as much as possible!