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!

Literary Heroines Giveaway and Gifts 1-8

Giveaway time! Not here though, you’ll have to go visit Accordion To Kellie and join in Kellie’s Literary Heroine Blog Party to enter. Kellie was kind enough to ask us to join in the fun, and we’ve donated a special bundle of heroine-themed embroidery patterns from Little Dorrit & Co. as part of her massive giveaway! Definitely go over there to check it out, there’s some great stuff up for a chance to win!

Also, for anyone interested, here’s an update on my 29 Gifts in 29 Days challenge: it’s definitely not easy to come up with something every day, especially if you don’t necessarily see lots of people each day in person. But that does make it more satisfying when you come with something good! Here’s what I’ve done so far:

Gift #1: a small package to my BFF,
#2: a small package to a blogger friend (I assume neither has arrived yet, since I haven’t heard anything from the recipients),
#3: a knitting pattern for a lovely friend / member of my knitting group, Caroline, from her Ravelry wishlist,
#4: a few small Liberty pieces and a little mini-sewing kit to another dear knitterly friend, Holly, who’s been hit by the paper pieced hexagons bug lately,
#5: a completely hand-stitched mug rug for my Mom, who loves Valentine’s Day:

Ok, one other Valentine's thing. But not for me. This mug rug is Gift #5 of 29, for my Mom, who loves Valentine's Day - even if I don't. :)

#6: Tulips and a wee bundle of chocolates for my little hand-sewing mini-group, Karen and blog-less Christa,
#7: A small donation to help make this short film, “Mr. Happy”, via Kickstarter. I chose to receive no reward in exchange for my donation (not even a copy of the completed film) because that would’ve been a purchase, not a gift.
#8 (today): Tuna fish for breakfast and dinner for my bestest furry pal, my darling Oscar bear:

Mmm. Sunshines make sleepies.

(Not a post-tuna photo, just one of him looking particularly happy and gorgeous.) Oscar has a special diet, so tuna for his meals is a special treat.

I have an idea for tomorrow but I’m not sure I can do it in time, and a little list of people I’d like to hit with a gift during this challenge, so I think I’m doing pretty well so far. 21 gifts to go!

Secret Santa 2012 + Swap recap

One last little bit of Christmas 2012 showing off, I couldn’t leave this stuff out! My awesomest-in-the-whole-world knitting group did a Secret Santa swap this year, exchanging gifts at our now annual Christmas dinner and it was so lovely, it just made me love our group even more. I know some of you are out there in internet-land, so pardon me for being squishy for a second, but every last gift was so lovely, so thoughtful that it really made my heart feel enormous. It was the proper true spirit of Christmas.

Ahem. (Little tear in my eye.)

Seriously, it was the best. I Secret Santa-ed the amazingly talented and adorable and so sweet Suzy, of Suzy Sewing. Suzy’s gradually working on developing her own line of patterns, which will be under the name Suzy Patterns. (They’re going to be amazing, just you wait and see.) So even though she’s not ready for a launch or anything yet, I wanted to make something for her sewing room, something special that made it really hers.

Secret Santa Gifts

So I embroidered her logo! Embellished with a little sprig of vintage flowers, just because it was cute.

Secret Santa Gifts
Secret Santa Gifts

And I framed it in a hoop (no photo of that, sadly, because I had to pack it up the second the glue was dry!) and used my pal Carina’s excellent embroidery hoop framing tutorial to learn how. Highly recommended! I wasn’t convinced I could get that lettering as neat as a logo should be, so I also got her a coffee mug for her studio and made a little coaster to go with it:

Secret Santa Gifts

My Santa was my very good friend Christa (who doesn’t have a blog but really should, doncha think?!) and she spoiled me rotten! Lookit!

Secret Santa gift for me!

My new tiny bunny friend is called Dorothy and was handmade by Christa from a vintage pattern with vintage fabric, with tiny Liberty fabric details. Isn’t she lovely?! And not just any Liberty fabric, but a print I’d admired in a quilt at the Festival of Quilts last summer, which Christa hunted down for me and then treated me to a piece of in my Secret Santa package …

Secret Santa gift for me!

… as well as a couple of others that I’d admired on a recent shopping trip. That one (at the back of the pile) will be used right away in project for the bedroom redecoration I’m working on and will blog about soon; the two fabrics at the front really need to be used together, don’t you think? But I can’t decide for what yet. It can’t just be any old thing. And excuse the bunny bum in this photo, you just had to see Dorothy’s adorable tail. (Also, it reminds me of how a guy-friend in high school used to call me ‘bunny bottoms’ as a term of endearment, which I still think is so sweet.)

And lastly, I did a Christmas swap with my penpal from the Netherlands, who I met on Ravelry during the 2012 Tour de Fleece. (Hi, Mirjam!) She sent me the most exciting TWO packages for Christmas, full to the brim of Dutch treats I missed – kruidnoten and a chocolate J and stroopwafels and hagelslag and everything I ever said I liked …

Oh my gosh. I opened my swap partner's packages and I think she overdid it! There's like 3 layers of Dutch treats here!! All stuff I said I missed. NOM.

… as well as lovely baking kits and some beautiful spinning fiber and ornaments and … seriously, talk about being spoiled, it was insane! I grabbed that quick Instagram photo before I just dug right in.

I sent Mirjam a slightly less extravagant package, but I did make her a little handmade gift for the studio space she will soon have in her new home:

Mini-Quilt for Christmas Swap
Mini-Quilt for Christmas Swap

I already forgot a bit now, but I think those pieces are 1″ square – maybe 1.5″, but pretty small. I used Elizabeth of Oh, Fransson’s Quick-Piece Tiny Squares method which is, as advertised, amazing for precise piecing of tiny pieces. I’m not sure it made it faster so much, for me anyway, but definitely neater. I used the fabrics I’ve been hoarding from the big V&A museum Quilts exhibition a few years ago, because I know my penpal loves textile history.

As always, more photos over on Flickr, and that’s about all for Christmas 2012, folks! It was a little insane, as always, and I’ve already decided I’m taking a year off from handmade Christmas (or at least handmade by me – there will almost definitely be handmade shopping though) for a year, just for a break from Christmas stress and to allow me to come up with some new ideas. But this year was a pretty good success, I’d say!

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