Back in January, I read about the Secret Valentine Exchange hosted by Sanae and Ute and proceeded to spend a week dithering about whether I should participate. I love the idea of the exchange, but didn’t feel much confidence about participating in an exchange with a bunch of sewing/blogging superstars. I mostly like the things that I make, and my family members have to like what I make since that’s their job (well, with the exception of my daughter – she has no qualms about expressing her brutally honest opinions). In the end I decided to go for it.
My secret Valentine turned out to be Kristi of Sweet KM. I had another little crisis of confidence, since she is obviously a very talented sewer, knitter, and designer. I considered various projects, and finally landed on a set of felted nesting bowls and a couple of little notepads. I made some of these bowls several years ago (ie. before E was born), and they are still in use as receptacles for random small things. I gave a set to my mum, and they are used to hold acorn caps and little felt balls, which young children seem to find endlessly entertaining. I thought it would be fun to give them another try.
Fortunately, they turned out quite well! Felting wool is always a bit unpredictable – I even find that different colours of the same type of yarn felt differently. In this case, I put the two knitted bowls into a mesh bag, tossed them in the washing machine, and hoped for the best. I had to do some touch-up felting by hand to even things out a bit, and then dried them over forms found in my kitchen cupboards – a can of tomatoes and a can of chickpeas:) To finish them off, I added the contrast stitching, which makes them look a bit more like they belong together.
The little matchbook notepads are stamped with simple hand-carved Speedyblock stamps. These are another item that I used to make lots of back in my bookbinding days, and I had fun digging out my long-neglected paper and stamps.
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And now for the loveliness that landed in my mailbox yesterday afternoon – perfect timing, in fact, because it was my birthday! I immediately knew I would love whatever was in there when I saw the name on the return address, Brienne Moody, whose blog is one of my favourites. Happy Birthday to me, indeed! I have to admit that I was so excited to see my parcel that I ripped it open while standing on the front porch – I didn’t even make it inside the house!
In the package I found a beautiful drawstring bag, two skeins of lovely Quince yarn, a very sweet card, and a rather enigmatic fortune telling fish, who can’t seem to decide if I’m indifferent or passionate.
I absolutely love the bag – the pretty green fabric, the oh-so-soft leather – it is just perfect. I have already started using it to transport knitting projects, and I know that it is one of those special items that will bring some every-day beauty into my life and make me happy every time I use it. The Quince yarn is also gorgeous, and a very generous surprise – I can’t wait to use it to cast on a pair of these wristwarmers. Thank you so much, Brienne. I am so grateful for these amazing gifts!
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And in the end, I am so happy that I decided to participate in the Secret Valentine Exchange. Yes, it is slightly intimidating creating a gift for someone you’ve never met, but it is also exciting. I even felt slightly giddy when I put my parcel in the mail, hoping that Kristi would be happy to receive it! And of course, getting my own package from Brienne was amazing as well – I just can’t stop smiling. Perhaps most of all, it is wonderful to feel part of such a creative, talented group of women, and to see what everyone has made! A big thank you to Sanae and Ute for organizing the exchange – next year I will hop on board without hesitation!