Friday, December 31, 2010

Crafty Cousins

I love going to Saint Louis for the holidays, but nothing beats coming home.  My bed was so comfy last night that I slept until 10:30 this morning which is perfect since tonight is New Year's Eve, and I want to be able to stay up late!  Listen to that old-lady talk!  But seriously, it can be tough staying up that late.  I stayed up past midnight 7 consecutive nights in Saint Louis which explains why I was EXHAUSTED all day and everyday of my stay there!  All in all, I had a wonderful time and got to spend time with everyone I know and love.  Seriously, everyone.  It rocked. Christmas day was especially fun as my parents hosted a gathering of 20, and we had our annual gift exchange.

Every year the extended family on my mom's side does some sort of gift exchange.  Last year we played rob-your-neighbor with booze.  This year we were challenged with the task of either making or buying a locally-made gift not exceeding $20.00.   How green is this challenge?  I LOVE supporting local artisans and businesses, so I knew I would be buying a gift.  That, and the fact that I have yet to make anything anyone would remotely be interested in having in their home!   I pulled my cousin Lindsay's name and knew exactly what I'd get her: beer and lottery tickets.  She loved it, but didn't win any cash from the lotto tickets.

My cousin Matt had my name, and he made me this stylish and functional table for my patio.  It's made out of an old bed frame and an extra piece of tile.  Impressive, right?  Puts my beer and lotto ticket gift to shame.

There were many other creative gifts given that night:  grow-your-own shiitake mushroom logs (courtesy of my dad), Wisconsin cheese curds (from my cousin who lives in northern IL), and a hand-carved walking stick (from a shop in Kimswick, MO).  But perhaps the most thoughtful, beautiful gift of all was the one my sister received from my cousin Alison: a knitted vest.  How amazing is this garment?  I love the color!  The vest took Alison 10 days to make.  Isn't she talented?  We all told her she should put her stuff on Etsy.  To which she replied, "What's that?"  LOL.  I feel lucky to be related to such an artist!  I hope she gets my name next year! 
 Now check out this beauty. You are looking at a coat rack made out of deer hooves.  This was not part of the gift exchange but rather a thank-you present from my cousin's husband to my dad.  A regular DIY taxidermied coat rack.  Hilarious, right?  Still, it's nice to know someone who knows taxidermy.  It will be a nice way to preserve the dogs when the time comes.
I'm digging the handmade gifts and after seeing the performance my cousins gave this year, I need to step it up a notch.  Next year, I want to give a gift I actually made.  This has inspired a New Year's resolution: learn how to make something.  Will this manifest itself in taking a class at the Career Center or scouring  Young House Love for the perfect project? Either way, I'm ready for this adventure!

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