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Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

This week found He-Who and I heading down to the Niagara Region to run errands (usually this means pay bills), Christmas shop (so we have bills to pay) and visit family (which is hit and miss because we go on days like Tuesday).  Our list of “errands” took us into the US which means I get to stop at my baby sister’s in the hopes of seeing her, my hysterical brother-in-law, my beautiful niece and my adorable grandniece.  Did I mention it was Tuesday? The brother-in-law was working, my niece (who is about to become a nurse) was doing her clinical and little Ellee was off at her daycare. Luckily, my sister was home so I got to see her.

ASHLEE AND ELLEE

My sister’s house was decorated for Christmas and she handed me a bag of goodies from Ellee. It seems 3-year-old Ellee has been getting quite crafty and is making a lot of presents for her family. Inside the bag I found all kinds of treasures. These are a couple of my favourites.

ELLEE ART

As you can see, all of them are fridge worthy. Everything I pulled out of the bag made me smile more. They were all keepers.

Looking around at my sister’s home, I noticed that she still kept the little Angel/Elf I made her years ago when I was still in school. I made them for everyone that year and most of my family still have them. They were the silliest things but they remain one of my favourites.

Angel ElfOver the years I have made many gifts for my friends and family. They all have a Christmas tree with lights from my ceramic phase; they all have a hooked rug from the year I took that on; and they all have a thread painting from the years I studied Japanese thread painting (also known as Bunka). There were dolls, photos, puzzles and knitting.  These were the gifts that people chose to keep. In later years when I had a good job and career (I know that’s a bit like a once upon a time fairytale) I bought expensive gifts but I bet neither they nor I can remember what they were.  There is a certain magic to something into which you have put time, effort and maybe a drop of blood or two from a needle prick.

Japanese Thread Painting

This is “Bunka” aka: Japanese Thread Painting

I can go to most of my family’s and a lot of friends’  homes and find something on display that I made for them. When we came home, I realized that a lot of the things I had hanging around were things that friends or family had made for me, or I had made myself. I tell you it is Christmas magic!

Homemade gifts

I may not see everyone I would like to see as often as I would like to see them. They all, however, have a little bit of me with them all the time,  and I a little bit of them, through the things we have made for each other over the years.

The last thing in my bag of goodies from Ellee was this…

Magic Wand

I pulled it out of the bag and looked at my sister questioningly. She said, “Oh, that’s your magic wand.” I wish you all could have seen the look on He-Who’s face when I instantly pointed it at him and said, “Disappear!”.  It was magic!

Christmas Lights

Ellee finished her cookies

Ellee finished her cookies

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There is nothing so delectable as curling up with a good book. I can think of no better way to wind up a long weekend than to leisurely finish off a good book. He-Who and I are readers. We love books. We have bookcases full of them. They are piled up in corners throughout the house. I confess a Kindle has invaded our home but there is still nothing to compare with the feel, smell or excitement of flipping the page on a real page-turner. We share books…swapping them back and forth, then forward them to my niece who in turn passes them to her friend who reads it and hands it off to her sister and so on. This is something you can’t do with a Kindle.

So, when a recent run into Bowmanville had us parked out front of 185 Church St. we leapt at the chance to walk through the violet-coloured door of the 140 year-old former church. As it says on their website, “Violet Door Books is home to a most eclectic and spirited collection of books, curios and gifts that will fire your imagination and nourish your soul.” The experience actually begins before you even enter the building. To the left of the door are bins with a generous selection of $1 books. To the right of the door are bins with books that are …wait for it…free! It can be quite a while before you finally enter the building, already laden with books.

185 Church St., Bowmanville

When you eventually make it inside, either Bryan or Joanne (sometimes both) will be there to welcome you warmly and help you empty your arms so you can continue on your treasure hunt. Don’t be surprised if this delightful couple (the owners) offer you a cup of tea while you browse.

Books, books and more books take up the right half of the store. These are previously enjoyed books and can be yours for the princely sum of $2.

The left side of the store is quite eclectic. Here you will find bright, shiny new books, jewelry, dolls, boxes, music, candles, crystals, wind chimes, soaps, instruments, bags, clothing, ornaments, baby items and even juggling equipment — and that’s just at first glance! The second look reveals even more. A word of advice: plan for enough time to explore. There are handmade items from Canada, India, Africa and Indonesia. Local authors and creations are featured throughout. My favourite section is the one that holds the children’s books. These are no ordinary children’s books. These are adventures you will want to share with the wee ones in your life. They are books full of learning and magic and fantasy and imagination that your children will treasure all their lives and go on to share with their children.

A few other things you may find interesting…Bryan and Joanne will special-order a book for you…They have an up to date calendar of events on their website…They have created a space that can be made available for meetings or workshops…They have special “Save the Tax” days.

Why are you still reading this? You should be on your way to the “Violet Door” 185 Church Street, Bowmanville, ON, L1C 1T8.

As for me, I am off to finish my book.


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One of my sisters (I say “one” because I have a plethora of sisters) gave me this for Christmas.

I love it.
I can’t help myself…
…and, apparently, neither can my friends, family, colleagues and clients who have contributed to my vast collection of The Green “M”.

It started innocently enough.
The first award I won for my work in television was for directing. My sister (the one we call “The Baby”) found this wonderful coffee mug with The Green “M” on it sitting in a director’s chair.

It was the perfect gift, my favourite colour is green. I have, for as long as I can remember, always signed everything with “M” and…come on, she was sitting in a director’s chair. Yes, I said “she”. As it turns out of all the beloved “M & M” characters the green “M” is the only female character.
This was my first “M” piece and it remains my favourite. I have had to glue her together a couple of time (oops), but I don’t cry anymore if she gets broken.
I don’t even really know how it happened, but other “M” pieces started appearing. Before I knew it, this seemed to be the gift of choice. My birthday, Christmas any occasion: that is what I got, another “M” piece. One Christmas I found myself in the very embarrassing situation of unwrapping the very same piece from three different people. My collection grew by leaps and bounds. Mugs, cups, bowls, plates, glasses, figurines, canisters, puzzles, tape dispensers, candy dispensers, earrings, watches, t-shirts, sleep wear, towels, cloths…do I really need to keep going? If you can think of it, there is a green “M” version of it. It wasn’t long before my office, where I proudly displayed the collection, was over run. I think it was the whole triplicate gift thing that broke that straw. They now have their own room in my home. If you think I am exaggerating check out the photos below.


Over the years I have collected, or tried to collect other things. I always wanted to collect music boxes but no one else would contribute. There was a bee thing for awhile, but I think the “M”s over ran them and they are in boxes somewhere. I still have a small collection of antique/old cameras from my days as a professional photographer. At some point those will probably go as well. It seems that at some point we become over run by all the stuff we accumulate over a lifetime and we have to make some tough decisions to purge. One of my favourite writer/bloggers (some know him as @BloggerDad), David Wright, has recently started a website called Project 30 Days where he is attempting to change 12 things about his life… one month at a time. His recent post talking about what he has collected over the years and his challenge to show him our junk, and the fact that I am once again in packing mode has me taking stock on my “collections”. Seriously, I have a collection that has its own room!
I know I have contributed to the green “M” thing with my own purchases and I have probably encouraged people a little with using this as my avatar on facebook,

or by making sure my new “grand niece” participated.

Ellee Rose dressing up for Auntie “M”

But, I think it is time to stop. Friends, family, people I barely know, step away from the purchase of the next green “M”…
…of course I really love those sneakers in the Franklin Mint Catalogue.

Here I am with my counter part “The Devine Miss M”

What collections do you have that are out of  control? I’d love to hear about them.

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