Gifts I Would Like to Receive: Shipley Shapes and Colors

I find that when I’m determining what gift to get for someone I try to imagine myself in their shoes; what do they like doing, what makes them happy, what do they choose to surround themselves with, what is the ultimate treat for them? There is nothing more disappointing when unwrapping a parcel than finding it is something that the giver treasures but that has no meaning for you the receiver. (I’ve been on the receiving end of many cat cards when I’m much more of a dog person.)

Such musings led me to the idea of creating a series of Gifts I Would Like to Receive which might offer inspiration to others. One item on my imaginary wish list is an Emma Shipley scarf. Her bold, animalistic designs are so strikingly unique and would really make a simple dress or boring suit a stand out. I have been coveting one of these ever since I discovered this young British designer, and spend ages poring over the patterns, imagining which one I would purchase.

I hope that at some point I will own one of these master pieces (for Emma really is an artist). However, I’m also going to keep them in mind, as maybe one day I will find someone who gets as much pleasure from receiving one of these as I would – and then I will gladly make the purchase.

Image from emmajshipley.com


Girl Power

Today was Make a Difference Day, an opportunity to help others through volunteering in the community. I love the sentiment of this day. Although philanthropy is not just for one day a year, this day is a good reminder to reset your outlook and to do something for somebody else. It also brings communities together in a wonderful spirit of camaraderie.

I spent the day working a Halloween event, where the good-hearted doled out candy, and entertained children with crafts, music and story telling. – A little distribution of girl power



Pumpkin Patch

Our family visited a pumpkin patch at the weekend. – A new experience for our little girl, and for me too. In England Halloween is not the same big event it is in the States and we don’t have pumpkin patches. So when we arrived the sight of a pile of orange, green, yellow and cream fruit, smooth, gnarled, elongated and misshapen, made me reach for the camera.

An unusual pumpkin tied with some raffia, or a paper bag filled with a few gourds would make perfect fall hostess gifts. There’s always room for an extra orange pumpkin at this time of year, but these sophisticated versions would be infinitely more appreciated.


Treasured Memory

We’ve been touched by a couple of passings recently… I like to acknowledge such events with a handwritten card.

For most occasions I create cards from online websites, with the text printed neatly, although somewhat sterile. However, the more sensitive nature of a loss warrants a more personal – and more immediate – response. A carefully chosen notecard with a few lines of penned text seems much more appropriate.

Below is one of my favorite such cards. Instead of the obligatory flower and slightly depressing “with sympathy” wording, this bird illustration seems to represent life while the quote embodies a message of eternal being. My hope is that in time the pain subsides and the treasured memories endure, bringing a sense of comfort.



Baby Teeth

We missed a baptism in the summer and today I’m catching up with the little chap and his Mother. I find occasions such as christenings hard to buy for; the ubiquitous picture frame seems unimaginative, piggy banks are ten-a-penny, and other kitschy trinkets seem redundant. However, I do like to mark such significant occasions with something for the future.

In this instance I opted for this knitted tooth pillow.


In the shape of a molar, the front presents a smiley face. On the reverse side there is a little pocket where the Tooth Fairy can leave a coin. I decided to treat this as a version of the money envelope, inserting a note. Money to build up savings always seems an appropriate way to launch a child into the world, and this little pillow made the presentation a little more exciting.



This Little Piggy

Searching for a gift for a young child I came across this piggy bank at Galt Baby, one of my favorite children’s stores in Chicago.


I love the fact that this bank teaches children about more than just saving and spending, but the concepts of investment and philanthropy too. This is a present that will score you extra credit with the parents, not just the little recipient.

Pairing it with this cute farmyard card will appeal to any child that enjoys singing along to Old McDonald Had A Farm!


Birthday Blast

Disney’s Frozen seems to be all the rage these days. Our daughter was invited to a swimming party with a Frozen theme. After some deliberation I decided to incorporate the theme into the gift wrapping. IMG_0238-1.JPG Using glitter paper, white organza ribbon, lilac card stock, and a secondhand paperback, I was able to create a magical parcel for a little girl to open. Clipping a picture of Elsa blasting a bolt of ice I fashioned a handmade birthday card to match.

Hope your Birthday is a Blast!