Little Angel

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We received an unexpected gift this week. – A cute little London Underground logo top from a friend in England, just because she saw it and thought of our little girl. It’s always so nice to be given something out of the blue, for no particular reason. It reminds us that others are thinking of us, and have acted upon those thoughts with no sense of obligation.

I like to buy presents when they catch my eye. That way I’m more likely to give a meaningful gift, rather than a mediocre purchase made under the pressure of an impending birthday. Picking up a particularly apt card or the ideal wrapping paper when I see it, and keeping it in a dedicated location for later, really helps keep our gifts personal. It’s amazing how many times the ‘perfect’ item is sold out if you leave it and come back later. It feels rather empty to give a gift that is just ok, however much you end up spending in compensation for lack of appropriateness. In comparison, it brings me great pleasure to share even a small token if I know it’s perfectly suited to the recipient.

We were so touched by the little Angel T for our own little angel.

Pretty as a Picture

It was my Mum’s birthday at the weekend. As she lives in the U.K. and I live in the States it’s always a little challenging finding a gift that can be mailed across the Atlantic. This year she’s coming to visit very soon, so we can give her something in person. But I always like to recognize the day itself. I came across a website that would deliver cupcakes decorated with custom photos. It’s always the easy option to send a photograph of her American grandchild, but there’s only so many framed pictures that will fit in a home without looking overpowering. This way she could enjoy some fun new pictures and share them with friends, while not having to house them for long.

Here are some of my favorite gift ideas for sharing photographs with loved ones.

2015-02-19 Photo Gifts

a – Anya Hindmarch Be a Bag – the original and the best photo bag

b – Minted customized notebook – to eliminate all those piles of post-it notes

c – PhotoStamps – real postage stamps created using your own image

d – Paperless Post cards – for original, stylish greetings

e – Personalized wrapping paper – for the ultimate in customized giving

Picture Perfect

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Happy

We’ve had a fun day of Valentine’s activities, although mostly centered around our daughter. However, I wanted to make sure my husband got spoiled a little today too. One of the things that brought us together was our love of photography. When we met we discovered that we both had the same camera and enjoyed taking photos of architecture. Lately our subject matter has mostly been an adorable 18-month old, but we’ve been starting to think about taking other pictures again too.

For his gift I was delighted to find this documentary, Finding Vivian Maier, about one of the most prolific street photographers of the 20th century. We’ve been following this fascinating story ever since her pictures were discovered in the Chicago area a few years back, so I knew he would find this interesting. The film has the added bonus of being nominated as Best Documentary Feature at this year’s Academy Awards. Like many others, we’re trying to see as many Oscar movies as possible before next Sunday, and a very cold winter has made this even more appealing.

As always I took great pleasure in wrapping this gift, recycling some quite wonderful camera paper and adding a British photo card. I liked the sentiment and simplicity of this Happiness Ahead greeting.

So tonight we will be having a cozy evening in with some tasty food and a real fire, while indulging our passion for photography.

Wild About You!

I’ve been creating Valentine’s gifts for my young daughter to take to school on Friday, to exchange with her class mates. She’s in the Elephants room so I wanted to tie in with that theme.

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I came across these Elmer books (one of our favorite characters) sold as a set. I thought they would make a practical alternative to a card – something that could be enjoyed for a long time to come. In order to personalize them I wanted to create a tag, but something that could be removed later. I found some chalkboard hearts that seemed perfect, allowing us to add a custom message of love that could be peeled off without leaving a residue. (A chalk pen works perfectly on this medium.) While contemplating a fun, theme-consistent message I came across this impressive list which inspired me.

My little girl is going to take the finished products to school in the accompanying tote.

Elmer

“Wild About My Elephant Friend!”

Super Snow Shoveler

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Here in the Midwest we’ve just had a huge snowfall, the 5th largest in history, and there’s now over 20 inches of snow on the ground. It’s been rather enchanting watching it fall from inside, keeping snuggled up on the sofa with my family, hot drinks and comfort food. However, that feeling subsides when work beckons and the shoveling has to begin.

My husband has been a hero, digging us back into contact with the world outside. I’m very grateful that I did not have to perform the duty, being several months pregnant. But it struck me that not everyone is so fortunate. The ultimate gift of kindness at this time would be to take a little extra time and help out a neighbor; someone less able or currently out of town. So our shovel has travelled a little further this week, clearing paths to cars in the street and allowing folks an easier route along the sidewalk. The season of goodwill does not end with the holidays.

Keep safe and warm.