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I'm glad you've come to read my blog, but unfortunately I don't live here any more!

Feel free to trawl through my archives or look up my posts on Scoliosis which will always be at home here, but when you're ready please come and join me at my new home:

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Catherine Ann x

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Blogmas #12: Christmas Pressies!

I know that you’re usually looking for gift ideas, er, before Christmas, but I wanted to show you what I gave some of my friends, and it wouldn’t have been fair to spoil the surprise!

I was totally awful with my presents this year. Last year, I had decided what to give my friends in July, and most of the prezzies were bought or made and wrapped by around October, just in time for me to make the ChristmasCake. I was one organised bunny.

This year, however, was different. Christmas sneaked up behind me for weeks, and then there it was in the middle of December, tapping me on the shoulder and going “Psst! Psssssssssst! What about the presents?!”

“Panic stations” is an understatement. I didn’t want to be caught out and just buy my friends the first thing I laid eyes on in the shops, but I was also short of time and ideas.

I usually like my presents to be a bit personal—that’s why I love to make some stuff, too. If I don’t have the time or ideas to craft a present however, I’ll put together lots of little prezzies that will mean something to the recipient. Think about what you would like to receive: one main present, or a collection of little gifts to delve into? Personally, I love the latter. So if I can’t make something, I’ll opt for that. This was the case for Bambi.
I knew that Bambi needed to chill out a bit more. (To be fair, i need to chill out moe, but this post isn’t about me so shush). She’s the smartest girl I know, which she utterly deserves, but it also means she wants to do really well in her exams. I know myself that even when everyone is telling her she’ll do well—you will, Bambi—it can still cause a lot of anxiety and stress. So I put together a bag of gifts based around the theme “relaxing”.

(In case you haven’t noticed... I bloody love themes.)

I put together a few little things I knew—hoped—she’d enjoy. If you have a friend about to do exams, or going through some stress (i.e. any teenager ever) then you might give these a try: chamomile tea, a scented candle, essential oil (I’d wanted lavender, but when I couldn’t find any, poppy went just as well), bath bombs, a notebook for her to write all her stressed-out thoughts into... I think that’s it.

For Crow’s present, there had been a few ideas knocking about in my head for ages. The first being a wax tablet. We’re both writers and for my birthday he gave me a beautiful Italian quill. I wanted to carry on the theme. Wax tablets were used in Roman through Medieval times to write on. They consist of a wooden frame (or two hinged together like a book) filled with beeswax. You can then scratch in the wax with a stylus to form words, and rub them out when you’re done by smoothing it over. Did you think the modern day iPad or other tablets were a new invention?

The problem was finding beeswax. I looked everywhere, even asking my local beekeepers’ society. To give you an idea of how difficult this was, I had the idea in July and finished making the tablet five days before Christmas, just hours before I’d be seeing him! Anyway, I ended up finding blocks of beeswax in a local health food shop. The thing is, you can’t really use candlewax as it will harden too much so you won’t be able to rub out your words.

It was a case of running home with my wax and pouring it into the frame my dad had made for me. He also made a stylus out of bamboo... but I have a hunch Crow will end up just using a pencil!

I also gave him the comfiest pyjama bottoms ever, a sippy cup (because he spills things a lot, often on me) and this book, which I think is a wonderful idea. I’ll have to ask him how it went down, though!

We’re both on Twitter by the way, you can follow us and @dearsaul

I was totally stuck for Wolf and Phoenix’s presents, which is bad because they’re the two I’ve known longest and see all the time! I think—hope—it’s because I had exhausted my good ideas in previous years! It was only a week or so before Christmas and I was asking Crow what he thought. He told me Phoenix might like clothes... and then bingo! I promptly ignored all the other wonderful ideas he was having and made up my mind.

I bought a plain t-shirt for Phoenix and a striped apron for Wolf. I also went online and bought a selection of assorted small buttons. Did you know that on ebay there are people who spend all their time sorting buttons into categories and selling them for reasonable prices? I love these people. I love ebay.
So I decided to give Phoenix a personalised t-shirt and Wolf a personalised apron with their initials. I really like how they turned out, and I only pricked my thumb about twice! Overall, these took me about an hour each to do, and that was sitting watching telly.

Thumper’s stepsister has just moved in with her this year, so I got them a book of cocktail recipes with cocktail umbrellas and facemasks, perfect for a girly night in!

For some of my other friends, I gave them food—foolproof and delicious! It was either my special honeycomb, or extra bits of Christmas cake. I always make too much mixture—on purpose—so I get one full sized cake and a smaller one. I cut this smaller one into squares and gave it out wrapped in tissue paper.

So that was pretty much it! I also received lots of lovely gifts which I’m delighted with—thanks everyone!

I leave you with one last tip—never go Christmas shopping past the 20th December. I swear I was terrifyingly close to strangling and old lady and telling a child that Santa wasn’t real (don’t know where I would get that idea...)

 Happy New Year!

Catherine Ann x

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