(warning: this blog post will contain a plethora of adjectives and superlatives. I will also probably use way more exclamation points than necessary. Proceed at your own risk!)
This year I decided to be brave and sign up for the Santa Sack Swap. People from all over the world signed up and then we were given partners. The rules were that each month from July to December, we would provide a gift (6 in total) to be placed in either a bag or stocking, and shipped to the partner by December 1. One of the gifts had to be a hand-made Christmas item. The grand opening day was chosen, and it was yesterday. If you wanted to wait until Christmas, that was fine too. I decided to "go for it," and opened my packages yesterday.
My swap partner was Sharon Vrooman, from Vrooman's Quilts. I didn't "know" Sharon prior to the swap, but now I see her all over blogland. She posts often, seems to make an incredible number of things, and leaves lots of comments on other blogs. I have no idea how she gets it all done!
I've never done a big swap like this before, but in the past whenever I'm involved in gift exchanges, it seems like more often than not, I'm always a bit disappointed. This year has been different. I've done an ornament exchange (where I got 2 patriotic ornaments) and a gift exchange at guild (where I received a small quilt), and now this-- and each time I feel like I got the "Grand Prize!" Just look at the lovely things that Sharon sent:
This is what I found in my box. A pretty stocking and six presents. Also, not visible, is a group of small items all wrapped up and in the stocking.
First up is a set of gingerbread potholders and some towels. The fabric in the potholders reminds me of a dress I made my daughter when she was little!
I guess it wasn't hard for her to figure out that I like patriotic stuff--she must have really done her homework on me, <grin> but she seemed to know just what fabric I would like. The toile that is unfolded is awesome! I had a piece of it in tan, which I used in a quilt, and I've never seen any of this fabric anywhere else. I was thrilled with it! I really like the other pieces, too. I'm already mulling over ideas for the states fabric. The other one is navy blue printed with maps/highways and shows the valley and town that Sharon lives in! How cool is that?
Next up is this portfolio. Notice the heart-shaped yo-yo embellishment!
This is what is inside: Elastic to hold pens, etc. with a protective cover. On the other side is a generous zipped pocket. The workmanship on this, and all her other things is incredible! She does a beautiful job!
The box contained these ornaments. The folded ones remind me of all the origami we saw in Hawaii, and now that I'm looking at them in this photo, I think I have a lauhala ornament folded the same way. Lauhala is a Hawaiian form of weaving and folding the leaves of the hala tree. I also love the pickle ornament. My mom always has one on her tree, and I didn't have one yet.
Next was this stitchery quilt!! I LOVE this! Not only does the stitchery part show all the best aspects of a quilt room (love the red and white quilt), but she did it in my colors! This is getting hung up on my quilt wall in the studio as soon as possible!
Finally, this is what I think is the "big prize"
I've watched Sharon make this on her blog, never dreaming it was for me! She made it in the challenge that was out there to make a Christmas project without using red and green. Doesn't it look fabulous?! But wait, you haven't seen the best part...
Now maybe you can see that it is beaded and embellished with small star "ornaments" It is absolutely encrusted. It's so lovely!
I was so enthralled and thrilled with my gifts, that for a few minutes, I forgot about the stocking stuffers. I briefly considered saving those, but a minute or two later, I was unwrapping them, too.
This quickly became
There are 2 beaded stilettos (I already have one that I won at Freda's blog) so now I will have a set of three to show off; two small flower pincushions--so adorable. The stork scissors are really neat and There is a small, copper "barn quilt." The bottom item is hard to make out, but it is a "shirt" that holds a pack of tissue. Again, references to Hawaii! The shirt even has a tiny collar!
Finally there is this:
It was in the top picture, but you pull out the metal tips and it reveals two sizes of rippers. I was just mentioning how much I like carved wood things the other day. This fits so nice in my hand, too. I heard from Sharon that it was made by a guild member's husband and the wood is maple and came from Sharon's farm!
Obviously, I am pleased with my swap, but now I'm a bit worried. I'm really feeling like my items are a little inadequate. Ugh! I do need to tell you something else about Sharon. The swap had some participants who dropped out and/or just disappeared from the group, leaving their partners hanging. Sharon graciously sent out a package to at least one lady who wasn't going to receive one. Quilters are truly some of the best, most generous, folks out there!
Have a great day!
PS: A while back I was commenting on how amazed I was at all the cobwebs that appear in my sewing room as I've never seen a spider in there. All that changed last night. There was a giant one that ran under my sewing desk! I sprayed, and my husband searched, but we didn't find it. Now I'm a bit scared to use my machine. Yikes!