My decision to make the majority of my Christmas presents this year was followed by a mistake that has become recognized as a fatal family flaw - I wildly underestimated the time, energy, and money that it would take to complete my projects. Wildly. And by wildly, I mean wildly. I was finishing one project in bed on Christmas Eve. After a tearful breakdown a few days before Christmas, my girlfriend begged me to stop working on her present and just give her something unfinished because she wanted her girlfriend back more than anything else. I obliged, and Navah got an unfinished portion of her gift (more on that in the days to come). That being said, I had a really good time - coming up with ideas, doing the projects themselves, and seeing my family's happy faces at the end.
For my sister, I knew right away what I wanted to do. Hannah is an incredibly conscientious person - in all aspects of her life - and she loves to cook. I wanted to put together a "green" kitchen kit that would help her be efficient and eco-friendly while also stylish (as is necessary in Manhattan). Of course, every eco-conscious grocery shopper needs a reusable bag. I had an Amy Butler pattern for a market bag, and I loved pouring over the Amy Butler fabrics to find just the right combination. I loved how it turned out, and I think Hannah did too. She's excited to have a bag that doesn't look like anyone else's.
Inside, I put a variety of things - some I made, and some I didn't. She got a lock & lock container to carry her lunch in, travel chopsticks, an adorable fabric napkin from salty oat, a NY Firefighters calendar (to hang in the spot in the kitchen where her roommate used to have his Eagles cheerleaders calendar - it's an equal opportunity apartment), and some reusable bowl covers.
The bowl covers were a little more difficult to make than I had anticipated (mainly because of a snowing machine snafu), but they turned out so well. I used a tutorial from Allyson Hill that was pretty straightforward. I used oil cloth as the inside so that it can be wiped clean and will create a more air-tight cover for the food. No one could figure out exactly what they were when she pulled them out of the bag - shower caps? - but once I explained, Hannah loved them. And I loved watching her run happily into the kitchen later that day with a little bowl cover to put over the dessert she was working on.
And I just have to say a little note about the gift that I received from Hannah. She gave me a beautiful book - Stories of Mothers Lost - created by the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, an organization that works for safe and healthy pregnancy and childbirth for women around the world. While reading Half the Sky this year, I had several conversations with Hannah about how affected I was by all of the stories, but particularly by those of women who have obstructed childbirth, lose their babies, sustain terrible injuries, and struggle to find medical treatment, often leaving them disabled for life. Hannah, who works in global health, did some research and found this organization. She also found out about another organization involved in the same work, and we're each going to make a shawl for the women that they help. I hope that our shawls will provide some warmth for these women.