Simple gifts.

Hooray for Christmas! 

And Hooray for Christmas being over so I can
 share the fruits of the annual 


If you've been around Small Works during Christmas past, you may know that some years ago our family decided to cope with the budget constraints of young adults by making our gifts for each other.  Over the years they have ranged from the silly to the sentimental, but they are always the favorite packages under the tree, eagerly anticipated and created under closely guarded secrecy (except when people consult Mom for technical support, which seems to happen frequently).

This year's gifts were another round of wonderful, and so without further ado, here's a peek at our Christmas morning fun:

Chelsea kicked things off with some Lady-Gaga-inspired eyewear, personalized to reflect the interests and personality of each recipient . . .

Russ got Cooper-related specs that fit snazzily over his existing glasses

 My lenses were flanked with whirls of color

  Lindsay's glasses sported an easel and a set of  paint brushes

Chelsea's glasses were a Florida tribute of sorts, a perfect reminder of family weekends at Siesta Key

Hannah's love of all things owl came home to roost on a pair of smart-looking feathered specs

The Hinckley clan can at last get their collective Gaga on, thanks to Chelsea's creativity!

Lindsay created a family puzzle (unfinished, of course -- plenty of room for future pieces!), with a hanger on the back of each piece so that everyone could take their piece home and hang it on their wall . . .

  a sweet reminder that we are all part of something bigger.

 Unfortunately, the artist left her own piece at home, so it isn't included in the picture . . .

Russ made everyone a shirt, personalized with favorite family movie quotes (each shirt containing a different collection, selected for the individual, of course!)

We can now be an official, even-more-annoying walking lexicon of movie quips and quotes. We have uniforms.

I made Russ the first (and ONLY) piece of Small Works' Neckwear (fun! festive! fabulous!),

for which I had hoped to find a knit tie but instead found, to my dismay, that those were popular last year but were nowhere to be found this year. 

So I had to make do with a textured paisley, which was difficult to stitch on and which yielded so-so results. Anyway, I was terribly impressed that he went off to church yesterday with sequins on his tie.  Seriously true love.

In one of my dumbest moves of the season, I painstakingly photographed my gifts for the girls before wrapping them, and then promptly (and permanently!) deleted the photos on Christmas eve, a fact I only remembered in the middle of the movie I attended today.  Rats.  I made Lindsay a collaged pendant and Hannah a collaged ring, and then I made each of the girls several rings from stacked antique buttons.  (Luckily, Hannah is still here and by plundering her room I was able to find hers and snap a picture.) 

Awesome pukey-green wool that Hannah brought me from the Goodwill near her school. 
Further evidence that I trained her right in some things!.

I made the rings on some really lovely sterling blanks, and was quite pleased with the outcome.  I only wish I could have kept the original photos, showing all 8 of them.

Hannah created tech-gadget cozies in a variety of shapes and sizes for her sisters, and a pencil cup for Russ,  using a Laura Ashley sweater purchased on a family trip to London that unfortunately never fit any of us, and pieces from a sweater that belonged to Russ' father (who passed away a few years ago).

For the slightly tech-impaired (ME), she made a wonderful drawing, beautifully matted and framed and just begging to be hung on a studio wall:

"Do These Thoughts Make Me Look Fat?", Hannah Hinckley, 2010

All in all  it was yet another wonderful morning of fun spent opening gifts and laughing together.  My favorite kind of day.  

 Russ and Cooper, all Christmased out

 Hannah and Frida

 Jake and Chelsea Reynolds

 Lindsay and Jackson

Thanks, family, for your amazing ability to make me the happiest Christmas morning mom on the planet.  Or perhaps in the universe.  

Strong words, I know.  
But I REALLY liked your gifts.



It's the most . . . wonderful . . . day . . . of the year! (cue the music)

From Christmas past . . .

 Baby Susan in oh-so-cute Santa pj's, Christmas 1963

To Christmas present . . . 

This year's abbreviated nativity display, including USA, Japan, Nepal, India, Argentina, and a baby 
I saved from when I was a young girl

My homemade gifts for Lindsay, Chelsea, and Hannah,
festively dressed with ornaments from Santa Fe

. . . it seems like hardly any time has passed at all, 
and suddenly it's Christmas Eve again.

The whirlwind is beginning to slow, things are (almost!) ready and we can all breathe a little sigh of relief, gratitude, love and Christmas-ness, and begin to actually enjoy the fruits of the season.

I hope things are in readiness at your homes too, and that you're going to find yourself surrounded by people and customs you love, or at least fond memories of them.

Here's the last installment of the featured Christmas book, in case you have time for a wee unwind before the party begins:

From everyone here at Small Works (yes, I realize that's just me . . .) 
have a wonderful celebration!  And I hope to see you again next week for the annual 
Hinckley-Handmade-Holiday-Gift-Spectacular report.



Tuesday the twenty-first.

Where, oh where, is LuAnne from Invisible Woman with her beautiful nature photography when I need her?  Her incredible camera skills could have supplied me with the perfect Christmas card image for next year:

This is the scene that greeted me out my kitchen window this morning, and while I sprinted downstairs to get my camera, he got ready to fly away and left me with a one-second window of opportunity to get a blurry memento. But it was a lovely -- if fleeting -- little Christmas gift from Mother Nature and I'm glad to have seen it while it lasted.

Lots of time spent in the kitchen today, making the family heirloom cookies that are a LONG standing tradition (of the hundred years variety) but a certifiable pain in the neck to make.  First of all, one should never wait until December 21 to pick up the necessary currant jelly, because one may have to drive all over town looking for it!

However, tonight all the aching feet and tedium were forgotten in a single bite:

There's a reason I continue to make these little gems 
every year -- utterly worthwhile.

And now, even if Santa manages to forget our house, Christmas is officially here so it won't matter a bit.  And speaking of Santa, I promised a few more pages from yesterday's featured book:

There you are -- We'll finish next time!

I hope you've had a bite of something heavenly today as well, and some time spent doing things with people you love (and miss most days.)

Ah, the pleasures of the season . . .



Ho, Ho . . . Hello!

The mailing is done:

Yes, it's me with the ridiculous receipt from the post office which was quite literally as tall as I am.  Pity the poor clerk whose misfortune it is to wait on the Hinckleys when they stroll nonchalantly into the P.O. on December 18!

and there are two types of cookies in the bank.  So progress has definitely been made!  There's still plenty to do, of course, but at least I finally felt I could sit down and have a little computer time without endangering all the hall-decking and goodwill for my family.

I have a lot of Christmas books I love, but one that has lived on my coffee table for the past several Christmas seasons is this one:

The Secret Life of Santa Claus, by Gregoire Solotareff

I'm a sucker for alphabet books, and a quirky Christmas alphabet book combines the best of all worlds, so it's no wonder I continue to enjoy it each year.

Here are a few selections from A - H in case you're ready for a 5-days-'til-Christmas (eek!) pause and smile amid the whirlwind of preparations:


Tee Hee!  I'll add a few more pages tomorrow.  
Until then, merry making-and-doing!

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