Christmas Present.

And so another wonderful Christmas has come and gone, and here at Small Works, we feel we were blessed/spoiled out of all proportion to what we deserved . . .

First there was the spectacular weather -- any Minnesotan attending Christmas church services in a light sweater can only be grateful!  Sure a white Christmas would be nice, but there's still plenty of time for a white January, February, March, and April . . . so there were no complaints about the amazing lack of snow and cold.

Then there was the entertainment -- we like to choose a movie from OUR family-favorite archives for our Christmas Eve sing along pleasure, and this year we revisited a favorite from everyone's childhood:  Cat Ballou

There's nothing to beat a Christmas Eve spent eating oneself silly surrounded by not only the people you love, but also Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye . . . sometimes life is almost TOO good!  I may not have raised my daughters right in every respect, but they know a good movie when they see one, and can quote the important dialogue from all the best scenes.  It warms a mother's heart.

Then there were the gifts . . .  Every year since we started the Hinckley Holiday Handmade Gift Spectacular, there have been wonderful surprises, and this year was no exception.

The first surprise was that Lindsay opted out this year -- AHEM (not wonderful!) -- and although she bought us splendid gifts, her contribution was sorely missed and we can only hope we shamed her sufficiently to guarantee her participation next year.  In her defense, she is in school and working 3 jobs . . . so Santa gives her a pass.

Hannah made some lovely gifts, including this embroidery for Chelsea (which I believe is my favorite of her fiber pieces so far -- Hannah, you amaze!)

Electro-Fro, Hannah Hinckley, 2011

Hannah is also a self-taught embroiderer (who never even had Aunt Lillie's tutelage to get her started!)  She sews her images free-hand, creating the design as she goes, and they just keep getting better.  Talk about warming a mother's heart . . .

For Lindsay, she created a custom-designed display piece for Lindsay's agate collection (Lindsay was astounded at her thoughtfulness, and especially delighted to have this semi-secret collection given some validity -- it will no longer live in a Tupperware!)

There is ample storage, as well as a special shelf for the featured "Agate of the Month."  I'll say it again . . . everyone needs a Hannah.

I published a small book of poetry for my offering this year -- it contained poems I've written in the past 18 months or so, as well as some illustrations.

There was some debate about whether or not it truly passed the "handmade" test, but then I always get grief for my gifts flirting with being "too professional" -- I remain unapologetic.  Forget about writing the words -- just the HOURS I spent trying to be smart enough to use the software to create the book I wanted qualifies it as a true gift of self.

Russ embellished some mats for our recent family portrait with some of his signature sketchy wildlife drawings --

they don't photograph well, which I think he HOPES will keep his gifts from being on the blog, but NO. It simply wouldn't be Christmas without them, and they are always loved and welcomed by his girls.

But everyone agreed that Chels truly hit one out of the park this year with her gift:





Beautiful Photo-Initial Art for each of us!  Her presentation was lovely, her photos were not only creative but so visually appealing . . . it was truly a perfect gift.

Everything was just lovely . . . and then . . .

the cherry atop my Christmas happiness sundae!

I opened the gift from my son-in-law
(I knew he was a prize Chels, but REALLY...)

It was this enchanting old tin box bearing the word "loveliness" --

and when I looked inside . . .

It was as if I had wandered into Aunt Lillie's sewing room!  Someone's vintage sewing box full of someone's vintage sewing supplies!  And somehow he not only managed to find that and wrap it up,

but right on top was the "Sewing Susan" package of needles.  It was absolutely one of the most thoughtful gifts I could ever imagine.  It just pushed my pile-of-gift-goodness right over the top! I am now a firm believer that every man should be taught the wonders of shopping on Etsy . . . well done, Jake!  I could not love it more.

(Santa also brought me some new bi-focals, because he knew that this sewing Susan was suddenly experiencing a bit of  difficulty threading her own needles -- thanks, Santa!)

All in all, it was just a perfectly splendid day.  
Hope this finds each of you feeling exactly the same way.  

Now . . . group sigh:



Suz said...

thanks for your comment on my magpie
and may I say I rather rnjoyed reading about your Christmas..and I love that sewing box...and a guy bought that and wrapped it? wow
I love your chapbook....are there poems on your blog that i can read?
Ill look around...see you later

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

What lovely gifts and so thoughtful in the most meaningful sende of the word-full of thought. Many good wishes for the new year. Contentment looks so good hanging just inside the kitchen door where the littles can stop and comment on the kitty on her lap.

Happy New Year, Susan, may it be another great one.

Judy said...

What an array! The artistic gene runs strong in the women your family, and apparently has more than rubbed off on the men as well. You are all amazing.

Bluebell Books said...

lovely holiday photo shots, wow.

Bluebell Books said...


Happy Holidays.

Got talent in short fiction? check out our short story slam week 17 prompt today,

Sample something new is a way to escape boredom,

Hope to see you be part of our short story slam team.


Enjoy A Blessed Winter Break.


Leenie said...

Splendid is a good word for such a holiday of family, friends, movie and most unique and outstanding gifts. I'm with you on the weather. Same here and expecting it to go from brown to white and STAY that way for Months. Hope your holiday week is going well too.

Carol Kunnerup said...

I just found your blog courtesy of Ann Brauer.Wonderful. Enjoyed it immensely. Danged crooked walls. Gotta love old houses. LOL.
I simply adore the initial photos, genius!
I look forward to catching up and keeping up. :D

susan m hinckley said...

Hi, Carol -- thanks for stopping by the blog! I look forward to seeing you around. Best wishes for a happy new year!

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