This is what they kept hidden from me:
Can you feel my excitement, and it is not like I was going to be 30 or 40 or 50, something to be celebrated big way? Just a simple birthday, getting one year older. How lucky I am to have so many friends who think of me! My daughter assisted me in opening everything, and the first one she gave me was from Anne Marie from Norway. She had made me a sewing folder with the most fashionable fabrics:
There are two zippered pockets, two big pockets and a place for pins and needles in the middle:
In one of the pockets were sweet buttons I only found later. She also sent me two lovely Christmas fabrics in red and gold:
I must think of a special Christmas project to use these. Thank you very much, Anne Marie!
The next package was from Washington, USA. Candace sent something for the whole family:
The fly-fishing magazine was of course for Mr. Kotkarankki, and there was a box of chocolates from her new home town the younger generation enjoyed with us. Look what Candace had been working at:
A string block table runner - for Stephanie's No Strings Attached challenge, but most of all for my coffee table to bring a feeling of spring in the middle of this snow. Isn't it pretty? She called it "Ulla's Spring Fling". Candace had also been busy with a summer embroidery:
It is on a towel so pretty I could use as a table cloth when sitting on the verandah and having strawberries with whipped cream. Thank you, Candace! I love the gifts.
At this point Kaija said that it seems like we made friends in the blog world so we could sew all the lovely things we love to sew and don't need ourselves (maybe because we already made one for home), or just know the other person would like to have it. At least I enjoy making the gifts I send to my friends. Somehow it is more fun to make it for someone else.
The next envelope was from Stephanie , also from the USA. She had wrapped everything in this beautiful fabric, "novo blossom" from The Alexander Henry Collection, in my colours.
Notice that she tied it with a flannel string! This is what was inside:
The folded brown flannel with sewing theme is a pillowcase for my warm sewing dreams. Two scented pouches for my linen drawer, a crocheted soft washcloth made by her own hands. Stephanie also included a package of snap-on grommets she recently demonstrated on her blog, and two packages of elegant coffee napkins from her days in Japan. Thank you, Stephanie! So sweet of you to send me all this.
Next we return to Europe and open Suzie's box. The Little Busy Bee from Germany had been busy sewing all this:
On the left is a protective cover for books, most useful for me because I carry a paperback in my handbag for train rides and waiting rooms, and not everyone needs to know that I read children's books in English! On top of the book cover is a pouch for paper hankies (the books sometimes make me a little sentimental). The curved thing on the right is a neck support with lightweight filling. I love the romantic fabric! It looked so cute last night on Mr. K's neck when he tried to stay awake in front of the TV, and it worked: his head didn't hang to either side and he looked like he was awake when he wasn't. Midsomer Murders with Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby have replaced Mr. Monk on Saturday evenings. Equally difficult to stay awake, and it is not even late. There can hardly be a group of villages with more violent deaths in England! - Back to Suzie's gifts, in the middle there is a goat's milk soap with lavender, and a bag full with chocolate Easter eggs. The ladybirds are also chocolate. Yum! Thank you Suzie, the gifts are lovely and beautiful!
Here I tested the book cover: It is adjustable for thick or thin books as long as the height is not too much to fit in the cover pocket.
Finally the last box to be opened. It was from England from Melanie, who had been sending me "not the proper gifts" before this, like black and white wool from Oxford along with chocolate, a book about the locations of the Swallows and Amazons books we both are reading, and a print of Rima's Väinämöinen sings a Ship which came together with the caps for Ann and Andy.
This is what I found in the box:
Let's have a closer look. There was a house for Mr. K and me:
The roof opens, and I can store sewing notions inside, even a small project. This will absolutely make our coffee table tidier!
Melanie also made a scarf for me:
She included the generous scraps of this fabric in the empty corners of the box (she must think my stash must be almost empty after I finish all the projects I have planned!). It is about time to change the winter scarves for lighter ones, even when the thicker coat is still necessary.
There was a collection of sewing notions from toy eyes to pins and needles, angel wings and perle thread:
Samples of pellon (I had never seen before) and Heat and bond (I use all the time and keep forgetting the name in English). A pattern for a Button Autumn Angel, and fragrant stuffing, a thimble with Oxford escutcheon on it.
There were also pencils and a pen with the text Oxford University on it (how cool is that!), fragrant face wipes, some Body Shop Hemp Hand Protection Cream (my winter favourite), and special tissues for a runny nose - I was having a flu at the time some weeks back when she was putting all this together. Thank you, sweet friend for all the gifts! I can just imagine Melanie appliqueing the house box and thinking of all the things she could pack in it to make me smile and giggle like her. The two coffee towels you can see in the first picture of this set.
I just love to receive things with a thought of me behind the choice. Every one of my blog world gifts was like that, and I'm happy to have found so many good friends from all over the world. If this net spreads wider, I will end up making gifts all year round!
Because it was a birthday, of course there was a cake. Because Kaija was staying with us for a couple of days, she offered to bake the cake. Because it was for me, it was a chocolate cake. Raspberry Sacher cake, to be exact, with raspberries from FIL's garden (from our freezer). Because it was in our family, more than half of the cake was gone before I took a picture:
Kaija is a gifted baker: there are four layers in the cake. At her age and for some years more I had to bake as many cakes as I needed layers! The cake was delicious, so crab a cup of coffee or tea and share the remaining bit with me. I wish some day I could do this for real!
This post was all about other people's doings. I still need to wait about a week to show my secret projects, so the next post will be about my cultural trip to Helsinki with Kaija.