I am a gifted gifter. I'm not the type of person that asks what you want for Christmas. I'm the type of person that, through my powers of deduction and reasoning, I figure out exactly what you want. I daresay I know what you want better than you do.
I live for that warm smile that spreads over a person's face when they rip that pretty paper open to catch a glimpse of that perfect gift hidden inside. It might not be expensive, or big, or hard to come by, just exactly what they wanted. A wrinkle at the corners of the eyes, a tug at the corners of the mouth. That contagious warmth that began in the first hint of their smile spreads to your heart and keeps you cozy all day.
Some of the best gifts are the unexpected ones. For that kind neighbour that collected your mail while you were away, for that teacher that helped your daughter master the saxophone, for that little boy who shovelled your walkway. Just a little something to say thank you at a time when everyone should be thankful for those around us that do things without expecting a reward.
I think DIY gifts are extra thoughtful and special. Just because it didn't break the bank doesn't mean that you didn't make it with love. Just the fact that you made it with your hands says more than most expensive gifts could.
What better gift to give this holiday season than hot chocolate mix? Show someone how much they warm your heart by warming their belly!
Have you ever caught an episode or two of Chef at Home on Food Network? Chef Michael Smith has the single most amazing walk-in pantry I have ever seen. It's like heaven. Funny how my idea of heaven includes rows upon rows of alphabetized mason jars on back-lit shelves. I have a major case of pantry envy. Not unlike my envy of Carrie's closet in the Sex and the City movie. It also included back-lit shelves and rows upon rows of, not dried pasta and walnuts but, shoes.
My pantry is far smaller than a fabulous closet and houses less designer shoes. It's cluttered, it's disorganized, it probably looks a lot like your pantry. It makes me die a little bit inside each time I open it and an avalanche of dried pasta and spices hit me. Upon further inspection I realized I had three bags of peanuts, two of pecans, two open bags of pene pasta and a really old mickey of Bailey's Irish Cream.
I decided it was time for a serious overhaul. Forty-seven preserve jars, six pasta containers, two Ikea boxes, six Tupperware containers, sixty hand-punched labels and one wall decal later my pantry is born again. She may not be the biggest, most impressive pantry out there, she may not be back-lit or able to accommodate a sports car, but she keeps my spices safe and warm.
Have you missed me? I've sure missed you! I hope that you all enjoyed your holidays. I am happy to report that I have thoroughly enjoyed mine. It was filled with turkey, hugs, warm pie, smiles, presents, twinkle lights, shopping bags and even a few epiphanies.
Remember when I said that I don't know what I want to be when I grow up? Well now I do! I realized that I've always known, but I tried to convince myself otherwise. I thought about it in depth these last couple of months and I have decided that, without a shadow of a doubt, I want to be a writer.
This scary sort of clarity washed over me the instant I made up my mind. There's nothing more frightening than knowing exactly what you want in life and not being able to achieve it. This fear was accompanied by another feeling. Determination. The only way to be certain of failure is to avoid trying altogether. I'm going to try. When it comes to dreams you have to try your best.
I used to lock myself in my bedroom when I was an angst-filled teenager and scribble in stacks of spiral ringed notebooks. I pulled story after story, character after character out of my imagination and brought them to life on the page. I was certain then that I wanted to be a writer, but somewhere along the road I'd forgotten.
Where does Hot Polka Dot fit into all that? Well you see, there's more to me than just flowery words, metaphors and similes. There's also a lot of demerara sugar, sewing needles, light metres, paint brushes, and needle-nose pliers rattling around in my brain. I've realized that Hot Polka Dot is about exploring all the facets to myself. It's about self-expression and self-growth.
Just the fact that you all find it enjoyable and come back for more is so very flattering. I am so thankful for all your support and all the wonderful friends I've made here.
On that note I have a super cute post over on my new favourite blog, Fiesta Résistance. I show you how easy it is to make your own napkins with mitered corners like that adorable pink one up there. Perfect for adding some texture to your food photography, jazzing up your dinner table or giving as a thoughtful and creative housewarming gift. Check it out!
After seeing Kristin's friendship bracelet giveaway on Idle Wife, I've hauled out my old bracelet books and thread from when I was a kid. Naturally I've been furiously making all sorts of bracelets. After making six friendship bracelets in two days I decided I needed a new pattern. Following an extensive google session I found these beautiful recycled t-shirt bracelets and vowed to make them my own.
And now you can too! Because you should. Really.
All you need is...
2 pieces of fabric about 18 x 6 inches
2 ribbon clamps (found at Michaels)
2 jump rings
I'm sure you've noticed recently that owls are the new trend. Owl earrings. Owl jewelry boxes. Owl cookie jars. Owl hot plates. Owl figurines. Owl everything!
I heart owls. I also sort of hate that they're so trendy now.
Do you ever really love something then realize it's so totally in style right now? I hate that! There's always that little voice taunting me in the back of my head calling me a sheep and inferring awful things about brainwashing and bandwagons. Stupid voice. I wish it would shut up.
Like polka dots. And turquoise. And vests. And damask print. And vintage style. And now owls.
So you can never be sure if your love of said thing is sincere or if you've just been made to think it is.
Really though, does it matter? I'm just happy to love stuff. And I do. A lot. Is that bad? Does that make me materialistic? Oh, who cares!
Do you remember my rant about my love of design on a dime schemes? While I very much love stuff, I'm not prepared to pay a lot for said stuff. Instead of shopping to buy things, I shop to get ideas.
So a while ago I saw these adorable and unfortunately a little country owl figurines at the Dollarama. I love their expressions and how each is uniquely cute. But that green is bleh. Just downright awful looking.
I had one of those light-bulb-over-head kind of moments. Instead of buying this sweet little owl lantern or this cooky owl cookie jar I decided to make my own for a fraction of the cost of course. I could spray paint these cheap little cuties whatever colour I wanted to fit into any colour scheme I desired.
So there you have it. Four modern trendy owl figurines for under ten bucks.