I've purchased presents for my husband and children for St. Nikolai's Day and Christmas, but I want to get something that matters to people, as well. I just ordered some pillow cases as well as had some made. I'm in the middle of school work and dealing with children, but I took a break to arrange these things. After schoolwork is done for a few weeks, I will have time to do some embroidery. I started doing it 15 or so years ago when Victoria Magazine ran an article on them. I try to do work on both sides so that the underside looks as nice as the top or at least to where the person comments that the underside looks nice.
It's Old DeerFIELD embroidery, a New England style that reminds me of a Hungarian style that a good friend used to do. The Hungarian was fancier, probably because it has it's roots in the richer classes where the New Englanders were more practical. I happen to have the woolen threads and and am more familiar with the New England style but don't have a preference. I am concerned with speed as well as a pretty finish. I'm going to just do some small scrolls or flowers on each one. With any luck, if I push myself, I should be able to get some pretty work done in time for Orthodox Christmas for my grandmother and mother and husband and three close friends. The ones other than my husband don't celebrate it, but they won't mind.
What is nice about this is that I can accept really nice (expensive) presents from my mom and do something nice in return that I know she values. When people get something like the embroidery, I know that they keep it and use it. I don't just make something then decide who to give it to-- I usually see something like an iris work and want to copy it for someone, so i come home and in the style of the work I want to do, I recreate it. My artwork on my envelopes often gets framed which makes me happy-- not because they framed it but because it mattered enough to frame it. I like that these gifts really matter.
A few years ago, my mother shelled pecans from her orchard and sent them to me-- I cried when I got that package. She has arthritis but she wanted to do that for me because I'd make the most amazing tarts with them! She also sent me a very nice tea cup that I cherish to this day and use every Christmas. She gave me a pear tea which I often buy and post her a note and tell her that I am thinking of her.
Now. . . back to work.