Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Better Late than Never

It's been a few weeks now. The joy, glitter, and magic of the holidays past are now a distant memory. The decorations are down and safely packed away for another year. The once beloved Christmas tree, all sparkly and fresh, now sits in a snow covered heap at the side of the house waiting for its "walk of shame" to the curb Thursday night. Gifts have been returned, worn, watched, or listened to. It's over, right?
Christmas came once again for me early this afternoon in the form of a brown paper wrapped box postmarked December 9th, 2009 from Charlottesville, VA. Joy oh Joy! Could it be? My Brown Paper Package Exchange gift? This package was assumed lost but now, here it is in my lap, begging to be opened!
And open it I did. Slowly, carefully, and with great anticipation. I gave it a little shake to see if it's contents appeared to be in one piece. A little dusting of candy cane powder tickled my nose - the smell reminiscent of Christmas past.

The first item that welcomed me into the box was a lovely, handwritten note card. On the front a photograph of some wool, indicating to me that the sender must be a knitter. That made me smile. My late mother was an avid and amazing knitter and I have so missed her homemade gifts over the past 10 years.
The card read "Merry Christmas! From Maya H. - I put a letter in your box but you might want to read it AFTER you open your gifts." How fun! I later discovered that the letter would give me a little history and insight to the gifts she chose.
And how beautifully wrapped were these gifts? Gorgeous red and white ribbons which I will surely keep and wrap gifts with this Christmas (maybe even Brown Paper Package Exchange gifts). Lovely red tissue and adorable penguins. I love penguins!
The first item I opened was this gorgeous knitted Christmas dishtowel with a fabulous ornament design and a sweet and adorable little knitted winter hat. Now, if my beloved Gage kitty (who passed away 2 1/2 years ago at the age of 16) was still with me, he would have been wearing that hat for sure! But, I do have a fabulous snowman decoration that I put out for the holidays and I think he will look particularly jolly in this hat!
And the knitted gifts didn't end there. Without even knowing it, Maya has just filled that 10 year void for me and I finally have something new to wear this winter. The lovely handwritten tag read "Handspun Alpaca & Rayon - Hand Knitted Herringbone Scarf". Amazing. Just unbelievably beautiful. I later read in the letter that Maya spun the greay Alpaca wool herself and that the cranberry yarn was salvaged from a thrift store find. She then knitted the two into a gorgeous scarf in a herringbone pattern and it is lovely. She even included a sample of Soak for me to keep it looking it's best.
The next gift was also a lovely stack of origami papers. Maya wrote that she had tried to make me an ornament but it didn't turn out so well. She mentioned that since I am into paper crafts that I may wish to try my hand at making a crane (instructions were provided). uh - YEAH! I've always wanted to try - I think that may call for another blog post in the future.

Ok, so how yummy does that look? I had read about this peppermint bark on Maya's blog and being the candy-addict that I am, I was really REALLY hoping that this would make it to me intact. I was a little concerned when I opened up the main package and found little bits of candy cane EVERYWHERE (I mentioned the dust, right?). But, Maya had expertly packed everything and the clear bag that the bark was packaged in was placed in another lovely gift bag with tissue. Good thing because the clear bag did split open on the one side and some of the delicious treats did try to escape to no avail. The bark is absolutely amazing! I have been snacking on it all afternoon and leaving a deliciously sticky trail on my keyboard as I type this. Sebastian and Max will have to beg me to get any of this confection.


The recipe is from Brown Eyed Baker and you can find it here. And the sweets didn't end there. I also received four fabulous packages of cocoa and two of sipping chocolate. I love it when I am able to try brands that we don't have here in Canada. The cocoa is called "Sweetridge" and I have two Dark Chocolate and two Peppermint. Perfect! The sipping chocolate is by "Bellagio" and the packaging is gorgeous. Tiffany blue and chocolate brown. I cannot wait to come inside from a cold night of snow fun and cozy up with one of these babies.
Also floating around in the box was a pamphlet from "Nan Rothwell Pottery" located in Faber Virginia. This pottery shop looks so charming, I hope that someday I have the opportunity to visit. I was kind of hoping that the cocoa was an indication of what would be in the final package. I wasn't disappointed. Look at the gorgeous mug and spoon rest that Maya chose for me. I have no doubt in my mind that I will use this everyday and I will particularly appreciate a place for my dirty spoon rather than the sad piece of paper towel I usually use.

A little more history about Nan Rothwell - she is a friend of Maya's and was introduced to both her and her wonderful craft though her father. Apparently Maya's Dad first met Nan when he was young and she had given him some of her "rejected" bowls. Maya remembers using these bowls growing up.
And finally, last but certainly not least, the handwritten letter from Maya. It was written on lovely paper and included all of the history and thought behind all of the gifts you have seen. Everything I have received today from Maya will be treasured but I think this letter especially will be tucked away somewhere special to be found later on. It will remind me of this "Christmas in January" and the kindness of others who, like me, wanted to extend their spirit of giving to a stranger this holiday season.
Please take the time to visit my new friend Maya on her blog and read a little about her, the dogs she loves, and her art.
Thank you Maya!



  1. That is a wonderfully written post. I am so glad it finally got there! Good to know about the candy cane dust. I will have to package goodies a little differently from now on.

    I am so glad you like everything. It makes me happy to know I could give you knitted gifts that reminds you of your mother. It made my eyes start to tear up just a little.

    This has been an exciting and wonderful experience. I am glad to have you as a new friend too!

  2. Yay! It looks like that package was well worth the wait!

  3. So happy that you received your package, Shannon! It sounds like Maya really took time to make it special. :)

  4. Yay! I'm so glad you had a wonderful brown package exchange!!!! I have something planned...but you have to wait until I can figure out part of it! :)

    I loved my package from you!!!

    Have a great day!!!



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