How’s that economy going for you? Trying to be sensible as we charge into the gift-giving orgy? I got it into my head that making gifts this year would not only be a charming choice but also a financially sound approach.
An early and unsuspected frost blackened and deforested my basil and tarragon, mercilessly killing my holiday spirit along with my dried herb and hand printed/colored recipe booklet idea in the process. That same cold weather jumpstarted the pre-holiday panic that usually doesn’t settle in until 2 days before Christmas when I realize I’ve forgotten a whole branch on the family tree. It’s getting late for homemade. (My super talented friend Wendy, has been working on a fabulous Irish cabled wool sweater for me since mid-June, how can I possibly honor that most stunning gift with the long-suffering but still living parsley sprig?) I don’t suppose it’s enough that she’ll see her name in print in my undiscovered blog, sadly only if I print it out and frame it for her.
Time to supercharge my dual use brain and get to work. Engage left brain – research easily made gifts, inventory abundances within the household. Engage right brain – over embellish simply projects, figure out the range of creative opportunities presented by what I’ve got.
I multi-tasked while conducting this effort and got the recycling ready to go. Inventory note: I have an infinite supply of paper towel tubes and magazines and catalogs (yes I still read hard copies). Later while vacuuming I added to the list. I have a mound of harvestable white bunny fur. This is a seasonal opportunity – as the great white bunny molts in magnificent drifts of winter white softness foreshadowing the snow to come, except the frozen part. Next up laundry and I bristled at the dryer filter that was thickly blanketed in multi-shaded layers of grey. And before I could complete my “lint is a fire hazard” tirade, I returned to the list to acknowledge that I am truly blessed with an abundance of free dryer lint.
Google search ”uses for dryer lint” produced 41,600 listings. Figured I should start on page one and see how far I get. Appeared that a lot of the same tips are repeated from page 1-15, so I opted for the easiest: Dryer lint as a firestarter. We all know the stuff is flammable, don’t make me get back on my soap box about that, but it appears you can use it as kindling and if you have camping friends, you can cram pill bottles with the stuff and give it to them and they’ll be eternally grateful unless of course they were expecting the Percocet or Viagra the label promised.
Now camping isn’t really my thing, I love nature, I love to hike in the woods, but then I offer the woods a break from human interaction, and considerately head to a posh hotel. I tend to flock together with like-minded folks so camp firestarters won’t be making their way to Wendy’s for the sweater exchange, but, but, but, she has a fireplace. And fireplace firestarters use another of my abundant products – paper towel tubes. Jam ‘em with lint, bury under logs and light….in the process of collecting the ingredients, it was hard not to notice this is not a pretty gift. So I cleverly thought I would wrap them in real birch bark for prettification. Only then did I consider the fact that stringing the fluffy cotton bits together was a veritable hairball – long brown human, and even more short white bunny fur. Do I need to trouble shoot for burning hair smell? I bought long cinnamon sticks and tucked them inside and that troubled me because it was not a free gift any longer. Those barks cost me $6.99. But the cost factor became even more complex when a couple of weeks after my birch bark foraging trip, I was forking out a $20 co-pay and $22 for the initial course of anti-Lymes medication. Must decide whether that counts toward my total, because that brings me frighteningly close to a vintage bottle of Veuve Clicquot Wendy would have really appreciated. Click link to learn more about VC. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/17/veuve-clicquot-champagne-_n_784723.html?ir=Food ….Truthfully, readers, would you want this gift?…Okay then stayed tuned for Plan B, coming soon to a blog near you.
(c) 2010 by Alison Colby-Campbell