Monday, 16 December 2013

"The Most Incredible Gift" - A Very Successful Secret Santa


So yesterday was The City Quilter's Staff Xmas Party and the main event of the evening was the Secret Santa Gift Swap. 

I'd been really nervous about whose name I'd draw for the swap - as a first timer I wasn't sure what type of gift was expected just that it should be handmade rather than bought - well we are a bunch of crafty ladies working in a quilting supplies store!.  I dropped lucky in the name draw - my swap partner was my good friend Karen and after some deliberation I knew that I couldn't go wrong with a present that included photos of her 1 year old twins.

I decided to make a photo album - sure we all have photos on our phones and computers but how many of us have albums these days?

Here's How I Did It
  • I downloaded 28 photos from Karen's facebook page - photos just of Karen, her husband and their babies starting with a photo taken during Karen's pregnancy and over the last 15 months since the twins were born.
  •   I converted them to black & white images using Photoshop and then transformed them into Polaroids using Picmonkey.  
  • Next I mounted the photos in an album with black pages, one per page using double sided tape.
  • I made a fabric cover for the album using two designs of Karen's favourite fabric: 70% cotton/30% silk blends from the Liberty Art Fabrics collection - Willows Garden Portsea Place Voile (blue & red) and  June's Meadow B Portsea Place Voile


  • For the front cover I took a mini canvas and applied a photo of Karen, her husband and their babies.
  •  I added "Our Family" text to the photo. 
  •  I used Diamond Glaze to create a clear protective finish over the photo/canvas surface.   
  • Once the surface was dry and hardened I attached the canvas to the album cover using double sided tape.


  • I included a silver DecoColor Paint Pen so Karen can add her own notes and doodles to each page.


I'm delighted to report back that Karen was thrilled with her present, yes there were even tears and in her own words, as posted on facebook last night, it was "the most incredible gift from my incredible friend".  I think we can safely say that was a very successful Secret Santa!!!

You might be wondering what I received from my Secret Santa?

Well my Secret Santa turned out to be my fellow Bernina Sales Person, Janell.  She made me the most amazing chocolate fudge along with peanut butter, chocolate and oatmeal cakes and some to die for cranberry and white chocolate chunk brownies.  The best part of that is that they're all gluten free, just for me and I'm not sharing!!!  Thanks Janell, you're such a sweetie :D


Update Tuesday, 17 December 2013 - Here's a link to The City Quilter's facebook party photo album

The City Quilter's Staff Holiday Party, 2013



Now it's your turn, spill the beans - what's the best or maybe even the worst Secret Santa gift you've ever received?





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25 comments:

  1. Can't think of any brilliant Secret Santa present I have received, most useful was a mini umbrella which only bit the dust recently other than that it is usually candles or chocolate :)

    You certainly did your friend proud Chrissie.

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    1. You can't go wrong with an umbrella really as a gift can you Fiona - especially in Britain!? :D

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  2. One of the perks of working in your job must be being surrounded by all those creative Secret Santas. I would certainly be looking forward to the office Christmas party every year if I worked there. Lucky duck. What a great gift you gave and lovely gift your received. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I work with the best bunch of girls ever, heaps of talent and creativity and we're all so supportive of each other too - sometimes that's just what you need to get through your working day! :D

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  3. Wow it must be great to be surrounded by creative people. Well done on such a thoughtful gift! I lost the Secret Santa game (it's hideously complicated, involves playing cards and swapping presents competitively) and got a Borat style swimsuit. Just what I always wanted. Obviously. Will be taking revenge next year I think!

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    1. I love the girls I work with Laura, I'd have been thrilled to have received any of the gifts given. Oh dear to the Borat style swimsuit - that's really pretty bad! :D

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  4. Oh my word - your gift brought tears to MY eyes, so I can only imagine how the receiver must feel. What a beautiful thing to do for another. I love the touch of adding the pen for her own personal words. Lovely. AND a whole sack full of gluten free goodies made for you - wow! I am thinking that the bunch at City Quilter are a caring sort, must be why I had SUCH fun on my visit there!!!

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    1. Thank you so much Lisa, Karen just loves it and that's amazing for me too. I have eaten all of my cookies and cakes and just have to have the recipes for both from Janell, particularly the cookies which were delish. I've got a couple of pieces of fudge left but by the end of today it'll be a totally different story. I just love working with the girls :D

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  5. Oh wow that photo album is just wonderful. Such a thoughtful thing to do and thank you so much for sharing how to make it. What a good idea to use a little canvas and seal in the photo. Your talents know now bounds! No wonder she was thrilled with it. And those cookies look delicious. It sounds like the best Secret Santa to be in!

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  6. Can't remember a Secret Santa at the moment, but just wanted to say your photo album is a super gift. I'd love one. Very cross with reviewer in The Guardian who disparaged all the home made gifts on Great British Sewing Bee (you probably didn't see this) in favour of a i pad etc. I love home made gifts. It means someone took the trouble to do something just for me. Keep the great tradition of home made gifts going!

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    1. Oh I did see the Great British Sewing Bee Christmas Special last Sunday - I really enjoyed it. I loved the first series but was slightly disappointed that they just including dressmaking so was pleased to see other sewn crafts included in this special.

      I found The Guardian review here - it's just dreadful and I don't think it's a true reflection of the change in society back towards handmade crafts. Looking forward very much to the second series of GBSB in the new year :D

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  7. No wonder your friend Karen cried!
    Where DO you get your great ideas from? HOW do you know how to put them into practise? WHERE did you learn to be so skilled and professional?

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    1. You are the sweetest Queenie, by all accounts I have my Grandmothers to thank for my inherited creative skills - though I think my Mum underestimates and has underutilised her own creativity but there's been glimpses of it over the years. I've studied and learnt skills over the years but the ease with which I 'pick things up' and that way of just knowing how to do something without ever being shown suggests to me an inherited ability. :D

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  8. What a beautiful book and cover -I m not surprised there was a tear in her eye! Great collection of sweet goodies for you too! XX

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  9. How beautiful and what a precious gift!! Thanks for sharing.
    Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

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  10. love that photo album! Very nice!!

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  11. Oh what a beautiful present! So thoughtful.

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  12. What a sweet gift! Lovely fabric you chose.

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  13. what a wonderful present! Our secret santa was all smellies and socks!

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  14. This is so cute! I absolutely love this idea!

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  15. What a wonderful Secret Santa gift, Chrissie! Love it!

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  16. Wow! That is just super! I wish I had a secret Santa that delivers like this! :-)

    Merry Christmas...

    XO,

    Sheila

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  17. I love your gift! I used to do Secret Santa's when I was in High School, it was so fun! I'm totally doing that next year :)

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  18. Working with such a great group of people certainly makes life a lot more fun. LOVE your gift! I'm sure she loved it!

    Thanks so much for partying at Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

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  19. What a wonderful, thoughtful gift. You put so much heart into it. I love it. I'm going to have to keep this pattern. I love making these types of things.

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