December 17, 2009

chriiiistmas, chriiiiistmas tiiiime is heeeere

(please read/sing that title in a chipmunk voice. is that song in your head now? i've been singing "iiii just waaaaant a huuuuula hooooooop" for like three days straight.)

i think i've done pretty well this year with christmas gift shopping: etsy has been a HUGE help (i'd show you what i've gotten from there, but i believe everyone who's getting etsy gifts reads this blog). i made (slash will make) a few of my gifts, and i bought my immediate family most of their loot while i was in eastern europe in october.

my mom is particularly hard to buy for. i needed something more to round out her gift, and... well. she's the type of person who, if she decides she wants/needs something, immediately goes out and gets it for herself. and if she HASN'T gotten it for herself, it's because she doesn't want it / thinks it's excessive (and not in a fun, "oh, it's just too much of a splurge!" way) / doesn't want more "stuff" cluttering her house / etc etc etc. and she's quite particular in what she likes to do with her spare time, so activity or experience gifts are a little risky for her as well.

however, my lovely friend alyssa made super-adorable calendars for our little group of girls for christmas this year from snapfish, with collages of us each month and a picture of each girl on the day of our birthday. it's uber-cute. and it gave me an idea for my mom (who, you may recall, is a super-foodie and restaurant reviewer): a food and beverage calendar using my own photos.

i am by no means a serious photographer, or really know wtf i'm doing with my camera at any given point in time. and after trying to "edit" these photos last night i have come to the conclusion that WOW, i imagine photoshop must be really helpful for people who want their photos to look remotely ok. but! even so, i'm pretty happy with the pictures i do have although ARGHHH that dust spot on the wine barrel one is KILLING ME, why oh WHY can't i have a clone tool for free?? ahem. anyway!

Alice's 2010 Food and Wine Calendar













so, it's all useful and stuff, because it's a calendar, and it's personal because i took the photos (and spent FAR FAR TOO LONG trying to adjust lighting / etc on them, i seriously need to man up and buy effing photoshop), and it's food-themed, which is sort of Her Thing. i'm pretty happy with it.

how is gift buying / making going for you guys?? i am always FASCINATED to hear about homemade gifts, so please share. with links, if applicable :-)


  1. I love that calendar! It's AWESOME!! Also, I have photoshop so if you want me to edit that dust spot off, send me the file and I'll take care of it for you!

  2. im embarassed to admit that i want to see the new chipmunks movie to hear their teeny little voices sing beyonce's "put a ring on it" im sick i know.

    also, the september banana peel statue pic is my ABSOLUTE FAVE. clever and visually appealing!

  3. THIS. Is awesome. I am so impressed!

  4. That calendar is beautiful - absolutely gorgeous!

    If you're looking for a free program like Photoshop, I used GIMP for awhile before I got my Mac and it worked great (it's got most of the same features).

    I bought all of my gifts this year, although I am in the process of making a book full of cake/cupcake recipes for my aunt, who loves to bake. It'll take me forever, so it'll have to be a 2010 gift. :)

  5. I love your food calendar idea. I hope you're going to print one up for yourself, too, after you went through all that effort!

    My dad is EXACTLY like your mom. Someone suggested getting "life experience" gifts for that type of person. Theater or concert tickets. Brewery/winery tours. Something special for a vacation they already have planned. Etc. It actually opens a bunch of doors I hadn't considered before!

  6. That calendar is awesome. Your photos are great!

    I bought several gifts on Etsy, too!

  7. This is such a good idea! I should do something similar for my dad...hmm. I mainly bought presents (including lots of books) for people but made one or two gifts. I made a "date night" gift for my boyfriend with symphony tickets and a reservation to his favorite restaurant. It's kind of homemade...

  8. What a thoughtful and awesome gift! My most thoughtful gift this year is for my sister's finance. They have a bar in their new house, so I had custom beer mats designed that say "Fergal's Bar".

  9. I have not even started buying presents yet. I'm such a slacker. I'm also completely inept at making anything, so commercial goods it is.

    As soon as I have some free time...

    Etsy you say?

  10. Oh Alice! It's a wonderful calendar and a wonderful idea and wonderful photos! I LIKE the dust spots because I think they provide ATMOSPHERE, like visible light rays do.

  11. Gorgeous photos! Is it lunchtime yet? What a wonderful idea. I was thinking of getting my mom some of those beverage coasters in which you can put photos.

    A few years ago I went to Michaels and bought some little jars. I filled the jars with sand and/or those big glass beady things and put a candle inside. Then I strung some wire around the opening and made a handle. So they're little hanging lanterns!

    I've also knitted hats, scarves and blankets. But that can be VERY time consuming and arthritis inducing. :-)

  12. AHHHH but also i hope it goes without mentioning (but i had to comment again and mention just in case) i really really hope you've been to too!

  13. I love the photos Alice! Wonderful idea!!

  14. Oh my gosh, that calendar is amazing! Beautiful pictures, and what a charming, thoughtful gift! I'm sure the recipient will be thrilled!

    Also, where was that banana sculpture? I know I've seen it and I've seen it often, but can't figure out where!

  15. My mother is impossible. IMPOSSIBLE.

    So I've just started doing charity work or donating money to a cause she believes in in her name.

  16. very nice!! I make calendars as well, but all the months have pictures of the kids.

  17. Alice these photos are amazing!

  18. Awesome! I made a Miss Leyba calendar to give to our families... will write a post about it after they've received them!

  19. I love the photos! I hope your mom loves it.

    We bought all of our gifts this year. ;)

    Steven's family is just like your mom - they buy everything. They have so much stuff. We did what Nilsa suggested - bought them tickets to a show they can see while they're here.

  20. I think you did a wonderful job! She will love it! I STILL haven't done any shopping, I suck at life.

  21. I love it, I love it, I love it! So awesome.

  22. looks great! I love the shot of the cupcakes.
    I make a calendar for my parents every year but it's not fun like yours - my calendar features my stupid family members so I feel very grumbly while making it.

  23. OMG that calendar is beautiful!!

    I am not crafty or into making stuff at all. I WISH I was, but I was not born with that gene. The closest I come is making calendars every year using pics of our kid (the only grandchild on both sides) and it takes me hours of scrutinizing every pic/angle/font, etc.

  24. There's a freeware image processing program that does everything photoshop does, except for free! It has the unfortunate name of "GIMP" (Gnu Image Manipulation Program). You can get it here: I don't use photoshop any more, even for making images for publication.

  25. So this made me hungry.

    LOVE your pictures! I think it's the perfect gift for your mom. She will love it!!

    I got my parents tickets to go see A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theater and I have an idea in mind what I'm getting Matt. But that's it for me!

  26. What a great idea. I'm sure your mom will love it.

    I haven't even started shopping and this weekend will be power shop central.

  27. What a great gift! I am totally stealing it and will be taking pictures of the kids all year for the grandparents next year. Smartie smartie!!!!

  28. That calendar is so cool, Alice! My homemade gift this year was Limoncello. Way back in September, I spent part of a football game zesting several pounds of lemons, added the alcohol, and mostly just let it sit for a couple months before I added simple syrup and bottled it and added labels. Who doesn't want something fun to drink at the holidays?

  29. wow, alice, i'm VERY impressed. this is amazing!