A Not-Too-Shabby Special Gift

"Giving is our international language. Passing a gift from heart to heart bears a message beyond words, it is a gesture of love, friendship, celebration and acknowledgement." - Liezel Norval-Kruger & Tina-Marie Malherbe, THE ART OF GIVING

This week we were presented with the idea of a special gift. What makes a gift special? Is it the contents of the wrappings? Is it the thoughfulness of how it is wrapped or presented, is it the monetary value or sentimental value? Where does the joy lie? In the eyes of the receiver or in the heart of the giver?

When I was little, I couldn't buy birthday cards for my family, especially my mom as she was the one I'd have to ask for the money to do so. So I would make my own. She would always say that they meant more than a store bought card because they required thought and time and of course, effort.

As a busy mom (and wife and daughter and sister and neice...) the effort sometimes goes out the window with a birthday gift given in haste in the packet from the shop it came from or snuck barebottom under a pillow as a surpise. A shameful truth, I admit.

But, sometimes I have the time and I make the effort and this is how it goes:

1. Something to delight the senses...home made pickled limes and dark chocolate dipped chillies (for the person who actually enjoys spicy foods)

2. Something to ignite personal pleasure...a book (for someone who loves to read) about cheese (for the cheese lover) and a marble cheeseboard for one (same cheese lover)

3. A personal touch on the presentation...handmade card, fresh flowers or foliage, special wrapping (something that reflects you)

I've never done PICKLED LIMES before, but remember the blog on cocktails? So I had these leftover limes and it didn't look like they had any great significance in my future, so when I was paging through THE ART OF GIVING which I bought a good few years ago at one of my annual Exclusive Books Sales for inspiration, I came across these instructions:

For 400ml Jar, slice 2 limes and place in a colander, sprinkle 2 tbsp coarse sea salt and leave until limp. Layer into a jar, sprinkling with chillie flakes or powder (I used fresh chillies) and cover with Olive Oil and seal well. Use after 3 weeks.

Sounds pretty simple, right? Okay, so I did this and then had a stack of chillies leftover. As I always have chocolate around for baking, I melted some dark chocolate down and dipped the leftover chillies. I didn't want them to have one flat ugly side, so I figured I'd hang them to dry!

For the paper, I hauled out some acrylic paints, I selected Chartreuse and lightened it with good ol' White, and a wall stamp I've used so often on so many different projects; I upcycled the very paper I got from Westpack where I purchased the glass jar used for the pickles for wrapping paper!

When all of the elements were prepped and dried, it was a matter of getting the right flower for the occasion! My ribbon which I stumbled across at my local haberdashery when I was shopping for tulle for my Belle's 2nd birthday which we celebrated this weekend was my inspiration.

Wrapped in upcycled paper, a book for the cheese lover, with a marble cheeseboard for one, a bad of homemade dipped chillies and pickled limes, something special for someone special! My sister, who is forever giving! I can't even express how much she gives and gives and gives! A little gift, from one heart to another!

So mosey on over to Sawdust and Highheels for some budget friendly advise on gift presentation!

Keep It French has lovely ideas on different types of gift presentation!

And Ruffles & Rust who has the art of giving perfected has gorgeous ideas for you to spoil your loved ones!

Looking forward to next weeks Romancing the Home, it'll be our 12th instalment, can you believe it!

Until then, live life beautifully!

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