I love handmade gifts. I cherish the time the giver takes to conceive the idea and then craft it with love. I love to be the giver of a handmade gift–committing a part of myself to someone else and anticipating the love with which it will be received.

I also hate handmade gifts :). I’ve already shared my grinch-y-ness with y’all over the Christmas season. I thought Jeremiah was going burn all the nightgowns up before I could finish embroidering them and demand his wife back. I still have two to finish, and we’re eeking up on the middle of January (don’t tell Jeremiah–he thinks I’ve abandoned the projects).
I’ve admitted something else this Christmas season–I love store-bought gifts too. Especially when they come from clothing stores ;). If you’ve been around long you know that shopping doesn’t fit into our residency/fellowship budget. This year, I acknowledged the anticipation I hold for Christmas to bring a MUCH needed spark to my wardrobe. Having a handful of new items to mix in with the old faithfuls makes a WORLD of difference. For Pace and Mary Aplin, who outgrow their clothes between seasons, it’s more a state of necessity than desire for a few new items. When a once long-sleeve shirt goes past three-quarter length and begins inching close to the elbow, it’s time for a new shirt.
While I’m extremely excited about handmade and non-handmade gifts from this year, I’ve taken pictures of the handmade ones to share with you:
My Mom’s friend, Kendall Boggs, is an artist and I won this in a giveaway on her blog–sort of. Somebody else was actually drawn to win, but she gave me one too. I love it, and I’m counting it as a homemade Christmas present. You should check out some of her other artwork–here.

Alex, Jeremiah’s baby sister, made this collage of pictures for us. Jeremiah’s Grandmother Maddox made GI-normous picture collages of their family throughout the years. When Jeremiah and I were dating, I used to stand in front of them and love seeing the changes grow across the wall–from three little boys and a young preacher with his wife, to teenage boys with their girlfriends and, later, wives. Grandchildren playing baseball and riding horses–you could see the whole family grow up before your eyes. It was a big day for me when I finally made a debut in one of those collages! One small picture of Jeremiah and me at the first concert we ever went to together. And now, Allie, I feel like I have been truly inaugurated! Our very own family collage. Grandmother would be so proud 🙂

Taylor took that favorite picture of Mom that I shared in the last blog and did an “acetate transfer” (don’t tell Taylor, but I have no idea what that means). I think the vintage and whimsical look that created is fascinating,

especially when paired with a “love you” written in Mom’s own hand-writing…

From one tear-jerker to the next! It was sort of a weepy Christmas around here 🙂
Caroline was going through Mom’s sewing kit, and she found a poem written on this needlepoint canvas.
It says:
Abby Catherine, bundle of joy,
Tiny and helpless, beautiful to see.
How did you come to belong to me?
Little hands that hold on tight,
Sweet small mouth to kiss goodnight.
Growing, growing every day,
If only you could stay this way.
In need of me for everything,
Hold you close and softly sing.
Jesus loves you this I know,
Designed you, formed you, and watched you grow.
Dimpled grins are all in fun,
When up your back the angles run.
Chinkypen eyes sent to me from above,
Abby, you’ll always have my love.
May, 14 1982
Still crying every time I read it.
Nice to know she really loved that honeymoon accident…
I vaguely remember her reading me this poem that she wrote for me as a baby. I remember asking her why she thought it kind to call my small eyes “chinkypen.” (I hope nobody is offended by what seems like a racial slur to me as an adult 🙂 Apparently, she thought it was a compliment fit for her newborn!) I also have a very vague recollection of her telling me she loved to run her fingers up the angles of my back, and watch the way I wriggled and grinned under her touch.
Caroline learned to needlepoint, so that she could finish this project for me, that Mom started so many years ago.

And finally, those embroidered nightgowns. Pretty sure I promised Caroline I was photographing the nightgown and not her face. Pretty sure I assured her I wouldn’t post any of her face…I lied 🙂

The quote says: “Is solace anywhere more comforting than in the arms of a sister.” I felt like that quote captured perfectly the last three years for the four of us.

The back. That deep fold is the zipper running down the middle of the back of the dress.
Caroline and her sweet mother-in-law, Mrs. Melinda, sewed all these nightgowns for me. I adore them and am so thankful for smart people who can turn ideas into substance with a sewing machine. I am a pitiful seamstress, but I do love to embroider.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of all the nightgowns (four down, two to go), and they’re all a little different. However, here is a close-up of Taylor’s.

The non-handmade gifts will be appearing on the blog as well…as we wear them out 🙂

21 Responses to “My Love and Hate of Handmade Gifts”

  1. Holland says:

    wow– i don't know you… but we have some friends in common and i love your blog. just wanted to say, the poem made me cry– it's beautiful. it is so special that you have that.

  2. BKaminski says:

    Very Pretty! I'm glad for you no one burned them up 🙂

  3. Margaret says:

    Abby-what a sweet gift to have that poem. Tears shed as I read it. Such beautiful words and so much love in them.

  4. Anna says:

    Abby, tears are ROLLING down my face as I read that poem. So sweet. Love that Caroline did that for you. p.s. My mom always called me her little chinkypen too…and I think it was good thing 🙂

  5. Kat says:

    I don't know you but love your blog. The gowns are beautiful!

  6. Lauren says:

    the nightgowns are beautiful and i cant believe caroline learned how just to finish the poem. precious!

  7. Kendall Boggs says:

    First, thank you for the "shout out" sweetie!, next, oh that poem!!!! Tears galore! She loved you So very much,
    I do to!!!
    oh, you have your mother's talent!!!

  8. A fly on the wall says:

    I've never met you, but the "love you" just made my cry my eyes out. What sweet and thoughtful sisters you all are! You've inspired me to start doing more handmade gifts! Love your blog!

  9. Katie says:

    Abby, that poem is so precious. What a special and thoughtful gift that was for your sister to finish for you. My mom wrote a poem for me on my wedding day that she gave to me along with a beautiful "Snow"woman since that would become my new last name. Its outfit was fashioned from things she'd used for our wedding day as well as some bit and pieces from her own. It is a special treasure that brings tears to my eyes when I think of it.
    So glad you had a wonderful "handmade" and "store-bought" Christmas – blessings either way. Happy New Year from Alabama!

  10. Abby Rogers says:

    Abby, I didnt know your middle name was Catherine too? Must have been a popular combo, I now know three Abby Catherines!

  11. Brooke @ Blueprint Bliss says:

    Abby- the embroidery is AMAZING. I'm so impressed.

  12. Lindsey says:

    wow abby. to all of it. those nightgowns are so intricately beautiful. and the poem and picture of your mom. sweet, sweet treasures. what a blessing your family is!

  13. Darby says:

    Abby, I am completely amazed by all of it! I know your mom is too!! The work of your hands and the work of your sister's hands is so unbelievably precious, far more precious than anything money can buy! I can not get over those nightgowns… Abby!!! UNBELIEVABLE, absolutely UNBELIEVABLE and don't for one second think they weren't worth it! So very proud of you!!! And the "love you" with the pic.. so very precious!!!

  14. aedozier says:

    I teared up and swallowed hard reading the poem. Not only did your mom write that sweet poem, but to cross stitch it too! I am sure she prayed over every word she stitched. And how special that your sister finished it. The picture of your mom (so cool she cheered for AU and it looks like you!)with her writing is incredible too! You have creative sisters who have big hearts!

  15. Wanting What I Have says:

    Oh Abby!!! You are SO talented! Those nightgowns are absolutely gorgeous. I can't get over how beautiful your embroidery is! What a sweet gift for your sisters. Wow.

    Love the poem, too. And the picture. How special.

  16. Gail says:

    Abby, Loved this post. Remember, dear, God makes no mistakes!You are sooooo loved!!! Please write more!!! Happy weekend! G

  17. Anonymous says:

    i am shocked that some posts were deletable shame on the posters — would a scanner allow for scanning and then manipulating the images to create a collage suitable for printing and sharing with the family?? sure a collage is familiar but a slide show on flicker OMGosh a slide show with suitably cropped photos how 21st century hehehe I know tradition if i were a rich man i would buy a scana\snaner scanny scaner then a scanner i would have– if i were a wealthy man — I love Fiddler on the Roof run to a High School production you may see the next Jake gyllenhall

  18. Melissa Richie says:

    Abby – those nightgowns are amazing. Simply amazing. I just can't stop looking at the pictures! I love the gown design, as well. Way to go Caroline and her MIL (did they write a pattern for them? 🙂

    I also just keep reading the poem your mom wrote and keep thinking about how precious it must be to you. What a treasure.

    Oh, and I pretty much wore the dress you made me every other day this summer 🙂

  19. Konie says:

    I sure am proud of what you accomplished on TWO gowns!!!! That was A LOT of stitching!!!! When your dad and I were in Seattle I was pretty much thinking that ONE gown would not be complete:)))) Only because of the tedious work with MANY hours. Taking care of little ones and a sweetheart enhance many hours in a day :))))))…..but you found a few minutes to complete a lot of love:)) With the other sisters understanding the unfinished gowns. Sometimes our desires ( I use this word MORE since knowing your dad:)) and plans mean as much as finished products:) Job well done sweet Abby:) XOXO….:)

  20. Pamela says:

    Beautiful Abby, I have just started embrodering again (i learned as a kid) and it is addictive I just wish I was as creative and artistic as you.

  21. Susan B says:

    What a beautiful legacy your mom left for you!! The Poem is so touching…I always thought a chinquapin was a nut from a type of oak tree. It makes me have a lump in throat reading the love expressed!

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