Let me take you back to Christmas of 2012. Instead of exchanging gifts, my sister floated the idea of each of us submitting a coupon for a service that the giver would honor at some point in the coming year. Everyone could participate - from the kids to Grandma - and anyone who opted out, well, that was fine, too.
My entry was a coupon for a bag of mending. My DH offered up a day of yard work. DD2 offered free babysitting. So, whatever talent we could offer, that went into the mix. It was lots of fun.
After all the coupons were collected and mixed up in a basket, we each drew a number. There were about 24 or so participating, so whoever had drawn #1 selected the first coupon. Then #2 drew, and could keep what he/she drew or steal the coupon from #1. So we continued drawing all the coupons, stealing along the way, until everyone was satisfied.
My sister-in-law Beth ended up with my mending coupon. She brought her bag of mending to me in September. She took it easy on me! Only 2 pairs of blue jeans - one ripped in the seat, the other ripped around a rear pocket. Also in the bag was a pillow that I had made and given them perhaps 25 years ago! It was threadbare and pulling apart at the seams.
Alas, I didn't think to take a before picture, but have a look at the after.
Back in the 80s, I was more into counted cross stitch than quilting, and I made quite a few of these initial pillows. The original had a navy and white plaid border and back, and lots of ruffles. The center panel is showing minimal wear, with most of the wear in the seams because my brother Alan had been folding it in half and using it for support of his lower back. (A family thing - these lower back issues!) So I removed everything from the center panel, added a new border and backing, and inserted a fresh new pillow form. My daughter said that ruffles were not in style anymore, so I took the easy way out, and just stitched it right up. To give additional support of that center panel, I ironed on a medium weight interfacing. It should survive another 25 years!
In an effort to keep my brother and his lower back happy, I covered the old pillow form with a sturdy cotton, and delivered it back to him.
I returned the bag of mending on Christmas Day, 2013, one year after the coupon was given. I think Beth was happy with the return. Getting 2 pillows out of one is a definite bargain, and I think I did a decent job on those jeans. Hoping they will get some use out of them in the coming year!
We did not repeat the coupon exchange this Christmas, but I think we will do it again on some future Christmas. Giving of oneself is so much more personal and rewarding than just throwing a gift into a bag. Mending is one of my least favorite things, but knowing that I was gifting for Christmas - even 12 months later - made it entirely more palatable!
Has your family ever done something similar to this? I would love to hear about it if you have.
Happy Quilting, Friends!