Some gifts stay with you forever.

I finally got to finish setting up Eli’s Nursery the way I wanted it, when I found an old gift that warmed my heart. First  a little introduction to the history of this gift. When I was 14 years old, I decided that I have to grow up and be a better person. I turned to the greatest role model I could find back then, Winnie the Pooh. I would read the books thoroughly, embracing Pooh’s casual outlook on life and learning how to handle myself more gracefully in this world. By the time I was 16, my love to pooh was shared with my close friends. One of these friends (A very dear one until this day indeed), made a beautiful gift for my sweet 16. She drew the map of a 100 acres forest (This was 1996, and colored printers were not very common), and framed it. I remember how surprised I was to receive this gift. My friend obviously dedicated time and thought in making this gift for me, and it has been very dear to me for me ever since. Another nice touch was that she wrote the birthday wishes on the back (Which means I can still read them to this day).

This photo was hung in my room and in every apartment I lived in ever since, and today it is proudly displayed in Eli’s nursery.

Some gifts, just stay with you forever…

Pooh

I truly believe in positive thinking. I think it is a great way to achieve the goals in your life, big or small. In the gifting world, wishlists are a great way to turn your dreams into reality. How does it work? All you have to do is  make your wishlist known to the world.

My friend was thinking positively. She posted several times on her Facebook wall, that she would love to get a Cinderella Dress  for her upcoming birthday. Seeing an opportunity to make a wish come true, I arranged a few friends and we got the gift together. It wasn’t simple since the dress that we saw in the store wasn’t the deluxe version presented online. I didn’t want to settle for second best, therefore, I found the dress on Amazon. Unfortunately, shipping to Israel wan’t available. I wasn’t ready to give up and I kept thinking that I can find the exact dress my friend wanted. Luckily, my dad was visiting my grandmother in the states. I shipped the dress there, and he was able to bring it back with him just in time for the birthday party.

 

A dream is a wish your heart makes

Photograph: Eitan Ben-Haim

This is an excellent example for how positive thinking works. I could have said: “It won’t work”, “It’s too hard”, “I’m never gonna get it”, etc…. But I kept thinking positively and so was my friend. Together, we managed to make this dream of hers come true, Simply by the power of positive thinking.

Look how beautiful she looks in it, a real princess indeed!

I am very excited to share this next gift with you, and although you might not relate to the “Mad Scientist” algorithm per se, I am sure you know someone who will appreciate this unique gift. Now, before I present you with the gift itself, you may wonder how did I came to know a mad scientist. Well I can’t say I had anything to do with it other than being born to one. Yep, my father is a well established scientist and some would call him a well established madman as well… Although in a good way 🙂

Every year for his birthday, my siblings and I would buy him a penguin classic or a fossil for his collection, but for his 65th birthday I really wanted to get him something special and when I want to find a special gift, I often make a gift algorithm to help me come up with ideas. So as you can see by this gift algorithm, my dad is a rather old fashioned kind of guy who is into classical music, historic and prehistoric stuff. He also likes to cook, so a good kitchen gadget is always welcome. Don’t let this algorithm fool you, my dad isn’t some, mind my French, “old fart”.  He is quite funny and youthful, and he is fun to be around… even if he does listen to classical music and collects fossils. Just teasing you Dad! I think you are great!

 

Once I finished the gift algorithm it was obvious that I should stick to science/history/prehistory, while a quick Google search led me to the National Geographic Website, where I found The Genographic Project. After doing their test, my dad wrote us all an email describing how the test works… He did such a great job, it now makes it easier for me to explain it to you by quoting his e-mail he sent to us:

“Dear all,

The kids bought me for my birthday a kit for the National Geographic Genographic Project which documents “The Human Journey” out of Africa and dispersal throughout the world.

The kit includes a DNA sampling device which scrapes buccal cells from inside of your cheek, which you send back to them  to get “deep” DNA sequencing, which then gives markers relevant to given global sites where mutations occurred in prehistory.

It is thus possible to detail the journey of our ancestors. You have to choose either the mother’s side (mitochondrial DNA) or the father’s side (the Y chromosome), both of which contain stable regions which basically remain unchanged. From these regions, the extremely rare mutation markers can be detected, which then can be translated to places in the world that reflects the journey of our ancestors out of Africa.

It is only these two sources of DNA (mitochondrial for the mother and Y chromosome for the father ) that are relevant for these studies. The kit asks you to choose one. Obviously, women can choose only the mother’s side, since they don’t have a Y chromosome. Men can choose either side, and I chose the mother’s side which would then document my mother’s side. This means that the mitochondrial DNA can be traced backwards throughout history: My mother received this DNA from her mother (my grandmother) who received it from her mother (my great-grandmother) who received it from her mother, and so on…”

 

Since my dad is so smart, he was able to predict the results as he continues in his letter:

Well, it was rather clear to me that the journey of our ancestors went the route up through the Middle East and Central Asia via the Caspian Sea region (the Caucases) and then Northward and Eastward into Europe.  Indeed this is true as you can see by the enclosed map. We have the 2 mutations in our mitochondrial DNA that puts us there about 15,000 years ago. For more information read the description that documents our lineage and journey out of Africa. I expect that this is rather common, but it might be interesting for us to check out the other paths available in our families.

And what about myfather’s Y chromosome? Well, I have another birthday coming up…!”

They say that if you want to know where you are going you have to know where you came from… Personally, I don’t think that’s true, but if it is, my dad should really know where he is going after receiving his gift. The good thing is, I don’t have to worry about next year… I already know what to get him….

Another birthday is coming up, therefore, another gift algorithm is in order. This algorithm was so much fun to illustrate! It’s for a musicals fanatic, cat loving, dream weaver and much talented rainbow sewing fairy, who happens to be a great friend. Initially I really wanted to make a DIY project, since she is responsible for some of the more creative gift ideas in this blog such as the Freddie jacket and the Avatar doll.

 

 

However, about a month ago I found the perfect gift for her – a  Heartwood Creek sewing fairy figurine by Jim shore.

 

 

The combination of the fairy, the colors and the sewing, forms a distinctive portrayal of my friend. I love the details on this one, the needle, the thimble and the fact that the piece of string in the fairy’s hand is real. I know that it will make a wonderful addition to her fairy collection.

Share with us your story of a gift algorithm or characteristic present you gave or got… Your idea’s are welcome here.

I finally got to see my friend from the post on March 18th about the gift algorithm. Since I didn’t listen to my own advice to start looking in Zara, I wasted time by looking in other stores. Naturally, I ended up finding what I was looking for at her favorite store. I really should listen to my own advice…!

Anyways, if you read the previous post, I hope you can see the connection between the algorithm and this blouse. I chose it because the style is very elegant and the colors are her favorite. Though I thought the overall look was suitable, I wasn’t sure about the size and the pattern.

 

 

I always find it important to purchase a bought gift practically on the day of the giving, so that it is easy to exchange in case you get the wrong size, fit or style. Always make sure you enclose a gift receipt; you don’t want your friend to be stuck with a gift they don’t like.  Also, try and buy the gift in a place you think your friend will like. In this case I know that this is her favorite store; hence if she decides to exchange it, she is bound to find something else.

 

Baking goods

This is a quick follow up for the gift algorithm. Even though I still haven’t found a gift for my friend, I ran into this perfect tin box for her. The black and white classic pattern fit the gift algorithm dead on. The only problem was- what to put in it?

Since I couldn’t give it to her empty, I baked some heart shaped muffins to go with it. These muffins were super easy to make and you can find great recipes for your favorite muffins online. This is my first baking experience and you can tell by the shape of the muffins that I forgot to add baking powder. On the other hand, this was a blessing in disguise since the heart shape came out perfect!

Sometimes giving a gift is pure mathematics. If you gather enough information on the person receiving the gift, you are able to find the perfect item for them. This next gift I am getting is for a close friend. I really wanted to get her something she will love.

I made a mapping of the things that my friend likes, in order to have a clearer image of what to look for, while shopping for her present. Usually I visualize this map in my head, but for you dear reader, I have made an illustration.

 

 

The first thing that you’ll notice is that the illustration I made consists mainly of black & white items. This is because my friend almost always dresses in black & white and she loves classic black & white patterns. You can also see that she is a very classy woman with an amazing Audrey Hepburn sense of style. I know that my friend loves shoes (especially black & white combos). However, I will avoid buying shoes since you should really try on shoes yourself before buying them.

Now all I have to do is go shopping… I will start at her favorite store Zara and continue from there.

Wish me luck and wait for the follow-up to see what I got her.

 

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