I can’t believe it’s almost mothers day again.

This will be my second mother’s day as a mother, which is really inconceivable.  This past year has been full of fear and frustration combined with infinite joy and love. But most of all, this year was full of wonderful gifts such as, first words (Mommy included), baby steps and loads of hugs and kisses. Today something really special happened and I want to share it with you. Eli who is 1.2 years old, went to my desk, reached out for my sketch book and a pen. He was trying to draw, but nothing came out since the pen still had the lid on (Surly he knows that mother’s day is coming up). I instinctively took out some crayons from the drawer and gave them to him. He made his first artwork and I was there to record the moment on film (I was so amazed by this beautiful moment that I forgot that I left the water in the tub running). I thought that it was such a shame that his father wasn’t there to see it and made up my mind to give him the drawing later today. After I bathed, dressed, fed and put Eli to bed, I took an envelope and used a “Winnie the pooh and piglet” puncher to make it pretty. If you look at the picture below you will see why I thought that this image is suitable.

Now I’m waiting till he comes home so I can give it to him. 

 

Mother's-day

 

What about Mother’s day you ask? Well, if you would scroll down a little you will find an article I wrote a few weeks ago about Giving time.

If you are looking for the perfect mother’s day gift, you will find it there.

For me, this beautiful moment with my son was better than any gift in the world… and what better way to celebrate such a gift, than to share it?

I’ve been meaning to post an article about the “experience gift” for over a year, since I love the idea of giving an activity as a gift. Some of you may remember the sky gliding gift or the Photo session gift, since I blogged about them. However, today I want to talk about the “experience gifts” I didn’t write about, the ones that striked out.

 
Experiance Gifts

 

 

I had a great gift idea for some of my more creative friends, a certificate for a craft class of some sort or another. I thought I had it all planned out: I arranged for a certificate with the art studio, made sure it was geographically close to the receiver, paid in advance for the class and gave the certificate as a gift. What I failed to understand is human nature to postponed unpleasant tasks such as calling to scheduled an appointment (Which always feels kind of awkward). This is what happened to the friends who received a gift certificate for a class or a dinner from me. They were really excited about the gift, but never fully redeemed it. Thinking about it, I  myself, received a dinner certificate more than six months ago, and I still haven’t used it. I was trying to understand why this came to be and I think I got it figured out. I would like to share with you some tips that would help you to successfully give an “experience gift”. I believe these tips would make the difference between a certificate sitting in a drawer and an unforgettable experience.

Tip number 1: Know your friend

Who is your friend? What kind of person is s/he? well organized? Has a lot of time? Social or independent? Bottom line, If you give this person a certificate would it sit in a drawer with all the other piles of things to do or will that person put it to use. Let me tell you that most people, including myself, would probably forget about it until it’s to late, even if it’s the most amazing experience on the face of the earth. This is just the way people are. Don’t give a certificate unless you are absolutely positive that this person would use it.

Tip number 2: Set a time and place

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Setting a time and place is very important. Once a person is invited to a specific time and place, he is more likely to arrive, as apposed to an open invitation that he may or may not choose to take.

Tip number 3: Make an event out of it

Planning the gift as an event is the best way to make sure the gift is fulfilled. You can invite a few friends, or have a privet birthday “date”. By planning an event or meeting you are making it very hard for the person not to come. This is the reason why the sky gliding and photo session worked, they planed as events, and sharing the experience with my friends was just an added bonus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The holidays are coming and gift idea’s and advise are becoming a real necessity. As a new mother I think I became more critical of children toys. I find myself asking what is the educational value of the toys I receive and as a designer I really want a toy to develop my child’s creativity skills. My boy is far too young to enjoy any of these toys, but here are my top 5 choices for the creative soul.

1. When my boy grows older my husband and I really want him to be the kid wearing a cape. Whenever we see a child with a cape we imagine are baby boy growing to be a creative little boy with superpowers (He already has a secret power, he melts other peoples hearts). I hope he inherits my creativity, and if he does, this DIY Superhero cape will be on his gift list. I love this gift not only because it would inspire your little one to get creative, but also since after the DIY activity is over, this cape will be perfect for dress up games, keeping that imagination running.

2. My not so secret dream is to learn how to sew. I know that one day I would learn how to do it, but until then I will sulk for not starting at a young age. If you have a creative little girl who dreams of becoming a fashion designer, get her a sewing machine. I really know nothing about sewing machines so I looked at a sewing forum, where everyone recommended buying a real machine. I did find a recommendation for this cute Hello kitty machine at the following blog: Sew Store-Bought .

3. I can’t begin to explain how much I love this Any-mal Set by Notoys.  The set contains one table/bench and two stools that are painted in chalkboard. Your child can build a castle, a train tunnel, a cat face, a pirate ship or any other image of his hearts desire. All S/he has to do is draw and play. My kid will have this set even if I have to build my own.

4. When I was a girl I collected Barbie dolls I even had a Barbie  Ferrari, but I never had a Barbie doll house, and I always dreamed of a home for my barbies. I don’t know if this home I found at Etsy can fit 12 Barbies,but it would be a lot of fun to assemble and decorate. I love the idea of a blank house that you can design by yourself, this is probably the reason I became an interior designer.

5. You should understand by now that I approve of spatial toys that create a creative environment and enhances imagination. When I was little we used to build playhouses on trees and play make-believe  but today there are endless possibilities for creating such environments. This cardboard construction set is yet another example for a toy that requires assembly skills and would keep your child occupied with his or hers imagination.

I would like to note that even though some toys seem like they are for boys and others are more likely to fit girls, I would most definitely consider a girl super-heroine or a boy fashion designer. I was always playing with the boys and grew up to be a girly girl adult with some boyish skills. So break the gender patterns and give those kids something to think about…

 

Life in the digital world is getting easier in almost every aspect of life. It’s getting hard to think about a world without emails, Facebook, blogs, Apps and well, basically the internet. In this digital world there are many websites and applications that are trying to help us deal with the elusive task of gifting, not to mention blogs such as this one. Here are three examples for such wonderful sites which hold a promise for an easier giving experience.

 

 

Wantful, is a personalized pop-up shop that you create for your recipient. After answering a few questions regarding style, relation to the recipient and your budget, you choose sixteen products which are presented in a cute little gift book. All your recipient needs to do is unwrap it, decide which product they love most, and the product will be sent to them. Wantful is a great website, it is user friendly, well designed and actually fun to use. They really managed to turn the gifting experience to something you would like to do. If you want to experience it without actually buying the gift, you can go through the process without checking out. Try it, it’s fun.

Giftly, is an phone app that allows you to give experience’s such as a dinner at a restaurant, concert tickets or even a cupcake. I wish I could tell you how and if it works or not, unfortunately, this app isn’t available in Israel so I can’t check it out… But it sounds great! I love the idea of giving an experience rather than a gift. Imagine getting perks fro your friends on your birthday. You could go to different stores and receive fun little gifts, ending the day with dinner and a movie all prepaid by your friends…  I think this is what this app is all about, if it isn’t then that’s a great app idea.

Wishlistr, is a sort of Pinterest of gifts. You add links to products you would like to have, and share it with your friends. The idea is really cool, but I wish that the website was more like Pinterest, offering a more visual interface. Instead you have titles and links which are not very inspiring and not easy to follow. However, I like the idea of letting people know what you would like to receive other than have everyone guessing.

Now all that is left for you to do is go online and start giving without leaving your seat…

 This is an envelope I received  from my grandmother, it holds a wonderful memory, it is not my memory, though it is very dear to me.

Beneath the address, my grandmother’s handwriting (upside-down) is visible spelling: “Seder (Passover dinner) at grandma’s April 1956, Mother’s Seder table at our house Lighting (candles?)on May 12 1956.

In the envelope there is a CD with the movie that a close friend of the family retrieved from an 8mm film. He had it converted specially for my grandmother and the rest of the family received a copy. The movie shows, as promised, the 1956 Passover dinner. I see my grandmother holding my baby aunt, my father and uncle, sitting with my grandfather and my other uncle listening to my great grandmother who is whispering in his ear.

watch the video on YouTube

If you ever read Harry Potter, you will remember the pensive, an object used to review memories.The pensive is a shallow stone basin, into which are carved runes and strange symbols. It is filled with a silvery substance that appears to be a cloud-like liquid and gas; it holds the memories of people who have siphoned their recollections into it.  These memories can then be viewed by a non-participant, third-persons point of view. Seeing this video, made me feel like one looking into the pensive, watching my young father with my great family. It feels very strange, very nostalgic but mostly its very touching. Such a personal wonderful gift, is really priceless.

My father in law turned 70 this year, and his three sons (my husband and two brothers) decided to give him a special gift: a family trip to Italy. They ordered tickets, rented a car, an Italian villa and planned every detail. They haven’t been on a family trip abroad for over 25 years…So this was a very special occasion. At first he was quite upset that they spent so much money on the trip, but once they arrived in Italy, he realized that such a family trip is really priceless… They had so much fun together and since my husband felt guilty for leaving me with our then 2 months old baby, he brought home wonderful gifts. Yay!!!

 

 

Usually finding gifts in a country which has many tourists is difficult, but Italy is somewhat different. First of all the obvious gift is food, you can bring back wine, Parmesan cheese, or balsamic vinegar and you are off the hook. The other choice is all the paper goods… Beautiful stationary, Personalized Ex-Libris  stamps for marking your favorite books and monogrammed wax seals that makes you feel like royalty. You really don’t have to put a lot of thought into an Italian gift, you just have to decide whether the recipient would rather have fine Italian products, crafty supplies, or both…

In my case… I love both! How about you?

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….

 

This mysterious box arrived at our house as a gift from our close friend.

 

Immediately my husband’s face changed colors, his jaw dropped and a grin spread across his face. I didn’t realize what he was grinning about, until I read the cover which read Molecular Gastronomy Kit. Don’t worry if you never heard about molecular cooking, I would’t know anything about it if I wasn’t married to a foodie. In a nutshell, the molecular kitchen is a modern form of cooking. The idea is using techniques derived from the scientific disciplines in order to create new dishes. The result is a variety of new flavors with surprising textures that most of the time doesn’t really resemble food. My husband has been jabbering about the molecular kitchen for ages discussing all the different dishes he could make if he ever learned how to do it.

This gift definitely deserves a spot at the hall of fame of gifts, however, only a true foodie that likes to experiment would really appreciate it. If I received this gift for my own use, it would most likely stay in the box since I don’t like to cook. You have to realize that when it comes to food, I only get excited when it reaches my mouth… I don’t care much about what happens to it in theory until it reaches it’s temporary residence in my belly. However, even I can’t stay indifferent to this well packaged gift that would certainly bring new and exciting flavors into my life.

One of my great friends started studying stage and costume design. Although she is very talented, she is often insecure about her abilities, which is funny since she is one of the most creative and talented people I know. Since I know how easy it is to forget your talents and strengths while under pressure of studies, I decided to make a small reminder.

I used my poor sewing skills in order to make her an encouragement kit. This kit is basically a small felt envelope filled with felt hearts that carries the words “I can do it”, “I Know”, “I Believe”. The idea is that each time she feels insecure about her capabilities, she can take out the kit and repeat this mantra. Sometimes all you need is a little reminder that somebody believes in you.

Good luck dear, I know you can do it!

My father immigrated from the states to Israel when he was in his 20’s, leaving his family in the U.S. and forming his own family in Israel. As a result, I grew up away from my beloved Grandparent’s, uncles, aunt and cousins. Growing up, I would see them every few years, which meant that there were many events that I would celebrate without them. Thinking about it, it never made me sad, since I always knew that they are always in my heart, and that they are celebrating with me, even if we are miles and miles away from each other.

Every year on my birthday, my grandmother would send me a birthday card with words of love. Every year I would wait for the mail to arrive a few days before my birthday, but I would always wait until my actual birthday to open the envelope. I have kept all these wonderful cards throughout the years, and I can’t wait to get this years card on April.

When I saw this wonderful Idea by Janae from The Letter 4 I felt all fussy inside, since it really doesn’t matter how far you are from your loved ones, as long as your hearts are entwined.

The idea is very simple:

You have an event to celebrate with a distant loved one.

You want to let them know you are celebrating with them, even though you are miles away….

Send them a party in an envelope. Simply fill an envelope with various party elements such as confetti, balloons, noisemakers etc… attach a card or a note and mail it to their whereabouts.

Simple, thoughtful, lovely!

  • Remember to plan ahead

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