Monthly Archives: July 2015

Creative Gifts


Every time a birthday, anniversary, or any other gift giving occasion looms on the calendar, I get sweaty, dash in and out of gift shops, wake in the night and scratch ideas on scraps of paper, and in general, lose my mind for a while. Why? Because I want to give meaningful gifts, useful gifts, memorable gifts. Everyone understands this. We all want to give the best gift we can.

Well, yesterday I received a wonderful gift. It was meaningful, useful and memorable. My friend Crystal Favel created a banner for my latest book. She asked me a few questions, asked for my cover and a blurb, and where the book would be sold, and the next day I had this magnificent banner delivered to my inbox.

Over the years I’ve received colourful hand-knitted socks that were just right, baked goods that satisfied my sweet tooth, a booklet written just for me, a water-colour painting made for me, a pair of one-of-a kind earrings that were designed for me, a lamp that was carved out of a piece of wood for my enjoyment, iron candlesticks welded into graceful curves for me, a lampshade in my favourite colours …. and on and on, so many lovely and personal gifts created by talented friends. I remember receiving each of these gifts with happiness, and continue to enjoy those that had more permanence.

I want to be a more creative gift giver. I’ve used my talents as a writer, crocheter, gardener, to create the right gift for some of my friends in the past. I know I can do it again.

I want to stop shopping for gifts and start creating them again. Crystal’s gift reminded me of how special I feel when a friend takes the time to make me a wonderful gift.

What do you think? Have you ever received a gift created just for you? Have you created gifts that were so right for someone else? Please let me know.

Promo Banner For Amber

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Passage to the Gulf Islands


Reflecting Vancouver

Queen of Nanaimo

This past weekend I returned to Mayne, some six years after my first visit to the Southern Gulf Islands, and reached further to Saturna. This island-hopping was made possible by an ambitious community event, Tour des Iles, which provided free sailings between neighbouring islands. Some boats took routes we landlubbers might otherwise never see: from Retreat Cove in the north of Galiano to Salt Spring Island, and in a triangle from the eastern side of Mayne, to Saturna, to Hope Bay on Pender, and back again.

To keep things simple, I planned a Saturday morning arrival on Mayne followed by a bike ride across the island to Horton Bay. A Tour des Iles boat would then ferry me to Saturna in the early afternoon and return me to Mayne in the evening for camping near Miner’s Bay. Sunday would allow a meandering journey back to Vancouver.

“Are you headed…

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