Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words (so why did I write so much?)

This past Christmas might have been my craftiest yet. I didn't quite realize that until after we were back in DC after our exotic stay in rhode island. While I didn't knit nearly as much as some of my friends, I managed to make a good number of the gifts. Unfortunately, I'm a bad blogger and didn't photograph all of the items so this, and the subsequent post in this series might be a little lame for those of you who only want to see pictures and don't like all the 'reading'.

But you're in luck, because first up, we have the photographic gifts. Having had such success last April when I gave my gram a framed shot of her favorite cherry blossoms, I decided to try my luck again by giving my dad a trio of monument photos for his home office. Because that room is my former bedroom, it suffers from a lack of masculinity and so far, no amount of techy gadgets and action DVDs seems to butch it up enough. I woke up extra early the last weekday before we flew home and spent an hour with my camera, the sunrise, and some humbling monuments. I have never seen the Vietnam Memorial or the Lincoln Memorial so empty. I wasn't there to photograph the Lincoln, but I rode by it on my bike on my way to the Korean War Memorial.
Here are the results, arranged the way they were hung on the wall.

It was particularly cute when, on Christmas Eve as Erich and I were assembling his mother's homemade gift, my dad remarked how nice it was that we were making it and how he is always so touched by homemade gifts. Score. He was indeed touched the next day when he opened his gift. Especially a few minutes later when Erich astutely realized something about my dad's reaction and told him that I had taken the pictures myself. Apparently my dad originally thought I had just purchased some interesting shots of the monuments and framed those as a gift.

Speaking of the gift for Erich's mom...
One of the things we gave her was a small album of mostly architectural shots of DC for inspiration for her pottery. She has a kiln and potter's wheel right in her house and spends many evenings throwing gorgeous bowls and assorted dishes. She asked several months ago if we might take some pictures of interesting architectural motifs in the city that could bring some outside inspiration to her pottery. That's easier said than done however since we don't usually have our cameras on us during commutes to work and errand-running. I therefore started jotting down building names and addresses whenever something caught my eye and lucky for me, the weekend before we flew to RI was gorgeous, blue-sky weather. I did a little bike tour of the city starting by Trader Joes at Foggy Bottom and ending up in Adams Morgan at an entrance to Rock Creek Park.

Finally, I also gave Erich a gift involveing photography, but in this case, it was his own. He took HUNDREDS of photos in Peru and never got around to printing them out or putting them in an album. He loves the album he put together a couple years ago of his service trip to Nicaragua. So I secretly orderd prints of the ~200 best Peru photos and tracked down a brown leather & suede album (it's hard to find manly looking photo albums!) in which to mount them, scrapbook style. I didn't include any captions because I really have no idea what the names of any of the sacred trail points are. But most of the challenge lay in trying to keep the whole thing a secret from him. Apparently I was successful because he seemed very surprised on Christmas morning. It's still a bit of a work in progress because the 2nd set of insert sleeves for the cardstock don't quite match the 1st set even though they're from the same brand and had identical labels on the packaging. So the 2nd half of the album sticks out a little more. Also, it would look better if a handful of the best photos were enlarged to 5 x 7 so he's going to pick some out and insert those pages later.

Still to come in this 2-part series: Knitting and Co.
Also, here's a tip on how to get out of Federal Jury Duty: make sure you work for an organization that fights for the same rights that are being contested in the case you're called to be a juror for. The opposing side usually doesn't like that too much and will probably make sure you're not selected so you can't brainwash the other jurors.


MikaJ said...

wow Beth! I am continually impressed with your craftiness!

Jenna said...

Those are all such great ideas for presents! Definitely a great way to take advantage of the prominent sites in our backyard. I bet pictures from inside the Air and Space museum would also make a good manly photo arrangement.

PassionKNITly said...

Way to get out of jurry duty!!

Unforutnately, I think it's going to be a while until i can grab a photo of all the stitch markers since i'm using them to mark the sections of my brother's sweater (damn useful gifts)!

Oh man, I should go visit you folks sometime in the spring or summer this year instead of fall like I usually do...