I come from a crafty family. My aunt Kathy used to paint the most fantastic ceramic Christmas ornaments—I'm talking four-foot-tall classical Santas, and Christmas trees with real working lights—and my aunt Debbie has a whole room dedicated to all her various crafts (scrapbooking, sewing, soap- and card- and candle-making, etc.)
As a kid I dabbled in counted cross-stitch under their guidance, and I made a quilt and a few other things in high school. You know how it is when you've got plans for all the cool things you want to make—more quilts, and sun-dresses, and throw pillows, and rag dolls. You start to develop quite a big stash of fabrics. And then life gets in the way, of course, so you never really do find the time to make (or finish) that quilt with the matching throw-pillows, or the dress, or the rag doll, and all that fabric sits in big boxes in your closet.
With each new holiday season I become increasingly set on handmade over store-bought, using materials already on hand whenever possible. In June 2007, while Kate and Elliot and I were on Hvar Island in Croatia, we picked up sachets for souvenirs that were made from lavender grown on the island. So when I saw a big bin of dried lavender at the Mediterranean stand at the Saturday market, I decided I would make my own sachets out of all that unused calico sitting in my closet.
Easy sewing (4" squares, with half the fourth side left open for stuffing), quick assembly, looks so nice with a ribbon and a matching soap or vial of essential oil. So that's what I did.
I also knit quite a few Christmas gifts this past year, but I still haven't gotten decent photographs of most of them!