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Homemade gifts are the best. It’s not the item itself that makes it so special, but the heart and soul of the person that’s wrapped up with it. I always think of the person who gave me the gift when I see it. My grandma loves gifting me with homemade goodies. She has a tremendous talent for needlework and has stitched for most of her life. In more recent decades, her stitch of choice has been cross-stitch. She doesn’t make these treasures to keep; she begins a project with the end in mind. Her intention is always to give her treasures to someone else; to share her handiwork with those she loves. She even completes multiples of the same project because if she catches even a glimpse that I like something she gave to someone else, she wants to make one for me as well. My Gma is in her late 80s and often complains about her ‘bad hands,’ swearing that each project will be her last, but then she goes and finishes yet another masterpiece. I have her handiwork displayed all over my house.

Cross-stitch is incredibly tedious and, although it may be a calming escape for some, to me it’s stressful and anything but relaxing. It’s like when I started knitting….I’m so tense and focused on getting the stitches right, that I don’t find enjoyment in it. Thank goodness God gave us each unique gifts and talents. That’s probably why I love each piece my Gma gives me so much. I love looking at the intricacy of her work; I’m in awe of the expanse of stitches across the canvas. I stand within a few inches of her creations and marvel at how absolutely perfect her stitches are. She’s a perfectionist. They’re exactly the way she wants them. If she notices her count is off or her stitches aren’t quite right, she reworks them until they’re perfect.

I think of these pieces as part of my Gma’s legacy. I can’t imagine anyone else who’s quite as talented at this craft or who is so generous in the gifting of them. Now, there are some strings attached (pun intended). She does ask about them. She wants to keep track of them. She doesn’t quite let them go. She frequently inquires of their whereabouts. Her eyes light up when I tell her where I’ve placed them. She enjoys the fact that I enjoy them. Maybe that’s her gift in return.

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