Monday, January 14, 2013

White elephant

What to do for a white elephant gift exchange? With labmates? Last Wednesday my lab got together for dinner and a white elephant, as opposed to dinner and a movie. I wanted to give something that was in the spirit of the activity, something perhaps useful or desirable to someone but not me, but I also wanted it to have a bit of my personality thrown in for kicks.

I had a couple of glasses that I'd been wanting to get out of the cupboard for a while -- tall glasses that are great for milkshakes and smoothies but I actually don't like them very much and have mugs that serve the same purpose. They're perfectly good glasses though; great for the white elephant.

But getting a box with two plain glasses is kind of odd, so I decided to indulge in some sewing and make a set of quilted coasters to go with. Inspired by the jars of scraps I have organized by color on my shelf, I improv-pieced coasters each in a different color family. I kind of think using scraps for these (including the batting!) is also in the spirit of a white elephant, just something you have hanging around.

The fronts and backs were pieced to be 4.5 inches square so the finished squares are about 4 inches on a side. I did a simple square spiral to quilt them after topstitching the edges. By the end of the evening I ended up with four - red, orange, green, and blue. Wrapped them in ribbon and voila!

The glasses and coasters were a great success at the gift exchange - stolen a maximum number of times! Some people really liked the glasses and others just wanted the coasters, so I was pretty happy with that. Our other gift we brought, hydrophobic sand, was also just as popular. Of course, we're all scientists so that's probably unique...

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