Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Morning at the Unboundary Homestead

Our holiday gift exchange at the office, lovingly dubbed Christmas Morning at the Unboundary Homestead (and it must be said in its entirety; none of this shortening stuff, or worse yet, calling it something completely different altogether). The gals at the office do all the breakfast cooking, so there's a good, hot meal awaiting everyone when they arrive at the office. The fireplace is lit (in our case, plugged in). I bring in afghans from home so that chilly ones can snuggle with a blanket while we open gifts. Christmas music plays. All are encouraged to wear their jammies to work that day. And, of course, Santa arrives (thanks to co-worker David for doing this every year) to pass out the gifts, a heartfelt assortment of homemade and store-bought presents. And we take turns opening them, one person at a time. And in a design firm of super creative and smart people, the gifts never cease to amaze.

This year I picked Laura. Score!!!! Within minutes of drawing her name, I had a vision. Ya see, this girl is super creative and enjoys a wide variety of hobbies, everything from spinning her own yarn, to DragonCon, to SCA (an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe). In addition, she loves all things India-related (often donning saris to the office). I initially decided I wanted to make her a mirror, but finding a thrift-store mirror with a deep frame (for lots of room to decorate) proved fruitless. I did find one though at Goodwill with the perfect width frame, but the center was a plexiglass sort of sleeve. Plan B hatched.

Off to Decatur, home to a wealth of Indian groceries and stores. I found an Indian calendar, free, which slid perfectly into the plexi sleeve. I created a cardboard back for the calendar, complete with a tab, so that Laura can pull it out and rip off the top month, sliding it back in to showcase the next month. The wooden frame began as a shiny primary green, but I had in mind a peachy, fleshy kind of pink.
The perfect color was found, the frame was painted, and then I began to pimp it out with as many Indian-related things as I could find. I just happened to have a stash of Indian matchbox labels that I bought years ago, thinking they were neat but having no use for at the time. Perfect. I cut out pictures from an old book, slices of Indian maps from an old atlas, added jewels around the inside of the frame, and stuck on this pink frame with Lakshmi, the Goddess of Good Fortune, as the focal point (who rather resembles our own dear Laura).

Molly got my name. The story behind her gift to me has its humble beginnings in my office cubicle. I've been with this company for going on 15 years and always been deemed a very approachable person. I keep classical music on all day (although now it's Christmas and more Christmas tuneage). And I've been told that my office has great ch'i. For these things I am grateful. In my position as Traffic Manager, I deal with everyone in the company and keep super busy, and people pop in constantly to talk both work and to chat (venting, soliciting advice, passing on a funny story, whatever). I try to keep the chatting to a minimum, but have discovered that for many people, just coming into my office and sitting, just sitting, is all they really want. A co-worker will come in, take a seat, announce that they just need to sit, and I'll continue to work, no conversation to be had, a simple therapeutic dose of calm.

I purposely didn't put a chair in my office because I didn't want to encourage people to camp out, so I opted for a stool. It says "please come in and sit, but don't make it for too long." The running joke is that I should charge to sit on the stool, as I've often had a line of people hovering outside my cubicle awaiting their turn. And so Molly came up with this idea for my Secret Santa. I love it! A sign for my wall and my plain wooden stool all dressed up with a cushioned slipcover and ball fringe.

And here is the stool in my cubicle. The doctor is in.


Anonymous said...

Whee! I love my gift! I am trying to decide on the perfect place to put it (it's really hard because it's really awesome).

Empty Nest Full Life said...

Sounds like such a great place to work, the calendar is awesome. You all must just grow creativity over there. Jackie

Honey said...

Sounds like the people you work with think a lot of you! How nice to know they would sit on a stool just to relax for a bit with you. The gift you received is darling. And the one you gave looks pretty awesome as well. :)

Claudia said...

Dawn, I always love to hear about where you work - it sounds like the neatest environment! Such wonderful creative people and a great sense of celebration.

Love both gifts - what you made (gorgeous) and the stool and sign - perfect.


Kevin M. Scarbrough said...

Ahhh! Reminds me of the days when I interned there. Glad to see the company is as amazing as ever. // Former Intern Kevin

ali said...

... and I love that I get to come over for "stool time" even though I don't work there anymore. It truly is the best medicine.

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