January 13, 2021

Solstice Swap 2020 [Gift Unboxing]

Back in December, Katie Lovely of Latina Living History organized an international "costuber" and costumer Solstice Swap!  Each of the participants drew a name in secret and exchanged gifts on the winter solstice, spreading much needed joy during the holiday season.  

Follow the official tag: #solsticeswap2020

If you've been following my other social media, you may have already seen my gift reveal, but I wanted to do a follow up post simply to share more pictures!  Look for the official tag - #solsticeswap2020 - to see all of the other, fun gift exchanges and unboxing videos on YouTube.  

But first, a shout out to Marion BrĂ©gier of the blog, Green Martha, who was my solstice swap!  Marion makes the most gorgeous historical costumes, art, and illustrations, and her bullet journal pages are seriously amazing!  If you don't already, follow her on Instagram @green.martha and on her Youtube channel.  Prepare to be inspired...and possibly start bullet journaling if you don't already :)


Solstice Swap Gift Unboxing

My solstice swap gift came from the one and only, Kristen of The Victorian Needle blog.  (She's also on Instagram @thevictorian_needle and Tiktok @the_victorian_needle, where you can find more of her crafts and hilarious #teachertok videos).  She really surprised me - going all out with my favorite colors, which are blues and corals; including Pusheen (love that cat!); and making the most beautiful, handmade and historical treasures:

Obligatory box photo...about to be opened!

And here's the reveal - I still can't believe she managed to fit everything inside the box!

Gift unboxing!

As for the particulars, there was a historical handkerchief from Burnley and Trowbridge: unknown by the sender, I actually had been eyeing this pattern for a while, and was thrilled to see this!


Postcards from the Detroit Institute of Arts: also unknown by the sender, I collect postcards!  So, Kristen really checked off every box with her gift ;)


And an incredible, hand-beaded, punch paper sewing box filled with an assortment of matching, punch paper sewing accessories! 

Hand-beaded, punch paper sewing box and matching accessories!

In case you were wondering what "punch paper" refers to, it is actually a heavy-weight paper with a grid of evenly-spaced, punched holes through which embroidery thread can be worked, much like modern day Aida cloth or needlepoint canvas.  According to an article on "Perforated Paper Needlework" by Diana Matthews, "perforated carboard" was available by the 1820s, and "gained in favor over the decades to become one of the most popular craft items of the Victorian age."

Matthews further speaks to the popularity and widespread uses for the craft, explaining that:

"During its heyday, perforated paper was available in dozens of different colors and embossed patterns and was used for making a large variety of household items.  Godey's Lady's Book, Peterson's Magazine as well as a host of other periodicals and books of the day regularly gave patterns for items to be made from this most innovative product.  Needle cases, wall pockets, stamp holders, hair receivers and complicated ornaments could be fashioned from it along with the bookmarks and mottoes as it lent itself well to both flat and 3-dimensional crafts." 
- "Perforated Paper Needlework" by Diana Matthews, Victoriana Magazine 

In fact, Kristen is an avid creator and collector of all things perforated paper, and probably holds the largest, antique, punch paper collection in the country, if not the world.  She's also written a booklet with scaled patterns (if you can find a copy, I highly recommend!), and teaches workshops on the subject.


Each component of Kristen's gift is a work of art itself, so I wanted to highlight the items on their own to give a sense of scale and close-ups of the intricate details.  Starting with the beaded sewing box, which is lined in royal blue silk:



Matching, embroidered thread winders:


A beaded, castle-shaped tape measure and holder, which took a lot of engineering! 


A needlebook with a very Victorian rose on the one side, and Pusheen on the other:


And finally, the most adorable, needle felted Pusheen - gosh I love that cat! 

I'm just in awe of all the time, talents, and thought Kristen put into her solstice swap gift...I'm honored to be the recipient and to call her my friend - thank you so much, Kristen! ❤️

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