Mary Corbet

writer and founder


I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Happy Birthday to Me Give-Away!


Amazon Books

Sounds a bit self-centered, doesn’t it – a “Happy Birthday to Me” give-away? I guess as long as I’m giving away the gift, I can get away with the title within the bounds of decent etiquette!

I’ve been chuckling over this give-away idea for a few days, wondering just how people would react to it. I realize I may get very little participation! But I can’t help it – my curiosity has the better of me, and now that I’m locked in on this idea, I feel compelled to try it! Besides, it’s my party, and I’ll try if I want to!

Oh, gosh. I’m cracking up!

What is she babbling on so about, you ask?? Well, read on….

Here is my Happy Birthday to Me Give-Away:

The charm of birthday gifts is the surprise. What’s the fun in telling your family or friends, “This is what I want for my birthday,” and then getting it? Oh, there might be a mercenary comfort in doing that (we don’t have to pay for something we want, and no one wastes money on something we don’t want), but where’s the delight and unexpected pleasure? Where’s that tickling anticipation as the gift is opened up? In short, there’s no surprise! The best gifts are the ones you don’t expect, after all!

So, for my birthday give-away, I’m going to send a surprise gift to someone!

In the past, I’ve had some pretty good give-aways:

Embroidery Stash Give-aways on Needle 'n Thread

They often include some fibrous, thready assortment…

Embroidery Stash Give-aways on Needle 'n Thread

… and sometimes they include embellishments.

Embroidery Stash Give-aways on Needle 'n Thread

Sometimes, they have nice needlework accessories in them!

Embroidery Stash Give-aways on Needle 'n Thread

Sometimes, books…

Embroidery Stash Give-aways on Needle 'n Thread

… of various kinds.

Embroidery Stash Give-aways on Needle 'n Thread

Sometimes, they are rather elaborate…

Embroidery Stash Give-aways on Needle 'n Thread

…and other times, they are very simple.

Whatever the case, you can be assured that the package will contain enticing stuff for the needleworker, and a few little extras!

To enter the give-away, please do the following:

1. Here, at the bottom of this post (on the website, not in the e-mail newsletter, not by return e-mail, or not on another post), leave a comment answering the following question:

2. What’s your notion of the best gift?

3. If you use the “anonymous” posting feature, please make sure to include a name on the post itself.

4. Check back Monday, April 13th, for the winner. The contest ends Monday, April 13th, at 5:00 am CST. If you win, you’ll need to contact me by Wednesday, April 15, with mailing information. I’ll post instructions on the winner’s post on Monday.

Well, what do you think? Are you game to trust my taste in gifts?

Have a terrific day!


(193) Comments

  1. Mary,
    I love your play on words…’notion’ of the best gift.
    Actually my notion of the best gift is simply one given with a sincere heart, expecting nothing in return. I love giving surprise and anonymous gifts. So I suppose that is my notion of the best gift.

    I love reading your site and look forward every day. I only wish you were quadruplets so you could write more and more of your knowledge and expertise!

    Thank you for sharing with all of us and have wonderful Birthday!

    Susan Robinson

  2. One’s that show a genuine interest in the recipient, i.e that reflects their likes and interests. It needn’t be expensive or even bought, my favourites have been made for me

  3. My notion of a best gift would be one that a lot of thought has gone in to it, something useful, and best of all I love handmade gift, because I know that care and attention has gone into it!!That is why I love the gifts my kids make at school! :0)

  4. The best gift is embroidery supplies, and the free time to take advantage of them. (smile)
    I have been known to buy my own birthday present, and then thank people! LOL

  5. Dear Mary – to me, the best gift is one that shows real thoughfulness on the giver’s part. When I’m the giver and I come up with a brilliant idea, that’s the gift I get excited about. Gift cards and ‘Santa lists’ have their uses, but I like gifts that are unexpected and well thought out.

    p.s. your website is a gift to needleworkers.

  6. My notion of the best gift is the time I spend gathering all the lovely threads and things for a wonderful stitching project.
    I too share this wonderful day as my birthday with yours! Happy Birthday to us!!!
    Heading out to a sewing meeting and dinner, so that is a wonderful gift too!

  7. Great gifts to me have shared meaning. I have received two gifts in my life that are beyond what I can describe well in words. I am the proud Mum of two sons, adopted at birth. I needed to be a Mum to keep breathing. Two (then unknown) birthmums needed my husband and I to cherish, nurture and love our boys until time stands still. Great gifts have great clarity of shared meaning.

    Discovered your site yesterday from Australia. Have had 2 late nights enjoying it. THANKYOU.


  8. Wowza…could I be first? Happy Birthday!!! To me the best gift is one that comes from the heart. Whether it is handmade or a needley gift from someone who knows what I love. I guess all of us here love needlework so anything related is the best!

  9. A pretty pattern with colors already picked out for the design. I hate picking out colors, there are too many options!

  10. My notion of the best gift is spending time with someone. This year for my birthday my mom and I went to get manicure/pedicures and then went out to lunch. No amount of money can buy those memories. My mom also has a tradition with my kids that she takes them to spend the afternoon with her on their birthday. My family goes out to dinner on birthdays with the birthday person picking the restaurant. Taking time to spend time with someone you care about is priceless gift.

  11. I love your site. Some very interesting things always. My idea is something that comes from the heart. I like surprises, and things made just for me are really nice. It is the thought, not the what.

  12. OOOHHH!!! My birthday is two weeks away, I wonder what my hubby is doing? (sneaky man, that one) I can not stand it when people ask me what I want, to me…they should know what I like, or they shouldn’t be buying me anything! I would rather have hand-made gifts, but since I am the only crafty person in my family…it never happens. Oh well.

  13. Completly! I trust your taste with my eyes closed!!!
    The best gift depends on who gives or who receives.
    I love to handmake myself the gifts because I can add something I kwnow the recipient would like.
    For me the last best gifts were those which were made with my grand-daughters hands – designs! :))))

  14. Sorry!
    Mary Have a wonderful time on your birthday!
    Happy Birthday to you!
    Happy Birthday to you! tralala, tralala….

  15. I’m with Miss 375. A really great gift involves effort on the part of the giver(s). The best gift I was ever given was a visit from both my mom and dad to a show I was working on, five states away, as a surprise gift from them and several of my siblings. It happened over two years ago, but I still get really emotional about it. It showed a genuine interest in something that was really important to me at the time, and while it was made a little easier by the fact that my brother-in-law works for an airline, it still involved effort on the part of my siblings. I think of something like that, or going outside your comfort zone to really create something special, or even to just scour stores until you find the exact right shade/size/type of gift for someone, just to see their reaction when they open/discover it.

  16. Life, especially the eternal kind. Existence is an unalloyed good and there are no needles and no threads without it.

  17. Happy Birthday!

    Best gifts for me are ones that can really be enjoyed…not stuff. I’d much rather have a great dinner out, a lavish piece of cake, or an afternoon exploring a part of town I’ve never been to than some trinket. Though I do also enjoy a nice piece of jewelry too!

  18. Dear Mary Corbet,
    Felicitations on your birthday!

    In the roundabout way of things, the best gift is discovering yourself through others…

    Thank you for an irresistible invitation to talk with you.

    What do you think of the similarity between Norwegian rosemaling and Jacobean crewel embroidery?

  19. A very happy birthday to you, Mary! My notion of the best gift is something that the giver has determined is ‘the perfect’ thing for me when I don’t even know it is something I want or need. This is usually what my birthday and Christmas gifts from my husband are! And he’s usually right on the money too!

    Hope you are doing something extra special with extra special people today to celebrate your day.


  20. Happy Birthday Mary!
    I have to agree with some of the other comments. I think the perfect gift is that of time spent with someone. This year, my mom is coming to spend my birthday with me, and we get the whole weekend together. She lives 12 hours away, so it really means more to me than anything that can be bought.

  21. Oh, I LOVE surprises! Yea!

    My idea of the best gift is one that is handmade and somehow shows that the maker knows me. I don’t care if it’s just a greeting card made from typing paper. Handmade is best!

  22. Happy birthday, Mary!

    Candy and flowers are nice, but I think the best gifts are the ones you can keep on enjoying year after year. They can be simple—a mug, a wall-hanging (especially embroidery!), a book, a knick-knack…but something that reminds us of the giver each time we look at it.

  23. Dear Mary,

    Happy birthday to you!

    My notion of the best gift should be to share my love with others. Gifts always make people happy. I usually gift my friends with things handmade by me. I love the moment when they smile on seeing my gift. Gifts make people feel they are special and they are loved by others.

    By the way, what gifts you received? 🙂

    Have a fun-filled day!

  24. First- HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! 🙂 I hope you have a super fun, blessed day!

    My notion( love the play on words!) of the best gift would something that comes from the heart. My favorite gift this past Christmas came from my 5 year old, who’s in Kindergarten. It was a handmade picture frame with a picture of him in it:-) I always tell my kids, it’s not about how much is spent on a gift. I would much rather have something that comes from the heart!


  25. Happy birthday!!! Isn’t this the greatest day of the year no matter how old someone is? 🙂

    So I’m back again, jumping in on the giveaway heh. Okay I think the best gift comes from the heart and doesn’t necessarily have to be material in any way. It can be words, a hug, whatever. Something that is exactly right on that moment and given with love.

    Hope you have the greatest birthday ever!

  26. Ack! Mary, I think I posted my heartfelt contest-entry comment to your previous post. (Doh!) I was having trouble pulling up your “Leave your comment” window – I think it was working, just my computer running slow, and I thought I’d see if I could get it to work on the previous post — apparently I closed the right one and posted to the wrong one. Since these comments are moderated, and come to you for review first, would you mind terribly to delete this comment, and move my contest-entry comment to the right place?
    Thank you if you can do it, and if you can’t, I’ll re-enter.
    Thanks Mary, and thanks for your blog!

  27. Happy Birthday!

    I think I’ll be echoing a lot of the above posters, the best gifts are the thoughtful ones.

    I also love surprises so couldn’t resist this post 🙂 I hope you blog what you’re sending out to the lucky winner!

  28. To tell the truth, money warms my cold mercenary heart right up. Money will buy me books. Money will buy me clothes/embroidery supplies/kitchen stuff/jewelry/hair gunk and all sorts of other stuff. Money will let me make the choice of what I treat myself with.

    But…But…I agree that some of the best gifts are total surprises, something I never would have thought about asking for, something I never knew existed, something I didn’t know was necessary in my life. These hits are almost as rare as hens teeth, mostly what I get are misses. I hate the misses. Tchochkes, dust collectors, books I’m not interested in, clothes that are the wrong color/size/fabric, candles –I don’t burn candles, I read and sometimes embroider and candlelight is not the best illumination for those activities!– and whatnot.

    I am very fond of people who ASK me what I want for a present, and follow my directions, instead of getting me what THEY think I should have. Year-round, I jot down what gift ideas pop into my head. (For myself and others–I use the back of my calendar.)

    In short, there are many, many reasons why I like to receive money as a gift.

    Ps. My notion of the best gift to GIVE…is BOOKS! My godchildren and their siblings always receive books from me. (Except I believe there was an educational puzzle in there once, which became a favorite of the two-year-old receiver. Score!)

  29. And BTW, Happy Birthday! I got so caught up in my rant that I forgot the main point. Sensitive issue, eh?

  30. I just love “happy birthday to me” contests. Happy birthday from me to you. Eileene aka noiseynana

  31. Mary,
    My notion of the best gift is awaking in the morning with little to no pain. My children are happy and healthy. My friends and husband are happy and healthy. That I have more days that are filled with joy than sorrow.

    Those are the best gifts I would ever want, anything else is just more iceing on the cake.

  32. In my mind, the best gifts aren’t objects, but actions. My husband cleans the house – the clothes and dishes all over the floor don’t bother him, but he knows they bother me, so he picks it up. That’s how I know he loves me. And yes, I express my appreciation often, and in a wide variety of ways. 🙂

    (Oh, and he doesn’t even mind my double standards – right now I have cross stitch stuff all over the floor! Gotta pick that up!)

    – Melissa in Seattle

  33. Happy Birthday! How could anyone not think that you would give the perfect gift? You always give away such good stuff. My notion of a perfect gift is giving something from the heart, thinking about what will be perfect for that particular person, taking the time to either shop for it or make it (hand made is best) and then wrapping it up with special thought given to the wrapping as well. Putting all that care into the gift makes you as excited about giving it as the person is to receive it.

  34. I think assortment of threads, silk, rayon, etc would be my notion of surprise gift. I so love you blog. Libby

  35. Happy birthday!!! I think usefull small gifts take more thought than one big expensive gift & I relly love handmade things, because they give a real personal touch.

    Thank you for the giveaway! Please include me in the drawing.

    stitchsavesnine (at) yahoo (dot) com

  36. Happy Birthday Mary! I too have an April birthday and like you I adore surprises. I don’t mind giving a list but I’d rather not know what on the list I’ll be getting…so there is still a surprise to it all. Like so many have said, the best gifts are from the heart and filled with love and thoughtfulness. The item is always secondary to the desire to give something to someone else simply for the joy of giving. Your give aways are filled with that kind of generosity and fun! Thanks so much Mary…this website is truly exceptional in it’s quality and helpfulness.

  37. Happy birthday! I’m sitting in the hospital waiting for my grandson to be born so he will share your birthday.

    My “notion” of the best gift is one that reflects the personality of the giver and the recipient. I love to stitch and play with fabric and threads and buttons and ribbon. I know any gift you would choose for me would reflect your choice of what you like that you think I would like. Does that make sense?

  38. My idea of a the best gift is something that is a surprise but that also is dearly needed by the recipient. As I am truly poor and on a really limited income any craft supplies would be cherished wholeheartedly and used with pride.
    Happy Birthday grrl.

  39. Hmmm I’ve been lurking here for a while and this little competition has brought me out from the woodwork. My notion of the best gift is the gift my husband gave me last year which was a suprise outing to my favourite place in the whole world.Complete with birthday cake and sausage rolls. http://www.greenknowe.co.uk/
    Let me tell you how glad I am to have found your blog. I have sore eyes from reading,reading, reading all your posts. Thank you.

  40. My thoughts about the perfect gift is when it is from the heart. I love to give gifts I’ve made and have spent time thinking about who will receive it and that is a perfect gift to me at the same time. I especially enjoy finding or making something that will be a surprise..at a time the person least expects. I so enjoy the smile on someone’s face when they don’t expect anything.

  41. Hi Mary,
    I think your “surprise” theme is funny because my boyfriend says I’m impossible to surprise. He’s right in a way, because I tend to guess things. Still, I think the best gifts are the ones you don’t expect!
    Your giveaways are always fab. I’m sure whoever wins will be thrilled…and surprised! 🙂

  42. Happy Birthday! I swear I get more pleasure out of giving gifts than receiving them. The best gift to give shows time and thought. All my embroidery ends up as presents! I also like to wrap things beautifully and present them interestingly.

    To receive, I like something that is a total surprise, which I didn’t know I REALLY needed! A good example was the perfectly sized embrodery box my mother in law gave me a couple of Xmases ago. It was my constant companion until I got more ambitious and needed something bigger.

  43. Hi, Mary! You have a really terrific website! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Now, *usually* my idea of the Ideal Gift involves edibility; but I will tell you that the best gift I’ve received to date is a very stylized pomegranate, magnificently embroidered on some lovely raw silk. Beetle wings are groovy, too. H. B.-d., again!

  44. Happy Birthday, Mary! Thanks for all you do for us.

    My favorite gifts to give are the ones that make me laugh with anticipation because the gift is so perfect for the person or is just so FUN. And when I get a gift that is especially thoughtful, I really appreciate that.

  45. Best gift…I like handmade. My husband and I started a tradition when we got married that each year for Christmas we have to give each other something handmade. This is hard, sometimes, because I know he wouldn’t truly appreciate a needleworked pillow or cross stitch or even a quilt…but we’ve had some good times with it.
    I’m excited! Hope I win!

  46. I can’t resist a suprise! The best gifts are surprises given not for an occasion but “just because”.

  47. Happy Birthday!

    My notion of the best gift is to give or receive something mentioned once a long while ago and forgotten.

  48. The best gift is something that they will enjoy, that they might not have thought of or gotten on their own. A little luxury that they might not get for themselves, a book that they might not have heard of, but that suits their taste, something silly that will make them laugh…

  49. Happy Birthday, Mary!
    I agree with the others that the best gift is one that shows the giver knows what you like, one that maybe they saw and knew immediately should be yours. It reminds you how much they care about you.


  50. My idea of a gift is something given as a complete surprise, not asked for, not hinted at, not necessarily a Birthday, Christmas or any other special holiday gift!!! A gift –just because–is usually the best kind, but almost always a stitching gift is the type I want. Something I cannot afford or don’t really need, but want badly.

    Joanie R.

  51. Dear Mary:
    Thanks for another great – and this time – very enticing give away.

    My idea of a great gift is one that is unexpected and from the heart. A fistful of hand picked flowers can be the best. Another would be a good deed or a donation given with me in mind – God blessing others through us.

    May you continue to be blessed because you are a blessing to your readers. And have a glorious birthday.

  52. Lets see my notion of the best gift is something thoughtful. Thoughtfully either made or bought something with meaning or sentiment behind it. It could also be just the sentiment behind the gift alone too. I’ve had those where the sentiment was more of a gift to me than the actual gift.
    Happy Birthday!

  53. Hey Mary

    I think the bestest gift is the one a person knws about yet has no idea what it will be. You can tell them im gonna do this for ex: im gonna creat an embroidery piece for them yet not tell them what your gonna do on it, what colors, or when they’ll get it. Cuz the person knows its coming yet are anticipating when. When given the gift its genuine surpirse and joyful.

  54. My idea for a good gift is a how to book for something I am trying to learn. If someone knows me good enough to know what I am trying my hand at and would like to know more about then they really know me.

  55. My name’s Audrey and I think the best gift is a friend to share stitching time with. Someone to laugh with while you both stitch what you like and share tea or lunch oh and Have a happy happy birthday

  56. The best gifts are those that are surprises, of course! If they’re stitchy-related, all the better.

    Of course, right now my best gift would be babysitting for few hours so I can stitch! 🙂

    And yes, I certainly trust you to put together a great gift!

  57. I love to give annonomous gifts to people who really are in need. like slipping a 20.00 into my sisters pocket after learning she is strugling alittle. She found it and was so happy I know she would have felt bad taking it from me and would feel the need to repay it. I had just turned 16 and was visiting her and her partner and that is what i did with my birthday money. So I geuss a perfect gift to me is one that I can share with someone else. Is that called regifting? I geuss in a way.

  58. Happy birthday to YOU (which is the most important thing!). Hope you have a wonderful one with all sorts of great surprises that are just for you.
    Now, to answer the question…my first thought was chocolate but I decided that wasn’t really the best gift. I would love someone to make something that is just for me (better yet would be making it WITH me). My friends all say they are too intimidated to make anything for me because they think I’m the ultimate handmade gift maker and they feel they can’t compete. Little do they know how much I’d love it!
    Happy birthday Mary!!

  59. The best gift is one that surprises you and at the same time gives you the unexpected pleasure of realizing that it fits right in with your “likes”. It quickly becomes a treasured memory.

  60. My ‘notion’ of the very best gift is the one that is unexpected – given for no reason other than the joy of giving it. This touches my heart, and is always something I love!

  61. The best gift, to me, is the gift received from a friend for no reason at all, except she thought of me. I don’t get gifts ver often, but those are the best kind.

  62. Happy birthday to you…! I have just discovered your site, and want to thank you so much for the time and effort you have put into it, and for your generosity in sharing the wealth of knowledge.

    Your site itself is gift enough, so I won’t put myself forward as a possible recipient of your surprise birthday gift. I’m in Ireland and the postage would probably be horrendous; it would be a dirty trick to play on the birthday girl…!

    I’m going to pass a link all my sisters (big Irish family..!) as I know they will love your site too. I wish you all the very best for your birthday, and thank you again.

    Very best regards,


  63. Happy Birthday!

    My idea of the best gift is new technology that I would never buy myself… like the newest iPod or computer! I always say, well my old one works fine… but come birthday time, I love being the first to own the new touch screen!


  64. Happy Birthday! I love this site and reference it often! My notion of the best gift is time. The time I have to spend with my family or time to myself to work on things that make me happy.

    Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful knowledge!

  65. For me, Mary, with 3 under 10’s at home, a good gift is simply something I actually like/can use, although I do enjoy the reasoning behind my 4 years choices.

    I will be away from tomorrow for a couple of weeks, so can’t contact you if I am lucky enough to win.

  66. The best gifts are those that are bought or made that express the personality of both the giver and receiver and, if possible, something about their relationship. Of course, needlework supplies are always appreciated!

  67. Hi Mary, Happy Birthday!

    My notion of a great gift is one that catches you totally off guard and makes you all teary eyed that you’re so loved and special to someone (the gift giver)

    Example – You normally don’t expect men to listen when you rattle on about how you love embroidery or any other “non-manly” stuff and when you receive a gift, it shows that not only did he listen, he remembered and loves you enough to buy you the gift he thinks you’ll love.

  68. I wouldn’t call wishing yourself a happy birthday self-centered- it is, after all, your birthday. Me, I claim the entire week, if not month, and demand all my friends party and have fun and cause trouble in my name for my birthday. If you’re self-centered, I’m a monster. 😀

    The best gifts are the unexpected ones- the ones that aren’t for a specific obligation, but rather because the giver wanted to make the reciever smile, or just found something so perfect they had to buy it as a present. That is to say, the best gifts are the ones that are less Birthday/Christmas and more “Hey look, I think about you.”

  69. Wow! Kindred spirits! I love giving gifts to other people on my birthday! Nice to know I’m not the only nut!

    My favorite type of gift is based upon who I getting for. If it were my mother, it would be something to do with teapots or quilting, my dad’s would be woodworking, ect… But it is the thought and emotion that goes into the final decision.

    My name is Ren and I just love your stitch video library. It has helped me sooooo very much!


  70. My idea of the perfect gift would be something the recipient would like but never thought of getting for him/herself. For myself personally, some free time to do what I like without feeling guilty about the “other things” that are supposed to get done as well.

  71. my notion of the best gift, would be one that has been given with some thought of the recipient. It means more to me to receive a small gift (hand made or bought) that has been chosen/made with me in mind, rather than an expensive gift that has been given without any thought. I love receiving a card that’s been handmade by my kids
    Happy Birthday Mary! have a lovely day

  72. The best gifts are from the heart. I love to get old cookbook and craft books. The ones you find notes in from the former owners you know they have been loved and I will contuinue to love them.
    Jaci E.

  73. I love it when my family gives me the gift of their time. Since gifts all come out of a very tight family budget I just get stressed when my husband or children buy me items that we really can’t afford. On the other hand, when they take the time to cook a meal (and clean up afterwards), clean up the house or some other chore I feel wonderfully pampered and treasured!! Of course I wouldn’t mind it if I were to receive a serger or a pleater as a gift sometime but only if it didn’t strain the budget!

  74. Wishing you a very happy birthday!

    My idea of the very best gift is something I absolutely love but which I didn’t know I wanted until I receive it. It’s a pretty tall order, isn’t it? But every so often the stars align and someone finds that perfect thing I didn’t even know I wanted. But I remember it happening much more often when I was a child. Maybe that’s why it’s so much fun!

  75. My notion of the perfect gift is one given with thought to what the recipient would love. As I don’t drive, my daughter has taken me out to our lovely local crafts outlets and finished with lunch in our university’s beautiful Japanese gardens. Another gift that would be most welcome, would be a subscription to Inspirations or Embroidery and cross stitch magazines.

  76. Happy Birthday Marry.
    Gifts as such bring so much happiness. Best Gift is a surprise gift from someone from whom we have not expected anything. 🙂


  77. Happy Birthday, Mary!
    My favorite kind of gift is something I can create with: fibers, fabrics, embellishments, beautiful tools, etc.

  78. My immediate reaction to your question is the best gift is always the gift of Time! Time for each other, time for yourself, time for living. To have intimate time alone with your significant other so you can keep the candle lit. To have time to pamper yourself physically, mentally and emotionally, to stitch, curl up with a good book or just watch the sunset while contemplating the beauty of mother nature. To be granted one more day, week, year or decade of living so you can watch your children, grandchildren and other loved ones grow into the wonderful people you always knew they could be. Yes, I would take the gift of time.

  79. First of all HAPPY B-Day! Oh, I remember that song – by Leslie Gore ‘It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to…” I see at least one other person on the posts shares your B-Day. Mine is tomorrow 4/9. Happy B-Day to us all!

    Oh my I think all gifts are so nice, unexpected ones even better. However, to me time well spent with loved ones is the very best gift. I use family birthdays to get all of us together. They (the kids) know my underlying motive but we all gain from the interactions and mostly everyone shows up. LOL I’m probably viewed as ‘big mama’. I just found your site tonight and love it. I will return! Thanks for all the lovely things you share from instructions to patterns.

  80. My favourite gift to give and receive is one based on time, not money.

    I love getting letters from overseas friends, and a home-bound copy of a short story/poem/whatever that someone has written or simply a handmade card is always appreciated. As is being taken out for coffee and a catch up. I love doing the same, making cards and sewing, writing, stitching or altering things to give away.

    Happy Birthday!

  81. I agree that the best gifts come from the heart showing that you have invested enough time in getting to know you and what suits your taste. I resent those gift givers who buy anything just to fulfill what they regard as an obligation. Gifts should be given because you care, otherwise skip the gift. Happy birthday and thanks for a wonderful instructional blog. I am a lurker but I check your blog daily. Barbara E.

  82. Dear Mary,

    Happy Birthday to you! And thank you for giving us the chance to congratulate you and wish you all the best and many happy returns 🙂

    The idea to give away gifts on your own birthday is a very good one – I am planning to do the same on my own birthday in November. I think I will invite my needlework friends to my home and give them some of my handmade soap, soapmaking being my second hobby 🙂

    As for the notion of the best gift… for me, needlework supplies would be the best gift, especially if it is something chosen with love and care. Alas, most of my friends and relatives do not share my obsession with embroidery and needlework, so in most cases the best gift for me is what I buy myself 🙂 Well, you probably know what I mean. And yet, gifts from my mother and boyfriend are always the best, because.. just because I know they love me, and I love them in return, and I always try to give them something very, very special.

  83. What a wonderful idea a gift to a stranger from you on your birthday. The gifts that mean the most come from the heart whether purchased or crafted. Your idea reminds me of the good samaritan story I taught my children. I always wondered if it got thru to them.Now I have my proof. My eldest daughter and I went to the regional market one saturday as we were leaving my daughter saw an elderly woman have an accident. The woman was not injured but the car wasn’t drivable. She let the woman use her cell and stayed with her until her son could arrived and arranged for the car to be towed. She also notified the security personel so the car wouldn’t be towed to an impound lot. When my daughter was offered payment for her kindness she repeated what I had always said to others is the same situation “If you really want to repay me please pass along the kindness to some one else in need”.Thanks for passing along your happiness of your birthday to others. Giving of one’s self without announcing it and expecting reciprocal treatment is the best gift. The gift of happiness from watching anothers’ joy.

  84. The best gift is love – in whatever form it comes – given with and open and happy heart it’s infectious!
    Wishing you a lovely birthday!


  85. Happy Birthday Mary, I would have to say that knowledge is the best gift. Because what you learn and have shared with others stays with you for a lifetime. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us everyday. Gayle in Waco

  86. Dang it. I forgot to say what I think is a great gift. So here goes…….My idea of the perfect gift is that someone cares about me to go to the trouble to choose a special gift for just me !!!When I get a gift from anyone I’m thrilled that they went to the thought and expense and especially,the “lookin for just the right thing ” for me. I think its wonderful to have you there to choose a special gift for someone. Eileene aka noiseynana

  87. Happy Birthday, Mary! Hope you have a great one. How sweet of you to give a gift on your special day! Especially since you already give all of us a gift each and every day.

    The best gifts to me are ones that I can tell required a lot of thought. This can be anything from something handmade to a purchased, “just what I wanted” little thing.


  88. Happy Birthday, Mary! I hope you have a wonderful day. I just exchanged Christmas presents w/my very best friend yesterday – she lives far away and we always do this in person. Her gift to me was wonderful homemade breads, which she knows I dearly love. My gift to her was a framed monogramed piece – using your letters, by the way! She doesn’t stitch, so these gifts to each other were perfect. My only other perfect gift to me would have to be ‘time’ – time to sit and stitch the many, many patterns I’ve accumulated! lol
    Barbara in TN

  89. The notion of a best gift is 3 little things that I have found to be a delight with the receiver – 1. one to be useful – 2. one to be funny – 3 and finally one to be something that I know the receiver would like. My Mum used this theory for my birthdays Christmas etc.


  90. Mary, many many happy returns to you from sunny Sydney, Australia!
    By the number of comments here I think you’ve really got people thinking with your question. My notion of a perfect gift is someone visiting and talking the time to talk with me, not just spending time in the room watching TV etc. I think people’s time is so precious that if someone chooses to spend some on me I feel very rich indeed.
    And you thought no-one would be interested in answering your question, VBG.
    Christine McKenna

  91. Happy Birthday, Mary! I ditto Cissie’s comment about you giving on your special day.

    I’ve never posted a comment here before, but I want to say, I love your site. Of all the e-mails I get each day (and I get A LOT), I look for your news letter first. I am most inspired by it and I find that when I search out the web for info for a project, I usually end up at your site.

    As for the best notion for a gift, the best gifts are the ones that have especially delighted the giver. Most often they are hand-made, but can also be something that has to do with what the giver and I have in common. They always call me a step higher in that area. For example, a sticher friend might give a new notion that they know I haven’t used before.

    God Bless and thank you for all you do.


  92. Happy, Happy Birthday to YOU!! The very best kind of gift is one chosen especially for that person. One that reflects their life, their loves or their wishes for the future. I love giving gifts, it’s even better than receiving one!!

  93. Happy Birthday,
    The best notion would be the one with the most thought behind it to challange me to try something new and different in my stitching.


  94. The very best of birthdays and new years to you! The best gift I can think of is one from the heart, that shows the connection between the giver and the recipient. My mom and I shared a love of turtles; one year I gave her a turtle momma with a baby crawling up her shell–you would have thought I gave her a string of real pearls!

  95. Happy Birthday Mary.

    My notion of the best gift is time. Giving time to help someone accomplish something they may have difficulty doing alone (a helping hand). Spending time with someone you love because you want to and they want to. Time with Mary and receiving a personal lesson, would be a tremendous gift to receive.


  96. And you thought you wouldn’t get a lot of responses. I love this blog. I love your website. I love your e-mails. I look forward to them everyday. You are so inspiring. Yesterday, I went ahead and traced the Spring Garden Corner motif on a placemat made of linen/cotton that I am going to make for a Easter gift for a hostess. You so inspired me with your daily emails and tutorials .
    My notion of a best gift would be receiving something that I probably wouldn’t get myself. For example, some really nice linen or silk thread,or an exqusite embroidery kit or book. Something extravagant, but not necessarily expensive. Sometimes it hard to be nice to ourselves. I find that I tend to give to others those things that I would like for myself.
    Once again. HAPPY BIRTHDAY

  97. The best gift is one that is a surprise, but something that I really would love to have but won’t buy for myself. It takes a good friend (or sister) to know what a person would love to get so that makes the gift even better.

  98. To me, the best gift is one you “give”, not receive. Watching someone open my gift, seeing the pleasure on their face, and knowing that you put so much thought into it, and that they are sooo loved!

    ‘Course, having said that, I also like to get surprise gifts that I know someone really gave some thought to what I would like.

    And that brings me to your give-aways which always are something I would like! You are such a very thoughtful person! Always doing for US!!

    Hoping that you received some very thoughtful gifts this birthday and that you have a wonderful year ahead,
    Marilyn R.

  99. First, “Happy Birthday to you”. I think that the best gift that I have ever been given was onmy 6th or 7th birthday. My grandmother who did not have much money, made me a dress. This dress had a wide skirt that twirled when I twirled. I can still see the pattern and feel the material (and I am almost 66 years old). She was so happy that I was happy. I also think that all of the lopsided gifts that my children have given me are wonderful also. Thanks for bringing these memories back to me.. I now know what I have to do for my grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. Thanks

  100. A gift, is sometimes expected, and sometimes totally unexpected. It can be in the form of a word, a deed, a box wrapped up in all sorts of finery, or even a hug. But the receiver should always be grateful, regardless of the form because it is a “gift”. But when a a Happy Birthday to YOU gift is offered only days after your birthday, which was April 7th, well, that’s like serenipity.

  101. Mary I think this is a great idea! I would love the chance to win! My husband really listens to what I would like for any occasion. one of the best gifts I ever recieved was a light box – a very nice one! that was 25 years ago and I am still using it. can you believe I have never changed the light bulbs in it! He thinks my ideas are a little strange sometimes, but they are things I truly want and need. from friends – I love homemade things. it really makes me feel special!

    Lorene H
    qlt7scrap at cox dot net

  102. Oh Mary all your gifts are wonderful and always kept within what a stitcher may want or need. I guess my best notion of a gift would be one that has meaning with both the receiver and the giver in mind, homemade and from the heart, doesn’t have to be expensive, just one that we can both look at and say remember when you were doing this or that and I made or I received________, that is an awesome gift for me..
    Happy Birthday Mary and may you have many more blessed and happy ones.

  103. Happy Birthday to you!
    My Mother always told me to buy a gift for someone that I would like for myself. This advice has served me well, I usually buy two. So whatever is in the package will be well received because it is a gift of the heart. Thank you

  104. First, I hope you have a wonderful birthday. My notion of a great gift is anything given by someone who cares. Since you show your caring when you share so much of your time and knowledge with all of us, I would love anything you gave as a gift.

    Cynthia Bonnell

  105. Oh, yes! Notions are always a great gift, birthday or otherwise. My “notion” of a great gift is one that the giver has sent from the heart. They have either handmade something (the bestest gift) or thoughtfully and loveingly purchased something they thought would bring me joy.
    Alice McClelland aka

  106. Happy Birthday Mary! I hope you have a wonderful day.

    My idea of a perfect gift is spending quality time with my family. I do like receiving surprises but special trips are like the icing on the cake. Memories of time spent together, like going to Muir Woods and walking slowly with my kids and husband under those towering redwoods, talking with them as we walk and enjoying the sound of the birds and the creek warms my heart more than any trinket I’ve ever received.


  107. Happy Birthday Mary!!
    I never expect a gift for my birthday, birthdays were never made a fuss over when I grew up. I had a friend many years ago who would go out of her way to make it special for me. I got so much joy from seeing her face in excitement when she would give me a gift that she took so much care in picking something she knew I would love, something I had mentioned during the year that I liked . she would be almost jumping up and down when she gave it to me. She taught me alot about giving. She received a gift to herself each time she gifted. We were in our 20’s then and I remember everything she ever gave me. joanne g. charlotte, n.c.

  108. Happy Birthday Mary! May the good Lord send you His most choice blessings.

    My notion of a best birthday would be spending time with God, Family, Friends and Embroidery.

    I wouldn’t be upset if I won the lottery either.

    Lorraine Connelly

  109. My idea of the best surprise is something you didn’t see coming (no special occasion), that you didn’t even know existed, but now that you have it, you know you’ll cherish it always.


  110. Happy Birthday Mary! May the Lord grant you His most choice blessings.

    My notion would be to spend time with my God, Family, Friends and Embroidery.

    I wouldn’t be upset with winning the lottery either as I am on a fixed income.

    Lorraine Connelly

  111. Heartfelt wishes B’day girl.

    For me the best gift is something which is given with sincerity. If the gift is useful, then it’ll be like ‘forever’.

  112. Happy Birthday!

    I think the best gifts should reflect what the person needs/wants with some functionality. Granted, this can sometimes backfire, but it should always be a something that you took the time and effort to give.

  113. what a good question! For me, the best present is a “surprise present” nothing more, nothing less. Just a surprise.

  114. I think the most fun gift I ever gave was giving “A Stitching Treasure” graph with flosses and linen to my best stitching friend. I also bought the whole shebang for myself….and although I’m in Texas and she lives in Florida….we would call, talk, and stitch together. She was always ahead of me. Then I talked my husband, who does beautiful woodworking, into building each of us a box to display our work. He picked out some beautful wood….and got my friend’s box made and she loves it. However, he got busy with his “real” work (business) and hasn’t had time to get mine done…still waiting….but what great fun we had together stitching “our treasure boxes”, and hunting for the little charms that decorate the finished piece …..I think it also brought us closer together….she’s now trying to figure out how to sell her house and move closer to me here in Texas….hope the market improves so she can.


  115. Happy Birthday from Germany, Mary! Thank you for a great inspiration – I’m always looking forward to your next post…

    A perfect present, by the way, would be something I unwrap and realize I wanted all the time without knowing it existed. Not only for the delight of getting something nice, but also because this means that someone knows me as well (or better) as I do myself.

    Hope you had a great Birthday,

  116. First, Happy Birthday! The best gift to me, is the totaly unexpected, no special occasion, just-because-I-love-you gift. It need not be expensive…in fact, it`s usually better if it isn`t. But it should be sentimental…even a flower picked from our own garden and given unexpectedly.

  117. My “notion” of the best gift is a sincere gift…one form the heart. I also love homemade gifts.
    Happy Birthday!

  118. Mary,

    You always ask the best question. To me, the best gift is the one that you ddn;t know you wanted, but is a perfect match for you.

    A couple years ago my husband bought me an electric tea kettle. I did not even know they existed.

    It was the PERFECT gift. I drink a tone of tea daily, and the electric kettle heats up 7 cups in less than 4 minutes!

    Ruth M

  119. Hello Mary
    My notion of the perfect gift is simply one given with sincere love which truly comes from the heart. Be it a big gift or a small one. In your case, it would probably be something that you are interested in i.e. your needlework. I’m an ardent fan of your work and look forward to anything concerning needlework be it ideas or designs or needlework stuff. So here goes…. Happy Birthday/Happy Easter Mary and surprise….surprise….Dorothy

  120. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! What wonderful comments. My “notion” of a gift would be sharing some time with those you love and passing on crafting skills of any kind to the next generation. Busy hands are really loving hearts.:}

  121. My philosophy when it comes to gifts is that the best ones contain two necessary elements: that they are something the recipient will love and has always wanted and two, that they wouldn’t buy for themselves. It doesn’t have to be expensive or large, but it has to have meaning.

    Socks. Underwear. Household appliances. Those aren’t gifts. They’re chores. (are you listening, dear? :))

  122. Hello Mary

    Having just had a birthday myself I can say without doubt my notion of a perfect gift is one that shows thoughtfullness. Presents don’t need to cost a lot but just need to show that the giver cares enough to think about what they are giving. Hope that makes sense.

  123. The best gift is something that the recipient would like but hasn’t gotten him/herself. That is most women like gifts of jewelry (never enough of nice stuff, and if you have a favorite kind of stone or whatever, that is it). Anyway, it is unnecessary to state here that STASH is great for needleworkers!


  124. Happy birthday to you … and to me later tis month. My notion of a grea gift is something that you didn’t need and would never buy for yourself …

  125. Hi Mary. Many Happy Returns. I agree the best pressies are surprises. I like to give ‘experiences’ as gifts, like a day at Wimbledon, concert tickets or tickets to an exhibition. I like to think of something that I know the recipient wants to do/see.


  126. Happy Belated Birthday Mary!

    I think the best gifts are those that show you really pay attention to what recipient enjoys and those that they may not buy for themselves.

    Anna Warren

  127. Happy Birthday!
    The best gift is a tricky one…I’ve come to reasses my ideas on gift giving since marrying my husband who really hates buying gifts, including ones for me. He’d prefer that I choose something and then he’d buy it. Initally I saw this as terribly unromantic but now I see it for what it is – a genuine wish to get me something that I’d like. So the best gift? One that the recipient will like and the giver won’t stress about.

  128. My notion of the best gift is a simple sign of affection from someone who is family or a good friend. It is from someone who truly knows you and what you would love, or something that inspires you to new ideas.

    Wishing you a wonderful and happy birthday!!

  129. Happy Birthday Mary.

    My “notion” of the best gift, is the “Grace of God” and that Jesus Christ died for us.

    I also have a birthday this month – on Saturday the 11th. After reading the posts, it looks like there are alot of us born in April.


  130. Most of the other comments have described my notion of the best gift. It is one that the giver has given a lot of thought to and chosen because it is perfect for the recipient – whatever that may be. Happy birthday to you and obviously your giveaway isn’t a crazy idea – look how many comments you already have!

  131. My idea of the best gift is one someone thinks is perfect for me but doesn’t cost them much.

  132. Best gift would be a surprise one, something unexpected. My sister would always surprise me with nice crafty books and my first Ipod nano. I guess to be able to receive and give away a gift is happy and fun thing to do.

  133. Hello mary …. I do not want to participate .. just wish you a beautiful day, FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS, good health and great gift that you want both to win any friends or relatives do you get … The best birthday present is the 5 minutes when you sing happy birthday in front of a cake with all your friends and family present

  134. My best gift would be something that a loved one made with his or her own hands – not necessarily costly in dollars but priceless in the love that went into making it. Carol

  135. the best birthday gift is when someone I know comes to me out of the blue (when I forgot it was my birthday)(old age or menopause)say Happy birthday and you look at them as if they were wrong and u take on the dumbfounded look then your brain kicks in and duh it is my birthday, The unexpected surprises I love to get. they are the most precious.

  136. Hey everyone – the best gift? One that comes from the heart. One of my favorite gifts of all time was the gawdy black and white plastic dangly ear rings my son “bought” at school with the tickets he earned. He was so proud of them and said “They will go with anything, mom” so I had to wear them….he was 6 years old! I suspect the mom who donated them was thrilled that they found a new home! I still have them, my son is now 19, and I will keep them forever. I even occasionally find some reason to wear them!

    Next to that, anything home or hand made is awesome, although people who aren’t into crafts and such don’t always appreciate all the time (and love) that goes into such gifts.

  137. I almost forgot – Happy Birthday! You give us a special gift when we get your email updates…thanks for the gift we get each day!

  138. My notion of a perfect gift…….is a gift that shows that the giver has put thought into. A gift that fits my personality and passions. this tells me that the gift was not given just to give.

  139. Happy Birthday, Mary!

    My notion of a perfect gift is something that is given with a great deal of thought – reaching the receiver’s deepest needs or desires. I love to see people well up with joy – it’s my greatest pleasure.

    Tears or leaking eyes are necessary 🙂

    I love your website; it serves as my daily motivation to see what can be done, what could be and maybe, just maybe, what will be.

    Keep up the great work.


  140. I suspect I’m with the majority–the best notion of a gift? From the heart, to the heart.

    Something that says “I really do care” or “I understand” or even just “I noticed”.

    Something that brings both giver and gifted joy and glee and delight in the gift and in the receipt of the gift.

    Something that opens one heart to another, whether or not it is open in both directions.

    The very happiest of natal celebrations, Mary!


  141. Happy Birthday Mary.

    Well, I was always taught to give a gift which you would like to receive for yourself thereby putting a lot of thought into the gift. That’s my notion of a best gift.

    I’ve learned a few things from your blog and much appreciated the video tutorials for some of the stitches I had forgotten how to do.


  142. hello mary
    many many many happy returns of the day……
    to me the best gift comes ..hand made…no matter the size….or perfection… because it tells me that i have been in the persons heart and mind …. all the time that it took to plan…shop and implement the work of art…..every mothers day and fathers day our grandson(we have only one yet) makes us something…a pot of blooms with a pic of himself….a tee shirt with his handprint in the front and worlds best grandma painted on the back….for his grand dad a poster with glued on foam sport themes and saying ..i love you grand dad….he is now 6 years old…and we have very proudly displayed it in our living room…every year we look forward to see what will it be this time…we love him and cherish him so much…
    i have also given every birthday to our three children,growing up and now our grandson…home made cards…my signature…rainbow colors as back drop…and name messages inside about their achievments,and qualities during the year…on their graduation i gave them a 21 star salute to their achievments and future expectations….
    thank you , mary, for this opportunity to share the value of a gift….
    have a wonderful day….
    have a wonderful year…

    kiran seth

  143. Mary, happy birthday!!!
    I agree with the others, that real gift should come from the heart. They could be very simple, but not the ones bought the last minute. I like hand made gifts (and of course I do not like the money…) I like small surprises, nice and unpractical things just to make me happy…

  144. Happy Birthday and blessings this Easter, Mary – the best gift I could give or receive would be time – time spent with someone or time to stitch!

  145. I think the best gift not the expensive one, but it tells me that the giver knows me well, and know my tastes. Never educational (e.g. thay think you should learn cooking, so they give you a cookery book) but something the recipient appreciates.
    I like coss stitch, so anything in the subject is perfect gift to me. 🙂

  146. Sorry I missed the day, but hope it was a good one!
    I liked William Morris’s idea that you should have nothing in your house that isn’t either beautiful or functional….(NOT that I can follow this dictum!Piles of papers are the joy and the bane of my life!,so when it comes to presents, it’s hard to beat something that is both beautiful and functional….embroidery books, gardening books,…..and you’ll know that extra frisson when you come across a tool you really need,that has been perfectly crafted itself!

    Mary, could you bottle up some of your boundless energy??!! xx

  147. The best gift is one that is a surprise and given in love with no strings attached. It’s one we can either use or relax and look at and have the happy memory of the person who cared.

  148. For me the best gift is anything quilt or needlework related. And, I trust you, your gifts are always great!

  149. The best gift would be that is given to me when I least expect it. Like, when it is not my birthday,anniversay etc. You know, other days should also be special. I think this kind of act would make my day,or maybe week. It will make me smile get me in a goofy mood whenever I would think about the person who actually did the act of gift giving. You know like they say, It is not that the gift counts but the thought count way much more.
    Wishing you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  150. Mary,

    Happy Birthday!

    My best gift notion is one that is hand made. There is sooo much love put into the project whatever that project may be.

    When I gift give I sit down and draw what I want to embroider for that particular individual. It’s heart warming to see the smile(s) when my gift is opened.

    Enjoy and thank you for sharing.

  151. Happy Birhtday, Mary!

    The most precious gift for me is to know that by some luck/grace/genetic combination I have received so many things without even doing anything. Just to be able to wake up in the morning, live each moment without
    too much pain, enjoy a profession I absolutely love, enjoy a hobby that challenges and nourishes my soul at the same time, in short, the best gift to me is how we are
    all born with so much potential and inner strength and how we are surrounded by so much beauty. The gift of Life itself,
    with all that it encompasses is something I am grateful for each and every day.
    Take Care,

  152. Lovely giveaway. My notion of the best gift is one that requires some thought about the recipient’s interests and needs.

  153. I love your blog and looking at your beautiful embroidery. I’ve always admired embroidery but am a klutz at doing it myself. Need much more practice!

    My idea of the perfect gift is the sharing of knowledge and talents. Something you do very well, Mary.

    Have a wonderful birthday.

  154. Happy belated BirthDay Mary!!!!! I love your blog I learn so much from it!!!! To answer your your question I think the best gift is the one given from the heart!!!! One carfully thought out and given!!!! VBH Debby Long

  155. Hi!
    I think the best gift is an unexpected gift – it hasn´t to be for birthday or christmas, maybe just because someone thinks of you – and knows what you like.
    Thank you for this giveaway, I make hand-embroidery, like redwork, and I´m a regular reader of your blog/site.
    Happy birthday to you and have a good year!

  156. The best gift in my opinion are hand made. It’s not the item so much as the warm fuzzy I get from knowing someone thought enough of me to take time from their busy life to plan and make something just for me. I think that shows how much you are loved, and I love to love and be loved.

    Christy S.

  157. Hi Mary,
    I turned 60 on the 7th of April. The best birthday gifts for me are any thing having to do with stitchery, books, notions, patterns.
    This year is my new favorite. My sister gave me a clip on light with a small magnifier attached. It is the best!
    Now the needlepoint holes look much bigger and my old eyes can actually make the needle go in the right holes. She also gave me the CrabApple Hill pattern of the Embroiderer’s Prayer. What wonderful new favorite gifts.
    PS: Happy Birthday from another Aries baby.
    Janice Miller

  158. happy birthday Mary!!
    for me the best gift is something given with eart.
    1 love your blog ,each day I read it with pleasure.it allows me to dream of what I could do and often give me a true help in stitching.
    (Sorry for my poor english!!).
    Michèle from Brittany

  159. Well all I can say about the best notion of a gift to myself is this. Loving all those around me! To embeace,encourage and enthusiastically recieve what others give to, in any form. Thank you for you amazing generous giveaways, always given with great joy! A GREAT BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you MARY!!!!!!!!!!

  160. Have a wonderful birthday, and yes I just love your idea of a Happy Birthday to me.
    My notion of the best birthday gift is to give to someone you know and love, it could be something you know they want, or help, or just encouragement. In other words the gift of your time which to all of us is various precious.
    Again, thanks for the wonderful site. Jet

  161. Good heavens! I’d have to say…ALL THE ABOVE! I love getting a gift from someone who knows what is of interest to me. My husband gave me a broom and dust pan one Christmas. I was speechless…until he told me look at the dust pan. He had taped a small box on the back of it (still covered with wrapping paper that I couldn’t bear to tear off in a bout of self pity). Inside that little box were tiny diamond stud earrings. The wonder of it all was that he lived long enough to tell me to look for them! But my daughter in law one Christmas gave me one of the remembered and loved gifts–a basket full of fat quarters to sew. I felt totally accepted by her.

  162. I still have my first embroidery done as a child, and have done quite a few kits over the years, mostly in crewel. I am renewing this love of stitchery, and discovering from your site and blogs an extensive array of materials, stitches, and patterns that are completely new to me and somewhat intimidating. Therefore, my notion of a gift would be a sampler design with assorted threads and maybe one of the books illustrating the stitches. I can see myself playing for such a time, learning, and gaining courage to begin creating my own original pieces. Happy, happy times, ahead!
    Thank you for all your inspiration and teachings.

  163. The best gift…..hum, Time to work on projects with no interruptions! That would be heavenly. God`s Blessings for another year of needlework and wisdom.
    karole king

  164. Hi Mary et al,

    Happy Birthday! I am thrilled to have found your website.

    My notion of the perfect gift is the one that we give to ourselves. Lots of other folks will wish us birthday wishes throughout the day and give us goodies. But how we feel inside is what is special. It starts the morning that we wake up and remember that it is our birthday. There is a little thrill and an inner smile. We came into the world this day and it has taken us until now to realize how special that is. We can be kind to ourselves this day and be glad for who we are. It may be an empty day that we can fill in a manner of our choosing, but more than likely it will be a day in which we have to get a bunch of things done, or do something arduous or sad. We may laugh, or cry or have a perfectly awful day, but if there is a moment to breathe, reflect and be aware that we are here now and it is meaningful, that is my notion of the best gift. Sounds kinda Zen, I know, but this is what I hope for on my BD!

  165. big or small its the thought that counts…. especially when it comes unprompted by self.

    I have to say I just love seeing the close ups of the your embroidery work… it gives me so many ideas to utilise. am an obsessed crazypatch worker myself..have fun

  166. Dear Mary

    Reading all of your heartfelt comments already posted, I can add nothing except have a wonderful and happy Birthday. And YOUR reading the comments, surely has to be your best gift of all. Sharing fun, successes, foibles and laughter. Thank you so much for this site.

    Judy in Pittsburg

  167. A helping hand when it is most needed is my idea of the best gift. I traveled to Tennesse from New York to help my son with moving boxes. And sent a baby dress for a holiday in the nick of time. These moments are gifts that are appreciated by loved ones.

  168. my notion of the best gift . . . would be a small treasure that i can keep close to me — from a friend who knows me and loves the same things i love.

    Katrina M.

  169. Happy Birthday Mary!

    My idea of the best gift is a gift given in love, with no strings attached.

  170. My favorite gift is spending time with our grandchildren. Especially when we can have one at a time to devote special time doing things that one enjoys most. Our oldest, 13, loves quilting, so we quilt together. Her brother, 10 loves the aquarium and WII games, so that’s what we do. He also loves bike riding, so that;s another activity he enjoys with Nonie and Papa. The next grandson likes mixing potions, and anything outside. He’s 6. His cousin, our other six year old, loves the Children’s Museum and the aquarium, but most of all she likes finding salamanders in the woodpile! Our youngest, 3, is happy with whatever comes up! We bake, play with her toys, and anything to do with princesses. Just spending time with them all is the greatest joy in the world.

  171. Hi and happy birthday!
    A perfect gift is something I can really use, be it fabric or threads or notions or, of course, books. Any of these would make me very happy! Thanks for the giveaway!

  172. Heyy Mary,
    Wish you a very Happy birthday!! Sorry for being late, but I was away and had no internet access to check the blogs, hope I am not too late!
    The best gift for me is which is unexpected..a surprise gift. Agree to as you said that there is not that joy in asking for the gift..the joy lies in the moments of anticipation when you open the gift.

  173. Hey, Mary! Happy Belated Birthday!

    I love your blog. It’s the first thing I read every morning, but I’ve been out of town for a week. I’m just now catching up and hope I’m not too late for your birthday giveaway!

    My favorite kind of gift? Like you say, suprises are fantastic. The gifts you aren’t expecting or have no reason to expect. But I like it when people do things or make things for me best. For example, my husband cleaned house and cooked on my birthday. He wouldn’t let me do a thing! He “made me” go sit in the lounge and stitch while he cleaned, cooked dinner, and directed the kids to help. Then we went out for dessert and a movie. It was a great day and the nicest gift.

    I hope you had a happy day!

    Emily B.
    Albuquerque, NM

  174. My notion of a best gift is one that I might create spontaneously or one that I have well thought out. No matter which one I choose it is always a gift from my heart that continues a sewing legacy.

    Colleen Lim

  175. Happy late birthday!

    My idea of a best gift? Since I’m trying to de-stash/simplify/un-stuff/organize my life, I find that perishable or expendable gifts are best. Gift cards, money, ingredients, baked goods, supplies, and other things that can be used and then disappear are AWESOME gifts.

  176. Hi
    The best notion is the one where you give something some has admired and gave it to them on the spot. The look on their face is great. I love giving spontaneously. I repeated the message because my other one did not show up.

  177. To me the best gifts are small unexpected ones. Like when I friend sends you a card on your birthday or invites you over for dinner for no reason at all. They show that the person cares enough to think of you. This gifts are usually inexpensive in nature a truly come from the heart. This type of gift can even be free, like when my husband folds the laundry while I am napping away a headache. He did not need to fold the laundry, I would have done it, but he did it as a gift to me.
    By the way I really enjoy your blog. I am new to embroidery, but have been doing other forms of needlework for years, including cross stitch and needle point. I really like your video stitch library.

  178. My notion of a best gift is something someone has made specially for a person…I have a little plaque in my sewing room “When I give to you something I have made, with my hands, I give my heart.”

    Happy Birthday…I have learned so much by reading your postings!

  179. I like unexpected gifts for no reason at all as they are the kind that truly come from the heart and not because there is a special occassion.

    For occassions I tell people around me multiple items I would like and when they buy me one it is a surprise to see which one I get 🙂

    I also like things I can use because I am trying not to collect and horde too much.

  180. My best birthday was when my oldest son was born.He was born just 6 days after my 22nd birthday and when my 2nd son was born a month before my 23rd birthday.So,those were my best birthday presents I ever got

  181. Hi there not sure If I signed up before, but I’m here. Hope I can win! Thank you for the chance. Jaja tjlburke at gmail dot com

  182. I store my threads etc., in a ziplock baggy. Since I am new to all this I don’t need a suitcase yet! ha Thank-you so much for your user friendly website and especially the tutorials! I’d be lost without you!

  183. The best gifts are given from the heart. I love the gifts my husband gives. (A rose tree for planting, a surprise dinner and a show at a theater) a meal cooked by my children, The best was when my children traveled from many miles away to surprise me after their long absences.

  184. My best gift doesn’t have to cost anything just your time.Sit with me and just visit,ask me anything cause I sure wish I had talked more with Gram and Mom.Who knows what tomorrow will bring and you’ll always have those unanswered questions in the family !

  185. The best gift is one that is made by the sender, or at least very thought out by the to get something that I truly will like.

  186. A gift that provides an opportunity to explore or grow in a new direction. For example, if a friend also does embroidery, perhaps a selection of new threads to try, something not tried before, silk, tulle, metallic, or even new color collection in good cotton.

    Indeed, your work is amazing, a one woman tour d’force.

    Thank You and Many Happy Returns on your special day,

    Kathleen Sweet

  187. Any gift from the heart of a child or a friend. A hug, a kiss, a dandelion flower from the yard that a child might pick and give you. A book, something baked, or crafted from an adult friend. A simple hug and kiss from your spouse. All of these are special gifts. The gifts of God’s creations that we enjoy each day. Life is a special gift and our blessings He gives.

  188. What a fun idea! I prefer to be surprised.I love things that I am known to be interested in or probably wouldn’t buy for myself. Even if I already have one, I still like the thought of the gift-er putting thought into the gift for me. Anything for needlework would fit the bill for me as I am just getting back into my long-time interests.

  189. Anything related to any kind of stitching but the best gift is always the unexpected one! Thanks!

  190. PS. Happy Birthday to you!! I’d sing but it would be just as bad online as in person LOL


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