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Busy Hands

When I worked as a caseworker, with 50+ hour workweeks and late nights in bad neighborhoods, I came to rely heavily on my teammates to just manage the burnout. One of these teammates, Vanessa, came all the way out to Baltimore from California to join us. After her time at Choice, she moved back to California. The rest of us from Choice have missed her a lot. She is a ball of energy, emotion, and generosity; things have been much duller with her return to the West Coast.

This week, Vanessa celebrates her birthday and those of us still in Baltimore had meant to meet up and make a care package. The meet-up fell through, but the package will get sent soon. I don’t know what everyone else is giving her but I thought I’d show off the gifts I made her (and others) in a rash of crafty, homemade art.


Origami paper rocks. Having bought a pack of origami paper at the local thrift store for $.50, I had a good set of ready-made squares to make snowflakes. I also ended up making small ones with left over candy cups/muffin paper. Since Vanessa is missing out on our record breaking snows here in Baltimore, I thought it appropriate to send her as much snow as I could. 30 snowflakes later, my thumbs were getting pins and needles.

I used the more lively origami paper to make a string of jewel-tone cranes for Vanessa too. I always associate origami cranes with her; she made me a few during our caseworker stint. Using beading wire and small glass beads, I emulated a string of cranes that Niff and Sutter have at their front door. All in all, I’m happy with the results. I just hope they ship well.

Paper cranes & toner

I added a couple of smaller less exciting wares to the package, but I’m not sure they’re worth mentioning in greater detail. However, I haven’t seen much of my Choice teammates this past year, so I have missed out on their birthday celebrations as well. For them, I made a range of homemade toner sprays. The spray bottles are left from our brand of deodorant, and I always keep them because they seem so full of potential uses. In the picture, from front to back, are my rosemary toner, my rosemary & lavender toner, and my mint tea toner. They’re pretty basic, made with a little alcohol, witch hazel, herbs, and water. I had added vitamin E to them as well, but that just clumped all the herbs together and didn’t really mix at all. I got to worrying about the likelihood that it’d clog the sprays too, so I didn’t add any more after straining them.

Happiest of birthdays, Vanessa! I hope you enjoy your gifts this week. They were sent with lots of love.

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