I previewed bits of Table Hostess gifts (here and here), and want to share all the details now that the festival is over. In keeping with the "Return to Switzerland" theme, I'd come up with the idea of a bag of Swiss souvenirs. My plans were more grandiose than my skills however, so I enlisted the help of my talented friend Tina to be my co-hostess. She made Swiss cheese wedges out of Fimo, cut and sewed bandannas from some original dealer replacement fabric (an eBay find), and gave me lots of encouragement and positive feedback as I worked on my projects.
I persuaded my husband to make miniature Toblerone bars in both regular and dark chocolate versions, scanning the original packages and reducing them to 1/3 size (he has patience with X-Acto and glue from working on his RC Airplanes). Here's a picture of Calla and Boo checking the size of his prototype:
I went shopping online and found alpine bell keychains and edelweiss charms (from Germany), and small Swiss flag patches (from Thailand). I removed the keychain portion from the bells, and made Sasha-sized necklaces from the charms. I created little cards on my computer explaining the significance of the bandannas. And I started sewing totebags using Peggy Trauger's pattern. This was the hard part. I recently purchased a sewing machine, but haven't done any sewing (other than simple mending or craft projects by hand) in the past 25 years. I was thrilled with how well they turned out, even though they were finished with little time to spare. Here's how everything looked as Tina and I put the bits together at the hotel on Thursday evening:
There was a second portion to our gift as well. I had been mulling over some sort of card with our names and the bandanna information, but I separated the two ideas after some brainstorming with Tina. She suggested we make Lindt bars instead of the Toblerone due to their connection with Sasha. I liked the distinctive Toblerone shape, but thought Lindt bars would be nice if I had one of the old labels to miniaturize. That morphed into creating modern versions of the labels, and using these to identify ourselves. I selected my 1968 dolls to use as models, and set up a "photo studio" with a solid color background and decent lighting to photograph them. My husband is a whiz with Photoshop, and helped me figure out enough to create the labels I'd sketched by hand on a piece of paper (modeled after the originals, which Tina emailed me scans of from a magazine article). Once they were complete, I used them as sleeves around Lindt bars. Here's a picture of the five versions, which all have the same back:
I hope everyone who sat at our table enjoyed receiving these gifts as much as we enjoyed creating them.