This doll was made out of a sock, the stuffing is from frayed out pieces of fabric. It's very soft and not at all lumpy like you might think. Eric used a tooth of a comb for a needle to thread with. The thread he used came from ripped pieces of fabric like a bed sheet. He would strip the fabric down to pieces of thread and then use the tooth of the comb to sew with. The dress was made from a piece of a sheet. He actually hemmed the dress so there are no edges that could fray or rip apart. As you can see from the picture... this doll has become a part of Halle. She goes everywhere with it. This doll was the best Christmas gift she got this year. Sure she got more expensive gifts, she got lot's of great toys, clothes and even a store bought doll. But nothing makes her feel secure like hugging on this doll made with love from her Daddy. It's like she knows it's filled with love, which of course... it is.
This picture was one of the gifts that Eric gave to Marcie for Christmas. I had mentioned that he sent a letter and a gift for seven days in a row prior to Christmas. It was exciting for Marcie to open a new gift each day and she especially enjoyed the thoughtful personal letters he had wrote just for her. This picture of the rose was drawn by another inmate in the same cell he's in. I have no idea what he had to trade for it? Probably commissary snacks or drinks he might save from meals or from his commissary he gets once a week. Each inmate gets an opportunity to order commissary items each week on toiletry supplies or envelopes, paper or pencils etc. They can also purchase some drinks or snacks. The families are allowed to bring a money order in each week (with a limit of course) so that they can have supplies they need as they live there. Like I said, I have no idea what this cost Eric, but he sacrificed so that Marcie could have this nice drawing as a gift for Christmas.
This gift is a key chain. I only show you one here, but he made 4 of these key chains. One for his brother Ryan, his Mom, his Dad, and of course Marcie. As you can see he had each of our names written in the key chain. There is a loop at one end to put a key ring on and the key chain itself is made out of very fine strips of plastic trash bags. You can see the ends sticking out on the opposite end of where the loop is. The words and the shiny coloring in the key chain is made from pieces of candy bar wrappers. Each of our key chains were a different color. One was blue and he used the foil wrapper from a Rice Krispie treat, I believe mine was from the foil wrapper of a Hershey bar. I'm amazed at how well these are made and how strong they are. These gifts were really neat and we each enjoy showing them off.
These little shoes are a little hard to see in the picture, but they really look adorable when you see them in person. They are made to hang from Marcie's rear view mirror. That's why there is a string tied in a loop on them. These little baby shoes or boots are made out of a deck of playing cards. each card is folded just right to give the shoe the shape it needs and the cards are also folded in such a way to tie all the pieces together. This is a very unique gift and the detail and time it must have taken him to make these little boots is amazing. What a wonderful gift and how creative!
This gift is called a dream catcher. I'm not sure of the story behind dream catchers, but it's made like a net to catch the dreams of the person in the room that it's hanging. I believe these dream catchers originated with the Indians. Notice on the bottom of the smaller ring, you can see where Eric had used a wrapper to put Marcie's name on this gift. The feathers are of course not real feathers, they are pieces of bed sheet and the pieces have been frayed out so they appear to look like a feather. The picture really doesn't do the gift justice, but it is a very detailed gift that I know took Eric a long time to make.
This is another gift that Eric had made. It's similar to the dream catcher above. This one has much more color in it. The color coming from a rice krispie wrapper (blue) The threading in both dream catchers is from pieces of frayed out fabric. He twisted the pieces of thread together to made more like a string rather than thread. It's amazing to see the detail in these gifts. He died the thread or fabric in either coffee or a colored drink like juice. This give the name Halle a different color than the rest of the dream catcher. This one was made to be able to be worn as a necklace. It's very strong and won't break.
This wraps up the pictures of the great gifts that Eric got us for Christmas this year. He made them all but one (the drawing) and these gifts were the best gifts I've ever received for Christmas. Why? They touched our hearts... they were filled with love in the making... they were unique and specifically made with each of us in mind... they were made with creativity and literally no tools or supplies. But I think the reason they had such meaning for me personally is this...... It was Eric's way of being a part of our Christmas this year. It was his way of saying, "Yes I may be in jail, but I'm not defeated, I can still be a part of my families Christmas this year, and he was! You can imagine how hard it must be to have a loved one locked away, especially on Christmas day when were all gathered around the dinner table getting ready to eat a feast, and we think about the bologna sandwich that Eric will eat today. Not only are the holidays tough on Eric, we suffer as well. But this year was better. It was better because of what Eric did. It just reminds me that in spite of our circumstances, we can make a difference, we can overcome. I praise God for my son Eric, and I thank God this is the last Christmas that Eric will have to make these gifts. He'll be home with us next year!