Cooking-Themed Farewell Gift

At school, I'm involved in our Secret Sister group where the women faculty exchange names and surprise their "sister" with small gifts each week to make them smile or to encourage them. At the end of each session, we reveal ourselves with a larger present. I was blessed to have my lovely co-worker Lydia, who I surprised with fun stationary, mugs with tea and hot chocolate, her favorite Real Simple magazine, and some fun post-it's and notepads. Unfortunately, Lydia was only with us for a short time as a long-term substitute. Last Thursday was her last day so I had to reveal myself. Knowing that Lydia enjoys cooking with her husband, I decided to put together a cooking-themed gift for her. First, I wanted to incorporate something personalized and thoughtful so I decided to sew her an apron. Knowing that she enjoys shabby chic/country decor, I chose a pretty pink floral fabric and went to town, using the Simplicity pattern #2319. I hadn't used a pattern since 6th grade, so it was somewhat of a challenge, but I really enjoyed making something special for her.

I also included some really fun cupcake wrappers that I found at JoAnn Fabrics and some colorful sprinkles. Finally, I compiled a number of my favorite recipes into a mini-cookbook for her.

She was really surprised and happy with her gift. I hope she finds it both practical and fun!

What small gifts do you like to put together for friends? How do you like to personalize your presents?