Category Archives: Uncategorized


Well, I’ve been gone for quite awhile, but I am back again.    I am told that blogging is beneficial in a myriad of ways:

  • It is good for sharing my assorted thoughts and ideas.   I enjoy streams of consciousness  as much as anyone, but that is a scary thought,  I am reasonably confident that you don’t want to know what is going on in there.  Trust me on this one.
  • It is good for increasing traffic to my website.  I haven’t seen that, but then again, I haven’t kept up my end of the bargain with keeping this blog current.   So given that, it isn’t fair of me to make a determination one way or the other.
  • It is good for creating a relationship with my readers.  Now this I take objection to.  I just cleaned out over a thousand comments for this blog.  Every single one was from a spammer – not exactly the readership I am seeking.  That said, they do think I am pretty fabulous – check out these quotes;

“Everyone will cherish this release, it’s most valuable.”   There are variations on this telling me that “everyone will enjoy this piece.”

“This really is nice compose, I will shaire the idea for this frinds”  Occasionally I have “nice produce” but for some reason, “frinds” is always misspelled the same way.

  • It is a great way to introduce folks to new designs and to make special offers to readers.  I think this falls into the same category as my second item above.

I promise to do a better job at updating and posting, aiming for twice a week.   I just hope that I am not alone out here with the people who seem to be obsessed with outlet prices on bags and sunglasses!  ( I am sure they are very nice people, but I’m not so sure they are looking for anything that I have to offer).

In any event, all this said, I will see you again early next week – let me know if you are here!


Gorilla on your Back


I’ve talked about writing this article for several years, but the timing never seemed quite right. It’s rather heavy for a blog about gift baskets, and yet such an important topic that ignoring it seems the wrong thing to do. And then, as you will understand after reading, there is the fear of opening myself up to criticism and disapproval. All these factors have conspired against my doing this.  But the time has come.

I have both a chronic illness (Crohn’s disease) and clinical depression. In my universe, they are separate beasts that I struggle with on a daily basis to control. My friends and family are supportive and loving, but had trouble understanding what depression felt like until I came up with the Gorilla concept. to help my father, who also had clinical depression, convey his emotional state to his medical teams.

Depression is an ape on your back. Every day presents a different ape to deal with. The goal in living with depression is to have a spider monkey. Spider monkeys are tiny little fellows. They cling pretty tightly, and can certainly get in the way, but hey, you can manage a spider monkey. You can put a leash on it, you can walk around with it on your shoulder and it might require some attention, but you can breathe, you can think, and for a while, you might even forget it is there. A spider monkey isn’t perfect, but it’s absolutely reasonable.

Some days you have a monkey on your back. This guy is bigger than the spider monkey. He is probably still controllable, but he’s certainly more of a problem. He is going to steal your food, so you won’t eat much. He is going to distract you so you can’t focus on what’s in front of you, and he’s going to trip you up, but you can probably work around him with some extra effort.

Orangutans are harder. They are big, heavy and have really long arms that reach around and cause trouble. They push away things that give you joy, make it hard for other people to get near you, weigh you down. They will literally cause you physical pain and block your ability to see the path to relief. If you live with depression, you develop the strength to carry around an orangutan, but you are aware of its presence 100 percent of the time. It impacts the way you eat, sleep, play, work, and interact with friends and family. Having an orangutan on your back is a huge, heavy weight to bear.

Then there is the gorilla. Imagine how hard it would be to get out of bed with a gorilla on your back. Think about how difficult it would be to get dressed, to brush your teeth, to go to work and do your job with the crushing weight of a gorilla on your back. Imagine the pain — both physical and emotional — that the gorilla is going to cause. Try to breathe or eat or think; the effort is exhausting.

Now, live with your primate of the day when no one else knows it is there. They can’t see the monkey, orangutan or gorilla, and you can’t make them believe it’s there. They want you to shake it off, ignore it, think about something else. They haven’t lived with a monkey on their backs, and they cannot begin to understand how overwhelming life is with a monkey.

Those of us suffering clinical depression are given tools to help control and tame our beasts  — medications, therapy, exercise  — but some days those are not enough. If we aren’t using all the available tools, finding the strength and energy to pick them up is sometimes more than we can do, because simply being is an exercise in emotional and physical endurance.

So, how do you help someone like me  live with a monkey on his or her back?

One: Don’t be judgmental. Trust me, no one wants to live like this. No one would choose to deal with this. It might look like we are not doing what we need to or that we are wallowing in the pain. But from where we sit, we don’t see any way out. We are too busy just trying to breathe.

Two: Respect it. While you may never be able to fully empathize, respect that this is a very real pain, in every sense of the word. We know that what we are feeling may not be logical, may not be reality, but that doesn’t change how it feels  — and it feels lousy.

Three: Offer the help you can. Be a friend, show the love. Don’t walk away or get angry  — that just feeds the monkey. Ask (gently) if we have taken our meds, help us make a doctor’s appointment, come by and just spend time, even if we can’t tell you we want you to. Listen to us, let us cry and encourage us to not check out from the world. And know that sometimes we are doing all the things we are supposed to be doing … and yet King Kong is moving in. It is just like that sometimes.

Finally, watch for cries for help. I am blessed; my family and friends know that when I have gorillas, I need support. And thanks to this analogy, I am able to tell them how I feel with just a few words, instead of trying to explain how the day is going. I have a monkey, I have an orangutan, I have a gorilla.

The gorillas are real.

June Newsletter

Well, we missed one.  The May newsletter was a casualty of the season this year.  On a personal note, both of my sons are graduating this year – my eldest from high school, my youngest from 8th grade.  That has created a whirlwind of ceremonies, events and assorted celebrations.  We’ve had a fabulous time, but things do manage to slip.For BasketWorks, May was crazy busy, more so this year than ever before.  Mother’s Day and attending the Sweets and Snacks show keeps me busy most years, but this year we also changed the hosting service for our website (no more downtime, hurray!), added new designs to the site, cleared out excess inventory and had our first survey on our Facebook page.

I hope that your spring has been as much fun as mine has been, and that your summer is full of fun, family and friends.



Every week I order product.  Generally, I am simply reordering those products that we use all the time – containers, shred, ribbon, etc.  No big deal, no significant decisions or choices to make.

But often I am selecting something new and trying to guess what my clients will prefer.  Sour Jelly Bellys or the traditional 49 flavor assortment?  Ginger cookies or Lemon snaps?   Snickerdoodle coffee or hazelnut?  Or just a morning blend?

With that in mind, we held a survey on ourFacebook page, where we asked for YOUR input on what our next Bath and Body scent should be as we expand our line.   The winning scent in our survey was Lemon Cream, with 31.9% of the vote.  We are sending a $50 gift certificate to Petra S. as a thank you for participating.  I am planning on asking your opinion monthly and giving one respondent a $50 gift certificate – one more way we’re listening to our customers.

We will be posting our next survey next week and it will run for two weeks – be sure to watch for it!

An Extra Boost..

Last summer at the Chicago Gift Show, we met the folks from An Extra Boost of… and absolutely fell in love with their oversized mugs.

We took their Extra Boost of Comfort and Extra Boost of XOXO and created four different styles – soup, coffee, chocolate and tea.

Take a look, let us know what you think!


yellow rib gel gem 4

Clearance Sale

We like to keep all of our inventory fresh (not just the food!) and we realized we have been carrying some of these items for a while.  So we decided to discount them to make space for new items.   We have mugs, glass houses, art kits, dog bowls, holiday ornaments, gel gems – the list goes on.  We have about a dozen items up now, adding more daily!  Check out our Clearance Page here for all our discounted items!
Remember that after we receive your order we will manually combine all clearance items going to a single address and reduce shpping prices to reflect the actual weight of the complete order.
spacer.gifFind me…

by phone 847-559-9379 or 888-794-4387
by email
our website:
on Facebook: BasketWorks.Chicago 
at my Blog:

Now is the winter of our discontent…

“Now is the winter of our discontent” – Richard the Third

I know, I know.  Out of context, not what he meant or was talking about.  But seriously.  I feel like George RR Martin had it right when he kept telling us “Winter is Coming.” Got it.  We’re good.  Can we move along now and try another season?

I am so over this winter – and I LOVE winter.  I usually feel GREAT in the winter.  Healthy.  Cold, but healthy.  But I’ve got a case of ennui (or maybe SAD, but definitely not cabin fever)  that I can’t shake – and I am not the only one.  I talk to people every day who are feeling the same way – take a look at your Facebook stream and I am sure you know plenty of folks in the same boat – if you have managed to avoid this feeling I applaud you and would like to know your secret (those of you living in warmer climes or on vacation at same need not reply….)


  • I choose to believe that winter will not last forever.
  • I choose to believe that someday I will not need my gloves.
  • I choose to believe that the grass will be green again and not just muddy grey
  • I choose to believe that someday I will wear only one pair of socks.  (Please!)
  • I choose to believe that one day, in the not so terribly distant future, I will wake up and the sun will be shining, I will not be able to see my breath and I will want to spend more than 10 minutes outside.

And because I believe, I keep moving forward.  I hope the same for you – may tomorrow be the day that we wake up to sunshine.

“O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?” – Shelley






Newsletter Notes….

world cloudAs promised, notes on my newsletter.  I am fascinated by etymology (the history of words and how they have changed).  This week, as I was typing up my newsletter, I realized that I often have an odd turn of phrase (stop laughing!).  So I decided to look up some of those phrases and give a quick history of how they came to their current meanings.

  • Take to task  To scold.  This term, dating from the mid-1700s, at first meant either assigning or challenging someone to a task.  I found references that its current meaning came about in the late 1800s.
  • All the news that’s fit to print  Originally coined by Adolph Ochs owner of the New York Times to set the the paper apart from more sensational competitors. This slogan is still printed on each addition.  Many sources said that the slogan has been adapted to “All the News That’s fit to Click” but I was unable to find that anywhere on their online sites.
  • There you are. The Cambridge Dictionary Online says that this is used when giving something to someone, usually after a request for the thing.  While you might have requested my newsletter, you probably didn’t request everything in it.  And yet the use of this phrase is exactly the way I would use it in speech.
  • Brave new world  From the dystopian novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, this phrase has come to mean either a future world or a current situation caused by something new.  A recent development.
  • Picking up steam Starting to be much more effective or successful.  I was completely unable to find a reliable source for when this phrase appeared in language.
  • Flash sale This is an internet phenomenon, originally started by the folks over at and quickly picked up by other retailers.  As an ongoing business model, it is a bit iffy, but as a way to offer our regulars a great price on inventory we want to move, we think it will be a big winner.
  • By the way This literally means ‘by the side of the road’.  It is used in The Comedy of Errors, (Act V, Scene i), with this meaning.   Oxford English Dictionary cites Its figurative use of  ‘as a side note’ as early as 1556.   That said, there are also those who will argue that it is a religious reference  – the way as God, so literally “by God.”   

In the process of researching all this,  I found several sites that I am sure I will now be visiting regularly – English Language & Usage Stack Exchange, Today I Found Out, and The Free Dictionary.  All had fabulous articles and fun information (at least for a word junkie like me!)



March Newsletter

logo for verticle
newsletter header
It’s been ages since I’ve sent out an e-newsletter, and recently several clients took me to task* for that and so with promises to do better, here I am once again.  So here is all the news that’s fit to print*, and probably some that isn’t, but there you are.*If you haven’t been to our website lately, surf on by – we have completely revamped it, added new items, and continue to make changes and additions every week!

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!



March dates to Note

  • ​​March 9 – Day Light Savings Begins – spring ahead!
  • March 14 – Pi day (3.14.) – math people love this.
  • March 16 – Purim (we have Purim packages!)
  • March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day

and just because everything is in the first half of the month

  • March 25 – Pecan Day
NL coffee break lg
Upcoming eventsFrom March 15 – 18 I will be attending the International Housewares Show.  I go each year looking at new gift and housewares trends, finding new food items and packing my brain with a thousand different ideas.

This year I am honored to be invited back as a small business consultant, helping people with their business planning.  If you are attending, and would like to meet with me, sign up here.  If you want to meet for lunch, just drop me an email!

Keeping in TouchIt’s a brave new world*, and as such there are a myriad of ways that I am working to keep in touch with our clients, friends and business partners.   Clearly, this newsletter is one of them and I sincerely hope you will keep yourself on our mailing list.  (If you don’t want to receive this anymore, there is an unsubscribe button below).  Also:

Facebook – my Facebook page has been picking up steam, and I post both the fun and frivolous and occasional specials out there.  I post clearance items to Facebook  first, and I am planning on doing something akin to flash sales*, listed on Facebook first.

Blog – after years of being told I must, I finally pulled the trigger and have started a blog.  I publish about twice a week, aiming for Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Interesting and useful (I hope) tidbits from my universe, upcoming events, and, well its new, so I am not sure what else will end up there.

I can also be found on LinkedInTwitter and Google+
I sincerely hope you will join me in one of my social media outlets.

spacer.gif* By the way*, to find out the history of all those words with *,  visit our blog tomorrow!