Gifts Made with Love
November 26, 2012
The Christmas of 2009 was my DIY year. I challenged myself to make all of my presents, rather than purchase them. Even with a few flops, I managed to make all of my gifts, and I really enjoyed the personal challenge. Many of my gifts became favorites that I see friends and family wearing or displaying regularly. However, it will be a very long time before I attempt a total DIY Christmas again. My project deadline became overwhelming, and even though I can crochet relatively quickly, there are only so many hours in a day. There is also the temptation of holiday festivities luring you to put down your project and join the fun. In the past two years, I probably handmade about 50% of the gifts I gave. You may not want to create all of your gifts yourself, so find a good mix that works for you. Even if you do not think you have any creative talents, there is definitely something out there that you can make. I will be doing a series of blog posts with some of my favorite ideas for handmade gifts over the next few months. I want to share my experiences as well as provide you with some fun, easy, inexpensive gift ideas.
- Tip #1- Play to your strengths
I typically crochet, but obviously everyone has their own specialty. Are you a baker, a knitter, or a candlestick maker? Do you draw, paint, or make collages? Think about your talents, and then brainstorm ideas for what you can make. Just because I like to make my own gifts does not mean that I am great at everything. I nearly set my kitchen on fire one year trying to make homemade fudge, so I stay away from stovetop concoctions and stick to things that bake in the oven.
- Tip #2- Get started
If you are making all of your presents, I’d recommend beginning as early as August! If you plan on making a handful of items, you still need to get started in November. I like to look for inspiration and brainstorm in the fall. Once November starts, I know I need to get started on actually planning out my gifts and look at what supplies I need to purchase. I will not be making any baked goods until mid-December, but I like to select my recipes and add up the cost of supplies pretty early.
- Tip#3- Just keep swimming
Learning how to felt under the pressure of a Christmas deadline turned out to be one of my crafting catastrophes. Don’t be afraid to try something new, but don’t expect that it will turn out perfect, and make adjustments as needed. How good a pattern or recipe turns out is often dependent on how well it is written. If I don’t like the way a pattern is turning out, I’ll find another one and see if it goes more smoothly. It is okay to change your plan.
Week One Recommended Project: Personalized Quote Mugs from Sarah Fritzler’s design blog. You can use your favorite literary quotes, movie quotes, or even song lyrics. The supplies are inexpensive, and the only requirement is legible handwriting. Please let me know how your project goes, or share your own ideas for fun handmade gifts too.