I have always been super into crafting. In today’s “hipster” talk, I was into crafting and DIY projects way before they were cool! (Where’s my medal for being a trend setter?!) I’ve also always been a bit on the poor side. When I was younger I was poor because I was young. When I got older I was/still am poor because I was/still am a student.
When I was younger, though, I was pretty smart – I would make all of the gifts I gave. The way I saw it, I didn’t have the money to buy gifts (what 9 year old does?), but I had the time and creativity to make them. Then towards the end of high school and into university I stopped making gifts, mostly for three reasons.
1) my time was entirely sucked up;
2) I never felt that what I made was nice enough or “store bought looking” enough to give; and
3) formal education
destroyed, annihilated, abolished, obliterated, all of the above, eradicated my creative side.
However, as many of you know, a few years ago I got back into knitting. At first, my knitting was very rigid – I always followed a pattern and needed everything spelled out for me. But as I got more comfortable with the stitches (and myself) I started to veer off from patterns, and started doing my own thing.
And then something magical happened. The more I went my own way, the more my creativity started coming back!
I also became acutely aware of how important crafting used to be to me and how much I missed it. And now, with the benefit of experience, knowledge, and Pinterest (and my talented best friend, Nad) I’ve been able to create some pretty sophisticated home made gifts.
But before Pinterest, there was Michael’s Projects. And before Michael’s Projects, there was my big book of things to do and make (a gift for being in my Uncle’s wedding). Before my big book, there was Highlights for Kids Magazine (thank you mom!). And even before Highlights, there was Mr. Dress-Up and Art Attack.
I have been crafting for a long time.
There are two projects that my Aunt K always reminds me of (and I’m pretty sure will always remember). The first is a garbage can. Yes, a garbage can. It was my uncle’s birthday, but I didn’t know this until right before we had to go to his party. I felt bad that I had no gift and immediately looked to my craft supply closet and my big book of things to make and do and determined the only thing I could make with my limited supplies and time was a garbage can. All it took was some bristol board, a bit of tape, and some stickers! Aunt K will never stop laughing about that one.
The second one is a bit more
pathetic interesting. A long time ago rolling suitcases were becoming hot ticket items. I was 7 or 8 years old and I wanted one. I knew there was absolutely no need for me to actually own a rolling suitcase, so I “made” one instead. In case you ever want to be as geeky as me, here’s how!
- A big box
- A pencil
- Some string
- A hot glue gun
- 4 random wheels you found lying around your basement because your dad is a hoarder
- No friends
- Too much time on your hands
- Poke 2 holes on the top middle of one side of the box, using a pencil
- Thread string though holes and tie together using a bow (because you’re 7 and that’s all you can do)
- Glue the 4 wheels to the bottom of the box, with no particular symmetry or skill
- Burn your hand with the glue gun
- Cry because your hand hurts
- Pull the “suitcase” around for a bit
- Put something in the suitcase and watch the wheels blow off from pressure and weight
- Give up and use the box to make a Christmas tree stand*
I also made many other pretty cool (and some not so cool) gifts, including: a toilet paper roll model airplane, a rearview mirror picture frame, wine glass gel candles, serving trays, a terracotta pot Christmas train, sculpted pots and more.
Ever since brushing up on my home making skills (e.g., knitting, crocheting, sewing) the gifts and crafts I make have sort of upped their game. And with Mother’s Day coming up, I have some lovely stuff in the mix. But I realized something today while sewing and knitting up these gifts.
Making home made gifts is lots of work.
The supplies are often costly and sometimes hard to get. Home made gifts also requires a lot of thinking and planning. These gifts are also time expensive (I gave a baby blanket one year that took me three months to knit up!) and
often sometimes frustrating. In other words, making a gift is often more expensive, more work, and more time consuming that buying a gift. So why bother?
I personally love everything about gifts. I like receiving them, sure. But I get the most pleasure from giving gifts. When I buy a gift, I put a lot of effort into it. I really enjoy browsing through stores and aisles until I find the right gift that I think fits the recipient perfectly. But even more satisfying than finding that aha! gift, is making one.
I am also of the opinion that life is generally taken too seriously (I mean, hey, none of us are going to make it out alive anyway!) and that too much value is placed on material things. So, I think we should all give ourselves the opportunity to get messy and get creative and make something wonderful in the process. And you know what? Home made gifts are generally very well received and very much appreciated.
So sure, its hard work to knit a blanket, or sew a bag, or dry out scented epsom salts for days.But it’s awesome and it’s worth it and I love it. And I’m sure I could use that time to work on my online knitting store or make nice things for myself. But I’d rather give gifts.
Because as they say:
Crafting is cheaper than therapy!