What’s it Worth?

I was the first one to take in holiday gifts to the office. Mostly because I didn’t want to miss anyone going on vacation. The lesser reason was that I was afraid that if I waited I may feel that my gift ideas weren’t good enough and end up spending lots in last minute shopping.

Yesterday I opened the presents that I got from 2 of my colleagues and I was very surprised. Both had purchased beautiful travel cups. In spite of these being very thoughtful gifts I had a moment where I thought, “My fudge must look so cheap!”

I gave into the feeling for a bit and then pulled myself together. Since they had received my gift 4 days prior to reciprocating they both had ample opportunity to purchase a smaller token. I also realized that I consistently undermine the value of my homemade items. As ML pointed out, they gave me items that they perceived to be of similar value. It was a little shake to remind me that I need to stop under-valuing my gifts when I make them at home.

Here’s how I undermine my talent:

  1. I know the cost of my supplies so I assume that is the cost of the gift
  2. I enjoy what I do so I don’t think of it as work
  3. Since I don’t think of it as work I don’t count the time it takes to create the items

When someone gives me a home made gift I am always thrilled because it means that they carved time out  to think of me. Every time someone gives me a gift they’re giving me a bit of themselves but this is especially true of those handmade items because they’re also giving me their talent. So why in the world do I think that others don’t feel the same way?

Here’s to hoping I remember this lesson throughout this season!

 

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Adventures in Knitting Continued

So the last time I tried traditional knitting things didn’t go as planned. Instead I discovered arm knitting. IMG_20141108_100416

That throw was the first of many that I made for Christmas. The beauty of arm knitting is that it gave me rather immediate results. Within 2 hours I could create a blanket.

The speedy Slippers aren’t as quick as the arm knitting but within 14 hours I had made these beauties!

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The great thing about this pattern is that it enabled me to make something useful quickly to build my confidence. I’m not sure how many folks are going to get slippers this Christmas as 14 hours is a large time commitment but it’s nice to know at least one person will get these.

Cost:$0 as I got the yarn and pattern gifted to me.


My Adventures in Knitting

I learnt to knit at a very young age. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience so I dropped the terrible habit as quickly as I could.

As an adult I yearn to knit beautiful things. So I dusted off my “Learn to Knit” book from childhood and remembered why I had hated it as a child. None of these beginner patterns were really for a beginner. Dolls clothing and stuffed toys are really quite advanced when one is just starting!

I’m lucky in that I have a friend who has knitted on and off for years. When she becomes interested in something she immerses herself in it. She’ll read every book and blog and watch all videos. The beauty is that she isn’t stingy in her knowledge.

Recently I confessed that I’ve never completed a project as they all seem to take a long time and I keep getting muddled. She pulled out her bin of patterns and started her search for something I could do quickly.

Speedy Slippers was the pattern she gave me. This has probably been the best exercise so far! I’ve spent at least 7 hours on them and have lost count of the number of times I’ve started over as I can’t figure out how to fix my errors. In the meantime though I discovered what some of my errors are and tricks that help me. I’m learning more muddling through this pattern than making the endless squares of my childhood.

Once I get the hang of it I’m certain they will be speedy!

Do you Knit? Any tips or tricks to guide me?

Christmas Presents? It’s only October!

I’ve started saving for presents already as I really don’t understand how I manage to throw myself into debt every December. The month with its parties, gift exchanges and endless dinners comes on schedule each year.

This year IS going to be different! Partly because I already know what certain people are getting based on my gift closet. Last year we had a crafty Christmas with the majority of presents being made. Though this can be less expensive when not well thought out crafty Christmas isn’t cheap.

Last year I made:

  • arm knit blankets
  • body butters, sugar scrubs and bath salts
  • Cookies and breads in a jar

These were all greatly appreciated and I’ve had request for the body butters, scrubs and bath salts so those will definitely make it on the list.

This year I will make

  • body butters, sugar scrubs and bath salts
  • Cookies in a jar
  • Dip ornaments (putting dip seasonings into an ornament)
  • I’ll try my hand at knitting slippers
  • Bow tie hair elastics
  • Misc. treats in tins: cracker candy, candy cane truffles, Nilla wafer cake bites, etc.

The costs associated with these are:

  • ingredients: baking and seasoning
  • Yarn
  • Hair elastics
  • Containers for treats

One of the things I loved last year was that my evenings became a time to craft and do something in front of the television rather than just checking out when I got home.

There will be a few presents purchased as some folks on my list have wishes for things I can’t make.

Any tips or tricks for homemade presents?