Some thoughts on gift making

I love making gifts for the people I care about. Nearly every time I get an invitation for a wedding or a housewarming or hear a baby is expected I get excited and think “oooh, I’ll make a gift!”. Sadly though, my creative time is limited and if I made a gift for every single occasion I don’t think there would be any time left to make anything else. As a result, I have to make choices and often the choice is made for me because I simply run out of time (planning these gifts and starting way ahead of time is not my strongest point). That gets me in a whole different spot of trouble because now I suddenly have to think about what to buy. Of course I didn’t give that any thought since I was going to make something and thus spend all my time thinking about what I was going to make and how I was going to do that.

Last week was no exception. I had a housewarming this weekend and decided weeks ago that I was going to make something (like I always do). But what to make? Hmm, since it is a housewarming I suppose it would be nice if the gift is somehow house-related. An apron, maybe? It is a bit of an obvious gift and I think most people already own at least one. For example, we have 3 and I didn’t make or buy any of those myself so chances are she already has one. A pillow? Could be nice, but I’m not sure whether she changed her décor during the move and what if I pick completely wrong colours?

Then I suddenly realise the housewarming is this weekend so I am running out of time (again!). On top of that I have a busy week at work, work several long days and am tired. Crafting doesn’t really happen when I am tired. Still, I stubbornly think I’ll manage to squeeze out a gift at some point, not sure when though. And what, that too.

Some of the options that crossed my mind the last couple of days:

  • Fabric bunting, it can be really festive to decorate your home with bunting for a birthday. Not sure though if someone living on her own is going to use it. Probably better to save this idea for families with young children.
  • A cherrystone pillow! That is really warm and cosy when it is cold outside. Problem, how on earth am I going to get my hands on cherrystones to fill a pillow and still have enough time left to actually make one? Might be a good idea for a future gift however!
  • Ooh, I know! A set of fabric napkins! That is really nice to have when you have some people over for dinner. And I can use the rolled hem feature on my overlock machine! That should make it a fast make too! And then I discovered that it is advised that you use fray-check or something to secure the thread ends. The only store I know in Leiden that might have stocked something like that closed its doors last weekend. Perhaps I should make sure to get some fray-check for future napkin endeavours.
  • I could of course make fabric napkins with mitered corners. But, do I really want to make 24 perfect mitered corners when I am tired? Not really, but perhaps I could make a set of 4 instead of 6? But that is still 16 corners, don’t think so, I’ll probably give up after napkin #1.

This time I was smart enough to admit a day before the party that it just wasn’t going to happen (I don’t really want to know how often I’ve had to rush on the day itself to get a gift). I went ahead and bought a set of nice, thick, soft, organic cotton kitchen towels in a lovely green colour that I think my friend likes as well.

Am I learning from all this? I sure hope so, it’s about time I get realistic about what I can actually achieve in the time and energy I have available. So, for now I have decided to only attempt to make gifts for newborn babies because that is something I really enjoy doing (probably until their numbers rise to ridiculous figures at which point I’ll have to get realistic again). For other occasions I am first going to see what I can buy. If I’ve already bought something I won’t be tempted to think I can still make something and waste a lot of time thinking about projects I never end up making in the process. I’ve already given at least one handmade gift to most of the important people in my life anyway. I will continue to make gifts but I’ll just be more selective in choosing the occasion.

After buying the gift for the housewarming on Friday I blissfully watched the men’s 5k speedskating on Saturday, which couldn’t have gone better for the Dutch team. Today I watched the women’s 3k speedskating which also went very well and finished a quilt top (also a gift by the way…).

Does anyone recognise these gift making dilemma’s? How do you prioritise ?