Tag Archive | gift

Gifting Your Work: Think it through before you’re too generous

If you’ve been reading my posts for awhile, you’ve probably figured out by now that I get the urge to rant every now and then. There’s a method to my madness though. I’m HOPING that by reading my rants, you may save yourself from some heartache or wasting your time. I think this is a big one because I’m sure that many of you like to gift you work. Or maybe not. Maybe you’ve figured this out long ago. For your sake, I really hope so.

I get the impression that a lot of people think that I give handmade gifts because I don’t have the money to afford to buy gifts. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Why would I put all the thought, time and effort into something when I could just pick something out/up in 10 minutes? I’ll tell you, buying a gift sure would save me a lot in the long run!

No, when I make a gift for somebody, it costs me more than you may think. The time that I put into that gift is time that I’m not putting into making items to sell or fulfilling orders AKA making money to feed/clothe my son. Or it’s my allotted “free time” (although what I like to do in my “free time” is the exact same thing I like to do when I work). So that six hours I spent working on your childs’ Minion toy? Yeah, I could have spun up a couple of skeins of yarn or whipped three or four hats. If we’re talking minimum wage here, that means that I’ve invested over $60 PLUS material into their gift.

We’ll start with those afghans that I made for some of my “friends” when we were in high school. I put quotations around “friends” because they sure as hell didn’t turn out to be friends (this only applies to a couple… The ones I’m still in touch with are there for a reason – I love them!). The very first one I made an afghan for turned her back on me because of someone else’s actions before we even graduated. I can’t count how many hours I wasted on her. And she wasn’t the only one to get an afghan from me. I’m going to be honest. I deeply regret making most of the ones I made. (My bestie still has hers though and she proudly had it on display until her little dog decided he wanted to adopt it. And by adopt it, I mean dig at it, potentially destroying it).

Another thing I regret is the Wonder Woman Minion I had made. Well, regret is an understatement there. I spent far more than six hours on that one. I didn’t have a pattern. I went based on pictures. She was a work of art. And for what? I won’t go into details, but let’s just say that there are two faces and some throwing under the bus involved. Now that I know what I do now, I would never have bothered.

And then there’s the ungrateful “family” member. I made them an afghan for Christmas one year. In that case, I did have to make the gift because I didn’t have the money. But it was the nicest yarn I had in my stash and it was NOT cheap. I’d never seen the afghan after I gave it to them. I was asked to make a sun hat for their child – never saw the child wearing it or got the picture I was promised. I have made a lot of things for the kids over the years and have never seen them worn/used after they were given to them. I didn’t have the money to get them a wedding gift at the time – I felt that anything I could afford wouldn’t be good enough. So I thought of what I could make. Nothing came to me. Why? Because I knew deep down it would just get shoved in a closet, re-gifted or donated (I have no issue with donating something after it’s been enjoyed, but this would have probably gone directly to the bin).

I don’t ask a lot from somebody when I give them a gift. A thank you is nice. Appreciation of the love, time and effort is a bonus. When I make something for somebody, I have put a lot more than thought into it. My son is proud to give gifts that I make. Any time he gets invited to a birthday party, I always ask him if he wants me to buy the gift or make it. So far he’s always asked me to make it. There may have been one exception. The other piece to that is that if the child gets a handmade gift from me, I hope they know they have/had a place in my heart. I wouldn’t put that time/effort in for just anybody.

Anymore.

There have been others that haven’t even said thank you.

No, in light of recent events, this really has me reconsidering gifting the things I make. A piece of my heart goes in to every piece of my work. And many of the past recipients don’t deserve a piece of my heart. I have ended up regretting it. I don’t want to do that anymore.

So please, for your own sake… Don’t do what I have done. Make sure that if you’re going to be investing all that time and money into a gift you want to make for somebody, think long and hard whether or not they’re worth it. Will you regret it? Is there a remote chance? If your gut is telling you yes, then save yourself and listen to it.

Wonder Woman Minion

I’m going to post something, but you have to PROMISE to not fall in love with her…

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Yes, this is my take on Wonder Woman in Minion form. I made her for my son’s friend for her birthday. Her response was just precious! And I got a hug from her mom too. They are the kind of people who know how much work goes into handmade stuff. So when my son told me that’s what he wanted to give his friend for her birthday, I didn’t bat an eye. I also think highly of this little girl, so that just settled the request right there.

Right now I don’t have any intention of making these up to sell. With the amount that I would have to charge for them to make it worth my while (in other words to continue to put food on our table, clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads!), I don’t think they would sell very well. This was a labour of love.

I have been asked to write up a pattern for it. I haven’t ruled it out, but that won’t be any time soon. I have a LOT on my plate right now. If I did write it up, I would offer it for free. Also with the understanding that it’s in very rough form, you must already know how to crochet as it won’t be a beginner pattern, it won’t be tested (unless people want to share their results) and I won’t be able to promise that I can offer support or immediately answer questions regarding it. I have a lot of designer friends and I have a good idea what’s involved with putting your designs out there. If I was going to charge for it, then yes, I would be obligated to offer support. Anyway, I just wanted to get that out of the way now. I would help as best as I could, but I wouldn’t be able to be counted on to get respond right away.

Getting back to the pattern… I used the Minion pattern I usually use as a base. I started following a pattern (which I will list below), but as I got working, I didn’t think the detachable parts would work for my Sweet Pea. I could just see there being a middle-of-the-night freakout… “Mama!!! I can’t find Stuart’s arm!!!” So while I think it’s a cool concept, it just wouldn’t work here. So I tweaked it so that the arms are crocheted right in. The feet and bottom are also worked in one piece, so there’s no sewing! Yay!

Now as for the Wonder Woman inspiration, I did look at the photo for the pattern I’m going to link below. I had considered purchasing the pattern but this one wasn’t very tall and she was sitting. I wanted to keep consistent with my son’s Minions just in case the Minions wanted to “play” with each other LOL I also used images from the web too.

So anyway, that’s my take on Wonder Woman in Minion form. I have opened a gate though… My Sweet Pea now informs me that he will be requiring an Iron Man Minion. And I just know that that’s going to evolve into a series of Avengers Minions. And then there’s the DC crew… I want a Minion of my own in Dr. Who form!

Interchangeable Minion Figures
Wonder Woman Minion

Getting My Sewjo Back

Today felt so good!

After I dropped my Sweet Pea off at school, it was time to dive head first into my fabric stash. It was a little overwhelming to be honest. I had a project in mind, but I wasn’t quite sure where to start.

I decided to start with some silk screening. I hadn’t screen printed anything since I was in school, so needless to say, I was a little rusty. So much so that I put the stencil inside the screen rather than underneath it. Round one was a miserable fail obviously. Then it all started come back to me. Round two was perfect! I will share my work someday soon. It’s a gift for somebody. I don’t know if they read my blog, but I do know that they will see my blog post on Facebook.

I had started another bag from a pair of jeans. I have put that one on hold because I’m not quite sure how I want to close it. Button, magnetic closure or just have it flap over. Decisions, decisions…

Then I decided I needed to have some fun. I dove into my stash and brought out some purple fabric. I believe this is going to be a tote bag. That is the initial intention, but it may change if the fabric asks to be something else. Whatever I end up doing, I already know I’m going to have a hard time parting with it because it’s purple!

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The making of a bag?

Tomorrow is a busy day. I’m doing my cleaning job and then I’m off to my spinning meeting. I’m so excited about that! I probably won’t get any sewing done, but such is life. I know I’ll be crocheting!

A Random Act of Kindness

God: How do we change the world?
Evan Baxter: One single act of random kindness at a time.
God: [spoken while writing A-R-K on ground with a stick] One Act, of, Random, Kindness.
– from Evan Almighty

I try very hard to not talk about my personal life on my blog. I’ve made a few exceptions. I HAD to share this story. I hope that it serves as a reminder that YOUR random acts of kindness do not go unnoticed.

I won’t go into detail, but I think this past week could easily be described as one of the WORST weeks in my life.

Yesterday I had to take my four-year-old son to the ophthalmologist to determine whether or not the glasses he has been prescribed were effective enough to straighten out his eyes. They turn in from time to time, so there is a chance that he may need surgery to correct it.

On our way for the hour-long ride, he threw up about half way there. This is a child who NEVER throws up (I believe this was in keeping with the theme from my horrible week). The last time he threw up in the car with me, he was just a little over a year old. I got him cleaned up and we went on our way. Well, about 20 minutes later, he threw up again. My poor little guy. So I got him out of the car again and cleaned him up again. This time I took off his glasses and put them on the roof of my car to get them out of the way as I cleaned his little face. I dressed him in a t-shirt that was way too big for him. It was the only article of clean clothing I could find. I then called the doctor’s office to tell them that we were going to be running late. They said they’d squeeze us in, given the distance we had to come.

When I got him out of the car, he asked me where his glasses were. I could feel the colour draining from my face. I already knew the answer and my stomach just turned. There were a million thoughts going through my head and then reality set in: I left his glasses on the roof of my car as I drove off.

I started to cry. I had to pay $300 for these glasses out of the remainder of my student loan money. How on earth was I going to be able to afford to pay for a new set? We went in to the office and explained the situation to the receptionists. After we checked in, I sat in the office and rocked my little sweet pea, both of us quietly sobbing.

Suddenly, one of the receptionists came over and crouched beside us. She said “If it will help you, my daughter has outgrown her glasses. I don’t know what your son’s prescription is, but after you see the doctor, we can have a look to see how close they are.” She had mentioned that they were Spiderman. My son was THRILLED! They were also “transitions” lenses, which means they get darker in the sunlight, eliminating the need for sunglasses. I thanked her for her generous offer. I told her that I had planned on going back to where I thought I had lost them in hopes that they would still be there. But if that didn’t work out, I would certainly be in touch with her. I did all that I could to keep the faith that we would find them intact.

We went in to see the doctor. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much he could do without seeing the glasses on my son. He rewrote his prescription and said he would see us in 2 months. We went back out to the receptionist. I gave her my son’s prescription. She looked up her daughter’s. It was off by just a tiny bit. She gave me her home phone number and said that the offer is there if we need it. I thanked her and we left.

I retraced our steps. I looked down and found part of a lens. Across the road, I found the little frames all bent. I picked them up and then I started to cry again. What was I going to do? HOW was I going to pay for these?

I decided to call the eye doctor in my town to see what could be arranged. The line was busy. I tried again. The line was busy. Then I had an idea to call social assistance to see if there was any way that they would be able to help us out. My phone dropped the call.

Twenty-two minutes later, I received a message.

It was the receptionist. She said that she had checked with the doctor to see if her daughter’s old glasses would work for my son. He said that they would! She left the times when she was available for me to pick them up.

I started to cry. Again. This time it was tears of joy! I screamed at the top of my lungs “THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!!” My son started shouting this too.

This woman did something that saved us so much. It might not have been a big deal to her since the glasses were of no use anymore. But it meant the WORLD to us.

I asked her if her daughter still liked Spiderman. She said “Who doesn’t like Spiderman?” I sense a mother/daughter Spidey hat combo coming on 🙂

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again… Even what you perceive as the TINIEST gesture may mean the WORLD to somebody. I used to think I had nothing of value to give. Having experienced this first-hand, a can of soup means everything to somebody who has nothing. And when you help somebody who has nothing, you inspire them to help those in the same boat when they are in a position to give back.

What goes around, DOES come around.

Day 6 – A Brand New Chapter

I have made the executive decision of writing down only the events of the day I wish to remember. I have released the rest of them. Today I will always remember it as the day a LARGE amount of negativity left my body and a new, positive energy came in IMMEDIATELY to replace that emptiness. It’s like a feeling of home. Like I actually got to witness part of my own healing today. I am so thankful that it was a very positive energy that jumped in.

I spun for the first time EVER.

With a wheel and a drop spindle. There were actually two spinning wheels in class. One had one pedal and the other one, Wendy’s own spinning wheel, had 2. I figured the 2 pedals would be confusing. Not at all! When I sat down at it, I just melted into it. I showed Wendy my samples of what I had spun. She said that they were pretty good for a first try (she also mentioned that she wished she had have kept her first ones. I am SO keeping mine because this is just the beginning of something so beautiful for me). The very first wool I worked with was the stuff that I had dyed on Mother’s day. I cannot put into words how that felt… To spin wool I had dyed and hand carded (which she also complimented me on!). I am really excited about the way it feels to knit with it. And then to see it being used by a happy recipient. That is absolute bliss!

We’re going to be weaving on Friday. We also have class on Saturday this week. I am very grateful for that. And then the next weekend is birthday weekend. Looking forward to Chinese food and chocolate cake. The real chocolate cake, not the generic, flavorless stuff at the buffet. Just saying…

What chapter are we on?

Who cares? All that matters is that this is a new one. I just know I’m going to like this one!

Knitting hasn’t come back to me yet, but I did manage to do some felting yesterday. I bought a felting tool the other day (5 needles in a handle) to help speed the process along. It was going okay until somehow one of the needles broke off and ended up in my foot. Thank goodness I got my tetnus shot last week! And thank goodness it was my foot and not my little man’s or my kitty’s. I was not very impressed by the whole thing. Screw productivity, I’m working with something I know that is less likely to snap (and end up in my foot!).

So I decided to make a cellphone cozy. It’s shades of purple and blue. I have a friend in mind who I would like to give it to. One thing I’ve noticed is how I didn’t realize that I have as much to give as I do. For some reason it didn’t occur to me that people actually like gifts from the heart. I always thought I was too broke to give gifts and I let that get me down. Not anymore!

I got my textbook yesterday. I go for school orientation on Monday. Yeah, I’m excited. Scared. Curious. At least this time I know I’m in the right place. I went to hairdressing school a week and a half after I graduated high school. I went because it was safe – I knew that no matter what happened or where I ended up, I would always have a job. But that security came at a rather large price. Not even 5 minutes into my very first day, the precise words that came to me were “What the HELL am I doing here?” I guess being 17, you don’t trust your intuition as much. There’s probably some 17 year olds that can’t even spell intuition, let alone know what it is!

This course is where my heart is. I have no idea what I’m going to do after I finish this course. I do know that I am going to enjoy it though. I refuse to accept anything else or settle for something that is going to make me so miserable that my light is extinguished once again. I can’t wait to get there to see what sort of options are open to fibre arts students. I know somebody who is taking a master spinning course. I know I would enjoy that. There’s teaching. Starting your own studio/business. I may even end up taking the Visual Arts program. I’m letting my heart and my gut determine what happens next.

I’m excited about all components of this course, but I’m really looking forward to drawing. Drawing is not exactly my forte… I’m not expecting this course to cure everything. But I am looking forward to learning about colours, their values, shades, hues and whatever else is involved. Textures too. This is the part where I really don’t know anything.

Since the computer has come to be, my regular visitors may have noticed the lack of pictures. Yes, I’ve gotten lazy. It was a lot easier to snap a picture with ye olde iPhone and upload it that way. But then again, I guess in all fairness, I have had a LOT on my plate!

I’m thinking I should be back on the knitting track this weekend. I still have to dust myself off after picking myself up… I’m trying to be gentle, but I don’t want to hide behind things either.

For now I am off to pick up my felting needle 🙂

John Deere Patches

I completed the patchwork part of my niece’s quilt. Each patch is different. I plan on having the 9 patch and an equally sized John Deere patch with sashing made of the same fabric as the backing. I think it’s going to look pretty cool. I know my niece is going to love it, so that’s all that counts 🙂

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