This is a why, not a how to. I’ll get to the ideas and some how to’s in later articles.
I am a crafter. Sometimes a frustrated crafter-oh so many projects, so little time! To me part of the enjoyment is in the making of a thing, not just in the having. I believe that value of things can be more than their actual worth.
Take the sweater I’ve been knitting DH (only 1 inch left on each sleeve! Yes!) I’m sure that by the time you add up the cost of the wool, and then factor in the numerous hours I’ve spent working on it, I could have bought a 100% wool fisherman knit sweater for a heck of a lot less. But I enjoy the process, and I feel that somehow the love and the effort I’ve gone through to make it with my own two hands makes it that much more precious to the recipient.
I’m sure that we all have items like that in our home. If it came from more than a generation away, we tend to call them “heirlooms” and pack them away in tissue paper! My children’s christening gown was hand crocheted by my husband’s mother. You can bet that seeing them both christened in it meant something more to each of us knowing the love that had gone into making it. And I will give each of my children the opportunity to use the gown for their own children. At that point the meaning will be even more.
But even non heirloom quality crafts can be very meaningful-I know many a parent who still has plaster cast handprints hanging up somewhere in their house, even if the child who made them is now a parent themselves.
Making those kind of craft projects with your kids can be fun, festive and are usually truly appreciated by the grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other giftees. There are many wonderful ideas out there for kids crafts for all ages, as well as some neat uses for those endless school photos. We’ll touch on some of those in the future.
But I must warn you, there is a dark side to the whole crafted gift process.
#1-The Time Crunch.
I tend to have big plans. Unfortunately I also tend to underestimate the time a craft will take me (I’m the one who thought I could have that sweater finished by August 9th. . . ). If you take on too many craft projects and give yourself a deadline of Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) you may spend the entire pre holiday season stressed out and wind up hating the project you are working on. This is supposed to be a loving process, pick something you enjoy, and give yourself plenty of time to finish
#2- The dreaded unappreciative gift recipient.
There are folks out there who feel that something hand made is somehow worth less than something bought shiny and new, shrink wrapped in plastic. Others look at the monetary value of an item and totally discount the thought and effort that have gone into it. Others just have no clue, they assume that because you like doing it you just whipped the item out with no thought or effort. (there is an entire thread on Craftster about this topic)
It can really hurt to spend all that time and then feel that your gift is unloved. So I highly recommend that you really think through each would be gift recipient. Are they worthy of your supreme crafting effort? If your mother in law is never going to appreciate that you spent 3 months knitting her that lace scarf, then don’t do it. Just buy her that JC Penney gift card that she’ll like better anyway and concentrate your efforts on someone who WILL appreciate it.