‘Tis the Season… I went to pull out my supplies for making my traditional Christmas gifts.
To defuse the Christmas giving extravaganza, several years ago I decided to reframe my approach as things were just getting totally out of hand. I wanted to reframe my approach to Christmas… back to something that a glimmer of meaning.
1) It needed to be personal (anyone can spend big bucks to buy something and yes, I’d love to do that, but just don’t have enough big bucks in my back pocket these days)! Who needs the stress… who made that rule, anyway. (Oh wait, I remember, the advertising media!)
2) It needed to be useful (something that could actually be used, not just looked at). People have so many “collectables” that they are falling off the shelves and/or gathering a boat load of dust that cries out “I’m a failure” at keeping my house clean. No need to add to that scenario. I want MY friends to actually LIKE me, not tolerate me. I’m envying my friends who have mastered the “enough is enough” and de-cluttered their homes!
3) I wanted it to be something that I created. I have this terrible habit of collecting stuff to make things in the future. Unfortunately it tends to be, the distant future. I just keep acquiring; but the “doing” is a little behind schedule. Uh, about a hundred years at this point!
Fabric is my downfall (well, … right after books) … the colors, patterns, textures, they all call to me with such appeal. Then add in threads and fibers and embellishments; my creative brain just goes nuts. So I MUST have some way to justify buying all this stuff, other than just wanting to be able to touch/look at it, other than to know that it is there if I want/need it. (Some people have comfort food; I think I have comfort books and fabrics!)
Once I master thinking something into existence i.e. ‘creative brain=finished project’, I’ll be ahead of the game, but until then….
Someone, after looking at one of my homemade quilts said, you must love quilting! “
Actually, NO. I don’t particularly like it, but I DO like the results. The part I like best is the creation of the design; assembling the fabrics, the colors, the patterns. The actually “work” is just that, a chore to get done.
Sad to say, I have this awesome box full of completed “tops” that have not actually made into the quilt stage. You know, where you actually assemble the sandwich: the top, the middle, the backing, and then bind it all together. One of these days I’m hoping to find someone who likes that part (I’ve heard that they are really out there…. somewhere). The only problem would be, WHO would get the finished project???? I don’t know if I could give up my “child”. Perhaps someone would accept dollars for their labor?
BUT, back to my main subject today… the selection of a Christmas project that meets my requirements.
A few years back I decided on pot holders. Who can’t use a potholder. Even those who don’t really cook these days, occasionally need to reheat something, so could use a potholder! And maybe a cup towel if I’m really ambitious (usually planning to do that, but, darn, I always seem to run out of time)!
The other good point about a potholder… I can play with different techniques on a small-scale. Last year I taught myself how to do
lattice smoking… and turned that into a dozen potholders! Success…. something useful, supplies actually used, and got to ‘design/create’ the item and managed to learn a new technique. I WIN!
Of course, the last time I went down to visit my daughter she was racing around trying to find the potholder(s) to hang up, that I had given her last Xmas. She found one but couldn’t remember if I had given her two. The trauma… she put them away so they would not get messed up and now she had lost track of them. Dang it! They are supposed to get used… not stored!
It has been said, the more valuable something is, the less it get’s used. It’s either that, or it doesn’t quite match with their style! I prefer the first statement, overall. These days you can buy a potholder from 99 cents to roughly $5, on average. To make one… well-l-l-l, if you counted labor? Probably $10 on up. Like I said, “it’s a labor of love”! (Love = caring, creative, personal, time, energy.)
Each year I have been able to refine my technique… more heat-resistant, an easier way to hang up (put a magnet in the corner), holds up to washing, and an interesting/different designs from what you can find in the store.
This last year I experimented and made myself some pot “handle” holders. They slip over the handle.
Good thing I tried them out on my own cast iron skillets. “what’s that smell?… smoke?”
I discovered that the constant exposure, when they were butted up next to the hot pan, caused them to begin to smolder, and burn!!!!
Oh yeah, a great gift it would make… slow but insidious way to burn your kitchen down! NOT. Well, time to refine that one.
GETTING DOWN TO WORK
I got my new living space organized; set up a sewing area and pulled out my sewing machine. Dove into my fabric stash, drooling & caressing the fabrics, the colors… Super, I’m set… OMG.
Oh darn, where are those dang cords??? you know, the power cords. The thing you stick into the sewing machine to make it work it’s magic.
Wonderful!!!! have sewing machine on hand, but NO power.
Let me see, three, no, four storage units, where all our “stuff” is stored… and now I need to go hunting for a particular cord, for a 30-year-old sewing machine. Talk about a scavenger hunt… do you know just how much stuff that is to wade through, under, and around???? Bummer…
I have discovered that despite best intentions (and actually getting started during the summer), after our move, that most of this year’s potholder project is “missing in action”. So much for being organized ahead of time and prepared! yikes…
Hmmm, I think this year, everyone is going to get “stuck” with some homemade blackberry jam. Everybody eats, right!