Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas sewing

I finally took the sewing machine to Marseille for her service, and she's back home again with a clean bill of health. That out of the way, I couldn't put off the Christmas gift sewing any longer.

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I'm not doing much this year. It can be a lot of work and stress at a time of year when there is already enough extra work and stress going around. And I know I could have easily had these all done in October, but what can I say? I was too busy galavanting around the south of France taking photos and making the best of the good weather!

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Also, and the crafty types who visit this blog will know exactly what I mean, handmade gifts aren't always the best road to take. I myself love them. As a crafter I can see the time, thought and effort that went into them, and I particularly love it when the giver has taken my tastes/interests into account.

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But not everyone appreciates handmade gifts. Some people turn their noses up at them and see them as cheap (this makes me laugh so hard, when I think of the money I spend on supplies and material compared to what assembly lines in China pay, but some folks have no idea of the costs of these things). I won't give them a hard time for this - who am I to dictate people's tastes, everyone has the right to like and dislike what they want. But I also won't give them a handmade gift. I will go into a trinkety-type store and find them something, with a very pronounced label, and give them that instead (and boy, is it quicker than making something).

The receiver is happy and therefore so am I. I can think of nothing worse than spending hours - in some cases, days - to make someone something that they will secretly throw in the rubbish bin as soon as they get home. So I choose my handmade gift recipients carefully (at least you know that if you receive a handmade gift from me it means I really, truly love you!)

These little covered books come from Bloom's tutorial over at the Moda Bake Shop. I was going to go all patchworky on them:

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But I got annoyed at how my corners weren't matching up. Even moreso as I wasn't even drinking when I made them.

So instead I stuck with whole prints, which I really like because there are so many stunning ones out there that stand on their own. They all also have coordinating linings too, which I think is a classy touch.

The two smaller ones are for the daughters of a lady who has helped me out a lot this year. They are 4 and 8 years old, so I wanted something small, with a little secret inside. (Little girls just love secrets, don't they?)

I made some envelopes to stick on the front pages.

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And then filled them up with stickers.

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Add some pens, and now all I need is some coloured elastic to make a little band for each one. As soon as the baby wakes I'm off to Eurodif to grab some.

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What else? I whipped up a quick boy quilt mat top with the leftovers from my sister's baby's quilt. This one went together a whole lot quicker. I'll be backing it with a single piece of material, in keeping with the quick theme.

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Now for a little whinge.

Remember this thing? I laugh at how I thought completion was nigh in that post. Ha, ha, ha.

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Ay-ay-ay. How long is it taking me to sew it? I've only done four squares so far and there are 24 in total. Plus last night I realised that there are another 16 half squares around the edges to be sewed. Arrggghhh!

Words of encouragement, please?

And also, what do you think about handmade gifts - whether you are crafty or not (which will greatly influence your answer, methinks) Don't forget to tell us your horror handmade gift stories too (have you seen the site Regretsy?). Not all handmade is good.

19 comments:

  1. Cute books Kirsty! Your fabrics are gorgeous. I am totally with you re: handmade gift recipients. There is no sense in investing precious time in making things that will not be appreciated, or worse still, rejected. It becomes a bit tricky within families when some members receive handmade and others don't. I get myself into trouble with that sometimes! Well done on getting some Christmas sewing done, AND some galavanting around the south of France taking photos. Your time management is enviable!!

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  2. Sweet Kirsty,
    What you make is just so lovely . I know because i received a special gift
    from you. My bag that I carry all my daily crafty material .
    I LOVE handmade . Nobody knows the time it takes you to do it.
    Only a crafter like us will appreciate the trouble. Love your way with sewing, have a sewing machine but am not addicted to it . love your covers, specially the quilted one, its perfect.
    You go girl continue with your creations.
    Nathalie.

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  3. Oh, I am 400% with you on handmade gifts. It's the ..pff..3rd, 4th? year when I;m making stuff to sell and with that money to buy presents to friends for Christmas. Even before I had my kid I realised not everybody understands what handmade means. Now I don't even consider taking one hour away from my kid to make something that somebody might not appreciate at it;s true value.

    Now talk to me more about that cathedral window :). I loove it.

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  4. Looks like you guys are already well aware of who to give your handmades to. And what a great idea Diana, selling handmade to those who appreciate it to raise money to buy for those who don't. Very clever!
    So glad that bag has come in handy for you Nathalie. I also love carrying around things that I know no-one else has - at least not in that fabric combination!

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  5. The cathedral window quilt is going to be SO worth it when it's finished. Unless you have a deadline, just work on it when you feel like it so that you don't get burned out!
    I only give handmade gifts to people who have made genuine, positive comments about my crafts in the past.

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  6. I love giving and receiving handmade gifts too. I found out that my family likes it too when one year I made heatable ricebags out of old canvas bags and gave to everyone. 10 years later, they were all asking for more because theirs had worn out! I was the happiest crafter on earth that day!
    BTW, I posted my first linky party featuring handmade gifts. http://craftygeordi.blogspot.com/2010/12/it-comes-from-heart-linky-party.html

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  7. Hi there Kirsty, thnank you for all your nice comments on creJJtion! And what gorgeous gifts you have made... I love the books! And that new creation with the beautiful but difficult looking quilt squares...wow. Looking forward to the results!
    Love, Maaike

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  8. I have never received a handmade gift. My best friend knits, and I am itching for her to make me something. I would be beyond delighted to receive one of your creations! Stinks not everyone appreciates it.

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  9. I agree with Alexandra. Work on the cathedral windows wall hanging when you feel like it. On the subject of handmade gifts, I have a bad habit of finding projects I'd love to make for family members. I buy the fabric etc, but then don't make them. I've learnt not to tell said family members about my plans, because some of them are upset when the projects don't eventuate.

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  10. I am very selective about who I make gifts for as I have also learned that not everyone appreciates them. I discovered during a visit that a quilt I had made was put into the dog kennel...Yikes! So a gift card it is for those who don't want handmade.

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  11. I agree totally Kirsty! I make very few gifts of any kind because most of my friends don't like or appreciate handmade. I'm also not wasting my time or effort on 'stuff' they don't really want! That's why I have enjoyed Flickr groups so much - you get to swap with 'like-minded' types who become friends! And work on the cathedral windows when the urge hits- I did this with my Mariner's Compass and enjoyed it cos I didn't put any pressure on myself. Great notebooks by the way!!!

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  12. You guys are right about the windows - I should stop thinking about it as a 'finish' and remember to enjoy the journey. This is one of the main reasons we sew anyway, isn't it, to enjoy the process?

    Suz, you're right about swaps on Flickr, a great way to find likeminded crafters. You can even check out their photostreams to make sure you have similar tastes, modern, traditional, etc.
    Brenna - make sure you drop some hints about how much you like her scarves. She's probably like us and doesn't want to give handmade unless she's sure of an appreciative recipient!
    Annieb - wow. The kennel. That's what I was talking about! That or finding it in the attic wrapped around the old telly to keep the dust off! At least in the kennel it was still getting some love??

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  13. Oh, and Lauren, I do that too. I brought back a pattern and material from the States to make an autumn jacket for my daughter. Yes, autumn. It will now become a spring jacket (I hope). She gives me a hard time about it every now and then. I find it best to under-promise and then over-deliver!

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  14. :-D!!! If (or rather when ...) I'm feeling bad about something that I made again, I'm gonna have a look at "Regretsy", I'll surely find something to cheer me up there ...

    You are right, handmade gifts is a controversial subject. And boy are you right that people have NO idea about the cost of materials NOR about how much time and effort goes into things!!! I've had mixed experiences. For the largest part, I've been lucky, though, and the recipient appreciated what I made for them. But that's probably largely because I really try to make something they would like and I'm also really thinking about the question of whether the person would even like a handmade gift or how bad I would feel if he/she didn't like it.

    I had a bad handmade gift experience quite early on, when I made a lavender sachet which was really pretty and a lot of work for a round of Secret Santa at school. The face of the girl who recieved it ... :-P As a result, I'm thinking twice about giving handmade and VERY!!! difficult to talk into participating in a Secret Santa!!

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  15. I started with a good list of people I wanted to make handmade gifts this year and it got down to 4 in a hurry after I mulled it over for a while!!!
    I did have an interesting experience this month though as I got feedback about a handmade card I sent last year. The person who received it never said anything at the time, but in her card this year mentioned my card was hanging in her tree this year because it was so pretty. I was really happy!
    You never know!
    Merry Christmas,
    Annick in Texas

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  16. Annick, that really is good feedback!

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  17. Kirsty,
    First of all. Please, please tell me you'll get a shop on etsy where you can sell all your wonderful stuff.
    I would love to receive homemade gifts. It means so much more I think. You're dead right. I esp love homemade foodie things like jams.
    The little girl notebooks are just perfect and I love the envelopes for secrets filled with stickers. My daughter would adore that gift so you're right on target.
    Keep going, keep going. You're fab!
    aidan xo

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  18. I just stumbled upon your blog and am really enjoying your wit.

    Handmade gifts: not everyone deserves them.

    I L-O-V-E handmade gifts, but I also L-O-V-E gift cards so that I can feed my sewing habit with supplies and materials I actually need/want.

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