It is December, and I have vowed not to set foot in a store for the month. I know, THAT is a hoot. Could I have set a more difficult challenge? But every year I say all of the Christmas shopping will be done before the end of November, and it never is. So there I go, wandering around the stores the week before Christmas with no agenda, no list, just panic. I buy useless items that quite possibly no one needs or even wants, and I end up spending more money than originally planned because I start worrying that what I bought will not be enough.
What is up with that? Time to take stock of my priorities, methinks. Nothing like a life change to help out with that whole idea, and we have had several, just so the universe makes absolutely sure we got the message. So, this year as you may have already gleaned we are going back to basics and learning some good old-fashioned handiwork skills. We are going all kick-ass little-house-on-the-prairie on Christmas gift-giving. So I completed my first felt project and ta-daaaaaa, here it is:
This critter is made from wool sweaters I picked up at Frenchy’s (famous Maritime thrift shop extraordinaire). I felted them by washing them in hot water with detergent, then put them in the dryer. Major felting revelation: 100 per cent wool works best. Everything I read indicated that as long as the fabric was at least 80 per cent wool, it would work, but the 80 per cent just did not felt up as nicely. Then I drew a simple pattern on paper, pinned it to the wool and cut him out. This would all seem terribly simplistic to a person who actually knew what she was doing, but as I am not one of those people I’ll go ahead and share the details. I sewed him up with quilting thread (probably a sewing faux pas), added the details and buttons from the beloved button jar. Then he got stuffed with leftover wool scraps and some quilt batting. Voilà! The wing is just pinned on as I was deciding whether to wing him, but I think it will be permanent.
I have to say that I am quite proud of this little fella. Now I am going to make another because you just can’t make one.
Project #2 this weekend: sea glass jewellery
Yup, diversification is the answer to harnessing all this newfound craftiness, and what (other than maybe glass-blowing or wood burning) would be more diverse than jewellery-making? I have jars of beach glass just sitting around looking pretty, and we are always looking for excuses to go beach combing, so why not? My mom (who actually knows what she is doing) brought all of her tools and jewellery doodads up for me to try. The girls loved sorting the glass by colours, and I remembered how much I love to touch the glass, that sanded smooth coolness. This finished piece in the photograph is a little rough, but I just love this old piece of pottery and have been wanting to do something with it for ages.
It is not really something I can give away, but it was good practice as the pliers are a bit hard to get used to. I will do a few test pieces to see if I can master the art of the perfect twist.
Probably it is my own petty insecurities speaking up, but I wonder if anyone will LIKE the things I am making. Perhaps people really would rather get the things I buy in the store at the last minute. When I am at the mall I see everyone around me loading up their carts with anything and everything, and I find myself wondering if anyone really needs that stuff. Of course, I should not judge…perhaps they are shopping for the needy, to add to the Salvation Army’s hampers or the Be a Santa to a Lonely Senior program. But probably not.
My own experience tells me that we buy stuff because it makes us feel good. I have always enjoyed buying gifts, thinking about what I could get that would make each one of my friends and family feel happy and loved. This year I am trying a different approach. It makes me happy to create things, and I hope the care I feel for each person will enter into every project, each stitch or detail, even if it is a little off. It’s not perfect, it didn’t come from Wal-Mart, but it sure is interesting.