Thursday, October 01, 2009

Keep it simple, sisters: a pre-holidays post

Last night I downloaded a free e-book of craft ideas, hoping to get some ideas for the holidays.

Not that I was looking for Styrofoam balls and recycled can ideas. But I was a little nonplussed to find that the majority of the crafts seemed to require a full scrapbooking setup, or a full rubberstamping setup, or the equivalent for several other hobbies. And lists of supplies as long as a roll of wired ribbon.

That's one way to make people feel both all-thumbs and poverty-stricken. Not that we resent those who have gone all-out on whichever hobby, and who would truly appreciate those suggestions for making beautiful use of their supplies and equipment. And again, it's not like I'm only looking for patterns for fuzzy toilet seat covers or Christmas-bulbs-in-a-jar. It's fun to browse through the photos and appreciate the designers' creativity.

But there's no way I would ever be making those things. Am I just out of it?

Why does everything handmade seem like it has to be more perfect than perfect now? And require the crafting equivalent of 16 different spices? If we buck the trend, do we risk our homemade gifts ending up, as in Meredith's experience a couple of years ago, at the back of someone's closet?

I remember one Christmas when The Apprentice was still pretty small, and we (the two of us) filled cheesecloth bags with teabags, cloves, dried orange rinds, and smashed cinnamon sticks, for people to use for "spiced tea". That same year (I think it was) we filled jars with sliced ginger root and honey, and garlic and honey. (We must have had a good source of honey that year.) We made homemade mustard, and coffee mixes, and other things like that, and packed our own "gourmet baskets" for people we knew. I think we made labels with coloured paper, markers, and packing tape, or maybe it was clear sticky plastic. Jars got covered with a circle of fabric and yarn or ribbon. I don't remember what all we used for baskets--probably whatever we could find.

No labelmaker, no laminator. And no more points to make about that, except that I hope nobody still has the garlic at the back of a closet.

You can keep it simple. Use what's in your hand, and let the rest go. Have fun making things, and let other people (even little ones) help. Check out craft blogs and websites that emphasize frugal, natural, or otherwise minimal required ingredients. Use up your stash of whatever. Enjoy crafting, but don't let it eat you alive.


Birdie said...

So true.

I should probably confess that while I am an avid crafter, I don't have all of the latest craft supplies, or even most of them. The stuff I do have usually comes from clearance sales, garage sales, thrift store sales, or from my sis-in-law's craft purges! ;) Even at that, I do not make "more perfect that perfect" items. I just make the fun stuff that interests me.

Heidi said...

I'm right there with you on this! Maybe it is because I'm truly craft-challenged? I think sometimes the simple things go a long way though. One year we made simple beeswax candles; they were well-received!