Thursday, July 17, 2014

Christmas in July: Craft & DIY Planning

If you missed it, the first installment of this mini series, I was talking about utilising the sales to kick start your Christmas shopping. All in the name of getting a good deal and preventing the crush on your pay packet in November and December, check it out right HERE.

The next topic up is DIY and Crafting and this is the first of two posts on the subject. I've given plenty of homemade gifts over the last few years, sometimes more necessity than choice when cash has been a bit on the tight side, but as we roll forward I do enjoy the unique and personal nature of homemade gifts. The next post will be a few ideas and inspirations for homemade gifts, but today I wanted to give planning them a mention.

Many a year has gone by where I've had good intentions to make such and such, and then it's December and I've had parties to organise, events to attend, wrapping to do and travel plans to finalise. Lo and behold, I have only the time to do instant gifts. And so follows my own personal guide to planning craft or DIY gifts and a few good reasons to think about it now, and not in November!

Today. Made a half arsed start so now I'm going to finish this dress.
Getting my stitch on to try and get my head around pattern cutting once more

  1. Make a list- List all the ideas you have, then try and match them to people you know you want to give a gift to- it's no good making 20 different glittery rose scented soaps when you have a lot of men who need gifts or worse- forgetting someone!
  2. Trial and error- Craft or DIy gifts can be really cost effective and they're deeply personal too but after a certain age, you're family will only be so forgiving of lumpy clay or frayed seams. If you've never knitted before, give it a go whilst topping up your tan this bank holiday, decide if it's a realistic choice. If you don't normally bake, is giving cake and sweets going to be super stressful?! I want to learn to crochet this summer. Mostly because of the below. But if I haven't grasped it by September (in time for Pinterest worthy evenings with candles, cookies and beautiful crafted products) I will be revising my plans
  3. IMG_2669 Foodie ideas should always be tried and tested, extra hard when they involve chocolate and marshmallow 
  4. Some crafts are weather or season sensitive. I want to make candles in jars, and I intend to spray paint the jars. Yes, I could do this inside my rented flat, but I could also have a lot less stressful time by taking a cardboard box out on the terrace on a sunny July Saturday afternoon and spraying within that, not worrying to hard about spillage, mess or accidents, Equally crafts such as sewing, knitting or crochet might be best enjoyed on a certain evening each week when you have the living room to yourself or when a favourite crime drama series comes on each week. By planning what needs doing and when, you may find yourself with a little more time to enjoy parties, festivities and not rushing around like a person possessed in December when realising that it's rained for 2 weeks solid and spray paint doesn't come out of cream carpet!
  5. Supply stocks- on the above note, don't wait all year to realise you need to buy a whole herd's worth of wool or source cinnamon oil which the world and their cat have tried to buy and is therefore sold out. Try buying one set of supplies per month- Candle making wax, wicks and scents in July. Wool, threads and hooks in August. Sugar, cellophane and food colour in September for example. 
  6. Parcels a-go-go Deliveries are a standing joke with my colleagues at the office. But it does save on Red Cards of Doom
  7. And another note to time- booze makes a great present or at least it does for my family *cough* functioning alcoholics *cough*. But boozey creations often take weeks or months to mature. Especially true of fruit gins or vodkas. I am making some Limoncello this year, and it's a process I'll be starting in September to optimise results having missed out last year because I only came across the recipe in early December. 
  8. Happy fucking Friday. #fuckofffriday #fuckitfriday Because crafting should always come with....
  9. Storage- A last note on the list, storage. We're incredibly lucky the the flat we currently occupy is an older building and has TONS of storage both inside and out. This affords me the luxury of being able to put supplies or ingredients into airtight boxes and get the out of the way, and to be able to store bottles of maturing flavoured oils and to keep ready a stash of sale purchased gifts. We've also lived in places where it's struggle for 2 of us to store our clothes and (my) shoes let alone anything else. If you're short on space, it's worth asking friends and family if they might be able to keep hold of a box of something for you. If you make some flavoured vodka, box it up and might it fit in a loft corner until December? Might a friend who also likes to sew or knit mind an extra basket living in their study with your wool or fabric in it? If you work in a liberal office, is there a spare cupboard or corner that they wouldn't mind you using? 
And finally, Pinterest. I just joined Pinterest- always one step ahead of the game me! And there are some really brilliant ideas and some examples of beautiful crafts and projects. Truly, beautiful. But it's so easy to be sucked into idealistic ideas. Do you really have enough time and disposible income to have 3 or 4 tries at making that wreath how you want it? Whether, like me you work full time or perhaps you don't but you have other limits on your time like children or projects or a dog, take some time away from all those supercute ideas to think about how much time you really have to dedicate to making things around your job/partner/business/cycling commitments/enjoyment of Grey's Anatomy binges and if your budget means that buying a gift is a better option.

Because we've all been here:


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