Wednesday, August 3, 2011


*Parts of this post have been recycled. Look at that....I'm green in every way! With 143 days until Christmas, I have been thinking about what needs making for this year's holiday season and last year's post on homemade gifts is just as true now as it was last year*

For all the times I rolled my eyes at your hand knit sweater, I am sorry. For hiding that atrociously fluffy hand crocheted shawl, I beg your forgiveness. For tossing unopened jars of chutneys, assorted pickled pleasantries and hard but homemade fruit cakes I am wrought with guilt. For burying the quilt of avocado green and pumpkin orange in the back of my linen closet, I am truly shamed.

Though it's only August, I've been thinking about Christmas. Yes, Christmas. Though I thoroughly enjoy the holiday and all that it entails, about this time of year I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. As much as I consider myself one to "fight the man" Christmas means presents, which means consumerism, which means money. Or lack thereof. I tend to be on the "lack thereof" side and it is around this time when I start to assess who gets what, how much it will cost and start squirreling money away to help soften the blow of the Christmas shopping frenzy I am forced to indulge in every year.

Last year, I did manage to make a few gifts from scratch and to my utter surprise and delight, they were a huge success. I'm looking to do more of the same. I've added some new tricks to my bag o' craft talents and while the bag is still somewhat empty, I'm confident I can whip up some pretty swoon worthy gifts. Homemade does not have to equal heinous.When I was younger, I received an assortment of homemade gifts that, well, quite honestly I thought were hideous and either hid them or promptly threw them out. A 16 year old does not wear crocheted shawls. And who pickles peaches? Yuck!

What my young and and inexperienced brain did not realize was that these gifts were worth more than any store bought item I received. Granted, 16 year olds do not wear shawls but the person who gave it to me thought I might need one. She thought the color of the yarn would look nice with my eyes and that I could wear it on the bus for my away basketball games to keep warm. She took the time to pick out a pattern, sit down and hook it. And I might not like pickled peaches but the person who gave them to me picked them from their own tree, sliced and pitted them and decorated the canning jar with fabric scraps and lace. They took time, a lot of time, from their day to produce something just for me. It's not so much the actual items that they gave to me. It was their time.

In an effort to live a more simple and fulfilling life, I have learned just how much time it takes to perform the necessary tasks to produce a homemade gift. By learning to sew and can and cook, I recognize the love that goes into something prepared by the giver's hands.I know how long it takes to can something. I know how long it takes to crochet an afghan or knit a sweater. I know how long it takes to make a quilt, even if that quilt is made with the most heinous shades of orange and green. Whether I like the item or not, I know that it was made with me and only me in mind. In the 12 or so years that have passed since I received that shawl, I've grown to understand just how treasured a homemade gift should be. As I begin my gift lists and determine who gets what, I just hope that the receiver knows that I was thinking of them while I made it. I picked out the colors/flavors/shapes just for them. I hope they know that I love them enough to give them some of my own precious time.

Go forth my friends. Create and give of your own precious time!


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