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Topic: Crafter's curse-- Hand made gifts  (Read 5526 times)
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« on: July 18, 2006 12:20:04 PM »

I've been having trouble lately with making gifts for friends.  I don't buy presents, except for my immediate family.  I prefer to make things for my friends, because I think that presents should be personal, thoughtful, and I don't make much money to spend on DVDs or CDs or Gift Cards, you know, the normal runabout gifts.

Still, crafting can be rather thankless, especially crafting for friends who do not craft as well. 

My problem begins Holiday stress and my love for knitting, and ends in February with a pink scarf.  I made a beautiful, long, pink scarf for an old friend that I hadn't seen since middle school.  She never even told me she received the scarf, let alone thanked me for it. 

Needless to say, I was crushed, disappointed, angry.  The normal jazz that would never have happened with just a simple "thank you" or "no, i haven't received anything yet".  Even "I hate it" might have hurt a lot less.

Since then I haven't made a single thing intended to be a gift.

Lately, though, I've found myself picking up crafting gifts again for the onslaught of birthdays in the summer. 

I know that I will be more prone to hurt and disappointment if my gifts are unused or unworn, because it's not like I don't take time to ask what my friends want, what their tastes are, what things they will use practically. 

Is there any way to limit the stress of crafting gifts for friends? 

I am considering making more run-of-the-mill gifts to give away at whatever occasion (simple, but nice purses, wallets, jewelry, etc.) to lessen the disappointment I feel when I try hard to make something incredibly personal and nice.  I feel generic gifts get as much, or sometimes even more appreciation than the things I spend weeks trying to create.

Oh, and sorry if this is a common sort of post... I imagine gift stress is a common problem among crafters.

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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2006 12:26:14 PM »

 I always worry if people are going to like gifts I make. For my friends I usually buy the present but I (and a lot of my friend's), make the card. I always get a smile from my friends fot handmade cards. As for family I often make them presents and cards, they've nearly always loved them.

 If that happened to me I'd be a bit annoyed. The only thing I can't think of in her defense is that if she didn't know it was coming and it didn't turn up she wouldn't have known to say anything...

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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2006 12:35:26 PM »

oh dear! i'm sorry you had such a traumatic experience.
i've been there too, spending hours upon hours on something, and feeling it was sorely underappreciated.
however, i also feel unable to just give someone something.
yet that depends on the occasion. i think my defense is, i think about the person and what they they might be prone to use. 5 years ago i knitted and embrodered an ipod cover (before the big DIY trend of making your own ipod covers had really become a well-accepted notion) and he never used it. i was a bit hurt, but recently he graduated high school and i thrifted an amazing puffy solar-system vest from the eighties, and he loved it. conversely i recently knit an illusion scarf for the director of my theatre, and she was thrilled.
i think you have to know you are making a gift for, and i think you have to find a careful balance between investing yourself in the gift and keeping up an easy-going nature about it all.
(sorry i keep rambling...one more example) for channukah i bound my pops a journal to inspire him to write again, i spent a very long time on this book, and i put so much love into it. however, it is july and he still has yet to use it, in fact he won't even keep it in his room because i made the cover out of cedar (to give it a wooden/natural effect) and he doesn't like the smell. now i'm not going to lie, i was a bit miffed, but at the same time as you said my pop doesn't craft and has no idea how much work went into it, and even more importantly, i still created something.
i don't know about you, but sometimes in everyday life there isn't enough time to get inspired, let alone act upon those inspirations.
and so i think i just appreciated that moment of creation, the problems i encountered, and the process of working through them (it was my first book i ever bound)!
so, yes, i think it would be a shame to give up crafting for those in your life because of a few rough patches, but  at the same time you can't give all of yourself to everyone in your life!
meeeeps! sorry this was so long...i hope it helped--good luck!
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2006 12:48:02 PM »

What I have done to combat this is go on and on in infinite detail regarding the steps involved in making something. I do it in a very happy excited tone so the person does not get offended because that is not the goal.  The goal is for them to gain an understanding and appreciation for crafty goodness. You can always do this with gifts for mutual friends so when they receive a crafty gift they will understand that you put your heart and soul into it.

Friend: "What are you getting Mary for her birthday?"
Crafter: I'm making her a mosaic jewelery box! It is going to be so cool! The colors will match her room perfectly! It just takes a while to finish. There are a lot of steps and I have to wait until each is completely dry before I can do the next one.  I have to buy the box, and stained glass then cut the glass into small pieces. Then glue the small pieces of glass on to the box one side at a time because I have to wait for one side to dry before I can do the other side or the glass will slip off.  Then I'll grout it. You know like you would grout the tile in your house? Same stuff.  After the grout dries, about a day later, I'll paint the inside edges so the grout and wood looks finished.  I'm also going to cover the inside with this GREAT fabric I found on clearance.  Then I'll glue some glass marbles on the bottom to serve as feet.  There is a GREAT picture on craftster of the type of thing I'm doing....

Crafter: What are you getting her?
Friend: A gift card to Best Buy. Embarrassed

The trick to this is to be excited about the craft process as if it is a BIG secret you are sharing with her.  Not a lesson in crafting or with a tone that makes it sound like it is a burden make it.

Modified for a typo.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2006 12:57:17 PM by PinkyK » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2006 11:40:14 AM »

I am considering making more run-of-the-mill gifts to give away at whatever occasion (simple, but nice purses, wallets, jewelry, etc.) to lessen the disappointment I feel when I try hard to make something incredibly personal and nice.  I feel generic gifts get as much, or sometimes even more appreciation than the things I spend weeks trying to create.

This is pretty much what I've started doing, and plan to do for Christmas.  Undecided I have definitely felt your frustration....and i've found that people do seem to like these more generic gifts just as much as something really personal that I put tons of time and thought into.   Undecided *shrug*
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2006 01:29:14 PM »

I have a very large family, and it is not possible for me to buy a gift for each of my fourteen cousins and their parents.  We do all get together though, so the last few years I have made each family a gift basket.  I always include handmade ornaments, decorative soaps, and goodies I make as well.  The most popular goodies were the homemade marshmellows and pecan brittle.  Both were super easy and yummy.  I always include generous amounts of hershey kissed too since I know everyone in my family likes them.  As for other handmade gifts, I usually reserve the time and effort for only those I am pretty sure will appreciate it, and of course my crafty friends.  For people who I am not sure about, I keep a stockpile of gifts that I bargain shop for year round.     
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2006 07:03:12 AM »

I have kind of the same problems with my own friends.  Instead of not knowing what to get, I'm always afraid that I'll kind of become the one that everyone hates getting presents from.  We used to have a friend who didn't buy anything, ever, and instead gave everyone badly knitted mittens and the such.  I mean, I can't knit and would never crochet anything for anyone, but I love to decoupage and instead just decorate the boxes.  I can't wrap anything, so it's an easier way to express myself and make people feel special.
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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2006 10:26:09 AM »

anymore i consider whether people are craft-worthy (like seinfeld's sponge-worthy). if they're not then they either get some lame store-bought thing or a very minor (aka easy) handmade thing. i finally settled on this after i made this awesome makeup bag with an embroidered cat on the front for my sister for her bday. come my bday one month later all she does is send me an e-card. to my work. the day after.  Angry so she's not worthy. ever. my other friend, who does thoughful stuff all the time and loves crafts too, i'd make anything she wants with a smile on my face. i figure if someone's disappointed you in the past, just do whatever makes you feel right without setting yourself up to be disappointed again.
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2006 11:49:07 AM »

Yup, I agree with Dee - try to make sure the recipient is "craft-worthy"

I hate the whole obligatory gift-giving occassions thing anyway, so I try to just make things as presents if I enjoy it, and really think it will be appreciated. 

I made my mom a polymer clay notebook with binder rings (so it would be refillable) after she got out her rubber-banded together cheapo wee little spiral notebooks.  I ahd made a point to show her mine, and how well it had held up, how sturdy it was, etc.  I visited her about four months later, and the thing was sitting on a table in the kitchen, untouched.  Now I know she appreciated it, but dangit, I like knowing that the things I make are USED.  That's why I make 'em sturdy!

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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2006 02:33:41 PM »

Have any of you had anyone you've given a crafty gift point out flaws in it?

I once took ages crocheting a scarf/shawl, and I had missed one stitch without noticing it.  The rest of it was perfect, and in my defense, it was a really lacy design in an eyelash yarn.  You know, the kind that makes you think you're going blind or crazy three rows into it.  Anyways, the missing stitch  wasn't noticeable to me at all.

The person I gave it to also knew how to crochet, and looked each row up and down-- without saying a word.  No thank you or anything!  About a third of the way through the scarf, simply said, "You dropped a stitch here".

I know this was really rude behavior, but I still couldn't help but feel like $hit over the whole thing.  Here I had spent hours up on hours, and the only response I got was a blunt criticism. 

Gah, I don't know why this bothers me so much, but it still does.
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