Alright, here's the thing. Yesterday I posted that I have already completed, wrapped and labelled all of my Christmas presents for people outside the house.
I may have given the impression that I've been toiling away and now have a huge box filled with dozens of beautifully handmade gifts and I'm thinking now that I should have elaborated on that a little more.
Last year, as much as I said at the time that I was cutting back and having some common sense by the time the New Year rolled around the total amount of presents I had made, bought and gifted ended up being as much as any other year. And if you had visited my home after Christmas you would have been forgiven for confusing my kitchen with the stock room at Marks and Spencer. There were at least ten tins of biscuits and likely more than that but I've blocked them from memory, countless boxes of sweets and chocolates were stashed everywhere. We tried giving the stuff away but everyone else seemed to be in the same boat. It was completely ridiculous and we were still trying to get through the stuff at Easter, in fact there's still a tub of Marksies mint collection chocolates in there that will need to be thrown out.
I swore to myself after last year that this Christmas we would be much more sensible. I told everyone that I would rather they hung on to their money rather than buying sweets and biscuits to give to us and I've reminded the of that since then. It sounds harsh but something along the lines of "don't buy for me because I'm not buying for you", it really does seem to be the only way to get the message across. Plus money's just going to be a lot tighter for everyone this year and I'd hate the thought of someone feeling obliged to buy me present.
So at this particular moment in time I have my whittled down list. So far I have prepared gifts for my mum which are a bag which I showed you the pattern for earlier in the year (although it wound up being teal and I changed the cable design for something more traditional (read more repetitive and quicker to knit) with two short handles instead of the long strap) and another shopping bag (one of the old fashioned mesh market bags with the round plastic handles).
I've made another beanie hat for my brother. He loves the look of knit hats but likes it when I make them for him because I line the hat with t-shirt cotton so its soft against his wee head and I've also made him a phone cosy for his blackberry (its only new so there's no chance of him upgrading as xmas). My dad is getting a phone cosy in his football team's colours (Man City) and a waterproof drawstring bag to go inside his backpack when he's on the motorbike to keep all his bits and pieces dry.
Beyond that I've made simple messenger bags for two aunts, Ann and Eleanor, who have been very good to me and my mum over the years (she wouldn't have been able to go back to work and probably would have lost our home when my dad left had it not been for them) and lastly I've knitted a gorgeous poncho for Ann's youngest daughter (my cousin and Chloe's best friend). She has beautiful red hair and it can be difficult to find clothes for girls that don't have pink in them somewhere so I've went with a nice safe cream with a green flower corsage pinned to the front. I also made her two hair bobbles and a fabric covered hair band from a tutorial I saw on Craft magazine a while back for the same pink reasons.
And that's really about it for dedicated presents. It isn't much really when you think about it and they're all quite simple and quick to make but they are made with love and made specifically for the person they'll be given to.
So that's it really, four bags each taking no more than two hours each, well five if you count the drawstring one, but that took all of half an hour, a couple of phone cosies which took about an hour all in, ok the poncho took a few hours but the hair accessories were whipped up in a few minutes and a hat which took no time.
I've finished the macrame scarf now for Eleanor, one colour in bright red and I made a second one for the shop and I've started a bracelet (which I'll make a few of) and I'll use the beads I received in a destash swap just placing them along the core strands and using the working strands to secure them.
I have to say though, when I look back over the things I've made and realised that it's taken, what, maybe 15 hours all in, 20 if you count the time thinking about what to make for each person I'm kind of disappointed in myself for not managing to be more organised in previous years. There just hasn't been any good excuse for not having things done (Last year was a mad rush to get finished).
Plus it works out well for me having, ok not everything, but a good lot done. I have my public liability insurance in place now, I'm registered as a small business (you have to within three months or they'll come looking for you, kidding the people at the Inland Revenue are lovely) and I'm just about to do my first tax return and now I'm thinking that maybe I should consider doing one of the larger craft fairs at Christmas. I was thinking about looking into St George's Market which is big in the run up to Christmas. The extra money at that time of the year certainly wouldn't hurt either.
Which means of course that now I have to make stock because that dear friends is one of the many, many things that I don't have organised.
And on top of all that I'll soon be adding another string to my bow, one that I'm really looking forward to but more on that soon enough. It'll be worth the wait, don't worry.