Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

Chrissy has just tagged me, which means that I have to write down a list of six quirky unimportant things that make me happy, so here goes -

1. I'm fascinated by the moulded plastics that you get in packaging these days. I keep most of the interesting ones. Some of them even look like familiar things. I have one that's like a face. I plan to make Christmas presents this year and I'll use some of them to display the work.

2. Whenever I come across odd-looking plastic bits I keep them on a "this might come in useful one day" basis. I feel totally justified as I recently used one to repair a door at home.

3. Broken things interest me because I'm learning how to fix objects made from a variety of materials. I practice repairing as an alternative to replacing things.

4. Solitude never frightens me and I find it a comfortable place to be at times.

5. I frequently work without music or other distractions and have found that silence is not really very quiet where I live. There's a constant sound of road noise, insect buzz, the rustle of wind through branches and bird calls. This quasi-silence allows me to think.

6. I love being an observer of people because I find differences fascinating

I choose to tag,,,, and .

Friday, November 7, 2008

Christmas gift giving idea

Christmas should be a time for peace and joy with family and friends, but it tends to be fraught with tension and anxiety because of the commercialisation that has overtaken the original idea of giving presents to loved ones.

I’ve had an idea that I’ll be using for our family gift giving this year, based on the idea that presents should be given from the heart, not the wallet.

Among the group to assemble at our place this year I’ll be requesting that everyone should firstly choose whether to participate in an exchange of presents and emphasise that it’s okay to opt out completely.

Of those who choose to participate I’ll ask them to decide whether to handmake a gift, or gifts, or to choose something from their own collection of “stuff” to give away, or a combination of both. If made, it should be made from materials already owned, not from something that has to be bought (except if it’s a home cooked item, in which case the ingredients will need to be fresh).
People can choose to make just one or many items to contribute, the number of items made is not important.

After a present is made it should be packaged in an attractive way, so that the item can be seen, not inside a packet (unless the giver chooses to give “surprise” presents). The packaging should also be secondhand, not new, and I’ve included a list of suggestions for this below. The giver then chooses a basket, bag or container from their collection of stuff at home and brings the present or presents to the event in it.

Part of the delight of a Christmas event is the decorative aspect so I plan to make up a display stand for people to put their presents on when they arrive. It will take the place of a Christmas tree as we don’t always have one in our house. The baskets, bags or containers will be assembled nearby.

This is the gift sharing process we’ll be using –
I expect we’ll have 13 people here for Christmas so I’ll find a pack of cards and choose a complete suit, probably hearts, and ask everyone to choose a card. We’ll then take turns in order of the cards chosen and firstly select a basket, bag or container from the pile and then a present from the display to put into it.

Once everyone has chosen their first gift we’ll repeat the process until all presents are distributed. At the end of any round people can decide that they’ve received enough gifts and opt out from the process. As this is the first year of using this process I expect we’ll modify how we execute the idea to suit the circumstances.

I think it will be fun and take the pressure off everyone in terms of costs and anxiety.

Ideas for handmade gifts –

Sewn, knitted, woven, embroidered, painted, collaged, decoupaged, assembled or otherwise manually manufactured items
Baked, preserved or bottled food
Artworks (painting, drawing, sculpture etc)
Handmade books
Handmade boxes or storage containers

Ideas for preloved items
Pieces of fabric never used and no longer required
Cleaned and operational secondhand tools no longer required by the giver

Ideas for packaging
Clear cellophane with ribbons
Painted and decorated boxes (made from stuff you already have or find)
Many of the things we buy come pre-packaged in heavy plastic shapes that have been moulded for whatever object comes in it. Keep a lookout for these and also ask friends to keep them for you. They would make very creative containers for your handmade things.
If you decide that you need to buy some packaging materials then go to a reuse facility like Reverse Garbage and get some secondhand, rather than new.
Picture frames make great display holders for jewellery
If you start thinking now about things to make and do then you’ll also start to see possibilities in things that come your way.

I think this will be a different and fun way to approach gift sharing and it will be an opportunity to apply a little creative thinking to the gifts we give to each other, and save money in the process.