My decision to make all of the Christmas gifts I/we are giving this year (and as many as possible out of used materials) has proven to be a challenge. Here are some things I would like to tell the gift making me of next year (and everyone reading, since you should seriously try this next year)...
1. Start before thanksgiving. This year I had ideas throughout the summer and fall, but did not begin making things until...probably about two weeks ago. I will probably be able to complete most gifts if I work really hard, but Nathanael (at least) will not be getting his until sometime in January.
2. Gather materials over a long period of time. There are some supplies that you can't really avoid buying new. Thread and certain specialty fabrics are among them. But for everything else, certain fabrics, button and snap shapes and random materials, collecting over a long period of time as you can find them from relatives and at charity thrift stores allows more flexibility than settling for missing pieces.
3. Work on people's gifts in the order you will give them. (i.e. Micah your presents will not arrive on Christmas...but they'll be neat!)
4. Do something abnormal. This year I have tried a lot of new things, some of which I didn't think I would like, or that I would be good at them, or that the final product would be worthwhile. But, I have been happily surprised with everything. I have been sewing odd shapes and materials, melting things, and learning old fashion trades. Last year I discovered I could paint pretty well, and I doubt that I am the only one out there with hidden gift making talents.
5. Work with someone else if possible. Nathanael has been pretty busy with his research, teaching and classes, but on the occasions he has been able to give me opinions, recommend alternate directions for projects and lend me tools, he has been fantastically helpful.
After Christmas I will post pictures and descriptions of some of my projects...once all of them have been received that is.