When in doubt, shop local! Sometimes, it’s not possible to make absolutely everything, so mix it up a bit. This is at St. Philomena’s Bookstore in Emmitsburg, MD, which we visited during a pilgrimage day over Thanksgiving Weekend. I was able to pick up some neat items, including a Wee Believers Advent mat for the toddler in my life.
As I mentioned previously, this Advent we are being especially intentional about crafting homemade gifts to give during the Christmas season. From a buttery shaving cream to hand crafted, personalized jewelry, I am finding that, with a bit of planning and several stops at Hobby Lobby, the experience is utterly enjoyable.
Some things I’ve learned along the way include:
1. Make a list prior to heading to the overwhelming (yet religious freedom-friendly) craft store.
Otherwise, you’ll come home with all manner of items you really didn’t budget for, and perhaps don’t have the time or other resources to make.
2. Come up with an organizational system for all of your crafting supplies, so they don’t take over your house/life, they remain a relaxing and satisfying endeavor, and any ambling child(ren) or pets can’t consume an important part. This has meant my commandeering a desk in an upstairs bedroom – it is my not-so-secret hideout – and becoming a bit enamored with artbins.
3. Only work on one gift at a time.
This is difficult, especially when you’re brimming with ideas and excited over a multitude of options at once, but gauging the amount of time each project will take, when the finished gift(s) will need to ship out, and what is, overall, the highest priority, will be a relief. You will have the satisfaction of a job well-completed, and not have to fret over a pile of half-completed regretsys.
4. Start with a confidence-booster.
Instead of starting with my most daring project, I decided to get cracking with some simple ornaments that were time-consuming, but easy enough that I could zone out or even watch a bit of Netflix while working on them. This way, I was almost guaranteed to not totally burn out/hit a snag/get too frustrated early in the process.
5. Choose projects which are doable.
You know yourself. This doesn’t mean avoid embarking into new territory (hello, metal stamping – my newest obsession), but it does mean only taking on a few new craft skills at a time. In addition to pounding letters and numbers into defenseless metal, I’ve also taken up embedding found or crafted objects in resin, working with wire, and making spa usables with bulk amounts of organic shea butter. These are my limits this Advent. I am fully aware that if I were to add another untested ingredient to the mix, it could get dismal pretty quickly.