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Planning For Handmade Holiday Gift Giving

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Hi there. I’m Nicole Gilbert and you’ve joined the stop scrolling start sewing podcast. Are you new to sewing and want to start quilting, but have no idea where to begin each Wednesday? Join me as I share the ins and outs of that quote life. If you don’t have a sewing machine, have no idea how much fabric you need, or you’re just trying to figure out where the heck to stick that bobbin. This is the podcast for you. Hey folks. Welcome to episode 26 of the stop scrolling start sewing podcast. I’m your host, Nicole Gilbert. And I am jazzed about today’s episode mostly because it’s a topic that I need to talk about with myself every year. And I hope that it does you a great service. Um, and so today we are chatting about planning for holiday handmade, quilt gifting. I know I couldn’t think of a more streamlined way to say that.

So hopefully, you know what I’m talking about, but it’s the lead up to all of your holiday gift giving, um, many makers out there like myself tend to give a lot of homemade and handmade gifts, um, along the way. And so planning is crucial, but before we dive into all of that, I do want to say thank you for putting up with my shorter podcast episode last week. Um, I just wanted to say thank you. And also we have a lot of new stuff coming in to, uh, the entire modern quilters circle world. So we’ve got new courses coming down the pike, we’ve got new, so along opportunities coming and we’ve got a new website. Um, and so everything is going to be rolling out over the next few weeks that I’m dealing with and, and kind of getting stuff. I honestly, the, the thing you’ll see most quickly is the website, um, design wise.

It it’ll be similar. We’ve got a new address, new everything, because who it turns out, y’all think the modern quilter is a mouthful. So I’ve, I’ve heard you, I am getting that all figured out, but I just wanted to say thank you. Uh, okay. So on to today’s episode. So here’s the thing every year, I think about all the gifts that I have to give, and I’ve got a lot of gifts to give between nieces and nephews and siblings, and in-laws the list every year gets longer, longer, and I’d love to make handmade gifts. I don’t make nearly as many as I would like to. Um, mostly because I have a problem with planning. I have all of these great ideas about all the gifts that I’m going to make. Um, and I usually have those ideas around September, which if you saw how long my handmade list is, you’d be like, girl that is too late, but bear with me.

So I have all these ideas in September. I then start running around with kids, new sports practices and back to school and all of that nonsense. Then all of a sudden, it’s October, I haven’t really started, I’ve got one work in progress going, and I’m like, okay, that’ll be a good gift. Then it’s November. And all of a sudden it’s December 15th. And I’m like, yo, uh, I guess I gotta get all the presents on prime. So that is what I want you guys to avoid. Especially when you are a newer quilter, you will have lots of pie in the sky ambitions. And unfortunately, um, not enough time to get it done, especially because we tend to be a little bit more critical, a lot more careful of our projects that we intend to gift. And so I want that to be also a clear delineation, what we intend to gift and what we actually gift because there are a lot of times I intend to give something and it doesn’t get done or it’s a work in progress and it just lives in my craft room closet for awhile.

Um, and then I also have, um, forgive me and then I also have my things that get gifted. So I fall in love with something. I do something beautiful, I’m obsessed with it. And then instead of saving it for myself, I give it away. Um, and I do that quite often. As a matter of fact, I am a prolific quilter. I have made more quilts that I can possibly imagine. I’ve got about five in my house and that’s because I fall in love with something and I give it to somebody else because it brings me so much joy that I just want to share the joy and also who doesn’t love seeing somebody’s face when they open it up. And they’re like, Oh my gosh, this is beautiful. And then like, when they’re like, Holy cow, you made that. You’re like, aha, I did no big deal.

And you brush your shoulder off a little bit or that’s just me. I love it. It’s, it’s just give gift good gift giving all the way around. So what I want to do is have you avoid the panic that usually sets in, in my chest around black Friday when I realize, okay, I really got to make the hard decision. Am I making this table runner for my, or am I just going to suck it up and get that cricket air off of best buy for $60? Like, what am I doing this, these are the conversations I have in my head. So let’s avoid that first things. First. I want you to make a list of all the family and friends. You plan to make something for, and I really want you to make a list and I don’t want this list to be every person on your Christmas list.

If it’s every person on your Christmas list, you are going to burn out and you are either going to throw yourself or your sewing machine out of window. So don’t do that really think about, who’s going to appreciate it the most. Who’s going to get the most excited about it. And if it’s a usable item, like a table runner, who’s actually going to use the item. So keep that in mind. So a good heads up, unless you’re making them a bedspread that their mother has asked for. I found that boys rarely are the best receivers of quilts, personal experience, but you know, just kind of keep that kind of stuff in mind. Okay. So that’s, that’s, first of all, it’s also think about things that are kind of outliers that actually would make great things to provide gifts for whether it is the holiday donation basket at your church.

You know, the class mom gift that you’re going to put into the teachers’ baskets. Um, do you plan on, you know, raffling any, you know, joining into any raffles? I know this sounds like very schoolmarmy, but like right now with my son’s school that he attends, um, I already know about like three different instances where I’m either going to be donating my time as in, uh, you can raffle off the raffling off, uh, quilting lessons with me, or I am donating an actual quilts in to be raffled. So like just keep all those kinds of things in mind. Cause those are the kinds of things that kind of pop up on you, um, that you might not expect. So that’s number one, who are these gifts going to men? I want you to actually assign a project to each of those people and keep what I said in mind.

So like 12 year old boys, they don’t usually want to quilt, however, uh, pretty cool ear pods, little key chain thing in appropriate colors. That’s never been anonymous and that’s a really quick gift. Not every handmade quilted gift needs to be a quilt, like a full sized quilt. Um, cause you will lose your dang mind. You just will. So don’t do that. Um, let’s see. I also want you to, now that you’ve kind of decided who you have to make gifts for and what you’re going to make them. I need you to create a plan for the actual gift giving. Okay. And this starts both Calendarly and supplies. So let’s start with a calendar. Um, for me, um, we have many, uh, friends givings for lack of a better laugh for lack of a better term. Um, and so with friends giving, they’re never on Christmas, they’re on like December 16th.

So keep that in mind, you actually might have a two week shorter deadline than everybody else on your Christmas list. So let’s like arrange and be like, okay, actually, I’m going to see this person on this date. I’m going to see this person on this date because typically the gift giving season actually lasts like three weeks. Um, and that will help you get a better nail down of your timeline. So I want you to be really conscious of that because your timeline, having it all squared away is crucial. Okay. So we have decided who we’re giving gifts for. We’ve decided what those gifts are going to be. And we have also nailed down when that, what is the delivery date on that gift? I know I’m taking like all the joy out of this, but I swear it’ll get a lot better. I promise. Okay.

So now you’ve done that. Now. I want you to go into your supplies and I want you to order everything you need for your gifts, but I want you to keep some things in mind. First. I want you to think about something other than the fabric. I know it’s not fun. That’s the funnest part, but I want you to think about needles and thread and rotary blades because, and I take this from personal experience. Um, I have layout really great plans. And so this is why I’m telling you guys this, because I stink at this. So I know what I should be doing and I never follow my own advice. And I want you to follow my advice. So, um, I want you to, so what happens is I plan and then what happens is I lose track of time and all of a sudden, instead of sewing for two hours a day, every day for three months and having 47 people get handmade quilts from me, what happens is I end up doing five weeks straight of all, day, Saturday from sun up sun to send down in my sewing sewing room.

And when that happens, you typically end up overusing your needles using dull rotary blades, running out of thread because you’re just head is so down and you’re so focused and you don’t have restocking time because you’re doing a week’s worth of work in one day. So I want you to take, take stock of all that. And also when you’re done with making all of your gifts, I want your craft room to still be usable because your craft room is your happy place, your sewing station, whatever that may look like a room set up in the living room. When you take all your stuff out, I want you to be calm and be able to get right back into the groove of making things for yourself simply because you love it. So keep this in mind now that you’ve got all that kind of stuff now order the fabric.

Okay. And I there’s a caveat to this one too. So yes, you’re going to have to buy fabric. I have never gone through a holiday season making gifts and not had to buy new fabric. However, I also tend to get a little bit more strategic and these are my smarter years. Um, but think about the works in progress that you have, think about the abandoned projects that you have. A lot of those would make great gifts that people would love. And so you don’t necessarily have to start from scratch, which is awesome, especially in the holiday season when you are going to be very, very busy. So keep that in mind as well. You might have a quilt top that you never got around to quilting because it’s not your favorite color or, um, you couldn’t figure out where to put it in your house.

Well, guess what? Your sister-in-law loves that color quilted up and give it to her. She’ll love it. You see it. So like kind of think outside the box a little too, it doesn’t all have to be brand new. Like it doesn’t make it any less of a handmade by you gift just because you started at six months ago and abandoned it, you know? So that’s something to keep in mind to repurpose those things. Once you’ve repurposed, all those things that you would like to see that you think are gift worthy now go and buy fabric for all the rest of this stuff, trying to give you like hints and ideas here. Okay. And so we’ve done all of our shopping. I want you now we talked about the calendar and deliverables and whatnot while you’re waiting for your supplies to come in because we’re living in a COVID world. So a lot of your supplies, instead of you just bopping down to your local coffee shop, a lot of you are going to be doing your shopping online. So we are going to be waiting for them. And unfortunately, a lot of our culture shops are not shipping as fast as you know, our fleece gloves that we bought on Amazon.

So We’re going to use this time wisely. Now we’re going to actually plan your projects. I want you to begin with bigger P quote projects first to give yourself plenty of time to get them done. Now you can work on multiple things at once. I tend to, um, kinda, it depends on kind of my mood of my day and the blocks of frames of time. Um, I like to complete large projects on Saturdays and Sundays cause I can really get into it and go all day long. Um, I like to do smaller projects that I know I can get done in one sitting in one sitting usually after I put my kids down to sleep and I could just have like real Housewives or mad men or whatever my husband and I are watching at the time going in the background while I do it. So let’s plan that stuff out, but really look at your calendar, know how long it takes you to do some things know when it’s going to have to get done and like write it down.

If you have to like pull out your handy dandy planner and write in there, just like you would write when your next dentist appointment is exactly when you’re going to be working on which gift do it, it will make your life easier and it will also make it stick in your brain more. So don’t overlook this step, please do it. Um, also, and I like to give myself, I call this the parachute method of planning and really what that means is give yourself a way out, give yourself a safety net. If I’m making something for somebody who is also a sower or a quilter, um, I will typically leave their gifts to last because if I don’t get to them, I know that I can put together a really quick and awesomely appreciated basket of quilting notions for relatively inexpensive. You know, you could put together rotary cutters and new rotary blades and you know, a bunch of little notions, some, you know, for fat quarter bundles and jelly rolls and make a cute little thing and they’ll love it.

They will appreciate it because you actually know what you’re talking about. And so they’re not getting some like random stuff and um, it kind of lets you off the hook. Um, I also do this with again, I keep on bringing up my nephews because they cracked me up and I love them. Um, but I will also leave stuff that I might have planned for them for last, because I know I can always get super cool and brownie points with some Xbox gift cards and Fortnite gift cards. Um, and they’re super quick and easy. So like come December 22nd. If I’m still like, Oh my goodness, I haven’t gotten to their presence. I just go to GameStop. And so think about that as well. Who can you give a backup present to that? You end? They won’t be disappointed giving, you know what I mean? Because a lot of times with handmade gifts, yes, they, the recipients love them and they appreciate them so much and it just warms my heart.

But a lot of giving a handmade gift is about you. It makes you feel really good to give those gifts out. So don’t, don’t take that away from you for, from Christmas either. Like the giving of gifts is so much fun. Um, and if there’s some people on your list who you’re like, I could give him something else and I’d be just as cool with it. Do that. Don’t stress yourself out. It’s not worth it. Okay. Now I want you so recap real quick. We’ve made a list of the people who are going to get gifts. What they’re going to get. We’ve taken inventory of what’s in your craft room already. What can you repurpose? What do you need to restock? We’ve shopped for what we need to shop for. And we have planned out our calendar for exactly how we’re going to execute these gifts.

Now I want you to make a new list because holidays is when I suddenly realize I want new placemats. I want a new tree skirt. I want a new table runner. And these are all things that I want to make myself. And so, depending on what it is, you either got to table it for next year, prioritize it ahead of somebody else’s gift or know that you actually don’t need it and skip it. Like just straight up, just skip it. You don’t need that. And I know that stinks, but you really have to, to really decide what’s like a must have, and then you make it, you prioritize it because again, you do this craft for you to make yourself happy. And also I just, Oh my gosh, I just love a beautiful like me. I think this year might be a Nutri skirt year.

We’ve used the same tree skirt now for about five years, which is not a long time. And I’m sure there’s plenty of you out there who have awesome tradition table, tree skirts. I’m not that guy. I really like new pretty things. Um, but I really like making them myself as well. So I think this year might be a Nutri skirt year. And so I have to prioritize that, which means one of the gifts is probably going to get bumped back, but I’ve made a cool calendar. So now I know exactly where to squeeze that tree skirt in. And also my deadline for my tree skirt is a lot earlier than my deadline for a lot of the gifts that I’m giving, because obviously we decorate for Christmas a whole heck of a long time before actually Christmas, not me really usually have a December 5th kind of a gal, but just in general. So keep that in mind.

Okay. Then let’s see. So we’ve created the plan. All right. Now this is the big one. I want you to stay inspired. I know, I know it’s so cheesy, but I love gift giving. I love Christmas. I’m not gonna lie. I love getting presents. I do. I just love the whole thing. I love the idea of spending my time, time creating something that’s somebody else is going to love somebody else’s going to enjoy. Don’t let the stress get you because I will tell you this right now, one year, my mother-in-law decided that we all needed to make each other handmade gifts. And this was very early. It’s my quilting journey where I was not comfortable yet making anybody a quilt. And so I was like, okay, I’ll do like little tote bags and zipper bags and whatnot. Like I can, so I could do that.

I was like in a puddle of tears, it was terrible. I hated it. I was so mad about it. And like, it was, it was just awful. And then it just, I totally ruined it for me. So don’t, don’t let yourself be that guy. If it’s going to be too stressful, take some of the projects off your list. If all of the projects are too stressful, get an Amazon gift card. Everybody likes it. Like don’t stress yourself out. Um, but I do want you to plan and go with a clear head. And also when you are doing your sewing, yes. I tend to watch TV. I tend to listen to podcasts, but if you need to listen to Christmas music, listen to Christmas music. If you need to listen to Brittany Spears to get you driving, listen to Brittany Spears. If you know, you know what I mean?

Like whatever is going to get you see, like, I think back to like, I’m like 15 again with my music choices. So it’s the year 2000 always in my head. So if I make like in synchrony, Britney Spears references, it’s because like I remember driving in my Ford, like my first little Ford, I’m listening to that. But like, just think about those, those kinds of like happy moments. When we lived in the Pacific Northwest, I used to call it, um, spring music because it rained all the time. But you would randomly get these days in June, which should be summer to everybody else, but it’s spring there. And you would randomly get these days in June, right where the sky was crystal clear and you could open your sun roof. And on those days I would open the sun roof and lower my windows and I would blast fast music.

And the type of music was always really upbeat sing along music. I want you to have that feeling when you’re making your Christmas gifts or else, what the heck are we doing here? People like who were doing this to bring joy and spread joy. And that’s like the whole thing, and I’m going to get off my soap box now because I really just want to enjoy every bit of your quilting experience and your quilting journey. And as you get to be a better and better quilter, you’re going to want to make more and more gifts for people, which is a fantastic thing and comes from a fantastic place in your heart, but don’t let it Rob you of the joy of the season. That is like my big thing. Also, you may have noticed this episode is coming to you on September 30th. I am already behind.

So keep that in mind, listen to everything I say with a grain of salt and be like, she does not take her own advice, but you should. You really, really should. Um, and if you look on the interwebs for other planning, they will have posted their articles about it in like August. So keep that in mind as well, and really think about what that means. People are taking four or five months of lead time to start their holiday sewing. So you’re not behind you just have to adjust your expectations. Okay? I promise you guys are going to be awesome. I am super, super excited about this episode. I can’t even tell you, so before I let you go, I have a little favor for you to ask to ask of you. Um, I would really, really appreciate if wherever you listen to podcasts, if you haven’t subscribed, please hit subscribe so that you can get all of, all of the episodes right on time when they get released every Wednesday.

But, um, what I really want is for you guys to also head over there and leave me a review, um, whatever your review may be. Um, they allow me to reach more listeners every week. So the more reviews I get, the more my podcast gets shared and the more the podcast gets shared, the more I get to talk to even more of you. And I can say from the bottom of my heart, I read every single review. I appreciate every single review. Um, and I am having so much fun, just spreading the quote love. So thank you so much. Okay, guys, you have just finished another episode of the Mo of the stop scrolling to start sewing podcast. Thank you for hanging out with me and make sure you never miss an episode by hitting subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. All right, guys, stop scrolling and get sewing. Bye for now.

Quilt Love

Noelani T.

I worked with Nicole in a one on one environment on a large quilt. I have limited sewing experience and...

Noelani T.

The Modern Quilters Circle

Noelani T.

I worked with Nicole in a one on one environment on a large quilt. I have limited sewing experience and Nicole’s expertise was invaluable for this large project. Nicole is very patient and explained the different steps and their purposes clearly. She improved my original idea to better accomplish my overall goal. I highly recommend Nicole as an instructor and would personally have another session in a heartbeat!

Michelle L.

I seriously didn’t even know the names of parts of my sewing machine before I worked with Nicole. She walked...

Michelle L.

The Modern Quilters Circle

Michelle L.

I seriously didn’t even know the names of parts of my sewing machine before I worked with Nicole. She walked me through everything step by step. And it was amazing. She taught me the ins and outs of my machine and how to add each basic concept together. It was invaluable, because now I can figure things out and get creative without fearing the dreaded unravel!
The Modern Quilters Circle