–Insert Witty Indie Lyric So Someone Will Google It —

I’m broke and I’m crafty– I think I’m going to try and make the bulk of my Christmas presents this year. Every year, I feel like I’m grasping at straws when I’m shopping for presents. How do you get something the other person will like and appreciate, within a certain budget? If I could get everyone brand spankin’ new ipods I would, but I can’t, and so. . .

The one thing that worries me about my as-yet nebulous plan is that my gifts might come off as half-assed. You know the phenomenon where if you spend all day cooking something, the last thing that seems appetizing to you is the thing you cooked? Happens to me with cookies and turkeys, mostly. But then other people think it’s fine– awesome, even! So, I’m not sure if that is what happens to me with crafts, too. Do I just get overwrought and therefore I only see the loose thread, the misshapen cookie, and the crooked stitch? Or do other people see those things too, or not as much, since they weren’t the one who made it?

This is what keeps me from selling on Etsy, too. What if everyone returns what they’ve bought or they leave me negative feedback because of a flaw?

Now that I think about it, up until now this has been my stumbling block for writing a novel, as well. Once I hit a snag, I’m sure other people will see this snag, too, and then spit on it, or me, or both of us, or something just horrible and judgmental. Then I go and scrap the whole thing, or start anew, and then I repeat the cycle. My grandmother used to tell me that people accuse other people of doing things they would do themselves. Does this mean I’m judgmental, too? I hope not. I make every effort not to be– especially when I’m teaching. Teaching goes so much more smoothly when you recognize a judgmental moment and then toss it out the window. And I think students notice. I think they are more likely to try harder when they know their teacher isn’t judging them, but just making sure what they are writing is understandable and logical. You get more flies with honey than with vinegar!

So maybe I should give myself the same leeway I give my students, hm? I’m nice to them– I could stand to be a bit nicer to myself.

The world's most perfect kitten, even when he is naughty and on the table. Actually, he doesn't know he's not supposed to be there.

Anyway, this was supposed to be a rather crafty and cheerful post, and now I’m all bummed. Again. Anyway!

So here are the things I am thinking for gifts:

1. Neckers, since I made a bunch for a Holiday Boutique, but then got sick and didn’t go.

2. Bread! I’ve perfected shaping, even though I still have to do the proofing and rising and stuff in the breadmaker. It comes out really pretty from the oven.

3. Panettone. I saw some of those gold and brown panettone wrappers at Sur la Table. Also, parchment paper would be pretty.

4. Bitters. I saw a recipe in Bust, and I would have to start now. I’ve never used bitters, but it sounds like something I’d like. And everyone I know is over 21.

5. Cookies. Duh. There’s a Linzer cookiecutter at Sur La Table, and I love those things. And gingerbread men, or pebernødder. To be honest, I’ve never met a spice cookie I didn’t like.

6. I got this catalog in the mail, and I was thinking it would be neat to give people shares of an animal that would help somebody out somewhere in the world. I mean, you’d be giving a flock of chickens to somebody. How neat is that? Or honeybees!

I like all of these things– but I DO have a reputation for being a sucky giftgiver. Maybe then that is all the more reason to think outside the box? If I already know that the material things I buy aren’t what people want– let’s try something else!

Step one, buy lots of whisky and gin. Ha! But really, the bitters take two weeks to make. So, really, step one, buy a big thing of gin or something.

Here is Iso, putting together her Fairy Terrarium. She's been wanting it for ages, and she chose the glitter-free one, because she wanted it to attract real fairies.

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