If you’re a beader (I’m presuming you are, since you’re reading this!), then you’ve probably thought about making beaded gifts. Maybe you already make them.
Well, if you’ve also been following my blog this past month, you’ll know I’ve been running my ‘be prepared’ campaign.
This is all about simple tricks to avoid that last-minute Festive panic in December. So, I started out by suggesting you do three simple things. (If you missed that, then catch up here).
I’ve been talking about the first two things, hand-craft Christmas cards and Christmas ornaments. Now, for the final installment, I want to talk about the third thing: beaded gifts.
Hopefully you already have your list of people who need a beaded gift. Where do you go from here?
Why are you making beaded gifts?
That could be the first question to ask yourself. Why are you doing this?!
The answer you give might guide the kind of thing you decide to make. So, what possible answers could you give?
- Saving money
- Showing someone how much you care about them
- Because you love beading!
I’m sure you can come up with other answers too.
How will your answer affect the gift you make?
Well, if you are trying to do this to save yourself some money, then you need to think about what you make. Let’s face it, some beads are really pretty expensive. So are some patterns. And, some projects are very time-consuming to make.
So, if your main aim is to save yourself money. Or, even to save yourself the hassle of going round the shops, think carefully. You want to choose projects that won’t break the bank or take days to make.
This isn’t about you ‘being mean’ or feeling the Scrooge effect. It’s simply good sense. We all fall into the trap of thinking, it’s cheaper or easier to do it ourselves. Well, just make sure that’s actually true and not simply a myth.
If your aim is more along the lines of finding an excuse to bead, or showing someone you care, then read the next section.
People who should never receive beaded gifts!
Now, picture this scene. You’re spending Christmas with your loved ones. You’ve just given one of them the beaded gift that you spent hours making. Watching in excited anticipation, you see them unwrap the parcel. Hoping for a joyous reception of your gift, you get this response instead…
‘Oh. Thank you. Yes, that’s …er…very kind of you.’
It’s a fact. There are just some people who don’t appreciate hand-crafted things. It’s no reflection on them.
Stop and think about it: just take yourself out of the equation for a while. Your hand-crafted gift is so special to you because you know all the time and effort that went into making it.
Someone else may not see that effort. They simply see the finished article. So, they are judging it as they would any other gift. Do they like it?
Well, if you’ve given someone who loves chocolate a pair of socks, would you expect them to be overwhelmed with joy? Probably not. So, if you give a necklace to someone who hates jewellery, are they going to love it? Only if they see it as a part of you, rather than just another necklace.
What I want to say is this: if you are about to invest your precious time in making beaded gifts this year, stop and think first. Is your beaded gift really the best option for the person who will be receiving it?
You know your friends and family. So, you can answer that question – just answer it honestly!
What to make?
Ok, so you’ve worked out why you’re making beaded gifts. And you’ve got a sensible list of recipients. So, what are you going to make?
Well, if you’re someone who struggles with that question, let me help. No, I’m not going to give you the exact answer here. But I will give you some simple things to think about. Answer these questions and maybe you can narrow down the choices.
Wearable or ornamental?
Is your recipient someone who enjoys wearing jewellery?
If the answer is ‘yes’, then you’ve hit the jackpot. All you need to do is work out what jewellery to make.
Now, if your recipient isn’t into jewellery, what can you make instead? Well, I have a few options.
- French beaded flowers or pot plants are a great idea. They don’t have to be too time-consuming to make. Most people can squeeze a little extra pot somewhere on a shelf or windowsill. Plus, they may thank you for a plant that they can’t kill!
- Beaded boxes are a favourite to make. They can also make a great gift. You might even add a small gift inside your beaded box. So, if you know someone who just enjoys ornaments, then this can be a good option. Try and find some way to personalise the box. Maybe make it in their favourite colours? Or find a project with a theme that suits them.
- Beaded pens are another fun gift. They suit both men and women, so that can be very helpful. Plus, they are great for those friends who have a practical side. Again, very easy to personalise.
- You could also think about a beaded tapestry or wall-hanging. You can design and make a flat bead-woven picture, then mount it and frame it. Think of it like cross stitch. So, you can go as big or as small as you like.
If any of those ideas appeal, then click on the links (above) to find a host of great patterns to try.
What colours to use?
Now don’t groan! Picking colours is one of the average beaders’ biggest nightmares. So, how can this help with beaded gifts?
So, think about the colours your friend loves. You don’t even have to ask them. Just observe.
What colour clothes do they wear? What colouring is the decor in their home? Simple things like this will give you a sense of colour. So, when you come to make their gift, you can get the colouring right and the gift will be an immediate hit!
So, yes, you can look for a pattern in the colour you need. That way, you just have to buy the beads the designer has listed.
But, what if you find a design you like, but need to re-colour it? Well, if you’re one of those people who is all at sea with colours, have you tried this free tutorial yet? It’s a little teaching tool that I use in class to help people try new colours and find different colour combinations. See if it can help you as well.
If you’re interested in understanding more about colour and how to choose colour schemes, then try this blog.
Over to you…
So, hopefully that has helped you with a few ideas to start. I began September by urging you to prepare early. So, you really need to start making those beaded gifts right now… This weekend… Don’t delay!
The great thing about this is you don’t have to be in the Christmas spirit yet. You can simply enjoy choosing a new beading pattern and have the pleasure of making it for a friend. (Don’t forget to make one for yourself too!)
Looking ahead: October 2017
I hope you have enjoyed this little ‘be prepared’ September theme. I’ve enjoyed putting it together. So, I’m going to do another series of themed blogs throughout October.
I thought I would come back to the season. So, October is going to be all about Autumn. I’ll be sharing some Autumn beading projects. But I also want to make this a little course about design.
I talk to a lot of you and hear the same questions: how do I come up with an idea? Where do I start to create a design? Well, I’m going to take the Autumn theme and show you how to use it as a starting point for some new beading designs. You can work alongside me and find out just how simple it actually is to design something for yourself.
So, make sure you don’t miss any of the series. You can follow my blog or sign up to my mailing list for a few extra bonuses as well.