Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lessons learned along the way....

It's unsettling how the pressure to make beautiful gifts for loved ones can overwhelm you - well, it overwhelms me - even when you absolutely love creating and giving.
I wrote about the need to simplify on my other blog last week, and sewing was the catalyst for that post. All of a sudden it hit me that I needed to make 'better' gifts than last Christmas, last birthday, last name the celebration. The joy of giving began evaporating rapidly and I completely lost the gist of why we give in the first place - my focus was on my skills (or lack of!), and other people's expectations - and NOT on the gift I already have of being ABLE to sew, to create, to GIVE. I was so consumed with the gift that I had forgotten the love attached was something already wonderful that needed no skills. I think I learned many lessons last week from this one realisation.
I'm made in the image of the greatest Creator, and therefore I too want to use whatever ability I have to bring joy to others. When I finally worked through my dilemma (er, fear) I told those who needed to be told that I wouldn't be making many gifts this year and I sat down to peruse the latest Target catalogue. I felt my chest relax and and breath return...peace had come into my heart again.
And then what happened? I started to sew, I got excited, I laughed at the joy that was bubbling up inside! You see, I had to take my eyes off ME.
My handmade giving is not about my skills as a sewer, but the love which I pour into each stitch, the prayers I pray for each recipient along the way. The true gift is something you cannot see.

So, I've been working on a few things this week. I have a wall-hanging almost finished, two cushions for a daughter just needing stuffing and closing, and an embroidery for another daughter's gift about half-way through. I also began Esther Aliu's "Red Delicious" Block of the Month - this is the first block, I've cut out all the applique pieces and ironed them down tonight, but it may be a few days before I get time to stitch them. I love the reds! This Block of the Month is FREE - see my sidebar for the link.

I saw these gorgeous fabrics this morning and bought them to make Christmas Day placemats...

...and I finished two more Amy Karol bags! I used fabrics from Anna Maria Horner's "Bohemia" range. One is for my gorgeous friend Fiona, and the other is for a lady at my sewing group who asked me to make one for her niece who is coming out from Scotland next week.

I even found time today to bake - Rock Cakes, Jam Drops, and my 16yods's favourite - the old Choc Chip Cookies!

Take time to breathe this Christmas as you sew for loved ones and are loved for YOU, not for what you can make. ;-)


Myra said...

I'm already getting a knot in the pit of my stomach just thinking about Christmas...Just thinking about all the hustle-bustle and expectations are overwhelming...Gotta keep telling myself to relax.
I just saved the 1st block instructions of Red Delicious to my computer... Your block looks great! Nice fabric choices!!!
Happy stitchings...

Narelle said...

I love your Red Delicious block. I've just got some red fabrics but not sure when I can make a start.

How do you get so much done! I can only wish.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Narelle, we don't watch telly or have any outside interests - we homeschool our teens, and they are pretty self-sufficient, so this gives me more time than many others have. I also do most of my sewing at night, very late. ;-)

Sew Useful Designs said...

Hello there Jenny!
Your words ring so true... with my current situation, as soon as I decided to use an existing pattern instead of creating my own, the pressure was immediately lifted and I began to "enjoy" my creation.

It's amazing how we put so much pressure on ourselves, and can allow ourselves to get so stressed because we want to do our best... do better... as we think we need to in order to show our love. You are absolutely right... the love is in the gift, in the creator, not in the masterpiece.

Hugs! Vikki xx