Friday, November 21, 2014

Simple Gifts Part 2

WELLSVILLE: This series started because my mind is often on gifts and my hands are often making them or admiring things made by others. The goal is to encourage people to make gifts of objects or time during these overlapping family seasons.
Making things is a valuable use of time. A gift seems a double gift when given with the words, “I made this for you.”         
Have you made a gift for someone lately? If not, there is still time and here are other ideas to infuse holidays with simple gifts, simple times, social interactions.
Simple Gifts Series, Part 2 of 4
This proposal is about promises and coupons, kits and ideas.
          Our children always made coupons for us. Computer programs and websites make coupon design easy, or at the least possible. You might print your own holiday cards and send them to people with a coupon good for one dinner out together or for a New Year’s Eve hike in the woods with wine, cheese and a glorious sky.
            You might give a coupon for a lesson in making jelly, in canning tomatoes, in baking a pie with a fluffy crust, in wiring a lamp, in using a smart phone or in the fine art of drywall. Is there someone you could teach to knit or to even just to join for a day of baking things your mother baked?
          If coupons don't appeal to you, consider a kit. In searching the internet for kit gift ideas, it’s easy to be buried or at the least distracted, by the tens of thousands of ideas out there. Here are some websites that offer craft ideas – nestled among hundreds of advertisements are ideas – general crafts, foods, some special projects that would be one of a kind items - simple kid projects with instructions
          This website has many craft instructions. Print the instructions and gather the materials into a box or plastic bag and there’s a gift to go. has all kinds of instructions including a page of gifts-in-a-jar.
          If you aren’t interested in coupons or kits, make something with a friend.
          You might get a group of people together for a workshop at The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass. Have you ever gone there? You can schedule a group party to make a project, pay the fee and go for the fun of it. One all-ages workshop involves making a picture frame. Another is about 
sandblasting designs on a glass. See for more or call (800) 732-6845.

 (Here are some of the projects that one can make at The Studio, Corning Museum of Glass.)

          Did you know that Sarah Phillips is a marvelous teacher with a studio full of stuff and the grace and patience of a seraph? She has an open workshop on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10-3:30. Bring your lunch and ideas and pay $5 plus some additional fees if you choose to use some more expensive materials. Sarah can give you more information if you call her at (585) 437-5225.

       Having said all that, if there is snow, forget it all, grab a carrot nose and get to work on Frosty. Use your own lawn or go to a nursing home and work in view of their largest windows or find the home of a fragile person and work there. You’ll get an audience and sometimes a cup of coca afterwards. Call ahead first.
          If you want handmade and some connection without doing the making yourself, find marvelous craftspeople and artists at Many of us have hours by appointment. Shop slowly and hear the story behind the work to get inspired to work yourself or to buy handmade.

            There will also be a show at the Community Hall behind St. Philip's Church in Belmont on December 12 &13. There will be things hand stitched, hand formed, hand carved, hand drawn, hand strung, hand hammered, hand woven, hand built, hand thrown and otherwise carefully hand made. Find makers, their stories and some great cookies. Call (585) 808-0385 for information on this Friday/Saturday show. Maybe you can talk a one of the people there into giving private lessons.

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