Sunday, 5 May 2013

Mother's Day Gifts

There are certain advantages to being divorced. One of them is that you can buy your own gifts and get exactly what you wanted. It may not be as exciting as having the surprise of unwrapping a present, but it sure beats the disappointment of getting something you didn't really want. If you're familiar with the "Five Love Languages," you know that one of the languages is "gifts," i.e. giving and receiving gifts. Here's the book if you're interested:
Well, gifting is probably my primary love language. I enjoy giving them, and I generally give them well. Even when my daughter was a fussy teenager, I still managed to pick clothes that she liked and would wear. On the other hand, I also enjoy receiving them. One day I was discussing gifts with my oldest sister, and she said something about some people not knowing how to choose gifts. I replied that I think our mother was so good at choosing gifts that it almost spoiled us for other gift-givers. I believe that Mom's love language must have been gifts as well. She knew well how to choose a gift that was appropriate to the individual and the occasion, a gift that you knew she chose with the recipient in mind, not just a generic, obligatory gift. I miss that. Her gifts made you feel that you were important enough that she would choose a gift specifically for you. It took time and effort, not like just running into the local flower shop and grabbing a dozen roses. Not that I'm faulting roses, but if that's all that you ever get for any and every occasion, you begin to suspect that you're just not worth the effort for that person to put some thought into the gift. Especially when that person has known you well enough for long enough to know what your likes and dislikes are. I feel the same way about gift cards, not very exciting. And while I enjoy and appreciate both roses/flowers and gift cards, especially from people who don't know me well enough to personalize the gift, I appreciate so much more the kind of gift that my mother gave - something that made me feel special, a recognition of who I am as a person. When your love language is gifts, it's not that you're being materialistic. It's just that that's how you most readily express and recognize love. A refusal to speak to someone in his/her own love language is tantamount to telling him/her you really don't love him/her after all, that he/she is not worth the effort.
Fortunately, I do speak my own love language. :-) I do believe that there is a danger in being self-centred and self-indulgent, but I also believe in the importance of taking care of yourself. I spent a lot of years looking after hubby and daughter. My career is all about looking after others. And I do believe in being generous, compassionate and helpful in my daily life. But in order to avoid caregiver burnout, I have to look after myself. Jesus said that the second greatest commandment (after love to God) is to love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:39). Jesus Himself, our Creator, recognized that in order to care for others, we must care for ourselves. Self-care has become important to me since being on my own. And occasionally that involves giving myself gifts. So for Mother's Day this year, I got myself a couple more Craftsy courses. While a trip to Belize might have pleased me more, I had to fit it into my budget. :-)
The first is Scrap Quilting. Basically, it's quilting the old-fashioned way, using up your fabric leftovers from your sewing projects or other quilting projects, where all the fabrics don't have to perfectly match. It's one of the less expensive courses on Craftsy (not that any of them are terribly expensive). The second course is Quick-Strip Paper Piecing. Again, here's the link: Online Quilting Class Really, I didn't think I was going to do any more paper piecing after completing my Block of the Month quilts, but it wasn't as bad as I thought and the projects you can do are terrific. For this course, I need quilter's design mirrors, so I ordered a set on Amazon, here: Well, admittedly, while this is the one I ordered, mine was substantially cheaper, but I got the last set from the vendor from which I ordered. Try looking for this on eBay. There's a US seller selling the set brand new for $264.95 or used for $164.25. Ouch! The set I ordered on Amazon is new, and I paid around $25 for it, including shipping. Obviously not everything on eBay is a good deal. Comparatively, even the $50.03 in the link above is a very good price.
Finally, just to let you know, Craftsy not only offers some free full courses (both of my Block of the month courses are free), but they also offer some free mini-courses. They're just enough to get your feet wet and see if you like this type of learning. Currently, in my Craftsy course list, I have Sewing Machine 911, one of these mini-courses. Since I've been using my machine a lot, I figure it's a good thing to have more information on using and caring for it. I've also enrolled in Perfect Pizza at Home, which sounds delicious. Vegans can still eat pizza, even though I will not be using dairy cheese on mine, and learning how to make great crust and sauce can only make it better.
If you're interested in my previous post on Cake Decorating (
Cat's Crossing: Cake Decorating), Craftsy has a mini-course on Modern Buttercream. Buttercream, to the uninitiated, is the primary type of icing used in cake decorating, so if you're interested in seeing if you'd like decorating cakes, this would be a good place to start.
Check out all of the other free Craftsy mini-courses by clicking here. Scroll down to get to the free courses.