I think you remember how I feel about birthday parties. If not, perhaps you remember my strong opinions on giving and receiving gifts? If not, let me tell you my kids rarely have birthday parties and when they do there is a "NO GIFT" policy usually stated on the invitation. I figure my kids have plenty of junk already and I don't like wasting my money on junk for others either.
Is that rude? Maybe. Do I care? Not really. Why? Because I can't afford to. I mentally and physically can't afford to have more stuff to store and maintain and I financially can't afford the cost of birthday presents for every friend of every one of my four kids.
Unfortunately, here in Laie, birthday parties are a very big deal and everyone has birthday parties. In the last 3 months the kids have had invitations to no less than seven birthday parties. That's as many birthday parties as they were invited to in all of 2010! Now, I don't want my kids to be ostracized or made fun of for not bringing something to honor the birthday kid so we have come up with this solution: homemade gifts. Yes, I said homemade gifts. Still risky and possibly dorky but if done with care it usually turns out well and for a price I can afford.
The Love Monster pictured above is one of the homemade gifts we have made. This one was gifted just this past Saturday and was received with great joy and adoration (Phew!). Afton sketched the design and chose the fabric from my fabric stash and then I made the pattern and sewed her up. This fabric just happened to be from my favorite fleece PJ pants that I recently cut off to accommodate the hot Hawaii nights (Is that terribly tacky or cleverly eco-friendly?). The ribbon, embroidery floss and even the stuffing were also already in my small stash (OK, I admit the stuffing was pulled from an old pillow that was too flat. Again, tacky or eco-friendly I'm not quite sure).
We have also made fabric wallets, purses, pencil pouches, headbands, decorative butterflies, duct tape ties and duct tape wallets.