Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Handmade Holidays: learning a new skill

Yesterday I posted about Sharon Astyk as this week's Marketplace Maven, and today I wanted to visit a theme that she often writes about that happens to fit perfectly with Handmade Holidays: learning a new skill.

I know that the busy holiday season isn't exactly the best time to try something new (we barely have the time to get the regular stuff done, like wrapping gifts and cleaning the house and finding the motivation to go to work), but all this handmade gifting has inspired me, even if I don't get around to learning until early next year.

And because I'm relentlessly practical, I am always thinking about what skills might come in handy down the road.  So while I think that the glass engraving projects in Remake. Restyle. Reuse. are great, they aren't nearly as practical as the socks I'm dying to learn to knit.  And while those raspberry/cream cheese cookies in Real Simple look divine, they aren't as practical to make as learning how to turn out some awesome handmade bread (mine is still dense and too crusty).

This isn't to say that I will eschew learning new things because they aren't practical (I make jewelry, after all, and that won't save me from cold or danger), but there is something to be said for knowing how to do some of those "old fashioned" things that we modern-ites have forgotten in favor of gift cards and online shopping.  And if making handmade gifts for friends and family (even if I have to start them now for the Next holiday season) is the catalyst to help me learn new sewing skills and cooking skills and knitting skills, then I'm glad for it!

This idea of the value of learning new skills (especially the practical ones) is probably my favorite thing so far about a handmade approach to the holidays (and to life, I suppose).  I love that it can be a season for learning as well as giving, and that I'm investing in myself as well as in my friends and family.  

What gift card or fancy electronic gadget can do that?!  Not many!

Don't forget to check out the Etsy mini mall on the sidebar!  It's perfect for shopping handmade when you don't have time to make handmade (and supports some great female entrepreneurs!).
Also, stick around later today to see my latest handmade project, and what I've got in the cue next!

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