Sunday, March 29, 2009

Project #84 - Robot Motif Bowls

A few weeks ago a friend saw my robot tea cup and asked me to make a set of dishes with the same motif for her wedding. Of course, for the wedding of a good friend, one that has done many nice things for me, I would be happy to make whatever she wants.

However, I usually cringe at gift requests. "Oh! I love it! Can you make me one?!" "I can't find/afford X. Could you make one for me?" I've said 'yes' too many times and the stress and work just piles up. I have some ground rules in place to preserve my sanity:

  1. I don't make things for annual events like Christmases and Birthdays. I know that people think they are doing me a favor by requesting something handmade, but it is far less costly to go out and buy something almost every time. I may be a cheapskate, but my time is even more valuable than my money, and most requests would require me to put in a significant amount of work. I have a lot of friends and family members so I would be working constantly if I didn't set limits. I do make exceptions for really special occasions like weddings and births.
  2. I don't make something for someone unless I am sure they are going to like it. I don't want someone to be disappointed with what I made especially for them; it really makes me feel like I wasted my time. Most complaints or requests for me to redo something will get the asker permanently struck from my list.
  3. I sometimes have requesters put in some sweat equity into their item, that goes double if they want me to sew them a dress. At the very least, I'll have them cut out all of the pattern pieces and serge the edges. People without an idea of what they want need not apply, I don't want to spend time fussing with at them to pick a neckline or color. The best ones are the people with a pattern and fabric in hand.
  4. Please don't ask me to make something for you to give to someone else, especially if I don't know that person. No, just no. Which takes me to...
  5. If you really want me to make something, pay me. If I'm getting paid then none of the above rules apply. Plus, I take commissions on a regular basis and I tend to do those before any pro bono work which means at best you'd be getting your free item 6 months later. I give discounts to friends, but it's motivating to get compensated for time and materials.

It's not that I don't love making things for other people, but I like making things that are unsolicited so much better. It means that I can do without deadlines and my gift will be a surprise. I loved making Christmas stockings for my in-laws and a chess set for my friend. I think they were taken well just because they were unexpected and without preconceived ideas about what they were going to get. Everybody wins, right?


posted by Alison 3/29/2009 11:03:00 AM : (0) comments : splink

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