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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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...
- 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
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