Gift Making

I've always enjoyed making gifts for people to show them how much I care. I will admit I dislike spending money on a gift when it feels like a gift is required. There are definite exceptions when I find the perfect thing for someone, but I'd rather take some time and use my talents to make something they will love (hopefully). If I can save some money on what I'd typically spend on a gift, while providing something I they appreciate, that doubles down on my gift giving joy.

Two kids in school means a lot of gifts at the end of the year. This year we had 4 pre-school teachers, 1 teacher for my son, the bus driver, school secretary and principal. They are all amazing and I want to give them a little something to say thank you for all they have done for my kids over the year, but man does it add up to buy for 8 people. At $10-20/person this could reach $100-200 easily. And well, let's be honest, this was my main justification for buying my cricut machine. I wanted it to do fun craft things for me and the kids, but it would allow me to make personalized gifts for the teachers and support staff. 

My son had a new teacher for the last two months of the school year. It was her first job since finishing so I was hopeful that she had yet to be overloaded by personalized teacher gifts. There are so many cute options that many crafters are selling as teacher gifts. They are very lovely, but I try to avoid contributing to people having too much stuff. I figure you can only have so many "greatest teacher" coffee mugs or planters before you start feeling overwhelmed. 

I realize my gifts border on that, but I was hopeful that they would love them. Based on their reactions they did! 

For my son's teacher, I found a nice water bottle on sale and simply put her name on it. Total cost: $14. 
For the pre-school teachers I bought a few mugs from the dollarstore and added a picture I thought they would like and their names. These ones were very cheap to make, but man it took me a long time. Definitely learning which projects are time consuming and which are quick. I'm really happy how these turned out and the teachers loved them.  The mugs were $1.50 each and the vinyl $2.5 so total cost for 4 mugs was $8.50

Finally for the support staff I made some dulche de leche in my instant pot.  Basically I just poured the sweetened condensed milk into canning jars I'd washed, put the lids on loosely, set them on the trivet with about a cup of water in the bottom and let it cook on high pressure for 40 minutes with a natural release. Super simple. It is so yummy in coffee. The 3 jars cost $7.50 for the sweetened milk and $2 for the jars (I can't quite remember exact amount). So about $10 for these ones. 

It is a sad state of reality that the cost of a canned food good is more than coffee mugs shipped from China. Definitely a reminder why we all have too much stuff. I'm am guilty of contributing to this, but am hopeful, that as these are all younger teachers that they haven't accumulated too much and could use an extra mug. I'm over thinking this again. 

Final costs were a couple of gift bags and some tissue paper, $4 or so. 

Total: approximately $36 for 8 gifts which they all seems very appreciative for. Score on both my criteria. I'm just better to not add up my time spent on these, but hopefully that's the part others appreciate as well. 

While I was in the throws of crafting up those, I made some wine glasses for a friend who is getting married shortly. Hopefully these will travel ok should they decide to take them with them:

$1.50/glass and vinyl left over from another project. 

I've also started a facebook page for my creations in case anyone wanted me to make some customized things for them and so far have made two sales! Yeah! Well I'm not going to get too excited yet as my hourly wage is pitiful as I learn how to do things and or buy extra supplies.

I made a father's day frame for a friend's kids using their handwriting:

I love this project as it's very personal and perfect for taking to work, but takes way too much time for what I charged. I finished making about $5/hr on this one. Will have to up the price if I do it again. #LearningCurve

I also made a removal vinyl sticker for a neighbour doing a charity walk, but don't seem to have a photo of it. This one I finished in a negative amount as I donated back to her cause the amount I charged plus $10. 

I don't think I'll really invest that much time into trying to drum up business. I'm much happier to simply gift things to people as I'm inspired to make things. I'll stick with I'm happy that the savings I can do with personalized gifts will have covered the machine within another year or two and I can now make some really cool clothing options for my kids. 

I'm also headed back to work shortly and that will take up most of my time and energy. It is an interesting exercise to think of niche things I could make to sell but it will likely remain in the exploring stage. That's ok for now. I don't think I'll be able to handle more at the moment. I'll have enough on my plate. I am very excited about my new job though! I'll be working with a great team, learning new things. I can't wait!


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