The Best Gift of All – Your Time

If your family is anything like my family, gifts can be a challenge (and a little depressing) because none of us need anything and we all are overwhelmed by our “things” in our homes. I keep trying to find alternatives to more “things.” I hand make a lot of gifts which are appreciated, but aren’t always realistic when I’m busy. Plus, I’m not sure how many more scarves and hats my family can stand and with brothers that stand 6’7″ and 6’4″, there’s no freaking way I’m knitting them sweaters or socks.

This year I felt like I came up with a great alternative for Mom’s Mother’s Day gift. This might be an option for some of your gifts, and you still have time to get them before Christmas (sorry Hanukkah celebraters, I totally failed you.).

I always keep one eye on Groupon (and LivingSocial and some of those other bargain sites) because I’ve gotten some great deals on things like vent cleaning, roof cleaning and tree pruning. When a Groupon came up for a glass fusing class, I knew that would be a perfect gift so I bought spots in the class for us.

Glass fusing is really easy but really fun. You basically cut pieces of glass, glue them to other pieces of glass, it is fired in a kiln and makes pretty things. What a way to spend an afternoon, right?

image courtesy of Designing dish where you can also take a glass fusing class.

image courtesy of Designing Dish where you can also take a glass fusing class.

The nice thing about a lot of these bargains is they are good for a long time so you have the flexibility to redeem them when it is convenient.

We finally took our class the weekend after Thanksgiving. It was at the Aquila Glass School in Portland and it was an awesome class! I was impressed with how prepared they were and the class was pretty full. Highly recommended Portlanders.

They start out by explaining how to use the tools and how the glass is going to fuse when it is fired. The whole time they emphasized how everyone is artistic and to not be critical but have fun. That isn’t a problem for Mom and I so we happily jumped in.

There were several pieces the class made. First, was a series of pendants. We could make these as small or long as we wanted. I went with two square and two rectangles. Some pieces of glass I cut for my projects but mostly I dug through  the trays of glass bits. It was way too much fun.

I tried to make a Christmas pendant, one of just colors I loved and that I could wear on a day-to-day basis if I wanted, one that would be my “party” necklace and is supposed to be a little dramatic and one where I was trying an ombre effect.

Here they are after they were fired. The edges are wavy because there wasn’t always a top layer of color on top of the clear base. I played with that on purpose. I liked the idea of a little beach glass effect. I love how it looks like some of the pieces are floating over other pieces in the ombre necklace.

Then we had a small square that would be put in a form that bends this into a shallow bowl when it’s fired. I was mesmerized with a color combination so I just had fun with the color rather than a lot of design. I played with the edges on this too because I thought a little scallop on each side would be pretty.

After firing:

Can you tell this is a new color combination that I’m starting to get obsessed with?

My jacket and nail combination yesterday. I can see I need moisturizer stat!

The last piece we worked was fired into a tray. The frame slopes the sides up a little. I was really running late at this point. They will actually let you stay well after the class to work but I did want to wrap this up eventually. So I panicked when it came to the design and just started putting the colors I like on there.

Typical. I spent the least amount of time on this and I end up liking it the best. Looks like little chili peppers.

We left these to be fired during the week and they were ready for pick up a week later.

This ended up being such a good gift. We spent the afternoon together and had a lot of fun. Because of the Groupon, it wasn’t expensive and we found something we’d like to do again.

I did just realize that this whole thing started with me offering an alternative to giving a “thing” that needs to be stored and dusted and technically, we came out of class with quite a few things.

So the plan isn’t perfect…

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3 Responses to The Best Gift of All – Your Time

  1. Alla says:

    That is so much fun! I’d like to take a class like that… ok going on my list 🙂

  2. Amy says:

    Sure, a dust catcher. But give it a little display stand and it’ll be a fun little accent for your new kitchen!

  3. Jana says:

    What a coinky-dink! I JUST purchased a Groupon for a fused glass class last week! I’ve seen them before and admired the look of the jewelry — so I finally decided to take the plunge with a couple of my friends. I’ve decided this is going to be the year to try new things! It was fun reading about your experience — I kind of know what to expect now.

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