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Archive for December, 2009

The Issue:

I’m not sure why I’m having a hard time lately, but almost every time I sell something I feel sad about it!

Here’s an example:

A gal bought my little Flowerflip Recipe Book on Etsy.  I was excited!  I found a shipping envelope and wrote a thank-you note, filled out the invoice and then went upstaris to my inventory shelf to grab that little book.  I found it, and I suddenly I found myself standing there, staring at it, wondering how I could get out of the sale and keep it.  I thought about emailing my customer and offering her something much more expensive and fancy, and I thought about telling her that it was damaged in the flood, (what flood?)

As I stared at that little spiral-bound book, I realized how attached I get to the stuff I make.  It’s not a materialistic type of attachment, but more a bond I share with the thing.  I spend time with it, alone, and I hum to it, I talk to it, I struggle with it, I have a vision for it that changes as I craft.  I even imagine who will receive it: what does the person look like?  Where will they store my creation?  Is it a gift?  If so, will the recipient appreciate it?  Is it likely to be dumped in the trash within the year, or will it remain on the family shelved for years to come?  Will my creation be seen as a naive pile of glued together paper and thread, or will they understand that it’s special just by looking at it?

I guess the ultimate question is:  Will the new owner of my creation love it just as much or more that I do?  Is that possible?  A terrible but honest comparison is my creation being like a child.  Sure, it’s my kid, but it’s the awesomest, cutest thing ever!  It’s not my bias, I just happen to think my kid/creation is probably the best there is.  If you don’t wholeheartedly agree, my feelings are hurt and I worry for your reasoning abilities.

So I just made and posted my Old World Recipe Book.  It’s gunna hurt when it sells.

Also, my Sweetpea Journal:

Resolve:

Once I move from Ohio to Oregon, and I forced myself to sell most of my non-necessities (which is a relative term.)  I had a huge garage sale and it was a busy one.  Being me, I felt my heart slowly breaking as I watched people fling my stuff around the yard.  Some people scoffed at my college-appropriate furnishings, some looked numb as they dug threw baskets of my clothes on the curb.  I was sad that the history of everything that I had accumulated at thrift stores, clearance sales, hand-me-downs and other treasures were now regarded as take-it-or-leave-it junk.  As people haggled with me for the items on the lawnspread, I felt a steadily growing resentment mixed with fear.  One by one my things left the yard, and my selfish sorrow for my treasures lost was growing.

One of the last scavengers was a girl about my age.  She smiled at me, poked through the remainders of my belongings and settled on the big antique wash stand…THAT I LOVED.  I subconsciously decided that I didn’t like her.  No matter that my parents bought the stand for me at Ohio’s largest thrift store, no matter that I had plans for that stand in my “real” house someday, and no matter that it was my last special item.  She haggled, of course, and what should have been a top-dollar sale was settled for a seven dollar sale.  She thanked me, and lugged it down the sidewalk and around the corner out of site.

I looked around.  Everything was gone.  The sun was starting to go down.  I was freaking out.

And then she came back.

This time without the wash stand, she approached me and said, “I just want you to know that I love that stand.  I think it’s beautiful and I’m going to restore it and keep it safe for a long, long time.  It’s a treasure.”  My anxiety faded and my heart filled.  It was all I needed.  What a special moment.

Acknowledging a person’s passions is one of the kindest acts of kindness that there is.

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During the holidays, shopping for gifts can be a trying task.  Of course you want to get that special person just the right gift: a gift that they’ll love.

Let’s remember the reason that we give gifts: It’s way of expressing our love and gratitude to someone.

A gift says a lot about the giver and the recipient: the personalization of the gift shows that the giver pays attention to the recipient’s interests, wants and needs, and the gift can reflect the giver’s values and needs, as well.

I suggest that this year, you consider giving a handmade and recycled, or green, gift.

Why is a green, handmade gift extra special?

1.

A handmade gift has a quality to it that commercially-made items don’t have.  It’s been the sole focus of it’s creator, and is often better made, has better detail and better stands the tests of time.

2.

Purchasing handmade items generally supports the artist who made it.  You’ll be supporting the artist, the local art communities and you’ll be saying “Yes!” to independent art.

3.

Purchasing recycled items encourages a healthy world:  purchasing even one product that is made with recycled materials can save a tree or replace a purchase of an item made with non-renewable materials.  It’s a small (yet effective) statement to the world that says you care about the environment.

4.

Most green, handmade items are easily shoppable and shippable.  In fact, on Etsy.com, most artists will custom-make your order, gift wrap it at no charge, send it to you or your recipient and charge minimal shipping fees. (Multiple items from the same seller are often shipped at a discount rate, as well.)  Whether you want a coffee mug, a statue of a golfer, a journal or a pair of baby’s moccasins, I dare you to look on Etsy.com and not find a great gift.

5.

When you purchase green, handmade items, you pay for what you get.  Not only are items equally or less expensive than store-bought items, but the item’s price generally includes the cost of the artist’s materials, the artist’s wage and shipping.  Your money won’t go to corporate mark-ups, sweat shops or other invisible charges.

6.

People love a handmade gift!  Whenever I give a handmade gift, I include the artist’s business card and make sure to note: Made By Hand.  It’s an extra touch that your special someone will admire.

7.

A handmade item it sure to be unique, and will tell your recipient that you care about their interests and values.  A scarf from Old Navy is nice for a special guy, but a handmade scarf, made to your specifications with his favorite colors and designs is much more personal.

8.

Buying a green item, such as a onesie made with organic cotton, is not only better for the environment, but better for the baby! (www.greenasweegrow.com) Companies spray chemicals on clothing items to give them a starchy feel, to retain shape.

9.

Even one purchase makes a difference: You have power as a consumer.  Spending your hard-earned money to buy green gifts is a wonderful, political and powerful act.

10.

You get to feel good!  Seriously, you’ve supported a local artist, supported a great cause, given a super-special gift, put your money into a worthy market, let people know that you are a savvy consumer and gift-giver and now you’re the hit of the holidays.  Brag! Boast! Be proud!

Do you have other reasons to buy green and handmade?  Comment on this list, and I’ll post them!

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I recently made two new Foto Books that I’m selling on Etsy.  I’m especially proud of these, and love the fact that they will soon hold someone’s special memories.  I think that’s why I love what I do: I make the tools that hold the special parts of people’s lives.  It’s an inspiration and an honor.

This is the Floren Baby Book.  It’s a big book, full of themed pages for parents to record their baby’s firsts.

This is the Poppy Foto Book.  It’s a big book as well, made from nearly all recycled materials.  The book itself is an antique: at least 30-40 years old.  The blank pages inside are original, so they’re a bit yellowed and absolutely beautiful.  I’m going to include photo corners with it, to continue the feel of the antique romance.

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