Archive for the ‘Digging for Treasure’ Category

My reaction, after learning about the earthquake disaster in Haiti, was wondering what I could do to help.  The most obvious answer is donating money to those giving immediate relief; unfortunately, my meager finances are tied up in electric bills and rent, with none extra to give.

I then realized that I could create a line of notebooks for my Etsy shop and donate 100% of the proceeds to the relief effort.  While there’s a lack of cash in my home, there’s an abundance of paper.

This makes me think about trading talents.  The economy is tough lately, and most of us are impacted by it, whether we have to find new jobs,  cut back on spending or have to rearrange our lifestyles to accommodate the tight financial situation.  But every single one of us, yes, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU, has a talent or gift that can be shared.

Be it artistic talent, eggs from backyard chickens, a talent for graphic design, a recipe for fantastic cookies or a flair for photography, a gift can be shared, donated or traded.  A friend of mine owns a child’s clothing company, and was in need of packaging designs for baby clothes.  I am a talented paper crafter (patting my own back,) and happened to be in need of a baby gift for a friend.  We agreed to trade our goods.  For the price of shipping a small box, we not only satisfied a need we had, but we supported each other.

Here’s food for your thought:  Your talent or gift is more valuable than money.  Whose lives, including your own, can you touch or enrich with your gift?  A new motto of mine, created with my disaster relief notebooks, is this:

(Thanks to Karin! Her purchase of this notebook donates to Mercy Corps.)


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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:


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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Not that these are suggestions by any means, but I’ve used:

flour and water





What weird thing have you used as a substitution when crafting?

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No, really. I dug and dug.

The Cat Foto BookI’m so excited!  This weekend my husband, Ty, took me to the biggest, craziest thrift store I’ve ever seen.  I got to dig through the thrift-junk and filled a cart full of old photo albums, paper and terribly abused books to renew!  This is a Foto Book called The Cat.  I made it using a dilapidated photo album, a ripped-up and scribbled-on Cat In the Hat book and some old cardstock!  It’s one of my favorite pieces so far.

Flowerflip Recipe Book

Flowerflip Recipe Book

I also made this cute little recipe book.  I found some old recipe cards in a box that looked like they were from the 1970’s, all yellowed but in great condition.  I used the box for the cover, drilled some holes and bound it all with an old metal coil binder.

Rummaging through items that most would deem garbage, turning it into a great new thing and sharing it with all of you is so fun!  I’m like a plastic surgeon for paper.

I’s like to thank my husband for spending his weekend (after working a 60 hour week,) with me rooting through the thrift store.  Wonder if he’ll go again next weekend?

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