Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Handmade Valentine's Day

The world over the last ten years has become more fast paced, more lets do everything now, now, now. It also seems that the personal touch is a fast a fading commodity, with a market that is flood with massed produced crap (yes I call it like I see it).
I remember when it use to mean something to make something with your hands, yes I know as a teenager it was uncool to make something for your parents, but let's be honest now that you are an adult and your Mom pulls out that finger painted master piece that you made when you were five doesn't bring a smile to your face? I mean you are 30 something and she has kept it for 25 years.........holly shit that is a long time.....sorry....time flies. Most of all it meant something to her, who but a mom would keep a pieces of paper with indistinguishable objects in un-matching colors?

Or you finally take a trip home to mom and dad's upper class CA home only to find that the painting that you did of an Aladdin (Disney's Aladdin of course) Video game cover when you were a teenager is proudly displayed in their entertainment room....for christ sakes they have an entertainment room and they have YOUR art work proudly displayed center stage like it was a painting by Picasso or something....it is a kind of feeling that as an adult brings a tear to my eye.

So I guess my point is this why do we feel as consumers that we must spend our hard earned dollars on all the mass produced crap that litters the stores? I think we had it right when we were kids weather we realized it or not, something made by the hand and from the heart will truly mean more to the person that you are giving it to than the $12.99 box of crap candy that you can buy at your local target.

Now you are saying well I can't paint or make jewelry or whatever it is that you want to give your loved ones for the up coming Valentines Day holiday. Well that is ok, god did not bestow all the same talents to everyone (I mean come on what a boring world that would make). But man in all his great wisdom did create the Internet. In the vast nest of cyber space you will find all that massed produced junk like you can find at your local mall. However if you take the time to search a little harder you will find yourself in a Handmade Market Place.

This is the place were you should be doing your shopping, were people actually still take pride in their work and they really do care if you like the quality or not. These are people that when they get an email saying that they have a sale jump for joy and ride that high for 2 days.....hmmmm I don't think your local mall employee will show this kind of happiness from a sale.....
These market places are full of people with every conceivable talent that you could ever think of. They are like you and me, single mothers, people that have been laid off, people that scrimp and save to put food on the table and to provide the best life possible for their families. How are they different you ask? Well when they were in line in heaven God (or the higher power, whatever u believe) gave them a talent. Be it painting, glass blowing, wood burning or so on so forth you can find this well of talent on sites like Etsy, Artfire, Shophandmade and so on and so forth.

They have found the strength and the guts to do what they love to do. How many people can truly say that they love their job? That they look forward to it every single day? I know from personal experience, I have been in the Corporate world and made the corporate bucks, in the end it really just isn't worth it. The time away from your family the stress in your life it doesn't equate with that pay check you get at the end of the week.

So give your mom, dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, boyfriend, girlfriend a gift that was made with love and care. Yes it may not be made by you, but it also wasn't made in a factory across the ocean. It was made by someone who has a talent that they are trying to blossom into a business. Yes your family will be able to tell the difference, hehehe it won't break after a month of having it or it won't cost you a small fortune. Just know that by supporting the handmade movement, you are supporting all the artist out there that are like you in the fact that they also have a dream!

Ok so now that I have rambled on my soap box ..heheheh which I can because this is my damn blog and I can do what I want.......see being your own boss has it's perks.....heheheh.... Let me show you what is available for V Day and a little bit about those who created the items!!

First up is my personal friend and I will personally vouch for her work, she is Heather, from Heathers Handmade Creations. She doesn't know yet that she is being featured here...hehehehe... Heather is your girl for all of those cards that you should be sending. From gift tags, paper bag albums to your regular ole greeting card Heather's the place to go!!

Next up is Suds N Such: In this shop you will find different kinds of soaps, in fun shapes, and sinful smell. I asked Angie the owner what her inspiration was for her Pucker Up Soap Pops and she said: " I wanted to do something fun and sweet at the same time:) " Now these cute little pops come in a set of 4 for $2.70 (which is a sale price) you know your kids will love them, best of all when they are done playing with them, they can scrub a dub in the tub with them!!

Next is Gush4plush: In this shop you will find many different types of cute plush items! I thought the 2 Organic Catnip Valentine Fishy Cat Toys are adorable, I mean after all your pets are part of your family and they should get a V Day gift too and for $5.50 you will make your cats oh so happy! I asked Shannon the owner what her inspiration was for her Fishy Cat Toys and she said: " I created these Valentine Cat toys because I thought of my own cat and how special he is to us, why not give cats a valentine gift to show you love them too." I also asked Shannon what her best V Day ever was and she said: "My best Valentine's Day was my first one with my boyfriend (now husband), he had given me a simple gold ring with hearts on it. ♥"

The next shop is Anotherbrightidea this shop has the most unique blocks that I have seen! They are called Valentine alphabet blocks - Je'taime - Mon Amour and are adorable and a perfect and unique gift for your loved ones!! I asked the owner of Anotherbrightidea what her inspiration was for her Alphabet blocks and she said: "I posted vintage Christmas blocks in my shop at Christmas and I sold them all very quickly. So I thought - why not create blocks for other holidays? Decorations once used for a specific holiday have now been adapted to other holidays throughout the year (Decorated trees and ornaments, for example)." I also asked her what her very best V Day was, and she said: "Many years ago, I moved to San Francisco and my new boyfriend (who became my husband, then my ex-husband)took me out for a Valentine's Day that was very special. A dozen roses, and a night out for dinner, entertainment, and sightseeing in San Francisco - it was a wonderful day!"

The next shop is FranniesHeart, ok so I am a sucker for hearts..I love them and these were no exception they are adorable. I personally liked the Coffee Break heart, hehehe two things I love in life hearts and coffee. The fabric is just yummy and so is the color!! So give your heart to the one u love with one of FranniesHearts!! I asked Frannie what her inspiration was for the hearts and she said: " I made one for my son-in-law one day. He loves a good cup of coffee and loves to read...so this was a perfect fit. So now I include it in my shop. Ah, the lips aka Kiss Me Heart. I am lucky enough to have 2 wonderful quilt stores near me. They have the most wonderful cotton fabrics. Colors and patterns of all kinds. When I saw the lipstick print.....well, I just had to have it. Red lipstick for Valentine's Day.How alluring is that!? I also asked Frannie what her best V Day was and she said: "It's hard to pick just one "best" Valentine's Day...I love all the hand written notes from my husband the most. I save them all."

The final shop is Eugena777, in this shop you will find adorable pendants!! Once again hearts, and we all know how I fell about those!! I fell in love with the Heart Pendant, Faux Cloisonne, it is very unique. I love the shape of the heart and the colors used. I asked Eugena what her inspiration was for the creation of the pendant and she said: "Well, heart is such a universal and timeless symbol, I make them all year around. The one you mentioned is faux cloisonne, which is my own technique, involving polymer clay, resin, and wire. I developed it in 2005 while making a necklace for a contest organized by an International Jewelry Designers Guild. I wanted to make a piece in Art Nouveau style using polymer clay, because it is my primary material, and eventually came up with this faux cloisonne technique. I liked it so much, that it became my signature style. All my first pieces had flower motifs in Art Nouveau style, and only about a year later, when I started actively teaching this technique, I came up with a heart design, which was easier to demonstrate to my students. " I also asked Eugena what her best V day ever was and she said: " Perhaps one almost ten years ago. We lived in Missouri at that time, and the winter was particularly dreadful that year. In the middle of February, my husband and I took a few days off and drove to Mexico Golf. We spent Valentine's day walking on a beach in Galveston, TX. The day was nice and sunny, and very romantic. "

Well this is just a sample of what you can find in those handmade virtual marketplaces. As you can imagine when I started my search for those that wanted to be featured on this post I had tons of response. Unfortunately I can't show them all, as this is already I think the longest blog post in my blogging career! Hehhe so for all of you that responded and I was unable to feature, thanks for participating and I will keep your convo's for feature post!!

As you can see there is a wide variety of items to choose from in these Handmade Virtual Marketplaces, I just scratched the surface of what is available! So go brew yourself up a nice cup of coffee, get in your comfy recliner and start shopping using that ole laptop. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what you find, and I also believe that those gifts that you get for your loved ones will be more special because they have been crafted with love!!

As always, be safe and be happy!!



Eugena said...

What a wonderful post! Great gift choices and an entertaining read with that – just perfect!

Angie said...

Thank you featuring my lip soaps! Just an FYI...they are only $2.70 for a limited time. My shop is currently running a sale!

Rose Works Jewelry said...

This is such a sweet post!

I totally agree, the things that we make ourselves, or that we at least know were handmade by someone, are the best!

hdawnparratt said...

Wow such a nice post! You have greater patience for typing then I do LOL

Thanks again for the mention of my cards. You are the best. Once my giveaway is over I will do a nice feature on you :)