New Year’s Resolution: Buy Handmade

Have you resolved to buy more handmade or local items this year? Here’s re-visiting a video with a few others sharing why they buy handmade

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/oF6djAgC%5D

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Outdoor Art Show Preparation (or peril)

So I was beginning to think I was getting pretty good about preparing for most things at an outdoor art show. I came with my full trunk of necessary materials. 50 pound pvc weights and rope-check. Modern, interesting but HEAVY displays that won’t blow away in most wind-check. Sidewalls in the event of rain-check. Earring cards in neat boxes to be put away quickly in the case of an emergency-check.

I thought I had seen it all before. I’d hung on to my tent as a gust of wind and rain came in sideways out of nowhere like a freight train almost. I’d learned from that experience to get those tents down to the ground as quick as you can.

I’d seen my earring cards fly all over the street and gone chasing after them. I learned from that to always have them clipped down in neat boxes.

I’ve seen my jewelry busts go flopping over on a perfectly sunny day just because a breeze got a little too heavy (multiple annoying times a day) and created weightier and probably even more interesting displays.

We’d learned how to watch the weather reports on the blackberry and being to pack up even before the sky turned gray.

I’ve been drenched, baked in 90 degree heat, hung unto a flying sail of a tent, packed up as tornado sirens roared….but this one took the cake:
Guess what’s under this tree?

Yeah, it’s our car. Now fini’ The unibody damage probably makes it a goner.

The 3/50 Project

Meaningful Holiday Giving

As the holidays are fast approaching I’d like to take the opportunity to I’d like to give you ideas on how to find gifts that will be meaningful to both the recipient, but also meaningful in a much larger sense.

When purchasing gifts this year consider three different possibilities other than just chain stores.

1. Shop Local
2. Shop Handmade.
3. Shop Charity

Using these three criteria you should be able to find the perfect gift for just about anyone one your list that will also give back to more than just the recipient.

Here’s a few things to consider:

Shopping Locally
In a nutshell, when you shop locally your hard earned dollars stay in your own community. The taxes you pay on items go back into your community, and often a larger percentage of the cost of the item stays in your community as well, as the seller usually spends their profits on local goods. Not only that, expensive transportation costs and environmental impacts are lessened as well. If you want to read more check out an article I wrote last year about shopping locally as well.

Shopping Handmade
When you shop handmade you are purchasing items made with care and concern. Often you will find that sellers of handmade goods give extra attention to detail, offer excellent customer service and package their items with care. When you buy handmade you are helping people support artistic lifestyles, helping them to support their families. Buying handmade helps small businesses grow, which in turn are also very beneficial for the economy. If your community is short on independent storefronts visit Etsy Shop Local to connect with home based artisans near you.

Shop Charity
There are also many gifts you can give that help improve the lives of people around the world in need. Some charities offer programs where you can donate in a gift recipients name. Others have store programs where portions of their proceeds from the sales of gift items goes to help the needy. One of my favorites is World Vision. World vision has a catalog in which you can purchase things like cows or chickens, donate to small business loans, or give a water well to someone in need in the name of your gift recipient. Visit http://www.worldvisiongifts.org to find out more. I am also a huge fan of unicef, which is one of the places I love to buy my Christmas cards each year, as the money goes to help children around the world.

Today is Etsy Day!

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In today’s crazy economy,  a lot of people are pretty careful about where they put their money.  More and more people are turning to Etsy to find goods that are handmade, quality and where the purchase of these items supports the individuals who make them versus corporations, thus making it more likely that the money goes right back into the economy.

To help spread the word a group of Etsy Sellers banded together and designated TODAY as Etsy Day, and the day spread throughout the entire community.  What is Etsy?  You can visit one of my very first posts on Etsy to find out more of just visit http://www.etsy.com yourself and have a look around. There’s much to discover.

There’s lots of nifty ways to shop shuch as Shop Local and Pounce and customer service from most Etsy sellers is top notch!

Another Etsy Insider Tip: ‘Pounce’ on Great Deals

Etsy is getting pretty popular these days as an excellent alternative to malls, to big box stores, and to mass produced goods.  I’ve introduced Etsy in the past, but if you’re new to this blog why not read my past post on just what the heck Etsy is. You can also see how shopping locally on Etsy can benefit your local economy.

Today I just want to tell you about a feature on Etsy for buyers that’s simply FUN!

There are  lots of nifty features to Etsy that buyers and sellers can spend hours exploring but one of the most addictive perhaps is the feature known as “Pounce”.  Pounce allows visitors to check out shops on Etsy in two different ways.

To begin, scroll down to the bottom right corner of the Etsy Front page and look for the word “Pounce” under the Explore section:

pounce2Click on that and you’ll be led to a screen that looks like this:

pounce-copyYou’ll notice you now have two options of ways to discover some interesting Etsy shops.  Click on the left and you can discover some brand new shops.  Think of this as like going to the grand opening of a brand new store or art gallery premier.  Often you’ll find great deals, goregeous new items and be introduced to new up and coming artists!  You’ll have the option of clicking how many new shops you want to see at any given time, and can refresh the page to discover even more.

Click on the right and you can discover shops that have just had a sale.  If you’re looking to spot the latest trends or find out what’s selling, this is a great way to do so.  It’s an excellent way to check out lots of hot shops at one time.

Be carfeul though, because Pounce has been known to be addictive!   Enjoy!

Shop Local on Etsy and Save Gas! (You can find Cleveland Etsy Artists and more Easily)

I thought I’d make another post in my series explaining the ins and outs of the site “Etsy”.  This time I’m going to delve into the explaining the site a little further, by explaining one of it’s features called “shop local”

For those of you who have been intrigued by the handmade art and goods that can be found on Etsy, consider that it is also a more eco-friendly way to shop.  You can surf the web from your very own home, visit shops from all over the world, and not waste a penny driving anywhere to find items.

Though you probably realize that goods to have to be shipped if you don’t go pick them up, and resources are necessary to ship those items.  However, as has been mentioned on this blog, another way to be very ecologically and economically responsible is to shop in our local communities.

Etsy gives us the opportunity to connect with local artisans through it’s SHOP LOCAL feature.  You can find goods made by artists right from your own local community, and cut down on gas, shipping costs and more as the items you purchase do not have long to travel.

Basically, when you visit Etsy look on the left of the main page.  There in the left column are various ways to search the site.  Look for the shop local button as pictured below. When you click it you will then be able to type in any location you want to look for artists from that area (you can choose Cleveland, you can choose Akron, I bet you could even choose timbuktu if you wanted and find an artist)

Once you search, you will be given a listing of the shops with the most recent listings as shown in the next picture:

It’s a simple, quick and easy way to connect with artists in your local community as well as help out Mother Earth and your local economy!