Sunday, 30 March 2014

Why handmade?

I went into Typo the other day and saw a laptop messenger bag for $15. My heart sank. If you could get something like that for so cheap, why on earth would anyone buy my handmade messenger bags for $65? (and many handcrafted bags sell for a lot more than that)

Then I remembered I was in Typo, where absolutely everything mimics a vintage/handmade/hipster type look for as cheap as possible. Typo is owned by the same people who own Cotton On... so it would be like looking at a $15 jumper and wondering why anyone would buy a hand knitted jumper for many times that amount.

So why would you buy anything handmade?

Well I don't know about you, but I know why I would and do. Here are some reasons:
  • The object itself will have had every bit of it pored over, thought about and put together by another human (usually the person you are buying from) - I mean this as distinct from an object that has many, many people involved in its creation and distribution
  • The object will be unique, even if similar to other objects in the maker's range
  • The materials used will often be ones that you wouldn't see in a mainstream store
  • I'm supporting another creative person in their creative pursuit
  • I'm encouraging that person that spending time on something creative is valid, and giving them the juice to keep going
  • Even though it is purchasing another Thing, so it is not breaking the cycle of materialism, it is actually putting more of a value on a person's time, and on the object itself. Yes, I can buy a mass-produced sweater in a chain store. But will I appreciate it and value it as much as as a jumper that Karen, for example, might have made for me? Of course I wouldn't. 
  • You don't have to go into malls
  • And now, knowing the joy I get whenever I hear the little Etsy cash register noise on my phone when I make a sale, I know that for the maker, it is really exciting to know that your creations are finding new homes
Looking at that list, though most are reasons why I buy handmade things, they're also reasons why I make handmade things. I've still got lots of stuff from market I need to photograph and put in my store, but do have a look at my TalulaMei Etsy store for my handmade bags, pencil cases and pouches. Yes, I made them all, mostly while watching Gossip Girl, Suits or the Newsroom - Suits and Newsroom are for when I'm cutting out and pinning; Gossip Girl is the best for when I'm actually sewing, because I don't have to pause it when I run the sewing machine (it's not like I'm going to miss out on anything crucial...). Though I've watched all of Suits now, and am rationing the Newsroom. So I've started on Freaks and Geeks, which so far is pretty fun.

But I digress. My point is - buy handmade! You know, if you want. :)

The autumn Spire Market

I've been meaning to recap the Spire Market all week but haven't been too well so it sort of slipped off the list.

We had a few new stall holders this time, and learned a couple of things. Because we're such a small market, we don't want to have too many of any one kind of stall; we want to maximise every stallholder's chance of making sales. But this time there was an accidental emphasis on jewellery (we had a last minute cancellation and accepted someone new who knew another new stallholder...and they both sold jewellery). We had also accepted an application from a candle maker so turned down a few other candle makers (and I didn't bring the candles that I had made)... and then she didn't show up! So we have definitely learned not to tell someone they have a confirmed place until their money is in the bank (I know, I know, a pretty basic lesson, but still).

Because of our missing stallholder, we had a bit more space to set up tables and chairs, with camellia flowers from our garden, so that people could sit have a pleasant Devonshire tea. Mum made scrumptious scones, and the Fairtrade tea and coffee came from Margie's stall, The Honourable Teapot.

Becky and Rachel, our lovely tea ladies

I was worried in the days before market as I hadn't had much time to sew. But when I was going through stock the night before I realised I had quite a lot of stuff that I had packed up after the Glebe market and not unpacked. Win!

I used an Expedit bookshelf that was in the hall to set up my stall, which I liked better than using a table. It meant I could have things on different levels and it looked a bit more shop like. I think my things looked quite lovely, and I made quite a few sales, so it was a good day for me.

My cheerful bags
 Here are some of the other pretty stalls from the day:

Claudia's intriguing coffee pod jewellery
Larissa's delicious necklaces, which I think looked rather edible!
Laura's prints (and there were second hand books on her stall too)
Gin's cards - love the orange/teal colour combo
Mariana's Peruvian rings
Sammi's delightful dolls
Margie's yummy tea
We had more people through the door than the first market, and not just friends and family of the stallholders either! I had tried to put ads everywhere I could think of, which had a mixed result - quite a few people got there way before 10am, seemed to think it was a garage sale and were a bit miffed that it wasn't one. But nowhere in the advertising had we said it was a garage it just proves that people don't really read the details.

We decided that in the future we'll probably go from 10-3 instead of 10-4. It's a long day, and there weren't many people who turned up in that last hour. But thank you to everyone who popped in throughout the day!

If you want links to any of the stallholders, head to our website. And you can like us on Facebook too. The winter market will be on Saturday 28 June - put it in your diary!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Jelssievision: hard as a cat's head

Go watch the last Jelssievision of the Sydney season! There may be more in the future, if E and I travel up to visit J in the northlands, or if J comes back down to visit.

I do enjoy laughing with these girls. I think I laugh and offscreen-comment a lot more in this one (especially in the bits I cut out). It was nice to be outdoors though, and to watch tourists, dogs swimming in the harbour and ferries gliding in and out of shot (yay for continuity).

Such fun!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

You is kind, you is smart, you is important

I loved The Help (both the book and the film). Mum and I were both delighted by this exchange between Aibileen and Mae Mobly in the film:

There's a bird living in the trees in our backyard and its call has the same tone and inflection as "you is kiiiiind". I often thought about the similarity and smiled.

The other day mum came out and said, "I keep meaning to say to you - have you heard that bird? I kept wondering why I was thinking about The Help all the time and realised it was because that's exactly what that bird sounds like!"

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who heard it. And it's a lovely phrase to be reminded of every day.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Surprised by grief

Today has been a crap day. 

I was alone in the office all day, which sometimes is nice but today I felt bitter about having to drive 45 minutes to get there and be alone (when I could have done everything I needed to do on my laptop at home). I didn't realise just how much I would miss my two colleagues who finished up with us last week. The fact that nobody else was in the office made the loss feel worse. Also we had farewelled JG at church last night. So it just feels like people are moving on all around me. Even though the changes are much huger for each of the people involved, I think we underestimate the grief we can feel when people we see or talk to almost every day are suddenly not in your life anymore, and it's not for any bad reason like a break up or death. All I want to do is hide under my doona until I feel strong enough to deal with it. But who knows when that would be?

I ate a huge lunch which was tasty but of course did not compensate. Then I went on an errand before going home but mistimed it so I was stuck in peak hour traffic for over an hour, feeling sorry for myself. 

My life is not bad. Tomorrow will be a better day (I hope). I would just like to rule a line under this one and write it off. 

Friday, 7 March 2014

insomniac thoughts

At the moment I feel like the ball in a pinball machine. I don't like it.

Dissatisfaction is a blessing and a curse I guess. It's the feeling that drives me to get up and do something, like irritation causing an oyster to make a pearl, or pressure making diamonds.

Part of the problem though, is I am caught in the stage between idea and fruition, where I'm still planning and learning and having to get on with everyday life. I fear that all this irritation and pressure won't produce pearls or diamonds; it will all just be glass and plastic.

I started this post in the hope that writing would help me clarify the muddle in my head, but when I try to latch on to an idea it just lurches away. I should probably just try to sleep again.