Monday 27 December 2021

Gathering My Tribe of Makers

Most gifts I give are either wholly or partly handmade. They are labours of love and, for me, I would rather give the work of my own hands than something store-bought. Yes, there is a time and place for store-bought gifts, but I prefer to gift something that I've made myself as much as possible.

This year, there were hot pot holders, 

dishcloth bouquets
more dishcloths,
Easter baskets
a bowl cozy
a mug rug, 
a quilted postcard, 
more bowl cozies, 
a Christmas tree skirt
a quilted wallhanging to post the date and the weather, 
and a gift basket with hot pot holders and dishcloths
And that was, of course, in addition to the quilts that I give away.
I can't afford to give everything away, and this year I decided to see if I could sell some quilts. While considering this, I consulted with some maker friends: Lorilee of Ruff's Fashion, who makes dog bandanas, bowl cozies, masks, etc.; Alina of Design by Nature Pottery; and Barb of Purple Peony Emporium, who makes soap and other personal care products. In October, I decided to try selling some quilts and other projects at The Gallery in Holden, AB. (Lorilee and Barb also sell there).
So far, I haven't sold a thing. 😞  Alina said that she tried selling there, and didn't sell anything, but she thought maybe it was because she had her products there at the wrong time of year. I, on the other hand, had mine there in the run up to Christmas and still never sold anything. I added a couple more quilts, including a Christmas quilt, and a Christmas table runner with 6 matching placemats. I'll see how it goes. Barb told me that it took her about a year before her products started to really sell there, but I don't have the time and money to keep my products there on an ongoing basis if they're not going to sell. If nothing has sold by the time my introductory period has expired (January 24th), I will likely just bring all of my products home. I wasn't too keen on selling on Etsy because I'd have to be able to take better pictures with truer colours, and have to worry about shipping, insurance, etc. But I might have to give that a try. 
I have been exploring some other projects and made this for my hairstylist. 
It's a crocheted soap bag with a bar of Purple Peony Emporium soap in it. I was wondering what exactly a soap bag is used for, so I googled. You can put your bar of soap inside and use it to scrub with and then hang it up afterwards. Because your soap isn't sitting in a dish, it will last longer and will not be as much of a breeding ground for bacteria because the air can circulate around it. Made of cotton, it's also more environmentally friendly than a plastic bath pouf. I personally have not tried one yet, but I also gave one to my daughter and one to my grandson for Christmas (including more Purple Peony Emporium products as well).

Another gift I gave to my daughter was a yarn bowl. She asked if it was made by my friend that made the soap dish that I gave her on another occasion (Alina of Design by Nature Pottery). Unfortunately, Alina was not the creator, but I did pick it up at The Gallery. My daughter was wearing a shawl (which she made) when she came to my place for Christmas dinner and said that she would like to get a shawl pin to hold it closed. So then I mentioned that I have another friend (Carolyn of 2 Good Claymates) that makes things out of polymer clay and likely had some shawl pins for sale. I have to admit that I found it rather amusing that I had yet another maker friend that could provide something my daughter wanted. And then I got to thinking that I also have a friend that is an artist and a weaver, and another that is an artist. Well, ultimately we makers are all artists, but I'm using that term in the more commonly held, restrictive sense referring to painters, and not house painters. 😁 And that's in addition to all of the quilters and sewists that I know. 
Ultimately, what I'd like to say is: support your local craftspeople, artisans and artists. Their products may be more expensive than what you can buy at the big box stores, but you'll be buying quality, locally made goods and supporting your neighbours. 
Before I close, I want to share a few other "spa" projects that I tried that will make nice gifts or additions to gifts:
And finally, the Christmas hand towels I made for some of my friends at work. 

Happy crafting to all my maker friends. 

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