Handmade’s Easy Button – Crafty Holiday Blog Hop

Angel sitting next to handmade bag purchased locally.

Picture taken with cell phone at work (sorry about the quality) right before being given to my Secret Santa-ee.

I have had the honor of participating in Angela Flicker’s, A Crafty Blog Hop this holiday season {insert shout out to all of the crafty blog hop girls here – hay-yay!!!!  I’ve loved reading the posts so far! And a big shout out to Angela for instigating this!  :) }

I had a great realization about the importance of supporting other artists and crafters earlier this summer and wrote a post about it on ScoutieGirl, so I was really excited about this Crafty Holiday Blog Hop event, where I would get to flex my new handmade purchasing prowess and broaden my horizons even more in this regard.

And this experience helped me do just what I wanted to do – study myself as a shopper and experiment with buying more handmade purchases this year.  Early on I already knew this:

My initial reaction to buying handmade has always been that it is way harder than buying commercially, mass produced items.

But guess what I found out?

The handmade movement is missing a major selling point.

Buying handmade is more convenient.  It . is . easier.

Repeat – eas-i-er.  e-a-s-i-er.  easier.

Buying handmade online means getting to purchase my Christmas shopping list in my pj’s while drinking coffee!!!!  My pj’s people! And my gifts were delivered to my door!  Yes, it takes some foresight, but after the foresight, it is all down hill!  Seriously.

* No crazy crowded parking lots oozing with stress.

* No pushy people.

* No running from this store to that store to the other store.

Just . blissful . browsing . in . pjs

And then, after I’d had my great awakening that what I thought was harder was actually easier,

I had a pivotal moment.

Here’s some of the background that led up to my moment:

We do secret santa-ing  at work, and for one week we give little gifts to someone anonymously.  This year I was a little totally discombobulated and disorganized, and hadn’t exactly prepared an entire week’s worth of gifts before the week started.  On Thursday night I came home from work exhausted. I had planned to make a stop somewhere to get a little gift, but I didn’t remember till I was putting down my purse after a long day.

“Damn!” I thought.  “I guess I’ll have to run over to CVS and get something.”

And then I remembered this Crafty Blog Hop, and in that moment, a little angel appeared on one shoulder, saying, “Kristen, you committed to buying more handmade gifts this Christmas!  You’re not really going to run to CVS, are you?”  and then, POOF!  a little devil appeared on my other shoulder and said, “Oh my God, you are taking this too far!  Run over to CVS!  You’ve had a long day.  You are living in a fantasy land if you think you are gonna find something handmade at 7pm on a school night! “.

Oh gosh, what to do, what to do.

I was pretty much headed over to CVS, until I remembered that I recently found a store that opened up for the holidays with a collection of wares from local artists and crafters.  My little devil told me it would most assuredly be closed at 7pm.  Most assuredly.

Defiant person that I am, and knowing that my mission this season was to expand my ideas about buying handmade, I headed over to the shop with the local artists and crafters.

And to my great surprise, it was open.

A photo of A Crimson Holiday taken around 7pm on a Thursday night

Besides the artist/sales clerk, I was the only one there.  So, I browsed my little heart out, no one elbowing me or inconveniently placing themselves right in front of the object I wanted to look at (don’t you hate it when people do that????}.  They had gifts in lots of price ranges.  I actually picked up a few for friends who I hadn’t yet purchased for.  And then I found the perfect gift for my Secret Santa recipient!

It was a darling little handmade bag.  And it was $8.00.

And the best part of finding the little bag, is that it magically tied into my plan for how I was going to reveal myself to my Secret Santa-ee.  Earlier in the week she had accidentally dropped a ceramic angel and broken one of her wings off.  She brought the angel to me and asked if I might be able to glue it back together, because she knows I am an experienced glue-er :) . I told her I’d bring the angel home and see what I could do.

Well, I had glued the angels wing on a few days earlier, and when I saw the bag, I realized that I could put the angel in this beautiful handmade bag as part of her gift, the last one of the week, and reveal my true identity as her Secret Santa, and also reveal at the same time that her angel’s wing had been restored.

It was easier than going to CVS!  It was more convenient.  It was a better solution to my Secret Santa emergency!  And I had almost gone to CVS instead.

And you know what? I friggin’ hate CVS.

I hate CVS with a passion!  CVS took over our Longs Drugstore and things have never been the same since.  Insanely long lines (I mean EXTREMELY long lines.  I’ve seen people give up and leave the store more than once.) Store clerks are usually far and few between.  And for the most part, I just put up with it, because CVS is pretty much the only drugstore chain in town now, so there aren’t any other choices.  Or are there?

Making my Secret Santa gift purchase a handmade purchase was way more convenient than braving the retail market hell that CVS is.  Why was that the first place I was going to bee-line to and spend hard earned cash?

Shopping handmade just isn’t second nature to my brain.  But I am experimenting with that :)

This Crafty Blog Hop has been a great experience!  I have so enjoyed reading the posts, and I have loved challenging myself and having this great epiphany at the end of it.  Buying handmade online and in person is way more convenient than my typical methods of shopping.  And I never would have guessed just how much more convenient, if I hadn’t participated in this blog hop.

PS    I did a Christmas Mix Tape Giveaway last week, and I decided to give one more away, as a way to celebrate the last week of this Crafty Blog Hop.  One Christmas Mix Tape (err, CD) will be given to someone drawn randomly from the comments below (and if you want to see how the drawings work around here, just watch the video from last week’s drawing :) )

Thanks for making this holiday season a lot more crafty for me! :)

***NOTE:  A big boo-boo occurred when I wrote this post.  I forgot to post the people who are next on the blog hop and the person who was before me! Since this is our last week, I am going to make a list of them:

12/10/10 - my creative pathway

12/13/10 – me, the one who forgot to post this the list of the others! :(

12/14/10 – sonya mac designs

12/15/10 – whatever dee-dee wants

12/16/10 – marked by the muse

my creative pathway was the post before me and today is sonya mac designs.  I’d love it if you hop on over to my fellow Crafty Blog Hoppers! :)

***AND THE WINNER IS: Amanda!  I picked her name randomly from a hat this morning.  She will be getting a Christmas Mix Tape (err CD) in the mail.  Thanks for the comments!

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17 responses to “Handmade’s Easy Button – Crafty Holiday Blog Hop”

  1. A Discount for Crafty Holiday Blog Hoppers

    […] “A Crafty Holiday” hops on just one more week.  We hop to kristen walker today where she wrote a truthful and funny post on buying handmade — a Christmas Mix Tape (err, CD) will  also be given to someone drawn randomly from her comments.  Check it out. […]

  2. Angela Flicker

    Great post! I love the honesty and the humor of the situation you described. And I agree, buying handmade isn’t natural to a lot of us –it’s not to me. I really have to make a conscious effort to remember to buy handmade, and when I do, I don’t regret it. I think over time maybe it will become more natural for us hopefully. Thanks for this great post!

  3. Melissa Prell

    Wow, Kristen, another wonderful post! I agree, buying handmade is not second nature for me either. At least not yet! But I’m working on it.

  4. *Kristen*

    Hi Angela,
    I agree, I haven’t regretted one purchase. I liked this blog hop because it challenged the way I normally do things, and I realized a lot of what I do is just because it is what I have always done, not because it is an easier/better solution. I love mixing things up and shaking out my carpet of old beliefs once in a while :)


  5. Sarah - Dodeline Design

    This is an awesome post! You are so completely right.

    There is a woman here in Charleston who just opened an entirely handmade store similar to the one you found, and she is hoping that people will realize exactly the point you made here. It is NOT easier to park 100 miles away from Wal-Mart, walk in, fight for a cart, walk clear to the back of the store, beg for help and receive none, then stand in line for twenty minutes, bag your own purchases, and hoof it all the way back to your car.

    We need to start pushing that fact much more! Love this!

  6. Brandi

    Okay, this was hilarious and SO TRUE. I hate the malls, with the pushy people (I totally got rear-ended while walking by a mom with a stroller the last time I went, and she didn’t even apologize – so rude). Handmade shopping IS better; handmade shopping in my pjs? Bliss.

  7. *Kristen*

    » Hi Sarah, thanks so much for stopping by and thanks so much for sharing about the store in Charleston, I hope she has a lot of success! :) You know what would be fun, is to make some funny “commercials” for handmade – little videos that share this message, and get them floated around the internet and blogs. I think your example of the Wal-Mart comparison would make a really funny handmade commercial :)


  8. *Kristen*

    » Hi Brandi, thanks so much for stopping by! Your comment about getting rear-ended at the mall made me laugh :) And it also made me think of my one huge pet-peeve – people at Ross who insist on pushing their cart down those tiny aisles and forcing everyone to make like a criminal when the police have them up against a wall. I mean, there is just not enough room for people AND carts in those aisles! Yet, it never ceases to amaze me that people just continue to push them down like steam rollers and make all of us hug the wall as they roll by. Ugh. Can you tell I have some feelings about this? :)

  9. Jess

    LOVE this post! I tweeted it out (are you on twitter, Kirsten?)

    I have not bought ANYTHING at the shops this Christmas – it’s all been either made, or bought online (not all handmade, I have to admit – the day I can handmake a computer game for my husband will be a momentous occasion), so I love the point you make about buying handmade being so easy, and not only that, we can get unique gifts for those we love :)

    One of our gifts to a few friends this year is a combo of handmade soap from one of my fave soapmakers on Etsy, coupled with a wooden varnished soap dish made by my husband. Not expensive, but full of love, it smells divine, and it’s something people can actually use :)

  10. *Kristen*

    » Hi Jess, thanks for stopping by! I am on Twitter, but still trying to get used to it. My username is kristenannie. Thanks so much for tweeting the post! I got some soap too, for my grandmother. It was so nice to get her something really high quality that she will use and not have to giveaway or throw in a room somewhere. Your gift idea sounds great!!!! It supports other makers and is embellished with your own handmade love. That’s great!


  11. Amanda

    I LOVED this post! haha I totally have had “CVS” moments but I, like you, have taken this commitment more seriously than I really thought I would. YAY Handmade!

    PS. I was looking for you on twitter too!

  12. *Kristen*

    » Yay handmade! Let’s make some funny commercials for it to promote it next season :) I was tell Andy (my partner) that we could do a commercial for handmade by going into a CVS and showing the long lines, and I could film him literally throwing his stuff on the ground and walking out :) He gave me a skeptical look. haha Maybe I will have take a Twitter class. I have an account but don’t quite get it. My username is kristenannie. I added you and I will go add Jess so you can find me, but, just want to let you know that I am not on there much now because I am still figuring it out :) Thanks for stopping by! Glad you liked the post.

  13. GirlSunday

    i hate cvs too.

    buying handmade is the way to go. i try to as much as possible and i love supporting the small business.

    and that bag is dang c.u.t.e.

  14. Stephey Baker

    I just absolutely love reading your posts! I am thrilled each time I check my reader and see a new one has posted. I just love your sense of wit! every post speaks to me in some way – just opens my heart right up! thanks for that.

    The mix tape is. well. just. awesome! Especially. Especially. Especially. the NINA SIMONE song I am blessed…with happiness! I freaked when I saw this! My favorite part is when she’ll…howl at the moon – the only sunshine! My sister and I had teh extreme pleaseure of seeing her life many years ago when she came to the east coast – Washington DC. But that’s a whole other story of magic and mayhem. Lip singing blog hop (could be the next hop.no?) One more thing about the mix tape,err, CD – may have to go and create one for myself using your inspired line up :)

    I too have made handmade extreme this christmas and bought me little heart out at the various local craft shows and online as well – of course making a huge line up of stuff myself as well. :) I loved reading that when you decided to listen to your Angel – poof – a handmade shop manifested viola! HOW neat is that! Poof! Magical Moment!

    Best of the Holiday Season to you!

  15. kristen

    Hi “the other Kristen”! Sorry I’m late. My kiddos were both sick yesterday so, I only got on the computer for a little bit in the morning for work. Anyhoo, LOVE your post! You are a great writer, I totally see the entire scene playing out. That little devil can be such a pest sometimes ;) I’m glad the angel won out and you made the effort to check out your local handmade store – what an awesome bag! And it goes along with your secret santa perfectly! I shop online ALL the time but, a goal for me is to find those little handmade gems in my area so, I too can run in and pick something up when I’m short on time. Lovely meeting you! Looking forward to keeping up with you and your blog in 2011!

  16. Lis

    it really is about forming the habit … i’ve found this year more than ever, without consciously planning it, i just bought more handmade items from people i know! (Thanks to you for the inspiration of your original Scoutiegirl post.)

    i have also loved the convenience of sitting in my sweats, shopping away (and with paypal, i don’t even have to get up and get my wallet – a dangerous thing, but a wonderful thing!) And no parking lots! No struggling in and out of the car with heavy coats and purses (any parent will tell you: shopping with a child still in a car seat is MURDER – in the car, strap her in, coat over her lap, arrive, unstrap and put her coat on, get out; get back into car, take her coat off, into car seat and on and on and on …)


    i also wanted to ask you: would you want to SHINE with me in 2011? When you wrote that Shine would be your word for the year, I realized it was perfect for me … in fact, much of my art in the past months has been using Shine and it seems right to embrace it. I would love to be shining alongside you :)

    xo love,

  17. *Kristen*

    » Hey Lis!
    I would love to SHINE with you in 2011!!!!! Let’s be double shiners! I lifted the word from the art card you sent me, so I think it really started with you, anyway :) And, it’s so funny you should ask because it totally re-affirms some big epiphanies I’ve been having about shining.

    I’ve realized that I had some old, crusty beliefs inside that somehow there was a limited supply of “shine”, and that if I used too much for myself, others would be out of luck. My big realization this year is that shining is like infectious laughter. You can never have too much of it, and that just by doing it yourself, you can trigger a whole room full of people to do it, and it’s a wonderful thing!

    And my other big realizations that have shaken up some of those crusty beliefs have been around what shining is and what shining “isn’t*. Shining is not being a know it all, a narcissist, a diva (the negative kind), a blowhard, or a fake. Shining is just about letting me be fully who I am and bring it in the best way I can, without holding back because of fear, because of comparing myself to other people, because of what other people might think, or because of the belief that if I there is a limited amount of “shine” and if I take some, it leaves less on the table for you to have (it actually creates MORE shine stuff to go around!).
    So thank you for bringing this up!

    And, about shopping with a person in a car seat – I really think we need to make some funny “commercials” around these themes. You make one that shows you schlepping around a cranky child from store to store and then strapping her into the car seat, and I will make a commercial about standing in a hellish CVS line, the punch line being the shot with the smart gal sitting in her pj’s and buying handmade gifts from friends online and wondering why everyone doesn’t shop that way. Sound like a plan? hahahaha :)

    xoxox ((BIG HUGS)))