Posts Tagged 'etsy'

Pregaming for the Holidays: Cards

People say Thanksgiving isn’t respected as a holiday anymore- what with the inflatable penguins in the stores from September these days- but I think it’s what you make of it.  And I’m making my Thanksgiving a time to write Christmas cards, to practice my eating and sitting around, and to make  presents.

I’m not writing a gift guide this year, because I’ve done it the past two and all that still applies.  Plus, I’m planning on making many of the presents I give this year, and that won’t be helpful for folks who can’t knit.  (For those who can, mittens!)  My only recommendation this year is, if you’re going to buy anything, shop at small businesses.  Local, if you have the time.  Check out etsy.com, if you don’t have time to browse in person.  Shop handmade, shop sustainable products- but whatever you’re looking for, put your Christmas money into supporting the small businesses that create ideas and jobs and support families.  I know regular jobs do too, but it’s a rough economy out there right now, and if you want to keep innovative artists and growing companies around, then support them with your dollars.

For now, though, I’ve been looking for Christmas cards, and I’ve got some recommendations if you’re looking as well.  Ten Thousand Villages carries cards and stationery made in Fair Trade agreements, and often from recycled or quickly renewable materials.   You can buy them online, if you don’t have a local shopThe Spotted Sparrow uses FSC certified and recycled papers to make neat cards- there are a series done on old book pages.  Smockpaper and byvik ink make beautiful letterpress cards, and use recycled papers to print on.  Etsy has a great search function, so find any other kinds of cards you like at their Paper Goods section.

Or, grab a potato and make your own?  It’s still cool if you’re not five anymore, I promise.

Tracking Spending

I finally got a day planner to go back to school, and now I’m using it to write down what I spend every day, and what I spend it on.  According to the internet, this is how one should begin to develop a monthly budget.  CNN Money has a series of articles on personal finance basics, and if you ignore the “stop buying expensive coffee” pap, they’re not so bad.  Since I do my banking online and paying with a debit card, I also have a record of monthly spending that I can divide up by pertinent category (fun, food, bills, totally unnecessary, gifts).

But really I just wanted to show you my day planner.  Isn’t it great?  I got it from oh pangaea books at etsy, and life is a lot simpler now- all those lists I make in my head then forget?  Now I write them down.  lmoss, the bookmaker at oh pangaea, used a pretty sweet shiny binding paper too- not sure if you can see it shine in the photo- but it’s lovely.

Anyway.  Simple pleasures.

You can also see the chair I’m reupholstering in the background there.  Photos of all that and a discussion of craigslist fiascos later.

Window Shopping

My laptop has been sitting around, naked and unprotected from the dangers of her surroundings.  Alone most of the day, completely exposed to the ravages of…well, wayward photons.  I guess.   You see, I’m trying to rationalize my desire to buy an awesome laptop case.  I do need one.  One day, I’d like to be able to leave the house with her.

I’m hoping that my need to protect my investment justifies the amount of time I spent looking for laptop cases today.  Recycled material, fair trade, sustainable fibers, and proper laptop padding are apparently all quite compatible.  I have at least four favorites.  There’s a vertical bag made from recycled mosquito netting at Peaceful Valley, in green and red.  It’s big enough for a 15.4 laptop, but it doesn’t say how the laptop pocket is padded.  But hey, if it’s not padded, maybe I could put it in this slim red leather case with fake purple fur lining from bronwenhandcrafted, at etsy.  Man, with that wrapping, I could stick her in anything and she’d be safe! Or at least fabulous.

But if it’s not a red leather and purple fur day, I could use this inexpensive, recycled plastic bag from Verdant Computing.  It comes in black, sky blue and orangish, and it looks way useful and unassuming.  Like, if useful and unassuming is your thing.  And one I keep going back to is this reclaimed plastic case that’s made from fused waste materials in India, and fairly traded.  The company that makes them, Conserve, has some really gorgeous bags, but the laptop cases come in less exciting color combinations right now.

As much as I liked them all, I don’t like any of them enough to commit right now.  And I’m hoping that, after this weekend, it won’t matter.  I have the sewing machine all set up, and some extra strong canvas and soft fleece, so I could make my own, and that’d be pretty awesome!  Or I could knit a case for it with some of my yarn stash.  Or maybe I should stop looking through etsy and getting ideas about what can be done with my extra fabric and yarn.  But I’m envisioning a canvas case with two shoulder straps and a carrying handle, a medium-sized top flap, an internal divider…

I need a case for real though, so if inspiration hasn’t made my hands swift and seams tight this weekend, I need to buckle down and pick something.  I’m leaning to the mosquito net thing right now.

Hippie Hamlet sums it up:  To buy, or DIY?

A New Neighborhood and an Old Friend

The “Green Blogs” link to your right popped up a few weeks ago without explanation- it’s a collection of recent headlines from a passel of blogs with ecoleanings, and it’s full of interesting stuff- a few project blogs like mine, but also updates from Grist and some environmental news sites. I am a recent addition to their feed, and I’m looking forward to getting to know the neighbors.

Our new “Craft” link is a dear friend’s etsy shop. If you haven’t run across it before, etsy is a marketplace for independent craftspeople- they sell clothing, jewelry, art, beads, stickers, books, paper- it’s overwhelming. Something for every price range and taste, and a large number of people create their art with found and recycled objects, and it’s got an option to only search items from local artists, for that extra sustainable touch. Shopping for specific items can be daunting, but it’s easy to find beauty with their random browsers. My friend designs jewelry with resin work and vintage beads, and it’s just lovely- she always did have good taste.

Hurrah for the handmade! Why it is so much easier to love something you’ve made, or someone made you, or someone just planned and was proud of and created? Emotional investments in things aren’t supposed to be that wholesome, but there’s a pride in work, and considered action that goes into making things that reminds us of so much more than a teapot. Or an earring. So you can cherish the thing for all the right reasons.


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