Monday, March 8, 2010

Handmade gifts are better than anything retail.

My daughter’s birthday is just a few short weeks away.  So my hunt for the perfect gift began last week.  In an age of Ipods and cell phones, it has become more and more difficult to find a gift that will be remembered.  I want to give her something special, and not just something she wants because all her friends have one.  With the economy being the way it is, I find that I am not the only person looking for gifts with meaning not just monetary value.  My Mother was also struggling to pick a gift out for her.
So I started to think of things she likes.  The things she thinks are “Cool”.  The first thing that came to mind was “Firefly”.  Not the song, the TV series.  Many of you are probably not aware of the show.  It was produced a few years back by Joss Weaton.  The Show only ran for one season before it was canceled.  Since then, it has become a bit of a phenomenon among the fans of the show.  There was a movie made after the cancellation and tons of collectibles.  I would say it’s the “Twighlight” of the Sci-Fi World.
I did a search on Etsy and quickly found lots of handmade gifts with themes from the show.  My daughter’s favorite character is Jayne Cobb.  She quotes the show often, and one of her favorite parts is when Jayne received a crazy knit hat from his Mom.  Wash: "A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything." I typed in Jayne Cobb Hat and found this amazing shop.  Ma Cobb's Hat Shop I told my Mom about it, and she was thrilled.  She purchased this amazing hat that exceeded both of our expectations.  My Daughter went to the mail box, and her screams of delight could be heard for blocks!  She could tell from the box what was inside, Ma Cobb's Hat Shop had even stamped the outside of the box with Logo's from the show.  She included so many goodies and little extras, it was fantastic.

Wash is another of her favorite characters.  He is the pilot and when in stick situations he says Wash: "I'm a leaf on the how I soar." -And then-   Wash: (flying debris glances off ship's hull, rattling everyone) "It's okay...I-I'm a leaf on the wind."  So my daughter often says she is a leaf on the wind, giggles and goes about whatever she was doing.
I make jewelry.  How can I make something that is both Jayne Cobb, and Wash?  I took a sometime and thought about the things I make that she likes.  She loves my Rings!  So I set out to create a Jayne Cobb-Wash, “Leaf on the wind” Ring.  This morning I finished it.  I couldn’t be happier, and I know she will be thrilled beyond any store bought gift I could find for her.  It was a lot harder then I thought, but I continued to work on the ring, with many proto types, then finally, I felt I had the one.  It is so perfect.  It's so HER!  So here it is.

Handmade gifts are for everyone!
Handmade gifts have a little part of the creator in each piece.   Artisans put their creativity, personality, style, and often blood, sweat, and tears into their work. Giving a gift that you can put a name or a face to is an amazing experience that creates a very personal connection to and the item. When things stop being just stuff, and start being art, the value of it shifts so much. When you find that handmade gift that is right, you find a gift that speaks volumes about who you are, who the recipient is, and the connection between the two of you.

The arts have been a part of all societies for as long as man has existed; from cave paintings of centuries ago to the handmade items found everyday on
.  Showing your support for artists by owning their work goes a long way in helping to create a world where it does matter where you got the gift and how it was created.  There is a place for beauty and craftsmanship in every home.   I for one do not want to be a part of a world that is devoid of art, or the amazing artisans that create it.
 Handmade gifts ARE GREEN!
From the big boxes, plastics, and wrappings that are used in store bought gifts, the difference between handmade and retail gifts are so much bigger than a lot of customers realize.  Handmade gifts are so different. They are made with more traditional and environmentally safe methods. Many artists are conscious of the impact their work will have on the environment and try to create green items with green techniques.  They will often use recycled or recyclable materials.   Also, handmade gifts are not planned with the idea of becoming obsolete; they are usually meant to last a lifetime at the minimum. In stark contrast to many mass produced goods, handmade items don't tend to end up in landfills.  They are cherished treasures from the heart.