Sunday, December 18, 2016

First Snow, Some Thoughts on Local + Good Links

Yesterday my family and I were housebound due to the first big storm of the winter. The Amherst Winter Farmers Market that I sell our farm-raised lamb at every Saturday had been cancelled because of the impending bad weather. I was glad they cancelled it because it is a 40 minute ride for me. Although I had orders for legs of lambs (which I will not be able to get to their owners because I don't have their telephone #s - yuck), I really wasn't looking forward to driving through a snowstorm. We stayed inside until it was over - which was midway through the afternoon. No market next week so there goes those sales. 

As I was sitting here with Julia knitting and making pom poms, I thought about all the local retailers who were counting on the dollars coming in this weekend to stay alive and viable for another year. It is so difficult to be an independent retailer these days with the internet and all the big box competition. I'm sure the internet sales were racking up huge yesterday because no one living on much of the east coast could go anywhere to do holiday shopping. 

I constantly live in limbo with my thoughts on buying things. We aren't huge consumers - in fact we are really quite frugal - Mark and I are still wearing clothes we purchased before Julia was born. Granted our wardrobe doesn't have to be much considering where we live and what we do. Julia's wardrobe consists of lots of hand me downs from her cousins and gifts from family. For the little bit of Christmas shopping I do, I try to buy local from the local retailers that are still hanging in there. It's not much and they certainly aren't going to survive on what I spend. And we run a local sheep farm - selling local lamb

On the other hand, I sell my handmade pottery ON-LINE in my Etsy Shop and my Embroidery Supplies, books and patterns on my own website here. I count on those sales to help us get through the winter months. To get sales, I have to constantly promote my on-line business. For me, it gets so repetitious and monotonous and I feel like I am such a constant nudge. Hypocritical for sure - buy local but by on-line from me. I suppose the community I have built - that would be you who are reading - is a local community of its own kind. It's not physically local but we are all of a general common mindset - the love of craft and creativity and color, sharing, and kindness. 

(Last day for ordering before Christmas is tomorrow December 19th. I won't be shipping until after the New Year.)

It's interesting to think about. What is local these days? 

I listened to a good podcast the other day on Vickie Howell's newish series called Craft-ish where she interviewed Amy Singer of Knitty Magazine. It's a good interview. Amy shares how her on-line magazine business has changed so much because of the loss of advertising dollars that used to support her business. She has begun a Patreon business model and it is helping her to continue to publish her magazine. 

While we were waiting for the snow to end, we indulged in some favorite Christmas movies. Julia and I recommend the following -
The Bishop's Wife - with Cary Grant and David Niven from 1947. Watched it for the first time - lovely.
Mixed Nuts - by Nora and Delia Ephron with Steve Martin and Rita Wilson. A bit kooky but fun.
White Christmas - the classic with Bing and Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney
Elf - Will Ferrell and Bob Newhart. A must for this time of year. 

Photo from Andrew Baseman's blog
I love this box seen on Andrew Basemen's blog. It is hard to imagine that people used to sew together boxes to keep using them - considering what we throw away today. Food for thought. Read the article here

David Hockney is making beautiful art on his iPad. Read about it here. What do you think - is art drawn on an ipad ART?

Susan B. Anderson - that Susan B. Anderson of cute knitted things fame and one of the nicest people in the world - has started a yarn company with her son. It is called Barrett Wool Company and you can learn about it here. Go Susan and Evan.

Good luck everyone with the pre-Christmas run-up. Stay safe and sane. 


Leanne said...

Hi Kristin - I too love to "buy local" but also just love to find and purchase special unique items. It is getting harder in many ways to do that locally with all the box stores and malls. I find that is even the case in travel. I recently went on a cruise with a friend and was disappointed at the ports of call where the cruise lines have put the same shops at every port and most of the shops are things I could purchase at home. When I visit a different country I want to see what the locals are making and buy from them. So sad. Keep on doing what you are doing. I don't comment often but always enjoy your updates and are inspired by your creativity! Enjoy the snow. It is 88 here today in Florida. I would love a little cooler weather for the holidays. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Bought some note cards b/c I haven't bought any of your pottery yet and I read your blog religiously and.....Happy Holidays! Love your posts.

Lisa on the Gulf Coast with NO snow, ever :(

Anonymous said...

Edit last comment to say "some of YOUR snowy ewe note cards" ;)

Auntie Shan said...

Usually I take my mom out shopping on Saturdays - ["playdate" at Michael's for over an hour most times] - however, this weekend has been $pent digging "out"... Between the yoyo cold spells! And, the wall of plowpoop that ends up at the end of driveway!
Anyhoo, HOPING to get OUT later today! Got Christmas parcels to send... And, more to pack up once I remember *where* I put ?what? stuff! - I keep buying things for the nieces & nephews all year long whenever there's some good sale on, however, I really do have to stay on top of my record keeping on the whats & wheres!

As for Handmade Sales... I *just* broke even on my craft shows this year and it was the same for many of the other vendors, also. There's a big 10-day Show held at the new exhibition/convention place next to the airport that ended today. Although, with the various storms we've had during that period, I seriously doubt that They had any BIG "Buying" CROWDS either. A shame, as there are many gifted Artisans that exhibit at that Show. -- Actually, the People in this City are quite stingy when it comes to buying "Handmade".

"..KEEP your DAY Job..." is pretty much the Bumper-Sticker motto around here! - [hmm.. I should start embroidering THAT on cushion-covers..?]

Anyhoo, hang in there. Hey, just a few days until SOLSTICE. And a few more minutes of Daylight for me to shovel&shop by! WooHoo!
Stay warm!

Julie Davidson said...

I just read your post on why you aren't designing knitted items. I enjoy reading your blog so much and seeing your photos. It's like getting a mini-book more often.

Your photos are very inspirational. We have started to paint the walls in our house, unfortunately, we may have to repaint. It's not quite working. But it's fun!!

And, because I have sheep and Angora goats, I love hearing about your animals.

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