Or the key to a thoughtful, local present
We all know the difference between buying a gift certificate, and a present. Gift certificates are an inevitable result of the dialogue
“What should we get Stu for his birthday?”
“I don’t know. What does he like?”
“How about a gift certificate to somewhere?”
Okay, yes gift certificates are practical and nice, but they take all of the thought out of buying presents. I think perhaps one of the reasons behind the no present movement is simply the lack of thought and time people put into them. The buying of a gift is the extension of knowing someone. The pleasure in it the joy of finding something they would never think to buy for themselves, but upon getting, love and don’t know how they lived without it before. Furthermore, every time they see it, they will think of the giver of said present, and get that warm and fuzzy feeling inside of knowing that they have good friends/family who not only think of them, but know them better sometimes than they know themselves.
At peak holiday seasons, some people (myself included on occasion) get lazy and perhaps…. figure that quantity is better than quality. By purchasing for others a multitudinous number of gifts, we hedge our bets in figuring out that one of said presents will be a hit. This, in my belief, is what builds up the anti-consumerism aspect of the anti present movement. Here we are buying tons of cheaply made items that are not only not needed or appreciated, but of such low quality that they fall apart within a matter of years, in the hopes that this will somehow cover up our laziness in getting to know our friends and family. This fills our homes with purposeless junk, while funding child labor and environmentally toxic practices in third world countries. No wonder people are fed up with modern day gift giving.
There is an alternative however, and that alternative is Etsy. Etsy is a brilliant website, where small craftspeople worldwide can expose their shops to the world. In it, you can find everything from a one of a kind apron made in San Francisco, to the best back pack I’ve ever owned, made by seagullbags in Columbus Ohio. (Note, in the three years since I bought my bag, Seagull has gotten big, went off of etsy, and now has their own website link) Yes, the products are more expensive, but here we are going for quality, not quantity. On etsy you can find products that you will not find anywhere else, like this my little pony cupcake bear made by one of my college friends Emmanuel and sold on her etsy shop. It’s my personal favorite!
On the new etsy website, there is even more to love in the “Shop Location” search option located at the lower left hand side of the tool bar when you enter a search. With this option, you can not only limit your search to the United States (or wherever you may be located) but you could do a simple search for local artists and shops. I did a Sacramento CA search, and discovered this lovely artist.
According to the Etsy website, “The connection between producer and consumer has been lost. We created Etsy to help them reconnect, and swing the pendulum back to a time when we bought our bread from the baker, food from the grocer, and shoes from the cobbler. Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice: Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade.”
By purchasing products from local shops and small scale business owners, you are fostering your personal connection with the world around you, making conscientious buying decisions, and focusing on a quality over quantity approach. Furthermore, you have the option for personal, one of a kind gifts for family and friends that both you and they can feel good about. It is a very different experience than just shopping at Walgreens, and one I hope to share with you.
About Emmanuelle’s Shop
In her own words…
I am a Master’s of Fine Arts graduate with a degree in ceramics and sculpture. I love to teach and work in mixed media. In my free time I make everything from sculptures to installations,teddy bears, historical dolls, costumes, cards, ceramic cupcakes, pots, cups, bowls, and Steampunk accessories. Everything is handmade and I take custom orders! If you choose to order something custom or want to customize an already existing object, I will work with you to bring your idea to life.
General review of her work:
#1.) I have been consistently impressed by Emmanuelle’s work since I first saw it. She is a phenom, creating piece after piece with speed and skill that rivals even the most experienced of artisans.
#2.) I own several of Emmanuelle’s creations and couldn’t be happier with my decision to purchase them. They’re fantastic!
#3.) Emmanuelle’s work is clever and unique. I look forward to seeing her future creations and following this aspiring artist’s career.
Review of the Bear (Edgar Allen Pooh!)
#1.) Edgar Allen Poe has always been one of my favorite authors and I was delighted when Emmanuelle agreed to create a custom bear based on him. He arrived looking even better than I expected; the details are extraordinary!
#2.) When I first saw Emmanuelle’s bears, I was impressed. After I requested a special bear based on Edgar Allen Poe, I received a bear that surpassed my expectations. She included details that perfectly capture the essence of the author’s work and make the bear one of the best stuffed animals I have ever owned.
About Seagull Bags
As I said before, this is the best backpack I have ever owned. And trust me, I used to break one swiss army brand backpack every year. My backpack has not only gone through hour long commutes in thunderstorms, but has carted my precious laptop through the daily drenching of being a Portland OR commuter. My favorite thing is the buckles, because whenever I had a backpack with a zipper, the zipper was the first thing to go. My second favorite thing, is the ability to expand that thing until it is the size of my entire torso. How many times have I been to a store and had the clerk go, you are going to bike, with all of that? My reply? I have a kickass backpack.
In their own words…
We are a small shop located smack dab in the center of Columbus, Ohio. What began as a one man operation (Me, Daniel) in the winter of 2003 has taken me on a wild ride through success, failure, some success and a little more failure just for good measure. All experiences have forged new convictions and a really bright future ahead of us. What you see is the result of tens of thousands of hours of hard work, learning, and perseverance. I could explain that the materials we use “are the best”, or that “each one of our designs is unique”. While those things are true, the proof is in the product. Our bags are working hard on every continent (yes, even Antarctica), from the helm of the racing boats to the top of El Capitan to the streets of every major city. You will find that your Seagull bag will become your best coworker, adventure buddy, friend and yes… maybe lover.
Cutest apron ever, and Ms. Palmie was ever so nice. My apron came with a jar of lemon syrup, and the nicest hand written note.
From Ms. Palmie herself….
It is important to me that my aprons serve as kind of a spark to a happy sort of lifestyle full of eating healthy, having fun with new recipes, and year after year of cookie-baking tradition. I promise to use materials that will endure this kind of use, and my craftsmanship needs to live up to that, too. Let’s get cooking!
Thank you for supporting handmade!
This week in updates:
Wow, what a busy week. I feel like I haven’t really been home. My time at the C-27 side of the hanger was being wrapped up (we are moving back to the C-130 hanger, which is now both the C-130 and the C-27 hanger…. Don’t ask, it is complicated) so everything was being prepped to pass off one of the C-27’s to us now fully trained…. Er, sort of trained, new C-27 people. This would have normally lead to a pretty busy week, except since I had been sick last week, I now had a host of medical appointments to go to. This lead to being at work some days from 11am to 11pm, or getting home at 11pm only to have a medical appointment the next day at 7am and 10am. My computer also broke, and I’m going TDY next week to Diversity training in Alameda. Can you say I feel a little bit behind? But Jesse being here has been quite the mood boost. He has been a great sport through learning how to entertain himself despite not having a car or quite as large a group of rowdy friends as he is used to. And even though some nights I would come home after he went to bed, and leave just as he was waking up, things still turned out to be some kind of wonderful. Just the fact that he is here means that every day has just a little something extra in it. I have been very lucky to have him here in my little apartment for the past couple weeks. Even if he does manage to create A LOT of dirty dishes.
The Recipe: Chocolate Chili Avocado pizza
A delicious and travel friendly treat for a busy week.
One recipe of pizza dough
1 avocado diced
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 TBSP sugar
5 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp cayenne
½ tbsp paprika
.2 lbs or 1 ½ cup gouda cheese shredded, plus more if desired
½ cup cooked black beans
Make pizza dough according to instructions. My favorite recipe is here. Mix all spices with tomato paste and water for the sauce. Spread over dough. Put diced avocado over sauce, as well as black beans. Cover with the gouda cheese. Bake on baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes at 450. Enjoy!