Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks for All Things Crafty

I give thanks that I don't work retail!

I spent many years working in a small local shop and I cringe every time one of those ads for 4am Door-Buster sales comes on TV. I imagine tired, blurry-eyed salespeople and cashiers getting up at 3am to get ready for work and deal with seething masses of crazed bargain shoppers. I remember the nightmares I would have around Christmas time: the ones where I could never ever leave work because just as we would let the last person out, someone else would come in.

Why has Christmas shopping become a full-contact extreme-sport obstacle course? An obscene spending glut of mass-produced crap from China that will be in the landfill by next Christmas? How is this special? How does a $20 DVD player tell someone how much you love them? It doesn't.

I give thanks for handmade gifts!

My family and friends are all receiving handmade gifts this year. Sure, I may not be able to buy them as many things as I would if I went to some big box retailer, but each thing will be special and unique. Many things will be made by me or by people I know personally. Call me a big old hippy, but that's how I think things should be.

"But what if I'm not a big old hippy craftypants artist like you Erica?" you ask...

That's fine, there are plenty of craftpants people out there to help you!

I give thanks for local Richmond, VA crafty folks!

For those of you in the Richmond, VA area here are some upcoming opportunities to handmade and local!

Friday 11/30

17th St Farmer's Market Holiday Show
17th St Farmers Market

Saturday 12/1

Chop Suey Holiday Bizarre Market
Grand Opening (6-9pm)
a month-long local handmade consignment store in the upstairs of Chop Suey Books Originale

Friday 12/7

Richmond Craft Mafia's 3rd Annual Handmade Holiday Sale
4025 MacArthur Ave
Our fabulous yearly celebration and sale! The 14 local crafty businesses of the Richmond Craft Mafia selling everything from housewares to handbags to (*ahem*) original art. Join us for a fun and relaxed evening of shopping. Free holiday refreshments.

Friday 12/7 & Saturday 12/8

Virginia Craft-n-istas Winter Craft-n-Art Market
5-8pm, 11am-5pm
2519 Hermitage Rd

Local & regional craftswomen showcase their wares.

Saturday 12/8

Christmas on MacArthur
4000 block of MacArthur Ave

Holiday block party featuring the mom & pop businesses on MacArthur as well as local craft vendors (find many of the RCM ladies here too!). Holiday family fun!

Saturday 12/8

Homegrown Art & Craft Show
Crossroads Coffee

Benefits the Patrick Henry Charter School.

I give thanks for crafty people all over the country (and the world!)

Not a Richmonder but still want to find craftiness near you this holiday season?

Go to and see if your city has a craft mafia. A good place to start if you are looking for local crafty resources and events.

Check out for upcoming craftshows all over the country.

I give thanks for Etsy!

Oh, Etsy, how I love you, let me count the ways! How about 70,000 and counting? That's how many sellers there are on Etsy to choose from!

Etsy is a 24-7 world-wide craft fair. Find a unique handmade gift for anyone on your list, buy craft supplies for the crafter in your life, or reduce - reuse - recycle with fabulous vintage finds!

Here is a sampling of some of my current favorite items:

So, instead of wrestling the last crappy off-brand DVD player out of the hands of someone's crazed granny tomorrow at 4am, sleep in and do your shopping on Etsy. Many sellers will be running sales for the Thanksgiving weekend (you can check some of them out by doing a titles and tag search for "cybersale".)

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