Shopping For Handmade Things

I realized this morning, while getting ready for work, that I hadn’t posted any comments about my craft fair experiences this weekend. There’s not much to report, but I feel like I should at least say a little something.

The fair in San Jose Japantown was all right, with a few interesting things to look at. Some of it I’d seen before, and a bunch of it just wasn’t anything I wanted or needed, so I wandered around for about 15 minutes and just left. I headed up to San Mateo soon after, and found that the craft fair there was more like a secondhand sale. There were a few handmade items, including cards and baked goods, but the rest of the room was filled with used things, and nothing really interesting at that.

So, basically, the craft fair part of the day was a bit disappointing, but I ended up finding some items for my craft fair booth at a Japanese dollar store in San Mateo, so there was that at least. Not a very good start to the craft fair season though. This weekend, I’m thinking about stopping by the SF Craft Mafia trunk show, but otherwise I feel like giving up on the rest of the local fairs. Hopefully the shows in LA next month will be better.

Related to shopping for handmade items though, I came across an interesting challenge site the other day. It’s called 5-4-3-2…Etsy! and the idea is that you agree to buy something on Etsy (have you seen their new site?) each month. They suggest $5 or less per item, which sounds too little too me (why not set the $5 or another amount as a minimum?), but the idea of pledging to support craft sites and other crafters is definitely a good one. I’ve tried to do more of that, especially now that I’m working again, and since I now understand the work involved in making some of these items. I realize that I don’t have the time or patience to make everything myself, and if someone spends time making something by hand that I like and appreciate, then buying it at a fair price is the right thing to do.

Anyway, I’m still debating whether or not to join the 5-4-3-2…Etsy! challenge, but in the meantime, I have a personal challenge of my own. Though I’ve been working for just over 2 months at my new job, I haven’t really brought in anything to decorate my cube with, other than a pencil cup I received in a swap. Otherwise, my cube is pretty bare, and so I don’t feel very settled in my space. Especially now that we just moved to a new location, I really want to brighten it up a bit. So I’ve decided to try and do that with handmade items, at least as much as I can. They might be things I made or things someone else made, bought or traded for, but the key is that they’re handmade. I don’t intend to get it all right away, but here’s my shopping list so far:

  • Push pins
  • Magnets (for posting things on the metal cabinets)
  • Postcards, art prints, etc., to post on the walls and cabinets
  • Other decorations (artificial flowers or decorative piece to put in an extra pencil cup?)
  • Small containers for holding paper clips, pins, etc.
  • Mug for tea

This list might expand as I go on, but for now I’m starting with simple things to keep an eye out for. If I shop for some online, I’ll start with these sites, but will also check out individual crafter sites:

  • Etsy
  • Cut + Paste
  • Pixelgirl Shop
  • Copacetique
  • My My
  • Wren Eleven

As always, I’m definitely open to recommendations for cool sites or particular items to check out. And I’ll post whenever I’ve found something on my list. Maybe I’ll need to take some before and after pictures of my cube too. ;)