So for the past few days I have been staying in the country with my Mother, where I leave on Saturday morning, one year older, but not actually wiser. In the space of time since leaving lovely London on Wednesday morning, to the now very wet and grey Friday morning in Derby, I am left feeling cheated and empty, and at the same time a pleseant sense of achievement.
Achievement is simply explained by the lovely people that have contacted me regarding my not often made jewellery (that is since the beginning of this year thanks to the wedding taking up all my time). A number of people, both friends, family and lovely strangers have placed orders for something or another. I think even when we sell the smallest of items at a craft fair, or simply from the comfort of our own home, we all have that slight warm fuzzy feeling that makes you go 'Ooo, someone liked my efforts enough to buy!' Gotta love that!
However, it has occurred to me, that every year I get further disappointed by the rubbish that is trying to be sold to us, at horrific prices. I started my Christmas shopping, as I have done for many a year now, in the early days of January. Not with the sales, but whenever I go out, I am on the look out for something nice, with no one in mind, so I stash the gift until November where I can then get the horde out and see who will like what. This year I have made a conscious effort to buy handmade, from all our favourite sites, and a number of personal ones too. However, this year my Mother and I went halves on my Sister present, by buying her a week in a caravan in Devon. But for me that is not enough. I have to get them something to unwrap on the day, and being the type of person she is, I do not consider her easy to buy for. So yesterday I trundled around Sheffield's Meadowhall and looked high and low. For the first time in many a year I can say I have no idea why we would waste our time. As my Mother put it 'Every year is the same, and after a while you get bored of looking at the same stuff'. Let's face it, I don't like the Body Shop and I never will. Whilst 'it's the thought that counts' how many of you sit there wondering if there was any thought at all. No that doesn't make you ungrateful. Look at it this way, if the person thought enough of you to buy you something in the first place why didn't they think hard enough to get you something that would have been useful or something you'd like?
Now, let us add insult to injury. I love Christmas and every year I am to get more and more decorations so that I will eventually have Lapland in my own house. For the past few years I have gone to a lovely garden centre where I end up buying things for Christmas that I don't need, but I do want. I noticed that this year, with the trends firmly on the Scandi Trees, Country Cottages and ginger bread houses... half the things I have seen handmade and on line are far better quality, lovingly made...and cheaper. Where do they get their prices from? Marks and Spencer selling calico hearts sewn together by fingerless mice sold at £4 a pop? I don't think so! My beloved hamster could a better job me thinks.
I have seen that some of you are advertising the likes of buy handmade for Christmas and it certainly makes you hope that in the years to come each of us will have our moment by being able to say we beat the high street. Not only do you deserve it, but let us shine some honesty onto the subject, chances are, you ideas are original, affordable and made with more love than anything with a £7 sticker on it for nothing more than a plastic box with commercially made soap in it. I would like to wish you all the luck in your sales leading up to Christmas. I've left the high street with a bitter taste in my mouth... so if someone happens to be baking cake right now and wants to send me some - just drop me a line.
Oh... and er skip the high street this year, I've seen some kick ass things over on Folksy you'd just love! ;)