Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Crafty People

So I was in line for the annual holiday craft show at the old neighborhood high school this past weekend. This is by far the biggest local event of the year. Outside it's bumper to bumper. Inside, it's elbow to elbow, shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip. Very crowded. And of course, almost all women.

So I am in line and the lady taking the $3 entrance fee asks, "Aren't you a crafter?" I tell her, no. She responds, "Oh, I'm sorry", as if the question were offensive somehow.

Hea, what can I say. Somewhere muddled in my double helix of DNA there's a shopping gene.

Besides, I like to Xmas shop for my own people, co-workers and the like. The big attraction at this particular craft show is any non-electrical outdoor Christmas decoration on a pole--something you can drive into the ground. Snowman birdfeeders, Santa on a stick . . . stuff like that.

Last year I ordered from a crafter about a dozen hand-painted Christmas boxes for my colleagues at work. I planned to fill each with Christmas candy. But this lady didn't have enough on hand; she would have to make them first. We arranged to meet at a local coffeehouse then for the delivery.

A couple weeks later, as I approached the coffee shop from across the street, I spied a little girl about seven years old whose nose was pressed against the glass inside and whose eyes got bigger as she watched me approach. Then a big smile crossed her face, almost as if I were Santa himself coming to meet her. It was the crafter's daughter. To watch her mother make a "big" $60 transaction was obviously too cool for her.

I thought about all the time this lady put into these boxes, not to mention paying for the raw materials, then driving about 30 miles one-way to deliver them to my town. It makes me wonder how much money these crafters make. Just purchasing space for a booth can run easily over $100 for the local show.

A co-worker of mine says his wife is a crafter herself, displaying her home-made scarves and comforters at various craft shows. When my colleague asked her what her financial goal was at the latest event, she said her primary goal was to pay back her set-up fee and break even. But he said this was pretty much the financial equivalent of buying all the materials, spending hours creating the crafts, then going down to the local streetcorner and giving them away free.

This didn't seem to phase his crafty spouse. Afterall, it's the thrill of creating something personal, then knowing that somebody is paying for the privilege of putting it into their own house for everyone's enjoyment.

Guess this is a difference between men and women. The joy of sharing around the holidays is enough for women. For men, there's got to be a profit in it too.


Blogger Kacey said...

Dear Dave, Poor, craftily challenged fellow.. I made my daughter a candy Christmas tree that I saw on HDTV. I looked for it tonight and can't find the directions. They are really simply---You get a 9" or 12" green styrofoam, tree shaped thing. About 100 T shaped pins, a pile of singly wrapped candy (like life savers or Starlite Mints) and stick the pins into the top and you have an almost tree. You have to buy some thin ribbon with wire in the edges. You curl the ribbons around a pencil and stick them into the tree and then make a bow for the very top and stick it! Perhaps. Wendy could make a jillion of these for your office friends.
I hope we are still friends after the OHio/Michigan game. Go Bucks! They were crappy last week. We both might be crying the blues after Saturday.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

I so sympathize! I am not a crafter, in the least! I can bake, I am good at photographer (or so says part of my degree), but craft? No, no, not me. I think it's actually a law-my mom heard me cursing at the sewing machine once and made me promise not to make anymore homemade gifts.
You should have seen the projects 10 years of pre-schoolers "learned" from teacher Carine. LOL!

8:23 AM  
Blogger Matty said...

I assume that crafters love the feeling that somebody out there wants something that they made.
I'm not a crafter...but does anybody want any kids?

7:39 AM  
Anonymous squirrel said...

Hi Dave! Long time no comment! Sorry about that!
My husband loves to shop also. Wives just love that in a man!

7:45 AM  
Anonymous cassie-b said...

I do a lot of knitting and crocheting. And I never sell anything. I give things as gifts. Or donate them to charities. There's no amount of money that would make me sit and make something that takes hours and hours. You can't possibly charge enough for the effort expended.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Babette said...

You might try crocheting a toilet bowl cover for your first project, Big Dave. Speaking of bowls, is there still hope for your skunk bears?

MSU SPARTAN, Jehuu Caulcrick, got crafty yesterday, n'est-ce pas?

9:16 AM  
Blogger Babette said...

Oh, my woyd!
See ya, Lloyd?!

3:57 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Each to his own Dave. I like doing certain crafts and there is a joy to it. I'm glad that you had fun at the craft show.

1:37 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Dave, I'm sure you have lived a good life with a lot of meaning. The poem does give you a chance to think about it though. Hope you and Wendy have a very happy Thanksgiving.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Nankin said...

Some crafters are like me. It's the thrill of making something. I knit and crochet and give most of it away as gifts so I can make something else.

5:35 AM  
Anonymous Maria said...

There was a time when I loved to make crafty things for friends. There is a special joy in doing so, but now I am so busy with other things that I seem to lack the ability, energy, and time. Maybe that is why I get up early and do the Black Friday thing.

6:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:57 PM  

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