Butterflies, much like the phoenix, are a symbol of transformation. Though, commonly associated with Spring, they are perhaps best tied to all year, as their life, too, is a cycle that often reflects our own and the turning of the wheel of the year. As Fall and harvest come to pass and we approach the winter and hibernation, we, too, have feasted and now tuned inward, as the caterpillar becoming the chrysalis.
Inspired by this post by The Enchanted Wren!
“Stop thinking about art as objects, and start thinking about them as triggers.”- Roy Ascott
In my family there are a lot of traditions that include the Christmas tree. We tend to put it up the day after Thanksgiving. (We’re a little late this year.) We blast Christmas carols as we decorate. By far, my favorite, though, is the ornaments. We don’t do themed Christmas trees. You will find very few simple or elegant glass balls. Our tree tells a story and every year that story starts with Grandmom’s star, a gold and red ornament. It’s always the first on the tree. Next, I put my baby’s first ornament, a brown bear laying on a group of blocks that have my birth year on them. Following that are ornaments we’ve received every Christmas since we were first born. Every year my grandparents would get us an ornament. Each ornament represents an interest of ours from that year. It’s what we liked, who we wanted to be, where we wanted to go, where we went, who we were. It’s a story about each of us individually, but also who we are as a family. And I have yet to see a tree more beautiful. (I may be a little biased on that count.)
My ornaments range from The Comfy Couch and Madeline to ballerinas and teachers, from Crayons and beloved books to feminist quotes. Photos of beloved pets who have since crossed the rainbow bridge to handmade ornaments marking milestones. Each is a memory. It makes the tree feel more special to me. It is unique and it is specifically mine. No one would look at my tree and doubt who it belonged to.
I like to achieve something similar with the ornaments I carve. I like them to be unique. I like them to be special. I like them to reflect and capture people’s interest. That beloved books or movie, that milestone, something important, something my customers can looks back on with a smile, something that tells a story. That captures this moment, this year, forever. And maybe, just maybe, something that would mean as much to them as Grandmom’s star.
Another great event, the last one for the year! It’s ending on a good note, which makes me happy. There are definitely exciting things to look forward to in the new year (for both you and me), but before the year is over, there is still plenty of time to buy online. If you couldn’t make it to my last event, here is some of what you missed.
Handmade in South Bay puts on two shows annually, our holiday boutique (this last event), and our Spring Boutique in April (one of the exciting things to look forward to… honey, you’ll be buzzing about this event)! This was our second holiday boutique and it was pretty darn good, if I may say so myself. 50+ handmade vendors, including the always fantastic DJ Ozzie, 6 very professional young entrepreneurs that will be back for Spring (YAY! Really, these guys are the bomb!) and 5 incredible local artists in our artist alley (I really hope they come back for the spring!)
I talk a lot about what makes a good event, often saying it’s not just the monetary element of it. The customers really made this event, even the ones not buying from me. It was the kids especially. Santa handed out free ornament kits and this one little boy in a batman shirt was so happy about his gingerbread man ornament kit. He would not let it go and he kept walking up to my booth and just showing it to me.
By far, the very best moment of the show came from the little girl in the booth next to mine. She kept coming over to look at my fairy bottles. When the little girl walked away for a little while, her mother came over and bought the fairy bottle as a surprise. At the end of the show, when we were packing up, the mother told me the little girl was all upset when she came back. Her exact words were, “The. Fairy. Bottle. Is. Gone!” Her mother kept telling her it was okay and it would all work out, but she was still very upset. Finally, her mother just told her to look in the bag. She is very happy with her new fairy bottle!
Between that and the money I raised for my two charities, TSWGO and V-Day, it was worth it, regardless of my wallet when I come home.
This fairy garden will be available at my next event, Torrance Craftsmans Guild Holiday Craft Faire.
It’s coming on Christmas, and no I’m not about to break into The River by Joni Mitchell. Okay, so maybe it's not coming on Christmas for the rest of the world, unless you count department stores. However, I have about three events left for the year, all of which are after Halloween, and two of which are after Thanksgiving. Generally, I find Thanksgiving doesn’t generally bring many sales for me, but we’ll see if my Harvest Raggle Taggle Fairy Dolls can fix that.
Christmas, though, tends to bring a lot of sales. So, while the rest of society might still be trying to figure out which candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters this year and putting the finishing touches on their costumes or trying to decide what sides will be offered with the turkey and if the pies this year should include the apple with cheddar cheese or pumpkin and whipped cream, I’m blasting Christmas songs in my room, working on Christmas and winter related products. Ice house and Christmas fairy doll, anyone?
Holidays and seasons in and of themselves tend to offer a plethora of inspiration. One needs only to walk into JoAnns or Michaels, or, if you’re on the East Coast, AC Moore to discover any amount of craft supplies geared to holidays or seasons. This would be one of the reasons we often unsuccessfully attempt to put blinders on while walking past the fabric sections. And while I, personally, also draw inspiration many times from beloved books or favorite movies, and online through many google, deviant art, pinterest, tumblr, etc. searches, ideas and inspiration and ways to make the ideas happen, also come from the people around me.
Truth is handmade entrepreneurs owe a lot to the people around them. I am lucky to have Handmade in South Bay, my own personal Algonquin round table, where I can not only learn tricks of the trade and have help in growing my business, but also vent my frustrations and celebrate my successes. I am lucky to have a boyfriend who always asks what I’m working on and not only shows interest and compliments my abilities and work, but also offers ideas happily, like having the acorns for my squirrel fairy garden look like they are wrapped like a gift, and enjoys seeing me excited about my work. And I am lucky to have a mother who offers honest opinions of my creations, gives suggestions for making them better, acts as a sounding board and often bears the brunt of my frustrated rants and overly excited babbling, as well as the countless other ways she supports me (I could write a novel-length blog about her alone).
What it comes down to is this, Acorn Tops would not be where it is today if not for the support I get from my friends, family, and boyfriend. They all have a hand in it and many of my inspiration I owe to them. I am more grateful than I could ever put into words.
On Fairy Wings and Acorn Hats
The magic behind it all!