Friday, March 16, 2007

Our mini-vacation is over + doohickies

Seattle had the same amount of traffic we remembered (it's only been a few months since my last visit, after all), but the Eastside had more cranes. The arboretum was as beautiful as ever and it was fun to be there with the boy thinking about all of the walks and talks T + I had, dreaming of him. In another week the blossoms will be at their peak but they were quite pretty yesterday. I remember how quiet the boy was last year when we took the same trip. This year he was asking about everything and running around in the mud on his own. The boy was fascinated with the benches, I was fascinated with documenting it all and poor T had to direct us all through the trees.

We didn't find socks or shoes for T or a big rug for the boy. I did stock up on these napkins, of course, and a few of these rugs (below) which are so beautiful in person (not so much in the pic). When we arrived at Ikea in the late afternoon we thought it was closed. There were a handful of cars and things looked dark and empty. Ta da! I'll let you in on the Ikea shopping secret: You evidently just go around dinner time and everybody and everything is much, much happier. We bought a cute little pup tent for a song to create play space in our play space here at home.

I so wanted this lampshade, but have no where to put it and couldn't justify it. Sigh. It's beautiful.

Speaking of "for a song" I've been thinking a lot about what people charge for what they create and here's what I think: Everybody needs to collectively ask for more money for these gorgeous things they lovingly handcraft. Over at Etsy it's just too depressing lately to look at what people are charging for things that must take hours and hours of effort. When they charge so little it devalues every one's creations. Now, I know you charge what you think is best and some people live off what they make this way, and it's none of my business and... I'm just sad to go to the store and see a 'Doohicky' (or whatnot) without soul, made by a machine in some obscure corner of the world, sold for so very little because everyone seems conditioned to think this is what a "'Doohicky' like this" is worth to them. Then the people who are handcrafting beautiful doohickies on their own feel like others will only pay what they pay in stores. The store doohickies are perfect in that they have no mistakes, no funny stitches and no history. The yarn wasn't carried around town and knit in carpool lines. The fabric wasn't carried around a house by a two year old. There's no thought behind the item... no soul. Now I just bought some rugs without soul just last night because they were super-cheap, and we can't afford to buy all of our food at the coop and the farmer's market. I know we're not going to all run out and decide together that we need to charge more (and spend more), but I'm just saying the doohickies are worth more. Period.

Yesterday we dropped off my letter of resignation. I haven't taught for a year and a half now, and we wanted to make this work and it is working. The security of having the position in my back pocket is gone, and it wasn't as hard to let go as I thought it might be. I saw this young girl (early 20's) in the Ikea kids' section who ran over to the 99 cent blue tubs and yelled, "Yes! YES, yes, yes!!" and I knew instantly that she was a new teacher. I have about 50 of those tubs stored away (they're perfect for organizing books in an elementary classroom library), and I wasn't envious about the classroom she was taking those tubs to; I was just looking around for my boy.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Matroskin said...

Congratulations on quitting your job. I did the same when my firstborn was 1,5. I haven't regretted it all. We had another baby and now I'm so happy being home and having plenty of time to spend with my wee ones, although we can't afford to travel or anything else special.

Artsy Momma said...

I know exactly what you mean about everyone underpricing their items. I am having a hard time right now trying to decide what to charge for my own items to be competitive with others as well as give my crafts the price they deserve. I love handmade items because they have soul. Trying to commercialize handmade goods is hard because not all people realize the value of a "soul item (doohiky)"