Archive | October, 2012

Living in a material World…… Thoughts on Fair Trade & More

28 Oct

Madonna summarized is perfectly: we live in a material world. I recently wrote posts about my feelings on owning “stuff” and in this post I want to take a different spin on “stuff.”

I highlight that these are just my thoughts and perspectives–please take and leave what you like from them! With so many goods/ items for purchase (and services, however, I am not going to be discussing services directly–although the 2 often overlap greatly) how do you decide what to buy and from where? Whether it’s food, home decor for yourself, wedding presidents, birthday presents, or any other hundreds of categories and reasons to purchase items how do you decide what to get and from where/from whom?

Over the past several years I have given this questions extensive thought and here are some of the conclusions I have come to as of now–and it has not been easy (I am sure they may change and grow, as I change and grow). I invite you to begin your own exploratory journey on this topic! I have decided that due to my income I will purchase my food, toilet paper (yes, we all need that, or at least it’s a necessity for me), dish and hand soap, brooms, etc at larger stores because the prices tend to be lower. I have chosen not to shop at Walmart for several reasons, however I recognize that every large corporate store has it’s own pitfalls. It does make me very sad to think that I might be eating an apple picked and packaged by an exploited worker, or wearing a T-shirt made in sweat-shop like conditions and I hope to increase my conscientious consumerism on those items in the near future.

 
However, when it comes to items I am purchasing “just for fun” for myself (c’mon, most of us do this!) for gifts, or for certain home items (a sponge holder, a journal, a pillow) I try my hardest to support Fair Trade products and/or local business/artists. Here are some great options for that:

1) ETSY! Etsy works hard to weed out sellers/shops that are selling mass-produced items so that you will find only handmade, vintage, and supplies on Etsy shops. Sometimes the smallest purchase can make a big difference in the life of the artist/shop owner.

2) SERRV: http://www.serrv.org is a website and catalog dedicated to selling handmade, fair-trade items. They have a rich and inspiring history you can check-out on the website.

 
3) Ten Thousand Villages: http://www.tenthousandvillages.com is also a fair-trade retailer which has a website and stores you can visit in person.

 
4) The GVN foundation shop: http://www.gvnfoundation.org/artshop/new/

GVN stands for Global Volnteer Network and they are the umbrella organization which brought me to volunteer in Rwanda–one of the greatest and most transformative experiences of my life. They send volunteers all over the world and at the shop you can currently purchase several pieces of lovely jewelry and Peruvian Pens–with more items being added.

5) Talk to your friends and community! I am certain you know someone who is selling items on behalf of a cause, family, or organization! For example, currently at my ETSY shop (eclecticnesting.etsy.com) you can find items to purchase in which 100% of the money will be donated to a specific cause, charity, or organization. Specifically, you can find paper-beads (please note many more paperbeads will be added by the end of February) made by women in a small co-op in western Rwanda. I had the honor of meeting these wonderful artisans at their co-op space in Rwanda. For example I currently have someone in my life who is trying to earn money to keep her home by selling brightly colored paperclips and also other items from her shop—you can find her story here:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/111048883/red-paper-clip-statement-scrapbook-story?ref=usr_faveitems

6) Shop at your local thrift store–reusing/recycling items is great for you and the environment and some thrift stores have a beneficiary charity/organization.

I also recently posted about the difficulty of artists flooding the global market, selling their amazing wears to generate income. There are many choices out there and I invite you to explore a few of them! A purchase of $10 pair of earrings can make a HUGE difference in the life of the impoverished artist who made them.

Lastly, I encourage (slash implore) everyone to read the book “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” by Kristof and WuDunn (http://www.halftheskymovement.org/) which speaks to many issues, including the issue of poverty around the world and its drastic impact on girls and women. (And yes, I believe that buying that $10 pair of earrings made by an impoverished women trying to stay out of prostitution or go to school, or supporting a struggling family to maintain their home is making a difference!)

I also try to use recycled gift-wrap and packaging (just another seed I am planting/ something to think about)……

Earrings, Earrings, Earrings

25 Oct

I just went through the shop (eclecticnesting.etsy.com) and discovered at least a dozen pairs of earrings well suited for the fall and Thanksgiving….I am hoping they find good homes!

 

(There are also a few Orange and Black pairs and if you order them today or tomorrow they will arrive by Halloween–within the US).

 

There are currently a few winter/Christmas/Chanukah pairs of earrings—-and more will soon be added!

 

Of course there is a plethora of earrings not associated with any season or holiday too……happy earring hunting.

 

Please check out my earring give-away at:

bellinacreations.blogspot.com/2012/10/eclectic-nesting-giveaway.html

Treasure Trunk Offer

21 Oct

In my ETSY shop there can be found a vintage wicker purse/chest/trunk for sale —-it can be used for anything you fancy and is small enough for easy transport.

I had initially priced the piece lower than it’s value and now have it on sale in hopes that it finds a good home.

I thought it would be fun to offer someone the opportunity to fill the chest/trunk/purse with small items from the shop at a reduced price.

For example, if you purchase the trunk, you can fill it with a necklace, 2 pins, and a vintage salt and pepper shaker set –and those 4 items will be about 50% off. We can make a deal that feels right to both us!

Please convo me via my ETSY shop if interested.

Here is the listing/link for the mini Trunk:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/101068102/sale-vintage-purse-basket-clutch

Pottery Path

21 Oct

When I was growing up there was a girl one year and grade younger than I that lived about 5 houses up the street. She only lived on our street for a year or two, however, I loved going to her house during the time she was there. Like my house she lived in a 2 family home. The woman who lived downstairs from her was older (not in the I am 10 so I think 40 years old is old, she was actually an older woman). For decades she has been throwing broken plates, pottery, vases, etc out of her kitchen window–enough pieces to make an entire path full of broken pottery. This “path” was the equivalent to a trip to Disney Land to me. I was allowed to pick one piece each time I went over. Now, as an adult, I collect pottery pieces found on beaches and I also purchase chipped plates, cups, etc in order to smash them for the pottery pieces. (I do not discriminate– I also love rounded broken glass, and let’s face it, most found objects). It’s not just the piece of pottery I love–it’s the story behind it. Even as a child I would wonder when the older woman got that teacup? was it special to her? with whom did she drink tea with when using it?

 
I love that on ETSY one can assemble their own ever-growing pottery path while supporting fellow Etsyians. Although I have friends scattered across the world as an adult I love to purchase seaglass from Hawaii or pottery pieces from England (these are just two, of many, examples). I may never be able to afford to travel to England–but a piece of the country lives in my home, either filling a mason jar with beauty or decorating an end-table. Of course, these pieces are added to my own collection of items I plucked from the earth. I wish I could go back and see what has become of my old childhood Pottery Path.

Eclectic Gift Guide

20 Oct

Looking for presents for those special in your life, either for the winter holidays (Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza….), upcoming birthdays, just because presents, host/hostess gifts, or for any reason–please check out the gift guide I have put together from eclecticnesting.etsy.com. I only selected 2 items for each person/category, there are many more in the shop! Happy browsing and thank you for looking, each visit to Eclecticnesting is deeply appreciated!

Please note these are only for your human loved ones, as I do not sell /offer items for furry family members. There are MANY ETSY shops which sell almost anything you could ever want or need for the beloved animals in your life. Please also note that I have largely “gender assigned” these gift selections–I welcome you to challenge that!

Gift for the…..

Woman who has everything.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/72335561/eclectic-memory-wire-bracelet-custom

https://www.etsy.com/listing/101067055/vintage-perfume-bottle-gold-and-black

Boy.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/103295114/vintage-toy-car-lot-destash-circa-1980s

https://www.etsy.com/listing/101719772/vintage-magnetic-games-high-quality-and

Girl.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/98575102/kids-pastel-bracelet-memory-wire

https://www.etsy.com/listing/107554797/unique-vintage-skirt-destash-lot-of-four

Lover of unique jewelry.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/72185566/frida-fiesta-necklace-shipping-included

https://www.etsy.com/listing/110030339/floral-cloisonne-carved-green-tube-bead

The man who is hard to shop for.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/100239957/unisex-bracelet-recycled-glass-and-stone

https://www.etsy.com/listing/101573413/vintage-garbarge-pail-kids-pencil-case

The Paris lover.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/112065886/exquisite-vintage-paris-prints

https://www.etsy.com/listing/102757443/paris-french-designer-jehan-de-fabreques

The fine vintage lover.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/108780508/vintage-chenille-blankets-bed-spread

https://www.etsy.com/listing/108881637/vintage-fur-coat-by-gelbers-furs?ref=v1_other_1

The vintage collector.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/112033758/vintage-garfield-glasses-vintage

https://www.etsy.com/listing/100190949/vintage-thermos-bottle-set

The jewelry maker.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/110154296/rare-wooden-block-beads-american-flags

https://www.etsy.com/listing/105527064/unique-bead-destash-wide-variety-of-over

The ocean lover.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/98550670/rare-sea-pottery-pieces-geometric-lines

https://www.etsy.com/listing/103795764/small-shells-destash-summer-home-decor

The Christmas decoration lover.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/108142725/vintage-home-decor-for-christmas

https://www.etsy.com/listing/111856444/very-vintage-santa-mug-vintage-christmas

The misc. gift lover.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/100187648/mega-sale-vintage-marionette-puppets

https://www.etsy.com/listing/103139232/natures-collection-feather-silver-bird

The person who would love all of the money for the purchase of the gift to be donated to charity.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/103355350/100-donated-to-women-in-rwanda-handemade

https://www.etsy.com/listing/109651258/100-donated-to-animal-shelter-vintage

More Soulful Thoughts, ETSY Shop Update, & Getting Your Nest On!

16 Oct

The theme of “owning” objects, what possessions we collect and cherish, what we gift, and the like has been on my mind a lot as of late. I recently wrote in a post that I will stop feeling sorry for collecting things which are meaningful to me (or as a mixed media artist, I feel might someday be meaningful to me). Because I enjoy choosing a rock from a place that was special to me to bring home and place on my desk, because I go weak in the knees when I see a vibrant, hand-beaded vintage purse I would like to add to my collection, or because I see vintage Paris prints for sale that must come home with me and saved from the dark corners of a shop (these prints are now on sale at my etsy shop)…this does not make me a materialistic person—it makes me a person who enjoys and sees the values in materials. Everything has a place in my home so that it has the ability to stand out to me and so it does not feel cluttered to me–and that is what I feel is important! Others may come and enjoy my treasures, however, I am the one living with them.

In the October addition of Real Simple magazine a wonderful article entitled “never gonna give you up: we’re not supposed to care too much about objects. We have harsh words for people who do: Materialistic, Acquisitive, Greedy. But as Lee Woodruff learned the hard way, maybe we shouldn’t sell our stuff-or ourselves-short.”  Woodruff tells the story of downsizing to a smaller home with the forced mentality that it would be good to cleans/ purge items from her life–items she ended up missing. The article makes me think (and I live by this): what’s wrong with packaging some special items up in bins and placing in storage?

In the October addition of Martha Stewart Living magazine an article outlines Jeffrey Moss’s curated home of the collections he loves. Another piece caught my eye in a recent Real Simple magazine addition (I do enjoy magazines), a story is told of a woman who photographs objects that she worries “will become obsolete over the coming generations, like these (pictured) beautiful paper dolls from the 1940s and 1950s.” And what those paper dolls remind her of–her childhood. I too fear treasured objects from the past may become distant memories unless we revive, recycle, reclaim, display, collect and respect them.

 
In summation, don’t be afraid to Get Your Nest On: grab a bowl from your cabinet you feel is pretty and throw some dried fall leaves and a feather you collect on your next walk–and display that bowl anywhere you like in your home! Or grab an empty bin to start storing items you fancy but do not necessarily have a place or use for at the moment; you can always gift or donate the items at a later date. I am not suggesting you become a hoarder–I am simply suggesting you open your mind and soul to some additional nesting!

ECLECTICNESTING SHOP UPDATES: http://www.eclecticnesting.etsy.com

-New charity/donation shop section

-All prices negotiable,  within reason

-Mega sale shop section and sales and deals throughout the shop

-New items added weekly, plenty of winter holiday items

-For a limited time, buy 2 items, get 2 free

-Now through the end of December 2012 find the blog post which lists the 15 listings which a free gift arrives with purchase

-A plethora of fall earrings on sale for $6

-Check out my latest give-a-way at: bellinacreations.blogspot.com/2012/10/eclectic-nesting-giveaway.html

 
All visits to eclecticnesting.etsy.com are deeply appreciated!

the story of the egg or jelly bean bracelet

12 Oct

Last year I was browsing ETSY shops, as I so often do. I came across a bracelet priced at $70 (please note if there was ANY way to connect this writing to that shop, which I do not even remember, I would not write this–as I respect my fellow ETSYians). I looked at the bracelet for a long moment and realized it was the same exact “egg” or “jelly bean” -esq beads I had purchased at Michaels Craft store a few days before (many of my beads come from local, independent bead stores or ETSY shops, these happened to have not) and made a bracelet with to sell on ETSY. My bracelet had real Mookaite beads and rich brown and blue beads as spacers/ highlighters of the focal beads and a toggle clasp; this bracelet has simplistic round beads as spacers. I priced the bracelet in the low 20s, allowing myself a little profit for my time and design.

This bracelet has been featured in 7 ETSY treasuries and many people have looked at/ favored it. I decided several months ago I wanted it so badly to go to a good home, that I priced it at $15 USD, shipping including ($3 est cost), which equates to the price being $12. This leaves me no margin for profit, but that has not become the purpose–finding it a good home has become the sole purpose of this bracelet…..

Here is the bracelet:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/73192213/egg-or-jelly-bean-bracelet-shipping

Do you know someone who would want this in their jewelry collection? A home for this bracelet? I would be truly, deeply grateful if you would please send them the link 🙂