01 December 2006

Miscellaneous Notes

I'm revising my chapter right now (what? can't you tell?), but I had to just stop by for a few quick notes:

1. and most important: Go buy candles from Wendy's Dame Candle Company for everybody on your christmas list. Seriously. These are amazing, wonderful candles. I love mine to death, and even though I can't afford to buy them up like mad like I really want to right now, I at least want to know that Wendy will still be in business whenever I do have a little cash to put in that direction. I should say that I don't actually know Wendy - I "met" her because I bought her candles, thanks to Brenda Dayne's review of them on Cast-On, and I so LOVE the candles that I've been reading Wendy's cool blog since then. And now she says her little home-made company is in danger of folding. Don't let it happen!! For one thing, Wendy's candles are an *awesome* holiday gift idea.

Seriously - Lime & Violet were talking about how wonderful it would be to put the money we all spend this time of year into the hands of small-scale craftspeople instead of big, swindling corporations and I am SO in favor of this. I don't know about you, but I feel like I'm getting swindled left, right and center everywhere I turn, and I haven't purchased a product of quality of any kind from a large company in at least five years. And remember when there used to be this thing called customer service? Hubbster was a pension law lawyer before quitting for grad school, and let me tell you, the money we give these companies is NOT going to anybody who does real work. Meanwhile, thanks to online etsy shops and cafepress and so on, individual people -- people with passion and an actual work ethic and no CEOs to keep in luxurious elegance at the expense of the benefits and pensions owed to the people who actually work -- are now able to sell on their own, directly to consumers, without sacrificing our convenience. The problem is, they have to be able to get the word out, and consumers have to remember they're out there, instead of falling back lazily on the familiar (I admit I'm all too often guilty of this; I'm reminding myself, too). So let's buy candles from Wendy (a great choice for the migraine-sufferer in your life - trust me, these are the only scented candles that won't hurt them), and also check out Lime & Violet's awesome list of etsy shops that sell things for the fiber enthusiast...yessiree bob, that's a list for you to hand out to your friends and family so they can finally stop giving you machine-made GAP scarves (barf) and give you want you really want instead - the fiber to spin and knit your own damn scarf from scratch!

2. Beth (who also happens to own a wonderful little spinning store now, did you know?) asked that we pass around a link to this guy, who's doing a project for an MLA conference on memes. Link to him, and then ping here. (You don't have to know what "ping" means to ping - you just click, and go away feeling you've done a good deed). He's trying to show that we do read each other's blogs and get inspired to pass things on, and to demonstrate at what speed this might happen. Cool. I think it'd be even cooler if, through the same process, we could all help Wendy save her company.

3. Thanks to all my New Yorker buddies for the scoop on the Smiley's and P&S sales! After much deliberation, I decided to resist Smiley's, because they weren't selling the two things I actually needed, and I have absolutely no faith in my ability to go and not buy something else. None. I did go to P&S, and did succeed in buying only what I needed there - some navy Kroy for finishing off Hubbster's peacock socks, and a few skeins more of Paton's Classic Wool because the Galeskas moccasins that I'm making for my father-in-law just don't look right, and since I'm not felting them until we get there at xmas, I want to have the yarn with me to quickly whip up a pair of clogs instead, if the moccasins turn out to be a disaster (I could only find one person online who had knit the moccasins before, and she didn't mention any kind of problem, and I know I've followed the instructions correctly, but it still looks to me like after it felts the toe area will be very short - I can't see how toes are supposed to fit in there after shrinking. Should be a suspenseful felting experience). I had to wait about 45 mins in line for this purchase, and managed not to buy anything else largely because the yarn was only 10% off, which to my mind hardly counts as a sale. So, I got what I knew I had to have in case it wasn't available later, and I'll see whether I feel up to going back again in about a week to see if anything's left by the time the discount is much lower. If anybody goes over the weekend or early next week, I'd be very interested to hear the state of things. As it was, I made the trip count by also doing my grocery shopping at Trader Joe's while I was down there. And I have to say that I was even disappointed (slightly) in them-- and TJ's was really my last great hope for a company that I didn't hate. On my last two trips, I've come home with two items from produce that were already rotten (I couldn't see inside the packaging) and a package of "mushroom turnovers" turned out to be...empty turnovers. Seriously, half of them had nothing in them at all. I'm just completely disgusted by the apparent national, if not global, extinction of competence. Except in a few small corners of the world...the places where people knit, and spin, and make candles, and do it so incredibly well that the mind boggles. Thank god for those people - that is, for all of you! That's my thanks-giving, anyway (as opposed to the holiday, on which we grumbled through some needlessly high-pressure grocery shopping, then over-ate, then fell asleep - no great shakes, if you ask me, and not a good reason to feel thankful only once a year).

4. It's December already. AIEEEEE!! Chapter should have been done yesterday. Crap.

12 comments:

Beth said...

All I have to say is congratulations on your self control.
I'm going to Wendy's right now to see how I can help her.
I've always been a small business shopper and now that I have my own it makes me crazy when people come in and try out all of my wheels, ask me all kinds of questions and then go buy online from somebody who will never help them again.
After I check out Wendy's candles I'm gathering my stuff and heading over to the shop to finish my preparations for tomorrow. I'm scared that nobody will come and equally scared that a lot of people will come and I won't be able to handle it without my usually lameness.

Laura said...

i just placed an order from wendy and haven't tried the candles yet; she suggested that i let them cure for a week or so. but tonight might be the night that i knit with yummy scented candles nearby. i am thinking about who on my christmas list would be a good recipient of wendy's swag & thanks for reminding me to send people over to her from affiknitty. :)

Specs said...

Best of luck with the chapter!

Everyone in academia is writing right now. I am, you are, my students are. We'll all get through this and come out on the other side, relieved, exhausted, and proud.

I have to give myself this pep talk every 16 weeks or so.

Kirsten said...

Great Post!!!
I've been meaning to place an order from Wendy and just keep forgetting. No time like the present! I'm off to do it now. I too plan to give as many of my holiday dollars as I can to small independent businesses.

The Purloined Letter said...

Thanks for this terrific post! Good job! Tis the season.

Marianne said...

Great post, Kate, and will look at my finances, see where I am and hopefully be able to help Wendy out, I love the soy candles. I rarely buy things...outside of groceries and knitting materials..I got sick and tired of that whole thing a long time ago....thanks for the heads up.

Marianne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fiberjoy said...

Thank you for the well written plug for independent small businesses. My husband makes wood fiber tools (knitting needles, crochet hooks, etc www.jenkinswoodworking.com) and I do the packaging and run the office end. It is not an easy road we've chosen, but we both strongly believe in being self supporting, and provinding quality products that we've made.

Is the chapter finished? Hang in there, you're close to the top of an enormous mountain.

Beth said...

Hey! You're a winner. Send me your mailing address!

Krista McCurdy said...

I love that lime and violet put out a list of etsy names. Did you see, mine was on that list? it's www.pigeonroofstudios.etsy.com. I was so thrilled! I have to say, I think etsy is just freakingly brilliant, and so what independent crafters needed in order to get our products out there. if you listen to the craftsanity podcast, they did a great interview with one of the founders of etsy.

p.s. how's your search for mary poppins coming along? mine seems to have eluded me so far...

Marianne said...

Kate, I figured I'd just pop over here and reply to your comment you left at my place...the needle felting, yes, a fiddling pain in the arse...I ended up taking 2 of the needles and working the strand that way but...I sure wouldn't want to grab one and pull hard...I have a feeling it may just come right off...I'll probably test it out and if it pops off I'll just stitch it...yeah yeah, next time...

Krista McCurdy said...

Kate, the support that independent artists show each other was just made clear to me. Because of your post, I went to Wendy's blog, bought a candle, and then she went and bought fiber and yarn from my etsy shop! I then immediately turned around and shot off an email to Lisa Souza to buy her Pink Ribbon Yarn to support Miss Violet with her massive Insurance deductible so she can go get the scary lump in her breast checked out.

wow. I would buy more from everyone if I could, but being poor myself, selling my things is a way to make a little tiny bit extra to buy from other independent crafters. and i can't wait for my candle!