Top 10 Things That Cross Your Mind Shopping on Etsy

(yes, I think somewhere in my pink tool kit I have all I need to repair this dolly…Sold!)

Sag Harbor, New York

You decide to check out Etsy, the rabbit hole of all things crafty, creative, and dust collecting. The 10 thoughts that run through your overwhelmed noggin, from start to finish… 

  1. I could make that. I mean, seriously? I took Home Ec. How hard is it to whip up a stuffed tomato with googly eyes? Or a King Tut the 3rd plushie? Yeah, I definitely can do that King Tut…wait is that CROSSTITCH?
  1. Who needs a resin Wizard of Oz Plate that plays music? I mean really, I’ve been sneaking plates OUT of grandmas house every time I go to visit, I don’t need to ADD to her collection (of 5,000). Last time I bumped into one, she spent an hour sobbing and telling me I’ll never be dainty enough to find a husband.
  1. Where am I going to put all of this ? Of course I’d love a lifesize shiba inu statue, but shouldn’t I be using that space to store my air conditioner, so I don’t have to go to bed each night dressed in an old fur coat and a scarf to combat the breeze (never took it out of the window in the fall)?
  1. My mom can do so much better. I mean, her cheesecake is the best on Long Island. Why would I buy someone elses secret recipe? What a sell-out. I mean, what if one of my friends buys it? I won’t be the stand-out baker at our next (non-existant) potluck.
  1. Wow, Jim really has a lot of time on his hands! I mean, it takes some skill to make old knives and forks really look like a roadrunner…oh, I see here it took 20 hours…20 hours?!
  1. Craft supplies galore- I can be the crafty mom now! Oh wait…I forgot to have kids. Crafty aunt? My sisters going through a divorce. Crafty babysitter? No one I know has kids. Darn! Ok, I’ll just pretend I AM still a kid.
  1. OMG, I can do all of my gift giving. For that uncle I can never remember the name of who plays checkers 20 hours a day, and my cousin who no longer bothers to pretend we are related, and to that frenemy Leila who is always making nasty remarks about the gift cards I give to starbucks. Maybe I like being basic. Well, Basic begone!
  1. I need to freeze my credit cards. Otherwise, the vintage Dolce and Gabbana denim jacket? Mine. I don’t care if I can’t pay my Metrocard and have to walk to work. Don’t I want to fit into the itsy bitsy teeny weenie bikini that supposedly Brigitte Bardot wore (according to Jo Anne Smith, 43, Louisiana, homemaker and storyteller extrodinaire)? The A train is so passe.
  1. Now my dog and I can match- look at these owner/pet cat ear headbands! Wait, dog? Whatever, me and my future dog (down the line when I move out to the suburbs and raise a family…aka never) Sold!
  1. Wait…I do need that! So I give in and buy everything and spend a week in sitting on boxes and trying to find my computer to SOS for help. Visit etsy.com/shops/japonicanyc to buy vintage porcelain dinnerware and other treasures. Shop to your hearts content!
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HoliDAZE (The Relay Race Of Gift Giving)

(No rushing the holidays in Czech Republic- this photo shows Christmas stands bustling with business a week after the big day) Prague, Czech Republic

 

(Am I getting the lineup of the holidays confused? Always with a touch of humor)

I’m cutting straight to the point. Mothers day blog posts. In February. February (in New York at least) is known for being the most miserable, darkest, coldest months of the year (usually). Blizzards that bring snow that doesn’t melt and sits in heaps taller then an NBA player. Wait, isn’t the next commercial holiday up Easter? I am so confused.

No where wading through this mess of snow, sappy V-Day cards and shoe-destroying salt am I thinking of warm weather, flowers (well, in my commuting fantasies, but not concrete) and …mother’s day. Worse, my heartbeat starts racing (and not from the two coffees I already consumed), but from the prices…are people really falling for it, and buying mom a $200 candle? That;s my health insurance for a month- and I don’t know if I want to tempt fate just so mom can smell gardenias for the 50 hour “burn time”.

Doesn’t mothers day fall somewhere (I just had to look this up, proving I’m a dreadful daughter) around May 8th? Yes, May. You know the ditty “April showers bring May flowers”? I’m still bundled up in my long super warm shearling coat here. And I’m already fielding my way through posts about personalised gift bags and handmade cards made by nuns and other things about what to get the woman who always says she wants nothing, raises her voice like an opera singer the thought of having to give a gift?

The word holiday is used in Britain the same way we use the word vacation. A vacation implies(ha ha ha) a time of peace, relaxation, celebration, enjoyment, happiness. So why does the word holiday in America bring so much stress? Impatience.

As Americans, we are an impatient people. We get our coffee on the go, eat lunch standing in the pizza shop, buy have drive through weddings with an Elvis priest. Why does our impatience have to spill over to holidays?  Whatever happened to the E.B White quote “never hurry, never worry?” As soon as one holiday is over, stores rip down the displays as if some secret holiday police were going around handing out fines for keeping the marshmallow peeps out an extra day (I personally would eat them all year). As a child I used to get melancholy in mid January, begging one more week for our Tannenbaum to stay put (foot was put down on that dream, with the threat that my toys go up in flames, dry needles and all).

As soon as one is over, we have to be assaulted- visually (tacky bright displays) , aurally (Christmas songs by some horrible pop singer instead of Sinatra), even orally ( I can even taste the Halloween candy when I walk near it, the mass of sugary treats wafting through the plastic like some radioactive toxin). Can’t we have a few moments rest to see what we really need in Duane Reade like breath mints and Tide (who goes in there to buy heart chocolates and stuffed bears anyways?)?

We need to learn to relax. Life is too short for this constant rushing. Take each holiday as they come- maybe a month before the actual date. Search for a gift, but not with the rabid aggression of a childs maiden version to DisneyWorld. Buy what you can afford, not something you’ll spend three months paying off, for the friend you see only once a year (begrudgingly).  Enjoy what we are celebrating, as it comes, not raise our blood pressure levels fretting over the Frette bathrobe or the discount one at Bed Bath & Beyond months before it will be given.

Being in the marketing/selling world, I am not advocating to stop gift giving. I have a degree in merchandising; I hope I understand the monetary value that holidays bring. What I am advocating is, enjoy the day. Get mom that gift, but enjoy the day with her. Lavishing her with some “curated all natural local farm produced handpicked hand mashed gluten free face wash” bag is nice and all, but it doesn’t make up for being a terrible daughter who doesn’t see her 8 months out of the year and groans and at the thought of listening to her anecdotes about her dogs.

When the end of April rolls around, maybe I’ll take a journey out east and see my mom that weekend, IF the weather is warm and sunny. Or, I’l just send her flowers. Or buy her some porcelain at http://www.etsy.com/shops/japonicanyc.  Either way, at the end of the day, she knows I love her.

The Trip-Ups (literally) Of Living Urban, With Pinterest Dreams

(just hit my elbow on that antique rocking horse again, ugh!)

Since discovering the floral-filled world of Etsy and Pinterest for my shop, I have been blown away buy the variety of merchandise for sale. There is a never ending supply of things that you could outfit your house with that even Martha Steward would raise an eyebrow at. Retro ice cream maker! Antique library stamp (to stamp my kindle?) The inner mom in me found me with a super modern tee-pee in my shopping cart- meant as a kids toy. At 5’7” it’s half my height. For where? The fire escape?

While some of these items seem blatantly unnecessary (I can just squeeze the lemons myself, really, I need to keep up these arm muscles), I’ll have to admit, I stare in wonder and think about going and unfreezing my credit card from that 20 pound block of ice to go on some wine fueled shopping spree. I would definitely be the hostess-with-the-mostess (forgetting that the friends I do have always adamantly refuse to come to Brooklyn, despite it being the place du jour. Thanks Lena Dunham!).

Then I remember, that I DO live in Brooklyn, and although my apartment is more spacious then a studio on York and 75th,  it is still not quite conductive to creating the amazing spreads that feature a different cloth napkin for every type of holiday imaginable that I see all over Pinterest. “I want this!” I cried ecstatically, only to meet the furious glare of my sister. “We downgraded my bed to a twin kid sized bed, and you want an antique television BAR?!” There goes the dream of literally watching bottles like the dancing wineglasses in Beauty and the Beast.

What should I do? Move to the country, or some suburbs where rent is affordable (certainly not Long Island, where the prices are mostly on par with Manhattan) so that I can make my Pinterest Dream Home? Am I missing out, while women my age in Wisconsin have their own craft rooms where they create hand knit owls for their kids playmates? I tried to make my bedroom my own art studio, and the one cat decided that the boxes of supplies were her new bed, and the other one decided the recycled metrocards looked better flying around the room. Dreams of a studio vanished.

Should I trade in my shoebox? When I could be living a Pinterest Paradise elsewhere, not tripping over your bed or your coffee table or shoeboxes (since the shoes cost as much as your rent and you insist on keeping them pristine, even though technically you wore them out in that blizzard the other night). Sometimes I wonder. I look wistfully at those accounts, those large homes with dining rooms! Living rooms! Dressing rooms! Basic, hallways and coat rooms and closets! But where would I buy batteries (don’t ask) at 2am, and find every cuisine in the world?

In life there are certain trade-offs, you get this, but you don’t get this. I guess you just have to decide which means more to you personally, at that moment. The motto now is, acquire what you need, survival way, not what you want. I will have to quell my desire for vintage porcelain cats after all, and maybe just squeeze the living, breathing ones I have.

Not quite ready to (ever) leave New York, so  I guess I’ll just have to stick with my tiny collectibles and admire the holiday spreads and handmade feathered wind chimes from afar, and just sell them on http://www.etsy.com/shops/japonicanyc