Crafty Wonderland and Shopping Handmade

I make a lot of gifts.  It’s not because it’s less expensive, since it’s usually not anyway, but because I enjoy giving someone I care about something I’ve spent time working on with my own hands.  Some of the most meaningful gifts I’ve been lucky enough to receive were also handmade.

I realize not everything can be homemade.  I had an Amazon box delivered to my house this week.  However, I also received a package from Etsy.  There’s a tier between making it yourself and buying from a big box, and that’s shopping from the little guy.  Or gal, as the case may be.

I spent much of Saturday with a friend at an event called Crafty Wonderland here in Portland.  If you want to see our neck of the woods at it’s most Portlandiest, it’s the place to be.  Their mascot is Sasquatch, if that tells you anything.  There were over 250 vendors, all selling handmade goods.  We walked slowly up and down every, single aisle, both sides, and I still feel like we missed things.  One of which was to take more photos!

One of the booths where I bought this headband to keep my ears warm…

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…was Neeka Knits.  She had so many cute options, I had a hard time choosing.  I took a quick photo of her, but it’s too blurry.  This is the artist in a pic from her shop, wearing one of the other headbands I was eyeing.

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I had the opportunity to meet someone in person that I had placed a custom order with in the fall.  Sophia from Buttonlandia made these buttons, which we gave away to the attendees at the grand opening of the new police department.  Everyone loved them and they were gone LONG before the evening was over. 

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I bought something called Magic Unicorn Salt from Beautiful Briny Sea.  Yes, I really did.  So did Erika, my shopping buddy.  Despite its name, rainbow packaging, and the fact that I bought it in Oregon, it’s not hallucinogenic or illegal.  But it is delicious.

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Erika bought some raw, local honey from Wolf Honey, the epitome of a warm, friendly craft vendor.

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There were several other booths with some great gift options.  Rubber Revolution sells items made from recycled truck inner tubes.  These wallets felt very durable.

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Domestic Bias had some very cute aprons and bags, both of which are reversible.

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I was admiring some needle felted items at the PenFelt booth, and found out the artist teaches needle felting classes not far from me.  That might have to happen this year.

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Soaps, candy, letterpress, clothing, artwork, yarn work, reclaimed items, accessories, jewelry…I can’t even begin to list all of the amazing things we saw.  It was a lot of fun, but the moral of my story is this:  shop handmade, even a little.  Seek out handmade shows or vendors near you.  If you can’t find any, try online at places like Etsy, Artfire, Meylah or any of the numerous other venues.  It’s a warm, fuzzy feeling, buying something and having it handed over to you (or shipped) by the person who made it.  As a handmade vendor myself, I can tell you the feeling is mutual.