Welcome Message

Marvel, Muse, Manifest, Materialize. Welcome to February Jones: The Blog. While you're here I might challenge some of your opinions, show you something you never knew before, or if you're lucky, I just might melt your brain and bring you a new way of viewing the world and your place in it. And I have accessories to help you remember these new ways of thinking! View my Etsy shop items just to your lower right in my CraftCult widget, or by clicking on the Merchverse tab above. See what some of my customers think in the Testimonial section, and check out all on my interweb featurettes in the Media section. You can even watch some awesome Etsy videos in the Etsy Fun! section. I hope you enjoy the World of February Jones and come back often, things are always changing.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Custom Family Tree Brooch

I've probably said this before, but I truly love to create custom orders. My fingers are aching a little today from the creation of a brooch that required more planning and diagramming than usual. One of my friends saw the custom Family Tree Pendant that I had created and loved the idea. She wanted a brooch for her mother to commemorate their family and the family that they would have become had her mother not lost her special someone to cancer only a few weeks ago. She wanted the Family Tree motif with one particular representation that would not be part of the tree but rather shining down upon it from above. Being a part of this gift was exceptional.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Awesome Custom Experience

First off, let me say that I love creating custom orders. It's so fulfilling to create something with that little bit of "extra special" because you know it is being creating with special intentions or with someone's own specific tastes in mind.

Well, this past Friday, a wonderful family of three stopped by my table near the end of the day. I liked them right away because so much of my work caught their eyes and they really seemed to enjoy looking at everything that I make. They noticed the one pair of Jingle Bell earrings that I had left and I just loved them. But they wanted 2 pairs- a mother/daughter set, and it would be Abigale, the daughter's first pair of dangly earrings. I let them know that I do custom work and showed them the remaining selection of coloured jingle bells that I had. Each of them selected their own combination of 3 bells, and Abigale scooted in behind my table to see how I make them.

 What a sweet duo!

I gave her the step-by-step lowdown and she watched intently as her first pair of dangly earrings were being created right alongside her mothers. When I finished (about 7 minutes later), her mother asked her, "Abigale, who do you want to change your earrings for you?" She was a little timid and nervous about the possibility of it hurting, but after watching my fingers deal with so many little pieces she was ready to let me try to remove her studs and said "I want her to do it!" I carefully took them out, and Abigale was so surprised that she didn't feel a thing when I put in her new earrings. With a big smile on her face, she gave her head a shake to test out the jingle and was so excited to experience this new milestone of dangly earrings.

Mother and Daughter enjoying their new Jingle Bell Earrings :) 

Both mother and daughter were quite happy with their new holiday earrings, and even though they both have big smiles on their faces, I don't think they were quite as happy as I was to have been lucky enough to have them as customers. It wasn't a big purchase, but it was the most memorable experience of my holiday selling season and that's something you can't put a price on. Below you'll find a short little video of the two of them jingling their new earrings. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays! It's moment like this that really bring out the joy of this season.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Marketplace is Keeping Me Busy!

This is my first holiday season as a vendor! Both online in the world of Etsy, and in person in my hometown of Guelph, Ontario. Keeping up with orders in the shop while making product for both the shop and my craft table, posting updates and pictures on the February Jones Facebook Fan Page, and constantly creating upcycled gift envelopes and product tags (not to mention assisting in my household with my regular duties like getting Abby off to school in the morning, getting through the laundry, keeping the apartment clean, AND making a crapload of Christmas gifts to keep up with our 'handmade gift' policy) has kept my life so busy that finding the time to get a blog post up has been tricky. But here it is! I've been taking advantage of my weekdays in Old Quebec Street Mall by testing out some new items that I haven't listed on Etsy yet. Would you like to see some?

Chaos Bracelets with toggle clasps, silver wire 

These gorgeous bracelets are crocheted strands of wire and beads carefully woven together and finished with a toggle clasp. I love the way that the colours mix with the pearly beads for a kind of controlled chaos effect. Hence the name "Chaos"!

Wordsmith Earrings - wooden shapes collaged with recycled encyclopedias and finished with shiny gloss
The first items in a new line called "Wordsmith". I absolutely love words in general, so the sophisticated, bookish, and yet oh-so-fun feel of these earrings definately makes them a contender for one of my favourites. I'll be exploring how different shapes work with the process of collaging- let me tell you, creating those stars was tricky work! But I'm so happy with the result that I'm sure I'll endure the goopy fingers and frustrations of dealing with so many angles many more times in the future :)
Quantum Squiggle Tree Ornaments
I love my Quantum Squiggles so much that I had to have at least one on my own Christmas tree. What a cool way to bring Quantum joy into the holiday season!

Jingle Bell Earrings
And last for today, but certainly not least, the Jingle Bell earrings. There's nothing that will do a better job of reminding you that the holidays are in full thrall than to have gentle jingles dangling from your earlobes.

And so I shall leave you now, with these fun images to show you a little bit of what I've been up to. I have miles of yarn calling my name that need to be transformed into a plethora of fun and cozy things and judging by the calendar, my time is quickly running out! Wishing you all a wonderful, happy, and handcraftaliscious holiday season...


Friday, December 3, 2010

A Peek at the Deoxy Collection

 "Deoxy" is short for "deoxyribonucleic acid" more commonly known as "DNA".

Here is just a small taste of some of the ideas that went into the design of this line.

"DNA" as a Source of Inspiration:
It is amazing to me that so many different people exist and that we all begin exactly the same way. No matter how different we appear, or how opposite our interests or thoughts are, we have the same foundation. DNA is a structural double helix, and our galaxy (the Milky Way) has the exact same structure. How fitting that the smallest part of what makes us individuals is just the same as our local universe...

Symbolism is Built Into the Design:
This collection shows different ways of playing with helices and representing a double helical structure through forms of wearable art. The resulting pieces are both organic and galactic in form, playing on the similarity between our galaxy and our genetic makeup.

The collection is currently composed of 3 different kinds of necklaces and 2 different kinds of earrings, all in a variety of colours. Some pieces of the collection are featured in this post.
The Necklaces:
Triple Helix - 3 Deoxy chains of the same length
Replication - 3 Deoxy chains of varying length to give a cascading effect
Chromo - A single chain in a thicker wire gauge than the previous two

The Earrings:
Gene's Earrings - 2 Deoxy links, a very simple and elegant look
Clone's Earrings - 5 Deoxy links branching out from one another as though Gene's Earrings are in the process of being cloned ;)


Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Fantastageddon

Black Friday.

This was a term that never really had that much impact on me. I'm Canadian, and I'm not a big shopper, and it's taken a while for the events of this calendar date to trickle into Canadian retail. Before this week, "Black Friday" was just another day, except it usually had higher casualty rates for shoppers who found they couldn't keep their footing amidst human stampedes at the entrances to stores with mega sales on limited products ("But my kid NEEDS a Tickle-Me-Elmo!!!"). And so I find myself in an unusual place, because now I'm a little retailer, and of course I'd like people to spend the money that's burning a hole in their pocket on my products, but I don't promote senseless consumption. We are a collection of people who don't really need more "stuff"- we've got plenty of that filling our homes, storage units, garages, and garbages. So my perspective on Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) is that it's an opportunity for sellers to offer lower prices and increase their sales, and an opportunity for buyers to find meaningful products at prices that let their dollars go further.

 Cotton Candy Brooches - Currently only available at craft shows. Inquire if interested and outside of the Guelph area ;)

I put a lot of thought and effort into the design of my jewelry and accessories so that whoever wears it is doing so for a reason that is hopefully related to the intrinsic meaning behind the product. Each piece that I sell is handmade by my 8 fingers and 2 thumbs, and there is an added level of authenticity that goes into a handmade item that you can never get from a mass produced product. So on this shopping weekend that launches the holiday shopping season, I encourage you to spend your dollars wisely. When someone hands me a ten dollar bill in exchange for a pair of earrings or a cotton candy brooch, I am thrilled to know someone loved my product and to see exactly where my work is going, and my customer can see it on my face and hear it in my voice. Does Apple smile at you and shake your hand when you drop $200 - $300 on an iPhone?  You work hard for each dollar that you earn, you should spend it where you know that each dollar you pay is equally appreciated and deserved.

P.S. YES there IS a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale and promotion going on in the February Jones etsy shop! Kaleidescope Necklaces, select Quantum Squiggle Earrings and Quantum Teardrop Earrings are all on sale. PLUS if you purchase 2 or more items I will send you a FREE pair of Quantum Rosette Earrings in the colour of your choice (include colour choice in your notes to seller when you purchase, otherwise you will get a random colour). Visit the Etsy shop to browse!

Happy Shopping!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Secrets and Symbolism

Sometimes you have a secret and you just can't wait to spill the beans to someone, but sometimes you have a secret and you just want to revel in it in solitude. Knowing something that no one else knows holds a certain je ne sais quois. Be it small or large, keeping a secret to yourself helps define you as an individual. In the same way that a secret between friends brings you closer together, a secret you hold dear brings you closer to yourself. Consider a lucky charm. You may tell others why it is lucky, but only you will truly understand its significance. A lucky charm is a symbol of an experience or a memory that is intrinsically tied to you as a unique person with unique ways of perceiving the world around you.

Quantum Squiggle Necklace - Light Blue and Dark Blue

I strive to infuse all of my jewelry and accessories with a kind of symbolism that you can latch on to. Because each item is handmade by me, each one is unique. I have some styles (like my Quantum Squiggles) that can never be exactly duplicated and so their unique symbolism is woven directly into the finished product. When one of these items becomes yours you know that no one else possesses it and it is free to become one of your signature items, just like a lucky charm.

There are many general symbols that speak to us on a deep and intuitive level. When you take a secret and turn it into a symbol you embody it, you permit yourself to connect with something on the foundation of emotions and intuition. You make it a part of you in a very intimate way that no other person can touch. A symbol represents so much more than what it is made out of. The levels of intangible meaning far outweigh the visual representation. As Tiffany Jones aptly wrote in her article "Revealing the Secrets of Symbolism", "symbolism allows for the unspoken to exist". And doesn't it make a secret that much more delicious when you wear a symbol for it openly knowing that the hidden elements are still yours alone to enjoy.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Treasury Tuesday! Gifts for the Young at Heart

Let's face it. We all still love some of the things that we loved as kids. Who says that you have to stop enjoying that stuff just because you've gotten a little bit older and wiser? I hope you enjoy this week's treasury, a handful of handmade gift ideas that'll make you smile and say, "remember when...."

Gifts for the Young at Heart Treasury


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Confession: I'm a Geek

A lot of people are surprised when they find out that, well, I'm really a geek at heart. If you hadn't started to get that impression already (how many people do you know who will happily discuss the implication of quantum physics on our ability to determine reality, which of the two Star Wars trilogies is better, how awesome it is that Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are making a Bill and Ted 3, and the frustrations of waiting for comic issues to be published as trades all in the same conversation?), well, I'm laying it out in the open for you.

I am a geek. See?

Fan Expo 2010 in Toronto- no I am not dressed up as anything specific, just me. Fewer heads turn at an event like this ;)

Really, it isn't liking specific things like comic books, or cult movies, or anime conventions that makes me or anyone else a geek. It's the willingness to openly share the things that you love and the unstoppable urge to totally "geek out" about those topics for which you hold a passion. Don't be ashamed of the things you like! So what if your friends don't like all those things too- if they're your friends they'll love you anyway (and maybe even because of those things!), and if they leave you in the dust because you like to dress up in fox ears and mentioned that you can't wait to obtain the matching tail, then you're better off without them. Don't allow yourself to become empty because you're afraid of what other people might think. The coolest people I have ever met are the ones who not only wear their hearts on their sleeve, but their passions as well.

My fiance Jim's daughter proudly showing off her super geeky Dr. Who Sonic Screwdriver at Fan Expo 2010

Being passionate about something means that you think of it as more than just a now-and-then hobby. It's something that you always want to learn more about, something that you want to pursue whenever the opportunity arises, something that you really wish everyone that you knew loved too because it's just so awesome that you want everyone else to experience it. I'm able to share and spread a lot of my geeky interests through my February Jones products, which are all inspired by the many things I consider not only interesting, but also important. I think the term 'geek' is so often relegated to the domain of comic books, video games, Magic: The Gathering or other collectible card games, and epic films because the people who love those things aren't afraid to show it and often have to actively seek out others to share their geeky passion.

 Our haul from Fan Expo! I love that bread t-shirt... (some of those comics will be used for Bubble Danglers!)

My mom is a singing geek (she finally followed her passion and took vocal lessons so that she could join a choir which she has been a part of for about 5 years now) and a nature geek (never traveling without copious books to identify the local flora).
My dad is an astronomy geek (we once had an hour long discussion that began with "Dad, what is a black hole, really?").
My fiancee is an independent music geek (he is an encycolpaedia of knowledge about local and not so local independent Canadian bands and isn't afraid to go to a concert alone if it means he gets to see one of these coveted groups).
One of my aunts is a book geek who once said, "I can't be without a book to read. I'll go crazy. I'll even read a bad book before no book at all. I'm finishing this one very slowly because I don't have another one lined up yet."

So consider this my challenge to you. Find your inner geek... then for god's sake RELEASE IT! Let it out! Introduce it to the outside world and be proud of your quirk. It contributes to the awesomeness that is you, and the people you love shouldn't be deprived of the knowledge of something that gives you so much geeky joy. And you just might start getting more thoughtful gifts too ;)

Please share your geeky passions by leaving a comment!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Marvel, Muse, Manifest, Materialize

If you ask me, there is nothing more fun and rewarding than to be part of the creation of something, from start to finish. When you make something, there’s no mystery about how it came to be. You marvel about something wondrous, rolling it about in your mind like a dream you’re afraid you’ll forget. Then you muse about it- it pops into your head unbidden and you start to think about ways to make it real. Then you take action and that dream of intangibility begins to manifest. It comes out of your mind through your fingers and into this tangible world of reality, and before you know it, something that never existed before has materialized through no other actions than your own. 

It’s a bit like magic- learning to command different forces around you to come together to become something greater. Visit my Etsy shop to see what has come of the spells that I have woven ;)


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Treasury Tuesday! Rainbow Tree

Today's treasury is the result of a random search. I used the search term "Rainbow Tree" and picked my 16 favourites. At a time of year when the leaves have mostly fallen and nature's favourite theme is overcast and grey to remind us that winter is coming, we all might need a little more colour in our lives. Enjoy browsing through these wonderful artists and their colourful work!

Rainbow Tree Treasury


Friday, November 5, 2010

Quantum Jewelry Collection

I love thinking about the nature of existence and this body of my work is founded on philosophical symbolism and subjects that encourage you to think about your place in the world and how you influence and are influenced by your surroundings and the nature of existence. I guess you could classify some of my pieces as commentaries on existential philosophy. In particular, I would like to share some details about the thought and influences behind my Quantum Jewelry Collection.

Current styles in the Quantum Collection include: Squiggles, Teardrops, and Rosettes.

     1. (Physics / Atomic Physics) Physics
          a) the smallest quantity of some physical property, such as energy, that a system can possess according to the quantum theory.
          b) a particle with such a unit of energy

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

"Quantum" as a source of inspiration: On a fundamental level we are all examples of a Unity of Opposites. We are all unique examples of a Unity of Opposites. We are built of matter and energy and at the most fundamental level we are both. We hum with our own signature of vibrations of energy, our own unique quantum squiggle.

Visual Theme
Visually, all of these pieces are free-formed by wrapping, twisting, twirling and curling wire in different ways. The wire often follows an orbitally inspired path around some central point or area. I have used a wide range of colours in this early collection because I love the full spectrum and I'm still experimenting with the interaction of different colours and new wires as they become available to me. The dominant tones are pastels mixed with silver and gold, and some bright and vivid colours to satisfy my need for full spectrum inclusion and reflect the joy I find in bright colours.

Symbolic Theme
The orbital swirling is reminiscent of the interactions between very large bodies of stuff (planets and galaxies) and very small bodies of stuff (atoms and quirks and quarks). Our solar system is the sum total of all planets that orbit our star, the Sun. Every particle that we and everything else is built of are the sum total of all of the atomic "solar systems" that combine to form matter.

This collection shows different interpretations of the push-pull relationship that makes up our world. A balance between push and pull is what shaped each piece of jewelry- the symbolic relationship is built into the resulting object. It is this same balance that governs our planetary movement and physical make-up.

Each piece of jewellery has a central area around which the wire orbits. It is a piece of wearable art that is a symbolic commentary on the relationship between the smallest stuff of which we are made, and the largest stuff of which we are just a part.

Thought Wave
Atoms and compounds behave like solar systems and galaxies. You are made of many atoms so you are the same as the universe, and so is everything else. You are distinct and yet you are also an interconnected part of a much bigger whole. You just need to recognize that.

How might our behaviour change is you started to acknowledge that you were one with everything? How would you act towards others? How would your thoughts about consumption change? Would you see your job differently?

How would you change, if, every day you remembered that the whole world is a part of you?

I wear these earrings because I'm smart and unique.
I'm not afraid to ponder the unimaginable. Bring it on.
I think it's cool that atoms and planets behave in similar patterns. Coincidences rock!
I love being conscious and aware of the world immediately around me.
I love the idea of wearing thoughts on my ears... or around my neck... or on my wrists...


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Treasury Tuesday! "Movember I Salute You!"

Well, it's November. Or as it has been dubbed in recent years, "Movember"- the month of the mustache. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this new tradition, men who choose to participate grow a mustache this month in support of men's health in general, and also to help open up a dialogue about testicular and prostate cancer. So support the guys this month! And if you find yourself on the arm of a participant, love him for growing such a ridiculous thing on his face in support of a good cause ;) And if you want to participate without growing a 'stache, well, I have some ideas for you in this ticklish treasury.


For some extra fun, here's a photo of my sweetie Jim and the 'stache he just started sporting!

 James, my fiance, has sacrificed his standard beard for a ridiculously awesome Movember 'stache.

If you want to learn more about what Movember is all about, check out the official website: Movember Worldwide. Happy Mustache Month!


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Handmade Halloween

I grew up with a house rule during the Hallowe'en season,

"If you're trick-or-treating you should earn it by making your costume." 

That made Hallowe'en an event that required planning, and sometimes, hard work. Pulling on the soccer uniform that I'd worn once a week that past summer wouldn't cut it in my household, and the handmade Hallowe'en philosophy has stuck with me.

Tonight my fiance Jim and I took his daughter out trick-or-treating, and we planned her costume the week before- she was going to be a Zombie Bride. We hit up our local Value Village and picked out a satin-ish ivory coloured nightslip and matching cozy sweater to wear underneath as Abby's bridal gown, chose a bouquet of flowers, and found some creepy armwarmers (the only "new and packaged" item that we purchased). We used cotton webbing for the spiderwebs, and made a tiara with wire, a rubber bat, and some plastic flies (also made matching bat earrings). After a little bit of rolling in the dirt, messing up the hair, and makeup application, I had one scary looking Zombie Bride trick-or-treater.

Abigail, age 10 as a Zombie Bride 

Abby got lots of compliments at the doors for her costume, and many fulfilling reactions from the people who came to see. It was wonderful to see the obvious delight that she derived from this experience. It wasn't the obtaining of candy that was the fun part for her, it was showing people (strangers and family alike) something home-made, something that she and I had worked on, and having them react in an emotional and positive way that was her entertainment this evening.

Abby and I in front of our apartment door on our way out... I'm a Foxy Zombie ;)

It was so rewarding for me as a parent to provide for her an environment that encourages this kind of positive reinforcement for doing something for yourself

I encourage you all to make home-made or handmade a normal and treasured part of all your holiday seasons, not just Hallowe'en. You have lots of time to plan a new tradition for Christmas :) Hop to it!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mind Meld: Journal Archives

This is a new regular feature that I'd like to do to help show you all a bit more about what makes me tick, or how I think, or why I am the way that I am and how my life and experiences have contributed to the things I love to make today. So I present to you the "Mind Meld"! If you've never heard the term before, that's okay... it's from Star Trek (I have a geeky-dorky side which I'm sure you'll get to know) and only Vulcans can do it ;)

A "mind-meld" is a technique for sharing thoughts, experiences, memories, and knowledge with another individual. -Wikipedia

It could be a little piece from one of my old sketchbooks, or a page from a journal, or a spotlight on a favourite movie that I just can't ever get enough of... you get the idea. I have a lot of things tucked away, whether they're written on pages or simply memories that I've never shared, but I think they each deserve their time in the sun and you never know, maybe they will change the way you think about something or maybe even help you realize that you aren't alone in the way you feel. Who knows? Think of it as a bit of a show and tell, like you used to do in school when you were a kid- after all, we can all benefit from a little bit of childhood fun, no matter how old we are!

Journal Selection - June 22, 2005

The photo should be large enough for you to read the entry, but if you want to make it bigger just hold down your control button and press the "plus (+)" sign to make it bigger and then the "minus (-)" sign to make it smaller again. I made a photocopy of this entry, cut out the image and tacked it on my inspiration board- for a stick figure I think it communicates a lot! I use this image to remind me that your past is important because it has shaped who you are today, but if you get hung up on it you'll never be able to proceed into your future. When I wrote this entry I never thought that 5 years later I'd be taking real steps to follow my dreams. I don't think it would have happened if I was still trying to lug my baggage around. Instead I now "leave it in storage" and can summon up different parts of it to help me gracefully walk, step by step, into my future. 

I challenge you to leave some stuff behind (metaphorically) and join me in taking small steps, bit by bit, towards the future of your dreams. Do you have a dream that you've always wanted to pursue? Share it in the comments!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Today, Small Craft Table... Tomorrow, The World

I finally got all of my creations together in one place- or rather, on one table. It's something that I've wanted to do for pretty much my whole life so this first experience was a bit of a dream come true. I became a member of my local artist's community, Art-in-Guelph so that I could take advantage of discounted table fees at the different events that are hosted by Art-in-Guelph. It was a small step in the right direction, and perfect for my first time working a table.

 Free "small space" setup during a weekend event that I couldn't get a table for- Quantum Squiggles

There were 7 or 8 other artists present and our tables were set up in the wide open aisleway of a uniquely styled mall space in Guelph called Old Quebec Street. I spent 2 weeks preparing my table, arranging my jewellery and accessories, and of course, creating as much stock as I could. In my free time I researched different sites and blogs to find tips for first timers and this blog post from Mermaid's Closet was awesome!

My first event table set up... Such excitement!

When the big day arrived, I was rushed but calm. I woke and drove my fiancee to his carpool, got my (future) stepdaughter up and off to school, then quickly dressed and prepped myself before heading to my studio space to collect my things and motor to the show. I had a dream that morning that I forgot to load a chair, so I was confident that I couldn't possibly forget it. I did... (Thanks for coming to my rescue Mom!)That morning was much busier than I had anticipated, but the excitement I was feeling balanced out my emotions. Shortly after getting set up, some of the other artists started to visit because they noticed a new face among the regulars. I was building up my confidence to introduce myself (sometimes I can get a little shy, which a lot of people find hard to believe) so having people come to me made those introductions a little bit easier. The warmest welcome that I recieved by far was from Nicole, who runs a shop called "Fawn" and I absolutely fell in love with her feathered headbands.

 A new earring display made of steel wire inspired by my new friend Nicole of Fawn

I made a Facebook event and invited lots of people so I did have a few familliar faces stop by the table throughout the day. Visits from people that I knew was a great way to increase my sense of familiarity and comfort with the whole experience, it really did feel like this was something that I did all the time- almost as though friends were stopping by my place for a coffee and a chat. Having them show their support was also just a great feeling, regardless of whether or not they purchased something. When you have a group of people behind you that support every step you make, you really begin to feel like you could do anything.

Treasury Tuesday! "All Hallow's Eve"

I spent a long time searching for all of the amazing items in this spooky and macabre treasury. I wanted a Hallowe'en themed treasury that went beyond costumes, clothing, and traditional Hallowe'en colours and captured the essence of where this fun day came from. The shops featured here have beautiful pieces (or in some cases, services). Give it a click and enjoy your browsing!

All Hallows Eve Treasury


Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Maker of Things

As a Maker of Things, I have come to appreciate everything that goes into small-scale production. And by “small-scale” I mean as small as an army of one. The World of Handmade is a vast and wonderful place where hard-working, committed, creative people are manifesting their dreams with their own two hands. In a world as interrelated as ours is showing itself to be, that is worth so much more than the carbon copies or artificial self-differentiators that are rampant in today’s marketplace. 

 One of a Kind (OOAK) Custom Betty and Veronica Bubble Danglers

Two years ago when my fiancee and I made the decision to cut cable tv out of our daily lives, I thought I would finally see the end of my life's constant commercial bombardment. I was excited to live in a world where I wouldn't have to experience the constant tumult of brands being shoved down my throat that promised to make me a unique individual if I purchased them along with the rest of millions of other people who were purchasing the same thing. So many products are espousing benefits that are supposed to add to your self-definition or allow you to "express yourself". But how can these products effectively do that when the exact same thing is also in the hands of many other people? In any case, cutting our cable did not bring an end to corporate sponsors entering our home, but at least it modified the frequency. Lessening the presence of corporate culture in my life has allowed me to appreciate the real value of handmade goods that much more.

Once upon a time the marketplace was the center of the city where everyone gathered to exchange their skills and handmade products for things that they needed but could not make or services they required but could not perform. Money, or a medium of exchanged allowed people to trade their wares and skills for credit that allowed them obtain those things and services they required. It was simply easier than searching for what is called a "double coincidence of wants" in which you exchange something you have with another person who has something you want. Money didn't have any value in isolation. Classical economic models apply to this market system, not a global market. With all of the economic fluctuations that have been occuring in recent years, it has come to light that economic predictions simply are not panning out. No one wants to say that the "market" these predictions are trying to forecast is simply to large. No one wants to say that a global marketplace might be a bad thing. Bigger is better, right? But the planet has been trying to tell us that this isn't the case, and it's time that we listened. Why put so many of your hard-earned dollars towards expensive items when you are clearly paying so much for the brand power? Companies that have the money to pay for a prime-time commercial slot during the Superbowl pass the expense on to you, the consumer, through their high price tags. You pay for the name, not necessarily the product.

Comparison of designer label Tiffany & Co. vs handcrafted couture label Ghost Love

Be proud of the things that you can do for yourself, and be proud to own something that you know came from the hardworking hands of another person just like you. Take an interest in learning a new skill. Fall back on the ways of living throughout human history that brought people together and built up communities. Don't be afraid to become A Maker of Things, and challenge yourself to learn about the amazing things that people in your very own community can do.

Visit Etsy and use the Shop Local option (clicking on the link will automatically load Guelph shops, but you can enter your own location), and keep an eye on your community listings for different artisan events. Visit your local Farmer's Market (listings for Ontario, Canada) to get an idea of all the great things that you can find close to home made by hands that you probably know through six degrees of seperation or less ;)

Enjoy your browsing, I hope you'll be both amazed and inspired.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Deoxy Doodle Giveaway!

Take a look at this blog Joy De Vivre Designs (joy of living) where Heather shares her fabulous fashion finds, interior design ideas and bits and pieces from her life. Every week she also does a feature called "Have You Seen This Etsy Shop?" and this week the feature shop is none other than February Jones. You can even enter a free giveaway contest for a pair of Deoxy Doodles earrings, just follow the simple "How To Enter" instructions at the end of her feature. The deadline is noon on Monday (October 25th) so what are you waiting for?! Go take a peek :)

 This fabulous pair of Deoxy Doodles are anxiously awaiting a new home! Enter Heather's contest at Joy De Vivre Designs and they might become yours!


Candy is Dandy - A Treasury

A totally tasty treasury of treats! Not only is Hallowe'en on it's way, but I sort have a major thing for candy. Satisfy your sweet tooth with your eyes instead of your mouth and surprise yourself with all the succulent situations you could use these savoury items. Here, take a napkin- it isn't polite to let your drool drip ;)

All items are from various crafty Etsy sellers. Just click for a closer look!

Candy is Dandy 
Mmmmm... Enjoy!


Taking the Leap

Breathe, and jump right in. You never know where you'll land if you never get off your feet, so...

Photo is Card 0 - The Fool from The Trascendental Game of Zen, Osho Zen Tarot

My name’s Maria. "February Jones" is a bit like my alter-ego mixed together with thoughts, dreams, and the creations that are available in my little Etsy shop of the same name (www.februaryjones.etsy.com).

I make things.

Correction… I love to make things. I’m crazy about it. It excites me. It challenges me. It’s just fan-freakin’-tastic, and I would not be who I am if I was denied the privilege of creating as often as I can and as freely as I want. I am a Maker of Things.

Right now it’s mostly jewellery, but I also crochet and knit, and I love finding new ways to repurpose and recycle things. Sometimes I paint, or collage, or write. I’ve always been “different”, and not always by choice, but you play the hand you’re dealt- or so I learned in time. My mom wouldn’t buy into the trends that I demanded as I grew up, and though it may have been hard to take as a kid, I can’t thank her enough for it now.

My fiancĂ©e James and I don’t subscribe to cable (which has gone over fine with his soon-to-be eleven year old daughter. Imagine that, a Tween surviving without cable tv...) and I hate paying full price for new clothes, or well, anything “new” really (I thrive on second-hand shops, “previously-viewed” DVD’s, and free entertainment) because, really, is anything ever actually worth the original sticker price? (as a holder of Commerce degree specializing in Marketing, I know that it never is). And besides, who is to say that we all value the same things equally? I love who I am and I stand by the choices that I make. I love to learn, and share ideas, and think about weird things… often while I’m making other things, so sometimes my brain is running on overdrive.

I hope this blog will encourage people to look for more not just in their consumer products, but in themselves, their lives, and their world. There is more meaning out there for those of you who are willing to look, but don't take my word for it. Go and find out for yourself.