I’m in love with everything handmade and I’m determined to make this a mostly “handmade Christmas” with lots of decorating and gift ideas that I plan on sharing with all of you (Or all y’all if your from South of the Mason Dixon line) over the next few weeks. So when I got an email from one of my long time readers sharing her thoughts about what constitutes easy, inexpensive and handmade, I had to slam the brakes on some of my projects. The insights she shared gave me a wake up call about the difference between what bloggers call easy and simple and what readers think of our ideas.
Let’s call my reader, Donna. Because maybe that’s her name and she said it was okay for me to share that and the details of her emails. Donna wrote that one of the reasons she decides to follow a blog is that they consistently give great ideas that she finds doable as a hobby crafter. However, Donna has been unsubscribing left, right and center from blogs these days because she’s tired of “easy handmade inexpensive DIY” projects that really aren’t. As in they require fancy and expensive tools that most people don’t own. She wrote to me after I posted about my pompom garland because she noticed it said “No fancy tool required” and that prompted her to reach out as a “normal person”. How cool is that?
Donna pointed out that every single pin she explored lately or post she’s read has required either a Cricut, a Silhouette, a pompom maker, or fancy and expensive scrapbooking supplies to make the promised easy handmade Christmas gift. Donna went on to say that she has been a hobby crafter for years and has many friends who do the same and that she doesn’t know a single person (aside from bloggers) that actually own any of these things. She’s particularly annoyed by the simple and inexpensive Christmas ideas that involved having a $300 cutting machine on hand.
Oh. My. Stars. Total light bulb moment for me! Three years ago, I was right there with her. Pinterest and I had just been introduced and I was pinning like mad. And every single damn time I clicked through there was a cheerful blogger sharing how easy it was to DIY all the things with with really expensive equipment. I would snort, roll my eyes, and get the hell out of there (Hello. Bounce rate?)
Need an example?….Remember the pallet craze? How awesome it was to make all those great signs and wall art for free? Except those free signs required a reciprocating saw to dismantle said pallet and a Silhouette to make the letters or outlines for the free signs. How is that free, I used to wonder?
I’ve since succumbed to the Silhouette craze and I love that cutting machine so much that sometimes I want to buy it a drink. Which means I’ve kind of forgetten how expensive that little baby was to start up and that nothing I make is free and easy. Has it paid for itself over the past two years? Probably. But even vinyl is costly and blades and cutting mats….and….you get where I’m going with this.
Let’s be honest….crafting and handmade isn’t free and sometimes it’s not even cost friendly when you see how little a finished project sometimes costs at Hobby Lobby or even Walmart. Supplies aren’t cheap. Since I’m not a knitter, I was a little shocked by the cost of the yarn I needed for my pompom garland. I’m now a yarn sale stalker because I heart pompoms so dang much. (Warning…pompom projects ahead!)
Because I’m a crafter, a blogger, and a designer, I do have a pretty big supply of, well, supplies. So I have often blindly said the cost for a certain project was $0 because I had the supplies on hand. I forget that not everyone has an entire basement full of leftover craft paper, fabric remnants, and lampshades. Or a $300 cutting machine and all sorts of “leftover vinyl”.
I’m not saying it’s not worth it….I love my Silhouette, but I think some of us bloggers have lost touch with reality and regular readers when we promise an easy and inexpensive craft that starts with a $300 machine. Guilty….so dang guilty of this.
The bottom line is this…..we bloggers love what we do and we’re excited to share our ideas and projects with others but we can’t pretend DIY and handmade projects are cheap and easy when they’re not. We craft because we love it and our readers do too or they wouldn’t be reading and pinning our work. But crafting isn’t free and it often isn’t all that easy either. Sometimes it’s not even cost effective. Maybe we need to be a little more honest in our posts when we promise easy, inexpensive, and handmade. Is it handmade if a machine did it for us? Maybe. Is it free or inexpensive if it involves anything other than toilet paper rolls, grocery bags, and used dryer sheets? Because those are pretty much the only thing everyone has “on hand”. Except maybe wine corks. Got lots of those 😉
Thanks for the wake up call, Donna. I can’t promise that I’ll live up to the easy and free label every again but I’m going to try to throw in a couple of projects in the next few weeks that don’t involve expensive tools that regular folks don’t own. It may mean less traffic or less pins but sometimes we need to give readers the real goods and not just the traffic driving pretty images and headlines.
Who’s with me?