emily cline art

gettin' my ya-ya's out

How About This for a Great Gift Idea?

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It’s only November. I have a friend who is already finished with her Christmas shopping. FINISHED. (Rude.) I just started.

But I started with an “Ah ha!”

I went to a small local craft fair to “do research,” I told my son, for the craft fairs I’m selling at next week. (Really? I just love craft fairs!)

Ceramic owls with air plants, by Happy Los Angeles

Ceramic owls with air plants, by Happy Los Angeles.

I bribed him with lemonade and a seat in the shade, then I set off in the warm California sunshine. Ceramics, jewelry, and macrame — oh my! Gorgeous, hand-created, sweet items, perfect for my Christmas list. Things people will like, surely, but also things people need: shaving cream, candles, earrings (we all neeeeeeeed pretty things!)

Hand painted henna on stained wood.

Hand painted henna on stained wood, MKConnections.

As my son and I walked out half an hour later, I felt so good! I had connected with a friend from Craftcation. I’d met up with an entrepreneurial woman who just opened Makers Mess, an art studio — and she needs teachers for teens! (Hello, let me introduce myself!) I met an young Indian woman who painted stunning henna on colored wood and jars. Christmas shopping started!

Cotton and Flax mini-notebooks!

Cotton and Flax mini-notebooks!

I got to thinkin’… of course, we’re all buying presents for the holidays. My family is fortunate, so we try to gift through others — by donating to Heifer International, Fabretto, local schools and families in need.

But it dawned on me, almost every family I know has been under a lot of financial pressure these past few years, mine included. I quit modeling and acting a few years ago to be a stay-at-home mom and artist. Neither help pay the rent, but I feel good and know I’m doing what is best for our family right now. But if we all buy local* — from craft fairs, flea markets, Etsy shops, holiday church bazaars — we can financially support our neighbors, build stronger communities.

I know *buying local* is not a novel idea, but the good it does runs deep: the “feel good!” we get by going to an arts and crafts fair, the chance to meet old and new friends, find useful, handmade gifts, support our local makers, and to financially boost our friends and larger community. That’s a great gift idea all around!

*Make sure to check out these other great artist’s shops — Dani Paquin’s Agapantha , Tracey Clem’s Etsy shop, Donna Marie’s PeaceLoveNCrossbones, and Jonathan Castro’s Jonathan Castro Designs. (My photos didn’t do their jewelry and ceramics justice!)

*************

To kick off my holiday season, I’ll be here this weekend:

Mosaic Craft Fair, Alhambra

Mosaic Craft Fair, Alhambra

Silverlake Flea Market, Silverlake

Silverlake Flea Market, Silverlake

And in December:

Silverlake Flea (again)

Beachwood Canyon

Beachwood Canyon

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