Times are increasingly hard and many of us are trying harder to spend our money wisely. We don't have a large family income and it can be a challenge to get what we want from our purchases. With four of us to feed, clothe and entertain and two of us to educate, wouldn't it be better to whizz down the 'value' aisle in our supermarket 'pocket the difference' and then indulge ourselves in more mass-produced, ethically dubious 'stuff' - pleased to have been clever with our cash.
Perhaps I am greedy, but I want far, far more for my money than that - perhaps now more than ever with the inevitable squeeze most of us will feel. I shop at our local farm shop - beef and lamb are home - reared, pork and venison are locally sourced. They make their own sausages, burgers and pies. Bake wonderful cakes, stock local cheeses, vegetables and potatoes and give a helpful and welcoming service. The door of our supermarket is opened for me as I leave but not by someone offering to help carry my purchases whilst thanking me for calling! If meat bought this way is sometimes expensive, we eat meat-free meals to compensate. I enjoy the experience of shopping, feel good about cooking meals with good, local produce and we all enjoy eating the results - for me I am eating food which I 'know'. That knowledge adds greatly to the experience!
I have been particularly pleased with two recent purchases - one 'food' one not. Our son was 18 a few days ago. He planned to walk, in the hills round Llangollen, with two mates and then we all went out for a meal. Our son has always liked smoked trout. On the way to drop them off we passed a local trout fishery with smoked trout available. We called on the way back. Having selected some smoked fillets, and been tempted by a jar of very local honey, I commented on the supply of gluten-free bread flour. At this point I was directed to the freezer which contained some gluten-free, smoked trout sausages reared, smoked and prepared on the premises. A little pricey perhaps, but earmarked as a contribution to a family meal at Christmas time. My son thinks as I do and I know he will smile when he realises the connection to his birthday celebrations. Worth every penny!
I have a friend who I seldom see now - but we still exchange birthday and christmas gifts. She thinks very much as I do. I had been on the look out for a small, practical yet attractive gift which could easily be posted to her. I was delighted to receive my order of a folding shopper bag from Moody Cow Designs. Attractive and carefully stitched and so useful for someone who pops out on foot to shop locally. 'French' seamed to avoid any raw edges, Trish has chosen to make the final row of stitching an integral and attractive part of the design. The bags folds for ease of carrying until re-use and the folds are secured by a button and loop fastening. I will take care to include one of Trish's business cards in the parcel - I am sure her shop will appeal to my friend. I am very proud of the 'value' acheived by the money paid for that purchase. My friend will be delighted with her bag, and I am very happy to have bought from a fellow craft worker whose items I have long admired.
What value do I hope people find in the items which are purchased from Lynwoodcrafts? My items are individually and carefully hand-crafted. I use a variety of needle craft techniques. Many of the materials are from vintage, family stashes, others are hand-produced, such as the lovely fibres which I have recently sourced from My Heart Exposed Fibre and Yarns occasionally materials are recycled. I try to add originality and beauty to ordinary items - notepads, needle books, pincushions, key rings....... Lynwoodcrafts brooches are popular. I can't claim that brooches are 'practical' items - however, I do take care to ensure that they are carefully made to a high standard. My embroidered brooches are very distinctive and are stitched in many different styles - miniature landscapes, floral embroideries, stitchery 'reproductions' of famous masterpieces, abstract geometrical designs....... Felted, embroidered, knitted woven, beaded, crocheted all items embellished with hand embroidery. If you, or someone you know would see the 'value' in my embroidered, hand-crafted designs why not visit one of my shops - details on this blog - I look forward to seeing you!
This is today's listing at Lynwoodcrafts' shop at Folksy: