Following My Hero on a Road Less Taken

invertdragonfly

Diane is doing something that I think is really cool!

What am I saying? I think almost everything she does is really cool!

What is she doing? Taking the road less traveled and embarking on a journey that will hopefully lead to a more sustainable solution for all bloggers trying to make a living from their crafty and artistic endeavors.

Early this year, while trying to understand "Free" and how it fits into a sustainable business model, she started doing something on line that totally appealed to me.

free!

Image by Shira Golding

The following words are taken from a post Diane recently published on Craftypod - Free and Sustainability and Community and Money.

 "Since I’m self-employed, I’ll be honest: while non-monetary support in the form of comments and email is always lovely, it’s financial support that really keeps CraftyPod going. But you know what? Until about mid-way through 2010, I’d always had the “I can’t afford to help support others” perception, too.

Then, I had a realization – blogging is a community sport. For pete’s sake, I say this all the time to my students and friends. If you want more people to comment on your blog, you have to go out there and comment on other people’s blogs. And it finally dawned on me: if I want more financial support for my blog, then I’d better get out there and support other bloggers.

I realized that I’d simply have to figure out a way to afford it – and that there would necessarily be limits to what I could do. But doing something is better than doing nothing.

So, over the next six months I bought a consulting session from Kirsty. I signed up for Mercedes‘ yarn club. I ordered zines from Kristin, Amy, and Linda. Turned out I was able to afford these small things, and giving my few dollars to people who’ve given me so much Free value day in and day out – that felt amazing.

In fact, my goal for 2011 is to make this a monthly practice no matter how broke or flush I may feel each month."

 

And she has proceeded to follow through by posting about her support of community members each month - January and February and March - not as she says - to be a "hero" but because she knows we are watching and therefore posting will help keep her accountable and on track.

By her example, I believe that she is hoping to encourage more of us to make an active effort to support fellow members of our lovely crafty online community.

Irispondorcas

Her words - about simply having to figure out a way to afford supporting others because no matter how little or much is possible, every bit of support is better than no support - moved me to create my own "action plan".

And so this post is MY first post of the year to share my own journey to, in my own small way, help sustain bloggers who not only are providing a wealth of free content online but also are trying to make at least a part of their income from art and craft.

Like so many others today, our household is on a pretty tight budget. Discretionary spending is at an all time low! But the amount set aside every month doesn't have to be a big number. Start at $5.00 or $10.00 if that is where you are comfortable. The deal is - there is always strength in numbers!  The more of us actively supporting eachother the better off our community will be.

Just making up my mind to take that one little step - establishing a budget amount specifically for purchases from fellow bloggers, even as small as it may be - actually opened a couple doors that suddenly made it all work for me. 

First, there was the excitement that I actually had money set aside to go shopping! It's kinda like someone giving you a cash birthday present every month! It's fun! And no guilt attached!

Secondly, by making the decision to set aside a certain amount every month I set something else in motion that is very powerful - INTENTION. Once any one of us makes up our minds to do something, by that very act we become a conduit for intention.

So what that means is that now, when I need or want a knitting pattern, new sock yarn, a special gift, to learn a new skill, through intention, I am retraining my habitual behavior. I shop my on line community instead of running out to the local big box craft store or gift shop or book store.

And another unexpected bonus! I have started another list! I love this list! "Things I Want"! A place to store links to things I find at a time when my monthly budget has already been exhausted!

 

So! I know you are all just dying of curiosity by now!

Here is what I purchased this past month of March to follow my daughter's lead and support free online content made by self employed artists and crafters!

mice for blog

Image from Bustle and Sew

I subscribed to the new Bustle and Sew Magazine. As I said in a recent post, I am finding the content of this online magazine to be excellent, fun to read and 45 to 60 pages of beautiful illustrations and great patterns and how-tos for almost anything to do with yarn, needle or thread.

I am sincerely hoping this model is successful - great content at a price that every person in the web universe can afford.

sweetsheep-hhl-shop

Image from Hedgehog Lane

While preparing my "Thank you series" I discovered Katy's pattern for these adorable lambs and one for the cutest little felted piggy bank at in her online shop Hedgehog Lane.

What I love about online patterns is that they are very well priced and you get only the patterns you really want. I have invested in so many books over the years only to find that there is usually one project or a handful of recipes that actually appeal to me enough for me to get to the making part.

And then there is a very special reward when I make something using a pattern designed by a friend I have met online. Whatever it is - a hat, a bunny, a bag, an embroidery, even a bowl of soup - becomes a joint expression of both of our minds and hearts and therefore takes on even more meaning to me.

P1100034

I ordered yarn to make another felted bag like this one from Sarah who owns "Knot Another Hat" - a wonderful little indie yarn shop in Hood River, Oregon. I made my purchase through her online shop.

With this purchase, I have officially begun my Christmas gift shopping and crafting! And it is my intention this year to turn to the indie shops and primarily online shops for most of that shopping!

saori_sunrise_20

Image from Weaving a Life

I just ordered three small hanks of handspun yarn from Amelia at Ask The Bellwether. Remember I told you I was going to be adding some of her handspun yarn to the special Saori weaving project to make this bag this year?

My Mother sent me several skeins of natural, undyed handspun yarns made by Navajo women who also raise the sheep that provide the wool. Amelia supports women involved in this kind of similar industry through her shop. I found three small hanks that she spun herself that will work perfectly into the weaving.

My goal with this Saori weaving is to include only yarns that are created by hand.

If you are a spinner/knitter/weaver you will want to visit Amelia's online shop and keep up with her blog. Many of her blog posts on weaving and looms have been very, very helpful.

She has this cool little Learn to Spin kit for beginners which is on my "Things I Want" list already! Who knows, maybe I will be ordering roving from her and adding a bit of my own handspun to the Saori weaving!

DSCN1648

So - there you have it for March!

I hope some of you will also follow Diane's lead and even if you don't make it public, you will create the intention and budget to support your sisters (and brothers - sorry - not leaving the men out) who are providing so much free and fabulous content in the crafty blogiverse as well as those who are striving to sustain indie businesses.

If those of us who directly benefit from the efforts, time, talent and generosity of the crafty bloggers hanging out in our corner of the blogiverse don't support them, who will?

Yes, this is a great post,

Yes, this is a great post, Pam. :-D
I'm also trying to encourage bloggers and "free". And I really believe your idea is one of the best one. To take a certain amount of money and "spend" it somewhere, on the blogosphere, every month. It's very simple and do-able. :-)

I tried adding Flattr, but since the cost is in UK dollars, it didn't work for me on the long-run. You remind me that I need to post an update on my blog about this.

Oh, and by the way, I dreamed of you last night! :-p I was going to Portland and you were showing me around and we were crafting together. Eheh! What a great dream it was! :-D

Great post- I've been reading

Great post- I've been reading a lot on Diane's journey through sustainable free and it's been very inspiring/encouraging.

Love Diane and love this. (Oh

Love Diane and love this. (Oh yeah, and YOU)

This is a great post, Pam!

This is a great post, Pam! Very well written, and I love the items you picked to buy from your fellow bloggers/crafters! I agree with you and Diane that this is an important step we need to take to support small handmade business! Plus, it's just plain fun to buy from people you know!!

What a great post! I used to

What a great post! I used to only search for free patterns when I needed a special gift to knit or crochet. Now I look at patterns to purchase first. I love the idea of supporting those that are trying to make a living from their crafts and talents. Like you, I have a budget but since I am careful with my spending I can buy a pattern or supplies each month from a fellow blogger. First, it's fun to shop online and buy a few things. Then it is a bonus when the package arrives and you get to open it.

I agree, and I think that we

I agree, and I think that we all need to re-train ourselves, not only as to where we look for supplies and value, but also for ideas and purpose! You are so right; I have books I bought only to use one thing out of them! I would love it if more of us would take your lead and Diane's lead.

Thanks for a great post! I don't knit or sew or felt or any of those things, but there are a multitude of tutorials on things I DO do (I said doo-doo.. hehe!), and it's not really that difficult, people! to find them!

I love the idea of supporting

I love the idea of supporting fellow bloggers. You did a great job shopping!
I plan to start this month and buy something from an online blogger each month.

There is so much talent out there, it is time to acknowledge it and keep them in business.

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