Back on the Road Less Taken


Beautiful Washington State!

After taking a holiday break, the "How I Supported" series resumes with this first post of 2012!

Those of you that are new to Gingerbread Snowflakes in the past three or four months can read more about the "How I Supported" series here and also by reading this post and also this post by Diane over at CraftyPod - the originator of the concept of making an intentional effort every month to support INDY and Free internet content.

In a nut shell, I am following in Diane's footsteps and setting aside a budget to make it possible for me to purchase from shop owners who also provide free content ie: patterns or tutorials or useful information on their blogs. I also include purchases from local and online INDY merchants.

Making this decision has - happily - turned out to be very satisfying and lots of fun! And I am hoping that more of you will join in - one way or another because, as anyone who provides original content on their blog on a regular basis knows, it takes a LOT of work, time and dedication.

Buy from a blogger's shop, or support them by means of a donation through Flattr or donate directly. Really, it is a small thing to do to show your appreciation and support - and to ensure that all that "free" content keeps flowing.

I was so thrilled to read that Tsoniki - "me being crafty" - has also decided to follow in Diane's footsteps! Read her thoughts here! So be sure to add her blog to your reader so you can keep up with who and how!

And Fanie left a comment on Diane's post last month sharing that she is also going to join in! Her blog can be found here!

Picture 8

Crocheted Ball Ornaments by AterCrochet

So who did I support during the month of January??

Well, just about the first thing I did in the new year was to purchase TWO copies of this gorgeous Crocheted Christmas Ball pattern created by AterCrochet and sold in the shop. One copy for me and one for Diane!

I sent Diane a link to this pattern with the words attached - "for Christmas - please, please, please! " As you know I never learned to crochet!

In less than a month's time, I had sent the poor girl about three other patterns with the same words attached! So it should have been no surprise when she sent me an e-mail suggesting she teach me to crochet!


I immediately ordered the patterns and I am happy to tell you I have completed three of these simple balls found in Holly Days Closet in preparation for my next lesson! I am confident that by Christmas I will have mastered the beautiful multicolored crocheted ball ornament.


There is a lovely new yarn shop in Portland called Urban Fiber Art! Melissa at Make One Yarns sent me there in search of roving for more holiday ornament needle felting!

If you are anywhere within a 100 mile radius of Portland or plan a visit this year, be sure to make the effort to visit Urban Fiber Art. Overwhelming abundance of fiber happiness! And a huge selection of hand dyed and hand spun yarns from brilliant local (Oregon) fiber artists.

My friend Meg - MegaCrafty - got me started using cookie cutters to define needle felted shapes and I am hooked - er barbed - stabbed? What ever - there is no turning back for me now! I am a confirmed needle felter!

And I owe Meg a giant snowflake as a thank you so I purchased 4 ounces of snowy white roving for snowflakes and 4 ounces of variegated red roving for a secret project! Let me tell you, leaving that shop without a skein or two of hand dyed yarn was painful! But I promised my sweetie - only roving!


While we were at Make One Yarns, my sweetie picked out this gorgeous burgandy yarn so I could knit him a hat! I wish he had told me sooner he would like a hat! Funny how you live with someone forever and still don't know them!

His hat is almost completed!


Yarnia house yarn "Kelowna II" used for a little girl's hat at Christmas.  Making one for me now with the same yarn!

I just held my second Annual Yarnia Gift Certificate Giveaway! And congratulations to the winner - Veila!

Usually when I have a giveaway, I use it as an opportunity to support an online shop owner like Lindsey at Yarnia who is also providing free tutorials, patterns, or how-to's on a blog outside of the shop. So, in most cases, I pay the cost of the giveaway. Occasionally, a shop owner will insist on sharing in the cost, or perhaps offer me the opportunity for a giveaway at their expense; but most of the time it is my way of financially supporting the online community of shop owners that provide so much valuable content.

So I have had an idea I want to share and I am asking for your input.

I am thinking - just thinking at this stage - of this idea. Instead of making a personal purchase in an online shop, what if I held a giveaway each month for a gift certificate to an online shop. The winner could then visit and select what she likes - staying within the amount of the gift certificate or using it toward purchasing something a little more expensive.

I am thinking in this way I would be giving these shop owners even more support in the form of traffic - because everyone will want to pop over and browse! And at the same time giving them the financial support by purchasing a gift certificate.

What do you think? Do you feel it is still consistent with Diane's original intent to support Free?


My sweet Dala Stamp made by Fanie

It would be hard, now that I am addicted to intentionally purchasing a little monthly gift for myself, to give that up. But I think the giveaway idea would better serve the community.

In case some of you are not aware of it, I do not have giveaways to build readership. Never have and never will. (Nothing wrong with doing that it is just not my personal intent.)

In most cases, I simply have giveaways because I see it as a way to share with the community of bloggers and to support the shop owners in my little corner of internet space. So that is why you will sometimes hear me whining about my friends not entering giveaways.  The giveaways are for them!!!

So what do you think about my online shop gift certificate idea? Won't you please share your thoughts?

I was thinking every other

I was thinking every other month too. I used to randomly support small businesses but since you and Diane have been talking about how you do it each month I have adopted the same thing. I think it is important to show a little handmade love and support each month.

I make an online purchase each month and I try to find someone locally to buy from also. There are so many little Mom and Pop type stores around here that need some love and support. So many little shops are going out of business locally it's sad.

I LOVE those needle felted

I LOVE those needle felted ornaments. I've got to make a few of them!

Pam, Your crochet looks good,

Your crochet looks good, your support of the community is lovely, your continued thoughts on how to support the community is also lovely, and the gift certificate is a great idea. Mostly, because I think that unless a crafter's family is very tuned in, they would not get gift certificates to the kind of indy shops you'd be supporting but are they kind they probably would most like. And I think this is the first time I've been chastised in a blog - so yes, I'll enter your giveaways. :) ;) xoxo

I think that's a fantastic

I think that's a fantastic idea, Pam, thanks for sharing. I'm posting the idea on my blog, too. you're right, we could all probably spend at least $5-$10 a month and support each other.

Dear Pam Sounds like a great

Dear Pam
Sounds like a great idea and worth investigating. Couldn't the gift be transferred via email to remove shipping charges and instead of monthly, maybe every second month so you wouldn't have to give up your addiction entirely.

LOVE the photo!!! I love the

LOVE the photo!!! I love the felted cookie cutter thingees. In fact I looked at a felting needle and wool at Hobby Lobby. But it was too much for me this week. It's on my "wish list" though!!!

I think gift certificates are

I think gift certificates are most definitely the way to go - and very much in the spirit of the idea. As you mentioned, it probably drives more traffic their way!

Awesome idea, but maybe you

Awesome idea, but maybe you want to do it every other month so you can still get some of your shopping in :)
I think it is very much in the spirit of supporting "free."
Can't wait to see Sweeties hat-- though I am betting it is not pink like the one in the photo! :)

Oops!  You are betting

Oops!  You are betting right!  Pink hat is NOT "sweeties" hat!  Better fix that!

I like your idea of every other month!  Thank you!  This sounds like a very good solution!

I totally need to try Meg's

I totally need to try Meg's cookie cutter trick, I loved it in December and love what you've done with it Pam.

Speaking as a former winner,

Speaking as a former winner, I absolutely loved getting your box in the mail! It was so much fun opening the "mystery" package. :-) A gift certificate is a happy thing to get, but it lacks your personal touch...which was great! That being said, I would have to urge you to consider changing to the gift certificates--just to save you $$$$ in shipping charges! I think that purchasing certificates would still support the Free market.

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, June. 

I hadn't even considered the "personal touch" and "mystery package" aspects!

Shipping charges!  Hadn't thought!  But my sweetie will appreciate you pointing that out!