Support Your Local Craftswoman

By the way, have you seen the movie Support Your Local Sheriff? Rarely have I seen a comedy that is just as funny today as it was in the 1960’s. (And yes, I’m assuming it was funny in the 1960s, and I think, in this case, I will not be making a you-know-what out of  ‘you’ and ‘me’ by doing so. So what I’m saying is, you really should watch this James Garner classic).

However, this post has nothing to do with sheriffs or classic western comedies; rather, it is about the one area of life that I have decided to “go green”, my next best thing to a Farmer’s Market…

This is a post about discovering and then applauding and supporting the talents and crafts of my friends.

It is astounding to me to watch the people I grew up with, and even some of the kids I taught in children’s choir, become first amateurs and then experts in various fields of work. And by opening my eyes to their gifts, I have come to a startling realization…

1. I don’t have to pay huge bucks for beautiful things, and

2. In supporting the work of my local craftswoman (or man!), I can have beautiful things, and also have a great story behind each item.

It all started when I began shopping for furniture for my home. I quickly came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on couches and chairs, not because I didn’t want them, but because I didn’t want to become an inhospitable ol’ hag. Just looking at that Martha Stewart for Bernhardt linen upholstered settee made me want to yell at my kids for sitting on it, and they were upstairs asleep and the settee was on my computer screen. So instead, by what I assume was the gracious Spirit of God sanctifying me and pulling me further away from the ridiculous things of this world, I said buh-bye to expensive furniture (for the most part) and went junk hunting instead.

And you know what’s funny? Within weeks, I found a really similar settee for $150. The only problem was that it was covered in mauve faux velvet, faux velvet that shed all over my laminate floor everytime we sat on that settee or got up from that settee. Super-ugly and super-gross.

Each piece of furniture that I found on my treasure hunts had an issue, from the $75 hunter green wingback I purchased at the same store, as well as the $40 floral armchair I bought at a consignment shop and the $12 side chair I bought at an antique store. They all had great bones, but reupholstering them was not a question.

That is, until I began searching for upholsterers in Tulsa. I knew I was in over my head when I went to a popular fabric store to get an estimate on the wingback. After picking out a fabric and consulting with the manager, she gave me an estimate: $1000.  “Ummm…I already own the chair.” I said, thinking she assessed that I would be purchasing the chair from them, as well. “Oh, yes, yes, I know.” she said, and went on to break down that exhorbitant cost, $400 for the fabric, $600 for the labor. I mumbled something pathetic like “I have to go home and pray about it” and fled the premises.

To make a long story short, I decided to cut the big city out of the picture and started shopping local. The happy ending is that I got my settee reupholstered in a super-marked down bolt of remnant fabric for about $250, and that included the fabric and the labor. I personally know the woman who reupholstered it, I am proud of her handiwork, and the finished product looked just like something out of the pages of a Pottery Barn catalogue. (That is, until my children started sitting on it – there is a perfect dirty handprint on the seat that I just can’t bring myself to remove. I would not have felt that way about my fancy Martha Steward settee, I assure you).

So all that to say this: the people God has brought into your life are fearfully and wonderfully made. Take the time and opportunity to encourage their amazing God-given talents, whether they are making vintage-inspired jewelry or quilts or cakes or hairbows, or are mastering the art of cooking or photography. Or, you know, they might be blogging? So you could, like, support that by cleaning their house for them or taking their kids on an extended trip to Colorado or by buying them a new state-of-the-art laptop. You know…whatever. Just pray about it…

Anyhow, I am thrilled to showcase some of the treasures I have purchased from friends who grew up right here in Smalltown U.S.A. in a series of posts titled “Support Your Local ________”. Stay tuned! And get your wallets ready…

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