Peggy wrote to me this morning because she saw my article on free stuff in the current (April 17) issue of Family Circle and she wantedÂ more free stuff and money saving tips, “I am a very ancient old woman living on Social Security and could use the help,” she says. I don’t know Peggy â€“ though it was nice to e-meet her — but that description brought my mother to mind. (I always seem to write about her on Frugal Friday.) My mother is penny-wise but she’s also creative. She taught my daughter’s entire 3rd grade class to knit and every time I bump into a parent from that class, I hear tales of dedicated knitting. One boy â€“ he was nine at the time — became such a determined knitter that he courageously knit a pink baby blanket for the imminent arrival of his best friend’s baby sister while his big brother’s testosterone-fueled sleepover swirled around him. He was oblivious to the jeers, determined only to master casting off.
My mother also paints, sews, embroiders, and gardens. I think many people in her generation (and probably mine, though not me) do something creative. I know she considers these pursuits leisure activities and is careful about how much money she spends on them. From my perspective, though, these endeavors have all the earmarks of supplementary income.
At Etsy.com, artisans, crafty types, jewelry makers, knitters, painters, collectors, and all manner of people with a creative engine are selling their wares through virtual online shops directly to consumers. You don’t need to know about Web design, search engine optimization, or marketing. A lot of people â€“ even frugal people like me — love to shop at Etsy.com and will come there to browse. I have bought jewelry, purses, clothing, and other items from individuals here and the goods have all been beautiful, handmade, and inexpensive because the sellers don’t have to give a cut to some middle man. The bird nest pendant shown, for example, is from AdornJewelry and costs $37. I think my daughter (her name, Ava, means little bird, after all) might be getting one of those soon. I’m finding it irresistible.
I’m not crafty and I may be the only person my mother failed to teach to knit so I don’t sell on Etsy.com. Do any of you? If so, please post a comment for Peggy (and my Mum) about how it’s working out.