Friday, June 29, 2012

Apart and A Part are not the same thing

The English Language is confusing. But people make it more so. Or maybe it is language that makes people confusing. It could be both.

People thinking that a part and apart are interchangeable has been driving me nuts. It isn't like "a lot" which, if you smush it together "alot" is incorrect... but still readable. Just wrong. However, the "apart", "a part" phenomenon adds a whole 'nother level of wrong. Consider:

"I love being apart of you guys!"
Um, you like being part of us, or are you just messing with me? Like one of those nasty-nice kind of comments?

"My hand is apart of my arm!"
Yeah, you should see a doctor about that. And an English teacher.

Here is a simple way to remember it: If the two words are apart, that means it isn't. That is to say, when you use the two words, with a space, it is telling people you are connected. A part of something. But when it is one word, connected, it means that something is divided.

See, isn't that easy? Makes total sense. Right? Um... right??

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Voila is not the same as Wah-la

The blogging equivalent of nails on a chalkboard is taking the beautiful French word "voila", and completely butchering it to make the hacked-up "wah la".

It is also the fastest way to get me to un-follow your blog.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Crafting is not Cheap

Handmade gifts are many things. They are special. They often have personal touches or are personalized. They can take a lot of time to make. Lots of thought and care goes into their creation.
They are not cheap.

Those of us who have the skills to create know this. But in case you are not talented in the areas of sewing, knitting, painting, pottery, photography, beadwork, needlework, or any other craft or hobby, let me explain to you the economics of handmade.

Behind each quilt that I make is hundreds of dollars of classes, and hundreds of hours of learning how to quilt. The same goes for knitting, painting, furniture making, or other crafts.
Yes, hand-crafters absolutely enjoy this time absorbing new skills - but that isn't the point. Developing this talent takes an investment of both time and money, and that has value.

A sewing machine can cost a couple hundred dollars, up to many thousands of dollars. But this isn't the only tool I need to make a quilt. I need a rotary mat, rotary cutter, rulers, seam ripper, needles, pins, patterns, scissors... an investment of hundreds of dollars in tools. There are similar up-front investments for most crafts. Lots of money is spent before someone can paint their first painting, carve their first sculpture, or throw their first pot.

Fabric costs $10-$12 a yard. Most quilts need at least 5 yards of fabric for the front and back. There are other supplies as well that are equally expensive. Only yesterday, I spent over $10 on a spool of thread, and $20 on a bag of batting. These are supplies that are consumed each time I quilt, and they add up fast. Knitters use yarn. Jewelry makers use beads, gems, and precious metals.
Sure, we have some supplies on hand. But these supplies cost money. And after using them, we'll need to buy replacement materials for our next project.

Third-Party Resources
Often, I have a quilt "quilted" by a professional long-arm quilter. This is the final stitching that stitches the top to the back, with the batting inside. Depending on the size of the quilt and the complexity of the design, I have spent anywhere from $75 up to over $300 to have a quilt quilted. Similarly, a photographer might have a print professionally framed. A crafter working in clay might need to rent the use of a kiln. This is an additional expense over and above the cost of the materials in order to complete the project.

All of these bills add up. The tools, the supplies, the skills, and the add-ons to create the perfect gift. A gift made with love. With you in mind. One of a kind, it does not come with a gift receipt.

You can't put a value on a handmade gift... except to say that handmade gifts are definitely not cheap.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Over-use of the Exclamation Point

Not sure if you are guilty of adding far too many exclamation points?

Read the last sentence you wrote. And the one before that. And the one before that. If they all end with an exclamation point, or any one has multiple exclamation points, the verdict is in.