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Author Topic: But ... But ... It's Not Like It's Work! (Craft Freebies)  (Read 628075 times)

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VorFemme

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Re: But ... But ... It's Not Like It's Work! (Craft Freebies)
« Reply #825 on: April 04, 2014, 04:41:32 PM »
These stories all make me think of the tale of the factory which came to a complete standstill because of a malfunctioning piece of equipment. No one could fix it, so finally the owner, in desperation, called the top expert in the country to come in and consult.  The expert walks in, looks at the machine for a minute, and pushes a button.  Ta da!  The machine leaps into life and all is well.

A week later the factory owner gets a bill for $5000.50.  He calls the expert in a rage - how dare he charge that much to push a button?  The expert tells him, 'It's 50 cents to push the button.  It's $5000 to know which button to push'.

My mother knew a lady who used to be a secretary for a bigwig in a large company back in the fifties or sixties.  The version of that story I originally heard was about a generator & the inventory was flown in to fix it - turned out he listened to it and diagnosed wiring installed backwards in one place, which he marked with chalk....same fit thrown over how expensive the chalk mark was...

Her version was about a machine for the oil fields...she had to ask for an itemized bill because their accounting office was throwing hissy fits over the amount of money paid to fly the expert in, drive him to the installation in the field, only to have him make a couple of marks in chalk, and get driven back to the airport to go BACK on the airplane to his home office after about twenty minutes in the field, total. 

The itemized bill came in with the actual cost for the plane tickets (she'd made the reservations & had the invoices), the reasonable cost for the driver, the fifty cents or so for the package of sticks of chalk, and the large remaining amount for KNOWING the machinery well enough to diagnose the issue in twenty minutes instead of being billed at some high hourly cost for LONGER than twenty minutes....

Apparently the accounting office shut up and paid after being reminded that having the machinery out of commission for longer could have been much, much more expensive.  Especially if it burnt out and had to be replaced, not just a relatively minor repair due the inventor/engineer KNOWING the machine well enough to tell by sound what was wrong and how to fix it quickly.

And they had the itemized bill she'd submitted from the engineering consultant to file, so they'd dotted the "i" and crossed the "t" to their satisfaction.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2014, 04:43:07 PM by VorFemme »
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alkira6

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Re: But ... But ... It's Not Like It's Work! (Craft Freebies)
« Reply #826 on: April 04, 2014, 07:18:42 PM »
Quote
homemade vanilla bean ice cream on top of a homemade double chocolate brownie topped off with a brandied cherry sauce (homemade)

ohmygoodness.  I'm in a puddle of drool over here.

 ;D  I was having a good couple of days and expressed it in cooking.  There might be a 2-3 month dry spell between really gourmet meals, so most of my friends appreciate them when they come.

BB-VA

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Re: But ... But ... It's Not Like It's Work! (Craft Freebies)
« Reply #827 on: April 04, 2014, 08:54:13 PM »
Thipu-


You got it!  As a piano teacher, I get the "oh, music is SOO hard!  And then teaching it?!  Praises unto you!  That is so much work and a gift and a skill!"

or,
"well, why is my child not progressing?  You mean they have to practice regularly, not just go to lessons once a week?  All it is is pressing a few keys, once they can read the notes, what else is there?"

Yikes.  mostly I get the first ones.  :)

There was an episode of MASH where a young piano player lost one hand.  He was terribly depressed, and Charles spent a lot of time working with him without much success, including finding music that could be played with one hand.  Finally, Charles kinda lost it, and told the musician (paraphrased), "I have hands that can make a scalpel sing, but I would love to be able to do what you can.  I love music, and I want to make it - I can play the notes, but I cannot make the music.   

I can so relate to that.  I took piano lessons, and I could read music and play some pieces decently, and note-perfect - but I didn't have the skill to make it really expressive.    I wish more of your parents understood that.
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magician5

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Re: But ... But ... It's Not Like It's Work! (Craft Freebies)
« Reply #828 on: April 04, 2014, 09:17:07 PM »
Once upon a time, a long time ago (okay, maybe six years or so) I went to an art show with my friend, Ellen.  Another friend was showing her oil paintings in the show, so we were going to show support.  Artist friend is a professional artist-masters in fine arts, free lance art director working with a very well-known publisher, the whole nine yards.  Her landscape paintings reflect real talent, as well as literally decades of experience.  Her work is priced accordingly.  Ellen?  Couldn't believe someone would try to charge so much for a canvas and some paint, seeing what they cost at Michael's. 

I did bend her ear back just a bit about hand-stretched canvases and good paints versus the cheaper brands, not to mention the time that goes into just one painting, but I don't think she really cared.  You can buy what my old art teacher called "sofa art" for next to nothing and that's what it should cost, dontchya know?  Really my opinion of Ellen went way, way down that day.

"Good heavens, Mr. Picasso, this is just a few lines in black on a big white canvas ... and you say you want to charge money for this? My six-year-old could paint this!"
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VorFemme

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Re: But ... But ... It's Not Like It's Work! (Craft Freebies)
« Reply #829 on: April 04, 2014, 09:39:23 PM »
There is a supposedly true story about the Spanish Picasso trying to order a custom made piece of furniture in France (bedroom storage with drawers - whatever you want to call it).  He could not get the cabinet maker a clear verbal picture (or the cabinet maker couldn't give him BACK the message of whether or not the verbal picture was clear or not) - so he grabbed a piece of paper & knocked off a quick sketch of the desired piece.

Then he asked for a price.

The cabinet maker was able to let him know that all Monsieur Picasso had to do was "merely sign the sketch"!
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MommyPenguin

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Re: But ... But ... It's Not Like It's Work! (Craft Freebies)
« Reply #830 on: April 04, 2014, 10:01:09 PM »
It seems like there are two kinds of people in the world. 

Those who understand the skill, time and money it takes to make great crafts are likely to appreciate the prices asked for these objects.  Unfortunately, those who understand are often able to make these objects themselves and don't have to pay retail prices. 

The other sort are those who equate 'craft' with the Elmer's Glue and macaroni projects made in the first grade for Mother's Day gifts.  These folks think that anything over 10 dollars is way out of line for something that someone has made at home in their spare time. After all, it's just a hobby, isn't it?

I feel for artisans because finding a market for the things they produce can be very difficult.       

So true... and is this the source of the thought that handmade is less expensive? So many people think someone sews/beads/woodworks/etc. because it saves money. I know I've seen that mindset throughout my life. From building computers and making chocolate from the bean, DH and I know that making something is definitely *not* cheaper than buying it!

I think the difference between classic 'craft' and common 'craft' has been blurred, too. It has diminished the value of true craft and true craftsmanship so we no longer appreciate the practice or learning that have gone into a top-notch calligrapher, master woodworker, baker, or photographer.

I suspect it is even worse when people don't even recognize the skill, but just think it is a hobby, KWIM? Like taking advantage of a baker because, well, everybody's grandma bakes! It's not like it's that big of a deal.... so-and-so just really likes to do it. Or 'his photography can't be worth that much-- I can take pictures, too!', 'I don't need a calligrapher, my cousin bought a pen set and can write fancy.'

Perhaps some of that is that, before the age of Industrialization and mass production, homemade *was* cheaper.  Quilts were cheaper when they were made of leftover scraps of fabric than now, when they're made out of the pretty, expensive specialty fabrics.  Etc.  And now it's the reverse.
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RegionMom

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Re: But ... But ... It's Not Like It's Work! (Craft Freebies)
« Reply #831 on: April 04, 2014, 10:13:32 PM »
Sometimes I tell my students that robots can be programmed to play piano, but it takes human touch to make music. 

Machines can produce many things, but human touch is what makes it wonderful.

(that applies to many areas of life)
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oz diva

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Re: But ... But ... It's Not Like It's Work! (Craft Freebies)
« Reply #832 on: April 04, 2014, 10:17:09 PM »
I make jam for our school fair. The fair was held last week.

We had some complaints about the availability of stock - we make the jams ourselves from the fruit we are given. I had one complaint about the price of the mulberry and apple jam I made. I charged $8 for a small jar. That was because it was the most time consuming jam I made all year. We have a tree at school, it took several weeks to gather enough berries to make a batch (I freezed them while I was collecting them). As it turns out mulberries have a lot of big seeds, so I strained them out, turned out there wasn't much fruit left after than, so I combined it with apples. After all that work I had four small jars. Yes, I charged quite a lot for it.

We make quite a bit of jam, takes about 9 months. We make about $2,000 for the school every year.

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Dindrane

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Re: But ... But ... It's Not Like It's Work! (Craft Freebies)
« Reply #833 on: April 04, 2014, 10:56:33 PM »
I think one of the disconnects when it comes to handmade items and their cost is what people compare the handmade item to.

Nobody is going to save money by hand-making anything that would be for sale in your average chain or department store. I am currently knitting myself a hat. Just the materials are probably similar in cost to what a hat like this would cost at, say, Target, so I'm not really saving money.

But if I compare it to a hat that is actually similar (made of good quality yarn and knitted in a somewhat complex pattern), I'm quite sure I'd spend a whole lot more than I would on a hat from Target, even if I was buying a hat from a different commercial retailer.

There's also the fact that I do a lot of handmade stuff because I can't find exactly what I want for sale (except from people who make custom items one at a time, and charge accordingly). If I could find what I wanted at mass-production prices, I'd totally buy it. But most things just aren't quite what I'm looking for, and often cost more (even at mass-produced prices) than I'm willing to pay for something that isn't quite what I really want. If I'm going to spend that much money on something, my thinking goes, I really want it to be as close as possible to my vision for the thing (whatever that vision is). The only way to get that is to either make it myself or pay someone bespoke-level prices to make it for me.


Coruscation

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Re: But ... But ... It's Not Like It's Work! (Craft Freebies)
« Reply #834 on: April 05, 2014, 08:59:30 PM »
It seems like there are two kinds of people in the world. 

Those who understand the skill, time and money it takes to make great crafts are likely to appreciate the prices asked for these objects.  Unfortunately, those who understand are often able to make these objects themselves and don't have to pay retail prices. 

The other sort are those who equate 'craft' with the Elmer's Glue and macaroni projects made in the first grade for Mother's Day gifts.  These folks think that anything over 10 dollars is way out of line for something that someone has made at home in their spare time. After all, it's just a hobby, isn't it?

I feel for artisans because finding a market for the things they produce can be very difficult.       

So true... and is this the source of the thought that handmade is less expensive? So many people think someone sews/beads/woodworks/etc. because it saves money. I know I've seen that mindset throughout my life. From building computers and making chocolate from the bean, DH and I know that making something is definitely *not* cheaper than buying it!

I think the difference between classic 'craft' and common 'craft' has been blurred, too. It has diminished the value of true craft and true craftsmanship so we no longer appreciate the practice or learning that have gone into a top-notch calligrapher, master woodworker, baker, or photographer.

I suspect it is even worse when people don't even recognize the skill, but just think it is a hobby, KWIM? Like taking advantage of a baker because, well, everybody's grandma bakes! It's not like it's that big of a deal.... so-and-so just really likes to do it. Or 'his photography can't be worth that much-- I can take pictures, too!', 'I don't need a calligrapher, my cousin bought a pen set and can write fancy.'

Perhaps some of that is that, before the age of Industrialization and mass production, homemade *was* cheaper.  Quilts were cheaper when they were made of leftover scraps of fabric than now, when they're made out of the pretty, expensive specialty fabrics.  Etc.  And now it's the reverse.

I think that's partly it but labour is a big part too. The cloth only had to be cheaper than the made item. The housewife's labour was free. If it took 20 hours to knit a sweater and you only saved 20% of the cost, you were still ahead, especially if you were living very close to poverty.

Jocelyn

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Re: But ... But ... It's Not Like It's Work! (Craft Freebies)
« Reply #835 on: April 05, 2014, 10:13:33 PM »
It's not just industrialization- it's internationalization. When I was a kid, my mom could buy fabric and make our clothes more cheaply than she could buy them. Now? A major manufacturer can get the fabric woven cheaply overseas, and the garments made cheaply. Home sewing is now about creativity, not about necessity. I can buy 3 blouses on sale at Macy's for what it costs to make one. 
I have scraps from my mother's sewing, dating back to the 1950s. The quality of the fabric is amazing, compared to what I can buy in most fabric stores now. I'd have to be paying upwards of $11-12 a yard to get the quality my mother bought for under a dollar a yard back then. Sure, there's inflation...but not that much.

Coruscation

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Re: But ... But ... It's Not Like It's Work! (Craft Freebies)
« Reply #836 on: April 06, 2014, 02:33:27 AM »
According to an inflation calculator, $1 in 1950 is worth $9.74 today.

Hillia

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Re: But ... But ... It's Not Like It's Work! (Craft Freebies)
« Reply #837 on: April 06, 2014, 09:24:04 AM »
The other way that sewing can save you money is if you have special fitting requirements.  My MIL sewed most of the shirts for my FIL and her two sons after they hit puberty.  FIL is over 6'4" and very skinny (and extremely picky) and both sons are over 6'4" and very not skinny.  They lived in a tiny rural area where the biggest store was WalMart, and there weren't many other options.  Internet service there is terrible, and online shopping wasn't a thing then, so the best way to get the men into shirts that fit was to buy fabric at WalMart and sew them herself.  Had they been standard sizes, it would have been cheaper to just buy them, but this was the only option at the time.  Even now that you can order just about any size online, for some things the extra cost for special sizes is ridiculous.  I wish I could make Tshirts -  regular plain men's colored Tshirts might go on sale for $5-10 each; the best 'sale' I can get on the 6XLT that DH wears is about $18 each if I buy in lots of 5.

VorFemme

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Re: But ... But ... It's Not Like It's Work! (Craft Freebies)
« Reply #838 on: April 06, 2014, 12:31:00 PM »
Fashion Patterns by Connie Crawford (she also has a line in the Butterick catalog) goes up to 6X - on her website, she used to do (and may still do) come custom patterns for basic pants, shirts, and the like.  Basic pants and a t-shirt for a guy might be worth the investment in the custom pattern. 

Nobody cares if your black pants are cut to the same pattern as your navy, brown, and khaki pants or if you have ten t-shirts that are identical except for color....or polo shirts, if he wants to dress up a level to "business casual" instead of "casual" (or are the t-shirts you're looking for white underwear shirts?).

I'm assuming you could learn to sew.  Or possibly he could...getting clothes that FIT comfortably is very motivating!
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I explain?

Hillia

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Re: But ... But ... It's Not Like It's Work! (Craft Freebies)
« Reply #839 on: April 06, 2014, 01:51:00 PM »
Fashion Patterns by Connie Crawford (she also has a line in the Butterick catalog) goes up to 6X - on her website, she used to do (and may still do) come custom patterns for basic pants, shirts, and the like.  Basic pants and a t-shirt for a guy might be worth the investment in the custom pattern. 

Nobody cares if your black pants are cut to the same pattern as your navy, brown, and khaki pants or if you have ten t-shirts that are identical except for color....or polo shirts, if he wants to dress up a level to "business casual" instead of "casual" (or are the t-shirts you're looking for white underwear shirts?).

I'm assuming you could learn to sew.  Or possibly he could...getting clothes that FIT comfortably is very motivating!

Thanks for the info!  I do sew but am no good at altering patterns,so my attempts to finish. Him have pretty bad.  I'll have to check these out.