I have the recipe(s) for making whoopie(s)...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Craft Exchange and Ask A Friend

The Brother Sewing Machine I have yet to learn to use!

Sometimes you want to know a skill but you might not have the money or you do not know who to trust. I have only been in Fairfield county for five years and I really do not know the area. Brooklyn supposedly has a lot of great crafting places and artisan business but that is a little far from where I live. So there is no place really close that can teach me how to sew.
I was going to pay $50.00 a lesson at Sew Create and Celebrate in Norwalk. You have to send via mail cash or a check for 3 lessons ($150.00) before you can be scheduled. $50 for a private 1.5 hour class is actually not too bad for a stranger to teach you a new skill. I thought it was actually worth it until the owner emailed me back and said that it was not going to work because I cannot follow directions. That she does not want to waste her time with me and she rather save it for her sewing time.This was her response to me asking if I could pay via paypal. I had asked because she was talking about how she wanted the money ASAP. She apparently either does not know how to use paypal, this is not legitimate business (aka she does not pay the IRS any taxes for the services she provides) or it is a scam. I just think that is rude way to treat a potential client! I was trying to see the fastest way to pay the individual. But the proper way to respond back would have been something like "Sorry, I do not accept paypal. But don't worry you can pay for the session when you come via check or cash. I look forward to seeing you on (insert date)." But now I know this woman does not know how to treat a customer and she does not have the patience to teach!
But that rudeness made me think! It is hard to find someone to teach you things because you have to trust the person first. Fairfield County is very expensive and sometimes you try things and it is not worth the money! Sometimes the risk pays off but it is still sometimes just too expensive to keep up. It made me think of this article that I read about a Craft exchange. I think it was probably in either Real Simple or Living and I wish I had the article! One woman wanted to learn how to sew and was an amazing baker while the other woman was an excellent seamstress and wanted to learn how to bake. They found that they were able to get together and do rather inexpensive hangouts. It was something they could do together and they began to look forward to weekly. Plus who does not like fresh pastry and friendship?
I think that a craft exchange is an excellent idea because you trust your friends and you have seen their product! You have an idea if your friend is going to be a good teacher and it might just cost something you can barter. So maybe you are a marketing/business professional and your friend is a great artist that is trying to start a side business. You might be able to exchange your marketing/business talents or connections. Or you could just offer to get a great bottle of wine or dinner!
So that article I had read over three years ago was jogging in my mind. I am very fortunate to have very talented and artistic friends. Then I realized that I have a friend who knows how to sew who could teach me how to sew! She is a 45 minute train ride into NYC! I can bake but her recent weight loss and etc cookies is not the best exchange! But I offered to make cookies for another person or to make dinner for us that night. She texted me back that I would not have to barter but I still will at least give a hostess gift that she will like.

A perfect hostess gift for me, wink, wink! Macarons!
If you have a great friend like I do that says "oh no you do not have to bring anything or exchange anything." You need to make sure to bring something small that says that you appreciate the time that they took out of their busy life. Maybe if you are a suburbanite or country girl bring some baked goods, home made jam, fresh produce from a garden or fresh flowers. If you are an urban girl bring something that is hard to find items in suburbia/the country. I suggest bring a trendy crunut (croissant doughnut) that maybe the surburbanite or Country gal might have been wanting to try out or get something from a specialty store. I invited a friend for a weekend who lives in the city. She can be invited back anytime because she is a good guest and she brought me my first set of macarons and a specialty store chocolate fish! It was something I could not get where I was from and it floored me! That is a great example of a hostess gift. You do not have to spend a lot of money on the item but the idea that you have spent a little bit of time is what matters! And I think you can always do well with flowers that do not have a high pollen count because girls like flowers! Check out this post from Luxe Austerity.
I also want to learn how to use photoshop and I am thinking about being a freelance/professional photographer so I Facebooked and I emailed a friend who lives 2.5 hours away and I asked for advice. She is a graphic designer and I asked her basically do you think going to school for graphic design certificate (I have a B.A. already) would be good to learn or etc. Instead she surprised me she said no that would not probably be the best price way to get the information you want. Then she told me about Before & After Master Collection which compiles many articles that teach you how to do cool things with photoshop. She then let me in on a secret that you do not need to have a degree in Graphic Design to be a Graphic Designer and this was where she learned her basic skills! The Master Collection is only $179 (plus you have to purchase the most updated version of Adobe Photoshop, have a computer that can multi-task all these products and etc) but that is not that bad of an investment when the graphic design certificate program was going to cost me thousands. I also have this book Adobe Creative Suite for Dummies which I should read!
So the lesson is if you have a friend who is an expert in an area do not be afraid to ask for their advice! It is free advice and might not be the answers you are looking for but it can save you time and money! Do not be afraid to ask a friend to teach you a skill before you invest in a stranger.If you have a friend that gives time up to help you out make sure to be appreciative, arrive on time and at least come with a small gift. This way you can save money and you can reinvest in a friendship!