Why We Craft


Remnants of a glorious past: At Shively Park in Astoria, Oregon.


Yesterday, I shared a story about why we craft over on my facebook page. It’s an amazing story, and I hope you’ll pop over there to read it. 

However, it’s not my story. And it occurs to me that the why of what we craft is as deeply individual as the what; like the things we make, our impulses to be creative are ours. And there’s never just one reason, is there? 

(Whispering: I was raised with that old axiom, “You should never talk about religion or money in polite company”. . . and I’m about to break it on both fronts in this post. I still think y’all are polite company: but I hope you’ll read on! )

In my case, I shuttered Mireio last year because I was overwhelmed by a new job. It was so much to absorb, I didn’t think I had enough energy to work, volunteer, and be creative. Today, I’m working 3x as much–though I think I understand my job better! But in reality, there should be even less time to be creative. It’s plate spinning 101: if you run fast enough, perhaps nothing will drop?

But I missed it. I missed making. I missed photographing my adventures. And, I won’t lie, I missed the revenue. While money isn’t the only reason we make, it’s often a big part for those of us who choose to sell our wares. Or, maybe it isn’t for you — but I need the money, and making is just one way I can contribute to our household’s bottom line.

This year, my adorable 16 year old decided he wanted to go to college rather than spend 2 more years in independent study as a homeschooled student. “Ok, we said — you’ll need to pass your GED”. He took up the challenge and passed with honors in May. So, a deal is a deal? Right? And while we’re beyond proud of him, there is the reality of college tuition and books. Geo opted, due to his age, to go to our local community college: so, there is that! But even so, it’s an additional $500 a month.

Ok, so now I’m not just talking money, I’m talking numbers. I’m officially gauche. 

Here’s the thing: the part of all this making that scares me the most is the part where I have to sell what I make. I really despise that part. Every post I put up, telling you what I’m up to, I have that old axiom in my head: whispering in a fine southern drawl that feels more like a shout. I feel bad to intrude on your life, on your facebook page, on your twitter stream (I don’t even talk about it in person, even when people ask I demure) because I’m petrified of breaking a very old rule.

Most of my friends promote their wares endlessly. And I’m not appalled by it. I’m in awe of them! I wish I could be so brave.

So, this spring: when it became clear that our son was going to pass his GED and embark on his college career in September: I reversed my course and began reimagining what Mireio could be. I reopened my doors and I started talking to you about what I as up to.

Not as much as I can. Probably not even as much as I should: but here I am.

And here’s the thing, (this is the religious part: or the faith part as I’d like to think about it!) I’m not the only one who needs the money. I’ve talked about it before on this page, (My peas were an abysmal failure, le sigh) Oregon is a HUNGRY state, our county one of the most hungry. As I’ve sat with how to make my little store more profitable, I’ve also sat with the paradox of how blessed we truly are as a family. Despite our penny pinching, we are still able to put food on the table! There are others in my community who are not as fortunate. So, when a woman shared in church a few weeks ago that the food bank cupboards were bare of anything protein related and that there was a dearth of personal care items like soap; I knew I had to make Mireio count for more than just my little family’s growing fiscal need. 

Faith is believing in what cannot be seen. But that doesn’t mean God denies us the tangibles too! And here they are:

You don’t have to buy from Mireio. That’s ok. But when you do, I want you to know WHAT you are buying.

  • You’re buying books for a bright 16 year old who has dreams of changing the world as well as paying for his tuition.
  • You’re buying food for very hungry kids here in Clatsop County.*
  • You’re buying something beautiful to hold and keep; or give — that was made with love and care and a whole lot of faith. Faith that believes even a small gesture can change the world.

This, this is why I craft. I would love to know why YOU craft. 

More numbers: just how MUCH to the Clatsop County Foodbank? I’m donating 10% of the purchase price of each item sold on Mireio. I’ll be buying protein, mainly. And soap when I can find it on sale, so that the money goes FAR!  In real terms, when  you buy a $35 Buckwheat Hull Pillow, $3.50 will go to the foodbank.  The rest will go toward my kid’s college tuition and restocking supplies so I can keep on MAKING! 

Keeping Your Creative Edge

Sometimes, One of A Kind is wonderful. New to Mireio: Hand lined vintage straw beach bag.



I think like most artists, I sometimes struggle with the sameness of what I do. I find myself daydreaming about a jewelry line or a clothing line or a “that’s just amazing thingamajigit” line. It’s not that I don’t love making the things I make,  I do, I do! It’s just that at times I want to try something new. Something different. Something outside my comfort zone, or something to challenge my skill-set and help me grow.

There is a special balance to keeping your store well-stocked. If you strike it correctly, then you have time to make new items AND fill current orders. But it doesn’t leave much time for CREATIVITY.  It’s the curse of being busy—one I am deeply grateful for, even if I lament just a bit the loss of exploration.

And then there is the question of multiples. As store owners, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself on this one. You spend a ton of time sourcing and launch into a supply buying frenzy before you’ve really figured out if this new passion is really for you!  I’ve found my-self down that particular rabbit hole far too many times.

When you create using vintage and upcycled goods, there is a nagging thought that sticks with you, “Yes, this is perfect. But it’s just ONE. Can you actually make more?” A lot of time can be invested sourcing only to discover that as much as you love your creation, it can’t be easily reproduced. Which throws a big old wet towel on you burning desire for creativity.

Darn it! What’s an artist to do?


I’ve come to a conclusion. It’s OK to do one of kind things. Even if those things are completely unrelated to what I typically create for Mireio. I can make anything I want to! And I should. When the muse strikes, I’m not going to spend dozens of hours researching the details and specifics. I’m not going to get ahead of myself ordering supplies to make LOTS. I’m just going to MAKE. ONE.

And I’ve come to another conclusion. It’s OK to sell those one of a kind things! Even if those things are unrelated to what I typically create for Mireio! If my moment of creativity becomes something I want share —then Mireio is all the better for it. It doesn’t dilute my line or my brand or my niche (no matter what the artist-run business pundits might advise.) It just means that Mireio will reflect my passion and creativity —and those of you who follow my work will have an opportunity to collect something completely unique and wonderfully Mireio.

I’m convinced this exercise in giving myself permission to be creative has had a powerful influence on the rest of my work. Taking time to be creative, to just create because you WANT to, not because you have an order to fill, or need to stock your store, is invigorating.

So, if you find yourself wishing to make something different, something beyond what you normally do. DO IT! But do it just ONCE. Don’t spend time sourcing out supplies to make more at a better profit. Don’t even think profit. Think CREATIVITY! Do, and be inspired. And share your creation if you so choose. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make!

Where I’ve Been

A glimpse into my studio: buttons, buttons, buttons!

Where have I been? Where have YOU been? I hope outside playing and enjoying summer. I’ve been splitting my time between a stack of library books and doing time in the studio. And I’ve been photo-journaling my summer over on Evidently.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the fall launch and making plans, sourcing new products, and getting ready for the big 2 year Anniversary in August. There will be a SALE! as always and I hope you’ll tune in to see all the new and amazing things I have in store for Mireio as we head into the Fall.

But not just yet… soon! I’ll keep you all posted and hope you’ll keep in touch! There’s still plenty of time for playing in the sun and I’m hoping to squeeze in some of that while I work on all the surprises in store for Mireio!

So, tell me… what have YOU been doing?

The Best of Etsy — The Ultimate Craft List

There’s something about September that gets me thinking about holiday crafting. Not everything on my gift lists will be handmade, but I try to include at least one thing I’ve made each year. Having a store helps, but even so—there are just so many candles and pillows my family wants. I think I might have saturated that market a bit. . . so I’m working on collecting new ideas for this season.

Below you’ll find beginnings of  a resource list I hope to keep adding to, so we’ll call this Part One. It’s separated into 4 categories—Supplies, Fiber, Diy kits, and Fabric. As I find new ideas for “making” this holiday, I’m going to keep adding to this list. If it gets too long, well–we’ll give its own page! So, keep checking back for new ideas. And, by all means, if you have a suggestion please leave it in the comments!

The Best of Etsy — 9 September 2009 — The Ultimate Craft List (part one!)



(shown) Carta, inc (gorgeous ribbon from Italy!)

Mosaics! If you need tiles for anything Cocomo is the place to go!

Handknitted and crocheted By Clarice

Chicalessia (ooh, velvet beads!)

Anti-nu Fun vintage and upcycled notions

Whimsical ceramic buttons Sienna Orlando

Hand-dyed ribbon Jody Poesy

Paper stock ThienThanh



(shown) Yarmee

Spazzy Handspun Yarn


For a deeper palette Three Ravens

Fibro Fibers (for charity!)

Loop (fiber arts and supplies)

Hazel Knits


Rawfish (batts and handspun yarn!)

Springtree Road

Knitty and Color (ooh, hand-painted roving!)




(shown) DIY kit and tutorial for ribbon rosettes Bustle

DIY kit Doll house miniatures by The Twelfth Dimension (Seriously cute!!)

Kit: Make your own cosy cup by Bird and Belle

Patterns! Taffy Jane



(shown) Uberstitch

Antique Linen Store, Grainsack

Cicada Studio (handprinted fabrics)

Yarnahoy (exotic fabrics)

Varigated Wool and linen remnants


Paperhill Fabric (bolt vintage!!)