Might step on some toes today. Don’t care. Tra la la.
Today we will discuss why this Mother’s Day card I made cost $674.82 and my immortal soul. Do you like the card? It’s not really my style, but my mother loves it. I put a picture of it on Facebook, and someone messaged me offering to pay me for one just like it. For $5. Nope. Nopety nope. I will be happy to make one for you for the low, low price of $700.00. If you look at the price it took me to make it, you will see that I am only asking $25.18 for the labor involved in making this card. I will make a boxed set of five of them for $3400, saving you $100 off the regular price.
Once folks find out you are talented at any art or craft, you find out which of your friends would be sorted into Slytherin. Phrases commonly used to wheedle artistic or crafty folks into spending untold hours and money to make something for them: You are sooooo talented. I am just not crafty. You make it look so easy. I bet it didn’t cost much to make that, did it? I could be your best free advertising. Bahahahaha. Nope.
Time, materials, and intangibles like my immortal soul are costs to be considered when deciding how much to charge for a craft item.
Cost Breakdown on the Card
TIME: I figure the time in on this card to be about one hundred hours. It took me about an hour to think about what would please my mother. It took another hour to envision the card in my head and in my sketch book. Allow another ninety hours for self-doubt, self-loathing, and angst. My internal monologue goes something like this: You really haven’t thought this out. These colors won’t work. What if she doesn’t like it? You don’t have time to go to the store to buy a real card. Maybe I should just bake her some cookies. You are a terrible daughter. It took about ten minutes to choose the colors that would please my mother. It took ten minutes to find the Cricut cartridge that would cut out the rose and another ten minutes to set up the Cricut to cut the rose to the desired size. If you don’t know what a Cricut is, go to the Interwebz and look it up. It took a couple of minutes to peel the petals off the cutting mat without tearing them. It took about five minutes to read the assembly instructions and modify them to my liking. I folded, glued, and curled the edge of each of the fifteen rose petals – about thirty minutes. I assembled them onto the base. I spent agonizing minutes choosing ribbon to put on the card. I then had to assemble the base of the card and figure out how to put the ribbon and a big, chunky rose on the front without making it look stupid. The next step was to come up with a brilliant, creative, inspirational message. I believe I went with Happy Mother’s Day. Then I had to second guess if the word mother is, in context of the holiday, meant to be plural as in for all mothers or singular as in for my mother. I took the risky path of expressing it only for my mother, thus possibly showing disrespect for all mothers. I hope they don’t show up at my door demanding that I tear up the original card and make a new one with the sentiment correctly expressed. We won’t get into how long it took me to learn the new software for my bluetooth Cricut that involves my iPad, my Cricut, and bouts of cursing. (See more about that in the paragraph on intangibles.) Add on some more time for having to pet the dog and look for the rose petals which the cat steals. One must show constant vigilance if there is a cat about. Each time I craft I must keep an eye out for a kitty paw slowly reaching for a piece of whatever I am making. She always steals at least two pieces, and that leads to a search of the house and trying to take a tiny piece of paper away from a very pointy cat.
MATERIALS: At first glance, the price of materials seems moderate. The card used approximately two dollars’ worth of paper and ribbon. Add in twenty-five cents for the glue. But now we must consider the cost of someone with ADD going to the craft store. An artist or craftsperson cannot go to the craft store and buy just what she needs for a project, and the problem grows for those of us with ADD. To get to the paper, I had to walk past silk flowers (Ooh! I can use these for my next hat!), ribbon (Would that be good for Christmas presents? That is perfect for my newest hat.), fabric (Ooh! I can use this for a hat. Wouldn’t this make gorgeous drapes? That would make the prettiest skirt!), yarn (Don’t get me started), art supplies (Ooh! Look at all the pretty colors. I don’t think I have that color pen.), and finally the paper section. Of course I had to look at all the paper because you never know what paper you might need ten years down the line. Then back to ribbon, which is dangerous because I had to walk back by the fabric and right next to the flowers. After filling my arms with ribbon that would tone with some hats I am designing in my head, I managed to make it to the check-out counter with five fifty-sheet pads of beautiful paper, five spools of ribbon, and some glue which somehow jumped into my basket when my attention was diverted elsewhere. It is not by accident that they named the spot right before the register the impulse aisle. I managed to choose some paintbrushes and a bag of Circus Peanuts before it was my turn in line. The Circus Peanuts were fresh! Thank heavens that the line was short. The cost? $150.00. Yep. I won’t get into the cost of gas, the Cricut and its cartridges,the side trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and Neosporin to put on the cat scratches. I ended up using what I had at home, so if you think about it, I saved a prodigious amount of money.
INTANGIBLES: Here is where art and craft become expensive. With each craft project, I break approximately six of the ten commandments. I am pretty sure my feelings for my Cricut border on adultery. I stole fallen feathers from the floor after a dance show featuring feathery costumes. My words are less than ladylike, sending blue smoke to swirl around the room and linger about for days. I sell my soul out to please my friends and family by suppressing my artistic vision in order to make them happy. I utter phrases that, if not taken in context, could get me arrested: Where’s my knife? Die you scum sucking pig. I will make you disappear. I hate you. I have made my husband cry by asking, “Do you want to go to the craft store with me, or would you rather gargle with old, rusty razor blades?” I ask him this knowing what a dilemma I present before him. If he goes, he thinks longingly of old, rusty razor blades. If he doesn’t go, he knows I will toss away $150 bucks on more stuff to put in my art closet. A lesser man would collapse in on himself. Before we leave for the store, I have to lie about how long I will be in the store and how much I will spend. He knows I am lying but pretends to believe me – thus accruing a debt on his own soul.
If I make something for you, I love you. Or you have a great deal of money to spend on foolishness. My parents know this; they keep every card I have made for them. There are friends for whom I would make anything. I decorate and make hats out of love. I knit knee socks for a friend who is almost six feet tall. I made fifty pairs of paper earrings for a beloved set of co-workers. I knit dishcloths for my favorite people. If you have a friend who has knitted, baked, made a card, taken pictures, crocheted, quilled, painted, decoupaged, sewn, or tatted for you, she didn’t do it for the money. Trust me. Whatever the gift was, it was created and given out of love.
I have some other items for sale. If interested, just email me.
I enjoyed this! I cherish my hand made gifts. Except the food. It’s long gone.
Can’t you get your sorry friend to make more food? I hear she owes you molasses cookies but forgot to make them.
Just want to know is that the amount that we get paid for taking one of these wonderful gifts? Enjoyed the story.
I still have those paper earrings!! Ah Sealey, I do adore you.
Likewise, ma’am. And now you have the pleasure of knowing how to knit ugly slippers for your family and Slytherin friends.
I am so grateful that you love me. I’ve gotten homemade cupcake holders, lessons on how to make Oreo turkeys, ugly (not my words but yours) knitted socks with a beautiful embellishment, free knitting classes, and I talked you into Beyoncé dancing in front of teenagers for free. You know what???? I love you and I think I owe you $10,457.59.
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Let’s admit we’re even.