My daughter’s best friend has a birthday coming up this Saturday. As we looked around a local store for something to give as a gift, I completely bypassed the greeting card aisle. On purpose. My thinking: why give Hallmark my money, when I can make one myself? I can choose the colors, the theme, the styling, even customize it with Sabrina’s name (the birthday girl)…and it still won’t cost me as much as that cookie-cutter card you find on aisle 3a. Of course, it does help that being an avid scrapbooker, I have loads of colorful papers, stickers, shape punchers, rubber stamps, etc. It’s not just saving money (um…I did have to buy those papers, stickers and such at one time or other…), but it’s the love of crafting something by hand. It’s a stress-reliever, an energizer, a creative outlet, a mental “upper”, if you will. It is impossible for me to feel anything but peace, happiness and contentment when I scrapbook a page, make a card, or create any other craft project. That’s one of the reasons I started my own little enterprise I call Retrospect; I like to make things, and I love even more to share them. Business may not be booming at the moment, but I’m not in it to be the next Martha Stewart. It can be expensive, and I want to have fun. So I will hopefully make a little money while doing what I love. Having a shop in Etsy has made me feel like part of a community, as well. Most everything on the site is hand-crafted, and I have come to really appreciate this, versus buying something from a chain store: it’s personal, it’s unique, it’s always made with love… and that makes it special. Since not everyone has the time or inclination to make something by hand (although I highly condone trying, you can’t go wrong!), I feel compelled to suggest visiting the Etsy site for anything you might be needing, whether it’s for yourself, or for someone else (you know, Valentines Day is coming): www.etsy.com. Feel free to visit my shop there (http://www.etsy.com/shop/simplyretrospect), or my website (http://www.simplyretrospective.com/). Happy crafting!