i made you a mix tape of all my favorites from this week!
Not gonna lie. It's been pretty nutso-bizarro around here lately. It's an odd emotional roller coaster we've been on of delirious highs and butt-scraping lows -- sometimes within the same day, occasionally same hour. Life is happening and we're doing our best to happen with it instead of the alternative -- it happening to us. I'm quite certain you can relate.
This edition of the Mix Tape is in honor of my sister and her world-famous blogging ambition, Cha-Ching on a Shoestring. Several months back she asked me to think about ways to encourage people to patron the arts on holding-on-by-a-shoestring sized budgets. Until I started thinking about it, I didn't realize that I'd already been figuring this stuff out.
If beauty saves the world, how are we to afford it? Here's what I've come up with: (and I hope, hope, hope -- with fingers and toes crossed -- that you'll have some of your own ideas to add to my sweet little list!) I've started each category with the DUH! list just in case you'd not thought of the obvious.
You already know --
- The patron saint of all thrifty creatives and intellectuals: the LIBRARY!! We love the library so much we moved to a house within walking distance.
What you might not know --
- BOMC2: Before I tell you about this club, let me assure you that I am NOT a fan of most mail-order book clubs. In fact, when my kids were little I gave in one too many times to the crazy marketing ("get 52 books for a penny, plus a free tote bag!") and had been forever banned by my kind husband from these types of set ups. With the advent, though, of companies like Netflix, mail-order has gotten savvier and more user-friendly. This is true of Book of the Month Club 2 -- I have a reading queue (ala, Netflix) and as long as I tend to that list every once in awhile, the books I receive are only books I want to read. We pay a $10 per month flat rate to have a brand new, hard-cover book that we selected shipped to our house. Since I pay about half that amount just for shipping from Amazon or another online book retailer, this is a good deal, indeed! The only negative critique I have is that the catalog is shallow in the literature department. I would prefer a wider range of good, classic titles and timeless authors. So far, though, I've found something I've wanted for every single month. Since I can cancel at any time, I'll just keep on going until they run out of titles to suit my interest.
- swaptree: Because you can have too many books! This resource is also extremely user-friendly. Think of it as a cookie swap, but with books instead of cookies and strangers instead of friends. The swaptree folks have figured out some kind of whiz-bang search engine that pairs me up with people who want the kind of books I'm ditching and have the kind of books I'm desiring. It's crazy -- this whole interweb business! After that, it only costs the media mail shipping fee and an envelope to swap books. (usually $2-$4) Simple! The site also allows you trade music, video games and movies. I'm pretty steely-eyed on the books and haven't tried any of the other options.
You probably already know --
- MyPoints.com: If you follow Cha-Ching you probably already know about sites like this that give you free money for clicking on links, reading emails and using a list of collaborative online vendors. This is the site I've used for several years -- from before Kaley was the coupon maven that she has become. With rewarding vendors like Amazon, B&N, Borders, and iTunes, this is an excellent way to earn free gift cards for books, music and other artsy goods. Last year, I saved my points and bought this beauty from Pottery Barn...
- The Graphics Fairy: A site for free vintage graphics. If I were a crafter or an artist, this site would be an absolutely invaluable resource for me. As it is, I just like looking at the new pictures every day and, every once in a while, to print one out and put it in a frame I purchased at the Salvation Army for my wall collection. (While you're at the site, click on her free backgrounds tab to spiff up your blog!)
What you probably already know -
What you might now know -
- There's never been a better time to be a music patron. Many artists make their songs available for donation. You may even have the opportunity to support a new recording project, like we did recently for our friend Brian Moss.
- Host a house show! Many indie artists support themselves through small venue shows. In March, we did this for the first time with a full weekend of live music from singer/songwriter extraordinaire Jason Harrod. Our friends paid $10 each and we provide the wine and cheese. It's one of the best concerts I've ever attended!
You probably already know --
- Postcards and prints from museums
- Silent auctions and starving artist sales
- The Working Proof: Genius online art-sale collaborative made possible by a grant from Redeemer Presbyterian Church and their Center for Faith and Work. Every Tuesday, they release a new print that ranges from $30 - $40, a percentage of which goes to a charity of the artist's choice. This is how I was able to afford this Olivia Jeffries print.
- Give up something for the sake of beauty. Maybe go without new clothes for a particular season in order to afford a piece of art you'll be able to pass down to your children. Or pool your birthday or Christmas gifts for the cause. I chose this winter a piece of artwork that would grow in value and could be passed down for generations rather than new jeans and sweaters that would be worn out in a few years. I'm glad I made that choice every time I go up our stairs, past this whimsical and wistful gem from our dear friend Phaedra Taylor.
- By/For Project and Creative Commons License: A collaborative encouraging the making of sacred art for the church by the church. Churches patron the work and then make it available for free through a creative commons license. Check anywhere for that license to enjoy free music, visual art, and photography.
"The God who impoverished himself is also the God of abundance, and somehow, perhaps at times nonsensically, Christians are called to live out of an ethic not of scarcity but of abundance—an abundance that extends both to the homeless neighbor and to the artist neighbor. . . " -- Lauren Winner, from her chapter THE ART PATRON: Someone Who Can't Draw a Straight Line Tries to Defend her Art-Buying Habit in For the Beauty of the Church