Two years ago I was just starting to dabble in crafts that I had left behind in boxes, literally and figuratively, after moving to New York and becoming a harried teacher with no free time, writing lesson plans on the subway and taking naps with the kids I nannied if time allowed. Growing up in a crafty and from-scratch-baking household, it’s hard to believe that that first year in the East Village, I never once used the oven, but more surprising, that this didn’t bother me. It was only when I moved to Brooklyn, into an absurdly large two-floor apartment with a kitchen twice the size as the one in my Pittsburgh home that those domestic inclinations rose to the surface. The handmade ones would be slower to reappear.

In 2006 my mom bought me a How-To-Crochet book and with not a whole lot of responsibilities because of illness, I devoured it and began to crochet. And I haven’t stopped. I fiddled with yarn, making little things that frowned instead of smiled because I was so sad. Despite a beaten-down body and spirit, I kept creating, because it took my mind off of my reality–it was a distraction. I was steered in the direction of writing and creating, which I was ambivalent about because it wasn’t teaching; but at least it was something. I never could have imagined what all that fiddling and fumbling would lead me to, but I’m glad I kept at it. Over the past few months, it has really donned on me just how much has happened since those days when I didn’t know what “chain 2” meant, or what WordPress was, let alone run a business via Etsy and hustling, how to bring ideas to full fruition and how to promote both the written word and the handmade good.

Last week, I wrote an article in conjunction with Brooklyn Based for Etsy and their Shop Local series, which highlights shops in your city, the people behind them and their wares of course! It was like coming full circle: to be asked to write, to write about craft, to write about the Etsy experience AND my beloved Brooklyn. I have to admit, I got a little teary compiling the Shop Local: Brooklyn article, just thinking about everything and how much I adore Etsy.

Also last week, over a Thanksgiving break that was anything but, I ran around and crocheted like crazy, making about 40 things (I think?) in a matter of days, feverishly writing until 3 in the morning and waking up early to do it all over again. Some of my items are now being carried in Artez’n, a store I frequent, as it lies between my post office and yarn shop, all on Atlantic Avenue. Additionally, a handmade/vintage shop in Williamsburg called Treehouse will be housing some of my crafty things as well. Yay!

Just today, I met a buyer in person, after I noticed her shipping address on the Transaction page. We live one block away from one another, so we did the hand-off in person, which I have actually done two other times, just because! She came by with her twins, we chatted a bit, and she asked me, “Do you mind this? Coming by like this? Because I have a friend who wants to drop $100 on your shop and I bet she’d love to come by and see everything.” I said, “No, I love it! I absolutely love it.” And you know I’m totally sincere about this. Also today, I finished a custom order for someone who wanted a camera cozy with an apple on it. He and I had gone back and forth about color, measurements and overall look, and one sentence in particular will forever be stamped into my mind: “People like you are why I love Etsy.”

Well, people like him are why I love Etsy, why I love creating with my mind, heart and hands, why I would always choose taking the extra time to meet a customer and why I love writing stories everything aforementioned, even when a night’s sleep is truncated, my novel sits on the night stand untouched or social plans must be cancelled. Just as I always say, albeit typically referring to crazy adventures, “I would do anything for a story.”