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Why Shopping Small Matters: How to Support Local Businesses and Artisans

The holiday season is upon us again, and supporting small businesses is more important than ever this year. From COVID-19 to inflation, small businesses have been hit particularly hard. Many have been forced to close their doors permanently, while others struggle to stay afloat.

It’s no secret that small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They provide jobs, support local communities, and offer unique products and services. However, with the rise of big-box stores and online retailers, it can be easy to overlook the importance of shopping small. This blog post will explore why and how you can support small businesses and make a difference in your local community.

crop woman with open sign
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

Why You Should Shop Small

Better Quality

An important benefit of shopping small is the unique and personal touch artisan-made products offer. Whether it’s blankets, stuffed animals, or a handmade wreath, each item is carefully crafted with its own story and character. The artist can pay close attention to the details and ensure that each piece is made with precision and care. You can be sure these products will last longer and look better than something churned out in a factory.

You won’t find this level of individuality in mass-produced products.

Better Service

When you shop at a small business, you’re more likely to receive personalized service. You get to meet and interact with the artists themselves and learn about their craft and process. It’s a great way to support local artists and communities while also getting something truly special and unique. When you buy from a big-box store, you support a corporation that may not have the same level of care and dedication to its products as an individual artist.

It’s about community

By shopping at small businesses this holiday season, you’re not only helping to support local economies and communities, but you’re also helping to keep the spirit of entrepreneurship alive. Small businesses often focus more on quality and customer service and take pride in the products they sell. They are the backbone of many communities, and they play a vital role in creating jobs, driving innovation, and fostering a sense of community.

colleagues working on netbook in cafe
Photo by Tim Douglas on

How to Shop Small

Shop Locally

Shopping locally owned stores and boutiques is a great way to support small businesses. When you shop at a locally-owned store, you’re putting money directly back into your community. Local shops are more likely to source their products locally, which means you’re supporting other small businesses. It’s the butterfly effect!

barts store signage
Photo by Tembela Bohle on

Attend local markets and fairs

Attending local markets and fairs is a fun way to discover new small businesses and interact with local artists and vendors. You can find everything from handmade hats to artisanal foods at these events. Try to bring cash to help avoid additional processing fees.

Spread the word

Word of mouth is a powerful tool for small businesses. If you have a positive experience at a local business, share it with your friends and family. Leave a positive review on their website or social media pages. You never know who might be looking for a recommendation.

glowing inscription on wall in cafe
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Don’t forget about online options

Many small businesses now have online stores, making it easier than ever to support them from the comfort of your own home. Look for local businesses that offer online shopping and consider making a purchase.

a miniature shopping cart on macbook laptop
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on

To sum it all up, shopping small is a great way to support your local community and small businesses. By shopping locally, attending local markets, spreading the word, and considering online options, you can make a difference in the lives of small business owners and your community as a whole. So this holiday season, try to shop small!

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Quick Change Fall Decorations

Some Ideas to Easily Switch Decorations From Fall to Halloween and Back Again!

Autumn is a truly stunning season, and Halloween is undoubtedly one of the most thrilling holidays of the year. But if you’re like most people, you don’t have time to decorate for both. Or it’s way too expensive to have a set of decorations for the fall season and the creepy holiday. Below are tips and tricks to get more bang for your decorating buck that will have you tricked out for both!

1. Incorporate Pumpkins

Pumpkins are a timeless decorative item for both fall and Halloween. You can carve, paint, or leave them in their natural state. Regardless, they’ll undoubtedly contribute a festive touch to your seasonal decorations.

Let your foam jack-o-lanterns pull double duty by turning their faces backward and displaying the uncarved side for September. When it hits October 1st, turn those carvings around to transform your fall display into Halloween instantly. Then, switch them back again for welcoming Thanksgiving decor.

2. Hang a Wreath

A wreath is a fantastic way to add a pop of color and personality to your front door. My favorite is the All Seasons Wreath with the Pumpkin Spice Bundle; the plates are easily switched from the Autumn Pumpkin to the iconic Halloween scenes of a full moon, quirky bats, and friendly ghosts. One wreath with multiple variations! And they lay flat and stack neatly for storage.

3. Use Autumn Hues and Patterns

Shades of orange, red, and yellow are perfect for fall. Spice it up with buffalo plaid or argyle. You can easily incorporate these colors and patterns into your home’s decor using throw pillows, blankets, and other accessories.

I like to use seasonal slipcovers for my throw pillows. That way, I don’t have a bunch of pillows I have to store. My throw pillows quickly go from summer to fall to Halloween in no time. Check out my previous post on how to make your own no-sew slipcovers quickly and inexpensively!

4. Add Spooky Elements

Quickly change it up for Halloween by adding purple, green, and black accents like bows or artificial flowers. You can hang fake cobwebs, add creepy creatures peaking out from behind pillows or flower pots, or squeeze tombstones between your pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns. Small bunches of Spanish moss here and there will help add a touch of creepy elegance.

5. Illuminate Your Space:

Incorporating lights can make your decor even more inviting. Orange string lights work great for fall and Halloween; use Command Hooks to avoid damaging your siding, pillars, walls, or mantel. Wrap string lights with fall garland. Creep it up for Halloween by adding fake spiders, bats, or ghosts.

Outdoor battery-powered candles or fairy lights tucked around pumpkins or in lanterns create a soft glow, illuminating the outside of the pumpkins for fall decor. Move the lights to the inside of your jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. Or fill the lanterns halfway up with fake spiderwebs, rats, or eyeballs for a quick transition.

For a time-saving bonus, get battery-powered lights with a timer. That way, you won’t have to turn them on and off every night!

I was able to switch my decorations from Halloween to Fall in just 3 minutes! I used items that work for both seasons, so it was super easy to add some spooky touches and then remove them to transition back to a cozy fall theme. It’s incredible how a few simple changes can make such a big difference!

With these tips, you’re sure to create decorations that are both festive and welcoming for the entire fall season on a time and monetary budget. Happy decorating!

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All the Warm and Fuzzies

Getting those winter hats, scarves, and gloves out of storage.

The kids have started back to school; the nights are beginning to cool off, and soon, the leaves will change colors. Fall is on its way! It’s time to get your cold weather gear out of storage, and I’m sure they need a little freshening up! Here are some helpful tips for cleaning and refreshing your crocheted and knitted hats, gloves, and scarves.


Always read the care label before washing your crocheted or knitted items. If the label says it’s safe to machine wash, use a gentle cycle and put the item in a mesh laundry bag to avoid snagging. Use mild detergent and cool water, and skip the bleach and fabric softener. If it says “hand wash only,” don’t toss it in the machine. Fill a sink with lukewarm water and add a gentle detergent. Swirl the item around, then rinse it thoroughly with cool water.

What if you’ve removed the “made of (whatever type of yarn)” and care label? Air on the side of caution and handwash.

Does it have super cool sequins, jewels, ribbons, or a giant pom? If they can’t be removed, follow the steps above for handwashing to avoid damaging the embellishment on the hat/gloves/scarf.


Don’t use the dryer when it’s time to dry your crocheted hat/gloves/scarves unless the care label says it’s okay. Instead, gently squeeze out the excess water and lay the item flat on a clean towel. If you need to, reshape it a little by patting it into shape; avoid tugging or pulling so it doesn’t magically get bigger. Then, let it air dry thoroughly, flipping it a few times to make sure it dries evenly on both sides.

Don’t hang your crocheted/knitted items to dry, as that can stretch them out, distort the shape, or cause the yarn fibers to break.


When the last spring snowstorm has passed, launder your items before putting them up for the spring/summer. Store your crocheted items in a cool, dry spot, away from direct sunlight or heat, to keep them looking their best. This will help prevent fading and shrinking.

Also, opt for a covered container to prevent any critters from making home or dinner out of your garments. Mice and certain types of insects love to eat and nest in stored clothing. The Spruce has a list of the most common types of insects and how to get rid of them.

A Few Tips

If you see any pilling on your crocheted items, no worries! Use a fabric shaver, old razor, or manicure scissors to remove the pills. Just be careful not to snip any of the yarn fibers.

Snags happen, but it’s not the end of the world; a snag can be repaired by pulling the loose threads to the wrong side or inside of the hat/gloves/scarf with a small crochet hook or straightening a paperclip and creating a small hook on the end. Turn the garment inside out and find the newly relocated threads, tie a loose knot in the threads, and add a dab of clear nail polish. Once dry, flip the garment right side out and check your handy work!

For those of you with kids who love to share, head lice can become a problem. My initial response is to burn everything! However, I know kids get super attached to certain items. So, in my book, you have two options: quarantine or freezing. Place all infected items in a sealable bag and leave them there for at least a week. Then, take the items outside for several good shakes and use a small vacuum or the hose attachment on your regular vacuum to get rid of the little guys. Death by freezer is a similar process; place all items in a sealable bag, place the sealed bag in your freezer for at least four hours (I personally would go longer, just to be sure), and finally take them outside for the shake/vacuum step.

Out With the Old

Ready for some new cool weather gear? Pom Hats and Chunky Beanies will soon be back in stock for Black Sheep Creations starting September 1st, along with new Adjustable Earwarmers and Braided Earwarmer Headbands.

Don’t forget to donate your old hats, scarves, and gloves. What’s old to you can be new to someone else!