Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Made in America...some thoughts...

Lately, the news media and the Internet have been peppered with stories about not buying things that are made outside of the USA. It's great in concept...but, honestly, how DO we DO that?

I noticed on an item of clothing in Target the other day...the label was like a mini-novelette: fabric made in the USA and assembled in Bangladesh...or, was it Taiwan? US companies are making the raw materials and sending them overseas to assemble?

And, hey, does 'made in the USA' pertain to produce? Beverages? Meat? How does that work?

China has been the main target for a couple of years now. And, I have to admit, China does seem to be the one country that is pumping out merchandise and shipping it state wide faster than any other country. The majority of the toys are manufactured there...and a lot of that stuff that Santa brings this year won't make it to New Year's...why? Because they are not made to last. Toys need to be able to "take a licking and keep on ticking" ~ after all, kids play hard!

Then, there's the holiday wrap and ribbons, ornaments and trendy holiday home decorations...most come from overseas somewhere. And, I'm the first one to admit, I've got some...made in Germany, made in Japan, made in Taiwan, made in Poland...and, yes, made in China. Some of our Christmas treasures are over 50 years old.

I got to wondering just how long would it take a US company to bring their manufacturing back to the states? And, if they did, how much more would the products cost? Certainly this would create more jobs. But, does anyone know how much more we will need to spend to have that label say "Made in the USA"?

I have no problem, not one, with making every effort in buying things only made in the USA. I think the tides are beginning to turn. But, it's going to take time. So...I will continue to look at the labels, check the marking on the packaging.....and hopefully, I will find more choices that are made right here in the USA!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November is here...

I went out to the mailbox yesterday afternoon (October 31) and this was what I letters, no bills...just a plethora of catalogs!

My feelings were a bit mixed at this discovery. I love looking through catalogs...not so much for the shopping aspect but rather more for inspiration. The photography, the color schemes, the overall presentation of the merchandise is eye candy and food for thought. A challenge, if you will. How can I replicate that cozy feeling with what I have in my butler's pantry, linen closet and boxes of seasonal treasures?

I'm embarrassed on two fronts ~ one, my mail carrier had to schlep all of these in one delivery and two, I thought I had 'gone green' and opted out for the hard copy of most of these catalogs! I perused through the pages of each one and kept.....two. Williams-Sonoma and Pendleton.

Williams-Sonoma has a great catalog and they are savvy at luring you in! The recipes, alone, cause me to grab my sharpie and write 'save!' on the cover....sometimes with the page numbers listed. There is a warm, enticing feeling you get when you look at the well-set tables . The linens, the dishes ~ the photos are orchestrated right down to the last detail, capturing the overall ambiance that everyone appreciates, dreams about and yet, rarely attempts to create a similar look in their own home.

Pendleton....need I say more? Colorful, warm, beautiful blankets made in the USA. Their blankets are wool and basically an investment. One for each bed and you are good to go for many years of cozy sleeping!

The truth about the catalog thing is that we have become somewhat of a materialistic society. I say 'somewhat' because we do need to shop for basic things...things like clothing that is worn out or outgrown, towels and bed linens that are used daily and have seen better days and replacements for broken dishes and glassware. But, how much 'stuff' do we need?

I am guilty of the dishes-thing. I love to set a nice table. And, it is fun to have a choice of patterns and color schemes. Linens, too. So fun to be able to set just the right mood with a special tablecloth. Instead of using the items we have stashed in our cupboards and linen closets, we tend to get caught up in the latest trends ~ colors, styles, textures that are determined to be 'in' by designers around the world.

Strategically creative and meticulous marketing techniques have been honed to a fine science. Once we open that catalog, peruse that Target ad or walk into that specialty store, we are at the mercy of the retail industry!

This year, I have made a promise to use what we have. To set an inviting table, to decorate with imagination and create a welcoming ambiance for all who come to our home. I can't wait!