Saturday, January 8, 2011

"go to the mattresses"?

The Godfather is the I-ching. The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom. The Godfather is the answer to any question.

Well, in my book, You've Got Mail is the sum of all wisdom and I needed some when my heart sank a bit upon seeing a line called Treasures at Michaels, which features a line of floral clothespins. It might sound silly but I felt a bit like the film's The Shop Around the Corner after Fox Books opened its doors.

Their clothespin and my clothespin

Oh, I won't be going "to the mattresses" and as I walked around Michaels, I noticed many new versions of decorated clothespins.

Of course, the Treasures line is lovely and inexpensive. It's Shabby Chic! I did purchase a few things ... for my ... research and analysis.

My hanger and their hanger

My shop Tinkered Treasures is temporarily closed for organizing; it will re-open soon.

I am a lone reed.

Well, probably not.

I'm noticing lots of mass-produced stuff lately that resembles copies of handmade art; I suppose this is nothing new and ... nothing can take away the blissful enjoyment of creating.



It's me said...

This all looks so nice !!!.....happy

Unknown said...

I have noticed a lot of mass produced copycats too Elyse :( I dont like it. I have go to tell you though, your Tinkered Treasures are soooo much prettier!!!! I adore yours. And yours have heart put into them. That is why I prefer handmade!!! And your hanger is much much prettier too!!! I hope this doesnt discourage you. We all love you and your creations!!! As well as your talent for writing :)
Love and hugs,

Anonymous said...

Creating is fun, but it does take the wind from your sails to see your own work copied like that. I wish you a better day dear friend.

Scrap for Joy said...

Theirs aren't made with the love and care that you make your lovely items. We're all attracted to "bargains" from time to time but NOTHING will take the place of something hand made (especially by YOU!) for me. Don't be descouraged. I would rather think of you working away in your craft space, smiling while you attach papers and tiny flowers to your clothespins than a row of people mass producing ...and not very good at that!
You've been on my mind for weeks now...

Scrap for Joy said...

When I first saw the title of this post I smiled. I've see You've Got Mail" about 100 is my favorite movie of all time!! "What is it with men and The Godfather?"

Gem said...

I agree with Amy. Your things are so much nicer, and have had a lot more love and effort poured into them. Don't let this get you down and keep up all your hard work.

Nany said...

hi sweetie....I'm in love with your creations and of course we all put the heart in our handmade items... so mass production stinks ...well sometimes se love bargains but nothing like an item with TLC....hugs always

Claudia said...

As I said on FB: yours are infinitely better. And not mass produced. Blogs and etsy sites are apparently so inspiring that BIG STARS like Rachel Ashwell have to copy them. Tsk tsk, Rachel.


Jacqueline Roy said...

I also laughed when I saw your title because I could hear Tom Hanks character saying it to Meg Ryan's. Seriously though, your clothespins are must more beautiful. :) Jacqueline

Suz said...

Dear Elyse,
Well, my heart sunk for a moment. I am sorry. I think I would be shocked when I walked into Michael's, too. These are "you," though, as others have said, definitely not as pretty as yours.

I will always buy yours and I will commit to buying handmade whenever I can. In fact, I spend way too much money buying handmade!

Just adding my support to you large group of fans.


Diane Mars said...

Really I think the Bigger guys fish around our Blogs for ideas, and then take them to china to be mass produced. I hope your feeling better because I really don't know if there is any way around this. Even other Artist / bloggers have copied my work. It hurts ):
Hugs, Diane

NanaDiana said...

Oh- Well first off- Yours are MUCH prettier and I'm sure you paid a lot more attention to detail than they did! But..I know how you feel. You're right it does give you kind of a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. I think we have all had it happen. One year my girlfriend and I were making sheep ornaments ( was the 1980's-remember the sheep craze?)..and we were selling them at a 3 day Holiday sale. A "buyer" came along and bought one of our sheep...went home and copied it and brought in about 50 of them the next day. We were madder than wet hornets...and, wouldn't you know, their booth was closer to the door than ours and so by the time they got to us they had bought the farm! lol Well, I guess flattery is the sincerest form of appreciation...or that's what they say anyway.

Keep on going, Elyse...there will never be another YOU- xxoo Diana

Unknown said...

Dear Elyse:
I saw these last week at Michael's too. I thought of yours (as I own some :). I also thought "Rachel has gone to the dark side...mass produced in China". But who can blame her. It's a dog eat dog world out there.
There will always be mass produced goodies, but ETSY is still appreciated by those that know and want beauty, art and treasures made with love by ONE ARTIST.
p.s. I have seen You've Got Mai 800times too. Your post made me smile.

Fran. said...

It is the heart and soul that you put in to your creations that makes your treasures you make more beautiful. You share your handmade items, your life and much more with us. I don't think any mass produced company would do that. I believe that are more women on the blogs and etsy that will still buy handmade. Even the ones who shop Michaels! I loved how you shared your Christmas workshops with us and how you set up your table. And thanks for sharing with us!! XO Fran.

Theresa said...

Your are MUCH prettier... NO CONTEST:) Love you bunches! HUGS!

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Usually when you buy mass produced items they almost always will break or tear up.Nothing replaces handmade and handcrafted.

Pansy Cottage Girl said...

When I first met you my sweet blogland BFF we both saw that we had "Youve Got Mail" as our favorite and I love that you are taking Joe's wisdom in true Kathleen Kelley form.
YOU KNOW and we ALL KNOW this was your gig first. Although Rachel is the shabbiest maven of them all, she does have her creative limitations. Whats a girl to do when she runs short on ideas? Let me tell ya....she sits on her laptop all night long looking for ideas and finds some sweet handmade thing and she thinks she can reinvent it and stick her name on it and no one will be the wiser. Well Miss Shabby, blogland loves our Tinkered Treasures and the jig is up you big copy cat!!!!

And now my discalimer(insert soft music here): I love Rachel's ideas and creativity and have been truly inspired by her but come on, she was a little guy once too. How would you like it?

We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Lorrie said...

My heart would have sunk, too. But like the others have said, Your products have heart.
I wish you joy for today and hope for the future and immense creativity for both.

Hearts Turned said...

I know how you feel, Elyse...but handmade charm is ALWAYS better than mass-produced in my book!

Never let go of the beautiful "tinkered" style that is your very own, my friend...and as Joyce said in the in her comment above mine...yours are made with love...they have "you" written all over them. Made from the heart.

So keep your chin up and don't give it another thought, dear friend! The unique beauty you create makes all of us very happy...


Sandi said...

So sorry Elyse! Been there as well and I guess it is just part of life. Not a good part, but a part. I think yours are much prettier and I LOVE to support handmade!!

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

Ouch! I get the point, and of course I've seen a lot of the same sort of thing you're talking about. The NAME is even similar! You'd think with as much as her own brand name has been abused she'd think twice. Sorry for the sting.

Jill said...

You are not a lone reed, Elyse. All of us bloggy friends adore you and your sweet creations. I have to say, cool craft ideas get stolen by "the big box" guys often, but to have the "pom poms" to steal your name too? It's terrible.

Just remember... your work is made with heart and sweet detail. Their work, well... is just a big can of olive oil.

Okay, that's my little speech.


lala said...

You do very lovely work and most people would rather have hand crafted over mass produced any day. I always buy handmade, and even if I can make it myself (jewelry, mosaics, altered art, e.g.), I still buy it because I love owning a bit of creavity from all of the talented women out there in blogland and etsy.

Anonymous said...

Well my clothespins are made by my special friend Elyse which a mass produced clothespin could never take the pinch opps place of!

Michaels could never come close to you Elyse!

bee blessed

Kathy @ Sweet Up-North Mornings... said...

I see it all the time Elyse...
You just have to know these places read blogs all the time just looking for a great idea to capitalize on.
Immitation is the sincerest form of flattery...and that would be great except they don't even admit they are the immitators.

As long as we put our origional ideas out on the net...others will adopt them.

You rock...don't let this rob your joy or your creativity.
Kathy @
Sweet Up-North Mornings...

Lisa said...

So I love the YGM references and I am sorry that a store you really like has these. As a person who will probably buy both it really is just more for me. Imitation is greatest form of flattery and you have really got something there :) I love your hand made stuff and treasure it because it came from you. If I buy any of the other I would use it and if it falls apart toss it won't bother me. Keep up the good work and remembered you did it first!!
Hugs, Lisa

koralee said...

Oh no....I just know yours is handmade.. one of a kind and so the quality will be soooo much made with extra love...don't be discouraged...but I know I would feel the same way.

Hugs to you. xoxoox

Sweet Bee Cottage said...

Ahh...but yours has so much more charm. I keep seeing things I see on blogs in catalogs more and more. As my 9 year old daughter says, it's always better when it's made with love! She might be wiser than her years! :)

Anonymous said...

I think your handmade stuff is way nicer than those 'others' you showed us. I like that they're handmade straight from the heart & they're so much prettier than the 'other' ones!

Maryjane-The Beehive Cottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeanne said...

I like yours so much better Elyse!

Kathy Martin said...

Hands down, your pieces are prettier! And there are those of us who prefer to buy handmade by local artisans! Wouldn't worry much about it! Also, I believe truly creative mind constantly think up and create new and exciting thing all the time!

Irma said...

Hello Elyse

your blog is fantastic, the colors i love it
thank you for showing us,

greeting Irma
the Netherlands

Karen said...

Hi, I'm a new reader and I love your stuff! I just commented on this same subject on another site. All I can say is that they can imitate handmade but they cant duplicate it. It's just not the same.

Alison said...

UGH!! I'm so sorry to read this post. Being copied stinks, but as so many others have said before me, keep your chin up -- your originals are so much more lovely than any knock-off copies could ever be. I'm frankly surprised that Rachel Ashwell would sink to such a level as to blatantly copy. Big bummer.

Maryjane-The Beehive Cottage said...

Elyse, your tinkered treasures will always be my favorite...forever and ever. xoxoxoxoxoxox

Into Vintage said...

One of the things that makes me a fan of handmade is I like to know who the artist is and envision them in their studio, making each piece one at a time. I like the backstory. :-)

149 Bunchgrass said...


I have only recently discovered your beautiful products and wonderful blog. Your clothespins have a sort of "Jeffersonian purity" that CAN'T be found at Michaels!!!!! (I love the movie!) Keep up the good work and know that your work has inspired others -- I am inspired by what you do.

Brenda Pruitt said...

Hate that! Don't worry, Elyse. You're our original!

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

That new line of station etc by Shabby Chic is nice...but it doesn't have your signature on it ;) :) Yours are much nicer in my humble opinion :) :) don't be discouraged...your items are really cute!!! I found your blog via Maryjane over at The Beehive Cottage ;) :) Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

Kristen Pare said...


Your creations are definitely upper scale beauties. Just remember you are wonderful along with all the details of your creations. I'm hoping its a better day, Kris said...

Have you ever heard the famous quote "Imitation is the best form of flattery"? Take it like a grain of salt honey and keep creating. Happy New Year to you.xx

Karen said...

Oh Elyse. Don't let it get you down. Yours are "special" and everyone who knows you- knows that.
Speaking of copying - I was appalled to see that Pottery Barn is buying up HUGE quantities of vintage and antique items and then reselling them. Can you imagine what this is going to do to the prices for the average you and me? Why would they do this??? Don't they make enough money on their brand-new items that they had to get in on the "Vintage" craze.
Sorry- kinda got off on a tangent there. It just makes me so mad! Just like your clothespins. Grrrrrrrrrrr....

Have a wonderful weekend. And remember sometimes God closes one door only to open a window. You just never know...
Hugs! Karen

Melissah said...

I just discovered you blog & loved it. I'm an interior designer from Melbourne, Australia & I found it very inspiring. Blogging is all new to me but I have just set up my own blog
You may like to check it out because I had so much fun doing it. It's got a bit of everything fashion, interiors, food, travel spots - hopefully you will find something in there that you like.
Thanks for providing me with such great entertainment!

debi said...

Nothing mass produced will ever have the love put into it that handmade does. And some of us just enjoy getting that love!

Your treasures are still the best!

Jenny of Elefantz said...

So many of our family quotes come from that them. But I agree, it's the simple pleasure or creating beauty for the sake of beauty that makes our handmade items so worthwhile.

Olivia said...

Nothing replaces an item handmade with love...I can imagine your heart sank. Is this line from Rachel Ashwell?
Yours are so much prettier by the way.

Anonymous said...

Unfortuneately, it is nothing new. :( But, yours are prettier, Elyse!

This is one reason I blog about Etsy shops - the ideas come from small business artisans, so I always try to help promote them!!!


Elyse said...


i am so heart-warmed by everyone's comments! so many of us "you've got mail" fans! loving all of the quotes!!! ("jeffersonian purity!")

thank you, thank you!


fairiemoon said...

These almost look copied, but in truth, I like yours so much better. I hate it when this stuff happens because they can mass produce cheaper and faster than I could ever hope to. My only hope is that some people prefer the hand-made to the mass produced.

Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said...

Oh yes Elyse...I have definitely noticed that too...the WalMart has come to hand crafted art! It is everywhere! Hard to compete with that!

Cottage Flair said...

Hand crafted beats manufactured anyday (even if it is Shabby Chic!). I just caught up on all of the posts I've missed. I enjoyed visiting!

Rose Brier Studio said...

Your clothespins really are the better product! I love using mine to pin up notes and reminders (and one has a treasured place holding up your card on my wow! board -- it's where I put bus cards of places I love, in my store). And at least it's Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic copying you. That's not too shabby!

I have been so intent on my trip I have ignored all my blogger friends, so it's lovely to have a down day to catch up.

ps I have been looking for a copy of You've Got Mail. I really want to watch it again!

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

I buy local (or from Etsy). Nothing like supporting your fellow sisters. Hand made is better than mass produced any day. Keep up the good work!

Unknown said...

Oh Elyse,
I know how you must feel. It is terrible. I just don't understand how copycats sleep at night. The only consolation is that your ideas, your designs will continue to inspire.

Go the the mattresses, I loved that line in You've Got Mail.

Recently I received an e-mail promoting a wonderful artist collection of images hand picked from a private collection. They are a large stationery company. When I saw the calendars I couldn't believe it. The Alice they used in their calendar looks very familiar. The image I restored is from a rare Alice dating back to 1886. I e-mailed them and asked where they got their images from. They never replied. Their print should look must crisper if it is taken from their private collection of books.
Bottom left looks very familiar.

You are not alone.


I won't be going to the mattresses. However, I will be giving this image away for free.

Where are the copycats made?

Jennifer Hayslip said...

My heart *sank* for you!!! First and foremost, your work blows Shabby Chic away! I can SEE a big difference in mass produced versus handmade. I've been noticing at Michaels lately that there are lots of things that have been done before by artist like us. It really chaps my butt!
I totally agree with Diane's comment! I do think big fish search us little fish to get ideas and turn around and mass produce. Augh!
Anyhoo, there are SO many of us that love and appreciate the "REAL DEAL" and doll you are one of them. :))) Keep up the beautiful work!! XOXO,Jenn

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Wow, what a bummer, I bet big merchandise producers do snoop around the blogs and etsy stores for ideas. We don't have any of our products protected legally. Well, it certainly say's you are on the cutting edge of innovation, but, there is nothing like hand crafted.


aimee said...

i saw them at michales too and you came to mind right away. you put your sweet hands to work on every thing you make, and it becomes a cherished treasure from your heart. you put YOU in what you create and make it beautiful.

{oc cottage} said...

Dearest Kathleen, Joe & I will ALWAYS prefer your craftily created cuteness over the mass produced!!! ;}

m ^..^

SLR said...

just thought i'd let you know that i pretty much am obsessed with You've Got Mail! I previously owned a shabby chic, cottage type store and named it, yes you guessed it, The Shop Around The Corner!!
Check out this YGM post on my blog...

don't worry, your creations are lovely and handmade with love!

SLR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SLR said...

thanks for commenting, elyse, and checking out the YGM post! so nice to "meet" you too :)

Sonia said...

Oh, so thats what the new line from Shabby Chic at Micheal's is!!! I was planing my trip down to the city to hunt down the new goodies. I was expecting, supplies though... like pretty paper and maybe florals!! Geez!! you are right, I have been seeing a lot of mass produced creations. I bought an appliqu├ęd tea towel this week. Looks so much like handmade but made in china =I. Price was pretty hefty too.
(sigh)....people catch on quick, don't they?!!
And absolutely, your treasures are much prettier. They are made with lots of TLC and show the characteristics of handmade which is always more worthy to me.

Unknown said...

WOW, I'm glad you entered my give-away because HOLY how is it that I didn't know about your blog before this??? I'm guilty of buying "Treasures" contact paper at Michaels so don't hold it against me but now that I know you have cooler stuff I'll keep checking you out. xox Jennifer

Cassandra said...

I am so sorry to hear about this Elyse! I did see these at Michael's I picked up a set of the magnets and they are TERRIBLE! I could not get them to hold up even a small business card. Hang in there. You are much loved. :)

Anonymous said...

welcome to America ;)

Katy Noelle said...


However, look how lovely and "real" yours are. Maybe, there really won't be a difference.

Speaking of.... I got this box in the mail..... =]

Elise! You have no idea what perfect timing that was!!!! No idea!

I'm going to blog about it. =]

Katy xo

Tilly Rose said...

Hello Elyse
I've just found your gorgeous sweet blog!
This post is so spot on for summing up my feelings at the moment with my little boutique. Like you I produce handmade goodies but since starting so many people have copied. I've even had people copy my designs from my blog posts. Whilst I agree competition is healthy there is a limit.
I love your beautiful makes!

I'm off for a wander around you little blog now....
Sweet wishes my lovely
Karen x x x

Tilly Rose said...

P.S Forgot to say....You've Got Mail is my favourite film of all time.
I know it word for word!
Karen x

hilary@oldhousetruelove said...

your art and treasures are so SPECIAL and dances circles around that store bought _ _ _ _ !!!!

Swoon with Deb Hodge said...

Oh Elsye,
I am hearing you loud and clear.
The same thing happened with my children's clothing and other art.
Thank goodness those large companies have our talent to make their money :-)
And yes, "You've Got Mail" is my FAVORITE movie. Period. Love, love, love!!!!!
Deb said...

Some lead, some follow. Some create, some copy. Some inspire, some are inspired... you win! THEY have to keep up with YOU. Keep em running.