As proponents of recycling, reusing and minimal and conscientious consumption, we sometimes have conflicted feelings about the fact that we make products for consumption. We try to keep those objects as functional as possible, and do everything we can to make our business tread lightly on this planet, but sometimes we wonder if the answer is to sell everything we own and become monks.
We had some pretty special moments this past holiday season that reminded us that we can be makers of things, and feel really good about it too.
For example, we received this message from a client who had purchased a pair of chopsticks for herself.
"Tonight I ate dinner with my B&B chopsticks and I was thinking that each bite was coming to me via a tree that had fallen near your house via you picking up the fallen limb via you using your hands to carve and craft and smooth and adorn this utensil. It was kinda this spiritual, love-filled, connected-to-the-universe moment where I FELT what it means to utilize something handcrafted. And it was awesome. And I wanted you to know this 'cause THIS WHAT YOU DO ALL THE TIME EVEN IF NO ONE KNOWS IT!! You put love in objects that live in people's homes and that diffuse love slowly but surely."
Like, WOAH. That made us feel pretttty darn good about ourselves.
And then there was Allyson & Darryl.
Allyson contacted us via this very wee blog after stumbling across one of the gajillion sites that have pinned, linked, DIYed and shared our couch arm wrap. She knew the arm wrap was the perfect present for her husband Darryl, who is currently house-bound due to a serious aneurysm and stroke that he miraculously survived.
While attempting to covertly measure the couch, Allyson realized the arm of her couch wasn't a rectangle, and actually had one angled side. She asked us if it was still possible to make an arm wrap for it. We brainstormed the procedure, figured out what measurements we'd need from her and said "let's do it!". Allyson gifted Darryl with the arm wrap on Christmas, and then gifted us with an intimate video of Darryl opening his gift. There wasn't a dry eye in the house, lemme tell ya.
Allyson and Darryl's story is incredible, and we are so honoured that our simple arm wrap is woven into it. We want to share it with you here, in Allyson's words:
"On February 6th, 2012, Darryl suffered a catastrophic aneurysm and stroke. As you're probably aware, most people don't survive an aneurysm, and if they do, they are often left with severe mental and physical impairment.
Darryl is originally from Toronto. I'm from Vancouver. When he collapsed, he was in Toronto, and I was here in Vancouver. I received the call, and was advised to get to Ontario as soon as possible. I flew out immediately. When I was enroute, I had no idea when I arrived at Pearson if Darryl would still be alive. I tear up just thinking about it. At that point, he was in an ambulance being transported to Toronto Western Hospital. I was told that he would need to undergo a very rare and risky procedure - a cerebral bypass. This particular surgery is so rare, there's only one neurosurgeon in all of North America whose qualified to perform it. This doctor just happened to be in Toronto. I was also informed, that if he survived the procedure, he would most likely still succumb within 7 days due to "complications". Initially, he was doing well, but began to develop pneumonia the 3rd day after surgery. At that point, he was moved from Neuro ICU into the highest level Acute Care ICU. Sadly, most patients in that ward don't ever get to go home...
With the grace of a higher power, and the skill of Dr. Tymianski and his team, Darryl pulled through. Even though he was still considered "critical", it was a start...
After a month in Toronto Western, and another couple of months at the Toronto Rehab Institute, he was finally released. He has suffered memory loss, and some minor physical issues, but he's done remarkably well. A miracle, really :)
I came across your product through a blog. When I first saw your wrap, I immediately knew it would be the perfect gift for Darryl. He's not able to work yet, so he spends his days at home, working on his continued recovery (often with a cup of tea and nowhere to rest it :)
When I first discovered your Etsy store, and then your website, and read more of your personal story, this line literally jumped out at me:
The story of Blisscraft&Brazen is a love story, set to a soundtrack of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”.
I couldn’t help but smile…it was fate…we were meant to cross paths :)
When Darryl's condition was at it's most dire, on a ventilator and unable to speak, he made a gesture that probably only I would understand. He wanted to listen to music on his iPhone. I asked the nurse if it would be okay. Cell phones aren't allowed in ICU, so the nurse said she could do one better. She appeared a few minutes later with a very rudimentary one-button remote that played "Hospital Radio" (shockingly, even in his weakened condition, Darryl had absolutely NO problem holding the remote :).
The very first song that we heard was: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”. Your soundtrack song :)
In spite of all the tubes, IV's, and machines attached to his body, Darryl's toes very slowly started tapping in time to the music. It was a sign…he was going to be alright, and our love story would continue :)
In closing, I really just want to express how much we appreciate your finesse, skill, talent, kindness, and unwavering commitment to beautiful and sustainable products.
We will treasure your "art". Please know it's found a happy home where it will be well-loved and cared for :)"
We're so grateful for the ways in which we have connected with other people, people who have touched our lives in a profound way, in ways we never knew possible... and all through a "thing", a product, albeit handmade with lots of care and love. We're floored.