It’s funny that it sounds so much like a party drug, because in my early days of using Etsy, that’s a bit what my habit was like. I knew it was naughty, unaffordable and frustrated my husband- but the thrill was too much, and I just couldn’t stop going back for more.
I’d always loved a good market, and Etsy.com, the global online mecca of all things hand-made, had become my ultimate post-natal fix. Never mind my giant pram, sleep-deprived swagger and shaky coffee-hand. Perusing and purchasing up-cycled cashmere, articulated paper-dolls (don’t ask) and cute nursery bunting – all without scalding stall-holders and knocking over trestle tables -was a revelation.
So after hundreds of hours and even more dollars spent, just as I was at risk of becoming bored by the sheer abundance of tasteful tat available, it happened. Quite accidentally, while searching for a birthday gift, I was thrilled to discover that sweet-as-pie Etsy had an underbelly- and it is deep, dark and fabulous.
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If you’re likely to be offended by fimo front bums, patch-work porn and toys that could incite violence, then Etsy-gone-bad is probably not for you. But if you’re so over the classic, elegant and refined that you could strangle yourself with your Egyptian cotton sheets, then log-on, and perhaps warn Pay-Pal of the impending onslaught.
Proving that just because it’s phallic, doesn’t mean it can’t come in Liberty print, is the awesome ‘Lemon Floral Penis Headband’ which should really be called ‘Lemon Floral Penis Headband with Extra Large Testicles’. A true fascinator in every sense of the word, this sloane-ish, yet edgy little number would be equally at home anywhere from Chezzy’s hen’s day at Flemington, to the steps of Westminster Abbey.
Or, just in time for marathon season, how about the eye-popping ‘Golden Tangled Vagina Tank Top’? “Beautifully translucent with glittery pink knit stripes, this lovely item sports scientific imagery that will spark lively conversation and educate the masses. Can be worn sheer or layered, by men or women” says the seller. I still haven’t worked out what the ‘tangled’ bit refers too, but heck, yes; it’s a conversation starter (as well as being really quite pretty).
So, from soft-porn to soft-toys, thrillingly inappropriate kid’s gift ideas also pepper the Etsy screen once you start getting creative with your search words.
If you’re after a hand-made toy, but find felt owls or those achingly hip beastie dolls about as exciting as a box of hair, Etsy offers some brilliantly esoteric alternatives. Perfect for the vegan godchild with a leaning towards vet science (or, let’s be honest- a junior psycho) is the knitted dissected lab rat.
“The rat is knit from an acrylic mohair blend, and his little innards are needle-felted by hand out of 100% wool. He comes pinned into his actual dissection tray, but he is not glued down, so you can take him out and cuddle him if you wish” advises the crafter. Sweet.
Another great find for the munchkins are Zombi Gnomes. At first glance, these look like your bulk-standard garden dwellers, but upon closer inspection, clearly something nasty has happened in the greenhouse.
“The once happy gnomes have been infected by a strange virus which has turned them into flesh eating monsters” writes the sculptor of a small red-hatted fellow, Caravaggio-like in his agony as his intestines are consumed by two ravenous buxom lady-gnomes. This crew is sure to add some colour (mostly blood-red) to the nature strip, and keep the boring neighbours away.
From the slightly disturbing to the plain cheeky, gift-giving will never be the same again once you’re Etsy-fied. Currently I’m thinking the taxidermy burlesque mouse hair clip for Mum and the Lego Storm Trooper cufflinks for Dad, but even I draw the line at Vulva Cupcakes… fresh food just doesn’t travel well in the post!
Edwina Dick is a Tasmanian-born, Sydney-based freelance writer with an extensive background in food and drink PR.
Do you use Etsy? Are you into craft?