on April 15, 2010
First let me say that I've paid some serious attention to this book. The reason is that I'm a ...um... 'contributor.' I'm featured in it, so the book suddenly has some real impact on me. If this part will make you think I am more biased for the book, then you can stop reading here.
April chose the item of mine she wanted to rip on, and I sent her some high resolution pictures and my consent. That's all the input I got as to what would be said about my stuff. I'm happy to say that she didn't make me cry! I also got to 'defend' my piece, but I honestly felt like I didn't need to defend it, so I spent that part in promoting my store. Hehe.
This isn't some bit of Etsy bashing propaganda, and it's not just to make fun of the stuff on Etsy, either. It's a sort of a window into some of the more eccentric things you can find on Etsy. Sure, you can search Etsy for stuff yourself, and you'll find some weird things...but there's no way one person could find all of the 'treasures' in this book all by one's self.
If you like shopping on line, and you like weird stuff, give it a look! It's good for a laugh at the very least.
"Regretsy" is a truly brilliant concept and book. April Winchell manages to mix amusing personal anecdotes with truly flabbergasting Etsy items that you can actually buy to absolutely wonderful effect. This is a great book for those who love hand-crafted things and DIY projects. The only thing that kept me from giving it a perfect five star rating is the omnipresent profanity in the book. I would have otherwise loved to have bought several more copies for people I know that like crafts, but the language flatly ruled that out. Don't misunderstand me, it's still plenty funny, but the expletives do not enhance the book and limit the target audience needlessly.
Having made that disclaimer, the book samples a perfect assortment of disturbing kitsch for sale on the Internet. I loved it immediately when she described this collection as "self-expression that misses the mark in some way." I'll say. There's not a single bad choice in the book, but some really do rise above the rest, starting with p. 12 which is a disgusting-looking "Brooch with Vintage Buttons" that inspired Winchell to comment "Tell her you'd marry her all over again with a prolapsed anus." What's scary is that that's the perfect comment. The "Charming Pond Scum and Amoeba Pendant" on p. 18 would go well with the brooch, while p. 30 features a "Chicken Poncho" ("modeled by Bantam Chick Lil Danya"), and in possibly my favorite thing in the entire book a "Pink Leopard Goat Coat" (p. 35; it is exactly what it sounds like and inspires a comparison with Kim Cattrall) is modeled by one extremely unhappy looking goat. Maybe she just looks sad on second thought.
The book gets stranger as it goes along, particularly in the "Toys and Dolls" section. on p. 48 there is an item titled "Wikette - Alien Doll Handmade by Kathleen" which Kathleen describes thusly: "One thing that makes her unique is the fact that a walnut was used for her head. If you have any questions feel free to contact me." Winchell did have some questions, as it turns out: "1. What am I looking at? 2. Where did the alien get the horse? Is it an alien horse? If so, does it contain nuts? 3. What if I wanted the head made out of a filbert? 4. How much is shipping to Earth? 5. Can I buy this if I have squirrels?" Perfect, April. Absolutely perfect. Moving past a frightening item on p. 51 that is so terrifying that I won't even attempt to describe it, we eventually get to "Art," but you may have wished you didn't. There are some truly stunning works here, my favorite of which (p. 90) is a painting called "Corndog on a Plane," which in the description justifying the $85 price tag says "Reminds me of the time I flew to New York and had a corndog."
Taxidermy and associated arts are featured prominently here too. My favorite is "Fish in a Squirrel Suit Taxidermy" (p. 107,) although "Baby Rat in Altoid Tin - Original Mixed Media Sculpture" (p. 110, $45) is fierce competition for sure, as is the surrealist entry "Aardvark's Frog on a Succulent Ham" which the seller claims is "For the holidays or whenever," though Winchell claims "I had this for breakfast once in Louisiana." As you work your way to the end the entries get even more bizarre: "Doll heads in a bowl of Brussels sprouts," "Miniature Fairy or Dollhouse Toilet with Frog," "Christmas Nativity Meerkats," etc. In the end Winchell reveals who made these gems, how to get them, and discusses the vendors, most of whom are self-deprecating and amused by her work, and many of whom leave comments that Winchell reprints, giving the artists the final word.
This is a great book, and wonderful commentary on handcrafted wonders in the digital age. If you can get past the language, there's no way you won't find this hilarious, if occasionally disturbing.
on July 17, 2011
April Winchester and her army of reviewers on regretsy dot com and in this book put some depth into what it means to be snarky. Despite the whining complaints of those who think the comments are mean (and miss the points), what is happening here is many faceted.
There's a lot of good, beautiful, genuine handmade stuff on Etsy, the site that Regretsy is mainly focused on. Or at least there was when first it started out. Over the years, some crazy stuff has been creeping into the offers at Etsy, stuff that makes you say hmmmm. Or WTF. Or other things I can't put here. But you can put them into Regretsy. Some of the "artists" at Etsy create a lot of things related to body parts, male and female, as well as things that come out of your body. Some of them even create their "art" with things that come out of the body. Trust me, they doo doo. You'll find a lot of funny snarky silly comments about those things in the book and on the site.
There are also copyright thieves, people who try to pass their sweatshop work off as handmade creations, resellers and more - that's a service Regretsy provides to the real sellers and shoppers at Etsy. In addition, every month the artists and shop owners who belong to the Regretsy group, April's Army, donate their time and services to a week long fund-raiser - and others spend what little money many of them have to get the goods sold - helping a member in need. Regretsy the book is just a hand in what is a growing community.
The latest venture is a collaborative tarot deck created by 25 artists belonging to Regretsy, using "art" from this book and the website as inspiration. A good portion of the profits will be used to help artists in need - not just those who participated, but those who are part of the community and beyond.
The community doesn't respond well, ever, to those who are being mean to others. It's an incredibly giving community - read the book, but do it with all of this in mind. Even profits from the book go to charity.
on April 12, 2010
This book far surpassed my expectations, and I expected quite a lot. I believed it would be funny, and it was hysterical. I assumed it would be interesting, and in fact I could not put it down. What I had not anticipated was the extent to which this book would be moving. And -- in all actuality -- inspirational.
What makes the Regretsy site consistently laugh-out-loud funny, the brazen humor and bold perspective of author April Winchell, is present in full force. Also delightfully represented are the mind-boggling DIY arts and crafts that serve as fodder for conversation and amusement.
But I believe that the best part of the Regretsy book lies in the poignant, insightful and absolutely riotous personal essays that introduce each chapter. The author's unique insight and candid commentary are hysterically funny and surprisingly poignant. But they don't go on long enough! Leaves me hoping the next book will be coming out very soon.
I also truly enjoyed the Epilogue, and reading from the featured sellers themselves. It was very interesting to get the full picture of the Regretsy experience.
I seriously doubt anyone could read this book without guffawing. It's that funny. Whether you're familiar with or passionate about Etsy, DIY, arts and crafts, or Regretsy, this book stands on its own and keeps you laughing. And, by the time you get through the Epilogue, chances are you'll be passionate about it all.
This book is a riot. I had been reading it a bit at a time (perhaps the best approach?), including at breakfast. I actually had to stop eating it while reading, because I was choking on my food. Winchell is no-holds-barred sarcastic and cutting in her "critiques" of the Etsy items. If you're sensitive (or easily grossed-out), skip this one. If you want a hilarious spectacle, this is your book!
on February 13, 2016
I really, really miss the Regretsy blog. I remember that I accidentally came across it several years ago and read all of the archives in a week or so, all while laughing uncontrollably. Unfortunately, the author has chosen to take the blog down and it is no longer accessible. A huge shame, the comments alone were pure gold!
I purchased April Winchell's book to scratch the Regretsy itch, and it did a fine job of that. However, the book format is just so different, and I was slightly disappointed that I didn't get as much pleasure from it as I did from the actual blog.
Overall a good and quick read if you were a fan of the old Regretsy site, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to somebody who did not follow the blog. I feel that the book doesn't necessarily do the site justice.
on June 24, 2011
I found this book on the amazon website quite by accident, really. I was looking for DIY books. DIY is in the Regretsy title, and the way the title was worded caught my eye: Regretsy: Where DIY Meets WTF. I bought the book yesterday, it arrived in the mail today, and I just finished reading it a few minutes ago. Regretsy made me laugh so hard I cried. There is some profanity in it, but many of the products shown warrant nothing less than expletives.
I especially enjoyed April Winchell's titles and comments on the products. Even some of the descriptions were hilarious. I'm now waiting for the sequel; in the meantime, I'll peruse the Regretsy website.
on December 20, 2013
Hilarious commentary on some of the odd and quirky hand-made items to be found on Etsy! I read this then went to Etsy and found even more one-of-a-kind pieces that could warrant a few more sequels. Beauty may be what we all seek, but ugly and strange gets a lot more laughs! Would make a great gift for the artist/craftsperson on your list.
on April 23, 2016
Well, as satire goes, it IS an eye-opening voyage into what some people have listed, but, really, there should be SOME warning about the very frequent use of the f-word for those of us who don't care for it. In other words, I wouldn't let my grandaughters read it!
on April 20, 2014
If you don't know about ETSY, google it and you will spend the next several days surfing. This book shows some of the amazing junk you can buy there. The best part of the book was that Winchell said she was afraid to check out taxidermy, so of course it did. You can custom order a pair of mice, any gender combination, in their wedding finery; I can't wait for one of my kids to get married.