Craft Show #2

For the past couple of months my craftroom has looked like this…an absolute mess. How in the world does anyone get anything done in there? Each night I’d sort of straighten things up, make neat little piles and organize the projects. But then the next morning I’d get started and six hours later, it looks like this?

I was sewing all sorts of fun things to sell at this art fair. 
I sewed aprons, knitted wash cloths and burned hearts into spoons. 

With it being spring time, I was thinking bridal showers, Mothers Day and teacher appreciation gifts. 
I just think women like bags. Can you really have too many? I use a bag like the one on the left to carry my bible and sermon notebook to church or to hold all my stuff  like books, craft supplies, and snacks when I travel. The bag in the middle is big and sturdy enough to hold a computer. I know lots of young moms carry these larger bags to hold the baby essentials. The cheery cherry bag is great for shopping or even to use as a pool bag.
These little lovies are so sweet! Each one is soft and easy for a young baby to hold and their hand stitched faces make me smile. Behind the lovies are taggi blankies with multiple different ribbon textures for baby to finger. For all of those new babies, we had toys, burp cloths and bags.

These embroidery hoops were some of my favorite things to make. There is something I love about using scraps of fabric, drawing out my designs and figuring out a new skill. These make me happy! The new college kids need something to decorate their dorm walls.

Ok our inventory is ready, now it is time to figure out our set up. The last Craft fair (and my first) Dagmar, Debbie and I had six long tables to set our stuff out on, plenty of room for all,of our stuff.  This time, Dagmar and I have to squeeze in a small 10×10 tent. We set the tent up in my driveway to do a practice run.
We didn’t put everything out, but we put enough out to see how much room we had and the best way to display the items. Dagmar made this great ladder shelf for her scrubs, balms and lotions. It was perfect for using the vertical space and displaying her pretty boxes.
I found bowls to place the zippered makeup pouches, fabric cuffs and love notes in. Dagmar had a wooden tree to hang her key chains on…very clever that girl.

We topped a wooden crate with a blue tiered stand which the baby items were displayed. To the right of the baby things, were handcrafted cards, paper pads, candy boxes. We tried to pull a grocery store tactic by having beautiful paper pinwheels twirling to the wind and bright colorful candy near the edge of the tent to lure the unsuspecting children and their parents into our lair. (Hee hee hee, she cackled as she rubbed her bony hands together…)
We were feeling good about our set up, so we packed up the cars with the tent, tables, and boxes of things to sell. Of course you never think you have enough, so old Mar stitched a few more lovies.

The next morning came with a case of the jitters. The “quick” stop I made before going to the fair turned out to take longer than I expected, so that just added to my stress level. We hurriedly unloaded the cars, raised the tent, and set up shop.

Did I tell you how freaked out I was with this whole thing? Oh my goodness! I tried so hard to be prepared and ready. Dagmar and I talked through all the details. But then the day comes and all this crazy doubt slams me! Looking around at all the other stalls, I immediately assumed we were out of our league. People were talking about other craft shows and how many they were doing that month. I saw professional pottery, metal works, wood crafts….like REAL ART! And I’m here with a few Suzi Homemaker aprons and bags. Luckily for me, there was a lady two stalls down selling cases of wine for the Humane Society. She was giving out tastings. Who cares that it was only 10:00 in the morning, I needed a little sip to calm my nerves.

THEN, you know what happened? I made a sale! Woop Woop! 

As you can see, we hung a metal chain from one corner of the tent to the other. The bags were hung by shower curtain rings. The cheap plastic ones are easy to open and fit perfectly in the chain. My aprons were hung on hangers and again onto the metal chain. Hanging the bigger items allowed the customer to easily browse through all the choices. Next time, I will have all of my hangers match, instead of just raiding closets in my house for stray ones.
It was a breezy cool day, so I was very happy having this guy brewing hot coffee. He had a pretty interesting set up. Don’t you love the white cups on top which filtered down into the mason jars? It was delish!

My cup of coffee and swig of wine gave me the courage to walk around and see what was going on in the other booths. One of the requirements of the art show is that everything had to be hand made, no manufactured stuff like Tuperware. The guy beside us had his photography blowing over into our booth with every brush of wind. (Bless his heart.) The lady on our other side made  miniature mice with their miniature families in miniature homes reading miniature books. I love miniature things. Her work was really well done. A mother-daughter artistic duo sold signature paintings, jewelry, and purses made from leather and fur. 

There were many jewelry booths, a few unique furniture shops, like this one selling mud room benches. I think that green one would look great in Mary Claire’s house. 

Every booth was different. Every artist had their own personal touch. Everyone was kind. I was amazed at how Brandi, the owner of the Art Lounge, was able to get over 20 booths into her parking lot. Brandi and her team were incredibly helpful with unloading cars, setting up tents, offering pizza for lunch, checking in on us, and  taking things down in the end.

It made me so happy to see our friends who come out to support us. At one point in the day, I was having a nirvana moment…a sweet baby boy and his parents visited at the same time as a fluffy puppy in my crafty booth! Love! 

Well I have to say, it was one lonnng day. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with anyone other than this amazing friend. I have lots of sweet cherished friends, but no one “gets” this whole need to craft, like Dagmar. 

At the end of the day, we packed up our things and went home. I unloaded my car and threw all the stuff into my craftroom and closed. the. door. After getting into my comfy clothes, I went to Dagmar’s house to count up the earnings and discuss the day over a glass of Meade. I’m so very new to this craft fair thing, so I am no expert, but I think there are some things that are to be expected. For example, at one fair you can sell the heck out of paduzzles, then the next fair you sell none. 2. You must be prepared for the unexpected. 3. Unless you are willing to spend the big bucks on a booth rental in a big market, then you have to accept the smaller market for what it is. 4. There is no one reason why the crowd may be small. It could be the day, the time, the weather, the venue, the alignment of the stars. 5. Always remember why you do this.

In the end, I made about $200. Did I make a profit? No Way! The time I spent bent over my sewing machine and the too many the trips I made to Joann’s Fabrics? Oh my. To make a profit is not why I do it. I have to create. Some of you have to research, some have to run, some have to stand up for the down trodden. I have to make. As I wrote about it here, God gave me this talent to use to glorify Him. It isn’t about me. Yes, I love to stroll the aisles of craft and fabric stores searching for a new idea, but I do it mostly so I can give to someone else. At the my first craft show, I was able to give a $250 check to a non-profit mission, English Crossing, which teaches the English language to adult immigrants, help them integrate into the community and share the gospel with them.

This time, I am giving the $200 I made from this craft fair to my friend Margo. She is the director, organizer, driver, counselor, doctor, funder, jazzercise leaders whoshows up twice a week at the local homeless shelter. I wrote about Margo here. She saw the health of the women at Miracle Hill as dismal at best. She knew through her medical degree that just walking can not only drop pounds, but it can stir up the good hormones and motivate those who are depressed. She loads her SUV up with women and she drives them to a nearby park . They begin each workout with prayer and devotions, then they walk or run for the next 45 minutes. On rainy days, Margo pops in an exercise video which she leads the ladies in getting their sweat on. Margo keeps a detailed chart of the women who choose to participate in the program, so that with each goal reached the ladies receive incentives. With her own money, Margo buys all the water bottles, drink powders, bus passes, Walmart gift cards and organizes the donations of athletic shoes. She has seen women be transformed physically, mentally and spiritually with her program. I’m so proud of what she is doing.

Well, thanks for dropping by!

So Many Books and Not Enough Time

  Where do I start? I have so many books calling out to me! Do you love books as much as I do? My mom is a varocious reader.  My mom loves history, biographies and detective series.You know the 800 page David McCullough masterpieces of 1776John Adams, and The Great Bridge, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge? She breezes right through these. Lee Child’s Jack Reacher and Tony Hillerman’s Navahoe Mysteries? Yup, she has read every one in those series too. I love to read too. Although we might not always have the same favorites, she definately gave me the love for books. 
 So here is a small stack I have on my table waiting for me to open their pages. It is quite the variety. 

 First up is Lent by She Reads Truth. I love their beautiful books, cards, pictures, and daily readings. This book has led me through Lent with daily scripture readings and hymns along the way. 

 Next comes another study written by the ladies at She Reads Truth, Open Your Bible. I’m going through this eight week study with a dozen women in my home on Wednesday nights. The authors have given us this picture of a tree (the bible) that gives us food (spiritually), shelter, rest, wisdom, correction and hope. We all are given the invitation to climb this tree with its roots grounded deep in the soil and with limbs that reach out and high. This tree allows us to reach up to someone on a higher limb to seek help and wisdom and also to lean down to pull someone up. No matter where we are on this tree, whether just approaching the tree, climbing its branches or resting in its cover, it is for us, you and me, here and now. I’m sad to say that this Wednesdwill be our last gathering until next time.  

 Bees, you ask? Yup! Superman and I won a bee hive at a silent auction fundraiser this past fall. We thought it would be a great addition to the many fruit trees and grape vines we’ve planted at the farm. I’m quite excited to learning more. I’ll definately write about our adventures in beekeeping! 

 Oh my goodness. These four books are not very long in pages, but are making a huge impact in my thinking. Everyday Grace, by Jessica Thompson is reminding me “how to form strong, resilient bonds with people who, like me, are bound to mess up.” Tony Reinke a staff writer for wrote  The Joy Project. The cover of the book says “A true story of inescapable happiness.” Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Joy isn’t something we search for or create or even plan for. Joy was created before we took our first breath. It is in our DNA. Our hearts and souls were created for joy. Unfortunately we’ve put a big wet blanket over it with fear, self doubt and worldly ambition. I want that overwhelming light of joy to shine brightly. I want it.From Good to Grace, by Christine Hoover is a book I need to read over and over again. I so often feel like I’m not good enough. I try so hard to be a good wife, good mother, good daughter, good friend “hoping for that ‘atta-girl’ from God, some heavenly assertion that I matter. In the process, I find myself living by a lesser Gospel: the gospel of goodness. It’s a gospel without grace and in the end, it’s good for nothing. Hoover helps us to start asking ” What does God want for me?” Instead of “What does God want from me?” The last book in this stack, which I really want to start is by Jen Wilken, Women of the Word. The bible is to be read intellectually and emotionally. This book hopefully will teach me how to study the bible with both my mind and my heart. 

 Yea. You knew I had to be reading something about crafts. It sounds crazy, but I really think I’m suppose to be selling my stuff. I’m a newborn crying baby just out of the womb with this whole selling business. I have no idea about anything, but I’m willing to learn, take a few chances and give it a go. I have another craft show I’m doing in a couple of weeks. I’ll let you know how it went. Again, I’d love to be able to use this passion I have for creating to help others in their missions. Last time I was able to give over $200 to a small nonprofit here in town that teaches English to immigrants, helps them assimilate to the area and shares the gospel. 

 This is a heavy one. As a Christian I must know. I’ve read the first few chapters and couldn’t put it down. I need many hours of quiet concentration to get every little bit.  

 The book club I’m in discussed this quirky book, A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman. It touches all of our emotions: sadness, happy, laughter and sympathy. I loved it. 

 This months read is, All the Single Ladies, by Dorothea Benton Frank. I have to say that this may not have been my most favorite of hers, but I always enjoy a book set in my favorite city, Charleston. It’s a story that didn’t seem to take much imagination for the writer. But on the whole it was an enjoyable, easy read. With all the yuck going on in the world, sometimes I just like nice and easy. 

 At night I’ve been curling up with this gem of a book, The Dressmaker, by Rosalie Ham. Set in a small town in Australia, Tilly comes home to take care of her mother, Mad Molly. The townspeople with all of their crazy personalities is making this a funny read. I’m looking forward to watching it on the big screen! Anyone want to go with me?

With all these books, is there any wonder why the laundry is piled high? Oh well, I’ll get to it at the end of this next chapter….heehee.

What books are you reading?

Thanks for dropping by!