Sunday, December 18, 2011

Art and Craft Shows are Over

The craft shows are over, for me, for this year.  What a whirlwind of activity they have been!  I was accepted into the first one in mid-October, then had to be out of town for three days at my annual Master Volunteer training, where I taught two sessions of a class on how to decide which fabric goes with your chosen pattern.  As soon as I returned from that training, I got caught up in getting late summer/early fall yardwork done, planting some plants my mother was taking out of her yard.  So, I really didn't get anything started toward the craft show until after the 1st of November!  Wow, talk about marathon sewing!  I made 12 ribbon purses in 10 days, from start to finish!

Here are 9 of the  purses I had for sale at the first show.  I had a worktable set up at the front of our booth, so I could sew custom ribbon bows and/or ribbon rosettes for an added touch to the purses.

It was great fun seeing some of my high school classmates and friends who stopped by to see what I'm doing.

A surprise happened after we got set up.  The person who had the booth right next to ours was one of my library sewing students!  We were both totally surprised to see that we were right next to each other.

The next week we set up at a church in the downtown area.  It was held in their dining room and was decorated for Christmas so beautifully.  Lee decided to make a special cookie that he has been making from a recipe included in one of our Bible study workbooks.  The study was on the Book of Esther.  They are called "Haman's Ears," are made with wheat flour and an apricot filled center.  They are really delicious, so he sold out of his cookies within a few hours!

Our next show, a week later, was at a school in the east end of the county.  We found out that another friend had a booth in the same show!  The friend's wife does paintings and is more experienced in doing craft shows.  Their booth was very creative: put together with old doors to make it look like you're walking into an art gallery.  It was really imaginative!  Lee made more Haman's Ears cookies and sold out, again!

Our final show was on Dec. 11 at the high school where I worked for 12 year total, from where I retired in 2002.  I saw many of my former co-workers and neighborhood friends, plus I made some new friends.   It's been fun making friends with some of the other craft show vendors.  Some were new at it, like us, and some were seasoned.

The day after our third show, I went to another two-day craft show at one of the local high schools.  I was in hopes of finding a vendor whom I had met at a craft show last year when I was "scoping out" the local craft shows seeing how they work and what products were being sold.  She had given me some good tips on getting on the craft show circuit, so I wanted to tell her that I had taken the plunge.  I found her in the same spot she had last year and we chatted for several minutes.  She gave me some more good tips and congratulated me on my new venture.

I decided to look around to see what was being offered at this craft show.  I ran across a new idea, for me: a bow making system.  After perusing the finished product, I found out that the vendor had developed a set of templates to help the bow-making process be much more easy and quick.  I was sold!  I could add these cute bows to my ribbon purses making them more appealing!

When I got home, I had to sit down and start making some of these new bows.  They went together very quickly and came out looking so beautiful.  I am so grateful that I found this system.  I have made all new bows for 10 of the ribbon purses and I think they look great!
Lee setting up his cookie display.

Here, I'm working on a special order ribbon bow and a rosette for a headband.  I offered one size fits all headbands for sale with a free ribbon bow or rosette.  They sold well!
This ribbon purse has one of the new bows made with the bow templates.  This has two sizes of bows that are stacked one on top of the other with a knotted center and some shorter pieces of ribbon inserted between the two bows for added pizzazz.  I think it looks more snazzy now!
This is a close-up of another ribbon purse with the new bow on it.  It's made with two sizes of stacked bows  and a solid color knotted center.  These are a great improvement!  All of my bows have hand-sewn pin backs so they may be removed or re-positioned.  The removable bows would make pretty brooches, also.

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