Budget blowout at the ‘The Creative Craft Show’ Esher, Surrey

Have you ever had just one of those days, which is just a bit naughty? Well today… I would classify today as one of those days.

It all started rather innocently cup of coffee in bed – usually it would be at my lap top or sewing machine at 8am doing a little empiring – but no, not today.  It was in bed having a catch up with my mum on the phone.  Then I booked my first craft fair of the year – Saturday 2nd February at ‘The Maltings’ in Farnham. www.themaltings.co.uk

Evenlope Bag - Front
Envelope Bag – Front

I will take all my sample crap (Yes I know, a better turn of phrase could be used, but any crafter will understand that if it does not come up to standard it ends up in the reject box)  and that is where some of it has been for 6, 12 & 18 months if not longer.  It’s not that any of it is badly made, just that I am not happy with the end result and as part of my new year plan is to have a good clear out and define my MoGirl DESIGNS image, so I have decided to raise a little money by off loading my crap! All the rejects must go at super competitive prices.

However I am planning to also take some of my lovely bags and cushion and owls and other bits of odds and sods with me, as I know people cannot resist a bargain and that is what my samples will be a bargain!

Nick and I then went to Costa Coffee for a cheeky breakfast treat – pain au chocolate and croissant and snail – (we had half each and Jam helped me eat mine!)  washed down with a nice cappuccino –  our excuse was we were out of bread.

My husband then took our little boy off for a walk and dropped me down at Sandown Race Course, in Esher Surrey, not far from where we live, where ‘The Creative Crafts Show’ was on. www.sccshows.co.uk

When it’s a 5 minute drive from home and it’s my day off – well it would be wrong not to go!  I did contemplate taking a friend – Stebb’s is a loiterer, Liz lives too far away (and would love it, maybe I should get her to come over for the September one) or Michael.  He would have been my best partner in crime.  He would tell me to put it back as I don’t need it and let’s move on, we have already looked at this. He is an in and out kind of person.  However as I had defined that I was being dropped off at 10.30 and collect at 1pm so I could get an afternoon of sewing in, I decided that it was best that I should go on my own.

Nick dropped me off and the last thing I said is that I am just going to look and I have £20- to spend on one nice thing as I don’t really need anything.  When you can buy so much on the internet, I really don’t need to buy.

Well that plan lasted about 15 minutes.  As after I had paid my entre fee in and started to do the walk – if it’s too crowded, move on and then go back. That the good thing about Sandown is that it’s not big, so that plan works really well.

My lovely wool knitted up with my had to have fat quarters.
My lovely wool knitted up with my had to have fat quarters.

My first stop was with a lovely lady who has natural hand dyed yarns.  She confirmed in heart beat that when I had said I wanted to felt my knitting she said – ‘ooh that felts beautifully.. .’ I was her first sale and down £22- best turn around and leave now as I had blown my budget and was only up to about stall 3.  I was not off to a good start. She told me about her studio full of beautiful wool’s at home and if I ever wanted anything any was in her area, to just call and she would let me browse her stash – ooh perfect.  I will be adding her to my list contacts.  www.ehdknits.com

I have already knitted up one of my balls of wool ready to felt. (I spent the afternoon watching a really bad telly movie with Marmalade sitting on me, knitting, instead of getting on doing some actual  empire work – after all I have a craft fair to attend in two weeks.)

I then decided that it was best to action a little restraint.  Do the rounds, see what there is and then decide what to buy.  After all, I don’t have a money tree in the garden and I don’t have to buy everything I see and stroke.  I had my sensible hat on.  Those that know me will know that is something that I don’t do very well when it comes to fabric.

Corner Pointers from Jan Tillett
Corner Pointers from Jan Tillett

All was going to plan expect I broke the first rule; I stopped and purchased on impulse. At the stand of Jan Tillett – Textile artist and tutor. Her stand was all about free motion embroidery.   www.jantillett.co.uk  Not my thing, but what did catch my eye was beautiful carved pieces of wood that are pointers (you know, what all sewer needs – ‘a pointer’.  When you turn something out  and have that pesky little corner that needs a bit of a poke so you grab the first thing at hand – usually your scissors and dig out the corner – scissors go through the corner you curse a little and mumble, maybe I should have looked for that knitting needle.)

Well this beautiful piece of wood is all smooth and tactile.  The pointers were made from a variety of different woods, all unique.  I have to say just beautiful and I wanted one the moment I held it in my hand.  I wasn’t about to let it go. So I made a purchase.  Two in the end, one for me and the other as a late birthday present for a fellow sewer!

I then lost the plot a little more as I enquired about a bit of white wool fabric on the end of roll – the experience salesman replied –it’s yours for £4-

Well that was coming home with me so out my wallet came once more..

Paris - C by Timeless Treasure Fabrics
Paris – C by Timeless Treasure Fabrics

By this stage, I think I had done a good once around and of knew what I wanted to go back and look further at.  I purchased a great piece fabric which I have no idea what to make from it.  It will most likely remain uncut for some time as if I ever get my sewing / workroom / studio it will look fab as a roman blind.  (Subject to window size) Or it will end up as a bag.  I have no idea who this came from as no business card present itself.

This sums up Marmalade my Cat!
This sums up Marmalade my Cat!

I then purchased a couple of cross stitches, which I have not done for years only because they remained me of Marmalade and how she behaves. If they ever get done, that will be a different matter all together. A couple of fat quarters and packs of buttons. That would be me,  considered done.

Collect on time, at 1pm for my husband.  Really I could have been done in two hours, but I did stretch it out a little.

I only look at things that interest me and I am a fabric girl.  I try not to get caught up in the moment of spending too much money – which I did anyway, but at least it will be things that I will use.  Fabric, wool, buttons.  Cross stitches are a little questionable, if I am honest.  But I do enjoy the odd project for myself so maybe it will get done. I also got a new piece of backing to do my cross stitch on that has a slight sparkle and paw prints.  Well.. if I am going to do it, I must do it properly.

I was rather naughty today, I purchased just about everything I spied on my first trip around. Totally blew my budget and the only reason why I didn’t buy from one stall holder was that I found her a little off-putting and well… to be honest more interested in the stitching that she was doing..

Now I know, all the craft seller help guide’s,  tell you to be doing something so you don’t look as hostile to customers – but 25 years in retail a common mangers gripe is when a custom approaches stop what you are doing be available and be interested.

Retail in anyone’s language is about engaging with your customer and I know at some of these events stall holders will get sales even if they don’t have to work for it, but I won’t go back to that stall and I will always spend more with someone who engaged with me even for a few moments.

I hate to say it, but if she had been more friendly I would have purchased the pattern, instead I spend my last £10 – on dinner; for some reason at the front of the craft fair, was a yummy stand of homemade meat pies and fruit pies.  So I came home with a Steak and Stilton pie & Raspberry and Apple.  Yum.. That was dinner. Nick was happy with my dinner purchase, so nothing has been said about my budget blow out, but I guess he expected that.

Did I really need another bag pattern, probably not. So if you are in the area, pop along.  It’s always good morning out or day.  So much more to see and do, plenty of demonstrations  and make and takes.  The show guide has a great door stop to do and that may just get done for my fair at ‘The Maltings’ in two weeks time.

Head down, no more days out for me, even if I can say it’s research! I have a craft fair to get sorted.

Have a great week and if you make it to The Creative Crafts Show, in Esher let me know what you think.  What was your top find?  Mine – had to be the wood pointers.

Maree xx

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