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Panic At The Craft Fair

Charlotte Bennardo

This weekend was our first Craft Fair of the year.

I am usually a pretty laid back kind of girl, not a lot phases me and I tend to have a whole ‘go with the flow’ vibe about me. Mr Crafty has often said that if I were any more laid back I’d be asleep! BUT! (And it’s a big one!) As soon as an event comes along where I am showcasing the treasures we make at the Crafty Cottage I literally turn into CRAFTZILLA!

The process is rather slow, in fact, unless you have the unfortunate pleasure of living with me you may not even see it until it’s too late and my head has turned 360 degrees and is about to explode.

It starts with me (very innocently) remarking to Mr Crafty that there is a lovely looking event on at such and such and I am thinking of displaying there. He very cautiously remarks back with a casual “uh huh”, all the while silently searching for short breaks away for himself and the kittens for the month run up to the aforementioned event.

Now, the rational part of my brain tells me “Cat, you have more than enough loveliness to exhibit at this event – you’re all set. Sit back, relax, get a good nights sleep – you got this girl!” But the other part, the Craftzilla part,  has other ideas. At first, Craftzilla is just a mere whisper at the back of my mind reminding me that we sold this piece of furniture at the last event and that lamp, and those little knick-knacks and so on and so forth, so maybe just make a couple of extra chatchkis to keep the table full. Not too many though, we still have plenty of gorgeousness left from last time.

A couple of weeks pass and Craftzilla moves up a gear. I start to worry that Craftzilla may have a point – maybe seventeen lamps, fifty-four tealight holders,  eighty-seven birdhouses and a hundred and twelve tea-cup candles just won’t be enough! The next thing we know, not only is the workshop stacked to the brim with items, the garage is packed to capacity with the ‘To Do’ bits, the dining table is literally buckling under the weight of embellishments, PVA glue and ‘posh papers’ and Mr Crafty and the kits haven’t seen me emerge from under the paint sheets for over a week and when I do, they start to think that a hobo has moved in in my place!

Move forward to the night before the Craft Fair. I have spent the last month working every waking hour living on nothing but coffee and ambition, the rational part of my brain says “Right. Enough now. You need to sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a long day and you need to be up early for healthy breakfast and to organise the van. Go rest now – you deserve it!”

Craftzilla has other ideas! It’s 4 am and I am running around the house looking for tags, looking for tape measures, looking for superglue – looking for my sanity! By 5 am I’m so exhausted I climb into bed like a ninja cat so as not to wake Mr Crafty who is dreaming sweetly about something or other, every now and then letting a little snortle escape. I lie there, jealous that he is so relaxed and warm and comfortable while I’m counting the minutes for the alarm going off at 6. Which it inevitably does just as I start to drift off into a deep and dreamless slumber.

Up I get, as quietly as I came to bed and pack everything into the van like a Lego master and get on the road, completely forgetting the healthy breakfast that I’d been promised by rational brain.

Arriving at the venue is always exciting – there is a general air of expectation for the day, the determination that the day will be productive and most importantly, lucrative.

I look for my spot and remember that the table is only 6ft long and I have brought enough stuff to stock a 4-floor department store. So I start bringing in all the things I have spent the last month working so hard on, box after box, bag after bag and now begins the part of arranging everything in a pleasing manner. By now, it’s been about a week since I managed a full nights sleep so after a triple espresso with a double espresso chaser I get to work. The stall looks fabulous as the doors open and people begin to sweep in.

While it sounds like I go completely bonkers before the fairs, I genuinely love meeting all the people who have given up their days to visit us, I love talking to folks about how amazing the Crafty Cottage is, how we work so hard to bring the beauty and quality they get to see on the day, I get to meet other stall holders that may or may not have their own ‘Craftzillas’ lurking inside them somewhere and admire all the hard work they too have put into their crafts.

Often, I have Granny Crafty helping out on the stalls so it is a great opportunity to spend a bit of time with her, nattering over amazing corner units, coffee and bacon butties, so even if we don’t make enough to put that deposit on the yacht Mr Crafty has been eyeing up on the t’interweb, the best part of each fair is the sense of fun and community we small business owners feel.

After a long day of laughing, show and tell and selling, we very tiredly get packed up and get the stuff back into the van and head back on the road. I get home and Mr Crafty is there cooking a roast dinner and has a cheeky gin already poured and waiting for me on the side. He breathes a sigh of relief as I jump out of the shower all refreshed, with rational brain firmly back in the driving seat. We sit down at the now clear dining table and I regale him with stories of the day, funny little anecdotes and general chit chat. As he gets up to clear the table I look at him from beneath my eyelashes and say in a soft voice “Babe, there is a lovely looking event on at such and such next weekend………..”

Keep Crafty Folks,

Love Cat xx

(Crazy lady pic courtesy of Charlotte Bennardo)