Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Quietly quit the quilt fair? Not quite!

It's not like I haven't sold quilts in the summer before, it can happen. A sweet little baby quilt here and there, maybe someone thinking ahead towards the winter months. But really, there's a season for quilts here in the Northern Hemisphere, and December is right smack dab in the middle of it. So what would be better than a craft fair in the Curtis Park neighborhood in Sacramento, early December? The weather is perfect, the demographic is a fit for my upcyled quilts, and the craft fair was one I had done before. An easy drop off of supplies, friendly attendees, a very supportive staff - I was really looking forward to it.

And was I ever prepared! I sewed up a storm, and then quit sewing quilts just in time to get myself organized for the fair. I had my signs made up, I had my tags created, I had all the things I need to display the quilts, namely quilt racks. I freshened everything, scented it all with lavender, found some crocheted hats I had forgotten about, and got the car loaded with every single thing I needed, the night before the event. I even packed about six big tablecloths, even though the most I could imagine using was two, three at the most.

The only nagging doubt was about our dog. Molly was just not herself, she had got into her dog food in the garage a few days before and was now not interested in food. I called my neighbors to ask if they could check on her while I was at the craft fair. I was concerned, but not overly so.

Well, as I wrote in my last post, our sweet Molly became very sick that night. I woke up early and got dressed for the craft fair, and only then realized how bad off she was. I called my husband who was out of town and then called a friend to help me load Molly in the car. Heading into full-on worry mode, I figured the craft fair was not to be. I emptied the whole back part of the car of the quilt racks and display items. Our friend Myra came over and in one amazing swoop got Molly up and into the car and I went off to the emergency vet. Somewhere in that time I contacted the event coordinator and told her I wouldn't be coming to the fair.

Once Molly was settled into her cage at the vet and the treatment plan was agreed upon, I realized that emergency vet hospitals are not like people hospitals, There's no chair set up to sit with the patient, and sitting on the floor by a cage with a sick dog is more of a hindrance to the staff than a help. There really is nothing for a worried pet owner to do but just go home and hope for the best. So I was about to do that, until I went to the car and saw the suitcases in the backseat, the ones filled with all the quilts and hats and scrubbies I had worked so hard on. I called the director of the event and told her I would show up after all, and headed to the Sierra 2 Center in Curtis Park.

I walked into a packed out hall, with vendors and their wares set up all so pretty and appealing. I wiggled my way in, rolling my suitcases, saying "excuse me, excuse me" to all the people, so many people. I found my bare and forlorn table, and wondered if I'd made a big mistake. The table, it was so flat. So very very flat. And all the other vendors had height. Such height. Shelves and little boxes and display cases and racks to lift everything up and make it look better. Everywhere I looked I saw height. I felt short and my table was flat.

There was nothing to do but throw down the tablecloths. Flat tablecloths. Still no height. If only I had my quilt racks! The only thing I had was tablecloths and quilts. What to do, what to do? I decided to get creative and put the empty chairs around me to use. I put one right there up on the table and covered it with a tablecloth. Height, I had some height. I was at the end of the row of sellers, so I grabbed another chair and sort of appropriated the area at the end of my table. Just to set the record straight, appropriating something is not the same as stealing, because you always give it back in the end. So between the chair on the table and the chair on the ground, I had some items that could act like quilt racks. I did my best to make the other quilts look as tall as possible, tall and interesting, while still looking cozy and soft. That's not easy, especially with no breakfast in my tummy and a dog with a very sick belly at the emergency vet.

The hectic morning turned into a pleasant afternoon and the craft fair was a success! A vendor even came down and raved about my great idea of using a chair covered with a tablecloth as a display feature. You just watch now, the lacey chair craze will be hitting the craft fair circuit, remember where you saw it first. I sold five quilts (plus one on Etsy a few days before the event), lots of face scrubbies, a baby pig hat and I even sold a hat for a turtle. The turtle was not at the event, although in Curtis Park one comes to expect the unexpected. The owner of the stylish reptile sent me a photo, she wants me to make another one. A bigger one. This turtle hat thing could take off. Slowly.

My day's earnings made me glad I was able to salvage the event. I packed up the remaining quilts and tablecloths, put the display chairs back against the wall and wheeled my now much lighter suitcases out to the car. I went to see our Molly, much improved after a few hours of IV fluids and antibiotics. I got the quilts put away and the unused quilt racks are now back where they stay in the attic space. I was super glad that all the heavier, more wintery, quilts were the ones that sold - currently all I have left are brighter and lighter ones. Perfect for a possible spring craft fair. Just wondering, do turtles wear sunbonnets?