Two weeks ago we went to the first of two craft fairs we’ll attend with a table of our handmade goods, this year. We love to make things. We like to craft, try new things, learn something new. We are always looking in books, magazines, online for new ideas. We talk, we share, we try, we learn.
We started selling our handmade goods a while ago. We’ve always been making things. We like making our gifts. We think of who is receiving it and create something for them, and sometimes we share what we like at the moment.
So when some friends convinced us to sell our things at a Winter Faire about 4 years ago, we got hooked. Siena really liked the idea of selling and being part of a fair. She’s always been the one wanting to have a lemonade stand, or come early spring or late summer, she’d have a hot chocolate stand instead. She has also convinced me to have garage sales, so she can organize things, set them out (like a store), out price stickers, and sell them. And a big bonus is that she is so organized, that she loves cleaning her room, and Lucas’s room too. She likes going through the drawer and shelves throughout the house and asking me what are the things I don’t use or things she thinks we don’t need. I love it. She is my decluttering force.
Siena was 7 and Lucas was 4 years old when we went our first craft fair to sell. They made the crafts they could, helped me put sets and kits together. I made few things I had made for us, for the house, for them to play with, and we were ready to go. I remember being so nervous. Nervous to the unknown. To what people would say about our goods. Nervous that we wouldn’t make enough to play the table fee. Because the cost of the materials wasn’t much, since they were almost seen as craft supplies for our homeschooling. Not that it mattered to anyone but me, in my worries about budgeting.
And that first year, we made so much more than the table fee, that I was surprised we had pulled it off. I never thought we had that much worth in goods. I guess, we hadn’t counted how much inventory we had. But most importantly, was what we experience personally, each one of us, that day, standing by our table and by our handmade goods. Siena hearing the comments from the passersby, or directly to her. A little 7 year old girl, making all sorts of presents for friends and selling them now, at the same time learning to sew and learn to talk to people who would ask how she made things and just strike a conversation with so many people. She’s good at that. She always has been.
That first year also, she had learned to twist balloons. She’s always been in love with balloons and didn’t surprise me when she asked to watch videos on youtube, and get books at the library to learn to make a flower and a dog. She twisted balloons at that first fair too. Her fingers wore blisters by the end of the day, and she was exhausted, but her little person was filled. Filled with wonderful comments I hope she’ll never forget. She does remember the one bigger kid (teenager) who approached her to ask for a balloon and as she watched Siena make it, she told her “I am much older than you and I can’t even make that! You are amazing!” Siena repeated that story for many weeks afterwards that year. We still bring it up, because it meant so much to her. To all of us. Because she made us proud. She always does.
The second year came, we did another fair. The following year Siena convinced me to go to a second fair too since we had already made things for the one. So we did. And have been doing two fairs a year, for the holidays, the last three years.
Lucas likes to make things too, but different things than Siena. He likes to work with wood, and has painted things, and created other projects that he enjoys. We all help him. We all help each other when we need support.
We talk about the fair and what we’d like to make new each year. What things we’d like to change or make more of. No one expects to push anybody in making anything. It’s all about what we each want to make. It’s about enjoying what we are doing. It’s about having fun. Having fun while making and creating because we like it. Getting that cash for selling our handmade things is a bonus. A fun one for sure.
We just had our first fair of the season last week. It was just the three of us for setting up. Mark was at work. Lucas and Siena helped unload the car, and carry the boxes of goods in to our spot. Siena had practiced setting up and the arrangement of things how we wanted them, the previous days. While Lucas and I went home to get the last few things, moved the car and parked it in the right spot, Siena arranged our spot mostly all by herself. It looked beautiful. She really did a great job. We were there for two days, and we had a lot of fun.
This year, as with every passing year, they have both changed how much they are involved in the fairs, and in the making. Siena this year wanted to change few things, she wanted to make new things, and has been part of the whole process, more than before. And it gave her a different perspective of what it takes to make it work. She was aware of the fees we had to pay. The cost of the supplies. The way we buy the supplies, where, when and how. The cost of the shipping, and how to make it work in a timely manner.
It wasn’t only about how much money we had made at the end of the weekend. This time she was interested in knowing when and how much did we earn after paying for the table fee and the supplies. Not a bad thing at all.
Then, we were ready to deposit the money in the travel account. For all of us we felt that all of our efforts had paid off. Each one of us, was happy with what we had made and what we had brought home. A great lesson and a great homeschool unit in sewing, woodworking (and other craft skills), math, reading, life skills, and entrepreneurial ideas. All in one, without even knowing it.
And most importantly remembering even in the midst of crazy set ups and carrying heavy boxes, figuring out the new folding table, attending and talking to people for many hours at a time (etc…) that it’s all for fun. Having fun together throughout the whole process, throughout the year. As we think in months in advance of the new projects and new ideas to create, making them work, and making them look pretty. For us, it’s all about having fun. About learning something new each year, but most importantly just having fun together. And this first one was indeed fun. Now to restock and create more and maybe new things for the next one coming up.