Let me tell you a little story. I’ll try it to make short-ish, but the truth is that is so full of love that I can’t keep my words short. But I will try.
I’ve always liked to do crafts and learn new things. I learned to knit when I was about 7. My mom sews, knits, crochets, embroiders, cans, etc. She’s amazing. So was my Omi, her mom. She knitted, crocheted, and while all my friends had bought clothes for their dolls, I had handmade ones done by my Omi. I still have them and my kids have played with them too. (She also taught me to play cards which I will always remember. You know, the card games we used to play with real cards, in 3D? Even though I think she would have loved the solitaire games in the computer…)
And I think maybe by seeing my mom and my Omi, make all sorts of things at home, I learned to appreciate that too, and to continue the tradition. I cook, can, crochet (I know the basics), knit, spin, sew, quilt, and also play cards!
So when we had kids, canning, making our own baby food, sewing and knitting their clothes and toys and blankets, was what I did, because I could, and mostly because I loved making them for them, and I loved even more when they wear and use what I make.
When Siena and Lucas were old enough to pick up a pencil, we’d draw and write together. They had crayons, markers, paints, watercolors, from their early years. We especially loved our Art Nights that we had weekly, an evening dedicated for us all four to gather and do art together. Drawing, painting, coloring, whatever felt right that day. We got this idea from Amanda at SouleMama many, many years ago. We have fond memories of these evenings.
We’ve done lots of crafting (we still do!) over the years. When little friends would come over for a play date, they were enjoying what we were working on, or always wanted to do a craft project when they’d come to our house. So, for our littler friends, we’d make a kit of some sort. Watercolor, Puppet Making, Letter Writing, Hearts, The Writing Robot, Planting Seeds, Fairy House making, Sewing to name a few. All of these were welcomed with happy faces and the showing of their results.
Friends suggested selling these. I wasn’t sure how. I didn’t think Etsy was for us then. In stores? Word of mouth? Fairs? Yes, we tried a little of everything. But I think the one that we can say it’s been the funnest of all (I know that’s a word) has been a Winter Faire we’ve gone for 7 years.
We started when Siena was 6 years old, and Lucas was 3. We had a couple of tables with lots of handmade goods. All of our craft kits, some fairy items, and holiday decorations I made just for this event. We had no idea how to set a display at a fair but we did our best. Siena convinced me to go back the next year. She’s the one who pushes me to make things for the fair. She loves it so much. She likes talking to the people, showing her work, explaining how she does something, sharing what we’ve made and have worked on for months.
We had so much fun that first fair! We never thought we’d make enough to pay for the table ($65 I think it was), but we did! …and some more. Being part of it once at that age, was all it took. It is a beautiful fair at a Waldorf school here in town where they turn their school in a magical winter land, overnight. We’ve been there six more times, and every year with different hand made goods, Siena and Lucas growing into different interests, and learning new skills, making new things to sell there. It is amazing how much they’ve changed and learn in all these years. I don’t need the fair to know that, but that day having all their things laid out, it is a visual reminder of what they’ve learned the past year. A reminder for me but mostly for them to see what they are making.
And so it started. All year long we talk about what to make and what to create for next year’s fair. We create and craft, we learn a new skill, we talk, think and dream of new things to make with our hands, to sell on that one day. It is really, so much fun.
A couple of years ago Siena came to me asking to go to a second fair. We already had our things made, better take advantage and sell them somewhere else, right? So we did. We’ve tried few different places, to add to our Winter Faire schedule, and I think we’ve found another one we enjoy as well.
This past holiday season, we not only did the two fairs we had the previous year, but added a third one, and all of them, with different goods, and each one with its own characteristics. Incredible how each one can be so different from each other. They were all fun for us.
And you probably could guess that this is not it. Yes, she convinced me to do another one. We are actually going to be in our first spring (non-holiday season) craft fair (Art Show & Sell.)
Siena is still the one who pushes me, us all, to get things ready, and create something new, and get us going, all year around. We still talk about what we could make new for this year’s fair, and how we can improve something, and how it would be fun to make this or that. This girl of mine, I love so much. Besides the normal stretching of my parenting skills, she pushes me in ways I never thought I could. She encourages me, gives me ideas, feedback, makes me a better person and a better crafter by working together with me. By learning together, side by side, many days each week, almost every day we create together. Sometimes making something together, others, each on our own. Lucas and Mark go along happily, but Siena is our guide.
She’s so creative, motivated, organized, skilled and just an amazing person, that we enjoy working on this together and look forward to spending our days filled with magic, in a table filled (so full!) with our handmade creations. It is amazing really, and I am sure you can see it in our faces at the fairs, how proud we are of all our hard work all those months. Showing and telling you a story on how we came up with something new, or how we learned something new. It is a great feeling.
I am so proud and so excited each year of what we can make and create as a family. It is a family endeavor for sure, we couldn’t do it without any of us, because it’s all year, it’s all day, couple of days, it’s carrying heavy tables and boxes up and down stairs, it’s buying the supplies late at night, or after work, it’s watching a video one more time, or asking one more question about what looks best. It’s the way we live, always learning together.
We put some things on sale on Etsy few years ago, but I didn’t really know how to do it. This year, yes you guessed it, Siena convinced me to start the Etsy store back again. But this time, I am helping her set it all up. She’s the one who’s posting and making things to sell online, with my help, as we learn together. And because she, as a minor, needs to have an adult receiving the payments.
She’s created so many beautiful things every day, it’s time she shares them with the wider world, beyond us, and those who meet us at the fairs. This time, I know there will be someone we have never met yet, but will enjoy what she makes.
A combination of her love for Greek Mythology and crafting. A perfect way to spend her days.
Please do go see her handmade beauties in her new Etsy shop. I know, I am her mom, but I do believe they are beautiful and very well done. She spends so much time thinking, changing, and creating each one, and learns from each one. She loves creating, and I think this might be a great venue for her at the moment. She’s jumping into the real world in more ways than we think, I am sure. We’ll go ahead and go for the ride and learn with her. That’s how we do things, that’s how we live. Let’s get our feet wet and start something new. Once again.