A crafty good time
Ican’t believe I’m saying this, but I felt a little sad pulling on my boots Monday morning.
Autumn blew in last weekend, sending summer stomping away in its flip-flops until next year. Beaches are emptying; shorts have been folded and put away. Pumpkins take the place of shellstuffed buckets on front porches. Everything changes again.
I adore fall (I’ve mentioned that, right?), so I wasn’t prepared for the wistfulness I felt on the first cool morning of the season. The carefree nature of summer — sandals for me, T-shirts for Spencer, onesies for the baby — made getting ready for the day so much easier.
Now? The days are getting shorter and shorter. Already the shift has impacted Oliver’s sleep schedule, and the coming time change will mean chaos for our already disorderly household. That’s something the baby books don’t tell you, friends: daylight saving time will ruin your life.
But with the rough comes the sparkly. It’s almost October, and I have three words for you: craft fair season.
In an instance of “work” not feeling like work at all, I heeded your requests and collected information on every craft fair I could find in Southern Maryland into one master list. The calendar is up now on Chesapeake360.com and included in the fall print edition of the magazine.
I have a personal goal of finishing the bulk of my holiday shopping by Thanksgiving, so these markets will be crucial to staying on track. My mom, sister, grandmother and I make an event of them, usually hitting several each day across multiple weekends. For me, they’re as much about tradition and community as they are about commerce. Held at schools, fire departments, churches and halls, these markets are great opportunities to support local folks and find gifts you’re unlikely to spot on Amazon. You always run into people you know. They’re just fun.
So fun, in fact, that I once branched into selling myself. Briefly. Have I ever shared the tale of the disappearing eyebrow, circa 2008? Perhaps? Well, I’ve been known to mercilessly rehash good stories. Grab a latte.
In my younger years, I loved to crochet. After gifting my creations to just about everyone I knew (and some I didn’t), my fresh-from-college self thought it would be fun to start a little “business” with my sister. We rented a table at one of our favorite craft fairs in Waldorf with plans to offer my crocheted pieces and goods made by Katie.
Inventory preparation took months. My “fall collection” of scarves included colors for local high schools, plus “Harry Potter”-themed items. Katie painted and decorated beautiful birdhouses for the holidays.
Some of the little pieces on the houses required hot glue . . . and our mom, ever resourceful, brought along some last-minute supplies she thought we might need — glue included.
We got to the school gymnasium early to set up, bright-eyed and eager as we arranged our table. As aspiring entrepreneurs, Katie and I were excited to finally take part in something we’d only viewed from the consumer side — like pulling back the curtain at a Broadway show. The vibe was electric as organizers prepared to open the doors . . . and that’s when it happened. A house fell apart. Well, not entirely. But one of the small objects Katie had arranged on a birdhouse popped off, taking a strand of delicate Christmas lights with it. I panicked, thinking our products would look cheap, and dug through Mom’s emergency bag for glue. In hindsight? I could have just put it aside to be fixed later. But, you know. I wasn’t thinking rationally.
The only glue we had was in a well-used, sealedover tube. I squeezed hard, trying to get it to unclog, and . . . it exploded. On me. Running to a restroom, I removed the glue from my face — along with half of my right eyebrow.
In hindsight, this was pretty serious. When I told the story later to my dad, gesturing to the stillred skin above my eye, he did not laugh. That’s when I realized this mishap could have had serious consequences — but what can I say? Dodging a crisis made me giddy with relief.
We didn’t sell much at the craft fair; that year’s recession hit attendance hard. But we did send a few birdhouses home with new owners, and Katie and I learned a lesson in humility. My eyebrow did grow back . . . eventually.
This fall? I’m happy to stay on the consumer side, enjoying the fruits of others’ time and talent. You know never know what you’ll find, and that’s what I love about it. Like a good yard sale, it’s all about the thrill of the hunt.
And the bake sales, of course. You know I’m not leaving without pumpkin bread.