In May, you might remember that my friend Pang and I participated in a rather successful, brand new craft market called Handmade Mart. It was a ton of fun, the sales were great and we really enjoyed doing it together. When the opportunity came around to participate in the winter/holiday version of the mart, we jumped at it. In direct competition with the annual Holiday Heap sponsored by the Charm City Craft Mafia, the Holiday Shop-n-Stroll combined efforts with a local farmer's market cooperative and the Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center to put on something completely original (and a little bit crazy...) - an outdoor show.
Earlier in the week, I was paying close attention to the weather forecast because there were whispers of snow on the horizon. Snow, especially this early in the year, almost always turns to rain but this seemed like a serious crash between two intense weather fronts and with a serious temperature drop and a 100% chance of precipitation, the Girl Scout within rose to the surface (ok, the annoying festive elf within rose to the surface as well, as I was screaming all week to naysayers "IT WILL BE FESTIVE!"). Way back when I served at Clinton's first inauguration in the freezing, dreary, wet cold January and managed to survive. I could handle this.
We arrived early and Pang was traveling about an hour and half behind - and she had the tent. Em and I unloaded my stock onto the folding table, covered it with a tarp and snuck across the street into Starbucks for coffee. We sat by the window and watched in earnest as the rain continued to pour and the sun continued to avoid rising. When Pang and Yukon (what I call her boyfriend J.R.) arrived, we quickly threw up the tent and began our haphazard plan to wrap it in as many plastic tarps as we could. Using a bag of of about 8,000 clothespins and tarps of various sizes and thicknesses, our booth was essentially an igloo. It looked like this to our wonderful customers:
We bundled up as best we could to make it through the ridiculously cold weather.
Pang brought a bevy of adorable delights, including many new additions like snowballs (!!!), cookies, three packs of baby cookies and her spinning rack of Yummy Pins - everything from ravioli to pizza to bacon! She really outdid herself and I can't wait to see what people think this year at Rock-n-Shop on the 19th or when she updates her shop!
I did the best I could with what I had - we loaded up a mini tree with Cubicle Art turned "ornaments", I hung as many pairs of earrings as I could and lined up my necklaces, too. Tina Seamonster was incredibly excited about a new addition to my line, Spectrum Bracelets, which was incredibly heartwarming (which helped, because nothing was warm yesterday and any little bit helped!). People were also incredibly receptive to my line of "heirloom" pieces - pendants and pins. More ideas are already brewing and hopefully on the horizon!
Despite the temperatures that stayed in the low 30s, the many inches of snow and slush that accumulated and the heavy dampness in the air, customers did come out. I was impressed at their interest and enthusiasm and more than anything, I was so incredibly appreciative of their efforts! Debbie and Kim, the masterminds behind Handmade Mart, were incredibly supportive and attentive...shortly after Em and I arrived, Debbie shared an IKEA umbrella with us which we promptly broke (sorry...again!). They provided handwarmers and sent folks around to bump snow off the top of our tents and were fantastic cheerleaders. The idea of doing another outdoor show in any month that could remotely be considered "wintery" sounds like a bear of an idea to me today, but if I was ever to do one again, it would be with Debbie and Kim. Handmade Mart, you are the best!
My full set of Holiday Shop-n-Stroll pics are available here.