Sewing is a lot like life...sure, there are patterns for just about everything, but in order to love what you do, or love what you make, you have to change the pattern to make it your own regardless if the change is a fraction of an inch or the length of a yard. And more often that not, those choices you make to change the pattern do not work out exactly the way you hope. It can be frustrating and challenging, and sometimes you have have to rip it all apart at the seams and start completely over. Which requires patience. A lot of patience. But in doing so, you create something that is far more rewarding, and far more beautiful, then what you started with.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Maple Leaf Festival - Part 1 - The Booth

Whew! Breathe in.....breathe out.... WHEW! I survived the Maple Leaf Festival! Together with my step mother, her mother and my step-sister, I sold my handmade goods for the first time this past weekend and I survived! I think that is important to say that I survived not once, but twice, because it was quite a weekend! A wonderfully fun and exciting, but exhausting weekend.

My stepmother and her mother have been selling at the Maple Leaf Festival for years, so they are old pros at it. This is the only event they do all year, so they really go all out. They sell everything from quilted Christmas tree skirts and table runners, to aprons, to just about every handmade goodie you can think of for little ones, from blankets to bib sets, taggie balls, to the cutest dollies and stuffed animals you can imagine, a few of which I will show you below. This year, my step-sister contributed knitted scarves and I contributed purses, crayon rolls, coffee cozies and some custom hand made towels. I cannot tell you how proud I was of all the handmade goodness we had in our booth....there is really something special about joining together with your family to offer something you made with your own two hands. I only hope I get to do it again.

So, without further ado, here are pics of just a few of the wonderful goods we had in our booth.

So, here are the top things I learned from selling for the very first time:
1. I have no idea what, if anything, will sell. I made a fun purple sling bag because it is the school colors of my high school and it did not sell. My most expensive item, on the other hand, sold first.
2. If someone has to work too hard to figure out what an item is for, they will not buy it, even if they think it is clever once they figure it out. I had a na-nillion people pick up the Coffee Cozies, and even though I had one on a coffee cup as a display, I barely sold any. But everyone picked one up to try to figure it out.
3. Because I am still so new to sewing, it is emotional for me to watch strangers pick up my items, try them on, turn them over, and carry them around only to put them back. A part of me felt like I was being "judged" with each person I watched. I wonder if this changes over time?
4. I really pay attention now at the Maple Leaf Festival to the difference between an item that is handmade and an item that is simply being "distributed". There were several vendors that were selling purses that were made in a factory and the vendor was simply reselling them.
5. On that note, I am AMAZED at all the handmade goodness at the Festival and I cannot wait to share my handmade purchases later in the week!
Until tomorrow!


  1. Oh, I completely understand how you feel. My first few shows were for local "mom2mom" sales. I found that as long as I geared my product toward moms and kids I was going to do great...but put the same stuff in a different location and different audience and it was like I was starting all over again. It's really great that you get to share your booth - I'm usually stuck alone. Anyway - congrats on your first show!

  2. Those dolls and elephants are the cutest!!! Glad you had fun-looking forward to seeing what you bought!

  3. Good for you for putting yourself out there. It's hard. It's emotional. I feel like I'm walking around naked when I seel at fairs! but it's also wonderful and exhilerating + a learning and growing experience for sure. Way to go for it! Your stuff is adorable. And, yes, you have no idea of what will sell. It's always a surprise.

  4. You guys had some beautiful items on display and the booth looked great. I totally understand about feeling like people are judging you when they are looking at your items. I think I would be more willing to do some sort of craft fair or festival if I could get past that. Congrats on a great weekend!


  5. Well put Erin! I couldn't agree more. :-) Kudos to you for having the guts to put yourself out there. I love your stuff.

    I know what you mean. I started decorating/designing flip flops this summer and didn't have the response I hoped for. No worries. When Spring comes around this year I will have some new cute designs to sell. What else is a girl to do with her spare time during cold winter days?!

    I think the Coffee Cozies is a great idea. Think about hitting up some local coffee shops and boutiques to possibly sell them for you. You could have a display showing exactly how the clever idea works.

    Chin up Emily! I think you are fabulous! :-)

    ~ Tina
    Park Avenue Chihuahua

  6. i think for your first venture you did great. and your space looks lovely!

  7. I am doing my first craft show this weekend, so it was nice to read about yours. I'm fairly new to sewing also, and I have made crayon rolls, tote bags, fabric baskets, etc. - small things that I thought I could handle! Thanks for posting about your experience ... if you'd like to check out my blog, I will post about mine next week! (

  8. My, you were busy! What fun goodies! We appreciate you stopping by and joining us for Anything Related!

  9. I have never sold anything like this, but having "you" on display can definitely be a humbling and emotional and judgmental experience. And while people might find your wares ingenious and crafty...maybe they're not coffee drinkers? :) See, I love your cozy idea, but I don't drink coffee. Neither does Hubs. I'm curious did the crayon rolls do? I just think those are the coolest things!

    I never got a chance to see you at your stand, but I came by. :) If I were purchasing ANYTHING this weekend, I would have bought a knot bag for myself. Those were adorable. But I am on "hold" until I get some xmas shopping done for the kids. *sigh*

  10. oh it looks awesome!! I have wanted to have a stand for a while! Just can never get there! :) I started a new linky on Tuesdays where I feature a tutorial (let me know if you ever want to be featured :) and then a linky for people to link up. Come by and add any projects you want!

  11. How fun you must have had working with your family. Everything looks inviting and lovingly made.

  12. Looks like you have some amazing things. Thanks for linking up at Olivia Renn!

  13. You booth looks really good! It's hard to sit there especially at first. Your products look great to me!

  14. Thanks for stopping by and leaving me words of encouragement. I am so nervous about the event. Its in December so I have time to research learn and check out some shows before then. Looking forward to learning more from you.

  15. Your booth looks lovely! What a great variety of fabrics - honestly really pretty.
    What was your most expensive item? Keep making that and sell em!!!!!

  16. I did craft shows for years and can tell you many stories. Stick with it if you enjoy it. And you know what? I looked at those cozies and knew what they were immediately. Ha! Your display looked wonderful.


  17. Great pictures of your lovely goodies to sell! I still feel the same about selling my handmade things - that people are judging me when they pick them up, then put them down and walk away! Same too about not knowing what will sell. My friend and I have found that we seem to sell the things we don't think anyone will buy! I went our first 6 stalls without selling any of my furry pencil cases, then the next stall sold nearly all of them! Go figure!

    Keep at your stall, you have lovely stuff! There are plenty people out there who do appreciate the value of handmade goodies!

    Thanks for linking to A Round Tuit this week!
    Hope you have a lovely weekend!

    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  18. It's hard (impossible?) to separate yourself from your work when you spend so much of your time and energy making something! I was surprised by what did (and did not) sell at my show as well, but one thing I had to remember is that everyone's tastes are totally different. If they didn't like something or weren't willing to pay what I was asking, it wasn't a reflection on me or my work but just on their tastes.

  19. Your booth looked amazing! How fun to sell with other people. I couldn't agree more with what you learned. It is hard to sell at these things. And so hard to know what people will buy. What I think will sell rarely does and the others do. I am doing another fair in two weeks. We shall see how I do there. Love your stuff!!