Crafty Wonderland is aptly named. I was a bit overwhelmed with the amazing array of craft in endless mediums and feel that it might be better as a two day event, just so we have time to truly absorb the wonderland.
I left around 1pm on Friday, picked up Kelsie at her place, and we were on our way in my trusty ol’ Honda stationwagon. We arrived in Portland at around 8pm, checked into the Red Lion Hotel at the Convention Center, and tried to figure out where to eat. It was discovered that Kelsie hadn’t ever eaten Ethiopian cuisine, so we scouted around and found Mudai Ethiopian Restaurant on Broadway.
Sadly, it was basically the worst Ethiopian food I’d ever had. I’d already prepped Kelsie for a smorgasbord of culinary delights, rich and complex with the ever present sour note of fermeted injera bread, so I’d gotten myself all worked up. The restaurant was completely empty, no one greeted us, and I should have guessed at the quality when I saw the paltry four items listed under the relatively expensive vegetarian platter. The food was served quickly, separate portions of the foods for each of us which I’d never encountered before, and each bland dish sat upon old, crumbly, cold injera. So sad. I would say that it was the type of quality one might expect at a fair or outdoor event except that I eat amazingly delicious Ethiopian food every week at the Bellingham Farmer’s Market made by Mulunesh Belay at Ambo, so no excuse there. There was an incredibly adorable 4 week old infant held by his young Ethiopian mother sitting in the back of the restaurant that I got a chance to peak at and ooh and ah over. This almost made up for the food, but not quite. Perhaps if the mother would have let me smell the baby’s breath….which Kelsie wouldn’t have allowed because apparently it seems creepy to strangers when I sneak a sniff of their baby. She says it looks like I’m trying suck out their soul like Baba Yaga or something. It’s not my fault that babies smell so delicious. I’m pretty sure that’s an evolutionary design, otherwise it would be even more tempting to chuck the little darlings in the woods after they’ve screamed all night and puked and pooped on you.
Went back to the hotel and up to the top floor bar/restaurant to have foofoo cocktails, which I would have never done if Kelsie hadn’t been with me but they were delicious and it was a good idea. Convention center by 8am to set up, coffee at Tiny’s (which was delicious), and I CANNOT BELIEVE I FORGOT TO TAKE PHOTOS! I even had my camera in my bag and spent most of the day wishing I had someone to brag to because my booth looked the best ever. You’ll have to take my word for it. More yarn than I’ve ever brought to one event and it looked great. Unfortunately, sales were down. Actually, I don’t know if sales were really down because this is the first time I’ve been a vendor at the event but all of the other experienced vendors said that there just wasn’t the normal traffic. I think it was probably due to the fact that it was GORGEOUS and like 90 degrees outside and only the most hardcore craft addicts could pull themselves indoors on such a day. I am grateful for them, because even though the traffic was low I think I did pretty good.
One thing I hate is that no one talks about how much money they make at shows. I get it….if you tell other vendors that you made a lot of money, they might join the event and act as competition. If you didn’t make much, there might be judgement from others, or you might have some failure/insecurity issues. But as a vendor considering what shows to apply for, it would really be helpful if I could get some figures in advance especially for shows with a high booth fee. Since I’m very good at participating in a capitalist system but ideologically opposed to it, I’m just going to say it. I made about $750. My overhead was pretty high for this show (including the 16 shots of espresso I consumed over a 36 hour period, yikes!) and I really wanted to make over $1000 but I was satisfied with my sales. Especially after watching/talking with other vendors and hearing sales figures. I suspect that more than a few barely made their booth fee. Darn sunshine.
Since I was stuck at my booth all day, I didn’t really get a good chance to peruse the goods but I did manage to find an amazing artist, Johanna Wright. You can find her at http://www.johannawright.com and I hope that you do. She is a painter, and also a children’s book author/illustrator. I bought a copy of “The Secret Circus” for the artwork and didn’t bother to read a word of it until I got home even though I looked at every page a few times in awe. I cannot wait to do some colorways inspired by her art! Find her! Buy a book or painting!
Hmmm…sunshine is calling. I have 283980952350920 things to do on the farm this week. All the tilling got done over the weekend and there’s a gazillion beds to make and amend, to say nothing of the transplanting. Sadly, one of our WWOOFers had a pet emergency and had to drive back to Utah which has left us extremely short-handed with only one helper until the 25th. I’d better get out and transplant some beets!