My Weekend In Chester.


My Snowman Ornament … Will be available on Etsy soon!

Hi all!

I spent this past weekend in Chester,  NJ at the Fall Craft Show.   This was kind of a big deal for me …  as a crafter and as person.

I grew up in a household that was decorated in a “country cozy”  style for each season.   My mom LOVES to decorate and change things up and keep things new and fresh looking.   Growing up,  we were always off to craft shows on weekends.   There were periods of my life that I loved this …  and periods of my life that I was WAY too cool to be going to a craft show with my parents!!!

One fall,  the family was at the Chester show –  which is a pretty big show in NJ.   39 years running,  100-200 crafters in a field and up and down the streets of the center of town,  one of the biggest shows in the state …  attended by crafters and patrons from all over the country.   I’m not sure how old I was this year of note …  but probably around 14.   A girl who had a craft tent was walking around her aisle and talking to patrons and other crafters.   She had on a long, flow-y dress and had long curly hair.   I remember standing in the opening of another tent and watching her.  My father came up behind me and said “Wouldn’t that be a nice life?   To sell your crafts at a big show like this?   Wearing your long dresses and wandering around the arts and crafts?”

I’m not sure why this scene burned a hole into my brain …  but it did.   I’ve never ever forgotten this moment.

Years went by and I went in and out of crafting …  in all sorts of mediums.   I always felt creative but just never had enough skill at any one thing to say,  “THIS! This is what I want to do and sell!”

Once Dave and I started dating and were in a comfortable zone …  I guess I started talking about crafting with him.   I talked about all the different things I’ve tried and all the things I would like to do.   The support and encouragement he gave me was …  unlike anything I had ever received from anyone in my life.   Slowly trusting that,  I began to spread my wings a bit again and give it another go …  trying and dabbling in everything …  trying to figure out where my strengths could lie.

I’ve quilted,  sewed,  felted,  crocheted,  knitted,  beaded,  stained glass,  embroidered …  gosh,  if there is an aisle of Michael’s dedicated to it,  I’ve probably tried it.   Crochet seemed to be where I had my most success …  but afghans take a long time,  a lot of yarn …  and they are hard to sell.   I gave them as gifts …  but one can only have so many afghans,  you know?

Enter my discovery (probably in the form of a book in the crochet section of B&N)  of Amigurumi.   Despite a bumpy start  (as I was extremely slow at catching onto pattern reading) …  I was hooked. (HA!  No pun intended!!!)   This was my first attempted …  I was disappointed and frustrated … but determined.  It combined my love of yarn,  cozy stuffed animals and dolls,  crochet,  and anything kawaii.

My very first Amigurumi bear! I've come a long way!!

The past couple of years have found me at local school and church shows …  always making my table and a couple of dollars extra …  as well as a few successful sales on etsy.   Last year I decided to try and get into Renegade Brooklyn –  a huge indie show in June.   I only had like 6 animals done …  Dave secured a good camera and the stage of the Growing Stage theater to do a little photo shoot …  and we sent off the application.   I was wait-listed …  which I was bummed about …  but, in perspective, that was probably a huge accomplishment considering my lack of experience and product variety …   and the size and popularity of the show.   And it wasn’t an out and out rejection!   So I pressed on …

Earlier this year I received in the mail the application for the Chester Spring and Fall Craft Show.   I guess I must have inquired about the show the year before,  but didn’t remember doing so.   It just kind of appeared in y mail box!!   Divine intervention???  Hmmm …  :o)   Anyway,   I wasn’t going to mail in the application …  didn’t think I had the necessary stock or the experience needed for a show of that size and attendance.   And then,  one day,  I said to myself,  “what do I have to lose?” If I don’t make it,  I don’t make it.   No skin off my nose or money out of my wallet.   So we took some pictures of the few items I had done …  Teddy Bears,  Fruit and Veggies …  and sent them off.

I receieved an email response in like 10 days.   I was floored and shocked and excited to find out I had gotten into both shows!!!!   I was elated …  and then instantly panicked that I had like a month and a half to prepare!

But I was off and running!!!!!

So this past weekend was the Fall show …  and although I am no where near the stock level I want to be at …  I had at least double,  if not more,  the stock I had for the Spring show.

I had a great turn out …  my stuff sold beyond my expectation …  and I’ve been invited to several upcoming shows around the state.   I need to get my etsy reopened on a consistent basis …  develop a few new patterns …  and,  oh yeah,  figure out how to keep my house clean in the process!! :)

Hopefully in the next few weeks,  etsy will be reopened and I will have a 2 new tabs at the top of my blog here …  one that will take you to a showcase of all my work for future craft show promoters and customers looking for custom orders and inspiration …  and one that will take you to my upcoming show schedule.   As I secure my show spaces,  I will post them here as well.

I’m thrilled to be blessed with the opportunity to create this little business …  and just floored and excited by the response I’ve receved thus far!

Thanks if you came out to see me this weekend!   Chat with you all soon!



One response to “My Weekend In Chester.”

  1. Alli Johnsen Avatar
    Alli Johnsen

    That is so exciting, Jessica! I really hope to make one of these craft shows to see your stuff one of these days. Your stuff is adorable!

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