Tue 23 Aug 2011
My parents spent much of the past 25 years working the craft show circuit in New Hampshire and environs. My dad retired early and joined my mom in her life long dream: spend her days sewing and sharing her creations with people at craft shows and in her own little shop.
My mom never wanted to make money at this endeavor, she just wanted to do what she loved and share it with others. It turned out that my mom, who is an excellent seamstress, was particularly good at making doll dresses. She found this out by accident. She really wanted to make stuffed animals, like rabbits and cows. She made several bunnies and cows, that were actually dolls, and they were really stuffed works of art. She figured she had better dress the dolls, so she also made clothes for them.
The finished creations were a huge hit. The bunnies and cows and the occasional rag doll were flying off the shelves and special orders kept mom busy for quite some time. Somewhere along the way, one of her customers took a dress off of a bunny and found that it fit her granddaughter’s American Girl doll perfectly.
The next thing you know, my mom was spending all of her time making dresses for these dolls – and collecting the dolls herself. Soon, these dresses and outfits were her niche. She spent all winter sewing – and the rest of the year sewing and selling at craft fairs throughout New England and in her own by-appointment shop here at the house.
My dad was the business manager and road crew, helping to set up the booth and such. And for years they had a nice little gig going. Sadly, they had to give this life up a few years ago as I have written about before, but they had a good run.
Anyway, I visited them at many of their shows over the years and I noticed that every time I did, my dad would have a big bag of kettle corn that he would share. He said that no matter where they go – at every fair – there is always a kettle corn vendor who seems to set be located upwind from my parents’ booth – which meant he couldn’t resist.
This summer, as I have traveled around to many arts and craft shows myself, I have noticed that indeed there is usually a vendor making kettle corn and it makes me smile.
I instantly think of my parents and I look around and picture them amongst the booths, still enjoying what they loved and hoping that soon I will know what it is like to find my own niche and play it out.