Well, I have my first day of The Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) under my belt, and there were some surprises.
For starters, the show is much smaller than it was back in the day. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. I know the scrapbook industry has taken a huge hit since the big recession. Just in my area all of the independent stores have gone out of business. And I had heard that a number of the vendors I used to buy from are no more. But the vendor directory was REALLY small in comparison to what it was like the last time I went (maybe 7 years ago.)
As I walked in the front door, I started to cry. Ridiculous, real tears, cry. It felt so good to be back, and the happiness just ran out of my eyes, I guess!
I was a little nervous as I waited to see how I would react to being there, walking the floor, seeing all the lusciousness I would only be able to look at. I was a little afraid I would be crushed by the reality that my life is different now. I would be walking the familiar rows, but I wouldn’t be formulating buying plans. Would I still be mentally creating displays, designing classes, seeing how the products from different companies would compliment each other.
Well. The wonderful news is – I’m fine. I didn’t design a single display. My mind wasn’t frantically trying to figure out how I could get back in the game. I was actually relieved that I was able to look, and admire, and hope that I would be able to find some of the products on-line, without the stress of wondering if my customers would love them as much as I did, and how to fit a thousand dollars worth of fill-in-the blanks into the buying plan.
I was able to absorb the beauty and think, “ooooh, that would look so cute in my guest room!” and “oh, that paper would be so perfect for such-and-such layout!” and “man, that would look so good in my art journal!” without once feeling the desire to have my own store again. I’m almost SHOCKED.
I haven’t seen the whole show yet. I have another whole day to wander, and who knows if there is something lurking on a row I haven’t been down yet that will throw me into a tizzy. But right now, I can say, with all honesty, the best part has been meeting up with a group of wonderful ladies, some of whom I have met before, and some I met for the first time today.
We walked, talked, and admired product. We actually had a wonderful sit down lunch (some thing I NEVER would have done, had I been actually WORKING the show.) After the show closed we went out for a terrific dinner, lingered over it for hours, then went back to the room and chit-chatted instead of pouring over catalogs, and it was fun. Pure fun.
At some point, I’ll show you some pictures, but for now, as this day relates to my creative journey, I just wanted to let you know that I think I have FINALLY made it over a big hurdle. Whatever it is I decide to do in living the rest of my life as creatively as possible, another store will NOT be a part of that life. Whew!