For this blog post I thought I would focus on an issue close to my heart - taking your children to a craft fair.
For many of us in the crafting community this is something that crops up time after time and it can be something that can raise the blood pressure of even the most placid crafter!
My children have been coming to craft fairs on and off with me for about four years now and it's usually because I have no-one else able to look after them on that day. From time to time my daughter likes to come even when she doesn't have to as she's getting interested in crafting herself.
So here are the don'ts
1 - Don't bring your child if you have any other option!
Yes - you love the little darlings dearly, childcare costs a fortune, and your Mother-in-law refuses to have them again after they poured orange juice into the house plants, but you will have more of a relaxing day if you are able to chat to the other stallholders and concentrate on your customers.
Always ask the organiser if it's ok to bring your child - it's just good manners!
2- Don't let your child touch items on another stall
We all work hard to make our beautiful items and people don't want sticky fingerprints on their stained glass etc. I once had a child take all the pins out of my pinwheels and dot them all over my stall in various other things while his mother looked on adoringly. I was talking to a customer at the time.
3. -Don't let your child encroach on another stallholder's space
This is maybe a picky point, but over the course of a day it can become annoying especially if the child is blocking access to your stall.
4 -Don't let your child run riot around the stalls
You don't want your future Ussain Bolt flattening any customers that are approaching your stall clutching their overstuffed purses. I know this is why we have public liability insurance but nevertheless...........
5 - DON'T FORGET THE BABY WIPES!!
I know this all sounds a bit anti-child, so here are some Do's
1- Do encourage your child to help you unload the car
Yes - by the time they are 10 & 11 they really WILL help you if bribed. I pack things into those strong 'bags for life' that you get from supermarkets, that way they can help you whilst causing a minimum of damage to your goods.
It also helps if you give them little jobs to do too; I ask mine to go and find my table, take cups back to the kitchen, and sometimes take photos of the day. Some of the photos here were taken by my son.
2-Do bring plenty of food and drink (and a rubbish bag) for them
I have discovered over the years, that if you're not organised your children will spend ALL your profits on the artisan chocolates and organic elderflowerade that is available. Lets be honest, you want that that money to spend on the cakes.
3 -Do bring entertainment for them
The night before an event, I encourage my children to get ready all the things they want to entertain themselves, including getting them to charge up the various electronica they NEED as I refuse to have their chargers PAT tested. Check what they put in the bag before you leave or you may turn up with one felt tip and a furry shark for the day's entertainment.
4 - Do encourage your child to interact with customers
You have to judge this one carefully. Obviously if you have Cruella de Ville on the prowl you perhaps want to minmize contact with your offspring! Over the years I have found that a child can be an asset to your stall. They take away the tension of you staring at the customer and their chatter breaks up that horrible silence you get at some fairs.
Pick a customer who looks like a teacher and ask your child to work out their change - this goes down a storm, unless the teacher is on their summer holiday.....
5 - Do take a noisy child out
A craft fair is a long day for a child and they need to let off steam. If at all possible, take them outside for a run around, or a walk with the pushchair to encourage them to fall asleep. I have found that most stallholders will happily watch your stall for you. Sometimes another stallholder will take your child out for a few minutes too. I have always been happy to do this, but you do need to judge carefully.
Remember, a crying child will annoy everyone eventually!
6 - Do make a den under your table
I have a floor length tablecloth, and I let my children have a little den under there. It keeps them quiet for hours. Just make sure they don't tie anyone's shoelaces together whilst you're having a lengthy discussion about knitting a beret from dog hair.
7 - Do treat your child if they deserve it
When my children have been fairly quiet, not hit each other or unraveled anyone's crochet, I let them have a little treat from one of the other stalls. This is a win/win situation. The other stallholders will love you for spending and your children will be entertained a while longer. I usually make a big deal of going round all the stalls, chatting to everyone and eventually choosing.
8 - Do load them into the car first at clear up time
There has been a couple of occasions when I have had to repack my car as I forgot to allow room for the various children I had in tow.
I hope that has been helpful - it's common sense really! Children can learn a lot from coming to your fair with you, and hopefully you are bringing up the next generation of crafters.
Please feel free to add your own helpful tips in the comments.
These photos were taken at Esk Valley Mini Market, which is held in Danby Village Hall, North Yorkshire. The market is held every other saturday from late March through to December.