Having gone to bed after 1am, knowing I was still awake at 2.30, waking properly at 6am and turfing myself out of my pit ... I showered, applied make-up and set off to collect Coffee for an early start at Trago Lounge.
A Crafty Coffee have been beavering away for some weeks now creating stunning, covetable items for us to sell. After a pricing session at Coffee's flat (which I will miss when they move) we knew to expect great things from the sale as we had about £650 worth of goods from only five donors.
Upon our arrival we were greeted with Pip's sunny smile and the challenge of rearranging heavy furniture to make the sale clearly visible from the door.
We were sweating buckets by the time the first of A Crafty Coffee's members arrived to help us.
Sadly, the start of the sale was blighted by tragic and difficult news. One of our number's partner has died unexpectedly, she altruistically came and donated items before going to register the death. This generosity in such an impossibly difficult time really crystalises all that is precious about the community at ACC. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family as they come to terms with this.
I hate to have to share news like this on what ought to be such a positive post, but it would be inappropriate not to.
One of our other dear members is suffering with unmanageable pain owing to her ME. She brought her donation along despite this and went off to rest up at home. We are so very grateful that both of you gave, even in your own trials.
The final piece of difficult news will have affected our community through our links with the local church. Many of our members also attend this church and we are stunned to hear that a couple who we know and love have lost their little girl at full term. She was stillborn. Again, our thoughts and prayers are with them and those around them.
Now, let's try to shift into a more positive place to share the wonderful news of the success of A Crafty Sale.
By 10am the tables were crammed with knitwear, jewellery, greetings cards, gift tags, container candles, hanging hearts, hair accessories, cross-stitch kits, tea-cosies ...
You name it, we had it there for all to see. The array of colour was literally astounding. Bless Chantal who kindly came and took photos for us so that we had something to share with our blogging community here!
At the official start time, the Lounge was literally heaving. People were several deep at the sale tables, we'd managed to rope Alison in to come and serve behind our 'counter' and we were starting to sell sell sell.
Stunning, handcrafted items were flying off the tables, winging their way to becoming Christmas gifts or personal accessories faster than we could get them up from under the table. By lunchtime, we were seriously ready for a break. I (Crafty) had finally stopped shaking enough to sit down with my amazing friend Alix to COUNT the money.
We decided to count and bank the larger notes & cheques, keeping back the coins and £5 notes for change.
So, at some point between one and two pm we zipped off to bank a grand £1082.50!
It was only two days before that Emma (Coffee) and I had spent an entire day sorting and pricing and had audaciously set our target to smash £1000. Having done that by 1pm, we could properly relax and enjoy the afternoon session. We took a relatively leisurely lunch break, enjoyed Trago Lounge's tasty soup offerings and mustered the energy to rearrange the sale tables to make the knitwear look more enticing.
We used height, vintage table cloths, baskets, wooden hangers and various other items to give variety and lead the eye through the sale but we had no idea how much 'stuff' people would donate. We have learned an enormous amount about what sells, what doesn't sell and how to display items to maximum effect.
Nonetheless, having rearranged the items for the afternoon session, we awaited the influx of after school customers. We were pleasantly surprised to have quite a number of punters, large and small. The big sellers for the afternoon were the smaller jewellery items, hair accessories and scarves. There were numerous requests for tea cosies which had all sold in the morning so that has gone down as a note to self!
Speaking of tea cosies, LOOK at this little beauty! The marked price on this Rowan cotton, hand knit, moss stitch, fully lined, Elvis print fabric cosy was £28. I was holding out to get the highest possible price on account of the fact that I WANTED it for myself. I failed, well, I got the full £28 for it and it will be very well used and loved by its new owner but I can hardly imagine anybody loving it like I would have done. To describe myself as envious would be putting it kindly.
Naturally, what you're all waiting for is the grand total, right?
Well, after a huge amount of effort, and ridiculous levels of generosity on the parts of both crafters and customers alike ... I was THRILLED to be able to email the fundraising managers at both Piam Brown Ward and CLIC Sargent (Southampton) to inform them of the grand total of £1446. For the ward, to add to that we have £120 from a cake sale held by Coffee's sister and there are monies still coming in. As things stand this morning, the ward will receive £858 and CLIC Sargent will gain £723. ***ThAnK YoU***
To describe ourselves as exhausted after the sale may be an understatement. Particularly Coffee, who has to contend with the emotional exhaustion and upheaval of completing her time on the ward with W and readjusting to life outside hospital as well as having worked her butt off at the sale. The family have a precarious time ahead of them, this is very definitely a journey into the unknown for them but they are very open and honest and thank God for the fact that W has been SO supernaturally well throughout all of his chemotherapy. It almost never happens that a child endures such toxic treatment without incidence of sickness or infection, they are so very grateful that this has been the case for them.
Right, that's me signing off now, it has taken a full week to get to the stage of being able to complete this missive and I have crafted much of it this morning at ACC while people knit, crochet, cross stitch and breakfast around me.
Do check in next week and see what we've been up to.
Love to you all.