Feeling less stressed out now that we finally got our bag, and could put on fresh clothes, the 3rd day in Melbourne was a day I had been looking forward to since the day Jess told me that my visit to Melbourne would coincide with the Melbourne Stitches and Craft Show. Wow! Am I really finally going to be seeing this live in person? I couldn't believe it, considering the dates that we booked for the trip was not exactly our choice. It was given to us by Malaysia Airlines pending confirmation since our tickets were redeemed enrich points and thus, not given top priority.
We had actually made plans to visit Melbourne since August last year, but we could not get the seats. Then we postphoned it to September, then to November, then December and finally to February, during the Chinese New Year holidays. But still, we couldn't get any seats. Finally MAS confirmed our seats for 12th March 2008, but we could not get tickets to come back before Aiman starts school again on 17th March. We took the tickets anyway. If not, our enrich points, all 135,000 points (mine nad hubby's combined) would be forfeited.
Since our tickets were confirmed on 31st December 2007, we thought that it was still quite a long way to make plans to book the hotel. We thought that the end of January would be a good time to start scouting around for a hotel. How wrong we were!
Little did we know that the time we are going to Melbourne would also coincide with the Australia Grand Prix! Bummer! When we finally sat down to book our hotel, it was either fully booked, or, the rates during the weekend that we are going to be there was twice the usual rate!
When we still could not get any hotels that were within our budget, and as the trip was drawing even closer, I had no choice but to holler to Jess to help me out to look for a place to stay. Jess was very helpful, calling up hotels and bed and breakfast places that was still available (thanks, Jess!), but to no avail. Mostly were fully booked due to the Grand Prix, or, were simply way too expensive. We would rather spend money on buying things in Melbourne, and I, of course, on stash! LOL! *wink*
Finally I consulted a cousin, Nina, who use to study in Melbourne, and she recommended Darling Towers Apartment in South Yarra. My hands were shivering in excitement when I checked out the place on the internet to find that the apartment was still available, at a reasonable rates, and very near to a public transport. I missed my lunch that day as I made my bookings! LOL! I have had so many disppointments in the last few days, going from hotel to hotel checking it's availability and rates, that I could not believe I finally found one! LOL!
Anyway, back to our trip, Day Three, I woke up feeling better, though still coughing and sneezing, but looking forward to finally meeting up with Jess and going to the fair. My hubby had made plans to have an all boys day out with my son, going to museums and other places of interest in the city. Thanks, hubby, for being so understanding! Muaah! I am one very lucky person!
Jess had called me up the evening before as I was going through a rough day, in search of our missing bag. It was nice to hear from her, and it made me forget about my worries for a while as we chatted for the first time, though we chatted like we have known each other for years!
When Jess heard that our bag did not arrive, she was kind enough to offer to bring some clothes for me to wear. I kindly declined since I was still hoping that our bag would arrive safely that night. Thanks, Jess, for the offer.
We had arranged to meet up at the South Yarra Train Station at 9.00am that day, 14th March. I came prepared with a shopping bag and walking shoes as Jess had said that we are going to spend a lot of time walking around first before we start buying so that we get to see all the stalls that participated. Of course, that is what I want to do. I MUST see all the stalls! LOL!
I was excited, this being my first visit to a craft fair which I have only so far read in magazines. It's like a dream come true! Quick, Jess, pinch me! LOL!
As we were early (the fair starts at 10.00am), we took the train from South Yarra to Glenhuntley, to visit Darn Cheap Fabrics (http://www.darncheapfabrics.com.au). It is warehouse-type shop, bursting with all types of fabric, dress/quilting/upholstery etc. I bought some lovely felt materials here in the colours pink, dark red and chocolate. I was inspired by Jess' cupcake pincushion to BJ and wanted to try making one too!
I also bought half a meter each of four very lovely cotton fabric which I might want to make into bags to remind me of my trip to Melbourne. Did I say `bags'? LOL! *wink*
From Glenhuntley, we took the train to Caulfied racecourse which is hired out as a function centre on non-race days. I took photos of the pavement as Jess told me that you know when you are at the racecource area as the pavements are cast with horse-shoes everywhere!
The Stitches and Craft Show (http://stitchesandcraft.com.au/melbourne) was held in the glass fronted building in the link above, over 3 floors. We had a fabulous view of the race track each time we walked to one side of the building. It was also a time for us to stop and catch our breath, and think of what we actually wanted to buy. Jess is such an organised person. She has got everything that she wants listed down neatly in her small notebook. While, I, on the other hand, just walk about and think that I want this and that! LOL!
We spent close to five hours there, but it felt like we had just arrived! We didn't even realised that we had missed our lunch as we moved from stall to stall. I just could not pull myself away from the stalls despite Jess telling me that there were various free workshops in the seminar rooms which they would announce on loudspeaker from time to time.
We did visit the "Living Creatively" area, which, according to Jess, was new this year. About 10 Melbourne bloggers were demonstrating their crafts. One lady was doing some very lovely felt foodie creations (http://www.feltcuisine.com) and I couldn't stop admiring all her lovely works. I agree with Jess that most adorable were her "pancake stacks" topped with fruit. Yup, I almost wnated to run away with it. LOL! *wink* The lady was kind enough to show us how to make felt strawberries, and they look so yummy! Wish I could have taken some photographs!
Unfortunately we were not allowed to take any photos at the fair. Whatever photos we managed to get were taken in a hurry so as not to arouse any suspicion! LOL! We did take some photos at the stalls that we bought a lot from, with permission from the stall owner, of course!
There was also a lady next to the lady doing the felt foodie doing a demo on needlefelting. She was using brilliant candy colours and shaping little petals, then joining them up to make felt flowers for brooches. She quickly showed us how to manipulate the felt so as to shape it. It looks so easy, but, I bet it would take me ages to get it perfected like hers!
Jess gave me some roving wool which I hope to try making them into those lovely felt flowers I saw at the fair. Thanks, Jess!
After our first round of the stalls, we sat awhile to gather our thoughts and think of what we really wanted to buy. Since coming from kilometers away, I wanted to buy everything, which I know, is simply impossible, of course! LOL!
Finally, we revisited a few stalls and I seriously went through the things I wanted to buy. I think I gave Jess a shock and I think her jaw dropped down right to the floor when she saw how crazy I went about making my purchases! LOL! Yeah, it can happen once I got down to some serious buying! *grin*
Since coming from kilometers away, I wanted to make the most of it. There were many charts that I wanted to buy but it would have cost in a bomb just on shipping alone. So, since I was at the fair in person (still couldn not beieve it!), I decided to get some of those expensive charts I have been eyeing online all this while, and this stall, Stitches and Spices (http://stitchesandspice.com.au/), was one stall that has a huge selection of the charts that I WANT! LOL!
We spent a very long time at Stitches and Spices as it has a huge display area, and I agree with Jess that her display was SPECTACULAR! Along the wall she had charts like mandala gardens (which got me in awe) and many other wonderful pieces all stitched up on her hand-dyed fabrics. And yup, agree, Jess, that her hand dyed flosses and fabrics were dazzling in the range of colours that they came in. It was breathtaking! I was in awe all the time I was at her stall. I simply could not decide what I wanted and what I could actually afford to buy! LOL!
Jess said that it was like watching a bird of prey going in for the kill, as I went through chart by chart (almost), and piling them up fabric upon chart upon fabric as I went about shortlisting what I wanted! LOL! I must have made the owner very happy that day! *grin*
Naomi, the owner is a really nice lady, and I am glad to have met her in person. I wonder if I were to buy more things from her in the future online, as to whether she will still remember me as the person who almost broke her bank account making purchases at her stall! LOL!
All this while as I was going through the hand-dyed fabrics and charts, Jess was smitten with a mottled pink fab in 32 count which the owner had used to make up a set of 6 smalls in her display from The Gift of Stitching magazine.
When finally senses hit me that I am buying more than I had budgetted for, I paid for my purchases and told Jess that I am ready to leave, looking rather dazed from my purchases! LOL! *gulp* Guilt was suddenly creeping in! LOL!
But, even as I told Jess that I was ready to leave, we thought we might just do one more quick walk through of the stalls that caught our eyes. LOL! That was actually a very dangerous decision, but I had to satisfy myself and it was hard trying to leave the place. I was still feeling like I was in a dream! Quick, Jess, pinch me again! *grin*
I agree with Jess that the stall-keepers do such a good job of tastefully displaying their quilts and fabrics and goods that it's impossible to resist. So, I ended buying 2 bag patterns, more fabrics and other small little things.
I think had Jess not persuaded me to leave when she did, reminding me of the time that I have to be back at the apartment, I would have wanted to stay longer, and will probably ended up buying even more! LOL! Thanks, Jess, for knocking some senses into my head and got me back to reality! LOL!
We left at 4.00pm, and I arrived back at the apartment at 4.30pm, still feeling very much in a daze from the shopping and finally getting to meet up with Jess in person.
Thanks, Jess, for such a wonderful time and lovely day! Thanks for the great company. I still could not believe it that I had actually visited to the Craft Fair.....with YOU! Wow! I am now a part of what I have been reading about all this while! Can you believe it? I still can't! LOL!
So, what did I buy that made me look like a bird of prey going in for the kill? LOL! That will be shown in the next posting, because it deserves it's own entry! *wink*