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Hi, everyone! How’s it going? This is the first post I’ve written in ages because we just got back from a month long Mainland trip! Coming home was difficult – isn’t the end of vacation always the worst part? One of the reasons it’s hard to come home is because of all the wonderful craft and thrift stores on the Mainland. The variety of crafting materials available on island is limited, and ordering online is expensive, or even downright impossible due to air mail shipping restrictions. That’s why I always save room in my luggage to go craft supply shopping on vacation! Even if you don’t live somewhere isolated, you can frequently find new and interesting supplies when you travel (local yarns, beads, etc.), so today I’m sharing my tips for craft supply shopping on vacation. I hope you enjoy and please comment with any additional advice you have!
I know friends, family, and regular readers are interested in a quick “life lately” update on our trip, so before I get into the crafting tips I’d like to share a bit about the last month!
Overal, it felt like the absolute shortest month of my life. I truly do not understand where the time went. Unlike last fall, there were no unpleasant surprises when we arrived. Amazingly, a dead tree that looked frighteningly ready to fall on the house hadn’t, the back porch hadn’t collapsed, and no one had broken in or vandalized anything. (The back porch isn’t original to the house and wasn’t built to the same standard – many of the exterior boards are MDF!) After a year of trying to schedule a tree removal, we were finally able to get aforementioned dead tree taken out, along with two other trees along the back of the house. With the danger of falling trees lessened and some landscaping work to improve drainage/stop erosion that was affecting the foundation taken care of, my husband was able to begin the process of leveling and adding more supports under the house. Because taking a slow and steady approach is important, we’ll have to keep working to level the house next year, but things are already looking better!
Very excitingly, we were able to get the property appraised and met with my uncle and a lawyer to start the paperwork to buy it!! “Fixer upper” is a very nice way to describe the house, but we’re thrilled that soon we’ll be able to call it our own. It’s also downright cool that our little one will become the sixth generation of my family to stay in the house and the eighth generation on the property. In addition to briefly seeing my uncle, we got to spend a little time with my mom, sister, and my mom’s absolutely gigantic dog. It was really nice that they were able to stop in for the holiday weekend! My husband’s family also visited for a few days, and my father-in-law’s help rebuilding a small bridge was very appreciated. We also greatly appreciated all the kindness shown by friends and neighbors. We received a variety of wonderful things, including blueberries, free range eggs, clean drinking water, hot showers, home cooked meals, advice, assistance, and a place to catch some air conditioning. We are fortunate to have some fantastic neighbors in WV!
One neighbor was so kind that she refrained from removing potato bugs and Japanese beetles from her garden for a day so we could photograph them!
Alright, now that we’re caught up, let’s move on to…
Tips for craft supply shopping on vacation
Save room in your luggage. Whether you’re traveling by car or plane, make sure to save some space (and weight!) in your luggage if you plan to go craft shopping on vacation. We intentionally leave a few extra pounds in our check bags to make sure we can stock up on crafting goodness! If you’re traveling with only a carry-on, make sure your craft supplies will be allowed through the TSA checkpoint. (Not sure what is TSA compliant these days? Stop by this post on making the most of your liquids bag!)
Have a plan. How many times have you bought something because it was on sale only to have it sit in your closet for ages? I’ve learned the hard way that, while a few impulse crafting buys can be fun and you should always keep your eyes open for new materials, it’s very helpful to have a plan when you go shopping. On our most recent trip, we specifically looked for Premo! Sculpey, alcohol inks, resin, and some other materials for use with polymer clay. In Colorado last fall, I wasn’t as careful and I ended up with a bag of “neat” findings because I liked them. Virtually every single one is still sitting in my supply boxes!
Look for local shops. Do a quick search for local yarn, bead, quilting, fabric, etc. stores before you head on vacation – you never know what fun independent shops you’ll find! I’ve also noticed regional variations in craft supplies, even at many larger stores, so it’s worth checking out the chain retailers, too. While you’re searching for unique supplies and things you can’t get at home, don’t forget to be on the lookout for thrift and antique stores, and even yard sales! I once found a plastic bin of mostly unused acrylic paints for about the same price as one bottle at the store – score! Second hand stores and yard sales can be fantastic for mixed media inspirations, photo props, and items begging to be upcycled.
Be open to inspiration. On our most recent trip to West Virginia, I saw something at a local flea market that inspired me to get crafting. I grabbed a cute piece of garland and some frosted glass spray paint, neither of which I’ve seen at my local craft store, and got busy revamping an inexpensive oil lamp! While having a plan is important, be flexible enough to stay open to local inspirations and don’t be afraid to pick up a few things that weren’t on your original list.
It was incredibly difficult not to impulse buy all the cool things in Mainland craft stores, but I’m really glad we (mostly) stuck to our plans and purchased things we were specifically looking for. I do mean “we” – my husband has gotten very into polymer clay! It’s so much fun to craft with him, plus it makes buying fun new craft toys easier when he also wants them. 🙂 He’s even turned into a Pinterest fan! Aren’t I lucky?
Do you ever go craft supply shopping on vacation? Do you have any particular vacation crafting advice to share?