I can assure everyone, that when I landed in Melbourne at 6am on Friday morning after a horrid flight from Perth I wanted to sit down at the airport and wait to fly back home just so I could crawl into my own bed to sleep and so shy me wouldn't have to meet a bunch of 'crafting strangers'! I am going to be forever pleased (and proud of myself!) that I didn't.
I am no stranger to travelling by myself after spending a few years as a travel agent and wandering around different cities in strange countries, so I took a huge breath in and walked out to get my Skybus transfer into the city. A group of us 'crafting strangers' had booked in for the two nights at the Riverside Apartments and thankfully the lovely reception lady let me into the room straight away! All refreshed I trammed it (and that is a story in itself with it breaking down 10m after I got on!) out to Rathdowne Fabrics to meet my first 'crafting stranger' Amanda from appleberry kids. Amanda is gorgeous, has a beautiful soul and is a wealth of information, I am so glad she was the first person I met in Melbourne :). Oh my Rathdownes! What a treasure trove of fabrics and trims, but sadly (and now regretfully!) I walked out empty handed.
I spent the rest of the day pottering around, trying to nap (but getting interrupted), eating sushi and cupcakes and awaiting the arrival of the second 'crafting stranger' I was to meet - Gill from Frilly's Designs. Fresh from a long drive and busy afternoon herself, Gill immediately showed why people love her, to be greeted by a big HELLLLLLOOOOOOO, cuddly hug and massive grin made whatever was left of my fears fade away. Next to arrive were Angela from Perigren Creations, Sarah from Skip Chasey and their airport chauffeur, Jane from Lil Pip. More hugs, more smiles, more cheers and LOTS of talking, all through dinner, all night! Sleep was minimal :p
Day two arrived and after a quickie breakfast we bounded (sleepily on my part) to the Craft & Quilt Fair at Jeff's Shed to meet more 'crafting strangers'. I must admit by this time I was a walking (sometimes talking) zombie and I definitely was unable to make the most of this opportunity to chat and get to know everyone. The craft fair was HUGE, and if you looked carefully some bargains were to be found. I learnt a few new techniques that I want to bring to my line of softies soon (stay tuned!) and bought a few new fabrics and trims. A trip to DFO next door also netted me a new handbag :D Awesome!
Dinner at the end of day two was the most fun I have had in ages and totally husband and kid-free! Gorgeous new friends chatting away merrily, food, drinks, sticky date pudding (yummo!) and photos! LOTS of photos. We shared a few snaps back 'home' (Home being the online group that we are all part of) with the ladies that hadn't been able to join us. Not to be braggards, or incite jealousy, but so that they too could join in our fun, vicariously as it was! There may be lots of chatter about the addictiveness of social media and the appropriateness of its use, but in this instance, the power that is social media allowed people to join in the fun with us in real time rather than just go through the photos later on, this in my opinion makes it a much more special shared experience, one had by many, not just a few.
Before I knew it, it was 3am and time to start my journey back home, and yes, I did not have any sleep that night! I was sad to say goodbye to my 'crafting friends' but I know now I will not hesitate to jump on a plane and fly to meet them when the next opportunity arises ... just not the midnight flight.