Monday, 20 March 2017

NEC Birmingham - Hobby Crafts March 2017 – Bitterly Disappointed–Never Again!

Oh dear, what can I say ……. except that I am so glad I managed to get my ticket for half price, got a lift from Tom The Scientist to get there, and went on to spend the weekend with Lu in Wolverhampton because if I had made the effort to solely go to Hobby Crafts at the NEC on Thursday I would have been even more disappointed than I already am, and I can honestly say that I will never to go again.
large Hobbycraft punchesTwo extra large Hobby Craft punches for just £1 each. It was plain that punches are definitely out in the craft world, but I still prefer them every time to getting out my Big Shot for a couple of shapes when I am playing with an idea. The square one will be perfect for making larger size nine square patchwork cards and an idea I have for festive memory frames, and a tag punch always come in useful for so many projects.
I got into the show when the doors opened at 9.30am and had seen everything by about 10.15am, and in that time had only been tempted to spend the grand total of £1.50 for 6 tiny spiders for some future Halloween Bottles!!!!! This was once a trip that Lisa (Craft Fairy) and I used to plan with military operation, with a list of what we wanted to see and/or buy. We would be there all day and still think we had missed something. We would return home with throbbing feet, but bursting with inspiration, with bags of swag we couldn’t wait to go through and start working with.  Sadly, on Thursday I was on the train to Lu’s by 12.30 ……. with only the thought of hitting the poundshops of Wolverhampton over the weekend  to lift my spirits !!  Oh pleazzzzzzzze ….. get the violins out!!!!
miseltoe die I don’t do a lot of die cutting, but I do love mistletoe, so I couldn’t resist this die….. I have an idea already for a very less is more Christmas card.
There were only a handful of stands that I recognised from shows past, but all the big names were gone!
wooden house shaped display trayI couldn’t resist these wooden houses for just £2 each, but no plans as of yet, but I think Bertie and Iris will be getting one at Christmas for their bedrooms reflecting their little likes, perhaps including small framed photos (?), if I can find suitable bits, however the size gives me a lot more depth and scope than my usual mini printer display trays.
From memory I can still reel off a list of all the stands that used to sell the quality branded stuff, I wonder, with internet shopping now, it isn’t worth companies coming to sell at this type of show anymore, or is the price of a stand over four days too prohibitive?  Is there less demand now in the craft market, have tastes changed, with everyone (except me) obsessed by dies?  Money is tight I know and that has to have some affect.  In the past I would see ranges of paper and embellishments etc. that I would go home and research and perhaps then purchase ……. zilch!  All I have done was see if K & Company were still going!Gorjus metal Name platesThese Santoro Gorjus metal name plates cost £1 for a packet of six, I got four packs, with the idea of making Christmas tree decorations hung lengthways, fancy gift tags or, possibly, displaying several stamped/decorated/embellished ones in a memory box frame.
If you are into your dies or stamping you would have probably been happy, but there were very few, if any die cutters being demonstrated (Silhouette were there).  I may have been in the market for a mini die cutter to keep on my desk …… if I had seen one!mixture f craft stash goodiesA plentiful supply of wooden beads (£1 each) for tags etc, two paper pads, Belle and Boo and Good Old Days for £1 each, fancy gem strips (£1) and some brooch backs for some button brooches I am planning to make for Iris’s nursery staff as a thank you for Easter. I also got a few other bits and pieces but are too boring to feature like glue, 3D pearl effects and some white glitter card.
I bought my Cuttlebug and Bind It All from Hobby Crafts when there used to be such a buzz …..I remembered the days of popular embossing folders flying out left right and centre and going from stand to stand to find that what you wanted was sold out everywhere, and having to go home to order them, and then have to wait some more!
Where were all the beautiful papers, paper pads and embellishments, it was obvious that scrapbooking has all but disappeared and Tim Holtz? I only saw a few of his dies here and here …… but that was it, no embellishments, papers etc. I  also think that perhaps stamps of cutesy doe eyed poppets have had their day (????).  Every other stall used to have the oooooohhhh, ahhhhhhhh factor for me and Lisa, this show just seemed old and tired.  Lisa and I were never into decoupage, but those stands were always rammed several people deep, you really couldn’t get anywhere near them ……. this year I hardly saw a decoupage sheet! There were no tempting goody bags, magazine offers, no stands of wonderful pens, not a Promarker pen in sight  …… I am still using my box of 50 Whisper Pens from at least 8 years ago ……. I could have been persuaded to let Iris “inherit” them and treat myself to some new ones ……. not a chance!
This year the “Everything for £1” stalls and £1/reduced bins seemed to draw in the crafters they were really busy, crammed and slow moving, with friends, clutching baskets, having long discussions about every single item they picked up and there was much elbowing, so in some respect, nothing had changed as far as a popular stand was concerned, only it was same old, same old stuff, nothing I thought  ……oh wow that’s worth joining the scrumage for!
I am not sure what it was like for the rest of the week, but on Thursday the aisles were clear, no shoulder to shoulder shuffling, only being able to move forward and impossible to move over to look at a stands ……. BUT the one constant were the trolleys, the thing that  finally did it for me six years ago, although if I’d been able to fill half a trolley this year I would have been chuffed. I also have to say the rudeness of some of the people attending hasn’t changed either ….. looking back at other peoples blog posts from the  past this has always been a bug bear, why does reaching over for  a reel of ribbon, a bottle of glue, a metal die, or a clear stamp provoke such an unpleasant, aggressive behaviour in some people, especially on the few busy stands?
So, was this grumpy old woman inspired at all?  Well, yes …… but more in an objects of desire way, as I can’t crochet
IMG_1698…….. stunning, stunning shawls and blankets spotted when in my disappointed state I left  the Crafts Hall to detour into the Sewing Hall ……. Sorry to be on a downer today …… but tomorrow is another day!


Cheryl W said...

Sorry you had such a disappointing visit to the craft show. I'll still look forward to seeing what you create with the items you DID get.

PharmacyMichele said...

Oh dear-what a disappointment. At least you got a few bargains & have the joy of the Pound Shops to look forward to.


tilly said...

I stopped going to our local big craft show, which came twice a year,many years ago!! even then it was getting same old......apart from already having too much of everything I must have all I need because I am learning to crochet and the class is at the bottom of a lovely craft store, hardly ever tempted to stop and buy unless I need glue....

karen paulmonkey said...

I totally agree,I gave up that show a few years ago as felt totally ripped off by ticket price and parking.shame its gone downhill again.hope you got bargains galore in the poundshops of Wolverhampton instead.

Gertie said...

We went on Friday and although I was interested in the sewing side of things, it was the same as you described. Don't get me started on how rude and inconsiderate people were, especially as I was in a wheelchair.

I only went because I knew I'd get a really good discount on the sewing machine I wanted. Otherwise we wouldn't have gone.

Pamela said...

Re some of the big names being missing: Barbara Gray (Clarity Stamps and Groovi) has said that the large shows are getting to be too much work for companies. The stands cost a huge amount of money, their own business have to be left with either a skeleton staff or no staff. And there's an awful amount of stealing goes on. Both products from the stands and the samples that staff have made to be put on display.
I've never been to one as big as the NEC but do go to one in Cardiff and that's big/busy enough for me.

Sue said...

Oh dear, I hear you Helen and feel your pain! Having experienced trial by shoving/pointy elbows and rudeness at these events I stopped going. Bargains were never really bargains after factoring in the travel and ticket price either. A trip to The Range yields plenty for me as long (as I don't go too often). I suspect all the 'big names' have abandoned these shows for TV!

Di said...

So right Helen. I you're in the Tattered Lace brigade you're laughing, but for the rest of us there's nothing. Stick to The Works. I've had some lovely papers and embellishments by M&C Boutique from there lately.

Paula said...

I totally hear what you are saying Helen. We go to the Happy Stampers Festival twice a year. Really good but some people just become absolute horrors!

alifrew said...

What a disappointment �� I was in The Range quite recently and bought a Diamond Press machine for £15 to keep on my desk. It only cuts little dies but it's worked well so far. Might be worth a look as a good desktop machine