The village of Crabapple Crossings continues to grow in leaps and bounds. And several of the town’s smaller shops are settling into their new home – The Crabapple Marketplace.
This new structure, a project created and funded by the Crabapple Crossings Chamber of Commerce is a new concept for small businesses in the village.
“Most of the retail space up to now has been larger, purpose-built buildings,” says Mr. Owen Otter, president of the Chamber of Commerce. “Not everyone who runs a shop needs so much space to peddle their wares. So we came up with a ‘marketplace’ of petite booths for smaller-scale retailers. We decided to begin with just four store fronts, but if it proves successful, we can certainly add more,” he says.
The first two retailers have set up shop in the new Crabapple Marketplace. Gail Goat, of Goat’s Greengrocery was the first to jump at a chance for a permanent store location. “I was becoming so exhausted setting up and taking down my grocery every day,” she explains. “When the Chamber of Commerce offered one of the booths to me, I said ‘yes’ right away!”
The next tenant to set up shop in the Crabapple Marketplace is Charles Cheddar of Cheddar’s Cheese.
“Opening Cheddar’s Cheese has been a dream I’ve had for years” he says. “And the Crabapple Marketplace has truly made that dream a reality. I’ve always felt my shop would be a curated collection of cheeses – I never really needed a huge storefront for my morsels. The booths here at Crabapple Marketplace are just the perfect size for my needs.”Mr. Cheddar sources his cheeses from all over the world and only sells cheeses that reach his high standards. “I am, of course, a cheese connoisseur,” he explains. “There is an amazing variety of cheese from all corners of the earth. I love to find small-scale, traditional cheese-makers that bring something unique and delicious to the table.”
Although two store fronts remain empty at this time, Owen Otter gave many assurances that the spaces would soon be filled. “My wife, Octavia, will soon be opening her fishmonger’s in the Marketplace, and I have received word that a spice shop is looking to move into the remaining vacancy. I am certain that the Crabapple Marketplace will be a popular and vibrant addition to our village community.”
Finally, my inspiration for miniature crafting has returned! I guess I just needed the right push!
My lack of inspiration has meant that I have not been participating in my own Creative Crafting Challenges. And imagine my surprise when I went to log in one day onto the Sylvanian Families forum and found it gone! I was in shock! All of the messages in regards to it had apparently gone into my spam folder and I was caught completely unawares. My relief when I found it revived as the Sylvanian Families Collector Forum was intense! I have enjoyed interacting with and sharing with other collectors of these adorable toys and I am so glad the community lives on.
Maybe my panic at seeing a community I enjoy missing (albeit temporarily) gave me the boost I needed to get crafting again.
This challenge was #20, entitled “Let’s Go Shopping” – all about stores and shopping.
I have been planning a cheese shop for quite some time, but I just couldn’t imagine building and furnishing an entire shop solely devoted to cheese. The idea honestly felt overwhelming – to make it full and vibrant, I would need to make so much cheese! And I’ve found that I really hate creating doors and windows when I make my own buildings. It’s just so tedious. But then I had an idea…why not create a series of small, connected stalls instead? Then I could move forward on several of the stores I envisioned without dedicating countless hours and possibly running out of steam midway through (like the cursed Porker House, which still sits unfinished.)
I also have been a bit unhappy with my greengrocer display. It just felt like it was taking up a lot of room on my display shelves and wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing as I wanted. But the size of the display tables were so unwieldy to me, I couldn’t envision how to place them in an enclosed space. So when I had the idea to leave one end of the stall unit open to allow the tables to be at a right angle to one another, I was so excited!
Creating the four-unit structure wasn’t terribly difficult. It’s made with my usual foam core. Probably the most challenging was choosing the wallpapers for the different shops. I agonized over it for 24 hours!
Once that was figured out, it was mostly clear sailing for me. The greengrocery didn’t need much, just a couple of chalkboard signs. I also recently found some cute minis at thrift shops – big and small pumpkins, baskets of apples, and a basket of squash. The pile of pumpkins definitely helps fill the space and disguise the unattractive meeting of the two tables at the corner.
Furnishing Cheddar’s Cheese was quite fun. I designed the display table and shelf out of foamcore. I also used a really neat woven material for the horizontal surfaces. I think it is a sample of wallpaper or something that I bought at a thrift shop.
I truly enjoyed making the variety of cheeses for the shop. I spent a dedicated afternoon and evening looking at photographs of real cheese shops and trying to replicated the cheeses in the pictures. Once I got going, it was hard to stop!
I think I’m especially proud of my caciocavallo on the top of the shelf – I tied small pieces of embroidery floss around them to make them more realistic. Truly, making the cheeses was great fun!
The last addition to the project so far were the signs in Cheddar’s Cheese. The one poster of French cheeses is from Cavallini & Co. – I know it’s a copyright violation, but it is for my own use. The other side of the shop is difficult to see, but it also has a chalkboard with a list of the available cheeses.
True to the story above, I plan to furnish the remaining two shops with a spice shop and a fishmonger. The fishmonger has been on my “to-make list” forever, and I think I’m finally ready to get to work on it. I’ve found some really awesome resources – I can’t wait to try the one at this link: making tiny fish by painting grains of rice silver! This creator is absolutely full of amazing ideas. I’ve done some preliminary testing on her way of making shrimp and have found it quite successful.
The spice shop will be more of a challenge. But hopefully my crafting inspiration will continue and I will keep improving and expanding Crabapple Crossings.