Monday, August 30, 2010

State Fair Part 3 - More Pictures

It's leafy! And it won a blue ribbon :) The following are some pictures that I felt like sharing. Enjoy!
I love this birdfeeder! It was made by a junior woodworker, and I can't believe it didn't win anything :( I would commission one, but I think the wind at our house would result in birdseed thrown on the ground.
This sunflower is alllllllll petals. It's so purty.
It's an ornament cake with a snow scene inside. So cute.
This cake was phenomenal! However, it was too tall according to the rules so it was disqualified. The lady should've lifted off the top tier and filled in with some extra buttercream.
I love me some owls so I of course LOVE this ornament. I even took it out of its display case to get a picture. Shhh don't tell anyone. It's made from a hollowed out gourd.
The wreath wall...I should've counted how many there were. As you can see, there were A LOT. I think I'll enter my sweet gum wreath next year. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Oh the quilts! I can't imagine how many hours went into some of these quilts. They were amazing.

This display was in the poultry building where they had turkeys, roosters, and hatching chicks. The ducks go up stairs on the right and are able to get a little treat from the yellow dish at the peak just before sliding down the other side into the water. Then, they sun themselves under the heat lamp to dry off.
This was our last game of Fat Albert (from left: GT, AT, and AW). I'll see you next year, Fat Albert :)
That's it for the fair. Start making plans to attend next year! It was a blast :)

Leaf out.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

State Fair Part 2 - Judging

Welcome to the West Virginia Building, home of the arts and crafts. My judging partner and I were in charge of two craft categories: recycled materials and decorated fashion. There were several subcategories within each. 

Here are some of the entries in the recycled materials category:

Ribbet! A froggy zippered pencil case made out of plastic soda bottles
A Santa Claus made with pinecones and goose feathers
Place settings made out of jean pockets
A poinsettia made from thin metal
And the winner is...
We gave this crocheted bag (made out of plastic grocery bags) first place and best in show. I can't imagine how long it took to make this. Someone mentioned that it would make a great beach bag.

On to decorated fashion...

This category included embellished, appliqued, and painted items such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, aprons, tote bags, vests, and jewelry.

Check out these entries:
It's Tie Dye!

Decorated Aprons
I heart watermelon so of course I also love this tote bag :)
A reusable bag with a quilted applique

Clematis flowers painted on a t-shirt
(you probably can't see it but this was very detailed)

The judging went pretty quickly so we were able to help put the items in display cases and look around at other entries in different categories. Our friend AT got first place for completed scrapbook and first place/best in show for her Christmas card from last year. I remember receiving the super-complicated card and thinking, "how in the world did she make this." Here's the scrapbook and the card:

Now that I have cased out my competition, I plan on making some things to enter next year :)

Next up: random crafts and pictures from the fair...

Leaf out.

Monday, August 23, 2010

State Fair! A tale of judging and fun fair activities - Part 1

Last Monday, I traveled to West Virginia for the first time EVER. It's not that far from where we live so I imagine we'll be visiting for future festivals and events (there's a Chocolate Festival in April; that's right, I said CHOCOLATE Festival). 

My primary reason for going was to judge two craft categories at the State Fair. The other reason for going was to experience fun state fair things like animal shows, horse races, competing vegetables and baked goods, deep fried everything, games and rides, a mechanical bull (oh yeah, I didn't do that), and cotton candy. 

Judging wasn't until Tuesday morning so on Monday afternoon my fellow judge AW and I just walked around and checked things out. We got dinner and browsed through some of the merchandise booths including our friends' father's booth, artist Robert Tuckwiller. Then, it was time to try one of the cinnamon rolls I've been hearing so much about. The line was looooong.
But we waited...
 And waited...
And waited. We watched the guy making them through the window when we got closer.

We finally got one. You might want to sit down for this (I'll wait)...and prepare to drool.

We went to the game/ride area of the fair and played a game called Fat Albert in which you bet a quarter on a particular color. My fair-loving friends AT and GT had told me all about it several times. GT even made a Fat Albert quilt for the fair last year (it even had snap on quarters). Here's the deal. There is a horizontal spinning wheel with color wedges painted on its surface. Each color has a hole at the perimeter of the wheel and under each hole is a tin cup with a handle. And there's an albino rat. Yes, an albino rat. The guy running the game places a tin cup containing the rat in the center of the wheel and rings a bell while spinning the wheel. The rat (probably very dizzy at this point) leaps out of the cup and dives down one of the holes. If your betting color matches the color the rat "chooses," you win a token! If one rat is getting tired, he gets benched and replaced with a second string rat. Here's a picture of the wheel:
AT loves this game and renounced our friendship when I won 5 tokens in 15 minutes; she had only scored 2 in 4 days. She told everyone we saw, including a reporter for the local paper. Which is why all four of us were mentioned in an article the Register Herald.

We also played the Dime Toss, which consists of spinning wheels stacked with drinking glasses. The objective is to land a dime in a glass of your choice, thus winning you the glass. AT won two short blue glasses for me. I tossed my share of dimes, but didn't win anything, once again confirming that I do not excel at throwing sports/games.

Next Post: Judging and lots of pictures...

Leaf out. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Whirlwind August

So I said I had returned...but then I left again. Then, I came back, but then left another time. Now, I'm back for good. First, we had the anniversary party at the end of July/beginning of August. Then, my birthday was that week. I got lots of good stuff including 3 (!) Michael's gift cards. My friend SH of Bostons in Virginia made me this awesome felt replica of my Honda CR-V complete with license plate :)
Thanks SH!

Because everyone knows I'm a crazy cat lady, I did receive many a cat card. The Gnome gave me this card:
I do love shopping, but I also love cake :) My friends C* and J* gave me this card as they are very aware of my OCD tendencies:
(the inside said: Hope you have a near-perfect b-day)

Birthday over...onto our trip to DC/Annapolis. The Gnome had a week-long conference in DC. We left on Sunday and arrived at our fabulous hotel, Wardman Park. This is the ceiling of the lobby:
My SIL J* picked us up to take us out to dinner at a Greek restaurant down the street. After dinner, I said bye to the Gnome and traveled to SIB (my bro) and J*'s new house in Annapolis. I didn't get a picture of the outside of their new digs, but here is the view:
B-utiful! It was M-U-G-G-Y (ahh, mid-August in MD), but we still had breakfast outside every morning. I made smoothies! Oh, and they had just gotten a puppy, a chocolate labradoodle. Her name is Mochi, which is Hawaiian rice candy (SIB and J* met, lived, and got HI*tched in HI). Mochi sleeps a lot, but that doesn't mean it's easy to get a good picture of her.
She's so cute...and blurry. Here is a pic of Mochi and SIB playing:
SIB had the week off so we tried to complete as many of the chores that J* gave us as possible. That included 2 trips to Home Depot, 2 trips to Target, 2 trips to HomeGoods, and other various stops. SIB is in the Army so we got to go to the PX and browse, ANNNNND SIB took me to the mall and IKEA. The Gnome won't go with me to IKEA. Ever. We did some browsing and found some things we wanted. Here's what we bought:
We got 4 hand towels, 4 plastic pet food dishes, and a squeegee. How much do you think the total was?
We got 9 items for under $4. That's pretty darn good I think. My squeegee was by far the most expensive item at $0.99.

The 3 of us also went to the Melting Pot one night while I was visiting (sorry Gnome) :) Delicious. I'd never been to one before. My fav was dessert. On Wednesday, the Gnome picked me up in Annapolis. Back to the hotel. Thursday night, we metro-ed out to Springfield, VA to have dinner with the Gnome's high school peeps at a local pizza place (Saratoga Pizzeria, for those of you that are interested). On Friday, after lunch at Chipotle (mmmm Chipotle), it was back to the mountains and our kitties :)

Look what we found when we went out on our deck:
The long-awaited plumeria flowers! The flowers smell like Hawaii. Anyone want to go with me to Hawaii? I love it there so very much. 

Next post about judging crafts at the State Fair of West Virginia. Stay tuned...

Leaf out.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I have returned!

I'm back! I didn't realized I'd been gone so long, but that was most likely because I was up to my eyeballs in tissue paper flowers. Maybe you should go get a beverage and get settled in because this will be a doozy of a post...I'll wait.............

Okay, are you back? 

My parents' 45th! anniversary party was last weekend. That seems forever ago now even though it was just last Saturday. I was so busy running around and talking to people that there wasn't really time to take photos so I will have to wait to show you better pics when we get them from the photographer. I was able to sneak in a couple of photos, but not nearly as much as I would have liked.

The Gnome and I traveled to my hometown on Thursday. Thursday night, we went to the local Irish pub for karaoke and great friends :) Oh, and Woodchuck (and old friend, right M and L?).

Friday, we checked in on the party headquarters to get the room set up. The room is right on the water so there is a beautiful view. They were working on the room at the time so we weren't really able to put any decorations up. Boy do I wish we would have put up some decorations then.

Saturday (day of the party), we headed back to the restaurant to decorate like crazy. For the centerpieces, I went around to our local Goodwill stores in search of glassware with a lip that I could tie raffia around. This turned out to be so much cheaper than getting a bunch of glassware from a craft store. I ordered cobalt blue (sidenote: the 45th anniversary is the sapphire anniversary so EVERYTHING was blue) embellishment glass and mixed it with clear embellishment glass that I got from a local craft store. The raffia was a pearly blue and white that I picked up from a party store. We filled the trios of glassware with some of the decorative glass and stuck a votive in each one. I tied some blue and white raffia twisted together around each and unraveled the ends. We also got some blue gems and silver confetti to sprinkle around the centerpieces. Here's a blurry, blown-up picture:

The Gnome and I set to hanging the tissue paper pomander balls (hopefully, I'll have some photos of them from the photographer). Turns out I should have made more than 8 of them. Oh well. My bro, who I will call SIB, and sis-in-law, J, showed up with a helium tank and more balloons than I have ever seen. J looked up instructions on how to construct a balloon arch. We centered it along the back wall where Mom (?L) and Dad (Pops) would be sitting. And we made a bunch of balloon trees to place around the room. SIB and J put together an assortment of photos from the parents' 45 years together to put on a table at the front of the room along with a guest book. I used a two-tiered wire basket filled with variegated ivy as a decoration for that table, but it needed a little something else. More confetti and blue gems!

We rushed back to the house to get all gussied up. Part of my gussying (sp?) up was my handmade felt hair clip that matched my dress:
It's purty!

When we arrived at the restaurant 25 minutes early, some guests had already arrived! So I had to flit around to light all of the candles while people mingled. SIB did a very good job welcoming everyone (with me standing next to him for support :) ). Then, it was eatin' time! The buffet had ham, clam strips, crab cakes (what is a party without crab cakes really?), chicken wings, tilapia, fried shrimp, coleslaw, twice-baked potatoes, steamed veggies, and corn bread. J, a former bartender, created a drink for the event called the Normanator (Norma is the ?L's name). It was fruity and delicious :)

After dinner, SIB gave a toast. Then, we had the slideshow. SIB and J did a fantastic job putting it together. It was probably my favorite part of the party. We had asked a few family members and friends to share a memory or story. After four speakers, we were supposed to start the spotlight dance, but the ?L, in true ?L fashion, jumped up and wanted to speak. She even had notes. Then, Pops spoke and had the room in tears. Well, maybe it was just me, but I'm pretty sure I heard some others sniffling. They danced to Only You by the Platters. 

Hey DJ, it's dancing time! I danced the night away along with J, the ?L, and some other die-hard family members and friends. Our Locomotion train wasn't very long, but we still had a blast :) Here's a candlelight view of the room:

So the party was a huge success. At the end of the night, J was talking about having another party there for Christmas. She also talked about heading to the Eastern Shore's Premier Nightclub Shuckers after the party. She promptly fell asleep on the way home.

In plant news, the Gnome has an orchid at work (a Cattleya hybrid for those interested in that much detail) that has bloomed. I popped into his office for a photo shoot. The 2 flowers are beautiful and perfume-y :)

Closeup of the ruffly-ness:

Are you still here? If so, have a great weekend!!!

Leaf out.