Archive for July, 2014

Another First!

July 30, 2014

Mon. was another Special Events day that I entered at the Fair. The Division was called “Cooking With Candy” and the class I entered was a baked good made with store-bought candy.

In the years when we kids were growing up, my mom would use a favorite chocolate cake recipe that came from who-knows-where. The recipe was hand-written in my older Sis’s hand in the front of Mom’s old Watkins cookbook. As I got old enough to be trusted to bake, (I’ve always loved to bake goodies and would jump at the chance when Mom would let me), I was even allowed to make this cake a few times.

As time went along, I became very familiar with cake mixes, 🙂 , and didn’t go to the trouble of making cakes from scratch anymore. But for the Fair, my “goodie” had to be hand-made. That’s when I dragged out the old Watkins cookbook and found the recipe for the chocolate cake.

I made a Peanut Butter Devil’s Food Cake with Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosting. The cake was made per recipe, except I used sour cream instead of sour milk. I added peanut butter to the frosting, then chopped up mini Reese’s peanut butter cups to spread on the top of the cake after it was frosted. Then I drizzled the top with melted chocolate bark over the PB cups.

This cake has always been such a moist, sweet cake. With the added PB cups and chocolate bark, it was “to. die. for!”

Well, guess what? I won a blue ribbon!! Unfortunately, I was so excited about winning the ribbon that I forgot to take a pic of it! So you’ll just have to picture it in your mind. 🙂

I won’t be going back to the Fair until Sat. with my last entry, and by that time, I’m sure the cake will have been thrown out. (The baking entries are looking pretty pathetic by the end of the Fair.)

But I still have half the cake — the recipe makes two nine-inch layers — but it’s not made up with the frosting and decorated with the PB cups, etc. This weekend when we go visiting with family members, I’ll make it up and take it to them. (Hubby is diabetic and we don’t eat stuff like that anymore.)  Hopefully I’ll get a pic of it before they devour it!

At least now I know that, all these years later, my mom was making us a blue ribbon-winning cake. Oh, if only she knew. (But maybe she does!) Thanks Mom!!

 

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“Broccoli (Spinach) Cornbread”

July 28, 2014

Back in 2011 I published a recipe for Broccoli Cornbread that I had made and we thought was a keeper. It is pretty good! And I did keep the recipe in my favorites file.

When the Fair rolled around again this year, I decided to enter cornbread from this recipe just to see what the judges thought about it. I went to the store, bought fresh ingredients, came home all excited, whipped up the cornbread and some peach gingerbread muffins that I entered as well, typed off the recipes to attach to my entries, and off to the Fair we went.

My cornbread won 1st place!

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Doesn’t it look pretty? See all the DARK green in it? Well, guess what? While I was at the store, I picked up a box of frozen spinach instead of broccoli! I had to drain the vegetable on paper towels, squeeze it, and roll in fresh paper towels to get out as much moisture as possible.

All the time I was making it and even taste-testing it after it was baked, I didn’t catch my mistake. Evidently the judges didn’t notice it either!

Hubby and I came home, had supper of some ham and beans that had been cooking in the crock pot all day and another piece of my cornbread. Hubby said something about it tasting like the spinach souffle’ that we’d had the night before. No, I said, that was spinach — this is broccoli. While I was cleaning up afterward, I scraped the crumbs from the pan, took a big mouthful, and suddenly it hit me!

I remembered back to the point where I was squeezing all the liquid out of the “broccoli” with the paper towels and gasped with recognition! I dug the box from the recycle bin and sure enough it was spinach, not broccoli! Where was my brain all day???

I just had to laugh at myself. Then I thought of the judges. THEY didn’t seem to notice either. They asked me questions about where I got the recipe, the fact that they had never tasted anything like this bread that had cottage cheese in it, etc. Never even mentioned that maybe this was spinach instead of broccoli. Hmmmm, makes you wonder about the judges, right?

The thing that got me the most was that Hubby, who always says that he doesn’t have a very keen taste of things, is the one that seemed to notice above everyone else! Even ME!

Boy, I must have had ONE BIG senior moment!! I still can’t believe that this happened. This is one story that I’ll remember for a long time!

Well, at least we know that this recipe is a blue ribbon winner, whether it’s made with broccoli OR spinach! 🙂

Note:

My muffins didn’t win a ribbon, but they sure were good anyway!

 

The Fair’s Here, The Fair’s Here!

July 25, 2014

My Sis went to the Fair with me yesterday and we looked around at all the amazing talents of the area crafters before the judging of the “Fair Flair” projects. It’s a little sad to see that the Fair entries are going down every year. One lady that works at the Fair said that they were down 100 items just from last year. Charging $2 an item to enter into the Fair might be one of the reasons. If you have 20 items, that’s $40 just to have them displayed. If you don’t win any ribbons, then you don’t get prize money that helps to eliminate that cost.

However on the other side, the quality of what is entered has been rising in my opinion. So the competition gets more intense each year especially when the Fair has been combining categories to have enough items to compare for the judging.

I didn’t do as well as this year as some years, but it’s to be expected after viewing the competition. It truly is amazing to me to see people’s talents. And not just the women, but the men’s as well. The cross-stitch entry which not only won the blue ribbon but a champion ribbon as well was done by a man! It. was. AMAZING! I wish I had taken a pic of it. Hubby and I are going to the Fair again Sun. for cooking competitions, so I’ll get a pic of it then and post it on here.

Anyway, back to my humble entries.

Here’s the items I’ve won ribbons on this year,

The two Toys for Tots items won 2nd place,

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My little black and white pic won 3rd place (I’m surprised I even placed after seeing all the other wonderful entries!)

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The Christmas ornament took 3rd place as well,

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My Halloween decoration got 1st place!!

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My sweater took 3rd place — not sure where the beads came from — they felt it needed dressing up, I guess. 🙂

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The shawl took 3rd place,

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One afghan got 1st,

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and another took 3rd place

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and my quilted tote bag took 1st place! (I was surprised at this one because there were soooo many quilted items! But I’ll take it!)

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None of the other items I took won any prizes so they didn’t get their pictures taken. 🙂

The contest my Sis and I went to, Fair Flair, was pretty much a disappointment. It was supposed to be for youths as well as for adults, but no youths were entered and only two adults in each section were entered.

Not only this, but again this year they had a judge who knew nothing about what he was judging. I know being a judge must be one of the most difficult jobs that a person can have in an event like this, especially in front of the ones who entered their hard work. But when the judge has to ask his associate for help in recognizing if an item is made or bought or is cross-stitched or needle pointed or down-loaded from a computer or hand-painted, and his qualification for judging is because “I LOVE the Fair!” then I think they seriously need to look for another judge.

I won’t go into any details, but his judging was based on just what he liked, evidently,  and didn’t follow the guidelines in the rules. Anyway, since there was only two entries in each category, the same lady won the blue ribbon in both categories. Neither one of her entries had the theme of the Fair or anything about the Fair displayed on the item which was one of the rules. Both of the other items, (mine included) had the theme on them. What’s wrong with this picture?

Ok rant over, here’s a picture of my shirt, being held by the judge,

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He’s a nice man who loves people, but he should not be a judge! ‘nough said!

Sun. is a baking contest and I’ll be taking cornbread and muffins. More later. . . . .

Crankin’ Out The Crafts

July 23, 2014

Warning! Long post and lots of pics!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about my crafts. Not because I haven’t been working on them and making things, because I certainly have been. (I was BORN to make things!! 🙂 ) I’ve just been a little lazy about posting them.

So this is going to be a “catch-up-on-crafts” entry.

The year has been very productive as far as my crafts go. Making things for the Fair and my craft show in Ozark this Fall is always in the back of my mind when I start something new. (Of course I’m always trying to get the UFO pile to go down as well.)

I finished the baby afghan out of the bulky yarn and the big knitting needles so it’s ready to be entered into the Fair for the CMN (Children’s Miracle Network) contest.

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The crocheted angel ornaments out of the thread yarn and little crochet hook are finished except for the ribbon bows which will be glued onto the neck. (I placed some ribbons on the bottom angels to show what they’ll look like.) The little angels on the side were in a kit that made eight angel pins. The crocheting is done for all eight of them, but as you can see, they aren’t finished yet either. Their heads and bodies need to be glued together and their wooden faces and little bows glued on them as well. Instead of making them pins, I think I’ll just hang a cord from them to be ornaments. Or maybe not — I’m really not sure what I’ll do with them yet.

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I made myself another little purse,

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It’s doesn’t go with anything I wear, but it’s just so darn cute that I’ve been carrying it with me since I finished it. The pattern is easy and I’ve already picked out some different material to make another one — one of these days.

This next pic is of a poncho that I knit from chenille yarn. It’s the first time I’ve knit with this type of yarn, (yes, believe it or not!) I’ve tried to find the magazine that I got the pattern out of, but I can’t find it. I think it was in a “Love of Knitting” mag. but I’m not sure.

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Anyway, the thing that appealed to me was that the poncho was knit sideways as you can see here,

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I’ve never knit anything sideways before either, so I accomplished two new things with making this poncho. I’ve been wondering how an item would wear and last made sideways. I haven’t worn it yet, so we’ll see. As for knitting with chenille yarn, let me say this — I’ve knitted with better yarn. This isn’t a favorite with me. Just my humble opinion.

Next, I pulled out a few UFO’s. The cross-stitched ornaments have been finished for quite a while now (several years, I’m afraid). All they needed to be ready to leave the sewing room was to be stuffed and the seam finished. Got them all done in one evening. The container with the cross-stitched bird just needed to have the fabric and trim glued onto the container lid.

The pretty cowl just needed the buttons sewn on. Finished, finished, and finished.

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Here’s a little pillow that was made when Daughter C. was crafting with me many years ago. I’m not sure which one of us made it. The cross-stitch picture was one of the items I inherited from my late Sis’ stuff. Both of these items have been floating around with no purpose in mind for quite some time. One day I placed the picture on the pillow and thought, “this is it!” I hand-stitched the cross-stitch to the pillow using the blanket stitch. Isn’t it cute?

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Off and on all year, I’ve been working on cross-stitch items. Several of these items have been big, time-consuming items. I like to cross-stitch while I’m listening to my audio books from the library. The work just seems to melt away like hot butter.

This was a kit that came with a big plastic frame and a very busy (with lots of flowers) mat board. I didn’t like the frame (cheap looking) and the busy mat would have directed the eye away from the pretty picture.

I’m thinking of putting it in a little wooden hoop.

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The pattern for this picture was in an old booklet that I believe was one that I inherited from my late Sis’ stash. The minute I saw it, I stashed the thought in the attic of my brain thinking that I would make it someday. Well, that day finally came. It’s pictured as framed in a simple black frame, which is probably the way I’ll do it.

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This project was another kit that I picked up at a garage sale. It’s so pretty with all the different flowers. This isn’t finished as yet. It’s supposed to be quilted with batting and made into a pillow. (The dark spot on the side must be a shadow because it isn’t like that in “real life”.)

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While looking through some of my cross-stitch magazines one day while I was “wasting time”, I saw this pattern that I had used one other time. (I can’t remember what I used it for now.) It’s just such a cute picture, I decided to put it on one of the many shirts and sweatshirts that I collect to decorate when the mood strikes me.

As you can see, I added some flower buttons and a little ladybug button to finish the look. I think this is a project that will be Fair-bound.

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While I was in the mood to cross-stitch with waste canvas (on an article), I decided to decorate another shirt with a Halloween theme this time.

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I bought this little tote bag thinking that it would be cute to cross-stitch on. And the purple color was perfect for Halloween.

There’s also a bookmark in cross-stitch which came in a kit. The flash washed it out, but it has a couple of lambs on it with the verse that says “The Lord is my Shepherd”.

The knitted ear warmer was washed out as well. It’s made with light pink yarn and has cables. It’s so pretty! I think I’ll make more of them. They might sell well in my booth at the craft sale.

The socks are another UFO. Not that I could really call them that because I have a pair of socks on my needles almost constantly.

And last in this pic is a couple of key rings that I made from the left-over fabric from my purse which is pictured up above.

Continuing with the cross-stitch, I also whipped these up as well. As you can see, I plan on putting them in jar rings to top a jar for candy. These will probably go in my sale.

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This is a knitted scarf from a pattern that I just couldn’t resist. It looks difficult; but believe me, it was a very simple pattern. And it’s soooo pretty! This will be Fair-bound as well.

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These fingerless gloves will go in my sale. One of the gray pairs has been sold already. The buttons as you can see, still need to be sewn on. I wish I had one more of those pretty old-fashion-looking gray buttons. The card only has three buttons and each pair of gloves take two apiece. (These are some buttons I already had on hand. Who knows how long I’ve had them!) Well, I’ll have to go shopping for buttons one of these days. (Darn!)

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Looking through some of my crochet pamphlets one day, I came across these ornaments with crocheted covers. The box of glass Christmas balls are among many boxes that are stored in my little shop out back. Yes, I buy them on sale after Christmas for a fraction of what they normally cost with the idea that one of these days these, as well as all the other junk items that I impulsively buy, will be used in one of my many craft ideas.

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The crocheting is finished. Now I’m going to decorate them with ribbons, beads, little roses, buttons, etc. I’m taking one of them to the Fair to be entered in the Christmas ornament section.

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These little characters were in a kit that I bought from Mary Maxim a couple of years ago. I had started the little candy corn boy when I first got the kit, but for some reason it became a UFO. Of course going through the UFOs I came across the kit again and decided to finish it. How cute are they?! I love the little tennis shoes on the candy boy. (I’ve always had a passion for candy corn anyway!) This project will probably go to the Fair.

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As previously mentioned, I love candy corn! So I hunted up the right colors in crochet thread, used the pattern for the boy, a steel crochet hook size six and this is the result.

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Aren’t they cute? I’d like to make several more, (they don’t take very long), and put them in my craft sale this Fall. I think they would look cute thrown into a crocheted or wooden bowl and displayed on the table.

The Fair was fast approaching and I needed to get busy on my Toys for Tots entries. I’ve LOVE to make toys for this category every year for the Fair. While I work on them, I try to imagine some little girl or boy playing with my toys at Christmastime.

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The baby in the basket is from an old Crochet World magazine from the 1990’s I believe. I’ve had it in my “to-do” pile ever since I got the magazine. Finally this was the year that I decided to get it made.

The circus elephant is a pattern that I down-loaded just recently from the Better Homes and Garden’s website. (I wonder sometimes what goes through my brain that makes me decide what to make, when. I’m convinced that I’m a funny, strange person.)

This next pic is of the two cross-stitch pictures that I finally got framed. The little black frame was in my stash of frames that I’m always picking up at yard sales for pennies. I had to paint it black, but it was the exact kind of frame that I wanted to use. Gee, it’s so nice to be able to make something totally from what you have on hand. I love it!

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The hoop is another item from my stash. I painted it grey to match the grey in the picture. It looks soooo much nicer than the big plastic frame and mat that came with the kit.

Here’s what my little Halloween buddies look like all set to go to the Fair.

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This ear warmer is the second one I made from the same yarn that I made the one shown in a previous pic. No glare on this one and you can see the pretty cables.

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Well, since I’ve been working on this loooong blog entry, the deadline to take my items to the Fair has come and gone. Believe it or not, I failed to get pics of all the items I took. But hopefully when I go to the Fair this Thurs., I’ll be able to take pics of my items with ribbons on them. 🙂

I’m taking a decorated T-shirt to be judged in the Fair Flair contest Thurs. It’s outside drying as I write this, so it’ll have to be included in the next blog entry.

Well, that’s all the pics I have for now. (You’re probably saying “finally!”) I hope I’ve remembered all of them, but something in the back of my mind tells me I’ve forgotten something. Whatever it is, it’ll probably surface eventually.

 

Fun With Friends

July 20, 2014

Had a fun day with a couple of friends that I used to work with the other day. They both had a birthday in July. So I made each one of them a little purse key ring like the one I had made a couple of years ago.

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I even put a couple of quarters inside so they’d always have a little change “just in case”! They acted like they liked them.

We went out for lunch and had an awesome time! Love these crazy gals! I haven’t laughed that much in a long time. I sure miss working with them — yes, they’re both still working — but I like retirement too much to go back to work!! 🙂

Now I have the best of both worlds — I don’t have to work BUT we can still see each other once in a while! How perfect is that!?!