Here are pics from what I brought back from the Montgomery Curb Market:
This cotton wreath is so pretty! It came with a wire hanger, but I took some ivory ribbon and hot-glued it around the wire, so it looks really nice now.
This container has the new popcorn tree branches in it. The little seeds come out and the clusters look like popcorn.
This is the new dried hydrangea and sumac arrangement I made.
I really like the way it turned out.
For Thanksgiving, I'd like to make some wheat sheafs like this.
Here are pics from what I brought back from the Montgomery Curb Market:
On Highway 231 between Troy and Dothan is ArtWurks, a gallery of Larry Godwin's artwork - I think his brother, Ronald, does some of the artwork too.
Larry Godwin graduated from Auburn and became the first artist-in-residence in the Alabama school system (he installed a 12' eagle made out of car bumpers at Goshen High School in 1972, and has other pieces at Troy Junior High and Alabama State University).
Out front is this huge rooster, made out of car bumpers.
Well, we decided to wait about going to the beach until we have more than two or three days to spend, so we'll probably do that sometime in December. I really like the beach in the winter anyway - although it's not the right weather to get in the water, it's still nice enough to enjoy the beach and the towns without the big summertime rush.
Instead, we decided to visit some festivals this weekend! I was looking at some of the different state tourism websites yesterday, and noticed that there were four - four(!) festivals all going on in the same part of Alabama - so we got in the car and sped off.....
Since we were in Montgomery on the way to the first festival, we visited the Montgomery Curb Market. The curb market has been in business forever, and they have all kinds of things - and a *much* better selection of Fall decorations than what I got at the Farmer's Market in Birmingham. Besides an enormous selection of wonderful-looking fruits and vegetables, there were quite a few booths with baked goods and homemade relishes, preserves, etc. Everybody there was so nice, and we bought lots of things.
I'm making a resolution to myself starting today that I will make a real effort to get more of what Av and I eat from the people that grow it than from huge grocery stores. Not to be a crazy-person about it, but I think this is important.
There were other booths with beautiful dried flowers, cotton stalks, sugar cane, wreaths, etc. - I got some really nice things that I'll take a pic of and post a little later.
Below is a pic of a booth with mums - these huge ones on the right were $18.
After the curb market, we went over to Tucker Pecans (pic below) to get some nuts for my Thanksgiving pies, but they were closed. We usually get our pecans from either Tucker or Priester's Pecans in Fort Deposit. I like Indianola Pecan House, too.
Not far from Tucker Pecans is the stadium that the Montgomery Biscuits play minor-league baseball in. Isn't their mascot just great!!??
After Montgomery, we went straight over to Opp for "Oppfest 2005". I have to say, Oppfest was a little disappointing - there wasn't much in the way of arts and crafts. (in the picture below, those are snake skins hanging up)
There was plenty of food, but we didn't try any:
About 80% of Oppfest was a car and truck show.
Anyway, Oppfest was a little bit of a let-down, but our next stop was Enterprise, which is the home of the famous boll weevil monument downtown (it's in honor of the boll weevil, which forced farmers in that part of the state to diversify from cotton and grow other crops. Peanuts are a *huge* crop down here.).
This tote bag (below) says: 'Fear No Weevil'
The festival took place in downtown Enterprise, and walking through we passed "The Rawls", which is supposed to be a very nice restaurant - we were hoping that they'd be open for lunch, but they serve supper only.
The historic marker in front says:
Original two-story brick structure built 1903 by Japheth Rawls, developer of some of the earliest turpentine plants in Coffee County. Building remodeled 1928 and three-story wings added by Jesse P. Rawls, founder of first electric power system in Enterprise. Hotel was center for business and social gatherings until its closing in early 1970's. Listed on National Register of Historic Places 1980.
The Boll Weevil Festival had more things for sale. I liked the little suitcases.
After we finished in Enterprise, we drove over to Clio. Clio is the hometown of Governor George Wallace and Don Sutton. Below is a pic of a nice mural in downtown:
We were in Clio for the Chitlin Jamboree in Ruritan Park. Av and I aren't chitlin eaters, but we figured there would be other things going on.
We were wrong. The only thing going on was chitlins and ribs being sold out of this building.
Our last festival was in Brundidge - the Peanut Butter Festival.
This pic below is of the peanut monument at city hall:
The Peanut Butter Festival was really nice. We bought a red velvet cake here:
...and bought a sack-full of peanuts here for $5.
We had a really wonderful time, even at the festivals that weren't what we expected. Next weekend starts the National Peanut Festival in Dothan which I first visited as a student at Troy State - I really hope we can get over to it!
Katie Brown comes up with some of the neatest ideas - and they're never difficult. A few months ago, I was watching a re-run of her show All Year Round with Katie Brown - it was the episode where she made a reverse applique baby blanket. The overall idea is so simple - I figured I could make the baby wrap with the measurements she uses, and also make the dimensions bigger for a separate adult-size blanket for long car trips or just whatever!
A few days ago, I got a mailing that Hancock Fabrics was going to have a big sale on fleece this week, so I went in earlier today and bought material for three different projects - two of the ones I finished tonight are below:
Here's the adult-size reverse-applique blanket:
I bought two colors of fleece (one was a nice lime and the other pink - very Lilly Pulitzer) and asked to have them cut to be 2 yards long each. In the picture above, I've put one color fleece on top of the other, and started to trim them up so they're an exact match in dimension.
Second, I decided to make the reverse-applique a heart shape, so I made a template out of just regular copy paper.
Third, I drew the outline of the heart with a marker, then folded the material in half and cut it out (so it would be perfectly symmetrical). Remember to draw the template onto the color that you want to be the window - for instance, I wanted the heart to show up in pink, so I cut the heart shape out of the lime green.
Here's what it looks like when I put the two pieces of fleece back together. I smoothed out the fabric and carried it to a table to do the gluing:
Fourth, I took my Aleen's Tacky Glue and ran a bead of glue all around (under) the heart-shape cutout. I left it alone for a couple of hours to set (overnight would be a good idea too).
Fifth, I cut a five-inch notch out of all four corners (this makes doing the fringe possible). Then, I took my scissors and made a 5" cut through both layers of the fleece, about 1-1/2" wide (you don't have to measure, just try to make them uniform). On the left side of the pic above you can see the fringe I haven't knotted yet, and to the right are the ones I have.
Just tie the two colors of fleece together, all around the blanket. It will look best if you tie them all the same way - just make a knot, but do it in such a way that you always pull the same color out of the knot hole (so for instance, I pulled the green piece to the side, and pulled the pink side out of the hole of the knot, so the pink pieces are pointing 'up' all around the blanket).
...and here it is! It's really nice and cozy, and because it's fleece, washing it will be no problem (although I'll wash it by itself). Neat!
Here's the baby-size wrap/blanket:
Hancock Fabrics had some nice baby-themed fleece too, so I decided not to to the reverse applique on this project. This is a really pretty lilac fleece with embroidered teddy bears. I cut two squares of the fleece to 45" squares and matched them together.
Next, I cut the notches - I made these 4" square cutouts.
Then, I cut the fringe, going through both layers of the fleece. I cut them about 4" long, and about 1-1/2" wide.
(above) Here's all the fringe knotted.
Finished! I think it will be a perfect gift!
The fleece I used for these projects was just the brand that was available at Hancock. I just noticed that Katie says that she used Polartec brand fleece - that's made by Malden Mills. Malden Mills is the company that had a huge fire in 1995 and 3000 people were out of work - but the owner, Aaron Feuerstein, paid everyone their checks for months - $25 million total, and rebuilt the mill rather than just taking the insurance payout (60 Minutes story here). Next time I will *definitely* buy my fleece from their online store.
BTW, Katie Brown has a new book - it's called 'Katie Brown's Weekends : Making the Most of Your Two Treasured Days' (I've got it on order now) and her website says that she will be starting a new show this coming Spring on PBS called 'Katie Brown Workshop'. Great!
The weather has been so great lately - nice and cool. It really put me in a mood to knit some scarves...
This one above I really like. It's white ribbon with Idena Happy eyelash yarn in a very light pink.
The pic above is my favorite one - it's Crystal Palace Yarns in Party knitted with two of the Trendsetter Yarns Aura - one strand in pink #7502, and the other strand in white #3110 - and Berroco Lazer FX in #6002, which is a sequin strand. The scarf turned out really pink and sparkly - so pretty!
Yesterday's sukkah party at Av's mom and dad's house was really nice! It was especially good to visit people that we hardly ever get to see since we're out of town so much. We spent Friday afternoon decorating the sukkah - here's a pic of the finished sukkah just before the party:
The sukkah was really much prettier than it shows up in this pic - it was *really* nice. Av and I brought some sugar cane to decorate it with, too (we had some sugar cane on Friday - I had grown up with my PawPaw telling about how when he was little, that he and the other kids would get a stalk of sugar cane and peel it and eat it, and how sweet it was. I had never tried it before, but he's right! It really is good.).
We had lots of cookies and candies and chips, and lots of people brought their own things, too. In addition to everything else, there was a birthday cake for my and our cousin's birthday (mine's not yet, but soon...), which was decorated in Autumn colors with lots of pretty leaves. The pumpkin I carved to look like our Temple was a pretty big hit, too!
There are some other pictures of sukkahs on Flickr here.
Each year, Av's parents host a sukkah party at their home. I bring the pralines!
1-1/2 c. white sugar
1-1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. evaporated milk
1/3 c. butter
1-1/2 c. pecans (you can use more or less)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
(also: use a bigger pot than you think you'll need for this, use a candy thermometer, and have buttered parchment or wax paper ready to spoon the pralines on)
Step one: put both sugars and the evaporated milk in the pot, and heat until the candy thermometer registers 228*. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon during the cooking process. At 228*, add the butter.
The mixture will bubble and pop, so be careful.
Step two: keep cooking until the mixture reaches 236* (236* is sufficient, but I always cook it to 238*. The thing is, the pralines won't set unless you're sure to reach this higher temperature - at least 236*. You don't want it to go too far over, though, because then the candy will be brittle and grainy and not as good.) Once you reach the higher number, take the pot off the stove and add the pecans and vanilla. Beat the mixture with your wooden spoon until it just starts looking less shiny and more dull. This should take two or three minutes.
Step three: spoon the pralines onto your buttered parchment or wax paper. (Argh! You can see that I forgot I was out of parchment paper! Thankfully I had tin foil, so I just spooned the pralines onto that. It worked just fine.)
...and here they are all set (depending on the weather, they can set in anywhere from one or two hours to a few hours - I always make these the night before I need them so I don't have to worry about how long they're taking). Delicious!
Ever since I saw these neat glitter pumpkins on the new daytime Martha Stewart show, I just had to try it!
What you need:
small pumpkins (I did Indian corn stalks too)
glitter in pretty colors (Martha suggests ArtGlitter.com - they have some really pretty colors. My glitter came from Michael's - they don't carry Art Glitter, and they didn't have a very big variety of colors, but I think it came out pretty well. If I had the extra time, I would have definitely ordered from artglitter.com)
foam paintbrushes (the cheapy ones)
craft glue that dries clear (I used Sobo)
brown acrylic folk-art paint (optional)
also: newspaper, paper plates, wet paper towels (for sticky fingers) for your set-up
Step one: put your pumpkin on a paper plate (I put that on top of newspaper too - I did this on my front porch so if I made a mess with the glitter it wouldn't be a big deal).
Step two: use the foam brush, loaded with Sobo glue, to 'paint' the glue on the pumpkin. Don't worry about painting the very bottom of the pumpkin, since nobody's going to see that, and so whatever you eventually sit the pumpkin on later won't be all glitter-y.
Step three: sprinkle your glitter all over the pumpkin. I think I used about 1/8 the bottle of glitter on this pumpkin - a lot of it I was able to pour back into the container from the paper plate. Step four (only if you want): paint the pumpkin stem with the brown paint.
Av asked if I was going to try it on the Indian corn we had, so I thought that was a great idea! I used the exact same steps as above.....
...here's the glue on the corn....
...now it's all sprinkled with glitter....
...here's another one....
...and here it is finished. They look pretty neat with the pumpkins.
Here's a pic of the second pumpkin I glittered...they turned out really nice!