The Life and Projects of An Avid Hobbyist

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I am a huge fan of Gwen Marston and her style of quilt making. Not because I've read any of her books, but rather as a fan of her many converts seen here, and here and here. I get tremendous inspiration from these women.

So last night, after sketching out ideas for weeks, I began a quilt top for my friend Tim in Atlanta. Tim and I have been friends since college, after seeing the quilts on my blog, he made a (not so) subtle request for a lap quilt of his own. My intention is to create a 72" x 60" wonder for use while watching television (he is a big guy). Since it will live in the living room (which is shades of beige) when not in use, I am using very neutral tones.

This is what I have so far.

This process has shown me how, even though I think of myself as a rebel, my sewing/quilting is reliant on patterns and someone else's directions. When faced with the opportunity to chart my own course, I floundered a bit. I must find my seam ripper. Between this "square" and the obnoxious Olympic commentators on NBC, I went to bed early last night. Sigh.

I am now off to the public library to borrow a copy of Liberated String Quilts. Hopefully, it will help. Live and learn. ~ksp

Monday, August 11, 2008

Blue Streak

I spent all afternoon Saturday with my friends Gwen and Gabrielle at the NJ State Fair...I had the best time. While I missed them and they didn't see my ribbons, I got word from my MYSnB peeps (Ina and Kim) that they too had a good time*.

The Sussex County Fairgrounds are huge. I didn't fully appreciate this on my earlier reconnaissance mission; I only hit a few strategic places. This time we went everywhere: the craft tent, butterflies, the elephant ride and the stables. I had the best time and have the sore muscles to prove it.

There were lots of farm animals.

Fair Animals
The fowl were my favorite. I've never seen such big, fluffy chickens, roosters and the like.

There was food for eating and on display.

My creation
That fire roaster corn was expensive but worth every kernel.

There were many quilts hung from the rafters.
My creation
Next year? Maybe.

There were many competitions including one for seeing eye dogs, equestrian jumping and even turkey calling (who knew?).

...and lots of ribbons for me, three to be exact. Two blue (the garden chunky marinara fra diavolo and the tangy pickled beets) and one yellow (blueberry orange jam).

Insert clapping track here.

When I saw my jars with the ribbons on them I did my happy dance (Note: my happy dance looks like me jumping vertically in the air like a damned fool). Yes, there were onlookers. It was my first time out the gate and I had no idea I would win a ribbon let alone three.

What am I doing to celebrate? I am having my first ever blog contest. Leave a comment by Friday, August 15th and you will be entered to win a gift of your choosing in the following categories: yarn, fabric or food.

Thanks to everyone who supported me in this endeavor. ~ksp

*The home economics competition is pretty obscurely place in the Richards Building (across from the honey display). You have got to go looking for it to find it. If I join the committee for next year, I would like to find ways to make it more prominent.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Guided Tour

August 1, 2008 marked the beginning of the NJ State Fair-Sussex County Farm & Horse Show.

Cruddy picture of opening nite fireworks taken with camera phone.

Faithful readers will remember that I entered four items into the Home Economics competition. Because I could not take the suspense of waiting until this weekend to find out the results of the pre-judged competitions, Friday night Damien and I drove over to the Sussex County Fair Grounds.

I grew up in Essex county, NJ which is largely urban and/or suburban but sure as hell not rural. So, as fairs go, I am accustomed to something different than what I saw. The food, the exhibitors and the hometowniness of it all was quite refreshing.

As a result of this reconnaissance mission, I bring to you, my readers...

A Guide to the NJ State Fair

Must sees:
  • The home economics competition of course. My work is there proudly displayed with other talented New Jerseyans.
  • The photography competition in the Richards Building. New Jersey has some very talented residents.
Must eats:
  • Funnel cake...Pennsylvanian Dutch perfection...requires no explanation. They even have Oreos fried in funnel cake batter....(in Homer Simpson voice: ummm...chocolate).
  • The roasted corn guy. They roast whole ears of corn and then, using the husk as a handle, dip them into butter...words fail to express the yumminess.
Must dos:
  • Visit the animals...they definitely remind you of NJ's agricultural roots.There are even a few sheep.
  • Carnival rides - mostly wooden and on a small scale, a must do especially if you have children with you.
Things to Take Home:
  • Jersey Fresh produce - They don't call us The Garden State for nothin'.
  • Jefferson Dairy- If you take 15 South home you will pass this dairy dream. I can personally attest to the Dirty Diaper - chocolate ice cream, with chocolate and other gooey, very tasty chunks. This is a very rich very decadent, very yummy ice cream. And the helpings are on the big side. I had trouble finishing a small cup and I rarely have that problem when faced with a pint of Ben & Jerry's (cough! cough!).

  • Pieceful Choices Quilt Shop - This shop is the sponsor of the quilt competition. For the fabric lovers, definitely a place to stop and enhance one's stash.
  • Pochuck Valley Farms - This little stand on Rt 206 screams hometown. They have fresh locally grown produce, canned treats like watermelon rind jelly, and candies like root beer flavored licorice.
The weather is supposed to be lovely, so if your inclined come on out. I'll be there Saturday afternoon around 2PM. My peeps of MYSnB should be milling around as well.

Next post...the ribbon count....