Thursday, October 31, 2013

'Tis the Season for Festivals

Autumn in Ohio is festival season. There is an event going on in every corner of the state, on every day of the week - rain, snow, or shine. We have everything from the Elyria Apple Festival just south of Lorraine, to the GiantFest in Seville, to Jungle Jim's Wine Festival in Fairfield, to the dozens of German and Slavic cultural events going on all over the state - there's just so much! 

~Sauerkraut Festival, Waynesville, Ohio~
The weekend of October 12-13, the hubs and I visited the Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville, Ohio for the first time. For years we have wanted to go, but we were merchants at the Ohio Renaissance Festival (OREN), which happens to run from late August to late October. Needless to say, our commitment to OREN meant that we missed a lot of festivals and fairs that ran at the same time. 

The Sauerkraut Fest was packed the gills, you could barely walk, let alone maneuver past bodies to get into any merchant's tent! I was disappointed, though. The hubs, kids, and I have been to many food festivals over the years, and without exception, the main event has been the food. Except for this festival, where the merchants were the main attraction. I wanted sauerkraut balls, sauerkraut ice cream, sauerkraut soup, sauerkraut bread, sauerkraut chocolate, sauerkraut and ribs, and sauerkraut and potatoes, but I was hard pressed to find anything of the sort. There were a spattering of food merchants that sold something sauerkraut related, but not many; most sold traditional festival food and only that. I was a sad girl, my Austrian roots were deprived. Thankfully, Warren county is not a dry county (like Clinton county next door) and Waynesville is not a dry village; the hubs and I slipped behind the merchant tents to a pizza joint and enjoyed a beer. 

Here is the best part of the festival:

Dressmakers, meet The Fabric Shack. I just wandered onto a side street at the Sauerkraut Festival (that really wasn't) and there she was in all her warehouse glory (OMGosh!). The hubs could only stand in amazement and shake his head. "How do you do this? We're at an obscure festival in the middle of BFE!" Because I'm magic, darling, and the fabric faeries adore me...

The following weekend was our yearly trek to the Circleville Pumpkin Show, the largest pumpkin show in the United States, where they serve-up everything pumpkin. My goodness, was it cold and pouring rain, but we die-hards are not deterred by a little pneumonia weather! We had a good time as always, and there's enough pictures of me stuffing my face to prove it!

~Pumpkin funnel cake!~
~This year's winners!~
~The famous pumpkin tree~
~Me and the girls~
And as always, my annual special purchase at the Pumpkin Show - my two new glass babies from Jack Pine Studio

Wishing you and yours a fun and festive autumn season! Blessings and happy sewing!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

CELIA Regency Ball in Honor of Jane Austen

Saturday, October 12, Marie and I had the pleasure of attending the CELIA bicentennial celebration of Jane Austen's most beloved novel, Pride & Prejudice. The festivities began on Thursday, October 10, with a symposium and workshops on Austen's literature; it extended into Friday, with several theatrical performances and an English tea party, finally culminating to the Regency ball on Saturday evening.

The ball was a delightful affair! The buffet tables were decked with edible delights, including lamb, ham, roast beef, meat pies, salmon, autumn vegetables, cheeses, breads, and every sort of dessert and confection one can imagine from the era, including shot glasses of strawberries and cream. A string orchestra and choreographer attended a continual procession of willing participants in an array of country dances and cotillions the whole evening through, as white-gloved attendants served wine, hot cider, and coffee. Let's not forget the private room set up with half a dozen Whist tables!

Marie and I had the pleasure of meeting (and partnering a cotillion with) authors Sharon Short (My One Square Inch of Alaska) and Carrie Bebris (Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries). I'm afraid that all three ladies put me to shame on the dance floor - I didn't know a left turn from a right, and was relieved I hadn't injured anyone. I am very grateful that my dancing partners were abundant in the gracefulness which I so obviously lacked - lol! It was an excellent evening!

~Maria, one of the photographers at the event~
~Sneaking a picture of the orchestra~
~Baked Brie with garlic, nuts, and cranberries~
~Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet having a row~

Blessings and happy sewing!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Days of Knights, and Vikings, too...

~Photo courtesy of Wes Chambers and Black Flag Forge - used with permission~

~Photo courtesy of Amy Jorgensen and Yvonne Curly~
The Days of Knights Festival in Fort Campbell, Kentucky was the weekend of October 10-13, and I helped my friend, Wes Chambers (owner of Black Flag Forge), put together a canvas for an Oseberg viking pavilion he had designed for the event. 

As simple as the design concept is, the undertaking of the project was huge. The frame of the pavilion is a 10' x 10' x 12' mortise and tenon - it took 32 yards of 70" black 13-ounce canvas to complete the design. Because of the lifting arms and the scale of the frame, the canvas could not be simply cut and sewn by using the frame's measurements - it had to be draped (in part to stretch the canvas across the frame), pinned, marked, removed, sewn, and repeat.

It was certainly a two-man job. However, the size of the pavilion was not our greatest obstacle, but the rain. It poured off and on for three weeks, and in between times (which were few and far), a rather large arachnid and several neighborhood cats took-up residence. As the festival weekend neared, a sense of panic began to take over. But, alas! A few days before the event, the rain stopped, the sun shined, and I kicked the feline squatters to the curb (I was thankful the spider had already left). It took a day for the canvas to dry on the frame in the sun, and two solid sun-up to sun-down days of sewing madness for Wes and me to finish up. Good times!

~Mortise and tenon frame structure with arms lifted~

~Sewing the center seam to the main body of the A-frame~

~Ugh, the rain!~

~Draped, pinned, marked, and trimmed~

~Hello, Mordred...~

~Mortise and tenon detail~

~Giving the arms a trial run with the canvas before finishing the seams~

~Photo courtesy of Randyll Blackwood - used with permission~

~Photo courtesy of Amy Jorgensen and Yvonne Curly - used with permission~

For more wonderful photos, costuming and pavilion inspirations from the Days of Knights Festival, please visit their site; and check out Half-A-Hundred Acre Wood and the write-up in the The Eagle Post.

Blessing and happy sewing!