Monday, August 07, 2006

Ducks Rule.

This is my duck. I love my duck. Really he is the intellectual property of Mark Klein of New England Rural Images, but he's MY duck. I cannot wait to paint this room and hang him. This guy's stuff is wonderful. I love photography anyway, but this stuff really caught my attention. polar bears, loons, New England on fire (that blessed annual event!), the cold comfort of winter, and glorious spring, the rugged was why we stay here all rolled into one booth.
I met my duck Sunday at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen annual fair in Sunapee, NH. I only have a couple of regrets - one, that I did not shell out $30 to throw a pot. Silly, I know, but I have always wanted to get my hands on a wheel - literally since a visiting potter came to my first grade classroom and we were allowed to look but not touch. It's a problem. I may need help. My second regret is that I was unable to purchase this lamp but in red for my office. Mr. Wonderful reacted as if I had asked for a Porsche or something. There was some loss of speech and breathe, some pulling at the collar and a painfull choked out "Ummm..I don't think so...." Sheesh. it's only $1500. Perhaps I should eventually play with molten rock too. Next Craft! I also got these buttons from Cheryl Kumiski Glass. I am a bit of a button tramp, in addition to my bag problem. I would willingly forgo dinner out, a trip to the hairdresser, or my coffee for a good button. These I just loved. The blue-purple set is for Colorful Tracks (coming soon, I swear!!) and the red and green set, well, I sort of mentally drew a sweater on the spot to justify their purchase. Now I have to draw it and knit it. I just love them. Glass buttons are like a little bit of fire on your knitting. They catch the light and draw the eye. A tiny bit of sparkle and flash, just enough to garner attention.
This trip was a celebration of my mother-in-law's birthday. Here are she and Girl pretending to enjoy the ride up in the backseat of a Honda Civic coupe (it was her son's decision to take this instead of the car with the A/C and four whole doors - of course, we often wonder if that car will drop dead in the middle of a day trip, but the doors and air are handy in summer). We enjoy taking her places. She generally has a good time - well, at any rate she has not complained and anyone with a halfway decent mother-in-law is fully aware of their ability to express opinions, both wanted and unwanted. I suppose it's fair. They get the stretch marks, midnight feedings, doctor's office waiting rooms, sleepless nights waiting for the return of the child they bore and we get the finished product for better or worse till death us do part, by which point it's a fully grown man with a job and an income and some useful skills in place. I figure they have a right to get what they want a fair amount of the time. I probably would not feel that way if I had not reared boys. It's a lot of labor, and not a lot of payoff. Your daughter will probably come to the nursing home and wipe your drool. Your son will send his wife to do it. We bought her a birthday gift of the coolest hummingbird feeder. This guy, Bobby Bell, was featured on DIY Network. I love the feeders, they have multiple levels and little copper resting spots, and even a place for the hummingbirds to take a bath. Beyond the cute factor, they're made of Pyrex glass and so are more durable than the average hummingbird trough. I spent a lot of time last night trying to find out where I can get more of his feeders. I searched online. I read through the alphabetical listing of fair participants. Nothing. If I want one for myself, it'll have to wait till next year!
Mr Wonderful packed a picnic lunch (after I cooked it) and we feasted on healthful and inexpensive food versus fair fare. I highly recommend this - last year we did not plan ahead and I ended up with a salad about the size of a half-dollar for six bucks. I seem to remember some very strange tasting alleged chicken tossed on the top. Girl and Mr W. had hotdogs that were $2.50 a piece and tasted like total dreck. Waters were $2.00, I believe. If you want me to pay for it, it needs to be decent food. Otherwise, I'm packing it. We had whole wheat pasta salad, fruit salad and egg sandwiches (because at the home of MelissaKnits we never ever lack for an egg from March till October). He even served us, mostly - this is why I enjoy having my mother-in-law around. Under normal circumstances it is more likely that I would be serving. But because he is a good boy, and well-reared, he knows to serve his mother when she is present. He took this to the extreme last night and prepared dinner (after I prepped it) on the grill for her. His grill skill improves daily. If I could only teach him how to judge the done-ness of a steak without whacking a big old hole in it, sending vital juices pouring out, we'd be all set. Nice day for me - minimal prep, almost no clean-up, and no cooking! Ahhh....
There was some crochet at this event, and a little knitting. I know for dead certain that I could never be a production knitter. Patterns, yes. Garments, no. You have to have a pretty large stock on hand. Bleck! One woman, Marcy Schepker uses recycled sweaters and other knits and woolens to make stuffed animals and hats and things. Great idea, saves a lot of woolens and knits from destruction. She also does a lot of tapestry weaving. Linda Sturgeon of The Endless Thread does some lovely hand-crocheted contemporary vests and sweaters. She uses lots of rich natural fibers in subdued colorways to create these really beautiful garments. I have no images - it's difficult to take phots at an event like this, as everyone thinks you're out to copy them. Kind of sad, but sadly true.
Then there were these beautiful knit and felted hats by Carrie Cahill-Mulligan. Her display included a before and after demo. Let me tell you, these are some seriously felted down hats.
Other items of note from the fair - they're open daily from 10a-5p until August 13th. An $8.00 ticket gets you in for a second day free (hence the pile of tickets in my purse, in case I want to go back!). Sunapee is running their quad lift as a skyride, which I really wish we'd done (third regret!). The views are amazing. There are performing artists, demonstrations, and even a few workshops for children and adults. There is also a Next Generation tent where children of crafters offer items for sale, a Living With Craft exhibit, and juried pieces with their awards on display. This is a very old fair - 73 years, The Oldest Craft Fair in America, in fact! A sculpture garden overlooks the venue, featuring some lovely pieces for sale or perusal. I personally loved this, listed as Dream Catcher, untitled. The picture does not do it justice and it really needs to be viewed in person. The artist is Joy Raskin from Concord, NH, and the media is brass, copper, monofilament and glass. Also this item, called Spider Chain, by Ethan Hamby and Shauna Brautigam in stoneware, porcelain and melted glass. Initially we believed it to be gourds, but on closer acquaintance it certainly was not. These are two rare items that I'd put in my garden - I generally steer clear of outdoor art because it requires my attenion periodically and I have more than enough trouble weeding. These would be worth it. I would love to see "Spider Chain" lit up in the evening. But don't go on the second day of the fair, and if you do go, be very early. We arrived about a half an hour before opening and were parked very close to the main gate. Most of our early viewing was simple and comfortable. By 1pm, things had changed. After viewing the sculpture garden, I took this image (click on it for a better view) from the main lodge...note the lack of circulating air between patrons. What you can't see is that all tents are similarly mobbed, and the lunch tent at this point was standing room only. We usually go on a weekday, but scheduling did not allow for it. Our first visit found us walking about a half a mile to get to the gate. We later determined that shuttles run continously from the back lots to the main entrance, but if it's very hot the wait for the next bus can seem eternal. This isn't Disney - they're not thirty seconds apart! But it's not difficult to get to, and it's worth the trip. Bring your wallet, a good lunch, and comfortable shoes!
OH! I worked on a sock. There. Knitting content! More soon, I keep promising, but I do mean it!

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