Sunday, September 14, 2008

Schaumburg IL Septemberfest, Aug. 30, 31 and Sept 1st, 2008

We didn't have much to do to get ready for the Septemberfest. All the soap was wrapped, it was just a matter of packing the van. Travis had come to my parent's house for the day, so he helped out a bunch on that end of things. It is so nice to have a big, strong kid helping out. :)

We headed out to meet up with Jodie after she left work and proceeded to head east to Chicago. Jodie warned me about going over the speed limit in the work area on I90 near Rockford. The minimum ticket was over $300, so I took the warning seriously and put the cruise control on. We hit traffic once we passed Elgin, but, things were moving ok, so it didn't take too long to get to the Schaumburg exit.

We found the hotel, got the room and unpacked. We were lucky. Two queen beds and a queen pullout so we all had beds. Trav got the pullout and I am not sure he was convinced that it was bedworthy, but, he made do alright. We left after a bit to find dinner, ending up going by the show so Jodie would know where she was going in the morning.

The show was terrific. It was awesome to have my new best saleman in the big chair. Travis loved it...or seemed to...and all the older women and young gals seemed to like it too! I will miss him next year...he gets his license at the end of May and I am betting we won't get to see as much of him as we have the last few summers. He is a great kid.

We had the same spot as the year before but with a new neighbor--a Norwegian guy and his wife who were so friendly and did really neat wood carvings on wood. The show is in a wonderful public space on the village common. We have a nice view of a fountain and during our walk to and from the vendor parking we encounter some cool sculptural art...

Let's talk food. We had three awesome meals while we were there. First was pizza and salad at Lou Malnati's--superb salad with lots of black olives and I think this one will become a tradition! Next was another Italian place--Maggiano's and it was wonderful. It was a bit fancier then I normally like to do after a hot day working outside, but, we ate out on the patio. We all had different pastas and the servings were huge--definitely a place I would split next time. And finally Bonefish Grill--Jodie was not as big a fan as Trav and I--she is not a seafood person--but I LOVE this place. I could eat there every meal, it's that good.

The other memorable thing about Schaumburg was finding official Major League Baseball sanctioned CUBS peanuts. LOL We ate two bags at the show and I took home a couple souvenier bags!

The Kitchen Remodel cont.

So Sunday morning I got up early and talked my way out of going to church, so I could finish up the small areas above the kitchen cabinets. Mom had planned to use a different background paper up above the cabinets....luckily....since we used every piece of the other stuff. This part of the job went really fast and we finished up early in the afternoon. Later, we put up the new light fixture on the cabinet end of the room.

On Monday, we headed downtown to one of the old hardware stores. We were in search of something to clean up the barnboard and a paint to "match" the wallpaper under the soffet area. We lucked out. Nicholsons Hardware fit the bill. Not one guy in there had less than 20 years experience.

The first guy took our sample of wallpaper, a color wheel and went outside to find a good match. He was back in under five minutes with a perfect match. So perfect we ended up using it to fix a couple of our goofs...but I won't ever tell you where they were! LOL

Then we talked about the barnboard. The hardware guy took a look at the piece we had chipped off and said the best thing to do was clean it up with paint thinner! Now I was very surprised by that...but it worked perfectly. The fumes dissapated after a day or so and it really did a nice job of cleaning it up. There is no danger of explosion or spontaneous combustion...just a good cleaner for wood.

After doing that, we decided the fake wood baseboards just could not go back off we went for a trip to Home Depot for a baseboard expedition. I showed Mom my suggestion...a four inch peice of 1 inch stock that was perfect...but she really like the smaller 2 inch stock. Either size was in the budget, so we went with what she liked. We also picked up a container of the polyurethane with color to match the barnboard and headed back home to finish the project. By the end of the night, we had finished making the cuts, but, we had to let things dry before tacking them on.
The next morning we tacked the new baseboards on and then replaced the electrical fittings. That basically finished the major work. We just had to move everything back in place. But, Mom had one more job in mind...

The Firepit, August 16, 2008

My cousins, Kevin and Paula, invited us over to their house to have a bonfire on Saturday night. Jeff and I met up and he showed me where they lived. I brought Mojito fixings and everyone else had munchies and other good stuff to eat.

Paula gave me a tour of their house. They have done a lot of work...hardwood floors, yard projects and it is a really cute house. Not big, but, plenty big for them now. She told me about her elliptical trainer...gotta get one of those someday...after the move maybe when I have a BASEMENT!

Then I shook up some mojitos, turned Kim and Paula onto them and went out to the bonfire. I was so impressed with Kevin's design! I want one in my backyard...just not sure that I would ever be able to use it with the burning restrictions because of the drought and threat of wildfires. But still I love it.

I asked Kevin if I could come back during the week and take pictures to show Rod. Travis and I came back later in the week and got these shots!

Mom and Dad's Kitchen Remodel, August 18-29, 2008

Hm, what have I learned from this year's "PROJECT"?
One, my Mom and I will never have a wallpapering business...ever!
Two, my Mom and I make decisions very differently. I make them pretty quickly, and usually don't change my mind. Mom, takes forever to make them...and then changes her mind...often!
Three, I want to remodel my kitchen too!
When I arrived at their house the first week of August, they had already had new countertops installed, so that looked great. Mom had painted the backsplash a coordinating color and they had decided to keep the cabinets as they were. I suggested adding hardware, but, they like them as they who am I to change their minds?!

Mom had also ordered wallpaper which arrived the first week I was there. We had one interesting thing happen when we looked at one of them. It had a 21 INCH repeat...and the paper itself was a tiny little design repeated every 3-4 inches. Apparently it had been created on the diagonal...or something really stupid. We had planned to run the paper in short drops down from the ceiling and then up under the soffet. That plan would be scratched, but, more on that later.

The first order of business was repainting the ceiling white. I can't remember anything going wrong on this phase. BUT, I can honestly tell you it does not help to have someone sitting in another room giving you "supervision". LOL Dad kept seeing shadows we had missed. I insisted it was just wet paint vs. drying paint...and based on how it looked the next day....I was right.
So, the next day we started out around lunch time. We immediately knew that our plan to run the paper under the soffet was not going to work. One, we would have had to sand the plaster completely smooth...and that wasn't gonna happen on my watch. Second, we just didn't have enough paper. So, we started off our plumb line over the refrigerator and got going...only to quickly find out the soffet wasn't level. So, our little design was trailing off the bottom edge of the soffet as we neared the door. If we had enough paper I would have pulled off what we had put up, but, we just didn't have that luxury. SO, we had to make do...this is the only part of the project I wish we could have made right. The good news is that Mom and I will probably be the only ones to notice it happens near the corner of the room where someone really wouldn't be able to see it. I hope!

We got the main part of the room papered and bordered before I had to go out. Which leads me to my next blog entry...and perhaps to another project to complete at my house. :) More on the remodel another time!

Preparing for the Lake Geneva Venetian Art and Craft Show, August 11-16, 2008

Last year I tried to wrap most of the soap I had made for the trip before I left. But, I found lots of the labels got scruffed this year I decided to travel with NAKED SOAPS! LOL So, the week after the Fair we needed to wrap a LOT of soap.

Dad and I did most of the wrapping as Mom had to work and she had a report to do for the State Grange meeting. It was a grueling four days. I can't even tell you how many bars we did...but it was a ton of them. Literally! The warehouse up there worked out very nicely. It was close by and convenient to get to whenever we needed to get over there.

I was planning on doing the Lake Geneva show by myself this year. Jodie and Travis had decided to do the Labor Day weekend show...and Mom had to work on Saturday. But Dad convinced her to come up after she was done in the afternoon. So, I started out the setup and most of the work day on my own, but, I had really great company from the artists around me.
First was the Barbara, the gal doing pressed flowers who lived in Lake Geneva. Then there were the sisters behind me selling their beautiful handmade glass bead jewelry (she did really amazing lampwork). And of course the metal guy was there spread out on the parkgrounds on the western end of the show. That guy has lots of customers, so, I was able to do a lot of people watching.

The show itself ended up being ok--it is still not a great show for me...but I do love the location. I had hoped that the good weather we had would translate to great sales, but, although I did LOTS better than last year, its still just a fair show for me. At least I was able to find a cheaper hotel using the Corporate Lodging Card this year!!

Mom did end up coming up late Saturday. We had a great prime rib and mojito dinner at the Waterfront in Delevan. Then we spent an hour looking for the cabin Mom's family used to have on Lake Delevan. It was hard finding it, but, we did. We also caught the most beautiful sunset and moonrise that night. I am not sure the pics will do it justice...

Sunday afternoon, I had lots of company. My Aunt Patricia and Uncle Russel came up along with cousins Kim and Kevin. Then my sister came over for an hour or so from Beloit. She left just in time for some rain to roll in. Luckily she helped me roll all my overstock boxes to the van before she left. Thanks, Jodie!!!
And thanks to the nephews and nieces for helping dry out my sidewalls the next day. I thank you all...especially Trav. I will treasure your two footprints (the ones I missed wiping off!) on my tent. LOL

Boone County Fair, Friday - Sunday

Friday starts the Open Swine Show for the kids. Again, our piglets don't seem to impress the judge, but, everyone survives. Not sure who is going to show pigs again next year--hopefully Ali will continue as she seems to have a real aptitude for it. I have a feeling she might also be doing a rabbit...

We spend the rest of the day wandering the Fair--checking the other animal buildings, stopping by the grandstand during the "races" to see who is betting dimes and who is going crazy betting QUARTERS!!!! We actually make it the whole day (with a short break to let Bonnie out at my parent's house) and get to hear the opening strains of country music star Blake Shelton singing. I am not a country fan, so, can't tell you much about that...

Saturday Dad and I go out to the Fair for breakfast at the Grange Food Tent, then head up to the grandstand to see the Garden Tractor and Antique Tractor Pull. By the time the rest of the crew gets there I am really ready to take a break from all the action. So, I head home to catch up on my business and personal email. Bonnie is glad to have the company and I am glad to have a little freedom.

Sunday everybody but Dad sleeps in and takes the day easy. I don't have to go anywhere until late in the afternoon. I head out to the Fair at 4pm in time to see the kids loading up their pigs to go to the slaughterhouse. Then I get to go to the Demolition Derby with Roger, his girlfriend, two of her sisters and a cousin. It was a riot once again!! And once again we are successful in getting a half gallon of ice cream from the boyscouts for $2....woohoo!

I am really happy to report that this year when I got home from the Derby, BONNIE HAD NOT escaped the backyard. She was in fact in her kennel waiting for me to get home. Yea!