1 The Big E! - The Eastern States Exposition - West Springfield, MA - September 17th to October 3rd
2 The family (from left to right) - my father (Jim Sr.), mother (Jane), and boyfriend (Joshua). It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. Sunglasses were definitely in order!
3 The center of the Storrowton Village Museum (right off the Avenue of States) was devoted to craft sales and artisan demonstrations, and was deemed the "Craft Common."
4 This is the first thing we saw upon entering the Craft Common. Whoa.
5 Halloween in full swing.
6 I thought these very simply made pumpkins were really cute.
7 Bird houses with specialty license plate roofs. Not really my thing, but a great recycling idea. These would look cool with actual weathered license plates on top.
8 Simple, antiqued wood and wire spiders, each with a great grin.
9 A small, hand-crafted lace piano.
10 Hand-made marionettes putting on a show!
11 In the center of the first craft market, there was...of course...a fresh pickle stand.
12 Joshua preferred the Kosher Dill, while I was more of a Half Sour fan.
13 I love this sign.
14 There were a number of artisans demonstrating their various crafts throughout the Craft Common. Here we have a blacksmith (Jos. Clark & Son from Chesterfield, NH) making a hand forged hook.
15 Handmade brooms from R. Aborm's Brooms, Brushes & Sundries.
16 A furniture craftsman, surrounded by his many fabulous tools, demonstrating how to repair a chair.
17 This gentleman is preparing paint on top of a solution bath to make Turkish Style Marbled Paper. It was such a treat to be able to watch him work.
18 The finished product when he applies the paint by dragging a damp piece of alum-treated paper across it.
19 The bath immediately after.
20 Fresh, handmade paper drying under the tent.
21 A couple of great examples of his work.
22 Another really gorgeous piece.
23 Next was the Avenue of States where each New England state is represented by a building. (And the crafts continued!) Pottery in the Maine building.
24 And some very pretty vases with frogs already in the bottom of them.
25 In the Connecticut building there was a fabulous ear of corn made from recycled, plastic, gallon jugs (from spring water or milk), painted yellow.
26 Also in the CT building - Woody from Toy Story...made out of Legos!
27 The best part of the Big E is the food. We ate so many delicious and bad-for-you things...
28 These are actually for dogs...but they still look delicious!
29 Maple syrup in the New Hampshire building.
30 Maple cream cones in the Vermont building.
31 The most delicious thing you will ever eat. Apple pie with white Cabot cheddar cheese on top. Only $5. Joshua and I each got one.
32 Then it was off to the Farm-A-Rama building.
33 More ribbon winning veggies.
34 The winner of the pumpkin decorating contest. This entry saw pumpkins in not only Charlie Brown, but in Snoopy and Woodstock too.
35 I love this pumpkin pig.
36 A little holiday deconstruction.
37 This was actually my favorite entry. It only won fourth place!
38 It wasn't just plants and vegetables at the Farm-A-Rama -- there were baby pigs too!
39 And a chick hatchery.
40 Then it was off to the Mallory Complex where exhibitors can show off their livestock and participate in various competitions.
41 Fluffy tailed cows!
42 A not-so-happy sheep being sheared.
43 More shearing.
44 To keep her wool clean for showing, this sheep dons an interesting looking number...complete with matching hood.
45 Newly shorn wool at the entrance of the "Fiber Nook."
46 Prize winning wool!
47 Before wool can be worked with it needs to be cleaned and combed.
48 Then it is spun into yarn (as these kind ladies are demonstrating) on spinning wheels.
49 More yarn spinning. I think that's a very reasonable place to store one's Cheezits.
50 The resulting yarns can be dyed any number of beautiful colors.
51 Sundry threads and yarns of varying colors.
52 With the yarn and thread complete, it's time to weave with it. Here's a great example of a hand operated loom.
53 And another. Notice the various examples of other smaller hand looms displayed on this one.
54 This tapestry was made by a 4-H group using a wet felting technique. It has a really lovely organic look and feel to it.
55 At the end of the day (while searching for pastry), I discovered a number of gorgeous quilts. This one was done by Barbara Sirois of Wilbraham, Mass.
56 This pentagon- and trapezoid-themed quilt was done by Sharon Doughty of Ludlow, Massachusetts.
57 A turtle-themed quilt by Karen Waggon from Bethel, Connecticut.
58 I love the colors and patterns in this quilt by Joy Brennan of Hadley, Massachusetts.
59 And finally, a smart looking green and white quilt from Victor Alliston of Enfield, Connecticut. The Big E was great fun this year! I can't wait until next year!