Tag Archives: Iowa State Fair

Blue Ribbon Winning

Whew! August went FAST! It was filled with the Iowa State Fair, family germ sharing (flu, anyone?), working, training for Hood to Coast and finally vacation (by far the best part!)! With all these activities something had to be neglected, and unfortunately, it was Aunt GiGi’s Craft Corner. But don’t worry, my fall schedule is jam-packed with creative goodness! I’ve got YARDS of fabric to sew, BOXES of plastic bags to fuse and lots of ideas for Christmas presents… It’s going to be a fun ride!

[This is a very long entry!]

Let me just start off with a big CONGRATS to Daniel Ray for sweeping the Dutch Oven Cooking contest at the 2009 Iowa State Fair! [Read the official press release] He entered the two dutch oven categories, main dish and dessert and won first place for both! This was his first year entering anything at the fair; a few months ago I had to remind and convince him that he wanted to enter 🙂

For the main dish, he entered Italian Sausage and Vegetables. The judges LOVED it, especially how spicy it was.

Dutch Oven Itallian Sausage And Vegetables

Dutch Oven Italian Sausage And Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 2        Large Onions, 1/4” slices 
  • 4        Potatoes, 1” cubed 
  • 1       lb Carrots, cut to 1” lengths, or baby carrots, 3 cups 
  • 1 1/2 lb Italian Sausage Links
  • 1/2     Bell Pepper, Julianne
  • 1/4     lb Mushrooms
  • 1/2     Cup White Wine
  • 1        Can (6 oz) Tomato Paste with Italian seasoning
  • 1        Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 12-15 oz Water to cover
  • 1        Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste 

How to Prepare:

  1.  Brown sausage links in a 4 Qt. Dutch Oven in the vegetable oil with 16 coals underneath and 8 on top.  Remove and set aside.
  2. Preheat the same 4 Qt. Dutch Oven to 350° with 10-12 coals on top and 16-20 coals underneath.  You will have to add coals later to keep it cooking.  Slice onions and arrange to cover bottom of Dutch oven. Cube potatoes and layer them, carrots, peppers, and mushrooms on top of onions and cover with wine, tomato paste, and some water.  Salt and pepper it to taste.
  3. Cover and place on coals until liquid starts to simmer. When liquid is simmering, add sausage and juice and return to heat. Add coals to top.  Simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender.  About 1 hour. 

 Next Up: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

At this time, the judge was admitting that he could not find anything wrong with the cake, but desperately tried to.

Dad with his cake

Dad with his blue ribbon winning cake

Dutch Oven Easy Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Briquettes: 24 | Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 to 35 minutes | Yield: 8 servings 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1    Cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1    Can (20 oz) Dole Pineapple Slices, in 100% pineapple juice
  • 22 Maraschino Cherries, approximately, (10 oz Jar)
  • 1    Pkg. (18.25 oz) Duncan Hines Pineapple Supreme Cake Mix
  • 3    Eggs
  • Juice from Pineapple Slices plus enough water to make 1 1/3 Cups for cake mix 

How to Prepare:

  1. Line a 6 quart, 12-inch cast-iron camp oven with non-stick tin foil. Melt the butter over 24 hot coals. Sprinkle the melted butter with the brown sugar.  Let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Place the pineapple slices over the brown sugar and reserve the juice. (There should be room for 8 slices, 1 in the center and 7 around the outside.) Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple slice. I also place a cherry at the intersection everywhere three pineapple slices intersect and around the outside.  More is better.  Let simmer for about 5 more minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, and reserved juice and water. Stir for 2 minutes. Spoon batter over pineapple slices and cherries.
  3. Cook over 6 coals, transferring 18 coals to the lid, for 25-30 minutes. (35 minutes for me.) This is 350°F in a regular oven.
  4. When done, a toothpick inserted in the cake’s center will come out clean.  Remove the lid, remove the camp oven from the coals, and let it stand for 5 minutes.  Use heavy cooking mitts or heavy cooking gloves and place the cast iron pot on one hand.  Place a large cookie sheet on top.  Place your other hand centered on the cookie sheet and carefully but quickly turn it over. 
  5. Carefully remove the non-stick foil.  Replace any pineapple slices that may have stuck to foil. Serve warm. 

Note:  As delicious as the cake is itself, the best part of the pineapple upside-down cake is the topping: brown sugar, butter, maraschino cherries and pineapple.  To get a topping that’s slightly caramel-y and not mushy, let the topping cook just a bit being careful not to burn it, until just before you add the batter.  (I start the topping and while it is starting to cook I prepare the cake batter.) 

Congrats Dad! These ribbons are well deserved. I think you should start practicing for next years contest NOW! Im hungry!

Congrats Dad! These ribbons are well deserved. I think you should start practicing for next year's contest NOW! I'm hungry!

Iowa State Fair Entries

It’s fair time again! For years I’ve been telling my mom that I wanted to enter stuff in the fair – stuff, anything, anything just to say that I did it; This year I finally did! The Iowa State Fair is probably the highlight of my summer. The food is delicious, the people are hilarious and you get to really celebrate Iowa with entertainment and displays. 

I entered 6 items in the Fabric and Threads division. They were due August 1, so I spent the last two weeks in July frantically sewing to get them done. I will plan a little earlier this year 🙂 My hope was to get a ribbon, any ribbon, just one – even if it was a participation ribbon. My mom crushed my dreams a few weeks ago when she reminded me that this wasn’t 4H anymore and they don’t give ribbons to everyone. She also said something about being adult and sucking it up, I may have ignored that last part. 

Drumroll please………… I got two ribbons!!! My plaid jumper one an Honorable Mention and and my Spring Ruffle Top won 3rd place for their categories! My mom mentioned that she recognized a lot of names on the entries – of people she used to be in the sewing guild with. She hasn’t been in the sewing guild in like… 15 years – so I was definitely competing with people who actually know how to sew. Probly not competing with a lot of people who just really started sewing 5 or 6 months ago.

 

Simplicity 2865

Simplicity 2856 - Entered in the Blouse category

Simplicity 3835, entered in the dress category - Great pattern once you can figure out the collar, love this and plan on making 10000 more.

 

Chop Top Frock - When I got home and edited this photo, I realized that the second place winner was one of my moms friends. Not happy about that, I told my mom to make sure and mention to Mabeth that its her fault I didnt get a ribbon in this category :-)

Chop Top Frock, entered in a new recycled clothing category - When I got home and edited this photo, I realized that the second place winner was one of my mom's friends. Not happy about that, I told my mom to make sure and mention to Mabeth that it's her fault I didn't get a ribbon in this category 🙂

 

Recycled Plastic Bag

Recycled Plastic Bag, entered in the Purse and Tote category

 

McCalls 8920 - This jumper pattern dates back to the mid 90s - Im thinking like 1996ish. I wanted to make a jumper to enter in the Jumper category at the Iowa State Fair, but didnt want to hassle with a zipper. Super simple, pull over the head jumper. And I must say, I totally rocked the matching plaids on the side seams.

McCalls 8920, Honorable Mention in the Jumper Category - This jumper pattern dates back to the mid '90s - I'm thinking like 1996ish. I wanted to make a jumper to enter in the Jumper category at the Iowa State Fair, but didn't want to hassle with a zipper. Super simple, pull over the head jumper. And I must say, I totally rocked the matching plaids on the side seams.

 

Spring Ruffle Top, Third Place in the Woven Shirt Category - This is pretty much the exact same Spring Ruffle Top that I made previously, only I used the black and white starburst fabric instead.

Spring Ruffle Top, Third Place in the Woven Shirt Category - This is pretty much the exact same Spring Ruffle Top that I made previously, only I used the black and white starburst fabric instead.

And to celebrate my ribbon-winnings, my mom bought us cake 🙂

I forgot to mention that I took my friend Lindsay along to the Fabric and Threads preview before the fair. She loved it. She’s not a sewer, but she loves the fair and appreciates the hard work that went into all of the entries. I feel like I crush her spirit when I told her that most quilters do not hand quilt anymore. She was very disappointed to find out it’s all done by machine. She did find a couple of hand-quilted quilts and she felt a little better.  🙂 I think she should take up the lost art of hand-quilting.

If you’re going to the fair, make sure to visit the Fabric and Threads display on the top floor of the Varied Industries Building!!!

… And we’re back!

I promise I haven’t been slacking. It’s been just the opposite, actually. I’ve been sewing like crazy to get my Iowa State Fair (“ISF”) projects done. Also, I had to stop being FunEmployed AND I’ve been training for the Hood To Coast race at the end of August in Portland. Busy? Not at all.

Lets start with the projects that didn’t make it to the fair: 

 

Ok, this wasnt really in the running for the fair, I made it about a month ago because I wanted a new clutch to match a new dress. Its made with gray plastic bags and embellished with vintage buttons and rickrack. Also, glitter.

Ok, this wasn't really in the running for the fair, I made it about a month ago because I wanted a new clutch to match a new dress. It's made with gray plastic bags and embellished with vintage buttons and rickrack. Also, glitter.

Simplicity 2863. Knit Dress. Very cute and comfy. Pretty easy too.

Simplicity 2863. Knit Dress. Very cute and comfy. Pretty easy too.

So, I bought this fabric on clearance, Mom thought it was going to suck. She doesn’t tell me this until AFTER I start sewing on it of course, because she knows how I get resistant when she tells me I can’t do something. So, this knit sews like a dream. I didn’t serge the inside because it wasn’t raveling at all.

The dress doesn’t actually unbutton – the front and back are one piece each. The strip down the middle is just another piece of fabric with fusible interfacing on the inside, then sewn down the whole length of the dress, and buttons sewn on for decor.

The gathers in the middle? Just as simple – just a strip sewn on the inside of the dress that you sewed four lines to get three tunnels to put elastic through – like this : | | | | So the elastic isn’t actually attached to the dress. The neck was easy, but since I’m not fantastic at knits its a little warbly.

Anyways, I’m in love.

I will post more about the projects entered in the ISF when the fair actually opens. But here’s a sneak preview:

 

My 6 projects - five of them are new, you may recognize my first Chop Top Frock in there. And I forgot to take a photo of the recycled plastic bag I made. Whoops. You get the idea.

My 6 projects - five of them are new, you may recognize my first Chop Top Frock in there. And I forgot to take a photo of the recycled plastic bag I made. Whoops. You get the idea.