Monday, March 19, 2012

Slide It On Over Paddy...Here Come The Pickle Queens!!!!

I live in a sleepy little bedroom suburb south of Fort Worth, TX called Mansfield.  As communities go, I'd say we fall into the "small town" mentality...and that's just fine with me...after livin' in Houston for twenty six years I was more than ready to leave the rat race behind! 

Mansfield "proper" boasts a sweet little historical three block main street, and this past Saturday it was PACKED!  Yup...Mansfieldians came out in droves to celebrate the "Wearin' 'O The Green".  HOWEVER the green everyone was saluting was in honor of the almighty PICKLE!!!  BEST MAID PICKLES that is...packed and boxed up right here in our little town for any and all to enjoy.

The day's festivities began at 11 a.m. sharp.  My husband and I strolled into main street's ancient Farr Best Movie Theater to watch John Wayne and Maurine O'Hara on the big screen in "The Quiet Man" of my husband's favorite films...ya can't get more Irish than that!  We dropped a mere $6 for admission, popcorn, and two bottled waters!!!  The theater wasn't the ONLY thing that was a blast from the past!!!

The first of "The Pickle Queens" turn onto historic Oak was a magical sight!!

Once the film ended and we greeted the sunshine again, the real madness was time for The Pickle Parade!!!  Holy Crappola Batman!!!  I always felt this town had nuts and screwballs hidden deep behind closed doors, but I had NO idea how many there really were...and just how many were dancing precariously on that slim border between sanity and outright bazonker status!  To say I was gobsmacked is puttin' it lightly.  Example:  those loopy Shriners who marched were probably amongst the tamest bunch of the lot!

This Queen shimmied and worked her tiara like nobody's business!!

An historic day...TWO floats of Pickle Queens!!!

The standouts were:
-three dweeboids dressed KIND OF like clowns...I'm not sure if they were officially in the parade or not.  They were doin' all manner of crazy things...zoinked out of their minds enough that mothers began grabbin' their children whenever they came strollin' by.
-the doinks zoomin' down the street on segways at speeds so perilous there was a danger of something horrific happening to the crowd. Everyone screamed, eyes agog, as they watched the 300 pound head honcho perform a "one wheeled" maneuver with expert grace at top speed.  It was sumthin' to see...certainly NOT natural!!
-the lone "green man" who strolled crazily left and right with no real purpose in mind.  I turned to my husband and queried "ya think he escaped from the Alzheimer's Home?"  Thank GAWD he wasn't tossin' candies to the children along the parade route!
-OH!!!  Let's not forget the eight crazed Elvis' on mini motorcycles!!!!  These cats were so torked up NUTHIN' was gonna stop them!  Not even the light post the one sportin' a green mohawk squeeked by when he went careening out of control, narrowly missing the FFA float.  GAWD  It was epic!!!  How these Heartbreak Hotel Howlers were able to pop wheelies on those tiny cycles is beyond me...but they were "poppin'" like crazy!!!
-and then came the herd of Beagles!!!  Yup...a freakin' herd of dogs!!!  Not one marching band (we have FOUR high schools) in this parade, but man's best friend thought enough of town tradition to show up!!!  Oh...I need to add that SOMEHOW one Westie interloper snuck into the herd...just how she figured to "blend in" is beyond me...but Mansfieldians are a pretty forgiving lot and she was allowed to march the entire length of the parade route...afterall, those three "clown guys" were all over the place too!

Ya gotta love these brassy babes...big hair and Texan can ya get???

But the REAL STARS were the Pickle Queens!!!  Almost anyone can be a Pickle Queen...well, ALMOST anyone that is.  The requirements are fairly simple: each "Queen" has to be age 40 or over.  Oh...and you have to be brave enough to slap a HUGE red wig on your noggin and squeeze into a green dress!  If you can do that...well honey...then you can ride on a MASSIVE float down main street and close down the Pickle Parade.  By the time these whackadoodle gals showed up in all their glory I was howlin' so hard I needed oxygen!  Some old codger behind me yammered to his wife "My goodness!  They have TWO floats of queens this year!!  That HAS to be a world record Alice!"  At that I collapsed into a heap of howling goo on the far this was the MOST entertaining spectacle I've EVER been to in my life!

Hmmm...should I join 'em in 2013???

This may have been my first Pickle Parade but it certainly won't be my last...soooo slide it on over Paddy...the 17th of March has a whole new meaning in my life!!!

just me...wonderin' where I can find me a red wig and green dress for next year...jan

Monday, March 5, 2012

Needle Felting...Oh Lordy!!! Another Hobby???

I was trollin' Pinterest (as usual) a couple weeks ago and came upon someone's board filled to the brim with all kinds of fanfreakingtastic examples of needle felted animals.  WHEW!!!!  I can't begin to tell y'all how blown away I was with the artistry laid out in front of me!  

I've been drawn to this art for several years now but haven't been able to locate anyone in my area teaching classes.  So I figured a little Google search might prove fruitful. such luck as far as local instruction...HOWEVER I did find several sites that offered mail order kits!!!  Could I do this on my own?  Was it really that difficult?  Would I be tossin' my dollars to the wind?? guts, no glory!!!  And so I proceeded to weed through the various kit sellers offering promises to turn me into an instant felt artist.

I chose to purchase from Teresa Perleberg at Bear Creek Design & Felting, first and foremost because one of her designs is the most precious little bunny...and it looked like something within my capabilities...even though it was ranked as "advanced beginner".  I was also drawn to Bear Creek because it's located in my native state of North Dakota...ya gotta support your backyard right??

The contents of each kit: wool, felting needles, felting block, and complete instructions

My kit arrived within a few days of ordering and I have to say I was impressed with the contents.  The only thing I had to pull from my own stash of supplies was a simple needle and thread to aid in sewing eyes to the little rabbit!  The instructions, complete with excellent photographs, were clear and easy to follow.  For a mere $18.00  per kit price, one simply CAN'T go wrong in ordering from Bear Creek!

Two days later I sat down and commenced to start my needle felting adventure.  I have to say I had planned to take photos of the process but, quite frankly, I was havin' soooo much fun I didn't feel like stopping and kept stabbin' away at the wool roving!!  I couldn't wait to get to the part where I could "sculpt" the rabbit's face!  It's amazing to me how the felting needles compact the roving into something rather "solid".  After just a couple hours of playing, this is what my beginning efforts turned out:

Not the best photo of "Rupert's" sculpted face...but the best I could get!

Rupert from the topside!

Rupert showin' off his "best" side!

Rupert...front and center...just too cha cha for words isn't he???

I don't want to brag...but I think old Rupert turned out pretty good...don't you??  Actually, the success factor is more than likely due to the wonderful instructions provided by Ms. Perleberg.  After having such a positive outcome for my first time experience, I KNOW I'm ready to continue movin' forward with more needle felting challenges.  Soooo...if YOU have been thinkin' about givin' needle felting a try...well...I say GO FOR IT!!!  It's LOTS of fun and something that certainly WON'T be sittin' in your UFO pile that's for sure!!!

just me...wonderin' what it takes to raise a herd of sheep for my own wool?...jan