Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Teapot Tuesday: Featured Teapot Racer: 8 Track Teapot

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Photo taken by Harry Morris

The most colorful teapot racer at the Royal Renninger Races in Mount Dora on Oct. 17th was created by artist Harry Morris. Made with gears, gadgets, and gizmos galore, along with old 8-track tape painted bright, happy colors, this racer wasn't able to finish the course on time, but it did win the medal for "Most Splendid Design".

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Part one:

Part two:

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

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Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread

2 1/3 Cups unbleached white flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 Cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped

1 Cup dried cranberries, cut in small pieces (kitchen shears work well for this)

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add vanilla and salt. Mix well. Add flour and mix until the mixture is a uniform crumbly consistency (this won't take much mixing). Fold in the pistachios and cranberries. Press the dough together with your hands and divide into two even parts. 

Form each half of the dough into a log shape and wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Make sure the ends of the plastic wrap are sealed well or the ends of the wax paper are twisted closed to prevent the dough from drying out. Refrigerate the dough for at least two hours. 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Slice the cold dough logs into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick slices and bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 15-20 minutes. 

Cool cookies on a wire rack. 

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Teapot Tuesday: Featured Teapot Racer: Earl Grey

This week's featured teapot racer is "Earl Grey".

The Earl Grey is a teapot racer with a tea-pirate theme. It has a crew of tiny pirates, Captain Green, his daughter Jasmine, Mr. Baker, and Mr. Brewer.

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This was the racer that inspired teapot racing in Florida.

After seeing videos of the teapot races in New Zealand on YouTube, 14 year old Blaze was very excited to make a teapot racer of his own. We built this one together and we were very happy with the way it turned out, but had no one to race against, so I started the Splendid Teapot Racing Florida Facebook page.

While I was busy making arrangements for a race and building the ramps, Blaze was practicing with his new racer, which included making a large fleet of magnolia leaf ships for it to battle.

Blaze bribing the judges at the Royal Renninger Races at Renningers Steampunk Industrial Show on Oct. 17, 2015.

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With the character in the crow's nest, the Earl Grey is pretty tall, but it passed inspection.
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This was one of the two "Rock Crawler" RC cars in the race and both did very well on the rough course.

Blaze became the first Splendid Teapot Racing Grand Champion in Florida.

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Blaze is very proud of his trophy, which now resides on the headboard of his bed.

Today, I noticed that four new magnolia leaf ships have appeared in front of our house, so I think the pirates of the Earl Grey will soon have another armada to defeat.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Steampunk Christmas Tree Centerpiece

I started working on this project just after Christmas last year, adding little things as I found them. The base is a non-pourus styrofoam cone that originally came with a Halloween witch craft kit that I had sitting around for years, but never got around to assembling.

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The tree topper was one of my son's "Hot Wheels" toys (it used to be red and black).

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Last night, I glued on the final piece, so this morning I spray painted the entire tree with hammered copper spray paint. It took about three coats to be sure that everything, from every angle, was covered.

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Placed on the little "Brown Betty" teapot for extra height, I think this will be a nice centerpiece for our holiday table. It will certainly give the people around the table a lot to look at.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Glamping at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park

The official Victorian Glamping event we had planned to attend has been moved to next March, because the cabins in the park had all been booked for this past weekend.


But, since we already had a campsite reserved, we went camping anyway, and so did my friend Trishe.

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This year's new addition to our camping gear was a hammock. I had never tried putting a hammock up before and my first attempt was humorous, but not successful.

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Luckily, Trishe came to our rescue and showed us how it was done.

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It was very hot on Saturday, but the swimming was nice. Blaze and another boy spent quite a bit of time trying to catch little fish, first with their bare hands and then with a sand bucket.

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It was also a good day to go for a walk around the non-swimming lake and look at nature.

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Saturday afternoon we had a couple more guests who joined us for a camping tea party.

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Good food, good friends, and colorful firelight made this a perfect day of camping.

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We ended our Saturday night by turning off all the lights in the tent and listening to an old Sherlock Holmes radio show.

Sunday morning we woke up to nice weather, but Trishe had heard from her husband that rain would be moving into the area by noon. Despite the urgency to pack up, there was still time for one last bit of fun, something Blaze had really been looking forward to, a Nerf war.

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We had only been driving for about a half hour when the rain started. It poured for the next two days.

Even though it was raining, I had to stop and get a picture of this guy on the way home:

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Teapot Tuesday: Featured Teapot Racer: Tea Bird

This week's featured teapot racer is "Tea Bird".

The crew was very generous with their bribes:

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With it's clever name and fabulous white wings, "Tea Bird" seemed like the perfect teapot racer...until it met our rough grass and dirt track. Once set on the ground, "Tea Bird" could not move at all.

This did not stop the teapot racer's creators, Elise and Tristan VanCise from having a good time. They were actually our most comedically entertaining entry in the October 17th race. If there had been a prize from good sportsmanship and keeping a sense of humor during adversity, it would have gone to them. As it was, this very funny performance earned them a metal for "best course completion".

I hear rumors of a better track surface for our upcoming race in January, so I hope "Tea Bird" comes back for a redemption race.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Teapot Tuesday: Featured Teapot Racer: Tea Diva

Happy Teapot Tuesday!

My first featured teapot racer is "Tea Diva", built and raced by Joa Harpster.

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Made from an ornate silver-plated teapot and decorated with delicate pink flowers and lace, "Tea Diva" was the prettiest teapot racer at the Oct. 17th Royal Renninger Races in Mount Dora, Florida.

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The addition of dry ice, also, made this the only teapot racer with actual steam.

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Before the race, the crew of "Tea Diva" showed us all how to add a bit of showmanship to the bribing of the judges:

Built on a "Rock Crawler" RC car base, "Tea Diva" did very well on our rough grass course:

Crafty Crow