Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Teapot Tuesday, Featured Teapot Racers: A and B Racer and InsaniTea

We have two featured teapot racers today, driven by siblings, Bella and A.J. Cardoni. My understanding is that A and B Racer was a joint project.

Bella drove A and B Racer in the Sunday Splendid Teapot Races at Big River Steampunk Festival in Hannibal, Missouri on sept 4, 2016. She completed the course in only 1 minute and 9 seconds.

I would particularly like to thank Bella for all her help before the races began! As soon as her teapot racer was registered, she stuck around the booth and was a huge help in setting up for the races.

A.J. drove InsaniTea, one of the teapot racers I built. He had never driven this particular vehicle before, but still managed to finish the course in 1 minute, 30 seconds.

These are the last of the featured teapot racers I will be posting until February. I hope everyone has a  Splendid New Year!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Temeraire Tea Party

I haven't done one of the literary tea party menus for a long time, but I was feeling inspired this week. I recently finished reading the 6th of Naomi Novik's Temeraire novels, Tongues of Serpents, aloud to Blaze and he's looking forward to getting the next book in the series.

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Also, today is Blaze's 16th Birthday.

First gifts, then tea party!
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The Temeraire series deals with the adventures of Captain William Laurence, a navel officer who captures a dragon egg from a French ship in 1805.

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When the egg hatches and the dragon imprints on Captain Laurence, he must leave the Navy to join the British Aerial Corps and the reader is introduced to a world where dragons are an important part of the war against Napoleon.

Blaze chose chocolate for the cake, because the dragon, Temeraire, is a black, Chinese, Celestial dragon.

Chocolate cake shaped like a dragon curled protectively around three eggs and British flag shaped Walker's shortbread cookies.
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Tuna salad sandwiches, lamb sandwiches, and spicy mushrooms on puff pastry:

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The savory parts of the menu are based on things that Temeraire ate, with the exception of the eggs.

Dragon Eggs recipe: http://www.janbrett.com/dragon_eggs_recipe_and_coloring_page.htm

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Chinese Style Beef and Broccoli Soup
Dragon's Eggs
Tuna Salad Sandwiches
Lamb on Rye Sandwiches
Spicy Mushrooms on Puff Pastry
Chocolate Cake Dragon
Union Jack Walker's Shortbread Cookies
Green Tea


Teapot Tuesday, Featured Teapot Racer: Speed Reader

Today's featured teapot racer is Speed Reader, one of the vehicles that I built to loan out to people who wanted to try teapot racing, but didn't have racers of their own.

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On Sept. 3, 2016, Marantha Blum drove it at the Big River Steampunk Festival in Hannibal, Missouri. She exceeded the time limit, but she did well driving, considering that she had had no practice time with the unfamiliar vehicle.

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The following day, Cheshire drove Speed Reader and completed the course in 1 minute, 36 seconds and only one manual assist.

At Renninger's Steampunk Industrial Show in Mount Dora, Florida, Aidan Harwood drove Speed Reader on Oct. 15, 2016.

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He completed the course in 1 minute, 44 seconds with 2 manual assists. He received extra points for quality of the judges' bribes and showmanship.

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The rainy weather at Renningers was not kind to Speed Reader. The books were damaged and will need to be repaired before it races again.

I am now out of racers from Renningers to feature on Teapot Tuesday, until the end of January, when we races again.

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This feature will return next week with the last of the racers from Big River.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Teapot Tuesday, Featured Teapot Racer: Mr. T

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This fine gentlemanly teapot racer is Mr. T, built and operated by Sir Thomas the 1st. at the Big River Steampunk Festival on Sept. 3, 2016.

Judges peeking at their bribes, as Mr. T approaches the starting line:
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I guess the judges liked what they saw when they looked into those little top hat and mustache covered bags, because Sir Thomas received extra points for quality of bribes and showmanship.

I believe that this was the most theme coordinated teapot racer and driver at the Big River Steampunk Festival. It's hard to tell in this picture, but Sir Thomas' vest is also printed with hats and mustaches.

It was fun to watch the mustache mounted to the front of the racer bounce around on its spring while the vehicle was moving.

Sir Thomas did a splendid job of navigating the candlestick slalom, but the teapot had a couple spills on the Ramp of Doom.

Mr. T finished the race in 1 minute, 40 seconds and went on to compete in the drag race.

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Homeschool Social Studies Fair

The Social Studies Fair is always Blaze's big school project. He puts quite a bit of time and work into his display, so there was some panic when this year's fair was scheduled for Nov. 18, instead of late January or February like it has been in past years. We both spent a lot of time on this project, me finding the materials and information and Blaze writing fact cards, coloring, cutting, and even baking.  We finished everything, except the baking, with only one day to spare.

The topic he chose this year was Vikings.

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Fresh baked barley crackers.
I couldn't find any barley flour in our local stores, so ended up grinding my own using the food processor.

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We thought we were running late, but ended up being the first ones to arrive and set up at the Social Studies Fair.

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All of the kids made amazing projects and most of them got up on the stage in front of the group to do presentations. Blaze isn't comfortable doing public speaking, but he was very good at answering questions as individuals looked at his display.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Featured Teapot Racer: Bruiser

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This week's featured teapot racer "Bruiser" was built and operated by Rocky Sawyer and competed in the Royal Renninger Races at Renninger's Steampunk Industrial Show in Mount Dora, Florida on Oct. 15, 2016.

The workmanship on this racer was stunning!

So shiny!

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This was not "Bruiser's" first race. It had premiered earlier this year at Ancient City Con in Jacksonville, Florida.

Bribing the judges with custom-made judge's badges:

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This large, armored teapot racer may look heavy, but it drove very well through the obstacle course. It steered through the candlestick slalom with no trouble at all and, even through it had some trouble on the Ramp of Doom, it did not require any manual assistance.

Rocky received extra points for the quality of his bribe and showmanship.

"Bruiser" completed the course in 1 minute, fifty-five seconds.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Featured Teapot Racers: The Porter Family

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We had a good turn-out for day two of Splendid Teapot Racing at the Big River Steampunk Festival in Hannibal, Missouri, but a lot of the credit for that goes to the Porter Family. This family of four each built and raced their own teapot racer and each member of the family had a unique vision for their vehicle.

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Mom, Crystal Porter raced "Grandma's Tea Party". This cute little tea party on wheels, with its pompom topped antenna, struggled a little on the ramps, but completed the course in 1 minute and 22 seconds.

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It required manual assistance twice, but Crystal attempted to earn back those points through complimenting the judges. Looking at the score sheets, flattery seems to have worked on both judges.

Dad, Matt Porter raced "Grandpa Tea Pot".  This entry had everything you'd want to see in a Splendid Teapot Race, style, spills, speed, and suspense.

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Matt making an audience member laugh before the race.

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He completed the race in only 1 minute, 7 seconds.

Teenage daughter, Madelyn Porter raced "Cinderella's Escape". Cinderella managed to escape the obstacle course in 1 minute, 42 seconds, but she met with many difficulties along the way and required a few kicks in the bumper to keep going.

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Teenage son, Alex Porter raced Morning Tea. This little chicken teapot was wide awake as it raced through the course.

I have an apology to make to Alex Porter. Something went wrong with my camera when I tried to record his race. It shut off after taking a one-second video. What I managed not to capture was an amazing 52-second course completion with all the hazards successfully negotiated and not a single manual assist. This was the fastest teapot racer of the day.

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A screen capture of the one-second video:

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

North Florida Fair

Yesterday was our first time attending the North Florida Fair and Blaze's first time attending a county fair anywhere. He really enjoyed himself until after dark, when all the flashing lights started causing trouble for him.

I had spent so much of my childhood at our local fairgrounds, that it bothered me that Blaze had never been, but I'm from Norther Illinois and November has always stuck me as the wrong time to be having a fair. November is when you save money for Christmas gifts and plan Thanksgiving dinner.

In Florida, though, November has the perfect weather for a fair and most of my fond childhood memories of county fairs were covered by this one.


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Lots of deep fried food vendors:

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Colorful sideshows that I never entered:

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4-H displays:

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A small circus:

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There were also several science activities for children:

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"Choose the form of the destroyer!"

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For Blaze, the destroyer of our good time was a combination of a spinning teacup ride and lots of flashy lights. He was blind in his right eye for about 10 minutes and then the migraine started.

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Blaze is fine this morning.


Crafty Crow