The judges have spoken. The State Fair results are…

…I am a woman ahead of her time, or at least that’s how I’m comforting myself.

I totally lost. I mean, I didn’t even place.

Old family lore suggest my Great-Grandmother Ward won so many first prize ribbons at the Cleburne County Fair that they finally gave her a lifetime achievement award so she would stop entering and let someone else have chance. Obviously, I did not get this gene.

Arkansas State Fair 2015

Arkansas State Fair 2015

Let’s begin at the beginning. A few months ago, my very funny friend Jerusalem, said, “You know what would be hysterical? If you entered some of your needlepoint in the State Fair.” I don’t think she really thought I would do it.

But I agreed. It would totally be hysterical. I’ve never done anything like that before. So why not give it a try? I mean, I have some Great-Grandmother Ward in me somewhere, right? RIGHT?!?!?!

I entered two categories: cross stitch and embroidery.

After you enter online, they send you this whole packet of information about when you can drop off and pick up your entries. These ladies are organized and do not play around. They have a system. And you do not mess with the system.

There’s also a quirky little air of mystery about the whole thing. There are judges, but you cannot know who they are. I’m sure this is to keep people from trying to bribe them or influence the outcome. I also suspect if I were around the fair scene I would know exactly who these people are. No secrets are kept that well.

Somehow the notion of a secret judging panel made me oddly competitive about the whole thing. I imagined they are old women with many blue ribbons displayed about their homes. In my mind, they wear reader eye glasses and purse their lips a lot.

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Cross Stitch entry: I find the Star Wars Mos Eisley reference hysterical. I’m guessing the little old ladies judging either didn’t get it or don’t find me nearly as amusing as I find myself.

In case you don’t get the reference:

It’s possible they just don’t think my stitch work was as good as others who entered. I’ll let you judge for yourself.

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The first place shitzu I can live with. That’s some pretty intricate detail. I don’t understand how the pumpkins beat me. I’m not gonna lie. That stung a little.

Nevertheless, the judges decisions are final and binding. I will not be taking home the cash prize of $7 that winning would have brought. Seriously, bragging rights matter a lot because $7 won’t even pay for your parking at the fair. It’s not even worth trying to bribe judges. But I have come to believe that pumpkins there totally slipped someone a five dollar bill.

My embroidery on the other hand never even made it into the display case. I got no notice of official disqualification, but I’m pretty sure that’s what happened. I can’t say I’m surprised. I toned it down a bit from previous works. But I understand.

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Embroidery entry: disqualified

The whole thing was a lark. And actually a pretty fun one. I hated to lose, but I really liked doing something I’d never done before.

Now I can say that I have competed in the Arkansas State Fair. I only know two other people who can say that. We’re an elite bunch.

Of course, I’ve already started scouting out patterns for next year. I’ll get started as soon as the holidays are over. I have gifts to finish in the immediate future. But I think I want to give it one more go to see if I can impress these old biddies with my skill and humor.

Disqualified or not, I have to believe there was some laughter when the judges saw my handiwork this time around. I mean, come on. How often do women named Ethel or Ruby see stuff like that at the State Fair? So if they laughed, I still win.

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December: So far, so ridiculous

cmas fabric

Crafting
In January, twelve long months ago, I had this really great idea. I’d make Christmas gifts for our family this year. It would be brilliant. I’d start then. I’d have plenty of time. I wouldn’t be freaking out at the last-minute. It would all be so lovely.

Since I’ve spent the past two days bent over my sewing machine, you can infer how well that plan worked out. One of these days, y’all. I’m gonna get my act together. You’ll never even know what hit ya!

We solemnly swear we are up to no good!

We solemnly swear we are up to no good!

Christmas Cards
In the February, my hard drive did this weird melty thing where I lost all my data. It was the second time in as many years that my hard drive did this. Yes, I had a backup. Two, in fact. No, neither backed anything up. So that was, you know, super thrilling.

I found an old version of my Christmas card list on a flash drive. I spent a fair amount of time reconstructing it. But something seems to have gone wrong in the addressing cards portion of this endeavor. It appears that I’ve sent two Christmas cards to some people on the list and none to others.

Please don’t ask me to explain. I can’t.

Santa letter 2014

Santa letter 2014

Santa
I’m all but sure my kid doesn’t believe in Santa anymore. We’ve had too many conversations about logistics for him to still buy this con. But everyone in this house, him included, wants him to believe so very badly, that we’re playing the dumbest game of charades ever.

Seriously, the kid is 8 years old. He’s in second grade. He knows.

But he wrote a letter to Santa anyway. Because in that very small chance that I’m wrong, he could have one more magical morning in his life. And that’s worth a lot.

Hip Hop Cross Stitch

Rapper's Delight lyrics cross stitchSometimes, my crafting takes a sharp turn at clever and ends up in you-have-too-much-time-on-your-hands. It’s easier to miss the exit sign than you might imagine.

I’ve been working on this cross stitch because it absolutely cracks me up. But I am only what you might call semi-pro in the comedy world. Jimmy Fallon took it to eleven.

In which I am a total hypocrite…sorta

DrinkSleepAndBeKerri sale

Coupon Code: CMAS20

I cannot stand when stores put out the Christmas stuff in July. I’m looking at you Hobby Lobby. You know, because nothing says the birth of a nation like jingle bells, or something like that.

I’ve had some serious fits about this sort of thing. Very loud fits, to be precise. I’m all “Hey Christmas, wait your turn!” followed by “Stop the Christmas Creep!”

So it is with the full knowledge of the mockery I so richly deserve that I begin my Christmas sale entirely too early. But here’s the deal: I make all this stuff by hand. So if more than say, two people order something, I could be in a bind if you decide to place these orders December 20.

Practicality has forced me ask (before the Thanksgiving turkey is even carved!) for your business. Certainly, I’ll take your business anytime, and I’m happy to do so. But if you want something under the tree, think ahead!

If you don’t see what you’re looking for, send me a note and I’m pretty sure we can work something out. I’m very crafty like that. And I’m always excited about custom work.

Use coupon code: CMAS20 when you checkout at the shop.

As always, it’s a pleasure doing business with you!

Need a little Christmas now…

A few years ago, our family started a Jesse Tree tradition during Advent. The idea was to make December less focused on presents and more focused on the religious aspect of why we celebrate the holiday.

Who can resist a Christmas party in the summer?

Who can resist a Christmas party in the summer?

Because I’m me, I wasn’t super happy with the ornaments or the devotions that I found. A friend in Dallas told me a group of women in her church had the same problem, so they got together and did something about it. They made it into a Christmas party… just a little early.

This is totally my territory: parties and crafts. I asked around if anyone else was interested in participating in this. No one was more shocked than me that I was able to convince 22 other women to go along with this plan. I mean, I know I have psychocrafting issues, but I had higher expectations of my friends.

Jesse tree ornaments

Pattern and final version of the coat of many colors ornament.

The idea was we would do the ornament making and exchange in the summer, so that things would be less hectic than in the Christmas season when all Hell breaks loose. As it turns out, there’s really never a time when people are not crazy busy. But we forged ahead anyway.

These ladies took on the rather ambitious idea that I had and made it reality. Child labor was employed (or forced, depending on the home). Together 23 women representing the wide range of beliefs that fall under the umbrella of Christianity crafted with 25 sets of 25 ornaments for the holidays.

Jesse Tree child labor

Jesse Tree child labor

We made ornaments symbolizing the genealogy of Christ from Creation to birth in Bethlehem. It was really amazing to what each women brought to the process: some of her own tradition, understanding and creativity.

I really believe each ornament was infused with love, laughter, hope, faith and little bit of anxiety about deadlines and beauty. And let’s just be honest, there was some wine and/or vodka involved in getting these done. While the ornaments are not sacred on their own, they hold in them the best intentions of each of these women to make memories with their families that will last beyond Santa and toys.

I wrote the devotions for each of the 25 days to go along with the ornaments. That turned out to be a real test of faith for me. Some of these stories, particularly in the Old Testament, are not exactly easy to explain to adults, let alone children. Those people are seriously messed up. Murder, genocide, infanticide and war don’t really make for good tidings of great joy for all people. 

Fortunately, I have great friends with good humor who helped me through the process and listened to my tirades about how Hagar got a raw deal and how Abraham needed to man up to Sarah and how Moses was a ridiculous whiny baby and how throwing your brother in a well before you sell him into slavery doesn’t exactly earn you a place in the lineage of the Lord and Savior of the Universe.

Jesse Tree ornaments

Scheduling prevented all 23 women from being at the party. But Neal, my favorite Magi, was available for photos when we had the ornament exchange.

The end result of the all of this was, I hope, an honest depiction of what God can do, even with and through flawed humans. I was reminded again, the real Christmas story is not about people, it’s about believing in the miracle that God can use even truly broken souls, like me.

I am actually looking forward to Christmas this year. I’m certain that feeling will pass once I’m going nuts trying to get everything done in December. But I can’t wait to hang all these really special ornaments on our Jesse Tree. The best part for me is that for years to come, these fabulous women are part of our family’s story. We are woven together in the best fabric possible: tradition, faith and family.

Since our party, I’ve heard from several people they would like to host a Jesse Tree ornament exchange of their own. So I’ve put all the organizing tools and devotions in my Etsy store. You can download your own party kit and get crafting with the special people in your life. 

Note from the Shopkeeper

custom made hankies

custom-made hankies

The Little Rock Komen Race for the Cure is fast approaching. October 19 is the big day downtown in our fair city.

Several folks have expressed an interest in getting hankies as gifts for survivors for the 5k. Just a reminder that each one is hand stitched. The sooner you order, the better.

Boom, Boom, Pow hanky

Boom, Boom, Pow hanky

Here at Drink, Sleep and Be Kerri, we hate to see people disappointed. We are so grateful for your business that we want everyone to be happy and tell their friends.

Be sure to place your order quickly to ensure it is delivered in time. We cannot guarantee orders placed after October 12 will be done before the race.

Cheers!
Kerri

***Note: Just to be clear, the Komen Race for the Cure is not associated with my bawdy humor. It just happens that their event has caused an uptick in questions regarding the hankies in the shop.***

I’m mad. So here’s what I’m doing. Join me.

Here’s the deal: too many people I know are sick. Too many people I care about have cancer. I’ve been to too many funerals because of this disease. So Fuck Cancer!

I said that to my friend the other day and she laughed, “Honey, if it were that easy, this would have been taken care of ages ago.”

Cancer treatment is terrible. If the disease doesn’t kill you, the cure makes you wish you were dead. Or at least that’s what they tell me. But it’s what there is. When something invades your body, you fight like hell to kill it, because there is so much to live for.

I’m generally mad about the whole situation. I’m pissed off my friends are hurting. I’m angry they are going through this. I’m enraged that there is still not a cure.

This fury isn’t directed at anyone or anything in particular. I’m just mad. And that no longer seems productive. So I’m taking action, or at least as much action as a lay person can.

Be the Match test kit

Be the Match test kit

I registered with Be the Match, the national marrow donor program. I have a friend waiting to be matched with a donor. But she’s not alone. There are a lot of people waiting. All of them are someone’s friend or family.

It’s really easy to register. Go to the website. Fill out the form. They send you a kit with big Q-tips, and you swab your cheeks. You send the kit back. They call you if they need you. You could save someone’s life. It’s free to register.

But let’s not kid ourselves, it takes money to run the registry program. They estimate it costs roughly $100 per kit, to send it out, process it and get it in the system.

Boom Boom Pow handkerchief

Boom Boom Pow handkerchief

From now on, $5 from every sale of the Boom Boom Pow handkerchief from my Etsy shop will be donated to Be the Match.

Fuck Cancer hanky

Fuck Cancer hanky

Also, for my friends who appreciate the iconoclastic and profane, I will donate $5 of every Fuck Cancer hanky sold to a cancer research charity.

It’s not enough. But I’m not a scientist, a chemist or a doctor. I can’t actually cure cancer. I’m a friend. I send packages in the mail and take by casseroles and say prayers.

Right now, that just doesn’t seem like enough, either. This is a little more.

You do a little more too, ok? Then soon enough, we don’t have to be mad anymore…at least about this.