15 min

Country Living Fair - Columbus - 2014

(Is "country living" one word or two? It seems that both CountryLiving Fair and Country Living Fair are used.)

The event was held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 12, 13, and 14, 2014 in Columbus, OH on the grounds of the Ohio Village and History Center, located near the Columbus Crew soccer stadium. Stella Shows Management handles the fairs for CountryLiving.

Fri, Sep 12

DD, Barney, and I left home in Toledo at 10:40 am. First, I needed to stop at nearby Mancino & Sons Shoe Service, located along West Sylvania Ave, near Secor Rd. I wanted to pickup my Birkenstock sandals that were re-soled. I also got DD's purse that was repaired. This little store does a good business, and they do great work.

We drove away from the Macino show repair shop at 10:52 a.m.

We stopped for a break at Speedway gas station / convenience store at 12:11 p.m. along Rt 23, near or south of Upper Sandusky. It's a usual stop area on the drive down. Walked Barney. Grabbed a few snacks, pretzels, white cheddar cheese popcorn, and a Coke.

We arrived at A and S's house at 1:40 p.m. We soon left for the CountryLiving Fair, which was only about 15-minute drive away.

At 2:40 p.m., we got our tickets from will-call at CLF.

Weather was cloudy. Blue-grey stratus clouds. Light wind. Temps in the 60s. My kind of weather.

We started the afternoon with browsing the area that contained mainly antique vendors. This area was located near the main CLF stage and sheltered area where presentations were given.

While DD viewed antiques, I listened to the CountryLiving magazine editors answer questions about their background, their writing process, the magazine, and the people who they interview. From the program guide: "Ask Us Anything" with the editors of CountryLiving.

Then we watched a blogger build simple basket lights on the main stage. From the program guide:

We exited CLF at approx 5:20 p.m. It officially closed at 5:00 pm, but many vendors remained open.

We bought a few items. Low crowd on a late Friday afternoon after most people left. Nice for browsing. Many people were leaving when we arrived at 2:40 p.m.

DD bought a large blue glass pickle jar and a couple other items. I bought a 2015 calendar by Mill Moses.

We bought two things from Rusty Birds, which was my favorite vendor thus far. This was their first year at the C-bus CLF. They sold rusted, metal silhouettes of many bird species and other critters. They can be attached to branches or frames. Fun.

I bought a bar of goat milk soap called "Plane Jane" from:

The Chickenmash Farm vendors brought along a six-month-old female goat named Olive that was kept in a small, portable, open pen. She was quiet and friendly. We were allowed to pet her. I visited Olive each day of the fair.

We also bought Jeni's ice cream. No line. Between DD and I we tasted vanilla, chocolate, and salted caramel.

Back at the house, Amy fixed an excellent dinner: baked chicken with a crispy coating, green beans, and potatoes.

Sat, Sep 13

At 11:14 a.m., we were parked at the CLF. With the traffic, it took us about 40 minutes to make the trip.

Weather around Noon was cloudy to mostly cloudy, breezy, temps in upper 50s. Chilly. A bit raw. I wore shorts, a short-sleeve shirt, and my newly resoled Birks. I needed a bit more clothing, but I also knew the clouds would move out, and the sun would shine more later, which it did. And it felt much warmer in the mid to late afternoon.

At the CLF, we started first with watching a cooking demo at the kitchen sheltered stage, which ended at 11:38 a.m. They made a corn chowder. From the program guide:

  • "Smoky Roasted Corn Soup with Chipotle Chile"
  • with Josh Kilmer-Purcell
  • and Brent Ridge
  • of Cooking Channel's
  • The Fabulous Beekman Boys

We stayed at the kitchen stage and watched a soap-making demo, which started at Noon. The sky cleared a little around 11:45 a.m. with a bit more sun peaking through.

From the program guide:

  • "Handcrafted Soap Making: A Day in the Country"

Soap-making Notes

(these are quick notes that are mostly still in their raw form)

About the soap-making presenter:

  • Ann Marie Craig
  • "Century Farmhouse" - handcrafted artisan soaps
  • http://www.centuryfarmhouse.com
  • from Wisconsin

Soap-making methods:

  • Melt and pour
  • Whole process or cold process
  • Hot process

Ann demoed the cold process for making soap, which requires three weeks in the mold before it can be used.

Some ingredients used today

  • Soybean oil
  • Coconut
  • Beaswax
  • filtered Hudson River water
  • Sweet tea
  • Other adjuncts including: sawdust, chicken feathers, melted chocolate, and more.

Comments from Ann:

  • Fat or oil. Chemical base.
  • No aluminum pots.
  • Use metal.
  • Wood or steel spoons.
  • Lye.
  • Lye steam toxic and can burn.
  • Protective equipment.
    • Face mask n or m 95.
    • Glasses
    • Gloves
  • Lye calculator at Columbus foods site and elsewhere.

In one pot:

  • River water
  • Tea
  • Sugar
  • Stir
  • Then add lye crystals
  • Stir lye quickly
  • After dissolved place pot in cold water bath.
  • Can now remove safety equip except glasses.

Keep open bottle of vinegar nearby, which neutralizes the lye in case some gets on skin. (Reminds me of a scene from Fight club.)

Ann used two pots.

Other pot has oils. Added olive oil and sweet almond oil.

Keep checking temps of both pots. Want temps to be the same.

Oil pot on burner was 118 degrees. Lye pot was 100 degrees after resting the cold water bath for a bit. Ann then switched the locations of the burners to even the temps.

Then pour the pot of oils into the pot with the lye.

Stirring the mix. Added jenni's ice cream.

Anne used wooden spoons. And whisk.

In her soaps, Ann said that she uses ingredients like filtered rain water, tea, tree sap, melted snow, essential oils, and no synthetic items.

She collects things like ashes.

She designed a soap dish that is hand made in Milwaukee.

Stir mixture until tracing point. ??

For the demo, Ann added to the mixture:

  • Lavender
  • Hay alfalfa
  • sunflower petals
  • Maple syrup
  • Chicken feathers cleaned and cut into tiny pieces.
  • Melted chocolate
  • Maple tree Sawdust
  • peach pits
  • dried apple (I think)
  • Pine needles
  • some kind of Pumpkin (dried?)

Ann ground up the sawdust and peach pits and maybe the apple in coffee grinder, and then the bits were poured through a mesh screen as they entered the mixture.

Eventually add the essential oils.

Then pour into molds. Wait three weeks.

Use litmus paper to measure. After three weeks soap will be 7, neutral. Lye will dissolve out.

She discussed African black soap.

Soap-making demo ended at 12:48 pm.

It looks like another interesting "maker" project to add to our list. My favorite soap is made with goats milk. Artisan soups can coast between $4.00 and $8.00 per bar. If making soap is significantly cheaper, then it would be a worthwhile hobby. To learn the process, I would prefer to start with simple soaps, minus the numerous adjuncts.

After the soap-making demo, we browsed and shopped for the next three hours.

I bought some french fries.

From 4:00 to 4:43 p.m., DD and I listened to an interesting talk at the main stage by Jen O’Connor who is the owner of Earth Angels Studio.

From the program guide: "Turning Your Creative Passion Into Your Business"

Jen spoke about starting and growing a small business. She recommended people use the services of a local Small Business Development Center.

On our way out of the CLF, we browsed vendors that remained open after 5:00 p.m. We spoke with the couple that managed the booth for Worked in Wool. They were from North Canton, Ohio. Nice stuff. Wool capes. Wool scarves. Rugs. She's a rug hooker. Mom bought a scarf for DD.

Earlier in the day, we visited the tent for the Buckeye Rug Hooking Guild. Yet another project to try some day: rug hooking.


We exited the CLF at 5:30 pm. During the afternoon, the sky cleared, and with the sunshine, temps warmed to the upper 60s.

For dinner back at the house, we ate pickup from Raising Cane's. Tasty, simple meal, comprised of chicken fingers, coleslaw, fries, and thick, Texas-style toasted bread. No such franchise exists in the Toledo area. Cane's makes their own sauce for the chicken fingers, but I liked the chicken plain.

Later in the evening, Steve and I watched the late third quarter and the entire fourth quarter of the football game between #12 UCLA at Texas. The Bruins won 20-17 with a late TD pass thrown by backup QB Jerry Neuheisel. Good fourth quarter.

Sun, Sep 14

Only DD and I attended the CLF on Sunday. We left the house around 11:30 a.m. We met my parents at the CLF entrance.

On Sundays, the traffic and the crowd numbers are much lower, compared to Saturday. It looks like Friday is a bit crowded too.

The CLF weekend is like birdwatching at Magee Marsh in May. Many people attend from other states in the Midwest and the Northeast, so they probably travel home on Sunday.

We experienced no traffic driving into the CLF grounds.

We entered the CLF at 11:50 am.

The weather around Noon was mostly cloudy, with light wind, and temps in the low 60s, but the sky cleared, and the afternoon was sunny and comfortable.

I admired the work by artist Thomas Siciliano. He made paper, and then he placed flowers from his garden on the paper. Then he painted over the flowers to make the colors last. He also constructed his own frames.

I always enjoy viewing the artwork by Will Moses. On display in his tent was an original, oil on Masonite painting called "Butternut Bend," which cost $16,500 dollars. I wonder if that was the most expensive item at the fair.

Dd and Mom each bought a few items. I bought fries like yesterday.

Dad and I browsed the Rusty Birds booth, and we studied the fair garden display by a vendor who made concrete-like containers. Some containers contained plants, such as small trees, bonsai-like. One planter contained a Hawthorne Tree that was five-years-old. Its leaves would turn yellow soon and drop, like a normal tree. The trees need to be placed in a cold spot, so that they experience their normal, dormancy phase. A garage would works. The containers should not get wet because freezing and thawing may break them.

In the antiques area, Dad and I sat under the food-eating tent. I followed the end of the Saints at Browns game on my iPhone by getting play-by-play text updates from the ESPN website. I monitored the score while at the CLF. Browns led 16 to 3, but the Saints scored right before halftime to make it 16-10. In the first half, the Browns kicker missed a field goal and an extra point. In the second half, the Saints led by a point. Then the Browns answered with a TD. Back and forth the game went.

Near the end of the game, the Browns defense stopped the Saints from getting close enough to try a field goal. The Saints punted. The Browns started inside their own 10-yard-line with, I think, under three minutes to play. Saints led 24-23.

Under the tent, I informed Dad of the Browns game-winning drive. The Browns converted a fourth down play in their own territory. The Browns were on the Saints 39-yard-line with under 20 seconds to play. The Browns gained 28 yards. With 6 seconds left, the Browns made a short field goal. The kickoff was the last play. The game was played in Cleveland. I bet it went nuts.

At 4:25 p.m., we finished eating Jenie's ice cream. We sat in the shade, near the kitchen stage shelter. I got the brown butter almond-something along with the peach and biscuit-something, which was very tasty.

I watched the Thomas Wesley Stern band for a while.

We visited Olive the goat, of course.

We covered a lot of ground, but it was impossible for Mom and Dad to visit every vendor in "only" five hours.

Dad and I liked the weathervanes made by http://www.ezvane.com.

Dad spoke with the artist Mike Rawson who makes wooden rocking horses. http://www.rockinghorsecarver.com. These are amazing. I've admired his work at the two previous CLFs that I have attended, but I did not realize that he lives in Perrysburg, Ohio. From his website:

Each has its own character, personality and appearance. The entire piece is designed to last for hundreds of years. Each rocking horse is constructed of a singular specie of a northern Ohio hardwood. Ash, Oak, Walnut, Cherry, Poplar, Maple, Sassafras, Elm, Hickory, American Chestnut, Cypress, Apple, Butternut, Kentucky Coffee Tree and Ohio Buckeye are most of the woods I have used in the past. To date, I have constructed 73 horses.

At Rawson's booth, he displayed details about making the rocking horses. He has made 91 horses, and he plans to stop at 100. I asked him about that, he said that he plans to stop producing the large versions because they are too heavy for him to lift. He displayed a couple small versions, which looked great too, and he said that he will continue to produce the small rocking horses.

Mom bought a nice two-seater bench with back and arm rests. Lightweight. Old. Refurbished, probably.

We exited the CLF around 5:05 pm. We quickly said goodbye to my parents because we were headed back to Toledo in the evening.

Back at Amy and Steve's, we loaded up and left around 6:00 p.m.

We made one stop near Delaware. We arrived at home in Toledo around around 8:40 p.m.

It's understatement to say that it was a great weekend. Visited with family. Admired many artists. Got lucky with excellent weather.

DD bought me a piece of artwork from the CLF made by Sue Barton Calligraphy of Chagrin Falls, Ohio.


These are some of the artists that I enjoyed. We bought items from these artists this weekend or at previous CLFs, or I would like to buy from these artists in the future.

  • Thomas Siciliano paper maker and painter of flowers
    • http://www.pinterest.com/tspaper
    • https://www.etsy.com/shop/tspaper
    • From the site: "Handmade papers with embedded plant material such as herbs and flowers. All papers are made in small batches. The paper is 100% cotton rag with straw for texture and red clay for color. The plants are all grown in my own garden. After the papers are dry I go back and hand paint the plants to ensure that the colors will not fade. I have also been involved with making picture frames for 28 years and make most of them from either native North American hardwoods or recycled materials."
  • Rusty Birds
    • from the mountains of Northeast Georgia
    • hand rusted, metal silhouettes of over 50 species of birds, as well as cats, bunnies, squirrels and other animals
    • http://rustybirds.com
  • Jack Pine Studio
  • Thomas Wesley Stern
    • Roots Music
    • Six young musicians from New Jersey
    • Instruments played: banjo, two fiddle players, mandolin, upright bass, two acoustic guitar players, small drum and symbol set.
    • Most played multiple instruments. For example, the banjo and upright bass players switched.
    • They covered songs from artists, such as Hank Williams Sr. and Woodie Guthrie.
    • They also played their own music, including a song called "Broken Heart" that's included on their new CD, due out in October 2014.
    • http://thomaswstern.bandcamp.com
    • https://www.facebook.com/thomaswesleystern


Thu, Sep 11

DD's parents spent the night at our house, prior to heading to Columbus for the CountryLiving Fair. We ate dinner at Shorty's, which is one of our favorite restaurants.

I enjoy their brisket sandwich, but on this occasion, I opted for their tasty veggie kibobs: red pepper, green pepper, onion, zucchini, yellow squash, and mushroom.

Excellent Belgian Blonde Ale

Fri, Sep 12

At the CountryLiving Fair in Columbus, Ohio late in the afternoon.

Plenty of room to spread out on the grounds at the Ohio Historical Society village.

Leather britches: dried beans with some dried okra mixed in. A food preservation technique.

Large banner on the side of a building.

Olive the friendly goat.

Sat, Sep 13

Sun, Sep 14

Barney and Humphrey.

Winding down a great weekend in Columbus by drinking our homemade Belgium Dubbel.


  • We took Exit 117 off of I-71 to get to the fair.
  • I used the IA Writer iPhone app to take notes all weekend, and then I copied them here to be edited.

#art - #artist - #event - #columbus - #blog_jr

By JR - 2864 words
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