Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Scarecrows in the Garden (and a shameless plug)

Our kids love the scarecrow exhibit that happens each October at the Historic Columbia Foundation's Hampton-Preston mansion.  It's fun to wander around the historic gardens and see the cool scarecrows that local businesses and proprietors create.  In fact, the kids love it SO much that they're prone to ask when they can go back and see the scarecrows every time we happen to drive by the location.  Every.  Time.  Even in February. 

In an effort to keep my sanity and not go crazy with three kids all day long on weekends the kids busy while we're going through this separation from Deonne, I've been scouring local events to figure out what we can do that's manageable and cheap/free with the kids.  When I happened to see that families could participate in the making of a scarecrow for the annual exhibit for a nominal fee - I knew we were on to something.  Turns out the scarecrow-construction workshop was the same weekend as Anna's birthday - which meant Deonne would be in town.  Even better.  

Next came determining a good theme for our family scarecrow.  We first thought a superhero of some sort would be good - but that was nixed because I couldn't come up with anything creative or catchy - I mean what sort of superpower could a scarecrow have?  (As Nici pointed out - warding off bird poop?)  When that failed - I turned to classic literature - and landed on Mary Poppins.

Mary Poppins is a favorite in our house - the kids love the movie - sing the songs on a regular basis - and when I started imagining a Mary Poppins scarecrow - it started to come together - and thus, "Scary Poppins" was born.

A trip to Goodwill for a hat, shoes, dress, handbag and overcoat, Hobby Lobby for some fake daisies, cherries, and black spray paint (to cover the hat), and Target for an umbrella, gloves, and scarf - and we were set.

Oh, the kids were excited.  They had a great time stuffing her innards with hay - and Anna loved being the artist to draw her face on the pillowcase.  She looked adorable.  

After she was all put together and looking lovely, Deonne asked me - now what - how do we put her up?  To which I replied - that's your job.  I came up with the creative part - you're the engineer - you figure out how to hang her from the tree.

You can't really see it in the photographs, but that big piece of paper sticking out of her bag is the 'letter' that Jane and Michael wrote at the beginning of the film when they knew they needed a new nanny - you know - the one that Mr. Banks ripped up - tossed in the fireplace - that Mary Poppins magically pulled out and reassembled on her cloud above London.  Yeah - so I typed and printed the lyrics to that song out, ripped it up, and then laminated it back together so it looked like the one in the film (yet protected from weather.)  Am I a genius or what?  (sarcasm)

And at her feet is another sign '17 Cherry Tree Lane' - the Banks' address.  I wanted to do more with the address - but we sort of ran out of time.  In fact, I was spray painting and hot gluing daisies and cherries on her hat the morning of Anna's birthday party - right before we headed to Crepes and Croissants!

So following the creation and installation of Scary Poppins, Historic Columbia had the official exhibit opening last Sunday.  A fun little afternoon with crafts and snacks for the kids, a chance to see the scarecrows up close (all of them), a scavenger hunt, that sort of thing.  And, judging.  Now, in the car ride to the opening - Anna asked 'what do we get if we win?' to which I went into this long diatribe of how winning isn't important - that we had fun together with their daddy was the most important thing - and there is no prize for winning, rather the satisfaction of knowing that you created a great scarecrow.

I don't think she was convinced.  

Especially when they announced the winners - and the Long Family Scary Poppins was announced as the First Place Family Entry.  Woot! Woot!  The kids were SOOOOOOOO excited!!!  They proudly marched up the steps to receive their 'trophy' - a cool ornament that looks like a scarecrow - and a cash prize (that I had no idea existed - until I took the envelope James was carrying around away from him - because he was spilling green goblin juice all over it - and discovered the prize.)

Anna said 'this is my first trophy ever!  The first time I've ever won first place in anything!'  And you know what?  I think it's mine too.  

The only thing that would have made receiving the award sweeter would have been for Deonne to be with us (seeing as he's the one who had to figure out how to string her from the tree and all...)  

So are you interested in seeing our competition? Thought you might.  If you're local - I encourage you to go see the exhibit in person - it's free - just drive over to Hampton-Preston, check in at the gift shop at the Robert Mills house, and wander away (and don't forget to cast your vote for your favorite scarecrow - whoever that might be....)

And if you're not a local reader - visit the Historic Columbia facebook page - and 'like' your favorite one for the people's choice award.  I won't be checking or anything....

1 comment:

  1. That's awesome. Congratulations! I had no idea they did that, or that this type of event existed. My kids would love that. Now I just need to see if I can fit it in my schedule for the Fall.