Monday, February 25, 2008

American Idol Fantasy Draft and "Who’s Getting Kicked Off?" Game

I've been watching American Idol off and on since it first aired (the off times usually due to my attempts to save money by dropping my cable). I even got my husband into it by watching the season 5 finale (with Taylor and Katharine) in the hotel during our honeymoon! Since we have quite a few friends who watch Idol too we thought it would be fun to have dinner at someone's house every week and watch it together. We watch on the last day of singing - right now that's Wednesday but soon it will switch to Tuesday. We rotate houses each week and the host provides the main part of the meal and the guests each bring a topping or side dish. For example, when we had pizza the host provided the crust and sauce and everyone else brought their favorite pizza topping.

We wanted to make things a little more exciting, so we decided to play two games. The first was an American Idol fantasy draft. It's sort of like a sports fantasy draft, except the way you win is by drafting the contestant who becomes the American Idol. Since all you do for the draft is wait and see if your contestant wins, we play another game weekly where we get points for correctly guessing who's getting kicked off that week. I set up a website where we could keep track of our results: (in case you're wondering, PTC refers to the place where most of us work). The site also has the game rules and a calendar. I then made a poster that I could take to each of the meetings (I've covered up our names for privacy):

There were eight teams so we each got to pick 3 American Idol contestants. I attached the contestants' pictures with spray adhesive so I could peel them off and put them in the reject column when they got kicked off. My team is Danny, Robbie, and Luke (at the lower right hand corner). I was the last person to pick so I didn't get any of my top choices and I got stuck with Luke since no one else wanted him. Happily, he somehow managed to survive the first cut so maybe he'll do better this week!

If you want to play these games yourself, here are the rules (pulled from our website):

1. The Fantasy Draft

A fantasy draft will be held after the final 24 contestants have been announced. Each person participating will draw a number which will determine the draft order. To make it as fair as possible it will be a snake or serpentine draft. This means the draft order will go like this: Round 1 - 1,2,3,4. Round 2 - 4,3,2,1. Round 3 - 1,2,3,4 etc. Each person will get to draft one AI contestant per round, and no contestant may be used more than once. Once all the contestants have been drafted, the moderator will arrange a chart so that the contestants' progress can be tracked over the course of the season. No trading is allowed. The winner of this competition will be the person who drafted this year's American Idol.

2. "Who's Getting Kicked Off?" Game

In addition to the Fantasy Draft there will be a weekly competition to see who can guess which contestants will be in the bottom group and who will get kicked off. Each week after the performance episode, participants will be asked to give their guess as to who will be in the bottom group and of that group who will be eliminated. The winner of this competition will be the person with the most points at the end of the season. Here's how the guesses will be made and the points awarded:

Top 24-Top 16 weeks: Guess the 2 men and 2 women who will be kicked off each week. Two points for each correct guess, for a possible total of 8 points each week.

Top 12*-Top 6 weeks: Guess the contestants who will be in the bottom 3 and of those three, which one will be kicked off. One point for each correct guess for the bottom 3, two points for correctly guessing who gets kicked off. For a possible total of 5 points each week.

Top 5-Top 4 weeks: Guess the contestants who will be in the bottom 2 and of those two, which one will be kicked off. One point for each correct guess for the bottom 2, two points for correctly guessing who gets kicked off. For a possible total of 4 points each week.

Top 3-Finale weeks: Guess which contestant will be kicked off. Two points for a correct guess, for a possible total of 2 points each week.

*After the final 12 contestants have been announced each participant will be asked to guess who they think will be the American Idol winner. If that guess is correct, they will be awarded 5 additional points.

Note: This schedule is based on the way eliminations have been handled on the show in previous years. If they decide to change something this year, I guess we'll wing it!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

My husband and love to collect rocks and minerals, so instead of buying flowers and candy for Valentine's Day we spend our money at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show! Here's a couple of things we purchased this year:

Chrysocolla with Druzy Quartz from Chile

A tiny sample of Wulfenite from the Rowley Mine in Arizona

And a couple of things we've purchased at other shows:

Wulfenite with Druzy Quartz from the Finch Mine in Arizona (my favorite wulfenite locality - doesn't it look yummy?)

Some purple Fluorite on Calcite from Illinois

This year we also purchased two fantastic prints from paintings of minerals by artist Fred Wilda. One was of rhodocrosite and the other was wulfenite. We liked them so much that we're thinking of buying one more, maybe a fluorite.

This year our mineral haul was a little disappointing as we had trouble finding specimens that we liked at a reasonable price. The satellite shows at the hotels in Tucson generally had good prices but they all seemed to have the same stuff. The best selection was probably at the Inn Suites hotel. But the biggest disappointment this year was at the main show at the convention center - the prices were RIDICULOUS! I would say that out of the hundreds of booths present there were only 4 or 5 that sold minerals at a reasonable price. For us a reasonable price would be up to $20 for a decent display sample and up to $50 for something super nice. The minimum prices at most of the mineral booths were in the $100s and some had nothing under $1000. I would understand the prices if the minerals were actually spectacular, but we saw many examples of specimens similar in quality and size to ones we had purchased elsewhere for under $20 that were selling there for over $100. Next year we may skip the convention center and spend all our time at the hotels!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Cell Phone Holder with Fleece Applique

I just finished this fleece cell phone holder that I made to match my fleece goldfish bag. Instead of outlining the details in orange as I did on the original bag, I did them in black. Right now I can't decide whether or not that's an improvement! To attach the applique I used the same technique as the elephant pillow I made a while back, except I used a straight stitch on the edges instead of satin stitch.

It's lined with plaid baby blue flannel and has a button and elastic loop for closure. I really like the flannel and I'm thinking about making another holder using the flannel as the background instead of the blue fleece. The problem with using fleece for an entire item is that after it gets used for a while it starts to pill. They do sell expensive no-pill fleece, but it's really meant for clothing and would probably be a waste to use on the things I make. Also, if I make any more of these I'll probably look into dying the elastic to match - I don't much care for plain white.

On the back I attached some strapping so that it could be attached to a belt, and I also sewed in a D-ring with a carabiner so it could be hung from a purse strap or belt loop.

Since t was a pretty quick sew, I'm thinking about trying to make some in different colors with different applique images. I'd also like to make other small items that matched them, like maybe a clutch or coin purse.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Window Seat Cushion

Not a very exciting picture, but it's the only thing I've finished lately! I helped a friend make this window seat cushion for her daughter's room. It's just a long piece of foam padding with a cover (which has an overlapping slit in the center of its underside so that it can be taken off and washed). It took about 3 hours to make and most of that time was spent carefully cutting out the pieces so it would be the right size (we didn't have enough fabric to make mistakes!). Since I always do projects by myself, it was fun getting to work with someone else for a change!

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