Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Resolutions for the New Year

How was your Christmas? Good I hope? I’m still trying to come out of a three day food induced coma. I hope you got tons of presents and love and merriment. I’m already sad that it’s over…but only one year until the next Christmas right? That’s the spirit!

Now it’s on to the New Year’s celebration. I’m very excited to celebrate 2011, it was a year of big changes and I can’t wait to see what happens in 2012! There were new babies born, new houses built and new relationships formed. I think 2012 is going to be even bigger.

I’ve been pondering my new year resolutions and I’m trying to come up with something I can actually stick to this year…most of the time it’s something like: eating less chocolate or exercising every day. I’m just setting myself up for failure there. But I think the one I have decided on is going to be my best yet. My fool proof resolution is…drum roll please…to start my own business! Yes, it’s happening. And it won’t be like my late January chocolate binges or watching Glee instead of utilizing the treadmill. This year is going to be different!

I’ve already started making things and getting my stock up, so when I finally get that business license, I will be ready to pounce! (Thank God for my Momcat helping me with all of this!) Yes, now you can see why I think 2012 will be better…and don’t worry I will be filling you in and letting you know all of the what’s, when’s and where’s of my new venture.

So now I’m off to South Dakota to ring in the New Year with the fam (more food and vacation…how will I ever get back into ‘work mode’???) and get ready for the next chapter in my life.

I wish you a very Happy New Year and if your resolutions have anything to do with chocolate…my advice to you is to channel some strong John Wayne will power...good luck with all of your resolutions!

Thanks, J.W.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Good tidings I bring!

It’s finally here! Christmas Eve is tomorrow and I hope you are getting ready to perform your annual yule tide traditions! I can’t wait to eat Swedish meatballs, blast some Christmas music and of course help my brother rapidly sort through (seriously, running!) and pass out presents for opening. Out of all the traditions my family partakes in, my favorite is Christmas morning.

Every Christmas Day morning, I wake up at 5:30 (sometimes closer to 6 if I ‘accidentally’ hit the snooze button). And of course the rest of my siblings are supposed to bound out of bed with me, and venture downstairs to see what the big guy in red brought us. (Yes, I am twenty-three years old.) This has been going on for quite a while, and even though everyone always complains, I can tell they love it too. After ripping through our stockings, I can’t go back to bed, because the excitement of Santa’s gifts has pumped too much adrenaline and Christmas spirit into my veins. So I pop in “Meet Me in St. Louis” and wait for Judy Garland to sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” And I think to myself…yes, I will have a merry little Christmas…

I hope you enjoy every tiny bit of this holiday, and that you get to spend it with the people you love. I give thanks for my wonderful family that I will be surrounded by this holiday.

Merry Christmas to all! And to all a…great couple days without work or diets!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Daydream Getaway

Wooohoooo! It’s December 20th! Where has the time gone? This year went by so fast to me. I am getting very excited for Christmas, as I’m sure you are too. Only four more days! Don’t forget to move the mouse on your calendar! (If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, see the picture below for reference. Everyone should have one of those darling wall hangings! Haha…I’m serious.)

I'm not so sure what is so wonderous
about that little mouse, but as kids,
my siblings and I loved it! Still do :)

Well, it has been a very interesting winter here in western NoDak. And when I say interesting, I mean WARM! Today it’s 41 degrees out and sunny! I’m on the fence when it comes to this weather. It’s very nice traveling conditions for those who are trying to make it home for Christmas. But on the other hand, I haven’t been able to snowmobile, sled or build a snow fort yet. I think Mother Nature is waiting for the holidays to be over and then she’s going to dump blizzards on us until May!

She likes to be tricky like that, especially to North Dakota! All this warm weather happening, when it’s supposed to be cold, has got me reminiscing of the places that are actually wintry right now. Like the mountains.

Who doesn’t like daydreaming about the mountains? Or chestnuts roasting in an open fire? Maybe a bear rug? Yeah I won’t go any farther…but the best part of the mountains is standing outside in the middle of the huge pine trees with the peaks looming above you, looking up and watching the snow quietly descend. Well, that’s my favorite part anyways…

All you can hear is the gentle thrumming of your own heart, the even rhythym of your breathing and the soft crunch of fresh powder beneath your booties. And as those snowflakes gently fall, you can’t help but feel at one with nature. Maybe you wish you could pull a Jeremiah Johnson and stay out there for eternity. (Robert Redford has the best hair, who wouldn’t want to be him? If you haven't seen that movie, put it on your Netflix list ASAP!)

But as it turns out, I’m not making a trip to the mountains any time soon. So I needed to do something to honor those majestic beauties. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to get my own Etsy shop going. I’m mainly going to sell jewelry, and maybe some other curious things. So in one of my crazy daydreaming trips, I was inspired to make this bracelet.

Yaroooh! I even got to use some snow shoes for a prop! For this bracelet, I drew and cut out the mountain shaped base and then hand stamped it. I added a turquoise patina to the peaks and turquoise beads to match.

Yay! I got to create something out of my inspiration and also gave you a little sneak peek at what my shop will be filled with. Now I hope you can have your own winter daydream getaway…take a break from your busy day, sit back, close your eyes and envision your perfect winter wonderland…

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pioneers! O Pioneers!

Guess what?! Guess what?! Guess what?! Okay I’ll tell you…I got a new apron yesterday!!! Now don’t roll your eyes at my excitement…because aprons are more than just part of a ’50s housewife ‘uniform’. They are much, much more…

Yes, I had a photoshoot with my new apron.
I'm a sucker for anything with pockets...

These days most people think aprons represent the dependent woman, the one that only slaves away in the kitchen and irons her husband’s shirts and vacuums while wearing pearls for a job. Let me tell you that I am quite the feminist and this is not the case! I love aprons and the stories behind them. Stories of strong courageous pioneer women, who braved the unknown west …and survived!

I read a lot about the lives of pioneer women. And surprisingly, aprons played a huge role in everyday work and made their lives a lot easier! Of course back when the west was wild, and supplies were scarce, material for clothing was very hard to come by. That’s why most aprons back then were made of cotton, white linen or even scraps of feed and flour sacks. (Very much unlike my gaudy apron!!!) Aprons were worn to protect those dresses underneath that were made out of valuable material.

It seems in all the stories I’ve read, aprons are always mentioned. “The baby was wrapped in her apron and placed in a tree. Then she went back across the river to fetch her other children…” Aprons were used to move hot pans, wipe a child’s tear or hide a pistol when unknown visitors arrived. They carried fresh eggs and peas and chips for the wood stove.

I can’t imagine the stories an ‘old-time apron’ would tell if it could talk! Maybe they would be of Indian raids, barn dances, baby deliveries, quilting bees or wagon rides. How glorious they would be to hear!

Pioneer women wore their aprons like royalty wears crowns. It was a part of who they were. These women lived lives full of hardships and heartbreak and sacrificed everything to keep their families together.

When I put on an apron I hope to be even a shred of the kind of woman that wore them before me.

If you are interested in reading about pioneer women, here is a fun site with hordes of  true life stories:  I just read Diana Lucina Spicer Block’s story…absolutely amazing!

And now I will leave you with an excerpt from one of my favorite poems...Pioneers! O Pioneers! by Walt Whitman:

Come my tan-faced children,
Follow well in order, get your weapons ready,
Have you your pistols? have you your sharp-edged axes?
Pioneers! O pioneers!

For we cannot tarry here,
We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger,
We the youthful sinewy races, all the rest on us depend,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

O you youths, Western youths,
So impatient, full of action, full of manly pride and friendship,
Plain I see you Western youths, see you tramping with the foremost,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

All sketches from:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A piece of ND just for you!

I’m sitting on my colorful quilted bed (almost too colorful to the point of hurting my eyes!) and eating a fresh pear from the local FFA chapter while writing this. My brother is downstairs practicing his coyote call and my mom is cooking spaghetti. Ahh it’s good to be home in North Dakota!

I never realize how much I love home until I spend time somewhere else. I always feel the same excitement leaving as I do returning. I have traveled to a lot of places in this world, but North Dakota always stays with me. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I have scoria in my blood, Badlands in my heart and big skies in my eyes!

As I was musing about North Dakota, I grabbed my laptop and started flipping through all of the pictures I’ve snapped over the years of my home place. I would like to share some of my favorites with you…some of the places I've trekked acres and buttes and trails to capture:

The Badlands are one of my favorite places to photograph...

Windmills always catch my attention.

The sun went down on one of my photography excursions...dirt road in the headlights...

Pretty in every season!


You can't fail with a horse in your picture...

I hope you enjoyed this small glimpse at North Dakota...filled with rustic landscapes, peaceful fields and native animals. There is so much more out there to see...I need to dust off my camera and get to work!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Back to the REal wOrlD

What…is…going…on??? I was only gone for four days, and in those four days I forgot how to drive, all of my e-mail passwords and just how cold it actually is in North Dakota! Somehow Vegas has erased my memory and replaced it with twinkling lights, car horns and visions of bucking horses. What a trip!

The rodeo was epic of course, topping the last year I was there. I couldn’t help but freak out when Charlie Daniels and Joe Nichols sang. The cowboys and cowgirls get better and faster and stronger every year and they put on a show worth bragging about.

Vegas never changes, it’s always crazy and if you don’t watch yourself, you’ll get lost in the chaos! Like I promised myself, I did gamble more. Which of course turned out to be a bust…that $11 million I was shooting for will go home with someone else haha. I am a terrible gambler.

It seems no matter who you are, you always have wild stories from your Vegas trips. The manfriend and I didn’t get too crazy, there was no blacking out and waking up in a bush or stolen tigers in the bathroom. But we had our share of excitement. If you’ve ever been to Las Vegas, or any big city for that matter, you know they drive like Batman. We had some fun times taking taxis…like getting into two “accidents” in one night. The first one was a bit scary, I thought I would see a fight! I mean after a car purposely backed into our taxi, our driver got out in the middle of the road…haha I made the manfriend write the witness statement for that one. And then on the way back from the rodeo a taxi van swiped the side of our shuttle bus. Our luck was dreadful, should’ve kept that in mind before playing the slot machines!

On the brighter side of things, I got to go to my first Broadway play. Yes, the Lion King turned out to be my favorite part of the trip. It was the most remarkable thing I have ever beheld and will probably be in my top ten for the rest of my life! I can’t begin to describe it, you’ll just have to see it for yourself.

Overall, the much needed escape from reality was a success! I think I’ll make it an annual tradition :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

I’m leavin’ on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…actually I’ll be back Sunday. The manfriend and I are off to Sin City! We leave tomorrow and it’s his first time in viva Las Vegas—and my second. If you didn’t know, the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) is going on right now. And by NFR I mean the best, most spectacular display of cowboy (& cowgirl!) skills in this fair land.

I’m ecstatic I get to go again and now that I’ve got one Vegas trip under my belt, I’m confident this trip will be even better than the last! I know how to avoid the stripper card people and where the best food is. Plus I promised myself I would gamble more than five bucks this time. Come on it’s called “Sin City” for a reason, right?

It should be an exciting trip no matter what happens. Nothing you do in Vegas can be boring…I think that’s impossible! I’m sure I’ll have many a story to tell when I get back…hopefully they all end well.

So have a great weekend, and if you’re not enjoying the NFR in person, make sure to switch on the boob-tube and keep an eye out for someone violently waving at the camera : )

Had to share goes along with the rodeo theme.
That's what our horse, Shaky Jake would've done back in the day!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tis the season for crafting

As Christmas approaches, it brings with it mixed joys and stresses. Like the stress of untangling lights, and the joyful sight of a perfectly decorated mantle, with a nativity set and stockings. Like the stress of swallowing flocking while moving a tree, and the joy of plugging in the gently twinkling lights that you almost killed yourself hanging up along the gutter.

Also, the stress of getting your family all together at one time to snap a quick photo for your Christmas card, and the joy of getting them printed on time and in the mailbox. I think the joys outweigh the stresses!

Now speaking of Christmas cards, and the joy of sending them, there is also joy in receiving them! People work hard on those cards and you should display them in recognition! Ooh, what’s that? You just plaster them on your fridge? Well, I can help with that.

Since Christmas is indeed the season for crafting, here is a very simple and delightful DIY to display those festive Christmas cards you will be receiving this year. Plus once the holiday season has passed, you can use it for your other holiday displays, for pictures or an inspiration frame!

Now of course this DIY involves a bit of junkin'...those are the best kind, right? While I was out with my manfriend, I got this idea while looking through his grandparent's old house. So here are some instructions for your own holiday card display frame!

Ol' Duke helped me sand my window protecting me from my arch nemesis. The grasshopper! He jumped around and ate them while I worked. I am eternally grateful for his efforts, because once those suckers cling on to me I lose's not pretty!

What a pal!

After you sand all the old paint and pokey corners off, you can paint or stain to your liking. While I was at work my nice sister spray painted mine black for me. Then I sanded the edges down and stained them to give it a vintage feel.

Here are the tools I used to make the hangers:

You can use whatever type of string or clips you want. These are just what I had laying around. Just screw the eye screws in by hand then string the line throughout the frame. Add as many clothesline pins as you want!

 And there you have it, a fun way to show off those Christmas cards...and a piece that you can leave up all year long! No one likes putting away all those decorations right?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Winter will never change for me

It’s here! It’s finally here! The first real snow!

Mum Winter has been kind to us here in western ND. She’s blown a little and called on Jack to cast some glittering frost but she has kept the snow to herself. Until a few days ago.

I love the Badlands after a good snow flurry!

What a wonderful day it was, large fluffy snowflakes fell—you know the kind, the romantic sort. I watched out the window as I decorated the twinkling Christmas tree in the bank lobby. Yes, a perfect beginning to the Christmas season.

I think Swede, my lawn gnome, was thoroughly enjoying himself too.
What fun snow brings! What crazy shenanigans you can get into! Memories rush back to me, all the snow forts I’ve made, all the snow down my pants and neck when making snow angels and all the fanciful times I’ve shared with my siblings on snow days.

Yup, snow down the pants. I really need a snow suit.

So many memories, so much fun. I will always be that little girl catching snowflakes on her tongue and starting snowball fights. Winter will never change for me.

My big seesters and I

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A North Dakota Thanksgiving

Well, Thanksgiving was a success. I came, I conquered, I ate too much. I hope you, dear reader, had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well. Hopefully filled with delicious food, crazy relatives and lots and lots of laughter.

For my family’s holiday we usually take turns for the hosting, this year was my aunt’s turn. Thank goodness! Because that meant we didn’t have to go on a freak cleaning binge, and I didn’t have to clean up all my little crafting stations that I set up anywhere in the house that has a flat sturdy surface. (My poor mother…)

We have buckets of traditions, some old and some new. My favorites (which are not surprisingly made up of food) are having frozen—YES FROZEN—cranberries and green bean hotdish. And I can’t forget to mention the lefse. And cherry cheesecake. And turkey and ham. Okay I think I’ll just stop there, and say that the entire meal is my favorite!

 I guess a lot of people don't eat frozen cranberries. Including my manfriend, who almost picked it up because he thought it was a candle...hahaha more memories...


We also play games. Usually an intense game of spoons erupts, where people are scratched, elbowed and halfway mauled. I think the funniest incident is from a couple years back, which involved a state champion wrestler and his sister engaging in a chicken-wing-leg-twist fight over the last spoon…can you guess who won? Nobody wants to sit by the wrestler with the baseball mitt hands anymore…

We’ve also started a new tradition, of shooting guns. Can I get a “Yeeehhhaaaawwww Nort Daaahhkooota”? This year was a great turn out, plenty of guns and even the mums came out and shot with us!!!

Are we a little redneck? Maybe. Maybe a bit. But we have fun.

I am a very lucky gal, to have such a wonderful family that always finds a way to get together. And does it with such class!

My cous with our targets...proof someone is a good shot!

Not a lot has changed from back when I was little. Except for a few additions to the family and a few loved ones smiling down from up above, we are still the close knit group we have always been. I am thankful for my wild, exceptional family. They made me who I am today, and give me the support and courage I need to make my life a life worth living…

A life without laughter, is no life at all.

For a good chuckle, check out my Tidbits page. Just added some new funnies!

Definately me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hangin' my busy season on the line...

I just Googled “sugar plum”. Because if they are going to be dancing around in my head, I need an absolute clear image of what they look like. And it’s a good thing I did because I’ve never seen one before and I was picturing them all wrong. Although they still have cute little faces and wire thin arms and legs in my thoughts, at least their bodies look right now. Hahaha Christmas time is here…(the most wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful time of the year! Bust out your best holiday singing voice for that one.)

My version of sugar plums!
Ahh yes it really is wonderful isn’t it? I can’t get made fun of for listening to holiday music either, because it’s actually the right season to be doing so! Score! (That doesn’t stop the mockery I get for my opera-esk holiday voice though.)

On a bluer note, my blog is being neglected because of this festive season. A couple posts back I talked about how much I love to make handmade presents. Well, Christmas is no exception. This year I decided to try to give at least one handmade gift to every single person on my gift list. And of course I go overboard and load up on projects that are time consuming and intense. “Nah, I can do it. It won’t take long at all!”--Has become my mantra this season…I seem to be repeating that over and over, more and more!

But it’s worth it in the end to see my projects light up someone’s eyes. So I'm hangin' my busy season up on the line for a bit, to show you some of the stuff I have been working on…I can’t show the entirety of the projects for obvious reasons but at least you can see why my blog has been a little forgotten about! (I will get better at this.)

This year seems to have a leather theme...with a little jewelry thrown in:

It was nice to have such lovely backgrounds for my pictures...and why don't we have lights up all the time?

On to the jewelry...I think I have a passion for stamping. First leather, now metal...

Here is a double strand has three stamped charms on it. Sorry I couldn't show the bottom or side charms, they have names on them. At least you could see my little feather stamp! He's my favorite!

Here are some pendants I stamped...might just keep these for myself!

And there you have it! All that stamping is what's taking up my blogging time. At least it gives me something to blog about  : )

Until next time...(hopefully it won't be so long!)
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