Friday, October 28, 2011

Mountains, Rivers and Yarn...OH MY!

Yaaarrrooooohhh! I just survived a trek to MT with my rents and aunt. My aunt and I had a great time shopping while my rents picked out the new guts for their house that's being built. The driving part wasn’t easy but I made it. Don’t get me wrong I had plenty of fun and my eyes still hurt from forgetting to blink while staring at the amazing scenery…but there were some things I would’ve liked to skip! Such as being stuck in close quarters with someone who has food poisoning. Doesn’t that sound tasty? Now I know why dogs stick their heads out the window constantly.

Our trip started out great, we left on a brisk clear morning, you know the kind—the ones that give you false hope of a quick drive, clean rest areas and gourmet fast food. I love that feeling right before a trip, that unknown feeling that anything can happen, the beginning of an adventure! We were off to Bozeman and there was no turning back (if you forgot your sunglasses, that was too bad).

I brought tons to do on the seven hour drive, magazines and books cluttered my seat area. I had also brought three balls of yarn and my new needles. (Really Cheyanne? Do you think you’ll need all of that yarn? Somehow in my warped crafting mind I felt I would…) One of my goals was to make a knitting project like one I had seen on Etsy. Just a simple neck warmer, with my own touches added. The thing I didn’t think about was car sickness, hand cramps and beautiful, glorious mountains. Have you seen the Rockies before? Well it had been a long time for me and they sure are distracting!

How can I concentrate with a picture like that in front of me? Ooooh JW!

I knitted as much as my wandering mind would allow me to. I got pretty far on my project then on the way home I realized I had made it way too wide and had to start over. “You shoddy knitter!” kept going through my mind. By that time, it was beginning to get dark and the food poisoning had started in the front seat. Ugh, I just wasn’t very interested anymore. But I battled through the all the sounds and smells…eh hem, sorry for that… because I wanted to reach my goal of finishing the project. “Just ONE project, come on!”

Good thing I remembered a headlight.

But it turns out that having to start over wasted too much time and we made it home before I could finish. So stay tuned for the end of my story…hopefully my wild knitting fiasco will be done soon! Here are a couple pretty pictures of Western Montana to tide you over with until I can finish my knitting:

I wanted to buy that...
Now you know why I was so distracted!

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's 5 o'clock somewhere!

God dag! It’s 5 o’clock in Norway right now as I type this. (FYI--Alan Jackson.) I’ve started taking Norsk classes (no, those weird words that are starting to pop up are not typos!) and I can’t help but get excited to vacate to Norway! Oh, you didn’t know I was going to Norway? Neither did I, but I just decided it. That familiar itch to travel is starting to get on my nerves and now that I can say “Hvordan har du det?” without laughing, I think I’m ready to venture off to the land of the midnight sun. Okay I still have to chuckle a little…

Every Tuesday (or tirsdag I should say) I leave work at 4 to learn my ancestor’s native tongue. At class we sit at a long table and I’m surrounded by other Norwegians, and maybe an Irish or two, who want to keep their heritage alive. And as the Pastor, our teacher, speaks the sing-song language that my oldemor spoke, I start to day dream of what it would actually be like…the sounds of the bustling streets in Oslo, looking up at towering mountains, finally seeing the fjords…ahhh yes it would be like going back in time! Plus my pasty skin would fit in there, can’t complain about that.

Maybe I could see where my oldemor grew up, even meet some distant relatives? I could try lutefisk (okay maybe I won’t go that far) and I would definitely visit every bakery that I see. Plus I would get to use my Norwegian! Or at least this phrase: Snakker du engelsk? (“Do you speak English?” Remember that one folks!)

The best part about a trip like this would be that I get to explore one of the places where I came from. Does the blood that runs in my veins today come from some Viking? I like to imagine so…when I do something mischievous I just blame it on the Viking in me. I think that is also why I like fur and hunting and eating hefty drum sticks so much. “It’s not my fault! It’s my Viking blood!”…yes that must be it.

I hope the next picture to be added to my Travel Bug page will be of me in Norway! But for now I’ll just keep on day dreaming and using my Viking ancestors as scapegoats for my undisciplined ways…haha! Takk for lesing!

I've had this artwork hanging in my room ever since I can remember.
The time has come for me to see it in person!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Craft Wheels are a Turnin'

I notice when the weather starts getting colder and things slow down a bit, I get to thinking. This is not as scary as it sounds…I get to thinking about more and more projects that I have stored away in my mind for a less busy time. So now that the evenings are quite chilly and I’m spending more time inside, the project generator in my mind starts it’s engine and gets me revved up for crafts. Maybe this is why I enjoy fall and winter so much?

I’m lucky to have a manfriend that will help me with these projects. Like finding me old barn doors and tearing down old window frames and drilling “pocket holes”…yes, I have learned a lot. He doesn’t really understand why I get so excited and do my happy dance for old tin and wood…"It has a history!” or “That chipping paint gives it character!”… but he obliges and helps me with the tasks.

So this last weekend on a chilly Saturday, I cornered my Far and persuaded him to dig out one of my Mor’s salvaged pieces of ceiling tin that I was confiscating to use for this project. And after some giant spider encounters, a few cut fingers and some choice words, he had it out of the little brown building and even cut it for me! (What a great Far!)

“This is finally happening!” I shouted…in my head of course…maybe…Then I scooped up some old wood from my growing collection and I was off to the big shop on manfriend’s farm to create something magical…


Are you wondering what in the begeezus I made? And did it turn out? Here is your answer…and some steps in creating your own tin magnet know--if things like this make you do your happy dance too:

One square of old tin
3-4 pieces of old wood (I used old window trim)
Compound Saw (or something to cut the wood)
Pocket Hole Jig (this is an option)
Electric Screwdriver
Wood Glue
3/4 Inch Nails

To begin, decide how you want your tin to look. If you want it painted or just the metal showing. I went for the metal look. (After manfriend tried everything under the sun to get the old paint off of the front, we just used the back side of the tin for the magnet board…I’m allowed to change my mind right? Oops.) From here on out I basically just watched him go to town. My shop skills have dwindled since high school…but I did learn some things!

Decide how you want to cut your frame…if you want straight seams or angled at the corners. Then measure and cut away! (He did straight seams with a one inch overhang on the tin.) Once your boards are cut you can drill pocket holes or screw them together any way you want. Make sure to glue the seams right before you screw the frame together because “90% of your strength comes from the glue” stated manfriend…or something like that…

Once your sturdy frame is assembled, place your tin on the back and hammer the sides on with the 3/4 inch nails. (If you have thin frame wood, make sure your nails aren’t too long that they’ll go through the front.)

And Waaaah Laaa! You have your tin magnet board! You can also put a hanger on the back if you plan on hanging the board. But it would work to set somewhere too. So overall it doesn’t sound too bad does it? Just don’t spend all your time trying to get old paint off and it will be a quick and fun project for one of your chilly fall evenings!

And then you can go on to create some pretty magnets for your board...another fun project! (I bought those flowers at Hobby Lobby--aka Heaven--and glued magnets on the back.) I hope this gets your craft wheels a turning!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Drifting Along (& I don't mean with cars)

Thank God it's Friday! Literally. This means that after eight hours of work I get to go home and be. Just be. No one is asking me questions or telling me to design something for them. I get to do what I want! I can paint an old window frame or stamp some metal or eat nachos to my heart's content and no one can say anything different.

Of late, those have been my activities of choice. But recently it’s been hard to get inspired. Do you get the feeling sometimes you're just drifting along? -Get up early--live through work--come home-- go to bed- What’s wrong with me? I’m going through life without noticing the changing leaves or the way truffles melt in my mouth or how soft a horse’s muzzle is! (Seriously, have you felt one lately? Smooth as butter!) I know this sounds mushy and sentimental, but lately I have been thinking a lot about it.

I live in a place where money has become the main object of desire (I know this is usually the main object but it’s getting out of hand) and nobody cares how they get it as long as a paycheck goes into the bank. I like to picture it as a rat race…thousands of rats piled on top of each other, biting and clawing and chewing their way to the “oil cheese”. Okay, let’s just get right down to it. What I’m trying to say is that the best place in the world, where I grew up and played sports and learned everything I know, is changing. It’s gone! (No! It can’t be!) No longer can you snap a landscape photo without a rig in it or go to the pub to see friends or even go to the grocery store without pulling your hair out. I can’t even get onto the highway from our approach without waiting for a minimum of 7 vehicles. (This is unheard of!)

In college I loved saying I was from a small town of about 1,500 people, with no stop lights or fast food restaurants. People would always poke fun, but deep down I was the one that was sorry for them because they didn’t get to grow up where I did. They didn’t get to walk through the quiet country or drive really fast over hills on gravel roads to make their stomachs flip-flop. Things like that allowed me to laugh at North Dakota jokes because I know how wonderful it really is (that it’s not all flat and we do indeed have electricity). It's such a great place and I'm ignoring it. I don't snap a million pictures of the sunrise anymore or let the evening breeze kiss my cheek. I'm just trying to survive and stay inside as much as possible. Can you see why I feel like I’m drifting? It’s horrifying and it must stop! (said in a super hero voice) So now I’m on a mission to make the best of everyday life because after all, today is all I have. I can still enjoy the things I used to about where I grew up. They may be a little different but who cares?

So here is my conclusion: you just have to take it all in stride because change is inevitable. Being crabby, sad, boring or happy, it’s up to you how you live your life! Are you gaging yet? Does it sound like I’ve been reading a self-help book or something? It is kind of soppy but you know it’s true! So, enjoy YOUR TODAY and remember to pay attention to the little things in life…because those are the things worth noticing.

Something I'll have to get used to...
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