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 necklace...it 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!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An unusual recollection...

Okay I’m torn. Rifle season just ended and my feelings seem to be still at war. Now I grew up in a hunting family and I lah-ah-ahve deer meat. Deer sausage, sticks and jerky…yes please! But how can I enjoy killing those cute little faunas that I wear on my Christmas underpinnings?

Mulie does on the North Dakota prairie

While I stood aside watching my dad…I’ll just say “clean”…my brother’s freshly slain doe, I couldn’t help but feel a twang of guilt. She was probably just hanging out with her buck, eating some leaves…and wham! She’s frolicking around in the clouds. (Of course this war was going on in my head only, Lawdy knows what would’ve happened if I had spurted out my feelings to my dad and brother!)

But then I remembered what hunting is all about. It’s about survival. I have spent many hours of my life with my nose stuck in Lauraine Snelling books. (Random, I know.) If you’re not familiar, they are about the lives of Norwegian settlers and pioneers in North Dakota. Ingeborg is one of the main characters in the Red River of the North series and she came to my mind while I was standing there feeling sorry. Not only was she a kick-arss sod-buster, but she could hunt with the best of them. She also wore pants. (GASP!)

Her story reminded me where hunting came from, and why we do it! Helloooo, it’s my heritage. It’s a way of life. It brought me back to all the good times my family has had hunting…and how delicious our kills tasted!

Hunting down at Bear Den
Bear Den hunting camp...one of my favorite hunting memories

Basically, I can still wear my deer undies and not feel bad. I can enjoy watching deer bound about, and also sizzling in the frying pan. Win-win situation. So thank you Mrs. Snelling, for writing wonderful stories and reminding me of my heritage…and helping me to eat deer sticks with ease.

3 of the 6 Red River of the North books...That's Inge on the front cover : )

Haha click on this link...http://www.ae.com/aerie/browse/product.jsp?productId=9445_8708_441&catId=cat4850016&bundleCatId=cat4950022...to get a visualization of what I'm talking about. And maybe get your own pair!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Two birds with one stone...

As thanksgiving approaches I’ve started thinking of things I’m thankful for. (Thinking of things I’m thankful for…say that five times fast!) And I'm not trying to be sappy. Usually on Thanksgiving one of my aunts likes to play the “what are you thankful for game” and goes around the room and asks every single person, and I don’t want to be put on the spot. I like to be prepared. So really it’s like I’m getting ready for a pop quiz or something. But I’m glad she does it, because it gets me thinking about all the good things in my life and how blessed I truly am.

Now me, I am a very lucky person. Not only am I not allergic to dogs, but I can also whip up a cup of hot chocolate that makes me go into a happiness induced coma for at least a half hour. What else could I ask for? Especially during these cold winter nights that are starting to creep up. I also have unusually small feet for my height, which I constantly get ridiculed for because I get to wear elvish-small cute shoes. Yes, very lucky indeed.

But thinking about things more seriously, I have so many great things in my life! Especially my melting pot of friends. Now I don’t get to see them all the time, but when we do get together we can have a real hootenanny. I am really thankful for them, they are all those special kinds of friends, the ones that when you get together you just pick right up from where you left off. It's like we're back in high school...except some are just married or having kids haha!

It was recently one my friend’s birthdays…okay that was a fib. It was a while ago, and I am always behind on birthday presents! But last weekend I finally cleared off my “work station” (which constitutes as a folding card table smack dab in the middle of my already small bedroom) and got to work on my gift for E. Giving handmade presents is one of my favorite things to do, even if they might not know all the hard work you put into it, I still think it feels wonderful to make something with your own hands and to know that no one else will have the same gift that they are getting! Ooooh exciting and unique! And who doesn’t like unique?

I am in love with leather working and I want to share my project as a way to get others interested in the craft too! So here are some pics of my belt project and some tips on making your own belt…plus now my friend can see what work went into her birthday present! Two birds with one stone...

Get those ideas on paper...they usually turn into something cool!

The inspirations for the floral design...my pen holder at work.

I always start with the back of the belt, to make sure it's centered. (Don't forget to measure it out and put the buckle on the correct side...I learned that the hard way on my first belt...my buckle was on the men's side! It gets very annoying.)

I thought a saying would be a fun alternative to a name.

I didn't have enough room for the rolling hills in my drawing, but the stars and moon filled it in nicely.

On to the floral design...

I love free-handing my designs...I just keep adding to them until I'm satisfied...

I'm not a big fan of symmetry so I make the sides different...I like variety!

Thank you pen holder for the inspiration!

The tip of the belt is often forgotten about...I like to add design there since it's so visible. It's also a good place for personalization if you didn't use a name on the back.

And it's ready for some stain and embellishments!

After I stained it, I added some rhinestone rivets for an extra sparkle.

And a fancy buckle from Tandy Leather Factory.
(They have everything you need! http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/)

This is a special case in which the project IS as easy as it looks. Leather working is a great hobby and once you start it's hard to stop, it's so much fun! There are endless possibilites to what you can make. I hope this gets you thinking about starting another hobby : )

Monday, November 7, 2011

Shout out!

This goes out to two of the craziest, weirdest, supportive, lovable people I know…my parents! It was recently their birthdays (November 4th & 5th), so I thought I would give them a little trip down memory lane. A really, really short trip, with only a few pictures, so I don’t get pulverized! So happy birthday, Ma & Pa...hope you enjoy these pictures and the memories they stir up:

See that twinkle in her blue eyeshadow enhanced eye? That's me! And I have to point out, that my mother was riding in my pop's pickup when this picture was taken. Notice the macrome curtains behind her that my dad made...oh '83 why did I have to miss you???

Pops cruising in the same pickup...hey, aren't those glasses back in style?

Those pictures weren't too embarrassing were they? I didn't think so either.


...to present...

 ...thank you for all you have done for me.

Here's a snapshot of possibly the worst looking cake ever (that's what happens when you forget to Pam the pans, OOPS!)...but I was proud of my "Stuart Little" sized banners! Happy Birthday Mom & Dad!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Winter is the Time for Home

As you can see from my blog banner, I am ready for snow. And Christmas. And of course Swedish meatballs. John-boy is ready too! Yes, I have finally named my mounted jackalope mascot! His name was inspired by a 70s Halloween theme from where I work. The Waltons anyone?

I’m doing it again…I’m skipping over Thanksgiving and going right to Christmas! But I had to change my banner, because I couldn’t wait to string lights on John-boy’s antlers haha…wow I’m sounding more like a crazy cat lady by the second. Or would it be crazy rabbit lady?

I also added fluffy, powder snow banks (just waiting to be torn up by a snowmobile) and a plump, jolly snowman. It is November now, so I’m allowed to be excited for snow and winter. And probably about two days into getting snow in my shoes and soaking my socks, scraping frost off my windows and spinning out on ice, I’ll most likely be begging for spring. But for now I will allow myself to be enthusiastic and dissuade anyone trying to ruin it for me!

Alright, I’m done (for now) with my snow rant. What I really want to talk about is “welcome stars”. Is your neck getting a little sore from the whiplash it’s receiving from my random subjects? Well sorry about that, I will explain.

A couple months ago I went to the Høstfest in Minot, ND. It was my first time going and I had no idea it would have such an impact on me. Little things just keep popping up in my mind…some good (welcome stars for example) and some bad…like the giant creepy tree nymph with the huge eyes that I had to stand by to take a picture…I just got goosebumps again… but besides the people running about in costumes, the event was pretty spectacular. There were people from all over, I even sat next to a couple from Norway and got to listen to their magical accent. Score!

There were all different types of booths, with all different types of crafts and items to buy. One of the booths told the story of welcome stars. Of how people in Norway would hang these stars in their window in the winter to show others a sign of welcome, and to come visit their house. Aww yes, winter is the season for gatherings, good food and playing cards. AND SNOW! Surely, winter is the time for home.

Well, that story has stuck with me and I have been kicking myself for not purchasing one of those star lights. So when I was out hunting with my brother and manfriend the other day, and I spotted a few pieces of old tin...I had to have them! Of course my manfriend was wonderful enough to climb up and take them down for me off of the old building. “I just don’t know why you’d want that," said my baffled manfriend...

But I knew why! How exciting! I could make a welcome star and just in time for the first snow fall too. So here are my instructions for your very own homemade welcome star...

Start out by cutting a star stencil that fits your piece of tin, then trace with a white colored pencil.

Cut out your two stars. I used a scissors made for metal cutting, but clipping shears usually do just as well!

It helps to file the edges, they get a little sharp in some places after cutting.

Draw out any design you want that suits your fancy!

I would usually just set this on the ground to punch but it was too cold out! So I used this wood block and it worked really well.

I used a screw (couldn't find a decent sized nail!) and an old leather swivel knife to make the punches.

Once you have everything punched, it's time to fold your stars! You'll probably need gloves because the backs of the holes are very pointy. You can use any square edge to bend the tin over.

Then you can tie the two sides together with wire or cord.

You can either use a hanging light kit for your star or use it as a lamp shade.

And there you have it! Your star is ready to welcome all your friends and family.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The end of my story...

Yes it’s finally finished! I stayed up the last few nights and wouldn’t allow myself to eat until I completed my neck warmer. Just kidding, (like I could go without food!) I knew it would take me a while to finish it and I’m pretty happy with the result, beings I’m a “shoddy” knitter and all. Now we just need some snow and I will be able to wear it!

So here is the end of my MT road trip story:

It's just a regular stitch (I don't know any other ones yet!) and after I casted off, I weaved the turquoise leather strip through and tied the ends. Simple!

Nice and cozy! And easy. (That's what I like!)
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