Sunday, December 28, 2008

The ABC's of 2008

Here are some highlights from 2008, presented in a form both whimsical and tedious. If you want to do your own, please post a link in the comments!

A is for Apartment, which I moved out of in August. Still rockin' my parents basement in Hugo, although I will shortly start a new house sitting gig in Highland Park.

B is for blogging, I got let go from my blogging 'job' but that meant I posted a lot more here on . That is until I discovered Facebook.

C is for Children's Theatre, where I worked for about a month. It was awesome, but not a good fit. On my way out on my last day, class act that i am, i tripped over the steamer and caused a dog to shoot under the table, cowering, and a giant puddle of water to form on the floor which I then had to mop up. Nothing like making a grand exit!

D is for Duckie Uglings, my awesome stuffed animal company! I finally paid all my monthly bills in December based solely on monies made from the various stores and the sales that I had in December and November!

E is for Elephants. I made several this year, each, in my opinion, cuter than the last.

F is for Facebook, which does the stalking for you! Sorry Myspace, Facebook has won out in my book.

G is for the GUTHRIE theater, where I was lucky enough to sew the backdrops for Little House on the Prairie, and meet Melissa Gilbert during my lunch break! SURREAL!

H is for Hat Pattern, the Good Hat Day Hat pattern was accepted into the book One Yard Wonders, and I will actually be getting published in the next year!

I is for Internet, to which I am still addicted in a MAJOR way.

J is for junk artist, which I think I am now.

K is for Kitchen. Now that I am home and cooking for more than one person, I am LOVING the kitchen again. I hardly cooked in my last apartment, unless it was spaghetti or nachos. Now I'm even BAKING again! Love it.

L is for leisure. I know that this time of having LOTS of time on my hand can't last forever and that I will have to go back to having a full time job. But I do love spending lots of time with friends and family and working on my art. Why can't I get paid for that?

M is for Mosaic Mural, which I finished in February at the Dunn Brothers in Minneapolis.

N is for Nephew, Michael Thomas arrived June 13th and joined Matthew James down with his mom and dad in Missouri. I have gotten to tag along on several visit and they've come up here twice. As my grandma says, "He's a chunk!"

O is for OMG which has unfortunately worked its way into my typing and speech. I am going to try to rid myself of such LOL's and what have you in the next year. ;)

P is for personal space. Something that I miss living with my parents again. But it's a worthy payoff! If you could see my room, you'd see ducks and dogs and moose everywhere. They like to keep it in the same condition as if I wasn't here. I don't know how I feel about that. :/

Q is for air "Quotes". Another habit I will try to drop. Although I am still trying to push the use of the 'Air Parenthesis' which is the same idea, except your hands just go up in a cup shaped form.

R is for relaxing. Hugo is a very relaxing place to live, you can't help but take a nap in the afternoon!

S is for slippers. I have become very fond of socks and slippers and have been obsessed with making myself the perfect pair so I am never short. A pattern MAY develop from this, we'll see.

T is for Therapy, as in Art Therapy. I am trying to decide if I want to pursue a career in either Art Therapy or ESL. I am going to job shadow both those professions to see which might be a good fit.

U is for unemployment, I have spent the bulk of the year technically unemployed but not actually unemployed by the government's standards. eesh.

V is for Vacation: this year held some AWESOME ones. Florida with the whole family in February, Missouri for Matthew's 2nd birthday party, Chicago trips aplenty, les Cheneaux islands for Betsy and David's wedding, and more trips to Missouri! I don't know if they're technically vacations if you don't have a job you're taking time off from, but it's still a getaway, right?

W is for Wedding Flowers, I did 3 wonderful weddings for friends and family this summer, and a few parties here and there. I love arranging flowers, if I could, I would do it as a job. I obsessively check craigslist for floral jobs!

X is for who eXpects me to come up with a word for x?

Y is for YMCA. Jason took me to some awesome concerts and shows this year, I'd have to say my favorites were Kathy Griffin (as a 'sorry you got fired' gift) and the Village People and RuPaul during Pride week.

Z is for Zebra, because frankly, it always is!

OK that's my ABC's of 2008. Link to yours, fellow bloggers!

back to normal, for now...

so the boys and chip and julie left this morning after such a wonderful visit. the toys are put back into storage, the fingerprints are cleaned off the windows, the high chair and monitors and all the trappings of little ones are safely stowed until their next visit, which can't come soon enough for me or my parents. all that's left is the sniffly cold the boys had and passed around to all of us, and some adorable photos from the last week.

we'd had the MN cousins out yesterday (my aunts brought some deadly delish cookies and homebaked breads!) and matthew was entranced by his cousins rosie, hugh, frances and evelyn, and even though 1/3rd of the snow melted since our big snowfall and the other 2/3rds of it turned to ice, a good time was had by those sledding and sliding around on the ice. this morning, before packing, chip and julie put skates on matthew for the first time, and he took to it immediately. that kid can do anything.

michael and i had some good bonding time while his big brother was out skating and sledding. that kid can fall asleep in about 4 minutes. after his bottle and cereal, i sat down with him in the darkened room and rocked for a little bit, he laid his head on my shoulder and sighed a BIG baby sigh, scratched at my hair and my collar for about 3 minutes, and then was out. soooo sweet.

after taking them to the st. paul airport, we stopped off at the mall to do shopping for my christmas present from my folks, some new duds. spent only a few bux but updated the winter wardrobe in a much needed way. i realized it was the first time i stepped into a mall in about 4 months and the 1 hour trip was totally enough for me. chip and julie ended up landing in missouri before we even got home!

when we got home, my dad and i watched the vikings and subsequent other football games, yelling at the poor coaching and refereeing decisions as they were made. i napped because i'd gone to an 11 o'clock showing of 'let the right one in,' a swedish vampire movie, where i ran into the guys from Love in October, the ones I did the music video for! they are moving to chicago on monday, so that was crazy.

so now we get another round of making meals as a family, telling stories that get better with age, and opening presents chosen to make the recepient laugh or cry. betsy and her husband david and their pooch berkley are on their way from chicago, their plan to be here in time to watch the bears game today did not pan out, so instead they will be here 12 hours after the originally planned. which is fine with us, because we needed that time to recoup after hurricane michael and hurricane matthew left town. but i wouldn't have missed their visit for anything. not all the krumkake in the world!

Friday, December 26, 2008

the ARK pt. 2

Although it was NOT the ark of the covenant, as timo had hoped, the ark WAS a huge hit with Matthew, and a wonderment of new things to shove in one's mouth for Michael.

More new photos of these two little guys can be found here.

Besides starting out with a wicked hangover from Brian and Marisa's going away party, I've had such a fun time with Chip, Julie, Matthew and Michael. My mom and dad and grandma and I always love their visits, and like my gram said, "I wish you were here more often!" The handmade gifts were a big hit with everyone, even the ones I didn't get finished hahahahaha.

Church, dinner, presents, sleeping, stockings, brunch, more sleeping, more eating. It's all a beautiful blur.

We are watching Michael while the rest of the MO folks get out of the house for a little bit. This AM I went to breakfast with Robin and her new beau Josh and another 'old' friend Suzanne. Such fun to catch up with them.

I am contemplating going to the movies tonight but it's hard to swing a $10 (two penguin's worth of profit) ticket now that the penguin market has all but dried up. Eh. we'll see.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The ARK!

i finished up my nephews' presents, an ark they can both play with. Matthew is 2 and a half, Michael is 6 months. i have been obsessed with what i call 'elemental animals', boiling down an animal to its most recongizeable elements, proportions, patterns, etc.

i made the ark first, the 'lid' is attached at the back, and the elephants and the giraffes fit inside. i had thought originally of making more animals, but they won't fit inside! these elephants are pretty chunky. tee hee!

so i am pretty pleased with my attempts at making these kind of animals, after a couple of sad little prototypes which I didn't photograph. sometimes I feel like Dr. Moreau, my studio is littered with things that look a *little* like what they're supposed to, but with a leg or arm or tail or fin out of place....i wish val kilmer would show up to be my assistant. anyway. here are the photos of the ark, giraffes, and elephants. enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dala Horse Ornament Tutorial

FAMILY MEMBERS:Do not read unless you want a preview of part of your Christmas package!

Since my family is Swedish, we usually like to celebrate the season with swedish-ness. The bright cheery colors of Karl Larsson and the traditional handcrafts of the Swedish people lend themselves very well to Christmas, and we like to make crafts and give gifts that feature the Dala Horse.
If you came to my house right now, you wouldn't be able to swing a Lutefisk without hitting a Dala Horse. They are awesome and if I ever get a tattoo, I would consider getting a Dala Horse.

Anyway-My mom asked for my help in creating an ornament for folks to go out with our holiday packages. She had the idea originally to do a 3-D standing horse, but multiple prototypes proved that it would be too hard to get enough done before Christmas. So I convinced her to let me do this 2-D version! Enjoy!

Whatcha need:
Dala horse images (search the interwebs if you don't have them all over your house)
Tracing paper
Scissors (paper and fabric)
Red Felt
Batting or stuffing (or you can just use another layer of felt)
Rick-Rac, Ribbon, and Lace (or another color of felt)
Whatcha want:
Sewing machine with fancy stitches

Step 1:
Trace a dala horse shape on your tracing paper (or print out one from the web), cut it out with the paper scissors. Layer the felt, batting, and felt, with a looped ribbon between two of the layers. Pin all the layers, and then cut out a large rectangle around the horse. It will make it much easier to do the embroidery steps later.

Step 2: Using the machine (or hand stitching) sew a straight stitch as close to the pattern as possible. If your machine has the setting to end with the needle in the fabric, this will help with turning the corners. Sew all the way around, then using the scissors cut about 1/8th an inch away from the stitching all the way around, being careful of the ribbon!

Step 3: My mom picked up some super sweet mini-rick-rack, so I decided to sew them together to make them more colorful. Use a zig-zag stitch, and offset the rick-rack so that the valleys of one fit into the peaks of the other. You could also sew mini-r-r on top of
regular r-r. Or not. It's up to you.

Step 4: Cut out a lace element (or felt) that looks sort of saddlish, and pin a r-r harness and tummy strap under the saddle, hand stitch it all down.
Step 5: Using a decorative stitch, make the harness on the horse, using white thread. You could also use r-r for this step and hand sew it on. I used a very simplified version of the harness, just three little lines.

Step 6: Hand sew on a little lace for the mane, and you're done!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

it's over!

the 2008 craft fair gauntlet has been run, with mixed results.

i have learned lots of lessons about what to do, and what not to do next year.

i may or may not have a trunk show next weekend, invite only, for all my friends who have requested special items for the holidays. i listed a few more things on etsy tonight, find them in my store if you're interested!

this beary godmother didn't sell. she's gonna stay in my permanent collection, i think!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Catching Up....

Well Craftsmas was gangbusters. I was so grateful to all the folks who stopped in to buy things, and the ones who just swung by for a chat. I was completely exhausted Monday, but made up a bunch more cats and bears to take into I Like You for their final push before the store closes on Dec. 23rd. Angela, Sarah and I have learned a LOT about running a craft show. That's for sure!
This chicken will be going to a new home, she's waiting at I Like You for the customer who special ordered her. I love the look on her face, and the way her feet turned out! I will make a few of these for Sunday's sale in Mahtomedi, I think.

Today I mailed off my 10 ornaments for the Swap-bot holiday ornament swap. I've gotten 3 so far, I should get 10 if everything goes according to plan. Here is the quick tutorial on how to make these ornaments. Enjoy!

Step 1: Cut out two heart shapes, one slightly smaller than the other, from felted wool. I used an old scarf (the stripes) and sweater, and a pinking shears on the scarf piece. Cut out two wing shapes from another felted sweater, trying to match the pattern of the stitch if possible. You'll see several different wing shapes throughout the tute, as I made each pair slightly different to take advantage of the pattern.
Step 2: Layer the larger heart, the wings, and the smaller heart. Use contrasting embroidery thread or thin yarn to stitch the whole shebang together.

Step the third:Use a regular old hole punch to make a hole for a grommet, then set a grommet in the hole, 'nice' side up! Thread in some matching yarn and you're done!

Friday, December 05, 2008


i am so busy with making animals for craftsmas on sunday, i haven't had the time to blog! plus my computer has been freezing up on me when i have more than two windows open. so....that's annoying.

anyway i'm off to I Like You to work for the weekend, so the girls can work at No Coast today and tomorrow. i'm taking animals with me to work with, so i hope the store is busy, but that i still have some downtime to make bearz!