A Dish Best Served... Never.

I married into a wonderful family with a rather horrifying tradition: Lutefisk.

What's that? Well, you can click on the word 'lutefisk' above for the real definition, but I'm pretty partial to Jeffrey Steingarten's synopsis during a 1999 interview:

"Lutefisk is not food, it is a weapon of mass destruction. It is currently the only exception for the man who ate everything. Otherwise, I am fairly liberal: I gladly eat worms and insects, but I draw the line on lutefisk.
What is special with lutefisk?
Lutefisk is the Norwegians' attempt at conquering the world. When they discovered that Viking raids didn't give world supremacy, they invented a meal so terrifying, so cruel, that they could scare people to become one's subordinates."
Nate's family calls it "Christmas Fish"... as if that makes it any cuter. Don't believe it could be so bad? Check out this little Christmas Eve plate action filmed from the plate of yours truly:
Any strange-but-true food traditions in your family? Tell me I'm not alone here!


Merry Belated!

A day late, but warm wishes all the same! Hope everyone had a wonderful, cozy Christmas chock full o' love.
Ashley, Nate, & Tucker
More normal entries will resume soon. 'Til then, enjoy the end of 2012's holiday season!


Quick Craft: Metal Branch

One blank wall + One need to display holiday greetings = One faux-metal branch.

That's the conclusion you came to too? No? Well, you may join the crazy train after seeing how easy and effective this lil' project is.

Here's what you need:
1 branch (I used Curly Willow as the one in our yard needed a trim. Find one in the woods!)
1 can metallic spray paint

Total Cost: $6-$10
The branch.
Rust-Oleum Metallic Silver
Sprayed, dried (about 36 hours), nailed onto wall.
First draft of ribbon hanging.
Ribbon split up - Holiday greetings taped on!
Works like a charm
Love it.
There's plenty of room for more as greetings roll in, and the current plan is to have this branch be a permanent fixture, displaying photos, notes, and cards year-round. All I have to do is switch out the ribbon!


Quick Craft: 3-D Felt Ornaments

 We'll call this a 'loose tutorial' - If you'd like more specifics, please ask.

As Christmas rapidly approaches, some of us might be struggling with those hard-to-buy-for folks on our lists. Tree ornaments are pretty safe gift, and so easy to personalize if you know a thing or two about your giftee.

Last year I decided ornament sets would be a fun thing to make for my girlfriends, and after scanning the globe internet, I decided to make 3D felt versions of some of their favorite things (cue the Julie Andrews and children in curtains).
What You'll Need:
Paper (any kind - I used plain ol' computer-style)
Stuffing (PolyFill, Buffalo Snow, etc)
Assorted Felt sheets
Needle and felt-matching embroidery thread(s)
Ribbon (optional)
Beads (optional)
Glue (hot or fabric - optional)

I decided what theme I was going for for each set, sketched little shapes onto my paper, then cut them out to use as patterns.
Once all my pieces were cut out of the felt, I embellished those that needed it by hand stitching on things like beads (you could do this with glue if you're not so into the sewing thing), and then hand stitched around the outside edges of each ornament, pausing to cram in stuffing before the last few stitches went into place.

I added a ribbon loop at the top of each ornament by folding a piece of ribbon in half and fixing it in place as I stitched the outside edges of the ornaments, but you could easily poke a wire ornament hanger through the thin felt for the same effect.

Here are my results:
Sushi for Em
Twilight for Mel (yes, the E sparkles)
Cake and doggy desserts for Paula
And since those turned out so well, I made one for each of my immediate co-workers as well:
 Clockwise from top L: Headmount, Yarn & Knitting Needles,Whisk, Holiday Tully's Cup, Fish
Hand-stitching is a little time consuming, but the result is worth it, and how fun to contribute something that will be a part of your friends' Christmas year after year.


Random Round Up: December Doin's

In spite of the news of Friday, life went on this weekend. The first Christmas party of the season's been attended, and general holiday goodness prevailed. I'm so thankful!
Puggle Peek-a-boo
Warm Fuzzies
You shop for shorts in December, you get 'em for under a buck.
My FAVORITE blog wrote a book - Been pouring over it & getting inspired!
I won a giveaway on a blog I read! (LuneVintage)
Our neighbors' light-up menagerie.



I know it's usually a happy-go-lucky Random Round Up on Monday morning, but in light of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut this past Friday, I wanted to post something I've seen going around Facebook this weekend.

The ever-even Fred Rogers - aka: Mr. Rogers of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood - supplied a quote years ago that sadly rings true again today:
This is one of those "I remember where I was when..." moments in our nation's history we will never forget. Light a candle, say a prayer, just take a moment to love on those around you and be thankful that their fragile life is still here with you.


Rope-Wrapped Monogram

...AKA: The Quick Craft That Wasn't.

Here I thought I had a quick and simple gift idea that would be not only cute, but personalized too.
Well, I hit 3 out of 4 by those standards, but speedy it was not.

The results, however, ended up being worth the time and jute-worn fingers. Take a look:
Begin with a hollow cardboard letter (bought at Hobby Lobby).
Add in scissors, glue gun, and jute rope or twine.
Start with the ends that will need to be wrapped separately.
Glue flat, then up sides.
All ends covered? Now time to wrap the body.
Begin wrapping strand and covering rough edges of wrapped ends.
Wrap, wrap, wrap, beginning new piece of jute when necessary.
Add texture and personalization anywhere.
Easy? Yes. Fairly mindless? Yes. Quick? NO.

This 'N' took me over an hour, and with a few more letters to churn out this week, it looks like I've got my evening t.v. time activity set up for the next few days. A pretty satisfying result though - I have  a 'J' for our own home that's about twice the size of the 'N' shown here, so that might take some extra gearing up for before it gets done.

No one says you have to start and finish one of these all in one sitting either - I might have griped about the time it took, but mostly that's because this one was on a deadline and I was expecting it to be quick. Highly recommend trying this on your own!


Oh, Christmas Tree!

 Happy 12.12.12 Everyone! If twelve is your lucky number, well, today is your day.

I love all the sentimental tidbits that come along with Christmas. Most of all: The tree ornaments. I always admire the themed trees with their coordinated baubles and matching tree skirt, but it's not for me. Pulling out that eclectic mix of old and new, handmade and store bought, tacky and beautiful, and putting them all in once place... I love that.

So thought I'd share our tree, and a couple of ornaments I especially love this year:
Picked up this one on our Mini-Moon this last April.
Attaches to a light to illuminate the 'window'
Handmade in Kazakhstan (from LBD)
A fave from my Mom - I call it a glass prickly pear.
LOTS of ski theme happening thanks to the hubs.
Our tree skirt, pieced & quilted by my maternal grandma.
Nothing better than a tree lighting up the room.
 There's something so peaceful about the light of a Christmas tree glowing through a room. Take a minute in this crazy crush of holiday activities to soak in that peace - It's a rarity!


Random Round Up: Holiday Spirit

A change of visitor plans left us with some extra time and plenty to fill it with this weekend. Feel like I got a lot checked off my list - Always satisfying!
Christmas cards are out the door. Woohoo!
A trip to the always amazing Frost for their holiday specials (Andes mint & Eggnog)
Whipping up party favor packages.
Live-streaming Mel's performance from nearly a nation away.
Ring cleaning - Always amazed by how sparkly it SHOULD be!
Some holiday gift crafting time (tutorial to come later this week)
Happy Monday!


Quick Craft: Bannister Bows

Now that we're in a house, I've found there's a lot more area to cover when it comes to decorating for Christmas. I'm not going crazy or anything - Haven't branched into multiple tree territory or decorative snowman towels - but sometimes I walk past something and think 'that could use a decoration'.

Take our bannister for instance.

It's the first thing you see when you come in the front door, so why not be greeted with a little Christmas cheer? Here's what I did in about 10 minutes:
I began with a weird hanging decoration from Micheal's Craft store (50% off)
Rope and pinecones: Super cute.
Crazy glitter-clump fake poinsettias: NOT cute.
One quick snip....
...and the pine cones were free!
Next up, getting those pine cones attached to each other and to a bow. To combine the pine cone ropes, I simply tied two together. That's it.
Red velvet bows - $1.50 each at Micheal's
To adhere the bow, I used the twist-tie the bow was attached to it's cardboard hanger with: It was already twisted around the bow, so a little extra hot glue to make sure it was stable was all that needed.
Next I just took the top of my rope, held it into the glue, and gave the twist-tie a secure turn around the rope. That way it was now both glued and wired onto the bow.
Ready for the final result? To attach to the bannister, all I did was twist the remainder of each twist-tie around the knob on each side.
Seriously ten minutes tops (I completed mine start to finish while on the phone), and I spent under $10 for something I can pull out year after year.

Quick, cheap, cute, done.