Friday, November 27, 2009


Ah, they are finally gone! Haha, just kidding, family! For the first time, (well, for the first time since my family lived in Wyoming back in the 80's), it was just five of us for Thanksgiving this year. My parents and my brother came to our house in Bismarck (Justin makes the 5th, obviously, Andrea was at Kirk's parents' house). It was rather strange to be without grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins, but it was still a good Thanksgiving. And no one got sick from the food! Here are a few scenes from the day. . .

This is the hors d' oeuvres table I made for everyone to enjoy before we ate! I know, pretty lame, but whatev! And yes, those are cloth napkins with napkin rings! Hahaha! The thought of me using a cloth napkin is hilarious but we've never used them before so I thought it would be fun!

We ran out of room in the fridge! Good thing it was cool outside!

Justin hung lights on the house after we ate (see him on the roof?) However, that tree was done by me! I love it!

Allan loved everyone right away. He especially loved wrestling with their feet and pestering them.

Al took a liking to my brother right away. That doesn't really make him special, though, because Al likes everyone.

This is the only Thanksgiving decoration that I own besides generic Halloween/Fall pumpkin decorations. I bought it at a craft auction at my church at home last fall because I felt bad that no one was bidding on it. It's pretty tacky, but I find it endearing in its tackiness.

Oh, so tired. . .and yes, that is a camo patterned hunting rifle leaning next to him. What about it??

Anyway, it was a pretty good visit. We went to the movies last night. We saw "The Blind Side", which was sold out the first time we tried to go, so we bought advance tickets for the next showing. When we arrived a huge line was formed and everyone in it was waiting for "The Blind Side". I was not impressed by how rude some of the people in the line were when it was time to file into the theater. There were two grown women with their kids standing by me and my mom, and we heard them strategizing how to shove around everyone else to get in front and also encouraging their kids to do the same. Sure enough, they shoved between me and Cindy and I ended up far behind her while, meanwhile, a grown man was shoving around me on the other side. Grow up, a-holes! It's a movie! The movie was very good though, I love sports movies even though they are usually full of cliches, and this one was actually kind of different and pretty inspirational.

This morning, we did something rare. . . went shopping on Black Friday! I have only done this a few times. Once was when my family spent Thanksgiving in Milwaukee, WI, when I was a Freshman in college, where we mostly bought presents for ourselves. This year, we didn't go at 4 a.m. like so many do, but when we arrived at the mall around 9. It was still packed and crazy. It was kind of fun, but for a short time. Cindy and I also encountered some rude line cutters in Jo-Ann Fabrics. This woman had her own pile of cut fabric and merchandise and jumped into the line with someone who looked like her sister. However, she paid on her own in a seperate transaction, which to me means that she should have been in line in the proper order. Just because you know someone in the line doesn't mean you can enter it wherever you want! I guess blatant rudeness is the only way to navigate Thanksgiving weekend consumerism. Sigh. . .on the bright side, my mom bought me a sweet fake poinsettia plant for $5! So WORTH IT!!!

Anyway. . .Happy Thankgiving everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Return to the BASSment

Last Thursday and resuming today, I have been trying to organize and make useful the final bedroom in the basement in time for the arrival of Thanksgiving guests. Justin brought his old childhood bedroom set from home and made me a long countertop with file cabinets. I have been trying to organize my life. What a mess it is!

This a picture of the room at the "It has to get worse before it gets better" stage last week. I will put up new pictures when I get done with this if I think it looks nice enough. How sweet is that counter? It is my "sewing table" and I finally can unpack all of the crap I have so I can find things without digging through piles of plastic totes and the fabric won't be all mashed together.

This looks like just another grocery box, but I had to mention it because this blasted thing has been with us, packed with junk, since we lived in Grand Forks. I finally addressed the problem and the box is going to the recycling bins!

Since I was in undergrad, I had a small NDSU bookstore shopping bag filled with looseleaf paper, new and half used notebooks, and a folder full of school papers. I finally disposed of the bag. I found this certain notebook that always makes me smile! This photograph shows two of about eight pages of song lists I made during one especially boring 100 level Western Civilization class. Among pages of notes about the Epicureans and the Ancient Egyptians I passed the time listing my top songs of each genre, each year off high school and college and for specific moods. Believe it or not, I got an A in the class even with my lack of attention and effort. I tore out the pages and disposed of the rest of the notebook. I also found one of Roommate's business notebooks filled with her writings about Economics and management schemes. Who knows why I ended up with it. Fascinating reading, but I tossed that one as well!

Stand by for more pictures of this room! Also, I look forward to putting up some Christmas decorations in the next few days because my parents and brother are coming for Thanksgiving. It is hard to get in the right state of mind, though, because the weather has been really sunny and well above freezing every day and it still feels like October as opposed to the end of November.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Pillow Covers! Already??

Here are the pillow covers I made with the previously mentioned IKEA fabric. I love them! They are perfect for Fall and they look nice with the rug. It was a challenge to get any work done with a certain cat pestering me the whole time!

He better be careful for that needle!

Al discovered that the sitting in the sun in the window is a good way to spend the afternoon, and I think it's really cute! I took this picture from outside. . .I don't care if people think I'm crazy!

There is another project under way. . . Justin made me a "sewing table" in the basement out of a counter top and two file cabinets. I have been trying to file and it is one of my least favorite activities! I have several years of bank statements, etc. to deal with in addition to many unpacked boxes of books and picture frames. There is a really troubling box that was never unpacked when we moved from Grand Forks in August 2008.

Sorry this post was boring. . .I'm trying to watch Nip/Tuck at the same time! (Well, I'm sure they are all boring to most people, but this one was worse!)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Allan's House

I went to suburban Minneapolis this weekend with my mom and sister this weekend with our only purpose being to shop. Oh, it was a delight! I love having access to more and different stores since the shopping here is limited.

We went to IKEA, which is a rare indulgence. I was keeping my eyes open for a new TV stand and possibly end tables (we are using wooden TV trays as end tables right now). I didn't find anything I liked, but I found a few other items!

This tray caught my eye as soon as I saw it!

It is ridiculous!

IKEA has a small fabric department where you can buy fabric by the yard. It is so different from what you can buy at regular fabric stores! I had to restrain myself and only bought 2 yards. I am too lazy to go photograph it right now, but you will most likely see it whenever I end up making something out of it!

The most whimsical, exciting piece of inventory I found at IKEA was this tent that is made for cats!

He seems to like it so far! (See his cute little striped face in there?) I put an old towel (a favorite textile of his) in it and he has spend alot of time in there today. Hopefully he doesn't get bored with it. A good aspect of IKEA is that it is very cheap and this tent only cost $7.00. Do you notice the camo pattern is actually cat shapes? So clever, those IKEA people. . .

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Exterior Illumination

Thanksgiving is in a few weeks, and I've been thinking about Christmas decorations, especially for outside! Another house on our street has put up lights already. (They haven't turned them on. I think they were just trying to do it while it was still nice out). We don't have any outdoor decorations because when everything was on clearance last year in January, we weren't even thinking about buying a house yet. I really don't like the idea of paying full price for any holiday paraphrenalia, so I decided to get resourceful.

On Monday, I went on the thrift store circuit and found some pretty great deals! I bought a box of large outoor lights, two boxes of blue pearl lights, and 12 large plastic ornaments that I plan on hanging in the tree in the front yard. I also bought a candle made of lights for the living room windown. All of this was obtained for $12.00. The lights were in boxes that looked battered, but they obviously haven't been used because there is no way to get them back into their plastic holders so perfectly!

Here is a sampling of what I bought. There was a very large assortment at the second hand stores. I would advise anyone to go to a thrift store if they need garland, beads, or lights. There were also alot of oudtoor items. There were multiples of the candle and the store also had the matching wreaths and red bows from the same "line". I chose the candle because it looks like the old light pole decorations Hatton used to have during my childhood. (They have been replaced by wreathes and French Horns with bows on them.)
I also found a special present for Allan for 25 cents. . .
I couldn't leave this in the store! The ornaments kind of made me sad at the thrift stores. . .most of them were probably given with thought and now they are discarded. . .at least this one will have a new life on the tree!

Monday, November 9, 2009


This weekend Justin and I both went to Eastern North Dakota for the deer rifle season opening weekend. He's actually still there until Veteran's Day.

It was a beautiful fall weekend that reminded me of some reasons why I miss Eastern North Dakota. Yes, I know Bismarck is not far from the "Valley", and it has a lot of aspects that I appreciate (less wind, generally warmer weather, more topography). But Eastern ND is still home and the connection will never be cut, regardless of where I am!

I headed home to Hatton on Thursday because I hadn't been there for awhile, and on Friday I went to meet Justin in Lankin, ND, which is North and West of Grand Forks. The first aspect that made me feel so at home was the familiar vibrations of agriculture that basically fill the air when harvest is going on. Although it is hard work, the energy can be felt by everyone and it has always been in the background as my life progressed since we moved to Hatton. In Fargo, I went to NDSU, so agriculture was always an influence in addition to the fact that there are still some farm fields still being planted in between developments and stores since Fargo is growing and sprawling fast. In Grand Forks, semi trucks hauling beets and the smell of Simplot were a constant presence, and when harvest started, the smell of wheat (a good smell, in my opinion) and dust permeated the town. I didn't realize I missed it until I was away from it. Harvest is behind this year, and the weather has been adequate so the farmers are trying to finish. At each town I drove through once I left the interstate, trucks were lined up, sometimes through the whole length of the town, at the elevators waiting to drop off their cargo. Combines and trucks rumbled by (or I guess I zoomed by them!) on every road. In the cabs, I could see the drivers dressed in blaze orange caps, sweatshirts and jackets because not only is harvesting on their mind but also deer hunting is on their mind!

Deer hunting season also exudes vibrations of excitement. I have always been amused by the way some people (almost exclusively men, at least in my experience) can talk about deer and hunting for hours. During rifle season, it makes me laugh to myself to see two or three guys squeezed into a pickup wearing their hunting clothes.

Although I don't actually shoot, I usually participate, at least for opening weekend, every year (or I have since I met Justin, anyway). I believe it the 7th year that I have been in Lankin for this weekend. I love eating junk food all weekend, walking around oustide (especially if it's nice out!) and heading to the crowded, cozy bar after dark to see the deer that were shot that day and indulge in several drinks surrounded by people wearing orange. We wake up before the sun comes up to drive around looking for deer that might be walking around as daylight comes.

If you know Justin, you know that he loves this time of year. He loves to go to Lankin (Lankin is where is dad grew up and where his relatives still live) for hunting and prepares for it like I prepare for trips out of the country or my wedding.

Here is a picture of Justin is his natural habitat. As of right now, I haven't heard that he has shot his buck, but he shot a doe/fawn with a tiny pin head this weekend! It's OK though, those are good to eat! It was a good weekend with great weather (I didn't even have to wear my coveralls!) and I didn't want it to end on Sunday.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I know it has passed, but I am going to write about Halloween. . .

I love Halloween, mostly because I love costumes. Oh, the fun! The options are endless!

I have fond memories (and fortunately no digital pictures!) of my childhood costumes. My mom could conjure up any costume we wished for. One year in the early years of elmentary school (Kindargarten, I believe, because we lived in Wyoming at the time) I wanted to be a dog. Not just any dog, though, a dalmation! She sewed me a white suit with block spots sewn all over it! It had this hood thing for the head with aunthentic-looking dalmation years that stood up at hte bottom and flopped over at the top. That's some crazy costume making. Of course, Andrea's used the same sewing pattern but she was a pink cat. Pink-the most common color for a cat! A family classic is the photo where Andrea and I were clowns, wearing one piece suits with huge fluffy yarn pom poms on the front. Seeing that picture makes me burst out laughing! (Pete dodged that bullet by not being born yet!) In first grade I wanted to be a pizza. Yes, like the food. Don't ask me why. It was done, with a big cardboard triangle, rolled up brown grocery bags for the crust, and fiberfill quilt filling for the cheese. So what if I couldn't sit down. . .That is just a sampling of my favorites. I tried to coerce Justin into telling about his favorite costumes, but he says he can't remember any of them. . .I'll have to look into that more thoroughly!

This year, I was a "Gold digger". It was not my original idea (I saw some other ladies do it last year at a bar) but I added my own twist. They had big, full sized shovels painted gold, and I instead used a child's beach set spray painted gold. I had the shovel hanging from gold christmas tree beads around my neck, and I carried the bucket. Not suprisingly, I lost it somewhere in downtown Fargo. It is just a small part of the trail of Halloween costume debris that littered the streets, bars, and taxis that night. . .I also made a veil out of gold tulle. This all matched a very cheap looking gold dress that I sewed the morning of Halloween without a pattern.

Andrea and Kirk and a Halloween party and their house, which they named "Halloween1N1". Andrea bought some mouth syringe things at a livestock supply store so the guests could have "vaccines" of a special type of punch. Very nice. Kirk had one of my favorite costumes of the night. He was Cousin Eddy from the "Vacation" movies. He chose the incarnation where Eddy is out on the curb in a bathrobe emptying his RV toilet in "Christmas Vacation". On Sunday morning, he put it back on and made a theatrical production of sautering out to the mailbox while pretending to smoke a cigar!

This is a sampling of their party decor. That deer looks like it wants its dignity back!

I took Allan to the vet on Tuesday for a shot. He was suprisingly good! In my experience, cats don't like the car, but I think he might have fallen asleep on the drive to the office (which is about four minutes from our house)! He didn't get scared during his exam, and before I knew it, he was getting a shot and he didn't make a sound or even squirm! I brought him home and he went to sleep right away.

Here he is looking out the window. I love his orange face stripes!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The BASSment

The "Bassment" was a TV show that used to be on when I was in middle school or high school (I can't remember when). I think it was on MTV or BET, but I can't remember and I don't think I ever watched it, but I always think of that name when I go down the stairs to the basement! It's a bumping party place, for sure! Just kidding, it's a big collection of rubbermaid tubs and boxes but we can pretend it's more fun than it really is. . .

Justin put together his office and filled it with his deer hunting mounts and other paraphernalia. I don't have overly feminine taste in decor, but I truly cannot deal with taxidermy. I just can't look at that on a regular basis. It looks OK in a grand, lodge-like room but not in our little 1955 living room. It seems overbearing I think.

Oh, hello Mr. Antelope! How do you like your new room?

This desk was my Christmas present from Justin in 2006. I had no problem surrendering it to him, however, because I hope to never sit at it to study again!

That mirror was a wedding present from my brother. Eventually, Justin wants some Mossy Oak Break Up camo patterned curtains. They will add so much!