Feeling the Darkness

What is soltice, anyway?
That is just what we've been trying to figure out the past few years. At the farm we started to feel very pagan, we were outside most of the time, the moon shone into our bedroom window at night, we were connected with the seasons since we were growing for a living- constantly witnessing the cycles of life with all of the plants and animals and the cycles of the seasons. It was only natural for us to feel the darkness of the winter solstice. We were suddenly inside so many hours and we waited for the light to come so we could get out and get a little work done. It felt good to have the forced rest that the long nights gave to us, we wanted to fill our bellies and hibernate!

I really miss that in the city. This month has been the busiest of my year! I'm very thankful for my customers and sales, but wow, I am tired! Peter is spent from finals and papers, and we're both trying to get all of our holiday prepping completed...busy busy busy! So, today, the shortest day of the year, we are going to try to feel the darkness and celebrate the light that will soon lengthen our days.

But how!?!

That has been the question but it really feels important now that FGH is around. We're trying to formalize the "feeling" we get this time of year in regards to the season so it can become an official tradition. Presents seem to be in order, at least a couple, and one that is sitting under our lighted tree right now is a shiny red sled that will be used for our solstice outing. Indeed, being outdoors needs to be in the equation. And pancakes. They are in the oven waiting for the rest of the family to wake up. Nothing says connectedness with the winter like banana pancakes...hmmmmm, they're good anyway.

Tonight we are going to have a little candlelight and a tasty dinner. Our menu was starting to sound like Christmas Eve, potato sausage and the like, so we switched it to chicken tika masala, spicy sweet potatoes and coconut rice. It isn't CHRISTMAS yet after all.

Well, I hear that boy stirring... I'm contemplating keeping the lights off or at least dimmed today so we notice how short the day really is.



A big THANK YOU to everyone that celebrated Holiday Handmade here on Saturday. It was a great day and wow...I have a very small inventory now!

Also a big thanks to everyone that helped me set up. It was a lot of monkey business to get my messy studio/toddler house into the form of a little art gallery. I can't believe how great it looked.

I am very surprised and excited about my online sales this season as well-thanks etsians! I may have sent the last etsy package today since we all safely want those brag books, albums, and dala horse prints under the tree in just 10 days. Christmas has never come so fast.

Yet another thank you now, to the artists that displayed their wares here for HH. FGH is completely in love with Mr. Bacon, Mr. Egg, and Mr. Toast. They go on the tree, he fake eats them, he carries them around, he stacks them on his train, back on the tree...they are super.

Now it's on to my own holiday preparing. I have a long list and high hopes. I want to make at least two kinds of cookies-macaroons for sure. I'm looking for another gluten-free cookie that is, well, desirable, so serious web surfing will soon take place. After the cookies come the present wrapping, which is by far my favorite thing to do. I'm going to start that tonight and after they are tidily wrapped and placed on top of the piano (under the tree? that would be crazy!) I think I will have a better idea of where else I need to shop. Our little family of three celebrates on the Solstice (we are so unitarian), we started the tradition on the farm and would have a bonfire outside. This year I'm thinking more along the lines of a winter walk, brandied egg nog, and Fredrik opening gifts (one of which is a mini guitar). We usually have a feast of lutefisk and the like, but really, feasting is not in our vocab right now. I think we'll do a reasonable meal and then eggnog and treats. Our holiday continues in Forest City with Peter's family and family friends on the 23rd, Lille Jul Aften. On the 24th we head to church and to Grandma June's for C. Eve, then stay at my parents' house and wake up for a C. Day breakfast. The solstice is Monday, so really, I have only a few days to finish my handmade gifts, make the cookies, finish shopping...Is everyone else feeling this right now? I'm really not stressed (yet) but excited. Christmas music makes it all better. That, and Peter getting done with his semester in just about 48 hours. That will help, too.


Holiday Handmade TOMORROW! Anyone that is cool will be there.

We've been setting up our show all day...it is fun...and a good amount of monkey business. The displays are looking fresh and well-stocked, the signs are up (they wouldn't stick into the frozen ground so look for signs stuck into Menards buckets), and our little house is Christmas-a-fied.
We'll be open from 9-4 Saturday, the 12th of Dec. We are right on Lexington Pkwy North in St. Paul...#609.
Here are some of the goodies awaiting you:

veggie people and christmas tree man prints and cards:
awesome beaded jewelry:
dala horse prints and cards:
oodles of brag books:
felt goodies, including bacon, egg, and toast ornaments:
knit hats:
billfolds and checkbook covers:
More to come, too!

See you tomorrow!


Holiday Handmade is Upon Us

I'm getting pretty antsy about the upcoming Holiday Handmade Open House. Today I am printing and distributing flyers, making some yard signs, and trying desperately to get my inventory up. I have been happy to see many packages leave here over the past two weeks-21 etsy sales! Thanks everyone! In the pile of packages were many commission orders. One of the best parts about buying something straight from the buyer is the ability to converse with them and get the best possible product for your specific use. Today I am shipping off a set of three 10-page brag books (10 grandkids in the family, I imagine). Last week a made a very lovely (if I do say) wedding book with a black and white motif and 150 pages suitable for 150 5X7 prints. Dandy. In fact, my orders seem to consist mainly of album and brag book sales. I enjoy making both of these so there you have it.
I'm not letting these hot sales completely dictate what is going on in my studio. I am still moving forward with the digital illustrations and art books...which have a smaller audience at the time but I enjoy making them so I shall persist.
Here are some visuals of what's been happening around here:
black and "watermelon" wedding shower guest book/album

chocolate brown and lime wedding shower guest book/albumblack and white wedding album (blank pages)

vintage button clasps (sorry about the pixelation here)
black and white album stitching
big 10-page brag books
camel and yellow album with hand stamped botanicals (in shop now!)
green art book-the paper on the front is cut from a painting of mine, twigs sewn to front with a blue glass gem (also in shop(soon)).



I am calling my Cyber Monday sale a success, many views, many hearts, 2 sales, and 3 commissions. Thanks, people!

Here are some non-bookbinding related goings-on from Thanksgiving weekend:

The weekend started with some late-night home-brewin':
Aksel and Lachen took turns leaping off the couch. I have about 40 pictures to prove it:
Jonah (very happy!) and FGH enjoying some cherry pie AND raspberries:
The four boys, this was as still as we could get them for even a moment:
Lachen and Aksel (I think it was both of them?!?) decorated the table with many "Thanksgiving" drawings:
Roz bringing the bird (A Red Bourbon from a nearby farm) to the table:
Fredrik's second attempt at dinner (he had jello and a pickle dipped in bbq sauce for the first round):
Saturday we headed to Great Grandma June's house for potato sausage making, here are Madi and Fredrik taking a break from tearing around the house:
Grandma June!:
My mom glovin' up for some sausage catching:
Bev, Tim, Peter, and Curt stringing the casings onto the...thing(cranker?):
How artsy, and disgusting looking:
FGH modeling his coat and hat that was Peter's as a lad: