X is for Xyloglyphy

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Photo source.

First, there are so many jacked up words beginning with X, no wonder kids only know “X is for X-ray”!! Words that have to do with wood, yellow or gross illnesses.

My word Xyloglyphy refers to wood carvings. I like em, I think they’re fun…I also found out I had an incorrect definition for the word I wanted to use so I was scrambling. Forgive me.

What I like about wood carvings is there are so many things you can do with this art form. Pieces can be functional or pretty. Created by hand with a small pocket knife, a lathe or even a chainsaw.
The subjects can be earthly related woodland spirits or animals or your favorite sports team’s mascot.
They can be painted, left bare or stained to bring out the grain of the wood. This is a type of art form where a piece of the artist is inside it.

Do I think doing wood carving is fun? I’ve never tried it. Sure, I’ve shaved down sticks and played vampire slayer in my backyard. Around my area of the woodcarving and whittling something done by our grandfathers who sit in front of hardware stores and burn time watching the town.

Female hobbies pertain more to the kitchen—traditionally anyway. I’m sure there are tons of super skilled women carvers and I don’t feel that I can’t because I’m a woman.

My Christmas tree holds a tiny handcarved shovel made by the grandfather I never met. I don’t know who else in my family tinkers with wood.

Is this a dying art?
Should we revitalize it by teaching our youth?

How do we bring back something like this?

The hand embroidery that I do is an outdated craft, but I hope to pass it on to the youngsters in my family.

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Day 310: Cap Coasters

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I think I have collected enough beer bottle caps to be choosey with mg designs. I haven’t whipped out the hot glue gun yet but I kinda like the almost rainbow pattern and the very angry orchard coaster.

I set a mug and glass on top to see if I liked how it sat and it seemed more sturdy than I imagined.

I have a newish pinboard where I have started collecting cork, bottle cap and other drinker-junk crafty pins. Crafts for Drinkers.
Some of these crafts are just dreams, but some are definitely doable.

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Any comments on my cap arrangement?
Like my colors? (Note the Ale8one cap. Go, KY!)

Kat’s V-Day 2013

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This Valentine’s Day went pretty well. I was very pleased that Kit and I decided to stay at home. I hate the stress of going out for a fancy dinner only to find every restaurant over-packed with other noisy people. Besides our food was better. First, we got semi-dressed up and were witnesses at a friend’s wedding. We had lunch with the happy couple and then went trudging to do the V-day shopping we should have done days before.
I was surprised how many men were snatching flowers with a desperate look in their eyes and how many folk there were in the grocery store.

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This is a hugely popular DIY gift on Pinterest. The project is called 52 Things I Love About You. On each card I wrote something that I love about Kit. I copied some from another crafter, but I found that the ones that meant more were the personal ones. My Kit rarely wears pants. He is a shorts-man. Because of that fact I wanted him to wear shorts for our wedding. The phrase “Two Wild Banshees” is one of those things I catch him saying all the time.

cardsWhen Kit looked through the cards on Vday, he was chuckling and smiling all the way through. Because I wrote on the face of the cards, they can still be played with normally.

wineSupper started the only way it could; with wine. I bought a bottle of the same wine we had for our wedding (a peach chardonnay) and threw some frozen peaches into it. Perfecto.

kabobsHonestly, the first thing I did was begin marinating the shrimp and steak. The shrimp was medium, fully-cooked and frozen. I used a lemon ginger marinade that I should have started the night before, but the hours run away from me. The marinade for 1 pound of shrimp is:

  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/8 onion, chopped
  • 5/8 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro leaves (I used cubed bouillon style cilantro)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (dash)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (dash)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (dash)

I cubed up a steak and threw it into a gallon bag and tried to follow this steak marinade recipe: (I didn’t have W-sauce, oops!)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • dash of pepper

As you can see in the photo above, I skewered quartered small sweet onions, whole mushrooms (baby portabellas were on sale), whole grape tomatoes, and fat slices of red and green bell peppers. I baked these kabobs on a cookie sheet (I recommend putting aluminum foil on the trays to help with cleanup). Bake them for 10-12 minutes at 450F, flip them over and bake an additional 7-8 minutes. Thanks for the oven kabobs recipe, Sarra!

cccakeI made coca-cola cake for dessert. I failed to check my stock of butter and only had enough to make the cake and not the glaze that went on top. What makes coca-cola cake special or different from a regular chocolate cake? I honestly have no clue. Google is not helping a sister out either. It was a good recipe that I have to try again when I can do the glaze as well. I honestly love my mom’s recipe for crazy cake. This was more moist…almost like a light brownie.

The rest of the evening was spent enjoying our present that we gave to each other. Our Roku is so much better than jewelry I may never wear. Tons of Netflix TV shows at our fingertips. In one month, the Roku has already paid for itself several times over because we were frequent users of Redbox.

Day 292: Sock-Bride

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I’m gonna throw this out there. Sock monkeys creep me the eff’  out. They are flopsy, have creepy plastered smiles, and have the most dead eyes I’ve ever seen.
That being said, I know most people lost them and have super fond memories. Go for it.

Even though sock monkeys make me wary, I deeply wanted photographic proof of the human sized sock monkey bride. I wasn’t about to stand near that thing but my friend is super brave.

When the world gets flipped, I will take care of the evil clowns if you watch my back for the sock monkeys.

Sidenote: this was handcrafted by some sock-artists at the local farmers market. Scary but solid work on their part.

Day 280: Acorn Ornament

Part of my December Adventivities.
This was one of the ornament crafts that I found on Pinterest and altered. Many of the acorn cap balk ornaments were a little more fancy than mine. It took some time to complete, so I would only make this again if I wanted to do some crafty gifts.

I was picky, which means this craft took a lot more time than it should have. I finally found some foam balls that appeased my expectations. They were white, of course, so I first painted them with a deep brown and allowed them to completely dry.

Next, I prepped my tools. I heated the hot glue gun, made sure all my caps were clean, and cut an appropriate length ribbon.

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I can’t give you an exact length for ribbon everyone likes their ornaments to hang just right on their tree. I took deep brown ribbon. I think the ribbon was either a half inch or 3/4 inch width.

I recommend taking both ends, overlapping and gluing them to the bottom of the ball. Glue little by little up the side of the ball and mash the ribbon flat. This will enable you to glue the caps down flat on top of the ribbon. Once you glue the ribbon you should have a loop left over for hanging.

After your ribbon is glued down, you can begin gluing on the acorn caps. Start by putting one at the bottom so it hides your ribbon overlap. From there, just do what feels right. I packed my acorns pretty tightly but perhaps you want a little brown paint to show through.

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I also added little silver bells in periodic places. If you do this as well, be careful how much hot glue you stick it to. One of my bells doesn’t ring because I buried it in glue. They should have a nice tinkling sound not a dull sound.

Even though I burned my finger tips a bunch this was really fun to make! I might make some as gifts for next year if I get started early enough.

Day 267: Bacon Ornament

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Kit and I have accidently started a Christmas tradition where we get a new unique ornament every year–mostly if we go somewhere special. We started it on our first vacation together to Florida. It’s a good plan because we had zero ornaments when we got together.

This year we decided to save a little cash and make some crafty ornaments. It was so much fun! We found directions for making these felt bacon ornaments on Pinterest and I really simplified them.

I only did a single layer instead of sewing them back to back and I didn’t sew anything. I used hot glue to piece the white, red felt and brown ribbon.

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We also didn’t print off the patterns. We just measured and eyeballed a lot. They look sweet and homemade. We gave a few of our bacon army away at Christmas and I hope they enjoy them.

Part of my December Adventivities.

Day 254: Pattern Design

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I wouldn’t consider myself an artist and I have no professional training.
I don’t know how the pros do it but this is how I start with a pattern for my embroidery.

An idea forms in my head and I draw it a bunch of times in my embroidery book or private journal.
This was supposed to be a Christmas gift but I started much too late. My music teacher SiL loves anything related to music and dragons.

This pattern is going to be a bookmark with the music quotation of “Music is what feelings sound like” with music notes all over it.

I hope she likes it. And I hope I finish it before Christmas next year!