Sunday, September 27, 2015

Something to be Said

You know, I've loved summer in Kodiak for as long as we've been here, and always thought it was the best season here.  But I have to say, there's something to be said for fall. 

It's a definite contender for summer.  I was driving into town the other day at just the right time, and the sun was creating this fabulous orange glow on the mountains. - Just highlighting the absolute best of the auburn and golden colors that are the essence of fall.

Moments like that make me appreciate that slow slide into winter.  Maybe that's why it's called fall - because we're falling into the winter.  There's something about it that borders on magical.  I know - heavy handed.  But it's wrapped up in the crisp air, and the golden light, and the slow crunching of the grasses, and the shifting of vibrant greens to gradual ambers...and so much more that's hard to capture.

And the sunrises and sunsets this time of year?  Gawd.  Just gorgeous.  I don't know what it is about this season that makes the sun come alive when it wakes up and goes to bed, but it's hard to ignore.  

October 2014 sunrise

It's like the sky kicks it up a few notches once autumn rolls around.  It's stunning.

Lenticular clouds at sunset, USCG Base Kodiak - Autumn, 2014

Kodiak sunset - Autumn, 2014

Don't you think I'm on to something here?  I'm sad to say goodbye to Kodiak summer, but there's clearly something to be said for fall!

Ta-ta for now.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Book Review: Horns

There's a certain segment of people that will find this book completely offensive.   Some might even say it borders on blasphemy.  Fortunately, I'm not in that segment and I loved every minute of it!

Horns, by Joe Hill is about a man who wakes up one day with a pair of horns growing out of his head.  Essentially, he slowly transforms into a demon.  Some might say a version of Satan.

It was a riot.  Well, a riot but also at the same time a pretty compelling take on love, loss, coming of age, betrayal...and sociopaths.  It was so easy to nestle in to the story line and the main character, Ig.

Joe Hill manages to create a character that readers empathize with  - regardless of all the questionable and sometimes downright malicious choices he makes.  Somehow, I never lost the feeling that he's not really such a bad guy.  Ig embodies those wrenching, sadly relatable human emotions that plague us all.

Along with the absurdity of the plot, Horns captures readers simply because you end up being insatiably curious about how it will all play out.  Between flashbacks to childhood experiences, to learning bit by bit the truth of the mystery which is the crux of the story, Horns was a chilling & entertaining pick.

Lately I've been choosing books to get me into the Halloween spirit.  My next read is The Book Thief, and I'm planning to delve into some classic horror novels I haven't read yet. 

Think Frankenstein by Mary Shelly and Dracula by Bram Stoker.  What better way to welcome fall and Halloween than with some time-honored monster novels?  And Horns was the perfect kick-off!

I forgot to mention, Joe Hill takes after his dad.  That would be Stephen King.  Yes, that Stephen King.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree in that family!  Both father and son have creepy, creative, and sinister mastered.
So, for those of you looking to try a captivating and slightly malevolent read to usher in all things Halloween, I recommend checking out Horns.  Blasphemy be damned for those puritanical types! 

Ta-ta for now.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

DIY Harvest Wreath

Oh, it's that time of year again alright.  Harvest time!  I seem to do way more crafting in the fall and winter, and this harvest wreath is my first project of the season this year.  Between Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas I definitely tap into the craftiness much more often once fall hits.

I guess it's the holidays & crispy weather.  Or perhaps it's because it coincides nicely with Alaska hibernation season.  Definitely one of the two. Because really - what better way to wile away the winter dark & cold than with crafts.  And booze.  But once again, I digress.

I've wanted to create a burlap wreath like this one for a long time, so I'm glad I finally got off my ass and did it.  It wasn't hard, thanks to you tube.  I followed this woman's tutorial for the burlap part, and free styled the decorating part.

I had a bunch of fall-themed decorations on hand already, and I found the orange thistle flowers I used on one of my favorite craft sites,  It's hard to believe how affordable their stuff is - well, minus the outrageous Alaska shipping costs, anyway.  Check it out, you'll be surprised at the variety and price.

I started with a standard Styrofoam wreath form, wrapped it with burlap & secured it with hot glue so the white wouldn't peak through.

Next, I cut the burlap into 5 x 5 squares, and glued each piece into little "pillows."  You basically just fold the pieces into triangles and glue the corners together to make little poufs.

There were more than a few sessions of picking the hot glue off of my fingers.  And I may or may not have burned my thumb a few times.  I never said I was precise. 

The finished poufs are on the bottom right

The fun part is arranging the poufs onto the wreath.  I squished them together and secured them with hot glue and pins, rearranging and jujing as I went.

Coming along

The part I struggled with was the design and spacing of the harvesty things I used on the wreath.  You can use whatever floats your boat, decorations-wise.  I was set on the harvest-theme, but you could easily go in a totally different direction.  Flowers, berries, something holiday specific...whatever you want. The burlap is pretty much a blank canvas.

I used mini-pine cones, acorns, wheat, orange thistle flowers & some brown nut/flower type carved pieces.  I still question whether my spacing, amounts, and positioning works, and I was especially unsure about the spikes of wheat sticking out, but overall I think it looks good.

I have to use this close-up picture of the flowers because the hubby thinks he's hilarious.

After I had a few days to check it out on the door as I was coming and going, I decided I love it!  Not too bad for my first autumn burlap wreath!

Now...what to tackle next at the start of hibernation/crafting season?  New harvesty cocktails or something crafty?  What the hell, who says I can't do both?  But maybe not together.  Could be messy.  Ha.  Gotta make the best of the winter suck, so standby for...stuff.

Ta-ta for now.