Winter Has Arrived

It’s officially that time of year!!

  The wind, freezing rain, and snow have arrived and brought with them a sense of winter and Christmas.  The Engineer and I weren’t even planning on being home this weekend, we were hoping to go down to Momma MisHappening’s to spend the weekend trying to fill my turkey tag.  That just isn’t going to happen.  Nothing about sliding down an ice coated interstate for 80 miles and then sitting in a blizzard waiting for a turkey to waddle on by sounds like a good time.  So instead…..I shall be catching up on laundry and crafting!  I’ve got several craft projects I’m working on, and some I can’t share until after the holiday….but there is one I can share and maybe you can use for some Christmas decorating!

CRAFTING TIME IS HERE!  

(Best said in the Charlie Brown sing-song style) 

So, let’s say that hypothetically you’ve been hunting , and that those hunting trips have been successful.  Let’s also assume that you’d like to take a more nose to tail…I prefer snoot to toes….approach to using the animals you bring home.  Top that all off with seeing some expensive feather spheres and wreaths in shops about town (Here’s looking at your $70 foam wreath at Scheel’s :/ )….and you’ve got yourself a full blown holiday crafting project on your hands!

You may or may not have noticed, but pheasant feathers are frequently used in boujee arts and crafts.  I happened upon some expensive pheasant feather spheres while we were on vacation in Virginia, and instead of paying I decided I could make my own.  Nothing like some feather decorations for The Engineer’s upstairs man loft!  Sadly, the only pheasants that have made it home to me have already been cleaned and vacuumed packed breasts.  While delicious, pheasant breast doesn’t contribute a ton in the crafting department.  So, I used the next best option….duck feathers!  The ducks have been arriving at a fairly steady rate, so I’ve had my choice of some nice feathers.  They are a little bit more work then pheasant feathers, but they get the job done nicely.

To start, you’ll need to prep your feathers.  I plucked the bellies of 2 gadwalls and 1 northern shoveler specifically, but any variety you have that you think looks nice will work just fine.  I kept the species separate as they are slightly different colored, but feel free to mix if you like that look.  It would be better if you have some early season ducks before they become fully plumed and downy soft for winter.  

Duck feathers are very oily, and that oil can slowly degrade the feathers once they are removed from the ducks, so you’ll need to clean the feathers.  This is the hardest part of the project honestly.  I filled the kitchen sink with some warm water with a few drops of regular Dawn dish soap.  Place a colander down into the water, and slowly and carefully add handfuls of feathers and swish to clean.  Pull the colander up and rinse the feathers well with clean water.  

Now…..to dry the feathers……ugh.  I placed the feathers into grocery bags and then used my hair drying to blow the feathers dry.  You’ll need to maintain a firm….but not too tight so the air can’t escape…..grasp of bag around the neck of the dryer.  Also, make sure that the air hole you leave isn’t too large.  If it’s too large, the feathers will shoot up and out of the bag as they dry….which will lead to feathers floating all around you bathroom…….been there done that!  Honestly, this isn’t a great method for drying feathers, but it got the job done.  It’s annoying and VERY time consuming, but it works.  You’ll probably want to leave the feathers sit for a couple days and stir them occasionally to make sure they dry completely.

So fresh and so clean clean!

Now that everything is clean and dry, we can officially get crafting.  You’ll need to pick up a few supplies from your local craft shop.  Some good craft glue, tan or brown paint, a cheap foam brush or two, and some floral foam spheres of whatever size looks good to you.

Start by painting your foam.  If you can happen to find foam that is already dirt colored feel free to skip this.  I didn’t want to risk any of the green foam poking through so I gave them all a rough coat of paint.  It doesn’t have to be pretty or even, we are just looking for some camouflage here.

I recommend using a good tacky craft glue to place the feathers.  There are some cons to such a thick glue, but the pros greatly outweigh them.  You’ll want to start placing feathers from the center top and work down.  Begin by smearing a layer of glue on about the top third of the sphere.  Start layering on the feathers working in concentric circles around the sphere.  If you find that your feathers aren’t sticking, or if portions seem to be lifting, it might be helpful to put a tiny amount of glue on each feather before you place it.  I found that putting some glue on a foam brush and dragging the feathers carefully across it worked to smear on a very thin layer.

If the bases of your feathers are especially downy…or quill-y….you might want to gently trim them.  I ended up having to trim every single one of the gadwall feathers, they were just too fluffy.  It can be hard to cover up all the downy fluff, although if you don’t mind some fandom fluffy tuffs then just glue the feathers as they come.  

Every 3 circles around the sphere you’ll want to apply another ring of glue.  Use the foam brush to carefully dab on the glue.  You’ll want to be carful not to get too close to the previous row of feathers.  If you snag one it’ll pull bits of feather in weird directions, or maybe even pull the feather off depending on how recently it was placed.  Just use your finger or a toothpick to smooth the feathers back down, and if that doesn’t work just layer another feather or two on top.

Continue until you reach the bottom of the sphere.  You’ll end up with a quill end or two visible at the bottom of the sphere, but it’ll be alright….no one but you will ever even know.  Plus, just put that side down!  Let your spheres dry and then use them however the wind takes you.  Mine are destined to be nestled into a garland upstairs in the man loft!  I didn’t apply any sealant to mine, but depending on your intended use you might want to hit them with a thin spray coat of a sealant.  I wouldn’t recommend anything you’d need to brush on, it will just disturb the flow of the feathers.

Arts and Crafts, Fireball, Hangovers, and Besties for Life

I meant to get this posted sooner, but it’s been a busy week.  I spent most of the week in Omaha at a lab managers conference I wasn’t actually supposed to be at.  But, everyone else from work was going, so I got to tag along like the ugly stepchild and drink unlimited coffee and Diet Coke.  The only perk was that I got to spend Monday night with my Chananana eating sushi, drinking beer, and talking about boys.  It was perfect!

I mean, I guess in the grand scheme of life it wasn’t the worst of times, but I did have legitimate work to be doing in the lab which I obviously did not get done……

However, before rolling out into Cornhusker territory I spent the weekend with the besties!  Lil B came over from the West side to visit, and we had some epic adventures.  Granted, we had some epic plans that didn’t get accomplished, but anytime spend with friends is time well spent.

THURSDAY

The Cowboy said this looked like trouble....I don't think he has any idea!

The Cowboy said this looked like trouble….I don’t think he has any idea!

It’s always ideal when you can start your weekend off on a Thursday night with $2 wine night at your favorite bar!!!  We then decided that a Walmart run was in order because we had crafts to do and more wine to be drinking!  I would like to point out that taking my two slightly tipsy besties to Walmart was a bit like herding cats…..and there may have been several jokes made about Lil B’s melons…….yup…..we are those girls.  Hide yo kids, hide yo husbands!!!!!!!

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Rolling around town with these two weirdos!

We may or may not have tried to con the Hubby in Law into watching Magic Mike XXL with us….it didn’t really work.

On a side note, could we discuss that Magic Mike XXL is too random to even exist?!?!  I mean the first Magic Mike was weird….but acceptable.  There was an actual plot line and you felt like something was actually happening.  The second one is just random, and then when it finally starts to get good….it just ends!!!!  Like here’s a mostly naked Channing Tatum, now goodbye! Granted……..I did have to take a hangover nap Saturday morning during part of the middle section, but the besties assured me I didn’t miss much.

We all went to bed without much incident, and I did manage to scrounge up enough blankets so that Lil B didn’t freeze to death in my house!

FRIDAY

I didn’t work Friday since Lil B was here and the Bitch Faced Bestie (Triple B) gets off around noon.  Lil B and I made breakfast and did manicures while we waited for lunch time.  Triple B and the Hubby in Law came over after she got off work, and I made spicy fish tacos with slaw and avocado cream for lunch.  (I should probably throw that recipe up on the blog….someone remind me!) The Hubby went to work and we ran to the mall because underwear was on sale…..and you can’t waste a sale on underroos when your dog eats them the way mine does!  Post shopping it was shower time followed by wine and crafts!

I did have grand plans to make rings, and so we bought wire on Thursday night.  Unfortunately, the wire we settled on was too thick.  Triple B did manage to create a cute squiggle ring, but I couldn’t get my “Bitch Fuck Off” rings accomplished.  Oh well, another day I’ll try again.

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It’s gonna have to be another day another craft for this little project I guess.  I really think the trio of “Bitch Fuck Off” would be really helpful for nights I go out….or trips to Walmart…..life in general really!

We did manage to accomplish making our matching bestie sweatshirts.  Triple B found a Pintrest hack for making your own screen printed shirts.  It is a bit labor intensive, however I think wine really takes the edge off that.  It would be less labor intensive if everyone pulled their own weight….cough cough Lil B……!!!  However, some of us are more crafty than others of us apparently.  Triple B showed off her pro level skills by cutting out two of the stencils in the time it took me to cut out one…..

  • The Things You Will Need
  • Sweatshirt or shirt of choice
  • Acrylic paint
  • Sponge brush
  • Freezer Paper
  • Printer
  • Scissors and a knife
  • Tape
  • Pen or Sharpie
  • WINE!!!!!!!!!!!
  1. Type the saying or picture into Word and blow it up to size.  Once you’ve got what you want, just print the documents.  This took us a couple trials to get the size right, but it’s not a difficult process.
  2. Align all your words in the position you want and tape them down onto your work surface.
  3. Trace the words onto a sheet of freezer paper, making sure that the waxy side of the freezer paper is down.
  4. After you get done tracing, you’ll need to cut out the words.  This is by far the worst and longest part of the process……..just keep drinking your wine and you’ll make it through.  Be sure to save all the middles of your letters….so your letters will have their holes if that makes sense.
  5. Lay out your shirt and gently iron on the template.  If it isn’t positioned just right, or if one of the middles moves, just peel it up, reposition, and iron down again.  We also put a piece of freezer paper inside the shirts in case the paint bleeds through.
  6. Sponge the paint onto the stencil making sure to cover everything well.
  7. Carefully peel off the stencil….it won’t come all in one chunk….and pick out the middle of the letters.  Try and avoid getting paint onto any parts of the shirt that aren’t supposed to have paint.
  8. Let shirts dry undisturbed over night and you’re all set to rock your new creation!

After we finished making the three shirts, we headed out to the bar.  We ended up not staying very long, but that was long enough to put away some fireball and get hit on by some random old guys who may or may not have been married and who may or may not have been at the bar with women other than their wives……..

We did manage to order food on the way out of the bar, however Lil B ate all mine before we managed to get home. :/  This caused less than stellar results for some of us the next morning…..

SATURDAY

You'll notice the only perky one is the one who got the food!

You’ll notice the only perky one is the one who got the food!

Eventually, I did manage to choke down some toast, and rallied for the end of Magic Mike XXL….. Again, apparently I didn’t miss much in the middle section while I was sleeping off the pukiness.  I think Lil B and Triple B made eggs….but I was in bed so I’m not entirely sure.  I do think the mark of true friendship is when your friends can forage in your kitchen and no one thinks it’s weird that you’re not there!

Girls who veg together stay together!

Girls who veg together stay together!

We spent the rest of Saturday at Triple B’s playing Star Wars Monopoly.  The Hubby in Law made us fancy steak and shrimp dinner, and we all just hung out and watched movies.  We had originally had plans of going downtown to one of the bars for a neon dance party, however the residual hangovers were just too much to rally from.  Also the mere thought of going downtown seems exhausting.  It’s expensive, far away, it seems like that’s were the annoying Bro type dudes would hang out…..just generally not really my cup o’ tea.

SUNDAY

Sadly, Lil B had to leave us Sunday morning, but there was time for one more breakfast and coffee.  I know it’s hard for her because Triple B and I are both here now and she’s sorta out West all by herself.  It’s always sad to see her go, but anymore, our livers can only take so much of each other at one time.  I’m actually headed out the direction in a couple weeks so I’ll see her again soon.  Until then, there’s always awkward and strange group texts to get us through.  Seriously, if you read our group chats sometimes you’d think we didn’t get along…..you’d also think we were probably drunk all the time….we aren’t, that’s just how we act!