Sunday, November 13, 2011

Some Holiday Spirit

The one thing I have experienced while living in Albuquerque, is that fall really is beautiful, but I seem to have avoided paying attention because I didn't want to believe it was going to get cold again. In Tucson and Nogales, it's either hot or cardigan chilly, so to have moved to the high desert of Northern New Mexico... well, it's been difficult to adjust. I had been in denial that Fall had arrived, but clearly Winter is already knocking at our door. It's been cold and for a girl from the low desert of Southern Arizona, I never take to the cold well. The change in the environment that Fall brings, is very beautiful though. Some of these colors are simply gorgeous.

My neighbor's wall has this ivy crawling all over it, and I couldn't help but notice the variation in the colors. It boggles my mind that this just happens naturally... it's so beautiful!

In the spirit of the change in weather and the joining in with the holiday decorating going on around the neighborhood, I decided to get to work on some of my holiday decorations. I found this fantastic tutorial over at Purl for a felt wreath (the photo below is theirs).

When it comes to crafting, I love to work with felt. I always have, and probably always will. Which means that I always have felt in my craft closet. I went through my fabrics and found that I had enough felt in red, white, and green to make my own version of the Purl wreath.

I have been cutting flowers and making textured centers for them throughout the week and then used the weekend to stitch the flowers onto the back panel.

I used pins to hold the flowers and centers in place while I stitched them onto the back panel.

I was so excited when I finished, but then... I didn't know where to hang the wreath... so, now it's hanging on the wall behind my desk. I wish I had a fire place with a mantel to hang it on, but I don't :(

Until I find an appropriate place, this is where it shall stay.

Now I have to work on the stockings I am making for the fam. We moved when I was in high school and we seem to have "lost" these awesome stockings with designs in sequins. We haven't had great stockings since and I have taken on the task of making us new ones. I am going to accent each stocking with a felt mum, which I also worked on throughout the week.

I found the tutorial over at Everyday Art. Mine aren't coming out quite so lovely as the one in the tutorial, but I really like the handmade quality of mine.

I have a few more flowers to work on and then I can sew up the stockings. I'll share photos of the fabric later, but I found some wonderful fabric with vintage holiday and santa images on them.

Until next time!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Vegan Option

I never thought that I would be giving up eating some of the things I used to, but I credit my friend, Nick, for teaching me just how good vegan food can be. The stress of being a grad student doesn't translate to healthy eating... at least not for me. Nick offered me a vegan pick me up/comfort food in the form of chickpea patties with mashed potatoes and a corn gravy. The meal was so delicious and I felt good after I ate it. Because I liked that meal so much, Nick asked me to join him for lunch a few days later, at a vegan place near campus, Mint Tulip.

The place was absolutely charming. I ordered mint limeade and I couldn't get enough! Nick ordered some carrot juice that I didn't think I would like, but it was delicious, too!

I ordered a buffalo wrap and Nick ordered a burger. I wasn't too familiar with Gardein, but Nick said that's what was in my wrap. It was delicious and with the way the ladies at Mint Tulip fixed it up... it was packed with flavor.

Nick's burger had a beet patty... it was such a lovely color of pink/magenta.

Clearly, I enjoyed my meal...

When I got home, I decided to try making mint limeade...

I made a mint infused syrup, but instead of sugar, I used agave nectar.

I thought it was the perfect blend of sweet and tart.

I may not be a complete vegan, but I definitely took some things out of my diet that were bringing me down... no more dairy and I still eat chicken. I guess that makes me more of a flexitarian than anything. We'll see how this whole vegan thing develops for me.

Until next time!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Feliz Día de los Muertos

I am happy to celebrate Día de los Muertos today. I send embraces to those of you celebrating the lives of those who have crossed into the spirit world.

For those of you who know me well, you know I wear my skull rings on a daily basis. I do this because I believe in the beauty of death. Many people always stop me and say, "Kristen, why the skulls?," and my honest response is that death is just as important as birth.

People have come to know me as the girl with the skull rings... My picture was in the newspaper, not of my face, but of my rings. I would almost prefer people consider the fact that I wear these skull rings on a daily basis because of the beauty of life and death, than remember my name.

I wear skull jewelry quite often, so for me, today is unlike any other day. I honor those people who I have lost in the world of the living, and look forward to encountering them again once I cross into the spirit world. I understand that el Día de los Muertos has become popular in the U.S., but I am hoping it doesn't lose it's real meaning and importance. It isn't just about skulls and flowers... it's about honoring our ancestors and elders who have crossed into the spirit world by making their favorite food and drink, and sprinkling the cempazuchitl or zenpasuchitl (marigolds), from the grave to our homes in order for the spirits of loved ones to find their way back home.

Te deseo un feliz día de los muertos y mando un abrazo fuerte a todos.