Year's End (Misc news)

    I've been wanting to write for weeks....time sees to have slipped by. It seems that the Yule or Jul season keeps me from updating this blog. Earlier in December I was making stuff for the two Christmas shows that we signed up for (and paid for). I'm not sure if we will do that again. We attended two shows the same weekend. April attended one and I, the other, with not enough product for one (in my opinion). I'm learning a lot about the show scene. How to display the goods, the "ideal" height for bowls, not too much on the tables but not too little, pricing which seems to be a never ending struggle between ideals and morals, general display color/feel, what to where, this year I wore a sport coat and vest! etc... We did good at both shows, which helps set us up for the dry time of winter. We tend to have not much going on for money making in the winter, but we always make it. After these 2 shows and a flurry of online sales we are set for at least the next month. Yes, it's a tough but fun and exciting life making things....craft objects, if you will, for a living. Feast and famine, but I really don't remember any famine. Just having to eat beaver meat or venison which is hardly a famine and I image makes us healthier.
    On December 21st we host our annual Solstice party or Julbord potluck. This potluck focuses on Scandinavian foods. We provide the Lutefisk and Swedish meatballs (my great grandmothers recipe) and folks bring the rest. This year we had some great foods. My friend Mike, fellow handcraftsman and his partner Julie brought some head cheese that they had made from scratch. Head cheese is brined and boiled pigs head cooked down, picked off the skull and set in a dish terrine style. It is good. I'm lobbying to call it "meat terrine" instead of head cheese as I feel it's more appropriate and would gain in popularity. We also had some creamed cabbage among other great dishes, which is a new but oh so tasty dish! Look it up you will like it. One of the highlights, besides the food and friends were the ale bowls! As host I start by making a toast and pass around an ale bowl filled with ale and some rye whiskey in it. I then invited folks to make toasts to the new year as the bowl was passed around the room. It was a great evening with friends and family.
   As for woodworking I've been reflecting on where I'm going and where I've been: Internet sales, marketing, business mind, teaching gigs, traveling to Spoonfest and Taljfest, what kind of cool wooden thing to carve or make in the immediate future (buckets and ale bowls),  learning  rosemaling painting, business and family balance, and making a lot of spoons!
   As for other things, I plan on trapping a few beaver this winter. This will happen in February when the ponds and flowing rivers freeze and the pelts are thick with prime winter fur! We have had some serious cold in the north this winter so far and the lake ice is starting to get thick. On the great Lake Superior we have ice out in the Apostle Islands which is very early for this time of year. I may be "bobbin" for Lake Trout next week. But I do have to fix my snow machine (Skidoo), which the parts are on order for. I had to replace the CDI/ignition system. I was getting a irregular spark on one cylinder.
     All kinds of things to do around here it seems wood and mechanical related.
     Ale bowls are on my mind....but more on that later.

    So, that's the update.....
     I wish you all a great New Year! Thanks for reading.......


some everyday bowls ready for delivery

the morning after our Julbord with hand made spoons and Mike's bird cups

one of my ale bowls filled and ready for a toast

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