A Western Valentine

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February 14. The annual romantic holiday. Did you forget? If so, fear not! We have some heart-warming ideas for the special cowgirl, loved one and little ones in your life.

HEART-SHAPED BLING

This unique buckle from Tom Balding is custom crafted to order. The dots featured are a signature Tom Balding finish. Add a little flare to your cowgirl’s wardrobe by custom ordering it with her initials, or a brand and make this Valentine’s Day one she’ll never forget!

tombalding.com

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ONE FOR THE KIDDOS

Here’s a handmade Valentine card for kids, created by Skip To My Lou which features a good pun! These Don’t Say Neigh Horse Valentines are so easy to put together for your child’s classmates. Add some cute horse figures from the dollar store and your child has an incredibly cute card to hand out.

Kids-Valnetine

 

HEART ARMITAS

These beautiful heart detailed chinks can be found on Western Horse Review’s Pinterest pages:

WHR Pinterest

Hearts

14 HANDS AMOUR

The Cupid’s Arrow variety pack from 14 Hands Winery features a 3-bottle Red Blend that includes: a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Washington State, a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley and a 2013 Merlot, Columbia Valley. This gift is perfect for the romantic holiday.

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FORGING LOVE

A set of hand-made horse shoe hearts crafted exclusively by Barbara Thoreson of BT Farrier services range are truly a unique way to say “I Love You.” 

Heart-Shoes

 

DAINTY ADORATION

A lava rack and leopard jasper bracelet with heart and arrow accent from Cactus n’ Sage boutique is delicate way to beautify your cowgirl’s wrist this Valentine’s Day.

Heart-&-Arrow-bracelet

 

DATE NIGHT

Heritage Ranch near Red Deer, AB, offers all kinds of romance packages today and throughout the month. Their carriage/sleigh rides offer the unique experience of riding behind a team of powerful horses combined with beautiful woodland scenery. Combine your carriage or sleigh ride with a lunch or dinner from their great ranch style restaurant and you have the perfect day or evening out. Spoil your partner with romance with a private sleigh ride and 5-course dinner then, the roaring fire on their patio will help warm those willing to brave the cold!

Wedding-Carriage

CUPID’S BIT

This beautiful E.Garcia concho and heart shank bit with low port roller would make anyone’s heart soar this Valentine’s day!

Heart-shank

 

Alberta Whisky Cake

It’s becoming increasingly prevalent to consider source (local) and company (niche) in our world. In a sense, our western culture has perhaps always leaned more towards a high standard of craftsmanship, than an overload of cheap trappings. We cherish one well-made bit crafted from a local artisan, over 10 made overseas. A pair of chaps so beautifully constructed they must be passed on from mother to daughter. And so on.

I’ve as much as possible refined and practiced the same criteria in my kitchen and lifestyle. I’d rather have less, and enjoy quality than stack up on bulk buys of ridiculously processed foods.

awckamlaAll part of why I never grow tired of this friend, and her consistently positive mind and joy of life.

It took baker Kamla McGonigal of Calgary, Alberta, four years to perfect her recipe. Determination, baby, that’s what it took. The fourth generation Calgary native wanted to use whisky, locally distilled at Highwood Distiller’s, from grain at nearby farms as one of the main ingredients in her delectable cakes. Finally after countless hours over an oven, McGonigal developed one of the best tasting and most unique baked-goods available to those with discerning palates – the Alberta Whisky Cake.

awcwhiskeycakeboxUsing only the finest locally-sourced ingredients, Alberta Whisky Cakes offer a seductive flavor. You will be able to smell it’s sweet, distinct goodness before you will ever taste it, but as whisky advocates know – this is a desirable trait.

awcradioSo, as I’m working through my Christmas list of gift-giving and thank-you’s – both personal and corporate, Alberta Whisky Cakes in their delightful western-styled packaging are a top pick. The beautiful bundts are simple to order, and because of the dense, whisky intinction, keep well through shipping and into the Christmas season.

Find Alberta Whisky Cake on Facebook or, here.

New Case IH Line of Rain Boots

 

Case IH Boots

 

Case IH recently introduced their brand-new collection of pink rain boots for toddlers, girls and women and we jumped at the opportunity to test them out!

“After the success of our red rain boots for boys, we teamed up again with our footwear licensee Eastman Footwear to create a collection of boots that women and girls could wear in a variety of settings,” said Sarah Pickett, Licensing and Merchandising Manager with Case IH.

And that’s precisely what drew me to these awesome boots. With a pair of agriculture-immersed children, I have found it relatively easy to purchase tractor apparel for boys. But finding equivalent tractor gear for our daughter has sometimes proven difficult.

Case IH Boots

 

Our kids literally squealed when we received their new boots – a pink pair for her. A red pair for him. Since that day the twins have pretty much worn them everywhere. My kids cannot avoid puddles, so I was pretty happy to have those boots as well! Around here, you never know what the terrain near the barn might bring, nor what the weather will offer. But even on sunny days, my kids prefer to wear their Case IH boots:

Case IH BootsWhether they are playing in the arena waiting for their Dad, at the horse show or in the mud (where Mom really reaps the benefits of these rain boots,) if they’ve got the choice you can bet my kids will reach for their Case IH rubber boots first.

Case IH rain boots

The toddler boots feature the Case IH logo and the character Fern Farmall. They come available in sizes 7 to 13 and girls size 1. All children’s boots are made with thick treads for maximum traction and loop handles to allow small children to pull them on with ease – this is an absolute must-have in toddler rain boots, if you ask me.

Case IH toddler boots.

 

The boots also come in adorable boxes too, so if you’re like us – with no shortage of LEGO or small toys hanging around – the boxes are ideal to use for storing items. I realized my kids weren’t going to let me send the boxes out of the house when they pulled them back out of our recycling bin, so I figured I could put them to good use elsewhere anyways.

Case IH Boots

 

The women’s and girls’ boots in the collection come in the color very pink camo and are available in full sizes 7 to 10. All women’s boots feature premium comfort, patterned lining; a reflective black seam for safety; and an adjustable buckle for a custom fit.

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To order Case IH rain boots, visit www.shopcaseih.com or see your nearest Case IH dealer.

Mother’s Day Giveaway

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Today’s post is short and sweet and dedicated to my Mom. Because it was she who has fully believed in me from the very beginning. My mom was the one gave me the courage to fly towards a vocation with horses. She has been by my side countless numbers of times for a hug, a shoulder to cry on and a kind, inspiring word. Without my mom, I would have never had the courage to try.

I’m sure y’all have some amazing mothers too, so if you tell me about them, I promise I’ll have a pretty cool prize package for you at the end of this blog.

But in the meantime, here are a few other things I’m totally digging at the moment:

• Incubators were life-saving necessities for my premature babies, but for newborns without access, there’s Embrace. For 1% of the cost of a standard incubator, it’s already saved over 50,000 babies from hypothermia. Embrace is currently running a Mother’s Day campaign — make a donation in honor of your mom and save another mom’s new baby.

• Chardon-neigh? Caber-neigh?  With a Horse’s Glass in hand, you’re sure to be a hit at the next barn party, horse show, or the wine o’ clock with your fellow horse lover.

Maple Apple Bacon Waffles. A perfect Mother’s Day recipe. Let me reiterate – Maple. Apple. Bacon. Waffles. Need I say more?

• From visits to senior homes to the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School, the horses of Gentle Carousel  bring their love to where it is needed most.

• It may be better than any other grooming tool on the market for removing heavy winter coats. SleekEZ is a perfectly, unique Mother’s Day present for the lady who prefers horse equipment over flowers.

• I’m totally swooning over these adorable photos of Princess Z – Zenyatta’s first filly.

• Guns N Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” retooled as 1920 New Orleans Jazz.

Lunch Punches make food seriously fun. I’ve even been known to make a cute sandwich for myself here and there.

• Carla Webb of Abbotsford, B.C., was sworn in as Police Constable 1777 and walked Vancouver’s city beat for 13 years. Now fronting her Empowered Through Horses program, Webb helps young girls deal with serious issues ranging from bullies, to low self-confidence and a myriad of troubles in between. Webb may be one of Canada’s best kept secrets – and the kind of woman you want your daughter to meet.

• Ride, travel, dance in beautiful boots designed with hidden pockets for your cell phone, passport and more. Elizabeth Anne Shoes was recently on Dragon’s Den and I am excited to see the outcome!

Odysseo. We will be going to this amazing production for the second time this month. With Imax screens and an abundance of equine talent, this is an event you don’t want to miss!

And speaking of Odysseo…. I have 2 tickets to give away to the event in Calgary, to one lucky winner. Simply enter into the comments below, a note about how your Mom helped you pursue your horse dreams. Or if you are a “horsey” Mom yourself, perhaps you want to tell us what gift you’d love to receive for Mother’s Day! Either way, we will be doing a random drawing of all the comments submitted near the end of the week. Good luck!

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4 Weeks ’till Christmas: Great Gift Ideas

It’s only a few days until the beginning of December, and at the log house, the preoccupation with Christmas decorating has come into full swing. Here’s how it goes: tubs of ornaments, glass balls, antiques and rustic stuff is hauled out of storage – we ponder it all and then take to the outdoors to cut the boughs, dig up the pinecones, wrestle pots, pails from their frozen beds and retrieve the well rusted horseshoes from the fences they’ve been resting on all summer and fall. Then we mix it all together to create our own version of country Christmas. Along the way, we create a few ornaments and greenery arrangements to give to friends. Because of their western touches, these often turn out to be some of my most loved gifts.

This year I’ve been gathering inspiration all year at the Western Christmas board at the magazine’s Pinterest page. Here’s a bit of inspiration for you.

4weeksbootarrangementIn the boot genre, try filling an old pair with greenery and a few ornaments . . .

4weeksccbootAttach a boot to a door or wall, fill it with decorations and greenery.

4weeksbootlightsOr, drape a string of lights, in and around a pair and set on a ledge. . .

4weekswreathWreaths provide a perfect attachable canvas for horseshoes, old tack and in this case, baler twine.

4weekshorseshoetreeHorseshoes find a great repurpose around here in wreaths, mantles and centrepieces, but here’s an idea we haven’t thought of yet, a horseshoe tree!

4weekshorseshoeornamentHorseshoe ornaments are easy to put together with a bit of glue and greenery.

4weeksbigornamentTake it one step further and create a bit ornament!

4weeksbwornamentEven I’m handy enough to bend old barb wire and turn it into a beautiful keepsake to attach to gifts or hang on the tree.

4weekslanternlightYou might need someone handy with electrical work to complete this project, stuff a string of lights into an old lantern and wire it up to warm up a front entrance or mud room.

4weekspoletreeA simple arrangement for a front gate or driveway.

4weeksrakeornamentRepurposing an old garden rake with pretty glass bulbs.

4weeksbarrelChristmas in a barrel with a Texas star touch.

4weekscalfpailOr, in an old pail – this one reminds me of the calf feeding pails we employed regularly at our farm.

4weekssimplearrangmenetOld containers hold so much character, and with a few candles and greenery make a beautiful and rustic centrepiece. For more ideas in this vein, have a look at this autumn centrepiece. 

4weekssmalltreearrangementSet a number of small containers together and stuff them with greenery from your shelter belt.

4weekswesternvignetteCreate an entire simple and soft coloured vignette with the simplest of items. Add lights.

4weekslariatwreathFinally, a lariat door wreath great for a barn or shop door.

For more western decorating ideas, visit the Western Christmas board at the Western Horse Review Pinterest Page. (You’ll also find the links for the sources for the photos I’ve employed here.)

4weekscavaliaAND – we’re giving away two tickets to Cavalia’s new production, Odysseo, soon to open in Vancouver, B.C.! All you have to do to be entered in the draw is comment below on what your favourite application of western, as depicted in the pictures above, is, or just mention one of your own.

To receive a double entry into the contest, just head over to the Western Horse Review Facebook Page, and enter there as well.

5 weeks ’till Christmas: Great Gift Ideas

One of the real gratifying perks of my job is the pleasure of meeting the western artists and artisans whose work I’ve admired from afar, as over the years, we’ve structured the content of the magazine to include more of a cultural bend and showcase the vibe of art and crafts in the western world. Consequently, the scope of my Christmas shopping list takes a considerable dabble into this, and we’re all the better for it, supporting our local economy, leaving a gentler footprint on the world, and often gifting pieces bound to become family treasures in the generations to come.

Here’s a few the interesting paths we’ve wandered down lately.

Though the Calgary floods temporarily closed The Van Ginkel Art Gallery – housed in one of the oldest buildings in historic Inglewood – the work of artist, Paul Van Ginkel can again be viewed in all of it’s breathtaking beauty, now that the gallery is open again.

See Paul’s Facebook page for a glimpse of what he’s been working on (horses!), and while you’re visiting be sure to purchase one of his calendars, illustrated with his work. Only $20 and 100% of the donations go to Calgary based charity HOPEthiopia (www.hopethiopia.com).

The Van Ginkel Art Gallery has limited hours, be sure to check before you go.

Nanton, Alberta, western artist, Shannon Lawlor has a great Christmas idea – custom hand painted brands. Here’s a collage of several brands shown here on different colours of hide. Hand painted on 4″ x 4″ squares, they make a unique gift idea for those with brands of their own.

Artist Gena LaCoste brings the Living West to life through her watercolors – horses, cowboys and cowgirls, flowers and heifers, and other gorgeously interpreted western expressions. For your little ones, she’s reprinted her books, “Horses” and “Living in the West” just in time for Christmas giving. They are full colour, about 40 pages, 8 x 10 inch soft-cover books, brimming from cover to cover with Gena’s beautiful paintings.

A perennial favourite in the Western Horse Review offices, western photographer Kim Taylor’s 2014 day planner is just as perfect as every year preceding it. I’ve a stack of these in my office, and often find myself flipping back to find a date or notation I need from a previous year.

Wanda Whaley’s beautiful slate paintings continue to awe me. She also paints on buffalo hide, birch bark and clay, working with organic hand-made paints. It’s about as close to 50,000 years ago as art can be. Check out her new work here. 

Finally, add a little western Christmas music to your day, with the Jeremy Neal Willis CD, Remembering Christmas, available at the Horse Barn in Kamloops, B.C., and Cowboys Choice in Vernon, B.C., or on cdbaby.

Postscript: Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s 6 Weeks to Christmas Contest. We have a winner: Missy Merrill-Davies, contact us at advertising@westernhorsereview.com by next Friday to retrieve your beautiful Paige Albrecht hand-crafted cowhide belt.

6 weeks ’till Christmas: Great Gift Ideas

I haven’t always been a fan of cowhide, perhaps because I haven’t had the vision for it into the decor of the log house. Cowhide placemats and runners have just never really taken my fancy. Pinterest has changed all of that and really popped open my eyes to the endless possibilities of cowhide. I’ve grown to love the idea of it so much, I’m venturing a guess that one or two of the people on my Christmas list will be receiving it in one form or another.

If you’re looking for a lifetime gift for the people who share your home, or a unique western-styled option for the urbanites in your life, here’s a selection of uses of cowhide to inspire.

Cowhide is a thought of as a traditional western accent, but with it’s organic elements of hide, hair and colour, it transfers easily into modern spaces.

Decorators know a cool thing when they see it, but I hadn’t ever thought of putting a cow hide in the bathroom. Is it even practical? Will it stand up to the inevitable water splashes?

Ever more daring, how about a bathtub encased in cowhide? So much warmth in the combination of wood grain, browns and hide.

Cowhide on white plank floor is a favourite for me, especially pulling together this minimal look. . .

. . .  or adding warmth and style to an office.

Boho chic gets a boost of Wild west with a cowhide.

No need to go for the whole rug, opt instead for a piece of furniture, like this award-winning coffee-table design.

Cool and chic chairs and ottoman. . .

. . . or these full loungers, really spectacular pieces.

Why not just drape your entire staircase in chocolate brown sensory overload? This one captures my vote.

There’s also a plethora of smaller decor items in cowhide such as mirror frames, lampshades and pillows.

These carry-ons are neat statements of your love of the West. And wine :).

And finally, what speaks of your love of the West more than a stocking crafted of cowhide.

Turns out the Wild West is alive and well in places modern, not  traditional western homes. If I’ve tweaked the idea of adding cowhide (or more cowhide!) to your decor, you can find much more of it at our Make Mine Cowhide Pinterest board, where we’ve amassed a small collection of all things cowhide. (You’ll also find the links for the sources for the photos I’ve employed here.)

Belt by Paige Albrecht. Skull by Dylan Callaghan. Photo by Krista Kay.

For the love of all things cowhide, we’re giving away this gorgeous cowhide belt by our friend and artisan, Paige Albrecht. All you have to do to be entered in the draw is comment below on what your favourite application of cowhide, as depicted in the pictures above, is, or just choose one of your own.

I nearly forgot to mention, to receive a double entry into the contest, just head over to the Western Horse Review Facebook Page, and enter there as well. Happy Friday!

7 weeks ’till Christmas: Great Gift Ideas

Music is a constant at the log house. We each have our influences and our tastes meander all genres. Shelves and cupboards overflow with CD’s, and I’m mildly grateful the era of albums is over, for the room it’s saved me. Even with the overabundance of our current collection, and the advent of itunes, new CD’s regularly find their way into the house. I don’t know about you, but itunes just doesn’t cut it for me. Hits aren’t sustainable enough to hold my attention, too much like soundbites of a larger picture. I need to listen to the full CD, to hear the entire story told.

In this house, the gift of music, in any form, excepting of course, Toby Keith, can never be misguided.

Here’s some of the latest we’ve been listening to.

Ryan Fritz writes all of his own material, inspired by the trails and cowboying life he’s led. He grew up in southern Alberta, and worked for many years on Canada’s renowned ranches such as the Gang and Douglas Lake Ranches. Ryan Fritz and his family now live in eastern Saskatchewan where they run cattle and manage a 5,000 steer pasture. And, play guitar. Produced by fellow prairie musician, Eli Barsi and John Cunningham, Wind Blown Buckaroo is Fritz’s fourth album, and his best, keeping the tradition of cowboy music alive. Order direct from Fritz at ryefritz@gmail.com.

Western Horse Review writer Deanna Buschert interviewed Tim Hus for an earlier issue this year, and upon the edit, I was awed by his humbleness. He didn’t let an answer go by without thanking his mentors, fellow musicians and always, his fans and friends. Just one of the reasons why it’s so satisfying to see his latest album, Western Star, receive such fantastic reviews and play. Some compare him to the late and great Stompin’ Tom Connors; I don’t see that comparison myself in the music, but one thing is sure, he is a true Canadian and original roots musician.

And, finally, Johnny Cash. Insight Editions recently published House of Cash:  The Legacies of My Father, Johnny Cashwritten by his son, John Carter Cash. This book gives you an insight into the Man in Black the likes of which you’ve never seen before. It is an intimate exploration of the soul behind the music, housed in a beautiful mock-leather binding, with a feature CD, accompanied by reproductions of handwritten song lists, lyrics and liner notes.

Gathering together previously unpublished photographs, lyrics, art, notes such as this humorous “to do list”. . .

. . . letters to June, and recollections from the Cash family archives, John Carter paints a portrait of his father’s inner life, and the values he imparted to his son and family.

This is truly a unique portrait of a deeply spiritual, creative, and passionate soul whose music sprang from the way he lived, and one I don’t mind saying, I would love to find under our tree.

9 Weeks ’til Christmas: Great Gift Ideas

Christmas is just around the corner . . . nine weeks away today.

What was once a 12 Weeks ’till Christmas countdown here at Screen Doors & Saddles has evolved into nine weeks. Really, what was I thinking? Does anyone really want to know this detail, whether nine or 12? Seriously, I’m just getting my head wrapped around Halloween.

Still, I can’t deny it, the 25th of December looms and over the next nine weeks I’m going to share a few unique Christmas gift ideas with you – offerings geared specifically for country and western living – my favorite genre of shopping. I hope you’ll find something that catches your eye and incites a cross off your list.

By the way, if you’re not a subscriber to the print magazine, it’s a great time to join up, and also give a gift. We have a holiday subscription special currently on – two for one! Only $24.95 – two subscriptions for the price of one – catch it here. 

On to this week’s Christmas gift idea. I recently caught wind of a nifty new equine subscription service. A Horse Box is a unique home delivery gift idea that’s been omnipresent in the U.S.A. for sometime, and just launched this August in Canada.

Photo by Krista Kay

The folks at A Horse Box kindly sent me the August box to review and it really impressed with the choice of products. I really like this idea. How much fun is it to receive A Horse Box? Akin to a mini-Christmas, I tell ‘ya! It’s innovative, brilliant, fun and a perfect anecdote for the hard-to-buy for rider, or anyone who loves to try new horse products.

This box of goodies in mini-sizes merit attention, and offer up a perfect way to test out an array of equine products you might otherwise miss on the store shelf, or just never think of trying.

Photo by Krista Kay

Here’s how it works: Each month members receive 5-7 handpicked items – from grooming products to alternative health items and gourmet treats.

Even. . . MAGAZINES!

That’s right, I’m thrilled to let you know that A Horse Box has partnered with Western Horse Review and thousands of A Horse Box deliveries in early 2014 – in both the U.S. and Canada – will contain the Jan/Feb issue, bundled with a special subscription offer.

I hope you love the sample issue, as much as I love A Horse Box.

P.S. A Horse Box is available for order in the United States and Canada, each with a separate order website. I’ve linked them here for your convenience.