My husband and I have been together for a long time. Like, late 80’s long. It’s pretty rare for either of us to truly surprise the other, but I think I did when I not only agreed to this warped project, but I helped build it. Yes folks, we’re keeping the magic alive by making a holiday decoration out of a deceased holiday icon. Just to emphasize how much my husband’s twisty sense of humor has permeated my life, I’m still chuckling every time I look at this.
Let me explain how we got here. The police department my husband works for used to be housed in an old bank building. The place was way too small and for a while, when he was a sergeant, my husband’s office was literally a countertop inside the armory. I don’t know what lead up to it, but at one point he built the rifle in the photo above, complete with toilet paper roll scope, and it stayed as décor in his tiny office space for a long time. A couple of years ago they got a shiny new building, and his rifle just didn’t fit in. Apparently it was retired to our garage.
We were putting up Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving. We usually wait a day or two, but our son leaves on Monday for the Navy, so we celebrated Christmas with him last weekend. My husband was hauling things in from the garage, and suddenly appeared in the dining room with the rifle, asking if he could hang it up with the Christmas stuff. He clearly thought I was going to veto that, but I know it has some emotional reminders for him of their guys and gals working together in that dilapidated, but cozy little old building, so instead I said “Sure, let’s do it, but only if we Christmas it up first.” You should have seen his face.
The conversation lead to mounting it with a deer head. After a search on the computer for one we could order, I realized we weren’t going to find what we wanted. As is always the case around here, if you can’t find it, make it. I found a few patterns to buy, but even those weren’t perfect. Then I found this one from Charming Doodle on UpCraftClub. The size, shape and everything else about it was exactly what we had in mind.
Stitching some of those curves was challenging and stuffing it took me a while, especially since I don’t make a lot of softies, but within a few hours I had the perfect thing to bring a little tongue-in-cheek holiday to our display. My husband specifically requested the crossed-out eyes, which I embroidered, and I added a felt red nose. It just so happened that the largest piece of brown fabric I had available was ombre, which worked out great and gave Rudolph some dimension.
After I’d finished the deer head, my husband cut the board from some of the old 70’s wood that had been in our house before we remodeled and added pegs for the rifle. The instructions for the deer have you leave wire sticking out the back for hanging, so he drilled holes and pulled that through to keep the deer in place. I was a little afraid the ears and antlers would sag after it hung for a while, but it’s been up for days without moving.
Anyone who’s been married for more than five minutes knows that sometimes you compromise, especially when it comes to things that aren’t exactly world problems, like Rudolph here. Just don’t tell him that it secretly cracks me up.