Posts Tagged 'Christmas'

Christmas Issues

Did you believe in Santa?  I never did.  I don’t remember my parents telling me one way or the other, but they didn’t emphasize it, and there were no gifts from “Santa” under the tree and no talk of not having presents if I was naughty, so I grouped Santa with Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse–fun, but imaginary.  David wants to do the same thing with Ruby, even though he believed in Santa as a child, but I am sort of conflicted.  I don’t feel like I missed out on anything, but what if I did?  On the other hand, it seems that telling your kid that Santa is real is taking a gamble–maybe she will gracefully grow out of it, or maybe she will believe until she’s 12 and have an embarrassing encounter at school and feel totally betrayed.  Thank goodness we have another year or two to decide. 

We did let Ruby sit on Santa’s lap last weekend.  Her sweet cousin wanted to tell him “what everyone should get” for Christmas (Toy Story toys, in case you were wondering), so we stuck Ruby on his other knee and snapped a picture before she had her “why did you give me away” meltdown. 


He was a nice looking Santa, I will give him that. 

Anyway, so it’s December now.  Last year, I decided to make an advent calendar by knitting 25 mini-mittens, which I would be able to stuff with treats or fun things to do printed on slips of paper.  I got to 13 and then quit.  That means I’ve only got 12 to go!  And listen to this: I was going to scrap the whole idea because I couldn’t remember which pattern I’d been using for the mittens and couldn’t bear to have 13 in one size/style and 12 in another, but then I felt something inside my stocking, which I was hanging (by the chimney) (with care) and LO! It was the pattern, written on an index card!  Oh 2010 Jillian, you were one smart cookie.


Gimme gimme gimme

In the movie Bed of Roses, Christian Slater describes Christmas morning as an “0rgy of greed”.  I saw that movie when I was 14 or so (my sister had a weird thing for Bed of Roses, sort of like the thing I had for The Sound of Music, but less wholesome, I’m sure) and for some reason, even though I didn’t know what an 0rgy was at the time, that phrase continues to knock around in my head during the holidays.  So that is what I’m thinking all morning when we are supposed to be celebrating the birth of Christ.  0rgy of greed 0rgy of greed 0rgy of greed.  I’m sure my mom is very proud right now. 

Anyway, here’s what I want for Christmas!

Clip-on Earrings!  Here is something you should know about me before we go any further.  One of my ears is normal.  The other is bionic.  I had my ears pierced when I was 6 and my left ear stayed pierced, but my right ear closed right back up again. This has happened about 4 times now.  A million years after I die, someone will probably stumble across a lone, pristine earlobe while walking across the Ohio Valley, because I’m pretty sure that my ear will never decompose.

So I want some clip-on earrings.

Lands End Cozy Fleece Coat.  Now that I will be running around outside with a child, I think it’s time for me to get a more….athletic coat.  This is athletic as I can get, though.  I mean, it has a zipper, so that’s about my limit. 

Tiny stork scissors.  I have always (for the last year) wanted these. 

African Baskets - African Bolga Baskets, Extra Large

Extra Large African Baskets. I have seen these all over the internet and passed one up this summer at a local festival.  I have major regrets about that decision.  Anyway, I think these are beautiful and would be a great way to tote all our stuff (toys, snacks, knitting projects, extra layers) in and out of the house–to the park, backyard or just to the next room.

Felt Coaster Set.  Yes, $88 is a bit much for coasters, which is why I haven’t bought them.  Which is why I want someone to GIVE them to me. 

Vintage Grandmother’s Flower Garden Quilt.  My love for blankets of all kinds is boundless, but vintage quilts have a special place in my heart.  And Grandmother’s Flower Garden happens to be my favorite pattern.  As an aside: Who are the horrible people who sell these?  Listen, descendents, I do not spend hours making things just so they can be sold to STRANGERS on Ebay! 

  A sweater’s worth (5 skeins) of Malabrigo Rios (superwash merino worsted). I still haven’t knit myself a sweater.  Isn’t that sad?  I even have yarn for one that has been languishing away for nearly two years now.  I’m not giving up though, and I think that once I finish one, I will be on a roll.  This is my new favorite yarn, so maybe that will inspire me to get started?

A pair of Toms.

Meal planning notepad.  We already have the All Out Of checklist on our fridge for grocery shopping, which comes in super handy. Menu planning is one of the few organizational endeavors that I will keep up with, and this would make that even easier. 

…and World Peace.

A few of my favorite things

Here I am! Coming out of the holidays is sort of a process for me. There’s the unpacking, the putting away of new stuff, the taking down of the Christmas tree, the house guests, the big party, the resolutions, and then there’s finally just…quiet.

So, last year, most of my resolutions revolved around crafty stuff, and I’m proud to say that all of the things on that list have either been accomplished or no longer matter to me. So, I would call that a success. This year, I only have two resolutions:
1. Start drinking my coffee black. I think this is the most impressive possible way to take your coffee and, as Raven’s husband, Donnie has pointed out to me, makes people more inclined to pour you a cup.
2. Learn to sew without cursing. I think a new machine will be vital to the success of this resolution.

Anyway, Christmas and New Year’s were lovely and, not to sound materialistic or anything, but I got some great stuff. So here are a few of my favorite things from Christmas!

The swift.  This has basically changed my life, Internet.  It has made all my loopy hanks of yarn into lovely, decorative, stackable “yarn cakes”… observe:

Glorious.  Here’s some other favorites:

A vintage martini set from our overly generous neighbor, Shannon

malabrigo sock yarn and my newest project, a hipster scarf.

A new little camera to spare you from the blurry iphone pics

Hope you are having a peaceful new year!

Around the House

Well, today is my last day of work until after Christmas, AND it’s supposed to snow two inches tonight, so if I’m not feeling more festive by tomorrow morning, I suppose there’s no hope for me this year. 

Let’s look at some scenes from around the house, shall we? (Please forgive the dark pictures–the solstice is coming, so the days will be getting longer soon, thank goodness!)

Christmas tree

Our clear Christmas tree. This year, I really wanted to add some natural elements–I was thinking pinecones or acorns, or birds or something. Maybe next year. As always, I think our tree is beautiful and magical.


The gift pile. Most of the ends have now been woven in, and the only knitting I have left is one glove and two sleeves. And yes, that wine is absolutely necessary. We have now moved on to blocking.


Obviously, these are the hats blocking. Blocking (for non-knitters) is when you wash your finished project and then lay it out to dry in the shape you want it to be. It does wonders for the texture of your knitting–everything smooths out and becomes much softer and drapier. To block the many hats I’ve made over the past months, I used balloons set in coffee mugs, so that they would be nice and round, like the heads they will soon be warming, and so that they would dry a bit faster, since the air could circulate all around. This worked really well.

Although they did look a little creepy the next morning.

I take it back–he’s not getting cuter.

I love my dog, really, but he can just be so very disappointing sometimes.

Case in point: Yesterday, while I was happily blogging about how cute he is, Maxwell was busy escaping from the $90, brand spanking new crate we got for him and tearing up the guest room. People! He pulled the steel door backwards into the crate somehow. This freaks me out because last time I checked, MAXWELL DOES NOT HAVE HANDS. So probably just as I was uploading pics of my brand new and very first knitted shawl, he was peeing on it. Then he went on to throw up, eat a piece of chocolate that he found god knows where, and pull my makeup bag off the table and onto the bed so that he could more easily rifle through it. Ugh.

Anyway, I have recently become obsessed with knitting a cardigan that zips up. It seems to me that shoddily-sewn-on buttons are choking hazards for babies, and since shoddily is the only way I know how to sew, I have to eliminate buttons as much as possible for the next few years on ellie clothes. Enter alternate fasteners: hook and eye-don’t like them, snaps: also need to be sewn on (see above), zippers…..awesome. So I’m sewing a zipper onto a cardi that I knitted up over the weekend and it’s super cute because it’s purple. Look!

Ignore the poor picture quality, I’m at work and can’t really mess with lighting and sunshine. I’ll worry about that when it’s finished.

For now, focus on the cuteness of the halfway-sewn-in zipper!

And another thing…

After I finished those other green fingerless gloves, I had maybe 65 yards of the light green malabrigo left over.  I really wanted to make a slouchy hat with it to match the mitts, but knew in my heart that 60 yards was not enough to do this.  That didn’t stop me from trying, though!  First, I tried an eyelet cable pattern (note: cables are not a good way to conserve yarn), which was a sad failure, so I ripped it out.  Next, I tried lace, since a fabric with a bunch of holes in it, while not a very warm hat, doesn’t use a whole lot of yarn.  Unfortunately, I forgot that I really suck at knitting lace because I obviously can’t count.  So that got frogged.  Then, I tried just plain old stockinette stitch, and this was when I realized that I just didn’t have enough yarn for a hat. And that made me very sad.

But then, last night, I was digging through my yarn scraps and found some olive green Malabrigo left over from David’s hat and inspiration hit me.  Stripes!  Even though olive and sage are not the most obvious as far as color combinations go, I went for it.  I think I was just determined to get this hat knit.  So, on the 4th try, I knitted a striped, slouchy hat from start to finish last night.  And here it is:


Isn’t it cute?  I’m going to have a hard time giving it away, I think.  But give it away I must, because I committed to a handmade Christmas and I am nothing if not cheap dedicated to the cause of handmade proliferation. 

Other news:

Last night, I watched “Knowing”, which reinforced my aversion to all movies that are about the apocalypse.  They scare the bejeebers out of me and I hate them.  This explains some really tightly knitted areas on the above hat, which probably took place while people were screaming because their faces were on fire.  Also, Nicholas Cage, I love you because you seem really nice, but sometimes, your voice is a little zombie-ish.

Tomorrow night is a very important one for those of us who follow So You Think You Can Dance as they will be bringing back past dancers to do the best dances ever (park bench, door dance, bed dance, hummingbird dance, the list goes on…)! Raven and I watch SYTYCD together every Wednesday night, but usually I skip out on the results show and hear about it from her later.  Not this time, though! 

Today, I will start another pair of fingerless mitts, this time for a boy and with a convertible top.

Christmas 2009 Gift Update

I don’t want you to think that I’ve been slacking on my Christmas knitting duties–I’ve finished a couple more things to add to the pile.


This is a slouchy little hat I made on the way to Myrtle Beach a couple weeks ago.  It only took a three hours, which was a shame because I was counting on it to take up a bit more car-time than that–it’s the only time I’ve ever wished a project took longer!  It’s a very forgiving pattern (Star Cross’d Beret) in my most favorite yarn (malabrigo) and was a pleasure to knit up!


This is a pair of fingerless mitts to match the hat.  It was another one day project and was a lot of fun to knit up. They are a little more fitted than the green ones, which is sort of nice.  The colorway of the yarn is called “Paris Night”.  I think it’s an extremely lovely name for this purpley-blue color.


Finally, this little fella came together over this past weekend.  Isn’t he cute?  I used the Mr. Dangly pattern (isn’t that name a little….I don’t know….strange?).  I’m calling him Ollie.  He’ll be for Ellie Belly this Christmas.

I’ve also finished an entire sweater for my mom, but I haven’t blocked it yet, so it looks a little wonky right now.  I’ll get a decent picture up soon, though.

I’m so proud of myself for all the progress I’ve made!  I just have a few more things to do and then I’ll be ready for the holidays–and it’s only July!!


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