Posts Tagged 'presents!'

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.

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Knits for the whole family (except David)

So, I have been secretly fretting over a rocking chair for the nursery for a number of reasons. First, I have heard that some babies do not like to rock or glide, so this purchase may be totally in vain, which brings me to the second worry, which is that comfortable rockers are super expensive (we will not discuss gliders because they are hideous), so I would feel a lot of pressure to use it regardless of the baby’s feelings about rocking, which could lead to many tortured hours of either rocking alone, or rocking with a screaming baby, niether of which are particularly good options. Third, it is hard to find one that will both go with the nursery color scheme (gray and yellow) and physically fit into the smallish space available for it.

So.

I was hoping to solve all of these problems by finding the perfect used rocker, this way, if it doesn’t work out, we can just get rid of it without feeling too guilty about the money. We went to my favorite place to buy used furniture: Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. I loooove it there, but I was not feeling confident that we would actually find a small, yellow rocker the first time out. But then, there it was! A SMALL YELLOW ROCKER!! So, for $55, we threw it in the back of the Prius (which can hold way more furniture than you might think, by the way), cleaned it up and put it in the nursery. I love it.

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Cute, huh?

Anyway, as the title of this post implies, I have been knitting.  I just completed my #1 absolute favorite thing I have made for this little girl and it’s funny because it’s such a plain and simple little top:

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Pattern: Seamless Baby Kimono

Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino

Modifications: Used buttons instead of ties and shortened the sleeves

First of all, the pattern was lovely.  Perfect car knitting because I could go for long stretches without referring to the pattern at all.  However, the real star of this pattern is definitely the yarn.  I have never used Malabrigo Silky Merino before and my oh my, the color and the drape and the softness is just a pleasure.  You know I’m biased toward this yarn anyway, but honestly, this was something special for me.

Second knit.  Don’t laugh, but it’s another pair of mitts.  I made this pattern for my sister for Christmas last year and liked them a lot and I had this festive red Malabrigo, so I made a pair FOR MYSELF, you guys!

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Pattern: Susie’s Reading Mitts

Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted, Colorway: Vermillion

Modifications: this pattern is perfect as is. 

I love these.  I love that I can use my iPhone and change the radio station in the car (I am currently switching between Christmas music and NPR, so my car time has been sort of manic-depressive lately) and type and find my keys–all while maintaining hand warmth!  I know you know this, but isn’t it weird how uncomfortable frozen, chafed hands can be?  All swollen and numb, but somehow still ultra pain sensitive?  I hope to forget about that sensation over the next few seasons of glove wearing. 

Wish me luck.

A couple things…

I made another pair of fingerless gloves.  This is only because I didn’t feel I had sufficiently proven my fingerlessgloveknitting prowess last fall, while preparing for the Christmas of Knitted Gifts.  And it is also because I have a special friend who I will be seeing soon at a certain baby shower (for me! OMG!) and I happened to have an extra hat from last year (it got a little crazy at the end, there), so I thought, what the heck, I’ll make some gloves and complete the set!  So I did.

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And, let me tell you, I am SO GOOD at making these now.  I think I can stop now.  Except that, somehow, I still don’t have any for myself. 

Pattern: Raspberry Mitts (Ravelry Link)

Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Paris Night

Mods: I turned them inside out so that they are in reverse stockinet.  I just liked how they looked better that way. 

In other news, this fall has been disappointingly hot and dry–most days it hovers in the mid 70’s and just stays sunny.  Oh well, at least the dogwood tree is giving us a nice show, as always.

dogwood fall

Mother’s Day Gift Guide #2

Acquiring a second family is one of the joys of marriage.  Seriously.  I know that not everyone feels this way, but I have been lucky in that my “in-law” family is warm and loving–and has a lot of funny quirks and interesting drama.  So, pretty much perfect.  My mother-in-law is a lovely lady who I first met before David and I started dating when she came to visit him in college (that was almost ten years ago, now!).  She drove all the way from New Jersey to Kentucky by herself, which is shocking to me because I can hardly drive 30 minutes to work without dozing off at the wheel.  Just before she started her trip, she took in a stray kitten.  She didn’t trust David’s dad or little brother to keep it alive while she was gone, so she brought it with her!  There was a lot of drama with hiding said kitten in the room at the B&B where they were staying–no pets allowed! 

My MIL is the kind of person who Dresses.  We will go out to eat and I will scramble to find a shirt and jeans that are not stained/wrinkled/dirty and she will show up in what I think of as an ensemble–sweater set, skirt, pantyhose and heels, hair freshly done, makeup perfect.  It’s impressive, to say the least.  Is your mom or MIL like this?  Well, here are some things she might like:

Piccola Ninfea pouch in blue cement  I think MIL would benefit from a clutch wardrobe.  I am willing to start that wardrobe with this handmade modern, but still classic one. 

Chanel Lip gloss.  I think it’s time for a lip gloss upgrade. 

 

The Top Ten Literature and Fiction books from 2009  I could talk books all day with her–she reads the best books and then passes them on to me!  (lucky me!)

Eagle Creek Pack-it Custom Travel Bottle Set

Airplane charm, Moleskine Travel Journal, Pack it Custom Travel Set.  Somebody’s now a Jet-Setter! 

Rubberstamp bookplates–for all those books I borrow and never return 🙂

I know she doesn’t do it on purpose

My impoverished friends and I have a problem: Our mothers and fathers make themselves impossible to shop for.  Now that their moneypit children are out of the house, they merrily spend their money on the things that they want.  Which is awesome.  Until Mothers’ Day.  Then it sucks.  So, poor children of the world, Aunt Jilly is here to help you navigate the treacherous waters of gift shopping for the people who tell you what they want, and then buy it themselves before you even have a chance to scour Craigslist for a used one.  I am writing some gift guides. 

I think of my mom as a very cutting edge kind of person.  She has the coolest gadgets, the cutest clothes and excellent taste.  She tends to be the first to adopt a new trend and the first to declare it “over.”  She stayed home with my sister and I for ten years or so, then went back to work without missing a beat.  Just like that.  And now, she’s started her own business, travels all over the place for fun, looks better than ever and is pretty much a 5’1 awesome machine. 

So what do you buy for a person like that?  Well, if your mom is like mine, you feel my pain on this one.  I have found that what we’re going for here is #1: something she doesn’t know she wants and #2: something one-of-a-kind, so she won’t already have it. 

Here are some ideas:

A Vintage Danish Modern Letter Organizer. My mom just bought me the cutest vintage thing, so maybe she’s into that now?

 

“Malta Alleyway” Watercolor Giclee print  My mom’s mom is from Malta, so this would be sentimental, but a few steps up from that macaroni necklace I’ve got drying in the kitchen.

Matisse Grey Wool Ipad Sleeve (because you know she’ll have one soon enough)

Falling Leaves Necklace–my mom is all about the statement jewelry.

Let the Beat Drop Speaker

Let the Beat Drop Speaker (your iPhone goes inside).  In the summer, my mom spends a lot of time outside.  No reason Shakira can’t come with her. 

Latitude and Longitude Dress

Latitude and Longitude Dress. Clothes are so hard because, although we have similar tastes in clothing, we’re different enough that I always make sure to get that gift receipt, if you know what I mean.  This seems like a safe bet, though.  Unfortunately, it’s currently out of stock.

Well, that’s where I’m at so far.  More to come on my Mother’s Day Gift List.  Maybe a list for David’s mom (who is also tough to buy for). 

PS: Mom, if you see something you really like, help your child by commenting.

Easter

I’ve accidentally neglected my blog.  Again.  Instead of whining about my jobs and how they prevent me from pursuing my true vocation(s) (laying on the couch, watching Anthony Bourdain, cooking, perfecting miscellaneous handicrafts, and of course, blogging about it), I will excite you with news!  One of my jobs gets a SPRING BREAK!!  So, for this week and this week only, I am back to a 37 hour work week like normal people!  So, back to blogging I go and I have SO MUCH backlogged content to discuss–like the napkins I sewed! and the table we built!  and the doll of myself I made!  and the SHIRT I MADE THAT FITS!!  So much to share!  So many exclamation points!!!!!!!

So, this post will actually not cover any of the above.  Instead, I will hold off till I have proper pictures and replace that content with my weekend plans.  MY NIECE IS COMING TO VISIT OMG.  Also my sister and brother in law, mom and dad and grandma. My first actual holiday.  And guess what?

I’ll tell you because, unless your last name is the same as one of mine, you’ll never guess.

We are having a TURDUCKEN for Easter dinner.  I’m sure you know what a turducken is, but I will tell you anyway because it’s fun to say.  It’s a turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a hen.  Is that not sick?  Oh, and…it’s Cajun.  Or Creole.  I don’t really know the difference.  Here’s an example:

Turducken

 I’ll just give you a minute to collect your thoughts.

Okay.  So what does one serve with this mutant bird?  Well, I’ve decided to alter some more traditional holiday dishes to fit this…nontraditional theme we’ve started.

I’m planning on putting together some creamed spinach.  This a favorite of mine that I make fairly often, so I won’t have to be stressed about it coming out right.

Instead of mashed potatoes, I’m going to make these Bourbon Baked Sweet Potatoes from 101 cookbooks.  I can make this ahead, plus, we are in Kentucky, so bourbon is appropriate, I think.

 The bird(s) come with their own stuffing, but I’m also going to make this Spring Panzanella from smitten kitchen.  It’s light, room temperature and quick to make.  And I think I can make this ahead of time, too.

 Finally, for my mom, I’m going to make this Breton Buckwheat Cake.  I made it last year and, as soon as I tasted it, I thought of how much my mom and her mother (who passed away several years ago, just before Easter) would love it.  I am the latest in a long line of women who love a not-too-sweet dessert, and this cake is marvelous.  I’ll probably make some whipped cream and berry sauce for the sweet tooths among us, though. 

 Okay, since I HATE to put anything up without a picture (turduckens don’t count, obviously), here’s the doll I made for Ellie. 

aunt jilly doll

It’s Aunt Jilly!  Groovin to some tunes!  I still have to make one of David (or Unkadunk as he is known to Ellie).  I basically stole a pic of a paper doll body from flickr and hacked off her little head and put mine on instead, then printed it out onto transfer paper, ironed it onto some leftover flannel, drew an outline around it and sewed along the outline with a plain white backing, leaving a space above my head, then I filled it with lentils and sewed the top closed.  I got the basic idea from angry chicken.

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!