Thursday, December 24, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
I used black worsted weight wool (Smart? Not really sure - they were in the "missing ball bands pile", but it's a nice soft wool) and gold pencil roving from Briggs and Little. My son's school colours are black and gold, so it seemed appropriate. His teacher can wear them on those winter recess playground duties. They're in his backpack, ready for gifting today.
So, checking my list...
Shopping? Pretty much good there. A couple of gift cards to pick up, and the traditional card stuffer lottery tickets are all that's left.
Knitting? Mostly done. two pairs of socks that will be given as "in-progress" gifts. One for the husband, one for the FIL. Both are used to it, and won't think less of me.
Sewing? Check. 18 pairs of pajama pants, completed and ready to go.
Food? Check. Well sort of - turkey order is in at the butcher (two Heritage birds - one for the oven, and one for the husband to do on the spit on the BBQ). Perishables not purchased yet, but time is alloted for this next week.
Baking? Check - last night was round one of the dog biscuit baking. Depending on how many we give away, there may be a round 2 next week, plus an apple pie, some cupcakes and some caramel and chocolate popcorns (not technically baking, but it does entail use of the oven).
Wrapping? Ahh, there's the issue. I'm a touch behind on this. I usually have more wrapped by this time, but I'm blaming the Walt Disney Company, and their poor timing in needing year long forecasts from their licensees. Of which we are one. And in the licensing world, what Disney wants, Disney gets. So that ate up a great deal of my time this past week. But it's done, and Disney is happy, which means my boss is happy, and using the trickle down effect, this means that I am happy. But I must get wrapping. Immediate family gets just paper (my boys don't appreciate ribbons and the like). Extended family and friends - the whole nine yards - good quality wrapping paper, ribbons and interesting bits and bobs to really glam up the package. I may never be considered glitzy in person, but my wrapping will stand up against Martha Stewart's anytime.
Sleep catch up? Check. As of 4pm today. I'm supposed to be on holidays until the 4th. Although there is some work to be done, I can do it from home, so at least I'm not getting up at 5am every day...
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Next up - finishing the mittens for my son's teacher. I had pretty much resigned myself to having them done for January, and told my husband that last night. Of course, by the time I went to bed, I had completed about 4 inches of the second mitt, and with the two hour finale of So You Think You Can Dance last night, I just have to finish the thumb, and they will be ready for gifting on Friday. Last night was the boy's last swim lesson for this session, and his instructor has been phenomenal, so I dug into the stash of completed items and found a pair of wrist warmers for her. She was thrilled, which made it that much better. She really deserved it.
And after things calm down a touch, I've got another gnome to knit. My son wants one for his room. Then, I may actually get back to some projects for me that have been neglected for a while. Or maybe, once Christmas is done, I'll just sleep. I could use some of that...
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I could tell you about taking my Mom to IKEA for the first time. She's a convert. She kept looking around and saying "look at that! Wow, that's nice! What do you mean, it's only $10?" Well, I've got to come back here..." It was fun to watch. She finished up her Christmas shopping, I got the new bookcase I needed for the kitchen, so it was good all around.
Today I start a major push to get some work I do with Disney complete before the end of the year. Technically, my year ends on Friday, as I'm on vacation until January 4th, but I will be working from home during the next couple of weeks, just to keep on top of things.
I should be back posting before Christmas - Especially if something interesting happens...
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
The third pair of thrummed mittens, this pair for my son's teacher. I've made them in the school colours, and will enclose a note saying they're for those cold playground duties the teachers have to do. I think she'll like them. The deadline for these is December 18 - last day of school.
Last but not least - the Fame Trend socks for my Father in Law. As much as he's okay with getting them after Christmas, I'd kind of like to get a little further along on them, but we'll see. I'm not 100% convinced that these socks are right for him. Colourwise, they're spot on, but the Fame Trend is a little more rustic than I like for him. He has problems with his feet, so I should have gone softer. I''ll keep debating this point, every time I pick these up, so maybe I should just bite the bullet and find a better yarn for him...
Plus, there's the last 4 pairs of pajamas to finish up, possibly a few more knitted items, and some baking. And knowing me, the baking is of course, the non-traditional kind. Everyone else makes wonderful Christmas cookies this time of year, I make dog biscuits. Yup- we have 4 dogs that are parts of close friends' families, so we can't forget them. They all get home made dog biscuits. They love it, and it's fun to do. And dogs don't care if they haven't browned evenly. I actually forgot to do this last year, and paid the price. Not so much from the dogs (I mean, come on, they're dogs, they don't remember from one year to the next that we gave them bickies...) but the owners were a touch put out that we forgot. So we're rectifying this with double batches this year. And yes, I have bone shaped cookie cutters, as well as other shapes.
A few more gift items to pick up, and then the wrapping marathon begins. I literally take over the basement, set up a table in front of the TV, and go wild with papers, bags, ribbons and the like. I admit, I tend to go over the top with wrapping. I love it. My husband just shakes his head.
It's obvious, isn't it? I love this time of year...
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Personally, I think that's a lot of pressure on me. I'm going to have to come up with a way to screw things up - maybe wear boots the day after Labour day and nip this whole thing in the bud early...
I wonder what will happen if I revert back tomorrow...
Monday, November 30, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Call me crazy, (many do), but really and truly, my feet don't get cold, and I hate shoes. Also, as much as I enjoy knitting socks, wearing them? not so much.
Monday, November 23, 2009
The Fame Trend socks are slowly (very slowly!) getting there, and the blue cotton ones are doing the same. I really want to get the Christmas knitting done, because I have plans for more "ME" knitting in the New Year, and I want to get at it!
Friday, November 20, 2009
I told him that if I ever married again, it would have to be to an orphan with no siblings.
I'm sure my family is no peach at times, but really, there's so few of us, it's easier to take at family gatherings. His is huge, and so diverse, it's amazing to me that these 5 kids were all brought up in the same environment, with the same parents. And there's not that much of an age difference - all 5 kids were born within 8 years.
And this party is just step one - we still have Christmas coming in a few weeks, when this horde will be descending on my house. But that's okay - that's what we prefer. I don't have a problem with cooking or a feeding a large group - its how I was brought up. My parents enjoyed entertaining and cooking and did it often, so my brother and I, growing up in that kind of atmosphere, embrace the same thing. It's just was we always thought was normal. The husband's family was not. Cooking was a chore instead of a joy, entertaining was cause for alarm and panic, and guests were treated preferentially, rather than as just friends. So I can understand where the panic is coming from this week, even if it makes no sense to me. (surprisingly, my husband is more similar to my family - he loves entertaining, hence we do it often).
So, I guess I have to be more understanding. Not everyone had the same upbringing, not everyone looks at things like this the same way I do. And maybe I'm being as much of a pain in the ass to them as they are being to me. It's all a matter of perspective.
Knit Tech made a comment that made me think:
"Since you do everything amazingly, they* have a lot of ground to try and make up."
Do I really come across that way? I kind of hope not. I'd hate for people to think poorly of me because I seem to be an overachiever. (Trust me, if you saw the state of my house, you wouldn't think that). (Knit Tech - I'm pretty sure you aren't thinking poorly of me, you're just putting yourself in their shoes, right? Please?)
I don't give hand made gifts because I want people to think I'm trying to look better than them. I've just always been the type to want to do things myself. I'm fascinated by crafts and creating, and really, I like personalizing things that way. The pajama pants? Yeah, there's a lot of them, but I production line it, and they don't take long to make. The knitting? There's a lot less of it being given away this year, because there's a lot less of it to give. A lot of my knitting time this year was taken up by knitting things for ME. And I liked it. The beads? It takes a heckuva lot less time to bead a bracelet than it does to knit something.
I also spend a lot of time thinking about the people on my list, and their likes, dislikes, and way of life. It's an ongoing, all year thing for me. I like trying to match op things to people. Again, it's something my parents always did, so I don't think anything of it. Others find it incredibly difficult. It seems I am "difficult to buy for". I have trouble with that - I like everything that people give me, although I have been the recipient of some fairly weird gifts. Like the briefcase sized day timer to replace my purse sized one. (the thing weighed 5 pounds!) Or the pink flowery polar fleece jacket from last year. Ask Susan - I don't do pink flowery. Ever. And this from someone in my family that has known me for 20+ years. I say I like wool, they tell me I have so much, I don't need any more. (I've given up trying to explain how wrong that is). I say I like kitchen things and cookbooks, I get told do I really need any more? (Well, yes, yes I do.) I say I like books and music, they say that's too ambiguous. (Okay, so the list of favourite authors wasn't SPECIFIC enough?) Knitting books. Books on sewing, beading, needle felting. I get told they don't know enough about the arts to tell a good book from a bad one. (Isn't that what store clerks are for? Or Google? ask around.) Clothes? I spend a fair bit of time with these people - it's not hard to determine my tastes. Jeans, yoga pants, nice casual tops and hoodies. Nothing pink, ruffly or flowery. Not my style.
Sigh. I feel like I'm complaining, and really, I'm not. To me, Christmas is all about the giving. I don't care if all I get is a bottle of Scotch (single malt, please) and some chocolate. (Actually, I just described what my Mom gives me most years - I love that woman - she knows me so well...) I'm happiest when someone opens a gift that I've thought was perfect for them, and it is. (It isn't always - I've missed the mark a few times). That, and seeing the kids running roughshod, having fun, being kids. It seems the Santa is making a return visit to our hose this year, and I'm thrilled.
The party is going to be fabulous - I know it will. My MIL is getting excited about it, and that's all that matters. Christmas is going to be a blast, and I can't wait. There's nothing better than family at the holidays.
Even if I can't stand the sight of them for the next few weeks afterwards...
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Before anyone thinks I'm done shopping - please. Give your head a shake. The shopping is no where near started, let alone being close to finished.
I'm talking about the handmades. The knitted, the (in a few cases) crocheted, the sewn and the beaded.
I did make it easy on myself - the nieces and nephews are getting hand sewn pajama pants, then a little something extra for each (a Noro knitted skirt, thrummed mitten, beaded bracelets, and in some cases, gift cards) I've been sewing since I was a kid (thanks, Mom!), so I can do a pair of jammie pants in about an hour. And when I production line the cutting (love my big rotary cutter), it can go even faster. I prewash all the fabrics, and toss them in the dryer (they are pajamas - no one is going to handwash them). Then I stack up two or three layers and cut. I'm sure the woman at Fabricland thought I was a touch nuts buying the same pajama pattern in three different sizes, and other pajama patterns as well, but face it - my family comes in all sizes, so I need the multiples. I cut out a few pairs at a time, group them by colour range and then sew away. Grouping by colour range is to make it easy with the thread and bobbins. All those that us white thread go in one pile, the black in another, greys over there, and the odd red or blue or yellow sits alone until I get to them. I'm having a blast with this, matching up the fabrics to the kids (and adults!)
For the hockey players:
Eight pairs are done, 8 more are cut out, and 5 more need to be cut. Then there's some knitting (mostly sock) and a couple of things to buy. Another bonus this year - I have vacation time that I HAVE to use up before the end of the year, so not only will I have the week before and the week after Christmas off, I will still have 3 or 4 days before that! Hopefully one will be spent at the AGO - my son's class is going on a field trip to see the King Tut exhibit, and I desperately want to be going along. So that leaves me a couple of days to shop for stuff.
You know all this organization is going to come back and bite me on the ass, don't you? Especially now, since I've just gloated about it. The universe will stomp on me in a big way...
Friday, November 13, 2009
yeah, I'm having way too much fun. who knew typing with my thumbs was so easy?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I thank them, and all others.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Can't get any more Canadian than that...
Monday, November 09, 2009
Regarding the thrummed mittens, Tracy asked where I got the roving. The red roving is actually White Buffalo Mills Unspun. It's a wheel of pencil-like roving, and I have tons of it. Years ago, I bought wheels in black, red, navy, rust, green and gold. I have no idea why, or where (possibly from Briggs and Little), and I have used it for thrums every since. Okay, I just did a little checking - I definitely bought it from Briggs and Little - here's the link. It's great for thrums since it's already a perfect size - you just have to rip off the lengths you need. (Most patterns tell you 3 inch lengths, I go for at least 4 inches. For thrums, more is more.) I've also got some braids of Fleece Artist Roving in hand-dyed colours, and these look great with solid coloured yarns. I have used the Fleece Artist kit that she mentions, although Tracy, how the hell did you get two pairs out of 1 kit?? I made one pair and I had to supplement the roving they supplied, as there was no way there was enough roving for even the one pair! as I said, the key with thrums is "More is More" - skimping on them is defeating the purpose. You need enough roving inside to make it worthwhile, otherwise, I wouldn't bother. So lesson learned, the Fleece Artist kits, while absolutely lovely, are fine for 1 pair of small child's mittens, but be warned if making some for adults - it won't be nearly enough. The grey alpaca (I also have a bag of white alpaca) was bought at the Kitchener Knitters Fair, about 2 or 3 years ago. There are plenty of sources for roving out there.
Deirdre asked about the Halloween pumpkins - how did I get the white teeth? That's easy - just carve off the orange skin to reveal the white flesh of the pumpkin underneath. I use my old litho carving tools - they look like small woodworking awls and shapers. It's way easier than it looks to do.
Brenda asked if I enjoy knitting thrummed mitts. I do, although I have to admit mitten knitting is not among my favourite things. I go in jags with it. Right now I'm willing to knit mittens, a month from now, I will hate them, I'm sure. As far as thrummed vs. regular mitts - I like something to keep my brain occupied. So it's either thrums, or colourwork or SOMETHING beyond straight stockinette. (Yet, I rarely pattern my socks, preferring to keep them straight stockinette. I know, my brain is wired a little funny...)
Deirdre again - asking about the yarn and roving. Okay the roving I explained, but the grey wool is also a Briggs and Little wool - for some reason I have a ridiculous quantity of this stuff. I must have bought it during one of my "Buy Canadian" phases. Which is not a bad thing.
Marlyce asked about the charity our Guild supports. We support many, including Yellow Brick House in York Region, a woman's shelter, Southlake Regional Health Centre, and many others that or "charity co-ordinator Jen finds. I believe there are some overseas charities that are helped as well.
Regarding the decluttering, we donate toys and stuff to Goodwill, clothes go there as well, or I give them to my Mom for her church. Some of the toys go to my friend who runs a daycare. Basically, other than things that are trashed, we are not just throwing things away - they are getting re-used by someone. This weekend, another 4 boxes of toys went to a daycare (2 more are in my trunk to drop off this week), and bags of stuff to trash were put out. The basement is getting there - a good vacuuming, and we're good to go. Now I have to convince husband and son that the Playstation and Wii should move down there as well...
Next up - closets and outgrown clothes. I swear, my 10 year old kid grows overnight! Thankfully, he likes his t-shirts baggy...
Friday, November 06, 2009
It's called Fame Trend, by Marks and Katten. It's 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon, so it should hold up well. It's like Noro in that it seems to be a single, rather than a plied yarn, so that may negate the nylon content in regards to how well it holds up, but I will try it out to see. The top one is a black, cream and grey mix, and like Noro, it has long colour shifts. The bottom left if actually a green/grey/brown mix, although the green is not showing well here - in reality it's a lovely mossy shade of green. Then there's a rainbow colourway, bought because it looks like fun. The grey and black will probably be for my FIL, the green is for me or possibly the husband, and the rainbow hasn't been decided yet (probably me - I know it will be appreciated that way...) I'll use the extras for my son - he rocks the handknit socks, but he keeps growing out of them.
This yarn would be great for knee socks, as well. (I'm not a fan of knee socks myself, but that has me thinking about my nieces, and the rainbow colourway...)
And yes, I have already started the black grey and cream. Yes, I have multitudes of other projects I could and should be working on. But this is research! Right?