Thursday, December 24, 2009

bring it on!

I'm ready for this. The food is bought, and will be prepared today and tomorrow. Gifts are done and wrapped. People are invited, plans are made, things are going to happen.

And here's the main thing. Whatever happens, happens. There is nothing more to do except enjoy. I do try to plan ahead, but I don't sweat it if things go a little differently that planned. I'm at work for a breakfast get together, then over to the husband's work for more food, home to bake a pie, then off to friends for the evening. Tomorrow is all about family and friends at out place, and I love it. All the mayhem, family drama, everything.
Bring it on!
The Merriest of Christmases, or Happiest of Holidays, or just a Wonderful Friday to everyone who reads this stuff. Your reading and commenting make it worthwhile to me, and I can't tell you how much it means to me. I keep this blog separate from my 3-D life, so it's nice to know there are people out there.

Friday, December 18, 2009

just under the wire...

One more set of completed thrummed mitts. (I'd say my last pair, but a request came in last night for a pair "whenever I have a chance - not for Christmas or anything..."
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

another gnome, finished and given away...

I finished the blue and yellow gnome, and am really happy at how he turned out. For the beard, we chose a combination of the really long white furry yarn mixed with a champagne coloured shorter haired one. I think it looks great, and my friend S adored it. It matches her kitchen, and she has it sitting on the edge of her cupboards, watching over the place. She's waiting for the perfect name for it - she says he hasn't yet told her what his name should be.
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

busy, busy...

I have 4 days left in the office, and I'm super busy with work stuff. (They expect results in exchange for my paycheque. Strange, that.) So posts will be light. Really light. I mean, do you really want to see the minuscule progress on the Fame Trend Socks? Or see the state of the gift wrapping area? Maybe hear about the fluid family totals that are coming Christmas Day - she's coming, she's not coming, she not sure...
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

the girl has talent!

Susan has come through for me yet again. Just when I was post-less (Really, do you need to see another in-progress picture of a knitted gnome? They're much better when complete), she sends me pictures of a necklace she just completed for her Mom.

Now, I've never met her Mom. but I've heard lots. She loves the bling. Loves the glitz, but, it has to be quality glitz. Meet quality glitz. Crystals, silk ribbons, sterling findings - this is the good stuff. (You've really got to click through to these and see the close-up work).But the best part of her Mom is that she understands and appreciates the hand made aspect of gifts. I gather Susan's Mom had input to this necklace, and there was an inspiration picture, but trust me, this piece is one of a kind. I've seen the inspiration picture, and Susan has taken this to a whole other level. In Susan's own words:

"I love it, and hope my mom does too. It was hell."
Hell it might have been, but if her Mom doesn't love it, my Mom will gladly adopt her for it.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

things I need to finish...

I'm in pretty good shape for Christmas. (Go ahead, hate me, it's nothing I haven't heard from my own family). I get the "I can't believe you've started already!" I return with "I can't believe you haven't. Were you surprised by the date? Did you think they moved it?" (This attitude only counts within my own family - none of them are renovating, or putting giant holes in their houses. I truly feel for you if you have crap going on beyond your control. I'm really talking about my SIL who bitched at me - she works fewer hours than I do, her kids don't have evening activities, they don't entertain, and her husband gets home about 3 hours before mine does, therefore availing himself to help out. Yet she freaks out at me.)

But... there's still a few things to go...

From the top:

Another gnome, this one in blue and yellow, to match a friend's kitchen. And this friend is coming for dinner this Saturday, so this is now the main knitting project. He's going to be cute! I have finished stuffing his butt with beans, and have started one of the legs. I may wait to do the beard until S gets to our place, and let her choose if she wants a white beard or a grey one...

Next are the blue cotton socks for my husband. I'm pretty much resigned to finishing these after Christmas, and he's good with that. It's not like they are a surprise - he picked the yarn and I sized them on him, and he chose the grey that will accent to top to add some much needed length. He's good with getting them whenever.

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

defender of my house...

Remember this guy? I made this gnome a few years back - he's an Alan Dart pattern that came in a supplement to Simply Knitting Magazine. I absolutely fell for him, and had grandiose plans to knit multitudes of them for myself, friends and family. Those plans fell through for whatever reason, but this little guy still sits on the bookcase in my living room, tucked into the corner. The story is that these Swedish gnomes protect the house they live in. There is also a story that they steal from the house they live in, so I guess my guy is a combination of both of these stories - he protects us, but it's his fault things go missing...

Although he does have a somewhat "Christmassy" sort of look, he's really a year-round type of guy. I picked him up the other day, and thought that with a few modifications, I could make him a little more seasonal - brighter colours, some furry trim, a modified hat shape... A quick dive into the stash for some Classic Merino (even toys deserve to be made of good wool), a side trip to Michael's for the velvet trim, and I had this. I know, he looks a little off here. I had to wait until I could get to Needles and Knits for beard yarn. Fun fur (actually, almost any acrylic) is not something I keep in the stash, and Michael's had no white left on shelf. I was at the store on Tuesday, and cleaned Tove out of any and all white furry stuff.
Really makes a difference, doesn't it? This particular one is a gift for a friend. He will be clutching a small box with the other half of the gift. And he took so little time (a couple of nights, maybe?) that I really want to make more of them. There's a couple of people I know that would love him, and I'd really like one for myself. Plus, I'd like to make more of the traditional gnomes as well. Of course, with the time crunch upon us, the ones for me will be a New Years endeavour, but if I get butt in gear and crank out the last pair of thrummed mitts, I may be able to squeeze in at least one more of these guys.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I forgot to mention...

The CFO of our company won the footwear pool! He did a little happy dance this morning when he saw me in boots. The Director of Sales (my old boss) was the only other participant left - he had January 4th. (He was hoping for a snowless December, I guess). I hear there were 17 participants, and the plans are underway for next year.
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...

I caved.

I caved, and finally updated my footwear.
Two reasons.
yeah, that was what greeted me this morning. I know it will be gone soon, but there was enough on the ground that it reached my toes.
Two: My winter wardrobe is severely limited if I don't change the footwear. Whereas I can wear jeans everyday (and flip flops look fine with jeans), I have clothes that really need a boot or shoe, and I'd like to wear them. So even though I have jeans on today, the boots have finally come out of the closet.

And... I'm okay with this. I think. It feels really strange... And yes, the boots will be ditched upon arrival at home tonight. Of course, I still need shoes, as it's basketball night, and I have to play against the kids for a while before I take off for my Guild meeting. So, it's going to be a rough day for the feet.