Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I must have been extra good....

Because Santa/PC brought me a BEKA swift for Christmas!



Here it is in action!

video

PC ordered this swift from Paradise Fibers in Spokane, WA. I have to say, for a non-knitter, he did well. I think a lot has to do with the great customer service he encountered there. A very nice woman walked him through all the options, the pros and cons of each swift, the price points, the average usage and her personal favorites. She even gave him a video link to see how the swift worked! In the end, she led him to a mid priced swift that I love.... it turned that skein on the left into the ball on the right in less than 1 minute. That's 145yds of camel, perfectly tensioned... in less than 1 minute.

Paradise Fibers... you make my world spin!

Friday, December 26, 2008

FOs and UFOs

Well, maybe not UFOs, but Santa flew right over my house the other night and dropped off presents. One I will share with you tomorrow... a full demonstration complete with a customer service "you rock!" from PC...


But, until then. The Christmas knitted gifts. These are always tricksy aren't they? Will they like them? Will they use them?


J's Hemlock Ring.



It was done in time, but too small, so a gift card was added.... and he immediately put it on top of his head. The blanket, not the gift card. He wants to put it on the dining room table. It will be stained and ruined very soon, I think. I'm not sure what to think about this one.


The wee Noodle is getting this for Christmas:















Designed by me. Concept by Ericka Knight, but I ended up changing about 110 things (including the stitch counts, the edging, the embroidery and the lengths) that I am calling it mine. I am VERY proud of this one.... I hope Noodle loves it and wears it a lot.


Yarn: Louisa Harding Kashmir DK, cashmere, merino and bamboo, I think.
And, doesn't everyone's Christmas morning look like this? The recent snow storms had left my parents' 'extra table' under several feet of snow... and it was filthy. We needed it and loaded it in the car without knowing how dirty it was (it was dark). So, 30 min of washing and rotating the table in the only place we had that we could spray it down:
Yes, about an hour before company arrived, we filled our tub with dirt and grime while washing a folding table.
What? Like you wouldn't have done the same!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wow...

Knitters are great people! So many words of encouragement and advice, both in the comments and in private emails. Wow. Wow. Wow. If I haven't emailed you, please know it's because I have been taking all of your advice and:

1. taking some time for me
2. reviewing my options
3. reviewing my resume
4. budgeting, budgeting, budgeting
5. talking with friends
6. networking my tushie off
7. snugglin' with the PC

In the mean time, this might be the most productive unemployment of my life. Knitting and crafting-wise, that is.











Even Polly Pockets need a home, right? I used a tutorial I saw over at UK Lass In the US ( wonderful crafting blog, btw... found via Little Birdie Crafts). It's super cute. I love it. I need to make a second one, now. The ultra-girlie pink is for our friends' daughter, A (who received the Abby Cadabby sweater)-- she's the ultimate girlie girl and needs a place to keep her wee people and important things. Buttons are good for practice (big girl pants are in the near future) and the handles make the whole shebang ready for Gramma's house.



Now, who can forget my dear nephew R? He's off to Paris with his mom and dad to visit family for Christmas. He arrived at a soiree at my house sans mittens! His mom had SOCKS on his hands. He looked embarrassed. His hat didn't even match! He whispered "save me Tante!" and I did... super cute 3-6 month size mittens (no thumbs) and matching cap. Encore in Blueberry. Love it!












I have a special bond with my brother J. No, his blanket's not done yet. It's on the final set of feather and fan.. then blocking tomorrow. I might need help. Well, he has a 'friend' in his life, C. She's very nice and we are really loving getting to know her, but I don't know where this is going, if anywhere. They are a little nonspecific about their relationship. But, when asked "should we put something under the tree for her?" The answer was yes. And then a ski-hat was requested. A little stash yarn (Cascade something or other) and the Unoriginal Hat pattern... and we're off.
Another FO should have made it's debut here too, but it was cast off and wrapped up 10 minutes before a dinner with the recipient. A simple Calorimetry for a friend who loves to take lunchtime walks down the Charles River banks... even in February. She's crazy and hates hat hair. Oh, and she wants to learn to knit. Hmm... I think that can be arranged.
Overall, the first week of unemployment has worked well. I need to find a card table to accomodate all the guests next week, but other than that... the house is in good shape. And we're buying the tree tonight.
Our tradition for getting the tree? Don't laugh: we get a Dunkin' coffee, drive to the local Catholica High School, shop for a tree Mini-height-with-her-hands-up-in-the-air and just the right shape and pay a kid $3 to put it on the car. It's our version of magic.
:)




Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Economics

I lost my job today.
A good job.
A good job with great pay.

Reorganization due to merger.

Shit.

Now what?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Oy.

I did something awful today. I checked my bank balance. Ouch.
Christmas knitting continues tonight at Island Yarn in Waltham. I have 1 big project (J's blanket) and 2 small ones (a cowl for Nani and a hat for J's "friend").

And, I have one small project that needs to be done.

And the Christmas cards.

And the packages to be mailed.

I just need time to do it!

Anyone else out of time? And money?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Let It Snow!

(background music: Sarah McLaughlin singing "Oh Little Town O' Bethlehem")

Waking up today was so ....perfect. It's been a busy week with holiday preparations and getting the house in order. Yesterday was the first annual Mini Cookie Swap here at Casa de Mini y PC... and it was a smashing success! Cookies were abundant, friends, old and new, shared holiday spirit. A successful melding of three parts of my life... it's always a chance when you introduce two groups of friends, no? Two babes were in attendance, my lovely nephew, R, and niece, Noodle. In all senses of the word, I am their aunt. Not by blood, but by love. And sometimes that is stronger, right? My first biological nephew makes his entrance in late January, but his dad and I don't always see eye to eye and I am wondering if this wee one will make my family closer or pull us further apart. I worry.








(these doors go nowhere. There is plywood back there. Long ago, our house was a single family home and we live on the 2nd floor. )
Some of preparations this week- getting the decorations up!












My Grampy made these reindeer. I love them My Grampy also made the sleighs that are all over my apartment. Each sleigh is holding a Starbucks Christmas Bearista bear... a tradition of mine and PCs.



A little sleigh from Grampy that sits on the wreath. This way my grandfather greets everyone at the door. He would have loved our home. He would have loved how happy PC and I are together. He would have even loved PC's Christmas ham... he always thought the men should cook on the holidays so that it was a true day off for the ladies. Of course, my grandmother was a lousy cook so maybe he was just saving the rest of us from dry roasts and a true lack of seasoning. :) He would have loved how much we have embraced Christmas traditions. He was never a religious man, but he loved Christmas and having us kids nearby. I don't remember many Christmases where he wasn't at our house Christmas Eve and then back again Christmas mornign to watch us open gifts.
My brother, J, will love this blanket... if I can ever finish it! I'm continuing another family tradition here too... more about that tomorrow.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I saw this at Carole's this morning and thought: Blog fodder! :)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper usually, but gift bags if I'm in a hurry.
2. Real tree or Artificial? Real. I love picking out the tree with PC. We measure it by how tall I am with my right arm over my head. That way it'll fit in our apartment.
3. When do you put up the tree? Varies. This year, about the 17th... I think.
4. When do you take the tree down? The night before whenever the next trash day is. At my parents' we left it up until Little Christmas (Jan 6).
5. Do you like eggnog? Only with a LOT of liquor in it.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? My Cabbage Patch Kids' playpen and snap-onto-the-table high chair. This was more of a present for Smeenie (my Cabbage Patch Kid), but it had my name on it. Favorite gift as an adult? My garnet ring that PC gave me.
7. Hardest person to buy for? My mom. She's impossible, puts everything you buy her/make her "away for special occasions" and then you never see it again.
8. Easiest person to buy for? PC-- I pay attention all year and try to surprise him each year.
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, it's a Lenox one-piece one that PC and I bought our first Christmas living together.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? We mail 'em. I love doing Christmas cards and set aside a special time to do them, with a cup of tea and some music playing. I also do the "mailed gifts" then too.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? My grandmother gave me 4 kitty sweaters with glitter one year. I was in college. It was bad.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? hmm.... tough one. Miracle on 34th Street.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? When am I not shopping for Christmas? I try to do a little all year b/c then the money is spread out. Next year, I'm doing a Christmas club at my bank though.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yup. A few times. And it's because someone I knew would LOVE it and I didn't.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Lazy Man Lasagna at my mom's house. My Nana's super secret fudge. I'm the only one of the grandchildren who has the recipe because I was the only one who could be bothered to sit in her kitchen to learn to make it. We had a special bond and I really miss her this year.
16. Lights on the tree? Why wouldn't you?? We have colored lights on the tree, clear lights in the foyer... and multi colored on the 2nd tree.
17. Favorite Christmas song? God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Sung by anyone, but especially by Bare Naked Ladies.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? There's no place like home for the holidays! Everyone we are related to (minus PC's sister, but she never comes home for the holidays) is within 20-30 minutes drive. Christmas dinner is at OUR house now though. PC cooks a ham.
19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? I have to sing it to get them right and I always call "Blitzen" Nixon.
20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We always opened one on Christmas Eve, but now we open ALL of them Christmas Eve b/c all the kids are at my parents house for the annual Christmas Eve party.
21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? People looking at me funny when I wish them a Merry Christmas. What? It's Christmas and I celebrate it! If you wish me a Happy Hannukah, I would be okay with that. Oh and Malls. I hate malls.
22. Favorite ornament theme or color? I have a set of pewter ornaments that are the 12 days of Christmas. PC gave them to me for our first Christmas in the apartment. I love the 2 turtledoves ...
23. What do you want for Christmas this year? Oh, I'd love to have PC propose, but that's not happening, so I asked for diamond earrings. Mine wear stolen and I miss them
24. Angel on the tree top or a star? Winnie the Pooh dressed as an angel. No, I'm not kidding. It's a stuffed animal tree-topper.
25. Favorite Christmas dinner? PC's ham dinner. Hands down. With the special pineapple gravy and mashed potatoes.... oh yum.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Curses!

Do you believe in the boyfriend sweater curse? I have knit PC one sweater in our 6.5 year relationship. He never wore it... first it was too small (*ahem* it wasn't when I started it) and then it had puffy sleeves when it did fit. Now... I have a sweater on the needles for him and the back is like 99% done and the front should only take a few days (US9 and a quick pattern).... but I'm wary.

So, what do you think? Will finishing this sweater (which will fit!) and handing it over to PC, ruin my chances of being Mrs. PC?

Let me hear it!

Also, yesterday there were some 10 on Tuesday memes going around on how to save money. Here are my top 5:

1. Netflix. Cheaper than the movies and allows you to maintain basic cable.
2. Call your phone company. Negotiate.
3. Stash knitting...
4. Entertain at home- when someone asks "can I bring something?" say yes.
5. Remember, it's the thought that counts. My brother's blanket cost me $35 in yarn... much less than the digital photo frame for the other brother, but means so much more.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Hemlock Ring

I'm making one of these:













in this yarn: (Cascade Ecological Wool, light colored yarn)














It's a gift for my brother, J. He's gonna love it! He's a snuggly blankie kind of guy and he's a new homeowner... I'm hoping it'll coordinate with his decor!