Countdown

Last night Shawn and I were having a discussion about how Christmas really isn’t as much fun as it used to be. The holidays are much different for me as an adult as compared to being a child. And hugely different from being an adult as compared to being a child who still believed in old Saint Nick. The most stress I experienced, as a child, was figuring out what to tell Santa I wanted. My list changed daily weekly. The proverbial pony was always at the top of my list. So was a piano and a turtle. Santa must have put me on his naughty list because I never did get a pony, piano or turtle.

But things have changed. Commercialism is alive and kicking. Jem and Scout both find themselves glued to the bright colors on TV. A commercial describing the newest and best toys. Forget that they will play with them for five minutes and then all is lost. Or better yet, the boxes and wrapping paper will bring much more joy to Scout than what was in the box.

So this year we are doing a small Christmas. A Christmas about being with family and friends. A Christmas about baking, (and even eating), cookies, peanut brittle and Chex Mix. A Christmas about making gifts that will last longer than any other store bought toy. A Christmas where hot chocolate is dessert nearly every night. A Christmas where we sit together, crowded on the couch under blankets, watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or “A Scooby Doo Christmas”, (more of the latter than the former as it happens). A Christmas about turning on the little colored lights and watching people’s faces aglow. A Christmas where our cards are already sent. A Christmas where the tree is trimmed and stockings have already been hung.

A Christmas where I can look at my window and appreciate every second, minute, hour, day, week, month and stitch that I put into it.

A chaotic mess:

A chronological materpiece, in my humble opinion of course.

I am . that close to being done with the knit presents. In fact, I’m so close that I decided to add a couple smaller things for the kids. But you’ll just have to wait, just like them.

Little Bit of This, Little Bit of That

Summer is winding down, though I admit that the heat seems like it’s found a permanent home. We had one lovely day that stayed in the 80’s – unbelievable! Unfortunately it was a fluke and we are back in the triple digits. So you know what that means. Swimming, sweet ice tea, homemade ice cream. Anything to lower the temps. Even if only by one degree.

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time getting ready for Christmas. You heard me right. Christmas. I decided that I wanted to make an Advent calendar, (similar to Leslie’s), for decorative purposes only.

AdventHats2

Currently I have ten hats knit. Two more to go. And then I can knit the dozen mini mittens. I’m using non snobby yarn too. Can you believe it? I was perusing Beverly’s when I found that Red Heart is now trying to be environmentally friendly. I picked up four skeins of their Eco Ways yarn and I have to say that I’m very impressed. Acrylic yarn has come far.

In the midst of all this mini hat making I decided I needed another project to sustain me. Not only do I need to finish the hats and mittens but I will need to make pom-poms, (not my favorite thing to do), attach them to the hats, and embroider numbers on each one. Twenty four of them.

So I cast on a pair of mittens. With this.

LLEcho

One beautifully soft and sumptuous skein of Lorna’s Laces Green Line Worsted in Echo. This yarn is perfect for a pair of winter mittens. I’m already half done so I’ll post pictures of them in a day or two.

Not much else crafting is going on here. I’ve spent a few days, (and nights), in the kitchen. I made another batch of strawberry jam. You never can have too much. I also baked a couple loaves of banana bread. I had to do something with the brown, nearly decaying, bananas sitting in the basket. And last night I experimented with making some Butter Pecan Ice Cream but I have to admit it was a major fail. I made it according to the recipe not realizing that I had to let the mixture cool completely before putting into the mixing bowl to let the KitchenAid do it’s thing. I’m going to try again tonight. This time there better be success. Otherwise I’m going to have to break down and buy some Dreyer’s.

24 Days of Christmas

Over the weekend I stumbled upon The Purl Bee’s blog and checked out their Felt Advent Calendar Tutorial. I really like The Purl Bee. They have tons of interesting projects be it knitting or sewing. I decided to make us an advent calendar too. I didn’t want to do another one like the one I recently finished, but something more practical for the kids.

I came up with a red/green/white calendar that Jem and Scout can share.

1advent

This project was perfect for all the little extra felt scraps from my other projects. But I admit, I had to drag Shawn to the craft store to buy six more pieces. This weekend, (of course), they will be on sale 6 for $1 as compared to 6 for $1.88. I’ll be stocking up!

And then out of the blue, DMC floss was on my mind. Felt? No. DMC floss. What could I possibly do with the embroidery floss. Why, cross stitch of course!

cross-stitch-1

The story behind this is simple. When I was 15 years old I took the bus to the, (at the time), local Michael’s to buy something to do. I chose cross stitch. I got halfway into this very pattern. When we moved it vanished. Then I got together with the mom’s group and one of the nice women let me borrow a Precious Moments book. And wouldn’t you know? The very same pattern I was doing. About a month or two ago I decided I would do this. I wanted to replace those very long months where I painstakingly worked on this cross stitch sampler. Yesterday began my journey. I forgot how much work goes into those little x’s. My age must be showing when I look at the pattern. My eyes squint and I have to count the numbers a few times to make sure I’m counting correctly.

But it will be worth it to remember those moments from 13 years ago. Almost 13 years ago. I have 3 days to go and I’m enjoying the remainder of my 27 years.

Kitty Cats and Calendars

Last night while finishing up the advent calendar Marilyn got cozy and decided to keep me company. I then realized I haven’t shared any of her pictures lately. And she’s gotten so big and nutty!

marilyn

She must have motivated me or brought me some luck because by 11:30 last night I had the advent calendar done. I still have other items to make but this seemed to the most time consuming. I had to cut all the felt, whipstitch around 25 pieces, add buttons to each piece, crochet a little bit of yarn to make the ties, embroider each number and then assemble it with jute and ribbon. It’s quite lovely, but I think I’m going to modify it a bit when I do ours. I decided to only do a 12 days of Christmas one for us. Either way, the tutorial was clear and easy. Just tedious.

adventfinished

The things I do in the name of Christmas!