Friday, December 30, 2005

Oooh - I Got Told

Well, the other day Kaity and I trip it on down to our not-so-local yarn store to spend our gift certificates. I didn't really have anything in mind.... but I thought I'd like some new #2 DPNs for sock knitting. Those are my favorite size, but mine are a little long and I wanted to try shorter ones. This is what else I found!

Cool new sock yarn, Trekking XXL. This is new to our LYS, and it had some pretty funky colors (I bought color #100). And a Chibi - everyone needs a Chibi.

We're driving home, and Kaity reads me this line out of her new Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns - "There's a sense of intimate luxury that comes with wearing a pair of handknitted socks - whether or not anyone else can see them." I said "exactly, and I think my goal is to get to the point where I only wear hand knit socks."

So, Kaity asks if I'm wearing handknit socks right then - heck yes I am... my Holiday Sox Exchange socks from Julia! Kaity looks at my feet, "Mom.... ugh... hand knit socks and those ugly clogs - what are you, some kind of hippie!" I said, "hey, Wendy has these clogs!" (Wendy is very cool) to which Kaity shoots back - "Mom, you are NO Wendy."

Ooooh, burn, I got told...

Oh well, I'm still wearing my clogs whenever I want, and my goal is still to get to the point where I only wear handknit socks. I'm gave up on every being "cool" long ago - I've got teenagers who keep me in my place...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Take Me Camping

Sock Landscape, Red Wood Forest colorway. Pretty aptly named, wouldn't you say? This yarn just makes me want to go camping, especially in the Sequoias.

I love camping. I grew up camping. My sister's birthday is in July and she used to say that every birthday she remembers as a child was spent in a campground somewhere.

The hubby loves camping. One of the things that drew me to him was that he was the "outdoorsy" type.... (well, that and he was cute, and we were both in college, taking Algebra II for the second time.... we were obviously meant to be together).

So, we've always camped. The kids have always camped. Since they were babies - months old. We usually tent camp, but we've done it all, trailers, campers, backpacking... but we mostly tent camp. Get to our destination, throw out assorted bags with tents, poles, ground pads, and sleeping bags, and even my girls can set up their own tent in no time flat.

People are always amazed when a girl can set up a tent. This comes in handy for the girls when they go camping with their church Youth Group. All the "guys" are standing around, not knowing which way is up with their tent poles, and the girls are all moved in, laying on their sleeping bags, and starting in on the snacks they brought.

A few months ago the hubby and I went camping with about 40 or so of his "manly men" friends when they had swift water training. Families were invited. Only three other women went, and one never left her 40' luxury camper the whole weekend - never saw her. I know the other woman pretty well, and we spent the weekend together, camping around and watching the guys. After a nice campfire, when everyone retired to their tents and campers for the evening, it was not lost on the majority that they were going to a lonely sleeping bag and, well, the hubby was not.... let's just say... you rack up major points.

The morning we left, while the guys were all freezing their you-know-whats off in the freezing river water, I packed up camp and got it all stowed away. One of the other guys walked by, amazed, and said "you packed up camp for him??? Man, I'm gonna go home and kick my wife's butt!"

I love camping. I need to go camping.

So, checkee out my Jaywalker camping socks... coming right along! I finally figured out what I was supposed to be doing, and these are really fun to knit! The pattern is a snap (well, yeah, once you do it right), and that's my favorite part.... totally portable, don't have to bring your pattern along, and just different enough to keep it interesting.

So, back to camping. Last year the hubby's parents gave us their trailer, when they were "trading up." I tell ya - this is the big time. Everytime we take it somewhere I can't believe it's ours! Indoor plumbing, and a kitchen. Okay, to tell the truth, we hardly go in it, except to sleep. We still cook outdoors, run to the campground bathroom.... this'll take some getting used to, living like a queen and all.

Actually, the hubby's hauling the trailer home tonight. It's also our "spare room." His parents are coming from Texas to stay a few days for a late Christmas. We set them up in their old trailer in the driveway. Good of us, huh? Actually, they love it, and we love having them. Don't know how much knitting will be done, or blogging, but I'll check in when I can, maybe with a finished sock!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I Am Not Tense...

...just dense. Kaity and I were "discussing" the fact that it takes me at least three trys to get a new knitting project successfully started. Knit, rip.... knit, rip... knit, rip.

So, we're both making Jaywalker socks. Kaity's got hers started, looking fine... first time out of the starting gate - of course. Me, I decide to use my Sock Garden in Redwood Forest. Cast on, start the ribbing.... I've made enough socks that at least I can do that right. But, the cuff already looks a little big, and I'm determined to do them on my size 2's - so I figure maybe I'll switch to my Vesper Sock yarn that Julia sent me, in the Knit and Tonic colorway, and do them with that instead. So, start over... start #2. I'm knitting away, past the cuff, onto the pattern. Man, this is making some beautiful stripes!!!

Then, they seem awfully small. And tight. And puckery. Hmmm.... go get Kaity's Jaywalkers-on-the-needles. Nope, mine don't look anything like hers. Mine look like some kind of Barbie bustier.

I show them to Kaity... help meeeee. "Mom, what the? Why are they so tight? Calm down!" I am calm, I am knitting loose, I'm not tense! No really.... I'm really not... I'm happily knitting - why are they SO tight? Darn, I don't know. Well, this certainly isn't going to work. Maybe it's the yarn. Maybe I should go back to the Sock Garden. So, rip....

Try #3 - back to Sock Garden. Cuff done... looking good. Okay, start the pattern. Hey! (insert light bulb over head here!). Duh, idiot, moron, can't follow a simple pattern. I NOW remember back when I first read the pattern (you know, just the once), that the "patterned" part of the sock had TWO rows, one a pattern row, one a straight knit row. I've been doing the patterned row every row... no wonder. "Duh Mom." Yeah I know. I'm not sure I should be allowed to knit. And Kaity should really pay more attention to what I'm doing when I do knit. Yeah - let's blame her!

So..... Still on try #3, and they're looking beautiful. I've already turned the heel and picked up my stitches. Pic's tomorrow. You'll be impressed. I am. Of course, at this point I easily impress myself! But hey - it's the third try on the same socks..... so it should be smooth sailing from here on out!

And.... check some of this Christmas loot - a nice basket for my knitting from a dear friend (the Branching Out recipient),

and, these most gorgeous stitch markers....silver and gemstone! My first "pretty" stitch markers. The adults on my side of the family choose names, and my BIL got my name (Christmas-head's hubby). He actually went to my favorite LYS and picked these out himself! - along with a nice little gift certificate! What a guy! Nice job.

(sorry about the wonky picture at the top.... for some reason I can't get it to post right. If you click on it, the enlarged picture is better... not my fault, I'm sure)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas To All!

No "White Christmas" here. It's 9:30 AM Christmas eve, and already 80.

We had a cold snap about two weeks ago.... but we knew it wouldn't last. In Southern California, it almost always warms up for Christmas. Christmas morning all the neighborhood kids will be riding their new bikes, skates, and scooters up and down the street in their shirt sleeves. It's as it should be I guess... it's as I've always know it!

Besides, the weather has to stay nice for the Rose Parade next weekend.... then, in typical fashion, it will get cold and start to rain. God blesses us with warm Christmases, and we have grown to love them.

I'm off to finish my preparations.... my family, Mom and Dad, Sis and her family, my brother and his wife, will all be here bright and early. Well.... we're threatened my brother within an inch of his life to get here "on time...." They have no kids and don't understand that kids can't wait on Christmas morning. Last year all the kids were lined up on the driveway, waiting, to make a point that he couldn't miss when they drove up! We can't wait! We always spend Christmas together, trading off between my sisters house and ours.

I'm ready, I'm excited! The gifts are all wrapped, "Santa" checked out his loot last night and double-checked that all the stockings are ready and "even", I've been through the Igloo that is our Vons and done my one last shopping trip, and the turkey is thawing in the fridge (oops, still need to clean that out...)

Today, it's house cleaning, cookie baking and candy making, then Christmas eve dinner at my mom's. I'm loving it. I'm such a Christmas-dork. I'm more excited than the kids (aren't the parents, always?!)

Wishing all my new blog friends a very merry Christmas and happy holidays. I count you all as gifts!

Joy to the world
the Lord is come
Let Earth received her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
and Heaven and nature sing.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas Knitting Finished!!!

I finished my Christmas Knitting!!! Of course, this is the only thing Christmas knitting I did.... and even that was not planned. I totally planned to make this scarf for myself. I know..... get me, giving away my knitting! There's a first time for everything. I'm a totally selfish knitter.... me, me, me.

But I wanted to do something special for this friend, and I thought she'd really appreciate it (she did.... I'm NOT patient and made her open it right away). Yep.... in less than 12 hours I finished it, blocked it, wrapped it, gave it away.... and saw it on the recipient's neck. Instant gratification - that's what I'm talking about!

And I loved making this enough I can see knitting this pattern again. I know - a day of firsts. Usually, I'm so darned bored of something by the time I finally finish it I would never knit it again. But, I'm pretty sure I'll do this again.

I REALLY love this pattern. I mean - come on.... take a gander.... you've gotta admit, it's gorgeous. And I'd really love one for myself. You know- me, me, me.

Pattern: Branching Out
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, color 03 (mint); 1-3/4 balls

Did I mention I love this pattern... yep - fun to knit, and easy enough to take in the car for short knitting bursts without totally getting lost as to where I am in the pattern.

Can you tell I'm so happy with it I can hardly stand it. I miss it already. Good thing my friend lives about two minutes away... I can go visit it.

Knitting lace - I think I'm hooked.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Oh What Fun!

I have the best Sox Exchange elf ever!! Lookie what the mail lady delivered yesterday!!! It was a race to the door because Kaity and I have both sent off our Sox Exchange socks and have been waiting excitedly to see who was knitting for us! (Sorry Kaity, maybe yours will come today!)

My Sox Exchange elf was none other than Julia Vesper!! All together now...."LUCKY!!!"

Look at my beautiful socks! She knit these with yarn especially dyed for me, and a beautiful lace pattern of her own. They're so pretty. I love them, and they're a perfect fit! I feel special!

She send the cutest box filled with not only my beautiful Sox Exchange socks, but other goodies. A box of chocolates, some beautiful Vesper Sock Yarn in the Knit and Tonic colorway...., and the cutest buttons with my blog name on them!

Thank you sooo much Julia! It was all very thoughtful, and a fun and beautiful gift to open... and I LOVE my socks. Thanks also to Ariane for coming up with such a great idea!

And - more Christmas goodies from wonderful bloggers - look at the pretty ornament my friend Lynne sent me.

It's already on the tree. Knitters are the best and I am blessed!!

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Shawl Is Born

What a nice weekend. This was one of those great weekends where I got a lot accomplished, knitting and otherwise. The hubby was gone all day Saturday, so I got up early with him to get the coffee made and send him off. Then, I did some bookkeeping I've been neglecting and did my Christmas cookie and candy baking. Then, about 10:00 the kids woke up and the girls helped me with the housework. After that I was "chore free" and we made a fire (it was a great, COLD, crisp day), watched movies, knit, worked on a Christmas gift project, and finally got the snowflakes made for the window.

I told myself I could put Branching Out on the back burner and spend the whole weekend trying to get my Snowdrop Shawl started. I have never knit with lace weight yarn before, and it took a little getting used to, but I'm finding it very satisfying!

I made quite a bit of progress Saturday night in front of a fire and "The Sound of Music." Talk about a perfect setting for knitting! I had to frog the first few attempts, but it helped me get the pattern in my mind, doing it over and over again...., then I finally remembered to put in a lifeline. Of course, after that I never needed it! Still - it's in there, and I keep moving it up every 10 rows or so..... I don't trust myself!

So, after a full weekend the above is the beginning of my Snowdrop Shawl. I'm using KnitPicks Shadow, in the Lost Lake color. This may take me a lifetime, but, hey - I'm in no hurry. I plan to live a while longer yet.

Today, it's back to the real world, back to work, and back to Branching Out. I still hope to finish it in time to give it away to a dear friend for Christmas. But, no pressure. I've got a back-up gift if I don't finish it in time, and then I've got her birthday covered!

And, I must say, I knit a few rows on it last night while we had "forced family viewing" (aka, family movie night), watching one of our all-time favorites, "O Brother, Where Art Thou." (okay, you have to ignore the language in a few places, but it's gotta be one of the funniest movies ever - you know, the kind that gets better with every viewing) - and knitting on Branching Out seems like a cake walk now compared to knitting and struggling with the shawl all weekend!

Today I'm just looking forward to beginning this last week before Christmas, finishing up some shopping, spending time with the kids now that they're on break, more baking, more knitting, and today I'm bringing the hubby lunch. I think it's this cold snap we're having. There's nothing like a fire and bundling up in hand knit scarves to make me feel all happy and homey.

Watch, it'll heat up by the end of the week and we'll have an 80 degree Christmas, which is more the norm around here.... I hope it stays cold!!!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Ornaments for Miz Booshay

One of my favorite bloggers, Donna, of Quiet Life, asked people to show their favorite ornaments. If you are not already reading Donna's blog, please go check her out - I am blessed every day by her beautiful writings and gentle spirit.

So, Donna, these are for you:

First off, the most unusual ornament on our tree is also D#2's favorite, her braces. She wore these babies for five long years, and makes sure they go front-and-center on the tree every year now.

Okay, so not my favorite, except that seeing them as an ornament every year makes her so happy.

It's so hard to chose my favorites. We literally have hundreds of ornaments. The kids have each received one every year of their lives, and we collect them everywhere we travel.

This is one my hubby and I picked up in Berchtesgaden, Germany when we were traveling with his family, while I was six months pregnant with our firstborn. We were actually in Berchtesgaden on our anniversary, and we bought this ornament that day, and had the greatest dinner at a little outdoor cafe, with a real (probably touristy) "oompa band" playing in the background.

This next one is a favorite from my childhood. It's an old, sad-looking "cat" that I made at my grandma's house when I was probably about 7 or 8. My kids tease me every time I put in on the tree because it's so ugly, but I just remember sitting at grandma's fancy dining room table covered with Styrofoam balls, sequins, pins, and ribbon, making ornaments. This is one of two that have survived.

I also have a collection of ornaments from my Bible Study ladies. Every year we have a Christmas luncheon and exchange ornaments and Christmas memories. This is the ornament I received this year.
Image hosted by I have been going to the same study for about 11 years now, and each of the ornaments is from a very special sister in Christ, and they are all precious to me.

No knitting content today.... but this was fun, for me anyway. Thanks Miz Booshay! Now go visit her blog (you'll be glad you did), and follow her lead - share some of your favorite ornaments with us!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Music To My Ears?

I was tagged by my Darling Daughter Doozer. List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now.

I thought about this a bit, and realize I don't listen to enough music. Ok, it's true, I sit at home wearing headphones for hours on end, every day.... but it's not music. Granted, I get paid quite well to sit in my sweats or pajamas and listen to doctors yap (sorry, dictate) in my ears, but it's not music.

For starters, let's just say for most of these docs, English is not their first language. I am so good at deciphering English with a heavy Vietnamese or Indian accent it's scary. And, quite often this with the added challenge of the doctor eating their lunch while talking, or chewing gum, or the grossest sound, slurping on a sucker. I really hate that one. And don't get me going on proper sentence structure, people just don't talk that way.... I'm just supposed to make it look like they do, while typing "verbatim," - yeah, that works.

Then there are the hospital sounds in the background.... Code Blue blaring over the background speaker, their beeper going off (which is SO loud it makes your ears ring), and the one that always gets to me.... the tiny babies crying in the NICU. They sound so sad.... and they're VERY loud!

Of course, they don't only dictate in the hospital. A lot of them dictate in the car.... I hope they're not driving at the same time.... traffic noise, commuter train noise, the occasional road rage (am I supposed to type that, too? I can't type that word!). I guess it makes good use of their time. Even better is when they get home and dictate..... oh my.... I've heard them dictate at the dinner table, in the tub (you know, the tub makes quite a distinct sloshing sound), around the hum of an electric razor, and I've even heard them dictate while they're peeing (also a distinctive sound). Come on..... there's an actual person on the other end of this who has to listen to all of these goings on. Not to mention, this is probably a doctor's least favorite duty - so they are talking as fast as they can, to get it over with ASAP. Some of them remember that there is an actual person who has to listen what they are saying, some are very considerate, some even say thank you - unfortunately, they are the minority, but it does make my day when I run on to one of them - they are music to my ears!

My favorite was a female neurosurgeon I used to transcribe for daily. One day, I heard this strange whirring mechanical sound in the background. Hmm, that's an odd sound. Then, I started hearing it every day..... for weeks. What is that weird sound? Where is she dictating? Is she dictating in the operating room, while she's got someone's brain laid open??? Nope. She was sitting at the desk in her office like always.... the weird sound? - her breast pump.

Oh yeah, what was the point of all this - what MUSIC do I listen to? Well, it's most of it is in the car, so usually it's what the girls pick out. If I get to pick the station it's talk radio, and Rush Limbaugh doesn't sing too often!

Seven songs I'm totally into right now: hmmm
1. Feliz Navidad - Jose Feliciano
2. Oh Holy Night - this version by Marie Osmond
3. Breath of Heaven - Amy Grant
4. Holiday - Green Day (ok, they're about as left wing as I am right, so I hate the lyrics, but it's a catchy tune, and I respect their right to their opinions)
5. Ave Marie - this version by Il Divo.
6. Dance, Dance - Fallout Boy
7. She's a Rebel - Green Day (again, with my "disclaimer"!)

There ya go - I'm not tagging any one - join in as you please.

And, check out the progress? on my Branching Out scarf! This is a fun pattern. I'm hoping to finish it in time to give to a friend for Christmas, but I'm not putting any pressure on myself.... she also has a January birthday... it's all good.

Hey, and don't be perusing this blog for spelling and grammatical errors - they're there... but this is my "down time." I can spell and construct a proper sentence, I just don't choose to...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

And They're Off!

I mailed off my "Holiday Sox Exchange" socks today. I hope the recipient likes them. I was very happy with them. These are the nicest (read, no mistakes) socks I've made yet!

Love that Sock Garden yarn. This colorway is Pansy. I made not-quite-"shortie" socks, and these only took one skein - minus the 3-1/2 feet of yarn you see left at the top of the page. Couldn't have called that much closer! I do have another skein I could have broken into, but now that means socks for me too! Score!

I haven't ventured into fancy sock knitting yet, and didn't feel a project with a deadline was the time to do it, or learn something new, but I'm thinking my next socks will be the Jaywalker socks everyone is making. A little fancy, but still simple enough for trying something new. Cast On!

And, hello, how totally fabu do these previous Sock Garden (geranium) socks look with my Ugg clogs??? I know - what an oxymoron, Ugg clogs. Uggs..., warm, ooooh so comfy, you're not supposed to wear them with socks - but the clog factor messes with the warm factor.... my heel is hanging out in the cold if I go no-socks. I spend far too much time thinking about this every time I put them on (yeah, like I'm such a fashion plate!). But, I'm going with the socks - they're just too perfect a match.

I'll leave you with picture of Peanut enjoying the holiday (oh, she looks sweet enough in this pic, in between bouts of eating and yaking up pine needles from the Christmas tree... argh), and another of my favorite Christmas memories. When I was a kid, my sister, Christmashead, and I had bunk beds. I had the top. On Christmas Eve my parents would let my sister sleep up there with me. We'd anxiously and so excitedly try to fall asleep quickly, before Santa passed us over because we were still awake.

My grandparents (the grandma on the camel grandparents) always joined us for Christmas morning, stockings, and presents. They loved Christmas morning. I remember we were supposed to wait for them before we "started" Christmas. But, it never failed.... I don't care how early we woke up, Grandma and Grandpa would be sitting out there in the driveway in the Cadillac, in the cold, in the dark, waiting for us to wake up. Every Christmas..... first thing, look outside to see if grandma and grandpa were there yet.... they always were. They were great.

Wishing you fond remembrances of all your family holidays.

Monday, December 12, 2005


When we were growing up, my sister (aka Christmashead) and I shared a room. My sister is five years younger than I am. That's nothing now... but back when I was, say 8 and she was 3, she was just a pest. Now, she's my best friend, but then.... more of a pesky little sister.

My brother and I used to pick on her, so badly! My brother is only a year-and-half younger than I am, so we'd gang up on her. We used to all go in our room and listen to Peter and the Wolf on our record player(please say some of you remember the big ol' LP's with the books that came with them). Well, we'd all listen to Peter and the Wolf, and then when the scary "wolf music" came on we'd run out of the room and hold the door shut and leave her in there with the scary music 'til she cried. Man, kids can be mean - did we really do that? yeah... we did :(

She also had a favorite baby doll, Angelique (she named her after the character on Dark Shadows, another blast from the past) - one of the plastic dolls where the arms and legs can "accidentally" be popped off. So, we'd pop them off and hide them.

We were all talking about this a few years ago, and she doesn't even remember any of it! (probably horrible repressed memories...), but she just remembers loving her big brother and sister. We've since apologized to her, even though she doesn't remember it. We should be glad she still speaks to us!

Luckily, she still loves me. I don't deserve her.

Well, remember when Kaity taught Christmashead to knit over Thanksgiving weekend? She brought her beautiful finished scarf to "Monday Night Dinner" tonight so we could teach her to bind off. She's finished! It's so pretty! A very nice green, baby alpaca and soft - it's about a 5" wide garter stitch scarf. She's so happy! She's been working on it like crazy, during conference calls, while waiting for kids, and even knitting in public, on airplanes no less! I'm so proud! We have a new knitting convert. I wish I'd had my camera!

So, tonight Christmashead learned to purl. She wants to make another scarf, to keep practicing, and we decided a 4x4 ribbed scarf would be just the thing to do next. So she can work on her purling. When I left her tonight she was ribbing away- and off to the LYS soon to pick out something soft and purty for her second scarf.

I'm so proud! Like a big sis SHOULD be. Yes, I'm much nicer now, and appreciate her so much more!

That little sweater Christmas ornament is Kaity's this year. I found it while Christmas shopping a few weeks ago. It seemed just perfect for this year! The year she taught me and Christmashead to knit!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Extreme Makeover

It seems you always want the hair you don't have.... I have had industrial strength curls since I was about eight. Well, it actually started to curl gradually, but now they're industrial strength curls. In the 70's when all my friends had the straight, long, parted down the middle Marcia Brady hair, I had short, curly, Orphan Annie curls (okay it wasn't red...). We'd all have sleepovers and play makeup and hair.... and there was just nothing to do with mine. It was short, to "control" the curls, and I couldn't do the braid, bow, french braid thing. I wanted straight hair soooo badly!

When I was about 19 I had it professionally straightened. I spent a big chunk of my McDonalds wages and went for it. I LOVED it!!! It was straight and I loved it. Yeah, it was straight for about four days, then it started to wave a little, then curl, then..... it reverted to it's native state. Curls. I did everything they told me, didn't wash it right away, didn't use conditioner... didn't -whatever the rules were... but, no. I guess I just wasn't meant to have straight hair.

When I was about 21 I tried again. My sister and I and a box from Sav-On tried to do it ourselves. Same results. Straight, for about four days. Oy. Curls. No extreme hair makeover for me.

Remember this sad little purse...?

It wasn't so bad... it just wasn't good. I was inspired to make a cable clutch like Ruth's, and it knitted up nicely, but I couldn't fine straight handles to make a clutch, and didn't want to make them myself, so I compromised. Twice - first going with the round handles instead of sticking with my original intent and, second, going with brown handles. I knew I wouldn't like them when I bought them, but we don't have a lot of choice around here and I couldn't find black handles anywhere. So, it's been sitting in the closet, forgotten.

Until yesterday. I took it out and looked it again. And..... after about 20 minutes, a black Sharpie, lots of Sharpie fumes and I'm sure many dead brain cells later from the fumes.... it has undergone it's extreme makeover. It's soooo happy! It's so cute! I love it! I bought it a black satin bow today! If I was fancy like Keohinani, I'd give it it's own little speech bubble so it could tell you how much it loves it's makeover! (See her 11/15 post... too funny!)

And, check this out.... it didn't cost me $150, either! Nope, two balls of Rowan Big Wool, $12 handles (Sharpied black), and a $1 worth of satin ribbon. I can't tell you how much I love this little purse.

Here's a picture of me holding it for size comparison. I'm gonna take it out this weekend to a Christmas Party. Perfect. Love it.

And, do you see that cute charm bracelet? Remember Grandma and Grandpa, Grandma on the camel in the purple shirt and "Dam*ed if I know" Grandpa? Every time they'd go on a trip they'd bring me a charm. I have them from all over the world, and there is one an almost every link of this bracelet. 32 or so charms. It's one of my greatest treasures. Love it, too! We're gonna be looking good this weekend!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Winter Wonderland

Ok , we don't have a winter wonderland here in Southern California. I was looking at Heather's blog today (check out her cool new hat!) and D#2 says, is that snow??? Cool!

We make our own snow here. We live at the end of a cul-de-sac, and when we first moved in it was a brand new development, and we were the only ones at the end of the cul-de-sac for about nine months. We had the place to ourselves, it was very private, and we never bothered to put curtains in the front windows until we got neighbors.

But, that first Christmas I cut snowflakes with the kids, and put one in every pane of the window (34 panes, 34 snowflakes!). We put on a Christmas movie and cut snowflakes for hours. The kids were little, 4,5 and 7, so theirs were very rudimentary, but they were so special. The window was so beautiful, and we left it like that all winter.

Since then, we have made snowflakes every year. We have since put curtains on the front window, but there is a window in the living room that looks out onto a little side yard, that we have left uncovered, all 32 panes. That's a lot of snowflake cutting. The last few years we have decorated every other pane. It's fun to see the kids get more and more creative with their snowflakes as they get older. We never save them.... always start fresh every year. The old ones are preserved in pictures.

It's still probably my favorite "Christmas decoration." This weekend we'll pick a Christmas movie (maybe Elf - "Buddy the Elf- what's your favorite color?") and cut up a "storm," covering the table and floor with snowflake scraps. I'll post a picture of the window when it's done.

I think you guys are getting to me..... I've really got the itch to start two new projects..., and I've got two on the needles now! The pretty green lace weight is going to be my Snowdrop Shawl (for me, of course), and I'm going to do another Branching Out for my MIL's birthday with the "Stained Glass" lace weight. Tiptoeing over to the dark side, I am.

Ok, I'll finish my socks first, gift those off in the mail.... then I'll work on my Branching Out, start my MIL's, AND start my Snowdrop Shawl. Three projects at once, get me - think I can do it?

Gotta go.... my brain's hurting a little, and I'm feeling a little guilty about the knitting polygamy already, and I haven't even started. Man, I've got knitting issues..... I should just lighten up.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tree Trimming = Brings Out the Worst

Is it just my family? I tell ya, when I was younger, and we didn't have kids, I trimmed the tree myself. We didn't have a lot of ornaments, and it was a relatively simple affair. But, I always dreamed of the Christmas-movie moments we'd later have as a family.... gathering around the tree, lovingly looking at all the ornaments, placing them gently on the tree, sipping cider or egg nog, with Christmas carols playing in the background - quality family time.... special moments.

I remember trimming the tree as a kid - it seemed fun.

I don't know.... as much as we LOVE the Christmas holidays, trimming the tree at our house always disintegrates into quarrels, hurt feelings, STRESS and, inevitably someone being sent to their room (even at ages 16, 17, and 20). What is wrong with us?

It starts out great. The hubby has always taken the kids to cut a tree, and they always come back happy, had a great time. I love sitting home, waiting for them to bring me my tree. Then we oooh and aahhh over what a good one it is, and they bring it into the house. This is where it starts to go bad. Control freak that I am, the lights have to go on first. That's really my only rule - really it is, but the lights HAVE to go on first. And, no one will do it but me. I'd gladly relegate this job to anyone else, and the Bud will sometimes start to string them, but then gives up. Not a fun job. So, they all HOVER while I get the lights on. Not so patiently I might add. But, it's still okay at this point, The kids are all opening their own boxes full of personal ornaments, remembering them all, having fun still, and this part is pretty good.

Then, it gets ugly. I don't know why. Someone took someone else's "spot" on the tree. Someone else is clumping ornaments and not spreading them out to another person's specifications of perfect...., no one wants their ornament to go on the back of the tree...., someone won't get off the ladder and give some else a turn..., someone's not careful, someone bumps or drops someone else's ornament. Oy, ugly. And, these aren't normally horrible children... I'm not a yelling witch... most of the time.... Why? Why does it get ugly? Is it just us? By the time it's done, there's usually just me and one kid left, the one who held out the longest, and the others decide to come back later and finish, by themselves. The hubby has usually gone off and hidden in the garage by the time it's over. It's not fun.

However, AFTER it's all done, everyone loves the tree. The Bud hangs out in the living room and reads under the tree. The girls walk around it many times a day, "remember this one? - I remember when I got this one!" -reminiscing, and loving the ornaments. The kids can't wait until their ornament for this year turns up in the advent calendar. We really love the tree and all the special ornaments. We have a family tree, full of family ornaments, all personal to someone or some memory. Not at all themed or designer, but very special to us. We love the tree, just not putting it up.

Okay - we'll try again this year. While they're out picking the tree, I'll put on the carols, heat the cider, and be on my best patient and loving behavior, and we'll try and make a memory out of it, a NICE memory. Tree day is Saturday.... wish us luck. I'll let you know.

Okay - I gotta say, I'm loving the Sock Garden yarns. This one is Pansy, and the picture is very true to color, at least on my monitor. I love the way it's knitting up! Can't show you more, because they're a gift, although I don't think the giftee is a reader of this blog, but you never know. Very pretty though... and the best part is, I think I may have enough left to make footies for myself - bonus!

Well, one sock down, and I'll cast on the other tomorrow. I'm already looking forward to my next project, but more on that later.... as slow as I knit, I'll talk about that next entry.... because you're gonna get tired of looking at partial pictures of half-knit pansy socks... and that's all I've got going right now. I've made myself put the Branching Out scarf on hold until I finish the socks.... and believe me, the scarf is sitting here on my desk... calling to me. No, must resist.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Park Those Angels

I was driving along this morning, iPod plugged into the Beetle stereo playing all my Christmas songs. I LOVE Christmas music. And, I get so into it, if I'm not rocking out with Brian Setzer and Boogie Woogie Christmas, I'm crying along with "O Holy Night," anyone's version! Driving along, tears streaming down my face. I'm such a sap. Luckily, it's on "shuffle mode" and the next song will probably get me rocking again, you know, maybe Perry Como and "No Place Like Home for the Holidays," or Elvis and "Blue Christmas."

This morning one of my all time favorites came up, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." I love to sing it, hear it, play it, and my favorite version is probably from A Charlie Brown Christmas, because that's where all my kids, and my sister's kids, learned it.

My niece, Bella, learned it when she was about three.... and would sing it on command, but her cute, three-year-old version was "Park the Herald Angels sing....." and then, a little later in the song, "peace on Earth and mercy wild." It's one of those things that is now forever a part of the family... and every year we fondly remember "Park the Herald Angels"!

Of course, it's cute when your three-year-old niece messes up the words, but my husband has forever ruined "The Christmas Song" for us - every time we hear it we can't get HIS version out of our heads, "Chest hairs roasting by an open fire, Jack Frost's fingers up your nose...."

There's a little something from me to you... you'll probably never hear that song the same again either!

So - on the knitting front, check out my Branching Out scarf up there!! Get me, doing lace work! I'm thinking I'm liking the lace knitting. Of course, I ripped out at least that much three times before I actually "got it," but now I'm loving it. It's that Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, very soft.... very nice.

and, here's finally a modeled shot of the Wendy/Heather sweater. Not a great picture.... I had a migraine, major bad hair (hence, no head), and was fairly well drugged-up when I took it; and now I see the unmade bed and wet bath mat in the background... but I'm not looking too bad, so... this is the shot we're going with. Priorities you know. Would you rather see "muffin top action" and wild-woman hair, or an unmade bed - I thought so.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

210 Calories Per 1/2 Cup - GAH!!!

I did the unthinkable this morning - I read the nutritional info off the carton as I was pouring myself some Egg Nog. 210 calories per 1/2 cup! And, you know I poured more than a 1/2 cup!!! Gah!

Okay - that's it, no more label reading until after Christmas. And, I'll limit myself to one "small" egg nog a day, if that.... I'll pace myself. You know, save up calories for pecan pie later, at 700+ calories a slice.

Ok - I'm giving myself December off looking at labels.... I'll still try and not go hog wild, but I won't look at the numbers.

Until after Christmas, when I hop my fat bod back on the scale - that's another story. But, that's later. Fiddle-dee-dee, as Scarlet says, tomorrow's another day!

Check it out..... I've got me a small stash!!! I ordered that beautiful green lace weight to make a shawl. I'm still checking out patterns and trying to decide exactly which shawl to make. The "Stained Glass" purply-blue-pink lace weight will be a scarf of some sort...., and the other two are sock yarns. The "Pansy" is for gift socks (get me, knitting for someone else, what is this world coming to??) -and the "Red Wood Forest" is for, well, me.

I've already started knitting up the Pansy Socks, and they're looking real purty - but no pics. Shhh, they're supposed to be a secret!

And, in the holiday spirit, for those of you who know and love Kaity I give you this blast from the past, circa 1994. And, no, she doesn't know I've done this... yet.

  • Knit Picks Palette Fair Isle Cardigan (on permanent hold - reconsideration status)
  • "Turquoise Jeans Socks", made up rib pattern, Claudia's Handpainted
  • Clementine Shawlette, Interweave Knits Spring 2007
  • Bonita, Interweave Knits Summer 2006
  • Clapotis, Knitty, out of a yummy Mountain Colors Mountain Goat yarn
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