Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Block party

With the little man home sick yesterday, I got a lot done around the house.

All the beds now have freshly laundered sheets, all the toilets are sparkling, and the chocolate peanut butter biscotti turned out divine.

I also managed to wash and block a couple of projects.

The Mustard Scarf, free pattern on ravelry, still needs a button. It's a gift.

Mama's Shalom Cardigan. Another birthday present for myself. It's alpaca, and oh, so soft! Also needs buttons.

And lastly, a hat. It's a gift, and boy, does this not look anything like the picture on the pattern.

Well, it does, only in the picture, it's much tighter, like an actual beanie. This would fit a watermelon! I think all the hats I'm gifting this year turned out big. Last year they were too small. Go figure.

There is last-minute shopping to be done around here, and some more houseguests are on the way. I hope to be back here before the big day, but if not, I wish you all a very merry Christmas--full of peace and love for you all.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow and other stuff

This was Saturday morning, when we were waiting for IT.

This was Sunday morning, after IT was done.

There was a lot of shoveling, lots of help from friendly neighbors with snow blowers, and lots of sledding.

Then we took a little drive out to Peddler's Village to see the lights.

We also stopped in to see the winners of the gingerbread competition. Can you believe this one only took third place?

My parents are driving north even as I type this, and my son is on the couch feeling ill. He won't be going to school today, and I'm not sure when I'm going to get my out-of-the-house errands done today. Looks like today is another laundry and knitting day. And maybe I'll find something to make with the giant bag of Hershey's Kisses I bought last week. Happy Monday!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's that time again

Wow. I have pretty much procrastinated all week. I was supposed to be cleaning the house in preparation for a party we're having on Saturday.
I did move the serger and the sewing machine out of the dining room. And then three loads of laundry moved in and took over.

You wouldn't believe the progress I've made on my next sweater, though! I pretty much spent any and all birthday money that came my way on yarn for myself, and I am so enjoying making things!

Anyway, it's down to crunch time here for cleaning--but the weather forecaster this morning mentioned that we could be seeing some snow starting on Saturday, so this party could be over before it even starts. At least I'll have a clean house for the family members who will be arriving next week!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Francis Revisited

For my birthday, my parents gave me a gift card to Webs. And Webs was having a closeout on this delicious yarn from Classic Elite. Of course the picture doesn't do the color justice. It's a very blue purple, and the yarn is so soft.
I found this pattern on ravelry. It was such an easy knit--pretty much all stockinette, with a little seed stitch thrown in at the end. I love, love, love how this sweater fits. Happy Birthday to me!

Pattern: Francis Revisited

Yarn: Classic Elite Renaissance
I think I pretty much followed the pattern as written. I did a provisional cast on to start and then knit from the cast-on edge for the cowl. I knit this very, very loosely to get the gauge (and it was still a little off, but it's okay!).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Traditions

Before I begin this post, I just wanted to let you know that we lucked out yesterday--the rain did stop, and the sun even came out for several hours! This is what the sump pump looked like as of last night. The water level had gone down a few inches--I quit playing a one-woman bucket brigade (and boy are my arms sore). It turns out the outlet does work, so we may be replacing the sump pump soon. Fortunately, the forecast does look fairly dry for a while.
And now, on to more seasonally appropriate items! Yesterday the kids' advent calendar "activity" was that we'd be putting on the Christmas pillowcases.
They get so excited about these every year. My college roommate made these for us a few years ago, and I love pulling these out of the linen closet every year. I just adore the Peanuts characters (and the Charlie Brown Christmas CD sits in my car CD player every December). I also love that one of my oldest and dearest friends made these for us. It's nice to have a holiday tradition that extends beyond the family. And it's even neater to know that her kids are also cuddling up to their own holiday pillowcases. Everyone had dreams of sugarplums last night!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Got a bucket?

As soon as I'm done with this post, I'm checking in at weather.com in hopes that the radar will show me that this rain is close to being over! Whether our sump pump is dead remains to be seen, because the outlet that it is plugged into is dead. And when I run extension cords across the basement to the other outlets, the GFI trips as soon as I plug it in. So this morning I have been taking buckets of water up from the basement (it's all still contained with the sump pump...for now) and dumping them outside. I feel a little like Mickey Mouse in that cartoon.

If only our long extension cords weren't in use outside (for Christmas lights that still aren't finished), I'd try running those up into the kitchen to see if the damn thing works. Alas...I figure this way I'm getting some exercise!

Once things dry out around here, I can tell you the story of the dress I made for myself yesterday. It looks like a potato sack on me. I'll be hacking it up and salvaging the fabric. Just not today.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Semi-Homemade Christmas

One of this year's homemade gifts is actually semi-homemade! The quilt I made for Caroline last year is going to have to be used in summer months, because she has the coldest room in the house. She has two windows that face north, and though her room is large, there is only one heating duct (and it's right by one of the windows). Since we have a couple of old queen-sized comforters, it seemed silly to purchase a new set.

After searching online and in stores, I finally found this cute pink flannel duvet cover. The only problem--it was king-sized. So last week I spread out the king-sized duvet cover on the floor and then laid the queen-sized comforter on top of it. I trimmed it down on three sides (making sure to keep the side with the button closures intact), and then stitched up the seams. Piece of cake!

And she'll get a bonus gift! A scarf made from a thrifted, felted sweater... that is backed with some of the leftover flannel. I hope she'll share the scarf with her mama.

In the mood

Look at what is falling!
It's so much easier to get in the holiday mood when there is snow coming down. Time to get the hot chocolate and marshmallows going.

Happy December!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Ornament Swap

Last year, I went a little overboard on holiday swaps. Actually, I went a little overboard on handmade everything! This year, I cut back--but I did continue to participate in the Holiday Ornament Swap.

Felted mistletoe sprigs! Free pattern on ravelry! Super easy!I stopped when I had enough for the swap (I had to make 10, so I was ready for a break.) But these knit up in about 20 minutes, and I think they're so cute, I may make one for our tree...eventually.

These went out in Wednesday's mail. Now all I have to do is sit back and wait for my new lovely ornaments!

Simplicity 2560

My parents gave me a gift card to Jo-ann Fabrics for my birthday. I guess I could say that they gave me this really cute short-sleeved cardi!
I'm on a pinky-purple-lavender kick lately (you should see the yarn I'm working with!). This is view A, but all the different options for this pattern could easily be interchanged. My only gripe about this pattern is that there are no long-sleeved options, but I may experiment with that later. I still have some knit fabric in my stash to play with.
Sewing this up took longer than I thought it would, and that is because I used my serger, and Serge and I don't get together that often. There was a lot of stopping and starting and re-threading. Really, this could be made without the serger. It just won't have those pretty finished seams.
I wore this yesterday, and I loved it! My daughters loved it! What's not to love?