Can you believe it's already Christmastime?
We bought and decorated the tree early again this year (Dec. 3, I think), something I used to oppose. Now I'm all over it. One less thing to stress about at the last minute and more time to enjoy the fragrance, the lights and the decorations. In addition to the standard Christmas balls that came from who knows where, I must point out a couple of special ones.
There's this one:
This is special mainly because it was a gift from the justice of the peace who married my husband and me in 1994. And it was our 17th anniversary on Dec. 10. And we break a lot of ornaments, so it makes me happy to see this one (and the marriage!) still intact.
And the yucky kitty on skis, a family favorite:
This poor thing was one of the many casualties of the year we moved into our previous old house in '94 and stored the ornaments in the basement. Stone foundation + cardboard boxes + water seepage = mildew. We lost a lot of ornaments but this one we just couldn't let go of. So every year the nasty, diseased skiing kitty comes out of hiding and takes a prominent place on the tree. Don't you just love him?
I'm not going crazy on Christmas this year but it seems I've been making quite a bit of stuff anyway. Like these:
Family and coworkers clamor for homemade donuts, something I used to make quite frequently, always on Friday mornings. But now my mornings are reserved for working out, not pigging out. It so happened that certain brothers-in-law started whining constantly about the lack of Friday morning donuts, and my workout schedule happened to have a day off fall on a Friday. So there were many donuts.
And they were good.
I also did some dyeing, something I haven't done in ages, and which I miss. But this wasn't yarn.
Dharma Trading sells clothing "blanks," undyed clothing and accessories that you can custom dye. They have silk and rayon velvet scarves for cheap, like $8-12, and I wanted one. Then I figured I could dye a few extras for Christmas. Then I figured I should ask my coworkers if they wanted any, while I was at it. In the end, I dyed about 40 scarves. However, in the Christmas spirit I failed to charge for my time, so while I didn't make any money, I did make a lot of scarves and had a lot of fun doing it. (I never did get one for myself, somehow, but there will be more.)
I dye yarn with acid dyes, but these were done with fiber reactive dyes, a different sort of process. Still, it's pretty easy. If you like playing with color, get yourself a starter kit from Dharma and try it. Great fun. (I did all my dyeing with yellow, fuchsia, turquoise and black, but if you don't like mixing your own colors, you can buy whatever shades you want.)
A month or so ago I got a phone call from my sister-in-law.
Her: Do you have any extra fabric for making mittens?
Me: Fabric? Like fleece for sewn mittens? (She sews.)
Her: No, like yarn, for knitting mittens.
Me: Sure, I have tons. But I didn't know you knew how to knit.
Her: I don't. I need to you to knit me some.
Cracked me up.
She is one of my frequent knitting recipients, so I dutifully made her a pair of heavy mittens.
Halfway up the left-hand mitten, I carried the white yarn in my right hand, apparently, instead of the left as I did throughout the rest of the pattern. The way it's receded compared to the other rows drives me batty but I didn't bother to rip it out when I finally noticed it. How many other knitters would have left this? Probably not many.
I also knit a helmet for my husband to wear when working outside (which is often almost every day, all winter), using a pattern from an old Lopi pattern book. It's not the sexiest thing, but it's to replace one I made for him 10 or 15 years ago, which he has lost. He loves this pattern because it gives him options.
Really cold weather:
When he gets hot from moving around:
Stay away from him, girls. He's all mine.
I also made him a secret gift, which is at the framer's right now. We don't have pigs this winter and he is like a lost soul without them, so I found an old picture and attempted a pencil drawing of some from the past, a picture I call "Pigs We Have Eaten." (Well, we loved them when they were alive.) In the early stages:
He is a master Christmas-gift-finder, even when he is not actively snooping. He doesn't read the blog, but now I have to delete this picture from my computer because today will no doubt be the day he decides to browse through all our saved pictures for the first time ever, and he'll find it. I hate that guy.
Winter is becoming a lot more cozy at our house because we had the old gas "woodstove" that had been in my neglected shop (sob) moved into our very cold, very un-cozy living room. We also got a giant new flat-screen TV (Black Friday price, five days before Thanksgiving, sweet), so we'll be spending a lot of time in the living room this winter, I can already tell.
Can you blame us?
We will only have two of three children home this year for Christmas (again), which stinks. But it will still be nice to have our annual Christmas Eve family party, complete with obligatory annual showing of "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," now on a 55" screen, followed by a quiet day of sloth and presents on Christmas with our required cinnamon braided Christmas bread and coffee all morning, and then in the evening, dinner at another sister-in-law's house for prime rib, shrimp and other goodies. And I get a four-day weekend.
So that's it, and my apologies for the long blog silence.
Merry Christmas to all!