Sunday, December 27, 2009

Our Christmas

I love the expectant hush of Christmas Eve night, after the children have been tucked away in their beds...

Christmas this year was scaled back a bit, simple and meaningful, with plenty of time to spend together as a family and reflect on what this day means to us.

A Christmas miracle: the children waited until almost 8AM to come into our room and wake us!

I had formed two trays of doughnut dough the night before, so I pulled them out to rise on the counter while we opened gifts.

After they were opened and the wrapping was cleared away, we baked the doughnuts, which were tasty, as always (recipe from 101 Cookbooks -- I make my dough in the bread machine, form the doughnuts, and then put them in the refrigerator overnight).

We had baked a ham the day before, inviting neighbors over to share in a Christmas Eve lunch, so we had plenty of leftovers to eat throughout the day, leaving plenty of time for relaxing and having fun together as a family.

I cast on for Greg's Christmas Gift/Hat in the afternoon, and wove in the ends and blocked it last night. Better late than never!

As soon as I saw the pattern in the most recent Knitty, I knew that the hat had to be for him. He has a thing for wildly complicated looking cables, and Knotty had his name written all over it. He's sensitive to wool, so I found some Cotton Ease in a very Greg Friendly color. I had to knit it on size 4 needles because I have challenges knitting cotton/cotton blends tightly enough, and based on my gauge swatch, Cotton Ease grew a good deal. For the rest of the project details, you can click on over to the Ravelry page.

I hope you all had a beautiful Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate), and that you have a wonderful rest of the weekend, what little of it that remains.

Our very special Dinner For Two on Christmas night, after we had put the children to bed

Tasting notes on the cured Spanish ham in this picture.

(P.S. For those of you who can't ever get enough pictures, there are plenty more of our Christmas celebration in the Flickr set: Christmas 2009.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We wish you a merry Christmas...

The time has come for rest and peace.

And a cup of hot cocoa.

A good mug of hot cocoa has never hurt anyone.

Especially when the whipped cream is refreshed every time it melts down. Now THAT'S a mug worth lingering over.

I still have 85-million things that I NEED to get done before Christmas...

But Christmas, it seems, is upon us.

There will always be time later to Get Things Done.

In the meantime, however, there are moments that will pass by, if I do not stop to look, listen, and enjoy them.

Today I dropped all of my plans.

Because really, is there anything that can possibly be more important than this?

Eating rocks. Now THAT'S important.

And swinging babydolls.

The time has come for rest.

And peace.

And joy.

I hope that each one of you, my dear readers, have a blessed and joyous Christmas.

And many, many precious moments with those you love.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Three days to Christmas...

Last night, after a round of Brandy Alexanders, Greg and I started laying out our Christmas menu. I don't really recommend attempting to plan anything out after one of those -- the potent combination of delicious cream laced with alchohol makes it a little difficult to think about food. Regardless, we managed to cobble together most of it -- I just need to figure out the dessert(s), and we should be set. All I need to do now is grocery shop...with all 4 children. Oh dear.

Yesterday I finished up my 11-year-old sister's gift, rounding out the Urchin that I knit for her with a few papercrafts.

Vintage French Paper Craft and Paper Doll books

I didn't have any twill book binding tape, but decided that these could do without it since they'll be cut up anyway once she starts using them. Tutorial and free downloads here at Chez Beeper Bebe.

I couldn't resist putting together this tiny Fairy Book of Fairly Good Manners:

I also printed out the fairy furniture by the same artist (also free) on some good heavy cardstock, and tied it up all together inside/under the knitted hat to make a nice little package.

When I first started handmaking gifts, I often struggled with how to wrap them. It's hard to neatly wrap knitted things, and often gifts I give are also oddly shaped. To further complicate things, we nearly always mail our gifts, so gift bags are not really a good option.

This year, I scoured the internet for free print-outs, as well as some bought ones on Etsy (currently enamored by pretty much everything in the GoMakeMe shop). I have been going for more of the "artfully packaged botique look", rather than trying to hide the contents, and have been very pleased with this method. It travels well, and I think it's far more elegant than the lumpy packages that result from Faith + wrapping paper + knitted items + clumsy scotch tape maneuvering.

I love all of the kitchy cute in this pile:
Wrapping up the Christmas gifts...
(Can you spy the baby toes approaching?)

AGGHH!! The little walker (GASP!!) has come to make his mark on the gifts!

My favorite is this card for my dad:

I wrote him a special letter to go along with a Lowe's gift certificate, and then tied it with some black yarn...

(I knit him a black hat a few years back, but I suppose my guesstimation of his head size was waaaayyy off, and instead was sized to fit a large pumpkin. Whoops.)

On today's agenda: stitch together (with some minor embroidery) three tiny softies from this book, and start two knit hats. It's three days before Christmas. Totally doable. Oh yeah, and the grocery shopping. And house cleaning. It's gonna happen. Excuse me while I go sort through the closet and find my SuperMom Cape.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pass/Fail: Aprons

The bad news: I skipped dinner and stayed up until 1:30 last night working on an apron for my mom that fought back until finally it sucked. It seems that it's a solid mixture of bad pattern design and operator error, which equaled Total Fail. I'm not even going to show you a picture. The bottom line: DO NOT EVER ATTEMPT TO SEW Simplicity #3670. You will regret it for the rest of your days. (I just Googled it, and it seems that someone more experienced than I felt the same way. ~sigh~) Thankfully I've already knit her a pair of socks, and bought the rolling pin that she asked for.

The good news: Before that disaster, I completed my brother's apron with great success.

I used the kit from HeartRocks Etsy shop, and I'm super pleased with it. Her instructions are clear, and it produced a nicely fitting, generously sized apron. My brother is right around 6' tall, and I think this will suit him well. I need to get a few more flour sacks so that I can make one for myself, and maybe some totes or something. I love re-purposed crafting!

Billy is napping right now and the other children are happily amusing themselves, so I need to get all of these things packed up to mail later this afternoon. (Although somewhere, in the craziest bits of my brain, I keep thinking I might be able to sneak in a few stuffed animals -- start to finish -- before I seal the last box...)

Current time suck: trying to figure out which of these free, crazy adorable tags to use with my gifts. (Also check out "Write it & Wrap it" over at Sew Mama Sew!!)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gifts completed thus far...

Thanks to all of you for your support in my Christmas-Plan-Sanity efforts. It's been great to read each of your lists, and share in the madness. Thank you especially to those of you who just stopped by for a chuckle. You all keep me real.

So! Here we are, approaching the cut-off date (Monday). I have until...well, however long it takes me to finish up, wrap and pack things to send out first thing Monday morning. So far completed:

Woven scarf #1 for my brother Jonathan:

7" wide, 58" long, handspun Diet Coke BFL handspun and some millspun mixed in with the warp.

Woven scarf #2 for my sister Grace:

RYC Cashsoft Baby DK, 64 warp ends. Other measurements not taken yet, and not time for it! I'll post proper details later in my Ravelry projects. (Psst! Stephanie is right -- 30 minutes in a 225 deg. oven gets a freshly washed scarf bone dry for those of us with serious deadlines...)

Hat #1 (knit out of the same Organic Merino Swamp Monster handspun that I knit Billy's earflap hat out of):

Pattern: Fancy Ribby Hat, but instead of decreasing at the top, I just knit it as tall as I wanted, then kitchnered the top together. I then knit two short lengths of i-cord, and tied off the corners into little "ears".

Hat #2 for my 11 year old sister Rachel:

She looks WAY more adorable in hats than I do, so never fear, it'll be super cute once she gets it on her little head. (P.S. Do you have ANY IDEA how difficult it is to take a picture of the top of your own head? OH MY GOSH.)

Flannel "Brown Bear" pajama pants for Sparky and Max (and yes! In time for Pajama Day at school on Friday!):

I used a very simple "Simplicity" pattern that I picked up at WalMart for about $3. It's just one pattern piece cut out twice. Love 'em. I still have to sew the ones for Daisy and Billy, but those can wait until I get the gifts out that I have to mail tomorrow.

Baked goods gifts for teachers and neighbors (free PDF download for supercute tags here at Everybody Likes Sandwiches):

I think I baked something like 7 or 8 separate things in one day (Thursday). Not all for gifts -- I had to make the family bread and such too, and also a few things didn't turn out well enough to be gifted (hello you criminally ugly looking marshmallows!), but I'm glad that's done and out the door.

Whew! That's a lot of stuff...but I'm still not done. And here I am blogging. Excuse me while I get back to the sewing machine. I have some aprons to complete...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy birthday, Billy

Dear Billy,

One year ago today, you were born into this world. Your daddy had just come home for R&R two days before, mid-deployment, and we were so glad to have the privilege of meeting you together.

(1 week old, the day after your 1st Christmas)

We are so glad that we decided to have a 4th baby, because you, my little friend, are pretty fantastic.

Wearing the first hat I knit for you

Even though I've had three other children, there has been nothing boring about your babyhood to me. I am fascinated by your tiny fat hands, by your expressive face, by your wild, bright smile.

(2 weeks old)

(8 weeks old)

Ever since you were born, I've scarcely stopped kissing the top of your downy head, snuggling in your sweet baby-self.

(3 months old)

It's very hard for me to accept that you're growing up. I've probably cried at every milestone you've had. Here you are, eating your first solid food when you were 5 months old.

(5 months old)

I was probably crying a little as I took that picture. It looks like you were too. Admittedly, it may have been for different reasons.

Soon you'll be entering your toddlerhood, and I know that I need to accept that, but I find myself trying to hang on to your brilliant baby smiles, the drooling kisses you shower me with, trying to fix these moments in my head, knowing that they're all gone and forgotten far too quickly.

(8 months old)

(9 months old)

(11 months)

Today you are 1 year old. You are poised on the doorstep of Little Boy World, and I need to let you grow up. I suppose that's OK.

(1 year old)

Really, I'm just saying that because, as it turns out, there's nothing I can do to stop time. I'm just here for the ride. I love you, little man. I'm so glad that we get to be on this journey together.

Love you forever and ever,


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...