Thursday, December 27, 2007

Foxy Socks

I've hinted about a Christmas knitting project, which I barely finished before the Christmas Eve deadline, despite starting in November. Well, the were socks for Aaron's mom, Leena, who sometimes reads this blog, so I didn't want to spill any beans. I refuse to knit socks for non-knitters who won't appreciate the work and time that goes into them, and it's also pointless to knit socks for people who knit their own. So, other than for Leena, who is an amazing knitter who hasn't yet delved into the realm of the sock, I don't do a lot of gift socks.

I also don't often repeat sock patterns, but after doing Favourite Socks' Go With The Flow for my Sockapalooza pal, I realized that they're the perfect gift sock. The pattern is easy and can be memorized in about two seconds, and they're so stretchy that they're easy to fit to a foot that is a different size than your own. I won't bore you with any specs, they're just your garden variety Go With The Flows, knit in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Envy colourway. There you go.

So... Christmas. After all that prep and all the anticipation it was... well, a little bit too crazy. We're going to have to change the way we do things -- hitting both grandparents' house for gift opening on the same day does not make for a restful holiday. I've spent most of the last 24 hours throwing up, I'm thinking mostly out of stress and over-eating. Yuck.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Can you believe it's here?

Christmas Eve, how did you get here so fast? We've had a crazy week, so the big day has really crept up on us. Ruby is already full of beans and pregnant old me has already cried twice in the last 24 hours (watching Rudolph with Ruby and watching her help me make my Grandma's famous pistachio pudding pie, which we always eat on Boxing Day).

Today we will spend our time: baking, wrapping presents, napping, crafting and then heading to Aaron's folks for the fun. What you see above is one last little Xmas craft -- the Wee Wonderful Pig On Wheels. Mine isn't nearly as perfect as Hilary's, but it's so imperfect and funny. It's a pig on wheels!

So, if Christmas is your thing, have a good one. If not, enjoy a day when most of the Western world is quiet. xoxo

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hold Me Close, Tiny Crafter

As I struggle to finish a knitting project before Monday (it's in a dead heat race with an Amazon order that I ordered in November -- and shipped Tuesday -- for my biggest holiday stresser), Ruby hit the craft table today. Nothing heavy duty -- I just bought a little ornament kit for us to do together and she loved it. Just some beads strung on wire and twisted into snowflakes for the tree. It was very sweet because she kept looking up at me and saying "Mama, are you proud of me? Are you?" as she skillfully slipped the beads on. What a girl.

And, I thought this deserved a photo. Some friends came by for dinner the other night and arrived with this gingerbread house that their three-year old daughter made with her grandmother. Since we didn't get around to doing anything like this this year, it makes a very welcome addition to our growing pile of holiday treats.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Getting The Point

You know what's hard? Taking a picture of a tall pointy hat atop your own head. Yow.

Anyway, I did have a little non-holiday project before I left for Hawaii. Aaron and some of his friends performed a live version of Harry Nilsson's The Point!, which for those not in the know, is pretty much the greatest kids' record ever (really -- I can't stand Harry Nilsson's other music, but even I love this '70s gem). Aaron politely asked me to make some Point! hats for the band, and I of course, turned to Bend-The-Rules Sewing's elf hat!

Now, I had to wing this to fit some adult sized heads and I also used cruddy acrylic felt (for cost purposes), but apparently the crowd went wild when the band put them on. So yes, The Point. We bought Ruby a copy of the DVD for Christmas and I was planning to make her a proper kids' size hat (in wool felt), but it'll have to wait for her birthday. I'm scaling down this year, to save my sanity.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mele Kalikimaka

I realize that this photo is as un-Christmasy as it gets, but our little family just returned from a blissful six days on Maui. Aaron surprised me with news of the trip about a month ago. Now, don't be mistaken -- we're not the kind of people who can afford to jet off to tropical locations on a whim. But Aaron's had some good news at work and he figured that this would be our last time to have a really special family time with Ruby before she loses her reign as an only child. Plus I think Aaron wanted to remove me from a little bit of my Christmas craziness (yes, they do have Christmas in Hawaii, but it's pretty easy to ignore it there if you chose to)

Here's what I did on my winter vacation: as little as possible; beach every morning; pool after nap; read some trashy novels*; ate crab cakes and ice cream almost every day (but not together -- I'm pregnant, but not crazy); gave Ruby millions of hugs; got a tiny tan; showed off my baby bump in a bikini; ordered virgin Pina Coladas; watched Roo play her new ukulele; counted all the reasons why my family is the greatest and I love them more than anything.

So, back to cold and back to Christmas. I can't believe how much there is to do... I'm actually scaling back on my original plans, which is something I wouldn't have allowed myself to do if I wasn't still chilled out from the Maui way.

* after spying a recommendation on Angry Chicken, I picked up Plum Sykes' The Debutante Divorcee at the library and devoured it over the course of about a day and a half in Hawaii. I was so surprised by how much I loved it I immediately picked up Sykes' first book Bergdorf Blondes, which isn't nearly as good. I still read it in, like, two days, but I hated the characters. Which I think was kind of the point (satire, you know), but the Debutante Divorcee is much sweeter. If you're looking to kill some time with a silly book, that is.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Cookie Confidential: Success!

Our holiday open house was today and the cookies were a huge success. The lemon sandwich cookies were by far the biggest hit -- I'm so proud! Here's a picture of our table of yummy-ness (I won't show you an after -- with a houseful of adults and kids, it wasn't pretty).

With that stress out of the way, I'm going to take a wee break. See you in about a week.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Apron That Saved Christmas

This year it isn't Rudolph that is saving my Christmas, it's Amy Karol. Not only has the Angry Chicken posted soooo many great links to gift ideas and books to read and such (I'm beginning to feel like I'm stalking her and trying to steal her life -- sorry Amy! I'm not trying to become your clone, I swear. You just have really good taste), but I hit full-on panic mode this morning when I realized that I was a gift short for Aaron's sister's girlfriend, Erin. This is the first Christmas that Aaron's sister Daniella has spent away from our family (she's hanging with Erin's fam in Vancouver this year -- they thought that if they're starting to alternate that next year when Frank is here would be a good one to spend with us), so it's the first time I've had to send a nice big package thousands of km away. I started wrapping their gifts this morning and realized I was short.

Luckily, the item I was planning for Erin took literally two seconds to make (well, not literally, but you know). I dug into my vintage tea towel stash (which is shrinking rather than growing -- why are these things becoming so hard to find?) and whipped up a tea towel apron, as seen in the crazily popular Bend-The-Rules Sewing. Sewed some ribbon on and poof -- a fun Christmas gift in no time flat. I love these things so much -- so perfect for someone who loves vintage stuff and also loves to cook, which is Erin to a T. Thank you Amy, you rock.

Oh, and the tea towel is a calendar from 1971, obviously some kind of souvenir from Australia. I've had it for a while, but I don't remember exactly where it came from.

p.s. Martha Stewart is also saving Christmas. Is it just me, or is she twice as cool since prison?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Game On

Okay, it's December 3 and I'm starting to go into "Oh my god, I have to get ready for our party/get ready for vacation/finish sending out Xmas cards/finish gift packages that should have been in the mail last week" freak-out mode. Oh, and have I mentioned that I'm starting to feel really, really pregnant? Ack.

On a calmer note, here's a little something that I whipped up last week to send to our little friend Lilly, who was born in August, but didn't get a baby gift, since I was in my early "I'm feeling really really pregnant" stage. This is the Bunny Bug from the Aranzi Aronzo Fun Dolls book. I love this bug so much that I started concocting all sorts of reasons as to why I had to keep him for Ruby/myself -- the main one being that he turned out waaay bigger than I expected and it's going to cost a small fortune to mail him across the country. But, off he will go.

I used a really fuzzy material that was a pain to work with and really messy. I think he's done shedding, but I'm going to recommend that the parents use this to decorate the babe's room rather than let her cuddle it in bed, since I don't want any fuzzy particles going up her nose. Still, I really love this guy and he was super super easy to make. Hooray.

Okay, I've got to go. I think Ruby has dumped every toy she owns in the living room and she's eyeing the Christmas tree.