Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year! I have wanted to posted sooner, but I've been enjoying time with my husband home from teaching, family and friends visiting from out of town, eating delicious goodies, relaxing a bit, and doing a bit of crafting here and there. I hope that you all have had a blessed holiday as well.

We certainly had a white Christmas this year! We woke up to snow on Christmas morning, and there was still the ten inches on the ground from two days before. A week before that it had snowed about 16 inches, so we had quite a bit piled up (and still do)! It made Christmas all the more magical. Matthew was a much bigger participant this year than his first Christmas, and I can definitely say that he liked Christmas. :) Of course he enjoyed opening gifts, but he also enjoyed being around all of the family and friends who showered him with love and attention. We are so thankful for all of our loved ones. We even spent a couple of days in the "big city" of Albuquerque going to the aquarium and biopark. It was fun just to do something different and get out of our small, isolated town. I do always enjoy coming home, though!

As you can see in the next picture, I FINALLY finished Pat's Cobblestone Pullover. I seriously finished it at 11:00pm Christmas Eve, and I think there are still a couple of ends that I haven't weaved in yet. It fits him well and he's happy with it, and I'm happy to finally have it finished! Yay! About a month ago we discovered a wadded up wool sweater in the bottom of his hamper full of holes and covered in moth eggs. I told him that it would be in his best interest not to ever let that happen to this sweater. :) (I'll eventually have all the specifics up on Ravelry).

After all of the stockinette and garter stitching on such a large scale, I have taken a little break from knitting since my marathon on Christmas Eve. I've been enjoying crocheting and sewing, and just looking through my books, magazines, and on the internet for inspiration for my next project. It's nice to just relax with the crafting and not feel rushed.

We found out that Matthew will be having a little brother, which we're really excited about. There are some adorable patterns and ideas out there for little boys, but they're really more difficult to find than those for little girls. A friend steered me toward the Flickr group, Handmade Crafts for Boys, which is great. Boys need our crafting love, too! There will be a lot more on this in the months to come. :)

This year for Christmas gifts for my girlfriends, I decided to make the Artsy Clutch from Amy Karol's book, Bend the Rules Sewing. It's a quick and easy project, and the little bag can have so many uses. I have used mine as a purse, wallet, and even small-project knitting bag. This Christmas I made six, and since we were pretty much snowed in, I made them all using materials from my stash. It felt good to be resourceful!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Crafting

I can't believe that Christmas is less than two weeks away! I really try not to get stressed out about gifts, cards, etc., but sometimes it's hard not to. It's especially frustrating when I'm planning on finishing something in the evening and someone doesn't go to bed until 10:30pm! Again, I'm trying not to get stressed out. That's not what Christmas is about, right? And if some presents are a bit late, I'm sure the recipients will understand. Especially if he's 18 months old.

This year I decided to make a lot of my presents. At first I didn't think that I'd make too many, but then the ideas started piling up. I'm happy, however, that I do have something to show for the past week of Christmas crafting.

First up, a hat from the book Knitting for Baby. It was meant to be for a toddler, but well, my gauge was so off that it ended up for an adult! I used Blue Sky Alpacas' Organic Cotton, and it is super soft. (I think that the second hat pic looks a little bit like a squid).

Since the hat's first recipient was out of a present, I decided to knit some socks using the pattern Cozy Socks for Kids from Designer One Skein Wonders. I used one skein of Knit Picks Swish Superwash, and it was a pretty fast knit. When Matthew is a little older, I will definitely knit him a pair (or two, or three...).

Finally, I decided to join the bandwagon that started many years ago and make a tied fleece blanket. I've had this fleece for over a year now, and it has just been taking up space. (In my effort to declutter and make room for a new baby I've been trying to go into my stash for many of my Christmas presents materials. Charitable thrift stores in our area have also been receiving a lot from me lately, but this is another post entirely!). Matthew is obsessed with dogs right now, so I thought it would be a perfect little blanket for him to cozy up with.

Whew! It's actually a little bit refreshing (and therapeutic?) to document all that I've done. Sometimes I don't feel like anything is getting finished! Happy gift crafting (and buying)! :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

His First Gingerbread House

The best part about making a gingerbread house is eating it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Orange you Glad it's Wednesday?

When I was teaching, I was always thankful when Wednesday rolled around. In our school district, the students leave on Wednesdays at noon giving the teachers and staff planning time. It was also a fun time to get together with my colleagues and go out to lunch. I do miss the comaraderie of being with my fellow teachers... I also looked forward to Wednesdays because it meant that the work week was more than half over! (Even though I enjoyed teaching, I always appreciated a good weekend break).

Last Wednesday when my husband, Matthew and I were wandering around our little main street, I stepped into the local library and picked up the book, Victorian Christmas Crafts by Barbara Bruno. I have to say that I thought it looked a little cheesy at first, but it's loaded with fun, hands-on activities for both adults and children. One craft idea that I decided to try was that of making a Pomander ball. If you google it, there are tons of how-to sites, but here's what I did:
1. Press whole cloves all over an orange, no less than 1/4 inch apart.
2. Sprinkle with cinnamon to help fight off decay (and add an additional pleasant scent!)
3. Leave in a dry, warm place for 2-3 weeks.
Mine have only been drying for about one week, and the house smells great. I may have to keep one for myself. :)

I've also finished one of many gift knits/craft projects for Christmas. I actually started this scarf a couple of months ago and just needed to work a couple more inches and then block. I'm thankful I had a head-start for this one!

Pattern: Noemi by Norah Gaughan
Source: Norah Gaughan: Vol 1 (Berrocco)
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas' Alpaca & Silk; I used just over one skein

I'll eventually have more details up on Ravelry, but this was a fun little lace project to do. As my husband pointed out, it's not a very warm scarf, but as I pointed out to him, it's more of a decorative accessory!

P.s. I meant to post this last night, but I'm been having a lot of problems with Blogger lately. Anyone else having difficulties???