Sunday, December 17, 2006

'Tis the Silly Season!

It most certainly is the "silly season"! The time of year many (including me :( ) spend way too much money and run around like a chicken with its head chopped off trying to get everything done before Christmas comes! I will have 11 at my table this year. I am not really a good hostess so I do find all this rather stressful, especially on top of the stress of finding presents for everyone. And paying for them. Then there is the cleaning and getting the house ready! So what am I doing on here? Procrastinating, that's what!

We will also be having our son, T, his partner and the two Grandgirls staying for three weeks followed by our daughter, K, for her final week before going overseas. I am looking forward to having them all here. But... Stress and I don't make good bedfellows. Need I go on?

I am in the middle of the scarf mentioned earlier. Progress is very slow as I don't often feel like knitting these days. Too many late and broken nights' sleep have made me rather tired. No end in sight there so I will just have to get over it. It will be finished before K leaves even if it isn't finished in time to give to her for Christmas.

So much for more serious things, now for a little lightheartedness! I stole this from ?! I can't remember where but it is on several blogs. Go ahead and try it just for fun!

Your Elf Name Is...
Flakey Hot Chocolate

And this one came from ?? (I put them in my blog a few days ago and, especially at this time of year, my memory is often suspect!) Just enjoy!

You Are a Traditional Christmas Tree

For a good Christmas, you don't have to re-invent the wheel.
You already have traditions, foods, and special things you bring out every year.

As I am unlikely to get back here for a while, I wish each and every one out there a very merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year! May the joy and peace of Christmastime be with you all!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas is HOW close?

Isn't it amazing how quickly the week slips away from you and suddenly you are looking at the end of another week - again! Especially at this time of year. I was hoping to be really prepared for Christmas this year but with only just over two weeks to go I am not there yet. Is anyone?

I do have most of the presents bought or I know what I will be buying. The ham for Christmas dinner is ordered and will be ready to be picked up on the 20th. I have written out a "menu" for the dinner but have yet to ask others to bring particular dishes. Nothing fancy, just plain and simple - the way I like it!

I have bought a couple of CDs of Christmas-type music so we can have something playing softly in the background. The only Christmas music I had was on a tape and I no longer have a tape recorder. A pity as I did like that tape.

I started putting up some decorations yesterday. I bought some cheap fairy lights and have strung them around the room. They look quite pretty with the lights out at night but may have been better with some tinsel strung with them. Maybe an idea for next year. I am hoping to get the tree up later today. I'm not very good at these decorative things but I would like it to be pretty for the little ones.

Yesterday (6 Dec) was a Big Day for the littlest one (our youngest grandgirl) - it was L's first birthday! I wish we could have been there but will just have to be content with going up there on Sunday for her party. I did ring them but L isn't much for talking on the phone as you can imagine! I did hear her in the background grunting for whatever it was she was wanting. She is resisting learning to talk preferring to point and say "aaah, aaah, aaah!" until she gets what she wants. Maybe it's a second-child thing as I think I can remember her father doing that too.

Before you get too bored (if you haven't snored off already!) I do have a photo - I finished the hat that matches the fingerless mitts from a while ago and finally took a photo of them yesterday. I am quite pleased with how it turned out. I used the basic hat pattern in Ann Budd's book (sort of) and included the same cable as the mitts. I fudged the decreases at the top a little so that the knit stitches between the cables remained as long as possible. As with the mitts I knit the hat on two circs. The scarf is still a work-in-progress having knitted about five complete cables. Photos when there is more to see!

There has been a fair bit of controversy lately on KR about the pink Denise circular needles. I have long wanted a set, particularly as I would like to try Cat Bordhi's mobius pattern and I can't buy a long-enough circ here. The pink set made a good excuse anyway, I thought, to buy the set knowing that I would also be donated a little to a good cause. So what if it is donated in the US rather than here. My sister had breast cancer four years ago so now I need to have yearly mammograms (yuck!). All is well with her, now, but may not have been if it hadn't been detected early.

Whatever, the set arrived this morning and is so pretty in all of it's pink glory! I love it and can't wait to use it. Once I have finished the scarf there may just be a mobius in my future!

Enough time on here, I think, time I was getting back to my Christmas preparations! I hope your's are going well, too.

Friday, December 01, 2006

An Ending...and a Beginning?

The little baby jersey has been finished (the buttons bought and sewn on) parceled up and delivered to my sister's home ready to be given to the new baby boy. In the end I was really quite pleased with how it looked even though my seams are not really the best. I guess I am more happy to have it finished and given than have it sitting around not being used while I worried about perfect-looking seams. As if any little baby would worry! What do you think?

The shawl in the background is one my MIL knitted for one of our children 20+ years ago. Unfortunately there are a few holes in it presumably from moth-damage. Do moths eat acrylic yarn? I have tried to repair some of them but darning and repairing are not one of the things I do well (the older I get the more seriously I look at myself and realise that there aren't many things I do well! Is this normal, I wonder?). So the shawl sits in the cupboard as it is, a sweet reminder of times, and people, past.

With the NZ dollar still holding out strong, I recently decided to buy a few more knitting books from Amazon to add to my growing collection. I am not sorry I did! Yesterday morning the courier braved the cold, wet conditions to do his job once more and deliver my three new books to my doorstep. Maggie Righetti's Sweater Design in Plain English, Nicky Epstein's Knitting Beyond the Edge and Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace Today now await my reading (and drooling) pleasure. I have been able to flick through VLT - very nice! The photography is lovely and the history is something I look forward to exploring further. Whether I eventually knit anything from this book remains to be seen, but there certainly is a lot of scope for dreaming. Knitting Beyond the Edge looks to be as good as her previous books but once I caught sight of VLT I was hooked. I will save KBtE for later.

On Sunday my friend K and I travelled to the "city" (it is officially a city but is rather small by world, and even NZ, standards) for the annual Market Day on the Bay. This was the culmination of the Rose Festival week celebrated here each year. We really enjoy going to this each year. There are many stalls selling all sorts of bib and bobs, some good quality and others not so. As it is a rose festival there are always several stalls devoted to all manner of plants including, of course, roses.

This year I bought two roses for the garden (I use this term loosely when talking of my particular garden. I have plans but this is as far as I have gone!) - one is a lovely white English rose Glamis Castle the other, another English rose, William Shakespeare. The latter is a beautiful deep red/burgundy with an amazingly lovely perfume. I used to have this at our previous home but it died when we tried to transplant it. I hope this specimen will have a longer, happier life! I was particularly drawn to this rose, not only because of its outstanding looks, but also because of its name. My grandmother's maiden name was Hathaway and family legend has it that we are, in fact, descendants (or more likely relatives of) Shakespeare's wife Anne. Nice thought, anyway.

Another smaller purchase which made its way home with me was this - a handmade shawl pin. To fasten those dream-shawls with? I rather like its slightly rustic look although the end of the pin may be a little sharp for comfort. Cute anyway.
It was a pity that our day at the Market was a little short-lived. Soon after lunch really dark clouds gathered and proclaimed in no uncertain terms that the already dubious weather was going to become worse. And soon! K and I went back to the gardening-stall area, collected my roses, and made a dash back to the car-park. And none too soon. Huge drops of rain began to fall as we were scurrying for shelter. Once we were in the car and on our way the rain began to fall in earnest sending the stall-holders rushing to cover their goods. We were very pleased that we had had the good sense to come away when we did remaining relatively dry and happy with our purchases. Maybe the weather will be better next year.