Monday, December 22, 2008

Where I've been...

Yikes, I got caught unawares this holiday. I'm usually pretty good when it comes to having stuff done. Nope, not this year. I've been completing things like crazy to try and mail them out. Fortunately, most everything is inside the state, and I don't have to worry about mailing stuff.

Here's what I did last weekend:

This is a version of a "simple ornament" pattern from Bead and Button a gazillion years ago, when they actually published such things. In order to get even close to the correct colors I used the "underwater setting" on my camera. How weird is that? This is for my sister-in-law. She spends much time taking care of the parents and DH and I feel she is taken for granted. About 10 years ago I began to make her a new ornament each year. Even though I'm running out of ideas, I feel that I still want her to know she is appreciated.

Then because DH family was having a "yankee gift exchange" and I didn't have to do anything specific, I made this one:

This is the same pattern, but with different "frosting". I realized as I was decorating my tree that it is hard to find places to hang ornaments with tons of fringe, no matter how pretty they are. I used fire polished crystals in the connectors in this piece and it turned out too big. (Working with beads is a crap shoot even more than knitting.) So I had to cut it apart and start over. I like the way it turned out though.

As it turns out, we will not be participating in the exchange, so ha! I get to keep this baby. I've not made a new ornament for myself in ages, so I'm pretty tickled.

The gift exchange is a sore point in our house. In prior years, you got someone's name, sought suggestions, and bought one nice ($50) gift. This year, with the same limit, you just buy a gift and, as per the yankee gift exchange "rules", each person randomly selects a gift. Rules are here, except, in my experience, the next person decides whether he/she wants any of the open gifts before opening another. So you could get golf balls or gift cards. I've been involved in these exchanges when they've been loads of fun because the gifts were small, inexpensive and funny. I, frankly, think this gift exchange is going to be an exchange of Macy's gift cards for the most part. DH simply refused to participate. I was going to participate with the ornament and a...ta card. But as it turns out we will not be there on Christmas, so problem solved.

Actually, to be honest, I've not fared very well in these gift exchanges over the years. Last year was the strangest. I got a blanket with sleeves, and a tea cup that holds about a quart of liquid. It is too heavy to hold....really. No one ever contacts my DH for suggestions. On the other hand, not only have the givers contacted me about him, I've on occasion purchased the items for them. So he usually gets exactly what he wants.

You see we have no family in this area. So we have to travel every holiday. This year we are working up to Christmas Eve, and don't want to have to pack for what would be 6 days away, and travel on Christmas. Also I'd have to sleep in a bunk bed for the duration. So we'll not be traveling until the day after Christmas, which suites me fine. We'll be celebrating my MIL's 90th!! birthday on the 27th. It will be much less chaotic than Christmas Day.

I've also learned that you can't bead and knit at the same time. (I was holding out hope that it was possible.) So I rushed to finish:

Embossed Leaves sock pattern. Great pattern, odd instructions. I changed the heel, toe, and needle size. And I'd change the toe further the next time. The leaf pattern is outstanding though. These will be in the mail today to my dear MIL.

For my FIL, A Hat Fit for a Boyfriend:

My FIL is ALWAYS cold. He wears a hat most of the time, even to sleep. I made him one of these last year, and he wore it alot--he was so cute. Last year's was blue to match a cardigan we bought him. So I thought gray (though "underwater" it looks tan) would be a lovely compliment. I started this at 3:00 am on Friday night. And finished it off Sunday morning, pre-Steelers drubbing.

So I packed these items in little "take-out" container gift boxes and into the mail they'll go. They should be in Pittsburgh via priority by Wednesday.

So now I'm starting on Morgan for my DH, but there's no rush (and if his attitude doesn't improve he's going to get coal in his stocking not Morgan). I had a devil of a time with gauge, and I'm still not sure I'm going to be successful with this yarn. Yet, again, odd pattern instructions. She wants you to knit this on two circs. That's OK by me, but you start out with 8 stitches, which is WAY too fiddly on two circular needles. I gave up and went to 4 dpns. Still fiddly, but not nearly as frustrating.

So that's my story. I don't know if I'll be able to post until after the first of the year. We shut down here tomorrow, and we'll be up and running again on the 5th.

Merry Christmas to all of you, and may whatever holiday you celebrate be lovely, and joyous, and sheesh, let's really hope for peace, especially domestically, in the New Year.

P.S. I learned on Saturday that my hairdresser's husband, a state trooper, will be going to the inauguration, assigned as part of the PA State Police Mounted Patrol. He's excited, and she's petrified (and it has nothing to do with how either of them voted). So good thoughts for Trooper B and Cosmo (his horse).

P.P.S. My weather vane is telling me that it is 9 degrees, working up to a high of 17. Think it's too cold to wash the car?


Bezzie said...

Love the ornaments!!!

ps did you see the picture of Chunky on my blog today? He never takes it off!!!!!!!!

kemtee said...

9 degrees. Weeeeell, if you want to get into the car before June, I'd wait. Just my $.02.

It's when I hear tales of gift exchanges like yours that I'm glad the adults in my extended family quit exchanging gifts at all years ago.

Hey, be careful driving and have a great holiday!