Saturday, December 31, 2016

Another Year Over

For the past few years, I have tried to compile a list of my finishes at the end of the year. It is a really good feeling to see what has been done, especially after it feels like I haven't managed to get anything finished.

First up, this week's finish (which is also this week's start).

I was told on Thursday that my sweet baby boy had outgrown his new born socks, so I made him a pair in size 6 months. Kate Atherley's wonderful baby sock pattern is my favourite. I realized that the six month size has all the numbers for an adult man's sock exactly halved. Meanwhile, his mommy says he needs more warm socks, so I will be reducing my ball ends.

This year, I tried very hard to shop my stash first. I am pleasantly surprised at all the diverse fabrics I found that actually went together.  My stash is going down and I am finding some treasures I had forgotten I had. I also learned that as I continue to explore bag making, I need to buy pieces that are at least 1 metre. I must resist those very tempting fat quarters, because they are only big enough to make the pockets of a normal handbag.

My Sewing Finishes

15 Tea Wallets (all sold at the church bazaar for $5 each)
10 Handbags or Totes
8 Sweet Pea Pods
4 Other Zippered bags
1 Pixie Basket
1 Christmas Stocking
4 Bibs
6 Receiving Blankets
1 Baby Quilt

My Knitting Finishes

4 Shawls
3 pairs of Baby Socks
3 pairs of Adult Socks
2 Baby Sweaters
4 Baby Hats
1 Adult Hat
1 Pair of Fingerless Mitts

As well, we fostered 16 cats of assorted ages, before sending them on to their future.

I have seen lots of people posting their goals for 2017. I must admit I spent many years working as the person responsible for sorting out crises. I tend to work in "interrupt mode" most of the time, so my goals are much more fluid.

I plan to continue to shop my stash first, both in sewing and in knitting. I will work on projects that delight me. Whenever possible, I will sew for 30 minutes, everyday. I will resist Fat Quarters. That last one is probably going to be broken!

Meanwhile, I will continue to work away on my Advent scarf.

Only 19 more clues of 30 rows to knit!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016

There was very little  shopping here this year. Unexpected circumstances hit all of us, so we decided that it would be very low key. Gifts were almost entirely consumables. However, everyone was happy, safe and warm, so that was all that mattered.

The tree did get decorated.

Lots of kitten and baby friendly decorations, mostly stuffies, filled the branches.

Because it was "Jett's" first Christmas, I made him a stocking.

I used Lindsay Sands Holly Jolly Stocking pattern. It is free if you subscribe to her newsletter.

The stocking is a nice size and goes together easily. The hardest part of the project was making the label.

This took almost as long as the rest of the stocking.

Food, chocolates, and family made up most of our celebrations.  Of course, naps by the fire were a highlight.

Early in the week I send gifts to distant loved ones. Ahead of me in the postal line was a lady who wanted Christmas stamps. She told the counter clerk that she didn't want "religious ones". When told that that was all that was left, she explained that she didn't have anything against them, but she didn't want to offend the recipients. Odd, I thought. In my stack of parcels, I had this.

In Canada, stamps never expire and you can use them for their face value. I have a stash of stamps from years past, so I just added up some to make enough for this envelope at 2016 rates. I think the stamps are from 2001. I am pretty sure the recipient wasn't the least bit offended, if the stamps were even noticed.  I know the gift was greatly appreciated.

May your Christmas be full of food, chocolate and naps by the fire.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Life Gave Me Lemons

I had great plans for this week, but life decided to intervene. However, I thought I would give you my lemonade moments.

First up, the cat lover picture.

Every time we open the frig, Natalie jumps in. If we don't notice, the door gets shut and she moves to the shelf on the door. So when we reopen it (5 seconds later, we tend to realize right away), this is what we see. However, we have to lift her out, because she is intent on staying.

When I looked at the picture, I realized that the man who labelled the shelf JAM so he can find his marmalade in the morning, has stuck a can of  Guinness on that shelf. It puts a whole new dimension to breakfast!

My grandson, and his parents came to put up my Christmas tree. I guess I shouldn't have expected much from new parents.

The tree is up. It has two strings of lights and two ornaments.

And, of course, it had a cat in it before it was all the way up.

Nothing much gets in the way of knitting, even lemons. Actually, I think it helps with life's lemons.

 A hat, a requested Christmas present from a grownup boy, who no longer thinks hats are a terrible Christmas present. Pattern is Invisicrown.

The Flip Flop socks are nearly finished. See, there are 2. I just need to reverse the toe, from the first one. Luckily, I wrote down what I had done.

Yesterday, I started a new tradition. My grandson and I made Christmas cookies, to send to far away relatives. These are Fruit Cake Hermit cookies, my own recipe, created a couple of years ago, to use up the leftover fruit cake ingredients.  Here is the recipe.

Fruit Cake Hermits

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. rum extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder, cinnamon, and mace
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup raisins
1 cup of leftover fruitcake fruit (peel, citron, glace cherries, it doesn't matter)

Cream the butter and the two sugars. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, along with the rum extract.
Combine the dry ingredients. Stir into the butter. Fold in the fruit and nuts.
Drop by tablespoons on a parchment covered sheet pan. 
Bake @ 350F for 15 minutes. 

Try not to eat them all before they get send away!

Monday, December 5, 2016

The time has come. The time is now.

Go. Just go. I don't care how. - Dr. Suess

One of my kids' favourite books was Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now?

Have you had a project on your UFO pile and wake up one day to say NOW, get it done!

This might have had something to do with it.

Yes, there is snow. Snow is a great incentive to finish off projects of Christmas's past.

So, yesterday, I pulled out my Christmas Tree Skirt.

I bought a kit in a January clearance at Connecting Threads. The selvedge says that the fabric is from 2009, so that was probably 2010. I got the blacks pieced one year. Then Christmas came, and it went into the hold pile. Sometime later, I put the top together. Then Christmas came and it went on the hold pile. The back went missing. It has been on my UFO list for my quilt group THREE times.

I ironed everything yesterday, pieced the back and made the binding.

See, nice bias binding, I made yards of it. It still needs to be folded, but it is made.

Today, I have found a piece of batting, my pins and my masking tape. The floor in the spare room is free of any debris. I should have it basted in a short time. I think the quilting will be cross hatching, simple and quick. After all, it is basically a quilt for the cat to sleep on.

This isn't my current batch of kittens. The tree isn't up yet. I have until Sunday to finish this!

Thursday, December 1, 2016


In the church year, the new liturgical year starts four Sundays before Christmas, and is called the season of Advent. It is a time of waiting, a time of contemplation, a time of getting ready for Christmas.  When my kids were little, we always lit the advent candles on Sunday night as a way of putting Christmas into real time. They had a visual way of knowing how far away Christmas was, which seemed to help downplay a lot of the hype.

This year, Advent started last Sunday. I was delighted to find a knit along that was an actual Advent knit along, and started on Sunday, not just 24 days in December.

It is mosaic knitting, and 30 rows are released every day. The picture shows the pattern up to the first 6 rows of Nov. 30. Not bad, I am only a day and a half behind! I am using stash yarn, a couple of balls of Chroma in black and Roller Skate. I think it looks pretty good so far.

I also received an Advent gift, yesterday.

Twenty-four pots of interesting teas, I don't think I will have to try very hard to keep up. However, I was more excited about the box.

Twenty-four little drawers, that I can store little things in.

And in each drawer, a tiny tin, with a screw lid, to store even smaller things in.

Now, what will I store in this?