Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010


We got a white Christmas...barely. It started snowing at 10 pm December 25 and didn't stop until 1l am the next day.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Improvised Reindeer

Since we introduced her to Rudolph, reindeer have been a big topic of discussion around here. She did this all on her own, and was quite pleased with it.

Happy Holidays, wherever you may be. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

All Aglow

Holiday lights at Stowe Gardens.

A Little Christmas Crafting

Well, I am knee-deep in red worsted-weight wool and elbow-high in bread dough right now, but I thought I'd share what I made last night. It looked like this when I started:

Remind me to sew in the daytime next year so I can take a decent photo.

This was a t-shirt I gave my husband the first or second Christmas we were together. He loved it and wore it and wore it and wore it, until it had paint splatters and holes and frayed seams and the decal was starting to flake off. It had reached the end of its life as a garment, but I wanted to keep it in the family and he needed a good stocking. He's been using some cheapie dollar-bin one for a few years now and last year Piper and I both got cool stockings, so it was his turn. This was a pretty fast project, once I got going. I traced one of our existing stockings for a pattern, and spent some time fussing with placement to try and get the most leftover t-shirt fabric when I was done, but by then it was 11:43 on December 23rd and I decided just to hack it out of the middle because otherwise it would never get done.

 Here is the finished product, which will probably bring a smile to the face of anyone who has played Super Mario Bros

Hello, I am a Goomba Stocking. Nice to meet you.

I had the seam on the inside but didn't like the way it looked, so I just went around the outside, in dark-green thread because I have a huge cone of green thread and no green projects to use it on. The top band/hanging loop is a piece from the jelly roll pack I bought to make the binding for Piper's Beatles quilt (I thought the green was festive and it matched the stitching). I didn't line it, and I probably should've, but it will only have stuff in it for a few hours so I hope it won't get too stretched out of shape. The seam is extremely sturdy and I think it will be okay. Maybe before I put it away with the rest of the Christmas decorations I'll make a lining and tuck it inside and patch a couple tiny holes in the fabric and patch up the paint on the decal. Probably not, but I'll think about it really hard.

My husband is just tickled to death with the thing. He was touched because it's a shirt that has history for us, but he also thinks it's a pretty kick-ass stocking. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Want This So Much

It's a magnet, which is awesome, but I'd take a t-shirt or an iron-on/sew-on patch, too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rocking Out With Rankin/Bass

It took me two full weeks to clean up the mess that resulted from our recent visit to my parents' house. This is pretty typical - any time we visit them or they visit us, it takes forever for the piles of stuff they dump off in our living room to filter through the house. I am trying to get rid of as much junk as possible, because even though we asked the grandparents to chip in on a family membership to the kids' science museum instead of more doodads and clothes my kid doesn't need, I am anticipating that quite a few pieces of useless plastic crap will find their way to our house anyway. It is always such a job to sort and box and drive and donate and haul and sell and toss.

Between that, the huge amounts of holiday knitting I've been tending to, and all the other holiday-related running around that needs done, I have not had much time for blogging lately. I've also been trying to spend more time with my kid and less time online, which is not always as easy as I'd like it to be.

We have been doing a lot of playing with her new dollhouse, snuggling under blankets on the couch, and watching Christmas movies. Our kid-friendly collection of holiday viewables was pretty lacking (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, while one of my favorite movies ever, and set during the holiday season, is not exactly appropriate viewing for a 3.5-year-old). My husband came to the rescue, sailing through the door one evening with this under his arm, and one or more of the discs have been in constant rotation ever since. We both fondly remember most of these from our childhood, and waiting impatiently every December for them to pop up on the TV schedule. Even though we've both seen them dozens of times, it's pretty fun to watch them again with Piper, who is seeing them all for the first time. And the second. And the fifth. We have watched Rudolph every night for a week. I'm getting a little tired of his oh-so-shiny-nose.

Fortunately, I have plenty of knitting to distract me. Did you notice how this is sitting on that still-unfinished Tomten?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Stuff It.

We have so much stuff.

Towering piles of it. Stuff on every surface. Books tumbling from shelves, cd's stacked in towers on the office floor. Junk and crap and things and stuff. And I still can't find anything I want.

I've started to go through another period of missing things that I gave away during previous moves. Right now, I desperately miss the camo military jacket I bought at in Kalamazoo at a kick-ass vintage shop that was going out of business. I got up early on a Sunday and made my friend with a car drive me from our dorm to downtown just so I could go to their closing sale. That jacket fit me like a glove, went with everything, saw me through all manner of college hijinks, kept me just the right amount of warm...and I stupidly got rid of it two or three moves ago, when we were bailing our stuff out of the apartment like water from a sinking ship. I'm really, really tired of reaching for a favorite object and remembering that I gave it away, to I-don't-remember-who or Goodwill or, a homeless man who happened by (true story). We have so much stuff, and yet I can't find anything I want when I want it, and I've had to give away things I should've kept to accommodate all this crap now towering around me. It's very frustrating.

I just spent two weeks visiting my parents, whose house is also crammed with stuff, and they seem to think it's their job to fill up my house as well. Every time they come visit, they cram their car absolutely full of stuff, and pile it all in my living room as soon as they arrive. They laugh about it, they think it's funny. Every time I go visit them, I come back with suitcases and tote bags and boxes of more stuff. My mom will actually pay the airline's $25-each-checked-bag fee for me, so she can send home extra suitcases full of crap.

This time, just to add to the chaos, we brought back a four-foot-tall dollhouse my uncle built for Piper. He is staying at my parents' house while getting cancer treatment at the University of Michigan hospitals, and he is doing well. But he tires easily and can't work a regular job at the moment, and has set up a makeshift woodworking studio on my parents' back porch. He worked as a professional carpenter for more than 30 years, so my mom has had him busy repairing the trim, building porch railings and steps, and building new windowsills for her house. He's also built my sister a huge shoe-rack and my brother a desk large enough to accommodate his computer-gaming habits. The dollhouse is gorgeous, four floors and each with its own staircase and fireplace. His specialty was finish carpentry, so there are amazing details, and Piper loves the thing. It is a wonderful gift, worthy of heirloom status.

I just wish they had consulted me on the design, and not given us a 50-pound, four-foot item to stuff into our already-bursting house, only a few months before we put it up for sale. I wouldn't have said "no, don't build it," but I would have shown my uncle something like this or this one, which we could take apart and pack up easily.

Did I mention the matching barn?