Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good-bye 2008

Here we sit, on the cusp of a brand new year. Many people like to look back over the past 366 days (it was a leap year, remember?) and do a little recap. But as I type, my stuffy head and scratchy throat seem very fitting. For me, 2008 was a pretty crappy year. Not to say it was all bad, but a lot of it was and ending it with an icky head cold seems fitting. So instead of doing an end-of-year recap, I've decided to end the year by blogging my completed Christmas knitting. Look for two more Christmas projects in early 2009 - since poor Pea's gifts are still on the needles.

First up, a scarf for my mom.

Dangling Leaves Scarf
Cast On: 22 November 2008
Completed: 11 December 2008
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted - Vetiver
Needles: US8 (5mm) Addi Circ
This gift was quite a special knit for me. While we were in Louisiana for my uncle's funeral, my family humored me with a trip to The Yarn Nook, which was less than a mile from our hotel. While there, my mom spotted this scarf, which was knit up as a shop sample, and commented several times on how pretty it was and how much she liked it. At the time I barely reacted (to make her think I wasn't listening), but as soon as I got home I set about finding the pattern. Thanks to the wonders of Ravelry, I found it was a Yarn Nook shop pattern and soon after I was knitting it up for mom. Although our trip was a sad one, I hope the scarf always brings her warm and comforting thoughts of her brother.

Next up was a gift for my god-son Zach. He's now 8 years old, so I thought he might be past the knitted stuffed animal phase. My best friend said he'd love a hat, so I whipped this up in his favorite color, BLUE.

Cast on: 24 December 2008
Completed: 25 December 2008
Yarn: Lion Wool - Midnight Blue and Patons Classic Wool - Wedgewood
Needles: US6 (4mm) and US7 (4.5mm) DPNs
This was such a fun pattern! I can see myself knitting many more of these as gifts for next Christmas. I only cast on 80 stitches and increased to 88, hoping it would fit Zach's head. It was a perfect fit, and he seemed really happy with it.

Last up, a gift for Zach's brother. Camden is 2 1/2, which means I can still get away with knitting toys for him for a few years. This year, I chose Sheldon.

Cast On: 20 November 2008
Completed: 6 December 2008
Yarn: Classic Elite Four Seasons - Green Print
Brooks Farms Four-Play
Needles: US5 (3.75mm)
I freaking love this pattern!!! So cute!
The Classic Elite yarn I used for the body was won in the very first blog contest I ever entered! It's just perfect for Sheldon. In fact, he knit up so cutely, I have to admit I thought about just buying a gift for Camden and keeping Sheldon for myself. That's not really in keeping with the Christmas spirit though, is it? So Sheldon has been gifted. Luckily, I think I have enough yarn left over to eek out my own Sheldon, if I use a different yarn for part of the shell.

That wraps up my Christmas knitting (so far) and my last post of 2008. I hope you all have a wonderful and safe night, and that all your dreams come true in 2009!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Houseguests for Christmas

Rox and Sox have come to stay while their owners are home in Germany for the holiday.  They wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  And so do I!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Holiday Poem

'Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the blog,
Not a new post was stirring, your time it won't hog.

Friends started e-mailing notes filled with care,
Wondering why updates had now become rare.

There's shopping and knitting and holiday crap,
I know I should post, but I all I want is a nap!

I'm cranky and blue and just keep feeling sadder
So I test my blood sugar to see what's the matter.

First it's too high, then it's too low
Holiday stress wreaks havoc on blood sugar, you know?

Bolus a correction when the highs appear,
And for those lows, gobble eight tiny reindeer.
(um, reindeer cookies!)

Then grab the knitting needles, so lively and quick,
And work on those gifts, just like St. Nick.

Less rapid than eagles my gifts how they came,
But I whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, mittens! now, scarves! now, socks and toys!
On, lace! on cables! for girls and for boys!

To the top of the skein! to the top of the yarn ball!
Now knit away! knit away! knit away all!"

Then off to the mall in my car I flew,
To buy other gifts for the people I knew.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard in my head
The buzzing sound I've long come to dread.

I drew in my hand, and again pricked my finger,
Knowing I'd have a low that would linger and linger.

Shopping makes blood-sugar crash, from my head to my foot,
I need to sit down, eat something, stay put;

A bundle of candy I had flung on my back,
It's the reason my purse is as large as a sack.

The blood sugar woes make it hard to be merry!
And my muscles ache from the supplies I must carry!

I wish I'd stay home to knit one more row,
Instead of braving the mall and fighting this low;

But soon after the SweetTarts are safe in my belly,
My legs stop feeling as if they're made of jelly.

I'm feeling much better, a right jolly old elf,
And I laugh as I shop, in spite of myself;

A few more gifts from the list in my head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

I make my way home, but then remember more work,
I've forgotten to bake cookies; I feel like a jerk!

A batch of shortbread, shaped like Christmas bows,
Just thinking of them and my blood sugar rose.

So much left to do, as my blog drops out of sight,
"Happy Knitting to all, and to all a good-night."

Friday, December 05, 2008

20 days . . .

That's right. Twenty days until Christmas.  Holy crap, I am so not going to be ready.  But instead of knitting, decking, shopping, baking and wrapping, what am I doing?  Blogging!  Blogging the fun Christmas Meme that's been making the rounds.  I love filling them out almost as much as I love reading them on everyone's blogs

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both.  I like the look of wrapped gifts better.  But for the odd sized, hard to wrap presents, I'll cave and throw it in a gift bag.

2. Real tree or artificial?  REAL!!  My dad is allergic to pine, so we always had a fake one growing up and I always hated it.  (I think I might be mildly allergic too, but I ignore it.  I always get sick for Christmas.)

3. When do you put up the tree?  I tend to do things at the last minute, so usually the week before Christmas and it's hard to find a good tree.  (That's last years tree to the left, looking pretty sad.)  This year we are hosting the annual Christmas party for a group of friends, so we're getting our tree this weekend!

4. When do you take the tree down?  Again, the last minute.  Usually the day before the town will be collecting the dead trees.

5. Do you like eggnog?  Love it, but I haven't had it in years.   Why doesn't anybody make a low-sugar, Splenda eggnog?

6. Favorite gift received as a child?  Hmmmm, I don't know.  Santa always brought me great stuff, but I don't remember an all-time favorite.

7. Hardest person to buy for?  Dad.

8. Easiest person to buy for?  Mom.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?  Nope.

10. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards?  Mail.  And sometimes I make them myself.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?  It wasn't so much the gift, but what the gift-giver said.  A co-worked handed me a box of chocolates and said "I feel really bad giving you these because I know you can't have them."  Ummm, okay, then why did you pick them out for me?  (And by the way, I can have them, I just have to count the carbs and take insulin for them).

12. Favorite Christmas movie?  A Christmas Story.  And The Year Without A Santa Claus - because I love the HeatMiser!!  Oooohhh, and I know it's not a movie, but just thinking about the Schweddy Balls bit with Alec Baldwin from Saturday Night Live sends me into a fit of giggles every time.  I wish I could find it on YouTube or something.

13. When do you start shopping?  Mid-December when the panic sets in.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?  Yes, but only as a joke.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?  Christmas cookies!!  We have them for breakfast on Christmas morning.

16. Lights on the tree?   Lots of 'em.  White and non-blinking please.

17. Favorite Christmas song?   The Carol of the Bells.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?   We go to my parents house.  They live two miles from my house, so it's not really traveling.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?  Sure can.  Can you?

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?  A star, as you can see in the picture.  It's made from grapevines.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?   Christmas morning!!  I'd hate to spoil the surprise.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?   Long lines and rude people in the stores.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?   Errr, I don't know.  My decorating taste leans toward old-fashioned and country inspired things.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?  I love those spiral hams.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?   Malabrigo!!!  (Doesn't every knitter want to find Malabrigo under the tree?)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The perfect knitting companion . . .

A good snack!  After all, a girl has to keep her strength up for all that Christmas gift knitting!

I had some bananas that were way too ripe, so I decided to bake up some banana muffins. I have plenty of banana nut recipes that I like, but I decided to try a new one this time. I popped over to Sugar, Spice & More Things Nice, which is a combination food and diabetes blog all rolled into one.  And I gave Rachel's Version of Banana Bread a try.

Oh my goodness.

I don't think I'll ever use another banana recipe again! I made a few mods, but they were minor. First, I cut the whole recipe in half. It still made a dozen muffins, which is plenty for me and Pea. Second, obviously, I made muffins instead of breads. I baked them just like I bake any other muffin recipe, for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. And lastly, because I was lazy I didn't do the topping. I'm sure it's awesome, but I loved these muffins without it.  And I only had semi-sweet mini-morsels, so that's the only chocolate in there.  But they're still so yummy!!  If a banana muffin had a torrid love affair with a bag of granola, these muffins would be their sinful love-child. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Everyone loves a toy, and a winner . . .

It's about time to wrap up the Quick Christmas Knitting Gifts contest, and I'd like to end with a suggestion of my own.  If you have little ones to gift to, why not whip up a knitted toy.  They are quick, inexpensive and oh so fun to knit. In fact, I've been working on Sheldon for my best friends son.

And he's almost done!

I just need to sew on his little legs.

He's so cute, I think I may knit one for myself too.

And now, the moment you've been waiting for.  Thanks to everyone who left me some quick gift ideas.  The Random Number Generator has spoken, and the winner is . . . .

Congratulations, Kathy. Please e-mail me your snail mail address, and I'll start getitng your prize together!