Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

dark to light

Light is a pretty important part of our lives. Today is the shortest day of the year – a day with the least amount of light in North America. It happily coincides with the Christmas season when everyone has lights on. I know very well that the birth of Jesus was likely in the summer and December 25th was probably picked to coincide with pagan winter solstice celebrations to encourage conversions.  If it means that we get twinkly lights in December, I’m all for it.

I remember a number of years ago when he Ice Storm (1998?) hit Ontario and Quebec a spokesperson for Hydro Ontario said something that has stuck with me. “We’re trying very hard to turn ON the light at the end of the tunnel.” My family is pretty well prepared and has a good attitude to things like power outages.  Last winter we muddled through a snowstorm that knocked out power for four days.  A house without hydro, light, internet access or electronic information was doable…thankfully we’ve got a BBQ, wood stove, outdoor privvy, generator, lots of candles, a water pump.  You go to bed when the light goes away and do a flury of things when the generator is on – including a brief luxury of updating my facebook status (I wrote “Cara is Powerless at the lake.  Hydro has been out for a couple of days.  Generator and BBQ a saviour.  We’re fine”).    But four days was just about our limit.  When the Hydro guys came over the hill in their snowmobiles, there was joy.  Real Joy.

Anyway, I’m back at the lake on Solstice night.  We’ve got candles and Christmas lights to chase away the dark.  Also, I’ve discovered that a Telus Air Card (an internet stick that works on the cell networks) WORKS.  There is light at the end of the dial up tunnel too.  Hallelujah.

And there will be a few more minutes of light tomorrow.  =) And, as I may not get online again … Merry Christmas.


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Part of my Christmas puzzle has to do with the men in my family.  I did a Google search for “handmade gifts for men” and there are many, many results but unfortunately, mostly for people like me ASKING what to make for the men in their lives.

This site has some promising ideas (geared to everyone on your list, but some really good ideas for men too). The highlight points us to the Mancala game on Knitty.   So cool!

Here are my stand bys…

Hats.  Last year I got my act together and MEASURED everyone so this year it is a matter of making them.  Innovation… if I use the short rows for the Fish Hat (Knitty), they make really simple ear flaps.   I’ve already started the first one in Paton’s Decor with Green as the base and white and blue as accents.  Quite cool.

Socks… but they don’t wear em and I can’t make them quickly.  So no.

Slippers (like the ones in my site’s header).  But dare I risk breaking my washer again?

Hm… any ideas?

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I’ve been focusing on what to get other people and have even grumbled about the people who don’t know what they want, or don’t want anything, or won’t entertain your suggestions… “don’t go to any trouble”.  It is quite frustrating as I can’t just pop into a store and come out with a thing that is handmade with love (how’s that for the Christmas spirit?).

But I’m probably no less frustrating with my, “I just want to spend time with you” answer.  So, in the spirit of reciprocity, here is a list of the things I could use.  (Note!  this isn’t a call for gifts for Cara, just a list of stuff that I’d like or could use.  I’m now prepared to answer the question, what do you want for Christmas).

  1. A Swimsuit.  I like this one (or see My Wishlist – Sears Canada if you know me).
  2. Edit: Door fix is complete.  Made a knit hat in exchange for some construction.  Great deal!  Someone to fix my entry door.  I need someone with a wood planer, the know-how to take the door off (and return it to) the hinges, and the ability to make the planer go that can come to me.  While you’re here, could you drill the holes in the drawers?  And fix the tap?
  3. A key hook for just inside my door.  Nothing huge or weird looking.  I only need two or three hooks.
  4. Knitting stuff.  Here’s an easy how to shop for a knitter list geared to the muggles (non-knitters) in our lives.  I shop often at Michael’s and less often (mostly because it isn’t convenient and a little pricier) at Yarn Forward.  Gift certificates are great!  Stephanie’s how to shop list is a pretty good one (tape measures, darning needles, stitch markers, ziplocks – the super big ones, small scissors, row counters, and needle gauges).
  5. And I’d love it if a woodworker could figure this out and give me the result.  I’m such a nerd.  Edit:  Dad is taking this project on.  Can’t wait!
  6. Cutlery.  I am currently using the mishmash of Value Village cutlery that I obtained in 1994.  I’d really love to have stuff that fits together nicely in the drawer.  I’m not promising to keep it in there neatly, but I expect uniformity will go a long way towards neatness.  I prefer simple stuff that is nicely balanced but not too flowery.  Also, as I eat in the living room, the knives can’t be too heavy so when you’re walking with a plate that the knife will slide onto the carpet.
  7. How about a Goat, a Rabbit or a Pig or maybe a Well?  Seriously, if you’re inclined to give me a gift, I’d rather that you spend your money in a developing country to help a family in need.   And pigs are cute.

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1. The Felted bags are now morphing back into slippers using this Martha Stewart pattern but will likely add leather bottoms (recovered from old leather goods).

2. I have lots of the tea towel toppers – I’ve been selling them at work.  Excellent prezzie for my co-Guiders, some thank you gifts, hostess gifts, and any unexpected gift opportunities.

3. A&K have asked for Wine.  Easy peasy, and inexpensive.  It is nice to have someone ask for stuff.

4. J still wants Colonade (see previous post for link).  Have purchased yarn for it with her approval.  I figured the element of surprise is good, unless you end up spending HOURS on something they never wear.  So, as J is particular, I need to consult before giving.

5. I don’t know how I’m going to fit this in, but it is so cute!  The first site has a better picture but the second one has a variety of poems that go with it.  (Snowman Soup1 Snowman Soup2 – beware the loud music though)

What’s left?  Parents need gifts – but they say they don’t need anything.  Erg.   The hat parade must start (lots of fish hats) and a few real ones.   Plus a few puppy prezzies.  First deadline is Dec 5 for a birthday.  Oh!  Mustn’t forget D on Nov 30.  I’ve got something in mind for him but it isn’t done.  Whoops.

Friday is the Science Centre sleepover for Brownies.  Of all the boneheaded ideas, why would I want to spend a night in a drafty museum with 30 kids?  (Answer – because I love these kids and they’ll have an absolute blast!  Also, if I want these kids to come camping, I need for them to try out being away from their parents).  And I can sleep on Saturday, right?

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fish, fish, fish

One of my four-year-old nephew’s favourite books is Trout, Trout, Trout (A Fish Chant) by April Pulley Sayre.  As I’ve got three young boys on my list, I’m going to listen to young D and am combining the book…

Image: Amazon.ca

with a Fish hat for their gifts – but mine will be “live” fish.  So much fishy fun.

Image: Knitty.com

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photos! I have a few!

I’ve been promising photos for a while.  As the camera, the cord and the computer spent some time together, we’re good!

1. My niece Claire has been wearing this for a while.  She’s almost out of it by now, but I love this pattern.  Baby Surprise, by Elizabeth Zimmerman.  I was pleasantly surprised that it seemed to grow with her too.   Fun, easy, charming, lovely to knit.  And a big hit with her parents.

Claire's Baby Surprise Jacket

Claire's Baby Surprise Jacket










2. I’ve got a lot of things in the hopper, but this is a small preview of the Christmas prezzies.  These hanging tea towels are pretty easy to make and are pretty popular.   They’re this year’s hostess gift.

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Christmas Preview


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shopping chez moi

As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of the commercial aspects of Christmas.  I’m also a single person with a reasonable, but not lavish income, with credit card debt, a mortgage and bills to pay so I’m not in a position to buy extravagant gifts for people.   A couple of years ago I decided that I would prefer to spend my time, rather than my/Visa’s money.

Here’s the plan …

  1. Try not to spend too much money on Christmas.  Easy answer: As a result of the recent cleaning binge, it was revealed that I have EIGHT (that’s 8, eight, e-i-g-h-t, huit, ocho) Rubbermaid bins of yarn!  That’s more yarn than I can reasonably use in my lifetime.  I think I’ll be shopping chez moi for a while.
  2. Make gifts for the people I love.  That means a lot of hats and slippers, a tea towel topper thingy, dishcloths (I’ve made oodles of these), and some personalized stealth projects that won’t get talked about until after Christmas.

Holy Cow, how does one person accumulate 8 bins of yarn?  Whoops.

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