Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Warmer Wrists and New Years Lists

It's been mostly overcast here the past couple of weeks, which I love.  Living in what feels like the land of eternal sunshine, I appreciate every rainy day we get.  Still, when it's cooler like this, I don't mind the occasional ray of sun.  

The cats love to get outside and nose around...well, as much as they can, from a 2nd story deck.

Our little mallard family is back, same time as last year!  And, like last year, we have three males and one female.  I was curious about that, and it turns out that the proportion of male to female ducks is uneven.  So it's typical to see one female with many males.

It was so warm this weekend (65 degrees!) that we planned to go down to the pond and play Scrabble.  It looks so pretty right now with its little swaths of leaves. 

Rain moved in, though, so we stayed inside.  One group around here that seems to love the rain is our turkeys.  I see them every day now, digging through the leaves or flying across the pond for a better selection.

I also spotted my favorite "stray," Clothilde, the other day!  She isn't really a stray.  I'm nearly certain she belongs to one of my neighbors.  She dutifully heads home after a walk around the woods here, and I always love to see her.

Since it's finally, sometimes, dipping into the 30s at night, I've gotten to pull out my hot water bottle (hooray!) and my woolens.  I've finally organized my hand knits in one place, and it's almost like seeing an old friend to open the lid and see a long-forgotten hat or pair of mittens.

I finished knitting my wristlets.  It was a really pleasant knit and I didn't use a pattern, just lots of tiny leftover balls of scrap yarn and size 1 needles.

My cast-on was 56 or 57, I think, and they're a perfect fit.

I can pull them down so that the ribbing is over the base of my thumb, but then my fingers get cold.  I'm considering adding an afterthought thumb. I would snip a few stitches, put those live stitches on needles, and knit up a few rows.  Then I would basically have fingerless gloves.  I'm going to try these out for a few more days and see what I think.

I just ordered my planner for 2017. 

I am an unapologetic maker of New Years resolutions.  I set challenges and goals for myself on an regular basis, and my favorite time of year to evaluate my life and really set forth a robust set of challenges and goals is January 1st. 

2016 just wasn't a great year for me, but I'm determined to work hard and make major changes in my life in 2017, or at least cultivate a sense of acceptance for those things that I can't seem to change.  Here's to a great new year!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...

So we decided not to get a Christmas tree this year.  We've both been swamped with work and it suddenly feels awfully late in the season to be putting one up.  But that doesn't mean I didn't pull out the Christmas decorations!  Most of them are from thrift stores and IKEA, but that means that I've been able to find some more unusual things.

I love, love, love eating supper by candlelight in the winter.  Three red IKEA candlesticks, fifty cents each!  Full-length poinsettia tablecloth and napkins only a few dollars at an after-Christmas sale.

Here they are in the daylight, with holly from our yard.

Just because we don't have a tree doesn't mean that we don't have our Christmas lights up!  I ran lights around the perimeter of our back living room and bedroom.  They're on every night!

I love to hang things.  I strung red velvet bows and pine cone ornaments (both thrifted!) on twine in several areas of the house.

These tin snowflakes and doves block us every time we make a smoothie...but I don't care!

Soft wool stockings...

...including the only real memento I have left from my childhood (besides my copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales).

If it had a nail, it got a stocking.

I found these little embroidered pillows at a thrift store years ago.  I love them!

Gold snowflakes from IKEA are scattered around on the glass of our kitchen cabinets...

...and Todd scored these gigantic cardboard snowflakes when Radio Shack closed a year or so ago.

I'm really into bows at Christmastime.

I have several vintage Christmas cards (from, you guessed it, some flea market) that I put up around the house.

Major Goodwill score - this sturdy wooden Advent calendar.

As you can probably tell, I've got holly all over the house.  Around the bases of candle sticks, on the Advent calendar, tucked into stockings, tucked into vases...

...on our dressers...

...and yes, that's another bow. 

Craft-wise, I haven't had a spare second for anything.  But I've really been in the mood to cross-stitch.  I bought two designs - one a badger family hanging up their stockings, and another a full-size Christmas stocking that you embroider various pine trees onto - but I didn't have enough cross-stitch fabric to make either one.  I did, however, have enough to make this simple little design with my initial on it:

I embroidered it and then made it into a pincushion.

It was the perfect project for tired evenings before bed.  Now I'm knitting a pair of "wristlets" - or, basically, fingerless gloves with no thumb hole.  My hands are ALWAYS cold, but I need my fingers and thumb free for work.  Also, my hands are really thin, so normal-size fingerless gloves are too big.  I'm making a tiny pair (only 58 stitches around on size 1 needles) using two rows each of random colors.   I want to be able to slide them forward when I type but back below my thumb when I'm packing orders.  I think they'll be perfect. 

Have a great week! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Goats, Hens, Odds and Ends

It was a cool, dry weekend, so I thought it might be fun to go back to Split Creek Farm.  It's all about the goats!

Well, that's not true.  We saw some feathered friends...

...and a few other odds and ends.

I love the "guard animals" there.  So sweet.  What a pair!

Todd, as always, was a big hit.

At home, though, it's all about the turkeys.  It's been raining a lot, so on some days I've just gotten a glimpse of them feeding through my office window.  I counted 14 here!

Sometimes they come out into the sun.

It's been really busy here, with the uptick in business sales and the usual hustle-bustle that comes with the holidays.  But I'm more organized this year.  Christmas cards - mailed!  Christmas gifts - purchased, and some are actually wrapped!  I finished up a few last-minute craft projects and have started mailing them out.  I embroidered these napkins for a housewarming gift.  I *love* them and I think I'm going to make some for myself!

But for the most part, I haven't worked on anything for myself in about 2 weeks, and I might not have a chance until after the new year.  I have 2 quilts in the works, the ornament project from last week's blog, a knitted cowl I want to make, and some random embroidery projects...not to mention the massive cross stitch project I bought earlier this year that I'd like to start on soon!  So next year will be a busy one! 

But for now, I'm just going to make notes and prepare my project list.  It makes me feel organized and creates a great sense of anticipation!

Have a great week!