A lovely Christmas

I am sitting in my living room this Boxing day evening, having just put the baby to bed and I’m thinking to myself just how lucky I am. We had a lovely Christmas yesterday with my parents. The baby had a disturbed night on Christmas Eve because of teething pain which kept her awake for a while, but luckily the boys have never been the sort of children to insist on being up at a ridiculous hour on Christmas morning so we were able to sleep until about half past seven. Then we had a reasonably relaxed morning, enjoying a nice breakfast before going to church. Mum came with us to the service, and then Dad joined us at our house once we got back. A couple more presents were opened before lunch, although I think that probably the majority were left for after lunch. Our front room did look a bit like a whirlwind had swept through a toy factory for a while, but we managed to leave enough space for Baby Sweetie to play on the floor! The rest of the day was spent with a little bit of TV watching and a lot of exploring our presents.

Today we went to GG’s sister’s house for lunch. They had put on a tremendous spread, and we have a lot to live up to if we hope to be the hosts next year! Then it was time for the children to open more presents while I made my annual attempt to keep track of who gave what to who so that thank you notes can be written in the next few days. They had great fun filling my sister-in-law’s hallway with a Star Wars scalextric set! Then some more family members visited. We only really see these cousins at Christmas so it was good to catch up. The annual promises to meet up before next Christmas were exchanged – I just hope we manage to keep them this year!

All in all, apart from the discomfort my poor baby girl has been suffering with her erupting teeth, we’re having a lovely Christmastime. I think the rest of our week will be quite easygoing (no rushing round the shops for the sales for me I’m afraid!). I intend to enjoy my family all being home, and make the most of my first Christmas in our new house and with all three of my gorgeous children. As I said at the beginning, I’m a very lucky lady!

Merry Christmas!

I’ve been given a new toy for Christmas; a tablet! So while I’m having a play and working out what it can do, I thought I would wish you all a merry Christmas and a very happy new year.¬†

We’ve had a lovely day so far. Bacon and eggs for breakfast and a couple of presents before church, then a big roast pork dinner before finishing opening the rest of our presents. Our front room looks like a warehouse! The boys are very happy and excited with what they received, and baby Sweetie was of course thrilled with all the wrapping paper that she was allowed to scrunch and wave about.¬†

Now it’s almost time for Doctor Who, so I’m settling in for the evening!

Tinsellitis

This is apparently the name of my ailment. It shows no sign of letting up. I grow more and more covetous of pretty sparkly Christmas decorations by the day.

‘Tis the season…well, nearly!

I’m getting a bit overexcited about Christmas this year. I think it’s a combination of new house, new baby, no morning sickness and increased mobility on last year. But it all boils down to the one thing. I’m addicted to tinsel.

While I’m really really looking forward to getting the Christmas deeleyboppers and the santa hats out soon, I’ve not done very much of use to prepare. I’ve bought next to no presents (and have made absolutely none, given the time constraints that¬†a certain very young person imposes on me!), written no cards, planned no festive gatherings. But I do have a very nice new tree and an awful lot of tinsel. You see, every year I miss all the good tinsel and am faced with those stringy mean looking strands that everyone else leaves in favour of the good, fat, bushy garlands. So this year I adopted a proactive, early bird catches the worm strategy and started buying tinsel early. With the result that I haven’t been able to pass a shop with tinsel since September without studying it intently and (usually) taking it home. I got eight metres of lovely green tinsel with fake holly leaves at intervals along the length from Tesco today. Such simple things keep me happy! I wonder what my Christmas obsession will be next year, given that I will already have ALL THE TINSEL and won’t be able to justify buying any more. Oh, or fairy lights. We do seem to own quite a few sets of fairy lights, but that’s also a Very Good Thing. It means that I can light up my house to Midsummer in the Med levels of brightness and banish the miserable short grey days happening outside.

In the meantime, if anyone would like to trudge around town doing my gift shopping for me, please drop a postcard to the usual address…

Rushed

I had the shocking realisation today that it will be December in less than two weeks. Now, I’m growing accustomed to the years flying past, but I seem to have lost a whole season. Is it me, or did autumn come and go in about three days?

My little girl is six months old already (more about that in another post) and still regularly travelling in her babasling. I’m so glad I bought them (I own two – the first was an eBay bargain but in an ungirly green so I splashed out on a nice lilac one once I realised how much use it would get). It takes much less time to pop her in that and get out of the door than it does to pack her in her buggy. Quite apart from anything else, as she’s snuggled right up against me and at least partly under my coat I don’t need to pile so many layers on her. We have recently begun to share a scarf when we travel like this, to keep out the draughts!

I’m not doing much Christmas knitting this year as I always overcommit myself and end up getting really stressed out in Christmas week. I am taking part in a swap on Ravelry though, and we have to make something to go in the parcel. I decided a shawl would be a great idea. However, I’ve just started the border in a 2×2 rib (the knitters among you will understand!) with approximately 450 stitches per¬† row. I reckon each row will take a good quarter of an hour to complete, and the border should probably be at least three if not four inches deep. And I don’t like knitting rib at the best of times. I can see that I’ll need to find whole new levels of patience over the coming week. Oh, and I’m on a deadline; ideally I want to post my parcel by the end of next week. I just hope the recipient likes it after all this!

Other than that, I want to make some more blanket squares and finish a baby hat by the end of the month, then I’m aiming to make baby Sweetie another jumper before Christmas. So I really don’t have time for it to already be two thirds through¬† November. Oh dear!

If you’re in Cardiff tomorrow…

…come and see me at Roath craft market, on Keppoch Street in the Mackintosh Sports and Social club! We’re open for extended hours, from 9.30am until 3pm for these last two Saturdays before Christmas. And now for the two extra enticements to my stall; firstly, I am having a pre-Christmas sale! Buy one item of jewelry, and get ¬£1 off each subsequent item of jewelry purchased in that same transaction. So, you can get a very nice set of jewelry at an extremely reasonable price! Secondly (and probably more importantly) there will be a lovely big bowl of chocolates on my stall for all who pass, in the hope of generating even more smiles and lots of Christmas spirit!

As I’m passing by…

Just a really quick post to say hi! as I’ve not been by for a while. I’ve been super busy trying to get ahead of the game with Christmas crafting, and I’ve also been working on getting my Etsy shop ready to show you all. I’m nearly there, but I want to put a few more things in the shop first.

Anyway, it occurs to me that I haven’t showed you my latest knitting projects that I’ve finished, so I thought I’d nip in and share a couple of photos. Hopefully I’ll have some time later on to write a little more.

This is my Ishbel shawl, which will be a Christmas present for someone who for now will remain nameless! I’m fairly certain she’s never looked at my blog, so I’m safe to add it. It’s from a pattern by Isolda Teague, and I love the vinework lace pattern.

And this is my second Travelling Woman shawl. The pattern is free (I’ll find a link later) and it was so¬†lovely to knit up. This one’s for me, although I think there’ll be at least two more knitted as Christmas presents.

And that’s all for now. I’ve got to dash or the kids will be late for school. Catch you later!

I forgot to post again, didn’t I?

I keep doing it. I switch on the computer with every intention of blogging, but by the time I’ve done everything else I have to do online, it’s time for me to switch off and do something else. So yes, I’m rubbish and I know I am! It’s not that I don’t want to, and I can think of plenty of things to say! But I’m here now and that’s what really matters, right?!

First off, I took a picture on Tuesday with the sole purpose of posting it here;

Christmas chocolates. CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATES, on the SEVENTH OF SEPTEMBER!! This is unacceptable, and left me muttering furiously as I made my way around the rest of the supermarket. Thankfully the¬†sweets looked untouched, so I’m fairly certain every other shopper was as disenchanted with the display as I was. What made this even more incongruous was that right next to this budding Christmas section was a still active barbeque and summer garden section! They could at least wait until they’ve packed away the charcoal before wheeling out the selection boxes!!

In other news, I seem to have picked up a lovely pair of ear infections, which is filling my life with boundless joy at the moment. The one ear started off about ten days ago, but was just irritating so my GP prescribed the same drops I’ve had before for a form of exzema¬†in my ears called otitis externa. However, by Saturday and while I was at Roath¬†Market the pain levels had increased exponentially and so I called the doctor and made an appointment to go to the out of hours clinic at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary (which, on a totally unrelevant note, has featured in Doctor Who lots of times¬†including ‘Aliens of London’, ‘The Idiot’s Lantern’ and ‘Turn Left’). There I was prescribed some very strong antibiotics (flucloxacillin, anyone?) which, over the course of a few days made my ear slightly better (much less pain) but had a very detrimental effect on my tummy. So, back I went to the GP on Friday and now I have super-strong eardrops and an invitation to go back again next Wednesday if they haven’t worked. If my ears are still full of yuck then, I will be enjoying a trip to the Ear Nose and Throat people in the hospital. So much fun to look forward to! Oh, and then yesterday I woke up with both¬†ears aching, so I’m now using my superstrong drops in the one ear, and my weaker drops in the one that’s just started aching.

Update on my hands; my rheumatologist has decided he has no ideas (as I already said) and my GP has said I’ll learn to live with it over the next couple of years. I went back to work on Wednesday after my long summer break with the boys. By Thursday lunchtime my hands were aching despite the more accessible hardware my employers have provided. So, this week I should hopefully be trialling a touchscreen monitor with a new on-screen keyboard, and hopefully this will allow me to do my job pain-free. Otherwise I’m not really sure what I’ll do.

Knitting wise, I’m keeping myself busy, especially as it seems to be good physio¬†and pain relief for my hands. I’m knitting a jacket using some Lopi¬†yarn that my parents brought me back from Iceland, a shawl to go with my new winter coat (that I’ve not yet bought) and a short sleeved¬†thin sweater with a fairisle yoke (like this one, in fact). I’m thinking of changing the pattern on the yoke to something rather than paper dolls as the variations that the designer showed looked so cool, but I can’t decide which one I like the best. So I may well do a paper dolls one first, then another one with another design later on. Talk about glutton for punishment! The jumper involves an i-cord cast on, which I’ve never attempted before. Suffice it to say that I can generally cast on the stitches for a jumper in well under one episode of a favourite TV programme. Last night I watched two episodes of ‘Bones’ and I was still only about a third of the way to casting on enough stitches! This is going to be¬†a severe test of my patience!

So now you’re all updated, I’m off to do something else useful. I hope you’re all having a lovely sunny Sunday like us!

Roath Craft Market

Today was the first time that I’ve had my own market stall. OK, it was only half a stall, and only for half a day, but it was interesting, none the less! I shared a stall with my friend from my Thursday knitting group, Alison. She had half a stall of hand-knitted and crocheted goodies, I had half a stall of my own made jewellery and we had a whacking big basket full of skeins¬†of Jelliebean Yarns in the middle!

This was my end of the stall, after the initial set up but before tweaking (and I did put one of my signs up, Dad, just after I took the picture!). Half a stall was just right for the amount of stock I had, and now I know what sort of amount will fill one of these stalls.

I made some sales as well! Not many, but I came away having made a profit on the day, which was lovely! And as it’s in a student area, apparently trade may well pick up once the University term starts again. Plus it’s not long until we’re in the official run up to Christmas, so hopefully people will think that my jewellery would make nice gifts!

I’m in the process of setting up my Etsy shop, and once it’s all ready, you’ll be among the very first people to know! I’ve got some awesome photographs, thanks to my Dad, so I’ve just got to work out details like postage, descriptions and other shop like policies! Yeah, give me a little while longer!

Probably the last of the Christmas presents

I meant to post all of these posts at the beginning of the month, but I got carried away with writing about other things, so here we are, a day away from February and I’m still writing about Christmas! I’ll probably just about finish telling you about last Christmas before I start writing about the next one!

Anyway, today I want to show you some of the presents I made for my friend Maria’s family.

First up, I made her mum this apron and oven glove set;

After Maria made dinner wearing her little dress and high heels, not getting a mark on her, I thought that an apron would make a good present for her mum. We agreed at the time that either of us would have ended up covered in flour and gravy had we attempted cooking in such an outfit! She seemed to like her set anyway, putting it on straight away and wearing it for the evening! And I loved her Christmas crown!

Also, Maria’s mum loves her Nintendo DS, apparently spending time on it on most days before she goes to bed. So when I saw this pattern in one of my magazines I thought it would be perfect for her.

I thought this little Shaun the Sheep pattern was really cute! I lined the case with felt, and you can’t see here but it buttons up at the top to keep the DS from sliding out.

Maria’s sister has her birthday just after new year, so I had to think of Christmas and birthday presents at the same time. For her Christmas present I made her a pair of fingerless gloves of my own designing. I’m annoyed with myself for not having taken a picture, but I’m planning on making some more soon anyway so I’ll photograph them instead. I also made her a hat.

This pattern, from Ravelry, is based on the hat that ‘Hermione’ wore in ‘Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince’. I designed the gloves to have matching cables, and they were obviously made in the same wool, Sirdar Click DK which is a wool and acrylic blend. Hopefully enough wool to make them warm, but enough acrylic to make them easy to care for!

Finally, for Maria’s sister’s birthday I made her some jewelry. I’d not really done very much with beading and jewelry making before, but I was quite pleased with the outcome.

Just a simple bracelet and earrings set. Not the best picture as I suddenly realised as I was packaging it up that I’d not taken a photo, but you get the idea! I also made a necklace and bracelet set for Maria, but I’ve yet to get a picture of that. She definitely liked them though, as I’ve seen her wearing them many times since Christmas. Nothing like a spot of appreciation to give you a warm glow inside!