Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Knitting for Christmas

It's coming right along. No photos yet, though I'd better pull my socks up, so to speak; last year I kept forgetting to take pictures and now have no record of most of the things I made.

There are already three completed projects--one is blocked and dry; two more are blocking and drying now. I've made an outdoor "ascot", a toque style hat, and a lace cowl. As I took time out to make myself an ascot and a beret, I'm a little behind, but not much.

There are socks, a traditional scarf, and a muffler still in the works, and I found a vintage muffler that will be perfect for one of my MI nephews.

I also started making lists for shopping ingredients: lots of dried fruit, nuts, butter, and all that good stuff...not to mention brandy, for the fruitcakes. The cookie list isn't too long this year, as I don't feel like going as crazy as usual, but I might be doing a bit more in the canning department, as there's not much in the pantry. Very little was managed this year, so I'm thinking a big batch of cranberry marmalade might be good--it's good to eat, colorful, and even properly festive for this time of year.

Does anyone have any favorite quick fixes for making up a shortfall of homemade goodies? If you've got a suggestion, I'd love to hear it!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Yes, it's Early, but We Need A Little Christmas

It's been one helluva year. I don't like to whine if I can help it, especially in "print", so I haven't gone into detail here. Suffice it to say that I have had better years. Many times. And better months than last month, which made me particularly sad, as October is normally my favorite month of the year.

With that in mind, it's Christmas (and Thanksgiving), full ahead, as far as I'm concerned. I went Christmas shopping today. Normally I pick things up here and there all year long, and am always looking, but I don't do official Christmas Shopping until mid-November, usually. By that I mean dedicating an entire outing to just shopping for Christmas gifts.

Today I did, and it was successful; I found things for four people, and materials to make gifts for two more. And at the thrift I stopped into, I found a silk blouse for myself, and some very Shetland-looking acrylic yarn (not normally something to inspire a Happy Dance, but MiL is very allergic to wool, and this stuff is quite pretty). I even found a few boxes of Christmas cards, though not as many as we'll need.

Plans for the baking have commenced. There will definitely be fruitcake, and possibly one will become Christmas Cake. We enjoyed the one I made last year so much that I promised to make another. I don't know if I'll be trying something new this year; I suspect just getting the house in order and possibly coping with another cat will be a lot to handle, so there will be fewer cookies and not many experiments.

I've knitted one gift, and have four more on the needles. Two more are in the planning stages, but they're both quick knits.

Do you think I'm completely mad, or have you done something similar this year?

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Safe from Sandy; No Blue Ribbon

First and foremost, I am happy to say that we personally, at least, got through Hurricane Sandy unscathed. Last year Irene left a lot of damage in her wake, including some beautiful old growth trees, but our part of Providence is in reasonable condition right now. We were exceptionally lucky; we didn't even lose power.

The pumpkin cooking/baking contest went on as planned at Seven Stars Bakery. I didn't win, but I did have a good time! There were some nice folks there, and excellent entries. One of the winners was a pumpkin hummus; also a pumpkin smoothie, and (though they got no prize) I particularly liked a version of lumpia, and a chicken-pumpkin stew.

The cake wasn't entirely consumed, either (pumpkin spice with maple cream cheese frosting), so we've had a few pieces. In fact, I had a piece for breakfast, yesterday. Maybe I'll do the same today...