- Short leather boots. They’re definitely getting a lot of outings recently. I got a new Ecco pair a few weeks ago that I really love!
- Casual trainers. I have an old pair of Pumas that I love dearly and still wear a lot.
- Boat shoes. Because who doesn’t need at least one pair of Sperrys?
- Flip flops. I live in Reef flip flops during the summer.
- Knee-high leather boots. Because that’s what you need to rock when you have a great dress or skirt and tights!
- Snow boots. So there are a lot of boots on this list! But every Midwestern girl needs a pair.
- Flat dress shoes. I have a pair of gold and pewter toned flats that I wear with nearly every work outfit during the summer.
- Dressy sandals. I have 4 variations of the similar sandals that I wear with my summer dresses.
- Heels. I don’t wear heels much, but I have a couple of short-ish black pairs that I wear if there’s a good reason.
- Basic nude wedges. I just bought these for myself on super sale from Nine West. I think they’ll be great to go with everything once it gets a bit warmer!
- Knit! Easy one first, right?
- Sit snuggled up on the couch by my fireplace. I do loooove my gas fireplace that I can turn on with a switch. Right next to it is my favorite place to do #1 (knit)!
- Drink a lot of hot beverages. Preferably while knitting by the fireplace. My favorite is coffee, followed by tea and hot chocolate.
- Wear my favorite handknits. Some of the things in very heavy rotation this year are my Snowfling Mittens and a Hermione hat my mom made me years ago and which is still my super favorite hat ever.
- Celebrate happy stuff. We have a few family birthdays that hit during winter, and being able to meet up every couple of weeks for cake and family time certainly brightens the days.
- Re-watch Harry Potter movies. ABC Family is almost always having an HP marathon, and I have all of them on DVD, so… pretty much the best thing ever to watch while knitting by the fireplace with a hot drink (are you noticing a trend yet?)
- Wear flannel pajamas. So they’re not very fashionable, but I have two pairs I love very much and they are pretty fabulous and make me happy.
- Wear these new flashy slippers. I’m thrilled with my new bling bling slippers. They are soft and warm on the inside and fun on the outside! I just got these for Christmas and I’m wearing them nearly every day.
- Go to knit night. Catching up with my friends every week nearly makes me forget it’s freezing and pitch black outside.
- Play with BK! I saved the best one for last. She’s my little ray of sunshine all year long.
What a year it’s been. Like any year, it’s had its ups and downs.
The year began with a lovely trip to California and the excitement of a new job. The summer ended up holding a lot of sadness for me. The fall was hectic and had me begging for one single week where things could be “normal.” The winter has thankfully brought some of that normalcy, and some much needed family time. All in all, my overall impression is that I’m not sad to see 2014 go.
I’m not going to make any resolutions for 2015. I usually make crafting ones I post here on the blog and then never finish, and then I usually make some silent personal ones that I give up on in a week or two. There’s just no reason to continue that cycle when I know that I don’t commit very well to new year’s resolutions and I’ll just be disappointed. So all I will try to do in 2015 is to be true to myself, set realistic expectations about the year, and try to maintain a positive attitude even when life starts throwing curveballs. That’s not really a resolution, just a mantra for the year.
I will go ahead and give you my annual wrap-up on 2014’s goals, though:
- Finish my lace KAL with Smashing the Serene. We are working on Bigger on the Inside. I am moving along at a glacial pace. I’m not sure how she’s doing, but I think she would have said if she was done. :-) – DONE AND SO PROUD OF IT. Will blog about this soon.
- Be more active at commenting and liking posts on other knitting blogs. I read a lot of them, but I tend to be more of a lurker, just enjoying reading about other’s experiences. I would like to be more engaged, because I know how much I love the likes and comments that my blog gets. I need to pass the love on! – I did well at the beginning of the year, but once I started back to work outside the home full time, this pretty much fell off the radar. I did, however, always try to comment when something really moved me!
- 50 Days of Fitness: I have a self-imposed deadline for losing a bit more weight and toning up. I really want to buckle down for the first part of the year. Hopefully, I’ll hit my goal and then be able to maintain it for the rest of the year. – After losing, gaining more than I had to begin with, and losing again, I am back to the weight I was at the beginning of 2014 – so not successful!
- At least 6 times in the next year, I want to find something fun for Mr Snips and I to do for a little date. Nothing grand or terribly exciting, just something different. When we were dating, I was really great at this and we had a lot of fun. I’ve fallen into a bit of rut with ideas, and I think it’s certainly worth the time and effort! – I’m not sure I made it to 6 (didn’t keep count very well…), but I did come up with some fun ideas!
Sure, I made a couple of really nice Christmas gifts, but I also got some lovely ones, too! I thought I’d share my favorite knitting-themed items with you:
- Harry Potter and Doctor Who knitting bags. My husband sure knows how to make a girl happy!
- Delightful Harry Potter stitch markers from my brother-in-law. I’ve coveted these since my friend Smashing the Serene got some a few years back. I’m so excited to have my own set! I think I’ll need to change the marker I have on my Narcissa socks to one of these – only appropriate!
- Knitting charm. My husband hit it out of the park with this one! It’s tasteful, small, and goes great with my charm bracelet. I hadn’t seen one I really loved before, and yet he managed to find one. He’s a keeper.
- Mitten blockers. I’ve never gotten around to blocking my Snowfling Mittens, and now I will! I also have another pair of stranded mitts on the needles, patiently waiting my someday return. And I have a couple other pair in my queue. These will get a workout!
- Sock blockers. I already have one set (both sets are from Knit Picks), but I wanted to have two so I can keep my handknittind socks washed and blocked more quickly. I always dry them on the blockers because I think it makes them feel nicer on my feet – I think “crisp” may be the best way to describe it. I imagine I may feel this way about my clothes, too, if I could ever muster up energy to iron them. Not likely! Bonus points in that I was gifted them in a gift bag that looked like knitting. Thanks, Donna!
- Poppy stitch markers. These are coming, but haven’t arrived yet. Thanks again, Donna! I looooove poppies!
It was a really lovely Christmas. Not because of what I got (though I have to say I was super pleased with all of the above!), but because I got to spend it with my family and enjoy the excitement of it all through BK. This Christmas season is certainly one I will cherish.
I know, I know, I said I don’t do Christmas knitting and yet here I am with my second knitted Christmas gift. This one was for BK, so it is a special one.
Mr Snips has a Penguin Pillow that I made him last year for Christmas. I briefly flirted with the idea of making the same for BK and giving it a different colored scarf, but I found the first one so tedious to knit that I didn’t fancy going down that road again.
When I found this Winslow pattern on Ravelry, I knew this was meant to be BK’s version of a Penguin Pillow.
I immediately had a color scheme in my mind, all readily available in my stash (how convenient! Despite having a good-sized stash, this almost never happens). I had 4 skeins of some lovely green (Cascade 220 Superwash) that I had bought to make a Sweet Pea sweater, back before I even knew whether I was having a girl or boy. Once I knew I was having a girl, I made other plans, partially so I didn’t have to knit all the bobbles on that pattern. I also had some cream left over from the sheep hat I made BK. And finally, I had one very special purple skein that was from my Three Irish Girls yarn club subscription a couple of years back. Not only did these colors call to me for being lovely, they also match BK’s room very well! I think that, though they are not traditional penguin colors, the pastel color scheme can grow with her. Besides, I really like purple and green for a Christmas theme!
So off I went. I elected to do the back first, because I thought it would be so boring that I really should trudge through that part first. I wanted to feel like I had the “fun” part left with the colorwork. I sailed through the back in about a week, mainly during mindless TV watching time.
Then I got to the “fun” side. First of all, I didn’t check my gauge before I started. I mean, it’s a pillow covering, it’s not like it’s high fashion. But my row gauge was apparently WAY off, and after knitting the suggested 30 rows, I realized I was at least 1/4” over the length I needed before I was to start the penguin chart.
Well, no turning back, I said to myself. Forge on, Christmas is very near. I can make adjustments on the other side of the penguin if needed.
So I made the penguin. And sometime during that, I realized that this thing is honking huge and why does it need to be an 18” pillow, couldn’t I have adjusted and made it a 14”? And after measuring, yes I could have, but it was too late in the game to make that change.
I also realized that intarsia is messy. I had never done intarsia, just fair isle, and I found the mess of bobbins and small bits of yarn for the eyes and everything to be totally tedious and tangled. I was also trying to knit from both sides of the purple yarn to make sure I didn’t waste any of it, because I had plans to knit BK a hat with the leftovers – the color was too lush to spend on just a penguin! And into the deep abyss of twisted yarn I went. It was horrible.
When I finally came out the other side and got to go down to one strand of green, I nearly cried with happiness. To adjust for my size miscalculation, I only knit 20 rows of the suggested 32 of green after I finished the penguin. Yes, I know this makes it uneven, but he’s charted on purpose to be a little uneven, so what’s a bit more?
I finished this project on Christmas Eve Eve (that would be the 23rd), and wrapped it as quickly as I could to have it done and dusted.
But the best part is that BK’s reaction was absolutely the best one a 19-month-old could give me. She hugged it, brought it to me, sat down and snuggled with me and the pillow and said “Thank you, Mommy” three times like her little heart was just full of gratitude. She then gleefully suggested we put it on the couch – which is hands down her favorite place in our house. I nearly cried with happiness. That lovely moment was worth all the horrid mess, and I would do it again in an instant.
I don’t really do Christmas knitting. After the Dishcloth Debacle of 2010, I don’t really do Christmas knitting.
Well, I say that, but I do some. Last year, I made Mr Snips a Penguin Pillow (totally charming, but BORING to knit), and a year or two before that, I made my Mom and Dad a throw blanket for their new home, and once I made my Mom a shawl… I guess it happens sometimes.
But it has to be a special person and a special project to get me to commit to deadline knitting.
My niece has had a very rough year. And the only way I can think to show her that I think about her every day, and that I am proud of her, and that I am always rooting for her, is to knit her something.
She’s still in college and has a lot of long walks to class, so I thought a hat may be the most useful for the winter months.
I picked out this hot pint/reddish color for her for two reasons: 1) her school color is red and 2) I thought it would look amazing against her very dark brown hair. I had admired this Ahoy Princess pattern for some time, and thought it was the right time to finally knit it.
I hemmed and hawed quite a bit on what version to knit, since the pattern gives you a choice of intricate or simple cables and a choice to add some more repeats to make a slouchy hat. I was really thinking I wanted intricate and slouchy, but I did not trust I’d have enough yarn. I only had 200 yards, and the pattern called for 190 for the regular adult non-slouchy version. I told myself that I’m always a yardage coward, that I always have tons left over because I make a conservative choice out of fear that I’ll run out of yarn. Be bold, I told myself. Go slouchy! But I couldn’t muster up the courage and stuck to my cowardly ways and THANK GOODNESS. Do you see how much yarn I have left?! Hardly any.
And really, I think it has enough slouch in it as it is. I think any more may have been too much. But hey, I’m not really down with the kids any more (I’m a mom! I’m in my thirties! When did this happen?!?!) so maybe extra slouchy would have been cool, too.
So… final result was intricate cables and the regular non-slouchy version. I really love it a WHOLE LOT.
This was my first time using Madelinetosh yarn. It was crazy soft and lush to knit. However, when I gave it a Soak, all of my water instantly went hot pink, and it also dyed the towel I dried it in. I’ve had other yarns bleed before, but I’ve never had them permanently stain my towel before. I’m not sure if that’s because it’s such a vivid red, and I don’t do much vivid red, or if it’s something specific to MadTosh. Regardless, the final product still looks and feels amazing, so I guess I’ll give it a pass.
It’s Christmas Eve! I’m getting so excited about what tomorrow with BK will be like. She really understands it this year (unlike last year when she was so small), and I think she’s going to have a great time.
Until then, Mummy is taking advantage of BK’s nap time to have her own fun. The Christmas tree is twinkling, I found John Mayer’s Where The Light Is on TV (silly, because I also have it on DVD and could watch it any time!), I’m working on a hat I’m really really excited about (Tantramar Toque from TFA’s Year in Colour Club) and I have Christmas cookies in my tummy.
As you can see, Santa is also hard at work in his workshop in BK’s North Pole Cottage. Last minute work, you know!
I’ve also finished my Christmas knitting project, and it is wrapped and ready to go, which is also something to feel great about! I can’t wait to share it with you soon. I’m hoping this horrible grey rainy weather will go away soon and I will be able to take photos of lots of my FOs in some lovely natural light.
So for now, I’m excited about our family gatherings. I hope you all get to share the holidays with family, friends, and good food. Merry Christmas!