I just couldn’t resist

Well, my friends, the siren song of the snow globe advent calendar was just tooooooo strong. And 2 weeks before December 1, I found myself teaching myself how to hand embroider numbers and how to add seed beads and sequins to my hand sewing. I definitely had to do some practice runs, because the extent of my hand stitching repertoire is sewing on buttons… but I think it turned out all right.

I spent one whole week of evenings embroidering all of the numbers. I really struggled with this step. I had never used an iron-on transfer pen, so I practiced. It turned out OK. I did it for real, doing all of the numbers at once as the instructions said, and I thought it worked really well. For about 15 minutes. But I felt that even though I bought a “permanent” pen, the outlines started fading almost immediately! I would be upset with how it looked and have to walk away and give myself some space to see if I was going to tear it out or be OK with it. I cringed to even take a picture of the numbers for you, because every area I considered taking a close-up photo of had something in it that bothered me. I’ve instead decided to approach this from the “galloping horse” theory – if it looks good from a galloping horse, it’s fine! And I think, even though I don’t have a horse, that from a distance the overall impression of the embroidery is acceptable.

Over the next weekend, I cut out all of the pieces. Then I spent a few nights after BK’s bedtime doing the handsewing and beading. The beading took FOREVER the first day, as I was trying to get the hang of it. I really struggled holding onto those little seed beads, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be finding them in the folds of my couch forever! After the first night, however, I really got into the swing of it.

I finished it just in time! It wasn’t yet on the dowel rod or hung, but the sewing was done on December 1, and I had two snowballs completed.

I’ve now completed all of the days that require the felt balls – snow and ornaments. However, I realized as I was triumphantly testing the magnets, that I am missing a magnet behind the tree and I was one short! I had a lot of trouble falling asleep that night while thinking over how best to do this rework. After talking to my mom and Mr Snips, I decided on a small incision in the back, glueing the magnet on, and then sewing the small slit. It worked out very well.

Advent Calendar in progress

I now have 19 days worth of the pieces done, and am working along on the animals. We’ll see how long it takes to do these final pieces with so many little details! But really, it’s all about completing a personal challenge. Especially since after I started working on this frantically, BK told me she didn’t need it for this year, because she already had an advent calendar, and what she really wanted was a pink and red striped stocking. Never mind that she has this beautiful one. Sigh.

 

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Three things: Recently

Book with tissue paper flower (made by BK)

  1. Reading: Last night I stayed up waaaaaay too late reading a book. And the kicker is I still quit at only 88%, according to my Kindle. So many questions unanswered! There was just no way to stay up any later and make it to work this morning. (I was reading “How the light gets in” by Louise Penny.)
  2. Dreaming: I also fell down the rabbit hole last night when I came across these amazing advent calendars on Etsy. I looooove them. I am so tempted to scrap my knitted countdown (whatever holiday that ends up being for) and just make a ton of these. I initially saw the reindeer one, but BK said she really liked the snow globe one, and after reading about it, I like the snow globe one, too – because a lot of the days use pre-made pom poms! I’ve almost even convinced myself I could pull off the snow globe one before December 1 (yikes! my delusion is strong). Regardless, I would also love to make the birthday one (what a fun idea!) and maybe just the ornaments that go on the Halloween one. She also has a free heart pattern you can sign up for, and I’m tempted to scrap all the little knitted ones and make 14 hearts for Valentine’s Day. But then again, BK has been after me to knit this little superhero girl.  So that one will have to get done one way or the other.
  3. Planning: to knit this Peanut vest for a dear friend’s little boy. This pattern is so darling, and am looking forward to purchasing some yarn for it this weekend!

Three things: Hawaii

As I mentioned last week, Mr Snips and I recently came back from Hawaii. I wanted to share a few things we did while there.

  1. We hiked out to the active lava flow. This was the coolest thing we did. It took a 30-minute bicycle ride and then an hour out walk to find it, but it was totally worth it. How many opportunities do you get to see new earth being made? Incredible. Below are some snaps from our hike and of the lava flow. In the first, I have helpfully circled where the active lava was, because I had to zoom out quite a bit to also get the rainbow in the frame! 
  2. We ate lunch by a volcano crater. I promise the crater is out this window in the picture, but it was drizzly and difficult to see. Photo credit: Mr Snips, because I did not take a picture of my food. 🙂
  3. We saw lots of rainbows and sunsets. One of my favorite shots is from Volcanoes National Park where I captured one in the side mirror of our car. 

My favorite sunset shot was this one – the beautiful light shooting through the clouds – again captured from our car. The benefit of a convertible is you can just turn around and snap a photo, without worrying about trying to focus through a window. 


Of course, we also did tons of lounging by the pool and the ocean, often while reading. It was very relaxing and simply fantastic. 

Halloween: A knitting odyssey

Yesterday at lunch, we were talking about how cold it was going to be for trick-or-treating (much colder than usual), and Mr Snips said we’d need to take a hat for BK. A hat. And I thought, why didn’t I think of that? Because BK was going as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and I have a fabulous skein of Cowabunga from BAH Yarns in the stash… and she NEEDS THAT HAT IMMEDIATELY for trick-or-treating. I felt like this was a major oversight for a knitter. I also loved the idea of the challenge.

So I zoomed home after work and cast on.

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I did as much knitting as possible while trying to eat a quick dinner and putting several layers of clothes on my kid. I took any chance I could to knit even a stitch. I knew I couldn’t get it done before trick-or-treating started, but I thought maybe I could get it finished before dark. So I packed everything I needed, including a Knit Kit and DPNs, threw it in my cute Telephone Box bag, and started walking and knitting as we began trick-or-treating. (Mitts are October Leaves Fingerless Mitts)

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Eventually, my fingertips started going numb and I decided to pack it away. I was sad to admit defeat.

I picked it up again after we were very snugly back in our warm house. By bedtime, I had done the first row of decreases.

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My hope is to finish it up today! Even though it’s too late for trick-or-treating, she still loves TMNT, and she will need it for all of the chilly days ahead. It was good motivation to knock out so much of it in one go, and it’s all decreases from here.

I hope you all had a fabulous Halloween! I’ll leave you with a spooky moon shot from last night!

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Happy Halloween!

Just dropping in to wish you all a Happy Halloween! It’s my ultimate favorite holiday, and I can’t wait for our family of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to go trick-or-treating tonight!


I thought I would share the buntings that my mom and I made together when I was 4 years old. She sewed the pumpkins and stuffed the ghosts, and I drew the faces. We made three strands, cut to custom lengths for three of the doorways in the house where I grew up. Now they hang in my house every Halloween. I’m sharing my favorite of the three. Why is this one my favorite? Because you can very obviously tell that the one on the left is the one my mom did as a demonstration of how she thought the faces should be made. And then I obviously decided I did not like that, and promptly made every single one of them on all three strands smiley. 🙂

BK and I actually did a similar thing last week when she drew a ghost, and I suggested doing three ovals – two for the eyes and one for the mouth – and then she went right ahead and made a smiley face anyway. It’s great to be 4 and love to smile.

 

Knits I haven’t blogged

When we lived in England many moons ago, we used to frequently go on country walks at the weekend. It was a cheap way to have some fun and explore some new areas. Sometimes your path got blocked by cows and you had to turn around (true story), and sometimes it was fairly uneventful, but it was always nice to get out.

We haven’t really done as much walking since we’ve been back in America. There isn’t a whole Peak District in our backyard anymore, and we are in general much more dependent on the car.

But yesterday, we went back to our roots and drove to a state park for a walk to enjoy the last of fall. Normally, I would not say that the end of October is the end of fall here, but it has gotten very cold about 2-3 weeks earlier than usual. And the sun also seems to have deserted us.

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The colors were beautiful, and we really enjoyed our walk.

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Can you spot the ducks in the pond?

Since it’s chilly, I bundled up BK in a couple of knits that I haven’t blogged about yet.

The first is Little Honey. My lovely friend Kara gave me some leftover KnitPicks Comfy Fingering Weight from a dress she made her daughter. I had Little Honey on my favorites list already, and when I saw this yarn, I knew this was the pattern for that. I knit it pretty quickly because I was enjoying it so much. It’s also incredibly soft.

Little-Honey

My only regret on this is that I made the pockets very shallow. I kept lengthening it when I made it, so she would get more wear out of it, and then panicked at the end that it was too long, and truncated the pockets. It’s not a big deal, because she doesn’t actually want to use them for her hands.

And, the longevity plan worked, because I finished knitting this last year – and she wore it then, and it still fits this year!

The second is a “Top This” kit with a butterfly on top. I struggle with some of these kits because I don’t like the ones that only have a head on top – it really bothers me to see a bodiless dog or cat on top of a child. But once I saw my LYS had this sweet butterfly one – with a whole body – and it was pink and purple, I thought it was worth knitting BK one, since they’re cheap, quick and cheerful.

As she was wearing this, I was thinking that my main complaint with this is that the butterfly only attaches at the very bottom of his body, and it’s too floppy. It’s hard to keep laying just right. But then, BK started running and it was flapping and it looked like a butterfly trying to take off from her head. That made me laugh, so I forgave it.

The other thing I’m not super in love with this is how rough the metallic portion of the yarn is. However, the way it knit up, it’s above her ears, so she can’t really feel the scratchy bit on bare skin. But if you make one, I’d be mindful about which end you start from, because this could be an issue. I started from the opposite end of the skein at first, and it was going to make the ribbing itchy, so I ripped it out and went from the other end.

Our handwear on the walk was also worth mentioning. Mine because I still love these after knitting them 4 years ago (and the color looked great against the apple green of BK’s stroller), and BK’s because they are truly awesome. Nothing I knit will top these Turtle gloves, so I’m not going to try.

And, since it’s almost Halloween (hooray!!!), I’ll leave you with this creepy skull we passed on our walk. It thoroughly weirded me out, because it’s the only Halloween thing we saw, and it was covered in fake (I hope) blood.

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Three on Thursday

Knitting in Hawaii in the car

  1. Mr. Snips and I just recently returned from a flat-out amazing, wonderful trip to Hawaii, which is why it’s been so quiet here recently. It was a great trip that had a lot of time for relaxing and reading by the pool, but with enough fun outings that it didn’t get too restful. Above, you will see a picture of me knitting in our rental car, roof down (we had a convertible), and the sunset in the background. Bliss.
  2. I’m nearing the finish mark on a quilt I’ve been working on for a while, and will be handing it off to get it professionally quilted very soon. I’ve never done that, so I’m excited! The other quilts I’ve done, I’ve bumbled along doing some straight lines on my little machine. Since this one is for BK, and the fabric is out of this world beautiful (Magic by Sarah Jane), I want to make sure that it gets a fancier treatment than I can give it alone.
  3. It’s almost Halloween! I can’t wait! It’s hands down my favorite holiday. It may have something to do with growing up in a cornfield and always having to be driven to different houses for trick-or-treating. It’s not nearly as magical as what I always saw on TV where kids just walked out of their front door and went around the neighborhood. When we moved into our old house, I nearly burst from excitement when we had 100 trick-or-treaters come to our door (yes, I’m a nerd, I keep a tally). Our new house gets less traffic, but it is amazing to trick-or-treat in because it is basically a big loop. We also have a few neighbors who really go all out on the decorations and make it really fun. BK and I did the whole neighborhood last year and it was a blast. I can’t wait to go out with her again this year.