Christmas Cookies, originally uploaded by ducksRfriends.

Its not that I haven’t been wanting to write, its just that I have been running around ridiculously, and not managing to take photos of any of it (and I really don’t like posting without photos, its just too boring). It seems that the holidays tend to do this. To date, I have all but two of my immediate family members presents. Wrapped and everything. The package to Seattle has even been sent already. I’m missing Mike, who still hasn’t gotten back to me, and Chris- who doesn’t really want anything, and I know too well to buy random stuff that I already know he doesn’t need/want. Makes it tough.

Next week is Chris’s family Christmas event. We’re doing a cookie exchange, so I made my traditional family cookies. We don’t have a name for them. The recipe just says “festive cookie dough”, but they’re made with creamcheese and chocolate chips, and dipped in chocolate and sprinkles. I think we managed to cook them the perfect amount, too, which is always tough because they look uncooked when you take them out of the oven, but when they cool are soft and just right. Even though I don’t think I’m going to get a little tree this year, making the cookies makes me feel like the holidays are really here.

I’ve been dying to share these projects, but I’ve had to wait until they were gifted.

Sneaky Snakes Hat

First up: a super soft, rather luxurious hat made for Alexis. And then me, then Lou, Tina, and soon Michelle (that one’s in progress right now). I fell in love with this yarn (Ella Rae bamboo silk), and when Alexis asked me to make her a hat, I knew I had found the perfect project for it. And now I can’t stop making them. After wearing mine, I think the yarn is a bit too slippery for this pattern… it gets stretched slouchy pretty quickly. But on the hats after that I used smaller needles for the first half of the band, so they should stay a little tighter around the ears. I didn’t photograph any of the other ones I made, but Tina’s was fun and stripes (my first striped anything!) and Lou’s was a lovely icy blue color.

embroidery for the glasses case

Next: a glasses case for Tom. I got some fusible fleece that I accidentally melted the first time around (that was no fun to get of the iron, let me tell you!) Once I got the fleece part figured out, it was a relatively simple stitch-job. Though I complicated the whole thing by embroidering his initials… I think my embroidery has much improved from the Christmas stockings I made for me and Chris a few years ago! Perhaps I’m just more patient with it. The embroidery hoop I now use probably helps a lot, too! I was worried it would be a little too small, since I did a bit of a miscalculation with my seam allowance, but his glasses fit perfectly.

Woven scarf

Third project: Mom’s woven scarf. I saw a girl with a nice loose woven scarf when Chris and I were out at breakfast about a month before Christmas, and thought “I could do that. Mom would love it!” Once that seed was planted, I just had to follow through. I found some instructions online, and got mom to bring me a huge piece of cardboard when we went fabric shopping for the yet-to-be-finished window blanket. I didn’t tell her what it was for, because I wasn’t sure how the whole thing would end up. I used some of the sparkly Noro that we rescued from that strange three-holed-shawl purchased at the VNA, red yarn that I bought for Chris’ scarf but ended up not using and a cool sparkly fabric ribbon from Nangellini. I’m overjoyed with how it came out. I lent her a broach that Tina gave me way back at Pennsic… she looks like she’s straight out of a fairy tale. (Send me a photo of you wearing it that way, mom!)

LED bracelet

Last up, another present for Mom… this one is another LED bracelet, made using the instructions from the last one, but all my own materials. Mom likes the way it sort of shimmers, and I agree that it looks pretty cool, but it wasn’t supposed to, so I have some troubleshooting to do. Alexis gave me a great book (Switch Craft) which should help me actually understand what I’m doing with soft circuitry.

So this year I made: (1) hand woven scarf, (1) embroidered glasses case, (3) sneaky snakes hats, (1) LED bracelet with snap switch, (1) holiday mix, and I have 2 hats left to finish… a second for Alexis (warmer than the sneaky snakes, but not as silky soft) and one for Michelle. Also Chris’ scarf, but that I have some time for, it wasn’t really a Christmas present anyway. Not a bad holiday craftacular list!

I just bought a bunch of yarn from Nangellini for some Christmas presents…. yay!!! I just love this yarn. Its Ella Rae bamboo silk, and it is softer than anything. I even love balling this yarn up, its so soft and nice.

yarn!!!!!

Also, I bought new glasses today and should have them around Wednesday. I’m pretty excited about them, even if they were a bit more expensive than I was hoping for. They’re a pretty classic looking frame, so should be good for day to day wear as well as comfy enough for knitting at night on the couch. Now off to ball some yarn, sew some soft circuits, sear some tuna and drink some wine. Yay for Saturday. (PS- its snowing. SNOWING!!! Ugly, cold, wet snow, but still…. winter has arrived! Guess I really should winterize my garden now.)

Last night while watching Beetlejuice I finally got around to finishing this quick little test of the reflective yarn:

lights on

lights on

lights off, with flash

lights off, with flash

So I’m not sure how bright it will be… I had a really hard time figuring out what to make. I already have scarves that I really like, and I wear a white helmet, so a reflective hat wouldn’t really add any safety value. I figured a cuff would be visible in the summer, and I can strap it to my bag when I’m not wearing it. Fits the bag great, but its a bit small for my wrist. I really should make something to attach to the back of my bag, since thats what is most visible when I ride. This reflective stuff is odd. More like thread than yarn. Think thin but strong tinsel. I’m sort of surprised there aren’t more projects out there that use this stuff, seems like a pretty natural progression for those crafters who go out around cars at night. I think this could make some useful items for your average pedestrian as well as bikers or runners… I see some Christmas presents in my future! Any requests?


Jordan with flowers
Originally uploaded by ducksRfriends

I’ve been meaning to make some flower pieces for my co-worker Colleen and her daughter, ever since I brought mine in and she seemed to like them. I had been spending a lot of my time prepping for Spring Caravan, so it felt great this past weekend to finally get back to some of my other projects. Sunday I broke out the glue gun, bags of feathers and flowers and got to work. I made this one as well as a giant, (nearly ridiculously giant) pink one. I think the flower looks great with Jordan’s dress! Colleen said she was bellydancing around the campfire at her friend’s party over the weekend. Oh, I love how dance has leaked over to so many other aspects of my (and my friend’s) life.
I also got back to work on the sweater I’m knitting for Ang, as well as getting some serious work done on KK’s doc….. yay for productivity!

I got a blue version of this

I got a blue version of this

I had a wonderfully productive weekend, despite this stupid cold. Friday had some beer-week bar hopping. I got myself a cool shirt with a hippo on it from Riverhorse (good brewing company in Lambertville, NJ). It took me a while to go up to the guy and ask for one, it wasn’t like they were giving them out, I just saw that the bartender had one and though it was really cute. I’m glad I actually talked to the guy, cause he gave me a shirt, no problem! And then we got in an awkward conversation about baking and nutella, and I hightailed it back to my side of the bar.

Saturday was an editing marathon, again. I’m chipping away at the doc that I’m working on. Progress is slow but steady. Later, Angie came over and I showed her how to use her sewing machine. I also finished the fringe belt to send off to Alexis, altered a shirt to be smaller and started on the coin bra I’m making. Whew!

Sunday, editing again. But also some fighting with my iTunes- I finally got a little self-powered hard drive to put my extra music on, and had to figure out how to get it to work as a shared user library…. Went grocery shopping, edited for a few hours, worked more on the coin bra and finally cast on the ties of the Hew wrap I’m working on. Also made 4 new flower/feather combs, three as gifts, one for me. Packaged off all the things I need to send out in the mail today.

Took nyquil to kill my cold, woke up in a shaky haze this morning… but what a weekend!

(I may post some photos when I get home- took some of the bar on friday when a Magic Hat sideshow promotional thing was happening and people swallowed swords… couldn’t get a good shot of the bra or fringe belt though. Forgot to take shots of the combs. Oh well.)

I made up some little bird ornaments for a few friends… a rather quick knit, and I like how they came out…. playing with different yarn combos was fun. They’re from The Purl Bee‘s site…. same place as the lovely handwarmers that I’ve been making… I love their step-by-step photos. Really makes it easier to learn new techniques.