2 Pieces of 9, Sewn and Starred

More progress on my Christmas Tree Skirt (I hope nobody is sick of Christmas yet?!):

I think I need a bigger star to top my white tree, don’t you? I was trying to cut corners. You know – make my life simple. So, I purchased a star button for my tree skirt. I bought the largest star I could find, but they just don’t make buttons beyond a certain size.

Maybe I should knit a star. Yet, the thought of constructing a 5-pointed star makes my head swim.

I could sew one. That would be SO much easier.

Yet, to keep in the same medium, maybe a felted star would be better. I’m not talking about knitting a star and then felting it (the swimming would start again). No, I’d buy felted fabric or fabric that felts and cut a star motif out of it. That might work.


The 2nd Tie in the Christmas Tree Skirt

I finished knitting the 2nd tie a few days ago, but I didn’t have a chance to block it and take pictures of it till last night.

It’s a little difficult to see, since I took these pictures in our basement. I’ll have better pictures by next week when I bring it upstairs after seaming it together with my 1st tie.

In addition to knitting this tie, I have been trying to knit at least 2 rows on my AWHF Beaded Shawl every day. After completing the 2 rows this morning, I decided to count how many beads I had left to weave on. 168. It might seem like a lot, but that means I only have 36 more rows to knit! I’d do a dance around the house, except that every row takes me approximately 30 minutes to knit. 18 more hours till completion. I’m not sure whether to dance or cry.

The Christmas Whirlwind

A part of me is sad that Christmas is gone. The rest of me is grateful for the rest and relaxation. I can’t remember the last time I cooked so much. The final week leading up to Christmas involved waking up at 7am, taking Jake for a walk, and spending the rest of the day in the kitchen. I have no complaints, minus the sore feet. I truly do love to cook.

Not everything on my list got done though despite the marathon cooking episodes. I never did make my molasses cookies or dinner rolls. Goodness knows that we will still have Christmas cookies by Groundhog Day, so perhaps it’s a good thing I never made them.

The 3 cookies in front are my family’s look-alikes. From the left is me (in my apron), then Jake (with his collar on), and lastly Dan (with his beard).

Since you have to have dinner rolls, I cheated and bought them from the bakery. They were still homemade – just not by me. The rest of the Christmas Eve dinner came out lovely. Dan’s sister enjoyed the veggie dishes I made up and Dan’s SIL isn’t nearly as picky as my own sister!

The giving of Christmas presents was so much fun. Aunt Bette loved her Marjorie Mohair Stole. My sister plans to hang her Chili Pepper Quilt in her kitchen. Dan was thrilled to have a copy of Muppet Family Christmas, a movie they grew up watching every Christmas. What did Dan get me?

Isn’t it wonderful? It’s a rice cooker.

I tried it out last night with some chicken curry over top of it. The rice was delicious. No more Minute Rice for me. No, Sir! I’m converted.

Plus, Dan got me some chocolate, since my supply was running low. He’s so well trained now. It only took me 7 years to get him this way.

Starting to Panic

I have so much left to bake and only 4 days to do it in. No, my math isn’t wrong. Yes, there are still 7 more days till Christmas, but since we are busy running around from the 22nd through the 25th, all baking must be finished by the night of the 21st. This, of course, does not include the cooking that must commence on the 24th for the Christmas Eve dinner.

Baking List:
Sugar cookies (old version) – DONE
Sugar cookies (new version) – DONE
Gingerbread cookies – (Dough chilled; waiting to be rolled out)
Shortbread cookies
Springerle cookies
Molasses cookies
Chocolate cake
Pecan pie * 2

Christmas Eve Dinner:
Potato soup
California salad (stolen from The Melting Pot)
Ratatouille or Penne (still deciding)
Roasted Chicken
Mashed potatoes
Chicken Fingers (from a box!)

Most of the dinner can wait till the morning of Christmas Eve. Yet, I would like to have the soup made in advance. I must admit that for the veggie dish I am leaning towards the Ratatouille because it can also be made in advance and left to steep in the fridge.

So, surely, I must have accomplished something yesterday. No, nothing. Nothing happened in the kitchen anyway. But, the house is clean and we now have enough laundry to see us through till Christmas. Plus, I bought the ham. I could have waited another day or two before I picked up the ham, but I had a dream that I went to get it out of the fridge on Christmas Eve and it wasn’t there. I had forgotten to buy it. I started to cry and then I woke up. I was sure my dream was an omen. So, the ham couldn’t wait another day.

On a side note, never share your dreams with your husband. It just gives them an opportunity to laugh at you … and think you are crazy. As if nobody else dreams about their Christmas ham?!

This Time, a Knitted Tree

I haven’t decorated any other trees. So, instead, I thought I would show you where I am on the knitted Christmas Tree Skirt. Slowly, but surely, my knitted white tie is starting to feature a cabled tree.

In between cleaning the house and mixing up more cookie dough, I am knitting the Christmas Tree Skirt. OK, my progress is sad and pitiful, but it’s Christmas time. All I want to do is bake (I made brownies yesterday) and watch Christmas movies. I just love The Christmas Carol. I think I could watch it a million times and never get bored of it.

Cartman, the Pine Tree

The reason his name is Cartman is, well, because he is fat around the middle. During our first attempt to decorate him two years ago, we wrapped the C9 strands around his girth. Despite having two strands linked together, we could only circle him 1.5 times. Dan cursed him for being too fat and thus the name was born. We have since learned that when decorating him with lights, they should only be put onto his front side.

Outdoor (shatterproof) ornament balls complete the look.

I noticed when decorating him that he was getting a little scraggly around the top. It is a pet peeve of our neighbors. The family that lived here before us kept all the trees and bushes in nice, neat shapes of cones or round balls. I prefer my trees and bushes to have a more natural look. Plus, I tend to get more flowers and foliage on them if I just prune them once in the Spring and then leave them alone. Still my neighbors have informed me that they wish I would keep to the clean lines. I just smile and nod.

Oh, and here is Jake supervising the picture taking. He’s such a big help. I don’t know how I would take pictures without him.

Decorating the Real Tree

We bought a Douglass Fir tree this year. When it was outside at the tree farm, it didn’t look as fat around the middle until we got it home. There will be no fires in the fireplace until after January 6th (when the tree is taken down).

The trimming of the real tree is much more involved than the decorating of the artificial tree or the two outside Christmas trees. (Pictures of Cartman coming soon! … Cartman is the fat pine tree in front of our house). It took us all day to decorate this tree with several breaks included. It took two sets of lights, three strands of red beads and too many decorations to count.
The Before picture.

The After pictures.

Jake wanting to help.

More After pictures

Hope you are enjoying the Christmas season!

New Chart for Christmas Tree Skirt

While knitting up the sample of the white ties in the Christmas tree skirt, I realized that my original chart was not going to work. I could not stretch the tree branches out as far as I wanted to and still decrease every 4th row as was needed in order to match the other ties knit in the Naturally Spun yarn. Thus, I spent the last two days reconfiguring the layout of the tree.

Behold, the new Christmas tree chart.

The tree branches will be made with K1F’s (hold 1 stitch forward on cn, K1, K stitch from cn) and K1B’s (hold 1 stitch back on cn, K1, K stitch from cn). The trunk consists of 3 stitches that are knit in stocking stich. All other stitches are knit in reverse stocking stitch. (cn = cable needle)

I hope to post a picture soon of the newly designed, white wool tie.

The First Snow

Pictures of our 1st real snow:

In the center is outdoor Christmas tree (a Colorado Blue Spruce).

Jake grazing.

Unlike most dogs who just eat grass when they have an upset stomach, Jake LOVES grass. He eats a little every morning. He also eats it when he has the hiccups, when he’s nervous, when he’s excited, and in Spring when new grass has sprouted.

On this day, I finished my new fleece duvet. It fits perfectly over my goose down comforter. It is so incredibly warm! Dan put the old flannel duvet onto his goose down comforter. Why don’t we share our comforters? Because the key to a happy marriage is separate blankets. No need to argue over who had the lion’s share of the blankets the night before. No need to steal back the blankets in the middle of the night. Everyone stays warm and happy.

Dan thought I should share this picture with you.

It is a pic of my new tea, a flowering tea from Primula.

22 Days till Christmas

This year I won’t be up till midnight on Christmas Eve either knitting or sewing. All the presents are wrapped save two. The last two will be purchased from Shangy’s beer store, the best beer distributor in Pennsylvania.

Please don’t hate me. If it makes you feel any better, there is much that is left to be done.

We’re missing a tree. Apparently, you can’t buy a real tree already lit and decorated with your own ornaments. Sure would be nice, wouldn’t it?

There are no lights on our house. Plus, Cartman (our fat pine tree) isn’t sporting his outdoor ornaments.

The cookies haven’t been baked yet. Heck, the cookie dough hasn’t even been mixed up yet. Normally, by now it would be sitting on the attic stairs chilling. I plan to make 5 different kinds of cookies this year:

  1. Sugar cookies (these are the traditional one)
  2. Pumpkin cookies
  3. Scottish shortbread cookies with chopped pecans
  4. Gingerbread cookies
  5. Springerle cookies
  6. Molasses cookies (if time permits)

Two of the Christmas gifts are actually baked goods, which haven’t been made either. I am giving Scottish baps to my uncle and a chocolate cake to my sister-in-law. The baps can be made in advance and frozen until the day before Christmas. The cake I can’t make until the day before Christmas Eve. (I feel I should mention here that, no, I’m not Scottish. Well, I have a smidgen, but it’s hardly a drop in the bucket. I cook Scottish food because I love the simple recipes and the rich [fatty] outcomes).

The Christmas Eve dinner hasn’t been planned yet. Which is a nice way of saying, I have no frickin idea what I plan to serve these people! I have one picky eater who only likes to eat chicken Parmesan, a child who is pickier than her mother (hard to believe), a vegetarian who won’t even eat vegetable soup if its made from a meat stock, and 2 devoted carnivores who think vegetables are icky. Short of making personal, individualized dishes, I don’t know what to do. The idea of just cooking what I want to cook and telling everybody to either eat what is on the table or starve sounds really tempting. Do you have a better idea?