As 2007 winds down….

Hello everyone!  Christmas here was over in a flash, it seemed.  The kids had a good time and they ate a surprising amount, considering they had a huge meal at their dad’s prior to  heading over to my house.  Sam put his hat on and did not take it off… unfortunately, I did not get a photo of it.  There’s some brilliance, no?

It has been quiet this week at my house, welcome quiet!  I have started some time of selfish knitting!  I am starting my third round of “beehive” stitches on my Marie Antoinette Socks.  Oh, I am in love!  They are divine, and a fun knit.  Anne, once again, has created an incredibly brilliant knit.  If you have not check them out, do. 

I have also been knitting on my “Logan River Wrap”.  I am using the suggested yarn, Queensland Collection Kathmandu Aran – a blend of merino, silk, and cashmere.  While, I love the brown – green is my “go to” shade.  So, yes, I am knitting this up in a lovely medium green that has flecks of brown through out.  Yeah, enough said.  This stuff is yummy.  I am almost through my first ball, making nice progress.  I will also learn some new techniques in this knit – adding a border.  Yes, that is right, have not done that yet.  I will keep you posted as I begin the borders, so stay tuned!

Knit K-night was interesting this week.  I had some apples that I really needed to use, so I made a big pan of apple crisp and carted that down to feed the masses!  They all wolfed that down in short order!!  And, it seems that the gifts they all knit were exceedingly well received.  All in all, an interesting evening.

I believe I have a plan in place that will have me employed soon.  A good transition for me.  I am eager to get started, and although it will require some education, I have an appointment set for January 3 to start the journey.  New Year, new career. 

I am staying home for New Year’s Eve this year – my kids will be “floating” around – so, I had better stay put.  But, on New Year’s Day – I am heading over to Lansing to visit Threadbear!!  My goal will be to get there early in the morning and head home to watch the last half of the Citrus Bowl.  Michigan plays Florida, it should be a good game!!  Any of you Lansing knitters planning on being at Threadbear on Tuesday???  I’d love to see you all!

Stay tuned for some upcoming news on Blog365….

Have a great weekend all!

I’m seeing a white Christmas!

Hello everyone from White, Wintry Holland!

Yes, we got snow and more snow yesterday.  It was steady all day – with some gale force winds to boot! 

I am most thankful that we did not loose power, although some of my Michigan neighbors did.  I am hopeful that the power is soon restored and that all those without power have a warm and welcoming place to go.

So, gentle readers, if you have not finished your Christmas knitting – you still have some time to accomplish that.  Not much, but still some time!

I have some ends to weave in and a couple of gifts yet to wrap – small things that I expect to be done with shortly!

What I really need to get done today is the remainder of my food preparation for tomorrow!  I will be doing so while I listen to carols (and I assure you I will be singing along!). 

All of the anticipation of Advent has built up to today – and I will be singing tonight with the choir in our midnight candle light service.  It will be extra special this year as me and the kids will be helping lead our opening devotion and lighting the Advent wreath. 

I hope and pray that you all have a most Blessed Christmas with your loved ones. 

I leave you with a picture of the Nativity by Albrecht Durer and the words to a Christmas hymn by Martin Luther. 

Merry Christmas everyone!

Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.

My heart for very joy doth leap,
My lips no more can silence keep;
I, too, must sing with joyful tongue
That sweetest ancient cradle song.

Glory to God in highest Heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given;
While angels sing with tender mirth,
A glad new year to all the earth.

 

T-minus 2 days and counting….

Hello Everyone! 

So, has the stress of Christmas preparation caused you to boil over?  Have you run out of steam?  Are you chugging uphill and fear that you cannot make it?

Well, take a deep breath – go on, I will wait. 

Another one…. nice and slow. 

Let the calm wash over you. 

Let go of that niggling anxiety.  Yes, just let it go….

It will be okay – trust me!

In all past Christmas’ I have been at a fevered pace in the final days winding up to Christmas day.  Much of the activity was brought on by the determination that I would make Christmas perfect for those around me if I was a raving lunatic.  With the frantic meal preparations, wrapping an obscene amount of presents, demanding perfection from the house, the children, and the weather – there better be snow!  And, what do I have to show for all that – not much but a few additional grey hairs on my head!

What I was missing in all the Christmas preparations was the real meaning of Christmas. 

How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is giv’n.

Every year on our Christmas tree, nestled deep in the branches and next to trunk of the tree, we place this little wooden nativity.  You have to look for it, it is sort of hidden away.  I find this little nativity so beautiful, maybe even more so since I have become a knitter.  The little sheep next to the manger is so appropriate.  After all, shephard’s were the very first visitors! 

I believe that we need to look for the meaning of Christmas – it can get lost in all the “commercialism” of the holiday. 

And, if we look – it is there quietly waiting for us, eager to welcome us. 

So, my Christmas wish for all of you is that you would slow down in these last remaining days of Advent. 

Savor the blessings that surround all of you. 

May the peace of Christmas fill your hearts with joy.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Thank you Brian Williams for keeping my seat warm!

Hello everyone!  Well, what a marvelous week we have had here at the Home for the Unemployed!  Each day seems to bring new and hilarious exciting drama possibilities!  I want you all to know that in the dilligent search for gainful employment, there are a multitude of pathways to travel!

 And, am I traveling them!

Okay – in an effort to keep you, dear readers, amused.  I will share with you my “Most Wonderful Adventure” from yesterday!

So, in the State Of Michigan’s unbelievable wisdom – they are determined to find me a “career” not just a job.  Thank goodness they are not trying to find me an adventure – I don’t think the army would be a good choice for a woman of my years!  But, they are trying to find me a “career”. 

So, in order to help me find this new career, they had me take an “Interest Profiler Test”.  They explained that if I know what my interests are, I would be more successful in finding a career that matches those interests. 

Now, this is an online test – so imagine me sitting in a room with other unemployed idiots people like myself!

I have to tell you – I truly felt like I was in middle school during the process.  I had flash backs when the “instructor” began reading each page out loud to us.  Obviously, the unemployed are unable to read.  This must be a skill that is reserved for the working world alone.  Who knew.  I must have missed that page on my termination paper – “… and you hereby give up the right to read comprehensively with your termination of employment.”  Yeah, well… I am just saying. 

And, then the fun began. 

So, I have a test that is not a test with 180 questions that will help me determine what my “interests” are.  They asked me great questions, just brilliant I am telling you.  And, there was not a knitting/fiber question in the lot.  But, they did ask me if I wanted to chop down trees in a forest.  They asked me if I wanted to lube cars.  They asked me if I wanted to balance spread sheets.  They asked me if I wanted to climb mountains.  They asked me if I wanted to haul cargo in a semi-truck.  They asked me if I liked music. 

 Are you seeing a pattern here?

Well, I answered the 180 questions and the outcome was quite hysterical informational.

Drum roll please…. (ba-dum-dum-dum-dum-dummmmm)

The #10 job career for me is – Composer, Musician, Instrumental!  Okay, that is just fabulous.  Did I miss the question about could I play an instrument?  I swear there was no question about playing an instrument.  Does being a ringer in the bell choir count????  Somehow, I am positive that being a “ding-a-ling” does not a musician make!

Okay.. moving on  the #9 career option – Choreographer, dancer.  What????  Okay, now I know for SURE that there was NOT one question regarding dancing on the entire darn test.  NOT one.  Must be if you say you do not want to haul cargo in a semi – you are interested in dancing.   Never mind that I have 2 left feet… Fred Astaire, you don’t have to worry about your day job.

Let’s see if #8 is any better…. Creative writer, poet, lyricist, copy writer, cartoonist, caption writer.  Okay, I don’t think I can make any money with my blog.  Could someone call their publicist and let them know that this was my #8 choice…. thanks!  Keep this career aspiration in mind all of you bloggers out there, the next caption contest I enter, I should win based on the stupidity of this career option!

Okay, surely #7 must be better, right — Producer.  Of what?  I don’t know.  I have produced 3 children, does that count?  I am not sure what good that will do me – last time I checked, they did not pay moms for child production!

Well, #6 is not much better – Editor.  Hmmm, that might have possibilities.  I am calling the Holland Sentinel to let them know that I will be happy to take a position editing their paper.  I surely cannot do worse that the editing they have currently! 

And, #5  Film and Video Editor.  Huh?  I can barely get my photos uploaded to Flickr.  Ummm, did they see the “female” tab checked.  Hello, how can I edit film and video if I cannot set my VCR timer?????

#4 Music Arranger and Orchestrator/Singer.  Huh, see #10.  And, while I sing in the choir – I do so under the guidance of “make a joyful NOISE to the Lord”.  Thank you very much. 

#3 Interpreter/Translator.  Ummmm, I know I have a multi-lingual daughter, but me… not so much.  I could translate that I cannot speak spanish, does that count????

#2 Actor.  Yes, you read that right -ACTOR.  Ummmm, you have got to be kidding me.  Seriously – I am paying taxes for this kind of help for the VAST number of unemployed Michiganders!?!  Yeah, could I have a job, oh I mean career, that I could actually earn a living????? 

Okay… are you ready for the #1 “Career” for me?????  Holy cow, people, I am sure you can barely stand the suspense!  I know I could not….

And, the #1 career choice for me is …… Radio/Television Announcer or Broadcast News Announcer/Analyst.  People, I know, I was stunned.  And, if you think I am stunned – how stunned do you think that Brian Williams will be when I call him to let him know!  And, what about Katie Couric – she’ll move right over and let me in, don’t you think???  Hey, maybe I can call NPR – I am a member after all, and I can tell them that since I have been such a good member all these years it is time for them to return the favor – and I will be happy to take over the morning spot for Renee Montagne.  I am sure they will get right on that.

Yeah…. my thoughts exactly. 

Is it Christmas yet? 

Would it be Christmas without cookies?

Hello Everyone!

Well, in a few short hours my kitchen will be transformed into “baking central”.  I am enlisting the elves kids to get some holiday cookies baking. 

Good things:  The smell of cookies baking, hearing the kids laughing as they are working on them, watching them goof off with each other.

Bad things:  Cleaning up the kitchen after all the mayhem, pondering how many calories are in said cookies, eating cookies anyways!

I will try and snag some photos of the afternoon insanity!  We have Spritz and fudge on the horizon.  I might even be able to convince Heidi to make some truffles!  My mouth is watering! 

My knitting is perking right along, although I am aching to knit for me!  How selfish is that!?!  Only the guilt is keeping me from breaking out some personal knitting.  Are you all having “knit for myself” pangs as well?  I have visions of Fair Isle dancing in my head….

Like this one….

Or this one….

Or maybe this one….

I am telling you, 2008 is going to be the year of Fair Isle here at my house!  You will find me happily stranding along.  And – if all goes well, you may see this show up on this blog!  Stay tuned for my departure to the Fair Isle…. 

I have also started the task of wrapping!  Ugh!  I would like to put the packages under the tree, but I am afraid of what Thing One and Thing Two Noel and Maddie will do with wrapped boxes!  I am telling you, dogs are MUCH easier!  Copper and Penny watch those two cats and I can hear them thinking – oh, boy – are you gonna be in trouble!!!!  And, the cats seem quite happy to ignore the dogs sage advice…. I am telling you, they are not too smart!

Well, I am off to get the kitchen ready for our “Bake-a-thon” and back to my Christmas knitting. 

Have a good one everyone!

It’s a Special Christmas Package!

Hello everyone!

 All year long I have been a member of Lynne’s Special Swap and I have enjoyed it immensely.  Our themes have been original and creative!  I have gotten to know some amazing and wonderful knitter/bloggers. 

And, Lynne ended the Special Swap by doing a “Christmas Swap” and my swap partner was an amazing Knitting Blogger, Sue.  We had exchanged a few emails as we got to know each other and I had so much fun selecting items to send to her to make her Christmas bright! 

This morning, bright and early, the postman rang the bell and delivered a package for me!

It was filled with some incredible treasures just for me!

Sue included some new Santa’s for my ever growing collection!  And, there was yarn!!  In the Santa mug is some appropriately named Knit Picks Gloss – Cocoa!  Won’t this make some “hot” socks?  I am seeing something that has a bit of a swirling pattern – like a nice, hot, creamy cup of hot cocoa!  Mmmmmmmmmmm, my fingers are itching to complete my Christmas Knitting so I can cast on something for me!!

There is also a skein of Sugar n Cream cotton to knit a Christmas dishcloth!  Sue, I think I can get it done before Christmas!! 

She included some great chocolates as well – and she included a Santa Stocking and a sock bag for a take along knit!  Sue, I am certain that you made these – and they are just gorgeous!! 

I love everything in my package!!  Sue, thank you so very, very much!!

The weekend  fairly flew by – we got some snow!!  I tried to get a photo, but my battery died in the camera.  I need to get some batteries today and get a picture or two posted for those of you who will not have a White Christmas!  It is looking very much like a Currier and Ives card outside right now!

I am also in need of a “Kitty Time Out” room.  There was much mayhem last night by Thing One and Thing Two.  I am on the look out for the Cat in the Hat…. I fear he is hiding here somewhere urging the kitties on!  I am wondering how I can sleep through the Kitty Shenanigans….by the looks of the house, there must be volumes of noise! 

Well, I am off to knit on…. have a blessed Monday all!

The bees are buzzing

My Marie Antoinette  kit arrived yesterday from Kim!  I truly tried to not even look at it. 

Really….

Okay, I would not believe that either! 

I still have Christmas knitting to do….

So, I said I would just wind the yarn into a cake…. and read through the pattern….

Before I knew it, I was looking for size 1 DPNs and some waste yarn….

Here are 10 repeats of the cuff lace pattern. 

I know… beautiful, isn’t it????

So, I can work on this again if I get my mom’s mitts done today. 

I gotta go knit… have an awesome day everyone!

Santa, Santa everywhere!

And, you wonder how he “sees you when you’re sleeping”…. In our house, Santa is truly everywhere! 

I thought that I would share with you all today some of my favorite Santa’s… I have been collecting them for years.  And, I truly adore them.  If there was a way to keep them out all year, I probably would! 

Here is “Gardening Santa”  – my kids gave me this for Christmas about 10 years ago.  Isn’t he divine?  He is sitting on an adorable wooden bench.    I love his woolen pants and his denim apron.  After all, Santa only works one night out of the year – I figure he must have some amazing gardens!! 

Next, here is “Nordic Santa”  I got him LONG before I began to knit.  And – Ihave to tell you, I love him even more since I have been knitting!  The mittens and the “skates” are divine!

In front of Nordic Santa is one of the very first Santa’s I ever got.  My ex-MIL gave him to me for one of my first Christmases with them.  I have had him over 25 years.  He normally has a place of honor on the “Santa Tree” – and since that tree is not happening this year, thanks to Thing One and Thing Two Noel and Maddy, I got him out and put him on the top shelf!  I love that he has a shephard’s staff – it seems so fitting for the season.

My absolute best find ever though is a picture I found about 20 years ago in an antique shop.  It is from the 40’s, I think, and it is HUGE.  Getting a photo of it to share with you all was a bit of a challenge!  It is about 5 x 4.  I am telling you all -HUGE!   There are 10 “Santa Elves” surrounding the “head Santa”.  It is my absolute favorite piece.  This is hanging in my bedroom – it fits beautifully over a dresser I have. 

See, “head Santa” has the letters tacked to the tree, he is talking on the phone, and, I am sure, he is getting the scoop on whether or not you have been naughty or nice!

Here is “Ticker Tape Santa Elf” marking off the information coming in… and “head Santa” has good a handle on this too.  See, Santa does not miss much!

Bags of toys are being hauled in – don’t you love the “snowmobile”?  Oh… and in case you were wondering… yes there is a “Sheriff Santa”.   Who do you think orders the coal shipments???? 

There is no artists signature on this piece.  Someone who loved Christmas as much as I do used their creative genius to create this treasure that now graces my humble home.   I have done nothing to this piece – it still has the same rough frame that was nailed on it when I got it. 

What are your favorite things about Christmas…

Last night, my daughter’s Christmas concert did a mother proud!  The evening ended with my daughter’s Symphony Orchestra (this is the zero hour class she takes – the one that she has to get to school at 6:30AM each day for…. Yeah, this is dedication….) played Sarajevo – ala Trans Siberian Orchestra… Holy cow, gentle reader… I cried.  They were soooooo good!  The audience sprang to their feet at the end, giving a rousing standing ovation.  The evening closed with the choir singing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus with the Symphony accompanying them. 

Wow.

It was a spectacular ending to an amazing concert.

Here is to the abundant blessings that family brings and to finding joy in each day as we wend along towards Christmas. 

 I am off to get some Christmas knitting done.  Have a great day everyone!

Santa Claus is comin’ to town…

 …and he is watchin’ your every move!!

So, the Santa’s are all out – for the most part.  I am sad that there will be no “Santa Tree” this year, but the cats are altogether too interested in the tree that I use… I fear for my Santa’s well-being!  And, I am afraid if we have “Santacide” that there will be no visit from that Jolly Old Elf – except from the coal truck!!

So, I have my step-back cupboard filled with my Santa’s and there are a few others standing as sentinels in my family room!

Yes, Santa is watching us, with a multitude of eyes!

Some of my “Tree Santa’s” are watching from the shelves here… I am not sure they like it as much, but it works!

I started my Christmas shopping yesterday.  I got all of one present crossed off my list.  I am certainly glad that my Christmas knitting is having greater success!  I guess I just need to head downtown for a day and get everything crossed off my list – and hang the sales.  What I pay in extra for the items I have, I believe I will save in gas driving from one store to another to find the items advertised. 

Here is some retailer brilliance – they must have ONE object in stock per store from the sale flyers.  There is a way to endear your customers to you.  Phoey on all of them, I say!  Downtown Holland will benefit from my frustration yesterday.  Fortunately, I have only a few items on my list that I need to get. 

I have been enjoying our tree this year a tremendous amount!  How pleasant it is to sit and knit, listening to Christmas music.  The hours of knitting have certainly been a blessing.  Decorating the tree this weekend was also a very nice thing to do.  It was a good reminder to me of how much my teenagers savor the season as well.  I heard some interesting comments from their mouths as they remembered ornaments they made for me.  I was sad to hear that the ornaments they made for their dad that were sent with him do not grace the tree at his house.  I cannot imagine a tree without these tiny treasures.  They warm my heart!

I am off to get a wee hair cut… be blessed in your day today!  Tonight I have Heidi’s Christmas Concert…check here for the review tomorrow!

On becoming a Jedi-dyer

Or, what happens when you spend the day with Obi Wan and Yoda Rob and Matt!

So, bright and early the two Jedi’s in training yarn dyer wanna-be’s headed over to a galaxy far, far away Lansing!  There was little traffic in the galaxy on the highway and we traveled at warp speed, oops – we are Jedi’s not Treker’s!, made excellent time!  Upon arrival, we were rushed back to class to find our Jedi Master, Obi Wan Rob, had already begun class!  With quick work we quickly prepared the tables for dying and with some amazing explanation from our Master – we all had cold, wet, yarn in our eager hands! 

Our first explanation was for dying a multi-colored skein of yarn.  We each picked out our colors and like devoted Jedi’s dyer wanna-be’s we attacked our skeins. 

Okay, gentle readers – here is my first attempt – I present to you “Indian Corn”

The weather was not so cooperative today here in West Michigan – overcast and not much good natural light, but this is a very good representation of the colors in the skein.  (Rob, what do you think of the brown – I think I like the Logwood “au-natural”….)

A bit of a close up.  Not bad, huh?  I am feeling the “force” and it’s aura surrounding me. 

We continued on with the amazing help from our Jedi Master Rob and here is my second skein….

Sea-spray, gentle readers. 

The Jedi in training Dyer Wanna-be is gaining confidence.

For our last task in training – we talked a bit about runs of color – there was some amazing knowledge imparted from our Master and as a good student, I listened closely and allowed the force to “be with me” as I did my third skein….

I present to you …. Chocolate Covered Blueberries, gentle reader.  There is no way to describe this color, and while this is close, it is no where near the vibrancy of the true shades.  This is truly gorgeous yarn!

And, lastly, I brought my BFL that I had spun to see about dying it…. and I had time to dye.  And, I did….

Indigo Dreams was born….

It was a truly amazing, inspiring day.  I truly wish I had a camera to share with you all the picture of all of the Jedi Knights Dyer Wanna-be’s finished products!  When Yoda Matt came in to look at all of them, even he was impressed with our ability to connect with the force!!  We all could have dyed all afternoon and on into the evening (and maybe even the next day!!!)  My fellow knights dyers created even lovlier fiber than I did!!!!  A truly creative group of women!

To top that all off -my tree is decorated and is looking just lovely.  A perfect tree.  As for the artificial tree downstairs – hmmm, not so well.  It seems that Thing One and Thing Two the cats cannot leave it alone!!  The live tree they don’t care about – but the tree with removable branches – hmmmm, a much different story!  I picked it up for the last time this morning.  It is back in storage… no Santa Tree here this year.  But, we do have a plethora of Santa’s to take it’s place… stay tuned for pictures.

 Have a great evening all!  Blessings!