Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from The Rugged Moose.

It's 11:51 and I'm at the office - doing a bit of work, but mostly revisiting all those lists in my head. Who have I forgotten? What did I miss at the grocery store? It will soon be too late to worry about it, and I'm sure everything will be just fine.

The most important thing is to be with family and friends and try to de-stress from all the other stuff in the world. And that is what I hope to do when we scoot up north on the 27th.

I hope you all find a way to do the same - not go up north - but relax into the new year. It seems the older we get the more frazzled life becomes. It's good to catch your breath from time to time.

All the best for the holidays. Talk to you all again in 2010.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Counting Down.

The tree is trimmed, the gifts are wrapped (mostly bagged actually - what did we ever do before the reusable gift bag?) and I think I am mostly ready. This will be the last Christmas in the house we've owned for 26 years, so it's proving to be quite an emotional time for us - and especially the kids. I took extra care in the trimmings, putting three more stands of lights than usual on the tree.

On my "Santa" list, I've completed: 10 hooked snowmen, 2 hooked santas, 1 hooked cat, 1 hooked footstool, 1 sign, 1 knitted snowman hat, 1 pair of yoga socks, 3 aprons - I can't think of anything else. 
Now just one newsletter to finish putting together and shoot out the door before Thursday. 

And I'm pretty sure there will be a bit more last minute wrapping and "second guessing shopping". But mostly I'm done.

My ma-in-law turned 85 on Friday, so we treated her to a birthday lunch on Saturday in Peterborough and brought her back to stay until Boxing Day. She's like the Eveready bunny - in the 30 years I've known her, she hasn't changed very much. Knock on wood she's still healthy and strong and I can't see that changing much in the next little while, God willing.

So now I can just get the work work done that haunts my sleep and look forward to some nice downtime between Christmas and New Years.

I hope all of you who have been following along with me have an incredible holiday, filled with family and friends and good cheer. May 2010 be an amazing adventure for all of us, and may we all find good health and happiness waiting for us there.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.

Much love.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Aprons for Christmas?

I am a recent lover of aprons. Perhaps because in the past few years, they have become beautiful and things that you would feel wonderful wearing – versus the ugly utilitarian things of days gone by. I think the love of all things retro has had a very positive effect on the apron business.

There was a woman selling wonderful ones at One of a Kind. And the ones at Anthropologie are incredible. But a beautiful apron comes with a price tag, so I decided to make some instead, after finding a pattern called Emmeline at Sew Liberated (an online site with beautiful patterns).

It’s a very feminine reversible apron that really appealed to me and I immediately thought of my daughter who is just learning to cook. How wonderful to put on a lovely apron and create things in her freshly painted yellow kitchen. (The bright yellow, blue and purple one with the striped reverse is for her.)

When I went looking for her fabric, other combinations kept leaping out at me, which is how I ended up doing three (or 6 when you count both sides of each apron). I spent a good deal of this past weekend cutting them out and sewing them. But at the end of the effort, I think they are really beautiful.

Living in a house with two men folk doesn’t bode well for the construction of aprons as Christmas gifts. They just kept saying Aprons???? Incredulously, which nearly made me second guess myself. And they did beg the question, is an apron the sign of oppression, which I’m sure the feminists would support, or are they a practical item that can also be beautiful?

Like every gift I give, the acid test is whether or not I would like to receive on as a gift. And the answer is a resounding “YES”. Now having made three, I know the pattern by heart. I have visions of all my leftover fabrics being put to good use in 2010. I can see these becoming a staple in my life.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The flakes and the fur flew.

Sorry about no post yesterday (to my regular tea and post folks). I was up north - taking yesterday in lieu of Friday. I'm still loving these longer weekends, regardless of where the extra day falls.

It was a weekend FILLED with snow. Amazing how just two hours north of the city and you're in a winter wonderland. We hit the storm on Friday night about 90 kms south of Parry Sound and it stayed with us all weekend. It snowed so that you couldn't even see across the lake. It snowed in slow motion. It snowed heavy and light. We shovelled twice on Sunday - about 8 inches each time. Definitely time for a snow blower....

On the studio front, I was definitely feeling like one of Santa's elves and my list got quite a few check marks. The snowmen are moving right along, with four of them stuffed and waiting for arms (too snowy up norrth to pick any). But some new fun things this weekend were this stool for my sister Nancy (hope she's not reading this week) and a stuffed cat for my friend Sheila. Nancy's cats Gus and Sam are depicted here and as you can see, Gus is like Garfield without the love of lasagna. Mostly lies around and eats a lot. Sam is like an electric cat who never stops moving. Their personality difference is really reflected in their body shapes, which made this little stool cover so fun to do.

And while on the subject of cats, I decided that instead of a snowman for my friend Sheila, I would hook her cat Hank. He is a wonderful cat who loves people and loves to fetch. I think he thinks he's a dog. He's getting up in age (and weight) now and suffers from diabetes, so we're not sure how much longer he'll be with us. This seemed like the perfect gift. He was very fun to do, and if time permits, I will do my grandcat Jasper for my daughter too. She'll love it and I'm sure he'll appreciate the company.

I must confess to surprising even myself with how well I'm staying on track to get everything done. If the hooking stuff is all finished this week, then it's time to dig out the sewing machines and tackle a few more goodies.

And I still have more than two weeks left to go.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Hooked Snowman vs. The Punched Snowman

Following my friend Jennifer’s lead, I decided to make a few snow folk this year as Christmas gifts.

So far, I have hooked 2 large ones and punch needled two more. I have also hooked some half-pints, which are adorable and very fast to do. I have also thrown in a few Santa’s for good measure.

Looking at them finished (but not assembled), I am faced with the question, which do I prefer, the Hooked Snowman or the Punched Snowman? Both have good things going for them, and I’m pretty sure I’ll like them all once they are put together and have their eyes and arms and hats, etc.

The punching was definitely faster, and I do like the texture I got in mixing two yarns. But there’s something about the strip mixture in the traditionally hooked fellow that I really love.

Before I do any more, I think I’d better see how tough the assembly process is, cuz I have no idea and may end up with some flat ornaments instead. I’ll take pictures again when they are assembled and you can see for yourself which you prefer.

(I actually finished the punched fellow last nite, but I'm waiting till I have his arms and nose before I show the final result.)

Big Bird is Coming Along Nicely

First of all, welcome to another "theme" for my blog. The last one was just too hard to navigate - as an author or a visitor. This...