Friday, December 29, 2006

New Toys

I had a great Christmas and I sure hope all of you did, too. DH got me the iPod I asked for, so now I'm all set to listen to tunes and podcasts when I get back to the gym. I seem to have given myself a week or so off. While not going to the gym, I did finish one pair of Christmas mittens for the little ones next door. The other pair is in rework. You see, I only had a small amount of the yarn selected and, of course, ran out. This is easily, if annoyingly solved by ripping them out and making them a few stitches around smaller. Yes, I was that close to having enough. Sigh.

I've also found some new toys to play with. First up is this nifty strainer. I know, a strainer does not sound like a toy, but it's quite amusing. It's silicon and goes from flat to a strainer when you pour stuff into it (or pretend you're a pirate and flick it ). I am so easily amused!

Finally, my last toy for the week is completely free. DH allowed as how we really ought to think about painting the living room/dining room (and, of course, the ceilings). This brings us to the nice people at Resene EzyPaint. They have written a free, downloadable software package that allows you to import a picture of your intended paint victim and virtually paint it. How cool is that?!?!

Note: I'm reserving judgement as to how cool it really is until I can play with it more.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Last-Minute Holiday Stuff

Like everyone else, I have projects that just aren't going to get finished. Here's a pair of mittens with only the thumb to finish. They might actually get done, but I still need to start/finish an even smaller pair. I didn't even start a headband for DD. I think I'll just aim for finishing before New Year's! It's still unnaturally warm around here anyway.

We got this nifty gift basket the other day. Isn't it pretty? And it tasted just as good as it looked.

It's all about cookies the last few days around here. I don't know why I feel that I should bake an excessive amount of cookies around Christmas. There are not many of us in our little family and we sure don't need cookies at all, let alone dozens. I've baked treasure cookies, chocolate crinkles, ricotta cookies and spritz. Toffee (the crunchy kind) will be made soon. It would make a lot of sense to just bake a few dozen and freeze the dough for another day, but that just never seems to happen... I did, however, package most of them up and stashed them out of sight, to be brought out when needed (at least until I forget and just leave them all out!).

Know what? It's worth following the advice of experts now and then. A small ice cream scoop speeds cookie production right along. And parchment paper (maybe even those silicon baking sheets, too) is a wonderful, wonderful thing. That paper can be used for multiple batches, prevents scorching and, most of all, prevents sticking!

This nifty little treat was on Juno's blog. She sure can find amusing stuff!

My Fortune Cookie told me:
A bird in the hand makes it awfully hard to blow your nose.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

On that note, just in case I don't post for a few days, Happy Holidays to you all!

Part 5 Yet More from the Christmas Store

I told you I had taken quite a few pictures at this place. It really is a nice store, with many, many beautiful ornaments, decorations, toys and a truly impressive array of model train stuff. The array of fabulous garlands is terrific and were very hard to resist.

However, your tour guide seems to have a kind of odd frame of mind, so we continue our tour with this decorative object. Unfortunately, it was solid, rather than an actual flask, which is what it looked like to me. I might have brought it home with me if it had been a usable flask.

And, finally, nothing says Christmas like...

...dancing sheep!

Part 4 Even More from the Christmas Store

I don't know why I kept finding all these odd (or at least odd to me) things at the Christmas store. Believe it or not, there is even more that I'm saving for tomorrow or Saturday.

Santa here seems to be in his stockings, getting ready for a dip into the bowl. The legs are out of some type of flexible something, so are not as fragile as they look.

On the same tree as the previously pictured busty fish and suggestive bunny, was this little cherub-like bundle. Let's face it, he's faking it; there is no way those little wings are going to get any lift!

And now, for today's contribution to "Nothing Says Christmas Like..."

...Aliens (lots of them).

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Part 3: More from the Christmas Store

This store is really quite large. About half the store is all about model trains. There is a really big model set up that's really fascinating (and trains aren't really my thing). There are towns, railyards, stations, bridges (with bungee jumpers) and then there was this. I'm sorry to report that there was a terrible accident here (lower center).

Here we have a large selection of heads. Personally, I find all these little heads on hooks a bit disturbing.

Finally, nothing says Christmas like...

...a pile of dead livestock?

Finally, I swiped this quiz from Juno, and I'm sure that none of you are surprised at the results.

How evil are you?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Part 2 of the Christmas Store

When you first enter the Christmas store, you are greeted by some really large animals. The bear is pretty close to 8-foot tall; his sign says "Do Not Touch, I Eat People". How welcoming.

I've heard that Halloween decorations are getting to be a really big thing. Wouldn't it be better to have all the Halloween decorations together, rather than scattered among the Christmas decorations?

Finally, nothing says Christmas like...a crow?

The rest of the tree had some reasonably nice looking birds on it, like parrots, cardinals, peacocks, etc. And then you came around the other side and there was this ratty-looking crow.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Part 1 of "Nothing says Christmas like..."

Oops, the other day, while in Toronto, I actually did take a Saturday Sky picture. Here's the sun setting over Lake Ontario.

Yesterday, DH and I went in search of a new tree topper. We were unsuccessful as it seems they are not all that popular right now. However, while in this very Christmas-centric store, I found quite a few photo ops. I will try to post a few every day this week. Here we go.

Nothing says Christmas like....

...a busty fish

...or, well, I don't think I want to know what this little bunny has to say.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Rockin' Saturday

Yesterday, I went with my Mom on another one of those bus trips. This one was to Toronto to see the Rockettes Christmas show. The show was really good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. No pics allowed in the theater, so go here and here to see more.

One of the planned activities for the tour was shopping at Eaton Centre. I, however, had other (to me, better) plans.

I ditched the tour and walked down to St. Lawrence Market and met Lene for coffee. You know, it just doesn't get much better than hanging out with a friend, with great coffee (cherry chocolate), on the outside deck in the sunshine.

Yep, we were able to sit outside, in December, in Toronto. Freaky.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Fill 'er Up!

My Grammy made each and every one of her grandchildren, grandchildren's spouses and great-grandchildren the best little stockings ever. I think the only exception was for my daughter; my Mom made hers...and made it very large indeed!

A few years ago, I figured it was time for something a little different, so I knitted my Mom a stocking (hers is the Estonian-ish, 2nd from left). She gleefully hands it back to me every year and says, "Fill 'er up!".

As much as I've loved using our Grammy-stockings, they are getting a bit fragile (especially mine...stop laughing, you know why!). This year I had the time to knit new stockings for DH and myself.

DH's stocking is the Rustic Stocking from Knit Christmas Stockings. He thought that the little outside pocket from another pattern was kind of neat, so I added one for him. Mine is the Diamonds in the Rough argyle stocking from Christmas Stockings. Both of them have had 3 trips through the washer to felt them a bit. Felting does make them smaller, but then again, it also makes them very sturdy!

Like Mom's time to fill 'em up!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Squirrels, Stockings & Nog

How about that...another week has disappeared into the never never. I do have some actual knitting content today.

Our newest neighbor recently turned one, so I made this little squirrel. It's a Fiber Trends pattern; I just love their patterns for critters of all kinds. In case you were wondering why he has a red tail, well, that's because some of the squirrels around here have red tails.

I have knitted a new Christmas stocking for DH and am pretty sure that I'm going to full (felt) it as it will snug up the stitches and make it much sturdier so will take pictures after that.

Here's a picture of mine in process. It is the Diamonds in the Rough Argyle stocking from Christmas Stockings. I'll felt it also.

I thought it best to stop knitting on it tonight. You see, I made a batch (actually a partial batch) of Meg Nog.

What else can we say? Meg Nog 1, Meg 0.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Out with the Old, In with the New

Yes, I know that phrase is normally reserved for New Year's, but it is so appropriate for today. Our unseasonably wonderful weather can be seen here (left) beating a hasty retreat after leaving another inch or so of rain. On the right would be the soon to be lake effect snow. Oh well, we knew it couldn't last!

In that same vein, the fall decorations have given way to Christmas decorations. I really love the red, greens and shininess of Christmas decorations.

A few years ago, DH and I decided that we would get an artifical tree. Yes, I know that is just not the done thing in many households; I was the hold out for years. We would go out and cut a 12-15 foot tree, drag it out of the field and wrestle it into position.

Let me tell you, I am now a convert. I can put our tree up right after Thanksgiving (OK, I'm a week late this year) and enjoy it for the whole month with no worries of watering, needles and tree falling over. Yes, we had that experience one year; not fun; although now it's kind of funny.

Alrighty then, do you suppose it's high time I got to knitting some Christmas gifts? I thought so.