Tag Archives: Christmas

Where did December go?

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Last time I blogged, it was early December and I was about to go on holiday to Maui with Tai Chi Man to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Well, it was lovely. The weather was warm and mostly sunny and we swam in the ocean every day but one. There were some showers and for a couple of days it was very windy. We were in Kihei on the west coast which is fairly well sheltered from the prevailing winds, and dryer than other areas of the island. The beaches are gorgeous, the sand is soft, and the water was warm but refreshing.

The main highlight would have to be the helicopter flight around the island, which included going over 10,000 feet up to circle the crater at the top of the extinct volcano, Haleakala, Maui’s highest point. Beats driving for hours! And we saw a lot of scenery and waterfalls that we wouldn’t have been able to see from the road to Hana.

We had a condo, so were able to make our own meals (important when you don’t eat the Standard American Diet) and a rental car (Ford Escape), and found some nice places, like the Maui Quilt Shop, Down to Earth vegetarian health food store, and the banyan tree park at Lahaina. We went underwater in a submarine to see fish and sharks, but the only turtle we came across was a lone guy in the middle of the bay on our last day. Tai Chi Man is braver than I, and was swimming out beyond the breakers, and got a close-up look at a turtle. That made his day. I was floating around in the surf, so I didn’t see it (and to be honest am somewhat phobic about being in the water with seaweed or sea creatures so it’s probably just as well. Though I should say there was no seaweed as far as I could tell.)

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So what else is new? The gym has been neglected for a couple of weeks. We did go the day after we got home from vacation, but then we had work, and Christmas shopping, and then I had to bake fruit cake ‘n stuff, and before I knew it Christmas Eve had arrived. We had a simple dinner followed by our gift-giving spree, which was very abundant this year.

I had suggested that we all make a wish list this year and actually make an effort to give each other a gift. Not just parents giving stuff to sons, but each of us giving something to the other four. I sewed flannelette stockings with white fleece cuffs and bought applique letters to put on each one. We never did get around to buying hangers for them so they were put under the tree, and they got so full that the gifts were piled up under the tree. I found myself getting quite excited about Christmas!

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I was happy to receive some of the things on my wishlist, such as weight training gloves, the How Not to Die Cookbook, and lots of chocolate! And some things that weren’t on my wishlist too. However there was no yarn in there, nor any gift cards for yarn, so I am feeling like treating myself. I do, after all, have some Christmas money from my mum to add to the running balance in my birthday fund.

I was looking through an old magazine in my sewing room and I really like this sweater (photo on left). It’s a simple rib pattern worked with four strands of aran weight yarn. Should be simple to find yarn for it, right? Not! I have spent maybe three evenings so far looking at different yarn websites and all sorts of yarn, trying to find just the right one. Ideally it needs to be a heavy worsted that knits up at 16 sts/4 inches, and I will need to buy a circ or pair of needle tips that are a US19/15mm.

I like the heathered or tweedy greys but the best yarn for weight, yardage and price so far doesn’t have that option, so I may have to go for off-white or some other colour. I haven’t given up yet.

I didn’t pick up needles or hook for a week after my holiday. This usually happens because I’m feeling some kind of dissatisfaction with my current project(s). These are my WIPs:

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Lanesplitter skirt out of Bernat Pop. Having second thoughts and now wishing I’d striped it with black. I have a ton of Stylecraft Special Aran in black.

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Ripple scarf out of Cascade Sunseeker. Seemed appropriate for holiday crochet. Actually made very little progress while away. Nice cotton/acrylic with a touch of metallic, but cutting yarn every two rows is annoying and I don’t know if I have the perseverance required to finish a whole scarf.

Dishcloth in Bernat Handicrafter. Found it on clearance at Michaels, bought four balls in bright colours. This will at least get finished.

Gee, not much of excitement in the yarny department, is there!

So, work has been quiet, I have been eating too much (well, it’s Christmas and I do love my fruit cake) and the world outside my window is buried in snow. The day we came back from Maui we had the joy of horizontal snow and freezing temperatures, and it’s been mostly below freezing since. Then we had a bunch more snow so we have powder on top of ice. Sure makes for interesting times. Haven’t been out walking because it’s so slippery, and driving even the short commute to work and back was quite tense. We could have gone to the gym tonight but even Tai Chi Man, who is a confident and able driver, decided that once he was home from work he wasn’t going back out again.

I think we are all up to date. I hope you had a wonderful December, with lots of light and enjoyable festivities to brighten this darkest time of the year, and that 2018 brings you everything you wish for and more. Happy New Year!

 

The aftermath…

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Well hello folks. I hope you have had an enjoyable few days. If you celebrate Christmas, I trust your day was awesome, filled with family fun, good food and warmth.

Christmas Eve was a quiet one, with my commitments including bread-making (so that I had wholewheat and white bread for the Brazil Nut Roast the next day) and pastry making (again for the nut roast). I did a quick search online for rough puff pastry as the commercial frozen pastry has crappy ingredients, and I found this one which turned out brilliantly. Making it a day early and refrigerating overnight probably helped it to be flaky and delicious.

Christmas Eve dinner for the five of us was a very basic nut roast made from almonds, cashews and pecans, plus scalloped potatoes from a recipe from the very wonderful Silver Hills vegetarian guest house recipe book, and salad. I got a bit carried away and made two desserts from the same book – a pear coconut pie and chocolatey pecan squares.

Day 1 – stuffed!

Entertainment involved watching The Nightmare Before Christmas (creepy, Jack Skellington reminds me of the pin men on an old British TV show that gave me nightmares) and Cards Against Humanity, played in front of a real fire for a change.

Christmas Day morning was relaxed as we decided to have dinner rather than lunch as we planned to go to the movies to see Rogue One in the evening. I crocheted most of these slippers that day, which I am very pleased with…

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They have non-slip fabric on the bottom which I bought from work. These took most of a skein of Red Heart With Love in Mallard, two strands held together, and a 7mm hook. The pattern is Slipper Boots by Erika Knight. It is an ingenious design, easy to understand and execute. I think it will be simple to adjust it for bigger feet too and I’m thinking of making another pair for Tai Chi Man’s uncle (he visited last year and absolutely loved and appreciated the slippers I made him).

So the prep for Christmas dinner was pushed back to the afternoon, and that involved assembling the Brazil nut roast (while watching Love Actually for the tenth time on my laptop), parboiling the potatoes for later roasting, cutting up the Brussels sprouts and carrots and broccoli. I roasted the sprouts along with the potatoes, steamed the carrots and broccoli, and made a simple gravy. Plus of course we had hot apple cider as always. Dessert was Bananas Foster without the rum, which basically means simmering them briefly in a sweet caramel sauce. The recipe is in my Betty Goes Vegan book, which is always over the top on sugar, and I cut the maple syrup quite drastically. We had it spooned over plain cashew So Delicious ice cream.

Day 2 – stuffed!

The movie, Rogue One (a Star Wars prequel to Episode 4)  was good, full of loud explosions and storm troopers and rebels of course.

We rounded off the day with hot chocolate and vegan marshmallows.

Tai Chi Man and I didn’t have to work today so it’s been another day of relaxed vegging on the couch, finishing off the slippers, checking out my new Twitter account (I am now on Twitter @nicolaknits) and eating leftovers. The kids are still in bed at 1.30 in the afternoon. We have horizontal snow blowing past the house which doesn’t exactly inspire me to get outside.

I am thankful.

 

Not ready!

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Crazy striped scrap wrap 

We don’t make a big deal out of Christmas in our house. We get a real tree, decorate it with the same old ornaments every year, give the kids a gift or some cash, and have dinner. But simple as it is, it’s not done. Well, the tree part anyway.

Being away for a week earlier this month meant that we waited until our return before even thinking about Christmas. We have bought an unusually large gift for ds2 this year because he’s mad keen on snowboarding and has finished growing so a board and boots made sense. Ds1 lives on his own so can easily find a use for the equivalent cash value of ds2’s gift, and ds3 has his eye on a DSLR camera which costs megabucks so he can use the cash too.

That’s their gifts sorted. The Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day brunch menus have not been finalized but they won’t be too complicated. And the evening on Christmas Day is now reserved for going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

I have the 24th and 25th off work because thankfully the store will be closed. Tai Chi Man has to work a half day on the 24th.

I think everything should be closed from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day! Then we could get more snowboarding in. I have earmarked three days when I hope to get to the ski hill. I am definitely not as fit as I should be but hey ho, there you go, I’ll strap myself to a board anyway.

So what crocheting have I done lately? Not a lot. A little on the diagonal granny skirt-scarf. Nothing on the granny blanket. But I have added to the Boho Cosy Wrap tonight while watching Netflix, and it is now 18″ wide.

How is your month going?