...delving deeper into the boxes of decorations I unearthed the children's stockings. Hhhhmmmm, there's a bit of discrepancy in size isn't there?!
Knitted by yours truly based on my stocking which was knitted for me by my Mum and is still going strong some 30-odd years later. They might not look like the prettiest or most sophisticated of stockings, but they're knitted in k1p1 rib and so are incredibly stretchy. Which is the main thing when it comes to Christmas stockings I find. Waking up on Christmas morning to find a stocking that's straining at the seams and bulging with strange shapes is so exciting.
I bought the wool to make a bigger stocking in the January sales 11 months ago, so it's not like I haven't had the time! All other crafting is suspended until the stocking is done.
I am hoping that's the only thing I'd forgotten...we shall see...
but the tree is not due to be delivered until Saturday. It's normal for us to leave decorating until the weekend before Christmas. When I was growing up we didn't put the tree up until Christmas Eve, but I think that's too late.
This tiny wooden tree is up in #1's room - it was in her stocking last year. The glitter tree she made a couple of years ago at playgroup and apparently they are making baubles at school today. Children's homemade decorations are the best kind though aren't they? They might not fit in with the colour-coordinated tree you had pre-children, but they're an essential part of Christmas.
Some yummy Christmassy Spiced Chocolate cupcakes were devoured at the weekend. The recipe is for a large cake, but I always work on the assumption that any cake recipe can be used to make small cakes. I might be wrong, but these worked out very well.
A little bit of crochet work has been going on too. As well as going round and round the giant granny rectangle, I've been making short groups of shells for the crochet equivalent of paper chains. I won this pattern way back in April, from Michelle at the Royal Sisters, but had yet to use it. I doubt this is going to be finished in time for this Christmas, but the colours I'm using mean it can be an all-year-round garland, so no matter!
At this time of year it's already going dark by the time we finish making the slow walk home from school. Often, there are lights on in the houses but people have yet to draw their curtains, so who can resist a quick peek in? I can't be the only one! So for Tuesday through the window, here's what you'd see at twilight if you looked in through our window...
Nothing remarkable, no Christmas decorations yet, just a blanket on the sofa and a pile of books on the floor from where #2 and I spent a happy hour this morning snuggled up reading. We're due to decorate this week, so this view will look very different in a few days time.
...is the lurgy interfering with your social life. Ugh, I have been well and truly struck down and without any warning. I've had to miss out on evening drinks and an early Christmas lunch with friends. Sneezing, coughing, headaches, sore throat, the lot! (and, bizarrely, toothache too). It wouldn't be fair to go out and pass this on - I feel rotten and rather sorry for myself, if truth be told.
So, to amuse myself I've been sitting in crocheting. Easy little stars in a rainbow of colours...
A pattern very aptly named 'Easy Crocheted Stars', found from following a link on the Corn Poppy Girl blog to Ellen Bloom's blog. 17 stars using the dk from the granny rectangle. They really are easy to make, these little stars. Each one takes a matter of minutes. Instant gratification in crochet form! I'm going to copy RuthMarie and string them together in colour order. It'll make my inner control freak happy.
I've been working on this little garland, on and off, for a couple of months now. I don't really know why it's taken so long (although I suspect the blocking of snowflakes may have something to do with it!).
I blocked the snowflakes and stars and sprinkled some of them with glitter, but to be honest this didn't work too well and the garland leaves a trail of glitter wherever it goes...
I embellished the trees with teeny tiny beads and sequin stars...
Now, is it just me that finds garlands very tricky indeed to photograph? And why, oh why do I live in such a dark house?!
Now I am down to only having one wip! I need some inspiration. I've had to go back to the giant granny rectangle. Remember that?
It had been stalled due to lack of yarn, but I added to my stash of acrylic dk when I was in Yorkshire - 12 balls which equates to 24 rounds which I think will be enough. As each round is already taking the best part of an hour I think this'll keep me busy for a while. Or until I get bored with it. It's quite nice in this cold weather to be sitting crocheting a blanket though - at least my knees are warm!
Another look at part of my new favourite Christmas decoration, silhouetted against the cold, blue sky...
I have cheated a bit as I took this photograph yesterday, but it would look identical if I took it today.
I have been to Warrington this morning and how I wish my photograph today could have been one taken through the car window. The journey along the M62 has never looked so amazing. It was as if someone had leant down from the sky with a giant sieve full of icing sugar and given the trees and fields a very generous dusting! It was stunning.
It's a pity the same can't be said for Ikea who had no Bilar (our current toilet training incentive of choice) and no Swedish Glögg due to someone under-ordering by 90%! I'll just have to make my own this year I guess.
Numbers 34, 57 and 60 from '60 Crocheted Snowflakes' by Barbara Christopher. Much as I love these snowflakes, I don't think I'm going to make any more because I just can't bear the blocking - you can tell by the wonky arms on these that I'd had enough! By the way, from the introduction to this book I learned that the designs are all 'interpreted ... as closely as possible' from actual snow crystals.
I've strung the snowflakes together and hung them in my bedroom window. I love, love, love it. It makes the blocker's sore finger worthwhile! It looks absolutely gorgeous, even if I says so myself, as it twirls around in the up-draught from the radiator and, more likely, from the gale coming through the gaps in the sash window. I can't for the life of me get a good photograph of it hanging - but here's a rubbish one...
And 7 snowflakes is enough. It looks just right, because, you know, it's a known fact that things look more aesthetically pleasing in odd numbers. It's because nature embraces chaos. Or something.
I finished the Milo vest last weekend but have been waiting for a chance to photograph it. I don't knit very often and had never knitted a whole garment on a circular needle before. In fact I think I've only ever once used a circular needle before - to knit the front band on a baby cardigan. The Milo frustrated me slightly on the first garter stitch (the top) section because I couldn't prevent the beginning of each new round being a bit gappy. I don't know if this is down to my poor knitting or whether it's to do with switching from purl to knit and vice versa. Anyhow, it doesn't matter as that part of the knitting is at the back and when I was weaving in the tail I used it to close the holes a little bit.
The yarn is King Cole Merino blend DK (anti-tickle!) in Aubergine purchased at Purl City Yarns at the same time as those lovely buttons. I'm really happy with the finished vest (seems really weird calling it a vest - it's a tank top!!) especially as I'd never knitted cables before - so much easier than they look.
I'm still not a knitting convert though. It grows too slowly.
...so it's time to start using the Christmas mugs...
Not to mention the Advent calendar...
which I'm filling as we go along. I don't really trust the children not to open all the drawers and help themselves to the lot! They believe that the Advent Elves come each night to leave them a little gift :-)