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Saturday, December 23, 2006
Happy Everything!

I'm back.

Today I return from a family Hanukkah/Christmas party where we lit the Menorah - one day late for the last day of Hanukkah- but God will forgive us. We sang Christmas carols and gave the kids insane piles of gifts and naturally we ate Tapas. There was also dancing and dreidel games.

My family embraces it's own strange amalgam of celebrations that we hope honors the traditions of our various ethnicities while still keeping it light and mostly secular.

It was great. The hosting Aunt and Uncle live on a snow-covered mountain and the views were so gorgeous. There were snowy mountain vistas for miles and clear cold air.

I have been so busy that I've had no time to look at my many favorite blogs, much less post a hello to y'all. Most of my time has been occupied spending lots of money and making miles and miles of wrapping paper with my kiddo.

Much as I wanted to, I didn't get around to making a stocking for the little one. I will resort to borrowing one for him from my stash of family acquired stockings. This makes me feel a little sad, but I'm telling myself that he'll never notice. Next year I will make him a kick-ass stocking that will fill his little heart with joy at being loved so well by his mama.

And while we're talking about things I had on my list, but never got around to making, this is the advent calendar that now graces a 9x12 inch spot on the living room wall. Not exactly what I dreamed of, but it's making us all very happy just the same.

It was picked by the big kid, from among many at a local bookstore and he loves imagining that Santa will sit on our armchair, just as you see him here, napping and digesting his cookies. He's been regularly squirting water into the fireplace to make it more sanitary and comfortable for Santa.

A wonderful thing happened to us. We went to one of those huge home center stores yesterday to buy some paint and the clerk, all dressed in a flannel shirt and work pants, otherwise looked exactly like Santa himself. When I asked him if anyone ever points out the resemblance, he leaned over to my big boy, winked and said, "Oh yes! Ho Ho Ho!"

As we left the store, even I was convinced that we had just had a close encounter with the big man, incognito. There is really nothing better than a dazzled/absolutely-anything-is-possible expression on your beautiful child's face.

My closest and favorite friend for the past 20 years is named Celeste. She is fabulous in so many ways but most recently, she is fabulous because she spent part of her recent trip to France in a yarn store (even though she is not a knitter) and she bought me all this:

Aren't those colors just delicious?? Oh, how well she knows me! Wouldn't it be lovely to make it into something sweet for the gifter herself? There is only one problem. The precious (and it is indescribably adorable) pattern book is written entirely in French.

Despite 3 years of French instruction in high school and a refresher course years later, I read not a lick.

HELP! Can anyone out there tell me how to find English translations for Plassard pattern books? I would be grateful to hear from anyone who offer a tip.

Perhaps I'll email Becky at skinny rabbit and ask her advice. Hers was the first knitting blog I ever saw and I've been an admiring lurker for years.

I knitted 3 gifts this week. Two teeny sweater ornaments for the Christmas tree of my fabulous friend Jeanette, and a seed stitch hat for a cutie named Heath. The hat was my own pattern and was knit with a zany-looking bright orange, bulky yarn that I got in Taos at the yarn festival.

I am now required at the wrapping station (formerly known as my dining room table) to adorn 50 more gifts then it's off to sleep for two blissful hours before the baby wakes me up.

Merry Christmas and Happy Everything!

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006
A Word about Etsy

As some of you have surely noticed, I've let my pledge to . .etsy! slip. I feel sheepish about this. But, in my defense, I must tell you about the number of frustrations I have encountered while attempting to honor my pledge.

Etsy is one of those maddening sites that forces you to create a username when you sign up, instead of just having you login using your damn email address. Why do they do that!? As is always the case when they do that, the first six usernames chosen have been claimed by other people, so in the end you pick a username that is forgetten 15 minutes after your transaction is complete.

I created my username and forgot it 15 minutes later.

My archived email noting said username is lost forever and the desperate plea I sent to support@ etsy got no response.

My spare time is very spare, so resolution is slow.

I do enjoy browsing on Etsy, and many times I have found things I want to buy as part of my pledge, including a set of adorable buttons for the baby surprise jacket I'm making for a very special little friend in Seattle. Alas, the pledge remains on hold. I will keep the button on my page and I will find a way to support the dedicated craftspeople of Etsy someday.

The pretty hair scarf blocks as I write this, and it makes it's way into Scout's travel bag this evening.

What fun that was to make! And quickety quick too. The pattern is the Dream Swatch Head Wrap from Wendy Bernard at Knit and Tonic.

It will make a fine gift for someone extra-lovely and someday I will knit myself one in a Fiesta Yarns La Luz silk.

The house is really beginning to pile up around me. Ornament boxes overflowing with tissue paper and bubble wrap litter the living room floor, the unfolded laundry is out of control, we all have coughs and runny noses, and our old cat has begun to pee on the fireplace hearth.

The holiday spirit is not proving sufficient to make me cheerful in the midst of all this.

The good news is that we had a fine time picking a tree this past weekend and I even knit myself a big pink hat from Handknit Holidays for the occasion. I used quadrupled Manos for the hat and Lamb's Pride Bulky for the pompom and tassles. See it here modeled by St. Francis.

Our tree is enormous and very pretty and we lose about 3 ornaments each hour to the irrepressible urges of the toddler. With tremendous effort, and only very occasionally, he can manage to touch each ornament with just one finger (as we all constantly remind him to do) and then he applauds himself loudly. As I write this I see the tree shaking in the distance and I hear squeals of delight.

The advent calendar has been overshadowed by the more pressing need for a handmade stocking for the little one. The stocking must be as special as the one I labored over for his brother so many years ago when I had nothing but free time and an abundance of awe for my new baby. As is always the case with the second kiddo, I'm motivated by a combination of love and guilt.

Good wishes to everyone!

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