Yarn-Along: A Trio of WIPs

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I once wrote of my horror of too many WIPs (work-in-progress).  It seems I’m bound to have to occasionally eat my own words.  I have three projects on the needles at present! Three!  I’m sure this is still a reaction to having two projects back to back that stretch out over a year (0r two), because suddenly I want to do All The Things!!!

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From Left to Right: The Evelyn Sweater, the Quick & Thick Mountain Man Boot Socks, and Mini Stocking Ornament.

The Evelyn is on hold probably until after Christmas.  I love the sweater.  I love the pattern. After Christmas, during that week between holidays, I will gladly return to it as I drink my tea and enjoy our Christmas break.  Besides, I chose to knit it in Icelandic wool, and it’s still in the 60s and 70s here.

The Quick & Thick Mountain Man Boot Socks began as a quick response to Haus Meister’s request to socks for Christmas.  That’s now been changed to slippers since we found these soles, but the pattern is nice and I want to go back to it again sometime.  I finished three inches there while waiting in line to vote.  I know I got a few quizzical looks, but I also made a few ladies smile and one told me she wished she’d thought of bringing her own knitting.  The yarn I am using was discontinued, causing no little shock here because that yarn had been a Christmas gift from him to me not so very long ago (I thought). So another reason I’m doing All The Things is also because I want to start going through my stash. (Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Tonal in Thunderhead)

The Stocking Ornament is something I thought of after getting this year’s Comfort and Joy Advent bundle.   I have been reading Elizabeth Foss’ blog for about eight years now and have enjoyed the love and attention she puts into her family celebrations.  Advent and Christmas was such a fun part of our own childhoods so Haus Meister and I have enjoyed these years of blending and creating traditions. This year we are going to have the children hang their stockings on St. Nicholas Eve, and during the recent visit with my sister and mother, we discussed the idea Elizabeth puts in her book, about giving each child an ornament at Christmas that can go with them to their future home.

I love that.  I do have several ornaments that have come with me from my parents’ house (including the Ugly Nutcracker that my sister also wanted, so one year I graciously gave it back). The only problem I could foresee with gifting ornaments is that we tend to buy plastic ornaments by the bulk in those wannabe elegant sets from Wal-Mart or Lowes in the hope that said ornaments might survive the season.  Did I want to spend an extra $4 per child ($36!) on 9 individual fragile ornaments that might last if I put them up VERY high and nothing occurs to knock down the tree.  Resin ornaments are as worthless as glass when they hit the family room floor, by the way. So in the stash busting spirit, I decided to knit some ornaments and give them with my love. I think that will do just fine.

Reading?  I’ve been returning to Sally and Sarah Clarkson’s The Life Giving Home often throughout this year, and especially this Fall.  It has been a great aid in helping me think of ways to make a haven here during a year that has drained us all in more ways than one.  Also, of course, the aforementioned Advent planner, particularly the journal.  It may be early, but we’re hosting Thanksgiving and Advent comes directly after.  It’s a soothing thing to plan for at the end of a year that has drained us all in one way or another.  Plus it is the season of hope. And that’s a lovely thing.

 

 

 

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Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: Christmas Eve Edition

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Advent is winding down!  Oh, there seems like so much still to do.  Isn’t that how it always is?  Still, I wanted to pop on and wish all of you a Merry Christmas.

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The stockings are hung by the chimney with care!  We did misplace one of the girls’ stockings, and fortunately they aren’t personalized so I whipped out my own personal First Christmas stocking for Littlest to use.  She won’t even notice, this year, at least.

No, the star does not fit above the tree.  The tree was just too tall!

And no fire in the woodstove this year.  It is far too unseasonably warm. 😦

The prints above the mantel are from “glorydesigns” on Etsy.

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Upstairs we have our Jesse Tree and the IKEA stars that Haus Meister brought home for me last month.  When lit, they are very cheerful and may just be one of my favorite decorations this year.

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I do love decorating with candles. Last year, also from Etsy, I purchased a set of vinyl Nativity cutouts to go on glass jars for a handmade candle holder effect. However, it was one of those things I didn’t get around to until this year.

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This jolly St. Nick is one of the few decorations to have survived through our entire marriage.  He’s been at every Christmas in every place we’ve lived.  Even if he has to hide in a bathroom for survival…

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And everyone was happy to get our big tree downstairs!

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Everything is one toddler away from destruction.  (Actually, they’re surviving okay)

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As Advent ends and Christmas proper begins, I’m going to share with you some of our favorite carols.  Frohliche Weihnachten!

O Come O Come Emmanuel (this version has been a favorite in the Haus this Advent)

Mitt Hjerte Alle Vanker

Mitt Hjerte Alltid Vanker

Mitt hjerte alltid vanker i Jesu føderom
Der samles mine tanker som i sin hovedsum
Der er min lengsel hjemme, der har min tro sin skatt
Jeg kan deg aldri glemme velsignet julenatt

Akk, kom jeg opp vil lukke mitt hjerte og mitt sinn
Og full av lengsel sukke, kom Jesus dog her inn
Det er ei fremmed bolig, du har jo selv den jo kjøpt
Så skal jeg blive trolig, her i mitt hjerte svøpt

Jeg gjerne palmegrene vil om din krybbe strø
For deg, for deg alene jeg leve vil og dø
Kom la min sjel deg finne sin rette gledesstund
At du ble født her inne i hjertets dype grunn

My Heart Always Lingers

My heart always lingers in the birthplace of Jesus
My thoughts gather there as their main sum
There my longing has its home, my faith its treasure
I can never forget you, blessed Christmas night

Oh come, I will open my heart and my mind
and sigh with longing, yet come in Jesus
It is not a strange home, you have bought it yourself
So I will remain faithful, wrapped here in my heart

I will gladly spread palm branches around your manger
for you, for you alone I will live and die
Come, let my soul find its right moment of joy for you
that you were born here in the deep of the heart

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Wrapping up Christmas

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January 9th? What?! I have to catch up on Christmas before we launch into next week, the Birthday Week.  This year we are celebrating three days in a row.  Dino and Sunshine share a birthday but we learned last year that it isn’t always a good idea for them to share a birthday party.  In fact, it still rankles apparently because Dino has been reminding me all week that Sunshine has a tendency to open everyone’s presents (meaning his).  So, he gets his birthday, she gets the next day, and my birthday rounds out the three (very low key. And probably low sugar by that point just by default).

But stepping back a moment….

Haus Meister took some of the kids out after Mass on the 4th Sunday of Advent to find a tree to be our formal Christmas tree in the basement family room.  This was a good thing this year since our real Jesse tree upstairs had probably been cut in mid-October since it was mostly dead (that is, slightly alive) by Christmas Day.  It was down before Epiphany.  Well, our intrepid explorers could not find a grand 8-10 ft tree to be had anywhere, so they came home with two trees from Lowes.  The taller one cost $7.50. The shorter, only $5.  I was cringing to think I’d paid full price for our dead Advent tree. 😉

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I loved the look of the trees next to the hearth.  I think we may be decorating like this every year now.  Rather pretty, no?  They are still lovely and I’m going to hate taking them down this weekend.

The gift theme this Christmas was books, costumes (since the kids love to play dress-up no matter what time of year) and by happy chance we were able to find a kitchen set for the girls, which has already seen many tea parties and “cake” or “cookie” baking.  Here, a happy Sunshine is modeling her “princess-dreams-come-true” dress (that’s what she calls it) and wielding a wooden knife, no doubt for the wooden pats-of-butter that are for some reason in the sink. 🙂

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Happy 

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My baby sitting in my new rocking chair, an early Christmas present from Haus Meister, when the reupholstery project on my armchair proved to be too big a project for us to start right now.  I regretted that for a while, until this chair arrived.  Oh my, it’s so niiiiiiice…..

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We “tag teamed” Christmas Masses this year.  As Rascal was serving at the Midnight Mass, and Haus Meister was taking him, I took Dino and Princess to the Children’s Mass.  There they were able to dress up as a Wise Man and an Angel and participate in the procession at the beginning of Mass where the Child Jesus statue is placed in the creche.  I am glad to have had a chance to snap a picture of them in their costumes…

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Because this is what the procession shots looked like:

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Funny 

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Posey was enamored of all the beautiful clearance items at Lowes! I find this funny because I could hardly drag her away. I’d hear her little voice chirping “Look!” “Look!” as she meandered around the displays.

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We were able to replace the camera stolen by the thieves in Indy on the day after Thanksgiving. So why are all my pictures the grainy cell phone ones?

Figuratively hitting my head on my desk right now.

Of course, Haus Meister has taken 98% of the pictures on the new camera, and I was in a hurry so I uploaded the ones from my phone. As always, filtering through 30 variations on this:

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or this:

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as the Mischief Squad attack.  But one day Miss M managed to actually get a picture of me holding Littlest, which was a pleasant surprise.

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Of course, it looks like I need more sleep.  And I do.  Signing off…. 😉

Merry Christmas

SONY DSCFrom all of us, to all of you,

A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS

with the peace that comes from Christ and the wonders of His love, that He was born for us those centuries ago.

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Speaking of wonders, I’m wondering where I put the Fontanini Baby Jesus after Christmas last year! Luckily Dino remembered the spare Little People Jesus just in time.

 

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Beginning to look a lot like the end of Advent!

 

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Oh my, it seems like it’s been ages since I’ve had a chance to sit and post. The calendar is speeding forward faster than light (it seems) while I feel like we’re plodding slowly through our Advent to-do list like we’re in waterlogged boots.  In a swamp.  But not these boots:

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I got a great deal on these (read: 65% off retail!) and I am wearing them all the time.  In fact, the first time I went out to get the mail in them I stopped at the door, thinking I must be in my slippers because they were just that comfortable. Sorry, I digress.

I was going to get the pictures for this post and was puzzled to see about thirty blank or blurry photos saved, until I saw this one:
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And knew from the curl that Miss M was at it again! I love that blog nickname for her. Somehow it just fits.  Miss Spunkitude is another name I affectionately call her but it doesn’t look as good in print. With Miss M it can go so many ways, like Miss Mischief, Miss Marvelous, Miss Messy.  It all just depends.  And here I go again digressing–this is supposed to be an Advent catch-up post!

Ahem.

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I took a gamble and put my St. Nicholas candleholder out in the kitchen.  Yes, in reach of the kids. He’s tucked in a nook between a utensil jug and my oven, and save once I haven’t seen Sunshine near him. I’m kind of fond of this fellow; I am pretty sure I acquired him the year we married (or at least the year after) and I love the starry lights he casts. I didn’t want to hide him somewhere I couldn’t see those lights often.

Meanwhile, the Jesse Tree is up and smells wonderfully piney. With our Bible ornaments (laminated) and the felt ornaments from another countdown calendar, it’s looking pretty decorated.photo 4It’s my favorite kind of tree, too: the imperfect “Charlie Brown” variety. This one leans.

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My kitchen windowsill in December. I opted not to keep buying flowers during Advent and instead got these little trees.

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Looks rather cheerful from the upper deck.

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A new acquisition for our room was this Christmas cactus. It sits perfectly on our bedroom sill and adds a lot to the room. I have been forgetting just how much a small touch can improve things.

photo 1Back to the kitchen for a moment. My two Tasha Tudor Advent calendars flank my Susan Branch yearly calendar. The bare part of the wall is being filled with the kids’ British Christmas Village building-a-day countdown. I took this picture on Sunday but we haven’t gotten much farther, mainly because although they keep coloring, we haven’t taped them up yet.

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I have hardly knitted a stitch since Thanksgiving break. 😦 I tried to finish the second washcloth I began on the drive home only to have it unravelled twice when I left my knitting out in the open. Grr. So these skeins wait for me to have a second or two and begin again. This photo kind of reminds me of one of those “Need a Gift for the Knitter in your Life?” ads. The little bowl I found at Wal-Mart in their Hallmark “North Pole” display. That makes one other good thing to come from Wal-Mart besides the mulled cider candles.

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My Christmas goat collection! Haus Meister found the red fellow at IKEA (our new favorite store), the Annalee one came from my Mom (sorry it’s missing it’s saddle, Mom–Someone got to it when it was on the mantel last Christmas, which is why they are in my room this year), and the straw one came from my cousin. 🙂

The Gavlebocken still stands, by the way, as of time of post.

The LEGOs are beginning to show the spirit of things around here.  On the eve of St. Nicholas Day, St. Nick’s workshop appeared.

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But because we never seem to leave a design the same for two or three days running, by the weekend it was The Caballero’s Christmas Hacienda.

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Then Rascal made me a LEGO goat, which would have been displayed with my Christmas goat collection only it got assimilated into some other design shortly after this.

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Ok, that’s enough for now. I’m going to try and get more Christmas cards ready for the mail before I generally resemble the sweetheart below.  Hope you all have a happy rest-of-your-Advent!

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{pretty, happy, funny, real} Family Photo Session!

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Originally I’d planned to do our family photos over Thanksgiving, but when an e-mail coupon for Shutterfly coincided with one of their holiday cards deals, I decided It Was Time. Monday became Family/School Photo Day and my father-in-law gallantly came over to take the pictures over Haus Meister’s lunch break.

With the promise of Hallowe’en candy, the kids dressed up in their Church clothes/ Christmas dresses and got giddily hyper. Always the proper mentality before getting photographed for posterity.

Alas, Dino fans, he did NOT wear a hat this year.  He was even marginally more cooperative.  One might think he’s growing up.  Or one might think the candy bribe was pretty powerful.

In any event, here’s a bunch of Pretty, Happy, Funny, and oh so Real!

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This remains one of my favorites, even if it didn’t fit in the card we chose. I love Princess’ exuberance (although I had NO idea she was doing that at the time), Sunshine’s sweet smile, Dino’s coy look, Trooper’s goofy look (because he was laughing), and the corgi photobomb.

That was picture #4.  My father-in-law wisely just kept snapping in hopes that one picture would come out with us all looking in one direction.

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Picture #24. Miss M: “Oh! Look! I see the plane! Do YOU see the plane, [Posey]? Mama, a plane!”  Posey Pie: “Whoooooa.”

Sunshine is ready to move on.  I only wish I HAD known Princess was doing that. The boys look fine. Corgi still photobombing. Time for a change of scene….

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LEAF PILE!  YAAAAAAA!

I wanted one of us all in the leaves, and one of me with our girls, and Haus Meister with our strapping lads. Too much to ask?

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Four out of five girlies. Not so bad. Come on, Sunshine!

But the fun of prancing in the leaves in full dress was just too much. Daddy had to sit in just so SHE would sit down.  And shout “CHEEEEESE!”

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I love that Sunshine girl.  She puts her heart into it.  Meanwhile, no clue why Princess is jumping up.  Miss M is still looking for planes, Posey is about over it, and Littlest is still along for the ride.

Littlest isn’t so little, if you notice.  There’s only about 4lbs difference between Posey and herself. She also just turned six months old. I am in denial that it’s already been half of a year since her quick entrance into our life.

Anyway, back to the photos.  The boys didn’t fare much better.  A truck lumbered down our street and completely distracted Trooper while it was in sight.  The other two young miscreants had no such excuse. Not one picture had all three of my little men looking at the camera.

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But I am pleased as punch that after cropping out our neighbor’s air conditioner unit, we have Family Photo 2014!

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Trooper had just yanked me backward into the leaves. What a stinker! Posey’s two-finger habit now captured, Miss M looking 75% more dainty than she normally appears, and we are all, generally, facing forward.

For us, SUCCESS! 😉