Saturday, December 30, 2006

Holly Spring Homespun Field Trip

My friend Pam spirited me off on a yarn hop to Powhatan this morning. After an excellent breakfast buffet breakfast at the County Seat, we hit Holly Spring Homespun.

I've been in a tremendous knitting slump lately, so I was hoping for some fresh inspiration - and thanks to owner Kathy, I was not disappointed!
And could the shop look any cuter all decked out for Christmas?

My first attempt was a solid score, I really loved this
Bobble Snuggle design. It's the owner's own pattern and her own yarn - how fun! She even had samples in two sizes so you could test drive the design. I was a little intimidated by The Bobble, not having knit one before, but Kathy whipped out some yarn and needles from her secret knitting emergency drawer and "bob's your uncle" there is was:

I chose Holly Spring's own
Impressions yarn for the project, but picking the color was tough. Here are the candidates:

And here is the winner with the pattern:

Kathy was right on when she said it would be a good spring transition. And what girl doesn't love pink and green?

I love the idea to photograph the yarn with the pattern while I am shopping. Now that I am home and unpacked, I can look and see just what I had in mind for all this stuff.

I also went looking for yarn for a
great little hat pattern from Morehouse Farms from my blog pal Mary. She was so nice to select me as a winner from the folks who knitted for Think Pink in October. I've been such a bad blogger, and haven't properly thanked her. Mary - what do you think of the yarn?

I picked a solid to make matching striped mittens to go with the hat for my daughter. She'll love the bright colors.

Another project to shop for was a fun little wrap for my daughter's ballet teacher. I want to give it her this spring, so anything heavy and woolen was out. Also, as she is a dancer, something bright and fun seemed appropriate. I was thrilled to see this little corner:

See that mannequin on the right? The scarf/wrap around her neck was JUST what I was looking for - and see all that cool yarn to choose from? Here is what I selected:

I hope it turns out as pretty and graceful as my mind's eye is imagining.

After looking over these yummy yarns, I picked up a skein to crank out some warm socks for my husband.

Hope he likes the color:

It is another Holly Spring Homespun product:
Painted Merino "Horizen". So much fun yarn and inspiration: it was just what I needed!

Well, time to get the needles a crankin'. Kathy promises to post a picture if I return to her shop with a completed project, so my goal is to get in there by Valentine's Day. Can I make it? Stay tuned...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's All in the Bag

What to give your knitter friends for a gift they can really use? The gift of time and an emergency escape kit!

I sewed up some fun drawstring pouches:

and added all the essentials. The outer pocket holds a snack bar and the "instructions".

Inside the fold is the pattern for a washcloth. Inside the pouch is the cotton yarn they'll need to make the pattern. A gift card for a local coffee shop rounds out the "essentials". Just grab your needles and go!

My knitter buddies help me so much: inspiration, motivation, technical assistance, enabling - you name it, they deliver. Thanks guys and have a VERY merry Christmas!


We've been caught up in the whirlwind of fun activities and Christmas festivities - and we've been enjoying every minute of it!

We've been ...

learning about hand tools with Cub Scouts...

gingerbread house making with Daisy scouts...

running races...

ballet dancing...

baking cookies...

swapping for more cookies...

attending Santa Tea with friends...

visiting Santa one last time...

visiting with friends...

sharing more baked yummies:

Is it possible to have any more fun?! We're going to try with family visits, helping place animals for the church's nativity scene, Christmas day, seeing more Christmas lights at night, and more goodies. Maybe some knitting?

Since we'll be running around a bit more we'll be out of blog range 'til the New Year. We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!!

P.S. To anyone cranking out Lookie Loos or Crayon Cookies - have fun making the coolest gifts you'll give this year! Thanks for all your comments - I really hope to figure out how to leave responses without an email address, but that too must wait for the New Year!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Love on a Plate

You know that someone really loves you when they give you the crust of their pizza. Especially when it is the best pizza crust you ever made and you really love the crust. Especially.

Christmas Crazies

All of my last-minute Christmas knitting has been resigned to early presents for next year, so I'm spending all my "free" time in the kitchen. Time for the edible presents!

I wanted to send some of our family's traditional family cookies to my brother so I got cooking this weekend. Spritz and danish wedding cookies were on the top of the list. Here are some of the triple batch the kids helped to decorate:

It really cracked me up to see the kids placing each sprinkle individually on each cookie. All I could think of was that we had 7 more cookie sheets full to get through!

Once the cooking started, I've just kept going. For neighbors and friends that I wanted to remember this season, I stole a great idea from my friend last year and decided to make gingerbread cakes. A double batch makes 5 (FIVE !) eight-inch aluminum pie tins. I'm trying to make a double batch each day this week and deliver the cakes while they are the freshest. After they cool, I used the stencil I made to dust a confectioners sugar star on the top, wrap in "festive" Reynold's wrap, add a fun tag, curl the ribbon, and my little elves get delivering. Here is today's delivery ready for a short car ride:

But as my son explained during today's delivery run, 'We're really the elves' helpers. Santa tells the elves what toys to make, the elves make the toys, and the elves' helpers deliver the toys". I do not argue with the logic of an eight year old that still really believes, but I do think that I was just cast as the fat character. Hmmm.

Office gifts were also in the mix today for my husband. A giant basket filled with biscotti and scones will be in the offing, so today was biscotti day.

Holiday biscotti (with cranberries, pistachios, anise, and fennel) and mocha biscotti filled the house with holiday scents. Behind the biscotti are some of the remaining cookie containers filled with family favorites.

But I don't always make everything I give. I just like to put a smile on people's faces. When I saw these Peppermintini mixers, I knew I had a winner.

I wrapped them simply in gift basket plastic, added ribbon and candy canes, and tied on a tag. I think they look fantastic - I really wish that I got one. I'm sad that I couldn't find more of these. Talk about holiday cheer!

Time to get ready for tomorrow. 8 little Daisy Scouts and their families will be coming to decorate gingerbread houses tomorrow. No gingerbread baking here, we're using Honey Maid's Gingerbread Graham Crackers to make little houses shaped around milk cartons. It doesn't have to be homemade, just something to make them smile!

Hope you all enjoy something sweet today!

Santa Surrender

Much has been happening around Casa Blancho, so much that we haven't been very good bloggers. I've been taking pictures, so I'll eventually catch you up. But having VERY uninspiring projects on the needles and the general hectic pace of Christmas has made knitting progress almost non-existent. Instead of trying to be productive or pretending that I'm getting any knitting done, I'm just surrendering to the Santa of it all.

My two little people are more than happy to help me. Every once in a while. some small person will call out "Raise your hand if you're excited about Christmas!" and the wriggling starts again. Do you remember being so excited about Christmas that you actually had to move?

Another perfect example came the other night. As I was puttering around through the end-of-the-day clutter rodeo, wondering what knitting I would be avoiding that evening, a little voice called down "Mom, look! I'm Santa!". Since she was in the bath, I kind of figured where this was going. But still - how cute are little kids with soap sud beards:

"Oh, honey" I replied, "we can do better than that!" And I brought out the secret weapon, hidden deep among the painting craft supplies: shaving cream! My daughter thought she had died and gone to play-in-the-bath-to-prolong-bedtime heaven.

Not so much fun when you get it in your mouth (or Santa's elves are getting a little cranky) :

"Oh - we forgot something else!" I called as I scurried down the stairs yet again to grab the last wardrobe detail:

What a happy little elf we had in the tub!!

And you know you're on to something fun when your big brother gets in on the action during his bath:

Please don't let them ever get too big to have so much fun for so long doing something so silly!