Monday, December 31, 2007

Hogmanay

I have a Scottish grandmother. She was a Campbell. I use her as an excuse far more often than any of my Irish ancestors. For example, when I'm being unexpectedly frugal, I justify myself in her name. "I have a Scottish grandmother, you know!"

On this day especially, I feel very connected to my Scottish root (I have many Irish roots, but only one Scottish). In Scotland today, they are celebrating Hogmanay in ways unique to their country and even to their county or village.


This young kilted man is swinging a traditional Hogmanay fireball as he parades through the streets of Stonehaven, Scotland. (Is there anything better than a man in a kilt? Seriously, it makes my little heart go pitter pat.)

Christmas was prohibited there for nearly 400 years and didn't come back into fashion until the 1950's. The winter solstice festival is set around the end of the year instead. The Scots are so ardent in their revelling that January 2nd is a holiday to make sure everyone can recover enough to return to work.

I do prefer New Year's over Christmas and these days I'm blaming my Scots blood. Being back in my home town this year, I get to celebrate with old friends for the first time in nearly 20 years. I'll be taking a basket of blessings to salute the new year with a first footing: salt to ensure that life always has flavour, bread that no one should hunger, and wine that all joys will be toasted.

I have a few other more personal items included, too, but just in case anyone is reading that might have their surprise spoiled, Janet!, I'll leave out the details.

So I'll close by saying fare well to a difficult 2007 and well come to 2008! M

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Once

I just finished watching this film on dvd:



The best film I've seen in a long time. Stunning.

Hope you enjoy it. M

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sweet Morning

I am a morning person. Not that I am especially bright, cheerful and social in the morning, often the opposite is true. I just like them. I like getting up early. I like getting two hours of stuff done before anyone else gets up, even if it's only laundry and letter writing. I feel like it has been a productive day when this happens.

Today, I got up and made these:


Then I brewed some tea in my new be-still-my-beating-heart gorgeous tea pot.


(Isn't he lovely?! He was a Christmas gift from Cindy and he came from Ten Thousand Villages. As far as tea pots go, it's a joy to pour from his little mouth-spout. No spillage, good flow, a tea drinker's dream. I grin every time I tip him over to fill my cup!)

I've also been knitting on a new beret. It's not really picture-worthy yet but I can tell you that it's made from two contrasting skeins of Noro Kureyon, knit in the round and I may felt it. (I need it for walking to my new job, starting next week. It's hard to find a winter hat that doesn't squash the hair down.)

As far as days go, this one is shaping up to be a fine one. Hope yours feels as good, M

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Post-Christmas Dinner

A blow-by-blow might be in order since I purchased, dressed and cooked my first turkey ever. And I have to say that it was delicious! I was so proud! However, I'll spare you all the details.

It was a quiet and peaceful day with nothing but cooking, reading, jigsaws and good music on CBC Radio. My friend, Cindy, and her two dogs came to stay for a couple of days and we had a lovely time. A most pleasant way to pass the holiday.

I also managed to finish knitting my door mat. Here it is by the back door with my winter boots. Gorgeous!


Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, M

Monday, December 24, 2007

Ho, Ho, Ho

A little Christmas decorating:

I love this little guy. There's a pocket that starts at his belt and he was designed to be a stocking-like piece. But I think he's better than a wreath so he lives on the front door this season.

I have been knitting a new mat for the back door. Look at the size of these stitches:

I'm making it of remnants from a sheeting factory in Vancouver. My 12.75mm circulars are not big enough to do this comfortably so there is a large crochet hook involved, too.

And still my fingers are sore. I don't care how much they hurt, though, because I really, really love the look of it and can't wait to put my winter boots on it!

Hope you're enjoying the best of the season, M

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Awww, Quilts

Two quilts finished and on their way to their recipients.

For my brand new niece, Arcadia, at her first Christmas. This quilt is done with Moda Sweetheart fabrics and I call it the Sweetheart Quilt for my little sweetheart niece.


And for my handsome nephew, Danger, a Paddington Bear quilt because he loves Paddington as did his father before him. (Who am I kidding? I get a little mushy when I see Paddington myself!)

My mom found the panels in a LQS and I built the rest around them, sort of. The blocks are borrowed from my copy of Yellow Brick Road by Terry Atkinson.

All other activities for the next few days are about company coming for The Day. Cleaning, cooking, baking, etc.

Happy Holidays, Travellers, M

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dentarthurdent

"I never did get the hang of Thursdays." (The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy)

This about sums up the fuzziness I feel today. It's been a good week but I can't believe it's been a week already. Crazy time warping must have been involved.

Things accomplished this week:

1) Soup making - Italian Bean and Pasta - a perpetual favourite at chez Sugar Bowl.


There was more soup, French turnip, and cookie baking and pies and other stuff, too. I only got the one shot, though.

2) Quilting for christmas of Danger-ous nephew


But need to incorporate Paddington Bear.

Not sure how to accomplish this at the moment and since it's Thursday, may not attempt until the day is over. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

3) Also got binding onto niece's quilt. No pix yet but nearly finished.

4) Job interviews. Had a few of those, too. Have another one later today so better get Thursday-ness under control.

5) Other things? Maybe. Can't remember at the moment. Check back tomorrow. Brain should be finished backing up by then.

Happy Thursday (?), Travellers, M

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Wonderous

Another One-Skein Wonder hat. This one is in Lorna's Laces Bullfrogs & Butterflies in the Purple Iris colourway.


I love the cable band along the bottom. Very cute.

I have also had some help with my quilting activies.

This is Shadow trying to hide beneath. She's a very shy girl.

Nothing much else to tell this week.

Happy Thursday, Travellers, M

Monday, December 03, 2007

Not A Thing

I was struggling to find a subject for a post today. My hand quilting of the Sweet Heart quilt is progressing but nothing picture worthy yet. And my knitting has taken a backseat while I do the quilting so nothing in that area either. I've even retired my paint roller for a while until my wrist gets stronger or I have help, so again, nothing to report there.

So while working on the computer, the postman popped a little something in our mail box, (announced very clearly by my dogs barking at him through the window). Always available for a distraction these days, I discovered, to my delight, a parcel from my dear friend, Katharyn in Seattle!

In it was this gorgeous scarf and hat set and a lovely letter that touched my heart so sweetly it brought tears to my eyes.

Katharyn knows of my weakness for the yarn (I love the pink camo and I even knit socks from it last year for one of my students). She remembered that I haven't made myself a scarf for winter yet (actually not even last winter!). So Voila! A pink camo scarf all for me, me, me!!!

The skull cap is Katharyn's first attempted at dpn's and is perfect! Atta girl!! The scarf is the Windy City Scarf from Stitch and Bitch, which Katharyn swears by since she made her own. Plus she added adorable little buttons that are so perfectly me - hearts and shamrocks.

I am so ready for a very stylish winter now! And I feel loved and appreciated! What more could a girl ask for?! Nothing, I tell you. Not. A. Thing.

Happy Monday, Travellers, M