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Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

Yesterday was Christmas.  As you all know I've been knitting, crocheting, and other sorts of hand crafting most of the gifts that I was giving for Christmas.  I was so excited to give my mom the vest that I had knit for her!  Our family has a nice dinner and celebration for Christmas Eve, then I sleep at my mom's house in my childhood room, and then Christmas morning my mom and I open our gifts to each other and the ones that Santa brought.

So without further ado, here is my Christmas 2011 recap (and yes, my mom might not be so happy with the "Christmas Morning" pictures of her I'm posting...)

Here we have my mom's Christmas tree and the presents on Christmas morning! Yep, it's just my mom and I.....we really love each other :) (not that material items = love...just saying).

My stocking was packed from Santa!  He even wrapped these gifts in a very special way....

A lovely mirror picture of me before present time :).  I figure that if I put a picture of my mom up, I might as well include myself in my pjs :).  I love them! All of my favorite colors!!!  (Note the Christmas tree in the background....).

I just love pictures of presents up close....I love to wrap!  I wonder if you can tell which ones my mom wrapped and which ones I did.... here's a hint, I get more creative with my bows than my mom does :). I also like owls....and sparkly things :).

And here is my favorite picture of the day!  This is the moment when my mom opened the vest :).  As you can see, she is sooooooo excited.  (Mom, if you ever read this, I'm sorry that I posted a picture of you on the internet on Christmas morning...I love you!!)

After my mom opened my vest, I got to open my stocking.  As you can see, Santa decided to wrap my stocking stuffers with a new material this year...aluminum foil, the heavy duty kind.  While very ingenious....aluminum foil DOES NOT make for good wrapping material.  The large gash on my index finger is proof ;).

After all of the unwrapping was over, we were left with a GIANT pile of papers and other packaging materials.  (Of course we recycled what we could!)

Nothing could make Christmas better than my mom's excitement to wear her new vest!  I was thrilled when she said that she wanted to wear it for Christmas!! She even asked me to make her another one this summer in a different color!  My mom's so cute :).  She made me so happy!

After visiting family after Christmas breakfast and gift opening, my mom and I headed back to my apartment to make our traditional Christmas Day dinner.  We've been having this for years and years....I can remember how much my Baba (grandma) loved it!  What was it, you ask?  Well, we had cornish hens baked over seasoned (cream of chicken soup and italian seasoning) rice, with green beans, carrots, cranberry sauce, and an amazing jello mold that my mom made!

2011 was really a nice Christmas!  I'm super thankful for my amazing family, a mother that loves me more than I can ever understand, and great friends!  OH...and the Knit Picks harmony wood interchangeable knitting needle set that I got from Santa!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas gifts part 1

Tomorrow is Christmas eve.  This year I set out to make most of my holiday gifts, unfortunately I've not been able to complete all of them yet....but I will get them done!  I'm setting a second goal of January 7th, which is technically the Christmas that I celebrate.

Anywho, since I've given out a few of my gifts, I no longer have to worry about posting about them and ruining the surprise! (And I'll freely post about my mom's gifts because she does not use the internet!)

First, I knit my friend Stephanie a "Honey Cowl" in Madelinetosk DK in "Fragrant."  It is a mixture of different pinks (her favorite color) and really came out nice!  I made the one skein version and you can wrap it around your neck twice--when you do this it is snug on your neck (which honestly I found to be very nice). [Steph really liked the cowl!]

For my bosses at my internship, knit them each a coffee cup/mug cozy and crocheted a coaster.  Each got really excited when I gave them their presents--that's always nice to experience :).

Finally, one of my mom's gifts is a set of two towels for the kitchen.  In 2009 I started making her two kitchen towels....she got them in 2010 as well and now again in 2011.  I learned a new technique of embroidering a chain stitch along the edge of the towel and then crocheting on to that.  It really saved time when making these.  (Yes, I made these today....Christmas eve eve!).

My mom is also getting the knit vest I made, which I posted about here.  I'll get some pictures of her in it once I give it to her.  I really hope she likes it....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We Love Lucy Christmas Swap 2011

This year I participated in my first "We Love Lucy" swap...which was also my first swap ever :).  This swap was part of the "We Love Lucy" group on Ravelry...we all **really** love Lucy and her Attic24 blog.  The theme of the swap was "Christmas!"--what Christmas means to you, what it's like in your area, etc.  It's an international group so you could swap with someone internationally if you chose to go that route.  My wonderful swap partner, Shanti, lives in Indiana and is originally from Mexico :).

For my package, which I posted all wrapped, I tried to get things that represented Christmas by me and also spoil my partner.  Cause really, what's better than being spoiled during the holidays? (Note that these photos are borrowed from my swap partner, I really hope she doesn't mind :)).  The package had to include yarn and something hand-made.

The item that I made were dragonflies and butterflies.  My partner makes wire jewelry and really likes butterflies and dragonflies, so I figured she could maybe use these as part of a larger project.

Here is the entire unwrapped swap package: a jewelry holder, some Christmas balls, a book I love and kind of figured she wanted, a Christmas tree ice cube tray, some socks, the hand-made goodies, a whole bunch of yarn, hot cocoa, gummy bears, beads, pom-poms....annnnnnd a letter with some recipes in it that my mom and I make for the holidays :).

Now, on to the package I got!

Every object was wrapped up in colorful tissue paper!! HOW CUTE!

And here we have all of the goodies!  Yarn, a hand-made cowl, crochet hooks, patterns, little Christmas trees, things for decorating cookies, a coaster, pens, hand-made earrings, and a lovely hand made note!  I was so spoiled!

Here is some new yarn that I've never tried or even heard of! I'm so excited! The colors are so so so vibrant!

These lovely Christmas trees found their way onto the bulletin board in my office :).

She also made me these AWESOME wire earrings! She is just so talented :).

Thank you Shanti!! I love everything!!!!

Mom's Christmas Vest

Yes! Got the buttons today at Mood :). Just need to sew them on and block it!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Stats and snowflakes

My office is now festive :)  I've always really enjoyed cutting paper snowflakes :).  I think they go rather nicely with the crocheted Christmas trees I received in a swap :)!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sharing is caring :)

My yoga studio is having a coat drive and they are also accepting hats, scarves, gloves, etc.  So I went through my collection of things I've made and came up with this pile for donation :). Makes me feel happy to help those in need! (and cleaning up the closet isn't a bad thing either!)

Monday, December 5, 2011

"We Love Lucy" Christmas Swap 2011

Today I sent out my Christmas swap package!!! It should be in Indiana by Wednesday!!!! I hope my partner Shanti likes it!!!! Eeeeee so excited! :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Productive weekend!

So despite being sick for the entire weekend with a fever and a terrible cold, I was quite the busy little productive bee!  (Both in crafting AND in dissertation proposal writing).  I found it easier to write this weekend because I assigned myself 4 hour work blocks with a scheduled break after.  Soooo, by telling myself, "Jessica, you will work/write from 12-4 followed by a nice cup of tea and maybe 30 minutes of yarn time," it somehow struck a little fire in my brain and the writing just flowed from my fingers.  I'm happy that I'm getting stuff organized, planning out my ideas, and really articulating them on paper.  I'm not saying this draft is great or anything, but it's growing and that is the most important part!

During my writing breaks and evenings on the couch feeling congested, feverish, tired, and sort of miserable I was able to knit about 5 inches on a special Christmas gift, cast on for another Christmas gift, knit a towel for the kitchen, and cast on and knit a few inches of a bag for my yoga mat!

Here's the beginning of the bag for my yoga mat. It's more of a hat right now ;).

Annnnnd here is the kitchen towel...first without a button and then with a button and hanging from the fridge! YAY!

I kind of get ADD knitting/crocheting when I'm not feeling well.  Also, I like to break up the time of knitting/crocheting large presents with making smaller things (especially those that are pretty mindless....).

Oh, I almost forgot!  I'm also making another couch caddy for a is some of my progress :).  I'll have the pattern up and published as soon as I can!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I haven't been buried under a pile of research...yet! :)

I promise I am still around! I just haven't been blogging lately.  I'm so busy this fall with school stuff and trying to keep myself on track.  I will say that I've created 2 new patterns that I hope to have written up by the end of the year :).  I've also been knitting and crocheting during my commute to try and get all of my holiday gifts done! (They are coming along!) :).  I'll post some updated pictures soon and try and be more active in blog land.

I presented at a conference back in October and I've also had my first research report published with a second one on the way!  :)

In crafting news...I did come across this very cute pattern for little Christmas stockings!  I'm in love :).

Monday, October 10, 2011

LYS: The Yarn Company

About a week ago, my friend Michael and I took a visit to The Yarn Company, a local yarn store located on Broadway near 82nd street in NYC.  The store is located on the second floor of a building and, honestly, I don't think I would know it is there, unless I was looking for it.  After climbing up a SERIOUSLY steep set of stairs, you walk into the actual shop.  They have one main room of yarns and a back room where some FOs seemed to be, although I did not venture back there.

While the staff asked if I needed assistance just about as soon as I walked in, they were not all that helpful.  IMHO they seemed to just "sell yarn" and not love yarn or know much about it.  The Yarn Company did have lots of pretty yarn all over the store, but they didn't carry a lot of brands.  They had a whole bunch of madelinetosh yarns, which made me happy.  They also carry a lot of different Filatura Di Crosa yarns, some of which I have never seen (and I do love Italian yarns ::swoons::).

The purpose of this visit was two-fold.  First, we just wanted to check out the store.  Second, I wanted to get a few Koigu mini skeins either for a scarf that uses them or the beekeeper's quilt (from Tiny Owl Knits) and some tweed yarn for a Christmas gift.  The mini skeins were a success, but I only got 4 of them because they were REALLY expensive for such small amount of yarn ($2.50 for 11 yds...) and I'm sorry, but I have a grad student's budget and I just CANNOT spend so much.  Anywho, I was hoping to find some Rowan tweed something or some Cascade, but the store didn't carry either brand!  In fact, the woman helping me really had no idea what tweed was.  I was honestly disappointed.

AND, they had NO sale yarn at all.  NONE!  In fact, when I asked about sale yarn, the lady quickly hushed me with a "no, no, we have no sale yarn."

So, I left the store with 4 mini skeins and 2 balls of Filatura Di Crosa Nirvana (this yarn is a lace weight superwash merino and is OMG soooooo soft! I fell in love the moment I touched it).  Will I go back to The Yarn Company again? Maybe if I need some nice Filatura Di Crosa yarn or something higher end that I cannot find anywhere else.  Otherwise, I'll probably just head to Knitty City, a lovely, wonderful, and friendly LYS that is just about around the block (on 79th between Broadway and Amsterdam).

Drum roll are the new additions to my stash :).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Significant Stitchers

Today was the first meeting of the knitting/crochet group that my friend Michael and I started at work. It was amazing to see so many colleagues interested in the crafts I love so dearly. Everyone was helping each other learn skills. It definitely was the perfect lunch. I think everyone is looking forward to our next meeting in 2 weeks!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Teddy bears, more than meets the eye!

A friend of mine showed me this print today:

It made my heart melt!  Teddy bears are VERY special to me.  Specifically, this one little bear.  Thanks for always keeping me safe from the monsters, Teddy! I <3 you!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Loooooong overdue update!

I'm alive!  Really! I'm here :).  I've been so busy the last few weeks, I just haven't had a moment to post at all!  So, what have I been up to in the past few weeks?  Well school started, so I'm working on my dissertation and I'm also TAing a class and I have a Graduate Assistantship...which is all quite time consuming. I've also been working a bit more, making up some days I missed during the summer. AND I've been knitting and crocheting :).

Yesterday was my mom's birthday.  I like to make her handmade items for gifts, because she has basically all the important things she needs.  She loves slippers, especially slippers that cover her ankles and go up nice and high.  So that's exactly what I made her!

I also made my mom a little robin, because we say that my dad visits us from Heaven as a robin.  So here is the little guy, with a heart for his red breast.  I did some stitching around the heart in red crochet thread to make it look a bit whimsical.

I've also completed a few baby blankets.  The cow blanket was a commissioned blanket that my friend Kerri wanted for one of her friends who was having a baby and LOOOOOVES cows. :).  The second, you might remember one just like it from a few months ago, was a blanket my mom asked me to make for someone she used to work with.  (Btw, I HATE the picture of the lavender blanket because I took it late at night and had to use a flash...and it reflected off the yarn...sheesh!)

I've also been working on Christmas gifts!  Here is the progress on my mom's blanket...which was started as a gift for Christmas WILL be done this year! I think I have like half more to go...

 This is a vest that I'm making my mom for Christmas.  Funny story...the other day my mom said to me "Jess, you know what I want for Christmas? I'd like you to make me a vest!" Funny enough, I already had knit just about this  much of the vest!  I guess I *do* know my mom ;).  The pattern, the Loretto Vest, is really quick and easy and can be found in one of the issues of Knitscene!

I've also been on a hand warmer kick.  Here are avocado green hand warmers and a pair of oxford gray hand warmers.

Annnnnnd this pair of pink ones has a story behind them.  My good friend Steph LOVES pink and really liked the picture of the hand warmers I showed her.  So I decided to cast on and knit her a pair.  I started Thursday morning on my train ride to the city.  On that ride, I got an ENTIRE mitt knit and seamed.  Why you ask?  Well, my train was one of 4 trains that got stuck in one of the tubes of the Hudson river tunnel that runs under the Hudson river between NY and NJ.  The entire tube lost power. My train was second in line with a train before it and two behind it...stuck under the river for over 2 and a half hours, almost 3, until we were pulled out by a rescue diesel train.  You can read about the story here.  The train that they quote the conductor on, was mine ;).  I'm famous! HAHAHA.  So these are my "Trapped Under the Hudson" mitts :).

I will try and be better about posting in the future, but man a PhD keeps you REALLY busy!!