I took the day off today. Well, I took part of the day off. I got all your orders out first, left for the rest of the day, and now I’ll pack up the new orders – I promise! But LOOK what I saw today. Beautiful glass sculptures! I met some friends at the Missouri Botanical Garden (on this 60 degree day) and we walked around checking out the blown glass Chihuly exhibit. This stuff is just amazing and it is planted and displayed just about everywhere. I have been “meaning” to get down there to see this. It has been there since last spring, I think. Of course it’s leaving on January 1st, so I made it there in the nick of time. I’m so glad that I did. Have any of you seen his exhibits elsewhere? It’s hard to pick a favorite. I liked the floating glass balls in the pools, and the hanging chandelier on the Japanese bridge. The boat full of glass was fun, as were the sunbursts on top of the archways. It was also fun to walk through the Climatron and see all different kinds of glass stuck in and out of things in there. There were lots of Chihuly books that you could buy, as well as very expensive bowls. I passed. I would’ve liked a book, but there were too many choices. I’m thinking that College Boy and I will go down there next week while Knitting Daughter finishes up her finals. By then, I might be able to make a book decision.
After my wander through the garden (and lunch, of course. You always have to schedule lunch when you’re out with friends), I finished up the Christmas Shopping. I also spent 45 minutes waiting in line at the post office. I had packages that I had to insure and there were 35 (35!!!) people ahead of me. The two men working behind the counter were not affected at all by the sight of their lobby being entirely filled up. I could detect no sense of urgency in their actions. In fact, one took a break while we were there, so for awhile there was just one station open to service customers. I overheard this conversation between two people that made me laugh:
First person: “Hey! How are you doing? Nice to see you! What are you up to today?”
Second person: “Oh, nothing. I just thought I’d spend half the day at the post office.”
Remind me to never ever go to the post office within two weeks of Christmas. Never ever.
I have sure loved reading about all of your traditions. I hope you all have taken the time to read the comments from Monday’s blog post. Some great ideas in there. Here are a few more traditions that we have at our house:
- I always make frosted sugar cookies (and usually have help. Or at least there is always a lot of help in the eating part of it.)
- We always go to church on Christmas Eve and I love that the service ends with a candlelit rendition of Silent Night.
- We always read the Christmas Story at brunch on Christmas Day.
- We still all pile into our bed to open Christmas Stocking presents, first thing in the day.
- We go over to my parents house the day after Christmas for pizza dinner, to celebrate my dad’s birthday! (I know that’s not really a Christmas tradition, but since his birthday is the day after Christmas, it’s all tied in with everything in my memories.)
Now, if only this 60 degree weather would go away and the snow would come, it might actually FEEL like Christmas. I’m waiting.
So do you tell people “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”? I heard an interesting bit of information on the radio yesterday. Zogby did a poll and found that 95% of people were not offended to be wished a “Merry Christmas” during the holiday season. But even more interesting – 32% of people WERE offended to be wished “Happy Holidays” because they felt like it takes the focus off the Reason for the Season. Apparently, it even affects where some people shop. (Seriously. Read about it.) So are you an HH or an MC? I’m an MC. And an HK. Happy Knitting.
Today I thought I’d talk about some
holiday Christmas traditions we have at our house. We have been using this Advent Tree for 15 years. I still remember painting it (it was a kit) on the kitchen counter with 1 year old Knitting Daughter and 4 year old College Boy trying to get in there and “help”. I think they soon realized that I was very occupied with getting it done, and they were able to get away with way too many things that day. We all had fun. This is one of the important things. One of the “You don’t have to put up ALL the decorations this year, but you must put up the ornament tree” kinds of traditions.
Another favorite includes putting all of the photos that we receive in cards, up on the refrigerator for the month of December. I used to put them all over the kitchen cabinets, but Wonder Husband pointed out that my tape left a sticky residue which he wasn’t too happy about. So now they go on the fridge. I love being surrounded by the smiling faces of those we love all month long. I didn’t take a picture of it, because most of my friends are like me – they send their cards about a week before Christmas. Although I should’ve given the early birds a bit of recognition by showing their photos on the blog.
Last year I started a new tradition – collecting these fun elves. I saw them in a magazine and hunted them down. My thought was that I’d add one or two a year, but as you can see, I picked up four last year already. Don’t you love the tattered outfit on the fiddle player? And the singer guy has holes in his knees. I’m the kind of sucker that picks things like this up just because they’re so pathetic.
(I’ll have to show you the really scarey elf-guy I bought before I discovered the cute Elves Themselves.) I haven’t bought any for this year, so maybe that will all even out. Aren’t they fun, though?
I’d love to hear what is special to you during the month of December. Tell me something that you collect, or a tradition you have, or a recipe that you always make, or … anything else that makes the season special to you. I’ll enter everyone who leaves a comment into the December drawing for a fun prize – yarn, pattern, chocolate – you know, all the important stuff. I’ll post the winner a week from today, and will mail the package right off. I’m looking forward to hearing about how you make the season special in your family!
I will post this on the website as well, but I wanted to give you a heads up that we will be taking a week off at the end of the month. We are heading out of town on a special trip in celebration of my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary – so the whole family is attending! We’ll ship our last batch of orders out on the 23rd. You are welcome to place orders while we are gone. (In fact, you’re encouraged to place orders while we’re gone, and we have something fun in mind for that week. More info on that later.) We will get them packed right up when we return, and will start shipping them out on January 2nd. I’ll miss hearing from you during that week off, but I’ll be anxious to come back and share with you all the new yarn lines and fun stuff that we have in the works for January!
Here’s the scarey “Muffin Man” guy. I bought him just because I felt sorry for him. He was on clearance at the store (mid-December) because no one wanted him. So I took him home. He has shared several Christmas seasons with us, and he likes it here.
Remember – keep sending Socks on Trees and Socks on Rocks for our photo gallery. Some of these are really cracking me up! (And I want to come live at some of your houses – you have wonderful knitting areas. Keep sending those photos, too.)
And check out the fun things over on my friend Kelly’s website – she’s the one with the wonderful sheep farm! (Note – if you suspect you will be hitting Loopy Groupie status in the next month or so, don’t be ordering her cute sheep calendar. Just sayin’.)
Check these out. These arrived in the mail for me from a really sweet person that I have never even met. Is that cool, or what? Abigail sent these as a thank you to me for a couple of favors that I had done for her in the past (which were really nothing. Certainly not worth a whole pair of socks! But I’m not giving them back.) I love these and they fit me like a glove. I’m still trying to figure out how she knew my shoe size. These are knit with Scottish Highlands from Socks That Rock. I only have 2 pairs of socks knit for me by someone else, so I will absolutely treasure these. Abigail, you are awesome!
Did you see the new colors of Lorna’s Laces that I put up on the website? They’re gorgeous! I have also added several colors of Fleece Artist (but waiting on about 15 more colors to arrive in the second and third boxes of the shipment. I think they’re on their way to Montana. Hopefully they’ll find their way back to Missouri soon.) Next week, I’ll be adding more Yarn Pirate, including another exclusive Loopy Ewe colorway that is bound to be my favorite. Here is a hint: remember when I talked about how much I love the Vera Bradley Java Blue fabric? Stay tuned.
It’s Friday – time for a recipe. These Cornbread Rolls have been a family favorite for several years. I love them because I can pop them in the bread machine – but they’re also easy to make without the machine.
1 beaten egg plus water to = 1 cup
1/3 cup honey
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 Tbs. dry milk
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. butter
1 pck. yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
Put ingredients into breadmaker in order given. Let it cycle through the first rise cycle. Remove dough and form into 16 rolls. Place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise for 1 1/2 hours.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. (Can also be made as bread in the breadmaker.)
I’m working on some Christmas gifts this weekend. Must finish the cashmere socks and the mittens in Lorna’s Laces. Or maybe I’ll have to start some new socks. There is yarn calling to me from the stash. In the meantime, I’m off for one of these. It’s probably not a good thing when the regular workers at Starbucks have your coffee going (in the size you like, and the flavor you like, with your name on the cup) by the time you walk from the front door to the counter. Probably not a good thing at all.
You’ll be glad to know that some of your family members have already been shopping for you at The Loopy Ewe! Some of you will be very, very happy knitters. Others of you may have family members who have not gotten the hint, yet. I thought maybe a top ten list would get them thinking in the right direction. We knitters have to look out for one another. So here are some suggestions that you can make to your loved ones:
1. A housecleaner. Seriously. Think of the time you can save by getting a housecleaner to take care of your house. Personally, I want an Alice at my house. I’m wondering what Mrs. Brady did with her time? Alice took care of the cleaning, the laundry, the cooking, the grocery shopping, the meat ordering from Sam the Butcher, and much much more. I think Mrs. Brady spent her time knitting for all of those kids. A housecleaner would save you hours per week to dedicate to your knitting.
2. A Zelda bag. I’m completely hooked on my Zelda – and so are those of you who have ordered them. (In fact, some of you have been back to order more already!) I keep calling Offhand Designs to order more and the lovely gals over there are happy to send them. The latest batch included this Posey, which got me to thinking that I NEED seasonal Zeldas. This Posey would be great for summer around here. It’s on my list.
3. A full-time cook. Ok, if we can’t have Alice, how about that guy who ambushes people in the grocery store and then comes home and makes dinner for them? (What is his name?) I’d like one of those. I’ll be in my knitting spot, enjoying the wonderful smells coming from my kitchen.
4. Special knitting needles. Isn’t it fun to have really special knitting needles in the sizes you use most? These Colonial Rosewoods are beautiful and so wonderful to knit with. We have them in sizes 0 – 3 in the 5.5 ” length. We also have Ebony and Rosewood Lantern Moon needles arriving any day, for those of you who like the 7″ length. I seem to lose needles all the time – but I never lose the expensive ones. (Which leads one to deduce that I’m careless with the lesser-expensive ones, but I’m sure that’s not it.)
5. Starbucks gift cards. Is it just me, or is it especially great to be sitting and knitting with a Peppermint Mocha right next to you? My friend Cindy gave me these last night and it is my favorite gift of the season, so far. In fact, I went and ordered a VENTI Peppermint Mocha this morning instead of a Grande. Living big, here.
6. Sock Yarn Buffet. (You know how I dislike the term “stash” and much prefer Personal Sock Yarn Buffet.) You need lots of choices when it is time to pick yarn for the next sock project. Why not make a list of all the wonderful yarns we have at The Loopy Ewe that you have not yet tried? I decided the other night (as I was winding up yet more sock yarn for my own stash) that I’m just going to add to that stash buffet whenever I find something I like. a) I may never find it again, and b) it’s my hobby. And my hobby is a lot less expensive than the golfing, fishing, hunting, woodworking, boating hobbies that my husband spends money on. (Ok – that’s not true. Wonder Husband doesn’t do ALL of those things. But I bet some of your own wonder husbands do!) So ordering up a Sock Yarn Buffet for your holiday gift seems like a sensible thing to do.
7. Knitting books. Ohhh, so many great choices there. See my “Great Knitting Books” section on the right side of this blog.
8. The Zelda Traveler’s Clutch. Of course I think you need the bag AND the clutch. But if you’re looking for a nice gift for around $50 ($52, exactly) then this one is just great. I couldn’t even fill up all the pockets. There are pockets for short and long DPN’s, for your circulars, and for all of your accessories. Plus, it looks so classy, doesn’t it? We all ought to be carrying around and using classy knitting bags and accessories like these.
9. A knitting retreat. Doesn’t it sound fun to take a whole weekend away just to knit? If you can’t find an official knitting retreat, make your own. Call your best knitting friend and hightail it to a nice B&B for a weekend of movies, eating out, and knitting. (Well, yes. That does sound like it might get pricey. But really fun, right?)
10. A Loopy Ewe Gift Certificate. This fits all tastes and budgets and makes everyone happy, happy, happy. We have more fun stuff arriving in January – just in time to cash in your gift certificate.
Sheri wishingthatallofthepeople Iwasbuyingforthisseasonwereknitters asit’dbesomucheasier