The Christmas Come Down

Now that most of the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season is behind us, I thought I’d share some of my favorite gift items from this year! I know it’s maybe a little late to be giving you gift ideas, but I can’t be spilling the beans to my family and friends! 🙂 Plus, some people are really organized and are probably already starting to shop for Christmas 2019!

My big crafting project of the season…..which I didn’t even get finished until the last moment….was a set of decorative pillows for my Sister’s condo. The pattern came from the lovely ladies at Knit Collage, although I did make some modifications. I decided to do both sides of the pillow in the herringbone pattern, it just seemed fancier and more inline with my Sister’s decorating style.

I ordered 4 skeins of Sister Yarn in Dusty Pink and got to knitting. Apparently I can’t read a pattern correctly, it turns out that 4 skeins of yarn is not enough yarn to make both the 18×18 pillows I had planned on. Alls well that ends well though, it turns out that rectangular pillows were on the list of home decor things my Sister was looking for. So, 4 skeins of yarn turned into a pair of 12×18 inch pillows with some decorative pom poms! I had a little tiny bit of grey sister yarn left over from a previously project, so that’s where the grey in the poms came from. The pattern doesn’t call for pom poms, but if you’ve got the yarn you might as well pom it!

Since I planned on doing both sides of the pillow in the herringbone pattern, I just knit one large rectangle instead of 2 separate 12×18 pieces. So I ended up only having to stitch 3 sides together, and the top of the pillow is nice and seamless. If you’re looking to modify the pattern to make the 12×18 pillows I will tell you it took me 54 rows not counting the cast on and bind off. For the rest of the pattern you’ll have to snag yourself the pattern….it’s not mine to share.

My favorite purchased gift is a handmade knife for The Engineer. It was made by David Maple of Tuckamore Custom Knives, and then I had it sent off for a custom sheath from J Sylvia Handcrafted Leather. It’s beautiful, feels good in your hand, and it’s truly a one of a kind piece. If you ever have a chance to get your hands on a Tuckamore knife, I would 100% recommend it. They are great knives, he’s very responsive to any questions you have, and I’m constantly drooling over all of his designs on Instagram. Give him a follow…you’ll be totally in awe!

Totally snagged this picture off the Tuckamore Custom Instagram page, but he takes better pictures than me. I snagged one of the black handle beauties in the middle!

The custom sheath totally pulls the whole thing together. Now the knife is all set for hunting or camping….wherever our journeys take us the knife will be set to go. I also snagged a leather stroping block from Tuckamore. It’s useful and so much more beautiful than anything you can buy in store for the same purpose. All we need now is some good knife oil and a sharpening stone and we will be good to go for a long time to come.

If you need some other gift ideas but knitting and handmade knives aren’t really doing it for you I have a few more ideas to toss at you.

  • O-Venture Key Rings – One of Oprah’s favorite things, and so handy for any busy women on the go who are on your nice list!
  • Souped Up Fleece Robe – Zips from the top or the bottom to keep you cozy while also letting you move around. Momma Mishappenings even started wearing hers as daywear around the house. Long and cozy!!
  • PooPourri – Truly a gift for everyone on your list! Smells for you, your girlfriends, the men in your life, and even special Holiday season smells! Remember to use it before you go!!

Maybe this will give you some shopping ideas for the loved ones in your life….but don’t forget that sometimes you just have to love yourself too.

No shame at all if you pick of some of these awesome products for yourself!

My New Fluffy

She is glorious, thick, and warm….and I took her out and about with me twice this week!  She also sheds….a ton….but that comes with the fluffy territory I suppose.  If you think I’m talking about a new puppy, sadly your wrong.  I can understand your confusion on the issue, and honestly if you follow the #adoptdontshop mantra…….you can probably get a new puppy companion for less money than I spent on my glorious new fluff!!  I would love a puppy…..but that’s something for another time!

I promised last post that once I got my new scarf completed I’d write an update post.  Well…..she’s all done, and was surprisingly easy!  I say easy like I didn’t get two dozen rows in and decide to rip it all out and start over…..minor technicality.

I can’t take credit for the pattern, all of that goes to the wonderful Knit Collage and their glorious, chunky yarns!  If you love to knit, what to learn how to knit, or want someone you know to knit you something amazing……Knit Collage is the place to go.  Cheap and easy to follow patterns paired with interesting hand spun yarns you won’t find anywhere else.  If you can’t get inspired by clicking through their website there is not a ton of hope for you.  Their yarn skeins are more expensive than what you can get at a big box store, but they are all hand made by a handful of women in India.  This creates small batches of each yarn and also means that every skein will be slightly different.  They are random in the best way possible…..lumpy, shimmery, wooly…….perfection!

First things first….you’ll need to pick your pattern!  I went with the Wildcat Fringe Scarf because it was something unlike other scarves I have hanging in my closet.   Might as well go big and step outside your comfort zone right?!  The link and picture for the scarf are below if you’re wanting to whip up your very own fringed beauty!  If fringe isn’t your cup of tea, pick out your favorite sweater, scarf, or hat and get to knitting!

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Photo and pattern by Knit Collage : https://knitcollage.com/collections/cowls-scarves/products/wild-cat-fringe-scarf-pattern

The pattern calls for 2 skeins of their shimmery Pixie Dust yarn, and one skein of Spun Cloud yarn.  There are several different color options in both yarn types, so you’ll need to start the creative juices going before you even cast on your first stitch.  I wanted my Spun Cloud skein in a grey…..specifically a light grey.  I wanted to do this project and I wanted to do it now, however the light grey was out of stock…..so I improvised!  A quick swap of a skein of Sister yarn for the Spun Cloud and I was back in business.

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Pixie Dust in the color Midnight and Sister in Soft Grey Heather

Sister yarn isn’t quite as thick as Spun Cloud which probably accounts for the reason I needed to rip everything out and start over.  I wasn’t getting nearly the length recommended in the pattern.  I’ve always been and probably always will be a very tight knitter.  Apparently I take a lot of tension out on my knitting projects.  Anyway, the scarf has recommend lengths that should be achieved at various stages of the project.  I won’t give them here as it isn’t my pattern to share.  However I will tell you that a good mantra to recite as you knit is…….just let it be loose!  I don’t think you could possibly knit this too loose, but too tight is for sure a thing and you’ll just end up with a mess.  Too tight is a bummer because you’ve spent good money on this yarn for its hand spun textures and variation, but if the stitches are too tight and small you won’t be able to see and appreciate it.

My finished scarf ended up a bit shorter than the pattern lists.  It’s still plenty long, plus I had plenty of both skeins of yarn left to make the fringe.  You’ll have enough to fringe even if you knit the full length, but you’ll end up with only a handful of fringes in Pixie Dust.  I’m moderately obsessed with it’s texture and lumpiness though so I happily sacrificed some total inches for the chance to show it off on the fringe.  Plus since I know I knit tight, sometimes guesstimating length versus yarn remaining gets tricky….I always vote better safe than sorry!  I used both skeins of Pixie Dust completely up and I have some Sister yarn left over to maybe make a pom pom or something in the future.

Overall, it was a quick and fun project.  It only took maybe 8 hours?!  It’s hard to say what with the starting over, the drinking, and Netflixing that was also occurring while I worked.  It was New Year’s Eve weekend….it was really too cold to do anything other than drink spiked hot chocolate and lounge around with a pile of thick wool yarn in your lap!

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In case you’re worried I just boozed away my whole weekend, I did not.  The Engineer and I got fancy, bundled up against the cold, and went out for a nice dinner and some fancy drinks.  We then proceeded to come home to set alarms and nap before midnight.  I think that’s adulting right?!  Can’t pop corks at midnight if you aren’t awake….so just set alarms for 11:45 and power nap your way into the New Year!  I’m not sure what 2018 has in store for me, but I promise I will bring you all along for the ride!

The “Let’s Take a Nice Picture” process…..

 

 

Power Prepping Weekend

Just like I do every year….even though I start prepping for Christmas super early…..I’m almost always running around like a headless chicken in the weeks leading up to the big day.  It’s not even that it makes me stressed….I love everything about getting ready for the Christmas season, it’s just a ton of things to get done.

This weekend has been no different.  I’ve been power knitting and baking through the whole weekend.  It’s the time of year for poppy seed bread, and this weekend I will have cranked out a total of 8 loaves.  Yesterday’s loaves were not a smashing success sadly.  I had the dough sitting around all day to rise, except that it just never really motivated.  It did puff up some, but not nearly enough.  I finally had to bite the bullet around 9 pm and start the loaves.  After forming I gave them about another hour in the oven with the light on for warmth….but still to no avail.  I have 4 very dense, brick sized loaves.  They look nothing like what an actual loaf of bread is supposed to look like.  To further rain on my baking parade….all the loaves exploded in the oven, and the top of one cracked while I was trying to de-pan it last night.  Ughs can’t have carbohydrate success all the time I guess.

Today’s dough is looking much more puffed, and I think I only have one knitting project left to go!  It should be a fairly easy something to whip out….so long as I keep count of the rows.  Today is off to a great start and I even had time to prep bolognese sauce for homemade lasagna tonight!  After all, if I’m going to stock the freezer with poppy seed bread I need to get some of the elk and deer meat out.  Plus, cooking today means I shouldn’t have to cook during the week, which is a major plus!  I maybe should have taken photos so that I could write up that recipe….but maybe that’ll be next week.  I have a couple other baking recipes that I could share also just in time for holiday sharing with friends and family!  #sneakpeakmaybe?!

Hope you are all staying warm and feeling festive as the Christmas season moves into full swing.  The only thing missing from my present Christmas view is some snow.  Much to The Engineer’s annoyance….I’ve turned on the crappy Christmas movies on Netflix.  I don’t know what else to do while knitting and crafting.  It must work…..I’ve gotten two big projects finished up knitting-wise already this weekend!

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The Engineer and Scout’s idea of what to do while I’m slaving away with lasagna, crafts, and crappy Netflix Christmas movies!!!

All I Do is Knit, Knit, Knit!!!

So, here I am just slaving away over Christmas still. However, of my massive weekend to do list, I’m only 1 small project away from being done!!! Finally!!  It’s not that I don’t like crafting, I really do! I just have such a problem judging how long things will take that I always start too late and then end up in some sorta weird 12th hour scramble to the finish line. I do this to myself every year, you’d think I would eventually learn…..however that doesn’t seem likely at this point.

 

Also for point of reference, please see the below video for the correct inflection of the title!

I did however get almost all my presents wrapped today. I hung out at work with my co-worker for a couple hours, and we got everything wrapped. Mostly, we wanted to gossip and use the huge new table in the packing room. Although, it occurred to me on the way home that I wrapped a present but I don’t think I labeled it, nor do I remember where I put it. I’ll have to sort that out in the morning when I get to work. It was too cold to haul everything back out to my car, so everything is just safely tucked away at work.

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So much space for activities!!

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Here’s the coworker’s pile of presents and me looking like a little potato in the back.  Don’t mind the blob, I had to block out a gift!!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

HAPPY MONTH OF CHRISTMAS!!!!

Every year when December hits I get a little bit…..

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……partly because it’s Christmas time and that’s amazeballs, and partly because it’s Christmas time and I have so much to do!

I maybe got a bit overexcited about having finally bought a tree for the house this year…..and I maybe put up my tree early.  Like maybe too early?!  How early is too early, does anyone really know that answer to that question?  I put mine up before Thanksgiving, but I didn’t decorate it or the garlands until after…..so I think that makes it ok!?  Let’s face it, houses just feel way more cozy and homey when they are decorated for Christmas, and you really only get to experience that feeling for a month….ish.  So, I feel like you should really extend it as long as possible to get the maximum effect!

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The face you make when you maybe decorated early, and you’re worried the neighbors are judging you.

December is also the month of my birthday, and tradition dictates that I do certain things…..namely work as little as possible, workout, and get my nails done!!  I’m happy to report that Friday was a great success in all those categories, except that I did end up work sightly more than originally intended.

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(Insert overly posed picture of manicure and Christmas ornaments)

I also got some sweet birthday presents this year.  Momma Mishappenings got me a blender and some ornaments for the new tree.  Now I just need warmer weather so I can whip up some smoothies and margaritas!!  Lil Sis got me some of my new favorite lotion and some flowers!

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I spent the weekend doing laundry and Christmas prep……exciting I know.  But, crafts and knitting aren’t gonna do themselves, so Netflix, tea, and knitting was my weekend to do list.  I did go to dinner and drinks with the BFB and the Hubby in Law last night so that was always a good time.  We intended to try a fun place downtown, but there was a construction accident there the other day and we weren’t sure we could get to our intended location.  Instead, we hit up the Irish pub, and I discovered they had Shiner Cheer on tap…..which is also a symbol that the best time of the year is upon us.  If you haven’t tried it, you need to….and it’s seasonal…..SO GET ON IT SOON!

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Brewed with peaches and pecans….it’ tastes like the holidays!

The other weekend activity I had to start was Christmas baking.  I only make poppy seed bread for the holidays, but since I can only do 4 loaves at a time, I have to start early!  I’ll link the recipe, it’s a family favorite and definitely worth a try.  Embrace the messy within you, and don’t be afraid of oozing poppy seeds!  I ripped small holes in all the loaves last night and had no explosions in the oven!!  #victory

Pro Tip:  If you have a hole or some oozing….just flip that part into the bottom of the pan…..that will sometimes….usually…..keep the explosion for occurring.  No explosion means a clean oven!

Well, that about wraps up my week of excitement.  Now it’s just onto crafting and knitting like a crazy person to get everyone’s presents done on time!  I know I should work on these things all year, or start earlier at least, but who wants a big pile of knitting in their lap when it’s hot outside?!?  Not this girl, I can tell you that!

Crafty Christmas

Here they are.  All the crafts that I worked on for Christmas presents.  If I got ideas from other places, I’ll post the links with the pictures along with any modifications I made to the pattern.

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Ear muff wraps for my Aunt and My Sexy Russian.  They all get decorated a bit differently, and this year I discovered a new way to make the pattern!

These ear muffs are my own pattern!!  If you’d like a tutorial about them I can do that, I’m just not sure if anyone would be interested.  I, by no means, have pro level knitting skills, but I can get some basic things done.

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Some custom scrap booking pics with hand cut glitter swirls for my Sister of our beloved, and most ideal dog Whisper. (There are dots all around the frame, the photo is just weird apparently :/)

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Runaway Fringe Scarf sans fringe for my Momma.  I used three skeins of Knit Collage’s Pixie Dust yarn in Golden Snowflake and size 55 circular needles.  I did the whole pattern except the last 6 rows, mostly because I ran out of yarn due to my larger needle size.  There are also some errors, but the yarn is so randomly chunky you’ll never find them! 🙂 You can purchase the pattern and yarn directly from Knit Collage

http://knitcollage.com/collections/cowls-scarves/products/runaway-cowl

 

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Distressed wooden star garland for Momma.  I intended to put these on some actual garland and then gift the whole kit and kaboodle, however I wasn’t really sure were she’d want them so they are just on hangers.  I got the pattern online, however I didn’t glue and staple mine.  I just drilled some extra holes, and they are just stitched together with some craft twine.

http://www.hawthorneandmain.com/diy-wood-stars/

 

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Embroidery Hoop Orbs for my Sister.  She embroiders and always seem to like the orbs at home decor stores, so it just seemed to make sense.  I just stained them using General Finishes Gel Stain in Java.  I used the same stain on the Wooden Stars.

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Scarf and matching hat for my Sister so she has warm things on her winter adventures.  The scarf and hat were knit in the same pattern, although I didn’t have a size pattern for the hat.  The resulting hat was super large and in charge and has since been deconstructed into a chunky snood scarf.  The hat will be reworked sometime soon!  The pattern for the scarf came from Puhl Soho and is available on their website.  I didn’t have time to order their yarn, so I used Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick on my size 55 circular needles.

http://www.purlsoho.com/create/2015/12/16/eleventh-hour-scarf-in-gentle-giant/

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Deer antler necklaces with genuine Black Hills bambi sheds!  My gym’s boutique started carrying necklaces like this, but I have no idea who makes them.  I have access to some random deer sheds and decided that I could make my own!  The shed I got had 4 tips, so I have 4 necklaces with varying bead patterns.