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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year

  Now that I'm a grown up, Christmas Eve is my favorite day.  When I was a child, it was Christmas day of course but now that I'm the mom, it's more fun for me to spend the day before prepping my boys for the 'big day', talking about Santa...watching every single Christmas episode of every one of our favorite shows...watching the classic Christmas movies like Rudolph and Christmas Story, and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation ;)  We've added Elf to the list in recent years.

I spend almost all day in the kitchen baking cookies for Santa.  My boys seem to think that he needs a variety to choose from, so I end up baking chocolate chip, peanut butter, butter balls, and oatmeal raisin.  This year I changed it up a bit with the French Butter cookies from Annie's Eats (which were a huge hit!) and I scaled the rest back and just made chocolate chip.  Meanwhile, I added peppermint bark, candied pecans, and sugar-free apple butter for my FIL.  He has to watch his blood sugar, so I always try to make something special just for him.  Oh!, and I almost forgot about the vanilla sugar and the hot chocolate mix. 
For dinner I make spaghetti and meat balls.  It's fast and easy, and nearly impossible to screw up (which is important because I'm usually running on fumes by Christmas Eve).  

After dinner, I love to pull up the NORAD Santa tracker for the boys, and let them watch his progress as he makes his way to New England.  Then, after the boys are finally in bed I hurry to wrap the things that I never got around to wrapping before.  I stuff stockings, and watch movies on t.v.  This year, I think I'm watching the latest Resident Evil movie.  Maybe that'll be my newest tradition... horror movies on Christmas Eve.

This year, I let Alex help me a little bit.  He got to count out 30 mint candies (he got to 29 before he ran into trouble), unwrap them and put them in a bag, and break them into pieces with a rolling pin.  I took a hammer to them after he was done ;)  The boys have been on quality control all afternoon, tasting everything I've made along the way.  It's been really difficult to get some nutritious food into their bodies, what with all the cheese-it chex mix, and peppermint candies, and white chocolate, and peppermint bark, and chocolate chip cookies.  I still have some banana bread and pumpkin bread to make, but I seem to have run out of butter, lol.  No worries though...I'm sending Aaron out for more butter...and also spaghetti...cause I may have forgotten to get some for tonight's dinner.

After Santa's cookies are out, the boys are in bed, and gifts are wrapped, Aaron and I usually exchange gifts.  He's not a morning person and I don't like to wait till the afternoon to get my presents, or for him to open is.  So we get to exchange our gifts quietly, just the two of us and no boys being loud or making a mess of things.  It's a good system...it works.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Year in Review: the sock edition

I designed quite a few socks this year, but two in particular were very popular.  Surprisingly, they were my socks for the Super Sock Scarefest 2011.  (On a side note, last year's SSS design was also extremely popular, so maybe I should consider sticking with this horror movie sock thing, lol).  Anyway, maybe you remember these:

Or these:
My most popular socks this year were the Bride of Frankenstein, followed closely by the Night of the Living Sock.  I loved them both and had a blast designing them.  The NofLS was designed during this years Scarefest round, so I never had a chance to actually knit any of the other patterns (but I saved them all to my library for future knitting).  This was the pattern that taught me that I will never be an actress because my attempt to show fear in a photograph came across as irritation, lol. 

So, for your enjoyment I've rounded up some of the completed projects from Ravelry, with links to the project pages.  All photos are copyright of the knitters who completed the projects.

Bride of Frankenstein:

Night of the Living Sock:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Year in Review, part 1: Quilt and Cable Blanket

I've been a pretty busy lady this year!  I've designed several items and I thought that I'd share them with you over the next few days, with photos showing what other knitters have done with my ideas.  Today's post is all about my biggest project to date...the Quilt and Cable Blanket that I designed for Cascade Yarns.  As you may remember, this used under four skeins of Eco Wool and featured an interesting variation on a cable and the smocking technique.  I first came across the idea from a blanket in an advertisement in one of my MIL's home decor magazines and she loved the idea of it, so I sketched it out and after a year of flipping past it in my sketch book, I finally gave it a shot.

This was the first time I'd ever had a submission accepted, and my first time working with a 3rd party on a design, and it was truly a pleasant experience...so pleasant in fact that I worked with Cascade again on another design that I'll review in another post.  Anyway, I was really excited to see how well received the design was.  As of this date, it's been listed as a favorite 900 times, and is in 293 ques with 24 active projects currently on Ravelry!  It's been downloaded hundreds of times through Ravelry (not to mention all of the direct downloads from Cascade's website, which I can't track).  It was 'faved' by Jared Flood.  It was included in the October edition of Vogue Knitting's monthly newsletter.  And it remains my most popular design to date.

Now, here is a fun gallery of projects from knitters on Ravelry who have altered the pattern in fun ways, ranging from changing the gauge to create an heirloom baby blanket, to using a luxuriously soft yarn to make a blanket that you just can't stop touching!  Enjoy!
Rika's blanket in Eco Wool
Denise's stunning baby-blanket adaptation, in Berroco Vintage

Lynne's blanket in beautiful Malabrigo Worsted

Kathy's blanket in Berroco Vintage Chunky.