I’m Obsessed

A friend shared these videos with me on Facebook. I am casting them to my TV and watching them on repeat.

I have no desire to make something like this myself. But I am enjoying the magic.

Twilight Toujours is slowly getting finished. We are in transition crunch time at work, which is stressful, but it will be so good when it’s done. I may not get out of my PJs this weekend, though.

I found my coat pattern!

yates coat

(photo credit Grainline Studio)

This is the Yates Coat. It is appropriate for my wool fabric, and it looks like it will be a good choice for my first coat. Not easy, but easy for a coat.

Sarah is making an Oxbow Cardigan this year and wants me to sign on for a Thanksgiving knitalong again. I’m game, even though it’s not on my list (yet)!

I want to make a black cardigan. My wardrobe needs this. I want to choose yarn from an heirloom breed. I found some Black Welsh Mountain yarn and the farm is participating in Shave’Em to Save’Em. I calculated my totals for the Oxbow Cardigan. $450! (insert flabbergasted emoji here)

I know the yarn is worth it, and we need to support our farmers and heirloom breeds. But I simply feel like I cannot afford that. I mean, I’m holding off on buying a new serger and a better sewing machine. That cardigan yarn would be 2/3 of the way to a new machine.

So, I’m going to hold off on any black bulky yarn purchasing for now, but with the full intention of adding Oxbow Cardigan to my list this year.

And maybe if I am very very very good and do not spend any of my crafting allowance on other things and save it up, I could buy the yarn I really want? That’s still a lot of fed mouths. But it could be a sweater that lasts the rest of my life, so maybe a good investment? And I would feel good about the yarn I purchased. I will have a long think on it.

Check out my beautiful son wearing the hat I made him (which makes me happy) but giving me snark.

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Gotta go. He is introducing me to 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

Quiz Deux

Here’s another quiz from Karen via Hannah! Why not?!

1. Are you named after somebody?

I’m named after my Mother. Her name is Alethea, but mine is Alissa. It’s pronounced Alisa. I think I’m going to start spelling it the Finnish way, Aliissa. That way everyone will know how to pronounce it.

2. When is the last time you cried?

Today. I’ve decided to get off medication so right now everything is making me cry.

3. Do you like your handwriting?

No. It’s a mess. Maybe I should slow down and write more mindfully.

4. What is your favorite lunch meat?

Egg salad

5. Do you have kids?

Yes!

6. Farthest place you have traveled?

France

7. Do you use sarcasm?

See question number 1

8. Do you still have your tonsils?

Nope

9. Would you bungee jump?

Hell no

10. What is your favorite cereal?

Mesa Sunrise

11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

If required

12. Do you think you’re strong?

Emotionally I am. It doesn’t always feel that way, but this life has thrown a lot at me and I still manage to show up everyday. I’m not that interested in being physically strong. This may change if we start a sheep farm.

13. What is your favorite ice cream?

Honestly, I’d rather have a cupcake. Anyway, I can’t eat ice cream. I am casein intolerant, yet surprisingly fine with lactose.

14. What is the first thing you notice about a person?

Eyes

15. Football or Baseball?

No

16. What is the least favorite thing you like about yourself?

My sense of humor. I amuse myself.

17. What colour pants are you wearing?

Navy sweats

18. What was the last thing you ate?

A piece of salted caramel chocolate

19. What are you listening to right now?

The soft rumbling of the furnace accompanied by the shrill shooshing of the toilet refilling.

20. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

Cerulean

21. Favorite flavour?

Rosemary

22. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

My friend Iderah

23. Favourite sport to watch?

Bob trying to keep all the Tupperware from falling out of the cupboard

24. Hair colour?

Silverrrr

25. Eye color?

Sort of golden brown with a ring of olive green (BROWN)

27. Favorite food?

Any form of potato

28. Scary movies or happy endings?

Scary movies, of course

29. Last movie you watched without falling asleep?

Little Monsters. Really adorable zombie movie. I highly recommend. “One two three! Eyes on me!”

New Year’s Quiz

Yay, a New Year’s Quiz from Karen!

How will you spend the last night of 2019? Will you party all night? Will you go to bed early?

I will knit on the couch while watching TV and then go to bed early. I wish I lived near Karen. We could do that together!

Do you have any little superstitions about ringing in the new year?

Black eyed peas must be on the menu New Year’s Day.

Do you have craft plans for 2020? Are you hoping to try new things or improve your current set of skills?

I’m hoping to set up a new craft area in my house since I have moved out of my studio. I’m also hoping to primarily knit and sew from stash.

Do you have resolutions for 2020? If so what are they? If not do you have a word or goal for the new year?

Both. I will journal every morning, a practice I’ve already started. I think my word for 2020 will be “mindful”, as in mindful exercise (walking, yoga,) mindful eating, mindful planning of my day. Being mindful is a great way to slow down and savor life, as well as take care of yourself and act in accordance with your core values. At least, that’s what I’m hoping will happen. 😆

I’m almost finished with Twilight Toujours. I can’t wait wait to post a pic!

Christmas Eve, Clintonville Style

In 2011, Bob and I moved our big, blended family into an old farmhouse in our favorite neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. Clintonville is a special place, and although it is growing and changing – along with the rest of Columbus – we still enjoy calling this crunchy-granola enclave home.

Long before we arrived, the neighbors at the end of our street were lining their curbs with milk jug luminaries on Christmas Eve to light the way for Santa’s sleigh. For us it was a new tradition, which includes spontaneous caroling while walking down the road to view the homemade light show.

We had so much fun this year. The neighbors seemed to enjoy our caroling and they lit off fireworks after dusk!

Enjoy my original version of the Clement Clarke Moore classic, with a local twist.

A Clintonville Visit

T’was the night before Christmas
And all through the ‘Ville
All the neighbors were stirring
On Glenmont’s small hill.

The rats in my compost
And the deer in your grass
Scurried to gather
A long night’s repast,

While the owl in the tree,
And fox in the ravine,
Hunted their dinners
From the rodentia teem.

The children were gathered
In the family bed
Expecting some presents
From the big man in red.

The moms and the pops
Raided recycling bins
To save the landfill
From more plastic sins.

They took to the Ave
And lined up the jugs
Filling each with a light
To guide Rudolph’s red mug.

Friends gathered and sung
The old carols of yore
Like the Whos in Whoville.
Like George Bailey’s choir.

Hanukkah, Christmas,
Solstice, and Kwanzaa,
They sang all the tunes,
Including the stanzas!

The frost, how it sparkled!
The candles, how merry!
Lighting the way
For Yuletide’s sprightly fairy.

At the end of road
Came a jingling hoot.
It was Clintonville Elvis
In a red Santa suit!

He strolled with intention
Toward Ye Olde Savor Growler
And waved to the revelers
Who heard the man holler,

“Ho, hippies! Yo, yuppies!
Whoa, hipsters!,” in a drawl,
“To everyone, everywhere,
Happy Holidays, y’all!”

This post is part of the Virtual Advent Tour at spritewrites.net.

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Oh Hi Bloggy

Why yes I did spend all afternoon putting my yarn stash on Ravelry and I’m only halfway through. Yikes! I didn’t think I had that much.

Check out the fabric I got for my Billie jumpsuit. What do you think? Awesome hipster ravens and twig trees? Or… little kid western PJ vibe? Or both? It can be both, right? I’m going for it. I can always wear the jumpsuit as PJs.

Back to cataloguing my yarns.

New Habits

In preparation for the new year, I’m starting my new habits early. I’ve started baking my steel cut oats with an egg in it to give it more protein and make it creamy. I’ve started journaling every morning with a pencil on paper. And I’ve started taking twilight walks instead of going to the gym.

The goal of this is self care. I may need to go back to the gym, but I was feeling driven and also stressed by my gym routine, as well as Noom, so I’m changing it up. I’m trying for moderation in all things including food and drink. Seems reasonable.

I’m dyeing my Tunis yarn with red cabbage. I’m trying for a gradient. Most natural dyeing sites don’t recommend dyeing wool with red cabbage as it doesn’t yield much color. I’m going for the soft gray blues and purples of twilight, so I’m hoping it will be ok. If not I guess I can overdye it with some acid dyes.

Bob is making sweet and sour cabbage soup for dinner.

I’m on Typhoid vaccination meds for my upcoming trip to Kenya. It basically makes me feel like I have the flu, so I haven’t been at my best. Not a lot of knitting going on!

Sunshine Blogger Award

Karen nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award! To be fair, she nominated every one who reads her blog. But I need blogspiration, so I’ll take it! There is also something about nominating 11 people so I will nominate the first 11 bloggers who read this (which is probably everyone)!

1. Dog or cat?

I like both. I’m more of a cat person but I aspire to also be a dog person.

2. What is your least favorite food that other people love?

Halva, pears, do people love those?

3. Where on Earth would you like to go but you know you never will? Why do you want to go there? Why will you not?

I would like to go to Egypt to see the pyramids but I probably never will. There are other places I would rather go, and Egypt feels a little scary.

4. What is your favorite household chore? Why? Make me love it too because I detest all of them.

I like doing the dishes. It’s rewarding to finish the job.

5. Your house is on fire. All living creatures will get out safely but you can only grab one sentimental item. What do you grab and why?

I’m assuming I’m wearing my wedding ring so I will grab the cd case that has all the cds full of pics of my boys when they were little.

6. Would you rather eat a slug or a spider?

No.

7. Do you prefer houseplants or cut flowers?

Houseplants. I love flowers but they always wilt and die and make me sad.

8. What is the absolute hardest thing you have ever had to do for another person?

When my Grandfather had dementia I had to hold him down to keep him from harming my mother and grandmother. I couldn’t let him up until the paramedics came. It was hard both physically and emotionally, but I knew if he had been in his right mind it’s what he would have wanted.

9. What was your favorite food as a child?

Black olives

10. Be honest, do you exercise as much as you should?

No.

11. . Have you ever met someone and you felt like you knew them? Did the relationship continue and did the feeling continue?

Yes and yes

Two hats down! Christmas knitting accomplished! Although I have three more Treads in the queue.

Hans and I volunteered at Global Gifts yesterday. We had fun!

Seven Sweet Seasonal Songs

I’ve been listening to holiday music since a few days before Thanksgiving. What can I say? The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loud for all to hear. I was going to blog my top five, but I found I couldn’t limit it to that number. These are my top seven seasonal favorites in no particular order.

Silver Bells – This is a nostalgic song for me. My sister and I used to sing this together and harmonize. Now I sing it alone and harmonize with no one. It makes me happy and sad at the same time.

Kitka A’v JerusalimeWhen I first heard Kitka’s Wintersongs album, I fell in love. This is my favorite song on the album. Hearing their strong and unified joyful voices makes me cry. I wish I could sing like this. Here’s a video of them singing it live!

Sufjan Stevens – It’s Christmas! Let’s Be Glad! I love the quirkiness of this song. We sing along to it in the car. This is one I will be listening to when all the kids are grown and gone, and I’ll probably cry.

Sting Gabriel’s Message – The yuletide is supposed to be a happy time, but it is also a mystical time. This song captures the essence of that for me.

Vince Guaraldi Greensleeves – My favorite version of my all time favorite, forever and ever, amen.

Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions Isn’t It True – This one isn’t really a Christmas song, but the sleigh bells make me think of winter. And Bob bought this CD for me one Christmas, which makes it special.

Andy Williams Happy Holiday / The Holiday Season – Let’s end on a high note! This is the song I love to belt out in true lounge singer style. I know all the words. I’ll bet you do too. Sing along! And feel free to share your top 5 seasonal songs below or on your blog!

Holiday Traditions

Spritewrites.net has a Virtual Advent Tour where different bloggers sign up to share their holiday traditions during the season. I signed up for Christmas Eve!

Last night all the boys and I watched Rare Exports. I have blogged before that this is my favorite holiday movie. This year I made gingerbread and we played a “drinking game” where we took a bite of gingerbread every time a character did. I only ate three cookies, but could have easily eaten four. I was reserved.

I weighed myself today. I haven’t gained any weight even though I haven’t exercised in two weeks and I’ve been eating whatever I want. It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle! Back to the gym today.

Oh so grateful for my boys. It was good to hang out with them last night.

What’s your favorite holiday movie? Leave a comment!

Black Friday Quiz

Karen at nothingbutknit2 posted a Black Friday quiz. You know I can’t resist a quiz.

1. Do you shop the sales on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and/or Cyber Monday? What is your favorite way to shop?

I do not shop on Black Friday. I’m not someone who looks for deals. I prefer to shop my values, which means paying a fair price for a quality item. I like the idea of shopping the day after Thanksgiving with family and friends to enjoy the season, but I’ve learned it is not enjoyable on that day. I may try to do a little shopping on Small Business Saturday to support our local businesses, although I try to do that year round. I do shop online but if it is related to a deal like Cyber Monday it is an afterthought so any discount is a bonus. My favorite way to shop is at our local small businesses. I enjoy browsing as long as it isn’t overly busy with people.

2. Have you started your gift shopping/crafting?

Yes, we are nearly done with our shopping as our children are mostly grown and we are still helping some of them get on their feet financially. We are also saving to buy a home. So this year we’re only filling stockings. My Christmas gift crafting is modest this year and I have started but not finished.

3. Are you one of those people who has all your gifts wrapped and ready to go early? Are you a last minute shopper and final moments crafter?

I am someone who has most of it done early. I am still looking for those final special items up to the last minute, though. I’m a thoughtful gifter and I like to take my time with it.

4. Do you have a tale from shopping trips past that you wish to share?

One year when we were terribly poor, I followed the conventional wisdom that I needed to go out and get items at a discount early on Black Friday. I needed to get coats and a couple of special toys for my (then little) boys. I was out at the crack of dawn and waited in line for hours to pay. It was a horrible experience and I realized the deals weren’t any better than on a regular shopping day. I’ve never shopped on Black Friday since then, except once when I nearly had an altercation in a mall parking lot over a parking space. Another reason to just say no to Black Friday.

I’m not a Black Friday hater, though. People should shop the way they like, although I saw this image on Instagram today and want to share it here.

I don’t want to act like I’ve got it all figured out. Shopping is something I struggle with as it is a way I nurture myself. You can see the problem there. So I am working toward saving more and spending less and being happy with the experience of shopping without necessarily buying something. This is tough when you work in retail! When I shop for myself I like to buy used when I can, and for new items I try to buy fair trade and/or handmade.

At work this weekend we have a coupon going out, but mainly we’re focusing on rounding up to help our artisan partners in Kenya buy a new kiln. We have a Small Business Saturday promotion with a tote bag giveaway in stores, and we’ll offer a Cyber Monday discount via email. This is a way to have some fun and reward our best customers. We’ll ask for donations for Giving Tuesday. As a small nonprofit, and as a fair trade organization, we can’t afford to offer deep discounts. Anyway, most of those deep discounts out there are just a discount off a steep markup. We don’t do that.

Before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade the Today Show highlighted alpaca blend throws originally $350 going for $79 for Black Friday. At our store, alpaca blend throws are always around $79, often less.

So shop small this season, my friends. Shop fair trade if you can. Go to your local craft shows. Check out your local small businesses. If you have a small budget, make it count with a few good items.

I know when kids are little they have big expectations at Christmas time. I’m not suggesting you should make decisions that interfere with their happiness. I’m not sure where Legos are made, but I know there is probably a small mountain of Legos in a landfill somewhere because of us. No judgments.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” — Maya Angelou

I’m still working on the doing better part!