Posts Tagged ‘christmas’
Have you finished all of your holiday knitting? Of course not. It’s ok, we’re all in the same boat. As if I didn’t like to spend countless hours hand making gifts, I also really love a gift that looks beautiful. Jon’s family isn’t really into gift wrapping but I really can’t bear to give a gift without at least some nice paper. I think I drive him crazy but it makes me feel like an old-fashioned, thoughtful gift giver.
Generally speaking, I bargain hunt for gift wrap at TJ Maxx. But I really can’t say no to a pretty knitted paper. Maybe it’s a cruel fake out, wrapping up your store-bought gifts in this paper that screams “I’m a hint! Psych!” but I love these knitted gift options that wrap your gifts in their own little “sweaters.”
How do you gift your hand knits? Do you fuss over gift wrap?
Holiday gifts are such a challenge for crafters. It seems like a no-brainer to make a gift but in the end it’s an expensive, time-consuming, soul-crushing experience. Sobs between sips of heavily-spiked eggnog, fingers crooked and bleeding after hours and hours of work. It’s not worth it. Sorry, family and friends. You’re all lovely people and you deserve great gifts but it’s just not possible.
My mom’s family is diverse and pretty large. I can’t afford to buy the kind of presents that they deserve for each and every one of them and I like to think that, since they are all grown adults, they buy themselves the things that they really want. I try to give everyone the same gift (so it’s equal) which presents another challenge. It’s really difficult to find something that they would all like and use or put in their homes. I refuse to give weird pieces of crap also known as “decorations” or “tchotchkies” because I don’t think I’d like to receive any. We don’t have the same taste and that’s ok, let’s just not pretend that we do.
So I like to gift them with food. Everybody likes to eat and generally everyone cooks or bakes at least enough to get by. Buying food gifts can get expensive (gift baskets, fancy chocolates, liquor) so I try to keep everything DIY. I’ll be the first person to tell you that DIY gifts do not mean free or cheap but when it comes to food, you can keep it relatively inexpensive while staying fun and thoughtful. Besides, DIY gifts are like a present for the gifter as much as they are the giftee. Making gifts is fun and rewarding even when it’s exhausting and all of your hair has fallen out.
Last year I put together these hot chocolate mugs. They were really fun and adorable and probably cost less than $5 for each mug. If you cut the marshmallows as I suggest below (using a biscuit cutter that’s just slightly smaller than the opening of the mug), you’ll be able to sip the cocoa through the marshmallow the way you would with whipped cream. It’ll be like a cloud keeping it hot and yummy. This is my favorite part.
While packaging everything up in this “I thought of you and hope you enjoy a cozy evening courtesy of me!” kind of way is lovely and gifty, the key to this present is the marshmallows. People that have never made marshmallows before think that they are witchcraft. They’ve never given any thought to where marshmallows come from (marshmallow trees?). They will be very impressed with you.
Here’s how to do it!
1. Make your marshmallows. While they’re setting up, put together the hot chocolate mix.
2. Line the mug with one of the little gift bags. Pour in hot chocolate mix to fill about 3/4 of the mug.
3. Now that the marshmallows have set, use the biscuit cutter to cut them into circles. Dust them lightly in confectioners sugar and place two or three over the hot chocolate mix. Close the bag and secure with ribbon.
4. Add a gift tag with instructions for the cocoa mix and maybe even include a recipe in case they want more.
Ta da! Merry Christmas!
Next week, I’ll be sharing a few more quick and inexpensive DIY gifts so stay tuned!
What’s your favorite DIY gift to give? How do you gift food?
* The mugs are the most expensive part of the gift. You can pick up adorable Christmas themed mugs at the dollar store or you can go all out and buy a hand-thrown piece on Etsy. Let your budget be your guide. (I used these CB2 mugs because I loved that they came with a little spoon. I believe they’ve been discontinued but here they are on ebay. $3 per mug! ) But this mug will become your relative’s new hot chocolate mug and when you see them next Christmas they will say, “Every time I drink hot chocolate in that mug I think of you!” Awww! Choose wisely.
So I just finished two big projects that I’ve been working intensively on for the past two and a half months! I can’t really talk details but stay tuned! It’s been a long two months. I’ve really obsessed over these pieces like nothing before so meeting my deadlines feels like I’ve really accomplished something big. (Go me!)
I have nothing on the needles right now. While I thought I’d feel sad saying that, I actually feel good. I feel like I’m reorganizing myself, figuring out the priorities going forward. It feels good!
Of course, I can’t sit still so I’m working on some other projects. The cross stitch, specifically. And, since I don’t have knitting projects distracting me, I’ve been able to get a big chunk of it finished. It’s hard to tell but for me, it looks like it’s on it’s way to being a real completed thing.
For some reason, I got really carried away on the rocks at the bottom. I was avoiding them for a while. I moved on the letters because those are much more glamorous. But when I got into the insanity of the bottom, it was hypnotic. I’m probably going cross eyed and slightly insane from it all but I’d love to have this thing done before Christmas.
That being said, I have no idea how I thought I’d be able to finish this in one month. I’m an idiot.
I feel kind of guilty working on a project that isn’t knitting but I think I deserve a break every now and then. Knitting will always be my number one.
What projects do you work on when you’re not knitting?
ps. Have you entered the Metropolitan Knits giveaway? There’s still time!
Remember when I was making a cool Zelda cross stitch as a belated Christmas present for my cousin who is a really awesome? Surprise! It’s still not finished! Surprise again! I’m the worst.
I don’t have much to say since it’s really more of the same but I did feel like this poor thing deserved an update. I’ve been sharing photos on instagram between pics of the Williamsburg Bridge (get used to those!). I won’t pretend like I’ve been slaving away at this piece. I’ve actually had it packed away since we moved but I’ve been between knitting projects so I thought I’d give it some time while I waited for some yarn to arrive.
As torturous and mind melting as it can be, I have become a little addicted to cross stitching. I decided to skip right to the good parts with this session and start working on the title letters. Of course, they actually ended up being wonky. Somewhere along the line I miscounted or maybe I stitched a few too many in a place where they shouldn’t have been? In the end, I had to squeeze the E in a little. It looks noticeable here but it won’t once the shadow is added (I really hope). The shadow makes everything really pop and look like magic.
When I put this down last, I was starting to have a panic attack that I’d run out of room at the top. I obviously had no idea what I was doing when I started this thing. Now I’m not so worried or maybe I’m just so fed up with this insanity that I just don’t care.
I have some deadlines coming up so I have a feeling this is as far as this sad excuse for embroidery will get for another few months. I’d like to keep working at it and I can at least mindlessly fill in the pink background while I’m watching Mad Men. I have the Lon Lon Ranch song stuck in my head right now. I’d really love to finish this thing because then I can brag about it forever.
Has a project every driven you crazy? Do you think cross stitch is fun or tedious? Will this ever be finished?
How was your holiday? I hope you got some time off even if you weren’t celebrating. Jon and I cooked Christmas dinner for my mom’s family. It was overwhelming but it turned out great. It felt so wonderful to take the pressure off of my grandma who has made us many many Christmas dinners and deserves to have some time off from all of the fussing. Besides,who else can cook a better Christmas ham than a couple of New York Jews?
December has been a really wild month and I’m excited to see what is in store for next year. I don’t think I’ve ever said that before! (I actually feel nervous and sad around the end of the year most of the time. I think I get a little bit too nostalgic. This year, I’m looking ahead and excited by what’s on the horizon!) I’ve been very good about taking photos, as I promised.
The month is certainly not over yet but here are a few of the pictures I’ve taken in December.
A lot happened this month. And there are plenty more photos on instagram where you can see all of the crazy projects I’ve been working on. I can’t wait to reveal them all!
Did you have a busy holiday? Are you excited for next year? Do you have any knitting goals lined up?
You’ve heard of Christmas socks? How about some Chanukah socks?
I wanted to make my amazing Aunt Sherry something for Chanukah. I promised myself (for the sake of sanity) that I would not make gifts for everyone but I made a few exceptions and she was one of them. She is very special to me and I am constantly getting awesome handmade gifts from her. I don’t think socks are ever a terrible gift (ungrateful kids these days!) so I made her these.
I was inspired by the Purl Soho homespun socks (as I’m sure you can tell by the colors I chose and the style of the sock. I won’t pretend I didn’t rip the idea of a neutral, chunky sock off a little bit.) But I’m a sucker for toe up socks. So I designed my own toe-up sock.
It’s a simple toe-up sock with a short row heel. That’s kind of my go-to sock pattern. I adjusted it to use size 6 needles and Cascade Eco Duo. (Undyed alpaca, you are my kryptonite!) I thought a nice chunky sock would be nice to wear around the house or with snow boots. And, selfishly, they worked up pretty quickly. (Which is good because the other gifts I’ve decided on are driving me insane.)
I love the look and feel of the socks. I’m excited to make more with this pattern. And hopefully more for Aunt Sherry!
(Gift knitting also means that I never get proper photos. Hopefully I can update sometime soon with better ones!)
Have you given socks as a gift? Seriously, though toe up or top down?
When it’s the week before Christmas and none of my holiday knitting is finished, I’m just like:
How’s your holiday knitting going?
I’m sure you need no reminder that Christmas is around the corner. (Chanukah is already here and I am somehow prepared for my upcoming gift exchange! Chanukah is all about miracles, though.) I keep finding adorable little things that I’d love to make as gifts but I won’t have time to make them all before the holidays are over. (By the way, have you been following my current crazy holiday WIP on instagram? I’M INSANE.)
In case you just realized you forgot to make something for Kevin or you just pulled your boss’s name in the office Secret Santa and you’d love to make them something that would make them forget all of those times they caught you searching for cardigan patterns on Ravelry instead of doing your job (not that that’s ever happened to me, I’m speaking hypothetically here), this gift guide is for you.
1. Purl Soho Homespun Boot Socks
2. Red is Best glitten pattern by Jane Richmond
3. Cowl a la Americaine by Amy Christoffers (There’s a sale on this pattern ebook! Do it!)
4. Lion Brand Houndstooth Check Tie
5. Stjarna by Karolina Eckerdal
I take gift knitting pretty seriously and I suggest that we all do. It’s very easy to get carried away, picking out knits for all of the people in your life. If you’ve received something hand made from me, you are very special to me. Even if it’s something ugly, even if it doesn’t fit. (True story: when I was fifteen, I knit a gigantic mushroom-shaped hat for my friend that had a big fro and it was awful and I think I used Red Heart acrylic so I can’t believe I just acknowledged its existence. It was horrifying. If you are reading this and you saw it in real life, please don’t leave a comment making fun of me. If you have photographic evidence, please destroy it.) (Second story: I knit a sweater for Jon and it was gigantic so ripped out the seams and promised to fix it but I never did and he is still pretty pissed that it is in four pieces in a box. I’m thinking about steeking it so it will be the proper size but that isn’t going to happen for a while. Sorry, hun!) If you haven’t received something hand made from me, keep hanging in there (maybe you’ll get a gigantic acrylic hat – it’s worth the wait). Take pity on us. It is a heavy burden being a Christmas knitter!
DON’T FORGET, TEACHING SOMEONE HOW TO KNIT MIGHT BE THE BEST PRESENT OF ALL. I’m sure everyone would love a pair of socks this holiday season. But as they say: “If you give a man a fish, you’ll feed him for a day. If you teach a man to knit, I hope he’s not hungry because he’s going to spend all of his money on yarn.”
Who are you knitting for this holiday season? What are you making? What’s the biggest Christmas knit you’ve successfully tackled?
ps. Happy birthday, Ashley!
Tags: Amy Christoffers, christmas, Cowl, gift guide, glitten, hand knit sock, Houndstooth, Jane Richmond, knit, knit Christmas ornament, knit tie, lion brand, mitten, purl soho, Red is Best, sock, sock pattern, stjarna
I wasn’t going to write about Sherlock because I feel like I came late to the party. I finally got around to watching Sherlock over my hurrication but I’m a little bit hooked and I’m currently re-watching both seasons to keep myself distracted from the fact that the next series is not coming out anytime soon. I feel like I’ve tweeted about the show plenty and I’ve been teased by Jon every day since I saw “A Study in Pink” (he calls Moriarty “Mariachi”) so that I think maybe I should take it down a notch with the nerdiness.
But, it’s Christmas. And Christmas means sweaters. And John Watson knows about Christmas sweaters. So this is happening.
And, besides, The Hobbit is about to come out so Mr. Freeman is absolutely relevant right now.
While looking for screen caps of the ridiculously awesome Christmas sweater that Martin Freeman rocks in “A Scandal in Belgravia” I discovered that there is an entire John Watson sweater fandom. Which includes this recipe for a John Watson Earl Grey sweater cupcake. Why not?
It seems the Watson sweater is more beloved than the Sherlock popped-collar jacket. Perhaps I’m not the only one that instinctively thinks “The Richenbach Fall” is pronounced the “Rhinebeck” fall (which is when you jump off a building into a pile of wool, duh). (It probably has nothing to do with that.)
I think Watson’s go-to fisherman sweater is my favorite of his jumpers. You can never go wrong with an oatmeal cabled sweater. Never.
If you’re looking for the ultimate fangirl knit, Trudi Brown has a basic free pattern for the iconic sweater on Ravelry which includes a kind of really adorable drawing of Watson knitting his own jumper and some cool details about knitting and the military.
How do you feel about Sherlock? Are you a Watson sweater fangirl? Will I ever shut up about this show? Do you see how I made it about knitting so I could write about it? Do you want to talk about The Hobbit or Star Trek instead? Would that be better? Is my nerd showing?
Tags: BBC, christmas, cupcake, famous knits, Fisherman Sweater, John Watson, knit, Martin Freeman, Moriarty, nerd, pattern, ravelry, recipe, Scandal in Belgravia, Sherlock, sweater, Watson sweater fandom
Here we are in the holiday season. Let’s not talk about holiday knitting. You have plenty of time to finish all of these gifts! So let’s not focus on the stress of the holiday season matched with your well-intentioned yet over ambitious insanity. Let’s talk about you. What would you get you for the holidays? You are a devoted, thoughtful, wonderful friend/spouse/parent/child/aunt/uncle/niece/nephew/cousin. You are spending all of December working on gifts for these wonderful people that you love so much.
No, no, it’s okay. I know you were swearing about how you can’t believe you’re making another gift for Aunt Kate even though she never even shows up to Christmas dinner. You didn’t mean that. You’re just a little over worked. I mean, you’re still making cousin Joe’s baby some booties even though they didn’t invite you to the shower. See, you’re a wonderful person!
Here are some gifts that YOU deserve.
What do you want for the holidays?
More gift guides coming up!
ps. If you are still looking for patterns for gift knits, Amy Christoffers is offering 20% off her fantastic patterns for accessories! No coupon code necessary! Buy Savory Knitting patterns! You will not regret it!