Saturday, 27 December 2008

Urp...

Christmas Dinner Part Deux and Part Trois have finally finished off the leftovers. About 50% of our gifts this year were edible, so the house is still littered with boxes of chocolate, bags of toffee, not to mention the cookies and fudge I made, mince pies etc. I feel like I've been full for three days straight. I suppose if I had any willpower, I would put it all away (ha, ha, ha, ha, ha...)

Christmas Day actually went off very well. I had one bad moment when I was trying to orchestrate the seven or so components of christmas dinner to all be hot and cooked at the same time, then served up. I'm only used to cooking for 3 people, so cooking for 7 is a struggle. All the timings I have memorised (e.g. the steamer cooks carrots for 3 people in about 20 minutes) no longer apply (rock hard carrots for 7 after 30 minutes) so it was all a bit stressful. I am not a natural hostess. My idea of a relaxing and enjoyable guest visit is one or two people staying for a defined period no longer than two hours, doing some shared activity like dollshousing, and requiring only tea and biscuits/cookies. My m-i-l helped, and also carved the turkey, something else that I have no aptitude for. My family are well used to getting mangled and thick chunks of meat on their plate. Anyhow, it all tasted good and people enjoyed themselves. My sister-i-l brought musical crackers with eight whistles and a conductor's baton, so we formed an orchestra conducted by DS. Let's just say we won't be giving up our day jobs.

I got some nice presents, but once again because I had bought them myself and others paid for them. I struggle with this, as I know presents are supposed to be a 'surprise', but surprises usually turn out to be things I don't want, like boxes of chocolate or bottles of scented bath lotion. Despite having a kazillion hobbies, people say I am hard to buy for. This way I get things I actually want, and they tend to be things others would have trouble buying anyway unless I told them specifically what website to go to etc. I got an Elizabeth Zimmerman DVD (Knitting Glossary), a 1/24th scale kitchen kit to go with my Miss Lydia Pickett kits together with some 1/24th metal kitchen accessories, and vouchers from my DH entitling me to chauffeured trips to a number of my favorite destinations plus some free passes to go to the cinema once a month. Also some books, gift vouchers and a new small cutting board to take to sewing club (my old one is about 15 years old and hard as a rock). I hope all of you had a good day as well.

The night of Christmas Day I poured a glass of wine and logged onto #Quiltchat, where a number of ladies were taking refuge from their holiday. It's funny because my christmas was almost over, whereas the Americans were just starting theirs, and there weren't any ozzies on the channel because their christmas was finished and they were asleep. I'm very impressed reading about all the christmas gift sewing that went on, on other people's blogs. I didn't do any gift making for this christmas, although I did give a few dollshouse hats I had made some months ago, to my friend Eileen.

I did the Boxing Day sales in the little town near to us, yesterday and today, but there wasn't that much on sale. I think there were so many sales leading up to Christmas Day as retailers struggled to survive, that there isn't much left over to put on sale now. I was hoping to get another Knitting page-a-day calendar at half price like I did last year, but couldn't find one anywhere.

I have been doing lots of knitting on my Bianca's Jacket in Rowan Summer Tweed and today I cast off the neckline of the yoke which holds all the pieces together. This meant that I could try it on, the first time it has looked like a garment instead of like a pile of knitting gathered onto a circular needle. I'm really pleased with it, although it needs blocking. Now I am seaming the sleeves, then I need to knit a few rows of edging including button loops all around the fronts/bottom, then it will be done! I've got to the toe shaping on Swooze's second sock, so they are nearly done also. I had started knitting my husband a tie, but it has come out far too wide so I will have to start over again with fewer stitches. So it must be time to start a new project ( or go back to a UFO) since I am nearly finished all the ones I've been working on for the last little while.

I've got the quilting frame set up in my bedroom, and am on quilt number two. Quilt number one was just simple meandering and re-learning how to use the frame. It came out ok. Quilt number two I am doing a simple panto in horizontal rows. It feels like it is taking forever because the panto is only 2.5" high so I am finding it really tedious. I could go a bit bigger, maybe 3" or 3.25" but I have to be careful because once I am getting near the end of the quilt, the roll under the arm really reduces my amount of quilting space even though my Janome has a 9 inch throat. How I wish I had a short-arm, or even better, a long arm. Still buying those lottery tickets... I'm going to have a lot of binding to sew on once I get these six tops done. Quilt number two is for a work colleague (one that I like) so I will probably try to get it bound next week.

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