Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Eléphant

Considering that it's already Christmas here in Salisbury, you'd think I'd be typing up the obligatory Merry Christmas post.


The other day Matt gave me one of my Christmas presents a little early: Tamie Snow's Tiny Yarn Animals.  I immediately crocheted up the little hippo that was the reason Matt picked out the book but I still have to photograph him because, sadly, his much larger four legged friend, the elephant, was my next project and we fell madly in love.  Meet Eléphant, my very favorite amigurumi ever....


Éléphant - Side View

Tip O' the Trunk

I made a few modifications to the original pattern like making his ears a little bigger and pointing his trunk happily toward the sky and - ack - he's just adorable. 

His scarf is green and background is red so I think this passes as a Christmas post, don't you?

Merry Christmas to all of my friends,

both near and far!!

Lots of love,



Friday, December 18, 2009

Shame, Shame, Shame

I wanted to write a happy post about how pretty our tree looks now that it's finally decorated and share photos of the gingerbread men that I baked the other night that I'm going to decorate this afternoon...and then the mail came.

Wonderfully, there was a sweet Christmas card from my granny and a birthday card for Matt...and a letter letting us know that the box of Christmas presents from my parents was being held by Revenue & Customs until we paid £20 in taxes and a £8 fee.  

Taxes on Christmas presents?  Seriously?  It's one thing to have to pay taxes here on an item purchased from a company in the US (not that I agree with that either, really, but I knew it was a rule) because, even if it's something that was unavailable to purchase in the UK (which would be the only sane reason to pay shipping on something anyway), I might be taking money out of someone's pocket here...but Christmas presents from my parents?  

Shame, shame, shame....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Something Warm and Cozy

We've had a really quiet weekend around here.  Friday night we drove to London to see Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra which was wonderful and funny but it takes up nearly an entire day to drive there and back (especially if, on the way home, you take the "scenic route" through the city rather than going around it) so we've laid low and stayed home for the past couple of days. 

Yesterday I was able to finish up my Baird scarf so that I could wear it to knit group today.  I love this scarf.  After thirteen issues of The Knitter, this is first project I've immediately cast on and actually finished.  It's also probably the silliest reason I've ever had for knitting something: Baird is my mom's maiden name.  And it was a quick easy pattern, of course.  It's not like it was a bag with lace and 200 million bobbles like the Beachcomber Bag I started in October - I wouldn't have been able to finish it in a couple of days no matter how hard I tried or what it was called.  

Anyway, like I said, I love this scarf.  It's incredibly warm and cozy.  And I knitted it with the giant, pink, plastic size 15 needles that I knit my very first scarf with years ago. 

Baird - Up Close Front


Thanks to this project I am also no longer frightened by the word "Kitchener" which means I'm that much closer to giving knitted socks another go....

Part of me was really close to skipping knit group today but I'm really glad I went.  It's nice to hang out with a group of girls once in awhile.  And I may not have come home and redecorated my tree like I said I would, Squiblet, but I am much more in the Christmas mood than I was when I woke up this morning! 

I came home to a wonderful treat, too - Matt had straightened up the front room and carried the now ransacked Christmas decor boxes up to the spare room so the room is all pretty and begging to be decked out in holiday cheer.  That's a fantastic early Christmas gift in itself. 

Matt is taking tomorrow off for our six month anniversary so tree redecorating is definitely the to do list as well as, hopefully, taking a trip to Stourhead if the weather cooperates. 

So here's to, as my friend Maggie would say, keeping your pecker up (which doesn't mean what you think it does) and looking forward to a very happy Christmas.  

Side note with no connection to anything else in this post: Kevin Spacey is doing these camera commercials here that I, at first, thought were kind of annoying but I've recently found myself absolutely transfixed by them.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find my favorite one where he wants to write his number on Life's arm and say, "Hey, let's make great pictures together."  I love that one. 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Not Quite Ebenezer Scrooge But a Distant Relative...

Christmas is trying to work its way in around here but its having a hard time of it.  We packed up a box of gifts for my brother and parents and shipped it out on Tuesday which reminded me again that I won't be in Ohio for Christmas.  I was able to do the shopping and wrapping with my brain shut off but sending it off just brought it all back.  I put all of my Christmas music in a playlist today so that I can add it to my iPod again and I'm thinking dear, sweet Bing's "I'll Be Home for Christmas" just might have to be left off this year. 

I did get the tree up and decorated.  Granted, I fell over a couple of nights later.  Thankfully only one ornament was damaged and even it can be repaired and the cat that I suspect might have been lingering beneath the tree when it toppled fled upstairs and stayed there for quite some time. 

Sadly, I haven't had the heart to redecorate it.  I really meant to go at it with Christmas carols and a mug of hot chocolate this afternoon but...the ornaments are still in baskets sitting on the couch.  There are a few decorations in the conservatory as well, including a miniature tree, but they're not officially out and the tree is bare. I did watch the first two episodes online of Kirstie's Homemade Christmas that I'd missed so that I could watch the last here in about fifteen minutes and was hoping I'd feel myself sinking into the Christmas spirit.  Nope.  Perhaps it's time to pull out the big guns and watch Elf or The Christmas Story.  Matt's never seen The Christmas Story so I'm really looking forward to watching it with him - maybe this weekend.

I've been doing a lot of knitting and crocheting for Christmas that I'd like to share but I'm running out of time and I really would like to have a cup of that hot chocolate I mentioned a few minutes ago so I'll just share my favorite - a bear for my mom.

A Bear the Woods 

Not Quite So Shy 


This is my first knitted toy and I'm really happy with it.  Rebecca Danger's patterns are cute and easy to follow - and I already have a couple of others in mind that I'd like to knit up - especially this guy.

Herman the Enigmatic Bear knitted with Rowan Alpaca Cotton.  

And now I'm off to chase the spirit a little bit more....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Crochet Cheer

I'm having a fairly terrible day (translating prescriptions here and finding out that the antidepressant I've been on is only available here if you want to quit smoking which means I'm going to have to stop taking what's worked for years - a pretty serious thing to do when you're talking about messing with someone's day to day mental health). In hopes of cheering myself up, I'm about to brave the crowds and do a little Christmas shopping since it's a week day and the crowds should be manageable. 

Tonight I'm going to do a little Christmas crocheting (more, really - I've got a project I've wanted to post for ages but can't get a good photo) as well, using this fantastic tutorial.  It's actually making me look forward to buying a bottle of starch!