Is it Christmas now? Is it…now? Is it…now?!

December 10, 2011

Not that I’m excited this year!  No, not me.  I think that being healthy for the first time in years is helping with the excitement.  I have no painkillers taking the edge off, we have an advent calendar for the first time in a while and I’m really enjoying shopping for and making gifts.  Hooray!

Of course, this helps too:

That’s my advent garland with nine – yes, nine – decorations so far.  Every one has been completed on the day, some just minutes before bedtime, but in time nonetheless.  Every one is my favourite for just a day, until the next one comes along.  Some are simple, some are complicated, all are lovely.

Also this week, I have completed the conversion of a pair of worn out gloves into fingerless gloves with flap-over attachments:

On the left is the converted fingerless view, on the right the flap-over mitten version.  They are great for walking the dog, especially the bit where I have to clean up after her.  Originally, I made these gloves a couple of years ago and wore them until they had holes in the fingers and thumbs – about two winters in total.  When I found them languishing in the bottom of the winter woollies drawer a few weeks ago and couldn’t bring myself to throw them away, A’s Mum suggested making them fingerless and the idea just took off from there.  I’m really happy with them.

Anyway, this week has been another busy one, with hospital visits (with Mum), dentist appointment, lots of work stuff and more planning for xmas.  I have now chosen/ordered all of my own xmas presents, and received most of them already too.  A has done the same for his.  Although we don’t actually get the goodies until xmas day, we won’t bother with wrapping them up as we know what they are, but I might get a couple of large gift bags to put everything in anyway.

Last weekend with Gethin was fun.  He came straight in, marched past me and A, to say hello to Muffin.   That was the start of it, and from then on he was only really interested in the dog.  She even got all the goodnight kisses, there was not even one to spare for me!  The Dude is staying over again on Friday, as David and Sam are going out for a work do, so I’ll have the fun of getting him and Muffin up at the same time on my own on Saturday morning when A is working.

This week coming, I’m hoping to catch up with a friend on Monday.  Bristol Tuesday and Wednesday.  Mum’s leaving do at work on Thursday – she’s worked at the same place for 26 years, and I worked there too for a while.  Gethin overnight Friday.  Catching up with another friend on Saturday and dinner at Alan and Kat’s on Saturday night.  I’m running out of time for things like housework, putting up xmas decorations and chilling out!

Yay! It’s Christmas!

December 3, 2011

It isn’t Christmas really, not for another 3 weeks, but this is the point when I start to feel Christmassy.  The feeling will evaporate completely by the time I’ve worked my way through a couple more weeks, but for now I’m enjoying it.

We have started our advent calendar (and one full of doggy treats for Muffin), people are putting up decorations, the Sky TV guide has that annoying jingly xmas music in the background and there has been xmas knitting.

Starting with a gift for A’s Uncle:

It’s a tree decoration, just a few inches high, and the Father Christmas poking his head over the top is made of chocolate.

Next up, a little cross-stitch:

These are more decorations, for Rachel at work and her husband and son.   Each one has an initial on one side and a tree on the other and is occupied by a chocolate Father Christmas.  He’s really getting around at the moment!

And…drum-roll please…this is what I’m really excited about:

This is the Advent Garland by Frankie Brown, available for free from Ravelry.  The decoration patterns are being released one-a-day throughout advent, so every day I get to knit a decoration and hang it on the garland.  It is really fun, but also could get challenging.  So far we have a mitten and a candle…I haven’t yet looked at today’s pattern, but it is really exciting.

In other news, work has been really busy, lots going on.  Last weekend we visited Alan and Kat for dinner, which was lovely.  Sunday turned into a lazy day, with pyjama-wearing and television-watching and reading all morning.  It was good to relax.

This weekend we have Gethin overnight, which will be challenging but fun, as always.  In the coming week, work work work, plus frantic knitting of advent decorations.

Finish! Finish! And Finish!

November 26, 2011

After plodding away for what seemed like ages on a variety of projects, but not actually making noticeable progress on any of them, I finally stepped the knitting up a gear this week and have three finishes to show for it!

First, Morgan’s xmas socks:

Forgive the muddy jeans – I managed to ruin one pair, got too thin for a second pair and Muffinated this last pair!  I have since been shopping 😉

The socks are Leaf Lace Socks by Susan Lawrence, printed in Vogue Knitting’s Ultimate Sock Book – which is probably my favourite for sock patterns.  The yarn is Opal Uni, which I bought some time ago.  I picked this pink stuff out for Morgan as she is fairly girly but very likely to wear the socks a lot and not pay much attention to washing instructions.  This stuff is soft enough to be comfortable but really hardwearing and washing machine proof.

Second finish of the week is Muffin’s blanket:

It’s fairly small, intended to be just big enough to curl up on/under.  The pattern is Ten Stitch Twist, by Frankie Brown and the yarn is just scraps of acrylic left over from toy-making.  Predictably, Muffin has rejected it every time it has been offered so far, but she’ll come around eventually.

Thirdly, and only cast off last night and blocked this morning…

This pattern is Dancing Cranes Stole by Shui Kuen Kozinski and Benne Ferrell.  The yarn is Nimu Dollywaggon, bought on my birthday last year.  I have no idea what or who this stole is for, I started it on holiday in Dawlish Warren in October, just to have something to do on holiday.  I have really enjoyed knitting this, as the pattern is simple enough to cope with when I’m tired, but difficult enough to keep my attention when I’m more alert.

Looking at the picture though, I think I should invest in some blocking wires, as blocking a straight edge is really hard with just pins.

Now I just have the lightweight blanket and the forest path stole in progress…time to start some xmas stuff maybe?!

Busy, busy, busy

November 19, 2011

So the busy hasn’t stopped, it has been another mad week – they just seem to fly by at the moment, I can hardly believe it is Saturday again.

My birthday was lovely last weekend – we caught up with people, I was given a lot of chocolate (seriously, all my presents except one involved chocolate) and we ate a lot.  The Gethin-dude stayed over, which was fun as always.  Then I had Monday off work to relax (which didn’t really happen, but never mind).

For my birthday this year, I chose wool.  Surprise!  I found an online supplier of KnitPicks yarn from America, which I’ve wanted to see/feel/try for a while.  It is reasonably priced but I’ve heard/read good things about it.  So I ordered a little:

That’s an assortment of sock, lace and heavy worsted weight yarn in some interesting colours.  I can hardly wait to try some of it out, but I really should finish some of the stuff I already have on the go first!

Speaking of which…the lightweight sockyarn blanket is now on hold, having made good progress lately.  The forest path stole is still on hold.  The green stole, which is coming along nicely, has gone into temporary hibernation.  The blanket I started for Muffin is nearly finished but has slowed right down.

In fact, the only thing making any progress at all really is the pair of socks for Morgan’s xmas present.  I have started and restarted them at least 4 times now, trying to find the right pattern.  The problem is that the pretty, delicate, intricate patterns I was trying to use were just too complicated.  I don’t have the attention to spare in the evenings, which is about the only time I get for knitting these days, so I make a lot of mistakes.  I did settle in a slightly less complicated pattern, then realised halfway down the leg that they weren’t big enough.  I have now gone back to a pattern I have made before – one of my favourites in fact.  Sock #1 is down to the foot, so it shouldn’t take long to finish them.

This week coming…I have a check-up at the dentist and an appointment with the doctor.  I have work as usual, including the Bristol thing.  This afternoon we’re taking Madi shopping for her birthday present.  We also have to buy and send something for a nephew’s birthday.  Next weekend we’re going to Alan and Kat’s for dinner.

Got to dash…

November 12, 2011

This will just be a quick note, as there’s housework waiting and stuff to do.  It’s been another busy week, with loads of walking, lots of working, plenty of Muffination.

Speaking of the hound, guess who is now house-trained!  And settling in beautifully.  She still has some issues with aggression towards other dogs, but absolutely adores people and is really tolerant of children.  Which is lucky, as we have Gethin tonight.

Tomorrow is my birthday, so when we return the little dude to his parents we’re all going out for lunch.  Then I think my friend Mrs Jarge is coming over.  I might even see my parents, but they aren’t usually that predictable.

This week coming is more work (although I have Monday off – yay).  There are two family birthdays this week and one the week after, one of which involves a shopping trip at some point.

Anyway, I should have more time next week…I’ll bring details then.

Has a week gone by already?!

November 5, 2011

It hardly seems possible.  This has been a blurry week of early starts and long walks and busy, busy work.

In fact, there isn’t much more to say than that really, so this will be a short post.

It turns out our new Muffin-dog is a morning person.  I am not a morning person.  Not even nearly.  In fact I’m not a pleasant person at all if you drag me out of my bed by howling at 5.30am, then get really excited and expect a lovely long walk.  Nope, not a morning person.

Despite my rule about not allowing Muffin to sleep in the bedroom, I’ve compromised already and she comes in at 5.30 when A goes to work.  That way we both sleep for an hour or two extra.

We’re discovering that it takes 3 walks per day, adding up to at least 3 hours, to tire Muffin out enough to sleep mostly through the night.

She is now mostly house-trained, doing really well actually, expect for the one poo she insists on leaving on the kitchen floor some time during each night.  Dunno what that’s about.

Luckily, we have a very clever dog, who as well as remembering a range of commands and gestures, is already learning some new stuff.  ‘Stay’ for example.  I can now cook dinner without tripping over her in the kitchen, as she obediently (mostly) parks herself in the doorway and stays there.

In knitting news, I’ve started a new blanket for Muffin, so she’ll have one upstairs and one downstairs.  Soft, me?  Never!

I’m also still knitting away at a dark green stole which I started on holiday last month.  It’s a simple enough pattern that I can cope with it even when tired, so it is making good progress.  The forest path stole is hibernating again, for now at least.

Also still in progress is the mitred square blanket, which is doing well thanks to Bristol days.

Finally, I started and have frogged a pair of socks for my niece for xmas.  All she wants is a pair of hand-knit socks.  So that’s what she’ll get.  I didn’t get on with the pattern I started initially, but I’ll start something else instead.  Not today though, as Morgan and her sister Madi are staying over tonight and she’s bound to spot them!

This coming week…apart from Mor and Mads staying over…Muffin has to go to the vet tomorrow to register, get a check-up and discuss flea/worming treatments.  It should be fun, as she is still very aggressive towards other dogs.  And also cats.  Work is likely to be busy again.  A has a doctor’s appointment on Monday and Mum has a hospital appointment on Tuesday.  Then next weekend Gethin is staying over 🙂

Introducing….

October 29, 2011

Muffin!

Muffin came home with us from the Bath Cats and Dogs Rescue Centre yesterday.  Please support these amazing people, if you get chance – they are doing marvellous stuff for pets in need of a home.

She is about 7 years old, but no-one knows for sure as she was taken in as a stray.  Despite answering to some basic commands really well, Muffin isn’t housetrained, so we have some work to do.  Also, she is frightened by other dogs and can be aggressive towards them, so has to wear a muzzle and stay on the lead at all times outside the house.  She is never aggressive towards people though, and exceeded all the tolerance tests at the centre.

It looks like we all have a lot to learn, but it is already rewarding as Muffin is extremely friendly and affectionate and rolls onto her back for a fuss every time we go near.

I can, through experiment, already confirm that dog poo sticks to bare human feet better than to carpet, and that people who get up at 5am should turn on lights and open their eyes before walking through the dog’s sleeping area.  No, really.

 

 

I’m back, baby!

October 22, 2011

I didn’t forget you, honestly, but I’ve been away on holiday and had another week off after that, followed by a busy work week so no chance to write.

Here are a few highlights from the 3 weeks just gone:

  • We went to Dawlish Warren, taking A’s Mum with us.  We all had a good time 🙂
  • I finally managed to clear the sinus infection while away, which was a relief.
  • Thanks to the antibiotics I took for the sinus infection, I got repeatedly sunburned.  In October.  Through my clothes.  And it wasn’t even that hot.
  • We visited two dog rescue centres in our extra week off, looking for just the right dog to rescue.  No luck so far, but we’re still looking.
  • The Gethin-dude stayed over one night, we had a lovely time playing.  Did you know that a dinosaur says ‘aaaaahh’?  Not roar, or rarrr or any of the usual noises associated with big and scary, but a kind of heavy exhaling noise.   That dude is so cute!
  • We went with David, Sam and the Dude to a family christening.  It took over 2 hours to drive each way and was very cramped in the back of the car, but was good to see people.
  • We caught up with Morgan after school one day – she brought her homework and sat at the table doing that while I cooked dinner.  Morgan is as individual as ever, a trait that I love in her, but it is really difficult for her to fit in at school easily.

Apart from all of that, there has been knitting.  Before we went away I finished my party gloves:

While away I started my winter 2011 gloves, which I have since finished – just in time as the weather has turned cold:

I also started a stole while on holiday, which is coming along nicely.

Next up, Morgan has asked for a pair of handknitted socks for xmas, instead of the gift voucher or cash that the other nieces and nephews will all get.  Despite me stressing that she would not get anything else, just knitted socks, she insists that is what she really wants.  Strange (but lovely) girl!

Also in the planning stage is a cardigan for my Mum.  The arthritis in the back of her neck makes her skin so sensitive that she cannot bear anything touching it, so keeping warm is quite difficult.  I’m going to custom-make a cardi that has a low neck at the back…using a pattern if I can find one or making it up if I can’t.  Should be interesting.

This week coming…we’re planning to fit in time for another dog search, and also a good long walk over the weekend.  Then it is work as usual.

Another secret revealed

September 30, 2011

Last Saturday was my step-dad’s surprise 50th birthday party.  It all went smoothly, he was genuinely surprised and all (well most) had a good time.

I say it went smoothly, but that doesn’t exactly men it went to plan!  Mum and I had arranged in advance that I would ask her and G out for dinner, to celebrate his birthday.  His birthday isn’t actually until next week, but we’re all busy people so we had to meet up a bit early.  The plan was to actually take them out for dinner, then stop ‘for a drink’ on the way home.

Then we found out that the place we’d planned to go to for dinner was booked for a private party.

Then G got offered a week’s work, finishing on the Saturday of his party at 7pm.

So plans got re-arranged and re-arranged again.  Instead of going for dinner, we’d pick them up almost as soon as he walked in the door and go straight to the party.  Which he still didn’t know about.

Then he managed to finish early…got home by about 6pm.  Too late to re-instate the dinner plan, but early enough that he wanted to go to the local pub for a drink.  The local pub which a friend of Mum’s had just finished decorating with 5oth birthday banners and posters of G and a big pirate ship birthday cake.

So he and Mum argued, he had a strop, and by the time we turned up he was well and truly sulking.

We piled him into the car anyway, and he went from teasing A to frozen silence in just a few seconds when I drove in the wrong direction.  He knew something was afoot but couldn’t work out what.

So the party went well, the cake was impressive, the people had fun and G was surprised.  Hooray!

In other news, I’ve been back to the dr-lady after another week of torment with this stupid sinus infection.  I’m now on another course of antibiotics.  This lot make skin really sensitive to sunlight, so I have to try to avoid the outside world…which is a shame as there’s something of a mini-heatwave going on.  I am starting to feel a little better though, so I guess it is worth it.

Knitting is still on-going…started (and 2/3 through) a pair of lace gloves for our party next year, using the same yarn as for the shawl I finished last week.  Still picking away at the forest path stole, occasionally, and knitting blanket squares on Bristol days and when I’m too tired for a pattern.

This coming week…too much to mention right now, starting with birthday drinks for A in town tomorrow.  Mrs Jarge has promised to play out and a few others, so it should be fun.

Finish! And Photos!

September 24, 2011

It has been a busy week, for various reasons, with ups and downs and lots going on.  A few highlights:

  • On Sunday we went to my bro’s house to try the cheesecake we ordered for his birthday.  And it was good.
  • We also delivered my Mum’s birthday present, which she seemed happy with.
  • On Sunday night I got almost no sleep, suffering a terrible pain in my face and head.  I thought there was something terribly wrong, it hurt so much.  NHS Direct diagnosed a sinus infection at 4.30am.
  • Monday I couldn’t work for ongoing pain and lack of sleep.
  • Tuesday night we had Gethin over, as Sam had planned a surprise birthday dinner for David.
  • Couldn’t see a doctor until Weds, but then got confirmation of the sinus infection and antibiotics.
  • Thursday in Bristol, including lunch with the boss-lady.
  • Friday was peaceful, working at home with no dramas or crises.

This weekend includes another of the secrets I’ve been struggling to keep…enlightenment will follow in my next post.

In knitting/cross-stitch news, I have finishes to show off.  Starting with this simple baby-grow for Mum to give to someone she works with:

Then I finished my shawl for our anniversary party.  I’m really pleased with it:

It’s Aeolian Shawl, from Knitty.  It’s slightly complicated to knit and I decided to leave out the beads, but it looks really pretty once it is blocked and I’m really excited about wearing it next April.  The pattern gives two options for different sized shawls – this one is somewhere in between the two.

My third finish (and I think it really is finished this time) is my leftover sockyarn blanket:

I have run out of leftovers again and remembered that this was only meant to be a lap blanket to keep me warm on the sofa in the winter. I was a little sad at the thought, until I realised that this means I can start a new leftovers blanket next time I have any oddments!  Hooray!

So, this week coming is a busy one work-wise. I have to go to Birmingham for meetings and Bristol twice as well, but I have Friday off, which is good news. We are now in the countdown to our October holiday, so it is getting exciting. We’re starting to plan stuff like bird-sitters for Billy and writing lists of things to take/do/buy on the way. I can hardly wait – a holiday seems so necessary right now.