That time of year (ie. the end of it) has crept upon me somewhat unawares yet again. Insert “where has the time gone?!” shock and confusion here. However, I am sort of, kind of, mostly ready for Christmas. I think. I do have some wrapping to do still, but I’m aiming to be all done by dinner time. If I am, I’ll be well ahead of myself based on the last few years1. Hooray! Or in a shout out to Rebecca, yippee!
As for the Mistletoe etc part of the subject line… well, that was mainly me being unable to resist mangling a song lyric. No mistletoe or mistletoe-related-seasonal-activities for me, I’m afraid. How v disappointing ;-) And toxic things… well, many intoxicating things are still right out due to my meds. But happily some are fine, so I shall be having Crabbies’ with my Christmas dinner tomorrow. I think it’s going to go rather well.
Anyhow, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year [or insert seasonal festival of choice, etc] one and all! I might try some blogging new year’s resolutions (eg. blog more / at all), but I haven’t decided yet. I really would like to get back into the swing of writing again. But til then, TTFN!
1 Started this post earlier today, obviously, and am now pleased to report that I have finished the wrapping:
I never did talk about how Christmas was in the end, did I? So I shall inflict in upon the world now. I actually did get everything finished and ready that I needed to. All my online shopping arrived (whew!) even though the post was all over the place, I finished the present I was making for Mum, and I even made chocolate chip cookies with moderate success!
The scarf for Mum was the Branching Out pattern [Ravlink], and I knitted it in a lovely Merino / Tencel blend that I spun on the wheel – the first time I’ve knit with my own handspun. I just left it as a single, and it worked really well (imo, anyway!) and I like the way the colour repeats came out. Mum says she really likes it too, which is the main thing!
I also joined two Christmas swaps, one through the Limegreenjelly group, and one through Plurk. The post was / is still being less kind where those are concerned. It seems to have eaten the parcel from the latter altogether, but I have now had my LGJ parcel from Cal, and a fabulous one it is too:
Two braids of LGJ fibre (one Merino/Silk, one Merino, yum!), a beautiful skein of Posh Yarn Elinor, an Orange Blossom perfume stick which I think is from Lush, mini Green & Black’s choccy bars (om nom nom!), a set of Knit Pro interchangeable needle tips and a cable for them (which spookily I’ve been wanting for ages), and an adorable Lego keyring. :-D I just hope she likes her gifts from me as much as I do mine.
I’m in the middle of getting everything ready for Christmas. Actually, I feel that I’m doing quite well. I’ve done all my shopping except for a couple of small things (and I know what those are and where I’ll get them). Now I’m just waiting on a couple of deliveries, and of course finishing the things that I’m making myself. I think I’m doing alright on those too, luckily, so there shouldn’t be any last minute panics. Hooray!
Because all I’ve been working on recently are the Christmas things, I don’t have any pictures to post in case someone comes across this. Well, maybe this one:
And now I’m going back to the Christmas crafting. TTFN!
Today has been a day of variety, which has been nice! I started out by going up to the Christmas fair for Mum’s church – I got there quite late on, so I helped clear up and carry the remaining stuff back up to the church. I got a few nice cards and nick knacks for gifts, so that was a worthwhile trip. Then I walked with Mum back to her house for a drink and then a lift home.
On the way up to Mum’s place, I stopped off and did a geocache that was en route. It took me a bit longer than I’d planned due to me being disorganised with my stuff, but it was still a speedy one. Not a micro one this time, but a still small one. So not big enough to put the travelling monkey into, yet. Poor monkey! I’ll move him on soon, by hook or by crook!
After visiting at Mum’s for a while, we came back here and had dinner – stir fry followed by cupcakes! Then Mum went home and I’ve been knitting and watching Strictly Come Dancing. I’m still working on the Travelling Woman, but hopefully I’ll be done soon. Maybe tonight? Maybe tomorrow.
And then I’ve been playing with Blip.fm – I’ve put a widget linking to my account there in the sidebar, and I think it’s possible to play some tracks directly from here? I’m not sure, I’m still figuring it out. That’s not what I’m using it for, anyway. Mostly I’m listening to the songs my friends have playlisted. Is that even a word? Probably not, but I know what I mean, and I’m sure you do too. Anyway, I thought I’d put the widget up here because in the first place I can, and also because I’m trying to get all my web stuff better linked together. Integrate my web presence. Oh how pretentious. ;-)
The last, oh, while, I’ve been feeling quite determined to finish off all the knitting projects I have sitting around partly done. Which is good! Right? Right. It feels like I’ve done more knitting this year than I actually have in terms of finished projects (though the Knitting Meter in the side bar tells me that I’ve knit 2023 yards in the last year… and I’m only putting entries into that when I either finish a ball of yarn, or a project). But maybe that’s because I still have seven projects on the go.
I had planned not to start any new ones until I’d finished several of those I had lurking. But well, best laid plans and all that. Mum asked me to make a couple of things for her, and then I finished my basic “portable project” socks, so I just had to start another pair for that purpose, didn’t I? And now Christmas is fast approaching… eek! Still, I am feeling more organised and purposeful about the whole thing. My knitting, I mean, not just Christmas. And bizarrely, I think a lot of that is because I finally made the decision to (temporarily) frog my Ishbel and restart it – probably after Christmas – on larger needles. I checked my gauge again, and I had 23½ sts / 4″ where I should have had 20sts. No wonder it’d come up so small, and the knit fabric was probably a bit too dense. I shall swatch again with 4.5mm and 5mm needles and see how it goes. Whether I’ll end up running out of yarn again I don’t know, but I’ll give it a try, anyway. I’ve weighed the re-wound ball, and it’s as it should be, so I assume the yardage is correct too. But the best thing is, I feel much better – obviously that one had been hanging over me without me even realising it!
Now, I know I’ve said this a thousand times, but I’m going to knuckle down and sew up my two “UFOs” – the jumper and the cardigan. I’ve decided that the pieces of the mohair jumper really do need blocking before I sew them, since mohair is so floaty, but at least now I have the table sorted out and ready to sew on.
So my plan is to finish my Gap Year Travels shawlette / scarf (which frees up the needles for whichever cardigan I go for, I believe), and also my Menace jumper (block, sew, crochet, block again). Then to start my Christmas knitting and… just keep knitting until I have finished stuff! I reckon that’ll work.
Which three things sum up my day fairly well, really. My whole weekend, in fact. Like I said, we went to see Ally and family yesterday and out into the park where I saw several people I’d been at school with and their kids. I think I must be the only one who has no offspring! It was a lovely sunny day for it, and today was lovely as well although there was lots of rain and thunder last night.
Charlotte has gone now, but we went over to my brother and sister-in-law’s place for Sunday dinner today. Mmm, Sunday roast! I’m feeling pretty wiped out (but full!) so I can’t think of much else to blog about, so I’ll go and check out the prompts for some inspiration:
What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think of your father?
His smile; a feeling of safety; and woolly bobble hats! Dad liked to keep his head warm, and embarrassed me horribly (as parents will!) when I was in my mid-teens by taking my into town still wearing his slippers (moccasins, so I’m sure no-one knew but me) and a woolly hat. Later on, of course, it became a lovable eccentricity, and when I learned to knit, one of the very first things I made was a hat for Dad:
I’m just popping by to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from both me and the Xandermog.
I’m looking forward to spending a lovely day with the family1, cooking together, eating til we feel slightly ill, giving pressies2, and of course watching the Doctor Who special and other Christmas telly. I hope you all have an equally excellent one planned if you’re celebrating, and if you’re not, then have a lovely day regardless.
Do I have a New Year’s resolution? Try to post more often, of course! ;-) Probably also some others, but I’ll go in to that more in January.
In other news, if you’ve been here before you might notice that I have a new seasonal theme for the site. I was going to do a little bit of tweaking to get the Ravelry progress bars working with it, and change the non-blog pages a little, but I haven’t had time, and I think it looks fine as it is anyway. Hooray! Thank you to the Amberpanther team for making it available :-)
1 Mum, brother and new sister-in-law.
2 Which is more fun than the receiving to be honest, since I pretty much know what I’m getting already.
I haven’t blogged much recently because I’ve been knitting. Which means I don’t have enough hands to type at the same time! I should at least be mostly done with the things I’m knitting as Christmas presents. Ahem. I might be completely done, who knows? I probably would have been fine, but Mum asked me for mittens which I then had to factor in… and it all went a little bit wonky. Not too much though.
Other than present knitting, I’ve finished my gloves (pictures soon), done a bit of spinning at the 1066 Spinners group, and of course have been Christmas shopping. There’s an open air ice rink in town for the festive season, so Jo and I are hoping to go down there at some point. Although it’s just started snowing today, so I spose it depends how bad that gets. I also did an hour of carolling at the local hospital last night with choir. I really love singing carols, so that was lots of fun. Even though I did have to stand in the front row where people can – oh no!!! – see me! Happily for my ridiculous stage fright, most people didn’t stop and stare: we were in the foyer, so the majority of the people just passed through.
Anyway, I’d better go and have dinner before KnitJam tonight. I’m sure there was something else I was planning to blog about, but I’m sure it’ll come back to me. If not, it probably wasn’t important!
Yesterday, I went Christmas shopping with the family in Canterbury. I had some kind of idea in my head that I’d blitz through and buy presents for everyone. Uh, no. I managed to buy cards, wrapping paper… and a new dressing gown and slippers for myself, since my old ones had pretty much died. However, I think I do now know what I’m going to get for everyone. I’m just going to buy it online!
We did see some reindeer, though, in a pen outside BHS. Okey-dokey! They seemed quite happy with all the attention, though, and two of them kept pushing their noses though the fence and getting their heads rubbed by the people who’d come to see them (anti-septic hand gel was provided to use afterwards, probably because of that thing with kids catching E.coli after stroking farm animals). I just took a couple of photos:
Reindeer in Canterbury
Aww, look at the baby one!
And…. oops! I completely gave in to the Dreaded Lurgy, and failed to keep up with my BloPoMo challenge. D’oh! I did make 22 entries (23 including this one) though, so that’s ¾ of it achieved at least. Yep, let’s look on the positive side of things! Also on the positive, I’m pretty much over said Dreaded Lurgy and can now speak (and breathe) again. Well, I think that’s a good thing ;-)
I didn’t do much for New Year – mainly I was huddling indoors keeping warm! But that’s fine, I didn’t have any big plans that I had to cancel through feeling grotty, so I was quite happy with watching the Hootenanny and drinking hot chocolate.
I haven’t done much knitting since Christmas, either. I’ve done a bit on the second sock for the fifth Pentathlon pair, but I didn’t get them finished (obviously) by the 31st December deadline so I’ve slacked off on those again. And I’ve cast on for E’s second mitten now that I’m no longer coughing all the time. But that’s pretty much it! I have had some post-knitting-gratification, however: I’ve found out that both the hat that I made for little H, and the fingerless mitts I made for my brother are getting lots of use and are very much appreciated and liked. Wheee :-D
Anyway. Since this is now the Twelfth Day of Christmas, even though I didn’t manage to finish the challenge, I now declare my BloPoMo officially over! I am going to make a new blogging resolution, though: to blog, um, more often. I think I should probably be more specific about that, but I shall have a think about what’s reasonable and likely for me to maintain. I could say three times a week, or I could pick specific days of the week with the option to swap if I had something specific to say. Not sure which would work best. Hmm. What to do, what to do?
Huh, yeah… you remember how I was babbling about different voices. Or ranges / registers in your voice, I suppose. Well, my chest voice is now still about as much use as it was the other day, but my head voice has taken itself off as well. D’oh! I probably sound rather silly. However, I feel quite a lot better, so yaaaaay! I haven’t gone back to knitting anything because I don’t want to cough over it and make it all germified… although I spose if I do my Pentathlon sock it won’t matter since that’s only for me anyway and the needles should be perfectly washable.
Anyway, here’s what I did get done for Christmas:
Some fingerless mittens as a surprise for my brother, since their flat is really cold! He also thinks they’ll be good for when he’s on his bike. [RavLink]
And some rather less finished….
… mittens for my sister-in-law-to-be (I have got to find a snappier way of phrasing that, but “brother’s financee” is almost as long to type!). I did actually finish this one, but I forgot to take a photo. D’oh. Anyway, I gave her that one as an “IOU”, and as soon as I’ve stopped being all yuck, I’ll get the other one done. At least I now do know that I had the sizing right! [RavLink]
I think they both liked them – I wasn’t quite sure what my brother would think about a (*gasp*) hand-made present, but he actually seemed pretty pleased :-)
… my brother brought to me:
– Some non-drowsy Sudafed
– And a packet of Panadol Extraaaaa.
Ahh, sweet relief! I’d just run out of painkillers, and I was very glad I didn’t have to drag myself down to the chemist to get some more! Thanks, M :-)
Thanks to those, I’m feeling somewhat more with it this evening, although I am having a bit of a catch-22 with having a tight chest: I need to take my inhalers, but every time I try, I have a coughing fit. Bah.
So anyway, I haven’t really done anything productive again today: I don’t want to germ-ify any of my knitting, and I don’t really feel like reading or watching telly. What I have done, though, is used my new MP3 player. It’s both adorable (so ickle!) and clever, and it has a speaker in the back so I don’t have to wear headphones (which I also don’t feel like doing). So it’s been podcasts for me, and in a moment I think I’ll go and listen to an audio book. Although I’m a bit worried I’ll doze off or zone out while I’m listening. I’ll try not to, though.
… mistletoe and wine. Or in my case, mince pies and lemsip! Yes, I was feeling a bit grot, but I had a lovely day nevertheless. I spent it, as is traditional, at Mum’s. We ate loads of nummy food, opened all our pressies, and watched Dr Who and Wallace & Gromit. Yay :-) I hope you all had one that was as good (or even better and germ-free!).
Anyway, I’ll try and remember to write more tomorrow, but now I’m off to bed. *ded*
Did you know that people have two (at least) voices? “Chest” voice and “head” voice*. I guess most people only use one most of the time, or don’t notice when they switch from one to the other. Mainly, it’s your chest voice that you use for speech. When you sing, you’re much more likely to leap from one to the other, particularly when there’s a large difference from one pitch to the next. A lot of singing training is to do with getting those different sounds to be consistent with one another. Not to have an obvious bridge moment where you suddenly go into high-squeaky mode or back down into your lower register. If you’ve ever played a wind instrument you’ll know what I mean: it’s much the same thing. It’s got to be smooth and without any odd swoops or jags or squeaks.
Anyway! The point is, right now I have very little chest voice. Speaking is all over the place. There are definitely swoops and jags and squeaks. Unless I deliberately pitch my voice into my head register. Singing, needless to say (particularly since I’m a soprano), is perfectly do-able. Not great-sounding for some things, but do-able. I went to Christingle service at my Mum’s church, and she was most surprised. I’m not going to talk in my head register, though, because it makes me sound about five! I’ll get by – I feel pretty much ok, I just sound croaky.
Huh, that was a sudden swerve into music geeking, wasn’t it? Um. Have a Christingle:
* This isn’t breath support: that’s another thing. Which comes from the diaphragm and… oh never mind ;-) I’ll shut up!
Whew – today I’ve been round to A’s for pre-Christmas… um… muffins! And company and chat and stuuuuff. It was fun :-) I even have photos of little H wearing the hat I made him back in the summer – hee! I’ll download those off the camera and post them here at some point.
Now though, I’m off back to the sofa and that last-minute knitting! Aaaaaaah!!!