Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Crafting

As the rosy light of the dawn spreads across the sky this Boxing Day morning and the rest of my family still sleeps, I finally have time to read all the blogs I like to read. I am finally well-rested after late nights spent crafting and my marathon on Christmas Eve. Yesterday I had a 3 hour nap and then still went to bed at 11 and woke up 8 hours later. Ahhhhh, I needed that!

I am sitting here sipping delicious tea that a certain Pea sent me for Christmas (spicy orange mandarin... yum!) and I have time to show you what I made over Christmas.

This was my first completed gift. The pattern is from Son of Stitch and Bitch. I had to rip it 4 times. The first time I had completed up to the mouths of the skulls and realized that it was big enough to be the beginning of a sweater... and the other times, I just won't go into. Suffice it to say that once I started for the last time, it took me more than 20 hours to complete. It is the hardest thing I have ever knitted and by the time I was done, I had a puncture wound in my thumb! And I will complain about the pattern. There are several errors in it that contributed to my ripping. Luckily Kaetlyn loves it! Whew!

After I completed Kaetlyn's hat, I went crazy making things for my brother's children. I drew my 16-years-younger brother, Evan, for gifts this year. He sent me a ridiculous list of expensive store bought things. So I got him a store-bought gift but I couldn't resist making things for all his kids. I wish I had taken a picture of the sweet wee hat I made for his baby daughter or the little pouch I made to put it in from this how-to here. Or the elf hat I made his son from a pattern in "One Skein Wonders: 101 yarn store favourites". I adjusted the pattern to include some of my own designed fair-isle knitting... (thanks Elizabeth Zimmerman for the inspiration) And I sent his oldest daughter a little lip balm made from a recipe in "Dining on a Dime Recipe Book" And his wife I sent some hand cream from a recipe in "Organic At Home". And of course, a large portion of home made peanut brittle. It seemed like I couldn't stop making things for them all... I finally shipped it off on the bus on Dec 23... I also made hand cream, moisture bars (also from Organic at Home) and lip balm for stocking stuffers and gifts for several of my friends. After the first batch, I started experimenting with different essential oils. I made Dean an "orange and cinnamon" scented hand cream (he loves it) and my mil a lavender and bergamot scented one. Erin got 'citrus blossom' which was sweet orange, lemon, pink grapefruit and linden blossom... and many other combinations for others - too many to mention here.

After I finished all that, this was my next completed project... the night of the 23rd. I had started her several days before - I would work on her in the morning before Rhiannon got up for an hour or two. This is made from a Wee Wonderfuls Make-A-Long pattern for "Olive". However, her name is Melissa! And she was from Santa to Rhiannon who was so thrilled to receive her! She tells me that she can't thank me enough! Sweet! What every crafting Santa loves to hear!






Then on the morning of the 24th after only a few hours sleep, I started this. It is an Amy Butler pattern from her book "In Stitches" (it is one of the ones I showed you in the summer, Amy). It is an "Oversized Laundry Bag". Some might say a boring gift but luckily Erin loves it. I love the details that Amy Butler puts in her patterns. It might just be a laundry bag but it looks fantastic! You might remember that it matches what I made her last year. Between the outer layer and the lining, there is a layer of canvas and some very stiff interfacing in the bottom. It is beautiful and very sturdy. I even made the drawstring myself and I didn't need to purchase anything at all to make it. I had everything already in my stores! Once I finished that about about 10pm Christmas Eve (I worked on it between completing a season's worth of baking with Kaetlyn, cleaning the kitchen, living room and bathroom and decorating the Christmas Tree), it was time to start on Rhiannon's gift!


This gift idea comes from "Creative Family" by Amanda Blake Soule. It is a pencil roll made of pink wool felt. Rhiannon loves these super thick and very vibrant wooden colour pencils (that put Laurentian to shame - if you don't know them, get down to an artists store and get youself some!) You can see them here. They are Ferby Coloured Pencils by Lyra. We have been accumulating them from Opus in Kelowna. She had 40 of them but I managed to find 5 more colours she didn't have. We had worked together on a roll that fits 30 of them earlier in the fall. So here you see the 10 that don't fit in the first one and the 5 more I got her for Christmas along with space for 5 more. On the other side of the top it has her name in machine embroidery.

I must say that I love my old Bernina for this feature. I had the amazing good fortune when I was 21 and setting out to buy my own machine to get one out of the "Buy and Sell" in Vancouver. An old but top of the line Bernina that was exactly the same as my mother's (she had bought hers 20 years earlier). The woman I bought it from had used it only once to sew a button on. It is a wonderful old, mechanical machine with no plastic in it. I have never had it serviced. The tension is always perfect. And when I use the embroidery stitches like I did here, it is like having my mother sitting beside me... I remember the things she made for me and my siblings with the same stitches on them.

I finished Rhiannon's pencil roll at exactly 2:18am... I guess that was Christmas morning...And that completes my Christmas crafting. Don't worry, I didn't neglect the men in my life. For Dean we all went together and put money on a guitar (the V shaped one) he has been dreaming about and for Drew we all went together and bought him a digital camera (canon) for his creative expression - he takes amazing landscape/scenery photos - takes after his Auntie Laura.

And now my tea is cool and almost gone and the rosiness has faded to daylight and there are chickens and sheep who will be very excited to see me...

5 comments:

bum.by.the.sea said...

wow, that's nuts. you really ARE a last-minute person. hehe. I'm glad you like the tea! I couldn't remember...I thought you'd said something about not being much of a tea drinker, but I'm not sure that was you. Anyways, even if it was, it's about time you were converted. :D

Andrea said...

I may be last minute but I do get it finished... I am like Dad with just the right touch of mom thrown in! And you must be thinking of someone else I AM definitely a tea drinker since I was 17 and discovered Lipton's first herbal teas...

Caroline said...

Very beautiful gifts Andrea. You are so creative!

Andrea said...

Why, thank you, Caroline!

Samantha said...

Gorgeous gifts Andrea! I also was finishing projects the day before Christmas but they were much, much simpler projects.
Thanks for the book recommendation! I just put a hold on Organic at Home - I plan to be much more organized with gifts next year (she says for the 2nd year in a row ;-)