Hello and Happy New Year to you all! I hope you enjoyed your holidays and that 2013 is treating you kindly so far.
As for me, I am really happy to see the last of 2012. While there were definitely good points in the year, the last few weeks of 2012 was a bit of a challenge. My poor family got hit with crisis after crisis. I spent time in emergency rooms and at wakes and other assorted places that are not where you want to spend the holiday season. We seem to be (mostly) through the worse of it (God willing) but it was a trying time.
In between each crisis, I managed to have a good holiday. I finished (most of) the crafted gifts (two of the planned gifts were pushed back to be for next Christmas, which considering everything that happened after I made that decision was definitely a good idea)
Traditionally, I take a big group photo of all the presents I made over the year but this year I was so tired and overwhelmed by things going on that I considered skipping it. However, my mom (who loves showing off the yearly photo) asked me to take it anyway. So here is the yearly group shot of (almost all) the gifts:
This shot includes: 1 throw blanket and matching pillow, 2 baby dolls, 3 hats, 2 pairs of socks, 3 scarves, 8 fairy dolls, 1 settlers of catan board game clock, several pieces of jewelry and many, many mitten ornaments / gift card holders.
There is really only one thing missing from the shot. On Christmas Eve, I finally received a package of supplies that I ordered months ago. They were coming from China and evidently got held up in customs. But fortunately, the item I wanted to make was small enough that I could put it together that morning before the family arrived and we started exchanging gifts. It was for my Aunt Sharon, who is a bird fanatic and loves to watch and feed birds. I have another piece of the same lace so I will probably put one of these up on the store but I was just really happy that I was able to put this under the tree for my wonderful aunt!
Another reason I was scrambling to finish the Christmas gifts this year was that my Etsy store, Ciarrai Studios, was actually very busy for the past month or two. It was my first holiday season as a shop owner and I had no idea what to expect so I had a bit of a time crunch towards the end. I am not complaining! It was great to be busy and I hope to be busy more often. I know that most of that is due to the Christmas rush but it was very exciting that people were finding my store and buying some of their gifts from me! I hope everyone who received a Ciarrai Studios piece for the holidays loved their gift!
Christmas and Christmas Eve:
The holiday itself was nice, if a little hectic. Christmas Eve, we split between the two sides of the family. Christmas morning, we spent with my folks and the two of my sisters who live locally. (My sister, Ginger, moved out to the west coast so we have to rely on technology to see her for the holidays). Everyone really seemed to love their gifts. My nieces spent a lot of time playing with their dolls and my mom is in danger of wearing out her new socks that I made for her. Rob loves his new iPad mini and really got a kick of out the Tesler and Edison finger puppets I got him as a gag gift. We have also been enjoying a new board game that he got from his stepbrother, Castle Panic. I received some great gifts, including a new Nikon D5100 camera and a lens for it, a swift and ball winder (very handy!) and a ton of sock yarn.
Then after all the gifts were opened and most of the family had gone to take naps and try and fight off the flu plague that was making its way through our ranks, Rob and I ordered some Chinese food and watched Rent on DVD. (December 24th, 9 pm EST. From here on out, I shoot without a script. See if anything comes of it…).
The day after Christmas, my cousin / best friend, Nikki and her daughter (my goddaughter), Katrina came down from NH for a week-long visit. My aunt hosted a get together so everyone could see Nikki and spend time together.
As you can see, a good time was had by all.
Then over the course of the week, we went to see The Hobbit (which I enjoyed. The lack of Samwise -a serious flaw of the film- was balanced for the most part by the addition of some surprisingly hot dwarves) and Les Mis (more on this in an upcoming post). I arranged for many of the ladies in my family to go to our local tea shop for a candlelight high tea that was delightful!
And we spent a lot of time playing board games with Nikki and my nieces. Like I said, Castle Panic was a hit. My 7 year old goddaughter, Katrina, really got into the whole thing and there is something insanely cute to a gamer auntie to hear her niece say (in the cutest little girl voice) “Oh! Goblins are easy to defeat because they only have one hit point!” We also got in some Ticket to Ride, Apples to Apples, and Carcassonne. I really wish that we lived closer to Nikki or had more board gaming friends that lived locally because I would love to have regular game nights. *sigh*
In Other News:
Now that the holiday crafting is done, I am enjoying the opportunity to knit some non-Christmas items before I start working on the 2013 list. I found this incredible yarn, Cascade’s Eco Duo, which is an undyed Alpaca yarn and I am just smitten with it. It feels incredible to the touch and the yarn knits up with these subtle tonal stripes that are gorgeous. I picked up two colors: a cream color (which goes from a pale vanilla to a caramel color as you knit) and a beautiful fawn color. I used the yarn to knit two tams. It was my first time knitting a tam and coincidently, it was the first time I realized that I actually look pretty decent in tams. So instead of selling them in my store, I adopted both tams and bought more yarn to make some for the store.
Here is one of the tams, modeled by my lovely goddaughter:
I also have a pair of fingerless gloves in the works. Rob enjoys flying kites but his hands can get pretty cold when he goes out. He can’t wear regular gloves because kite flying involves tying knots and other manual dexterity related tasks so I am going to use some of my new sock yarn to make him fingerless gloves. I am even getting extra geek points for designing a pair of gloves with cables and a dragon scale pattern and naming them Fingerless Gloves of Dragon Flying +10. It really takes very little to make a geeky husband happy.
I am also enjoying some time to do recreational reading. I just finished the Language of Flowers, which I enjoyed immensely, and The Weird Sisters, which was enjoyable in a non-earth shattering sort of way. I also received the Night Circus as a gift from my sister in law and have been looking forward to reading that for a while. I can’t wait to start it but I want to finish my re-read of David Copperfield before I start a new book. Keep an eye out here for some book reviews when I have a moment to catch up with myself.
Anyway, as much as I am enjoying writing this post, I have a very hungry kitty looking reproachingly at me in an attempt to remind me that it is past his usual dinner time. And in the interest of not being a bad kitty mommy, I should go feed him.
With all of the madness (mostly) behind us, I am hoping to do a lot more posting in 2013 and so I feel somewhat justified in saying:
Good night and I will talk to you all soon!