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Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

My home is my own again

My time is my own, my husband is my own, my bedroom is my own, and I am my own again!  Lest you think I’ve fallen into some kind of narcissistic orgy of proprietary declarations, let me just explain briefly: my MIL has gone home to Florida.  It was a good visit and many good things were accomplished during her time here, but now I get to enjoy the luxury of a clean home and dine off the leftovers of several good meals.  And here I sit, catching up with my friends and my thoughts while the coffeepot gurgles behind me comfortingly.  Life is good.

All in all, this Christmas, although very hectic, was a gratifying experience on many levels.  Tony got to spend time doting on his mother, we both got to get to know our nephew better (and what a fine young man he has grown to be!), I got to spend time with my best friend at her daughter’s Christening, and also got to spend time shopping and wrapping gifts with my mother, and I baked many cakes. 

Grandpa in HatAnd yes, I got to give my grandfather the Grandpa Hat!  It was a precious memory I’ll always treasure.  He opened the box and carefully picked it up and held it close to his face in order to see it.  “It’s a hat,” he said simply. And then he turned and smiled at me, almost conspiratorily, and said, “Did you make this with your very own hands?  It’s beautiful.  And oooooooooh will it keep my head warm when I walk those dogs of mine.”  He put the hat on, and repeated again, “It’s a waaaaa-aaaarrm hat!” (He’s from Georgia, afterall, where we add an extra syllable or two to every word…), and then he grabbed me by the arm and pulled me into a hug, and whispered in my ear, “I love you, girl.”  And he said it so quietly, and without his usual sense of self-conscious humor, that I truly believe it was one of the most sincere expressions of affection we’ve shared. 

And now I must go get coffee….and blow my nose…

[Time passes…..]

Whew! I’m back.  I hope you took that opportunity to get some coffee, as well!  To wrap up the Christmas Day report, I’ll conclude with two of my favorite quotes from the day.

The Queen of ChristmasHere’s my mom, the Queen of Christmas, and boy howdy does she love Christmas!  We can always count on Mom breaking all the Christmas gift-giving guidelines! For instance, in our large extended family, we have been trying to implement a “children-only” gift policy, in which the adults don’t exchange gifts and only give gifts to the children.  Ha! That never works! We all break the rules, but Mom breaks the rules spectacularly.  She just loves giving gifts!  So this picture was taken right after my mom said, “A gift for me?  You weren’t supposed to get me a gift!” Crazy woman! You think you’re the only member of the Carter family who knows how to break the gift-giving rules?  You come by it honestly, Mom.  Embrace your gift-giving weakness…

A book that reads itselfAnd here’s Grandpa again, still proudly wearing his hat.  Remember, my grandfather is mostly blind due to a severe case of macular degeneration, so he can’t read anymore.  He was opening a gift from my brother, an audio book of Neal Boortz’s “Somebody’s Gotta Say It”.  Upon investigating it, Grandpa said, “I do believe this is one of those books that reads itself!”  LOL!  What’s so endearing about this is the fact that my grandfather is no simple bumpkin, but a mechanical engineer, who used to read engineering books and plant pathology texts in his spare time.  And this is the man who, prior to losing his sight, had fully discovered the splendors of the Library of Alexandria right in his own office – the internet.  He routinely uses phrases like, “You should google it…”, and “There’s a problem with the wireless network.”  So don’t be fooled.  He was just playing quaint.

And that kind of sums up Christmas day:  Mom pretended that the rules didn’t apply to her, and her only, Grandpa pretended to be a simple country man, and I pretended that I was fully participating in the day, and not trying to engrave every moment in my memory as a mental record of my family.  The most important part of the day, though, was not pretended – that we are a family full of love, and joy, and wonderful, warm and wacky characters.

Christmas kidsBeloved neices and nephew, you’ll just have to learn how to go with it!

I hope everyone had a blessed and beautiful Christmas Day, and that you find peace and rest and renewal as we enter the New Year! 

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I thought I’d pop up for a little rarified air for a moment and let anyone out there who reads this know that I’m still alive.  My MIL has arrived, the shopping is done, the wrapping is done, the knitting is mostly done, the baking is…well, it will be a full day of baking tomorrow, but at least everything else is done.  I’m ready to cruise on into Christmas Day. 

And now that most of the knitted gifts have been distributed, I can show you what I’ve been working on!   Of course, you’ve already seen the Grandpa Hat, but I’ve been keeping the under wraps until Emilie opened her gifts.   

headbandsUsing this pattern from Craftgrrl, I made these headbands for my coworkers in the department.   They were great fun to do, and I have definitely added it to my repertoire of small handmade gifts.    The only thing I would recommend if you make these is that you are careful with the temperature of the iron when you block them.  I think I was a bit overeager and when I steamed one of them, it seemed to lose some of its elasticity.   I’m guessing it was a property of the yarn, probably the acryilic content.

Emilie’s giftSo, next I made additional headband for Emilie, in her favorite color of orange, with a matching pair of wristlets made from this pattern by Delia at wineandneedles.blogspot.com  They turned out really cute, and she looked splendid in them! So chic and characteristically Emilie!  I had actually latched onto this pattern initially for my grandmother’s gift, a set of these wristlets in pink.  She’s always cold, even in the house, and I thought these were the ideal solution to keep her hands warm while still allowing her to use her fingers.

I started a hat for my brother with this pattern, but it’s still on the needles.  In a fit of desperation, I drove out to Old Navy and bought him a shirt.  I guess he will be first on my knitted gift list next year!

 So, that’s what the Knitting elves produced this year, when they could get around the housecleaning elves and the baking elves.  Ooooh, wouldn’t that be lovely…a whole staff of house elves to help me get through the holidays!  Honestly, I’d be really good to them, Dobby!

If I don’t get a chance to post again before tomorrow, Merry Christmas to everyone! I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you through your blogs and your comments, and I’m sure the New Year will bring many warm exchanges and new (albeit online) friendships. 

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Holy smokes, make my head stop hurting!  I’ve had a headache for four days, which means it’s probably the annual “End of the Fall Semester Sinus Infection”.  Sigh.  It happens the same way every year.  The Fall semester is long, tedious, and exhausting, and I eagerly look forward to the end of it so that I can recover and get my house (and my life) back in order.   But the late nights writing papers and studying for final exams take their toll, and rather than feeling freed to enjoy the break, I end up with a sinus infection and a cranky disposition. 

Speaking of cranky, I’m -way- behind on my knitting for Christmas gifts.  I’m either going to have to come up with an alternative plan, or go shopping for knitted things, cut the tags off, and try to pass them off as my own work.  The first idea conflicts with my own internal locus of control, the second one with my qualms about lying.  Maybe what I’ll do is send a yarn sample and a photocopy of the pattern to everyone I’m knitting for, and tell them to look for their gift sometime in March or April…

Just what everyone wants: Warm, knitted things just in time for Spring thaw….

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I suppose that phrase should conjure up fear in my heart, but since I don’t actually have much money to spend on Christmas gifts, it looks like another homemade/handmade giftstravaganza. 

Which really means I have only 20 knitting, canning, cooking, decorating, and otherwise crafting days till Christmas. 

Yikes.  That’s even scarier…

I enjoy all the artsy-craftsy stuff, and I like the process of thinking about the people who are going to receive the gifts while I’m in the process of making them.  But I can’t help but think that it would be so much easier to be able to go out and buy gifts for everyone I love. 

This morning, I started thinking about what I would get my friends and family if I were going shopping for them.  Not crazy, “If I won the lottery” kind of gifts, just ordinary gifts.  So, here’s my Gifting Wish-List for this year:

Mom:  a monthly appointment with a massage therapist.  And some of those heat-in-the-microwave fleece booties for her cold feet.

Dad: a really cool flight simulator program, so he could tell me all the ways the program has it wrong and how that airplane doesn’t really sound like that…

Favorite Nephew Carter:  a beginner’s electronic drumkit!  Yeah, buddy!  Everyone should have the joy of living with a drummer!

Carter’s Mom (SIL): Excedrin.  And earplugs.  And maybe even some margarita mix. 

Carter’s Dad (My Brother): More of the same.  Oh, and a kazoo, so he could play along with Carter. 

Grandpa: a replacement set of guages for the 1953 Ford tractor.  And maybe some headlights to go with them.  Oh, and brakes, too.  [okay, so anyone who reads my blog knows that’s really gifting to myself!  But hey, I let Grandpa drive the tractor, too!]

Emilie:  A photo printer, and photo paper of every size, and lots of it.  She takes the most beautiful pictures of her little girls that I would love to be able to let her print out as many as she wanted.  Oh, and monthly pedicures.  She deserves them.

Evan:  Hm, that’s a tough one.  I would probably get him gift certificates for his three favorite things….books, music, and books.  Oh, and maybe a mini-trumpet, or a regular trumpet.  Or a kazoo, so he can play in the Carter band.

Ah, yes, and my beloved Tony.  What on earth would I get Tony for Christmas….? 

Heh!  I ain’t posting it here!  For one thing, there are wordpress guidelines against certain types of postings….for another, he just might get it, anyway!  ;- )

So, I hope all my friends and family enjoy their “virtual gifts”.  You can think about them while you admire your home-made gifts. 

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