Tag Archives: christmas

Ugly Christmas Sweater, 2.0

Last night, I got home from work and decided that although I already had 3 projects I was in the middle of knitting, none of my gifts were wrapped and I still had a gift to make, I definitely needed to make a dress right then.

I’ve had this ugly-ass fabric in my closet for years. Every once in a while I pull it out and drape in over myself in various ways, thinking “do I dare?”

Screen shot 2013-12-19 at 10.39.09 PMIt’s “nordic print”, which I generally find ugly, but with bonus teddy bears! Extra eye-bleeding, hard to look at nonsense!

So I laid it out and started cutting. In a few hours, I had this:

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It turned out super cute, as far as I’m concerned. I got a million compliments on it at work today. It has pockets, is super comfy and basically feels like I’m wearing my jammies all day.

I’m really in love with this collar:

IMG_0004I threw some vintage buttons on there at the last minute for a bit of decoration and really like them.

I’ve wanted to make something with a collar like this for a while but was afraid of it. Turns out, this collar is dead easy. So I foresee more dresses like this in my future. Maybe not as loud as this one, but we’ll see. I still have a good 2 metres left of this fabric that I’m trying to figure out what to do with.

For now, I definitely have to spend the weekend finishing up gifts and wrappings them. And of course celebrating the solstice!

Happy Yule, Solstice, Christmas and whatever else you’re into!

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Christmas Fixins

I’m waiting for my hair to dry a bit before I go to bed, so I have just enough time for a quick update (never mind the fact that I should’ve been in bed an hour ago…). I touched up my roots and put a chunk of red in my hair tonight. Hopefully it looks decent when my hair dries!

A couple weeks ago, I made a super crafty wreath for my apartment door.

photoI also put up a “christmas branch” on my living room wall. I don’t have room or want for a tree, but I wanted to put up something evergreenish that  I could string lights and decorations on. I got this green centrepiece from Michaels and added some holly berries and pine cones (with real!pine smell). It’s the perfect size and has room enough for just a few favourite decorations.

decorationsHello Kitty! Snowmen! Silver Balls!

(by the by, this commercial for Pier 1 is my absolute favourite right now. “My foot’s smooooshed in a cupcake! … where we goin’?” too cute! )

I also got some big purple sparkly snow flakes that I put up at work. I guess now all that’s left is …. buy some presents! I’ve bought a few, but still need to get a couple more and make a couple.

I  also got this awesome TARDIS mug from my RedditGifts Santa today.

IMG_0014It’s SO COOL! I love it! The Reddit gift exchanges are always fun if you like super-sleuthing (re: stalking) your giftee to find them something perfect. I highly recommend doing at least one exchange sometimes.

My hair is nearly dry and the time between Right Now and my alarm’s set time is getting shorter and shorter. If you’ve done any holiday crafting lately, let me know in the comments!

Take care of each other and craft on!

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1 Month to Christmas!

It seems like just a few weeks ago that I was blogging about Hallowe’en.

…Oh wait, it was just a few weeks ago! It feels like the holiday season started the second Hallowe’en was over this year. We got a decent amount of snow here shortly after Hallowe’en, which helped to accelerate things.

Last weekend, I went to see a friend sing with the Regina Philharmonic Chorus’ Christmas concert, “Incantation”. It was a lovely program with some really moving music.

It was quite cold and snowy on Saturday night, but that didn’t stop me from wearing my new outfit to the concert.

IMG_0009Skirt: XL, Ricki’s  //  Top: Ricki’s, 16    // Tights: Joe Fresh

No shoes in this picture as I just wore my winter boots. I threw on my Torrid blazer at the last minute, thinking I might get chilly . It really pulled things together!

IMG_0012I also wore my new TARDIS necklace that I got at the True Knit Art Show from Rapscallion!

Screen shot 2013-11-24 at 11.40.43 PMFor the past few years, I’ve been very not in the Christmas spirit.  I wasn’t interested in celebrating it, I didn’t decorate – I thought the whole thing was just a bunch of overblown pomp and circumstance. I wouldn’t get into the spirit until about the 20th of December, and even then, it was begrudgingly.

I’m happy to report that this year, I’m completely on board with holiday celebrations. I’ve got my lights up in my living room window already and am working on making this wreath.

IMG_0014It’s going to be a crafty wreath; made to look like lots of balls of yarn. I’m also going to add some other little accents to it (bows, maybe pinecones, maybe my set of candy-cane striped knitting needles).

I don’t have a tree, as I don’t have room for a tree. I wanted to have something to put lights and a few decorations on though. I decided to get a piece of green garland and make a bough to put on the wall. I’m going to add some pinecones and holly berries as well as a string of lights and decorations. I think I’ll also rig something up to display any cards I get on it too.

IMG_0013I’m really looking forward to getting this put together! it’s a nice, non-traditional way of having a tree without having a tree. I’ll be sure to post pictures when everything’s done!

I still need to think of actual presents to get/make/buy for people. I have a couple ideas, but nothing solid yet. I should probably get on that!

For now though, it’s time for this ex-grinch to go to bed. Who knows, maybe I’ll even have dreams of sugarplums dance in my head.

Be good to each other and enjoy the snow!

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Thinking Back & Moving Forward

Ten years ago today, Joe Strummer, singer for the Clash, died.

The Clash are one of my all-time favourite bands. There might be contemporary bands that I really, really love, or get into for a while, but the Clash has always been there. I’ve always loved them.

Their music has always really spoken to me  and still feels relevant today. I think they’re the best/most important/greatest band of the 20th century. And I love saying that when Beatles/Rolling Stones die-hards are within ear shot, just to watch their brains explode. “Please Please Me” or “Satisfaction” doesn’t say anything to me. “Lost in the Supermarket”, on the other hand, is more accessible.

I remember being home from college for Christmas in 2002, sleeping on the floor of the office room at my parents’ house (they moved houses just before the start of the school year, so I’ve never really had a room at that house). I used to listen to music all night, every night when I was younger (still do, sometimes), so I had my earphones in and happened to be awake for a few minutes when the radio news came on at 3 or 4AM.

Joe Strummer was dead.

Favourite musicians and artists have died before, many falling victim to the 27 club. I’d be sad, listen to all their records for a few days straight until it faded from the forefront of my mind.

This time, though, I just remember feeling so sad. Music was dead. Punk was dead, like, literally.

Maybe it was because I was in a weird half-waking/half-sleeping, middle of the night, twilight sort of headspace (which I actually quite enjoy), but I remember thinking that it was just going to put a damper on Christmas.

The very next news story was about a family that was murdered in their home in Michigan.

I thought “fuck this, Christmas is cancelled. This is why we can’t have nice things”, etc.

And that, my friends, is when my Christmas spirit died for the next 10 years.

After that, I didn’t want presents, I didn’t want pretty papers and ribbons and cards and lights, I didn’t want random people wishing me a Merry Christmas. It was an overblown holiday that people clearly didn’t really enjoy, because bad shit kept happening and people kept being horrible to one another.

It still makes me sad when shitty things happen at times when people are supposed to be extra warm and fuzzy. But it makes me sad when shitty things happen on gloomy March days, too. It makes me sad and stressed out when I’m made to feel like 8 hours of overtime in the week before Christmas isn’t enough.

Shitty things will always happen, but totally amazing, faith-in-humanity-restored moments will too.

And so, the Girl Who Rolled Her Eyes At Christmas For a Decade is getting excited for Christmas (or whatever…). After 10 years of bah-humbugging, I admit, I’m still a little… shy? nervous? to admit that I’m actually excited for Christmas.

This is why, with a day and half to go until Christmas Eve, I’m “pressure crafting”. Knitting my fingers to the bone, non-stop, to get gifts done. One slipper left and then a pair of mittens to sew. Oh, and maybe bake.

So yeah, bad things happen. But then they stop. They don’t last forever. And we’ll always have memories of favourite things. Joe Strummer may be dead, but his music isn’t.

As we enter in to this new era of positivity and enlightenment, I think it was just time for me to give up the ghost in my Scroogieness. Appreciate the good and wonderful in every day and spend more time doing what makes me happy.

So be good to each other and enjoy whatever it is you have planned this weekend and next week! I have mountains of yarn to get back to!

PS: here’s one more video, just because it’s so good. One of my favourites, “Clampdown”.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chrismakkzaa…

People of the internet: we really need to get on coming up with a secular catch-all phrase for this time of year! Something that isn’t Festivus. Because, no.

Until this afternoon, my plan for Christmas day was going to be: stay in my jammies all day, watch the Doctor Who marathon on Space, make dinner and probably do a little pity-day-drinking because I’m alone.

Then, a friend came over today to do some baking, watch a holiday movie and visit (re: put a movie on and visit whilst not paying attention to the movie at all! So it goes…)

It always takes me a long time to get into the holiday spirit for me. But when my heart does eventually turn, it’s usually after a visit with this friend. Without ever saying it in so many words, she always makes me realise that there are far worse things in the world than celebrating Christmas.

So as I did some cleaning yesterday in preparation for today’s baking and visit, I stumbled across my 3 favourite decorations, in a box on the top shelf of the storage closet. I don’t put up a tree as space is at a premium in my apartment. At this point, I have to think really hard about getting a new coffee cup or that bigger package of toilet paper for lack of storage options. But these three decorations had to get dusted off and put out while cleaning.

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Love my jingle bell wreath! It’s not so noisy that it’s annoying – just a little tinkle-tinkle as I’m opening the door.

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Santa matryoshka! (Santryoshka?)  Anything in matryoshka-form is good times in my books.

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Fabric trees – the product of last year’s “oh shit, apparently I’m into Christmas now!” moment.

My cat’s pretty awesome in that she leaves them alone for the most part. Now, if a pen, or a barrette or a ball of yarn was on the table, it would be a different story.

So my house is nice and clean, it’s decorated and I have tasty cookies!

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Next November, when I’m beaking and bah-humbugging about how wasteful and pointless this holiday is, just El Kabong me over the head, make me a cup of Starbuck’s Christmas blend coffee, and tell me to get over myself. It’ll save everyone a bunch of energy.

The one holiday thing I did before today was send out a few cards to old friends and people I won’t get to see this year. I also signed up for my first exchange over at RedditGifts! I missed the Secret Santa gift exchange, but managed to sign up in time for the card exchange. I sent mine out last week and am excited to get one back! Going through the gallery of things people received, I’ve been amazed by the generosity that people lavish on virtual strangers!

While setting up my RG profile, I was encouraged to put together a “wish list” for people to check out. Of course it’s too late now, but it’s nice to just have a handy list for other gift-giving times. So often, people ask “so what do you want?” and I’m left answering with something like “uh…. I dunno?” Here’s my wish list!

This evening, I also squared up some plans for the 25th. I’ll be spending it with my 2 favourite family members. A rather large rift was driven between two groups within the family this year and, while there’s a lot of work to be done to repair relationships, I think Christmas is a great time for redemption, no?

I was told just to come and be with family, but given who I’m going to be with, I know there will be presents. Now, I know people don’t give presents to get presents, but I like giving and making things! So I have a week to be That Person and do the last minute shopping. I don’t want to spend a lot, but I do want to give a little something. Luckily, I work a block away from a big shopping mall, so I can spend my lunch breaks searching for ideas!

I’m also in charge of making Christmas dinner, which I’m excited and nervous about! We’ll be sure to keep Dominos on speed-dial, just in case.

This will probably be my last post before Christmas. I suspect this week at work, it will either be frustratingly quiet or maddeningly busy!  In my last post, I gave a sneak peak of the project I’m currently knitting. Well, it’s not done! I screwed up majorly, twice. I’ve since changed yarns and I think it’s working better now. I’m sure they’ll probably be my first post-Christmas update, as I have some visiting and movie watching coming up, and yarn goes great with those activities!

Until then, be good to each other. Tell your loved ones that you love them; give hugs; be nice to strangers and count your blessings! Happy holidays; Merry Christmas; Happy Hanukkah; Joyous Kwanzaa and enjoy the Solstice this weekend!

Wishful Thinking

Okay folks, without any further ado, here’s my official Wintertime List of Cool Things That I Would Not Start Crying If This Showed Up in My Mail Box.

For brevity’s sake, let’s just call it the “wish list”. Click on any of the pictures to view and buy!

Sparkly, sparkly sock yarn by LadyPurl on Etsy. I love everything about this shop. She takes various fandoms and makes gorgeous yarn inspired by it. This one is inspired by My Little Pony which, while I’m not a fan, it’s sparkly! And pink and purple. So preeeeeetty…. I’ve actually had this yarn bookmarked for forever, but eventually decided that I like the fandom more than I actually like the colourway and it was clouding my judgement.

 

Red skull heart cardigan by DulceMarina on Etsy. I’m the cardigan queen, as most people can attest to, and am always looking for a new one. Because I’m edgy and cool (ha!), I love the colour and emblem on this one! It reminds me of my favourite cardigan by SourPuss. (it’s no longer on their website, but it’s the “mutant bat” cardigan, if you’re familiar with their stuff/my wardrobe)

 

 

Spiked Vintage Rhinestone Friendship Bracelet by PureEssentia on Etsy. Whenever I’m getting ready for a belly dance show, I’m always left scrambling for something to put on my wrists. ATS belly dance is a very decorative art and it can take years to curate a full costume. I’d like to work on getting more pieces in 2013. Now, this piece is a little out of my price range, but this is a wish list!

 

 

Zombie Lip Balms by NeonDragonArt on Etsy. I love when creepy stuff gets feminized like this. I love when people realize that it’s not just boys who like horror and gore and gross stuff and that the women who do, also like makeup, heels and push up bras.  I love the fonts used on the labels here!

 

 

Zumba Fitness 2 for Wii. I love Zumba you guys. I mean, I fucking love it. I was going to the gym for a while for Zumba classes, but then I got really busy and found I just didn’t have time or gumption to go when the class was on. 9 o’clock on a Thursday night or 4PM on a Sunday or whenever I damn well please is more my speed.  I will play the shit out of this game when I get it. (Although I doubt I will be like Every Other Boy I Work With Right Now, who’ve taken tomorrow as a vacation day so they can stay up allllll night and allllll day playing the new Call of Duty. I will present that Without Comment.).

 

 

Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in every other colour. Bet you thought I was over these? Nope. Not even close. These are the best coloured lip glosses I’ve ever encountered. I enjoy wearing them so much that I’ve nearly worn down one colour and am about halfway through another 2. And my lips have never been more moisturized!  Whenever I find a sale, I pick up another tube.

 

 

Holiday Coffee Sampler from Starbucks. I saw this in the ‘bucks last night and would’ve bought it if it wasn’t still 2 days til payday. The Christmas blend is the best coffee I’ve ever had. It’s a sweet, aromatic, medium roast blend. The day it hits the shelves is way more anticipated for me than when the Pumpkin Spice Latte comes out. In January, when they start to disappear from the shelves, I stock up, buying a couple 1-kilogram bricks and throwing them in the freezer. I’m drinking a cup right now, actually. It’s delicious! The Blonde roast is a close second, and is what I drink most of the time.

 

Oh hey, wanna get crazy with the wishful thinking? Here’s the rest of my list that, even if I were celebrating the season, no one would be buying for me! But they’re things that I’m looking at getting/replacing in the near future any how.

 

Kindle Fire. My little Sony eReader has just about reached the end of its usefulness. I’m looking to upgrade and the Kindle Fire does what I want and is in my price range. (I mean, if I’m wishing, I could say an iPad, but Apple sure likes to  charge top dollar  just because their stuff is silver, shiny and has an apple on it. If I have to pay for it, it’s not going to be an iPad!)

Also on the list in a non-specific way: a new TV and a new couch. These are things that I’ve needed for a while, but don’t have a way of getting rid of the old ones. The TV I have right now works fine, but it’s a huge CRT model, purchased just before flat-screens came way down in price (of course). It’s bulky and cumbersome and, while I could bring a new, little flat-screen in here on my own, I could not get rid of the old one by myself. I can’t even move it when I’m cleaning around it (ha! Cleaning… I almost said that with a straight face…). Until I can get rid of it, I can’t get a new one.

Same with a new couch. I’ve got the one I want picked out and they’ll deliver (AND, I’ve actually been  meaning to blog about it and I promise that’s not as dry as it sounds), but the furniture company is not going to take away the old one! I don’t have a truck, I don’t know anyone that has one and so until I get rid of this couch, I no can haz a new one.

So there’s my list! I hope it doesn’t come across as a super materialistic, “I want all the stuff!” list. I just like sharing cool things that I find and these are at the top of my list! What do you want for Christmas/Hanukkah/Festivus (I friggen hate that one, but I know some people celebrate it)/Kwanzaa/Your birthday that happens to be in the December? Share your ideas in the comments!

Be good to each other!

 

 

It’s the Least Wonderful Time of the Year…

We’ve just entered my least favourite time of year.

I like winter – although, getting 30% of our yearly snowfall in the last 4 days is kind of stressing me out in the driving department. I like sparkly snow, hoarfrost, the way, even at midnight, it never really seems dark out when the moon reflects on the snow. I like mittens and toques and earmuffs and scarves. I think everyone gets infinitely cuter in the winter when they’re all dressed up for the weather.

No, what I really don’t like about this time of year is Christmas (least of all because I don’t believe it Christ and see no need to celebrate the birth of a 2000+ year old carpenter’s son). I think Christmas brings out the hypocrite in a lot of people: people who say things like “keep Christmas in your heart every day of the year” or do charity work only in December and are complete assholes for the other 11 months of the calendar.

I hate the emphasis on stuff – whether homemade or store bought. Whether that stuff is a shiny laptop or a handknit sweater under the tree, or way too much food that just goes to waste in the interest of being a “perfect” host. It disgusts me.

Being raised Christian, in North America, I do have 32 years of Christmas celebrations under my belt. Naturally, there are some fuzzy memory remnants I have of the season. I like baking (surprise, surprise…),  classic movies, pretty lights and holiday-themed pop music (traditional “Jingle Bells” or “Joy to the World”, not so much).

Gift-giving mostly squicks me out, but as an adult I came to appreciate stocking stuffers of things I needed (ie, “I’m broke and out of shampoo/soap/nice socks and underwear… can I make it to the end of December? I’ll definitely get some then if I can just   s   t   r   e   t  c  h    my supplies til then!”)

On the flip side of that though, I come from a family that, if the thing I actually wanted was too expensive or not available, I’d be given the next best thing in the interest of buying/having/giving stuff. For example, I like my PJs to be oversized – I want to be comfy, dammit! Every year since I was a teenager, I’ve asked for flannel mens-style PJs, in one size too big for allow for comfort. Every single year, I get a “ladies-style” t-shirt and matching skin tight PJ pants instead, because they’re “cuter”, with Hello Kitty or some other character. While it is cute (and I love cute!), every February or March, the Salvation Army gets another donation of “cute” jammies.

This is just one example of many. I have a house full of “second-best” crap that I never, ever use and can’t seem to get rid of. Now, I know that it’s the thought that counts, but is it really thoughtful if you’re buying something that isn’t useful, isn’t what someone wanted and is essentially a waste of money? I would honestly rather receive nothing than to have to take something I’ll never use back to my already jam-packed, tiny tiny apartment and try to find a place for it.

This year, due to some very reckless and careless actions on the part of a family member, everything is in shambles. I’m basically cut off from the rest of my family, which means there will be no Christmas morning, no dinner, no ill fitting jammies, no family get togethers that will only be survived with the help of my friend, Captain Morgan. I have to say, I’m not terribly broken up. I can stay in bed all day and not leave my house and do whatever I want.

However, this also means, no soap, no lip balms, no socks or gift cards for books. No baking unless I make it myself. I think I’m going to take any of the money I would have otherwise spent on gifts and maybe get myself a couple nice things. Because really, the only person you can depend on to be nice to you is yourself.

I’ve been putting together a “wish list” of some of the coolest things I’ve found online lately. Things I’ve had my eye on for when I have a few extra dollars.  I’ll share them in my next post, which I’ll try to get published either tonight or tomorrow. With pictures! Many, many pictures to make up for this post!

Do you love Christmas? Do you hate it? Leave me a comment with your thoughts! If you’re a Pagan, let me know what you do at this time of year. I’ve recently started tip-toeing down the Pagan path and am always looking for new ways to look at various days on the calendar.

Be good to each other!