Tag Archives: winter

A Winter’s Cap

Only 4 weeks into the new year and I have my first finished object! (I’ve also read three books already this year. Whoa!)

I was intrigued by the Volkstricken Neon Ski Bonnet I found on Ravelry over the holidays. I like my knitting projects to be a little extra-spicy, to help hold my attention. With cables, decorative wrapped stitches and pom-poms, I knew I had to try it!

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The front band is actually a tube, so has a double thickness. It was super warm on my -30C walk from the car to work this morning!

 
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I’m not 137% satisfied with this hat, even though I really do love it. The picture in the pattern made it look a lot bigger. I made the Adult Large, with needles one size bigger than recommended and it still ended up being quite snug, like a touque would fit. I was also hoping the pom pom would sit more on top of my head, but it ended up being more at the back.

Side bar – pom poms. Even if you don’t sew, knit or otherwise craft, get yourself down to Michael’s, plunk down $10 and get yourself a 2-pack (one large, one small) of pom pom makers. BEST $10 I’ve spent this year so far. Even if all you do is make a pom pom, throw it at your cat, and then have her trail it into the bed every night (like, hypothetically speaking), it will be SO worth it. But once you make a pom pom, you’ll start inventing reasons to put a pom pom on things, like that “put a bird on it” episode of Portlandia.

Anyway, I still love this hat a lot. From the side, it kinda reminds me of a pilgrim lady’s bonnet.

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The colour’s been difficult to photograph. It’s a real hot-pink, although it photographs kind of rosy-pinkish. AND it has flecks of glitter in it, so you know, win.

This photo shows the colour the best and the detail in the band.

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I have some other projects that I’m working on, and as long as it continues to be cold outside and I continue to be anti-social/depressed/broke and stay in on the weekends, I expect a couple more posts with finished objects soon.

Until then, take care of each other!

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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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OOTD: Uniform of the Overworked

Friends, I’m stressed out. Work is super busy and will be all week. My coworker, who shares the same duties as me, is away this week, so I’m doing the work of 2 people. But considering that we both do the work of 2 people, I’m basically doing the work of 4 people this week.

To keep me sane while working, I’m listening to DreadCentral.com’s Dinner for Fiends podcast. I just started listening, so I have lots of episodes to catch up on and listen to throughout the day. The only other podcast I listen to is Rue Morgue –  any other podcast I try to listen to just doesn’t hold my attention. Moral of the story: I guess I need my podcasts to be funny and about dead things to interest me.

So in being stressed out and tired and winter apparently refusing to die, I haven’t had much gumption to make myself look any better than just decent. However, today I looked cute and as I left for work I thought “I hope I don’t feel like shit when I get home, I need to take pictures of this outfit!” Once I got to work, my coworker even mentioned that I needed to do an OOTD on this outfit, so I took that as a sign.

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Blouse: Ricki’s, 16  //  Pants: Ricki’s 16 //  Tie: thrifted, vintage

Wow, I never wear a shirt and pants from the same store! I just realised that. I learned how to tie a short tie on the weekend (you just tie it so the skinny part is really long, and then tuck that into your shirt between the buttons) and it’s renewed my love of neckties. This tie though, was originally from Big & Tall, so the skinny tail tucked into my shirt, into my pants and ran halfway down my leg! I’ll think I’ll cut it down before I wear it next time.

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One thing that I hate about doing OOTDs in the winter: the same shoes I wear all day are never the ones I photograph. I wear boots to work and then change into other shoes at work. Before I left work tonight, I at least remembered to photograph my shoes, because they were just too cute to leave out!

IMG_0512Payless, size 10. A little pinchy in the toes, especially after 11 hours.

I’m also tired of not doing anything with my hair, because I just smush a toque onto my head, ruining any semblance of nice hair I might have started with. I just want flowers in my hair, cute dresses and shoes and wearing less than 5 layers all the time! Normally, I find something enjoyable about every season (except Spring. I friggen hate you, Spring; the only thing redeeming about you is that you bring my birthday), but I’m officially over winter.

What do you do to shake the winter blues? Also, what’s your favourite podcast? (involving dead things or not. I can be flexible)

Stay warm and take care of each other!

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!

These Boots Are Made For Winter Part 2: The Snowening

(With a title like that, you should either a: be very very glad or b: be very very sad that I don’t write movies)

Well, it only took a week of shopping, a Thursday night hissy-fit and some honest-to-goodness tears, but I have winter boots now!

It had been a stressful, busy week – both at work and personally – and something that should have proved easy, just wasn’t. Like I said last time, I live on the Canadian prairies – a very wintery place indeed. The stores should be covered in winter boots of all styles. They should practically grown on trees or come free with any purchase of $20 or more at Tim Hortons in December.

The mall downtown has 7 stores that sell footwear. I went to them all and was given basically the same 2 options in all of them: Uggs (or Ugg-knockoffs) or Sorels (and Sorel-type moonboots). If I wasn’t given that, I was presented with shitty customer service. And I’m sorry, I’m not forking over money that I worked really hard for if I have to basically beg the people there to help me. Hudson’s Bay shoe department, I’m looking straight at you and your 4 employees who weren’t busy, but wouldn’t give me the time of day.

Because I can be a bit of a fatalist, I admit, I had a bit of a cry in the car after work about probably never getting a pair of winter boots. Ever. Then, on the drive home, as I was going past the Sears clearance centre, I decided to make a pit stop. It’s in the same mall as Value Village, so I figured I’d hit both, come out empty handed and come home to eat some feelings.

What I wasn’t expecting, was to actually find a pair of boots that I liked and could afford!

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I didn’t see a brand on them, just a tag explaining how they’re waterproof and warm and have a skid-proof sole. The price was just written in china marker on the sole. It was the only pair like it and happened to be in my size.

Maybe these boots actually did grow on trees and were just picked that morning.

I did all this shopping, but didn’t actually plan on purchasing a pair of boots this week. I was going to find what I wanted so on pay day, I could just go and get them. I’m in the middle a cash-flow problem and couldn’t justify dropping money on anything other than groceries and gas right now.

But these boots were only $39.99, and the only ones there and probably wouldn’t still be there next weekend when I get paid. They were less than half of what I was budgeting for winter boots, so I snapped them up and made plans for no-frills grocery shopping this weekend.

I wore them out yesterday and I can tell you – they are warm. I remember, about halfway through my errands on Friday afternoon, I thought “I need to get home and take these off already, my feet are burning!” And they’re relatively grippy on the ice. I mean, ice is ice, and it’s going to be slippery to some degree unless your boots are made of fire or shoot sand ahead of you as you walk.

So, all in all, I’d say these get a thumbs up!

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Fun Fact Bonus: you know those Olympic mittens that everyone and their dog have? Well, I finally got myself a pair on sale at Zellers. I wore them for probably a good three weeks before a co-worker pointed out that putting my hands together made a big white maple leaf. I did not know this at all! I just kind of grumbled every time  I put the mittens on at the dumb placement of the maple leaf on each mitten. My co-worker mentioned how I should get a picture of my reaction.

It was something like this:

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In conclusion: I now have winter boots and can stop destroying my non-winter Steve Maddens that I’d really like to be able to wear for a few more autumns yet. I am still rather perturbed at how difficult it was to find boots – in Canada! – that looked nice, fit well and didn’t break the bank.

I’ve got a crafty/look-at-me-makin-stuff post coming up. Until then, be good to each other!

These Boots Are Made For Winter

I live on the prairies in Canada. It’s a pretty wintery place. When you think of stereotypical Winter in Canada, you’re probably thinking of my corner of Canada.

This winter is no exception as it’s the snowiest winter on record, like… ever, I think. Two big snow storms in November gave us over 30%  of the snow we usually get all winter.

IMG_0002During the last storm, the snow piled on the window ledge more than halfway up the window. Until of course, the wind picked up, as it does, and blew the snow all over the freshly shovelled and plowed sidewalks and roadways.

Now of course, as a lifelong prairie-dweller, this is really no big deal. Most winters, it’s a 6-month stretch. Having more snow at the beginning of the season is really not that stressful (unless, of course, you drive a Fiat, but that’s a different story).

However, I have decided that this is the year I stop wearing two pairs of Kodiak wool socks inside a pair of Converse, or fall fashion boots (re: not lined, not waterproof, no grips)  that have no business in two feet of snow. My feet have been soaking wet every day in the winter for like 20 years. Maybe it’s time I put on my big-girl booties and buy some real-ass winter boots.

The only problem? Winter boots are fugly.

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The older I get, the more I realise that I am incredibly vain. I’m okay with that.

I will not be caught dead in a pair of Sorels (or Uggs which are, inexplicably, still wildly popular here). I need a pair of boots that look nice but are also lined and have good grips on the soles. I wear a lot of dresses and skirts through the winter still and I’m not wearing a pair of moon boots, even if it is just from the car to work and work to the car, while wearing nice shoes in the office. (I park about 6 blocks from my office, so heels or dress shoes outside of the office aren’t going to cut it).

In a perfect world, they would just make a winterized pair of Doc Marten’s and I’d be happy. But have you ever worn Docs in the winter? If you have, you probably spent a lot of time on your ass that winter. Those boots are stylish little death traps when it comes to ice! (Or rainy sidewalks, as I learned last fall…)

I need these boots to look marginally OK in a skirt or dress, be warm and keep me from slipping all over the place. They also need to not have a 3-inch heel on them. I have found numerous pairs of insulated, grippy high-heeled boots. I mean, what??

Now, despite what I just said about Sorel, they do apparently make really stylish boots, in addition to the moon-boot monstrosities.

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I mean, that is a nice boot, no? Yeah, well, it’s nearly $300, so it should be.

In addition to my boots being stylish, warm, and grippy, they need to be, well… cheap.

I’ve had many conversations with friends about how, as responsible Canadian adults, the one thing we shouldn’t skimp on is winter attire. We live in it for like 6 months of the year, we’re going to get our money’s worth.

But no matter how warm one’s feet are, they still need to pay rent and eat food. I can’t just go to my landlord and say “sorry dude, I’m only paying half of my rent this month because I’m being a responsible adult and wearing warm boots”.

So I’ve told myself that I can only spend a maximum of $100 on stylish, warm, comfy, grippy boots.

Most boots look nice in catalogues or online or even on the shelf. That’s because it’s usually a nice size 6 that you’re looking at. Size that baby up to a 10 wide and shit’s not cute anymore. However, I think I’ve found a pair that may fit the bill nicely.

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Skechers Grand Jams have a rubbery sole, fuzzy lining and I think I could get away with wearing them with a dress for 20 minutes a day. Also, they zip and lace up, which is important for people with wide calves. Which I am.

I think these are the ones I’m going get, unless something better jumps out at me before pay day.

After reading this, it’s probably no surprise I haven’t had winter boots in 20 years. I honestly don’t think I’m asking for very much though: fashion and function. It exists in nearly every other kind of garment. Why not winter boots?

What kind of winter boots are you sporting this year? Have you found something that is totally awesome that I haven’t mentioned here? Let me know!

Be good to each other! (meaning: shovel your walks and help push cars when they get stuck in the snow! Drivers of tiny little Italian cars everywhere will thank you)

 

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!