Saturday, December 20, 2008


my new favourite word - I want a t-shirt...
They sure weren't kidding - over a foot of snow, blustery winds, just generally curl-up-by-the-fire kind of stuff - although, of course, some of us were undaunted by the whole thing
apparently, there's another similar storm coming by here tomorrow, and then another one - maybe - on Tuesday... thank God I have a neighbor with a snowblower who appreciates a good bottle of wine as payment -

so when last we spoke, I was finishing up my Wisconsin saga - as Kelly pointed out in the comments, I forgot to mention that one of the things we had been seeking was Christmas dishcloth cotton - hard to imagine, but it was almost impossible to find. Until we got to a Ben Franklin in - help me, Kel, I don't recall where - all I know is that we found a few skeins in the back, priced at $1.49 (or 47), and Kelly SCREAMED and dropped to her knees in front of the yarn cubbies tearing through them, ripping out all the skeins she could find - we tried to be casual when we cashed out, but I think the gals working there must have seen us, because they were less than impressed with the whole thing. Can't beat the price, though...

so my last trip tidbit was on my way home, at the airport, after I had checked through and was going through security. I had all my little lotions and potions appropriately bagged, sent my carry-on through the xray and heard "BAG CHECK", in a Selma Diamond-type voice. Idiot that I am, I had carefully packed a souvenir from Kelly in my clothes, so it wouldn't break -
Why I had to check my carry-on
Never even dawned on me that it was more than 3.5 ounces...

So I got a tour through the back part of the security area (and seeing it, I understand why some of these folks are less than happy at work), went through the check-in line all over again and checked the damn bag.

And I came home to full-out Christmas:
nice homecoming
the welcoming committee;
finished Ramona's Shibuiknits glovesHP Sock the first, for ChristmasSpiraluscious cowl for KathyMitts for Catherine's friendTrisha's mittsCatherine's mittsTanner's sock #1Sammie's Mitts
the gift knitting (which is almost, but not quite, done, as is the tradition at this festive time);
the baking, which will be undertaken in full force tomorrow.
Oh, and these... I have to mention these, P1010718which I found on Glenna's site - the pattern is called Korknisse, each one takes maybe 15 - 20 minutes for me to make, and they are completely addictive. Plus, since each one uses a cork, well, you follow my logic here, right? So in addition to everything else, I am making these for people, attaching them to gifts and thinking that, with the crocheted loop I am attaching, they can be used as decorations. I LOVE THEM.

So now we're in the homestretch. Some of us are knitting, or baking, or shovelling. Some of us are waiting, maybe for Santa, maybe for a squirrel dressed like Santa
And some of us are already in the spirit, and just can't help celebrating
Ho, ho, ho...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Home Away From Home, Part II - The Road Trip

So, after our leisurely Thanksgiving Thursday and Black Friday events, Kelly and I hit the road on Saturday for a trek north of Eau Claire. Our goals? Yarn and lattes, natch.

We started out badly, with Kelly experiencing severe discomfort in her left eye almost as soon as we headed out. She had forgotten her glasses, and we couldn't go back home because it had sapped almost all of her energy to pry herself away from Sam, her son, who was not pleased with our plans. So on we went, made an emergency stop at a drug store en route for eye drops that, from the sounds of it, burned the original pain right out of Kelly's cornea and gave her something else to focus on. The girl's a trouper, though, so we carried on.

My recollection of the order of things may be off, so Kel, feel free to correct me where necessary. We found ourselves a couple of cute little church craft sales in St. Albans Road trip pit stop, where some Christmas purchases were made. Lots of interesting items, some very handmade and others not-so-much. We also found the first place Kelly had written on her list of things to see, which was a goldmine Wonderful shop! - really nice selections of yarn, books, pottery, paintings - really, they have the whole arts thing covered. Across the street, we found some more items of interest (well, they were of interest to me, coming from well-behaved, buy my meat at the grocery store Southern Ontario) What all the hunters are wearing this season I will never get used to this stuff - all your bow hunting needs in a festive, Christmasy setting...

After the excitement of the craft sales, we needed nourishment pronto, and so found ourselves here Home of the BEST donut and latte, where we got ourselves Nutty Englishman lattes and the BEST donut ever - fried cinnamon. Need I say more?

We achieved our destination after a couple of hours, Kelly's eye still smarting but bearable - PB290082, located in the town of... what??? Are you ready?? CABLE, WI. I'm sorry, but that is just too perfect.

And the shop itself is just lovely, well worth the trip. In fact, Kelly was completely overwhelmed at one point PB290084, and we both had to catch our breath. PB290085 I would like to point out here that I am wearing an $80 Hanna Anderson sweater that Kelly got at a thrift sale (like a garage sale, but more of a religious experience in WI) for $1, and which didn't fit her - SCORE!

We went across the street from Pine Needles to a book/craft sort of shop owned by the yarn shop owner's daughter, which was fabulously sophisticated and small town corny, all at the same time PB290087. How come we don't get chili and hot dogs before our Christmas parade, huh??

It was time to start making tracks south again, before it got dark, so we made one more latte stop at a cute little shop right beside thisPB290088 - no, we didn't "bite", but I will always wonder how big a world record musky actually is. There was one more quick stop which I did not photograph because my lens was not big enough - Bargain Bill's - think of the biggest dollar store ever, with everything you can imagine, and then triple it. Still probably not big enough. It was honkin'... 'nuff said.

And with that, we got ourselves home before dark (which is important in deer country), got into our flannels, watched Elf (which was a nice change after 2 nights of highly depressing flicks) and knit.

next time: Part III - The Trip Home, The Homecoming, and OH MY GOD Christmas is how soon???!!!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Home Away From Home, Part I - The Trip

I was lucky enough to be invited again to visit my BFF Kelly and her family for their Thanksgiving celebrations last week. I agreed on the condition that we did NOT get up at 3:30am this year to shop on Black Friday, to which Kelly agreed - I think it took both of us a week to get over the whole thing -

So I left last Wednesday, having printed off my boarding pass the night before, and got to the Toronto Airport with one carry-on and my purse - all smug and prepared, that was me.

Until I went through security, where I found that my cherished Swiss Army knife, which I thought was in another purse, was in fact with me. I asked if I could put it in my bag and check it, but was told that because I had chosen the 'No Check' option when I bought my ticket (back in September, when gas prices were scary-high, and luggage was being charged for), I could not. I asked if they could mail it to me and got a small, smug smile.

So it's gone. Sigh.

The flight was uneventful, except for the young gal sitting next to me who asked for a piece of my granola bar. She didn't get one.

My first day state-side was spent poking around Minneapolis and St. Paul, and finding some fabulous yarn shops, some of which I forgot to take pictures of. We went to the Yarnery, which is very nice and well-stocked, and bought nothing (I know!). Next stop was Borealis Yarns, which is one of my two favourites from this visit. The shop is big and bright, TONS of stock, the girls working there are utterly friendly and helpful, AND there is a sandwich shop/cafe next door. The only improvement I could see would be a wine/sandwich shop/cafe next door. We both did our best to help them out in these financially unstable times, and when my box from Wisconsin gets here, I'll show you how I helped. Yes, that's right, I mailed myself a box. Of stuff that I bought. So?

We found another beautiful shop, Depth of Field, and entered through their back door, which was nicely marked PB260064.
The shop is lovely, old floors and exposed brick, and two levels of all kinds of yarn PB260062, including a decent supply of blaze orange yarn PB260063, always important in hunting country.

Kelly introduced me to a few members of her knitting group, which, incidentally, she started, and I got to show Jill and Kelly how to use Jill's swift Jill and me learning how to swift and Kelly's ball winder PB270067. In the first shot, I am wearing the Cozy V-Neck Pullover in Stephanie Japel's Fitted Knits, which I finished especially for the trip. It was, in fact, still damp from blocking when I got there so I had it wrapped in plastic in my suitcase.

Thursday was, of course, Thanksgiving, and after a great meal at Kelly's in-laws, why, we shopped, of course. Some stores were open, and they were selling things at their Black Friday prices. Much more civilized than 3:30am, in spite of the fact that we were served by a cashier from the backwoods of Deliverance-territory, and as a result missed out on lattes by 10 minutes. But we survived, mostly because we are so mature and wise. A bout of serious cussing in the car helped, too...

Next up... The Road Trip...