Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Recap

 Well ,what would Christmas be on a blog called "Show and Tell" if I didn't show you my holiday? Amiright? So, first we will start with the tree...
My husband and I have always purchased a real tree every year since we've been married. This year, however, my aunt was replacing her huge fake tree and wanted to know if we would like it since we were the only people she could think of with a vaulted roof to accommodate it, lol. So we took in the tree. It's 10 feet tall and has been around since 1993. It had its quirks - a wobbly base, branches that had fallen off, sparse needles, etc - but it really came to life one we showed it some love and decorated it to the fullest. I had to go out and buy 7 more strands of lights for it, lol. But it looked great once it was done. Our dog liked to stare at it and the cat loved to lay underneath it and play with the branches. The other pic in the bottom corner is of my favorite local Christmas display this year - it's a life sized nativity! I've driven past it all month long on my way to work and I decided to stop and take a picture of it on Christmas. The statues even have faces! It was so cool and the weirdest part is that it was in front of a cheap motel. This way definitely my favorite Christmasy thing to see each day :)
And what would Christmas be without baking? These were all shots from the past few weeks. I made chocolate oatmeal cookies and butterscotch cream cheese swirl brownies (not pictured) to send to my sister in Japan. The bread was for my neighbors - I gave each a loaf of fresh bread and a small jar of peach freezer jam - as well as to use in the next photo. The oven shot is our traditional Strata while it was baking. This is a tradition that my husband and I started for ourselves, I make it every year, and this year I used my own homemade bread too :) And the final shot is from the smorgasbord that is my grandmother's Christmas morning breakfast. This year she made 6 lbs of bacon alone! We always have bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns, country ham, biscuits, my strata, and the best orange juice you've ever had (it's from a local man who lives a few streets over from me). I always look forward to breakfast - you always leave  full for the rest of the day, lol.
And of course our animals always make any holiday more fun. This is the cat's first Christmas with us and she has really turned into "my cat". She follows me around and loves to snuggle with me. An early gift of sorts for me was ... a bunny! A friend of my sister's boyfriend (random, right?) had this bunny for about a year and just didn't have the time to do much with it so he was looking for a new home. I'm a sucker for oa cute animal in need, so I took him in :) He is a Holland Lop bunny, about a year old, and I've named him Louie/Louis/Lou. He is very curious and loves to be scratched. He also gets very excited about hay :) I've never had a bunny before, so it's a learning experience but he is a lot of fun. The bottom shots are from me torturing playing with our little "children". Justin's card to me included some pet antlers, which I wquickly removed and chased the animals around with. Gordo was not a fan (lol look how freaked out his face is), Daisy was just not having it at all (I could only get that streak of a photo of her as she darted away for the 5th time), but Louie was just happy to have the attention, with or without antlers :) He's very obliging.
And of course there were many gifts :) This one was easily the most personal - Justin's grandma and his mom scanned a bunch of photos from his Grandparent's house and had them made into a photo book for everyone. How cool are some of these photos?! They even included a scan of their marriage license. I'm so glad to have these to contribute to our family history.
My immediate family has a tradition that we open our presents from each other on Christmas Eve, so I was able to give out my handmade gifts. My brother's bobble bear hat was definitely a huge hit. He wore it all night and the next day, taking lots of creepy-faced pictures, lol. Also my sister loved her Lattice Cowl! She even said it looked like I bought it, lol, and she says it is very warm - this is good for her since she is always cold. And my little buddy Luke hung around with me a lot, which is always fun. He even snuggled with me on Christmas night, a rarity for anyone but mom and dad so I was thrilled.
One of the most fun gifts was my package from my sister in Japan! She got me 2 amigurumi pattern books, some candy, a kitchen timer, some fun erasers, a pill box, cute nail clippers, and a shaker of "Corn Coup Taste", lol. I'm so excited about the patterns! I took pictures of just a few to show you. Look at that deep sea diver! And inch worms! And little Coin Purse Lions! I can't wait to make them up :) And even the wrapping paper was super cute! Thanks so much, Shan!
I was really fortunate this year with the awesome gifts I got. We had our Christmas with my in-laws on the 23rd to accommodate everyone's work schedule. My mother-in-law is really great about stocking stuffers :) This year they gave me the Sizzix set I wanted along with 4 sizes of pom pom makers. She also threw in a totally new-to-me book called Adventures in Pom Pom Land. Guys, this book is so up my alley! It's all cute animals made with pom poms and needle felting - I can't wait to make one! They also got me The German COokbook by Mimi Sheraton (it's been on my wishlist for ages!) and ... a new turntable! Woo hoo! The yarn in the top corner is actually a little gift to myself, lol, I took advantage of 12 cent shipping from Joann's on 12/12 :) My husband got me Super-Scary Mochimochi by Anna Hrachovec and contributed to my Steve Carell movie collection :) And on Christmas day I got that fantastic food processor from my parents! Now I can progress in my Asian Dumplings class!
And finally, my pièce de résistance - an interchangeable knitting needle set! This was a long effort of deliberation. I've wanted a set for a while, but I had no idea what set to get. Addis? Knitter's Pride? Knit Picks? Something else? All I knew was how much I absolutely HATE the Boy fixed circulars I was using until now. I've always kind of not loved circular knitting needles, but it turns out it was just the needles I was using. I had heard good things about Knitter's Pride, but I had never tried them myself and I couldn't completely decide if I wanted wood or metal. I found the Knitter's Pride Comby Set, I decided to order it and try them out. The set includes one Dreamz, one Cubix Wood and one Nova needle tips with some cables so you can try them all, but you can also use them forever so it's not a total waste of money. This was a big help in my decision making. In the end I settled on the Dreamz set and I am so glad I did! I highly recommend buying that Comby set if you are trying to decide - $20 to test them and see what you love is better than spending $85 only to find out you don't like them, amiright? Anyway, I'm completely in love! My husband even got me a few of the crochet hook tips so I can do Tunisian crochet :) My parents bought me the Dreamz set, the chunky Dreamz set, cable needles, extra cables, connector pieces and t-pins. Justin got me 3 crochet hooks and 2 sets of Karbonz needle tips - the Dreamz didn't come smaller than a size 4 tip, so the Karbonz will allow me to make socks and whatnot :) I got all of my sets put together last night and I just love looking at all of them together :)
This face from Christmas night definitely captures my excitement :)
I even cast on my newest project on Christmas night at my parents' house :) Why wait, right? I just love these needles!
So, thank you for surviving this very long post.  I certainly lived up to my blog's name today, lol. I was extremely fortunate this year with my very generous relatives and they all got me just what I wanted :) I'm grateful to have had the true meaning behind Christmas on my mind much more this year than usual, and I hope that you did too :) The gifts are, of course, great, but it all means nothing without Christ!

So I hope everyone had as wonderful a Christmas as we did :) That you got to spend time with those you love and care about, hopefully with some delicious food in there too, lol. Merry Christmas everyone!

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