Monthly Archives: December 2017

PODCON

Woo!  You guys!  I just had a super fun weekend with my husband at the first annual (hopefully) PODCON in Seattle.  It was a great weekend of podcasts, podcasters, and podcast listeners.We got to watch live tapings of several of my favorite shows, and podcasts I’d never heard about before.  It was so much fun!

And I got a lot of knitting done.

Because what’s better than a fantastic podcast?  Knitting while listening to your favorite podcast.

They’re basically made for each other.

If you’re not on the podcast bandwagon yet, they’re essentially independently-produced radio shows that you can sign up for with an app on your phone or computer.  Some are from bigger names (NPR has a huge collection of podcasts, as well as some podcast “networks” like Earwolf, and Maximum Fun), but a bunch are just made by people who are passionate about something, know how to use a microphone, and want to share their excitement.

Think about them as on-demand, specific radio shows.  News, fiction, comedy, science- it’s all there!

I want to share a couple of my current favorites, if you’re looking for something new to listen to.

Every weekday morning, I start my day by listening to Up First from NPR.  It’s a 10 to 15 minute little synopsis of the important news of the day.  It’s a great, succinct, wrap up from a reputable source of news every morning, hosted by the folks that put on Morning Editon.Another podcast I listen to as soon as it goes live is My Favorite Murder.  Now, I realize this might be a little dark or grizzly for some people, but I gotta admit, I love a true crime story.  The hosts of MFM share interesting stories of crime (usually murder, but not always), with a weirdly positive spin- they talk about mental health, personal safety and other positive things between all that death.  (And it’s really funny… I know I’m not selling it correctly, but I promise, it’s good.)If My Favorite Murder is too dark for you, then Wonderful! might be just what you’re looking for. It’s hosted by a very charming husband and wife team, and the concept’s so simple, I wish I had come up with it myself!  They literally spend their hour each week talking about things they think are wonderful.  You’ll get music recommendations, you’ll learn about cool animals and non-profits, and you’ll be reminded of great TV shows and board games from when you were a kid.  (It’s silly, but Wonderful! is really wonderful.)

Do you listen to any podcasts?  What’s your favorite?

Inspiration: Christmas Cookies

I mentioned on Wednesday that I’m getting ready to begin my yearly Epic Baking Adventure.  I’ve been doing my Epic Baking Adventure just about every year since college, with more or less Epicness depending on the year.  I usually make a half dozen (or more) types of cookies, give them out to friends, take them when I visit someone’s house, and (honestly) eat more of them than I should.

Every year, the menu varies slightly (usually by adding on an extra variety or two).  This year, I’m making sugar cookies (of course), chocolate crinkles, spritz, pfeffernusse (a must-do holiday tradition in my husband’s family), mocha meringues (if it doesn’t rain too much), and soft caramels.  And, maybe I’ll add on a cookie or two if I get done with those too quickly.  (We’re having a small Christmas this year, just the two of us, so I’m trying not to go too over the top.)

Let’s celebrate Christmas Cookies with some cookie-themed patterns:

This little guy is too cute!  I love the big red gumdrop buttons and the “piped” icing details.  I’m not actually a big fan of gingerbread cookies.  If I’m going to make gingerbread, I usually make a big old gingerbread cake and serve it with generous dollops of whipped cream.  Yum!

Christmas Gingerbread Boy by Teresa AlvarezI love that this designer made patterns for 5 different cookies.  I think the variety is really what makes Christmas cookies special.  When else do you get to make (and eat) dozens and dozens of different cookies without guilt?

Christmas Deco Cookies (Set of 5) by Eva PolaripopAnd how could you forget Santa?! The most fiendish of cookie fiends!  When we were kids, my brother and I would always leave out cookies and milk for Santa (even though we didn’t super believe in him, it was better to be sure… just in case).  I love these cookies- you could totally use them as super-cute coasters this winter.

Santa’s Cookies by Jessica SpencerI can’t wait to get baking this year!

What cookies are tradition in your house?

 

Holiday Check-In

Hi guys!  How’s your holiday season shaping up?  We’ve got less than a week until Haunnukah begins, about two weeks until my brother’s birthday, and just under three weeks until Christmas.  (What?  You don’t celebrate my brother’s birthday, too?!)

How is your gift preparation going?  Are you furiously knitting away, or are you already planning on wrapping up a half-finished scarf for your mom this year?  I’m keeping it super low-key this year, and the few gifts I’m knitting for people have already been finished.  Actually, I’m mostly just diving into my Finished Object Stash for knitted gifts this year.

It’s lucky that I decided to take it easy on my knitting this year, though, because it turns out I have a new work knitting project that’s due just after the new year.  So, I’ve definitely got my hands full this winter.While I don’t have a lot of specifically Christmas-themed knitting, I do have a TON of baking I still have to do yet.  And, unfortunately, you can’t really get your baking done that early.  So, I guess I’ll have my hands full (and covered in butter and flour) from next week through Christmas.

I think I’m OK with that- there’s nothing more festive than spending the day (or the week) filling up your house with a half-dozen types of Christmas cookies.

How’s your holiday to-do-list going?

Christmas Balls Are Go!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

What? It’s not Christmas yet?  But I’m drinking my morning coffee with egg nog instead of milk, and I may have just eaten a sugar cookie (breakfast of champions!), and my house is festive as all get out!  It certainly feels like Christmas around here.

We decorated last weekend.  Our front yard is full of twinkling lights (though some of our strands of lights are starting to get a little sad- I think we’re going to need to buy new ones for next year).  We’ve hung the stockings by the chimney with care, and we put up out (not quite straight) Christmas tree.

Usually I’m a “let’s use every single ornament we’ve ever come across” kind of tree decorator.  It’s usually packed to the gills, with almost every branch holding at least an ornament or two.  But this year we switched it up…

And used my Christmas Balls!I managed to finish 24 balls (I still have a handful that haven’t been filled yet), which turned out to be just enough to decorate the front of the tree!  I love how bold and cheerful they turned out.They look great, and (bonus!) I don’t have to worry about the dog pulling down the tree and breaking everything.I couldn’t be happier with how they’ve turned out.  Now I just have to make the other 30-ish balls, to finish out the book.  Maybe by next year, I’ll have them all finished?

(I tried to get a nice picture of Ollie in front of the tree, but he didn’t want to cooperate.  So, here’s the best one.)Have you decorated for the holidays yet?  What

Baby Sweater is Go!

It’s done!  And I gotta say, it’s really satisfying to make a whole sweater in about a week (OK, maybe it was two, but I was dawdling).I love the little wooden buttons (that I found in my button stash!) and the Berroco Vintage is so stinking soft and cozy.  I love the little-old-man collar and the cute little raglan shoulders.I even love the fact that it the sweater has one green cuff.  I ran out of gray at the last minute, and while I could have ripped back the sweater and taken some of the length off of the bottom of the sweater (it did turn out a little long… I think… how big are babies, again?), but I wanted to keep this project as quick and easy as possible.  So, I just grabbed a little green Vintage I’ve had stashed away.  It ended up being perfect!

I wish grown-up sweaters worked up as fast as ones for babies!

Have you done any fun, quick projects lately?