Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Contest! A Giveaway! Free Stuff!
A gifted designer from Ravelry has given me a copy of her new ebook to review and one to pass along to some lucky person...if you'd like a copy of your own, leave a comment here at my blog, and tell me who your favorite Hobbit character is.  I'll leave the contest open until midnight, December 31, 2012, and then will draw a name at random to receive a link for the download.

Josie Mercier has designed five patterns for knitwear inspired by the book The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.  You can see pictures at Josie's blog, and read about her long love of all things contained therein. 
Each brings to mind a moment in Bilbo's adventures through Middle Earth.  I am most drawn to the Elvish Singing Shawlette and the "Pocketses" vest, but I think the Mirkwood Satchel is intriguing as well. My only wish is that Josie had knit some of her projects in lighter colors, or done something different with the backgrounds to show off her lovely knits a bit better.  The charts are clear and look like they'll be easy to follow, and the patterns seem to be well-written.  I'm looking forward to casting on my first Hobbit-y project, and hope that you all will be tempted, as well!

Don't forget to leave your comment below so that you can be entered in the drawing. One entry per person, please.  This is my first real giveaway, and I am easily confused! :D 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ghosts of Christmas Past
And so, I have put up a tree this year.  It's a job that's always filled with emotion, with memories, with so much of my life.  Christmas was a very special time when I was a child, and for as long as my mother was alive, but it has become more difficult since her passing some years back.
Last year, it was too much to bear, and I could not bring myself to open those boxes and let the ghosts out.
This year, I decided I had to do it. It was poignant. There were a few tears. I am, however, glad that it is done.
My tree is not 'themed', it is not coordinated, it doesn't play music or look especially stylish.  My ornaments are bits and pieces of my life, and each one has meaning.
Here are a few of them:
This one is from my first birthday party, in late November of 1957.  My mother bought these Santa ornaments at our local variety store, and each of the children at the party had a little hat with one of these perched atop it.  I have two of the Santas left now.  They are showing their age, but my tree wouldn't be the same without them!

 I bought this little bride on the day that I bought my wedding gown, in 1973.  There is also a silk rose corsage that was given to me by my mother, and a silver swan that came from a shop in the town where my husband grew up.

 There are many miniature books on my tree, including tiny reproductions of the Little Golden Books that filled my childhood bookshelves, a wee edition of A Child's Christmas in Wales, a red-and-gold-bound copy of The Night Before Christmas.  Books are such an important part of my life, I couldn't possibly leave them off my Christmas tree!
This little porcelain doll is one of several that my mother used to decorate her trees.  The snowflake was crocheted by a former co-worker of mine.  We made a deal: she hated to block her work, and I do not enjoy crocheting.  She made the snowflakes, I starched and blocked them, and we divided them between us. 

This was one of the first collectible Hallmark ornaments I purchased.  When you press a button on the back, it plays a recording of Neil Armstrong's famous lunar landing speech.

There are ornaments made by my mom, by my brother-in-law, by my son, by my Cub Scouts, many years ago, by friends, and by me. 

There are whimsical additions, and beautiful ones.


And yes, there is even a collection of Star Trek ornaments!
This one plays a special Christmas message from Mr. Spock.

And here are two special friends that I had not seen for several years, since we packed them up after our last Christmas at the other house.  It was such a joy to find them once again!
Many years ago, when I was much younger, I made dolls.  I made them every year for quite a long time, one for each of my nieces.  They were not original designs, in fact for each one I used a purchased pattern, but each one had its own individuality.
These were two of the last that I made, after the girls were 'too old' for Aunt Becky's handmade dolls.
Before these, I never made one for myself, and I have no pictures of any of them!
I hope if one of my nieces still has hers and should happen to read this, that they will email me some pictures of their Christmas dolls.
Each one was made with great love and care.

And so, Christmas is coming.
Be well. Be happy.

Next post, coming soon, a giveaway! I have been gifted by a fellow member of Ravelry with a copy of an ebook of knitting patterns inspired by The Hobbit.
Check back soon, and enter to win it for yourself.