Dwarven Advent

My friend Liz, who shares my interest in Thorin Babenshield, said there ought to be a dwarf-themed advent calendar, and so I have made one! Enjoy.

(I will activate each link as we get to the day. This is about as low-tech as a digital advent calendar gets, so bear with me please.)

December 1

December 2

December 3

December 4

December 5

December 6

December 7

December 8

December 9

December 10

December 11

December 12

December 13

December 14

December 15

December 16

December 17

December 18

December 19

December 20

December 21

December 22

December 23

December 24

The Meal I Didn’t Cook

So…I cancelled Thanksgiving. I mean, not for everyone else. But I am not cooking.

The main reason is the paramedics who checked me out on Saturday night, and I don’t mean they thought I was cute. (I mean, maybe they did? But probably not.)

I’d worked all day at a roller derby tournament. I ate and hydrated (though I maybe could have hydrated more) but around 10:00 I very abruptly felt like I was going to fall asleep immediately. My friends helped me lie down and got the in-house medical staff, who determined that I had zero blood pressure. Someone called Will, and someone else called 911, and more paramedics showed up. (What up, Dan O’Bannon zombies.) I was hooked up to an EKG, which determined that I was probably not having a heart attack. The dizziness passed and my blood pressure went back up to normal-ish. At that point, I just felt tired, so I declined a ride to the hospital, where I know from experience you can’t get any sleep, and went home.

I feel…not great, but not terrible. I’ve decided to avoid driving or going very far from home without another adult for a few more days. (Grace is angling for a trip to Starbucks. I might try it. It’s only four blocks.)

So, I need to find a doctor. I haven’t had one for a few years. Ugh, what a drag.

I’m a little sad about not making this amazing feast, but not at all sad about not doing the actual work of making this feast, since making rice yesterday was a little challenging. Hi, I need a break. Anyway, I thought the menu was pretty excellent and wanted to share it.

Hors d’oeuvres
Cranberry chevre
Toasted baguettes

Roast turkey
Cornbread dressing with onion and sage
Baked macaroni & cheese
Cranberry sauce
Mashed potatoes
Dinner rolls (I was going to buy these)
Creamed spinach
Roasted Brussels sprouts

Pumpkin pie with whipped cream
Applejack (homemade apple-cinnamon whiskey)

Man, now I’m really hungry.

We are still making mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, and pumpkin pie. Will is going to have a steak and I am going to have macaroni and cheese that I bought at the store. (Actually, Will bought it at the store.) The children can have anything they want.

LOW STRESS HOLIDAYS. Let’s make it a thing.

(Also, there’s more applejack for us this way. Ha.)


Deadlines just about killed me this year. I only missed one, but I really missed it. (And actually, now that I think about it, I also managed to miss a few baby knits I intended to make.)

The worst part (besides the stress and guilt) was that I didn’t really enjoy gift-giving this Christmas. I rushed to finish gifts for my nephews and when they were done I just felt sad and empty. And because I’d so overcommitted myself during the year, no one else got anything.

So here is my 2013 resolution: I am just going to make stuff for people whenever I feel like it. NO DEADLINES. (That includes Christmas. For real, I forbid myself to make Christmas a deadline this year. Let’s see if I manage to hold to that one.)

So if you’re on my Nice list, you might get a surprise in, like, April. Or September. Or something.


(The title of my post is a pun. I feel the need to point that out because everybody knows that pointing out the pun makes it even funnier.)

For posterity, an incomplete list of our Christmas booty:


  • power drill
  • books on leather carving
  • assorted other books including the Batman: Arkham Asylum comic, a cowboy RPG book, and replacements of two favorite anthologies)
  • Lego: Lord of the Rings for the Wii
  • Dracula score by the Kronos Quartet
  • Punisher: War Zone blu-ray


  • Skylanders for the 3DS
  • assortment of Marvel and DC heroes and villains
  • Draw Write Now
  • Hungry Hungry Hippos
  • The Avengers blu-ray
  • Justice League, the complete series (including JLU)
  • Harry Potter movies 3 & 4
  • penny whistle
  • new PS3 controller (so he can play with his dad)


  • toy drill
  • robot building game
  • BusyTown game
  • all of the Playmobil (ALL OF IT)
  • Brave DVD
  • Tiny Toons (first season)
  • rubber stamps and washable ink stamp pads
  • glockenspiel (like a xylophone but with metal keys)


  • yarn ball winder
  • Scarf Shop scarf (in Fog)
  • blue canary nightlight
  • Holga camera
  • The Fall and Lockout on blu-ray
  • immersion blender (I actually got TWO! I’m returning one.)
  • Swiss Army watch (which turned out to be a men’s style and too big, so I’m exchanging it.)

As you can see, it was a banner year. 2012 has been really incredibly difficult in a lot of ways, which makes this bounty extra nice.

Now on to Grace’s third birthday, the New Year, and Will’s 38th birthday!

Merry Christmas! and Year-End Pattern Sale

We had a great day.

Christmas Eve was a blur of homemade pizzas and A Christmas Carol (both The Muppets and Orson Welles with the Mercury Theater), and then putting presents out once the children were in bed. We assembled the tent, and when Sam got up this morning (at 4:30 in the morning) he saw it and said, “I don’t believe it!”

One of my New Year’s resolutions last year was to publish 12 patterns. I didn’t quite make it–the year is closing out with 10 published patterns, but I do have two more completed and waiting for publication (one in a book and one by a yarn company) so I’m not complaining. I am looking forward to my design break and knitting 13 shawls (and a cardigan) in the new year!

To close out 2012, I am offering all of my self-published patterns at Buy One, Get One. Just add any two patterns to your Ravelry cart and the discount will be automatically deducted. Treat yo self! (I really wish Donna and/or Retta was my friend.)

Scary Christmas

Grace’s advent calendar this year was Playmobil dinosaurs. I think it is from last year or possibly even the year before, but her uncle Shelby tracked one down for her.

She is crazy about dinosaurs and has loved opening her calendar toy every day. Today, the ultimate day of Advent, she got a break-open egg with a baby dino inside.

This afternoon, she and Sam were playing when suddenly Grace came running to me in the kitchen. “Sammy scared mine baby dinosaur!”

I may possibly have taken a Calvin’s Dad tact. “No one can scare a baby dinosaur! It will eat anyone who tries. Go tell Sammy your dinosaur will eat him if he scares it again.”

She ran back over to Sam. “Sammy! DON’T EAT MINE DINOSAUR!”

December Project #whatever

So much time, so little to do! AHHH HOW IS CHRISTMAS IN FIVE DAYS!?

I finally got my nephews’ gifts sent off. Inside the packages are superhero capes, which I failed to photograph. They’re red on one side and deep blue on the reverse. I’m really pleased with how they came out.

I’m also really delighted with the wrapping! I got the idea on Pinterest (where else).

Christmas and Birthday and Presents, Oh My!

We went to Ikea today because I’d gotten a circular about their three day sale. Normally I only participate in Black Friday-type events online, but Ikea had their Circus Tent marked down to $7.99 and that was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

The trip overall was a mixed bag. The store wasn’t any more crowded than it is on any weekend. Sam remembered about SmÃ¥land and begged to stay there and play. Grace wanted to play too and was bitterly disappointed when she was told that she’s too small, which was a tremendous injustice for all of us (she is just a hair too short). We got the tent, a few kitchen things I needed, some wrapping paper, and a plush snake that Will thinks Grace needs (he is not the only one subject to these whims–I bought her a plush rat, which will come in handy if the snake gets hungry).

Most importantly, the purchase of the tent means that we are nearly ready for Christmas! I’ve already ordered the children’s individual gifts (superhero figures for Sam; a Minnie Mouse watch and polar bear for Grace), the tent will be for them both, and I have just to pick up some stocking stuffers and our annual tradition of new pajamas for Christmas Eve.

And then comes herself’s birthday! I am making her a Black Apple Doll and Dala Horse bunting to hang over her bed. We’ll have her party in January when her friends are back from vacations, but of course I’ll make her some cake on her day.

I’m worried that I should make something for Sam. Not should-should, but want to-should. I love giving him stuff I’ve made! Plus I am worried that the superheroes aren’t enough gift, even though there are four of them and it’s exactly what he asked for. I’ve been trying to figure out what to make for like a month, though! I can’t think of anything! (I need to knit him a new cardigan but that is way too time-intensive. He’s getting big and I am super-burned out on knitting.) Any ideas?