Merry Christmas! If you're Catholic, anyway! Merry belated-Christmas to everyone else!
Lip service to Chanukah, which was way at the beginning of December this year! I made a valiant attempt at latkes that was MUCH more successful than last year's, and even more so when I made them again a few days later (grating the onions instead of chopping them helped immensely, as did upping the salt, but I should have listened to my mother and used one egg instead of two; it's always one egg).
I've also discovered that using enough oil to fry them in is essential. Try as I might, a tablespoon or two just isn't enough. There has to be some depth. Anyway, we make latkes BECAUSE they're fried in oil (and apparently also to honor Judith, who has nothing to do with Chanukah, but latkes used to be made with cream cheese, and Judith tricked the enemy leader into getting drunk by feeding him lots of salty cheese and offering wine to wash it down, and then she beheaded him - it's in the Catholic Bible, apocrypha ahoy!)
I'm a little hyped up on a espresso.
We didn't do much for Chanukah besides eating latkes and doughnuts and lighting the candles, mainly because by 'we' I mean Silas and I, since Ryan was working most nights, and eight-month-olds, while appreciative of spinning tops, don't really play a mean game of dreidel. I did tell him the Chanukah story, but again, eight-month-old (incidently, you can also find the events leading up to the Chanukah story in, drumroll, please, the Catholic Bible; Protestants, we are missing out). Ryan had me watch the Rugrats Chanukah special, which was very cute, though I'm not a fan at all of the cartoon. The voices, the animation, the character design, the music . . . it all gives me a feeling of repulsion, though I do find some of the jokes pretty clever.
As deeply as we value our Hebrew roots (well, mine anyhow), Christmas will pretty much always take top billing around here. For one thing, there just isn't much call for Chanukah ornaments. I'm told the Chanukah bush is a real thing in a lot of families, but not ours. My mom barely tolerated the Christmas tree's tenuous tradition, given that Jesus probably never even saw a pine tree in all His days on Earth (we should have argued that He created them), but we put our tree up almost every year, and there's certainly no point to a Chanukah bush when you've got the real deal. A few years ago, I decided I wanted to make at least one new ornament each Christmas, and I usually end up making several.
This year, I tried Romanian Point Lace.
Fascinating, fussy technique. The end result is undeniably beautiful and very impressive, but it's going to be a while before I try it again. That being said, I've already queued up this year's RPL ornament, because I enjoy subjecting myself challenges.
I also made a wee knit mousie.
I can't begin to tell you how greatly he tickles my fancy, with his wee pink nose, beady eyes, little red hood with a green bauble, tiny bobble paws . . .
There is something deliciously satisfying about making ornaments from thread and/or fingering weight yarns. The end result is so much more 'finished.' I joined an ornament swap on Ravelry just to draw the feeling out, and while I was originally going to send the RPL holly, when I realized how much labor was going into it, I was unwilling to part with it. In a fit of insanity, I made a Feegle instead.
He's made from the brilliant Beth Ann Webber's Mini Free Spirit pattern, on a much smaller scale - I used crochet thread instead of worsted yarn, because my partner was allergic to wool and acrylic. Can we say pain in the neck? Crocheting this with thread, not my partner's allergies! But he turned out so feisty! The hair was a pain, too - if I make another one down the road I'll probably give in and do a wig cap instead of latch-hooking all those little threads directly into his scalp. I call him Wee-er-than-Wee-Jock-Jock. I had grand plans to make him a genuine great kilt on tiny scale, but the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley, and I found it couldn't be done on the minute amount of patience I had left after making the doll, so he has a wee little skirt and a wee little sash, and the ittiest-bittiest little sporran, and looks for all the world like a dangerously mischievous blue girl scout with a beard. My partner knew just what he was supposed to be, though, and was very pleased with him. I drew up a little Christmas card that showed (roughly) a tree full of Feegles, stealing the ornaments and the gifts, and brawling with the angel. I thought it was pretty darn funny. You can see her photo of it here; it also shows the teensy bit of holly I crocheted to ornament Jock's hanger, to make it more Christmas-y, modeled here on Silas's knee. The berries are beads.
I received in turn an adorable little crocheted Christmas tree from Finland. I love it! It's made from some kind of popcorn stitch, I think, and it has a lovely heft to it. I think the garland looks like icing, and the bitty star on top is too adorable. I couldn't stop smiling when I opened the package.
A little research reveals that she used this pattern from Planet June. Very pretty. I love the idea of a seed bead garland, and I'm really curious about the bobbley stitch the tree is made of.
I also started an elf and an angel, but in the flurry of gift-knitting (and crocheting, of course), they were sadly set aside to be finished later for 2013's tree