Monday, January 6, 2014

Merry Madness

As seems always to be the case in my adult life, I love holidays. I get very excited when the holidays, especially at Christmas, are approaching. So excited that I take on a bunch of projects. I'm not exactly a procrastinator, because I know there won't really be time to get everything done later. Never the less, I always seem to be working like crazy right up to the deadline. In this case, Christmas morning. I was tempted to share some of these photos on Instagram, but decided against it to protect some secrets for the big day. Now that its over, I present you with an Instagram record of the craziness of Christmas!

I'll set the scene by telling you I had to go to work on Friday, December 20. I had kind of had the idea that I might be able to leave the office early - like really early. Instead, I worked until almost the usual time and then went and did battle at the Bullseye.
All these bags and nearly $200 later, I escaped and made it home safely. I was very, very lucky because that was my last trip to Target before Christmas. I had enough presents and food not to have to return to what promised to be a total war zone as the holiday approached.

I had decided months ago that I wanted to knit a hat and scarf set for mom. I started this project only a few weeks ago, back when I wound up with that little knitting injury that kept me away from my needles for two straight weeks. Basically, I had gotten this far on the project and then completely stopped. A hat? A yarmulke? Seriously - as of December 20, I was at row 22 and needed to get to row 50. Did I mention the rows keep getting bigger? EEK!

Also, I had plans to have friends over for dinner and a visit on Saturday. I wanted us to have the chance to decorate these ornaments, so I knew I needed to start by painting them. Here they are on my super fancy ornament drying system.

Oh yeah, and you heard about the hat and scarf set, right? This is the scarf. I mean, this is where I got it to by the point I went to bed on Friday. I wish I were kidding. Too bad my mom is a regular sized human being and not an American girl doll. A scarf that's 6" wide and 2" long just wouldn't do.

Remember my plans to have company on Saturday? Well, when I woke up on Saturday morning, my apartment looked like this.

Did you not get a clear picture before? How about now? A good view of what a disaster area the place is!

A few days earlier, I had made some jewelry for my co-workers. We had plans to exchange presents at work on Monday, so I had to get this stuff wrapped up. I thought you could use a break from my messy life to see these pretties!

Here's the other set. I bought some mixed-string beads at JoAnn, which enabled me to get this collage look without too much effort (or cost). I was happy to box these guys up and get them out of the way!

So, during the course of the day on Saturday, I was able to summon a cleaning tornado to come in and take care of all of this. (I mean, I summoned my own willpower to just get it done.) Also, I went out and did some last minute shopping at JC Penney for Christmas, and got my glasses adjusted (didn't help in the slightest) and picked up the Papa Murphy's I was going to serve my company.

So, the company came and we hung out and had a great time. Ornament decorating was definitely a success. Despite the fact that three of the guests have a combined age of 12, it is actually mine on the far right where the pom poms are a disaster. Maybe some more glue and patience will make it better... no time to fret about it now!

Once they were gone, I grabbed a(nother) cookie and got back to work!

As I was getting ready for bed on Saturday night, this was the extent of my scarf progress. Eek!

Sunday morning started off bright and early with coffee, more knitting, and everyone's favorite family and servants at Downton Abbey!

I took a break to address the first batch of Christmas cards - don't worry, the rest weren't sent out until after the big day. Again, no time to fret! I also took a break to spend some time with the family - we went to a movie and had a nice dinner. I was tired and tempted to bail, but it was nice to give my neck and shoulders a break from the hunching.

There was diligent effort and lots of Downton Abbey watching, and still, this was where the scarf concluded on Sunday.

And here's the hat. While it now looks like it will cover more than just the crown of Mom's head, it's still only got 34 of the 50 rows done.

I'd been kind of hoping that on Monday, I could just hole up at home and make some more real progress. No dice. Duty called and I had to report to work as regularly scheduled. And, because there were some faux-mergencies, meaning fake things that really weren't that important but that were characterized as important by people who know better, I wasn't really able to leave work early. That's okay - no change in Christmas spirit for this crazy elf!

When I got home, I got straight to work. The scarf and hat had to wait, because I had another project that I hadn't even begun. I laid out the fabric on my bed...

And then, after pinning the blanket and cutting the fringe, I settled into the chair. It was time to tie some knots and turn this into a double-layered fleece blanket for my dad!

I took a break to eat some dinner after all the knots were tied, and then it was back to the grind with the knitting. And there was some pretty darn great progress.

The hat was finally done. Hooray! I finished 'er up with the company of Netflix on my laptop screen, visible in the upper corner of this photo. It was nearly midnight and I decided to give myself a present: bedtime! I fell into bed, and then was up early in the morning, ready for Christmas Eve!

This was the status of the scarf - not so hot. I was still working away, though, as I also did the rest of my necessary projects!

I finished off the blanket for Dad - removing the pins and trimming the fringe.

I also dug in and got some presents wrapped. The red wrapping paper is now officially used up. Hooray!

With all of that done, and the scarf still very much "in progress," it was time to pack up and get the Christmas celebrating underway. I went with my family to a nice lunch that turned out to be the main meal of the day. We then went to see Saving Mr. Banks - it was cute, though a bit of a tear-jerker and a little confusing. After that, we drove home sedately through a rather perfect snowfall.

Ar home, I resumed my work at the wrapping station my parents had set up in their basement. I watched some What Not to Wear via Netflix on my tablet to keep me company. Before I knew it, the wrapping was done and I fell into bed.

I was expecting that I would wake up around my usual time - 6:30ish - and not be able to fall back asleep. I figured this would give me a good hour, or so, to do some knitting before anyone else was awake and ready to start the day. Of course, I slept in, but I had a little time.

When I woke up on Christmas morning, it looked like this.

I got back into bed, knitting in hand, and kept going while watching some more What Not to Wear. But, before long, it was time to get up and get going. I was a little bit disappointed, because the scarf really just wasn't done. I'd been temped to just cast off, finish it and not worry about the length. But, its awfully sad when a scarf is too short, because there's just nothing to be done about it.

So, I did my best:
I boxed up the hat, the scarf, the yarn and the knitting needles all together.

And this parcel soon joined all the others under the tree!

All in all, it was a joyful Christmas. I decided as I was getting into it that I wanted to show all of you the craziness that accompanies the last few days before the holiday. Many years, I'd have found myself making repeated, miserable trips to Target. It was refreshing to eliminate that this year, trading it for sore shoulders and lots of Downton Abbey. As much as it was a little nutty to attempt all of this and (sort of) finish it, it was also a labor of love. Part of Christmas. It'll be just as mad in 2014!

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