Happy New Year

Friday, December 31, 2010

Getting ready for the countdown... Hope all of you have a happy, healthy, adventurous and inspired 2011.

Christmas Eve

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It was Christmas Eve. A. was in bed, milk and cookies were set out for Santa, the tree was lit, the gifts wrapped and set out, the table was set for the next morning, and as I sat down with a glass of wine to relax and take it all in, I thought, why not knit a little Christmas ornament? I found a pattern in Debbie Bliss’ “A knitter’s year”, and in about an hour had knitted this:

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 25, 2010

To everyone out there, to all my faithful (and occasional) readers, Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. Hope your holidays are filled with joy, peace of mind and happiness.

Knitting to stay sane

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I’ve had to deal with a few health-issues lately. Nothing serious, just unpleasant little trips to the emergency room. In any case, there was some pain involved and to keep my mind (and hands) preoccupied I finished a few knitting projects. I am introducing one of them here.
I am a big fan of “the purl bee”. They have tons of great ideas and I thought that the baby rattle is adorable and a great gift idea.  So this is what it looks like:
It’s rather large, but this is my first try. I will invest in some smaller needles and thinner yarn, but overall I am pleased with the result.

A winter escapade

Sunday, December 12, 2010

One of the things I miss about Europe at this time of the year are the Christmas Markets, so I was thrilled to find out that this tradition is spreading to our side of the ocean. For the past couple of years, in the Montreal area, there are 3 Christmas Markets taking place, and we visited one yesterday.
The temperature was perfect, just below zero, not too cold. The market we drove to is called “The Marché de Noël et des Traditions de Longueuil”, and only a 30 minute ride away. It’s a collection of about 40 wooden cabins, set up in a square. Local vendors sell everything from hand-made items like decorations, paintings, wood-toys, artisan pieces, knits, to food like cheeses, jams, breads, chocolates, chocolate covered cranberries and even ice-wine.

Two of the stalls sold hand-knit things like sweaters, mitts, scarves and hats, really warm and cozy looking items out f alpaca wool, which is great for our cold Canadian winters. If only I had the time…..I would love to have a little hut like that for my own creations. So many ideas… little time!
We walked around, warmed up with some mulled wine. Tasty stuff! I wrote down the recipe for anyone who is interested, I know I’ll try and make some:
Spiced Wine
4 liters of red wine
1 cup brown sugar
1 lemon and 3 oranges cut into thin slices
The peel and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 star anise
1 pinch nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups water
Mix all ingredients and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let infuse for an hour.
Serve warm

Santa was there to talk to the kids and gather their letters to him, and A., even though reluctant at first, immediately warmed up to him once the was “bribed” with chocolate and candy-cane. A little train took all the kids for a ride around the market, and it was a hit!
There were a couple of fire-pits with bales of hay arranged around them, where you could sit and relax. It was a really cozy atmosphere and I hope that the market stays popular, because it is a charming tradition to uphold.

Christmas is coming

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I am not a winter person. Not even a little bit. Countless times I've said that come November I could barricade myself inside the house and not leave again until April. With one exception, Christmas.

I find the time starting with the first Advent enchanting. It's the first snow, the decorations, the smell of freshly baked cookies, the hot chocolate, spiced wine, roasted chestnuts and all the anticipation. Granted, it's hard to avoid the commercialization of the holidays, but it's ultimately up to each and every one of us to set limits, to make them special, to remind ourselves of what it's all about.

So I'm starting my own family Christmas traditions.

Because one of my most cherished treasures from childhood is an Advent calendar my grandmother had, I've decided to make one for A. myself.

He's only three years old, so my choices were somewhat limited. I thought for the first year I'll keep it simple. So I bought a 25 piece puzzle (I realize 24 would be the correct number, but it's not that easy to find), with a theme we're currently fascinated with (pirates), envelopes, foam snowflakes, string, clothespins, threw in some chocolate, and....voila!

I cannot wait to start building memories with my own little family, and can only hope that when my son is an adult he’ll have fond recollections of these times.