Wow, this cold weather has knocked me for a loop. It’s 24° (not taking into account the wind chill) for a high at 3:30 p.m.
right now when I started this missive. I thought my nose would shatter off of my face while I exercised the dogs today. How come they seem to love it when it’s this temperature? I can’t convince them to come in no matter how hard I beg and chase them around their pen (maybe that’s part of the fun for them.) All my time seems to be spent trying to keep warm, do chores, and back up three years of digital photos to disks (argh!) but I thought I’d try extra hard to check in with you today.
One thing brightening my days as I tend to the livestock has been Gemma’s CogKNITive podcast. I find the musings of this knitting prison psychologist absolutely hysterical. Gemma also offers up useful life skills tips, from a cognitive behavioral modification perspective. In other words, she reminds you to take a step back and think about what you’re doing, and why, so that you don’t react to everything in your life emotionally. I find this very helpful. Another podcast I’ve been enjoying is Knitting Rose.
I have been seeing, and been given, so many interesting things lately. I thought that with the holidays coming up I’d share some shopping resource links in case you’re looking for gift ideas for your family and friends, and post some of my favorite pics to cheer you up during this busy season. So here’s the first entry of “Stasia’s Faves.”
First I’ll tell you about some of my favorite Etsy shops. I just received these beautiful olive oil lamps today. They were a custom order from the lovely Karen at One Wintry Night Pottery. It was great to work with Karen to have these made – they’re just what I was looking for. The cool thing about olive oil “candles” is that they’re non-allergenic, and the oil won’t ignite if the lamp spills. Karen had the great idea to put a little rim underneath the lamps to prevent tippage. The glaze is a lovely khaki green with purple and blue inside the bowls. I can’t wait to order from Karen again.
These adorable mugs were a gift from my dear friend Miss Kary. She had them custom made with my mammoth jackstock jennet (big donkey) Tikki on them. How cool is that?
They were so cute and sweet that I burst into tears when I saw them. They are by Memekiwii, who makes all sorts of wonderful creations.
The ornament above is from a local Scandinavian imports shop. It is a Nisse – a sort of farm elf who secretly helps with chores – on a goat. One is supposed to put a bowl of porridge with a pat of butter on it in the barn on Christmas Eve so you keep a helpful Nisse happy.
I love anything Scandinavian- or folksy-looking, as well as Scandinavian food (an upcoming post will feature Chef Jeff preparing venison according to a fantastic Scandinavian recipe from Andreas Viestad!) I love red jackets with pointy hoods and colorful trim such as the anoraks made by Wintergreen in Ely, MN.
Swedish Dala horses, Swedish clogs, Norwegian sweaters, books by Sigrid Undset… I’m just Scandinavian at heart. Perhaps some of my Russian ancestors mingled with the Finns?
My favorite yuletime holiday decorations are my little straw julbok – oh darn it, I found that link just to show you what they are, but it looks like I may have to do my part to support the economy in a minute, that’s so cute! While we’re on the subject of cookies thanks to that link, I stocked up on some cutters and deocrating sugars from FancyFlours.com and I can’t recommend them highly enough – they ship really fast, and everything is wrapped beautifully in tissue, with a sugar cookie recipe included (Nannette H., don’t even look; I sent the girls something from there today to keep them out of your hair while you’re studying!) Check out their blog for some wonderful ideas. YarnArtists (my new word for knitters and crocheters, inspired by Cat Bordhi, who tells us in her CraftSanity interview that the distinction will soon blur beyond recognition) will love their sweater, cap, mitten, and stocking cookie cutters.
Back to elfwear. I love that Wintergreen clothing, and have a pair of mittens and a hat through which I feel absolutely no cold, even in the most bitter weather. If you’re looking for something warm for a loved one, take a peek! The clothing is made very well, as one would expect from a small, hometown company formed by people who have been to the polar ice cap, and who run dogsledding vacations. But though I’ve lusted after one of their red, elfie anoraks for years, I couldn’t justify getting one only to get donkey dirt and goatie hoofprints all over it. Lands’ End had free shipping today so I got this practical coat instead, in manure brown so it won’t show the dirt so much. ETA: Deer season opened today and I realize the stupidity of having purchased a brown jacket to work out in the pasture!
On to current favorite foods. I told you about the cupcakes from Dessert First – I’ve been there twice more, and actually saved some cupcakes long enough to get a photo for you. I can assure you, they disappeared in less than five minutes of taking this shot. They were chocolate, pumpkin, and red velvet – yuuuuummmmmm… Barstow Street is my favorite street in Eau Claire, what with Yellow Dog Knitting, Dessert First, and the Scandinavian and Native American shops within easy walking distance.
I guess that won’t help you if you’re not in this neck of the woods, but perhaps there is a special bakery in your town which you haven’t yet tried? Why not explore something new and get yourself a treat while you’re shopping for everyone else?
Now my favorite current knit. Dixie from YDK (one of my favorite people!) is going to learn Norwegian so that she can converse with the manufacturer of her new yarn line, Garnstudio/Drops. I wonder if I could convince her to pack me in a suitcase and smuggle me aboard her flight if she goes over for a visit? The last time I was in her shop I purchased some wonderful Garnstudio alpaca yarn to make a shawl that Dixie had on display – I’ll be casting on very soon. The pattern shows it in their Kid Silk, but mine will be in a denim blue alpaca with a tiny strand of silver Glitter carried along.
Of course, no list of my faves would be complete without my kids, so here are some shots to give you a smile. Our house doesn’t get above 58° indoors in the winter (sometimes just 45° at night in the bedroom!), so the furbabies are usually found snuggling together for warmth, as Emma and Squeaky, Max, and Barley are doing above.
My last fave of the day is this picture of Molly as a baby. She still makes me smile every single time I see her, with her comical ways and quizzical looks.
OK, I’ve been working on this for five hours… time to go knit!
I’m Listening To…