Monday, January 9, 2012

Yule 2011: The Gifts

This yule was distinctive in many ways. The first is that it may be the last solstice we spend in my beloved (rented) house. My mom and I moved in 8 years ago. It had been closed up for 2 years and needed a lot of work. Luckily, the landlord is a friend and let us do whatever we wanted. The walls are full of color and art and bookshelves. I'll miss it when I go.

Next, I had a few friends stay for the duration. This means I FINALLY got a solstice party! (Longest Night post is next up!)I'm no experienced hostess, but I *think* everyone had a good time. It was a bit crowded, especially once we stole a tree from the curb on Christmas Eve... The additional guests meant I had 3 more fantastic gifts to make in time for the holiday. December is crunch time, and this year included cleaning and preparing for extended guests, and ALL THE PRESENTS!

Third, and quite honestly, the most dramatic, was the absence of mom for the actual holiday. It was good, and it was bad. Good in that there were fewer people and dogs in my house, and bad, because mom missed what may be our last holiday here. It wasn't ideal in that sense.

Because of the excitement around this particular week, I felt like some of the gifts may have been a little less than awesome. This is, once again, an incomplete list of gifts I made. I have a horrible tendency to make it and either forget to photograph, or immediately wrap it up...

The Infinity Scarf. Made for my sister, and possibly completely ineffective at blocking cold.

Made for .. someone. i think it was requested by my mother for a friend. From the Hermione Hearts Ron knitting pattern. Also made one in brown.

Another hat made upon request. I don't recall the name of the pattern, but this hat ultimately caused me more emotional trauma than a hat has ever done. The pattern's a breeze, however. I highly recommend it. It was just all the associated misunderstandings. Commissions are sometimes hell.

A lightweight, lacy scarf made for my mother. I'm nearly certain it will never be worn. The scarf actually LOST some structure once I rinsed it for blocking. And there are very visible tension flaws. It's a heavy scarf for such an open pattern. I learned a lot about choosing the proper yarn for a project.

What do you get a Civil War reenactor and blacksmith? Why, a long stocking cap, of course! (Thankfully, his wife gave me a head's up on this one! Guys are so hard to craft for!) The pattern is based on one I found for a hat seen in A Christmas Story, since I completely suck at choosing colors for knitted things. Instead of gold, I used light brown and instead of omgsomanycastonstitches and size 7 needles, I used 9s and cut my cast on by 20!

I made a few of these this season. Shrink plastic and chain. Hope they have as much fun wearing them as I had making them!

A logo thing from a favorite video game played by one of my guests. I hadn't done a lot of shaping with the shrink plastic before, so I had to heat this a few times to get it right, but draping it over a glass spice jar got the effect I wanted perfectly. It's not great at holding hair, and she's got a LOT of it.. Still, as an accessory, it has potential, I think.

These were inspired by some etsy offerings I saw in my emails one day. My mom *adores* her dogs, so I thought it would be nice to give her something to celebrate their existence. The resin experience wasn't terrible, but it also wasn't something I want to do frequently. It didn't dry as clearly as I'd like, and the kind of paper used to present the image makes a difference as to whether the colors stay accurate. Turned out nice, tho.

These are shrink plastic necklaces I made for my Chikara. The cupcake is NOT my design, tho I did add crossbones to it to make it special for her. The dino skull and crossbones was her idea...some time ago. I write down all kinds of things for her, and save links she shares and then cobble things together later. She's by far the easiest person to craft for! Would that you all were so simple!

After the doggie silhouettes were in the brain, traditional silhouettes became an obvious choice for our hard-to-homemade-craft-for mom friends. All that was left was to spray paint some old frames and find some archival paper to cut up!

This was, by extremely far, my favorite gift to make. Fancy painted tshirts are always fun! My friend Jack was coming for a visit, and, being male, is frustratingly hard to make things for. he's entirely too sweet about wearing or displaying the things I give him, despite how they may not make sense to anyone else among his things. So I wanted to make him something he might actually like this time! Late Monday night (24 hours before I had to stop crafting and start actively expecting guests) I thought of this. I was frantic and thrilled, and decided that even if he didn't like it (how could he not?) this was my favorite thing this year! It's a portrait (from reference images) of The Silence from this past season's Doctor Who, along with the count of the number of times they were sighted and forgotten. I adore the creepiness of that character, and I know Jack is a Who fan from all of his cosplaying. To make it even better, he got me a Doctor Who gift as well! Perfection!

What is NOT perfection is the horrible layout of these posts. My general laziness about blogging is compounded by the sheer quantity of time I spend GUESSING where to place images and text in these posts so they are at spatially appropriate. I can never get it right. What shows up in the preview is different than the actual posts and I feel like beating my head against the wall, when I just want a simple image+caption system. If anyone has any tips or suggestions for a different blogging platform, let me know, please!