Winter is not a season, it’s a celebration. – Anamika Mishra
That is most certainly true…at least at my house in December! I do so love December – even the greyest of days are soothed by the lights on our tree. And that theory was put to the test this week as we had several days of grey, wet skies. The December’s of my childhood were full of grey, snowy days courtesy of the Lake Effect Snow Machine that is Lake Michigan! It’s a true fact that grey, snowy days are brighter than grey, rainy days – also snowy days often brought snow days with a day off from school! I remember celebrating snow days and sledding and making angels in the snow. Simple pleasures that are no longer part of my life, but perhaps they should be! This week the best I could do would be to make “mud angels” in our very soggy back yard thanks to all the rain we have had. Somehow mud angels do not carry the same joyful celebration that snow angels do, and I am so hoping for a white Christmas (which is a rare thing in Pittsburgh!)
Yet, even with this lack of wintry weather, there are things to celebrate. My almost daily walks in the neighborhood are marked by the warmth of the neighbors I meet on those walks! There are lots of dog walkers in my neighborhood, but two are stand outs! Allie – a very friendly Golden Retriever, always runs to greet me with such great joy! Then there is Lady Clementine, a Bull Mastiff, named for Winston Churchill’s wife…I am not kidding you (and honestly, I really wish I was their next-door neighbor!) Anyways, Lady Clementine reminds me of an incredibly oversized Pug and her greetings include some wonderfully wet, sloppy kisses! These neighbors and their dogs make walking – even in the coldest weather – a thing to celebrate!
Is it just me, or does the dry skin arrive earlier and earlier every year? A couple of weeks ago, I treated myself to a little nail repair kit from OPI, which included a bottle of OPI nail and cuticle oil. I have one question… why has no one told me about this product before now?!? I am pretty sure this might be a wonder product! In addition to moisturizing cuticles it also *prolongs* the life of a simple manicure! I am on day 8 of a regular polish (regular as in I do my nails at home) with nary a chip or any peeling! This makes my nails extra celebratory! Ha!
Reading is a constant thing of joy in my life. I do not know what life would be without books (and I never, ever want to know!) But, December is the month of Book Celebration with all the book lists that are everywhere you look! Maureen Corrigan shares her 2019 Favorites that she deems are ‘unputdownable reads!’ There are quite a few new-to-me titles that made it to my read soon list!
Now, how about some celebratory knitting?
Did you all see Jennifer Steingass’s latest design: Brightfeather? Anything with mohair silk is a celebration to knit as well as to wear! The pattern currently has an automatic 30% discount….so what are you waiting for! (FYI, I have one completed mohair silk sweater and it is simply divine to wear!)
Amy Christoffers piqued my interest earlier this week with this announcement and I have spent a good bit of time checking Ravelry to see if the pattern was available yet! And it finally dropped late yesterday afternoon. The Pheasant Pullover is gorgeous! I love the deep color work! **AND** it is on sale through Monday!
I have been consuming lots of tea in the past two months, enough that I am contemplating a tea pot. A pot of tea is a quiet celebration – one that wafts its steamy aroma about you – one that reminds you to sit down and savor – one that encourages you to linger in that savoring just a bit longer! But, how to keep that pot of tea warm? Why a Tea Cozy, of course! This was trending on Ravelry yesterday. And this also caught my eye! There will absolutely be some tea cozy in my future knitting plans!
Finally, celebration eats!
Carole, this is for you! I found some “slicing brie” at TJ’s and knew I had seen a recipe on Pinterest that included slicing brie and puff pastry, which I almost always have in my freezer! The original recipe included cranberries and pancetta, but bacon and raspberries were great substitutions! I used frozen raspberries from my garden – and less sugar (I used half what the recipe called for) since raspberries are sweeter than cranberries. I also added the juice from a half a lemon. Raspberries need a little help in the pectin department and that little bit of lemon juice helped thicken the “jam” nicely. This was so yummy as were the leftovers which I reheated for about 20 seconds in the microwave.
That is all I have for this week! I hope your weekend has some celebratory moments!
We have sadly arrived at the time of the year when getting good photos is challenging at best! We are in the midst of a dreary week sans any sunshine at all, so I apologize in advance for the poor lighting! However, the third time was absolutely the charm for my slipper making scheme. My son does not read my blog, so I am safe sharing them with you all here today! I made one key change to the pattern directions – I swapped out W&T short rows with German short rows with much better results. (And by much better, I mean results with no holes!)
I have breathed a sigh of relief that I finished these and they will be shortly on their way to Michigan! They are not quite dry, but I am hoping they will be in the morning and I can then wrap them up! As a tiny reward for persevering through this challenging pattern, I cast on Renovare socks on Tuesday night! I am using Tuku Sock yarn… oh my. It is so lovely! I am also trying these socks with the “magic loop” method. This is not how I usually knit socks… but I am giving it a try. As you can see – I am still doing the ribbing, but it felt good to cast on something new!
Reading has been good, but slow going and I have 2 finishes this week:
Ann Cleeve’s Cold Earth was very good. The writing was excellent, and this series just gets better with each book. 4-stars.
Alice Hoffman’s The World That We Knew. I loved this book! Every.single.word. Magic, realism, golems, life, and death are all beautifully woven together! This story touched me deeply and there were so many parts that will stay with me for a very, very long time. 5-stars and I highly recommend! (FYI, I listened to the audio version read by Judith Light of One Life to Live fame – there were times that I struggled with listening to “Karen Wolek” read, however I changed the speed and that helped!)
I am at the point that I am looking at my reading challenge and realizing that it is unlikely that I will hit that goal. I don’t know how close I can get, but I am really not sure if that goal even matters.
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Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. — Edith Sitwell
Sometimes English is, well, so lacking. Other languages have words that are just so more descriptive of conveying something deeper. Gemütlichkeit is one of those words – it is sort of the German equivalent of Hygge. The word reminds me of the feeling that would wash over me when I went to my Nana’s house: cozy and inviting, there was always something good to eat, it was full of love and listening ears – a safe, warm, welcoming place! And with those thoughts in mind, gemütlichkeit seems the perfect word for where I want to go on Friday’s… at least for the winter season!
It feels like we are racing into winter with these dark, cold days. It is so easy to wish the season away, longing for sunnier, warmer weather. But perhaps in the wishing the season away, I am missing the quiet, dark beauty that is unfolding around me.
So welcome to Gemütlichkeit for Friday’s! Grab a cuppa and let’s get started!
First, perhaps you are wondering how to pronounce gemütlichkeit… wonder no longer:
Yes, it’s a mouthful, but say it a few times and it really rolls off your tongue!
How about some knitting? I might be heading off to Ravelry shortly to see what *other* slippers I might find. I am on the “edge” of admitting defeat with these babies. I have knit one slipper unsuccessfully twice! I am giving it one more try this morning using German short-rows instead of the prescribed W&T method with the hopes that in doing that the gemütlichkeit will radiate from these slippers and the stitches will be knit with love rather than the frustration and bad language that filled previous two attempts!
I am a year around wool-knitter, but this time of year it is especially nice to fill your lap with some cozy knitting. And, in case you are looking for some cozy knitting to fill your lap with I found some things on Ravelry that scream cozy! First up, an “oldie” but so much goodness: Anne Hanson’s Cluaranach! I have knit Cluraranach and it is my go-to winter wrap. Bonus points for filling your lap quickly as this really is an easy and fast knit!
Next up are a few things that have been on my radar for a while! Love Note, Savage Heart Cardigan, and Felix (or Felix Cardigan). A lap full of a cardigan is the coziest thing ever – and these are some quick, cozy knits! The gemütlichkeit practically oozes from these beauties, amirite?
A couple of years ago, I put up fairy lights in January to help those dark winter nights. But last year I left them up – little bits of light certainly help ease the dark winter nights and they are also nice on warm summer nights! I have a strand of them on the mantle, but my favorite way I am using them is in this pitcher! It is the nicest “light” and gives off the coziest glow. For the holidays I have added a few Christmas baubles.
It can become challenging to keep Friday Night Snacks from feeling rote so when I saw this recipe in a Smitten Kitchen email I thought it would be the perfect wintry addition! I love the idea of serving them warm as well – the perfect cozy addition to our Friday table!
Finally, for all of us who *don’t* wash our hair every day – the morning bed head blues can be challenging – no? I have tried dozens of tips and tricks but this little twitter thread yesterday was a new one! I gave it a trial run last night and this morning my bed head blues were somehow transformed into an ode to joy! I am going to give this a few more tries to validate the results – but holy cow peeps! It was exactly as the tweeter described – “a shield against the next 8 hours…It’s like pressing pause on your hair…”
I wish you all a weekend full of Gemütlichkeit and I will you back here on Monday!
I hope this week does not find you frantically knitting objects that you cannot share on your blog. Sadly, for me… that is my life in knitting right now so you get a bit the fluffy goodness that is my languishing Evening Dew Cardigan.
Those pesky socks are finished and have had their soak and are laying carefully to dry.
However, I mentioned on Monday that my dear son mentioned something over the weekend and then Kym was kind enough to save me from spending a couple of hours searching on Ravelry for the perfect item. She wins the award this week of the most helpful link…ever! This morning I am tossing the stash to find something I can use to knit those slippers! I think 2 strands of worsted weight yarn equal bulky…correct? If that is true, then I will be settling in this afternoon to see how far I can get on a pair of those babies!
Now on to reading:
First finish is The Echo Maker by Richard Powers (of The Overstory fame). This book was suggested to me via Overdrive as he is the December speaker for Pittsburgh’s Ten Evenings event. I loved The Overstory and gladly downloaded the audio book. This is a fascinating story in a similar multi-pronged way, yet very different from The Overstory – it is a longer book (20 hours of listening time) but the story keeps you engaged. Without giving anything away, it tells a story about traumatic brain injury from a variety of perspectives. 4-stars and if you liked The Overstory for its depth and details – you will enjoy The Echo Maker. (Also, it happens in Nebraska – so if you live there, you will find it very familiar!)
Second finish was a book I won on a Goodreads give away! In the Shadow of Power, book 7 in the Sandhamn Mystery series. I enjoyed it – yet another murder on Sandhamn. A very fun read! 3-stars.
Now, in case you are looking for some things to fill up your reading queue – the book lists have stared! NPR’s Book Concierge list has so many good things and has some things I have added to my list! I love that it is searchable by category and with 350+ books, it will have something for everyone!
I also stumbled across this gem on NPR’s Facebook page. It is a worthy listen!
Finally – Bonny, Carole, and Kym announced the new Read With Us book yesterday! Think about joining us to discuss in February next year!
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