29 November 2010

and yet

I know, I know.  I was just going on about savoring these last days of November, not being ready for Christmas-related kookiness, etc.  But the truth is undeniable:

The holiday knitting must get done.

I'm being slightly less ambitious than in years past, but working against tighter deadlines, too.  For the First Time Ever--sniff!--I won't be traveling to the great state of Ohio to celebrate the holidays with my family.  Instead, we'll be staying put in the PacNW and enjoying Christmas with my husband's family.  Which I'm sure will be lovely.  I really mean that.

The end result of all this, though, is that I'll be shipping gifts to Ohio this year and won't be able to do any of my last-minute knitting on the plane, needle-felting while hidden in my little brother's bedroom, or just generally working up to the last minute, which tends to be my procrastinating modus operandi.

Instead, everything needs to be finished, wrapped, packed away and shipped by--when?--maybe the twenty-first of December.  At the absolute latest.  And as someone pre-programmed to worry about these things, let's say the nineteenth, just to be safe.

So, knitting.  Of course, I can't tell you what I'm working on, because one never knows who might be reading.  But here's a clue: Manos del Uruguay's Wool Clasica.  It's one of my all-time favorites...

I'm off to get some work done, but do check back on Wednesday.  I'll be posting the first of what I'm planning to be a twenty-four--or is it twenty-five?--part Christmas countdown series.  Sort of an on-line advent calendar?  Whatever you want to call it, I'm excited about it.  I hope you'll join the fun!

26 November 2010

the day after

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Ours was full of family and food, as the best holidays are.   Along with all the catching up and cooing over babies, there was also lots of talk about Christmas.  With the snow outside and the warmth inside, it was easy to imagine that Christmas was, as we said to one another, 'just around the corner.'

Which, I suppose it it.  With Thanksgiving behind us and November soon coming to an end, it's definitely time to start worrying about wreaths and Christmas presents.  Of course, I'm excited for it.  You know me, I love a good party.  In the next few weeks, I'm hoping to share the details of Christmas at our house and maybe hear, too, about the traditions at yours.  I'm also planning a special series of December posts, which you'll be able to read all about when December first comes around.

For now, though, I'm still enjoying the last days of November.  I'm going to try not to get too consumed, yet, by the holiday hoopla of Christmas, at least for a little while longer.

After the Thanksgiving excitement, I'll be laying low for the rest of the weekend, fighting off a cold and celebrating the completion of the month-long novel--hurray!  If you're looking for some quiet fun this weekend, here's a to-do list for you:

Bring a different sort of tree inside.
Make your pancakes special.
Find your favorites.
Sew your own shoes.
Think about trying out for a scholarship.
Start planning for the next big snow.

Happy weekend, everyone!

22 November 2010


The calendar can say whatever it wants to.  It is officially winter at our house now.  It's been snowing on and off all day today, and except for the part where I wasn't sure I was going to make it home from work, I've been enjoying every moment of it.

Maybe it's snowing where you are now.  Maybe it's not.  To my surprise, this is apparently what it looks like in Maine right now...

Hopefully, the weather won't make our Thanksgiving too complicated.  Or yours, either, for that matter.

If you're still looking for dinner ideas for Thursday, there's this and this and this.

And here's a sweet Thanksgiving tradition.  It's a little Christmasy, but still.  I like it.

Warmest wishes to you and yours this Thanksgiving, friends.  Enjoy the weather, wherever you are...

19 November 2010

balancing act

Sincere apologies for my time away, dear readers.  I found myself being a little swept away by my life this past week, chipping away at 'the novel,' spending quality time at work, and visiting with my father--the first family member to visit me in the Emerald City in years.  A lot of years.

Now that he's gone back home to the midwest, and I have a few days off of work, I'm trying to get a foothold on other, less important things.  Like laundry.  And, yes, the novel.

Isn't it funny how, when we have things we should be doing, we always find ways of distracting ourselves with pointless, time-consuming projects?  Yesterday, I took a "twenty minute" break from the novel to stretch my legs and ended up spending four hours sifting through my (embarrassingly large) collection of children's books.  First, I needed to look through all of them, to see whether or not there were any duplicates. There were.  Then, I had to move them all from one shelf to another, trying to find the right system for ordering them.  By author?  By illustrator?  By year?

And after all that, there was the matter of dealing with my sad dolls.

A few years ago, I started collecting sad dolls, especially down-trodden, forgotten playthings that I felt compelled to rescue from thrift stores and garage sales.  I tucked them all away, up on a shelf, and then promptly forgot about them myself.

Yesterday, I decided that the shelf would be better suited for my vast library of Little Golden Books, and so I began sorting through the dolls, too.  I haven't decided yet what to do with all of them, but I think they deserve better than I've been giving them.

For starters, most of them are, um, naked.  Which is the way that I found them, I swear.

And even the ones that have clothes need some serious attention, like having their hair glued back on to their little heads.  My favorite of the little orphans is this gal.  According to the stamp on her back, she's an original "Lingerie Lou."

I love her hand-beaded little tutu, but I'll admit, I have no idea what to do with her hair.  If anyone out there has any DIY doll repair suggestions, please let me know...

I seem to be more than capable of finding silly things to do with my time this weekend.  If you're in need of some suggestions, though, here's a to-do list for you:

Fancy up the pumpkin.
Keep your hands busy.
Promote yourself.
Have fun with felt.
Read more fairytales.
Do some nesting.

Happy weekend, everyone!  
I promise I'll be back to regular posting next week.
(And I've got some extra holiday fun in mind.  I'll share my plans with you soon!)

08 November 2010


The novel is coming along, in a manner of speaking.  I'm 18, 411 words closer to my goal of writing 50,000 words by the end of the month.  The rough draft is pretty, um, rough, but hey, that's part of the fun, right?

Nearly everything else on my list of extracurriculars, though, has come to a screeching halt.  Including my first-ever doll-making attempt, inspired by Hillary Lang's Wee Wonderfuls.  (For those of you with the book at home, my little doll is going to be a slightly dumbed-down version of The Tag-A-Long Doll.)

But not anytime, soon, apparently.  Because now there's that pesky novel to write.

I've only just started worrying about when my Christmas knitting is going to get done...

05 November 2010


I filled the bird feeder a few hours ago.  In the time since, there's been a crazy dinner party going on, with finches, flickers, chickadees, and two obnoxious blue jays.  Of course, they're all smarter than I am and much faster than my camera, but they've been a good show.  Even if I don't have the evidence to prove it.

Mostly, I've been birdwatching as an excuse to take a break from the novel-writing.  Since I last posted here, I've eked out over 11,000 words towards my 50,000 word goal.  On the fifth day of the month, I'm already over a fifth of the way through the thing.  It's kind of a rush, but I think it might be a little early to start celebrating.

So, I'll be spending my weekend writing, which is, in fact, probably what I should be doing right now.  If you're not facing a ridiculous novel-writing challenge, here's a weekend to-do list for you:

Get rid of the Halloween candy.  That is, if there's any left.  Ahem.
Start planning your Thanksgiving menu.
Get creeped out by something beautiful.
Find some new ideas.

Have a wonderful weekend, all!

01 November 2010


Perhaps you've already heard, but if not, it's important that you know:  November is National Novel Writing Month.  I'm choosing to celebrate by participating in the twelfth year of an annual competition to write a 50,000 word novel.  I'll start tonight, and hopefully, if Thanksgiving doesn't trip me up, be penning the final words on the last day of the month.

And I won't be alone.  Would-be novelists from all over the world are participating in this harebrained scheme.  At the time of this writing, NaNoWriMo writers have already generated over 800,000 words!  And I haven't even had my morning coffee yet...

I am not a novelist.  If you don't count the posts that I share here on the Sparrow, I'm not even a writer, really.  This year, though, I've decided that fact is not enough to stop me.

I'm not expecting to generate a great work of fiction.  At best, I'm hoping for an extremely rough draft that will inspire me to start picking up a pen a bit more often.  Mostly, I'm just hoping to survive.  Sixteen hundred words a day is a lot.

I'm worried that this writing thing might eat up some of the time that I usually spend crafting or goofing around in the kitchen.  I'm determined, though, to keep posting here.  I hope you'll be patient with me, especially if my posts start turning into short, desperate paragraphs whining about writer's block and caffeine withdrawal.

So, yes, I have my concerns, but mostly I'm excited.  This is a big endeavor, and I'm eager to get started. If your interest is piqued, it's not too late to join in.  You can learn more at nanowrimo.org.  If you are participating in NaNoWriMo, by all means let me know!  And to the rest of you, watching from the stands, I will, no doubt, be in need of some cheerleaders, probably sometime early next week.  I'll let you know...

Wish me luck, dear readers.  Oh, and happy November!