Friday, December 26, 2008

A Very Merry Holiday

I love holidays. Holidays of all types, really, appeal to me - mostly because I'm not required to go anywhere or do anything in particular. But Christmas has the added bonus of being done with finals, gathering your time around family, and both giving and receiving things that you've wanted all year, from the people who know you need them most.

With the economy the way it is, this year was probably a practical Christmas for most of us. I got a beautiful new winter coat in a sunny mustard yellow, some new pajamas, an electric toothbrush (an idea I have been resisting vehemently but now will admit is probably all right, after all). But there were other things that I wanted, rather than needed, that I got too.

First on my list (and perhaps the 'least likely' to happen, in my mind), was a ball winder and swift. Every knitter out there knows that this is an invaluable item, once you own one. If you've ever seen one at work in a yarn shop, you'll certainly know why. It turns those strange spirals of a hank into a neat little yarn cake that winds from the inside out while you're working with it. They're lovely - and the best ones are made of wood, with a little Royal brand ball winder being the standard accompaniment. I got both. And spent all afternoon today making little yarn cakes and stacking them up like so many blocks. It took a little practice to get the tension just right (let's say that a few of these cakes will be standing up all the way until the end of the ball), but it is so fun! I can't wait to turn all of my stash into little blocky cylinders!

Those of us who are still buying our schoolbooks realize quickly how exorbitant and luxurious owning our books, rather than simply borrowing them from a library, really is. My father is an avid book collector - paperbacks, hardcover volumes, and even a few leather-wrapped tomes line the shelves of his small office-library. When we were young our parents would always buy books for us, but now that I'm older, the books I love generally come strictly in hardcover, or the paper they're published on increases their price (I have a thing for glossy photography.) So to receive books on a holiday is, for me, the very purpose of Christmas - to give something to anyone who doesn't need it, but very much wants it, is so much in the spirit of the season. This year, one of the books I wanted more than anything was Jane Brockett's "The Gentle Art of Domesticity". Mrs. Brocket writes a blog of which I (and many people) am fond, Yarnstorm. When she released her first book earlier in the year, I craved her photography, insight on quiltmaking, cake-baking, and sock-knitting.

A book I didn't expect, but have recently come to love, is Domino Magazine's realease 'The Decorating Guide'. It is a step-by-step guide to finding your inner inspired decorator and translating your 'style' into every aspect of your home. The book walks you through the different sections of your living space - dining rooms and foyers, bedrooms and home offices, to help you achieve what you've always wanted with either things you have or things you buy. I'm finding it very inspirational, and am already holding consultations via my own dining room for the neighbors. A necessity until I have my own space to decorate!

More to come soon - including the ever-secretive Christmas knits! Happy holidays to you all.

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