Christmas Crafting

Posted by mrssmythe on December 19, 2014 in Crafting, Seasons |

Today was my deadline for finishing all of the out-of-town Christmas gifts I’ve been making. I wanted to get everything done and into the mail this afternoon. And I managed it. Just barely!

Then I returned home and started in on some of the other gifts I’ve been planning for people around town – specifically crocheted hats for a sweet little girl who’s turning one this month.

I do like crafting for babies. Whatever you’re making, it’s small and the work goes quickly. Also – fit isn’t nearly as important for a child as it is for an adult…except in the area of hats. And here’s where I ran into trouble.

I was making a Candy Puffs Beanie (size 2-8) this afternoon, and the work was going really well. The stitch was interesting, the yarn was pleasant, and I had Christmas carols playing in the background.

And then I finished the thing and held it up. It looked like it might fit me!

I tried it on.

It did fit me!



I’m not sure where I went wrong. I even crocheted it a little on the tight side, suspicious, even before I’d finished, that it was going to be big. (Though I had no idea it was going to be so big.)

The upside of all of this is that I fell in love with the hat anyway. I wore it all the way through dinner preparations (potato soup) and decided the fit was perfect (for me). I loved the pattern. I loved the shape. I loved the color. By the time we sat down to eat, I knew I wasn’t going to be ripping the stitches out to start again.

I wish all of my crafting “fails” ended so pleasantly!

But that also means, I still have two baby hats to crochet. Thankfully I have a stack of holiday movies to enjoy and more yarn at the ready. I’d better get cracking…

From the dining room table, getting ready to break into the egg nog,

Mrs. Smythe




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Wednesday Afternoon Matinee

Posted by mrssmythe on December 17, 2014 in Out & About, Seasons |

The girls and I have been enjoying all the old Christmas movies in the theaters this season. Every week, there’s been something new. Last week, it was a double feature of A Christmas Carol and Christmas in Connecticut. This week, we saw White Christmas, which just happens to be my all-time favorite holiday film. (CPT America prefers Holiday Inn, but I don’t hold that against him).


What made today even better, though, was that we had the entire theater to ourselves. I don’t think this has ever happened to me. And, while I was sad that no one else wanted to come and see such a great film (and concerned that the theater might not keep showing old films if such small crowds continued to appear), I did like the fact that the girls and I could discuss the various scenes and costumes freely – or even sing along if we wanted to. (We didn’t dance, though. We left that to the incomparable Vera Ellen).

Anyway, with everything so large, we were able to pick out lots of details we’d missed in the past – things like Bing Crosby stripping clear to his underwear in one scene (eek!) and Vera Ellen’s cute leopard print bag when she steps off the train in Vermont. Some of the colors even looked different. I could have sworn Rosemary Clooney’s dress in Miami was blue, but on the big screen it looked violet. Go figure.

Next week’s film will be It’s A Wonderful Life, and the girls and I hope to go see that as well. I’ve seen it on the big screen once before, and it was…well…wonderful. Maybe you’d like it too. It might be just the thing to add to your holiday to-do list, which is probably already very long…but, still. Just think of it as a gift you can give yourself.

From the dining room table, needing to get to work on some gifts I’m hoping to give to others,

Mrs. Smythe

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Posted by mrssmythe on December 11, 2014 in Crafting, Critters, Family |

About this time last year, I shared photos of several projects I had meant to complete in time for Christmas but had, for some reason or another, never finished. One of them was this table runner – made from squares that were originally meant to be coasters.


At the time I started this project, I thought I could produce four quilted coasters for each person on our gift list. A third of the way through the project, though, I realized I could not (I was losing both time and interest). And so I sewed the squares together…only to leave that project, too, undone.

Well, I’m happy to report the runner is now finished…though through no effort of my own. Unless you count the task of boxing it up and sending it to my mother-in-law. She took pity on me and applied the necessary binding. Thank you, Grandma Marian!


While I was at it, I sent along the quilt top Ginger produced during her brief fling with quilting this past year. Ginger had cut all of the squares, arranged them neatly, and supervised CPT America’s sewing of them…but that’s as far as we ever got. I felt bad, but knew from experience that I lacked the oomph to get the project finished. Instead, when my mother-in-law asked for birthday suggestions for Ginger, I asked if she’d be willing to finish the quilt for us as a gift.

Of course she said yes, and Ginger was able to pick up the finished product during our trip out West.


Ginger was so pleased with how it turned out.

And, upon reflection, I think my mother-in-law’s contribution made the quilt that much more special because now she was involved in the project too and the quilt’s story is that much more interesting.

So, in this case, at least, my penchant for not finishing quilts has paid off.

But, don’t worry. I don’t intend to make a habit of this sort of thing. I’ll reform completely – right after I find someone to finish the little doll-sized quilt that I hand-sewed during my “Little House on the Prairie” phase three years ago. Once that quilt is bound, I’ll stop. (I hope).

From the dining room table, slipping in one last picture to help show how difficult it was to photograph Ginger’s quilt – Kipper kept insisting on getting into the photos,

Mrs. Smythe


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“Not As Good As I Expected…”

Posted by mrssmythe on December 9, 2014 in Critters |

The other day, CPT America brought home a hot cinnamon gobstopper and left it on a ledge in our bedroom. He intended to eat it, but Ursa got to it first. (She can be a bit of a sneak where food is concerned.)


Unfortunately, the gobstopper didn’t taste as good as Ursa expected.


From the dining room table, hoping this will teach her a lesson (but pretty certain it won’t),

Mrs. Smythe

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The New “TV”

Posted by mrssmythe on December 8, 2014 in Critters |

While we were gone, CPT America changed a few things around the house. For one, he moved the bird feeder closer to our dining room window so we’d have a better view of the visiting wildlife –


– which has been great. We spend about 90% of our time in the dining room, and we’ve really enjoyed watching the birds.

The dogs approve of the change too. In fact, they fight over the spot on the Christmas chest where the bird watching is best.  Sometimes, the fighting reaches a stalemate, though, as was the case this morning when Manny and Ursa both wanted to watch the birds.


Neither dog had any plans to move.


Ursa really had the worst of it, but her patience eventually paid off. She won in the end and is currently the only dog at the window.

From the dining room table – still enjoying the birds,

Mrs. Smythe

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