Socks on Saturday
Recipe: Festive Gingerbread Cookies

WIP Wednesday: Getting Festive

I love this time of year: the point where Christmas is everywhere, but still sufficiently far away that things haven't gotten too manic. The parties have just started to happen. Christmas cards are arriving. But Christmas is still over two weeks away, and the holiday wind down hasn't begun. For the most part, almost everyone is still stuck within their daily routine and are going about their ordinary business with the odd festive necessity like Christmas shopping slipped in.

It is certainly the case for me. Each and every day, when I am at work, I take a lunch time walk to grab a hot drink or something to eat. Somedays, I'll haul whatever oversized biographical tome I'm reading to sit and read in the window at Pret a Manger. Other days, I'll bring out my knitting project and tuck myself away in a quiet corner or spend my entire lunch hour walking around and attempt to nourish my body with much needed exercise because mine is a desk job. 

This week, I decided to mix up my lunch time walks by taking my camera out with me. There were three reasons for this: 1) My knitted Christmas present projects are so far behind that I no longer want to knit at lunch time; b) I have been fairly stressed out and can't concentrate on my usual in-depth book selection and; c) I love the sights and sounds of Christmas.

Okay, I admit it - I love Christmas food and drink the most but as I'm teetering dangerously on the cusp of 'plump' right now, I stopped myself from embarking on my usually annual 'Best Christmas Sandwich' search and went to take pictures of things that I liked but couldn't eat.... 

Around my office, there are a number of street stalls. One now sells these beautiful Christmas trees and they're lined up along the pavement. Earlier this week, I watched one of my bosses haul the largest into the office. It was only after my colleagues and I let him prop the thing up, that we realised he'd hauled the thing up three flights of stairs because only he or the tree would have been able to fit in the lift. Not both. 

image from farm1.staticflickr.com

Another perk of my workplace location is the proximity to a number of independent florists. One in particular has a vast array of festive plants arranged on their outside display. Pointsettias, bright red berry plants, Christmas wreaths, Mistletoe and this Holly:

 

I think I've spent too much time in my local pub (read: the one located closest to my office on a Friday), because this sign appeared last week. To say I have a close affinity with such a philosophy would be an understatement. Anyone who has shared a few drinks with me at Christmas anytime of year knows full well that I cannot hold my drink, and that, when I'm in the mood to let loose, I will mix my wine and am known to jump from Prosecco to Merlot without a second thought. It never, ever ends well. At least at Christmas, I have an excuse to drink all the wine... 

image from farm1.staticflickr.com

Yesterday, I happened to have the camera out with me for what was my first Turkey dinner of the year. 

To be quite honest, these beautiful contrasting decorations were far better than the food:

image from farm1.staticflickr.com

image from farm1.staticflickr.com

As far as my own home goes on the Christmas decoration front, my roommate and I have agreed that the flat is far too small to accommodate a Christmas tree. Well, I say 'agreed' but the fact is, it's gotten to the stage where one or both of us trip over shoes/tables/the living room rug on a daily basis. We're both too clumsy to bring a tree into a flat with numerous obstacles and my Yankee candle collection.

So we compromised, sort of, and have installed a couple of sets of plain fairy lights in the living room. Not only is this a vast improvement over the harsh fluorescent ceiling lights, but they also provide a nice festive air without being too garish. If I have my way, these will probably stay in place full time because the room now has an ambience it's never had before...

image from farm1.staticflickr.com

As for my knitting, you ask? Has that had a look in lately? 

Well yes. Sort of. It only really hit home last Saturday that I really need to get cracking with gifts for my mother.  For the past three years, she's had a pair of my hand knit socks. For two of those years, the socks in question were delivered a few days late because I was studying and working on assorted essays. This year, with no such pressures upon me, I felt I should probably deliver on time and promptly cast this on:

image from farm1.staticflickr.com

It is a Hitchhiker, a sort of half-amalgamation of a scarf and a shawl which has a distinctive asymmetrical shape and a series of peaks along one side. The yarn I've used is Colinette Jitterbug 400 in the shade 'Mango Lassis'. I'm a big fan of this yarn: it's springy, bouncy and lovely to knit with. I've knitted several pairs of socks as well as a cardigan in it and there's extra in my stash for future socks. 

The great thing about Hitchhiker is that it knits up super quickly due to the simple garter stitch design and can be made with as little as one skein of sock yarn. I've almost finished mine, but I know I'll revisit it soon.

Before starting the scarf, I was rather absorbed in adding some more squares to the granny square crochet blanket that I've had on the go for a few months. I'm aiming to complete 225 squares and am now at 65. A long way to go, but as you can see from this little preview, it's looking great so far. Maybe next Christmas I'll be snuggling up underneath it... 

image from farm1.staticflickr.com

How are everyone else's Christmas preparations going? 

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