Blogmas Day 19: Christmas Sweaters

blogmasbannerGood afternoon all, and happy 19th day of Blogmas!!!

For me, one of the many steps of getting into the Christmas spirit is finding the perfect obnoxious Christmas sweater. I’m talking giant snowflakes, lights, and maybe even a button that, when pushed, plays Christmas music. So today I thought I would round up some of the cutest Christmas sweaters I have stumbled upon on the Internet thus far. I found all these on Polyvore from various retailers, but most are around the $40 price range. Hope you enjoy them!!!

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Do you have a favourite Christmas sweater??? Let me know in the comments below!!!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette giveaway here. Ends December 24th at 11:59pm PST!!!

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Blogmas Day 18: I’m Dreaming of a Christmas Dinner . . .

blogmasbannerHello there lovely readers, and happy 18th day of Blogmas!!!

By this time, many of us have laid out our plans for Christmas Day, whether these include a dinner with family, a party with friends, or a swim in the pool at some tropical island resort. Each year, I spend Christmas Day at my grandparents’ house, opening presents, snacking on some baked goodies, and, of course, indulging in the coveted Christmas turkey dinner.

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This is the delicious feast that awaits my family and I on Christmas Day. My grandmother starts getting the vegetables ready early in the morning, and then the rest of the family comes over in the afternoon to help prepare everything else. Fun fact: the pan that we use to cook the turkey in has been in my family for 5 generations!!! It was my grandfather’s grandmother’s turkey pan, and it has done over 100 years of turkeys.

Our Christmas dinner typically includes carrots, corn, potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, peas, homemade buns, stuffing and, of course, turkey and gravy. My grandfather makes the gravy from scratch and it is beyond divine. I swear, I could eat mashed potatoes and my grandfather’s turkey gravy every day and not get sick of it; it is that good.

I love having Christmas dinner with my nearest and dearest, but since not all of my family members can be in town on Christmas Day, we all sit in the living room after dinner and phone those who could not make it to wish them all the best, and thank them for the lovely presents they mailed out.

In the days following Christmas, the leftovers from the giant turkey dinner are combined to make turkey casserole, which is easily my favourite food ever. Plus, then there’s turkey soup to look forward to.

What does your family do on Christmas Day???

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my Christmas giveaway here for a chance to win an Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette!!! Giveaway closes December 24th at 11:59pm PST!!!

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Blogmas Day 17: The Little Christmas Tree

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Good morning all!!!

Today is the day that I will be putting up my Christmas tree!!! As you can see from the picture above from last Christmas, my tree by no means resembles the stereotypical massive Christmas tree. I stand at 5′ 1/2″ (yes, that half-inch makes all the difference) and I like being able to put the tree topper on without having to get a chair and lean into the tree, running the risk that I will lean over too far and fall into it (which did happen one year). So, this little 5′ Christmas tree graces our living room every year. We used to do the whole real Christmas tree thing, but a few years ago we decided to switch to an artificial one after an unfortunate incident where the whole tree toppled over and water soaked into the carpet. So this little tree will be set up later today, and all of our interior Christmas decorations will be put up.

When do you usually put up your Christmas tree???

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my Christmas giveaway here until December 24th at 11:59pm!!!

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Blogmas Day 16: Beauty Gift Guide for Her on a Budget

blogmasbannerGood morning everyone, and happy 16th day of Blogmas!!! With December just half over, the race to finish shopping and wrapping presents begins. But it is tough to know what to get some people, and a spending cap can complicate things. In my family, we draw names for the person we are to buy a main gift, and then buy small token gifts for the other family members. The spending cap for the main gift is $50, and the spending cap for the token gifts is $25. This makes it so that you can give someone multiple smaller gifts, or one larger gift without having to spend too much, because, after all, it’s the thought that counts. Plus, we alternate each year, so we each get a chance to pick out a main gift for each person. While searching stores and the Interwebs for gifts, I cam across a handful of beauty gift ideas for the ladies in your life for under $25 and under $50. Hopefully these idea collages help some of you pick out gifts for family and friends!!!

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Blogmas Day 15: Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette Giveaway

blogmasbannerHello there readers, and happy 15th day of Blogmas!!! I got a bit behind on my daily blogging these last few days, but now that I’m finally all caught up, I wanted to surprise my lovely followers with the blog-equivalent of a Christmas present: a Christmas giveaway!!!

The Giveaway: IMG_0150One (1) Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette.

This giveaway will be open internationally until Christmas Eve, December 24th, at 11:59pm PST. Names will be entered into an online random name generator to ensure a winner is selected fairly, and then I will announce the winner on this blog, and contact them either via email or through their blog’s contact page and ask them to get in touch.

How to Enter: 

  1. Like this blog post
  2. Follow my blog if you aren’t already
  3. Comment on this post when you are finished
  4. Additional entry: Follow me on Twitter (completely optional!!!)
  5. Additional entry: Follow me on Instagram (also completely optional!!!)

And that’s it!!!

*Please make sure that you comment on this post after to ensure you are entered*
With up to three entries permitted per person, I hope lots of you will enter this giveaway. And feel free to reblog this giveaway so others can see it and enter as well.

Good luck all!!!
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Blogmas Day 14: Wrapping Presents and Getting Ready To Mail Them Off

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Good afternoon everyone!!!

I am fortunate to have most of my family living close by, but my aunt, uncle, and cousins are among the few family members that live outside of our little city. This means that every year during the second week of December, we ship off a giant parcel of presents to the family that lives farther away. I love this, because it means I can get a head start on my wrapping, and try out some new decorating ideas. This year, I tried out a bunch of different ribbons and bows, and used different paper to wrap each person’s presents. My cat, Valentine, even helped me wrap . . . sort of . . . I mean, she sat in the middle of the table, walked all over the rolled out paper, managed to get some tape stuck in her fur, and left little teeth marks in a once-perfect red Christmas bow, so I guess that counts as providing company.

The little fur person "helping" with wrapping presents
The little fur person “helping” with wrapping presents

Are you mailing off any presents this Christmas???

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Blogmas Day 13: Stocking Stuffers for Under $25

Hello there everyone!!!

With presents to buy for friends, family, and secret santas, the pool of ideas can sometimes dry up. I mean, there are only so many gift cards a person’s wallet can take, plus it’s nice to give something a little more personal. So today I thought I would share some of my stocking stuffer ideas with you, all for under $25!!!

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Blogmas Day 12: How To Knit a Toque for Christmas

IMG_0119Hello all!!!

I recently finished knitting another toque for a friend’s Christmas present. This time of year, stress abounds with final exams approaching and, as a result, I start madly knitting. There is something really cathartic about knitting for me; it is so methodical, and I love that I can see something coming together from nothing.

Shopping for presents is nice, but I always like to give someone something handmade; I think it gives it an extra personal touch, especially if you know it’s something the recipient will like and will use a lot. In the past, I have gifted knitted dishcloths, scarves, and mittens. This year, I appear to have gravitated towards toques. I don’t use any specific pattern for them; I just wing it and hope they turn out looking neat.

In case you are stumped for a gift for someone, a knitted garment would be a lovely idea, and this toque is fairly simple to make, so read on if you’d like to learn how!!!

Step 1-Pick your wool and needles: I know a lot of people who prefer to knit toques with thicker wool and larger needles, but I myself prefer thinner wool and smaller needles to have closer, tighter stitches. Most toque patterns will specify specific types of wool and needles but, frankly, I would recommend just experimenting by knitting a small square to see how the stitches will look before you begin your project. For this toque, I used five 2mm needles and Cancade Yarns Eco + Peruvian Highland wool.

Step 2-Cast on stitches: Feel free to consult toque patterns for exact cast-on numbers, but I find that 80 stitches (20 on each of four needles) is fairly equivalent to a size small, 100 stitches for a medium (25 on each of four needles), and 120 stitches for a large (30 on each of four needles). When in doubt, just awkwardly walk up to someone and wrap a measuring tape around their head. Sure it might weird them out and arouse their suspicion that a toque might be in the works for them. but both of those are better than knitting the whole thing and finding that it doesn’t fit. Make sure to leave a bit of a wool tail when you cast on the first stitch so you can use it as a marker for the beginning of the round, i.e. one complete circle of stitches in the toque.

Step 3-Knit the brim: There are several different styles of hat brim, but I really like the look of the ribbed brim. This is created by alternating between knit and purl stitches. The brim of the toque I made was done with a knit one, purl one alternation, but knit two, purl two, and knit three, purl one also create really neat looking brims.

Step 4- Knit the body of the hat: This is the simple and fun part. I often start up a bunch of toques at once, knit the brims, and then leave them so I always have a toque body to knit. The simplest way to knit the body is using a stockinette stitch, which is actually just purl stitches. One side of the stockinette stitch will have small v’s, and this is the purl side, also known as the right side, because it should be facing outwards; the other side will be the knit side, also known as the wrong side, and should be on the inside of the toque. Knit the body of the hat to desired length, but account for about 3 to 3½ inches for the top of the hat. 

Step 5-Setup for top shaping: This is the part where you will shape the top of your toque to give it that dome shape. Starting at the beginning of the round, decrease the stitches on all four needles to the nearest multiple of 8. For the small size, no decreasing will be needed; for the medium, you will need to decrease by four, one stitch on each needle; for the large, no decreasing will be needed.

Step 6-Top shaping: To begin, knit one round of stockinette stitch (remember to keep the purl side facing out). Then, take the number of stitches on each needle, for instance 20, and divide it by two, which is 10. This means the “marker” is at stitch 10. You can put a circle marker on that stitch if it would help you remember, but I typically just write it down so I know which decreasing round I’m on. So, knit up to two stitches before the marker, in this case up to stitch 8, and then knit the next two stitches together, i.e. stitches 9 and 10. Then continue knitting, and knit together the last two stitches on the needle, in this case stitches 19 and 20. Repeat this for each of the four needles. Then knit one round. Continue this decreasing pattern until you are left with 8 stitches, two on each needle.

Step 7-Tying off the toque: With 8 stitches now left on your needles, two on each, cut the wool, making sure to leave a tail of about 10-12cm. Thread this tail onto a seaming needle or bodkin, and pull it through the 8 remaining stitches, sliding them off the needles. Pull the tail snugly to close off the top of the toque. Then weave the tail through the surrounding stitches to secure it.

IMG_0118And presto-changeo: with these 7 steps you will have a hand-knit toque to give to a friend or loved one as a Christmas gift!!!

If you have any trouble following these steps, please comment below and I will do my best to help. Also, if you would find a YouTube tutorial to be useful, let me know. I have been mulling over the idea of starting up a YouTube channel, and I would love to know what kind of videos you would like to see 🙂 🙂

 

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Blogmas Day 11: Festive Floral Arrangements

blogmasbannerSeasonal flowers and plants are a major part of Christmas decorating for many people. By the end of the first week of December, my grandparents typically have holly on every table, a poinsettia in every corner of the living room, and mistletoe strategically placed in doorways.

For the past few years, some family members have also been creating floral arrangements to decorate with, and to give away as presents. It can be really hard to find the perfect gift for someone, but a beautiful festive arrangement is always appreciated. My mother made this one earlier in the week, so I thought I would share it with you in case you are perhaps on the lookout for a unique Christmas present idea, or just hunting around the interwebs for some new decorating techniques.

What are your favourite Christmas flowers???

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Blogmas Day 10: My Favourite Christmas Movies

 I’m sure all of you have had this kind of day at least once: you wake up, have a short lie in, head into the kitchen to fix some breakfast, and just decide that nothing productive can be done on this day. Instead, pyjamas will remain on, and movies will be watched all day with a cat curled up in your lap. This was me yesterday. I don’t know if it was the stormy weather that did it, or that being off school has finally sunk in, but hot chocolate and movies seemed like the only thing to do yesterday. Christmas movies, though. So today, I thought I would share with you some of my favourite Christmas movies!!!

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Frozen

Elf

The Year Without a Santa Claus

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Arthur Christmas

Are any of these on your favourite Christmas movie list??? Have I missed any??? Let me know!!!

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