Hello to all:
I am going to take a brief (2-3 month hiatus) from blogging. I have had a very productive year, have acquired two Blythe dolls, and have been so full of inspiration for doll sweaters, so I hope you won't mind. I am doing a 100% handmade Christmas this year, so I am going to dedicate the next month to working on gifts for my family - then I am moving across the state and doubt I will be back in full commission before the middle of January. I fully plan on returning to posting patterns in the spring, and my Flickr should be relatively active over the next few weeks. (This will not affect the giveaway; those items will still be mailed out on the first of December - you still have 11 days to enter!)
Thank you for your patience. Hope to see you all soon!
Edited to add: in case you didn't think I was serious, here is a holiday calendar of all the items on my list to make. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open the file.)
If you ever plan on doing a 100% handmade holiday, I would highly recommend this approach as it has taken my nebulous, overwhelming disorganization into an undertaking I think I can actually finish! Just make a list of the people for whom you want to make something, then break it down: 4 hats, 5 pairs of gloves, dish cloths, whatever. Then figure out about how long it will take you to do each item; for me, a dish cloth takes about an hour; a fingerless glove takes about 2. Lastly, create a calender and divide up your projects: I suggest divvying up the most difficult/ambitious projects first, then interspersing the rest of the projects within those days. I had to take into consideration the fact that my fingers hurt when I crochet too much, so I can only do one pot holder per day. I know which days I have more time to knit (Saturdays and Sundays) so I planned more work on those days. I also gave myself extra time at the end for finishing, as I am NOTORIOUS for not sewing seams and then staying up til 4 AM on Christmas Eve, never finishing the project, and having a really stressed out Christmas. You will notice that I did not plan anything at all on Christmas Eve - that's because I wrap presents in the morning, and by that point, the stress will be too much to be worthwhile.
Then comes the challenge of keeping yourself on task. I haven't gotten off-task yet, but I would say, do your very best to do what you planned on THAT DAY. If you get behind, don't let everything get off. For example, if I don't finish my scarf today, I will put it aside and move on to tomorrow's projects, then when I have extra time I will go back and finish. I have also added a couple of extra projects in there for "just in case" situation, in case I forget someone. My "extras" this year are two cotton-blend, tan scarves made from clearance yarn.
If anyone has any ideas for holiday packaging that fits in with the "homemade" theme (that is: no bright colors, no flashy wrapping paper, no boxes [if possible], NO PLASTIC), I would love to hear them in the comments. I'm a big fan of tissue paper, yarn "ribbon," and recycled paper bags. I also would like packaging items in handmade bags - if I have any extra time on my finishing days, I might whip up a dozen or so simple, calico drawstring bags (if I do, I'll share the pattern).