Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas to You

Whether you celebrate Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa  - or don't celebrate any occasion during this season at all - I want to take a moment to send you good wishes.

I want to especially send good wishes to my readers, friends, and those who visit and support my blog.  I hope the season brings you every treasure you hope for.

To all of our first responders, law enforcement, and military personnel.... thank you. I wish you safety and peace - not only this day but this coming year. To all of you who are deployed, I especially thank you. You are always in my thoughts. May all of your Christmas wishes comes true.

Whether you celebrate the season with boisterous gatherings or quietly at home alone, my hope is that the good things come to light and are the focus of the day. I hope the gift of silver linings shine bright.

This is the season of charity. I hope we all give more than we take - not only today but in all of the days to come.

May your day be bright, happy, and full of love - no matter where you are or what you are doing. Merry Christmas to you.

From me.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Got Wine - Need Glasses

I just spent the day with a friend and was given a bottle of my favorite wine.  After I arrived home, I realized that I have no wine glasses. I believe having at least one favorite wine glass is important and having no wine glasses is a problem. I am going to share some of the treasures I have found during my search for my next wine glass.

I prefer to have a variety of different wine glasses - buying by the stem. That eliminates the "is this my glass or yours?" confusion.  And while wine glass charms are adorable, they are an extra thing to keep track of during times between gatherings.  Below are four wonderful wine glass choices I have found.

New Year's Wine Glasses

I am seriously leaning toward a wine glass that is decorated with a New Year's motif in order to commemorate the New Year. This past year has been a year that has felt productive. I am continuing to more toward some of my life goals. While I likely will not be at any public celebration to ring in the new year, I am feeling excited about welcoming a new year and continuing my journey.  

Last year, I rang in the New Year at The Shack (my little off-grid cabin on a mountain ridge).  I drank wine from a plastic cup because I had forgotten to bring a glass. But this year, whether I end up at The Shack or stay at my apartment, a New Year's Eve glass may be the perfect thing.

However, wherever, and for whatever personal reasons you are feeling celebratory this year, a glass for 2017 might be the thing for you.

Lolita hand painted and jeweled wine glass for New Year's Eve

pros: beautiful, unique, welcomes the new year in with BLING
cons: hand wash only

Mouth blown Wine Glasses

I love mouth blown wine glasses.  I think they are beautiful and they often come in gorgeous colors. Since they are hand-crafted, no two are exactly alike. I love watching the artists who make mouth blown items.  It is magical to see the red-hot soft glass form into a functional item

This mouth blown and hand painted LARGE wine glass is gorgeous and is a best seller on Amazon. At the time of this writing, over 1,300 reviews indicate this glass is the one to buy. 

Antoni Barcelona large hand painted wine glass

pros: beautiful colors, unique, delicate
cons: I break them more easily

Leaded Crystal Wine Glass

I lean toward cut crystal wine glasses.  They are usually heavier than the mouth blown glass and can withstand my clumsiness a bit more.  But what attracts me most about crystal wine glasses are the cuts.  I love how the cut designs sparkle. 

Crystal wine glasses come in a large variety of designs and sizes. From a few cuts to an intricate pattern and from a small, modest size of just a few sips to a bowl large enough to house a happy goldfish, you are likely to find what you want with crystal wine glasses.

Waterford Lismore Hock, 6 oz

pros: heavier, tend to be more durable, and it is fun to make that ringing sound by running your finger around the top of the glass
cons: good crystal tends to be more expensive

We have a Winner - The Luigi Bormioli Romantica Wine Glass

I believe I have chosen my next wine glass set. This is out of my ordinary, as I often purchase by the stem, and a mixed set. But this set of 4 eye-catching glasses are a perfect bowl size for me (13 oz), are priced within my budget, and have received good reviews. 

Luigi Bormioli all purpose wine glasses, set of 4

pros: beautiful, reasonably priced, and can buy water glasses, champagne glasses, and double old fashioned glasses to match
cons: the tall (9") stems are too tall for some cabinets and dishwashers

One final thing, are you aware that in many states wine can be purchased from Amazon?  I was aware of this a few years ago but had not looked at the selection again until recently. While my favorite wine is not available through the Amazon Wine & Champagne Shop, I see several other wines that I enjoy listed there. 

*This article may contain affiliate links. If you shop via one of the affiliate links, I may earn a small commission - at no additional cost to you.  I am very appreciative of every reader who visits my articles. Thank you.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Handmade Treasures: Slouchy Crochet Beanie

I am in the process of crocheting an adorable, lightweight slouchy beanie. I am so excited about this cute and easy crochet pattern and yarn that I have to share this treasure with you - before I have even finished the project. If you like to crochet, or if you would like to learn, this is a cute and easy pattern. Simple enough to finish in a few days and cute enough to give as a gift. 

I am unable to take credit for creating this pattern.  I am not that talented. In fact, I had chosen the yarn before I even had a pattern. I feel fortunate that I was able to find this yarn and this pattern for this particular project.

There is a young lady at work who has tentatively expressed a desire to learn to crochet.  In order to try to tempt her to give crochet another try (we have tried on one other occasion), I decided to have her choose the yarn, and I would try to crochet something easy for her. 

She chose this cheery red and white yarn.
Red Heart - Team Spirt (red and white)

I am pressed for time.  Because I did not feel that I would have time to mail order it, find a quick and easy pattern, and then complete it in the time frame I had set for myself, I went to a local craft store.  In fact, I went to two craft stores, trying to find her red and white yarn.

Stitch Studio by Nicole - picnic
I was unable to find the yarn she had chosen. Instead I found this beautiful, lightweight yarn at AC Moore.  It is Stitch Studio by Nicole - Picnic. It is a lightweight and soft yarn.  It will make a beautiful beanie.

I then located an easy and quick crochet pattern by The Crochet Crowd.  Fortunately, they provide both the written pattern and a step-by-step video tutorial. 

In the tutorial, they are using Caron Cakes yarn, which is a gorgeous, soft yarn that is dyed in a way that it creates a beautiful change in pattern without changing yarn. I was tempted by the Caron Cakes yarn while I was shopping at the stores, but unfortunately there were no bright red options. Because I have chosen a slightly lighter weight yarn, I did test the gauge and chose the hook that will give me that gauge. However, even with that preparation, I believe these hats will not fit large heads (like mine). But that works out well for this project. I believe it will end up fitting the young lady perfectly.
Caron Cakes yarn

Introduction photo credit: author's photo of beanie in progress (graphic courtesy of FotoJet)