"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either." ~ Elizabeth Zimmerman


The Week Before Christmas

I have had an interesting week. I've been sick most of it. As soon as I'd get rid of one bug and start feeling good again, I'd catch another bug. I see pictures in my mind of us walking off the plane upon returning from Hawaii and a whole crowd of nasty germs yelling "Hurray!!!" and leaping on us. I say us because all 3 of us have been sick since we got home.

Wednesday was the worst one. It was a stomach virus of some sort. I did quite a bit of throwing up and I ached all over so bad. I spent the day in bed.

Being sick made it extra hard to get ready for Christmas. I was behind as it was. This made it worse! But somehow, I managed to catch up. Partly with help, partly with chucking the things that were lowest on the priority list.

So, what did I manage to do? Well, first of all, last weekend, on Saturday, we drove all the way into north Spokane to the Spokane Humane Society to check out a dog. Yes, we are looking for a new fur kid. I can't stand being dogless any more. I really miss that wagging tail and bouncing body of joy greeting me when I get home from somewhere. And I have no one to eat the left over crust of my pizza, or share my lunch with, or take walks with on the Parkaosa.

I'm looking for a German Shepherd mix, less than 2 years old, female, puppy okay. There was one in Spokane that sounded perfect. However, someone adopted her and left literally seconds before we walked in the door, so I guess it wasn't meant to be.

Later that evening, at home, we had a visitor and I managed to get photos of her, though not very good ones. It was getting dark. A moose! She munched in the back yard for close on to half an hour.

It was odd, because it was so quiet out, except for the sound of her munching. There was, every so often, the sound of twigs and branches cracking somewhere in the brush to her right. I couldn't see anything, but I knew it was there.

As she started to leave, a little one came bounding out to follow her.

Awww, so cute! I wish it had come out sooner, but it was more interested in minding it's mother.

Monday I took care of Ruth. She was very sick, doing the throw up thing (she was the first of us to succumb to that particularly vile virus.). I was feeling so so. Not much energy, but I spent some time wrapping the gifts and getting it all under the Christmas tree and doing some much needed house work.

Tuesday was Rathdrum Knitalong day. I was feeling very tired, but not sick. (Daughter Ruth was human again, but not up to much.) I went anyway cuz I hadn't seen the gals in 3 weeks. I'm glad I did because I had a very nice time. After the meeting I went shopping for the Christmas food items I needed.

Wednesday, as I said above, I didn't do anything but moan and spend a great deal of time in the bathroom. Ugh! Since Ruth was feeling better, I sent her out with a list and my debit card. She finished my Christmas shopping for me and did a fantastic job of it. I will always be forever thankful to her for that.

Thursday I awoke feeling half human again. So we started cooking. I decided this year I was going to bake Panettone for the family. Panettone is an Italian Christmas bread with dried fruit in it. Kind of like a fruit cake, but much lighter, fluffier, and eatable. I'd never tried making it before, but I am very good at baking bread (when I do it) so I leapt in with full confidence.

I found a simple recipe on the internet. I also found out it requires a special pan. A coffee can will work, but I don't have any. So I did a bit of googling and found instructions for making your own paper panettone pans with brown paper, scissors, and a few staples. The idea is a good one. It works pretty well. Here are some of the pans I made:

The instructions say to use large paper grocery bags as your paper source, but I used parchment baking paper instead. Didn't have to grease the pans that way. Here are five of the nine Panettone's Ruth and I made over Thursday and Friday.

They turned out so beautiful. I started out planning to make seven. Burnt one of the first ones on the bottom, so we ate it. I needed to make sure it was gonna taste good anyway. Don't want to give a gift that tastes awful. Believe me, it's good. It's VERY good! If the good ones taste even half as good as the burnt one did, they are fantastic.

Well, then I had to make another one for myself that wasn't burnt. So we made nine.

If you make this, and you decide to do the do-it-yourself paper pans, do not use a black cookie sheet underneath when you bake them. It causes the bottoms to burn. I have one black cookie sheet and 2 shiny aluminum ones. Using aluminum worked much better.

We made four Panettone's on Thursday, and five on Friday. I had no energy, and was coughing, but the nose stopped running-Yay!

Around about Tuesday I got the low down on the family Christmas Eve party plans. Mostly, who is gonna be there. My sister-in-law is gonna be in town and at the party. I had not made plans for a gift for her. I didn't think she'd want a Panettone all for herself (I could be wrong about that though) but I know she likes my beading so I decided to make her a necklace. I spent a good part of Thursday-between bread risings and long into the night, and most of Friday morning, working on it until it was finished. As it turns out, I love it! I hope she does too.

It's fairly simple. I made an Octahedral Cluster beaded bead for the focal point. I used some 6mm Hematite beads for the core, and glass seed beads for the lace overlay.

I strung some matching glass, Hematite, and Silver beads on either side for a total of 5 inches, and finished off the rest with spiral rope stitch.

I did something a little different with the rope. I did an alternating pattern of one matte black and one silver metallic for the core beads. The outside beads are shiny black. It's made for a very interesting look. I used a sterling silver Lobster Claw clasp.

I decided to go with black and silver cuz it goes with a lot of things my sister-in-law wears. I ended up with a necklace with a total length of 20 inches.

Now, last, but not least. I did manage to knit a couple rows this week. I think, considering how sick I felt and how busy I was, I did darned good at getting that much done. I finished the first of the fingerless mitts I'm making to go with the lace cowl and started the second one.

Now, obviously, I didn't get this done to send out in time for Christmas, so it will be a Happy New Years present for the recipient instead. I know she'll understand.

By the way, all the other Christmas gifts I knit did get in the mail on time and have arrived at their destinations.

Today I will be wrapping the Panettone's and getting them all ready to go. Tonight is the family Christmas Eve party. I am looking forward to it, though I really wish I had more energy and the cough would give up already. I take comfort in knowing that everyone else there will be coughing too.

Hey! It's snowing! Looks like we're gonna have a white Christmas after all.

Live long and prosper. \\//


  1. Beautiful necklace; *love* the rope!

    I've had that stomach virus, too; it's hard to get over it. But at least it's finally snowing!

  2. You did quite a bit for being sick. I don't think I would have gotten that much done.

    I love the necklace and am sure the recipient will,too. Love the beaded bead and the spiral chain.

  3. Linda, your necklace creation is lovely...and to make a beaded bead when you felt so under the weather is a real accomplishment! Better health in the New Year! Jeanne