Ugly Christmas Sweaters and Wannabes

christmas sweater

My “bad Christmas sweater”

My brother and sister-in-law had an ugly sweater party on the weekend and I had looked forward to it ever since receiving the text invite earlier in the week.

Saturday (aka party day) arrived and I spent the day collecting crafting tools for Christmas gifts. While I was at the thrift store, I overheard a conversation between the clerk and the customer in front of me. They were discussing bad Christmas sweater parties. I guess it’s a thing.

Anyway, the discussion was about how the shop had a few regular sweaters with a piece of garland pinned to them displayed for those shopping for ugly Christmas sweaters for parties. And about how quickly they were being sold.

So it’s a big thing.

And I thought…what a gimmick! It’s a regular sweater people!

With a cheap piece of tinsel on it!

And then I remembered the time I knit myself a pretty ugly sweater and I became inspired to wear it to the party.

So I got all dressed up in brights and bads and showed up right on time.

After a while my brother said to me, “Robyn we decided you missed the memo on the Christmas sweater thing and showed up for Halloween.”

I could only assume he and the whole guest list decided this.

“That’s ridiculous. I was a pirate for Halloween.”

“Well then you missed the memo on the bad Christmas sweater.&rduqo;

And then, everything fell into place.

“Why yes, yes I did.”

It’s really too bad he told me about the memo because I don’t think it would’ve dawned on me and I would’ve had a blissful time at the party looking all out-of-place and not knowing it. One benefit is the whole garland thing made a lot more sense.

This whole experience reminded me of the rock star party I attended the week before. I tried to be Lily Allen.

Dressing up like Lily Allen

My night on the town as Lily Allen

Christmas Morning Mug Huggers [Gifts for under $15? I’ll give you $5]

When I become fixed on an idea I tend to.

  1. Talk about it a lot
  2. Research it a lot
  3. Read a lot of books and/or blogs

During my last fixation, I even took a budgeting course. That was new for me. Actually, no it wasn’t. Nevermind. I forgot I went to French Camp one semester.

Right. So this last round of obsessed researching follows exactly the same patterns I usually get into. So this intro was basically for naught.

My point: on my latest quest/obsession/fixation/project I stumbled upon an interesting blog. I read a few posts and figured I’d keep an eye on it to see if anything useful popped up. And when I saw this one I thought, Yeah! Gifts in a jar for under $15!

But then I read the post (actually, I skimmed it) and thought…I can do better.

Mug Huggers

Introducing arbyn’s Christmas morning mug huggers!

Here’s how you can make arbyn’s Christmas morning mug huggers too

  1. Acquire mugs from anywhere but a store if you can help it
  • I recommend grandparents, friends of friends, or your local workplace
  • Don’t steal
  • Go through your stash yarn (or fabric, ribbon, etc.) and find some good colour combos to go with your new-to-you mugs
    • Find a great pattern and get crafty
    • My pattern is pretty straightforward: Thirty stitches for 30 rows, then add a border
  • Also find some buttons
    • For my project I tried to scavenge from old purses and my meagre collection but resorted to purchasing a bag of about 100 buttons from a thrift store for $2.99
  • Find little gift baggies
    • You could definitely sew them—hand stitch even
    • I found mine pre-made at a dollar store for $0.75 each
  • Collect little packets of hot chocolate and sample sized Bailey’s, or whatever type of hot drinks strike your fancy
    • I have a large tin of Starbucks hot chocolate and I divided it up into single portions, and I found sample-sized Bailey’s for $3.99 each
    • You could also pick up some single-sized instant coffees or teas
  • Put it all together and voila! A lovely way to welcome Christmas morning, so long as the recipient has access to hot water
  • I suppose the good that came from the whole “Gifts in a jar” thing is it unlocked some sort of permissions inside my mind, which didn’t seem to think homemade gifts were appropriate. I know, right? But all I can ever think about for homemade is knitting and I didn’t want to knit all my gifts.

    (OK we all know that’s not true.)

    My compromise was to only knit part of the gift. And I think it worked out alright.

    When I decided this was the direction to go, it was pretty exciting. I didn’t want to spend much (most of my friends are officially skipping Christmas, so really I was just trying to create a special token) and now I had direction.

    Oh, and I’m completely aware that I’m spoiling the surprise.

    …or am I?

    Now the surprise will be who gets arbyn’s Christmas Morning Mug Huggers!?

    Day 13 Wrap Up & Thoughts about Smartphones

    I love it when something happens in the poll. There were lots of votes on Day 13, and some great back and forth between second, third, and fourth positions.

    We need a good Cinderella story every now and then. About an underdog coming from behind and winning the race. Me? I like one every night, but I digress.

    Stats after Day 13 of Voting

    Of course, The Canadian Moose continues to dominate with 95 votes and 42.41% of total votes. But, wouldn’t you know it, Conversing with Strangers had a strong day and is sitting pretty in second place with 38 votes and 16.96% of the vote.

    Third position is currently held by Hats over Cooking from Scratch by one vote. Quite the race for bronze.



    Sometime this week I plan to launch a “How the Poll Works” FAQ page in the top menu. Hopefully I’ll have the details ironed out by then so January’s poll and the options contained in it will start seamlessly and we will sail smoothly and fairly into 2011. Suggestions are welcome! And random thoughts of nothingness!

    Also, I have the option of offering a “mobile-friendly” version of my site. I had my boyfriend check it out on his iPhone.

    “I think this is more for people with your kind of phone,” he said.

    My kind of phone is an original Razor (read: not a smartphone) and I do not browse les Interweb with my kind of phone. Not only is the browser painfully slow, but it’s text-based (read: basically useless) and I wouldn’t check my blog with my phone. No offense, blog.

    But, to confirm, I checked the stats from the last year. What did I find? Since this time last year:

    • 413 people have visited this blog on a mobile device
    • 413 of those mobile devices were smartphones
    • 353 of those visits were from iPhones
    • 29 of those visits were from iPads
    • The remaining 15 visits were from Blackberries, Androids, Samsungs and Nokias

    My conclusion: I probably won’t use the mobile-friendly settings since they add extra clicks to get to this site (minimum two), it’s largely text-based, and there doesn’t seem to be a need.

    That said, let me know what you think. I can’t test any of the mobile features so let me know if there is anything I can do to make this page more mobile-friendly on my own.

    Five days till Christmas!

    Don’t forget to vote!

    Christmas Bling & Voting Day 10

    As a result of a string of slightly related events, my home looks slightly decorated.

    Christmas bulb bling on my 3′ tree

    It all started when my mom dropped off a box of discard lights saying I could use what I wished and give the rest back. It was a kind gesture since I had no plans of purchasing lights or decorations. There were also some old 1970s-style mustard yellow bulbs, which I thought I’d never use. So of course I had the opportunity the next day.

    It just so happened my grandmother had invited me over for supper and wouldn’t let me leave without taking her 3′ Christmas tree with me. Suddenly I have a setup so once I got home I, well, set it up.

    My sparse balcony Christmas bling

    So the place is still looking pretty sparse but I don’t seem to detest driving home from work in the dark so much. I suspect it has something to do with how much I look forward to turning on all my lights and fire and feeling all festive-like.

    And of course last night I was inspired to knit up a quick ornament-bling as pictured above. Would you really expect anything less?



    In voting news we are now at an impressive 160 votes with just over two weeks left—although with Christmas and New Year’s in the mix, we’ll see how that goes.

    Here are the standings:

    1. The Canadian Moose: 70 votes
    2. Cooking from Scratch: 26 votes (good recovery!)
    3. Conversing with Strangers: 25 votes (including the original four)
    4. Hats: 21 votes

    I think it’s safe to say the other categories are more or less out of the race, although there was a new entry in the “Other” category for The Canadian Beaver. Hmm…

    Stats after Day 10 of Voting

    Provoked into Blogging

    “I need to know if you love me more than you hate Snuggies.”

    “That’s not a fair question. If I answer I know one day you’ll turn it around on me, saying I said this one time that I wanted a Snuggie and I won’t say it. I won’t!”

    “You didn’t answer! You’re silence says it all. Oh woe is me!”

    “You’re provoking me.”

    “Into what?”

    “You know I’m going to have to blog about this.”

    “No, I will get a lot of flak. People won’t know I’m joking.”

    “They’ll know. No one would ask a question like that in seriousness.”

    “So…?”

    “Next thing I know you’ll be telling me the only way you’ll come home for Christmas is if I get a Snuggie.”

    “I would never say that, that’s mean! I’m offended that you would think I would say that.”

    Question for you: What do you think the original query was?