I've sat thinking for quite sometime now about how to write about what we've been up to lately. There's been much joy and celebration around here and yet under it all there's an undercurrent of sadness, shock, and disbelief about recent events. It feels almost selfish and insensitive to be reveling in the joy of family and togetherness given what's occurred lately. But I suppose that among the many things that we can take from these events is the importance of holding your loved ones close and appreciating the time that you have together (even when during that time they sing loudly on a karaoke machine and wake up your sleeping baby. That's right, Debbie, I'm talking to you!). So last weekend we gathered together to celebrate my little sister's birthday, her being home for a visit after spending a year in Pakistan, and we threw in a little early Christmas celebration too since my older sister and her family are never around at Christmas time.
I have to say that the best part about combining my sister's welcome home with Christmas is seeing the fantastic presents that she brought back for everyone. Like these handmade booties from Afghanistan.
And these Pashtun wool hats that the men in our family are now sporting.
And, of course, being the awesome sister that she is, she brought fabric back for me - some absolutely gorgeous cotton lawn from Pakistan. It may be many years before I gather up the courage to cut into something so beautiful.
As for things for her, O and I made this cake for her birthday celebration although I mixed the crushed candy canes up in the icing rather than just sprinkling them on the sides. You can learn from my mistake here - crushed candy canes in white icing happens to turn the icing bright pink.
Who knew? Also, who knew that my sister had a phobia of pink food and that she would shrivel her nose at my masterpiece. Fortunately, she ate it anyway and despite it being an odd color, it actually tasted incredibly good.
And, of course, I had to attempt to sew a little something too. I say attempt because despite asking her about three times for her bust size, she never volunteered the information so I had to base the sizing off of me just staring at her chest and estimating a size. Needless to say it was not a very scientific process but in the end it seems to have worked out okay. I made her a version of Sewaholic's Renfrew Top with a funnel neck and long sleeves. The fabric is a light yellow sweatshirt material, which my sister kindly described as "the color of a dehydrated man's urine." Hmmm. Apparently yellow isn't her thing.
In any case, the fabric is incredibly soft and comfy to wear. I know this because many weeks ago I made myself a version of this shirt in the same material but I've just never gotten around to blogging about it - probably because it's always in the wash because I can't stop wearing it. It has to be one of my favorite things that I've made. I call it my fancy sweatshirt in an attempt to convince myself that it's work appropriate. One day - when it's not pitch-black outside for 16 hours a day - I'll get around to taking a picture of it.
Until then I'll leave you with these two pictures.
1) How Ben looks at the end of every family gathering.
2) A photo of a 66 year old man attempting to hoolahoop.