Tea Advent Calendars

Tea Advent Calendar

It's that time of year where everyone on the internet is showing their favorite advent calendar, or the one they wish they had time to make. ; ) I recently finished making a set of advent calendars for us and for our friends and family.

Last year when I visited my cousin Amy in Germany around Thanksgiving, I saw a commercial tea Advent calendar. As a tea lover, I was intruiged and bought one to take home with me. Unfortunately, since it was assembled way in advance and had some particularly strong flavored teas in the mix, all the tea bags pretty much tasted the same. Whatever flavor it ended up tasting like, it wasn't one I liked. The idea of a tea a day for advent; however, was a keeper!

After my experience with herbal teas overpowering the black ones in the calendar, I decided to make a black tea calendar. I wanted a different variety every day, but since I have some friends and family members who only drink plain black teas I also made a "plain" variant with a bit more repetition.

While shopping for teas, a theme for the week began to emerge:
Sunday: Darjeeling for a nice light afternoon tea
Monday: Plain, strong black tea to get the week started
Tuesday & Wednesday: no set theme (plain and flavored black teas)
Thursday: "Earl's Day" (Earl Grey)
Friday: "Chai Day"
Saturday: Experimental teas!!

Tea Advent Calendar

Calendar Teas:

Bigelow Eggnoggin'
Celestial Seasonings Earl Grey
Choice Russian
Choice Earl Grey Lavendar
Choice Mango Ceylon
Ketepa Pride
Harney & Sons Black Currant
Harney & Sons Chai
Harney & Sons Cinnamon Spice
Harney & Sons Darjeeling
Harney & Sons Earl Grey
Harney & Sons English Breakfast
Harney & Sons Irish Breakfast

Harney & Sons Orange Pekoe
Harney & Sons Paris
Harney & Sons Passion Fruit
Numi Breakfast Blend
Organic India Chai
Taylors of Harrowgate Darjeeling
Taylors of Harrowgate Earl Grey
Taylors of Harrowgate English Breakfast
Taylors of Harrowgate Scottish Breakfast
Tazo Chai
Tazo Peach
Twinings Darjeeling

After it all arrived, the tea was laid out, individually numbered by day, boxed, and decorated. (It isn't an advent calendar if there are no numbers...) To put on the numbers, I first tried metallic pens, but found that they didn't work particularly well. I ultimately landed on printable labels. I used Avery 5293 round labels since that size came 24 to a sheet which is perfect for numbering an advent calendar.

Tea Advent Calendar

The boxes are made from cardstock which I cut, scored, and cut again. I added an embossed greeting on the top "Christmas is on it's way!" and stamped the silly gift barcode stamp on the back. The adorable mooses were handstamped and colored by Terri, my papercrafting genious of a mother-in-law, after she saw how cute one she had sent me home with looked on top of the box! (So cute!)

If you decide to do something like this yourself, my biggest suggestion would be to look very hard for the words, "enveloped" or "wrapped" on each and every tea you purchase. I learned the hard way that if a 20 count box is individually wrapped it doesn't mean that a 50 or 100 count by the same brand is as well. Another hard-learned tip is that Taylors of Harrowgates individually wrapped bags are about 1/4" larger than other brands.

Tea Advent Calendar

Happy Advent!

Sailor Baby Sweater

It's getting to be that time in my life when everyone I know is having kids. It started with friends and spread to my family. First my cousin Amy had her adorable son almost two (!?) years ago. Now another cousin, Andrew, and his lovely wife, Kayla, have a son due early next year.

Like previous baby sweaters I've made for friends, I fell back on Super Natural Stripes, a free raglan pattern. Like the last time I made it, I decided to elminate the garter ridges and do simple two-row stripes along the cardigan. This way results in fewer ends to weave in and a tighter striped look.

Sailor Baby Sweater

Since Andrew's in the navy, I decided on a marine theme with navy and white stripes and have taken to calling it the "Sailor Baby Sweater." Who knows, maybe he'll grow up to be a sailor like his dad. Either way he'll start off with some hand knits and Bryan and I are excited to meet him.

I don't have any baby-sized hangers, so I resorted to making my own from picture-hanging wire. Since I could, I added some letters to my hanger. I was inspired by this tutorial, but ultimately I made it up as I went along.

Sailor Baby Sweater

Project: Sailor Baby Sweater
Pattern: Super Natural Stripes

Watch Caps 2014

Show me the yarn! Isn't this a knitting blog?!

(I hear you.)

So far my knitting this year has been either top secret (aka gifts) or watch caps. Like last year, I had a goal of 12 hats (one per month). I recently finished my last watch cap for the year.

Watch Caps 2014

Unlike previous times I've knit watch caps, I didn't take pictures of them immediately after finishing, so I don't know the exact order they were knit in. I know the first one this year is in the red varigated yarn since I finished it before I hurt my hand and enjoyed playing with it while it was in progress. The last one for the year is the blue with purple, grey, and black.

Watch Caps 2014

Despite trying out colorwork last year, I reverted to my old standby: stripes. As a rule, I try to make relatively unique hats that I would be willing to wear (the sailors need to be able to recognize their hats). I would wear pretty much any of these hats, but the brown striped one turned out a little too hipster for my personal taste.

Watch Caps 2014

Like I mentioned last year, my aunts who taught me to knit work closely with the New England Seafarer's Mission based in Boston. Each year the mission collects hand knit hats, toiletries, and handmade drawstring bags which they assemble into ditty bags to give to the seafarers at Christmas time. My aunts and I knit hats, and my mother sews bags.

If you're looking for ideas on striping, etc here are some previous years' watch caps: 2014, 2013, 2011-12, 2008