This is a long OVERDUE post that isn’t pregnancy related.

Don’t faint.

I have neglected the blog because, well, it’s not my priority. I don’t monetize my blog. I’ve never gotten anything free or made any money blogging. My blog is not my job. It is something I do for ME. My kids and my house are my my job and they are FULL TIME.

 

I find myself seeking balance. Looking for pause and reflection. This seems to be happening more and more and I suspect it has to do with growing new life. I’m past the mid point of pregnancy (I guess unless Max decides to cook to 43 weeks. Unlikely.) I can’t forget I’m pregnant for the huge belly but if it weren’t for that and the kicks I’d probably have to be reminded. Life with four kids is so incredibly busy. Like super super busy.

Busy.

 

Ella has been teething and sick and sick and teething. And not sleeping. But also: Walking. Running. Talking. Demanding my CONSTANT attention.

I find myself asking my 13 year old multiple times a day either 1. Who he is texting or 2. Who he is on the phone with. This is both maddening and exhausting. And a little bit exciting seeing him come into his own. Also he has straight A’s so there’s that.

Raising a 16 year old daughter challenges me unlike I’d ever expected. I thought she was a hard baby. Yeah. I’d rather do that again. I mean the head shaking. The sighing. The plugging of ears. God I love that kid. I do. No REALLY I DO. She’s trying to grow up. And sometimes trying to make me a little crazy.

My 11 year old is thankfully the one kid who doesn’t want to talk back, bicker, snot mouth, ignore etc. He does his chores quietly and with little nudging. Now if only I could get him to stop leaving underwear on the floor. Next year he’ll be in junior high. And that makes me a little weak in the knees.

In any case you can see how this would get a little, eh hectic, on a day to day type basis. If I blog I can’t sew and if I sew I can’t blog and if I crochet or knit I can’t blog or sew and if I clean and cook and bake I can’t crochet or blog or knit OR sew. And if I manage to get all the laundry done I probably can’t do any of those things.  Oh and there’s all my twitter friends, which are almost my only friends. And I’m finding that those lines are being crossed too where my twitter friends are becoming my REAL friends or vice versa so I don’t ever want to ignore these relationships either. And somewhere in there I have to mother these people and be a wife-y type person too and  do it while my husband is gone half the week. So you know.

Busy.

I’ve found, for my own PERSONAL brand of sanity, that I *really* need to do a little of all of those things. I NEED a clean house but I also NEED to sew and I NEED to knit ANd crochet AND cook and I am happiest when I am successful at all of that PLUS being a decent mother and wife. Or trying anyway.
And then there are days (weeks, MONTHS even) where people are sick or teething or just needy and I go days without ever spending time on MY sanity. And I start to feel a little, well, insane. And I usually cry. Sometimes I yell. Sometimes I clean. And most of the time I need Matt to say HEY YOU NEED TO SLEEP (or do something for yourself).

SO I try to eat healthy.

I take time to do some creative things that nourish me… like sewing:

Making curtains I’ve wanted for a year and a half (also a clean space and clean sheets helps).

Or crocheting with some NICE yarn (because I’m WORTH nice yarn).

Or make something for someone (in this case a hat for Max).

It’s easy to become very preoccupied with SURVIVING as a mother of one or two or four or five. And I have to remind myself that MY cup needs filling. I need fulfillment and sometimes I need nurturing too. Trying to do it all and be everything to everyone is a bad idea sometimes. Sometimes admitting the things you aren’t capable of makes you, in fact, capable. These are the lessons of womanhood and of motherhood. And I’m learning them. Daily.

 

(nearly) wordless wednesday , crochet , knit , knitting , mothering , sewing , teenagers , thankful

Summer days

Two post in one week. WHAT?!?1!/1?!?! Don’t die. Please.

So as I mentioned in my post last week, and as most of you are aware, it is summer. This means that rather than drive three (or four as it often were) kids to school in the morning, I am waiting for them to drag their pubescent and pre-pubescent butts out of bed only to then ask me questions like, ” moooooom, what’s for breakfast” or “Mooooooooom, what are we DOING TODAY.” The answers to which are often, whatever you’re making yourself and cleaning up the five thousand messes you made after I died like a corpse dead last night at 11:30 pm but you were still up reading books and studying calculus wrecking your brains with mindless tv. But sometimes the answer is…

Go for sundaes!

It’s been downright pleasant swelteringly miserably hot here so going outside to do anything but swim after 9 am is pretty much suicide. But we did drive around after sundaes and see these guys having lunch.

Which is, not surprisingly, quite similar to how I look pulled up to a sundae trough.

I grew up in this valley and I still love cows. Every time I drive past them I think about becoming vegan.

For about 5 minutes anyway.

The kids have mostly not been trying to kill each other and summer has about 5 weeks left so it’s looking pretty good for survival all around. And I’ve even had some time to be Crafty MCCrafterpants.

I made this quick and easy granny square pillow because I desperately needed a break from the afghan that feels like it’s going nowhere.

Here’s the pillow:

It’s on my bed. And what you can’t see in this picture is the TWIN bed NEXT to my bed that we bought so Ella would stop trying to suffocate me in my sleep have her own space. Expectedly she hates it. But maybe this will inspire me to do a co-sleeping post.

Oh and here is the 5oo year flower afghan.

When it’s all said and done there will be 169 square similar to this one. Which I will hopefully finish before I die. Hopefully.

In the meantime I’m making granny stripes too.

I love me a granny stripe. These are fast and mindless. I can crochet these almost without looking and I don’t have to really count or think too much which is a bonus since by the time I’m crocheting at night I’m mostly just counting the minutes until the dead like a corpse dead thing is happening.

In case you’re planning on asking, these are the yarns I am using… the granny stripe (and pillow) are made (mostly, but I did throw in a couple of leftover wools) from cascade 220 superwash which you can get in a rainbow of lovely shades from Jimmy Beans Wool. And it is AWESOME. It crochets up super nice and clean and what a color palette! I bought some of it in a local yarn store called Swatches but (as often happens) their selection was limited and I’d say given the shipping time and variety, it is, unfortunately for swatches, better for me to order online. Jimmy Beans is OUTSTANDING. Free shipping over $75 (which is EASY to do) and they ship priority mail usually the SAME DAY. I love them. LOVE THEM. Order Friday. Get it Tuesday? YES!

The flower afghan is made from comfy worsted I got at knitpicks. They ship not so quick but wow with the great prices. This cotton blend is so luxurious to crochet and knit with. Smooth as butter on the fingers.

For the yarn lovers in the group. I present: Yarn Porn.

Disclaimer: Neither Jimmy Bean nor Knitpicks knows who I am or cares that I have mentioned them. I do so merely for your knowledge, my loyal readers.

OK next item of business: Garden. It’s growing.

That is all. Some of the tomatoes have blossom rot which is making me cry. Other than that, it’s a regular jungle out there.

OK for now I will sign off. Before I go I will tell you that there will soon be news on the blog. Changes are happening folks… Stay tuned.

crafts , crochet , garden , kids

Oh so many things I want to say…. SO very very many things that I want to share with you my loyal readers.

I want to tell you about our trip to Super Duper Ginormous Baby Superstore to look for a bigger car seat for Hulk SMASH Buddha Baby. Mostly because I want to tell you stories about all the unnecessary baby paraphernalia they have there. Oh and about the lady feeding her 2 month old baby food by the case because he has acid reflux. She was fun.

I want to tell you about how Milo has taken to eating cat litter. And crap.

OH and how my self esteem has been so boosted lately by The 15 Year Old’s new found hobby of  making fun of my hair/clothes/oakland booty.

About Ella eating. Food! Avocado! Broccoli! Toast!

Oh and about the Old School Cloth Diapering (switched the pockets or prefolds and covers! Oh my)

Oh aaaaand about the things I’m making:

An afghan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Floor quilt for Ella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dresses! Pillowcase style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also a crocheted frog. Headbands. A skirt. Another Henry The Hoot. The pattern for Henry. Bunnies for Easter.

And… Myself crazy.

That last one most of all.

 

I have a bit of a problem. It’s call Overachieveritis. That’s an inflammation of the Overachiever lobe of your brain. It’s right near the WHAT THE HELL DID I GET MYSELF INTO section and just below the Holy Crap I STILL Don’t Know What’s For Dinner area.  The apparent cure for Overachieveritis is to not do so many things.

Because I have been afflicted with Overachieveritis and it’s in it’s chronic phase I consequently don’t have time to tell you about any of the aforementioned things. Only time to rock in the corner and suck my thumb.

 

And hopefully make a pillowcase dress. Oh and the 20 minutes it took to write this.

 

See you tomorrow beauties.

 

 

blogging , crafts , crochet , family time , OVERACHIEVERITIS , What the HELL did I get myself into?

If you were about the blog yesterday you might remember this little gem. The one where I was a whiny little be-otch. Last night the Man and I had to have a heart to heart about the dog. In other words, I told him the dog was making me insane. He concurred.

At least the dog wasn’t vomiting all over the house. And with the tofu incident of Tuesday behind us. I was feeling like things might be moving in a positive direction. Despite the dog crap and urine in the house.

Perfect.

That’s when I saw the Man bend down to wipe the floor.

“What are you doing?” said I.

“Just picking something up.” said he.

“What thing?”

“It looks like….. a tick.”

“A WHAT THE HOLY HELL DID YOU JUST SAY?” (it was in fact, slightly less dramatic. But only slightly.)

OK so there are now creepy crawling biting infecting mites and burrowing blood sucking ticks. Awesome.

While all of this was going on I received news from a friend (Emily @ Joyful Abode) that another friend was quite ill and having an issue with her milk supply (that is, breastmilk supply). She wondered if I had any frozen. I did not have much as most of it has been eaten in the form of a breastmilk popsicle but I said I’d get to pumping. And pump I did. Last night. Twice this morning. Once this afternoon. I managed to get quite a few ounces of pretty fatty milk for her wee babe. Yay boobs.We can keep her baby fed until she’s mended. No sweat. I bet we end up with more milk than she even needs.

Then this afternoon a phone call from one of my Hospice friends. Seems the son of a former very dear patient of mine was killed. That’s two deaths in a year for that family.

With these two pieces of knowledge and a piece of humble pie, I managed to get some distance from myself. As I sat pumping and thinking (because it requires both hands so what else could I do). I thought about losing a son and I thought about my friend.

And I thought about the ticks. And the bitey mites. And the smelly dog. And about 671 other things that are stressing me out right now. And what I came up with was this:

I’m really glad I have four healthy kids. And I’m really glad my boobs can make milk for two babies. I’m glad I have a nice pump that I can pump with. I’m so glad I have a friend like Emily who would call me on behalf of a woman who needed help. I’m glad I have a husband who is here to help, and kids who are HERE even if their rooms look like a nuclear bomb explosion site) I’m glad I have a nice house. And clothes. And food. And cake.

The glad list kept getting longer. And less vital to survival than something like, say, cake, for example.

I’m glad I got this brand new (40 year old) sewing machine.With all these fancy knobs for fancy stitches.

And that I have an enviable yarn stash. (of which this is about 1/18th)

And I’m glad for this dog.

Mostly because he’s sleeping.

(Actually the dog is still making me batshitcrazy, but I’m trying to gain perspective here people.)

breastfeeding , crafts , crochet , knitting , whine



Readers I give you a totally pointless blog post about a doll.

Sorry. But this took me a while so I’m making a blog post about it. Cause it’s my blog. Neener.

At long last here she is.

I finished her. I can’t tell you the feeling of accomplishment that has washed over me. I’m on top o’ the world.

Ok, not really. But wow, it feels good to have a completed project. Cause it seems these days, I’m lucky to get my hair brushed.

Here are some photos of Miss Merleymaid, Dreadlocked Queen of the Sea. I regret that I cannot give you the pattern because, alas, it is not mine to give. I wish it were mine. Here’s a little secret you may or may not know about me, I’m a stickler for following patterns. This is unusual because I can think outside the box when it comes to lots of other things (in my professional life for example, also I had a baby in the kitchen so that’s something) but when it comes to knit and crochet, I am absolutely pattern loyal. Also I like recipes. I like to follow them. I wish this were not the case but it is. So anyway.

Bygones.

The pattern is available here. I purchased this fine this pattern when she was having a 30% off birthday sale. That’s totally insignificant but I just wanted to tell you. Go to her site. It’s Super Cute.

Also just for general educational purposes this is what is known as amigurumi, a Japanese style of knit or crocheted small dolls or animals (or whatever). For more on amigurumi click here. When crocheted they are typically done in all single crochet in the round and thus are not difficult to make (except for the working with very small pieces which may give you an aneurysm. Or a seizure. Or at the very least arthritis.). If you don’t know how to crochet go here. It’s not for everyone but I like it. When knitting amigurumi they are made with stockinette stitch (Making one of those now. It’s an owl. And it’s for Anneliese. Don’t tell her.).

Moving on.

The yarn:

Flesh toned cotton, rayon blend (TLC cotton plus)
Brown worsted weight (for hair cap, it’s not in the picture) (Vanna’s {cheap} choice)
Wool bulky weight (by Lion)
Aqua worsted weight (bamboo ewe by Stitch Nation)
Crochet hook size G (um. Metal.)


PS I am a yarn snob. Apologies. For this I did use mostly readily available yarns. Except the TLC, you gotta order that one.

PPS If you crochet or knit and you haven’t used any of the Stitch Nation yarns. Do. Now.

Starting with the head. Half done with safety eyes. I challenge you to remove this. It’s impossible without a pair of pliers. Or scissors. Or a welding torch.

Outside view. Half done.

Stuff it tight. Full. Packed. How I feel after eating at the Cheesecake Factory.

Add the arms (these are small and small things are hard to crochet. My fingers hurt for two days).

And body (crocheted as one piece). Headless. Arms attached. This is disturbing. I apologize.


Now for the hair. This is made by crocheting a small wig cap and tying the bulky yarn to it. The yarn is then pulled through to the opposite side and the cap is then sewn to the dolls head. This sounds like a lot of steps but it’s not. I did it in one evening, with a baby on my lap. Here you see head, cap and Rastafarian hair yarn.

Oh and you see my couch cushion. Cause I was too lazy to get up.

And here is the edge of the hair.

Ella approves.
Yum. Yarn. Tastes… fuzzy.

The last bit it to make her shell boobies and starfish hair accessory. I used wool felt. It’s so lovely. And wooly.

Accent embroidery to the outside, done before attaching (that’s supposed to be a seashell. The Man said it looked a “little rough”. It’s a SEASHELL. That’s my story and I’m stickin to it. Thank you.)


Also I haven’t had a manicure in two light years. My apologies.

Viola.

May I present Miss Bobbie Merleyamaid. Your (sea)weed dealer of the sea. (That’s a joke about pot. And a stereotype about people with dreadlocks. The Man made that up. I thought it was worth using. If you made it this far you deserve a chuckle. You’re welcome.)

Thanks for sticking around y’all.

Happy crafting.

j-diddle

crafting , crochet