Life and Love

September has been a hard month for myself and my family.  Between work, daycare, and family life hasn’t been calm. I’ve started so many different projects this month. I’ve always suffered from Starter-itis; it gets worse the more I’m stressed. Starting something gives me something to solely focus all of my energy on.

Work was a relatively easy fix. I started a new job this week. It’s only been a week, but I’m so much more relaxed. I’ve spent the last three weeks looking for another daycare for Abby. I think I’ve found one that I’m happy with.

The biggest stressor this month is, was, is my great aunt. Back in July, she was diagnosed with cancer. This month she was rushed to the ER, placed in ICU, and passed away all within a couple of weeks. It was hard to see. This woman was so full of life and love, and that was reflected by the multitude of people who came to visit her. When she was moved into Comfort Care, they gave us a bigger room because of all the people who would come see her. It was awesome to witness.

Grief is a strange thing. With everything, I was fine, until the funeral. I did not take Abby. I didn’t even tell her that our aunt had passed away until after the funeral. She went to stay with her other grandmother until after the funeral. It was a long weekend for Abby. Her father and grandmother kept her busy with outings and trips. The funeral was difficult for me. That’s when it all hit.

I started a washcloth, a  burp cloth, and Abby’s Halloween costume while sitting in multiple hospital rooms. I don’t have any pictures of the washcloth or burp cloth. They’re simple. The washcloth is half-double crochets through the back loop. The burp cloth is just garter stitch.

Abby’s Halloween costume, however, will be a work of art. I started it after the funeral. I was sitting at home, starting to feel overwhelmed, so I started something new. Something absorbing that would take a lot of concentration: Hexagons.

I have a love-hate relationship with hexagons. 20170922_203624.jpgThey’re my favorite shape, and crocheting them has been a struggle. Last year, I wanted to do a temperature blanket out of hexagons, but I struggled to find a pattern I liked and could understand. I’d only been crocheting for a little while, and it was mostly square washcloths. So, I did what any sane person would do. I made up my own pattern. It was flawed because I’m terrible with numbers. Anyway, these hexagons are perfect, maybe because I’m an idiot and just can’t read a pattern.

Abby originally wanted to be received_1647685675262941.jpega rainbow butterfly, so I bought the yarn for that. Of course, as soon as I’d ordered it, she changed her mind. She’s now a rainbow fairy. The general design has stayed the same, however. And by that, I mean that I had no design and was *ahem* winging it. Until yesterday. The wonderful, amazing person who is my best friend and can think in shapes made this template. It was, of course, Not Right. So we fixed. I laid out one wing out of the hexes and moved them around sending a BAJILLION pictures until we decided on a design. And this design isn’t exactly accurate because we changed it.

I should need 21 hexagons, which will be interesting because I have seven colors: Red(Serrano), Orange(Orange), Yellow(Canary), Green(Macaw), Blue(Celestial), Indigo (Eggplant), and Violet(Fairy Tale). Oh… No… Wait… That’s three of each color, I think. *pulls out a calculator* It is three. I’m so bad with numbers. Technically, there are actually eight colors. The eighth, a brown named Bark, will be used to outline the wings and make straps. I plan on crocheting around a wire so the wings will hold their shape.

Abby is extremely excited about the hexagons, especially the baby hexes. She gives each one a kiss if she walks in on me making them. They don’t take long to make, maybe 20 minutes if I’m uninterrupted. The hexagons have been quick and easy, which has helped keep my mind off of things.

October Preview:

If all goes well, October will be all about blocking, piecing, and finishing the costume. I’m hoping to have all of the hexagons done before next weekend, or shortly there after. I’ll put all the yarn, hook, and wire information in the next post, as well as the pattern, if I get it written out.

Bleary Eyed

I have two calendars. One is for me and life. The other is for craft stuff. Not to mention the phone calendars, one of those is specifically for this blog, and only for this blog. It’s shows up blue on my phone. Still, with all of that, I continuously forget when the last day of the month is EVERY FLIPPING MONTH!!!

I had dropped Abby off at daycare. We were late this morning because shirts are confusing, and shoes just magically vanish in our house. They, the shoes, were in the grandparent’s bathroom, and, at drop off, the shirt was still on backwards. Anyway, where was I? Oh! Yeah! Okay, so, after drop off, I’m driving to work. It takes about 20 minutes. I realize, about five minutes away from work that today is the 31st, and oh by the way the 31st, is the LAST DAY OF AUGUST!!! EVERY FLIPPING MONTH!!!

Abby’s dance class starts back today, and she’s going to her grandmother’s/dad’s for the weekend. So, I’m going to be way late going home, and OH MY GOD HOW AM I GOING TO GET THIS POST DONE?!?! Momentary panic ensued. I’m currently writing on my lunch break. If I’m lucky this will mostly get done, and I can maybe do pictures as soon as I get home. I bet it’ll be 11:56pm before this posts though. I’ll update you. And now I’m talking to myself… ANYWAY… This has actually been a productive month. It’s also been an extremely busy month. My mother had surgery this month. That’s the biggest thing that happened. She’s doing very well!

While she was in the hospital I started a washcloth. I needed something small to do, and washcloths are mindless. At least, this one is. I chain 25 stitches and half double crochet through the front or back loop depending on my mood. I stop when it’s a square. I don’t actually have a picture of it because Abby needed something to snuggle with, and it was the only thing available. It was left at her Papa Joe’s house. But it is actually finished!!! Tails were woven in and everything.

— Everything before here was written at lunch. Everything after here was written at Abby’s dance class. With luck this will get posted before midnight. —

This month also started the NaNoWriMo Creative Writing class on Coursera. That’s been interesting. I did something I have never done before. I finished a story. It was just over 600 words, but it has a beginning, middle, and end. I’m famous for starting and never finishing projects. But I’ve done two, albeit small, projects in one month.

I’m on the upswing from the crazy anxiety and depression a few months ago. I’ve stayed busy. I know the crash will happen sometime. It could be a year, a day, or a few months away. That’s one of the hardest parts. Even when I’m feeling good, I know it will happen again. Feeling out of control in my own body is the hardest part. I know there’s a relatively easy solution to this: Get help. But I’ve tried various medicines and therapies, and I just don’t like it. Crafting has helped me so much more than any of that.

Anyway, back to the washcloth. I’m already working on a second, but with all the writing, it hasn’t progressed too far. Both of them, this one and the completed one, are crocheted through the back loop, but it’s only half double crochets. Easy peasy. I’m using Lily’s and Crème cotton in some color way. It’s a GIANT CONE!!! Look at it! Huge! I have another one that I’ll be using for some burp cloths. Hopefully, I’ll be able to attach pictures and this won’t look like random chattering.

— Everything before here blah blah blah. Everything after here was written sometime after getting home and before midnight. —

Well, there will be no pictures because I absolutely refuse to walk back out to the car where I left the giant bag full of giant cones of yarn. I’m so good at this blog thing! It has been a long and stressful day to match this entire month. But, I did it. I met the goal of finishing something, and I did the impossible. I’m going to spend the rest of my night (the ten minutes after I publish) relaxing, and then I’m sleeping.

For the next month, it will be more washcloths (and probably burp cloths). See you in a month! Maybe I’ll finally remember when the end of the month is.

— You know the drill. This is around 11:33. —

The internet is not willing to cooperate, so I’m trying to do this from my phone while falling asleep. I’m so good at this thing. I’m too stubborn to change up the date. I hope you’ve had fun following this insanity. 

Spring Has Sprung

Spring has sprung; so did I, out of bed, when I realized this was the last day of April, and I was supposed to be writing a post. It has been a busy month. Camp NaNo, crocheting, spinning, planning a birthday party for my kid, unexpected test with my rheumatologist (which has me all kinds of freaked out), and then receiving a MASSIVE amount of hospital and doctor’s bills. Well, massive for me. In the grand scheme, they weren’t that much, but way more than I had. ANYWAY… I did not finish one craft project, let alone the two I had planned to finish. I was creative, though.

My goal for Camp NaNo was to get 15 posts pre-written for my personal blog and 15 more outlined. It was surprisingly easy. I don’t know how many of those posts I’ll use, but there ya have it. I wrote on my lunch breaks, which I found amazingly productive. When NaNo happens, I’ll probably continue doing that. It didn’t give me a lot of time to crochet.

I found these gorgeous crocheted flowers by HappyPattyCrochet. I fell in love with them from the moment I found them on Pinterest. I obsessed over them for months before I broke down and bought four patterns; I went a little crazy. I then stared at this pattern for another month before I even pretended to attempt it. My eventual goal, probably in November and December is to recreate my best friend’s wedding bouquet. Also, I want to make a bunch of flowers that I can’t kill.

S20170430_213241o, I started crocheting with tiny thread. I had to stop halfway through because I couldn’t see what I was doing. I probably should have used a lighter color, but why would I go easy on myself? This tulip should have been finished withing the first 10 days of the month, or sooner. I had a nice little break while waiting on a craft light with a magnifying glass to arrive. During that little break, I did some spinning. I’m still not very good, but it was a perfect way to spend my birthday.

20170430_213315I made three of Petal 1, as per the instructions, only to realize that I left off part of the petal, but oh well. I only have one of Petal 2, and I’m almost done with a second. The third shouldn’t take too much longer. I’m not thrilled with how the first Petal 2 looks. I might make that over. I think I’ll do both leafs and then finish the project. Hopefully, that will all be done in the first half of May.

As for May, I’m going to finish the tulip and then switch to one of the other projects I had planned for April. I’ll be using that pretty yarn that I pictured last month.

Otto and Ollie

March has been a relatively easy month for me. There was some early stress over a friend, but mostly because I was feeling helpless. The anxiety doesn’t like when I can’t fix something. So I made something, even though it wouldn’t change any outcomes. I felt better. Life was good. Then yesterday happened. Abby caught the stomach bug that’s been going around. Then I caught it… Both of us have been home sick today, and it’s been miserable. Abby is doing so much better; I have not. I thought writing this post would be easy, but I’ve slept most of the day away, so I’m frantically typing at the last minute.

Sara, my friend previously mentioned in the first post, started taking progesterone shots at 16 weeks. Her first child, Liam (who’s three days younger than Abby), was born a couple of weeks early. They wanted to prevent the same thing with Baby Roman. At 29 weeks, she started having contractions and went to the hospital. They were able to stop them, and she came home with another medicine to help keep them at bay. I had to do something. I don’t handle worry well.

About a week later, I discovered an article with some probably dubious science about crocheted octopi being good for premature babies. The tentacles remind the babies of an umbilical cord, or something like that. Also, they’re just really, really adorable. So I told her I was making her one. Orange is her favorite color. I found some bright orange yarn at the store. I came home with it and a new hook, because I’d lost my hook again.

I’ve tried crocheting stuffed creatures before, but it didn’t go very well. I don’t know why not. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was a bad pattern. Maybe the stars weren’t aligned wp-1490996197700.jpgcorrectly. The world will never know. This pattern looked simple. So, I did it. And, I learned two very important things. Thing 1, USE A STITCH MARKER!!! I lost my starting stitch somewhere around Round 9. The pattern went a little wonky after that. I almost ran out of yarn while I was working on the tentacles. I had two inches left over, and that was mostly because I changed how I was crocheting the tentacles while I was making them. I had to use only a small part of the second ball to make the bottom of the octopus. I named him Otto. Sara adores him. Thing 2, I remembered why I quit embroidering, and it was really hard to embroider once the octopus was stuffed. The eyes and mouth took much, much longer than they should have. All in all, it took me about 8 days to finish Otto. Most of that was waiting because I didn’t have everything I needed.

wp-1490996198078.jpgLiterally, the day after I finished Otto, one of Sara’s friends, had Baby J quite a bit early. I didn’t know this woman. I didn’t know her family. They don’t even live in the same state as me. That whole can’t-sit-still-must-do-something thing kicked in. I made another octopus. Sara named this one Ollie. I happened to have a green ball of yarn on hand, but only one. I used a smaller hook because I didn’t like how open Otto was. Ollie is definitely more of what I was thinking. I used a stitch marker and embroidered as I went. Ollie was finished in four days and it took a few more to get him mailed. Baby J’s mother loved him! I loved that she loved him!

If you want to make your own, they’re super easy, follow the instructions at this link. I highly recommend using a stitch marker and embroidering the face on as you go. I embroidered Otto and Ollie’s eyes at rows 9 and 10. I went over them twice. I started left to right, and then went back over it from right to left. All with one strand of yarn. I did not split it. I like the big bold effect. I crocheted the mouth the exact same way across rows 13, 14, and 15. I knotted the yarn on the inside and, if it was real long, trimmed it.

  • Yarn: I used Peaches and Crème in Hot Orange (Otto), Rosemary (Ollie), and Black for the embroidery. I ran out of yarn with Otto and had to use part of a second ball. I had leftover yarn with Ollie.
  • Hooks: Otto was crocheted with a 3.75 mm hook. I thought the stitches were a little spaced out, so Ollie was crocheted with a hook, 3.5 mm hook.
  • Fiber Fill:  I bought a small bag from Wal-Mart. It’s going to last awhile. I used both more than I expected and less than I expected.Stitch Marker
  • Stitch MarkerYarn Needle
  • Yarn Needle

I loved making these octopi. They were quick, simple, and easy to do. The adorable factor is off the charts! I’ve already started a third and fourth. I think I have five or six more on my To Make list. I’m hoping I’ll be able to get some made in my free time to donate to the local hospital.

April is going to be a little tight. I signed up to write for Camp NaNoWriMo, though I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be working. I’m also not sure how I’m going to juggle writing and crafting. In the past, everything has been put to the side for Camp and NaNo. Not this month. Because in April, spring has sprung. I have three projects I want to attempt. Two of them are a little higher on the list. One involves wires, and the other involves this pretty, pretty yarn:

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A New Stitch

It all started about three years ago. I suddenly got sick in the middle of the night. I was taken to the ER and had a CT scan done. The doctor suspected my appendix. I thought it was my appendix. My parents thought it was my appendix. The pain was in the right place, and my other symptoms matched. The very first CT scan showed that my problem was, in fact, colitis. And it all goes downhill from there.

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But, I’m not one to face my problems directly, so let’s look at some very pretty yarn. Don’t let its looks deceive you, it’s hell to work with. But it will be so worth it. I saw this yarn and knew immediately that it wanted to be made using the Crocodile Stitch. I mean, Dragonscales!!! Love!!! I bought five balls of this. It hung out in a bag until I decided what exactly to do with it.

Which brings me back to January of this year. It’s the very early hours of a Friday morning. I’m having some serious digestive upset. My three-year-old is asleep on my bed, and I’m trying extremely hard not to disturb her, so I do what any adult would do: I called my mommy. I called her three times, and she didn’t answer. Then I called my daddy. I managed to get my daughter to her bed. I have Mom take me to the ER. I had yet another CT scan. My fourth in three years, all because of the same problem. The ER doctor proclaims my appendix to be the problem and admits me. Every time before that, I’ve been diagnosed with colitis and sent home with strong antibiotics.

The surgeon I saw hours later declares that it’s not my appendix at all. I’m ready to have the danged thing removed at that point. It’s been three years of “It may be your appendix or colitis. We’re going to do a CT scan.” I’m more than a little frustrated but too sick to do anything about it. I spent four days in the hospital, and I’m still dealing with the fallout from my daughter. When I’m finally released, I’m told to go back to my doctor if I start having problems again. Which I do…

Noticing a theme? I’m not out of the hospital a week before I’m sitting at my doctor’s office hearing, “Well, it could be your appendix, it feels a little inflamed, but it’s probably colitis.” This medical practitioner doesn’t want to give me any antibiotics or run anymore test. She literally tells me, “go home and see how you feel later.” That didn’t sit too well with me. Two days later, I’m in a specialists office and I have a colonoscopy scheduled, which did horrendous things to my anxiety. I spent the next couple of weeks in an almost constant state of panic.

That’s why I decide to learn how to do 20170204_114557the Crocodile Stitch. When I get anxious, I also get this restless itchy feeling. I either pace for days on end, or I learn how to do something new. Afterall, I did have that pretty yarn waiting for me. One weekend when I was childless (what I call weekends when she’s with her dad), I picked up a hook and a YouTube video (I’m not planning on decreasing). And then this happened!!! See it?! I have a scale!

I have decided that I’m making a shawl for myself. As mentioned above, the yarn is a pure, beautiful hell. It’s not forgiving. There’s no room for mistakes. Mistakes cause the yarn to lock up on itself. Undoing anything requires very bright light and a small sharp object to basically cut the fuzzies that are tangled. I broke into a sweat trying to undo one stitch.

I knocked out quite a bit before the colonoscopy. After, though, I lost myself in books. Sitting long enough to crochet kept my mind stuck on waiting for my biopsy results. The specialist said everything looked normal during the colonoscopy. The biopsy results came in a few days ago with “non-specific inflammation.” I was also told if I had any more symptoms to call for a follow-up. That’s it. That day I knocked out two (well, sort of four) rows on the shawl. It helped that I was surrounded by people not long after the non-answer.

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Each row is sort of two. It has the foundation row and then the scale row. There is no actual turning of the project. It’s just back and forth, back and forth. It’s going to take significantly longer than I anticipated to make. I don’t have a size. I’ll just stop until the shawl fits the way I want it. But, fun fact, it currently has a total of 190 scales over 19 rows. Also, a fun fact, my first ball of yarn had two babies hidden inside of it. Aren’t they adorable! I used a wooden spoon to ball them because they were actually too small for me to wind on my thumb.

But don’t worry, I won’t bore you month after month with my slow crocheting. I will update briefly until it’s finished, but the month of March is dedicated to babies!