Baby, Crafting, Pregnancy

Jellybean’s In Threes

Sorry for the silence lately. Life got a little nuts there for a bit. Between OB appointments, a very emotional preschooler, seeing friends and family and seriously bad sunburns, we’ve been trying to enjoy our downtime as much as possible. I have a pregnancy post and a review coming up in the next while, so keep an eye out for that. In the mean time, here is a finished knitting project I’ve been dying to share with you:

In Threes by Kelly Herdrich

Pattern info here.

inthreesFO1

My Ravelry Project Page

I joined this project as part of a knit along with a great group of knitting moms here in Ottawa. Not knowing whether or not Jellybean was a boy or a girl, I wanted a neutral colour. I used left over Madeline Tosh Vintage from Liam’s Gramps, which ended up making the project that much more special to me.

inthreesFO2

The pattern itself is great. Easy to follow, a quick knit (especially in the newborn size) with a ton of sizing options. The details are lovely and I think it’ll work on either a boy or a girl. I had Liam help me pick the buttons, and we ended up choosing a light wood button with a cute little detail.

inthreesFO3

I have a few more projects in mind for my December baby. Hopefully they go just as quickly and as beautifully.

Crafting

Handmade Holiday

This year I decided to get an early head start on my holiday gifts. The idea was that I would be able to shop sales, budget better and have time for crafting. I think it really paid off. I managed to make several gifts for my loved ones and wanted to share how they turned out!

Embroidered Names for Friends

Embroidery is something that I stumbled into on my own several years ago and became absolutely smitten by it. I had a ton of floss, so I picked up some frames and linen and got to work. Most of these patterns are free hand with a couple of exceptions (like the foxes).

embroidery4 embroidery3 embroidery2 embroidery1

I have one more that has yet to be gifted, so I will share that later too :)

A Little Bit of Love Ornaments

I took an old sweater of my Mum’s that I loved (and she had loved), but I just couldn’t wear. I had never been able to donate it or give it away, so instead I decided to share a tiny bit of that memory and love and share it with family. I cut the sweater into pieces, and then using a cardboard template, cut hearts. I sewed the hearts together and Liam and I then stuffed the hearts.

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Castiel Tree Topper

I came across this amazing post on Lattes and Llamas, which features a knit Castiel Tree Topper. As a huge Supernatural fan, I was completely amused by it and then remembered how Cass is basically my SILs Husband, so I texted her a picture. She nearly died with a desperate need, so I knew I had to get to work. I only had a little bit of time left before our holiday celebration, so I hunted down a crochet Amigurumi version of Castiel (available here) and altered it. Please see my Rav page for all details on my changes. SIL informed me her bestie NEEDED one, so I made two. One ended up being a bit fatter than the other, but overall, I am very happy with how they turned out. Took me about a week to make both using scrap yarn.

treetopper2

Castiel Tree Topper

Crafting, Daily Life, family

2014 Round Up and Resolutions

And just like that, I find myself snuggled up in a blanket, alone in our cool basement while our boys are upstairs watching netflix and eating Pizza. It is yet another typical New Years Eve for this household. I can’t remember one where one of us hasn’t been sick. This year, it’s my turn. My whole body aches and I am perpetually freezing (which probably means I have a fever brewing).

2015. Can you believe it? It’s been one hell of a year to get to this point. Lots of highs and lows. I have to say though, I am watching this year come to a close with relief and with excitement for the coming year. 2014 was a hard year for many. We are not excluded from that. There were some incredible highs though, so I do still look back at this time fondly. Shall we recap? Why not.

January: We started this year much like we will 2015 I think, with some coughs, sneezes and late nights. To counter that, and to pass the time, I taught myself how to crochet. Since then, I have made several items. Some better than others. Want to see? Take a look.

Dino Cowl

Basic Chunky Infinity Scarf

Feyona Cap

Commissioned Flower Hat

Castiel Tree Toppers

February: Tracy, my amazing sister, started getting things in motion to get her gallery, LoveCraft Gallery going. I am so incredibly proud. Also, one of my best friends had her twin boys and my heart exploded with jooooooy. I picked up our family history again, had a hard time with my meds (changed doctors), and realized how awesome my friends are. Oh, and I started knitting again. Unfortunately, we got word that Pat’s aunt was terminally ill, which brought up tons of emotions for all of us. We started focusing on our health and diet.

March: We made a road trip to Montreal to attend the celebration of life of Pat’s aunt. I enjoyed our last bit foray into babywearing. Liam loved our Tula and our ring slings. I also went to Brockville to attend and teach at a babywearing meet up there. I continued with our health journey and incorporating Rhythm into our lives. I also won the CTV Makeover contest, which happened in April…

April:  Makeover makeover MAKEOVER! :D Also, Liam got Roseola. Fun. Liam turned two. Tracy started her kickstarter for the Gallery. We got the stomach flu and delayed Easter/Ostara.

May: I started and quit the Feel Great in 8 Program. Oh well. I had the best of intentions :P On the plus side, I did get an early birthday present out of the deal: The Fitbit Flex, which had a huge impact on getting me moving more. I was added to the social media team at Belly Laughs, which showed me how much I love it as a profession. We had a really awful couple of incidents at the park (a child was attacked by a dog, and the boys played in a puddle of bleach). I learned how much the internet has had a major impact in my relationships, specifically by bringing some amazing people into my life.

June: June was awesome. My girls took me out for my birthday, I did my first youtube video for the store and it was a hit, we attended our first powwow. We fell in love with a house and came super close to buying it.

July: July started out less awesome…Liam had HFM, which meant we were locked away for a couple of weeks until he was no longer catchy. No. Fun. This was also the month that we decided that we were really serious about moving. Every weekend for the next few months would be dedicated to house hunting and getting our place ready for sale.

Liam, loving the park after being sick.
Liam, loving the park after being sick.

August: August was hard. Started out with lots of hard work, me being overwhelmed by the world and life situation of moving limbo, and we hit the breaking point with Liam’s sleep. At almost 2.5 years old, he was waking up between 3-7 times a night to nurse. Each night. Without fail. So, despite a crazy time already, we decided to sleep train. It was a VERY difficult week for me, but it was life changing. He has been sleeping through the night ever since. One afternoon, while out and about, I was heckled by a stranger because of my weight. For some reason, I let this go. I turned it into a lesson. This was my real entrance into the Body Acceptance movement. Also, we put an offer on our dream house…We got so very close only to discover that it was going to be too much work for us to take on. We decided to keep looking.

September: September was a month of waiting. We kept looking for houses every weekend, we finished up getting our place ready for listing. Pat and I both started the 21 Day Fix program and had good success with it (which I have since gained back, btw). Tracy and I came up with the last minute plan of having her visit in October. We booked and planned and waited.

October: This was a strange month. In Canada, October is when we celebrate thanksgiving. I spent the whole month living around the idea of thankfulness. Counting my blessings. I had a wonderful visit with my sister, whom I hadn’t seen in almost a year and a half. We saw friends, had wonderful weather and a really great Thanksgiving. With Tracy in town, we celebrated “Christmalloween”, which was so much fun. After she left, we had a great time taking Liam out for trick or treating. October was also when our city was shaken. The shootings at the War Memorial and at Parliament was incredibly difficult for us and it really put things in perspective. Following the shooting, news about Jian Ghomeshi hit the news and I decided to share my story as a woman who has been sexually assaulted and have not gone to the police about it.

November: This was a hard month for me. After my sister went home, I found myself slipping into a deep depression. November is a grey cold time here in Ottawa, and I think the combination of this and missing my family really hit home. I struggled, a lot. On top of that, life seemed to get a hoot out of kicking us while we were down. Our car died, requiring expensive fixes the same week that I was cut from doing Social Media at Belly Laughs (and my hours dropped significantly). This was also when we really came to terms with not being able to move. We just can’t get what we want for the price we can afford. Thankfully, I have a wonderful support system in place and they encouraged me to see my dr, which I did. Properly medicated and supported, my depression lifted. I also decided to focus my anxiety into crafting (which has always been immensely calming for me). I managed to knit and crochet a ton, finally finishing a sweater for Liam and doing another commissioned piece for a friend.

Newsboy Hat Commissioned

Gramps Sweater

December:  Here we are. December. I left my work at Belly Laughs with a heavy heart and have taken a step forward into the unknown. We have had a wonderful holiday, with Pat having two weeks off following his birthday mid-month. Liam got his first hair cut and has been growing like a weed. It’s insane how grown up he seems now. Money is incredibly tight, perhaps dangerously so, but we are doing what we can. I’ve spent time with friends and family. We’ve been sick off and on. We were spoiled at Yule and Christmas. We are happy. I had a moment. I saw a tweet last week. It was a total “Aha Moment” for me. It seems to simple, so obvious, but it just clicked. Finally clicked. I can’t seem to find it, of course, now that I am looking for it, but I found essentially the exact same thing over at Dress a Day. Hell, it may have originated from them for all I know. Anyway, here it is:

You Don’t Have to Be Pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female”. 

It is from this post here. Read it. Please. It’s important.

I will post about this more later, but reading this, feeling what I felt, this is important. And note worthy.

So, there we are. That is 2014 in a nut-shell. Last year, I wrote some goals down, some things that I wanted to keep in mind and accomplish. How did I do?

  • Take an art or craft course of some kind. Quilting, pottery, whatever. Something creative that gets me out of the house and around other people who want to be creative as well Nope, didn’t happen. I did, however, get back into crafting so I’ll take that as a success.
  • Live a healthier lifestyle and ideally get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. Well, sort of. I started this. The weight aspect I am no longer concerned about.
  • Visit my parents at the cemetery No, and honestly, I’m ok with that. 
  • Clean up computers and photos Kind of? I started anyway.
  • Continue to write Yes :)
  • Put down my phone and play more. Of and on. It’s been a bad year for screen time.
  • Finish a sweater project for Liam YES.
  • Have dates with Pat. At home, yes.
  • Manage our money better Not so much.

So, coming back to that tweet that clicked with me. One of my goals last year was to be kind. In a round about way, it was also to be more kind to myself. Read the whole post here if you want more details, but I get into fat shaming, body acceptance, etc… It was almost a year to the day that I wrote that down, but I am finally back on that road. I do not need to be pretty. I am perfect the way that I am. I do not owe anyone a god damned thing. This is me, this is it. For better or worse, at this weight, 196lbs, 20lbs less or 40lbs more, this is who I am and my value does not change. I want to be healthier, and happier in my body, but I no longer want to feel like I owe my husband my thinness, or my old friends the way I looked in my 20s. This is me. If it’s not good enough, it is your loss. Kindly fuck off so that I can stop wasting my time on someone who doesn’t deserve it.

Tiptoeing into 2015, I think of that and what it means. Here it is, my goal for this coming year: Body acceptance, and finding joy and love within myself for myself.

As for the little things? Well, they are fun too.

  • Make time for my husband and our relationship
  • Continue to nurture my creativity
  • Continue on the path to living a healthier life
  • Be more present in the moment.
  • Let go of the material. It doesn’t define me.

Thank you for following me on this journey. I can’t wait to see what the new year brings for all of us.

Crafting

Liam’s Gramps

Some of you may remember my baby craft posts from when I was pregnant. I had these grand plans of knitting all of these adorable things for my little one. How is it that I always forget how slow I am as a knitter? And how flighty I am? Well, it took me 2.5 years to complete this one project. My first sweater for my baby boy.

Gramps by Tincanknits

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My Ravelry Project Page

I loved this project. Absolutely loved it. The pattern was well written and the tutorial on the Tincanknits blog made any issues I had completely disappear. This was my first in the round sweater, so I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing. It was nice to have the designer walk me through the steps.

grampsdone1MadTosh is the prettiest yarn I have ever had the privileged to work with. It is so soft and supple, while staying strong and solid. The colours are so rich and lovely. Seriously, I could marry this yarn. I never want to work with anything else ever again.

grampsdone2All I have left to do on this project is the buttons. Because it has taken me 2.5 years to complete, it’s actually a little snug on Liam (heartbreak!), so I don’t see him wearing it buttoned up, but I think it would still be a nice detail to add. Which do you prefer? I really like the look of the deer head buttons, but I worry about the light wood standing out too much. Thoughts?

grampsbuttonsI plan on officially giving this to Liam for Yule, though he has worn it and seen it already. I am so very happy with how this turned out. This project has reignited my love for the fiber arts. I have been knitting and crocheting not stop since!

Crafting, Daily Life, Depression

Pushing forward

Starting a conversation can be so hard sometimes. Finding the right ice breaker, the right way to start, can seem impossible. I find myself sitting quietly a lot these days rather than trying to find a way to talk about what’s been going on lately.

After my sister’s visit, I found myself slipping quietly into a funk. I’m not sure if it just started out as that down after a great time that happens to everyone, or if it was the time of year. Either way, I tried to manage it myself. I was diligently taking my meds. I got lots of sleep and ate well. Nothing seem to break the funk though, and eventually it grew into something more. My anxiety and depression reared their ugly heads. Thankfully, I have some amazing friends and family who encouraged me to talk to my doctor about it. My meds have been changed and I am being very careful around my triggers and am managing as best I can.

Unfortunately, the world keeps on spinning and doesn’t care what is already on one’s plate. Shortly after this, I received some news. I don’t want to get into too many details, because it wouldn’t be appropriate, but I am no longer doing any of the social media for Belly Laughs. I mention it only because I feel it is only right that you, my readers, know where to find me and I know that I have directed you there previously. There is a chance that I may do some blogging for them in the future, but that isn’t a sure thing. As of right now, I still work my regular monday night shift, but that’s it.

As you can imagine, the timing isn’t great with the holidays coming up. Thankfully, I did most of my shopping quite early and everything that is left on my Shopping list can be replaced with homemade items. Honestly, I prefer doing it that way anyway. It also so happens that one of my favourite self-care tasks is crafting, so it’s a win win.

The fun didn’t stop there, unfortunately. On my way to work on Monday, our one and only vehicle started making very unhappy sounds. I took it in yesterday (which ended up being a fun adventure for Liam and I, despite the early hour. He ended up having his first bus ride. A wrong bus choice on my part resulted in an unexpected trip to Starbucks and a windy but nice walk home).

liamadventureLooks like our poor wheels are pretty much done. We are putting about $500 in and then will trade it in. This of course means a bad financial situation when things are tough already, and added strain because we will need to finance the next car. Which also means that we will not be able to continue house hunting for a while, at least until things vastly improve.

So, here we are, I am trying my best to be positive about it all, but it’s hard. I probably need to find more work to supplement the hours that I have lost. On the plus side, a close family friend has presented me with an opportunity which may fill that void. We were talking about replacing the car soon anyway (ideally after getting our new home), because it is killer on gas. This situation sort of expedited the whole process. I was feeling torn about the whole house situation anyway, and this forces us to wait until we are in a more stable situation. Which, if I am being honest, is fine with me. Things are tough. Really really tough. I’m not doing great, however I do see that maybe this is the Universe forcing us to do things we have put off and giving us opportunities we may not have taken otherwise. For instance, I am now thinking about focusing more on what I can do in the future to potentially start my own business.

Oh, and I am knitting and crocheting like crazy again. Check it out! I will do a post soon with more deets on these.

liamgrampscommissionhatsHopefully I will have some good news to share soon. In the mean time, I will keep hoping and pushing along. Hopefully these bumps in the road are just new opportunities that we haven’t fully appreciated yet.

Crafting

I’m a hooker

I’m not entirely sure when this happened. I have been a knitter for so long now. I was so sure I just couldn’t wrap my head around crochet.

Is that just one needle? No, it is a hook!
Is that Crochet?!

It started so innocently. My girlfriends all started to learn and they were making these adorable infinity scarves. I got my hands on an adorable dino cowl hood thing pattern for Liam, and some perfect yarn fell into place.

My first project is a bit…messy. I don’t love it. Neither does Liam (or Maddie)

Liam’s Drako

Once I finished Drako, I thought I would start back on the knitting projects I have sitting in my WIP (work in progress) pile (namely, Liam’s Gramps which is supposed to be his birthday gift from me). Instead, I heard the siren call of the hook and kept going. I had to have an infinity scarf of my own.

My Chunky Infinity Scarf

My pretty pretty scarf
My pretty pretty scarf

It was a super straight forward pattern with a super straight forward yarn (Cascade Mountain Top in Blackthorn, for those interested. More deets are on my Rav project page, listed above the picture). It was a super quick and satisfying project.

Once I finished that, I should have gone back to my needles, however I knew I couldn’t JUST wear a scarf. It was so cold in Ottawa this week. This mama needed a hat. I have never had the time to knit one for myself and I have been eyeing tams, berets and slouches for years. One of my girl friends just happened to pick up a slouch pattern that she was willing to send my way. I just happened to have two skeins of the most perfect yarn for it (Spud & Chloe Outer). Off I went.

My Feyona

A toasty noggin for me!
A toasty noggin for me!

I finished last night, according to the pattern. I wasn’t sure about it, so I brought it to my girls and they voted to add more length to increase the slouch. I agreed and crocheted until I ran out of yarn. Literally. I had to use some yarn left over from the scarf to finish this thing. It’s hidden, so you can’t tell, but it’s as much slouch as I could get without buying another skein (not worth the extra 17$ it would cost, not including shipping).

So, there you have it. My path to becoming a hooker. I love it. I don’t know how that happened, but there it is. It’s so great to have a product at the end of it. While knitting will always be my number 1, it’s nice to have something to come to when I just want to be quick and dirty. Now, I really need to get going on that sweater (at least until the Raveldacted Renegade Games begin, I have a great project in mind for that).

Baby, Beauty and Body, Crafting

New Things

Happy New Year, dear readers. We are starting 2014 with many sniffles, coughs and rough nights.

Poor sick Monkey
Poor sick Monkey

On the plus side, all that downtime has allowed for some great tv time (Have you seen “Don’t trust the bitch in apartment 23”? Hilarity. Total hilarity.) and time for me to learn a new craft!

Is that just one needle? No, it is a hook!
Is that just one needle? No, it is a hook!

Yep, my Mum would be proud. It only took me 10 years to learn. My girls from my Mom Group of Awesome encouraged me and pointed me in the right direction (YouTube). I am currently making this bad boy:

The Drako Dino Cowl
The Drako Dino Cowl

It’s going pretty well. It’s not the prettiest thing I’ve ever made, and it’s taking me way longer than I expected.

It's my cowl hood thing. Hopefully Liam will look happier than the model kid
It’s my cowl hood thing. Hopefully Liam will look happier than the model kid

It’s my first project for the Raveldacted Renegade Games 2014. (Long story short, it’s sort of like the knitting olympics in an amazing group, LSG, on Ravelry). Yes, I’m starting early. I’m a big fat cheater. I’m ok with it. So are they, so it’s all good.

It’s also given me lots of time to play with my new beautiful babywearing lovelies!

My Didy Orient:

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Currently being broken in as a hammock

And, the most amazingly beautiful DISO, the gorgeous Oscha Mystic Owls Ring Sling.

Liam loves this thing
Liam loves this thing

Gorgeous, right? I am so so lucky. I never expected to have a stash, but there it is!
Speaking of luck, look what this lucky mama just won:

The Maime bag, by Ness. A giant amazing diaper bag.
The Maime bag, by Ness. A giant amazing diaper bag.

I plan on giving it a shot this week and reporting back with a review! I have a crap tonne of diaper bags now, and I think I’d like to share my feelings on them with you. Cause, you know, why not?