Too Busy.

So I’d like to start with a big hi, and welcome to everyone that has visited my tiny fledgling blog over the last couple weeks.  I really do appreciate you taking time out of your busy lives to read my dimpy little blog.  If you’re wondering about my lack of posts lately I’m really sorry about leaving so much time between my last post and this one.  I have several posts planned including how to make a blog planner with a crazy quilt cover (really you can use any planner insert you want), and how to hand quilt/show you my most recent quilting project, and since I’ve gotten a lot of questions from friends about how to start/stop in counted cross stitch so that it’s not a giant rat’s nest of nonsense on the back of the project I was going to do a quick pictorial on that too (even though I’m sure someone else has already put one out there on the internet).  But then my husband suggested I get a job so that I can get out of the house some, and I figured since I’ve been unemployed for the last 8 months or so that it would be good to have a job and so I went out and got one (JUST KIDDING!!  I actually got two!).  And now I feel like I never have time to think, let alone craft or blog or do anything I actually want to do.  😦

And honestly it makes it to where I can’t really do the stuff I don’t want to do too.  I can’t remember the last time I vacuumed my house, the kitchen is always a mess because I never seem to have time to do the dishes, and I have a mountain of clothes that need to be washed that probably won’t get done until this weekend at the earliest.  One upside to being so busy is that I’m hitting 10,000 steps on my fitbit a lot more often.  There is this part of me that is always dissatisfied with my weight.  I always wish I was thinner like the summer I met my husband.  I wore a size 14 that summer and honestly that’s the smallest I’ve ever been as an adult/teen/pre-teen (literally since I was like 9 years old).  That was 10 sizes ago.  So maybe if I stay busy like this I’ll be able to lose some weight I’ve been wanting to lose.  I just wish I could lose weight and quilt and blog all day at the same time too.  😛

fitbit screen shot

When I started this blog I had this idea that I was going to write 3 times a week and have these beautiful involved posts with lots of pictures.  But what I forgot to account for is that the people out there who write daily and have these beautiful blog posts with nice glossy pictures with the perfect lighting are getting paid to write.  Their blogs have such high traffic that they don’t also hold down two jobs.  Their blogs allow them to do things like farm out work to employees.  But I am not them, so instead of bemoaning how I have too much to do I  think I will cut back on my expectations for myself.  And so for right now I’ve decided I should aim for once a week until things settle down some and I have more time to devote to the blog.  I’m still going to put out tutorials and how-to’s, and I’m going to aim to get my posts out on Wednesdays that way you guys have something interesting to read on hump day and that way too if you want to pick up the supplies for a tutorial I do you have time to do that before the weekend.

I hope you guys enjoy the blog post coming later this week, with the crazy quilt covered blog planner!

See you then.

Lizz

Make your own journal or photo album!

So I don’t know about you guys but for me part of healing is writing.  It’s natural for me to want to put down what I think and feel during times of stress but I’m terrible at consistently journaling, like every day.  I like to use more smaller journals instead of less bigger ones, that way I actually fill up the journal I’m using instead of having dozens of half empty journals laying around.  That’s why I love little journals like this, they’re cute and easy to fill up.  And bonus!  This journal could also be used as a cute, portable, photo album to slip in your purse or pocket to take your pictures with you places.  (Or maybe that’s just an idea that appeals to me because I’m old/old-fashioned.)  Want to make a photo journal?

accordian photo album

This project is super easy and super cheap.  To complete this project you will need the following:

  • a set of note cards about 4×6.  (I think 3×5 might be a little small, and 5×7 isn’t exactly pocket sized.)
  • a roll of clear cello-tape
  • an x-acto knife
  • ribbon of your choosing (really you just need a scrap)

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I picked up some cute printed note cards in the scrapbooking aisle at my local Walmart for approximately $3.  The rest of the supplies I already had at home, but in total this project shouldn’t cost more than $10-$12. The first step is to remove the notecards from the packaging they came in, mine were glued into a temporary booklet, so I carefully tore them out one at a time.  Then I stacked them neatly in the order I wanted them to be in in the accordion.

accordian folder step 1

Then all you have to do is tape the cards together on alternating ends to create the accordion.  I put a piece of tape on both the front and back of the seam to make it nice and secure.  Here’s a picture of how I tape them together:

accordian photo step 2

And here’s a picture to show the accordion effect and where exactly to tape the cards:

accordion photo step 3

Continue taping until you’re out of of cards, or you are happy with the size of your photo album.  Once you’re done taping, as a finishing touch, tie the ribbon around the journal to keep it from flopping about.

finished accordion album

If you want you can glue the ribbon to the back cover so that it won’t slide off or get lost when you open the journal.  I chose not to do that to this journal because I am still deciding if I like the black ribbon with these colors or not. And that’s it.  Now all you have to do is journal, decorate with stickers or stamps, and/or add the pictures you’d like in there.  These are also really fun to give as personalized gifts, especially to older relatives.  Print off pictures you think they’d like and put them in the photo album as a gift.  These are also a great project for teens to make to record their high school memories in. One photo album could be made for every year of high school to keep pictures and special notes and memories.

Love Always,

Lizz

P.S.  Isn’t the sentiment on the cover card just perfect?

True Confession

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So I went back and re-read my original post and while what I said there about the topics this blog will cover still stands, I would like to add something to the “why I started a blog in the first place” category.  After re-reading that I got to thinking and if I want this blog to help even just one person I need to be totally brutally honest about why I’m here in the first place.  I mean, if I just wanted to shout into the void I could easily journal-and I do.   (And if you want to make a journal similar to the one pictured above stay tuned and I’ll do a tutorial in the near future).  But I have a purpose for shouting into the void known as the internet:  accountability.

Here’s the deal:  my life has not been perfect, or easy, or simple.  A good percentage of my quarter century on this earth has been consumed by grief, stress, sadness, and complications.  Things always seem to work out for me in the end, I’m not really sure why, but things often seem to take the long, bumpy, stressful, crazy road to working out.  And in the past my methods of dealing with grief, stress, sadness, and mess haven’t exactly been the most healthy for me.  I’ve chronically over-eaten for most of my life, was a heavy drinker as a teenager, actively injured myself (yes on purpose),  and as an adult struggled with serious crazy over spending.

But this time has to be different.  This time I can’t half a chocolate cake for dinner every night, or drink like I don’t care about my liver (or if I wake up), or hurt myself.  This time I can’t go out and just buy things for the sake of buying things.  To be honest my husband and I have too many things as we stand now.  Every day I put more things up for sale on the internet in hopes of simplifying my life some.  This time I have to face grief, and sorrow, and stress head on and not crumble under the strain.  And so that is where the blog comes in.  Of my various means of dealing with stress in the past, over-eating and over-spending are the two I still struggle with to this day.  And those are the two things I hope this blog will distract me from doing.  I’m hoping that by being accountable to my readers (however few they may be) I will be able to come through my grief without racking up the biggest credit card bill ever.  In fact, I’ve even been applying for jobs around my town to help keep me busy.  My thought was that if I had a job to go to every day, even if just for a couple of hours, that would be a couple of hours I’m not at home stuffing my face and thinking up things I “need” (like the treadle sewing machine I got my heart set on yesterday…).

So there’s your dose of honesty for today.  Hope it wasn’t too shocking.  :p

Love always,

Lizz

Tiny crochet hats

When I first came home from the hospital I couldn’t do much without help.  And I got tired really easily.  The pain medicine I was on didn’t help much either, it made me so dizzy and out of it I could hardly focus on a movie, let alone do sewing projects like I wanted to.  But I still needed something to keep my hands somewhat busy, so I decided to pull out some crocheting to do.

I have an inordinate amount of yarn just lying around and I wanted a project that I could finish quickly and easily that didn’t need a lot of keeping track of what stitch I was on in the pattern (grief seems to completely destroy your attention span).  And while looking for something easy like that to work on, it hit me: I should make baby hats!  When the nurse brought Enoch to my room after my c-section she had him all wrapped up in a tiny blanket and under that he was wearing tiny clothes.  It didn’t matter that he was 4 months early and was 10 inches long and weighed no more than 15 ounces, she had somehow found him clothes.  Mind you they were nothing fancy, but the gesture touched my heart deeply. She knew that he was a person, and that he mattered, and that people wear clothes (they even let us keep the little outfit).  The clothes in question were a tiny hat and something akin to an oversized sock that I refer to as a “preemie sleeping bag”.  They were knitted in matching yarn, and had been donated by a local woman for use in situations like mine.  And so in thinking about how touched I was to have my son brought to me in clothes I set about to make hats and preemie sleeping bags to donate to the local hospital.

I ended up finding a pattern in crochet that was perfect, and you can get it for free from here: baby hats. The pattern can be easily scaled up or down based on gauge, weight of yarn, or size desired, by doing little more than adding or subtracting the number of increase rows you crochet and using an appropriate size hook for the yarn you have available to you.  And if you want to make a preemie sleeping bag, all you have to do is make it slightly wider than your average hat (add an extra increase row or two) and keep adding rows until it’s the length you need.  I make mine about 12 inches long-I figure they can fold over any extra at the top if needed.

Last week I brought a gallon size ziplock bag of them (probably about 2 dozen hats) to the maternity ward where Enoch was born.  They really appreciated it, and they hardly recognized me: they said I was looking a lot better and healthier.  It was really good to do something nice for others and the repetition of doing the same crochet stitch over and over again was very therapeutic!

Love always,

Lizz

P.S. Here are a couple pictures of hat number 27-ish (honestly I’ve stopped counting).  For this particular hat I used a skein of Bernat Softee Baby in the color “Pyjama Party” and I used a US size G crochet hook because this yarn is a #3 “light” weight yarn.

easy crochet baby hat  baby crochet hat 3  

My first post.

“Enoch’s Mom:  A journey of healing through crafts, cooking, and love.”

So after reading that you might be wondering what this blog is really about.

Crafts?

Cooking?

Healing?  (…from what you wonder.)

Well to be totally honest, I’m not sure I’m entirely satisfied with that tagline for this blog.  I’m not sure it really encompasses the full scope of what I’m trying to accomplish with blogging.  So instead of trying to rely on a one-liner to explain myself I’m going to write my first post about it and hopefully lay out the direction this blog is going to be headed also.

In January of this year (2015) I gave birth to my first born child-a son.  Unfortunately for my husband and I our son was stillborn 4 months to the day too early in a bout of extreme pre-eclampsia that almost killed me.  We named our son Enoch, a name I love and cherish as much as the biblical story behind it.  As I began to heal from the emergency c-section my doctor used to deliver Enoch, I found that aside from the love and tenderness my husband and I share for each other, one thing that kept me from falling apart into a blithering ball of tears every day was crafting.  I’ve always been a crafter, but after Enoch died I found that my crafting had also morphed into a kind of therapy.  I found solace in the repetition of a crochet stitch, or hand quilting the small quilt I had begun for him while I was pregnant, or stitching a small cross stitch project.  (All projects I’ll discuss further in their own posts.)  I also found it to be healing to focus on my health through food: eating healthier and getting more vitamins were two biggies especially.  In short it’s been crafting, cooking, and love that have, and continue to, help me through this hard time in my life.  And that’s what this blog will be about:  crafting, cooking, vitamins, good books I read, whatever helps me feel less crazy.  And maybe, just maybe, this blog will become one of the things that helps me heal too, maybe it will even help someone else through a rough patch.  But we’ll have to wait and see about that.  Until then, I hope you like quilting and cookies.

Love Always,

Lizz (Enoch’s Mom)

P.S.  Since I understand how crazy busy life is and how hard it can be to carve out time to do anything, (let alone read blogs on the internet) I’m going to try to keep my posts to under 500 words.  You’re welcome.  🙂

P.P.S.  Here is a picture of me, you know, so you have a face to the name.

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