16 Weeks

The Tori Hat

This hat is named for my niece, Tori, because it is her design 100%. She's a freshman in high school and recently asked me to make her a hat for Christmas. She had quite a few things that she was particular about (style, colors, striping, the pom-pom, hat thickness, etc). This is what I came up with:

The pom-pom is quite inventive, I think. She wanted it to hang so it flopped around when she moved her head.
Tha hat uses a variety of acrylic yarns (RH Soft and the purple is Bernat Satin I believe). The red, teal and oatmeal are Paton's wool. It's a great scrap project. I chose to make one color dominant because the striping in the earflaps would just be a pain. There are 10 colors altogether. The top starts off with 3 rounds of purple, and then every 4th stripe is purple. The earfaps are then all purple as well. I doubled the yarn together for thickness and used a 9 mm hook. I started off using 8 but it was too stiff, and I wanted it to be very soft and smooshy. I may just have to write up a pattern for this. I think it's adorable!
I still have gads of yarn left in these colors and am tempted to make a few more until I use up the yarn, and sell them on Etsy.

15 Weeks

My husband cannot operate my camera to save his life, so I had to turn off the flash and take my picture in the mirror. I apologize for the terrible quality.

Technically I'm 16 weeks as of today, but I seem to be a week behind on uploading photos.

At 14w4d I felt the first flutters of movement. Very obvious what it was. Like a gas bubble traveling upward instead of down. Sort of rolled up my insides. Very strange. I felt it again at 15w1d, twice. Nothing since though. Which is normal. The baby is so small that depending on where it is in my uterus I may or may not feel its movements consistently for a few more weeks.

I'm also completely in maternity clothes. Most of my non-maternity shirts, even the ones I thought were on the long side, are practically belly shirts now. I'm wearing one stinking pair of jeans everyday (doing lots of laundry lately) until Friday when I pick up 2 more pairs of pants from the tailor. Try finding maternity pants in short sizes. Ha. Good luck there. I thought it was difficult to find normal pants in the right length for my short size...try finding fat pants that short! I ordered 2 more pairs and they should hopefully arrive before the weekend (knock on wood). I wasn't too keen on buying a new wardrobe but...what can you do? I can't go to work in my bathrobe now, can I? (Though that would be nice)

Second trimester is treating me fairly well. I'm not tired at all anymore. I have my moments but mostly I feel back to normal in the engery department. I'm not eating as much. My MIL says its because my organs are starting to get squished into my stomach. This seems highly plausible to me as all of a sudden I eat about 3 bites and feel full. That wasn't happening until I "popped" around 14 weeks. I feel shaky frequently from low glucose. My OB says this too is normal in the 2nd tri and to just make sure I eat a little something every 2 hours even if I'm not hungry. If I eat a cracker with some peanut butter that seems to do the trick. My only real complaint is sciatica. My butt, tailbone, lower back and the backside of my hips ache all the time. Sitting is the worst, I cannot seem to do it comfortably. I talked to my former physical therapist and he suggested purchasing one of those Yoga balls and sitting on those. He gave me some butt and pelvis exercises that should help. But mostly, he said it's probably here to stay until the baby is born. Walking aggravates it too, which is very annoying. I'm really hoping this eases up a bit. It's been my only complaint so far though so all things considered, that's really not bad at all.

Hope everyone is doing well.

Week 16
How Big is the Baby at 16 Weeks Pregnant? Your baby is even larger by pregnancy week 16, between 4.3 and a little over 4 ½ inches long, and probably weighs close to 3 ounces.

Your Baby's Growth and Development
Your baby is planning on doing some major growing in the next few weeks. By pregnancy 16 weeks she'll be able to hold her head slightly straighter, and her eyes are finally moving into their final position in the front of the head. The ears are doing the same, and now your baby is focusing her attention on complicated circulatory matters. Your baby's heart is pumping 25 quarts of blood every day, not bad for someone smaller than a grapefruit!

Your baby is also starting to grow hair and will continue to do so as you
continue your pregnancy week by week. You won't be able to tell what color hair your baby has until after birth, and even then your baby's hair may fall out and change colors completely at least once during the first few months of life! The same is true of our baby's eye color. Some baby's are born with blue eyes that gradually turn darker during the first couple of months of life!

By pregnancy week 16 the umbilical cord is now firmly attached to your baby's belly as well, providing numerous nutrients to your little one. At this point in time your baby's legs are starting to grow longer than the arms!

Your Growth and Development
You should no longer have a discernable waist by pregnancy 16 weeks. Don't fret; it will come back some day. Most women revel in their blossoming roundness. While you are not huge by any stretch of the imagination, you are starting to look more and more pregnant each and every day. By now you might consider shopping for some maternity clothes, though you may not be able to fill them out for a few more weeks. Some stores offer maternity clothes in varying sizes that can accommodate second vs. third trimester babies.

Your maternity size will generally correspond with the size you were before you got pregnant, provided you have not gained an unusual amount of weight.

Changes in You
Perhaps the most exciting part of pregnancy is feeling your baby move. You might be able to discern tiny movements by pregnancy week 16. Many women have described this feeling as akin to butterflies fluttering away in the stomach at 16 weeks pregnant though some will feel this sooner. At first you might dismiss this feeling as gas, but watch out, your baby is actually swimming up a storm!

Even at 16 weeks pregnant not all women will feel their baby's movement, so don't panic if you don't recognize your baby's movements during pregnancy at 16 weeks. It may take a few more weeks before you feel the first fluttering of your baby. If this is not your first baby, you are more likely to feel movement early on in the pregnancy.

The Unexpected

I've had a lot of unexpected things happen to me in this last year.

I unexpectedly got sick with a mysterious stomach ailment last fall.

I unexpectedly got engaged last Christmas.

I unexpectedly decided to get married on 10 weeks notice instead of waiting until 2009.

I (very) unexpectedly found out I was pregnant a few days before the wedding.

Unexpectedly, Mark did not freak out.

I unexpectedly went from this little belly:

To this not so little belly:

in the span of 6 weeks!

Unexpectedly, we did not tell our families until the end of the first trimester. My parents found out just before week 13. We told his parents at 13.5 weeks. I never thought I'd be able to keep such a secret.

I unexpectedly have not had any morning sickness or bad pregnancy symptoms to date, other than a few minor complaints. The prenatals made me feel queasy for the first week or so until I started taking them with a snack. The fatigue kicked my butt for about 3-4 weeks in the first trimester but I still worked 40+ hours each week regardless. I have had a minor back ache since about 9-10 weeks, but it's tolerable. Otherwise I've felt pretty darn great. I'm always sick so I assumed that pregnancy would not agree with me.

I unexpectedly gained a net total of 14 pounds during the first 14.5 weeks of my pregnancy because:

Pregnancy unexpectedly cured my mysterious stomach ailments from last year! I can eat anything I want to eat for the first time in about 14 months. I am now, at 15 weeks pregnant, still weighing less than I did last year at this time. However, I'm at least back to a normal healthy weight. My doctors have advised me to gain 20-25 pounds above and beyond what my healthy weight was, so we figure I should gain 20-25 pounds above 110 or 115 pounds. Right now I'm at 116. My target labor weight should be between 130-140.

I unexpectedly felt the first "quickening" fetal movements at 14w4d pregnant and knew immediately what it was that I felt.

I rather unexpectedly adore full panel maternity pants and wish that they were socially acceptable to women who are not pregnant. I have never been so comfortable in my life.

But most shockingly, I am very, very unexpectedly not at all nervous about this pregnancy or about having a baby. The idea used to terrify me. Now it's just a peaceful feeling.

Here's what's going on this week:

Your Baby

Rapid growth of your baby continues at this point. The skin is very thin and you can see the blood vessels clearly underneath. The scalp hair pattern is developing while fine hair (called lanugo) covers the baby's body. Your baby is approximately 12-14 cm (3.7 to 4.1 inches) and weighs about 50 grams (1.75 to 2 ounces).

Your baby's taste buds already look like a mature adult's and doctors have learned that the amniotic fluid that surrounds it can smell strongly of curry, cumin, garlic, onion and other essences from a mother's diet. Your baby's bones continue to harden and retain calcium very rapidly. At this point in the pregnancy the placenta will begin to take on the job of hormone production to sustain the pregnancy, which was the job of your ovaries up to this point. Your baby's eyelids are now firmly shut, and will stay closed until the third trimester.

And finally, very unexpectedly, in 27 short days we'll know the gender of our baby. Oh, and I can finally start stockpiling really funky crocheted baby hats. I've been dying to make some for myself but keep refraining!

Check out this HUGE Contest

My friend is doing a really cool Christmas Blog Promotion right now. Enter to win, but you need to check it every day for the next 12 days starting sometime today. Don't miss it!


Susan writes,
"12 Days of Christmas Blog Giveaway...Starting tomorrow, I am going to host a 12 days of Christmas Blog Giveaway. Meaning, tomorrow is the first day, and then we will go out for 12 more days....the cool thing is, the person that wins the giveaway tomorrow, will one Day One's prize. The person that wins on Saturday wins Day One and Day Two's Prize...and so on. So, you really want to try to win the 12th Day and get ALL OF THE PRIZES. HOWEVER, Here is the catch. You must participate each day to be included in the 12th Day! So, no late birds coming in. BTW, the prizes get bigger and will remain a secret until they are unveiled on that day. So, mark the blog as a follower, tell your friends. Total prize value of the 12th day will be at least $120 of items. Oh, and one more thing...you CAN win more than one day. So be diligent."

Good luck!


I guess it's time to let the cat out of the bag.

Look what we made!
I'm 14 weeks now. Due June 3rd. Find out the sex in about 4 weeks.
Crazy, isn't it??
Now that the first trimester fatigue is history, I should be back to blogging and actually reading blogs again.

Long time no see....

Hello! I'm sorry I have not been blogging but, work and life have gotten the better of me. I work insane hours lately. We've been doing lots of craft fairs. I've been making a lot of holiday items to sell on my second Etsy store. Very, very busy.

I promise a nice grand update around Thanksgiving. I'll have some time off then to relax and catch up on blogs, and update my own.

In the meantime, guess what? We were approached by Mama Speaks to review our products. We sent in two baby hats made with 100% cotton and we're anxiously awaiting their review. Wish us luck.


The rest of the pictures are here.

Five Days

Mark and I will be married 5 days from now. I cannot believe how quickly time has flown by. I also cannot believe how naive I was about this week. I had always thought that I would have everything done and would enjoy this week relaxing and not stressing about the final details. I have never been more wrong in my life! It would be an enormous lie to say I'm near completion at this point. Stress is mounting to say the very least.

The whole DIY Wedding is fantastic. It allows you so much more control over the details, and gives every one of those details such a personal touch. It saves a tremendous amount of money. I can be elegant on my small budget simply by scouring the craft stores for sales, and making everything myself. The entire cake including the cupcake tier and all the decorations and ingredients, for instance, cost me about $100. That's a fantastic bargain for 70 guests. I will never complain about the creative freedom and financial freedom doing it myself has granted me. In the future though, I will allow myself more time. Since July when I started making the invitations I have probably spent about 20 hours per week working on things for the wedding. When you work 47 hours on average per week at your day job, have an online store and are going to craft fairs in the fall, it's a huge undertaking. Will I ever regret that? No, of course not. But it's a huge endeavor and in the future if I plan a huge DIY party I will simply give myself more time. This week will kick my ass into oblivion I think.

Enough whining. How about some pictures?

Mark and I opted not to get similar rings. We don't have similar tastes. His ring is a matte titanium, whereas mine is 14k white gold with delicate engravings on it (a circular scroll sort of design, which was near impossible to photograph).

Of all the rings I tried on, this one just suit me the best. Delicate but not ornate. Elegant yet durable.

I'm particularly pleased with the wedding favors. Each place setting will alternate red-orange around each table, so no two place settings beside each other are the same. The inside of the boxes are filled with chocolate truffles.

The colors in the bouquet did not capture well in photographs. But in person I think they look lovely. The stem is wrapped in a black satin ribbon. I decided to opt for silk flowers because I just did not want to be bothered with the expense or hassle of using real flowers. I'm pleased with my decision.

I have a lot more photos that I'll try to upload as the week progresses, when I need a break. I tried to photograph each item as it was completed, so that I could post some pictures beforehand. All in all, though tired, I'm very happy with how things are turning out. Just pray that the cupcakes work well. That's the biggest task this week. The rest of it are just small final details. Hundreds of small final details and errands.

Shoe Box

A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.
For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover.

In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside.She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box.

When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000.

He asked her about the contents. 'When we were to be married,' she said, ' my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.'

The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving.

He almost burst with happiness.'Honey,' he said, 'that explains the doll, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?'

'Oh,' she said, 'that's the money I made from selling the dolls.'

A Prayer.......

Dear Lord, I pray for Wisdom to understand my man;
Love to forgive him;
And Patience for his moods;
Because Lord, if I pray for Strength,
I'll beat him to death,
because I don't know how to crochet.

Compliments of Sara.
Have a good day everyone!

Wedding Bolero

I tried my shrug on with my wedding dress (see previous post). It was gorgeous. Love the Kauni, love the colors. Looked great with the dress. Except for one small detail. The back needed to be longer by about 3 inches. So I stopped at the LYS on my way home to see if I could find some more Kauni and of course, sold out. None left. I didn't have enough to finish it. So, I wandered around the store, shrug in hand, trying to find another yarn that exactly matched the darkest stripe in my Kauni shrug. I was able to find Big Baby, by Alpaca with a Twist. Pricey for 82 yards ($15) and I needed four skeins. More than I usually spend on yarn. Anyhow, I made a little bolero. I shortened up the sleeves from the previous design, elongated the back, and added a shell stitch border around the entire piece.

I'll try both on the day of the wedding with my dress and decide which one looks best.

10 days now.

Beth, our mannequin, is quite a bit thinner than I am. The bolero hugs my body whereas it doesn't hug hers.

Wedding Shawl Turned Shrug

I've been so swamped at work and with the wedding (which is 16 days away now!) that I have not had time to post pictures of the things I've been working on, or talk about the plans as they've been unfolding. A lot has gotten done and there's still more to complete. A lot more. The easiest way to show them off is to just give you a link to my flickr set that has the wedding-in-progress photos. Sometime before the wedding I'll take photos of everything that's been handmade by me (with Mark and Sara's help in many instances) to show everything together and how it all ties in with one another. The cupcake tier is finally completed for instance (it needed the paint to be touched up when I previously photographed it). We still have chocolates to make and cupcakes to bake, and gift bags and baskets to put together. The favors are completed, as well, so I'll take nice pics of those. So much to do!

I wanted to show you the shrug that I finished last night though, as I am in love with it. I wish Beth (our mannequin) had arms so that the shrug arms didn't just hang there all willy-nilly, but alas it will have to do for now.

I wanted originally to make a very small wrap. Like this, only more dainty, and not quite as long. Weather permitting, the ceremony will be outdoors at 5:30 pm in mid October in southern NH. I'm guessing it will be about 50 degrees at most. Quite chilly. Though I do think my dress is pretty and I want to show it off, I haven't lost my mind enough to want to sacrifice my body's warmth for vanity! The whole bride thing is strange to me. Why be uncomfortable so you can look nice? Not this girl. So, I made myself a small wrap. But the size wasn't right. It was too wide to button like a capelet and still look nice (it looked like a small poncho no matter how I wore it), but not wide enough to drape around me like shawl or wrap. I just wasn't happy with it. So, I decided to turn it into a small, dainty shrug. Once I seamed up the sleeves I went ahead and made the back longer so it's more reminiscent of a jacket. Shracket, if you will.

It's not blocked yet and the red did not photograph true to life. But aside from a semi-shoddy picture, I couldn't be more happy with it.

The yarn is Kauni. Not sure of the colorway as it's in German (I believe). Insane yardage in one skein, I think close to 700? I ended up using about 2/3 of the skein max. The remainder is going to become a small clutch that I also started last night. The buttons I had intended to use for the wrap will be used to close the clutch. They're ivory and match my dress.

I didn't use a pattern (surprise). I didn't want it to be too decorative so as to detract from the dress, but I also didn't want it to be one solid block of crochet. So, I alternated rows of hdc and tr. The yarn is a #2 weight I think and I ended up using a 4.5 mm hook which is larger than called for. 1. I have had so much to make for the wedding that I wanted it to not take forever, and 2. I didn't want it to be too dense and firm.

Had I more time, I would have lined it before sewing it. It's itchy as hell. I'm going to wash it in my mother's front loader on delicate and I'm also going to try some wool Soak. I figure I'll just have to deal though. I don't have an issue with wool per say and I don't avoid it, but wool around the clavicle is just a bit on the irritating side. Hopefully it will soften up a bit with washing. Otherwise, I guess I will end up sacrificing comfort for vanity.

Looking at the photos now it really does need to be blocked. I'm really happy with how it looks on me though. It fits nicely. I just hope that it looks good paired with a wedding dress. Otherwise....oh well. Ce la vie, because I'm wearing it!
I'm trying the shrug with the dress this Saturday. The dress is at my parents house since my closet space is sadly lacking, and I need to go over there to try on the dress with the spaghetti straps my mother added to it. I'll have her take a photo of the whole get-up. I bought a full slip so it gives it a little bit more volume and body. Not that I wanted or needed it per say, but it did poof it out enough that the length came up about an inch, and that prevented me from having to have it hemmed.
All in all, things are coming along nicely. I'll have more pics as we get closer to the big day. There's still so much more to photograph and show you.

The Meaning of April

I found this to be pretty accurate. Surprisingly so, in fact. The beginning part, about being a Type A personality....completely true. Towards the ending where it says I'm chill and relaxed....not so much.

What April Means

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.
You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.
You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are influential and persuasive. You tend to have a lot of power over people.
Generally, you use your powers for good. You excel at solving other people's problems.
Occasionally, you do get a little selfish and persuade people to do things that are only in your interest.

You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something.
You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense.
You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun.

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing.
You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long.
You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.
You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.
Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

Also, last week I "won" this award from Deneen.

I would love to nominate everyone's blog that I read for this award. I know that is kind of a cop out, but what can I say? There are so many blogs that I have been reading over the last year or so that have taught me so much, and provided me with so much laughter and joy. Deneen, Andy, Bron, Lizze, Susan, Zu, Darcie, Etc. etc. etc. How could I choose just a few? I love reading them all.

I'm So Busy Part 3

And finally....the wedding. We're about 5 or 6 weeks out now. And with our small budget, we're doing everything ourselves. I'm baking the cake, which will actually be cupcakes. I'll do half chocolate, half vanilla. The icing on top of each will be one of three colors: red, yellow or orange. Deep fall colors. I'm going to make some chocolates using basic molds. They'll likely be fall leaves. Those will sit atop the frosting on the cupcakes.

I've finished my favors but no photo yet. Sorry. I have almost finished my shawl. I need to make my purse. The centerpieces will be done in a month or so, as a gift from a friend. The placecards are ready to be made, as soon as everyone RSVPs (50% of the guests still have not, even though the RSVP date has come and gone). The dress and suit are all set. We're buying our rings next weekend. Next week we get our license. Sheesh. There's a lot of crap to do in order to get married!

I do have some step by step pics of the cupcake tree. It started off as plain white cardboard discs. I painted them black. The following week we glued leaves around the edges and flowers on the risers. I still need to touch up a few spots with some paint, but otherwise it's done.

In the final photo you will see the card holder. I decided to use an antique looking bird cage. I thought it was a lot nicer and more stylish than anything else I had seen. And....$11. What a bargain. I'm going to hang it after the wedding with pillar candles in it, in our living room. Pretty stylish I think.

Oh crap. I need to make the bouquet too. Well, tack that onto the list. The flowers on the cupcake tree match the favors exactly. These flowers (gerbera daisies) match my bouquet. They also can be found on the gift bags I'm putting in each hotel room. Which reminds me....I need to decide what is going in those bags....

It doesn't seem like it's a ton of work per say, but there are just many, many details to consider. I'm pretty OCD, and I want this whole thing to be ridiculously stylish yet casual and fun. I think I'm doing a pretty good job so far.

I'll have more pics as we move closer to the date.

I'm So Busy Part 2

The adventures in stash diving continue.

Last year, Sara and I participated in Derryfest. It's a little day long festival put on by our quaint hometown. We ended up selling some of our crocheted items. It's not a huge seller though. Not like a craft fair or anything where people go to actually make purhcases. Here, people just sort of hang out. And some do make purchases, but as a whole it's not a vendor fair. Well, we decided to do it again this year. And we decided we would do other craft fairs, since our Etsy store is so successful. (Yes, I'm insane with 2 Etsy stores and a 50 hour a week job, and craft fairs coming up. Oh, and that whole wedding thing!)

Well, my father built us some craft fair displays. We have table top displays that are multi-leveled. We have a 3 part folding "screen" made of pegboard that we can hang billions of items from. We have Beth, our bodyform. We have Beth's head, shown below. We have hat stands. Etc. etc. etc. We should look pretty damn professional this year. Can't wait to show photos of how it all comes together. Don't have any yet, but I will over the next few weeks.

We have spent months trying to both use up our acrylic stash, and create a huge winter inventory for the upcoming fairs. Derryfest is on the 20th, so we're getting close. Most people, we've learned, at craft fairs don't want to spend big bucks, so we've found the most success with cheaper yarns that equal cheaper end products. So, the less expensive we can go, the better. Etsy is another story. We don't have a hard time selling more expensive items online. Craft fairs are tough though for that sort of thing.

Somehow though, with all the craziness of the upcoming fairs, we have been inundated with custom orders for hats. Slouchy hats, newsboys, cloches. It's insane. I think we've had 5 in about 10 days, and we have 2 or 3 more custom hats people have inquired about on Etsy, that we're waiting to hear back from. It's crazy. Unfortunately I don't have all of them done yet, and I don't have photos of them all yet. But here's a quick glimpse of my most recent stash diving efforts.

Sara has a pretty large inventory of Earflap hats as well, but not all of them have been listed on Etsy yet.

I won't bother to horrify you with my crochet goals before our huge holiday fair mid-November. But right now, in the next 17 days before Derryfest my goals are as follows:
2-3 scarves
5 little boy hats (3-10 year old sizes)
5 little girl hats
5 mens hats
2-3 pairs of baby booties at least
Tons of face scrubbies
Will I get much sleep? Ummm....no. Not really. Will I somehow masochistically love it? Yep. Indeed I will.

I'm So Busy Part 1

For the Love of Marley is completely up and running. I think I've added 75 or so new items for sale. I haven't had my first official sale yet, but when I think about MABS Crochet in the beginning, we didn't have many sales for the first month or two. I think people are hesitant to purchase from sellers without a lot of feedback on Etsy. So, I'm patiently waiting. In the meantime, here are a few of the items I'm selling:

Sets of gift tags. This is a set of 10 for $3.00. Great everyday gift tags. I have several types at the moment, and will be adding many, many more soon, including Holiday tags. The Holiday season is quickly approaching, afterall.

I have a handful of basic blank greeting cards with a variety of sentiments. More to be added soon.

These floral collages are so fun to make, and I think they make wonderful little gifts. I have several of them that I've made over the years throughout my home, and throughout my family's homes.

Finally, there are several wedding cards. These would be great, I think, as basic wedding greeting cards, or cards for bridal showers. They're blank inside. If you recall, these are actual leftovers from my own wedding invitations.

Do take a peek! There's a lot for everyone. And coming soon, I will have thank you cards and tags specifically for Etsy sellers, and for cheap, too. I tend to revisit the sellers who impress me with their packaging, and what better way to do that than by adding a personal touch like a small card or thank you tag?

Shout Out

Well, I was going to post that Deneen's Girl About Town Felted Bag is today's Crochet Pattern of the Day, as a nice little shout out to her. You should check it out, and buy a copy of her pattern.

Well, to my delight, I also got some potholders in the mail today from Deneen to test out. Despite my skepticism that I won't burn my hands on single thickness potholders, I have to say these are looking mighty nice. Thanks Deneen!

Manchester, NH Hookers Guild

We meet on the second Wednesday of every month at Starbucks on South Willow Street in Manchester. It's the Starbucks right in the Michael's Plaza. We're there from 7 to 9 once per month.

We do quarterly yarn swaps, too. Our next yarn swap will be 11/12/08. Bring 200+ yards of a natural fiber yarn stashed in a bag, and we'll swap with each other.

If you don't want to swap yarn, come anyway. It's a blast. Crochet your ass off!

Up and Running

For the Love of Marley is now up and running. :) I don't have a lot of inventory yet, but it's a start.

Coming Soon...

I've opened a new Etsy Store!

Unlike my first love, my first Etsy store that I started with my BFF Sara Abbott, this is a solo venture. Sara and I don't pay ourselves any of our MABS Crochet profits, we mostly use the money for things that we want/need for our business...i.e. nicer yarns, business cards, classes (eventually), a swift and winder (eventually), craft fair displays that my father is building for us, etc. So, while it's been self-sustaining and we're not losing money or using our own money, we're not profitable yet to pay ourselves any monies. So, as a second job it's not cutting it. That's why I've decided to open For the Love of Marley. The store is completely empty at the moment, but I plan to rectify that very shortly.

For the Love of Marley will be a place for me to sell the other crafty items that I make, and use all profits to help fund the monthly medication and vet bills for my chronically ill kitty. Bet you didn't know I had a life aside from crochet, did you? Well, I do. I was re-inspired while making my wedding invitations to get back into some other crafts that I'm very fond of. I am very fond of binding books and journals by hand (making the covers themselves is so very fun). I love making my own paper by hand, though I'm not sure our apartment has the space I need to do that. I also have an enormous stash of dried, pressed flowers that I love turning into greeting cards and collages. I love altered art, so collaging on any free surface is so much fun for me (and you can get a small glimpse of my altered bookcase in this photo). I love rubber stamping and making very simple greeting cards and gift tags. So, I figured since I'm really hot in the seat to make these things now that I've caught the crafty bug from making those wedding invites, what better what to go about it?

I have 6 or so sets of gift tags and 8 floral collages to list, but I won't get to it for another week or two. I'll let y'all know when the store is up and running, so you can give me some always appreciated feedback.

How About an Update?

It's been quite a while since I've posted some photos or even really talked much about crochet, hasn't it? Or posted an update at all? Well, let's rectify that, shall we?

I haven't been doing very much crocheting lately, due to my back being sore. What I thought was just stress and tension that started in May is actually a more serious problem, unfortunately. I have muscle spasms and knots from the base of my skull to well below my rib cage on the left side of my back, which have started to pinch the nerves and make my left arm have numbness and tingling. Not very fun. My best guess is that it started when we got our tax rebate in May and we bought new living room furniture, and I spent half the month moving the couch and chair all over the very small living room trying to find an arrangement that wasn't too crowded. I remember being sore all the time thereafter, and I know that was around the time I started to have tension headaches. If physical therapy doesn't do the trick, I think they're going to send me for an MRI just to be sure there's no disc issues. Mostly I think it's muscle spasms and just really nasty knots and strains. I have some pain medication to help me get comfortable when I sleep, and I have a silly looking heating pad that actually velcros around my back, so I should be on the mend soon. PT starts Monday and I think once they beat on those muscles things will get quite a bit better. :)

So, this past weekend I was thrilled when I discovered that lounging on the chaise on the couch with a heating pad beneath my back is a great position to be in for crocheting. Towards the end my left arm was a bit sore, but mostly it worked out wonderfully. I had 2 skeins of Noro (oh beautiful Noro!) that I had planned to make a hat with for this coming winter. After making the hat (coming up next), I had enough left to make myself a scarflette to match. So, my winter set is all ready. I'm not wishing for snow yet, but I'll be excited to wear my new stuff when it does get cold. I haven't blocked these yet, so bear with the curled edges. The second photo is mostly just to show the color shading. Isn't it gorgeous?

A while back I saw this book at Barnes N Noble. To my surprise, it had 10 or 12 hats that I would actually enjoy making and wearing, and for a $10 or so book I couldn't pass it up. You can see all the sticky tabs marking the hats I want to make. I think there are a lot of great gifts in here, and quite a few I'll end up making for myself. It was a really great find, and I'm glad I bought it.
So, the hat I wanted to make was a "Helmet" hat. Very simple and I love it. I liked that it was worked into the rounds, unlike a lot of earflap patterns that have you attach them after the fact. I thought the striping in the Noro was perfect for this pattern, and I'm glad I did not substitute the yarn. I did my earflaps just slightly larger than the pattern called for, and I also went up a hook size, because I like my hats roomy. It actually fits perfectly, so I think the mystery is solved---I think I do crochet tightly.

Now for wedding favors:
I have started to remove some silk gerber daisies and leaves from their stems. The plan is to attach them with hot glue to small white favor boxes, and put some sort of candy inside the boxes. These are not put together, but I laid them out to show you basically how they'll look once I get around to doing them. I think they'll be lovely. I have red and orange flowers, and I'll probably alternate between the two, so the tables show one red, then one orange, etc. at each place setting.
Any ideas for gifts for our parents? I'm at a loss for this one. I would love to do something special (and sadly inexpensive) for them as a thank you for their support.

And lastly, Sara bought me some Kauni at a new LYS that opened up about 10 miles from us in our home town (Hooray!). It's gorgeous 100% wool. Perhaps German? I couldn't tell from the label, but there is no English on there, that's for sure. I haven't looked it up yet either. I apologize for the photo being so dark. On my home computer it looks fine but here at work I can't even make out the yarn. Maybe I'll need to rephotograph it. Anyhow, it's a lovely deep red and if you can see, I've started working on my shawl for the wedding. I'll make a matching handbag too. Small and felted. It matches the gerbera daisies wonderfully. I'm very much in love! It's fingering weight though which I have never worked with. It does NOT ease my need for instant gratification, and it will not be an overnight project. But, I'll work on it and hopefully finish the shawl in time for the wedding. Thank you Sara!

That's all for my long update. Hope you're all doing well, and I'll talk with you soon.

Autistic Children are Brats

No, no that is not my opinion. Far from it, in fact.

But that is, indeed, the opinion of one of the top 3 radio men in the US, Michael Savage. He claims that the views he expressed were a way of waking up parents to help them see that far too many children are mis- or over-diagnosed with autism. And despite outrage, he is yet to offer any sort of apology for offending millions of Americans.

An MSNBC article about the whole ordeal is located here.

I understand, to a degree, what he is trying to get at. If what he's spinning after the fact is the truth, that is. Basically, to say that many children are misdiagnosed is probably true. To say that many children these days are being labeled as ill when really they're not, and they simply have behavioral problems is, I'm certain, true. To an extent, that is, and keep in mind that it happens not just with autism but with many other illnesses.

Case and point. My nephew was having some issues in the first grade. His teacher thought he could have ADD or ADHD. Instead of trying to see what the root of the problem was, she wanted to label him as ill, and push for medication and treatment. The reality was, he was talking too much in class. Not paying attention. Why? Well, he hadn't ever been in school before. Didn't quite understand the way things had to be. And he is 150% rambunctious boy. Run around until he's exhausted boy. With selective hearing. And really, the biggest problem was the school's unwillingness to punish a child. When we were in school and we were bad, we had to go in the hall, or had our desks pushed against the wall alone, or missed recess. Now, they are less likely to punish kids like that because no one wants to get sued. Jacob is not a kid with ADD. He's a kid who needed to get yelled at and told to behave. And once he did, what happened? Oh...he behaved! And no longer does he have "ADD." Now he's just a normal kid who doesn't want to sit still and would rather be on the playground. Isn't that how most boys under the age of about 16 act? They would rather be playing outside than sitting still? But 99% of them sit still when they're told they have to. Hence, no ADD.

So does this happen with autism? I'm certain of it. I'm certain there are cases of kids who misbehave and are incorrectly labeled as autistic. I'm certain there are doctors who are more inclined to do this because they get some sort of kick-back from pharmeceutical reps for prescribing more medications. I'm sure this happens. But is that to say that 99% of all autisic children are brats? I think he's going far overboard here. I'm beyond disgusted by his statements.

I'm sure you all remember when Imus was fired for his racial insult. He claims to have meant it in good fun and did not mean to offend. Now, I say things to my close friends that are offensive. I joke to Mark that he's chubby. I joke to my friend Justin about being Jewish. I've joked to Sara in the past about being pale-skinned or a dumb blonde. It happens, and they take it and they dish it right back out to me, and it's truly in good fun. Sara's coworkers years ago (who were primarily African American) joked that Sara and I were the whitest white chicks they had ever seen (we're both pale). It didn't offend me because it was in good fun, and I'm not easily offended and I surround myself around people who are the same way. I say these things to my friends because I love them, and I'm stereotyping them sarcastically, not really meaning it, and they know it. They know I'm not racist or cruel. Perhaps if Imus was alone with his good African American friend and he called her a knappy ho, and she called him a redneck cracker, that would be one thing. Friends joke like that, and don't mean harm. But in his case, I'm sure he was being pretty racist in his comments, or at the very least terribly ignorant and insensitive. Should he have been punished? Hell yes. He said something that was not appropriate to say on the radio and he got fired. As he should have. Now this guy,, this Michael Savage, is he going to get fired? Doubtful. He said something edgy, but not racist. Discriminatory, but not racist. Discriminatory against children. Are the autistic kids going to call in and complain so much that he is fired? No. If he said the same thing about, say, Catholic men, that 99% of them are brats, Catholics would call and scream. But he said something about children, who cannot and will not call and complain with huge public outcries. They're sort of defenseless here. Nothing is going to happen to this man.


Unless the outraged adults complain in a public way. And I hope we all do. Because this is unacceptable. This is terrible, and I'm ashamed of him.

So, let's all stand up and shout that this is wrong. It's time to defend the children who have no voice, who have been wronged here.

If you would like to know what it is like to love and live with an autistic child, read this blog. She is a dear friend of mine, and I can only imagine how she and her husband feel right now. I'm sure they have heard about this. My heart breaks for them, and for all the other parents who go through this day in and day out. It's just not right, folks.

Wedding Dress

I bought my dress yesterday. Off the rack, no alterations needed. I was in and out of the store in an hour, which is just how I like it.

This is the dress on the bridal site. I'm posting this because the picture of me wearing it does not show off the detail around the waist because of how I'm standing.


This is the picture of me wearing the dress. Ignore the annoyed face I have. I'm not sure what I was looking at.

Me in Dress

My mother is going to attach some straps. If we can find matching ribbon we'll probably use that. It fits well, but I'm self-conscious about it moving around, and I'll have a much better day if I don't have to worry about that.

We're working on our favors over the next few weeks. I think we'll get them done for under $50 which is pretty fantastic if you ask me. They're small white boxes topped with either a red or an orange gerbera daisy on top of a green leaf (all silk). Inside of the boxes will be some sort of nice chocolate. I'll have enough leftover flowers and leaves to decorate the cupcake tier as well. I'll take some photos over the next week or two.

Have a great weekend.


Well, the invitations are done. The date is set in stone for October 11th. We're meeting with the woman from the hotel tomorrow and hopefully we'll finalize the menu choices at that point so we can send out the invitations. All I have left on these invitations is to put address labels on the envelopes (already printed), to place the insert inside (already printed but not cut to size) with all the information, and to print the RSVP cards (done, just not printed) once we finalize the menu. We can do two entrees, and since we know a handful of vegetarians we thought the best option would be an herb crusted chicken or a mushroom wellington. So, once that's finalized, off they go.

Here's a link to the invitations.

The ones I'm using come after the ring photo. The ones before were practice.

Dance Me To The Wedding Now, Dance Me On and On

Well, it's confirmed. The hotel has sent me a contract to sign and Mark and I are about to mail off our non-refundable deposit. Our date is set for October 11th, so unless the hotel screws something up and has overbooked for that date, we'll be happily married that Saturday. I kind of won't believe it until they've received my money and confirm that it's all set, but that's just my overly nervous nature talking and my pessimism shining through.

Plans have changed a billion times it seems, but it looks like we'll be doing it at a function room at a hotel instead of doing our backyard wedding. Time wise and for personal family reasons we just cannot do it at my parents house any more. We've booked it as a basic party (booking as a wedding is ridiculously expensive), and will invite family only and a very scant number of friends. Small, simple, and casual. Weather permitting we'll have our quickie ceremony in a park within walking distance of our apartment. There's a small cluster of maple trees that form a circle at the bottom of a nice hill, and it's a perfect spot for a casual ceremony. No chairs or anything, it will be simple. From there we'll head to the hotel for a night of dinner and dancing. No traditional wedding hooplah such as the first dance or cake cutting or tossing the bouquet, or anything like that. Just a nice big party with a classic rock/country band (his father is the drummer and they've offered to play for free). No photographers, no DJ, nothing wedding-like. I'm very, very excited. I prefer the nice casual party anyhow. Weddings are great, and if I had more money maybe I'd go more traditional, but since we don't this option seemed to be the one we both enjoyed the most.

My only wish was that people didn't have such a strong opinion of the right and wrong way to do things, and that people didn't have to be so negative about what should be the happiest, most important day in my life thus far. It seems like no matter what we have suggested, what we have planned to do, there's always someone standing there telling me that it's too soon, or too far away, or not good enough, or not unique enough, or whatever the case may be. It's starting to wear on me. I'm trying to just let it go.

This is the template for my invitations and they're about half completed so far. I had previously posted some designs I played around with and this was the winner. The difference is that the ones I'm actually going to be sending out will have a decorative background paper, and a solid stipe across the center with the hearts on either side of the stamped wedding dress image. Instead of "dream" I have chosen a stamp that says "all you need is love" in a nice cursive writing. Simple and fun. I'll post photos when they're completed. The details about the date and time and all of that will be printed from the computer on some white linen paper in a nice cursive or decorative font, and then placed inside. Total cost for all of this will be well under $20 plus postage. I may even be able to do the RSVP cards and place cards within that same budget. There's a chance I may need to pick up some more cardstock but I've been buying 12x12 sheets on sale for 16 cents each, so I'm not concerned that it's going to cost much more. And I'm using less than I thought I would, so I may not have to buy any at all.

Since flowers are not in our small budget, I've made myself a nice silk bouquet of burnt orange calla lilies for about $10. The 4th of July sale was great at Joann's, and I'm glad I thought to stop in there over the weekend because otherwise I would not have gotten as many flowers as I did for such a steal. We'll do some sort of handmade centerpiece / decoration for very inexpensively as well, if at all (it's the least important part of our budget and if we run out of money, so be it). Favors will likely be in the form of a candy bar, where people can take either decorated boxes or bags that I make and fill them up with a selection of old fashioned candies. This is not yet decided, but it's the idea Mark likes the best. I'm hopefully buying my dress this weekend, but photos obviously can't be posted because I don't want to ruin the surprise for Mark. It looks like things are moving smoothly though. We're very excited.

A Few of My Favorite Things

I've lately been off of the hat kick (soon to be back on it though) and find myself onto simple wraps / capelets. And it's a great use of old bulky yarns that I have since lost interest in.

I'm also in love with scarflettes as a means of stashbusting small quantities of yarn. I'll upload some photos of those later on.

Things are very hectic here at the moment and I really hope they calm down sometime soon. Marley (my cat) is having some constipation issues again but the vets are on top of it, and though it's not fun to administer 3 laxatives a day to a kitty, she's doing alright. Just stressing mom out. Looks like her issues are a product of old age, simply put some senior cats 7 or so years and up lose their ability to poop properly, and she's one of the lucky ones who have been blessed with that disorder. The other 2 are just fine, no asthma attacks yet this summer. I swear, when I was a child I never heard of a single animal who got such bizarre and human-like illnesses!
The wedding is happening very, very quickly (this October is my hope). And no, not because I'm pregnant. :) Empire waisted shirts just happen to be in style lately, I'm not trying to hide anything! So many people keep asking me that. At first it made me giggle but now it's just annoying. Anyhow, we're dealing with a private family illness and we've decided that it would be best if we just went ahead and had ourselves a nice little family wedding this fall. The details have changed 1000 times so far and that's a bit frustrating, but now it's looking like we'll rent out a banquet room at a restaurant (we're looking at 2 in the coming week or so) and either do a buffet type dinner (very small guest list), or have a late night (8pm or so) wedding and do a more lavish hors D' oeuvres spread or dessert buffet with cocktails. We're leaning towards option #2. We'll have a band there (Mark's father is in a really great band and they've offered to play for free) and we'll mostly just have a nice party. Not really sure about the ceremony. If we do something earlier in the evening we'll probably just fork out a $25 permit fee to the city and do something quick in one of our really nice city parks under the trees or something. Very casual. Otherwise I think it will end up being in the banquet facility.
I hope everyone is well. Work is calling to me, as always. Have a great weekend!

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