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....

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.

Dress

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.

Invitations

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.

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