Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Why I Quit Etsy

I decided to close my Etsy shop two weeks ago. It's half because I'm having a baby and won't have time to ship things--and it's half because Etsy's new policies. Since their big switch in January, I have personally found them very small business unfriendly. But that's besides the point. Etsy can do what they want with their business, but their new rules have caused a lot of grief in the micro-business sphere.

I first thought of closing my shop because selling locally worked out really well for me. In 5 months of selling through last fall and winter--I sold almost everything! This, as you can imagine, felt great. I definitely will be selling locally next fall for sure.

Maybe one day I'll reopen my Etsy shop. Right now I am fine selling my patterns on Raverly and selling my handmade goods in my own town.

And I am sad to leave. I mean, running an Etsy shop was one of my dreams, and also the main reason I started my blog. It's funny when things run their course and new desires, like selling my stuff locally, appear and take up all my time!

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Third Trimester

Well, I hit the third trimester two weeks ago. So far it hasn't really been that different then the second. But some things have been...interesting.

For example, last week I peed on myself. Before you get all grossed out, it wasn't that bad. I'd been sitting down filming for about 2 hours (a crochet tutorial) when I realized that I hadn't peed recently, and I'd been drinking a ton of water from my glass bottle. I stood up and suddenly knew that I had to Like right now. My bathroom is only 2 seconds (like 10 steps) away from me. I ran, but still manged to pee a bit on myself. Sigh. It wasn't my finest moment. I don't even know why I am telling the internet about it. I suppose because it is new. I hope it never happens again. I have a feeling it will through--just from reading and hearing about other people's third trimester experiences...

Rolling over in bed has taken on new meaning to me. And to my husband. Poor husband. Not only am I growing a planet, I also feel 0% interested in snuggling. My husband's love language is pretty much...snuggling. That, and bacon, and please-do-not-knit while watching TV. He's been a good sport snuggling with my back while I complain about how...planetary I feel.

I can't put on socks very well. At least not standing up. I miss doing things standing up.

Anyway, this baby is growing, and most of his time is spent being very interested in the sides of my uterus of late. I am very interested in cake, and I don't know if those two things correlate, but I'm sure they do somehow. I have now gained 20 pounds at this point. It's not "a lot" but it sure feels that way. I have kept up (mostly) with walking and doing Pilates, but I have stopped swimming because my husband has been working long hours (that's my excuse at least). We pool in the evening, so I of course don't go without him.

bending is hard too
Also, I finally bought a bunch of things for the baby. I am really excited about using them, and less excited about washing them. Priorities.

Right now my only wish is that I could strap the exercise ball to my butt because it's amazing and I must sit on it all the time.

Oh--one more thing. My boobs shrunk.Yes, you heard me. They shrunk. I have no idea why, or if this is bad, or if they will grow again or what is going on, but I'm wearing a D cup and it's big on me. Three weeks ago I was having a hard time with my 36DD and there was spillage everywhere.  This is nice, on one hand, because a lot more of my clothing fits better-- but it's weird. I just got used to them and they decided to go away. I guess they got all ready and realized there was three more months so they better wait it out like the rest of us? Maybe they are taking a breather? Boobs, please come back. I will need you soon.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Maternity Skirt

I bought this fun triangle fabric to make a maternity skirt in, and as you can see I did. Only, I can't figure out how to make the seam where I sewed the gathered skirt to the waistband from oddly poking out due to the bulkiness of the gathered fabric. How do I make it lie flat? It is a mystery. But I can still wear this skirt just fine, it's just...a little odd looking in the waist area and I was quite disappointed that it wasn't perfect. I think I may have gathered it too much, or perhaps I need a serger to serge the seam flat. (anyone know?) Anyway, this skirt is awesome regardless, so I'm happy.

I really like the fun print. Working with jersey fabric is a bit more forgiving then with traditional cotton, I think. I did film a tutorial that you can see below on how I made this, if you are interested. It was fun to film, I really love making videos. And skirts. And things with yarn.

Click here to see the video on my youtube channel, or press play below. Happy sewing!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bunny/Bear Baby Hat Crochet Tutorial

I've been on a baby hat making binge! This week's baby hat is a combo: make the bear or the bunny! The PDF crochet pattern can be downloaded here, and the video is on my YouTube channel. I can't wait to put one of these on my squishy whenever he gets here (and, of course, needs a hat. He's coming in July, so it might be awhile)

If you can imagine it, I'm working on another baby hat right now! I think I found a new hobby! My kid's head sure will be warm this winter haha. And probably animal themed.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Extroverts are not Evil

Hello, I am an extrovert and I am not evil. Nor am I out to ruin your day, make you feel uncomfortable, or bother you.

When I first found out that I was, indeed, an extrovert I felt...bad. Aren't extroverts the topic of many memes? We are often accused of accosting the personal space of others, talking loudly and flamboyantly and acting in otherwise obnoxious ways. We bother people. We are annoying. Is that all being an extrovert is?

Honestly I spent several months feeling bad for being an extrovert. I didn't want to be one. I thought it wasn't something to be proud of. I thought it was something I should hide so I wouldn't bother or inconvenience others.

I think a lot of what the media and society reports on is the negative aspects of being an extrovert, and this is why I used to think it wasn't a good thing. But, while we can be nosy and easily excitable and have some issues respecting the personal space of others---being an extrovert is fun! At least, I enjoy being one.

So then I started to wonder--what are the good things about being an extrovert? I threw off the "just a clingy loud person who needs to sit down and behave herself" label but, what, exactly does being an extrovert mean? And is there room for both introverts and extroverts to exist and discuss their own wants and needs without personally shaming the other?

For instance, I love being the center of attention. Love. It. It's not a narcissistic need for self assurance. I just enjoy it. It's fun. I feel energized. This doesn't mean I want to steal the limelight from everyone, I'm willing to share. I also don't enter conversations or group settings with the singular desire to be front and center. It just happens sometimes. No one else seems to mind, so why should I?

I also love talking. I could talk all day. Which is why I have a blog and a youtube channel and perhaps an unhealthy addiction to facebook. I love talking and socializing and bouncing ideas of people and getting feedback and interacting with what people are doing and hearing about others lives and choices and, yes, even browsing pictures of their current food consumption. I get excited just thinking about talking to people. I'm not kidding. And I totally think of this as a strength and not a weakness. I will not be bottled, people!

Anyway, I finally came to the conclusion that introverts need to stop moaning about what a problem us extroverts are to them all the time. I know, I know, we all have to try not to bother each other as we rub shoulders in a coffee shop, and I'm not trying to say extroverts shouldn't at least realize that introverts exist and need space (I do know this, I'm married to one). I'm just saying I want equal acceptance and understanding for each personalities vast differences and struggles.

Because, boy, do extroverts have struggles too. Don't believe me? Here are just a few I thought up while writing this post:
  1. Everyone always thinks I'm flirting. Nope, not flirting. Just happy, talkative, and also an optimist. (I lucked out--I'm a optimist and an extrovert. I'm basically Dorri from Finding Nemo when you add in my short attention span and attraction to shiny objects)
  2. I'm interesting! Really! I'm tired of hearing introverts described as deep, philosophical, misunderstood, quirky unicorns. I am special too, and also capable of complex thoughts.
  3. Ear-buds annoy me. Don't you want conversation while waiting in line to buy your groceries? I know I do.
  4. I blurt things out sometimes without thinking. This used to happen in a classroom setting when I was in college classes and most of my teachers hated it. I hated it to. It really was mostly involuntary, I swear.
  5. I am always willing to hang out. Always! Unless I'm sick. Not many people are...
  6. I'm comfortable in large groups, I'm comfortable having green hair...I'm just comfortable being the center of attention. People find this weird. I don't know why.  
  7. I have a hard time sitting still (I know, total first world problem here but hear me out). I always want to be doing! I will doodle when listening to a lecture, I will knit while watching tele. Why does this bother people or make them think I'm not paying attention?
What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Anyway, this basically describes my personality.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Dear Public Knitter...

Dear Public Knitter, whose name I don’t know, thank you. Thank you for taking time to explain to a wiggly ten-year-old what you were making. I still remember, to this day--the first time I saw someone knitting. So, thank you for showing me your yarn, letting me touch and feel the texture. Even through I didn’t get to learn how to knit then, you planted that seed.

Dear Public Knitter, thank you. I saw you on the bus when I was nineteen, and I can’t even remember what you were making. Something for a child. You laughed when I said I could never do that. You told me it was easy. You told me that anyone can do it, if they just try. And keep trying. And for the first time I had hope. Perhaps I, too, could create something that amazing with a ball of yarn and my own two hands. Perhaps.

So I bought yarn. And I tried. and tried. And four (ish?) years later I know now you are right, because the yarn is my friend and never shall we part again.

Dear Public Crocheter, sitting in the social security office, when I was rather grouchily waiting for my number to be called, thank you for talking to me. I know you were knitting at first, but the evil anti-sock security guard told you that the needles were too sharp so you switched to crochet. I know you saw me watching. And we talked. I told you that I could knit, and had been for a few years. You told me to learn crochet also. And then you showed me stitches. I wish I had gotten your name. You were so nice. If I knew you now I would tell you I can crochet as well, and just as fine as knitting. And that actually I like it better. I bet you would laugh at that, because of the confused faces I made then as you tried to explain what a chain was.

Dear public knitters, and crocheters everywhere…don’t stop. You never know who you might impact next.

Knitting has changed my life and I have you to thank for it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bunny Amigurumi

I created this cute little bunny to adorn my desk for Easter. I love it, and my husband thought it was cute as well. I don't make many plushies (actually this is my first) so I was surprised at how easy it was! I totally want to try my hand at another--I thought making the face would be a whole lot harder then it actually turned out to be.

You can download the PDF crochet pattern here, or watch the YouTube video on my channel.

I love creating things. Right now I'm trying to finish a shawl and a new pair of gloves.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dear Mother-In-Law

I'm sure being a mother in law is hard. One day I hope to be one, and of course both my mom and my husband's mom fill this role in different forms.

I was blessed to enter into marriage with a great relationship with my mother. We had our fights when I was in college, for sure! After college as I developed my independence, my mom came to respect my decisions even when she didn't agree with them, and I also learned to appreciate and seek her advice. We became good friends. I text her weekly and even though she has a busy work schedule, a husband of her own, and a plethora of grandchildren, I usually manage to see her once a month! 

Having a mother in law, however, is new experience for me. I kind of made the mistake of thinking she would be like my mother, who is blunt, very talkative, and very introspective (like myself, sort of). I pictured someone I could have long talks about doctrine with, or the bible, like I do with my mom. Of course my mother in law isn't like my mom, and I shouldn't think that in the least bit!

My mother in law is very black and white on matters of the bible. Questions are met with incredulous looks and stern lectures. She is also very conservative. I didn't know until recently that she thought the hat I wear (the kitty one, in pink) was, in fact, devils horns. Nor did I know she took great offense that I would wear such a garment! She also holds very complementarian views on marriage-- her ideas of what a wife should and should not do and the roles of men and women are fixed. I remember one time when I announced to her our weekend plans to redo the upstairs loft into a studio for me and remake it into a space where I could knit and sew and spread out. I was so excited, talking about what I was going to do and all my plans. To my surprise, she was upset and told me that I should never make my husband move his stuff and that I wasn't submitting to my husband correctly. She automatically assumed I'd demanded that my husband move his things-- when I told her it had originally been my husband's idea, I was met with skepticism and told that I must have tricked him into it. I think she thought I was kicking him out of what she considered his space. A good wife would work around her husband, and never request something like her own space in his house, I was told.

Needless to say, we got off to a rocky start probably due to unmet expectations on both sides. She and her husband didn't come to our wedding. She told me point blank that they didn't think we should get married, that she thought I was immodest. We got married anyway, a decision I don't regret, but one that caused a lot of hurt feelings across both our families.

our wedding day!
In the second year of our marriage my mother in law lost her husband to cancer. So in two years I'm sure it feels like she has lost both her only son to me, and her husband as well. I didn't understand her pain at the time, all I saw was how she was treating me and labeling me without, I felt, getting to know me at all.

She's said some very mean and hurtful things to me in the past that I have struggled with a lot, not knowing how to respond.

I know that everything is not her fault, of course. I'm obviously not the woman she pictured for her son, and I'm sure I have made mistakes in our relationship as well. I speak my mind without thought, and I don't understand the world she was raised in. She is 14 years older then my mom, and was raised in a different era altogether. I'm also very strong willed and argumentative, two traits that I feel she thinks are very unfeminine. 

It's very frustrating, navigating this rocky relationship and a delicate topic, of course. One that not only involves complex family dynamics and everyone's personal emotions and expectations, but also both mine and her different upbringings. I just hope and pray God is teaching both me and my mother in law in His ways and directing both our paths--and that we are both listening to Him and that we can eventually grow to respect each other.

We do have a good relationship now. It's a rocky one, but I think both of us don't quite understand each other yet. One post that was super helpful to me was this one, written about how to better your relationship with your mother in law. It has some great advice, and also pointed out a lot of things I had never thought of before!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Maternity Sewing

I tired of wearing the same thing over and over again, so I made this shirt! The fabric is from this cute little etsy shop called Indeed Fabrics (and yeah they do indeed carry fabric, hah). I also bought another print to make another shirt in, and a print to make a skirt in. They have really cute jersey (stretchy) fabric in their shop for what I think is a reasonable price.

To make the shirt, I just used a maternity shirt I already owned as a guide. I made two mistakes, the collar is a little off and one of the sleeves is slightly shorter then the other. But you don't notice any of these things when I'm wearing the shirt, so I don't mind. I think it's cool that I actually made a garment that I can put on my body while pregnant. Usually I fail when sewing and create a mess of fabric, strings, and tears that while resembling a shirt, does not adherer correctly to my body. (maybe I'm learning now???)

My little boy is just over halfway and he keeps requesting more room. He's a freeloader, and I need to start charging him rent. If only he weren't so cuddly. I just melt when I feel him cuddling up to me, even when he seems to favor my bladder.

A funny thing about pregnancy, at this stage. I can be fine one second and then suddenly be overcome with the emergency need to find a bathroom and empty my bladder. There isn't like a gradual fillage here anymore. It can literally go from "oh, I don't need a bathroom, lets go to Target" to "I need a toilet right now if you value your car seat". I asked my doctor about it, but they say it's normal. I guess little man suddenly finds my bladder quite interesting and decides it needs to be squashed and/or inspected in some fashion. I shall keep him far away from my delicate bits when he comes out, that is for sure. He's had enough time acquainting himself with my various organs as it is.

I'm going to be making a maternity skirt soon--and I'm really excited! The print I bought for the skirt is all sorts of black and yellow triangles on a mint background. Super fun skirt pattern.

Have a good day, guys. And may you pee less then me.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Paleo Chef Book Review

So when blogging for books offered The Paleo Chef for review I squealed! My husband and I try to be Paleo. Both our bodies work really well with the diet, and new recipes sounded great!

I flipped through the book and chose two recipes to make: the raw cauliflower tabbula on page 50, and his meatballs that are on page 147. 

I loved his raw cauliflower tabbouleh. I had to make two adjustments to the recipe: first of all, it calls for ground sumac, and I don't know what that is. Is that poison sumac, like the kind that breaks you out?! I even asked at the store, no one knew what it was! So I left it out. Also, I didn't have any fresh parsley or mint, so I just used dry herbs. It still came out fresh and amazing! I love the spicy taste of the cumin and all the vegetables. Noms!

And everyone (well, unless you are vegetarian or vegan, I suppose) loves meatballs. They were very very good as well. I can totally see myself incorporating his paleo recipes into everyday cooking--and I definitely see myself using this book for holiday paleo cooking as well. All the recipes are very well explained, there are pictures of everything and I didn't feel like it was over my head, although I would call most of his meals gourmet, and not every day food.

Thank you blogging for books for offering books for free for blog reviews! Love it! If you are interested, you can check out The Paleo Chef on amazon.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Brownies

I don't know what it is about being pregnant, but I'm craving sweets like nothing else right now. Anyway, I like to make these sugar-happy treats myself because I feel like it's healthier (aka I can choose what I add). Peanut butter and chocolate are two of my biggest cravings this week, and thus these gluten (and dairy) free peanut butter brownies were born today. You can always leave the peanut butter out if you are not a fan, as well (but I might judge you).

You will need:
  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 8x8 inch pan. (I use coconut oil)
  2. Starting with the chocolate chips, and add all of the remaining ingredients, in the order listed into a large bowl. (I don't really think the order matters, but whatever)
  3. Blend until smooth. This is done to make sure the brownies are not grainy after baking. (I just stirred it with a spoon and it turned out fine)
  4. Scrape the brownie batter into the prepared pan, and smooth into an even layer with a wet spatula.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Mine was done at 30!
There is also a video tutorial if you are into video recipes.
Anyway, I hope you like them! I will probably make this again next week--it was that good. Oh, so chocolatey and the peanut butter, mmmmmhh! I need to go eat another one right now. Oh, and these brownies were adapted from this gluten free brownie recipe!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Basic Baby Hat Crochet Tutorial

I made a little baby hat tutorial! This is just for a basic hat, I wanted to teach myself how to create a hat for a little one, since I'm going to, you know, have one of those soon.

I think I'm on a baby hat kick. I've got ideas for two more, and also I really want to make some baby leggings. I've heard they are really useful because you don't have to remove them when changing a diaper, and babies legs can stay warm. 

Anyway, you can download the pdf for this basic baby hat here, or you can view it on my youtube channel (or hit play below). Hope you like it!

Happy crocheting!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Things I couldn't wait to do

When I was a kid just about everything about being an adult seemed magical. I most certainly had some huge expectations about life events that I saw adults processing through. I mean, everything looks better with rose tinted glasses, right?

me, 6, and sister, 3. Adorbs.
So here are some things I just knew would be amazing experiences when I grew up.

1) Getting my Period- I thought the moment I got my period I would instantly become an adult, trumpets would sound and a boy would appear from thin air to ask me to be his girlfriend. It sounded wonderful. I would finally be a member of the unspoken, invisible female club and I pictured myself sighing dramatically and complaining about my flowering womanhood while secretly enjoying every second. I had no idea that it lasted for more then a few hours. And I had no idea that the first time it happened I would think I was dying and forget everything my mom told me and have an hysterical meltdown in a Belk shopping store. But hey, you live and you learn.

2)  Being Kissed- this is probably right up there with getting my period, but I dreamed obsessively about what it would be like to kiss someone. Or have someone kiss me is more like it. I remember asking my mom all the time what it was like. Also, I thought once I was kissed that was it. It would be the perfect, romantic moment and no other moment would compare and it wouldn't need to be repeated. One kiss is all you get, or so I thought... and the sun would shine it's golden rays on my perfect hair and my partner would be forever entranced with my beauty. I would, of course, remember it fondly forever.

When I did get my first kiss, it was wet, weird, and very awkward! Instead of feeling divinely beautiful the whole experience felt... very slimy. No offense to the guy I kissed--we both had no idea what we were doing. A friend who witnessed our first kiss said it looked like two fish grubbing for worms at the same time. I'd never been more mortified. Also, I didn't know what to do with my arms. No one mentions what to do with your arms.

3) Being able to buy things for my mom - This one might be a little weird, but I grew up with a single mom. I saw her buy a lot of things for me and my sister, but she never really bought things for herself. I never understood it. At this point I didn't really "get" money, and I thought my mom went to work and was gifted with an unlimited amount of dollars to spend. I didn't realize some things cost more then others, or what a budget was. I just wanted to make my mom feel as happy as she made me feel when she bought me a present, and I felt sad that she didn't have anyone to buy things for her. Now my mom tells me all the time she has enough clutter and please don't gift her anything, hah!

4) Sit in the front seat - my mom waited a long time before letting me or my sister sit in the front seat of the car. For starters, we were always small and she was trying to be safe. But I wanted badly to sit there. I thought that if she let me sit in the front seat it would mean I was one step closer to being an adult, not like a baby who had to sit in the back. Of course, since I'm two years older I did get to move up before my sister, and I can remember gloating to her about it. I know that it didn't really mean anything--but it sure did make me feel special once I got front-seat privileges! It was like being on top of the world!

5) Shaving my legs - It was around 8th grade that I noticed girls with shaved legs. My mom told me it was a fashion thing, and I didn't have to do it if I didn't want to. But I really really wanted to be fashionable and beautiful like all the other girls, so I begged her to teach me. I really thought I was something just because I happened to shave part of my legs. And I mean part of them, because boy was I terrible at this. Also, for some reason it made my skin break all out and get covered in red bumps and I felt really embarrassed. Shaving still to this day makes my skin break out. Yay for fair skin. Not as wonderful as it looks. Also, I cut myself a million times in my teen years and mostly wore band-aids on my skinny, half-shaven legs.

What are some things that you were desperately convinced would be wonderful as a kid, but were actually much more complex then they appeared to be?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Making, Lately.

I made a nice pair of fall or winter leg warmers recently. I love them, and they are just the right color to go with almost everything. It's spring here now, so I won't be wearing them anytime soon (and I'm totally okay with that) but next year these will get a lot of wear. I used this tutorial.

I also made myself a maroon hat. This is my favorite color, and I didn't know why I hadn't already made a hat with this in mind! It also goes with a lot of the gypsy, hippie clothes I wear and will keep my head warm next fall.

Have you been making anything lately? It's very rewarding to finish a project. I love the feeling!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I think I popped

I'm finally in the world where everyone with eyes can tell I'm expecting. You know, I still find it weird that I am walking around growing a human. On a daily basis I often feel as if I'm part of someones funny science experiment, only I'm not the one laughing. Carrying a baby is very interesting. And odd. Almost surreal. And why do I want to eat a whole cake?

So, a few weeks ago we were at the mall (hardly ever happens--our mall has like 6 stores and is super small and my husband hates shopping) and I saw this totoro shirt in hot topic. I wanted it like woah. Like please husband I need this shirt in my life. Only it was a size L (I am usually an XL in hot topic preteen sizing) and it obviously wasn't made for someone in my...delicate...condition. But I told him I would wear it. I could wear it. I would make it work. Somehow. Just please buy it for me.

And thus, I did. Or he did. I think he was skeptical but either hot topic's sizing has changed or the shirt is just a lot more stretchy then it used to be. And who cares if it looks like I've swallowed an entire watermelon crop? I'm wearing a shirt with my favorite studio ghibli character on it and I couldn't be happier.

Anyway, I posted a picture of me wearing it on instagram and subsequently to Facebook and someone told me I looked like I'm due next week.  I still have four months left, lets not get hasty here. I haven't even bought anything to clothe this kid in, much less wipe his nose with. Our baby shower is next month and I already have an amazon wish list that could feed, clothe and pamper six babies, not just the one that I'm currently growing.

I honestly haven't decided what to buy yet. I'm hoping that it will just come to me in the night like my cravings for cake and ice cream and anything with gluten in the ingredient list do. All the things I never ever ever eat or crave ever... Now I can't stop thinking about cake with more cake on top and icing on top of that and drooling all over myself. Help. Please send cake. Or at least something resembling cake.

How are you guys doing? It's warming up here, we are trying to finish preparing the house so we can start preparing for the baby, and I'm making to-do lists longer then my arm and I think my husband is tired of me informing him of how far behind we are at getting everything ready. And he keeps reminding me we don't need to make college plans or worry about where to park our kids new car yet. I think I'm getting ahead of myself. Just a little.

At least we have a name now. Sort of. My choice is Corbin Alexander, and my husband's choice was Reuben Alexander. At least we agree on the middle name. Any suggestions would be most helpful.