Excuses.

Hi!  It has been SO long since I blogged!  Sorry!  I really didn’t mean to be away so long.  I do have a few excuses….

It started in March… I sprained my ankle REALLY bad while cross-country skiing with my family.  That was an emotional blow for some reason & that knocked me into a deep depression.  I sat on the couch for a month too depressed to do anything & when I started to think about ways to die, I made an appointment with a doctor.  While doctoring for that depression my doctors & I came to the conclusion that I have Bipolar II.  I was relieved to start on some medicine to help but scared of what Bipolar would mean for me & my family.  Then I realized I have been dealing with it all along, I just didn’t realize it wasn’t normal.  Getting on some meds would probably only  help and make family life better.  After finding the right medication & the right dose, I am back to my normal-but-better-balanced self.  I am much more even-tempered, less moody, and my anxiety is usually WAY better.  The most wonderful thing is that my medicine allows me to sleep normally for the first time, maybe ever!

(Bipolar disorder is simply a type of mood disorder that cycles between periods of depression and periods of hypomania or mania (elevated mood).  Moods are both high & low, people with Bipolar disorder are more of a danger to themselves than to anyone else & with the right medication moods can be controlled.  The II of Bipolar II means that I have the form with less severe manic periods, Bipolar I has more severe manic phases where people do more outlandish things like go on major spending sprees.  However, people with Bipolar II are at a higher risk of committing suicide (30% I read somewhere!) so it is still very serious & very scary.) 

I haven’t talked about my diagnosis with very many people because people don’t understand what it means.  There is a horrible stigma.  People imagine a very chaotic and messed up life when they think of Bipolar disorder and that is not my reality, so I haven’t brought it up to very many people.  No one would guess I have a problem because it normally doesn’t affect my life in ways people on the outside see.

My main problems are/were:

1) periods of depression: varying from feeling down, to feeling like death would bring sweet release if it just didn’t take so much energy to make happen (scary but it’s the truth.)

2) periods of hypomania: where my brain won’t stop & I start too many projects & plan too many things & I can’t stop talking & I might as well stay up till 3 AM because I just want to get my project done!

3) anxiety: panic attacks preventing me from doing the things I want to do, like going to church, or grocery shopping or even hanging out with my friends.

4) insomnia: all of these symptoms were preventing me from sleeping so I was having trouble falling asleep and waking up a million times a night if I did fall asleep.

By Fall I was thinking clearly again so I decided to go back to college!  Fall semester I took a full load of 16 credits and got straight A’s!  Yay me!  But it was tons of work and a crazy schedule so there was no chance for me to do ANYTHING crafty, bloggy, or fun…

During my Christmas break I  was able to do a little crafting & made a bunch of drawstring pouches, a couple zipper pouches & knit a bunch of dish cloths.  Sorry I don’t have pictures of everything.

Leftover dish cloths :)

knit dish cloths

I head back to school on Monday with another full load of 15 credits so I will probably not be around here all that much until summer, but I am so looking forward to summer & crafting & blogging a little more!  I have a couple of quilts I want to finish by springtime & a bunch of other random sewing I want to do.  I have decided to keep my project list short and give myself few deadlines so I don’t stress over my lack of progress on my crafts.

Quilt tops to work on…

2

I’m hoping to turn the stack below into a beautiful something for my oldest niece who is graduating from high school this spring!

3

I hope you have a wonderful day and get lots of crafting done this winter!

XOXO,

Naomi

 

 

Knit Me Now Yarn

My sister, Senja (Sen-ya), dyes some seriously gorgeous yarn.  Last time I saw her she let me pick a skein of her new DK weight yarn to test out.  Lucky me! I cast on a cute, slouchy, cabled hat that I had been dreaming about & finished it up a few days later.  I just couldn’t put it down!  The pattern is called Molly.  I just love how soft & squishy this new yarn is. If you love yourself some yarn, go check out Senja’s Etsy shop KnitMeNow. The yarn I used is the DK weight.  She also has a bunch of sport weight & sock weight listed right now too.  I am pretty sure she will do special orders too, so if you don’t see what you are looking for, let her know & she will dye some up for you!  Just tell her Naomi told you she would!

My new Molly hat

Molly

March

March around here has been a blur of cold weather, too much snow, a sprained ankle, so many scouting activities, & hoping with all my heart that a real spring & summer is on its way.  I am ready for the snow to melt, no longer needing heavy jackets, &  more sunshine!!

March blocks These are my March blocks for do. Good Stitches (Peace Circle).  We used a tutorial found here.  This quilt will be really interesting with all the different solid colors.  I am excited to see it!

January log cabin quilt

The top for my January quilt is done!   It’s been hanging on my desk waiting for me to go through my batting to see if I can find a piece large enough to use on this quilt.  I am in love with the on point setting & the polka-dots.  This is so not the vision I had in my mind when I asked for log cabin blocks, but I am glad I let the blocks work themselves into this setting & also happy that my current obsession with Navy was a good fit for this quilt.

Cat in shoes

Sox has been especially adorable lately.

Cat in plant

What a goofball!

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter!  My kids are home this week & I have been loving them up.  My house is TRASHED & LOUD but those are signs of a happy home.  (That’s what I keep telling myself anyway!)

XOXO, Naomi

 

 

My Mojo Is Back!

(My sister keeps telling me I need to blog…  so here I am.  Thanks for the push Brita!)

I have a few things for show & tell today!  Yay!

Kitchen Towels

At Christmas time I whipped up 4 kitchen towels as gifts, this is only 2.  I forgot to take a picture of the other 2.  Oops! I just bought the towels & made some appropriately sized binding strips out of scraps & attached it to the bottom of the towel.  Super quick, used scraps & they turned out really cute!  I might have to make some for my own house soon!

scrappy patchwork rug

This is my new scrappy kitchen rug! If it gets spaghetti stains I will just sew more scraps over the stains!  I’m excited to see how this will stand the test of time.

To make a Scrappy Kitchen Rug:

  1. Layer a piece of linen (or other fabric) & batting
  2. Pick scraps (some big, some small), cut off extra threads, square up, etc.
  3. Sew the big scraps on first (edge stitch, leaving raw edges)
  4. Quilt it horizontally about 1.5″ apart
  5. Next  sew the smaller scraps on (I used my smaller scraps to cover any puckers I got from quilting)
  6. Quilt it vertically about 3/8″ apart
  7. Cut another piece of batting plus a backing,
  8. Layer the top, batting & back & attach all the layers together (I used a little circle stitch mode 3, #23 on my Janome Memory craft 6600)
  9. Add some binding

Viola!  A rug!  I will wash it soon & show you how it fluffs up!

reading

W spends most of his days reading.  Sox decided to hop up with him one day & curl up on his back!  A-DOR-A-BLE!!!  Sox likes to snuggle more than any cat I’ve ever met.  I am happy he returned this morning from a 5 day walkabout.  He seems pretty happy & hungry, but he must have been fighting  because he is all scabby.

color

January layout log cabin

This is the January quilt for the Peace circle of do. Good Stitches.   I asked for scrappy, warm & cool log cabins (with no pink or purple).  I was imagining a different layout, but when I tried it out the design was hard to see.   So I tried this layout & I like it so far.  I will just have to see how it all turns out when I have all the blocks.

February blocks scrappy trip

These are my February blocks for the Peace circle of do. Good Stitches.  We used the Scrappy Trip tutorial  which turned out to be really fun & WAY easier than I expected.  I can’t wait to see this quilt take shape.  (P.S. Can you BELIEVE I finished my blocks so early?!  I’m trying a new thing.  It’s called NOT procrastinating.)

arcadia blocks

I FINALLY pulled out my Arcadia fabric to make a quilt for my bed!  The blocks are done I just need to sew them into a top!  Exciting!!  The colors look a little off in this photo.  (My camera has been taking dark, blurry photos lately…& by lately I mean the entire time I have had it, it just seems worse lately.  Maybe I just suck at photography.)

w's brick quilt

W’s quilt is DONE!!!  I will get good pictures of it someday (or not…) but it’s a pretty basic brick pattern.  Both the boy’s quilts turned out ENORMOUS!  I’m not sure what numbers I was using to determine the size but they are extra wide & long.  Oh well!  They will maybe just get more use out of them as they move into different sized beds!  :)

stacked coin black raspberry lime

I finally made a back for this quilt & quilted it!  I just need to hand sew the binding & wash it up & it’s done!  YAY!!   This was made using the stacked coin quilt along   at Don’t Call Me Betsy.

So it turns out I got my sewing mojo back!  Yay!

Here are some things I am thinking about making:

  • clothes.  Doll clothes for my nieces, pajama pants for my boys, tank/t-shirt/skirt for me.
  • quilt with curves.  Maybe single girl, drunkard’s path, snake, color wheel, dresdens.
  • pillows for the couch.
  • something with applique.
  • something with hand quilting.
  • I need to start a new knitting project.
  • something with my selvedges.
  • something scrappy.
  • something paper pieced or with a muslin foundation.
  • beard hats & aprons for M&R

Here are some things I am thinking about finishing:

  • Beach bag
  • Summer Sampler
  • Swoon
  • Orange sweater (working on the sleeves!!)
  • Christmas quilt
  • Aprons

I’m hoping my enthusiasm for all of these things continues so I accomplish all of these things by summertime!  Wish me luck!

A Whirlwind November

December, where did you come from?!

November flew by in a whirlwind of doctor appointments, a birthday, Thanksgiving, our anniversary, a broken toe, conferences, Cub Scout meetings, delivering popcorn & wreaths, karate, & trying desperately to figure out how to make my headaches & tummy problems go away.

I did manage to finish up my May quilt for do. Good Stitches.  Yay!  It felt lousy to keep seeing those beautiful, sunny blocks sitting on the shelf, waiting for me to have time for them.  I’m happy to have found the time to sew this happy quilt together!  May quilt

We used the Positively Perfect Nap Quilt tutorial & I asked for pink, red, yellow, & orange blocks.  I hope this quilt puts a smile on the face of the child who receives it.  I know it makes me smile!  :)

XOXO, Naomi

October

October was a FULL month. 

In October….

  • We participated in lots of Cub Scouts activities.  1 Sr. Webelo + 1 Tiger  + Dad doing the Committee Chair role, Wood Badge, & getting asked to take on a Council position in Scouts is fun but busy!
  • The boys had picture day.  My 1st grader can NOT smile on command.
  • I volunteered at the boy’s schools 7 days. (Yes, they are in 2 different schools, so twice the volunteer opportunities.)
  • My 5th grader had an after-school library party as a reward for reading a TON over the summer.  How cool is that?!
  • I worked 1 day.
  • We sold Popcorn & wreaths for Cub Scouts. (Door-to-door & at a show & sell at a grocery store.)
  • My Mom had her 2nd knee replacement surgery, so we went up to visit her.
  • My husband was away for 2 long weekends.  He also made a day trip to Chicago for work. 
  • I participated in a swap between my do. Good Stitches girls. 
  • It was school hot lunch week so I went to eat lunch with my boys 2 different days.
  • We spent a long MEA break up north. 
  • Our kids got sick.
  • W had a friend over one weekend.
  • I had a whole bunch of migraines & promised myself I would get some help with that.
  • I ordered costumes last minute & vowed to never wait so long again. 
  • I spent a whole day making accessories for costumes & swearing that I would never wait till the last minute again.
  • We had a Halloween party for Cub Scouts, a parade at T’s school, & trick-or-treating at our house with friends & 1 cousin.
  • We did Karate.

Pincushion and ornament

This is the pin cushion & ornament I received for the Peace circle of do. Good stitches swap.  Cute!

 

Pincushion

Here is the pincushion in action.

HST zig zag blocks

My October blocks for do. Good stitches.  We used the October HST Block of the Month tutorial over at In Color Order. 

Peacock

My niece in her peacock costume, at the parade.  Isn’t she cute?!  My sister did a great job making her costume.

Ninja boys

My Ninja boys & Sox the white pawed feline.

 

Fine Feathered Friends

feather pouch front

I made a zippered pouch.  It started as an experiment.  It’s my first reverse applique!  I had no clue as to what I was doing, just winged it… Then the feather sat next to Betty (my beautiful sewing companion) for a month.  So one night I pulled a zipper out of my drawer of supplies, looked up a tutorial I wanted to try & sewed my little heart out.  The zipper turned out to be a vintage metal zipper, that I LOVE!!  vintage zipper copyright 1963

vintage zipper

I just love the back of the package…

zipper package

zipper package again

It makes me want to dress up in heels to do my housework.  I am in love with this pouch.  I’m not even sure what I am going to use it for, but I want to see it every second of my day & let no one else touch it.  When I started this experiment, I thought I might gift this to someone, but before it was finished, I knew it was never leaving my side.

feather vintage zipper pouch top

(I thought I banished all the lady bugs!)

feather pouch open mouth

I used the Open Wide Zippered Pouch tutorial from Noodlehead which was oh so wonderful!  The resulting pouch is super easy to open up & dig around in.  Like I said before, I LOVE THIS POUCH!!!  The outside is Essex linen (don’t know the color), Kona Nightfall, the feather is a Joel Dewberry print, the lining is  Heather Ross, zipper end is Lotta Jansdotter.

feather pouch open front

This isn’t the only feathery project up my sleeve lately.  I also tried my hand at making a mug rug for a swap with my do. Good Stitches girls.  I made an enormous mug rug.  So perhaps it’s more like a place mat… I love this one also.  I am hoping my partner receives it & loves it & can overlook its enormous size.  Apparently I go big or go home.

feather mug rug

I used the free feather pattern by Anna Maria Horner.  I made the feather smaller but not small enough.  I also couldn’t find my brain & couldn’t for the life of me cut the feather sides correctly.  I cut a whole bunch wrong before I got it right.  So I have a few weirdo feather scraps to work with someday.  I did a little hand quilting on the feather & machine quilted the rest.  If I were to do it again, I would change some things, but overall I really like how it came out.

Pheasant

After  finishing up my 2 feather projects, I looked out my window & saw 2 pheasants hanging out in my neighbor’s yard.  How fitting.  They didn’t want to be photographed together though, so I only have 1 pheasant to show you.

May, June, July, August, & September blocks…

So it’s the end of September.  This month has flown by.  We have been so busy with karate, cub scouts, a garage sale, & trying to get on a good schedule for school, that the month has almost passed me by!  I won’t say I’m enjoying my days as a stay-at-home-mom-with-no-kids-at-home, but I’m not NOT enjoying them either.

I just don’t have it all figured out yet.

The biggest thing I need to work on is getting on some sort of schedule.  Last week I actually planned a week’s worth of food & managed to buy everything I needed & cook all week!  Amazing!  But now I have a fridge full of leftovers & no one who wants to eat them.  So this week I’m not cooking.  We need to eat the leftovers.  :( I am just finding it hard to be motivated with all this silence around me.  But now that the garage sale is over with, maybe I will feel like I can get on to the super productive schedule I want to be on.  The one where I clean for like an hour every day & sew the rest of the time & my meals are easy & planned ahead of time.  Sounds perfect, right?

Anyway, I guess I haven’t shown a bunch of blocks for my do. Good Stitches quilting bee.  So, here they are…

May blocks

May: I was the quilter for May.  I still need to put the quilt together.  I’m just a little late.  Used Positively Perfect tutorial.

June blocks

June: Used the Reverse Rainbow Star tutorial.

July Blocks

July: Used the Cracker Scraps tutorial.

August Blocks

August: Used the Kaleidoscope  tutorial.

September BlocksSeptember: Used the string-x with a scrappy variation tutorial.

Enjoy the rest of September!

XOXO, Naomi

Good-bye Summer! *sniff, sniff*

 

We had a wonderful summer.

I’m so sad to send the kids to school today!  I am going to miss hanging out with them so much!  I think I only sewed twice this summer.  Yikes!  But I’m okay with that because we had a lot of other summer fun.

I always feel like summer goes by so fast & I don’t make a real effort to make awesome summer memories with my kids. When school starts I  usually regret not trying harder.  But this year has been different.  We  made an effort to have fun together daily, not just on our vacations. At the beginning of summer we made a list of things we wanted to be sure to do.  We didn’t get to them all  but we did A LOT more this summer than we usually do.

Here’s some of what we did:

  •  found a park with awesome bike trails
  • went camping in the Boundary Waters
  • summer reading program at the library
  • spent time at the pool & beach
  • had water fights
  • ran through the sprinkler
  • camped in our backyard
  • played kickball
  • went to the movies & ate so much popcorn we almost puked
  • made homemade play-dough
  • discovered shapes in the clouds
  • went tubing
  • played lots of Legos
  • made s’mores
  • had a picnic
  • played Monopoly, Uno, Crazy 8′s, Yahtzee, & Battleship
  • spent time up north with cousins
  • read like crazy
  • looked for shooting stars
  • camped on the north shore
  • fought the waves of Lake Superior
  • went hiking
  • saw the lift bridge in action
  • got LOTS of exercise at karate.

image

image

Today my kids go off to 1st & 5th grades!  I can’t even imagine how they can be that old already!  This will be a challenging year for me, because this is the first time in 10 years that I don’t really have a reason to be home during the day.  My kids will be off, doing their own thing, not really needing me.  I mean, yes, they need me & always will, but I’m serving no purpose all day long while they are at school.  I’m hoping I get on a great schedule & get lots accomplished.  I should have time, for the first time in a long time, to get all my not so fun tasks done, along with my fun things too!  I’m looking forward to it, but hoping I don’t end up feeling like a waste of space…  :) I have some thoughts in my head about what else I could do, but for now, I’m not making any big decisions.

So, farewell Summer!  You’ve treated us well, I look forward to you visiting us again!