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

 

 

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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

WIP Wednesday 1.25.2012

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Happy WIP Wednesday!  I didn’t have the time or motivation this week to get much done.  But here’s what I’ve been up to.

Finished:

sewing tablecutting table
New Desks – My friend & I went to IKEA & I came home with a new sewing table & cutting table!  I also found a new garbage can & a drawer insert for my Expedit bookshelf that separates my sewing area from my husband’s office.  All I need now is a new chair! (Notice the duct tape holding my chair together… nice.)  I got a new iron too!  The cord on my old one was starting to go.  I got a Black & Decker Digital Advantage.  I love it so far!

beeKnit Bee – I knit up a stuffed bee as a test for a larger project.   I just used some leftover sock yarn, so ignore the colors!!  🙂

Pajamas – My son had some footie pajamas that needed some TLC on the bottoms of the feet.  I left the holey bottoms & sewed in a layer of fleece.  I’m not sure it will last but I fixed it.  For now.  It might not last but he’s quickly growing out of them anyway!!

In Progress:

christmas quilt blocksChristmas Quilt – I finished all the blocks!  Now on to sewing the quilt top together!

fabric for drawstring bagsDrawstring bags – Cut out some fabric for drawstring bags for my friend’s girls.

No Progress:

Senja’s Quilt

Cut-Loose Quilt

Orange Triangles

Machine cover

Summer Sampler

Swoon-along

Completed Tops Awaiting Quilting:

Sliced Coins

Boys x 2

To Do:

January star blocks for do. Good Stitches

Quilt for my bed

Shower curtain

Pin cushion for me

 Head over to Lee’s Blog, Freshly Pieced, to see what everyone else is working on!

Too Busy

I’ve been oh so busy…but not sewing. Working. It totally messes up my normal life to get up at the crack of dawn & drag my kids to daycare.   So I haven’t had much time to sew or think about sewing.  I am so SUPER grateful that my normal life has lots of hang-around-the-house & do-what-I-want time!   I have also had a bunch of days spent at the school doing end-of-the-year things.  I have really enjoyed being able to do that this year!  Last year, around this time, my heart was getting really bad, so I didn’t have very much energy.  I was able to enjoy my time so much more this year!  🙂  I’m so happy I got my valve replaced when I did!!

So here’s some stuff I’ve been up to since I last posted.  (I have another week & a half to work.  Hopefully I will be able to post more often then!!)

swapped items for birdandbicycleMaLora of Bird and Bicycle & I set up a private swap to celebrate our May birthdays!  This is what I sent to her.  Two knit dish cloths, a bicycle bib, a  hot pad/mug rug, & a pincushion with scrap bag & pockets.  I am going to make one of these pincushions for myself soon because I LOVE how it turned out!  It seems like it would be very useful! The pattern is FREE from Sew Mama Sew!

knit dishclothsThese are the dish cloths I made.  They are both free patterns I found through Ravelry.  I’m too lazy right now to look them up for you…  Sorry!

stamped wordsThis is the back of the hot pad/mug rug.  I stamped the letters on!  It was my first attempt at something like this.  It isn’t perfect, but it’s okay.  I used Jacquard Textile Color as ink.  I put Insul-Bright inside so it can be used as a hot pad.  I was originally making a mug rug that was going to be rectangular.  It turned into this though because I didn’t plan it AT ALL.  I just grabbed, cut, & sewed fabric together until it was this.

party supplies in a bagMaLora sent me a Party in a Bag!

party in a bag contentsIt contains: a brightly colored table topper, 16 cloth napkins, cupcake toppers, 3 different lengths of paper garland (some bonus Japanese Linen) and…

garlanda fabric garland!  My kids will love having impromptu lunch parties!  I think I will start using the cloth napkins instead of paper towels.   We go through a lot of them at our house!

cupcake toppers and garlandThese are my favorite part!  How cute!  I can’t wait to make cupcakes!

zipper pouches for teachersHere are the zipper pouches I made for T’s four preschool teachers & W’s regular teacher & math teacher.  They were each filled with yummy candy & a Thank You note.  I appreciate all the hard work all those teachers did for my kids this year!  Both my kids have made great strides academically & socially this year!

my favorite pouch for teachersThis is my favorite pouch!  I gave it to W’s 3rd grade teacher.  She taught him cursive, & for that I will be forever grateful because I can read his writing now!  🙂

T's preschool graduation with teachersHere is T at his preschool graduation with all four of his teachers!  I bawled like a baby when I said good-bye to them!  T is leaving preschool with all the skills necessary to succeed in Kindergarten next year.  He can read a lot of sight words, has great rhyming & alliteration skills, follows directions very well & best of all he learned what it takes to make friends.  I am so proud of my little guy!  We will really miss preschool & Miss Jessica, Miss Wanda, Miss Erin, & Miss Maren!

May blocks for do. Good StitchesThese are the May blocks for do. Good Stitches Peace Group.  These blocks taught me how far off  my 1/4 inch seam allowance is.  I really had trouble making these the right size.  I finally got it though!  🙂  Yay me!

linen dishtowel with patchworkThis is a dish towel I made for my partner in the Spicing Up The Kitchen Swap.  It is made out of 100% Linen & some scraps.  I did some paper piecing for the curve.  I did a fancy mitered edge on the hem.  It looks amazing! I was really impressed with how well the corners turned out!  Now I want to wash it & make sure it softens up & stays together!!

plastic bag dispenserThis is also for the SUTK swap.  This is a plastic bag dispenser.  The fabric is some charms of Dream On by Urban Chiks for Moda.    I hope this is my partner’s taste.  I have changed my mind on what she will like so many times now… I really hope I have it figured out.   This is a little too “girly” for me.  Although it kind of gives me warm fuzzy feelings because it reminds me of some of the sheets we had growing up.

WARNING!

BUG PICTURES!

huge mothAt the Cub Scout Pack meeting in May a “Bug Guy” came.  He brought all kinds of gross things that the boys just loved.  He also brought meal worms for them to eat!  Eww!  The kids all got a real kick out of that!  This is a huge moth (I can’t remember the name) that is native to Minnesota.  I have lived here my whole life & have never seen a moth this big!  Amazing!  The next one isn’t so pretty…

W with giant cockroachYes.  That is a Giant Cockroach.  Yes.  My son is holding it.  Yes.  I had to touch it too.  Gross!  Most of the boys wouldn’t touch these but not my kid!  He was brave & picked it up & held it for a while.  I think I did a good job of hiding my disgust…

T with millipedeT is holding a Millipede.  That thing felt so weird to hold.  So many legs.  There was also a tarantula but I didn’t get a good picture of that.  The boys really enjoyed this special activity at the last pack meeting of this year.  I was happy when all the bugs were put away!

That’s all I have!  I hope you are all enjoying your summer so far!  I am looking forward to planning some camping trips & going to the beach soon!  Speaking of the beach, I should go order that swimsuit I had my eye on…

A Fresh Start: Clean Truck, Skating Lessons, Warm Weather, & Crafting Again

I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t done any crafting all week.  Well, a little knitting at jury duty, but I am feeling like that doesn’t count.  (Yes, I had jury duty.  It was my first time.  Luckily I didn’t get chosen to serve on the jury.  I did love seeing how that whole process works though.)

I do this thing to myself where I start too many things at once, get overwhelmed, & just stop.  Everything.  It’s like I’m saying, “I  will never finish it all, so why try.”  Then after a while I realize that I really won’t finish anything by not doing anything.  So, I start moving again.  Today looks like a good day to start moving again.

My youngest son, had his first ice skating lesson today.  He LOVED it! He couldn’t stop smiling & stepped off the ice with a look of pride, asking when he could do it again.  His passion for things often feeds my own passion.  He gets an idea that he wants to do something, & won’t back down until he’s had a chance to try it.  It’s inspiring to see a 5-year-old so determined to do something.

I have to take a second to comment on the weather (I normally wouldn’t because it’s such an old lady thing to do but what the heck…).  The ice & snow is melting, the sun is shining, my ears aren’t freezing off… what more could I ask for? While I was kid-free this afternoon, I attempted to clear the driveway of all the ice that has accumulated in the past few months.  As I was standing at the huge ice dam at the end of my driveway, the plow guy drove by, stopped, backed up, asked if I wanted some help, & cleared a good 4 feet of ice away!  I would have hugged him if I could have reached him! How nice! Thank you plow man! So since its so nice, I thought I would get the truck washed…. looks like everyone else in town had the same idea!  I’ve been waiting in line for half an hour.  Yawn.  But at least I spent the time wisely, writing this enlightening post!  🙂 Yippee, its my turn!

Busy as a bee…

Wow… Time really does fly when you’re having fun!  I’ve been busy working on so many projects!  Here are a few…

Cascade Eco Alpaca... so so so soft!

This is the cowl all laid out

 

Urban Lattice all ready to be sewn up

 

 

My 8-year-old held this up for me & kept saying "Ow, this hurts! Ow, this hurts!" so forgive me taking one shot and calling it good!

Stack of triangles ready to be sewn

This is my sewing table right now...

Possible combo for Cherry House Quilt-along

Possible combo for Cherry House Quilt-along

So I am thinking about just making 2 quilts for the Cherry House Quilt-along… They are small, cute, & I can’t decide which color combo I like better.
The other thing I’ve been up to is looking for a new sewing machine.  I have had my current sewing machine for about 10 years.  It is older than me.  It works, but I want to do more than it is able to do. So I am saving my pennies & doing some research.  Hopefully this year will be the year I get a nicer sewing machine!
What kind of sewing machine do you have?  Do you love it or hate it?  Does anyone have a good recommendation for a nice sewing machine that I can free-motion quilt with (& not go broke)?   Or one to stay away from?

Quilt-Along Dreams & A Survival Scarf

Sleepless nights are not for me. I went to bed at a normal time & as soon as my head hit the pillow, my body said, “I’m not sleeping.”  I tossed and turned until 1:30 and finally got up.  I went back to bed around 4:30, not because I was tired but because I had to try to get some sleep.  The problem was my sometimes obsessive brain.  I found a Quilt-Along to join and was obsessing over what fabric I might use.

Seriously.  That was what was keeping me up.

Anyway, today I found two more Quilt-Alongs to join…

I hope they don’t keep me up at night…

I watched a movie with my Husband last night (A-team, it was better than I expected), & took the opportunity to finish a scarf that has been almost done for a while now.  I’m calling it my Survival Scarf.  I got the yarn for the scarf about a week after my heart surgery, I had some time between Doctor’s visits, so my Mom & I went to check out the yarn shop.  It was sitting there so lovely on the sale shelf, I just couldn’t leave it there.  I spent a lot of my time, in the first couple of months, working on it while riding back & forth between home, the clinic & the hospital.  As soon as I was able to lift & drive again, I put it down & forgot about it.  Well, actually I just got really busy going to cardiac rehab & preschool & clinic visits & trying to keep the house up too.  Well, now it’s done & I can use it!  I love it!  The colors are beautiful & the pattern is pretty too.

Pattern: Misty Chunky Ribs & Ruffles Yarn: Araucania Patagonia

The Value of Crafting

Welcome to my blog!  I have so much to learn about this blogging thing.  Bear with me…

I have always liked making things.  I grew up with a Mother who was always trying something new (basket-weaving, wood-burning, sewing clothes, cross-stitch, hardanger, spinning yarn, soap making, candle making) so it was only natural for me to try a few things out as well.  My Grandmother taught me to knit and cross-stitch the summer I was 8.  I learned to knit again at 22, after years of watching my sister knit and proclaiming that I would NEVER have the patience for that.  Turns out I do have the patience, and it’s not as hard as I thought it was!  I have to give my Mom credit for teaching me how to sew.  I was her little helper and learned most of what I know from watching her.  Recently I have gotten into modern quilting after discovering a few inspirational blogs (I will post links when I learn how!).  There are many more things I would like to try someday.

In September 2010, I had open heart surgery to replace my Aortic valve. During my recovery, I discovered that the days I crafted, or daydreamed about crafting, I felt happier and more fulfilled.  I decided then that I needed to make creating things a larger focus in my life.  The purpose of this blog is to motivate myself (and others) to keep on crafting!  Creating something out of nothing is such an amazing process.  Embrace the day, create something you love!