New Adventures … and some old…

Oh people, I have been having SO much fun!  So much fun that I have yet to catch up on this weeks episode of Parenthood.

For starters, I bought this the other day and it makes me plain happy.  Joann Fabrics was kind enough to provide me with a coupon which made this purchase even better!  There are 26 colors total.

And, beside being close to finishing up multiple projects I’ve had in the works for some time now, I  lined up all my ducks and created an Etsy store!

Which I have titled The Golden Heel. (www.etsy.com/shop/thegoldenheel)

This is making me learn how to take better pictures, which is still in the works.

And is causing me to learn how to do things, like take pictures, faster and better the first time.

I tend to have this sickness where I take 50 pictures of the same thing, find one good one in the batch, and stash the rest away because I-for some reason-cannot part with them.  And those of you that are my Facebook friends know this all too well; all those similar pictures I post of my boys …

I would love to update you right now on all the projects I have completed and am close to completing, but since some of them are gifts I will have to wait until they arrive at their destination before I post pictures.  But I am excited to show you everything!

And lastly, I found a new love today!

Creating packaging …

Or should I call them gift bags …

Either way, I’m debating trying to sell a few at The Golden Heel.  I will just have to see if I can come up with a few that make a feel-good set.

Until next time, be loved!

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Crocheted Egg (part 1)

Yay!  I have pictures, boys are napping, and I already did the dishes this morning which means I can walk you through the crocheted egg project!

For those of you who are fluent crocheters, or who have crocheted toys, you will find this project a snap and possibly not worth a tutorial?  But, I know I have friends out there who have expressed a desire to learn how to do something creative, or crochet, and this could be a great first project!  If you can master this egg you will have the basics for tackling many crocheted toy projects and/or the duck and frog bibs I have posted links to previously.

So here we go … first craft tutorial.

Materials:  I used a size F crochet hook and a thin worsted weight acrylic yarn.  Also gather stuffing for the egg, a scissors, and a darning needle.

You will also need a basic understanding of crocheting, a trusty internet crocheting resource, or good ole’ friend who can crochet to walk you through some of the basics I won’t be covering, such as how to create a chain or do a single crochet etc…

So here we go… please don’t look too closely at my cuticles.  I did my best to hide my thumbs but failed…

Step 1:  Attach the yarn to your hook using a slip knot and chain two. (ch 2)  parenthesis provide instructions in shorthand

crochet chain

image of 2 chains

Step 2:  Insert your hook into the first chain, aka second chain from hook, and single crochet six to create first round. (6 sc in 2nd ch from hook)

image of 3 single crochet in the 2nd chain from the hook

Step 3:  At this point you will have a little ring and will be starting round 2.

image of creating first single crochet in round 2

Starting back at the first single crochet you created, create two single crochets in each stitch around the ring.   You will have a total of 12 single crochets when finished.  (starting at 1st sc, 2 sc in ea sc around — 12 sts at end of round 2)

image of round 2 completed

Step 4:  Starting round 3, create two single crochets (2 sc) in the first single crochet (sc) of round 2.  Create 1 sc in the 2nd sc of round 2.  2 sc in the 3rd sc of round 2.  1 sc in the 4th sc of round 2.  Repeat pattern of 2 sc followed by 1 sc four more times and until you reach the end of round 3/beginning of round 4.  At this point you will have a total of 18 stitches.  (*2 sc in 1st sc of round.  1 sc in next stitch.*  rep from * around — 18 sts)

Step 5:  Starting round 4, single crochet (sc) in each stitch around.  You will still have 18 stitches at the end of round 4.

image of egg after 4 rounds

Step 6:  Repeat step 5 until you have completed between 9 and 11 rounds.  The more rounds you create the taller your egg will be.  You can choose how many rounds you want to complete.  I like a variety so all of my eggs are not the exact same size. (rep step 5 five to seven more times)

Step 7: Starting your next round, single crochet the first two stitches together. Single crochet once in the next stitch.  Repeat this pattern 5 more times until you reach the beginning of your next round.  You will have 12 stitches total at this point.  (*sc2tog, sc*, repeat from * around — 12 sts)

*tip* when single crocheting two stitches together, I recommend keeping your stitches tight to prevent large holes in your finished egg

image of single crocheting 2 stitches together (part 1)

image of single crocheting 2 stitches together (part 2)

Step 8: Stuff the egg.

image of stuffed egg

Step 9:  Starting your next round, single crochet the next two stitches together.  Repeat 5 more times until you reach the end of the round.  You will have 6 stitches total.  (*sc2tog*, repeat around — 6 sts)

image of single crocheting 2 stitches together

Step 10:  Cut yarn leaving a tail about 5 inches long and fasten off.

image of fastening off

Step 11.  Using tail, sew top of egg closed.

image of sewing hole closed. i like to weave my darning needle between two stitches as shown in the picture. i repeat this around and pull yarn tight.

Step 12.  Weave in and snip loose ends.

image of finished egg

Way to go!  You have made your first egg!  Only 11 more to create to make a dozen! 😉

Crocheting 12 of the same eggs not sounding exciting?  Or did you realize, like I did, when playing with your children that nothing happens when you crack the egg open?  I hope to post the tutorial for making the “crackable” fried egg (part 2) next!

In the meantime, any suggestions for improving my next tutorial?

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Creative Update

It’s been awhile.

And although I am halfway tempted to update you on the last month of my life, I think I will refrain and keep this update to my creative endeavors over the last month as part of 30 Days of Creativity.

It took a couple of weeks, but I finally made a craft calendar.  The day I made it I was feeling simplistic so it does not have as many frills and stickers as my weight loss chart did.

You will notice a couple of things.  First, I did not start it until the 16th of August and it runs way past the 1st of September.  Needless to say, the 30 Days have been extended indefinitely.  You will also notice blank days on the calendar.  The first half of the month I did something creative EVERY day, and it was great.

I finished the bathrobes …

And spent the rest of the time working on this …

I started this tank top in May.  I have only knit one other adult sized garment, a sweater back in college, and was once again feeling inspired to knit myself a piece of clothing.  I wanted a big project.   The yarn came from a sweater I bought at a second hand store (less than $4).  I spent a couple of hours unraveling the sweater and rolling a ball of yarn.  The pattern I found on Ralvery for $8, which I have been told is an expensive pattern from Ralvery, but once I found this tank top none of the other patterns compared.

A BIG project this has turned out to be.  I spent a lot of time working on this tank top this past spring but then put it down to never pick it back up.  When I started 30 Days I knew this was a project to be tackled.  As of today, this is how far I have gotten…

Hopefully I will have it completed for next summer.  🙂

I was working hard on the tank top until I came across a wool felting stand at my local farmer’s market.  I spent a couple of days making these…

And this bookmark for a friend.

And then life got a little stressful, and I went out of town, and I didn’t do anything creative for a few days.

But the past few days I have gotten back into the swing of things, and maybe that has to do with life returning to some form of routine.

I finished this bib to bring to a family tonight …

You can find the pattern here.

And then created some play eggs for the boys.

This egg project is as simple as they get.  I hope to post a tutorial soon.

And finally yesterday I bought some purple yarn.  (And forgot my 40% and 50% off Micheals coupons.  Why do I always forget these??)

Besides starting a list of Christmas projects, the next thing I want to work on is creating a few hats like these…

We were given these hats at the hospital when our boys were born.  I hope to reverse engineer these patterns to make a few purple hats for the Period of Purple Crying campaign.

Until next time, peace to your homes!

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I Have Twins

I remember when I was pregnant with my boys searching the internet for any tidbit of information regarding twins, often being most interested in people’s blogs because I was searching for a glimpse of what my future life may look like. I didn’t find too many blogs documenting that first year of life, which in hindsight it probably due to the fact that twin households do not have much time or energy to blog, but I did find a few places where I was able to read about people’s pregnancy journeys, their emotions in those first few months, and stories of toddlers and the funny things they do. I remember reading one blog where the author cried herself to sleep every night and I remember reading one day’s entry where she lamented on the fact that for the first time she hadn’t cried — things were finally getting better! I also remember reading this heart wrenching story, almost play by play, where this woman lost one twin during childbirth. To say the least, it was not the best thing to read when 38 weeks pregnant!

Sadly, I also failed to blog that first year.  I will be no source of comfort to other woman looking for information on those first few months. But for those who just have twin curiosity in general, I want to talk a bit about my boys and our life on this blog, more so than I have. So here is a start.

I did not find out I was pregnant with twins until I was almost 25 weeks into my pregnancy.  Whether for this reason, or maybe just by chance, I found myself from the first moment calling them “2 babies”.  When I called my family I announced “there are 2 babies”, not “there are twins”.  And the next day at work the phrase continued — “I had my ultrasound yesterday and there are two babies!!”, to which I would have people reply “twins!?”.  This mentality has remained strong with a few exceptions–dressing my kids the same, or more so coordinating their outfits, until recently has seemed a must, and this blog  has been an exception because a life with 2 babies is best described as a life with twins.

Ultrasound pic the day we discovered both boys. The image shows the tops of both boys' (A & B) heads.

But now my boys are learning how to talk.  And quickly they are turning into little boys.  In these changes that occur so quickly I have found myself having to start to acknowledge the “club” that will inevitably become part of their identity for much of their life.  Some strong stereotypes exist for twins, we all know them, and often I am asked “who is the more dominant one?”, or “which one is the outgoing one?”.  I have read about how one twin may learn to speak for the other, and how one twin may find security in the presence of their sibling who communicates for them.  And although I have NEVER liked to speak any stereotypes over my boys, I am starting to notice some of these classic stereotypes sneaking into our reality.

So for this moment in time, I will do the thing I so dislike, and I will stereotype.  Please bear with me.

Nolan is my talker (but not until recently, and this in and of itself made me start to come to terms with my boys being “twins”).  Gabe becomes quickly frustrated.  And in these personality traits I am quickly noticing Gabe at the shirttails of Nolan.  Nolan has learned to say juice, and cookie and more; and Gabe being the bright kid he is, has learned to chase right behind Nolan when he hears these words knowing he will reap the benefit of all Nolan’s hard work and practice.  (Because what mother is only going to give one child juice when one asks?   Or only give one kid a cookie when they are both standing with arms outstretched? … at least that doesn’t happen in this household.)

For a time I thought this might just be Gabe being too lazy to practice words.  He knew some squawks, or bleeps, or plain old outburts of frustration could often produce what he desired.  (Within the first week of bringing him home we quickly learned we would receive only two coughs before complete meltdowns occurred over his sudden onset of hunger.)  But then I noticed something at our church nursery a few weeks back.

Nolan was taken out of the nursery to have his diaper changed.  And Gabe melted down.

Could it be that my Nolan is becoming the confident, “outgoing one” and that my Gabe is becoming the “one” who needs his brother?

Needless to say, my eyes have been opened.  I am now more aware of the real need to start spending more one on one time with my boys.  Before nap times were  routine in our household, one on one time would naturally occur out of our inability to have the boys on identical napping schedules.  But the routine that has developed with toddlerhood  is causing my boys to spend every waking, and sleeping, moment together.

I also started to acknowledge the idea that I gave birth to twins and not just two babies when they were around 12 months old; I felt as though I was being asked if they could talk all of the time.   And they couldn’t.  Twelve months turned to 13 months.  Thirteen to 14.  And so on and so on, until in my desperation to remove paranoia from my parenting mojo, I had to face the reality that twins, for an exact reason unknown, often talk later than singletons.  I have been relieved in these past weeks as words like “ball” and “ear” and “hi” have started erupting from both little faces that follow me around.  And really, in hindsight, 16 months does not seem all that late to start developing a vocabulary.

But nonetheless, this journey has made me realize that some things might be different in my home, and that in order to raise “Emotionally Healthy Twins”, as one of my parenting books is so cleverly titled, I need to be aware of the challenges and stereotypes that can often occur.

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The Beauty of Growing Things

beauty from the farmer's market

 Garden Update

The garden is growing and it’s beauty captivates me every day.

sweet potatoes

Lately, this is the sight that greets me, along with the sounds of birds & buzzing beetles, and an overwhelming amount of mosquitoes.

This morning I picked this …

crooked neck summer squash

It was our first.

And the other night I was able to enjoy our first beet.

golden beet

A few weeks back I picked a few tomatoes hoping I could encourage their ripening.  After doing a little internet research I concluded I had made a bad choice and my harvested tomatoes would be stuck the color green forever.

tomatoes

But this is what I awoke to this morning!  HOPE!

And when I walked outside I saw these tomatoes!

pot garden tomatoes

The severe rain we have had has been hard on my pot (container) garden.  Just look at this little tomato plant that lost all it’s lower branches due to over watering.

over watered plant

It took a couple of storms before I realized there was a removable cover/pan on the bottom of this beige container.  Therefore, after the first few storms I was pouring an inch or two of water from the pot.

This past week I hung up a second trellis for the cucumber plants.

cucumber plants

They continue to grow strong.  I have lost track of the number of cucumbers we have harvested, but the number has to be around 40 or more.  (We have 5 plants.)

Mae and I, and I think even our husbands, are getting excited to pick this watermelon…

watermelon

It is a sugar baby, and from what we can determine we are waiting for the stem to dry up before we harvest it.

Behind the watermelon, the peppers are growing strong.

slim red cayenne peppers

When these plants first starting producing fruit I thought they were jalapenos.  As of today my guess is slim red cayenne.

And what I thought to be pablanos …

hungarian wax peppers

Now appear to be Hungarian wax peppers.

Soon we will have more tomatoes than we can count.

tomato plants

a few large clusters

And have I mentioned yet that the BEES have arrived!!  For the last week or so I have been accompanied by these little guys while I check on the garden.

           

bee pollinating a summer squash

Needless to say, my day’s as a hand pollinator are over.  The bees are doing quite well taking care of our plants like these …

butternut squash

zucchini plant

If you look closely at the zucchini plant, you can find two baby zucchini preparing to bloom.

The butternut squash are growing strong.  I can currently count 5.  (There are 3 plants total.)

Before heading out of the garden this morning I checked up on the parsley.  Occasionally I trim back the squash leaves to ensure the parsley receives sun.

parsley

It is a modest supply, but it continues to grow strong.

Then I grabbed my coffee and came inside, smiling and excited to share the beauty of our garden with you!

sage sprouts

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Wine & Chinese

Today was a good day!

During the boys first (and only) nap, I showered, got dressed in my clearance $6.24 Target dress that I decided was very “quintessential”, did one look around the house and rightly decided that it was time to be creative.  With my knitting in hand, I drank my coffee and watched Eat, Pray, Love  with my new, much loved, AT&T U-verse television subscription.  Oh the joys of on-demand, free, movies!

I made it halfway though Eat, Pray, Love  before it was time to feed the boys lunch.

Following lunch I packed up for the Farmer’s Market where I was meeting our friend Mae.

And here is some of the stuff I brought …

garden produce for my friend Mae

There is something ironic in taking produce to a Farmer’s Market.

And to digress, how about a sneak peak at the garden?

August 1st

Isn’t it a beauty??!

And although I greatly enjoyed my time at the Farmer’s Market today–ooh’ing and aah’ing over the beautiful hot pink beets, almost doing a happy dance over my chocolate croissant I stumbled upon, and drinking a super good coconut latte at the coffee house with my friend as our boys were quite remarkably good (in hindsight)–the real fun began when I arrived home.

It was Chinese food and wine night with our friends Chuck and Danielle!

Remember that part above about taking one look at my house before knitting?

Well when we got home from the ‘Market it still looked like this…

And well the boys, they weren’t up for much cleaning either.

I had an hour to clean & feed the boys dinner, so I decided to do the only reasonable thing–ignore the house and set the table.  At least we could have one place to escape to!

Earlier today I had been inspired by the basil I picked for Mae.  Wouldn’t basil make the most lovely, simple table bouquets?

basil bouquets just as I had pictured in my mind!

And I just happen to love the color green in the kitchen so I was set with matching decor …

the napkins were made for me by my sister!

And next for the wine …

one of my favorites

I was excited for this all day!

The finished product …

dining room

It made for a nice escape from the rest of the house!

Then it was off to making dinner for the boys.

my hungry Gabe

I had Adam snap a picture of me in my dress.  I just had to show it!

And I even picked out the green frog bibs for the boys (pattern here).

eating dinner

in focus

The boys quickly ran out of meatloaf.

And moved to watermelon.

Followed by pudding.

This was their first time enjoying pudding.

And my uplifted spirits and thankfulness for their earlier good behavior made it a treat!

Our friends arrived and we had some of the best Chinese food ever.

Then we put the boys to bed.

And had some great conversation regarding the following topics: home ownership, global warming, severe weather, The Sims, Tamagotchis, & LAN parties … are we showing our age?

And then said good night.

Today was a good day!

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Let’s Knit Purple Hats!

I’m deviating from what I had planned on posting today to comment on a grassroots campaign I stumbled upon courtesy of luvinthemommyhood.

The campaign is called Period of Purple Crying and it is aimed at bringing awareness to parents regarding their infants crying.  Bottom line, and my take home, it is normal for infants to cry!  Even when it occurs routinely.

In general, this campaign is aiming to bring better awareness and understanding to a baby’s crying that is often not provided through the term “colic”.  The campaign is also aimed at bringing awareness to shaken baby syndrome.

I myself remember having people tell me my baby was “colicky” which always made me feel as though we were diagnosing him with an illness.  I had also understood colic to be pertaining to gas AND very regular, consistent, long lasting, inconsolable crying.  Oy! The confusion.  Not to mention parental paranoia.

I remember feeling overwhelmed when Gabe cried, not because I was at my end, but because of what I felt others were thinking and saying.  My first mother’s day I was emotional, and felt like hiding away, and sobbing.   Gabe also happened to be fussy.  I remember my aunt coming alongside of me that day and supporting me, whether or not she knew it.  I think she was feeling a similar way–in hindsight I’m not sure why we didn’t just sit and cry together–but I also think that holding my babies was part of her escape.  She had a way with Gabe, and she could calm him down.  And I remember at one point her coming to me and saying, “I had a baby with colic, and I don’t believe Gabe has it.  He is fine”.  In a sense, she was saying “his crying is ok”.  That reassurance, from someone who I knew understood what she was talking about, lifted me up.

I hope this campaign can do that for someone else.  Colic or not colic, new mother’s need to be told, “this is normal” and “this is ok”.  And most importantly, “this to shall pass”.

I like this campaign.

And here is the neat part — you can support it though knitting purple hats!

(I wish I had a picture of a purple hat to post here…)

In the last two days, as part of my 30 Days of Creativity pledge, I have been knitting.   Just today I was thinking of posting something along the lines of “oh, it feels good to have my knitting groove back!”.

Part of my dreams regarding my creativity is to use it to “enrich the world” in some shape or form.

“You are not here merely to make a living . . . You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”  – Woodrow Wilson

And my second favorite quote …

“In the long run there is no more liberating, no more exhilarating experience than to determine one’s position, state it bravely, and then act boldly.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

This might not be the next life changing movement, and it might not require any bravery or boldness, but it is something I feel could have a positive effect on the lives of other parents.  It is something to support, and it requires action.

I have always wanted to create and give away as an act of charity or support, and I never have.  This is an opportunity.  It is also a step in the right direction.

I am going to knit purple baby hats.  And I am going to send them here…

National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome
C/o Click for Babies
1433 North 1075 West, Suite 110
Farmington, UT 84025
…………………………………..

Would you like to join me?

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