Thursday, July 17, 2014

Full of Memories, Not Regrets

WOW!  Has it really been weeks since I have blogged?  I don't understand how the time has gone by so quickly.  I have been working and working on things.  I can't really show any of the projects I have finished until tomorrow, after I know my friend has received her package.

But I feel so detached and left out from Blog-Land.  I have been with hook in hand for weeks now, and I haven't even picked up my laptop except maybe once or twice.  I checked Pinterest for some ideas and I skimmed through a few blogs while I was online. Otherwise, I have been tucked away inside of a small world of making things. It's crazy how I get so lost in what I am making that I don't realize time passing right in front of me!

Lately, I have been going to play a lot and meeting with friends.  I love a good play date!  My Little Darling gets to meet up with her friends and the children occupy themselves, while the adults chat away.  It's the best, especially for a stay-at-home mama like me.  I only talk to children all day long!  Sometimes, I miss having a conversation with an adult...about adult topics...infused with adult humor.  I miss the laughs I would have with my co-workers late at night, after our shift had ended.  I miss it dearly.

But something else has been tugging at me, too.  I miss family time!  I have been so embedded in projects and summer homeschooling.  The Hubs has been working so much lately, staying late at his main job and picking up hours at his second job.  It seems like we haven't had much time, the three of us, to connect.  With those thoughts, I found myself looking though these pictures of when we went to the Falls of the Ohio Park about a month ago. 

We needed this family trip so badly......  aaaaannnnd cue onslaught of mass photos!  LOL!

I think, by now, it goes without saying, that I LOVE me some flowers!  I could photograph flowers all day, everyday for the rest of my life.  They are beautiful and they smell wonderful.

 I love all the deep colors in these flowers.  They feel so rich and elegant to me.

Somehow, these strange flowers remind me of Dr. Seuss....  I always thought he made up those weird fluffy flowers... Apparently, his inspiration can be found in nature!
I kept standing there, waiting for these flowers to open up and bloom.  So pretty!

The Hubs was so worried that I would get stung by a bee.  They were all over the place.  I just love observing insects in their natural habitats.  It was worth the risk!
I have never photographed a dragonfly before.  They are beautiful, but they fly around so erratically that I usually just capture a blur.   I am happy this one took a small break :-)

The beach there was so unique. I have never seen anything quite like it.  Of course, there were families who were out for the day to go fishing, but I like to think of my small family as "adventurists".  We like to climb, hike, dig, and explore.

I took this photo, while standing on top of a hill.  The beach had so many branches, sticks, and driftwood that had been washed ashore.  I loved the light color of all the wood.
 All these branches stretched for at least a mile....
We wanted to be closer to the water, so we ventured out past the branch-covered beach to the rocks that were upon the shoreline.
 We spent two hours, climbing over rocks along the beach. 

We saw these beautiful fossils, stories of nature and animals of the past, carved into several of the rocks we climbed.

Eventually, after our legs and arms were so exhausted from climbing across rocks, we saw a path in the woods, and climbed up to see where it would lead.

That's when we found a little snack!
We each snacked on a few mulberries.  They were sour, but delicious.  I prefer sour to sweet flavors actually.

I just needed this time with my family, and it was amazing!  Looking through these photos and reliving the memories of this fun little outing reminds me of what's important in my life.  I love my little family.  I love nature.  I love being healthy and fit enough to get out and really enjoy nature!

^^^ These two are my Heart and my World.  It's time we got back out and did this again before the summer is gone. 

Time flies by so quickly.  Take time to enjoy the moments when they come your way.  And if you, like I am now, realize that it has been too long since you have spent time with loved ones doing what you love--- Then I say, MAKE IT HAPPEN NOW!  Life goes by in a blink, and I refuse to grow old and be filled with regret, rather than Beautiful Memories.

Have a wonderful Thursday.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Distractions... Lovely Little Distractions

Well, today is one of those days, where I reeeaallly don't want to do anything.  This week has been completely strange for me anyway.

I had headaches and migraines for the first half of the week, but I tried to work through them.  For me, I think pain is a mental thing.  I think if you can find distractions from the pain, you don't notice it.  If you are a busy housewife like me, there is always plenty to be done!  So this week has been 100% about staying distracted!

Tuesday, I walked SIX miles!  Woo hoo!  That's the most miles I have done in one outing.  It felt great.  I went out to walk, as I was feeling under the weather, so it took me forever, but I am proud of myself.  I like to stay fit, even when I don't feel well.

Yesterday was all about doing things I don't like to do.  I cleaned.  I combed my hair...which I hate.  I have a lot of hair and it takes so much work to make it look presentable.  I cleaned more.  And then I cooked a HUGE meal.  We have so many fresh produce that are going to spoil, so I cooked and baked a lot yesterday.

Then, I forced myself to make some post cards.  I hate to measure out perfect squares and rectangles.  I have actually never made postcards before, so this was a new experience.  I have so many letters that I have to write to pen pals!  I am falling completely behind.  So, for those I owe some short letters, I will send post cards. 

I love the ones I made.  I will need to take some pictures and then show them off.  I am proud of them!  Some are fancy.  Some are cute.  Some are hand painted... Yes, I went from "I hate this" to "Let's make this a challenge and see how creative I can really get!"  I like games and I like to make things into games, whenever I can!  The postcards turned out great and I will show them another day :-) 

I have put in a LOT of work on my friend's baby boy blanket....and then something terrible happened...

I realized I didn't like what I did!!!!  Has that ever happened to you?!  I didn't have a sketch or a clear plan.  Everything was very spontaneous.  That's always a risk, when you don't have a plan about how the finished project should look.  Well, now, I have a big decision to make...  Do I take away the work that I have done and start over? I REALLY don't want to think about that!  Or do I just keep going even though I am really not happy with the way the blanket looks...

Honestly, I know I will have to remove all the work I did and start over.  I am a perfectionist, and I need to feel proud about the work I do, especially if it is a gift for a dear friend.

I just can't seem to force myself to start taking things apart just yet, so I have started an alternative project.  Sometimes, I need to let things sit for a little while before I make a final decision.

I made these squares for a backpack I will make for my Little Darling.  I am thinking that it will make a nice surprise for her.  I love all the purples and pinks.  Very girly.  I love little girls!  SO much fun!!

These three light purples are so similar, but they are all three different colors of yarn... Actually there are even three different KINDS of yarn!  But they are all very close in the same weight, so you can't tell they are different.  I love how soft these different yarns are. And I love that the squares seem as though they have little purple flowers coming out of them :-)

I found this purple fabric, sitting in my mass "collection" of fabrics.  I have soooooooo much sewing stuff for someone who doesn't know how to sew!  I told myself that before this year ends, I will make at least ONE attempt at sewing something...  Just ONE THING!  For my confidence.  Sometimes, all you really need is One Small Win....  Then you will have the confidence and the know-how to keep trying and get better at something new.  That's all I need with sewing.  I need to make One Small Thing and I will be able to try new projects without fear!

Although I think I prefer either a darker purple or a pink on the inside, I think this fabric will be fine for lining the bag.  And it's a cute floral print, which my Little Darling will love.  I am very nervous about this.  It's a fairly advanced project for me.  I have never sewn a lining into a crochet bag before.  I have also never sew zippers!  HA!  I will be learning all kinds of new things with this project., and I couldn't be happier!  It' time for me to break away from making so many baby blankets all the time.  I need to be brave and try new things, right?

The plan:  backpack with a front pocket for smaller items.  I will work on this over the weekend, rather than the little boy blanket.  I hope I can figure everything out easily enough to finish it this weekend.  I want to fill it will all sorts of school supplies and little doll clothes for my Little Darling.  She's been working so hard in order to prepare for private school in the fall.  She isn't getting much of a summer break, as we have lessons all day.  It's hard for her to hear and see other kids playing, but she has to study.  She has been very diligent and very positive through the whole thing...  I want to give her something to show her that Mommy knows how much work she's done and that Mommy is So Very Proud!

I also got these yarns...  I am excited to work on projects using a lighter weight yarn.  I love my thick and chunky yarns for the winter.  I love my worsted weight yarns for everyday projects, but I have really been inspired to create some items for clothing.  I have been seeing some cute ideas on Instagram and Pinterest.  I want to design and attempt to create more of my own personal clothing.

These are for some projects I want to work on for my Little Darling.  A couple of years ago, I bought several yards of various jersey knit fabric.  I wanted to make her some pajama pants.  Well, I never did it... obviously.... but now I am left with too little fabric to make her any pants with.  Plus, it's so hot here.  Instead, I thought about making some dresses, tops, and maybe some shorts...

Yes, these are some very colorful patterned fabrics.  I think they would make cute dresses and shirts. I can't wait to give this a try.  I find that it is easier to learn a new skill on something smaller.  It is easier to learn to make something for a doll or a child first.  If these projects go well, then I will be making some interesting adult shirts for myself !  Well, that is the plan at least :-)

For now, I am heading to watch the last half of the USA vs. Germany game for the FIFA World Cup.

I am American and grew up in Germany.  Either way, it's a win for me.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

This, That, and a Winner!

This week has been great so far.  I know it is only Tuesday, but every "good day" is such a blessing, why not celebrate it?

I have just been really thankful for the small things this week because I have been having terrible migraines.  When you don't feel your best, it's easy to be negative and whiney.  I am actually the opposite.  When I don't feel well, I really try to focus on good and beauty and fun.

I have found the most delight in the random places this week...

I found these beautiful organic yellow/orange beets while grocery shopping.  I have only just begun to cook and eat beets.  I never thought to eat them before, and then one day, I had them at a friend's house.  They were soooooooo good.  Unfortunately, they are also really high in sugar.  We don't eat them often, but these were so pretty, organic, and on sale!  I just *had* to!  I know, I am a HUGE FOODIE!  I love beautiful food almost as much as I love tasty food.
I also went and did my walking at a neighborhood this week for the first time.  Usually, when I walk for the day, I go to either a near by track or a local park.  That way I know exactly how far I have walked.  Well, yesterday was the first time I have gone out to walk in about a week and I wanted to ease my way back into it.  I just went for an early morning stroll through a neighborhood.

The neighborhoods closest to where I live don't take gardening as seriously as other parts of town, but I was still able to find some moments, where nature was beautiful.  I needed that walk in the morning to reset my mind.
I am glad that I went out today again for walking.  I still have a terrible headache, and just when I was about to give up and go inside, I got a phone call from a friend, *M*.  Thanks to him, I was able to walk an additional mile and a half without realizing!!!  LOL.  That's always wonderful :-)  Talking to someone is fun and exciting and so I was able to walk faster and for longer, without even noticing.  I need someone to call me every day!
Luckily, I got back inside in time because this is what it looks like right now...
My garden could really use some rain, so I am not complaining at all about the showers we have gotten today.  It makes a for a beautiful sky :-)
It also means that I will be stuck indoors getting some work done on my little project for my friend's baby boy...

I have finished another two rows.  I was beginning to get a bit discouraged because I ran out of the brown I was using and then I found out the colors isn't made anymore.  I hate it when that happens!  That has happened to two other colors that I was so in love with!  And it happened the other two times in the middle of a project as well.
I have another, darker brown, that I will use.  I am happy with the results, so I will keep going.  I am hoping to be done by this weekend, with a couple of other small matching items to accompany this blanket!  I really can't wait to be done and to show you.  I am really excited for EVERYTHING that will be in this package actually.... but you will have to wait a little while, won't you?
Something you will NOT have to wait for is the WINNER of my first Giveaway.
I found a random number generator in the app store, and here is the winner, #2...
Congrats to Shea :-) You will be getting all this in the mail, coming your way Friday!!!
I hope you enjoy your goodies, Beautiful.
As of right now, I have about 4-5 more giveaways planned out and several items are in the makes for those.  Stay tuned. My next give away will be in about 2 weeks or so, as I am planning to FINALLY open my personal shop and I want to do a nice-sized give away for that.
Until then, stay tuned!
Thanks so much for reading, and I wanted to give SPECIAL thank yous to these ladies.  Your comments warm my heart, and give me something to look forward to, whenever I blog :-)  Check out BrokeGirlMakeup and Loving Crochet
 Until next time... Keep Smiling and Keep searching for Beauty in everyday happenings!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Finding My Inspiration for Crochet Again

Well, well...  It is now late into the evening!  I hope everyone is having a Great Weekend.  I know we all are.  Today has been about eating and organizing more than anything.

This morning, we ate at a great breakfast/brunch spot called Wild Eggs.  It was so delicious.  It's somewhat expensive for breakfast, and I never order anything healthy, so we don't go often.  For lunch, we just worked through it and opted for an early dinner instead.  Dinner was sushi and hibachi grill at Fuji Japanese Steakhouse.  Sooooooo Gooooood!  I love sushi and it is a family owned business.  We know everyone there and they have known my Little Darling since she was a toddler.  I love ethnic food, but more than that, I love family owned restaurants.  Owners take so much more pride in the work they do and you can *feel* the sense of family when you go there.  We have a family owned spot for all of our favorite sorts of foods:  Family owned Persian place, Chinese place, Indian place, Mexican place, and now we have recently added a Vietnamese place to the list as well.  If I could just get a family owned Italian place, I might be completely to the moon in Food Bliss Heaven!

I have also been paying more attention to my balcony container garden.  It has been very hot here, with so little rain.  I have been out every evening to water the plants.  Soon, I saw this:

All of the tomato plants have grown ABOVE the little gate that we made.  In the last garden we planted, birds and a lot of squirrels broke the branches on all the tomatoes.  They didn't eat the fruits, they wanted the tomato branches and the leaves.  I was so upset!  We tried everything we could, but, in the end, the squirrels won. All of our tomatoes were thrown to the ground and all the branches were eaten.  This year, we came up with a great plan!  This cage...  This year, the tomatoes grew so large!  I have never gotten them to grow so big and SO many tomatoes!!!

These are the best tomatoes I have EVER tasted.  And I grew them myself!  Now, if I could just get them all to turn red at the same time :-)  This is from two days.  Right now, we have about 20 more green cherry tomatoes, waiting to ripen. I can't wait!  I can taste a summer salad already!

I have also be getting so busy with crochet!  I can't even keep up!! I have so many projects in my mind right now.  I am trying to sketch them out, make voice recordings, and maybe even create a few motifs so that I have an example of what I am trying to do.  Well, let me tell you, even with doing ALL of that, I am still unable to record all of my ideas.  Oh Man!!  I am so grateful to be inspired right now. I have taken quite a break from crochet because I couldn't think of anything to do.  I was bored with it. 

Now, I have a new purpose.  The main inspiration I have right now is GIFT GIVING!

So the other day, I look at my calendar and I come to the realization that my friend's baby shower is in just a few weeks!  I have not even thought about what to do for a gift!  I had some ideas, but then I changed my mind...and I had more ideas, but then she mentioned colors that would not fit.  And then I lost my inspiration and motivation.  Well, thank God I am ready to rock and roll with my Hook again because I finally came up with this design here.  My dear friend *A* is having a baby boy.

I am almost certain that *A* does not read my blog, so I feel comfortable showing this project here.  Sometimes, knowing that people aren't reading your blog makes it easier to really just document what you have going on creatively, rather than worrying about keeping secrets.  I love it.  And I love this little project here.  It's part of a set that I am doing for her Little Mister.

Making Grannies is easy and fast and fun.  But I don't want this to be "just another granny blanket", so I have something special planned for it to make it just a little more interesting!!!  But THAT will have to wait for some other day.  I don't want to give everything away all at one time...

I just love seeing the process of a Granny Square grow from one round to the next :-)

Since I will have to get this in the mail within the next 10 days, this project and everything else that is in the package to my friend *A* are my Priority!  There are some other things in the making as well.  I will be showing those other projects throughout the week! That way, if I completely lose my mind with all these ideas, then I can at least have my blog to remind me of the projects I have planned.  Hahaha!

Also!!!  If you have not entered my Giveaway and you are considering it, Please feel free to enter the Giveaway here.  Just leave a comment on the post, and I will be drawing a winner on Monday!

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sharing A Bit of HAPPY

I am sitting here, late this evening, thinking, "Dammit!  Something most definitely stung me on the bottom of my foot!"  That's what I get for gardening late in the evening barefoot.  I am about to make some homemade insecticide.  I hope it works!  I also hope we don't all die from the concoction, although, aside from a little bit of dish liquid, it sounds like the homemade insecticide is chocked full of ingredients that I cook with daily.  LOL.

Today is actually Tuesday, and I have already posted today.  I am determined to be creative, but I am a bit tapped out at the moment...  I have been uploading and editing and writing all day.  As we all know that housework is my arch nemesis, I am sad to say that I have not even touched one single thing that needs to be cleaned.  Oh wait, I started a load of laundry.  I need a towel to dry off with after I shower later and I am fresh out of clean panties AND bikini swimwear bottoms.  Time to do a load... unless...  Unless I can figure out a cute way, using yarn and a tube sock, I can create a pair of "something-like-panties" to hold me over for another few days.  Naaaah!  LOL!  That's totally not going to work! Ha!

Right now, I am just marveling at how awesome my long weekend was!  I wanted to share some of those moments.  This weekend, Kiki left with her family for a two week vacation and The Hubs went to a family reunion out of town with our Little Darling.  You would think I'd be so sad, lonely, confused about how to spend my time.  Well, this domestic hum drum is for the birds!  The Birds!  And getting a break from the robotic, repetitious, mundane tasks of wifely motherhood was super-fucking-tastic!  I loved it!

I got to eat all the foods I like!

Pad Thai.  I love Thai food!
I got to try Vietnamese food for the first time.  SO YUMMY!  I had this pork and shrimp dish.  I can't remember the name and some pho as well. I had been wanting to try this for a long while, but The Hubs and our Little Darling are not very adventurous eaters.

Shrimp Pho.

I also got to eat and watch the Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina game for the World Cup.  I love soccer.  I played when I was younger, and I have loved it almost all my life.  It's so exciting...and Yea, well, the players are just SEXY!
Chips with guacamole, red pepper sauce, salsa verde, and spicy salsa roja
This place has THE best tacos!
Black bean and kale taco // marinated pork with pineapple tacos served on handmade corn tortillas.
You can use your imagination to see the sweets and pies and ice creams I ate.  Hahaha!  I don't typically have photo evidence of the unhealthy things I have eaten. Not unless I have baked it myself.

I also took the time to make several crochet collars, rosettes, some felt magnets and other things.  I made all the items for my Very First Giveaway.  You can click the Link to enter the giveaway, if you haven't, or just to check out the items. I got so many things made this weekend that I actually have material for several blog posts to come!  Hell, I even had time to shoot a few things for a new project that I plan on starting here soon...  Maybe in the next few weeks, or so.

I also went around town, looking for beauty and nature.  I am REALLY excited to be sharing three new crochet projects that I will be working on for the next few weeks.  They are all based on things I saw this past weekend, while on nature walks.  My family loves to be outside, but I don't just enjoy the fitness.  I am always looking for inspiration.  Always.  And sometimes that bothers my family a little. I want to stop and smell flowers and take pictures.  They want to hammer out the miles on a trail.  It was so nice to STROLL, rather than power walk.  It was great to STOP and SIT, rather than walk, run, jump, and climb. For the first time in months, I could hear myself think!

I got these earrings in Mexico for about a nickel! 

So here is a moment of truth and honesty.  The truth is, I don't feel particularly beautiful.  I think I am all right, and far from being a troll.  All day long, I am at home, completely unmade up.  I am cleaning, and cooking, and "Mom-ing" all day in a t-shirt and some yoga pants.  I am chasing children, cleaning messes, and trying to do it all for my wonderful husband, who works two jobs.  I take pride in caring for others.  And I think I am a kind, honest, hard working person, which counts for a lot.  But I don't find myself to be all that pretty, and Definitely NOT beautiful!  So that is what I seek out, while on these nature walks.  I love searching for this natural beauty that I feel God blesses us all with, but so many of us walk right past and never think twice about.  Finding these moments of beauty within nature remind me that I can be beautiful, vulnerable, strong, resilient, creative, and inspiring.  Don't ask me how I get so much out of taking pictures of plants and bugs, while wandering about, sweating like a slave in this Southern heat, but I do!  Maybe it could be that finding beauty in nature and within others helps me to find something beautiful within myself.

I am so grateful for the time I had this past weekend to recharge, reflect, and regain a little confidence.

Happy Wednesday to You!