Friday, November 20, 2015

It's almost here...

We're getting ready for Thanksgiving! Or, rather, I'm getting ready for Thanksgiving, Tim is steeling himself to deal with my family for a week, and the boys have no clue what's coming.

Yes, we'll be spending Thanksgiving with my parents & sisters this year! The last time we had Thanksgiving with either of our families was back in 2010, when we got married. Why, yes, that does mean we're celebrating five years of marriage next week!

Kind of crazy, really. In five years, we've moved across an ocean and back again, had two children, left the Navy, and adjusted to being civilians again. Well, I've managed to adjust. Tim never actually stopped being a civilian, so I don't think the transition was difficult for him. And I know he was happy to hand over the homemaking and child-rearing roles to me.

Anyway, next week the boys will get to see their grandparents again. And I'm looking forward to that, because Clinton adores his Gram and Grandpop. (I'm also looking forward to having a date night with my husband, since my mom offered to babysit for an evening.)

I'm also looking forward to someone else being responsible for cooking the turkey. I roasted a turkey last year, and it was kind of stressful for me. The bird was delicious, but I was terrified of under- or over-cooking it, despite having a meat thermometer that showed me exactly when it was done. And I'm not the greatest at timing, so the mashed potatoes were a little cold, then a little too hot because I put them in a casserole dish and warmed it in the oven. The cranberry sauce was awesome, as always...but that's such a simple thing to make!
^ That's last year's feast. Of course I took a picture of it.

In Japan, we had Thanksgiving dinner with the rest of my command, and I never had to cook a turkey. And for Christmas, we ate at the Harbor View Club our first year, ordered a cooked turkey the second year, and the third year we went to a potluck at a friend's house. That was also the year I "stole" a recipe for buffalo chicken dip from a co-worker. (It was really yummy, and I noticed the recipe in a cookbook I already owned. So it wasn't really stealing, just discovering that I could make the same dish.)

Anyway, I'm excited about the coming week. It should be fun.

Friday, October 30, 2015


So, after my first post in 7 months yesterday, I realized that I forgot to write a very important introduction a while back.
Meet Grant, my youngest son.

This was on his birthday.
He was born at home. Yes, we planned it that way. (For some reason, the question immediately asked upon learning he was born at home is always, "did you do that on purpose?")
I had two midwives and a doula attending, and of course my husband. Heck, even Clinton and our cats were here (although Clinton mostly watched PBS Kids, and Tomodachi hid in the other room...but Buddy, most loyal and loving of feline companions, managed to be right by my side during the worst of the contractions.) Anyway, it almost seemed like a party. A six-hour long, rather exhausting, somewhat painful and definitely messy party that culminated with the birth of a very tiny human.
So Grant arrived May 6th, at 3:55pm. He was smaller than his brother, weighing just 8lbs11oz. But my, how he grew.

That's him earlier this week. He weighs 25 lbs now. He sits on his own, he rolls all over the place, and he shrieks like a banshee when he gets excited. I'm fairly sure our neighbors are aggravated by that last bit, but at least he sleeps at night.

I've been too quiet...

Well, in terms of blogging, anyway.
There are, of course, several reasons for this...I had another baby, I'm a stay-at-home mother (which is a lot more involved than I expected, especially with a toddler and an far in writing this, I've had to stop and retrieve a teething toy, change a diaper, and then prevent the older child from unchaining the front door in his quest for independence). And I'm self-conscious. I'm afraid to post something unpolished or uninteresting, so the result is that I post nothing at all.
Knowing this is ridiculous is one thing, overcoming it is another. (Well, maybe it isn't ridiculous. Maybe I really do post uninteresting things. But they're interesting to me, so that ought to be reason enough to write them down.)

Quick break for cute picture of brothers in the 21st century:

Ok, so here's what happened this week: I caught a cold.
That's a bummer no matter what, but when charged with the care of two little boys, it can be devastating. (I probably don't need to explain further, since the three people I know of who regularly read this blog are mothers themselves.)(I love you ladies, by the way. Even though we haven't met.)
In dealing with said cold, though, I wound up with an extra dose of guilt. Why? Because I was lying in bed, without energy to lift a regular book, reading emails on my phone. And I was reading the emails that gmail automatically filters to the "social" folder. Where I spotted a comment on my blog from September. It's almost November, and I'd missed this comment for weeks...and I felt bad, because this lovely person was both excited to crochet one of my patterns, and also mentioned that she hoped I was still blogging.
And I want to keep blogging, but I've been getting in my own way too much. So I need to change that.

Here's another picture, because I'm certainly not sitting around doing nothing:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Hippo!

Well, we're more than two weeks into March, which is National Crochet Month...

...and I've finished exactly one crochet project.
(Well, technically two, but the other is for a magazine so I can't show you just yet.)

And this might be the only crochet project that actually gets finished this month.
Hugo the Not So Hungry Hippo

He was a lot of fun to make! It took no time at all to crochet the pieces, but then it took over a week to stuff & sew them together. I blame the time change and my son's refusal to nap for the past week. His naps are the only time that I really have to work on these things.

By the way, my promotion is still running for my crochet tea wallet pattern, until Easter Sunday!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Happy Crochet Month!

Guess what just went live this morning?
Yep, my newest pattern!
I had a lot of fun creating these, and I hope you will, too.
And, just because it's National Crochet Month, and because there's a holiday fast can get 50% off the purchase price with the coupon code "EASTER". (Click here to go directly to the promotion page!) This coupon code will be valid through Easter Sunday (05.April)

Sunday, March 1, 2015


It's March! Know what that means? National Crochet Month!

I decided this is a good month to try and knock out a few crochet patterns from my Ravelry queue...I have a bunch. The entire queue is over 200 patterns, not counting all the designs-in-progress that I'm working on offline. Many Most of these are knitting patterns, though.
There are 51 crochet patterns in my queue as of this morning. There are 31 days in March. Nope, I'm not going to attempt to make all of them...but I'm going to attempt a few.

First up: This Amish Puzzle Ball. I think it will be a fun toy for the new baby, and it's been in my queue for a few years (since I was pregnant with Clinton, actually.)
Next: Hugo the Not So Hungry Hippo. Why? Because I like amigurumi, I like hippos, and I love Stacey Trock's patterns. She has adorable designs, her writing style is very clear and easy to follow, and her classes on Craftsy are great.
I think I might attempt this really cute newborn Beanie with Headphones. In my former life, I was a DJ, and this would just make for adorable newborn photos.

Three projects. That's probably about my limit (which is somewhat sad, since I doubt any of these will take more than an afternoon...but that's the nature of pregnant+toddler life.)

Friday, February 27, 2015


No, really. I have a pattern in testing right now. I had my DNA scarf test-crocheted by three very talented crocheters, who provided some very useful feedback in exchange for a free copy of the pattern. I've acted as a test crocheter and test knitter myself, but this time I was on the other side as a designer. Pretty neat, actually. (The free patterns I have posted here, my Fall Cables Lapghan and Oenfpp, were not tested prior to sharing. Also, my patterns published in I Like Crochet Magazine were not tested - the magazine has its own technical editors, but magazines have neither time nor resources to have patterns individually test-crocheted prior to publication.)

Now, I have another, somewhat smaller, pattern getting ready for self-publication:
Tea Wallets!

I've made quite a few samples, and most of them will be Easter gifts (and, really, with these pastels, they'll fit right in to the holiday.)

There are a few things I didn't anticipate when I decided to try self-publishing. I'm working through them, and every day I'm improving on my last efforts. 

My biggest challenge, I am learning, is photography. I don't have a super-fancy DSLR camera (which is probably for the best, considering I have a toddler in the house), I don't have extensive training, all I have is a willingness to take 100 pictures to (hopefully) get two or three workable ones.
Thankfully, the digital age has made this much more affordable than it was 20 years ago.

I'm also learning to create charts. This is an added challenge, since it involved learning how to use new software - I'm using Inkscape, which is open-source software similar to Adobe Illustrator. (I use open-source software whenever possible. I really don't have the budget for Adobe and Microsoft packages, even just the home versions.) But, it's pretty fun when I get that "ah-ha" moment, and the charts just magically fit together on the screen.

Anyway, the pattern for these tea wallets is on track to be released in March, just in time for some last-minute crochet Easter gifts. I'll post here when it's released, of course, but you can also stalk my Ravelry store here.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

New Pattern!!

I've been gone for a while.

Well, that happens...we moved to Las Vegas, which means I've been learning my way around a new city. I've also been adjusting to life back in America - culture shock works both ways, which was not something I anticipated when we initially moved to Japan. Strangely, the national chains of stores and fast food restaurants have been quite comforting to me. A spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy's is the same in every state, after all. And I can find the same things I need in any Target store. (And being able to read every label at the grocery store, without having to play guess-that-protein? Awesome.)

Other things I've been doing: Adapting to being a stay-at-home mom. Chasing my two-year-old around. Growing another tiny human - that's right, Clinton's baby brother is due to arrive sometime around the end of April!

And, of course, I've been crocheting. And designing. And even getting some of these designs published!

Which leads me to my big announcement:

This is my first self-published, paid pattern. It is written out line-by-line, and also includes a chart, if that is your preference for crochet patterns. The cables are created via post-stitches. The lovely sample seen above uses two skeins of Dream in Color Classy in Callous Pink.
I hope you like it!