Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Too giving for my own good

I've got a lot on my plate. I keep getting signed up to make things for everyone else when all I want to do is make something for myself. It's my fault, I know. I need to learn to say no. I've been working on a shawl for a friend of the family for a month or so and after I finish this one, I need to make one for my MIL. I want to make a shawl for a dear friend at some point. I just finished and shipped off a knitted baby sling for a friend's daughter. I also just finished a quilt for a different friend's daughter, but I haven't given it to her yet. I need to finish a friend's embroidery birthday present (that I meant to give her last year!). I'm working on a quilt for Silas (ok, that one I actually want to do) and then I need to make another quilt for a different family member before next summer. I'd like to make one more quilt for some other important family members by Christmas, but I'm not sure when I will be able to get to it. After I do all this maybe I can make myself the lap quilt that I bought fabric for back in January.

I do love making things, but it really hurts when those things that I give away don't live up to the new owner's expectations. It makes me feel like a failure. I spent all that time and energy making this thing and they don't like it. It's my fault and I suck. So I actually hate making things for everyone else. But I do love the excitement waiting to see if they will squeal over it and use it every day, it just hurts when it doesn't happen that way.

When people ask me to make something for them (either for free or for a bit of money), should I just flat out tell them no? I've been called rude for that before even though all I said was, "I just don't want to make that." Should I lie and say I don't have time? I suppose that's not really a lie at the moment. Should I only allow a few requests from people I actually spend time with and even then, only make it if I think I will enjoy the process? How do I decide who is worthy of the hours and hours of time I will put into it? I wish I had all the time to make everyone thick, warm quilts and oh so soft shawls. I really do. I don't think anything brings me greater joy than knowing something I made is bringing someone else joy.

Oh, the woes of being a crafter.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Center of the World


This happens too much. We hang out with friends and they pull out phones and iPads. We go visit family and they constantly take out phones for pictures, videos, to call or text someone. TV is constantly on in the background to fill in any silence. Society today isn't capable of just.... being. Our family is guilty as well. I try not to do it unless my company is already on their phone. If they are, I feel awkward just sitting there so I pull mine out too. But I think it's unbelievably rude. Can't it wait? A few pictures or videos are fine. A text or call if it's important is fine too. I'm not against phones all together. However, I feel like if you are hanging out with someone whether it be family or friends, you should try to put it away. Put your phone in your pocket. Turn the TV off. Be with each other! Talk, laugh, pay attention to each other! We’re ruining our own life experiences by being consumed by a device in our hand. People are not living in the moment, because they’re too busy trying to “share” the moment via their phone with others in ZIP codes far away.

A few days ago we went down to Tennessee to visit my family. While we were at my grandmother's house, the cable went out. It was suddenly silent except for the laughter of our kids. I couldn't help but think how nice it was. It felt like we had gone back in time. I seriously loved it. It only lasted a few minutes until the cable came back, but it was so nice. Everyone was just sitting around being together. You don't have to fill in all those silent gaps. I promise it won't be awkward, it's how human interactions are supposed to go.

I feel so disconnected from everyone now. It's not okay to just sit outside together. It's not okay to sit in the house and talk while your kids run around and play together. It's not okay to have dinner together without checking your phone to see what has happened on Facebook in the last 5 minutes. I remember before phones were so popular. I remember when people actually spent time together, paying full attention to one another. I miss it. I honestly feel like I haven't seen my family in years. Every time we go down, I have such high hopes of everyone sitting together and talking about how their life is going. And every time I'm disappointed.

When we moved into our current house, we got rid of the cable. We put the TV in the basement because we didn't want it to be the center of our world. In fact, almost a year later, we haven't even plugged it in. When I go visit other people in their houses and I see how the furniture is arranged around the TV it seriously depresses me. Shouldn't it be arranged in a way that makes face to face interaction easier and more pleasant? It's so unusual in this day and age to not have a TV that I almost feel bad having people over because I know they will inevitably want to turn it on. I feel like I have to provide some sort of digital entertainment so my guests don't bore to death. Talking isn't good enough now a days. It's disheartening.

The one thing I approve of being on most of the time is music. That is because it spurs impromptu dance parties and loud obnoxious singing. We dance for so long we can't breathe and collapse onto the floor in a fit of giggles. We sing so loudly we are convinced that the neighbors must think we are completely insane. It enhances our time together rather than taking away from it. But even then, sometimes it's just better to turn it off. 

It's really not that difficult and you are guaranteed to have a better time than you would staring at the screen of your phone. Give it a go. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Henslowe Shawl

It's done! Finally. I started this in January of this year. I worked on it on and off for a month and then we had our car accident. I tried working on it several times after that, but I just couldn't keep the instructions straight in my head. Last week I discovered I could do it again, so I have been knitting it ever since. I finished it earlier today and just finished blocking it. I love it! I can't wait to make more of these. It was a fun knit! Oh, and this is a good example about why blocking is so important!

 Before:

 


After:



Before:



After:



Before:



After:




And obligatory "cat on project" picture:




Thursday, August 8, 2013

Selfish


I am a selfish crafter. I do not want to spend time making other people things when I could be spending that time making things for ME. But sometimes the mood strikes and I do make things for other people. One Christmas I knitted gifts for nearly everyone. I was so excited to give everyone their gifts, but I felt like everyone was a little.... disappointed about them. I've never seen anyone wear anything I made them. I don't live there though, so maybe they do, who knows.

I've also been commissioned to make something for a few people. They usually end up unhappy about it though, for some reason or another. It's not a squishy as I thought, I was expecting a slightly different color, it's not as soft as I like, etc. It always stings a bit when something like that happens.

Crafting is not a fast process. It takes hours and hours. For example, this sock:



just the ONE sock, took 10 hours to make. So the pair would take 20 hours total (I haven't actually finished the other one yet. I have one-sock-itis!) That is a TON of time. I am willing to put the time in for myself because I know that I will enjoy the item and care for it properly. But I can't know that about other people. I really don't want to spend 20 hours of my life making something that they may not even appreciate. But that's where the dilemma lies. I want to make things for other people. I want people to enjoy my hand crafted gifts. I always come across things that I think would be perfect for so-and-so, but end up not making it because they may not like it. Sigh. So I remain a selfish crafter. More for me?

This is my Henslowe shawl in progress! ALL MINE.



Sunday, July 28, 2013

Picture Post!

We went back to the arboretum again today to walk around and practice taking pictures. Silas is teething so he stayed in Jeff's carrier most of the time and eventually fell asleep. Violet ran around all crazy. I got some pretty nice pictures though and thought I'd share.



His first time swinging!





Daddy love.


All those are nice, but this one is my FAVE:



Be still my heart! <3 p="">


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Update Post Because I am a Bad Blogger

     I haven't posted much lately. It's been busy. Both kids came down with bronchitis and were down for 3 weeks. Jeff had the first part of a sleep study for possible sleep apnea. And I have been learning photography.

     Almost every spare moment I get is devoted to reading about photography, or looking at different ideas to challenge what I know, watching videos, browsing through the photography section of Pinterest, etc. I'm in the middle of a birth photography class too. I jumped in with both feet. I also switched over to Lightroom from Photoshop and that took a bit of getting used to. Wish I would have started with Lightroom! It's much easier and faster. Ah well.

    Sometimes I feel like I'm not actually improving. I look at other professional photos and feel like I am so far from that. But Jeff (and a few other people) insist that I am improving. I'm just super critical of my own stuff, maybe too much.

     Anyway, stuff from the garden has started coming in! And we get 2-3 eggs a day so far. I love going out to see what has ripened and how many eggs there are in the morning. It never gets old. We gave half a dozen eggs to our neighbors today. I hope they like them. I am oddly nervous about it haha.




I like collages.

     Silas is 7 months old today. It's so weird. Time is FLYING by. I think he will be crawling soon. We are not ready for that! He has 2 teeth and loves to bite things. He also wants to have whatever we have. It could be anything and he will dive for it and yell in protest if he can't have it. He is especially attracted to anything that makes a crinkley noise. Chip bags, envelopes, wrappers, whatever! He's so funny.



     Violet is changing all the time. She has quite the sass too! If she gets caught doing something she isn't supposed to she will say, "Go away, mama! Don't look right now!" It's so hard not to laugh when she does that. Her favorite things are dresses, shoes, and her pool. She loves being outside and she loves Silas. If I leave him with Jeff while I run outside for a minute, she gets super upset and demands that we 'take baby' with us. She does not like being separated from him.



Just look at that sass!



They are so cute together. 




Those are all the updates I have for now!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Milestones

Last night, Violet slept her in her big girl bed for the first time ever. We have bed shared her whole life. She would fall asleep with us there, and wake up the same way. Any time she woke up because of a bad dream or anything we could immediately help her and get her back to sleep. Everyone loved it. A family bed is an awesome thing. But, we felt it was time to move her into her own bed in her own room. We put her crib together (we are finally using it!) with the front off so it's a day bed. We put her blankets and pillow on it and made her room exciting. We put up her curtains, put glow in the dark stars on the ceiling, brought up some toys that have been in storage since we moved, and got her a new color changing night light. She was so excited to sleep there and it went really well! She went right to sleep and didn't wake up at all. It was odd for us though. She has never slept away from us so it was just... strange. It's sort of bittersweet. This is marking her transition from my baby to a big girl.

Silas recently learned he can roll from front to back and he is sitting up like a pro. He scoots backwards and in circles, but not forward yet. I'm sure it won't be long though. He started on solids too! He doesn't really seem interested in food yet though, so I think we will wait a few more weeks and try again. He's also developing quite the little personality. He will get mad if you take something away that he wants and he gets upset if he sees me leave. He is very determined if there is something that he wants. He won't quit till he gets it! He's a happy boy. Almost always laughing and smiling. He won't be a baby much longer.

Big things are happening around here and I am trying my hardest to live in each moment. They are so fleeting. I know I will turn around and all my kids will be grown up and I will be an old woman remembering these times. I can't wait to watch them grown and learn new things but at the same time, I'm sad that the won't be little forever. Being a parent is the hardest, most bittersweet thing anyone could ever do. I love it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dive Bombing Bees!

I have been blogging a ton lately!  :)

Today when Jeff got home, I went outside. As I walked by the beehive, I glanced over as always and noticed something was going on. There were huge clumps of bees hanging out outside.


It's hard to tell from this quick cell phone picture, but the clumps were huge and went around the sides of the hive too. 




I had never seen them do that before. I ran in to tell Jeff since he was still putting his shoes on. I said that I thought they may be getting ready to swarm or something. He came out and didn't really know what they were doing either. So, naturally, he decides to try brushing them off. Now, normally our bees will let you brush them off and not care at all. But this time? They cared. A lot. Jeff got swarmed with bees. He had 10 or so in his hair alone. He got most of them out, but one managed to sting his head. He came back over and stood about 10 feet away from the hive and was watching them when bees started dive bombing him. He got stung again, this time right above his eye. He ran inside once he realized just how angry they were. I was holding Silas and Violet was next to me so we all ran inside too. After half an hour or so we decided to go back outside and just keep our distance from them. Right as I sat down, a bee dive bombed me! It got in my hair and flipped out and ran and it flew away before stinging me. So then we decided to just hide inside for the rest of the night.

After doing some research we think they may have been bearding. Bearding is the clustering of bees around the entrance during very hot weather. If it is really hot, they collect water for evaporative cooling. Droplets of water are placed inside the hive, then the bees stand in a line facing the hive entrance fanning their wings creating air currents that evaporate the water, thus cooling the hive. Whenever fanners are at the entrance, there are many inside the hive doing similar fanning to control the hive temperature. In extremely hot weather, when the hive’s internal temperatures can rise to excessive levels and the hive population is so great, bees make their way out and cluster outside the hive in a huge numbers, here they can try to escape from the heat and remain cool. Honeybees do this mostly to keep the inside of the hive from overheating and killing the brood (immature bees), and to help regulate the brood nest temperature. Brood and too many busy bees in the hive increase heat output. It is a simple way to regulate the internal hive temperature. Link.

I think to help keep the hive cooler in the late afternoon sun, Jeff is planning to lean something up against it to give it more shade. I will update you all after we try that for awhile.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Hive Check and Broken Comb

We checked the hive again today. It's been like 2 weeks since we've done it. Everything looks good so far!


This picture is actually from the last time we checked it, but I forgot to share it.



This is from today. This is the last picture we will be able to get inside the hive. It's getting too big now! :)


 


One of the combs randomly broke off while Jeff was checking it. 

(Well.... crap.)


It had a bit of honey on it so we finally got to taste it! It was pretty good. Slightly different from other honey I have tasted, but it varies depending on what kind of flowers they get pollen from.




We got to see some baby bees coming out of the comb too! It was so cool.





After all the bees flew off the broken comb, we threw it to the chickens. They had a feast of bee larvae!




The end. :p

Lots to share!

Today was very productive. We got a ton of work done on the coop and it's nearly finished now. It's so close I can taste it! It's a good thing too because our Easter Eggers are going to start laying any time now. I can't wait to see what color eggs they lay! 

Anyway, back to the coop. Here are some updated pictures:




This is the front. The top doors are the access doors for us. We clean the coop from there. The chickens have been using those doors to get in and out too, but not for much longer. We have an automatic door coming in the mail for them. It will go on the side not pictured here. 




This is the nesting box and storage area. The top door opens up to allow us easy access to the eggs. The chickens get into the nesting box from inside the coop. The bottom area is where their food and other supplies are kept. 



It's coming along quite nicely! I am proud of my Jeffrey for doing such a good job (and I helped too, of course)! 



While we worked today, we let our girls have run of the backyard. It was their first time being out of their pen. They loved it. It was so fun watching them explore the area. We're hoping to let them out more often, but we'll see how it goes. 






I have a few new chickens to introduce to you today too. We decided to add to our flock a bit so last week we picked up 2 Black Copper Marans that are 8 weeks old and a 9 week old Lavender Orpington. I love the lavender. She is so sweet. She is my favorite by far. 







They are still a bit too small to add in with our big girls, but here in a few weeks they will be ready! 



Our garden is doing well too! We planted tomatoes, bell peppers, cayenne peppers, jalapeƱos, watermelons, cucumbers, strawberries, and green beans. We also have 2 new apple trees and 2 blueberry bushes. 




Silas spent some nakey time outside today and I couldn't resist getting some pictures. I love baby rolls. 




I think that's it for the updates! I'll just leave you with a picture of my other cutie and be off. :) 


(Sorry if anything is wonky. Our Internet is very spotty right now so I am posting from my phone and it's making me pull my hair out!)