I won't say the vast majority of the population is on social networking sites, but I have to say that in my age range, there are a lot of people online. Over the years, I've reconnected with a lot of old friends from school and travels. Best friends that I lost contact with became new to me all over again. It happened again recently and it's been really fun reconnecting.

There's nothing quite as enjoyable about rediscovering a person all over again, yet also having the past history to exchange funny, "Remember that one time when.." kind of stories. J and I spent a lot of time together back in the day and we've shared some pretty heavy experiences in life. It's nice to laugh about the good 'ole days, but the harder times are painful to talk about - even now.

It's really difficult to lose the ones that you love, but it's even better to gain them back.
I'm just going to write. I don't care how it all comes out and in what format, or in what order. It's all jumbled in my head anyways, so maybe I can make sense of it later. Many fragments, little wholeness.

As my husband has been gone the last week, I've felt the inner pull to prepare my heart for the future. We're embarking on a path together that wasn't in my vision of the future. I thought we would get out of the military, go back "home" and start our own brand of life together. That changed, and with that change I feel like I have to change, too.

This whole last year, plus some, has been one long-winded change of all kinds. At times it's been really difficult to find a branch to grasp on the long fall from the top of the tree. In essence, it's been like falling from "here" to "there", and "there" is the here and the now, the reality, ground level.

Becoming a wife, a military wife, a mother, a housewife, a person taken out of her familiar element. Taken further away from my own ambitions, my personal desires, the things I used to fill my days with. At times it's been unsettling, others it has been amazing, mostly it's somewhere in between the latter two. I know, without a doubt, that I am not the first or last woman who has had to struggle with coming to terms with my role as a person changing. Also, having to deal with my own sense of identity, grasping at the tangled remains of who I was, who I want to be now, who I want to be in the future.

I miss the feeling of being able to create my life one day at a time without regard to tomorrow. For many years I lived my self-created adventure. I laughed in the face of ho-hum existance and tried to make even the small things exciting, meaningful and memorable. I think of myself as a person that tries to live "deeply", absorbing as much in as I can handle and then maybe a little more, just for good measure.

I've become awfuly complacent about my life recently. There are phases that last for a few months and I ride the high of evolving and changing and then it pitter patters out to blahness again. I did a group book study on a couple of books and felt wholly and completely invigorated, then I went into the practical stage of putting the new things I had learned into application and now I'm here. Here is not pretty, here is not nice. Here is a little bit stagnant, a little bit dark. And I don't like it! I figure this is a good place to start - not in denial, but recognizing that I have come to this place and now is the time to start shaking things up. If you've been reading, then you've probably caught wind that I haven't been feeling 100% fulfilled in general.

I think it all boils down to me and how, in the process of all this change, I forgot to create a new vision for myself and my future with my family. The balloon of passion that has been steadily carrying me through life has lost some elevation and I know that now is the time to start pumping it back up.

One of the big things that has been missing in my life is the creative process. Yes, I've been knitting, but it's for the most part a solitary activity. And solitary is how I feel. I feel a little like a social butterfly with her wings folded together. When we moved here I moved away from a church where I volunteered a lot of my time. I moved away from a really fun full-time tattoo job where I got to meet new people and hear new stories all the time. I moved away from all the interesting countries that were a day's drive away. I moved away from my then-budding interest in creative photography. I was spontaneous, always creative, always on the move.

Now, I stay at home quite a bit so that my son is well-rested and well-fed, and also so that I can see my husband for short stints between his ever-changing, all-demanding job schedule. Life with a young child is a beautiful thing, but it is also poses a restraint to spontaneity. And time. All that time I spent with a tattoo machine in hand, a camera in my face, my hands on the wheel - replaced by the here and the now. I'm left wondering - how do I win some time back for me? I don't want to lose touch with myself any further. I don't want to throw in the towel and become the "white button-down, jeans and sneaker-wearing soccer mom in the suburbs". I'm not saying there is anything wrong with being that person, I'm just saying it's not me.

And that's all I've got on my plate right now. I feel like I have to become a little stronger again because there are times ahead of me that will require me to be much more self-reliant and proactive. I need to prepare my heart for strength against temptation, for patience and more kindness.
Years ago, I hit a point of revelation that sitting around and watching TV was mostly wasteful and numbing and I'd done enough of it. That being said, I really like watching the hoarding shows that have become popular recently. Long ago I knew a very old woman who hoarded very expensive museum-quality antiques. Every surface in her unkept house was covered with stuff. My Dad and I met her while visiting my Great Aunt at the lake and later, when I moved in with my father, she became our landlord. The house we moved in to was ... shocking. It took me weeks to clear the cobwebs, 10 years worth of dust and to sort through the furniture that was stacked ceiling-high. The "house" was quite small and in it were at least 15 dressers, 6 couches, numerous tables in all sizes and and and... it was insane. Not all of it was crap, though. Before moving out we bought all the pieces we liked and later sold them before moving overseas. We made four times the amount that we spent! It was very strange having to weave around furniture to get from one room to the next.

Throughout the years after, I always lived in relatively small spaces with too much stuff. It was always irritating. I'm a sentimental person and I like to hold onto objects that have meaning to me. It goes a little like this: "So-and-So gave me this. I bought this in This Country." Etcetera. There are boxes of "stuff" in random places in the house. Some of the objects in those boxes haven't been touched in years. In the last few years I've been working on downsizing possessions in general. Mine are easy, having my husband follow suit is a whole 'nother story though! But I won't get into that... It's hard to let go of stuff.

My personal story is that after my parents divorced, our house foreclosed and I moved short notice into my Dad's (above) cramped house. My entire childhood went into the landfill. I don't own a single childhood toy or book. All that remains of that time are a few ripped-out pages of my very first diary - red hearts on pink paper and all.

My husband is gone doing some training out of state until the end of the month. In order to escape potential loneliness I've been on a sort-chuck-organize rampage in the house. I did lots of that while nesting, but since it's been difficult while doing a lot of mothering by myself. Now that Lucas is older and can occupy himself for longer periods of time and I don't have a husband to take care of, I have more time to invest in the house. We'll be moving before the winter is officially over with and now is a prime time to gut everything that doesn't need to go through yet another move.

It feels good to see the trash bags go out, to see the charity piles grow and to finally, after a long pause, have space to breathe again. Having a clean, clutter-free living space is energizing for me. I feel less stressed, more at ease and the house seems peaceful and open. There is still plenty that is blocking the total clutter-free state of nirvana I could achieve, but much of that is out of my hands. (Read: husband's stuff, mostly papers and scattered stuff in junk drawers and storage spaces.)

I miss my husband a lot, but at the same time, I've enjoyed the extra time to get things in order and the time to spend with the girls minus guilt trip. Oddly, I've knitted very little. I brought my sweater that's in the process of being designed to knitting group tonight, but picked a meal-time-clean-up washcloth project instead so I could concentrate on socializing. I'm trying to keep my days as full as possible, an occupied mind is one that can't dwell on the negative! :)
Above: Knitted squares, joined with crochet. Finished in 2008, finally got a decent photo. I love this blanket, it's very warm. Materials: Lion Brand Homespun and Gedifra Fashion Trend Astrakan.

Above: WIP Willie Warmer. Materials: TLC Cotton Plus

Above: Razor Cami. Materials: Araucania Ranco Solid

Above: Freehand Stash Bag (crocheted) Materials: Patons Classic Wool and leftovers of Plymouth Boku

Above: Square for Planet Blanket project (crochet). Materials: Red Heart cotton

Above: Noro Spiral Beret. Materials: Noro Silk Garden Chunky.

Above: Best Friend Cowl. Materials: Noro Bonbori and 5 assorted buttons.

Above: Bokulicious Mitered Square Knitting Tote. Materials: Plymouth Boku

Everything except the first picture of my blanket are things that I've completed recently or am in the process of completing. You can see the details and original pattern sources (when available) on my Ravelry Projects Page.

Things are going great and also blah. Lucas is eating again! That's the great news. I don't dare weigh him, in case that puts a damper on his re-newfound curiosity and interest in food that I'm so excited about. I've been slamming out one project after another, which is good.

What's not so hot is that my husband is going away for awhile. He'll be spending about three and a half months out of state from now until the end of January. I'm trying to be strong and not get too depressed, but I hate to be alone and I'm going to miss him. The timing couldn't be worse - the holidays, the winter blues... the "who's going to take out the trash?" issues... Just blah. So, I knit so I don't go nuts. At least it's constructive, from my existent stash and it's not ruining my health. :) Half full, right?

Fabric project bags. I used fabric from my stash and ribbon/lace/bias tape I scored in a big grab bag for a couple dollars at a thrift shop last year.

Yarn: Noro Bonbori
I don't know why it's so hard to find my camera charger and take photos of some of the things I've been working on and my recently acquired stash! I guess it's just not at the forefront of my thoughts.

A few weeks ago I completed the 20 mitered squares to make my felted Boku bag. I bobby pinned all the squares together while having the ladies at knitting group help me arrange the squares in an appealing way. Many of the different colorways had similar colors, more specifically a lot of greens and pinks. It's lovely so far and I can't wait to get it sewn together, but I'm not in the mood to sew all those squares together right now. It seems like a daunting project.

So, instead of finishing and felting the bag I finished up my yarn cake holder for Kristy in her wedding colors. Of course I forgot to get a photo, as I am prone to do with most knitted gifts. Last night I also finished my Best Friend Cowl in Noro Bonbori. I was up late with my husband as he was trying to get in the night shift routine, so while he revisited Barn Yard on the Wii (and tuned me out with his ipod) I spent an exorbitant amount of time picking out the right size, color and shape of buttons for the cowl. I sewed each button on with a similar color of embroidery floss or yarn. I love how it turned out and now I can't wait for fall and winter to hit.

It's times like that when I'm glad I have a well-rounded crafting stash. Speaking of stash, however, I realized recently that I need to start collecting all my missing needle sizes. All too often I have had the yarn and ambition to start a new project only to realize that I'm missing the appropriate needles. And of course, when that happens it's like midnight and I can't exactly wake up Lucas and drag him with me to Walmart or something. Their selection of needles sucks anyways, but that's besides the point!

I casted on for and got half way through with a black Willie Warmer knitted with TLC Cotton Plus. You can find the pattern on Ravelry if you're really curious. I really don't want to knit it, because as much as my husband amuses me by saying he will wear it, I don't believe him. It's just like the hat I made him. "I don't know where it's at," or "It's too warm." Needless to say, he's not on my knitting list anymore. But, he was adamant about the warmer. It's an amusing knit and I love the feel of the yarn so far (I'm kind of a sucker for cotton anything), and luckily it's a very quick project because I know it will not see much use and it's cutting into my more important knitting time.

I promise sometime soon I will bomb the blog with photos. Until then, hopefully you're not too bored reading!
Some days I think I only survive because I know nap time or bed time is coming soon. My son's temperament changes at the drop of hat lately. I've been chalking up the moodiness to teething, the battle that never ends. I know that this will eventually pass, but then what? Terrible twos?

I've noticed myself getting increasingly frustrated and fed up with meal times. I know that I haven't been sleeping enough by choice and this is really been affecting my patience level. Strike one for Mom right there. Lucas came out of a 6-week long phase of refusing almost all finger foods and was back to pureed meals. Awhile ago he came out of that (literally, one day to the next everything changes!) and he had a few good weeks, now we're back to extreme picky eating. I've been reading endlessly about the experiences of other mothers of children this age and realize I am far, far from alone on this topic.

Lucas is refusing to being spoon fed which cuts out his super healthy yogurt and fruit mixes I make him for lunch most days. That also means forgetting about ground up adult dinners from the food mill. You'd be surprised how few choices there are when it comes to soft finger foods and how quickly they become tiresome for a baby. It's maddening because Lucas went from packing on pounds to dropping into the 7 percentile for his age. He has only gained ONE POUND IN FOUR MONTHS!!!!!!

It's disheartening to spend hours a day preparing the healthiest food I can come up with that include things he likes, attempting to feed him and letting him feed himself and then the slimy aftermath of the clean up process. I've taken to duct taping his bowls to the tray and allowing him to at least try spoon feeding himself. There is food in his hair, on his face, in his ears, under his bib, in his lap, his tray becomes an artist's palette of color, the booster seat/highchair is covered and the floor and anything nearby is splattered with whatever he's (not) eating.

Lucas will eat some bread, crackers, bites of a whole banana, and endless amounts of all kinds of cheese willingly, but my regular standbys of scrambled eggs and diced fruits are no longer on his choice of menu. If he were still gaining weight, I wouldn't be concerned, but he's not. People are starting to comment that he's small for his age. I'm just about at my wit's end and ready to try new things.

Some of the suggestions I've read online are:

-Ignore him while he eats. I do this sometimes anyways. I play darts, clean the kitchen or do something where I can still see him.

-Offer only one food. This goes against everything I know about a balanced diet, but at this point, I have to try everything possible that might have worked for someone else.

-Cut back on fluids before meals. Because Lucas is still on-demand breastfed and refuses cow's milk, he often drinks quite a bit of water from his sippy cup.

-Try Pediasure or some other baby shake. I am very anti-fake food and formula types of stuff, but again, desperate times call for desperate measures I guess.

-Let the baby graze on food all day. Nice in theory and I do this at times, but a lot of foods don't have a long life-span unrefrigerated or covered. Bread gets hard, eggs and dairy spoil. And we have dogs who are always on the lookout for scraps of food - this is probably the hardest part of letting him graze.

Normally we have most meals together, but this seems to make him less interested in eating as of late. A couple of times I have set his booster chair and tray down in front of the TV with cartoons and he has happily eaten anything offered to him. I hate doing it, I think it forms a bad habit of mindless eating that could possibly lead to obesity later in life, but I have to do what works right now.

I keep reminding myself that this will pass. I was a horribly picky eater until I was in my teenage years and I am healthy and turned out just fine. What I need to work on just as much as different methods of feeding Lucas is my ATTITUDE. If I'm short with Lucas, appear frustrated and irritated, I know I'm not making it easier or enjoyable for him and therefore shooting myself in my own foot. As I mentioned earlier my lack of sleep has really been affecting my mood and attitude for the worse, so I need to gain a few extra points in the self discipline section and get some more shut eye.

Deep breath. I know I'm not the only mother who has faced the "My child won't eat," battle.
Either it's late at night or my life has just become too routine and mundane. It may be a mix of both.

Eating, sleeping, showering, being a mommy - the daily grind. I really need to add in more things that I actually enjoy and things that allow me to feel like me and not just a robot.

1) Problem: I've been talking about finishing my tattoo forever now, but for whatever reason I don't make make an appointment with myself to sit down and finish it.

Solution: This month I will either pick a day that my husband isn't working or I will call my babysitter.

2) Problem: My wardrobe is more tired than I am and I only get an average of 5.5 hours of sleep a night.

Solution: Yarn diet as of immediately. Go shopping after lunch and/or when my husband is available to come with me or watch Lucas at home.

3) Problem: Fabric stash.

Solution: Haul sewing machine and fabric downstairs and start sewing while Lucas naps or in the evenings when Tom is home/Lucas is in bed.

I think 3 goals for the next two months is plenty.

I'll keep you updated on my progress or the lack thereof.
If I could simply go through my stash and wear a few balls of yarn, I would be happy. I don't think most local businesses would appreciate that outfit though. :)

My wardrobe is so tired these days I feel like I'm going to need a prince to give it a magical kiss to bring it back to life. That, or all my be-liked clothes are hiding in a hamper somewhere. I don't know what happened... or what's happening. For a long time now I haven't been happy with my look or my clothing. Buying a shirt or two that's really "me" doesn't make the rest of my wardrobe any brighter or inviting.

I have a very modest wardrobe in terms of the actual number of garments that I wear or will ever wear again. Half my clothes are really worn out - bottoms of favorite jeans shredded (oh, the woes of being on the short side and not getting things tailored), holes in my tshirts, faded.. you get my drift. Now, with a one year old to care for and whatnot, I find myself reaching for skirts and dresses less and less. I can't exactly hike up a whole dress to nurse in public. With all the bending and floor time with the little one, skirts aren't the best idea either. At least not the short skirts that I own, but I own maybe 2 skirts that are knee-length or slightly longer. One of those skirts is a patchwork style skirt in very bright colors and designs that I got in Barcelona and the other is a worn out black linen number that I hate to iron.

What to do when your wardrobe gets "old"? I'm trying to figure that out. The main problems are that I don't make time to go shopping, I don't particularly enjoy spending hours on end pushing through overly-stuffed racks of clothing, having to wait in line for a dressing room and the real big one, most of my share of our disposable income goes to buying knitting-related items (read: yarn.) And have I mentioned that I am really picky about clothes that I love? I own a lot of basic tshirts and "safe" clothes that I like because I need things to wear regardless of whether I find anything that I really love. But that's it - I'm tired of hardly ever finding something with my name written all over it.

Maybe I'm just lazy. I see women in public all the time that I would gladly swap outfits with, but I guess I don't make the extra effort anymore to find the right accessories to pull an outfit together like I want.

The last couple of years have been very transitional for me. I'm getting closer to 30 and I don't know what that means or if I care. I still feel like I'm stuck in the teen years in many ways and can't break out of who I was to who I am now. Honestly, it goes so much deeper than clothing. I haven't been in touch with who I am for quite some time now - probably since I got married and life got a whole lot more serious. I guess I'm in a kind of rut and don't know how to break out of it right now.

More on this later perhaps..
Fireworks are exploding in my house right now. My husband is at the re-enlistment office putting in his request for our next duty station. We got lucky and the one we wanted is open. Yay! Now we're just waiting for an answer and a date. I love the "journey", but knowing the destination is major plus.

Secondly, I was on Ravelry replying to a post about useful knitted baby items and instead of bombing the thread with my reply, here's my list for future reference for mom and baby:

  • Hooded towels
  • Washcloths
  • Wash mitt
  • Bathtoys (knitted over a floating toy/ball)
  • Bath toy hanging bag
  • Highchair cover
  • Stroller cover
  • Shopping cart cover
  • Bibs with pockets
  • Blocks
  • Placemat
  • Boppy cover
  • Changing pads
  • Baseball/sun hats
  • Toy bag
  • Squishy rug
  • Wall art
  • Mobile
  • Soft bath things for mom because it hurts "down there"
  • Frozen meals
  • Frozen cookie rolls
  • Knitted animal/colors/alphabet book
  • Diaper bag
  • Baby shoes drawstring tote
  • Color wheels & b/w toys for newborns
  • Legwarmers/knee protectors
  • Sleep sack
  • Usual array of hats, booties, mittens
  • Hood/scarf combo piece for warmth without strangulation
  • Burp cloths
  • Pacifier case
  • Corner protectors for tables and legs
  • Stackable rings
  • Blanket (duh)
  • Tank tops for summer (harder to find in stores)
  • Dresses (tend to be expensive)
  • Rocking chair pillows
  • Wrist knitting bag for sling mommies
  • Nursing necklace
  • Mommy bandana or headband
  • Nursing cover cardi
Non-knitted items:
  • Mini food chopper
  • Baby/toddler cook books and food prep specs
  • Eating and drinking utensils and accessories for all stages
  • Pumping accessories (bags, drop-ins)
  • Nursing pads (expensive!)
  • Pads
  • Cool packs for "down there"
  • Donut to sit on
  • Diaper Genie refills
  • Diapers and wipes galore
  • GCs for baby-related stores
  • GCs for photographers/photo processing
  • Travel coffee mugs for safer drinking
  • A gigantic bottle of liquor because she'll need it!!!! Just kidding.
I'm sure I'll be adding to this list over time and as new things occur to me. These are some of the things I would have liked to have had, things that friends have requested the most or things that I wish I would have had time to make but couldn't because I was busy being a new mommy myself. I hope someone besides me finds this list useful!
And I did. I ripped it. I've been making steady daily progress on my purple Razor Cami and finally tried it on tonight. What did I discover? That it's too long. I ripped back (3.5 inches) until the point that I was supposed to divide the stitches for the front and back. *sigh* At least I'll have something to work on at knitting group tomorrow. The end is so close I can taste it. This is why I knit - for the end, pulling something over my head and doing circles in front of the mirror with the "I did it" look of victory on my face.

I really must recharge my camera battery, I have some long overdue yarn p0rn photos due. I should warn you though - it's bright, it's colorful, and it's MINE!

That's all for tonight. I am enjoying some new music on Pandora and finishing off the rest of a bottle of wine. I'm going to put my knitting down and continue drawing my next tattoo.
Really. Is it? I'm starting to think that's possible. It seems like whenever I say that my yarn stash is outgrowing its storage area, I add to it. Wonderful yarny friends who go with flashlights into storage units diving for yarn, local sales and sidewalk sales really make my resolution to limit my yarn purchases a difficult resolution to keep. Noro at 50% off? How can anyone who loves Noro say no to that?! My husband, the Enabler, is also no longer helpful in limiting my yarn purchases.

I've been reading some of the forum threads on Ravelry recently and came across a few that tackled the stash issue. It never occurred to me that my stash might actually have to be in my will. I'm hoping that the stash that does outlive me is smaller than it will realistically be in who knows how many years. My husband asked me about my stash the other day and like a person with something to hide, I smirked and shrugged when he asked about how many balls of yarn I have and what I thought it might be worth. In comparison to many, many fiber-lovers out there, I think my stash is quite containable. I have tried and tried to set limits - ie. whenever this is full, I have to use up some yarn before I add more. YEAH RIGHT! You know exactly what I'm talking about, too. Knitting, for me, is based on my mood. I might have enough yarn for 30 or so projects, but if I'm not in the mood to knit that right now, then the yarn is parked for now.

I had good intentions with my New Year's Resolution to stash bust. And that's where it ended. Once I broke the seal on that one my stash has been steadily growing much faster than I can knit, which is kind of a "duh" statement for any knitter. I think I'm making up for lost stash-adding time, I'm going to try to stop buying yarn again because I'm a little stressed out about it. We're not going broke over string, but I've seriously run out of room for my yarn in our small house and I'm afraid that if I keep adding yarn with planned projects that I'm going to crack and starting casting on for every single one them and never finish anything. I just re-read this paragraph and it makes me sound like an addict. Me? No. Never. Is there KA (Knitters Anonymous) group out there yet?

I'm all about the end result: getting it done and using/wearing it. That's why I don't like to have too many projects on the needles. When I start a new project I am usually kind of sad because I know it's going to take awhile to finish (a few weeks, a few months) and I thrive on instant gratification. The first few inches of anything take every ounce of ambition to get through until I hit the half way mark, then I'm roaring to go and excited about my project knowing the end is near. I almost never procrastinate on finishing a piece, be it sewing or weaving in ends. To me, it's the cherry on the top, seeing something finally fully come together. I wonder what that says about my personality and how I live my life in general. Maybe it will mean that I'll go out with a bang, my cherry in place.

I heart yarn. Good night!
I was just enjoying a late night sit outside. A thought crossed my mind. I thought about burning/deleting all of my journals, written and digital. I'm not sure why I even thought of it, to be honest. Since I was very little and started journaling, my diaries have held a sacred place in my life. I'm a person who likes to hold onto things - people, memories, well-liked possessions.

The written account of my life has followed me through the years. My books have traveled with me through many moves, from various homes in Michigan to multiple apartments in Germany, even farther away to Turkey, and now back in the States, to Virginia. Once a year or so I'll page through some of the books. They are filled with all different kinds of handwriting, colored inks and many were gifts from close friends and family. Some of my journals are filled with boring details of who-what-whens, many entries are about who I was doting on at the time, other writings are painful, dark and downright depressing.

I have written about first loves, first lovemaking, fears, abuse, drugs, crimes, my walk with the Creator, friends and family, travels, poetry, simple happiness, pregnancy, books that have touched me, disappointment, confusion, revelations, deep depression, hopelessness: the good, the bad and the ugly. Unfortunately, the bad and the ugly are dominant themes in too many of my entries. When I do read back, I'm left with the lingering feeling of the past's darkness. And that feeling is sometimes hard to shake.

There are times, like tonight, when I question my motives about holding onto my journals. Although my life has been interesting to me, that doesn't mean I would ever want to expose it to the public by having it published. Most of the time I don't really enjoy reading about my past. Even though I love and trust my husband very much, I would never feel comfortable having him read in explicit description the details of my life prior to our marriage. In a way, it's the only thing or part of myself that I don't share with him. I think it's okay to have something that is just mine in a way, but there's also a part of me that feels like it's something that I passively hide from him. A lot of what I wrote is embarrassing even to me. The writing was often immature and superficial, mundane, and sometimes... sometimes just not really me. Some of the things that I have written about make me want certain individuals in my life again that shouldn't ever be in my life again. Some entries make me remember certain painful experiences and I relive the pain, neglect and hate that I once felt. These are not positive things. And for me, these feelings are especially unhealthy because I have worked so hard to expunge them from my heart and mind.

So again, why am I holding onto them? The only real purpose that my journals have served up until now is to remind me that things are not always as they are remembered and that I've come a long way from being the person I was and have a long way to being the person I will or want to be. Rereading that last sentence is maybe my answer. Maybe I just need a reminder so that I will remember what to never be again.

I don't know, I'm not ready to destroy them yet, but I think there might come a day when I will be ready.
In 19 hours my son was born one year ago. He was born to me, his father and in the presence of his grandparents. It was the best day that the four of us got to spend as "five". From the moment I knew his precious life was growing deep inside of my body I loved him with a love I didn't know I had the capacity to experience. Fierce protection, incredible wonder at the creation of a new little human being, undying joy unspeakable..

In the middle of the night my labor pains woke me and my life has been dramatically changed since. I would do it all again without blinking. I would endure every moment of disgusting morning sickness, every hormonal mood swing, every stretch mark, every personal sacrifice, every uncomfortable prick of the needle, endless swollen ankles, sausage fingers, sleepless nights, hellish back labor and contractions, every tear, every drop of blood, every day of miserable teething, every diaper change, every step not seen over the belly... I would do it all again knowing I would have my precious son in my life at the end of it all.

This last year has been full of household changes, changes in priorities, changes in schedules, changes in habits, first smiles, first punches at toys, first kicks, first words, first tears, first tiny fists clutching my fingers, first kisses, first cuddles, first bites of food, first teeth, first steps, first falls and endless other joys that will forever be bright, shining little lights of wonderful memories.

Happy Birthday, Lucas! I can't wait to wake up to my birthday boy and to bake him a yummy first birthday cake! I hope your day is half as good as mine ;)
I finished this awhile ago and just now got the chance to have my husband snap a few photos in natural light!

Knitted in Araucania Ranco Multi. It's a modified version of this. That's all I have to post about it right, we have a lot to do today so I have to jet! :)

I haven't figured out a suitable name for this finished object, or if it even needs one...

I knitted this up from my own pattern. After I figured out my measurements, my gauge and the stretchiness of the knitted fabric the pattern went fairly quickly. I did end up re-doing several parts more than once to get it just right. Noro Taiyo knits up really fast and I love the colorways.

Even though all the seams are seamed and the ends woven in, there are still a few minor things I'll change the next time that I knit this. But then again, I'm never 100% satisfied with anything I make - knitted, crafted, cooked or otherwise.

All in all, I love this shirt. I'm going to wear it frequently. I worked on it off and on for about a month, first knitting it into the Tank Girl pattern from Knitty (twice, both times too big) and then deciding to forgo any kind of written pattern and to wing it. I'm better at winging something than tweaking it. Luckily, I documented everything I did, so I hope to have a pattern written up soon. Kristy already has a healthy amount of Taiyo in her stash and volunteered to give the pattern a test run.

In this pattern I incorporated stockinette stitch, ribbing, garter stitch, picking up stitches, mattress stitch seams, three-needle binding off, bust and waist shaping and a bust panel to literally pull everything together and add modesty and interest to the front of what is just a really basic tank top. Wow, I hope I don't speak in run-on sentences like that!

Some things I loved about working with the Taiyo - its softness first and foremost. It's composed of 40% cotton, 30% silk, 15% nylon and 15% wool. It's nice and springy. It knits up quickly because it's aran weight - though, for me it feels like a light bulky weight. I read through the comments about this yarn on Ravelry and heard a lot of people complaining (mostly from old batches) about the yarn pulling apart and breaking. I didn't have a single break. Even knitting very tight kfb increases and some vigorous seam tugging, the yarn stayed strong.

I would have liked working with the yarn more if it wasn't so full of plant matter and thorns. I know that Noro is infamous for this and it's to be expected, I just felt like this yarn had really quite a lot. Even while wearing it I was still picking out pieces of neon green twigs that I'd missed. Another thing that Noro is infamous for - knots. I had two in three balls. Not bad, but still...
Last Wednesday I made a trip out to Coordinated Colors in Yorktown to pick up a few more skeins of Plymouth Boku for a future mitered square felted knitting bag that I've been dreaming about. The colors are ohhh so pretty and cost a fraction of what it would cost to knit it up in Noro. Now that my camera battery is charged (finally!!!) I may have to post some more yarn p*rn pictures! :D While there, I oohed and ahhed over the new goodies and kits that Sherri brought back from the TNNA show.

I offered to do some sample knitting for her and took home a ribbon/metalic-ish handbag kit from Muench Yarns. The pattern was obviously translated from (I'm assuming) Spanish, since that's where the yarn was made. When I first cast on for it, I cast on using US 9 needles as the pattern stated, but then reading through again, it said 9 mm needles... so... yeah. Rip and redo! I've since finished knitting the bag and after calling Sherri to tell her it's done, we agreed that she would do the interfacing and lining because my sewing skills are way less than stellar. I'm taking the bag in with me tomorrow for the Thursday sit 'n stitch. I'll make sure to get a photo of the bag while there's some sunlight tomorrow.

As I was leaving the shop last week I unlocked the Suburban, put my purse and yarn lovlies on the passenger seat, double locked it so I could remote start it to get the AC running and I closed the door. Before the door even slammed closed it registered that my keys were on the seat and the car was still locked. Numerous profanities started flying through my thoughts, but I didn't panic. My name's not on our AAA card, so Sherri called out a locksmith. Half an hour later and much fumbling on the locksmith's part, I was back in the car and headed home. It could have been so much worse - Lucas could have been in the car. With the remote start the engine cuts off after 10 minutes. I would have broken the window to get him out. It's upseting to even think about it. I haven't locked my keys in the car in over ten years and the last time I had mom's husband #3 to fiddle my lock open with a wire hanger. Anyways, I didn't make it to knitting last week because by the time I was home it was the little one's dinner time and I was so over the outside heat.

This Wednesday ended much nicer than the last, thankfully. While Lucas was napping and I was putting the last finishing touches on my makeup, Kristy called and invited me over for dinner. In my rush to get out of the house I packed my knitting projects in a Target bag. Haha.... kinda ghetto! While we were enjoying a lovely squash spaghetti and salad meal, Kristy whipped this out of her bag:

A Namaste bag from the TNNA show, packed with little yarn samples! Yummy! Isn't the bag gorgeous? I heart Kristy!

Right after dinner I took a peak at her stash and proceeded to tell my husband, loudly, that he should see hers if he thinks my stash is bad. What is it with husbands and stash-hate? It's so unfair. Me loves the yarn, he should, too!

Knitting group tonight was fun as usual, though I got nothing done but an inch or two on my Dad's wedding blanket. It's in its preemie stage and I hate it already. I've had a really difficult time finding an affordable acrylic yarn in dark reds/burgundy. It has to be very washable because I've been told by a little birdie that she's a laundry fanatic and it has to be affordable because it's 7x7 foot and crocheted. Crocheting uses way more yarn than knitting. So, I hate the yarn, I hate the fact that it's so big and I'm starting to really dislike crochet for certain things. I need to find a solution for the blanket issue, because with as little time as I have for fiber crafts, I need to enjoy what I'm doing in order to do it at all! So... if anyone has any suggestions, I'd be much obliged.
Wow. Transitioning from winter to summer is like going from 10 to 100 miles an hour! The past winter felt like one of the longest in a long time, which is probably due to the fact that I spent way too much time indoors with the little one. We still have to spend a lot of time indoors for naps, meals and indoor playtime, but our ventures outside have been increasing in number.

Lately I've wanted to blog more, but haven't been doing so because I've been lazy and haven't charged my camera battery. I feel that blogging about knitting without photos can be awfully boring, don't you think? What's the use of telling you about the beautiful new additions to my yarn stash without obligatory photos? Or how can I describe in words the lovely Noro tank top I have on the needles, the gorgeous ribbon handbag sample I'm knitting for a local yarn shop, or the crazy-big afghan I'm crocheting for my father and his wife? Words don't do fiber art much justice.

Now that we're at about the half way mark of the year, I have to sit back and laugh at myself. I remember now why I don't make New Year's resolutions - because I don't think about them enough to stick to them! Duh!

Awhile back I was commiserating about my lack of time to knit. I was going through some serious withdrawls. To break that, I cast-on for a shrug pattern that I altered to suit my taste. I've been very happily wearing it about once every ten days and have since cast on for four other projects... which is totally unlike me. I am a one-project-at-a-time kind of woman with a couple UFOs lounging on the needles for "some day." I've been proactively making time for knitting and turning off my worst distraction - the laptop.
Everything, when it comes to yarn.

I remember the first time that my friend Kristy and I made a day trip to Knitting Sisters in Williamsburg. We embarked on the 40 minute journey to arrive at a lovely brick shopping village with a wine and cheese shop down the block from the yarn store. It had a boutique-like set up with a lot of open space and hanging hand-painted fibers. It felt easier to browse, unlike some yarn stores that have easily twice the inventory and half the breathing space.

Previous to that visit, I didn't have much experience with anything but the big-box stores that sell yarn. While living in Germany I would pick up random balls of acrylic at a big department store and now and then I would fondle the expensive, non-acrylic balls of Lana Grossa and colorful wools at a specialty shop.

From what I remember there were three local yarn shops in Heidelberg/Mannheim that I visited - one on the Hauptstrasse (Main Street) in Heidelberg had mainly sock yarns in all fibers. The large one around the corner from the tattoo studio I was apprenticing at in Mannheim had a large selection of yarns, many of which were luxury novelty yarns. Unfortunately, back then I didn't have a very discerning eye for buying yarns that related to projects I might actually knit. I still have assorted balls of pricey and soft furs in fushia, gold, green and probably a few others, too. The last LYS, my favorite, was located on the other side of the Neckar River in Heidelberg, across from a park square and surrounded by boutique shops and cafes. The whole shop was no bigger than my living room, but that woman carried some of the prettiest yarns and the widest selection of worsted weight wools that were stocked all the way up to the ceiling. She was also the only LYS owner that smiled at me and didn't treat me like a thieving guest.

The only other yarn store that I visited in Germany was in Worpswede, an artist village in the northern part of the country, close to where I was born. That store remains the one with the most hanging knit garments I've ever seen in one place. It was also the first time I had come face-to-face with my coveted fondness for Noro. I'd read about Noro, seen people on Ravelry and Craftster post projects with Noro, but I'd never seen it. It was love at first sight. Then I looked at the price tag. I just about had a cow when I read 22 Euros. 22 Euros at the time was about the equivalent to 35 dollars for a single ball of regular Kureyon. Ouch.

Fast forward to Virginia, our present home. Soon after moving here I researched the local yarn shops and visited Coordinated Colors in Yorktown with my husband and the baby belly. For the first time I really started looking at more than the colors and price tags. Silk, cashmere, hand-dyed bundles of yarn... it was all rather new to me. I was still scared of the prices, too. It's difficult to go from $5 balls of yarn at craft stores to $25 hanks of luxury yarn. CC is a large store with a ton of yarn and for me, it was easily overwhelming because my husband wasn't too thrilled that I wanted to spend an hour touching, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over string.

So what was the point of rambling on about all this? Love. For yarn. Although I think acrylics most definitely have their place in fiber arts, I really discovered a love for yarns with natural fibers and yarns that feel good and last. Kristy made jokes that I was going to turn into a yarn snob.. I may very well be on the way to being converted. I no longer consider paying $20 for a hank of yarn outrageous, in fact, I think it's funny that I reason with myself that "it could be more expensive."

I've taken on a different view of my knitting and the tools that I work with. Now that I am making more than slippers and scarves, I care about durability and overall quality. Like anyone interested in specialty hobbies, I love the exclusive and the foreign, the hand-wrought and twisted. I know how much time it takes to make yarn and knit a garment, it's well worth every second. I want my knit items to last for awhile and I don't want them to collapse into a pill-covered pile of string a year down the road. I'm becoming increasingly interested in trying out new fibers and picking up hand-painted/dyed hanks instead of factory dye jobs. Yarn, for me, is constantly interesting and there's always something new.
That's right. I went fishing. It's not the first time I've gone fishing, but it is the first time I've a) gone salt water fishing, b) gone fishing with my own pole that isn't a "kiddie" version, and c) caught something I actually intended on eating. It was a great experience. It brought back snippets of my memories of being a little girl and out fishing with my Grandpa and Brother on Washington Lake.

I've always found fish to be fascinating creatures. They come in so many sizes and colors, the variety is absolutely endless. Back then, in Michigan, we caught sun fish and had to be careful not to get our hands caught on the sharp fins. I started laughing when the first fish I caught here started making a growling sound at me - my husband informed me, with a big smile on his face, that it's called a Croaker because it makes a croaking sound. It was kind of a duh moment.

After I caught my first salt water fish and my first crab, I was pumped. The five hours that we spent under the blazing afternoon sun passed far too quickly. After we'd caught three fish and four crabs we packed up and went home. We'd exhausted our blood worm supply and kept throwing tiny crabs back in the water. I could have stayed out there all day, but my bladder and my baby needed some attention.
Later that night, after I put Lucas to bed, I got a pot of water boiling on the stove and cooked the four crabs that we caught. I whipped up a quick lemony butter dipping sauce and we had a crab snack. There's nothing quite like catching your own food!

This Mother's Day was about as chipper as the last. Here's a list of things I could have done to make it better:

-duct taped my mouth shut
-gotten a babysitter and left the house all day alone
-stayed in bed and slept
-stayed in bed and knitted
-stayed in bed and read
-refused to acknowledge the holiday at all

Any of the above would have been better than the actual day's activities combined.

My dishwasher pooping out on me topped everything off. Now I can look forward to several days of dishes to be hand-washed tomorrow. Yay.
Although it's contemptuously far past my "bedtime" I feel the need to blog about right now. Right now I'm having a moment of clarity, of inner Self and Life. I don't have these moments very often anymore because my time is consumed by preparing food, maintaining some kind of semblance of cleanliness in our home and trying to keep up with being a friend and family member with a life outside of motherhood. At the end of the day I am exhausted, mentally wiped out and all I want to do is surf the internet. Knitting, though I have actually managed to squeeze in a few rows whenever I don't feel too guilty about it, is not actually something I like to do at night anymore - it's another activity that I can't find the suitable energy for.

Back on topic - clarity. Being a stay-at-home Mom and wife has been a huge transition for me. I wouldn't trade my daily life, though patience-trying and sometimes repetitive it may be at times, for my old life. On bad days, which today was, it's harder to remember that.

Lucas is 9 and a half months old and has several teeth coming in at once. He's needy, cries a lot and has been having trouble sleeping and eating. I've been having migraines due to probable hormonal shifts. In the middle of that, as if that weren't enough already, my husband and I haven't been getting along because neither one of us has been able to do the things we want to or get certain things done. It's caused a bashing of heads. He wants to mow the lawn - we need to go grocery shopping. He wants to see a friend - Lucas is napping and that's my only time to shower and get dressed. And so on.

There are days, like the last few, when I selfishly and momentarily wish I didn't have a child. It takes the greatest strength I possess to remain patient and be the best mommy I possibly can be. And there are days, like the last few, when I look at my husband and wonder what the hell I was thinking when I agreed to marry him. Yet, I will still make my culinary-challenged husband a meal even if I'm fuming mad. Obviously, these are temporal feelings mainly fueled by the urge to flee a difficult situation. I love my son and I love my husband. But I'm a person, I'm not always positive and more on topic - I need time for myself so that I can recharge my "nice and loving" side. I happily sacrifice all my energy and time to my family, but please, a few hours to myself a week is all I ask.

Thankfully, after a very bad morning of a very early rising baby with sore gums and a raging headache, I was able to make it to my knitting group. It came with a nasty argument, but I went anyways. I knew that if I let myself feel guilty the rest of my night would be bad anyways and either way, no one would be happy. When I came home I felt fully recharged and eager to spend time with my son again. My husband and I still aren't speaking to each other, but that will eventually get resolved when we feel like making up. I don't feel like making up right now, honestly. I'm still mad about a lot of things and I need time to let the passion of my anger dissipate, then to look at things more constructively and then find a way to smooth things out.

After writing all that I can't really remember what my supposed epiphany was all about, which I was afraid might happen. I get wrapped up in the process of the actual writing and lose sight of the initial thought.

Maybe another time...

Now I have to attempt to get some decent sleep. I need all the energy I can store because I'll be taking care of Lucas and my friend's 3 and 5 year-old daughters while she goes to divorce court. After that I have to bring a dish to a cook out for some former neighbors who are back in town for a couple days with their newborn son. I have a feeling it's going to be a very long day.
That's real life. I've been spending significantly less time in the virtual world and considerably more time in the real, tangible world. Lucas turned 9 months old a week ago and he keeps me smiling, laughing, working and burning calories. I've come to terms with the fact that my social life has to be scheduled around his nap and meal times.

And I've come less to terms with the fact that when I do have time to knit, there are other things to spend my time on - mainly my husband and our mission to conquer Super Mario Brothers for the Wii. I think about knitting, read about it, lust over patterns and dream about yarn, but I have been far away from actually picking up the needles. I keep telling myself that one day I'll have time to knit again. I hardly even make it to my knitting group anymore... Guilt has also pulled my hands away from the needles as well. I told my Dad and his new wife that I would make them a blanket for their wedding gift. Well, their specifications for said blanket were more than daunting to me. A 7-foot by 7-foot blanket. Now, whenever I think about picking up a smaller WIP or starting something, all I can think about is that big red monster looming over me.

That's it for now. No promises about when I'll be blogging consistently again. There's a child to raise, a husband to love, a garden to care for and so much more!
Life has a way of getting busy! I haven't been blogging because I've simply had a lot to do recently. Lucas is teething and is, more or less, literally physically attached to me 50% of the day. When I do have some time online I try to catch up on my favorite blogs, keep in touch with email and search out good couponing deals. As Lucas gets older, his demands on my time increase. So my house may be light years away from my standard of clean and I may never have clean socks again, but at least I am content knowing that my time is being invested in something precious and worthy.

I spent the last two days preparing homemade baby food for the next couple of weeks. I've introduced Lucas to all the commercial organic baby foods that Gerber offers (except meats), which was my plan to determine what foods to prepare for him at home. I have to admit that it was quite the ordeal. Firstly, in an attempt to support the local farmers, I visited the Farmer's Market down the road. The salesladies were grim-faced, but the sweet potatoes and apples that I brought home completely made up for their moods. But I'll get to that shortly.. 6 potatoes and a dozen apples cost me a little over $6. $6 equals roughly 5.5 double packs of Gerber foods.

In numbers, that equals about 28 ounces of food. I didn't measure exactly, but my output was much more than 28 oz. Though the financial savings is a huge plus because of how much Lucas is eating now, it takes second place to the fact that I want to offer Lucas the best, freshest food I can find him. This is just another aspect of hands-on mothering in my opinion. I'm not a Hamburger Helper kind of cook, so I feel like I can offer Lucas homemade just as readily as I offer my husband homemade meals from scratch.

After the Farmer's Market trip I drove back home and stole my husband from his woodworking in the garage. We drove to The Fresh Market in Newport News and it's been a long time since I've been that thrilled about a grocery store. If a grocery store can be beautiful, this place was. How nice is it to shop to the sound of subtle classical music and pleasant lighting? Very, if you ask me. The selection of organic food was lovely. From the organics I picked 4 each of two kinds of pears, a 5-Lb bag of carrots, and a colorful mango. From the non-organics I picked up two ripe avocados for Lucas, two containers of strawberries and two pluots (a hybrid apricot/plum fruit that I've never seen) for the hubby and me. I think we spent a little over $30. It was an interesting experience and I thought the selection of products was unique. I've been shopping on base for too long.

The mango and the avocados were no brainers. Cut, pit, scoop out meat. Each fruit fit perfectly into my small food shopper and within 30 seconds I had baby puree. I mixed the mango in with Lucas' morning oatmeal today and he loved it. I had just the right amounts to fit into small freezer bags. I'd hoped to put the food in ice cube trays for easier portioning, but for the life of me I couldn't find them! After the foods froze I put them on a cutting board and cut them into squares with a very sharp knife. Too easy. Eat that, Gerber!

Tomorrow, time willing, I'll post more about my baby food making adventures (read: messes). I took some photos of the process.
Some time last summer a friend of mine mentioned how much money she saves couponing. When she tried explaining it to me it all seemed cryptic and she used weird coupon lingo that was over my head. Register rewards, stacking, ECBs... huh??? Since then I've googled things here and there; she even had an impromptu how-to pow wow with me at a neighbor's house. I was still confused.

With much patience and chewing of hair, I think I've figured out how some of these savvy ladies nail hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise for so little out-of-pocket money. One of the most helpful links that helped break down the process was SouthernSavers.com. I've been checking it just about every day to see price and merchandise comparisons in the local area. (I'd become a tad shopping ignorant.) For the longest time I've stuck to the military commissary for the convenience factor. I shop at Walmart if I am desperate for groceries and the commissary is closed or if I'm looking for an ingredient that isn't available on base. On the website's blog the author also posts shopping "scenarios" on how to spend as little as possible by combining products/rewards/coupons. It's been extremely helpful.

I've decided to take this slow. I've been collecting coupons from the Sunday paper inserts for a few weeks and I feel like I'm up to my eyeballs in paper. It is pretty exciting getting 3 or 4 copies of each paper and finding coupons for things that we buy every week. (I'm seeing dollar signs for how much small savings will add up to over a year!)

I'm going to start with Walgreens and CVS. Both stores are easy to get to and offer money back on purchases - also, they are good places to score free swag. It's easy to shop there because they have weekly circulars about their deals and coupons, which makes combining and saving at these stores easy - hence the reason why I'm starting out there.

As a teenager I had mountains of bath, beauty and makeup products - nowadays I have just what I need and I have a pretty consistent makeup regimen. Certain things like foundation, face wash, face moisturizer and deodorant are items that I don't cheat on - it's all love-em or leave-em. Everything else is negotiable though - I'm certainly not brand-loyal to things that end up in the trash or down the drain.

So, after hours of pouring over coupons and organizing my saving attack, I got my feet wet in the couponing world. I don't think I'll ever be happy seeing "Savings: $2.00" on a receipt again. Up until today I've saved a dollar to max (one time) $20 on a single shopping trip. I shopped at CVS and Walgreens for items that I needed or would definitely be using soon. I'm not ready to stockpile and I don't have the room...yet!

Tonight I bought Almay and Revlon makeup, toothpaste, household basics, bath stuff and beverages. After adding everything up I saved 40% off the original price. What I bought retailed at $89.51. How much did I pay? $35.94!!! That's $53.57 in savings. It was stressful shopping in stores I don't often frequent and trying to figure out what to pay for first, but I did it and it was a success. I used to pay $15-20 for two boxes of hair color and tonight I got two for $4. 99 cents for eyeshadow? I'm hooked.

Drugstores seem easy enough, but shopping for food at multiple stores (with a baby and a husband who hates shopping when he has to come) is something that I need to warm up to. I know there are some stores that double coupons, which would more than make it worth it, but like I said, I'm trying to take this slow. I'm already overwhelmed trying to figure out how to organize all my coupons.

My goal is to bring down our shopping expenses by an average of at least 30%. Can't wait to see what deals I can score this Sunday! :)
This week for Interior Design Tuesday I'm going to be featuring some of my favorite knit or crocheted kitchen items from Ravelry.

Check our these adorable knit fish from Taterbaby!

Tired of bruised apples? Tuck your mid-morning snack into a comfy, tiny cozy from Theresa Grant.

Clutter Control : Stash Baskets
. Not knit, but crocheted. I think I need to make some of these to store hand towels in our bathroom as well :)

Definitely not your granny's doily. Look at that beautiful yarn... Pania nailed the pattern-yarn combination on this one.
That's all for this week! Enjoy!


You're not even a memory, you're just a debt we have to pay off. Like you, the money comes and it goes. And it's forgotten. Like you. I know you're reading and I don't know why you bother. You know who you are.

Enjoy your tattoo.

I didn't write much about the transition from 2009 to 2010. Although we enjoyed the holidays and some extra time together as a family, it was not without sadness.

My last surviving grandparent, Oma Irma, passed away on an unknown day sometime between the 23rd and the 25th of December. She was found by the lady that did her shopping for her. My father has mentioned the gruesome scene that him and his wife encountered post body removal and I wish he wouldn't. Her ashes were spread in an anonymous urn field, a typical form of burial in Germany.

Over the years I have often felt guilty for not keeping in contact with my Oma more. Life being busy is an excuse that anyone can pull out of their pocket. The real reason we didn't speak much was mainly just the fact that I hardly knew her. When I did speak to her she was very hard to understand. She had a way of speaking... words, sentences, topics all blending together and before I knew it the telephone line would go dead before I had a chance to say goodbye.

I saw her growing up until the age of 5, then we moved to the States. After that I saw her twice when I was 13 - once because my Opa was dying (we were only 4 hours away when he passed), and another time that year for our scheduled vacation. During the 7 years that I lived in Germany I only saw her two more times that I can recall. Every time my Dad went to visit her I had to work or I was out of the country. It was a long haul to see her back then. We had to travel from Heidelberg to Bremen... Four times. That's it.

The last time I saw her was the only time we were able to have a fully understandable German conversation with each other. My Dad and I went together. I wanted to see Oma and the city that I grew up in once more before leaving Germany. For the first time I heard the stories of my Oma's hard life: the poverty, the war, the sicknesses. She gave me her family history in short, sometimes intelligible bouts of half-mumblings between puffs on her cigarette. It was also the time that she bestowed upon me her jewelry, special treasures and her wedding china. She must have known we wouldn't see each other again.

Oma suffered many years under one affliction after another. I should probably be happy that her suffering is over, but all I feel is an emptiness. Hollow. Like my heartbeat echos off the empty places that my loved ones left behind.

I am now orphaned of all grandparents.
As I mentioned in my last post, I'm going to be posting about specific topics. So, without further adeu, this is the first installment of Interior Design Tuesday. Today I'm going to focus on wallpaper. All too often accessories seem to steal the limelight from a room's biggest area of focus: the walls.

Some sources say paper has been around since 4000 B.C. Around 200 B.C. the Chinese glued rice paper to their walls, thus wallpaper was born. Wallpaper wasn't widely available until the invention of the printing press, but until then some wealthy people hired artists to paint on portable rolls of paper. Wallpaper has certainly come a long way since then.

Inspired by 19th century Japanese textiles, this gold chrysanthemum wallpaper makes a delicate, yet bold statement. I love the empty birdcage as tabletop decor. It's available here and designed by Graham & Brown.

Emma Hack also uses Asian inspired wallpaper in her living art exhibitions.

Check that out! Want fully customizable colors? Nineteenseventythree designed this color-in wallpaper. Besides this wallpaper they also offer a whole line of modern and quirky papers and gifts. The possibilities are seemingly endless, aren't they? You can buy the wallpaper here, but it's not available on Nineteenseventythree's website.
Since I was a kid (or significantly younger) I've enjoyed watching HGTV. I haven't done any research on how long HGTV has been airing, so I can't quote an exact age range... My mom, who also loves everything home-decor and beauty, got me hooked. Now that we've been back States-side for a year I've had the opportunity to watch it on a consistent basis again. I can't watch it constantly because at certain times I get bored with the designers and the repetitive nature of the trends/shows. Not to mention the surplus of girly men, but that's a whole different topic.

While living in Germany and exploring all the neighboring countries I was exposed to many perspective-altering design concepts and different types of architecture. Everything was quite different from the type of design and decor I was used to in the Midwest. It was fascinating. Then, one day while eating an early dinner after my waitressing shift, I came across Architektur & Wohnen - a German magazine about architecture and living. I went home that night and signed up for a two-year subscription.

I'm always going to keep my collection of magazines. One of the best parts of the subscription were the extra inserts about hotels and other best-of types of pamphlets. Through those, my ideas of design and decorating were challenged and broadened. Now, I have a difficult time accepting everyday interior decorating. Everything seems so pale and lackluster compared to the potential a space holds.

Obviously I'm aware that the majority of people with a desire to make a house a home don't find it in their financial means to acquire designer pieces of furniture, don't have local venues offering non-standard decor elements or are simply unaware of their own creative abilities within the home. We're no different. Our house, with its eclectic collection of possessions obtained because of a practical need or availability, doesn't give away much of who we are or the kind of home we desire. We like most of our stuff, but we love very little. How much we like our stuff may also be a question of just how accustomed we are to looking at it.

I brought up HGTV because when I watch the home staging shows I privately covet those warehouses stuffed with interesting design elements and everything one needs to put together a cohesive, practical and beautiful interior for one's home. Hopefully, one day when we own a home that we plan to live in for an extended period of time we'll be able to start over inside and truly make it the kind of place that we want to live instead of having to work around what's already available to us and practical for the small space the military allots us.

Also, as this blog is gradually taking a downhill turn in terms of interesting reading material I am going to devote a couple days a week to features about things that I think are awesome. I'm considering a knitting, design and cool blog feature. I'm tired of posting about my ho-hum days because I don't have the time to knit and blog more about my own knitting.

Design, oh ye lovely beast. One of the ideas that air is home staging. Home staging is basically setting up your home to look
Literally, I suppose.

I've been doing plenty of cooking, baking, mothering and cleaning up. And I feel like I haven't accomplished anything. Maintaining some semblance of household cleanliness while picking up after 4 males is a challenge. The fact that two of said males are canine is a moot point, of course.

The other night I stayed up furiously crocheting a scarf that a friend of mine requested for Christmas. She was fully aware that it would be a late Christmas present and I thought it might be hoo of me to get it in her hands before February rolls around... It's about seven and a half feet long, at least two feet longer than I'd planned on it becoming. As usual, I didn't use a pattern and though normally self-rolling fabric is somewhat of an annoyance, I like it in this case. Thought it's loosely crocheted, I think the sheer weight of the garment makes it curl in a bit.

I crocheted 13 individual circles and then worked on some "invented" method of joining them together while forming the monstrosity into something that looked like a rectangle. Mission (kind of) accomplished. It wraps around my neck three times and it looks lovely. The colors of quite lively and it makes me long for a neutral (read:black) coat to dress up with colorful knits. For the life of me I can't remember what yarn the circles are made of.. some wool/acrylic blend and I put it all together with some LB Homespun in my stash. My silent New Year's Resolution to stash bust before buying anymore yarn is off to a running start.
Except it's Tuesday.

Hubby and I have been stressing out about what to do with the confined space that we label home. Baby proofing is going to be a must ASAP and that entails rearranging most of our livingroom and well, honestly, the whole damn house. We're not kid friendly! There, I said it. Everything in sight around here is choke-kill-bruise inducing. We've gone the majority of our time living together never having to think about how safe our household is for little ones - until now, that is. With little Mr. Curious Grabby around I feel like our house is riddled with landmines of danger.

Over the holidays my son mastered rolling from his back to his stomach, walking across the house while being supported under the arms, sitting up on his own, sprouting out little white bumps of soon-to-be teeth and saying both Dada and Mama. Breathe. I thought things were supposed to progress sloooowly? He's not even six months old yet. The last month has been hard. Milestones. Teething. Hardly a moment to myself before bedtime. And even if I haven't knitted a single thing in over a week, I've been having the time of my life watching my baby take infant steps towards becoming a man.

Now I just have to find a cereal that doesn't make my son sputter in disgust (he hates rice cereal) and he'll be eating cereal and real food soon. Although I have a love-bored relationship with breastfeeding, I am looking forward to sharing family meals in a more decent fashion and literally, wearing more fashionable bras.