Thursday, June 30, 2011

Boutique Bags

I just love making these bags!  Thanks so much to Sara at Tangled Happy for sharing the pattern and giving me permission to sell them!

<3 these colors!

Pretty flowers!!

Simply the best little bags around!! Such a joy to make.

My first "bulk" order of Boutique Bags all ready to get shipped!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hooking Happiness

It's been a while since I've shown any of my projects and I'm hoping to get back on track, because crocheting is one of my best stress relievers. 

Right before I started my MBA program, I was a bit crazy and thought it would be great to start a small side venture, Simply Hooked by Amanda.  Well, it hasn't really taken off yet... I've made a baby blanket for the SGK auction run by Cathy's Creations and I donated a boutique bag to that auction.  Now I have an order to make a baby blanket for a friend and 10 boutique bags for another friend.  It's getting busy!  I was also contacted about a potential partnering opportunity with another creative mom, so we will see what it brings.

Anyway, I thought since I originally created this blog to share my crafts, it was time for some photos of my current WIPs:

I adore making those bags... and I'm enjoying a nice, girly blanket too!  I really need to give the blanket some attention soon though, the bags have taken over all of my crafting time, but I'm finishing them up and shipping them out this week!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ta-Da: Adam's Blanket

Wow, this is a long overdue Ta-Da post. I didn't realize that I hadn't shared the photos of the finished blanket I made for our friends who are waiting the arrival of their first child, baby Adam.

This blanket took about 2 months to create, but between that time I also made the Power Pink blanket, so I would say maybe a month in reality.  

It measured about 42" x 42" or so and was worked in the granny stripe pattern that I can now do in my sleep :) I can't wait to meet baby Adam and see him all snuggled up in his cozy granny stripe! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Body after Baby

This is another hot topic for me...
I'm battling the bulge after my second child. He's  15 months and I still have 15lbs to lose.  I guess that's what happens when you gain 50+lbs during pregnancy and then slack off when it comes to exercise and diet.  I'm yo-yoing in the same 5lb range for the past 10 months or so and I need to get my butt moving and get rid of this weight!

But, what really drives me crazy is how you see celebrities after they have kids lose the weight and then read about them in Shape, Fitness, etc about how it's "hard work" to lose the weight but "you can do it too, if you follow these steps..."  Yes, it's hard, especially when you live in the real world of taking care of your kids, working, juggling whatever else is going on in your life... the thing that really gets me about these articles is that celebrities have the money for personal trainers, or nannies so they can work out whenever they want. They can hire personal chefs if they choose to make sure they are eating healthy and don't get stuck in the trap of  getting home an hour before your child has gymnastics and you or your spouse have to make a "quick" meal to get you out the door on time. 

I know when I read those articles that it's just not possible for everyone to lose weight the way these celebs do, I just wish they didn't always serve as the "advice" for losing weight after their baby was born because "their trainer" recommended such and such a program and diet. What I'd really love to see is a REAL mom,  you know, the everyday working mom or the SAHM with multiple kids, that loses the baby weight quickly and in a realistic way.

Anyway, with my rant over, I just wanted to say that I am on track! I need to get my butt moving and keep it moving.  I want to be down to pre-pregnancy weight by Christmas... I think that's attainable. I'd love to be a bit smaller by then too, but I'm taking baby steps!! 
Hopefully I can find the time most days to make it to the gym, at least to walk on the treadmill or something! I am lucky in the sense that I have a gym where I work (and it's Free), but it's not always easy to find time in a busy workday. Maybe I'll start scheduling appointments to go to the gym... I hope to update you in a few weeks that I've actually made some changes and have seen some improvements! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

SAHMs vs Working Moms

I usually try to avoid debate, really, I don't want to stir up more drama than I already have in my life... but I'm having such a hard time keeping my mouth shut on this one.  YES, I know staying home with your kids is tough - I get it, my husband stays home with our kids, it's what works best for our family.  To those of you who are able to stay home, I admire you. I honestly don't think I have the patience to do it, I need to be busy and being in the house all day (thinking cold, cold winter days) would make me want to crawl the walls. Really, I'd go crazy. I love my kids to death, but I just think I'd stress too much and get too frustrated when things aren't getting done. 

What really bugs me is how innundated I feel with some SAHMs acting like working moms don't have it hard at all, that only SAHMs know what it's like to have a full time job that doesn't stop.  Maybe those SAHMs don't have husbands that help out at all, or take them for granted. Maybe.  I hear so many SAHMs say how bad they need a break, how their husbands come home and they want some down time and a small break and these SAHMs get annoyed because they (the hubands) too want a break.  Okay, I get it. Honestly, I do. When I was on maternity leave, I was essentially a SAHM for 3 months. I looked forward to my husband getting home and me having some time to relax, but I knew he also needed some time too.

When we had first made the decision that Derek would be quitting his job to stay at home with the kids, I was so worried that he would feel underappreciated because of all these complaints I've heard. I would come home and try to give him a break, try to keep the kids busy, try to help get things done around the house. We take turns with dinner - it just depends on our schedule, whether he has work that evening at his part-time job or if it's gymnastics night or if it's just a family night with no rushed schedule. If it's a rushed evening, he generally has dinner done or nearly done by the time I walk in the door. If it's not a rushed night, we plan for something that I will cook once I get home, and I have to admit that he's awesome and depending on what I'm making, he may already have a lot of prep work done for it.

But you know what - I got burnt out too. I was so worried that he wouldn't feel appreciated and I didn't want him to feel like housework was only his job, that I felt guilty if I tried to take a break at all.. Here's the main problem I have with all this SAHM/Working Mom mumbo-jumbo... for those of you SAHMs who love to say how their job never ends, how they don't get breaks, etc... do you really think that working moms do? Honestly?!?  Because I get up at 5am every morning while my husband and kids are still in bed... drive my 30-45 minute commute to work (as long as there's no traffic), work my 8 hours where I'm under deadlines to get my projects done, clean up messes, get equipment fixed, etc etc, drive my 40 minutes home (again, as long as there's no traffic) and then I walk in the door to two children who are so excited that I'm home that I don't usually have a minute to breathe. After the kids are asleep, it's time for me to get my schoolwork done (This one was my choice) so really, I rarely get to sleep before 11pm. I'm running on 6 hours sleep most night, maybe less, while my husband easily sleeps until 8am most mornings because our kids like to sleep. I know this isn't the case for all people, and my husband also has a part-time job so he's really run thin too.  So, for those of you SAHMs who thinks that us working moms/parents have it "easy" - I say bullshit! That's right! Yes, you have a demanding job staying home, keeping up with the house, keeping the kids entertained and making sure they are also learning along the way... but so do I! I do those things PLUS work a full-time job, so please, stop telling me how it's not hard to be a working mom. Maybe I don't do as much laundry as you do (okay, admittedly I rarely ever do laundry, even before kids... my husband is awesome) and maybe I don't have as much time with my kids (which stinks) but I still have the demands that you do.  Work is no break, believe me. 

I also wanted to say that not all SAHMs seem to have this mentality, so I don't want to offend those of you who haven't said these things. I can actually think of a few of my friends who are SAHMs who go way above and beyond and I have NO idea how you guys manage to get everything done in a day with crafting, activities, cooking etc... especially those of you who have husbands that travel a lot for work and/or are in the military and are deployed, etc. The funny thing is, I can think of a few SAHMs that are in this situation and they AREN'T the ones who complain about having a break, having a hard job, etc.

In essence, the point I'm trying to make is that we all make the decision (based on our needs and what is possible) whether to stay at home or go to work... this isn't an easy decision to make, so stop knocking others who made a decision different than what you have!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hello, June! Revisiting my craft goals for 2011

Wow, it's June already?! Where has the time gone?!

Once I started school in March, a lot of things have changed. My time for blogging has gone out the window and my time for crafting has been severly limited - though I am producing things, which always makes me feel like I've accomplished something.  I was thinking about the list of Craft Goals I made back in January and thought it would be fun to look back and see what I've gotten around to doing and what other things I've added in!

Here's the list with updates:
1. Finish Teddy's Star, hopefully by the end of January I completed this project in January, you can find more info in the Ta-Da post

2. Finish Derek's wool scarf that has been terribly neglected lately - It's still negelected :( But getting some more love lately as it grew at least 2-3 more inches in the last few weeks.

3. Make 8 Tangled Happy's Granny Stripe Boutique Bags as party favors for the girls that I anticipate will be attending Benjamin's first birthday. I made 10 and they were a huge hit. Used 8 for the party and donated one to an auction benefiting someone who is walking in the SGK 3-Day.

4. Make a blanket for our good friends' new baby that is due in July. I hope to make it either as a Granny Stripe or Neat Ripple or a Mini Hexagon, but we will see when the time comes. They should know the gender of the baby by March, so I plan to decide once I know who I will be creating the blanket for. DONE! Ta-Da post coming soon, stay tuned!!

5. Make myself a tote bag, potentially using the basis for the Granny Stripe Boutique Bag on a larger scale, possibly lining with fabric.

6. Make a large Granny Stripe for our home. We love Ben's Granny Stripe so much that we want it in a larger version for Derek & I to use.

7. Work on more knitting in the round. I've love to make hats for all of us.

8. Attempt some homemade Christmas decorations, like a nice bunting or some sort of garland. To be decided at a later time- but I really love the Jingle Bell Garland and I've also found a granny star garland that I really enjoy but can't seem to find the link right now!

9. Fulfill the Cavanaugh men's hunting wishlist: A new orange hat for Derek(crochet or knit), a new knitted neckwarmer for my father-in-law and possibly some more orange hats for my brothers-in-law.

10. Attempt a knitted garment. Most likely a cardigan for Victoria.

Okay, so I got 4 of my 10 goals accomplished already -- not so bad!!
I've also made another baby-sized blanket as well, which I've dubbed the Pink Power Granny Stripe - see the Ta-Da here.
I also made 2 baby hats for my nephew in that time too. So I've been crafting even though I feel like I haven't.

Next up, which isn't on the list: a baby blanket for a friend's friend :) My friend called and asked me to make a blanket for a friend of hers who just has a sweet baby girl, so I've eagerly accepted the challenge.