Friday, January 10, 2014

Retro Circles blanket

Oh my word! Where has the time gone?  Why have I not written a post since July?!!!!  Things have been more busy than crazy, which I guess is a good thing. In September we started our first "officical" year of home education (I'm starting to dislike the term "home school").  It's had it's ups and downs but I'll write a post on that soon. 

I have been working on a lot of things these past months, not only organizing my heart and thoughts but my yarn stash. Yes, my yarn stash.  You know you have one.  It's okay.  I understand. It's an emotional thing.  I use to buy coach bags and shoes.  Now I buy merino wool and knitting needles.

This is not all the stash.  This is just the stuff that was in knots and out of control.
 This is a true story.  I have a picture on IG of a trunk full of yarn and tools.  I don't know where I was going with all that.

But this past summer I decided that I was not going to buy any more yarn until this stash dwindled down.  I have always made crocheted or knit blankets for others but realized I never make anything for myself (isn't that how it always is?).  Here are a couple of baby blankets I made for my friend's twins (the picture quality is terrible but I'm working on that).
I love handmade gifts so much more than store bought.  There is something beautiful in being able to pray for the child who will be staying warm under that blanket.  I also love that it is something you can hand down. The blanket on the left can found on millie makes. The sunburst blanket on the left can be found in English here

After pondering what to do with all this yarn, I decided that I would make a blanket for my oldest.  I went through the stash and grabbed every shade of blue I could find.  Scoured ravelry and found this lovely pattern for retro circles.  I showed the pattern and colors to him and he asked who it was for.  When I told him it was for him his eyes lit up.  He was so happy to have something made for him, I knew I had to rush this order. The yarn bag went everywhere with us until I was done.  It hung out at friend's houses, road trips, bible studies and it even went a trip to Washington Square Park!

For some reason I don't have an image of the finished product.  But it was made big enough to fit on a twin size bed and hang over.  He just loves this blanket and it's all his.  I did a ripple/shellish border around.  Once I figure out how to use my new camera I will share the pics.

Not to be out done, the other tiny human insisted on a blanket of his own. And of course we just couldn't use any of the colors in the yarn stash so off to AC Moore we went and found the loudest colors possible.  He said his blanket needed to look like candy. I'll keep you posted on that one. Thank goodness for craft night at church. Maybe I can start making everything on my pinterest and ravelry boards.

Ps. Happy New Year!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Why Football Players Should Pick-up a Handicraft

This past week has been crazy in the world of sports, especially football.   Did you know that since this past Super Bowl 27 players have been arrested? Three were just last week.  It's just crazy.  What's going on fellas? I mean seriously.  I get it.  Football is an extremely aggressive sport.  But why can't they leave all that crazy on the field?  When did it get like this?  Are there any classy players out there? I'm sure there are.

Do you know who comes to mind when I think of classy football players? Rosie Grier.  Do you know him? My mom is always talking about him.
He is a defensive lineman who played for the NY Giants from 1955-1962.  He also played with the Rams from 1963-67.  He would later become a body guard for Robert Kennedy.  Although he was not guarding Kennedy on the day of his assassination,  he was the one that took the gun from the assassin.   He was guarding Mrs. Kennedy that day.  There is your history lesson for the day.    He is not only known as one of the best defensive lineman in the game of football but for a very interesting hobby that he practiced off the field.  Can you guess what it might have been?  No, it was not a DWI or gun charges. It was needle point, knitting and other fine handicrafts!  He even wrote a book.  I might get it for every football player I know (I don't know that many).  Maybe I'll get it for  EVERY man I know. 

I bet you if more NFL players were making needle point gifts for their mommas or knitting baby beanies for the local NICU, there would be less angry football players running around.  I mean who can be angry after making something so adorable?

 Craft projects are said to destress and sooth the soul.  I believe it.  As the mother of two very active boys, knitting and crocheting are one of the only ways I can destress and relax. An article by Betson Corkhill describes why and how knitting can be therapeutic:

The rhythmic repetitive movements of knitting are important - quite how, we're not absolutely certain of yet, but we have our theories. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that they induce a form of meditation very similar to Mindfulness. Recent research has shown that Mindfulness can be very effective in treating depression and chronic pain. It can also help those who are fit and healthy to combat stress and to manage life's downs. It helps you to put into perspective any traumatic issues that would normally dominate your waking thoughts helping you to find a stable balance between problematic events and feelings and more positive, pleasant sensations within the current moment. It's a state of mind where you're not mulling over the past or fretting about the future.

Mindfulness? Mindfulness.  Merriem-Webster defines mindfulness as 1: bearing in mind : aware
2: inclined to be aware 
We live in a society that is no longer mindful of each other.  We are careless not just in our thoughts towards others but even with each others lives.  If only we were mindful and intuned with other people's needs and feelings as opposed to our selfish wants and desires.
Betson Corkhill goes on to write about the research done on knitting for therapy and mindfulness:

Research done by Professor Richard Davidson of Wisconsin University has shown that practising just eight weeks of daily Mindfulness can have a positive effect on brain function and even strengthen the immune system. Dr Herbert Benson, Director of the Institute for Mind, Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School has carried out many clinical trials involving Mindfulness and has found that it can evoke the relaxation response to bring down blood pressure, heart rate and help to prevent stress related illnesses. He's even found that it can improve fertility and mentions knitting as one of the activities capable of evoking the relaxation response.

The most intresting part of the article was how knitting is used to treat those suffering with PTS.  I believe that football players at some point suffer from PTS.  There is no way you can injure the brain so many times and not suffer from it.

The action of knitting slows down thought processes, which is important in our modern, stressful world. Thoughts can often whiz around in our heads preventing sleep and keeping stress levels high. Slowing them down enables us to view, sort and process them. This could have important implications for those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). Indeed knitters tell me their knitting significantly improves their PTS and in some cases cures it completely. This links in with research done at University College London by psychologist Dr Emily Holmes in 2002. She found that if a person performed a repetitive visuo spatial task during a traumatic event they experienced significantly fewer flashbacks. The report recommends looking at knitting and worry beads further.
I would like to offer a suggestion to help curb the aggressiveness off the field that has been going on.  Pick-up a handicraft fellas!  Maybe Commissioner Goddell should put it in every players contract that handicrafts are a must!  And  to all you coaches out there and moms of young football players, make it a "point" to teach your boys a handicraft.  Sign them up on ravelry and get them a pinterest account ASAP!  Go to Youtube!. And it's all free!

Mike Rivera has the right idea

I learned to knit about seven years ago.  I took that bag of yarn everywhere.  I will never forget what a student said to me once when she saw my bag by my desk.  She said, "Oh, you knit?  That's cool.  My grandmother taught us to knit when we were really young.  She would tell us, 'Idle hands are the devils workshop.' That proverb has stuck with me ever since.   Keep those hands busy doing good things and stay out of trouble. If Rosie was man enough to needle point and knit then so are you! So get to knitting gentlemen.  Your wife or girlfriend would like a new scarf for Christmas this year and don't forget about the babies!

S. Vanessa

"We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.  Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat.  And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good."~ 2 Thessalonians 3:11-13 NIV

In case you needed to see more men knitting...

Can you tell who this is? It's just the 32nd President of the United States, FDR.

Cary Grant in the film "Mr. Lucky"

Russel Crowe.  I'm not sure if he really knows how to knit.  But so what? He's the Gladiator!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

When Motherhood and Sorrow Meet

I've never been a loyal sports team fan like my brothers.  We were born and breed in NY.  My mom is a METS fan, my one brother Yankees, Knicks and Giants and my youngest brother strangely enough is a Broncos fan.  I'm more like my dad when it comes to sports.  My dad enjoys any sport that has a Puerto Rican on the team.  "¿Ve ese ahí? ¡Él es boricua!" You see that guy there? He's Puerto Rican.  And that's pretty much how I have followed and enjoyed sports ever since.  I love hearing their stories and how they grew to love the sport they played, whether it be on the island or a local worn down ball field or court on the block.  More recently I have been following tennis thanks to Monica Puig. 

Being the mother of two boys I decided to really get into sports, for their sakes of course.  There are  two stations on in our crazyvan, KLOVE and ESPN.   I love listening to The Herd.  Colin Cowherd is just right up my alley.  My kids laugh at Steven A. Smith, they think he's nuts, and they think Ryan Rucco has a funny name.

Knowing now how I follow sports you can just imagine how I have been following this tragic Aaron Hernandez story.  I have kept tabs on Aaron since he joined the Patriots, even though I'm a New Yorker.  I stayed in my car so long yesterday that my car battery died. I'm thankful to have finally put my jumper cables back in the crazyvan and for the two gentlemen that helped me.

Just thinking about this tragedy can bring me to tears.  It makes my heart hurt and brings me so much sorrow.   I've been praying for the family of the man whose life was taken from him.  May the Lord fill them with peace and comfort and may the Lord's justice be done in all of this.   As a mother I hope to never know what this feels like, to have your child's life taken away. 

My heart also aches for the living. Most especially today for the mother of Aaron Hernandez.  To think that it may be possible for the baby you held in your arms to possibly turn into a monster.  As the mother of two boys, I'm in pain.  I'm sure I shouldn't think or care so much about this, but I do.  What is she going through? Is she sleeping? Is she blaming herself?  Does she have a Savior she can lay her burdens down on? I'm praying for you.

I pray every morning for my relationship with my sons, the children the Lord has given me to raise into men.  It is such a weight to carry on your shoulders.  Am I praying for them enough? For their future?  For their relationships with each other?  For their friends? The people they will walk along side with? For their wives? Was the way I spoke to them today right? Did I really need to yell? Is today the day I change them forever? Am I raising them up in the way of the Lord? Am I the person I want them to be? 

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.~ Ephesians 6:4

It's so hard.... so hard... I cry.  They are so little.  Who will they become?  God bless them.  Walk along side them because I'm going to mess up. But you Lord, you never fail.

I'm grateful for His grace and mercy...

I also know that I could do everything right.  I could teach them everything the Lord has said and lived that life.  We could pack up and be missionaries in Uganda.  And they could decide the Lord is not what they want.   Lord have mercy. 

My prayers are for the mothers of Odin Lloyd and Aaron Hernandez.  For their hearts and for their pain.  Their is no greater sorrow than the loss of a child.  Both have lost their sons, the babies they once cradled in their arms and sang lullabies to.  I pray for the daughter of Aaron Hernandez, and that she knows that she has a Father in heaven that will always be there.  My prayer is for this fallen world.  That it turn to Jesus and walk away from Satan. We all fall short of God's glory but every minute, every second, every hour, everyday is an opportunity to start over and give your past to God.  What a blessing to have so many chances.  Lord bless my children.  Give them compassion for others and to be honorable men after your own heart Lord.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, 
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

~Lamentations 3:22-23

S. Vanessa

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

- James 1:2-3 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

52 weeks of Joy, Weeks 7 and 8

Keeping track of my Joys was something I thought I would be able to easily blog about.  But it really is just one more thing on my to do list.  But I vow to continue and not get lazy with it.  This is more for me than it is for you.  It's a way for me to sit down, ponder and thank the Lord for His gifts and mercies.  I could easily sit down and complain about it all but I'm reminded to count it joy.  Last week was a reminder of that.   I was reminded that the world's pain can always be used for God's glory, if I allow it. 

40. Memories (even the painful ones.  the Lord can be glorified.  One day they won't hurt as much.)

41. A confidant.  I'm so blessed with the people the Lord has placed in my life.  Even the ones He has taken out.

42. Date with my boys.

43. A very generous and loving friend.

44. A sick day at home.

45. The blessings of new babies (not here ;-P )

46. Little boys that one day will turn into men.

One day these little feet will go their own way.  I pray we will have lit the right path. 
 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.-Psalm 119:105

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

- James 1:2-3 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hearts, hearts and more hearts!

For the past couple of weeks I have been feverishly making little hearts.  My goal this year was to make my home a happy home.  One full of handmade things.  One that my children will always remember.  I have been heavy into crochet lately.  Mostly because of how quick and convenient it is to make.  I tried making snowflakes this past Christmas but ran out of time.  But I promised myself I would have something done in time for Valentine's day. And so... ta da! 
I was making this everywhere I went, the doctors, the library, as a passenger in a car, in bed ( I never crochet in bed because I immediately fall asleep).  These were going to be done no matter what. I made tons and gave tons away.  I actually can't stop making them.  They make me super happy.  I found the original pattern over at Sarahndipities.  It was a lovely pattern but I did change it up bit.  (Round 3 and the garland directions are from Sarahndipities).

Here's the pattern I reworked if you're interested in making these lovelies yourself. 
Chain 4, sl st in 1st ch to create the round.
Round 1: ch3, 3tcr, 3dc, ch1, 1trc, ch1, 3dc, 3tcr, ch3, sl st in the round. 

Round 2: ch3, (the following stitches are to be done in the spaces not stiches) sc & hdc, next space 3hdc, next 2hdc, sc in next three spaces, 2 sc in next space, ch 2, 2sc in next space, sc in next three spaces, 2hdc in next, 3hdc in next, 2hdc & sc in next, ch 3, sl st in middle.

Round 3:  Ch 3.  Sc in first sc, 2 sc in next st, sc in next st, 2 sc in next st.  Sc in next seven sts, sk next st. Sc in ch 2 sp from previous row, ch 3, sc in same sp.  Sk next st, sc in next seven sts. 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next st, ch 3 and then sl st in center of heart.  Pull loop to the back and fasten off. Weave in ends.

To make it a Garland:
Ch 45.  Sc in top bump of heart, ch 6, sc in next top bump of heart.  *Ch 12, sc in top bump of heart, ch 6, sc in next top bump of heart.* Repeat from * to * until all hearts are joined.  Ch 45, fasten off.

Have a happy and blessed Valentine's Day!

52 Weeks of Joy, Weeks 5 and 6
30. Spending time with my Mami and Mima
31. Antique shops
32. Little hearts and little hands
33. Cambodian coffee
34. Treats in the mail
35. Redemption!
36. Watching my boys love on each other.
37. Snow (not for me, for them)
38. Lace
39. MY NEW STEAM MOP (yes. I'm just that excited about it)

 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

- James 1:2-3 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Some Burlap and (a late) 52 weeks of Joy

Last week I had a super hectic schedule.  I had to drive into the city several times a day for a couple of days, attempt to homeschool, work and organize my house. Not all of those happened all the time.  Especially the organize my house part.  I just found out that I suffer from a very debilitating disorder.  ADCD, Attention Deficit Cleaning Disorder. This means that although I think I'm cleaning/organizing, I am actually appearing to be a horder.  It's just awful! And super exhausting.  For the record, I'm an amazing organizer, just not in my house.  But I'm working on it.
When I was 25 years old, and still living with my momma, my bestie Jenna had to come over and teach me how to clean my room.  It was a mess.  I'll never forget it.  But she did give me great pointers.  "Start here.  And don't go anywhere else until you finish here.  Then work your way around the room."  She followed me around the room until I got it lol.  She's given me tons of advice throughout the years but this is the one that stuck with me, hehe. For the most part I follow this plan.  THANKS JENNA!

Even though I wasn't able to organize the WHOLE house, I plan way to big sometimes, I was able to get the kitchen done.  When we were looking at apartments, I fell in love with this one because of the butcher block counter.  It was just screaming, "Come and learn to make bread on me!" I love that rustic/country look.
 I love the storage space, but I do hate looking at it, especially since it is never that neat.  I have been wanting to put some curtains up for the past year but I haven't found anything that caught my eye.  But I finally had enough of staring at it on Tuesday and decided something had to be done.  I went through my stash of fabric and couldn't find anything.  Then I remembered the yards and yards of burlap I had picked last autumn to make a table runner for the dining room table.

This whole thing only took about 15 minutes. I borrowed two tension rods from the faux roman shades in the dining room and just cut and sewed in a straight line.  I didn't do any proper measurements just did everything by eye, which isn't always good, but as usual, I was in a rush.  I whipped out my machine, which hasn't seen daylight in months and with some guidance from my trusty turtle cookie jar, curtains were made!  VIOLA!!! It's like having a new kitchen.

I'm hoping they will unwrinkle themselves.  I hate ironing.  But I love them anyway.  The only problem is, I live with males, and now that the curtains are up they can't find anything :-(
Have you done anything to change your space without spending a dime? Let me know. I'd love to hear about it.

On to bigger things....

52 weeks of Joy, week 4
22. Coming off of detoxing (carrots! nom nom nom)
23. Spending time with my parents
24. Hanging out with the besties and wedding planning
25. A slumber party
26. A much needed break (but missing my children)
27. Celebrating a baby
28. A day home with my family
29. Having one car for four people but making the best of it

 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

- James 1:2-3 

Friday, January 18, 2013

52 Weeks of Joy , Week 3

First I want to start with a big Happy Birthday to Cary Grant! Isn't he just dreamy? I plan on watching his movies all weekend!

Things to be Joyful for:

15. Wolverine paying us a visit.
16. A snowy day at home.
17. New snow boots.
18. Will power.
19. Lazy day of learning in bed.
20. Encouragement from an unsuspecting place.
21. An accountability partner.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

- James 1:2-3