Category Archives: Uncategorized

November Things

A few things that stood out this November:

1. My son turned 2 this month, and since bananas are his favorite fruit (probably favorite food), we had a banana split party.

2. I released the pattern for The Ramona Cropped Ringer Tee. You can find the pattern in my shop here, or on Ravelry here.

3. My husband and I had a mini-vacation sans child, thanks to my in-laws watching our son for a couple nights. It was the first time we’ve had, just the two of us, like that since before he was born, and it was really lovely and needed, and we were both really thankful. We stayed close to home, basically acting like tourists in our own city. We ate at several restaurants we’d never tried before and also visited a local gourmet chocolate shop. Their salted caramel hot chocolate is probably my favorite I’ve ever had, such good flavor and just the right amount of richness for you to take time with each sip and really savor it. We also tried several of their handmade confections, and my favorite of those happened to be their salted caramel-filled dark chocolate candy. My husband also got a white hot chocolate that he said was really good, too.

Tea Tales: Apple Lime Sweet Tea

In 2010, I went on a short-term mission trip to Costa Rica. The main part of the trip was spent helping build a new church and medical clinic, along with leading VBS at several surrounding churches. The last couple days were spent at a new location and were meant to be a chance to experience more of the country, rest, and reflect on the previous days before heading home.

The second location was a hotel with a breathtaking view of Arenal Volcano, and we’d been told by the previous year’s team to be sure and order their “sweet tea” at dinner because it was not what you would expect as someone from the southern US, where we’re know for our cold, sugary, simple tea.

Drinks were brought out to the table, most in normal glasses. But the sweet tea was served in wine glasses with paper lime and apple decorations stuck on the side and straw. We reconfirmed several times that “No, it’s not alcoholic.” Just sweet tea.

Very intense presentation, very yummy and refreshing.

We tried to decipher the ingredients and make our own version when we got back home.

For apple juice, I recommend the Simply Apple brand, as it is a pure-pressed apple juice with no added sugar, that is closer to a cider texture and taste-wise.

For tea, use any black leaf tea.

These ingredient measurements are for a single serving, but you could, of course, increase them for a full pitcher.

Waters Wears: Striped Tunic First Draft

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I completed this first draft of a tunic earlier this year. It features a high-low hem and high slits on the sides, along with leather button loops on the sleeves.

While I’m hoping to release the pattern for this tunic sometime next year, there are a few changes to be made first. Mainly, the neckline is wider than I intended, even after altering and adjusting it while making this first draft. I’m still happy with it, though – the rest of it turned out pretty much like I’d pictured, and it’s received so many nice compliments any time I’ve worn it (which is great to hear as the designer).

The next step is to work up a second version and make the intended changes, then I’ll get pictures and begin editing and finalizing the pattern.

Psst: If you’d like to keep up with day-to-day behind-the-scenes of my design process and projects, I’m pretty active on my Instagram account.

for friends fighting hard battles

08-14-2016

for friends fighting hard battles

“be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”

I wish I could give your heart peace.
I wish I could say or do something to make it better.
But I can only offer that I’m here – though I
 am a bitter, selfish, prideful person, I will try my
 best to be here for you – and I can carry your burdens with you.

Don’t keep it in, don’t feel like you can’t share. If
you open up and I ignore, forget, don’t understand
 the depth of your struggles, am not there in the
 ways you need, then the fault is with me, not
you, the things you’re going through, or the way
you’re feeling.

And if you want, if you don’t mind, let me make
an attempt, however imperfect or unpoetic, however
honest and real on my part, to tell you of the
One I believe CAN give your heart peace. Who
 can do something to make it better.

 Who carried your burdens long ago.
 

I am trying to remember this message, too, dear friend.
I am feeble, fickle, weak, and small. As I said, I am
a bitter, selfish person. I am full of fear, a worrier.

 Let us walk together toward Him, learn to lay
 our burdens down and sit at His feet.

Waters Wears: Fourth of July

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I wore this outfit on the Fourth of July, which is also my husband’s birthday. His mom and stepdad took us out for lunch, and it was a lot of fun.

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This is a new necklace. It was a birthday gift from my best friend, Kelsey. It’s lovely and sparkly, and it’s my favorite, a butterfly.

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My husband took a few days off for vacation after his birthday, and the kiddo and I definitely enjoyed having him home with us for an extended holiday.

If you’re from the US, I sincerely hope you had a good Fourth. Much love, and God bless!

Wardrobe Plans

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There are these things called capsule wardrobes (you’ve probably heard about them, as keeping one is a pretty popular thing right now), where you basically pare down your wardrobe into a set number of pieces of clothing, and sometimes accessories, that coordinate. The idea is that these pieces can mix and match and all work together, all while keeping you from buying items that don’t coordinate with anything else you own and/or may never be worn. While I don’t have a capsule wardrobe, I was inspired to sit down and figure out what colors, patterns, and types of items I like. I made the visual list you see above over a year ago. It’s proven handy when considering clothing items to buy, and also helped inspire the colors and patterns I use in my crochet designs.

To start, I listed colors that I like and gravitate towards/want to own more clothing in. Then, I listed a few colors that either I look good in or others tell me I look good in but don’t wear as often. After that, I listed patterns I like – florals, stripes, paisley – and a few specific items of clothing or accessories I’d like to wear more often but never think to, or want to have on my “to buy” list when I budget money for clothing.

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Before my baby was born, I furthered this by making a plan for outfits I would wear after having the baby. It helped, and still helps, me to more carefully consider items when I’m out shopping, instead of just buying things because I like them.

As a work-from-home mom, for me, specifically, all items needed to fit the following criteria:

– easy to wear as a nursing mom
– comfortable for wearing around the house
– dressy enough that I could easily wear out to lunch with a friend/to look like an actual outfit and not just pjs

I started with a quick list of items that would work as a work/mom “uniform”, thenI made lists of items I had already and items I could be on the lookout for when shopping. I divided them by seasons (basically cold weather/warm weather).

Winter:
– longer sleeved tops
– leggings
– nice pajama/lounge pants
– socks
– nice houseshoes
– nursing-friendly sweaters and cardigans

Summer:
– tank tops, tees – some long and loose-fitting
– nice lounge shorts – loose, comfortable, nice enough to wear out
– sweatshorts
– lighter socks

Look For:
– v-neck tees, long-sleeved
– v-neck tees, short-sleeved (all long and loose)
– long, stretchy tank tops, lower necklines
– comfy, discreet nursing tops
– nice houseshoes
– lounge pants and shorts with pockets
– nursing bras and camisoles

Breaking things down like this really helped me to not be overwhelmed when shopping for nursing-friendly, postpartum clothing and still helps me when shopping now and am deciding on whether items are worth it by reminding me of colors and patterns I like. I’m starting to develop a wardrobe that I really like, with items that I pull out of my closet to wear often. I’d definitely encourage anyone to sit down and make their own lists.

Waters Wears: Flowy Blue

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It’s been a WHILE since I’ve done an outfit post. ‘Bout time I get back to them. I love this top, and the other day I was able to wear it again since we had a colder day in the midst of summery temperatures.

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It’s a pretty great shirt for breastfeeding, and can even kind of double as a cover, but I also just like how flowy and relaxed it is.

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After having these Minnetonka boots and really liking them, I got these softsole ankle boots from them, and I think I might love them. I just love the way they look, and seeing what I can wear them with. I’ve not really been a fan of ankle height boots before once they’re on me, but these are super comfortable. Since they’re softsole, you do have to be careful wearing them if it’s raining, even if you’ve weatherproofed them, but I haven’t had any problems yet.

Dairy and Soy Free

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Several months ago, I gave up dairy and soy for the baby, who has a milk protein allergy. We have had our suspicions since he was a few weeks old, but went through three doctors before finding one who actually believed in our concerns and looked at some of baby’s poop for blood. She could see it immediately. “Yep, that’s a milk protein allergy.” So nice after the previous doctor seemed to not believe us, and even told us that blood couldn’t be found in poop samples (we think he just thought we were new parents who didn’t understand normal baby fussiness was normal. Ugh.)

Thankfully, I finally fully gave up dairy and soy after we found brown flecks in his poop (I know this is a lot of poop talk, but that happens with babies, especially when there’s something up). Honestly, I knew I should have done so earlier, but we were trying to trust the doctor we were seeing at the time, and I was just plain being selfish after having a modified diet during pregnancy, and didn’t want to give up things like yogurt and cheese.

But now, baby is so much better! It’s been so worth it, and things are even better after knowing it’s a milk protein allergy for sure, like an affirmation that we knew what was up with our kid and that all our pushing to get it looked at wasn’t worthless.

So here are some things I’ve learned about eating dairy and soy free as an exclusively breastfeeding mom:

Note: Many babies who can’t handle milk protein also can’t handle soy protein, as they are similar,so as a precaution many moms, like me, choose to cut out both at the start.

1.) Fake butter? So good. Tastes pretty much the same as real butter, maybe just a bit sweeter.

2.) Fake cheese? No good. A sad, sad attempt at a cheese dupe. It’s like the makers are trying to imitate cheddar, specifically, but go a bit too intense with the flavor; dial the flavor strength back, and it might be better. I wouldn’t eat it on crackers, but in sandwiches or sprinkled on salads it at least gives you that similar texture without the powderiness being so obvious, since it’s simply an ingredient and not on its own. It’s also more cheese-like when melted, but even then it’s still better to have it as part of something such as a melt rather than the main ingredient, like in mac n’ cheese. I tried some fake mac n’ cheese, and it just made me sad.

3.) Eliminating dairy and soy can make grabbing a quick meal really hard, so thank goodness for Wendy’s. Not only do most of their breads not contain dairy or soy, their allergen menu is one of the most thorough I’ve seen, listing allergens for specific ingredients and not just whole menu items. (At this point I am still eating foods that may have been fried/grilled/processed, etc. in the same place as dairy and soy, as it seems baby’s allergy is not that sensitive. Some moms do have to give those things up, too.)

4.) Modifying recipes with dairy and soy free products is not so hard in most cases, such as the one for those chocolate chips cookies up there – soy free Earth Balance spread, dairy and soy lecithin free chocolate chips from Enjoy Life. In my experience, almond milk does not effect the taste of baked goods. Finding and trying dairy and soy free baked goods really helped with the transition during the first couple weeks; like, you can still eat yummy things! These brownies are particularly good (listen to her when she says to refrigerate them, it definitely makes a big difference).

5.) Soy lurks in EVERYTHING! You will most likely mess up and eat it several times without knowing. It’s frustrating, but it happens.

Vintage Crochet Collars

Just to clarify at the beginning here, I did not make any of these collars.

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My aunt gave me these several years ago while doing a house clean out/reorganization, and I adore them.

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The buttons are meant to go on the back.

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I thought I would share for some inspiration. I love the details of the tiny thread-crocheted collars, and the floral details on that last one, especially. I always mean to wear them more often, but either forget or can’t seem to find something in my closet that has a neckline and style to work with them. They would look great over a simple, solid-color smock or a-line dress. Or over a simple t-shirt with some jeans and flats.

Pattern Editing

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Writing this pattern was simple; I’ve gotten into the habit of writing my patterns down as I make them, for the most part. Editing it to get it ready for the shop has taken a good bit of time, though, because this particular pattern involves a few techniques that need more detailed directions than most patterns. This meant getting lots of pictures, then editing all those pictures, putting them in the written pattern, and making sure directions are hopefully clear and understandable.

I tried to get pictures on clear days, so that the light coming though my window would be more consistent, and several days where I had planned to shoot turned out to be overcast and rainy. But finally, I have all the pictures needed.

On top of all this, I’m making the pattern in right-handed and left-handed versions. I crochet left-handed, but I know that the majority don’t. I also know from being a left-handed crocheter that there aren’t a lot of patterns that cater to lefty crocheting, and sometimes following patterns can get a bit confusing because of this. Making these two versions meant editing pictures doubly – once for lefties, and then again flipped for righties, and putting those pictures into two separate files. Sort of extra work, but worth it, in my opinion, because since this pattern has a lot of pictures, people can now choose the orientation that best makes sense to them. No headaches or confusion from having to reverse directions in your head.

I’m still finishing up the last few bits, but I’m hopeful that it won’t be too much longer until the pattern is ready and in the shop! It should be a great project and garment for fall and winter. Keep an eye on the shop for the pattern’s release.

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