Thursday, June 30, 2011

Felt Flowers

When blog hopping one day, I found this really cute tutorial for Felt Dahlia Flower Brooch. I wear a flower in my hair every day and was looking to expand my collection (currently I have headbands I made by hot gluing cute flowers I got at Michael’s). I also wanted options other than headbands for the days I wear my hair in a ponytail or bun. I’ve made 5 so far (no they are no addictive at all) 4 for Monkey and I to share and a yellow one for Monkey’s teacher as a thank you present.

They are quick and easy to do. It takes me just under an hour to make one. I did cheat and use a hot glue gun (I’m impatient). The other thing I changed was I cut a fringe strip for the centre of the flowers as opposed to using pinking shears.

They’ve become a big hit at work; everyone wants me to make them one. Instead I’ve been directing them to the tutorial and empowering them to create one on their own. It really isn’t a complicated craft or very time consuming. If I can manage it with 3 kids under foot so can they.

Besides I want them to experience the pride when someone asks them where they got it and they can answer they made it. I also want them to realize that they too are crafty and creative. And then get hooked on those feelings and keep creating. Why should I steal all that glory?

And here is Monkey modeling her flower.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A to Z and Everything in Between

I haven’t been around much lately because I’ve been having a hard time juggling all the balls in my life. The girls just started soccer and for the past 3 weeks we had 2 games a week for Monkey and 1 game for Muffin. On top of it, it seems like I have injured myself so last week I didn’t do any swimming. I have a pain behind my right shoulder blade that feels worse when I raise my arm. I’m going to get into physio this week to have that taken care of because I need to be ready for my race in September. Better it happens now then closer to the race (all though that said, if this was close to the race I would just swim through it and deal with it after).

Monkey's first time playing this year

Muffin's first time playing soccer.



Speaking of not dealing with things, I need to learn to better manage my hypothyroidism. I’m really bad with taking the meds so I can feel better. The problem is I need to take the pills at least half an hour before eating in the morning. Mornings around here are so crazy that I’m at work when I realize that I forgot to take my pills. I think I’m just going to stick the bottle in the bathroom and take them first thing. I’ve never kept them in the bathroom because apparently the heat and humidity in there can make them less effective. But less effective is better than not taking them at all.

I did manage to get some crafts in the last week. I used my friend’s machine to embroider a name on to a baby blanket for my cousin who is expecting a boy in August. I also hand embroidered the baby’s name on a sleeper as well. I created an obi inspired belt that is reversible and a chunky bead fabric covered necklace. I hope to have tutorials up this week for the last two. They were both quick and easy and look super cute.

Baby Sleeper

Obi inspired belt teaser

Chunky fabric bead necklace teaser

I’m just curious how do others deal with the working, housework, working out, me time and enjoying the nice weather with the kids juggling act? Right now working, working out (before work) and enjoying the nice weather with the kids are winning. That said if our wifi connection reached the part of the backyard the kids like to play in I would be able to sneak in some me time too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Fun

I haven't been posting much because I'm working on a new project that I hope to unveil soon with you guys. In the mean time I'll share some cuteness of the kids.

Tutu is climbing everything. Nothing is safe and he has figured out how to move furniture to give him leverage to get to where he wants to go.

Monkey enjoying the backyard swing.

And Muffin being a bundle of energy

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Juggling Priorities

A few months ago I wrote a post about juggling you life. I talked about prioritizing things in your life, focusing on the most important things in your life and how it’s ok if you let a ball drop.

Here I am a few moths later back working full time and juggling that with my adorable children, the house and my creative work. It is so much harder this time around being back at work then the previous 2 returns. My workload has increased tenfold but the amount of time I have to do it in remains the same.

I am struggling currently to try and find more me time to create. I really want to find time at my sewing machine to try out the millions of ideas I’ve found on blogdom as well as ideas I’ve come up with on my own. I want to find time to create an e-course around being creative, making time for creativity and creativity with kids. And eventually do a local retreat around this. But funny thing I barely manage this myself and I want to teach others. Then again those who can, do; those who can’t teach. I guess I fall into the second category. Among the other things I would like to do is generate a bigger readership for my blog, develop it to the pretty eye candy I see out in blogdom and in Artful Blogging (wouldn’t it be amazing to be featured in there one day?). Reorganize my craft studio. The list goes on and on. There is not enough time for everything I want to do.

So my me time is so limited and yet I have a huge to do list for it. Then there is the housework to do. This new house is much bigger then the old house. Just to do the basics takes me 2-3 hours. First I need to pick up all the toys that have migrated around the house (I have playroom in the basement for the kids and yet toys are everywhere), Monkey helps dust and do the windows and mirrors doors in the hallway. Then I sweep/vacuum the floors and the steam mop the floors (I heart my steam mop). I am blessed that my mom does my laundry for me and Rock puts away the laundry. Rock also cleans the bathrooms (not quite the way I would but I’m learning to let go of my need to control everything and do it the right way (my way). And the yard work gets done by my dad. He planted our gardens and flowers and cuts the grass. Did I mention I was blessed?

On top of that is spending time with my kids before they head off to bed. There is the homework struggle with Monkey that I sometimes have to do, because even though Rock gets home earlier then me from work he’s made himself a priority and is trying to get healthier. And now that the weather is nice I’m trying to have all of us take advantage of that by going on family walks or playing outside in our backyard.

And to add to all this I’m also training for the triathlon relay, so 2 mornings a week I get up early to train in the pool. And the other days I go for walks or bike rides with the kids. That said the last few weeks have been bad where I’ve only gotten into the pool once a week. I was suppose to go this morning but I couldn’t drag myself out of bed. Tomorrow there is no excuse. Teething toddlers be dam (Tutu is teething yet again and spending a lot of time nursing at night).

So now I have to reassess my priorities, which have to be done, which I want to be done and which I’m ok with dropping so I can get the most out of my time. I also have to give myself permission to drop the housework ball so I can have some me time. If I don’t’ make myself a priority then no one will. I also noticed that I didn’t’ mention my relationship with Rock; it’s been too long since we made ourselves a priority so I need to schedule a date night with him.

It’s funny because people keep telling me I’m super mom and get so much done and yet I feel like I’m failing because I’m not getting everything done. I do get a lot accomplished but that’s only because there is so much more to do. I may be super mom in other’s eyes but not my own. I need to learn to cut myself some more slack.

I also wanted to share some of my more recent projects.

This is a card I made to send to Rock’s father for Father’s Day. People at work think it’s amazing but all I see is where I can improve. Why must I be my biggest critic?

And I did make an effort this weekend to craft. I tried to make rolled flowers from an old skirt. I don’t like how they turned out but at least I tried and now know how to improve it.

And speaking of failed projects. I had started upcycling this skirt back in February. Well I finished it a few months ago but never posted it because I screwed it up. I figure that I should show my failures as well as successes since we learn from our mistakes (or at least we strive to). I ended up cutting too much material when I was making it smaller so it’s too tight. But I did manage to make it shorter. It’s still a good skirt, it just won’t fit me. Anyone want it? I'm a XL but I cut it too slim and it's meant to be a fuller skirt. I think it would fit a M or L better. I can leave the elastic not sewn in so how ever gets it can adjust it to their waist. Leave me a comment and I will pick a winner.

The pictures aren't great because I had to use my flash but Monkey had her first soccer game tonight and I didn't even get a chance to eat before we left, never mind taking pictures. I will do better next time.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Crafting for a Cure

So the bug that I've been fighting since Monday has finally got a hold of me. Sadly I didn't work out this morning (3rd week in a row) or go to work (I talk on phones for a living, that's not going to help a sore throat and a froggy voice). I stayed home with the 2 little ones who also weren't feeling well.

So today there is no update on my training, but I did want to share a few of my newest projects.

I finished my last Hope picture

So I am donating it to help out a friend raise money for the Weekend to End Women's Cancers. I'm doing this to help up a bunch of people, to help my friend, to help family members who've battled cancer and in MIL's memory. If you want to help out to you can donate here. Please donate if you can, even small amounts help. Even if you can only give $10, it all adds up. If 100 people give $10 then they are $1000 closer to their $10,000 goal.

Because I haven't been feeling good so I thought I would just do some colouring. I printed out a few of my pictures in black and white to colour.

I did my first one and it turned out cute.

And I did a second one.

And I turned it over and thought it looked better on the backside.

So I tried tracing the details onto a page backwards so when I was done colouring it would be the right way on the cool side.

Which lead me to try it on special paper designed for markers.

I love the way they turned out and how it was a process I kept building on.

So today when I was home and surfing the web on my laptop (my biggest accomplishment for the day) and pinning all the things I would love to try and make on pinterst, it got me to thinking that since I returned back to work I don't have time to craft anymore. I guess that's why I post lots of pics of my artwork. Paint, markers, crayons are all portable and things I can work on during my breaks and lunches. Weekends come about and after cleaning the house and doing fun activities with the kids there is very little crafting time. During the week, after dinner and homework we go for walks taking advantage of the nice weather. Then it's bath time and bedtime. By the time everyone is in bed, I want to join them not go pulling out my supplies and craft ( well I do want to I just don't have the energy to do it). Maybe tomorrow I'll pull out my supplies and try and play.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Musical Beds

I've been co-sleeping with my children since Monkey was a few days old. We didn't start out as a co-sleeping family. It was never my intention but I feel it was the best decision I made for all of us.
Originally we started Monkey out in a cradle at the foot of the bed. We did that because a) that's what your suppose to do with a baby according to society, sleeping with your baby is bad and b) we got the doom and gloom speech at the hospital about the horrors of sleeping with your baby. Monkey was about 3 days old when she rolled over while in the cradle and scared us because the cradle wasn't deep and babies that young don't' roll (apparently Monkey didn't read that memo and our family Dr told us we were in for trouble when Monkey repeated that feat in front of her at her 5 day check up). So in the cradle she went and when she would cry I would get up change her bring her into bed, so I could nurse her sitting up and then put her back into the cradle. The problem was I would fall asleep with her in my arms, I figured that it wasn't safe to do that and it was disrupting my sleep patterns and I was having a hard time functioning.

I don't know how mothers who don't co-sleep do it, how they are able to function the next day, getting up, tending to baby and then going back to bed multiple times a night. I'm sure mothers who don't co-sleep wonder how I do it. The important thing is we are doing what's best for us and our families.

I did some research and found out safe ways to co-sleep (yes there are rules to do it safely, when you hear the "horror stories" it's because the co-sleeping wasn't done in a safe manner). The first rendition of co-sleeping was I put a bed rail on the side of the bed and Monkey sleep between me and the bedrail because Rock didn't' feel comfortable with her between us. After a few months, Rock kicked us out of the room because Monkey was a noisy nurser at night and we shared a bed in "her" room. After another few months we returned back but with a new setup, we placed a twin bed by the wall and then butted up the king bed beside that. I would put Monkey to sleep on the twin bed and would start the night on the king size bed, when she would wake up to nurse I would roll over to join her on the twin bed and would remain there till morning (I would be too lazy to wake up and roll back onto the king). This arrangement gives me the best of both worlds. Rock also likes it because he ends up with a king size bed to himself most nights.

We were also told that if we started co-sleeping that we would never get her out of our bed. When she was 2 1/2 she decided she wanted to sleep on her own. We never discussed it, that just what she wanted. It was to our relief because we had just found out we were pregnant again. And I didn't want her to blame the baby that she got kicked out of the bed, plus I didn't have to deal with the kicks while I was pregnant.

With Muffin we did the same thing. There would be nights where Monkey would join Rock in the big bed because I didn't feel it was safe to co-sleep with both of them but as Muffin got older there would be times where Rock would have the king bed to himself and I would share the twin with both the girls. However when I got pregnant with Tutu I still shared the bed with Muffin, we tried to get her to sleep with her sister. She's still be co-sleeping but Muffin was/is such a horrible sleeper that it would result in everyone not getting enough sleep and Monkey needed her sleep because she had school. I don't know why I didn't need sleep but that's beside the point.

Because of everything that happened last year the original plan of teaching Muffin to sleep with Monkey never happened. My mom stayed over to help with my little non-sleeper (there was no way I could be waking with Tutu and MIL and deal with Muffin's non-sleeping periods). So Muffin co-sleeps with my mom. It works for us.

So on a usual night the sleeping arrangements are Monkey sleeps on her own, Muffin sleeps with my mom, Rock sleeps on the king, Tutu sleeps on the twin and I share my time between the 2 beds. There are nights where Monkey and Muffin sleep together but until summer break starts I don't want that to be a regular occurrence because Monkey needs her sleep. We will try again in the summer and establish rules for co-sleeping because they are suppose to be sharing a room.

On a not usual night we sometimes have extra people in the room. Our bed is open to the children. If someone is not feeling good, having bad dreams, or in Muffin's case she had an accident in bed and didn't want to wait for it to be changed before she goes back to sleep they are welcome in our bed. There are mornings where all 5 of us our sharing the beds, usually with the girls sleeping with Rock. Sometimes Muffin joins Tutu and I in the twin (makes for a very tight squeeze for me). We just roll with it because this arrangements means for the most part we all get more sleep.

There are times when Muffin joins Rock and sleeps diagonally on the need and pushes him to the edge of the bed (although I don't know why he doesn't pick her up and move her like I do). There are times when due to illness no one is really sleeping but we're doing what works for us. I'm glad to have those moments sleeping with my children.
I know that in the future (not so distant future it seems) that they won't do that anymore. I will have my body and bed back at night. While part of me is looking forward to that, there is also a part of me that is dreading that because that means my babies are growing up. But for now musical beds will continue to be played in our house. There will be mornings that we will wake up surprised to see and feel a little body snuggled up next to us. There will be nights that there is no mistake a little body has entered the room to sleep with us. But for the most part this arrangement affords us all a good night's sleep.