Monday, April 25, 2016

Updated** Crochet Big HoneyComb Area Rug!

I got a bit behind on my rug last week so I used the weekend to catch myself up!

Our new couch was FINALLY delivered Saturday, after waiting 2 months- we were super excited!

So I am trying to really bust a move on this rug!

It is big enough now that I actually stood on it to see how it felt and it is Wonderful! Better than any rug I have ever felt!

 If you seen the original post Here you know there is quite the difference from 2 weeks ago!

This rug really does work up fast but having it 60" wide means that even fast rows take time. I timed myself just to see about how long each row would take.. The single crochet row (between each HoneyComb row) took about 8 minutes.. The Honeycomb rows take about 15 minutes..

I have about 4 sections left to add, not including the partial that is started.

When I did the math and estimates on this, I thought it should measure about 130".. Being that I am not concerned with gauge and things like that it'll be interesting to see how long it actually turns out.

This is pretty handy; Because of how I am doing it I don't think you'll be able to see if there is a little size difference in the panels..
I am adding the same number of rows to every panel. If I was off in the number of rows I think you would be able to tell more so than being off by an inch..

That's all for today!

I plan to speed through the next couple of panels, so be sure to check back for updates, a new color should be added within the next few days too, I hope ;)


                           
                              **UpDate

Well, I haven't quite gotten to the new color yet.. I will very soon though, I have about 4 rows left!
I just thought I would share the progress.
It is really shaping up and actually LOOKS like a rug now!





Friday, April 22, 2016

Rheumatoid Arthritis- The Beginning

I never planned to use my blog to tell about my personal journey.
 
I had this idea that it should be all about the crafts that I love and the things I enjoy doing and sharing.
After some reflection I realized that this maybe a great place to share-so that maybe someone can benefit from my experiences.

So many of us have things to battle..
Everything from health issues to kids, parents, spouses and who even KNOWS what else..
While there are literally tons of things on the internet about most of those topics, there are very few like this one; With an actual person telling what happens and how it feels.. 

With my last post being about bad side effects to medication that I was taking, I thought that others who are suffering may find solace in the fact that they aren't alone.. I know I do!!

Since I've made this decision, let me give you a bit of background on my Rheumatoid Arthritis;

I was about 26 years old when I started noting differences in how I feel.
If I remember correctly the first thing that happened when I knew something wasn't right is that my knee locked up. It was the most painful thing I had experienced at the time. I would literally have to climb into my car backwards and flip around because I couldn't even bend my knee enough to get in the car, that lasted about a week but my knee was tight and tender for weeks afterward.. Then my other knee did it. Then my shoulders went out and I could barely get dressed.

Ever cry while putting on your shirt because you have to move a joint that it's feeling very jointy?
Or Shuffle your pants up from the floor onto your body because you can't bend anything the right way to accommodate?

My feet would hurt severely-and still do. I developed modules on the bottom of my right foot and over a couple of months I noticed that my toes were not quite the same.. So much so that the modules under (now both) feet push against the bones and the whole top of my feet look swollen and even bruised sometimes. Walking is usually very uncomfortable and even severely painful. I haven't been able to wear high heels for about 7 years and I used to love them.. Now my shoes are either ugly or uncomfortable. I also use a cane when ever necessary.
We have hardwood floors in our home. I haven't walked around anywhere in our house without my Orthoheel slippers for over a year. If my feet are feeling better than usual I might attempt walking around my house for a second, but the pain comes rushing back, so I avoid it. (it feels as if the bones in the top of my feet are broken when I step down and apply pressure. This is not the case.. but it feels exactly how I imagine that would feel)..

This may sound funny, but I never realized your toes have necks (at least mine do/did) until they went away.. on each foot I have a toe that is always inflamed, so those 2 toes look like sausages and they have separated from the rest of my toes. (ahh, the things you notice when you must.. lol)

I think you get the idea..


So I started compiling a list of all of the things that had been going wrong in the last 2 years (at that time). It was a pretty lengthy list, unfortunately..
I called around because at that time I didn't have medical insurance. Medical bills are NOT something I like to mess with! I was a single mom of 2 boys at that time, too..

I found a great doctor that was very interested in helping me. Not only did he look at my list and take it seriously, he cut his office visit cost so I could afford it.
He also didn't require all of the X-rays since my Rheumatoid factor was more than double what it should be.

I seen him for a couple of years and he was great!

Now, Thankfully, we have medical insurance. Of course, my Doctor doesn't take what we have, so I need to find a new one..

This post's sole intent is to just BE there, on the internet.. for anyone who happens to need to search for such things.. As I was going through the stages of this, I searched for a long time and found very little information in this context (a real life account of what is happening and what it feels like).. There was plenty on WebMD, but you know how that is, you put in symptoms and it tells you the top 20 things that could be wrong.. NOT much help.. There are blogs out there too, great ones that I need to start looking closer at, but I didn't see many accounts of the beginning stages and how it felt..

I'm not going to publish all sorts of posts about my aches and pains, Lord knows every one has enough of their own!

But if your searching for answers and you come across my blog and it helps you in any way, I have been successful.

If you haven't already seen my post about Humira *Rheumatoid Arthritis and a rare side effect from Humira*, check it out;
I know my case was rare and hopefully you never need to find out..
but you may find it interesting if you got this far :)

Take Good Care and God Bless!


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rheumatoid Arthritis and a Rare Side Effect from Humira..

Hello =)

I have been thinking a lot lately about sharing a difficult time in my life with you all..

It occurred to me recently that as I was going through it and searching the Internet for helpful things, very little of it actually helped me in my situation..

I am 33 and have Rheumatoid Arthritis.
About 3 years ago my Rheumatologist began me on Humira injections.

I can't begin to describe how difficult it was to give my self this shot.
It hurt bad going in and was agitated for a couple of days afterward.
I give BIG props to anyone who has to inject or poke themselves on a regular basis. It is HARD!!
So I was on Humira for about a year. I seemed to be feeling better and wasn't in as much pain all day.
Which was Great!

Out of no where the palms of my hands started to blister up, then the bottoms of my feet did the same.. Small blisters that would seem to spread all over the palms of my hands (not my fingers too, which I thought was odd).. They would kind of pop then reappear.. (The exact time frames are a little sketchy because I didn't think at the time to write these things down.) My hands were bad but my feet were awful. They felt bad and made everything about my days difficult.

So my hands and feet were like that for a few months.... and then my hair started to fall out. 
I remember being in the shower washing my hair and there was more then usual wrapped around my fingers.. over the next 2 months my hair would continue to fall out in clumps. All the way to my scalp.. I was nearly having a mental breakdown over it..

I never thought I was this vain!!
I had threatened for years that I wanted to shave my head, but I could never actually DO it.. It was like Karma said ok, let's see how you like it!

Anyway.. I was calling my Rheumatologist to seek advise and was told to see a Dermatologist. (oh, and I quit taking Humira because in my mind it was THE DIRECT link)
I voiced my HUGE concern that Humira was the cause of my hair loss and was told that was not the case. He gave me some shampoo (that you can buy over the counter as well, I'll have to find the name of it)  It's something like "therapeutic shampoo- for severely dry scalp.. and that basically killed whatever was "about" to fall out and my hair came out in big clumps for a couple of weeks.
I couldn't scratch my head because it was so dry that big patches would just come out.. (I don't really want to be gross but I guess the whole point of this is that if ANYONE ever has a need, MAYBE seeing this could help.. So in light of that..) When my hair fell out it wasn't just strands.. When I say clumps, I mean that the hair was connected to the dead skin still.. so I had BIG raw patches on the top of my head..

As it turned out, what happened to me is rare and it was Humira that caused it according to my Rheumatologist..

By the end of the shampoo treatments (I had to let it soak on my head for 10 minutes a day for about 2 weeks) nearly the whole top of my head was bald but not the back or sides.. I was thankful for that, at least, don't get me wrong.. but I had to cut about 15" of hair off the back.. 
But I was planning my wedding and was so embarrassed to be in public without some kind of hat on ( I have never worn hats much, but during this time I owned about 4 and never did anything without one on my head..), that I decided that I had to get a wig.

THAT is not something that I EVER thought I would be shopping for..
My fiance made it clear that I was worth the money that it would cost (about $350 for a 3/4 wig)..
It was difficult for me to want to spend so much money on something that should have been so trivial..
I was lucky that not all of my hair fell out, so I didn't need a "full" wig..
I will say that I was able to almost match my hair color with the wig and that was important to me.


I don't have many pictures of myself during this time. I never wanted to look back on that time..

Except my engagement photos (with the hat of the moment) 


                                                 And our wedding photos (with the wig)

Having the wig really did make me feel much better on my wedding day. I felt almost normal. I had several friends say how great it looked and they couldn't believe that it was fake.


It is kind of hard for me to share these kind of details in this way.. All I could think of is that if SOMEONE had thought to do something like this maybe it would have helped me.
My hope is that it helps someone and that makes it very worth it! 

My hair has been growing back now (with out ANY more issues) for 2 years.. I look forward to the day in about a year when I can trim it all the same length again..

And hey.... I'll NEVER threaten to shave my head again... haha

That side effect changed my life.. I now have a hard time taking medications..
I have been subconsciously boycotting them since this happened. Don't get me wrong, I was trying to take the other medication that I had, but I had this mental block and every time I took it I felt completely sick..
Now.. KNOWing that I had this mental block should help me get past it, right?
So far, that has not been the case.
I understand that I will Probably not lose my hair again.. BIG Bonus, Right!?
Still, I struggle with that block..
So, until I get past that block and get back on something to help, I have to deal with far too many pains and aches, that can bring you to tears.
The laundry list of the areas that hurt is mind boggling. You would think that would help with this mind block situation..
Maybe now that I have aired my fear to the world I will realize that- I indeed am not alone.. Which is the whole purpose of this, isn't it.. To show YOU that YOU aren't alone..  

hmmm.... I'm sensing a connection.. ;)

So maybe I can take a little comfort in this myself, too!

If this post helped you in any way, please let me know.
I don't get much activity on my blog and it would be wonderful to know that this information really helped someone!!

Take Good Care and God Bless!!!!  

I also posted this month *Rheumatoid Arthritis- The Beginning* (Click Here to see that post) in which I tell of my early experiences as I came to realize that I have RA.                                              

Monday, April 18, 2016

Flower Watercolor

Hello!

Lately I've gotten very interested in painting..
I haven't done much of it yet, except to dabble a bit with my water color set..

I really want to try out all sorts of different medias', but for now, since it's Spring!! I thought this was a cute little thing to share. :)

 
I'd love to say that I came up with the flower myself but I am not that good! haha
This is a stamp from Close to my Heart. Someday I will be a consultant again.. hahaha
 
Anyway, I stamped the flower on scrap paper and then stamped on my work so it was just a vague outline. Then I just added color where I thought it should go.
 
I don't think this was too shabby for my first watercolor attempt.
 
I think I've found another passion,
Hopefully I am able to achieve what I hope to!
 
 
Have anything you'd like to share with me?
I'm all eyes.......

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Perfect *Nut Free* Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake!

I know I don't usually post food stuffs but I worked pretty hard on coming up with the idea for my sons 8th birthday cake and I thought it would be a great thing to share with others.

My son's best buddy has a peanut allergy.. Needless to say, it was a BIG deal to figure out a good cake that everyone could enjoy! A trip to the ER was NOT in the schedule!

As I was researching it I found that there weren't many recipes that are Nut Free!

I found that Golden Oreo's are nut free and my son doesn't like chocolate, so vanilla was perfect!
He also loves Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream..


As you can see above I used 2 gallons of Mint chocolate Chip ice cream (that I whipped up in a bowl to make it soften faster), 1 1/2 packages of Golden Oreo's broken into chunky pieces and a big tub of Cool Whip (I also used the chocolate shell topping but it really didn't work out quite right so I would do it without next time).. (I really didn't use the hotdog buns, haha, just didn't notice them at the time)

I lined the bottom of my 9x13 pan with a generous helping of Oreo crumbs, added the ice cream to the top of that and smoothed it out. As you are working on the rest of it the ice cream will melt down into the cookies.

Once the ice cream is smooth add the Cool Whip generously (because who doesn't LOVE Cool Whip!?)
Then you just add the cookies as a boarder around the edges.

This leaves a nice opening if you want to write on the cake, too!

I have to admit, it looks better before you cut it, haha..
I can honestly say this is the Best cake I have ever eaten!
 
If you don't LOVE Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream you can try it with any kind!
 
Don't underestimate this bad boy, just because it's nut free (yours doesn't have to be!), you wont be able to put your spoon down! 
 
Even if you aren't searching for the Perfect Nut free cake, You have got to try this! ...the variations are endless!!
 
If you do make it, let me know what you think, please!
 

Crochet HoneyComb Stitch BIG Area Rug!

Hi Again!

I mentioned that I have been crocheting like mad and it didn't stop with the baby shower I was preparing for!

Right after I finished with those gifts I started on an area rug for our living room. We have hardwood floors and my sore, arthritic feet can't take it anymore!

We painted recently (I LOVE bright colors!) We have a new couch being delivered the end of April, so its the perfect time to get those color accents in!
 
 
 
I made a small rug years ago using the Cross Stitch and loved the way that turned out. But I wanted to try something different so I handed my husband the stitch book and told him to pick what he likes. (mind you, HE doesn't crochet so he was just going by looks)..

We are fond of abstract and circle designs so when he picked the HoneyComb stitch I wasn't surprised ;)

I wanted it to be fluffy and squishy so I wanted to use a large hook. I went with the P (11.50mm) and started the rug by chaining about 105 (increments of 3 for this stitch).

I decided to try something very different from anything that I have seen so far..

I am working this with 2 strands of yarn beginning with "off White".
It'll be 3 skeins each of 2 white, 1 white 1 grey, 2 grey, 1 grey 1 medium blue, 2 medium blue, 1 medium blue and 1 dark blue then 2 dark blue.. (I still need to pick up the medium blue but I have here - Off white, medium grey mix and Ocean.
I don't know if that put a picture in your head or just confused the heck out of you.. ha ha
It'll be much easier when I can post pics of it..
Day 1
This is the area I am making it for. I wanted to lay it out and see exactly how wide I wanted it. That is about 4 feet.

Day 3
If you look close to the pic above, (first you'll see my crying face..lol, real tears-haha) If you look at the rows the arrows point at closely you'll see my problem.. My row is off and my Honeycombs match up now instead of being off-set.. That stinks. It'll be VERY visible and has to be corrected.. Fortunately I only had to rip out 3 rows to fix it! Thank Goodness I check my work.. 
Day 3
Now THIS time everything looks perfect!
I just thought I would show why it can be SO important to watch your work/pattern closely.. I've had to rip out MANY things because I didn't pay close enough attention..
If your a crocheter or knitter you understand how it feels to rip it out and start over.. But it's a great feeling knowing that you made something and the pattern is right on!
 
Day 5
Day 5


 **UpDate**
                                                                      Day 6
I wasn't too sure about this as I added the second color (grey) to the cream.. As I started getting rows done I could see that it looks kind of cool.. If you read the rest of this post you already know the color scheme I am going for. I can't wait to add the next colors so it'll really start coming together!

I am taking time every night to work on this project. Our new couch will be here within the next 2 weeks. While I doubt I'll have this DONE by then, I plan to have a pretty good dent in it so I can get it on the floor ASAP!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
I'll be adding to this post often to show the progress on the rug.
 
This post has been updated
and is Located Here
 
 
Do YOU crochet?
Please share,
I'd LOVE to hear about it!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Baby Crochet...


I've been crocheting like mad!
I found out someone near and dear is having a baby boy!
I just love babies!!
So I immediately started making a little stuffed dog for him...then a Duckie bib (which I just LOVE)..then the coolest blanket I've ever seen (I've NEVER seen a round one before, Shut the front door!!) I love to be different and while I feel like this is Definately different- it is super neat and kind of original... I used someone elses' pattern (which is why it's only Kind of original, hahaha) and just love the way it turned out! The best part is... If you screw up a little bit (not that I did!! hehe) you would have to search pretty hard to see the screw up (or a couple of missed stitches..)!


I was so happy with this blanket and thrilled to be able to give it to the soon to be new mommy. I hope she likes it half as much as I liked making it for them!
 
 
Blanket Edging
__________________________________
 
I had some pretty big ideas when I began these projects.. I have made several animals before (elephant, koala bear, mouse to name a few) but those guys weren't quite as much work as this dragon that I fell in love with..
 
I decided to match him with the blanket and use the same yarn.
The only thing I regret is not thinking of this when my 2 boys were babies!
They both want a dragon now.. (11 and 8 years old. haha) 
I've never used safty eyes before, so I opted to sew them on instead. That can be tricky as working in rounds like you do on animals means the stitches won't be exactly straight.. I think I did pretty good on this guy, but the dog's eyes below got a little out of whack (I used buttons on the dogs eyes, but I secured them into the dogs ears {by sewing ears on with the tail of the eyes}then  into the back of his head seam, just to be safe. haha)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                     I just love his dogish looking ears!!
 I purposefully overstuffed the dog a little bit.. I know that he will flatten out (I have a very flat elephant that I made about 10 years ago..that I need to restuff..lol)
 
 I seen the little dragon rocker and just HAD to add him to my gift! Even if his coloring IS off ;)
Of course I HAD to make a cool card to go with all of the hand made items!
Which is handy because I really like making cards!
They already had his name picked out, so I got to make it even more special by sewing that on his card as well!
 
Now...................
I'm making a BIG HoneyComb Stitch Crochet Area Rug...
check back soon to see the progress! 
I plan to have that done pretty quick.. but it could still take awhile.. all good things, you know.. ;)
 
Thanks for checking me out!
Come back soon!
 
 
I am linking this to