All things Fall

Hello friends, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but there has been a lot going on these last couple months.  I’ll start with the MOST exciting news – I passed the PMP Exam (Project Management Professional) early September!  It was a professional milestone I was working on for ~9 months and it finally happened!  You may recall my post in June about “treating myself” – that was attempt #1.  It didn’t work out.  It sucked.  I was pretty down, disappointed, and after a week of wallowing, I was more determined than ever to get it done.  Thousands of hours, practice tests, bailing on fun, and discipline I never knew I had went into round 2, and seeing this beautiful sight when clicking ‘submit’ made it all worth it:

After passing that MONSTER, I had an overwhelming sense of relief, and more time available to doing things I love – without the black PMP cloud in the back of my mind.  100% of my summer was spent with my head in the books, and it wasn’t until September 4th until my summer officially started. Below is my attempt to make up for an anti-social summer spent indoors:
1. Time with friends – I just love these peeps:
2. A weekend in NYC – Aside from stuffing my face and walking 15 miles per day, I finally visited the Lion Brand flagship store.  I try to go to NYC at least 1-2 times a year since it’s a short(ish) ride from Boston.  Every time I’m there, the store is closed (their hours are wack, they’re closed on Saturdays – what!?) –  but this time, the stars aligned.  I was in heaven, obvi – and treated myself to a Two of Wands crochet velvet sweater, which is currently in the works:
3. A weekend in Austin – GIRLS TRIP!  Austin rocks. The people are nice, the food is delish, scooters are the preferred mode of transportation, and the music scene is captivating (especially after day drinking).  I loved everything about it, but I mostly loved being with these girls, my friends are the best:
4. A weekend in Buffalo – I can’t get enough of the BUF.  My Dad’s side of the family lives here and I go at least 3-4 times a year. Feels so good to be with family, they’re the best too:
5. A weekend apple picking!  How have I lived in Boston 6 years and never done this? Between my husband and I we probably ate 10 apples each, you know..to get our money’s worth. I love all things fall and will gladly pay a premium for apples that aren’t Honey Crisp.  It was also a perfect opportunity to wear my crochet cardi from OTH Crochet. I LOVE it, and want one in every color.  It took ~ a week to finish, which is nothing.  Check out her site for the pattern 🙂 >click here<
This week, I’m meeting my Mom in Sarasota.  We meet every October for her birthday and stay on the beach for half the time, and with my Aunt and Uncle the back half.  Warm weather and beach time that I never got this summer – check!  Time with my fam – check!
I’m checking all the boxes that I wasn’t able to get around to this summer and it feels so good to be back.
I’m relived the test is done. I’m grateful my hard work paid off.  I’m appreciative of my friends/family for being so wonderful.  I’m ready to start a new season with time to focus on enjoying all the things – fall things!..and Netflix, can’t forget that.

Parent’s Night Out

Admittedly, my husband and I do not do a whole lot of traipsing around together into the night like we used to. 

Babysitters are expensive. So we often trade off turns staying home with our sleeping child while the other goes out and catches up with friends. As an alternative, many plans these days involve other parents and children of similar ages, so it’s pretty commonly understood that we all need to head home by 7pm.
That’s just how our life has evolved over the past few years. 

Finished a blanket for a friend’s baby this last week… it’s heavy on the single crochet, but I think it was a little tight and might have seemed softer (and faster to do) in half double crochet…

But this last Saturday… we had a wedding to attend. And we had a child sleeping over at my mother-in-law’s house. So. We were 100% free to go wherever the night took us. Whatever we wanted to do. For however late we felt like being out.
We opted out of the after party, mostly because I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been out past 10pm this year. Honestly, I do not regret that decision.

Mr. Lion approved of the addition of fringe- a new look for my stuff.

Because we got up early.
We got up at 6am. On our own. On a Sunday. To go to Menards and pick out landscaping-related items.
So there we were at Menards by 7am, considering what kind of mulch to spread in the front yard. 
We went with a natural cedar, if you’re that interested. We also picked up some nice LEDs for our bedroom lights. 

I missed a bobble and didn’t realize it until another 10ish rows in… decided to leave the imperfection in because what in life is ever that perfect anyway?

And then we went out to breakfast. Not brunch, as the younger crowd is so fancy on, but breakfast with the 60 and up crowd. We discussed the decrease in quality of this particular place’s hash browns and created a grocery shopping list. 
Because this is 34.
And I kind of love it. Minus the hash browns. 
They really were that bad. 

-Amy

P.S. You can find the blanket pattern by Daisy Farm Crafts here.

Work-life deadlines

..I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog and insta lately. Mostly because I’ve been swamped at work, adjusting into my new(ish) position, attempting to stay on top of my game, studying for a PMP exam, “training” for a 5-miler, and trying to squeeze in time for self care (yoga, knits and Netflix). 

Naturally, I tried to do both – which was a fail

There is just a lot going on, and I’m having a TIME establishing a healthy work-life balance (parents, I don’t know how you do it). I’m learning as I go, faking it til’ I make it, and trying not to sprout anymore gray hairs in the process.  PS- I recently spotted 3 devil hairs that grow significantly faster and thicker than the others. What’s up with that, anyway?  

Anyway, in midst of all the everyday crazy, that we all endure, I’m frantically trying to finish up this baby blanket for a dear friend’s baby shower in early June (15 days, to be specific).  Of course I’m woefully behind, but was reassured that I’d finish this in time if I stuck to a schedule I made for myself when I started in May. 

~100 rows to get the length aka ~3 rows/day for a month and it should get it done.  I am..behind. Weekends are typically when I have my time to catch up but they’ve been quite packed this month.  

There is just not enough hours in the day..and too many things I don’t want to do that are getting in my way of what I enjoy. This is life, I know and overall it’s good ‘problem’ to have. 

“If I can just make it though this week, I’ll be good” – and I’ll tell myself that for the foreseeable future,  or at least through the end of June. 

How do you prioritize your conflicting priorities in life? What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? I’m open to any and all suggestions on maintaining sanity.  #SOS

~Bailey

Wrinkles

I have wrinkles. 

Not a lot, but enough to be noticeable. Small ones. Mostly around the eyes. They’re starting to intersect each other. Like the road map of a city that has started to expand and grow its own suburbs. 

Wrinkles and the garter stitch- slow and steady. Their progress sneaks up on you…

It’s possible they came from my job, which is an endless cycle of massive deadlines. Just as I’m about to get through a particularly brutal one, another one pops up for the next week. Rinse and repeat. 

It’s possible they came from my husband. By marrying him, I’ve set myself up for an entire lifetime of heckling about my driving and the constant annoyance of dishes piling in the sink. 

It’s possible they came from my son, who has meltdowns over things like his piece of toast tearing into two pieces and me not being able to magically fuse it back together even if IT STILL TASTES THE SAME AND THE END GOAL IS TO EAT IT ALL SO IT WON’T EVEN MATTER.

Sorry guys. Lost myself for a second. We get really passionate about toast around these parts. 

Our issues with toast may be directly related to my coffee consumption. #serenitynow

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. And since I haven’t quite come around to the idea of botox, the wrinkles are seemingly here to stay. 

So instead I have to find a way to embrace them. Perhaps connect good things that come from the decades of stress. 

With each work deadline comes a sense of accomplishment after I’m done. The wrinkles also represent the promotions I’ve received from hard work and dedication to a company I love. 

I’m now basically too anxious to drive with anyone ever because of the endless jabs, but I also have had 7 years of support and love and a few thank yous for when I decide enough is enough and load the dishwasher myself. 😏

And sure, there are terrible two meltdowns on the regular, but I’ve also got a toddler who grabs my wrinkly face and plants kisses on it *almost* daily (he was really upset with me over the toast thing). 

So yeah. My wrinkles are what they are. I guess I’ll own up to them and accept them as a fact of  life. Same as my upcoming, inevitable dive into the mid-30’s scene happening this summer. 

Or…

Or I’ll continue to assault them with every single serum and treatment I can get my hands on at Sephora for the rest of my life. 

Yeah, I’ll probably do that. 

– Amy 

Cross Country Poncho for a Cross Country Friend

I love making garments, accessories, or anything handmade for the people I love.  Not only does it keep me busy for weeks (in this case, months), but once it’s finished and put it in the mail, it’s a great sense of accomplishment.  Patiently waiting for it to arrive to its destination and envisioning the recipient’s face when they open it is the best part..Assuming it fits, and that it’s what they hoped it would be.

Making things for others guarantees that my finished product will not be sitting in my apt somewhere unused, and taking up precious space.  My stash is already closing in on me.  The more things I can gift, the better.  Plus, it makes both parties happy 😊.

I started this poncho in January and it took me ~4.5 months to finish.  Each row took ~15-20 minutes to complete.  I actually timed myself, and could never break my 15-20min row speed, that seems really slow.  It’s usually because I stop, crack my wrists/fingers, change the channel on my show, or do the downward facing dog stretch because all I do is hunch over in concentration, and these old bones are feelin’ it.

There is nothing too complicated about this poncho, it’s double crochet, with a few skipped stitches for the design.  It’s essentially a massive blanket with a hole for the head – I love it. Pattern here.  I can’t love it too much, or otherwise I’d become emotionally attached – IT’S NOT FOR ME, and I reminded myself that every time I picked it up. 

My Mom’s bestie requested this back in December, and when I agreed to give it a shot, I wasn’t anticipating how long it would take.  A whole season has passed us by but luckily this poncho will live in Chicago, so I’m sure it will get a lot of use no matter what.  

I got started on this NYE…

One size fits all should hold true – that is the best project to make for people without overthinking the whole “I hope this fits” question that haunts me with every garment I make.  Thankfully, this is meant to be oversized and cozy and there is nothing better than that. 

What do ya think?

Spring Reflections

Ah, Spring.

A time to put away bulky winter wear and make room for the clothing that takes up less space in our closets.

A time to take everything that no longer pleases us and donate it, throw it away, or stash it in a storage bin and put it in the basement for the next 8 months.

A time to realize that those 20 storage bins, some labeled: “T-shirts I cannot throw away” is 100% unnecessary.

I love to declutter (throw things away), and if it were just me I would feel a sense of accomplishment by the countless bags of clothes that are purged/donated each year.  Less junk means more space, right?  Wrong.  It isn’t just me.  It’s the hubs too – and he has his own hoarding tendencies that are more severe than my own.

I’ve reverted to closing the door to our spare room to avert my eyes from the explosion of clothes scattered and piled everywhere.  Not my mess, not my problem.  Just close the door and pretend the mess isn’t there.

Between the ages of 10 to 18, my Mom tried to instill cleanliness into my routine everyday. It never worked. I’m sorry for being so messy, Mom – and for driving you insane.

I am much better now, it only took me 31 years, and living with someone else to know that messes aren’t welcome, especially when they’re not mine.

I think the only way to remedy this situation, and to spark joy in the declutter process is to watch that Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo“ – I’ve heard it’s quite motivating for those who need a swift kick.  Until the day I can tie down the hubs to watch it with me, I have my own words of wisdom for “tidying up”:

If you answer “NO” to ANY of these 5 questions – THROW IT AWAY!

  1. Have I worn this in the 12 months?
  2. Does this still fit me?
  3. Was this expensive?
  4. Do I plan on wearing …XYZ…this season?
  5. Is this brand within my age range? (ahem..those 10-year-old hoodies from Hollister, A&F, Forever21, – toss that shit, you’re too old!)

Maybe I should make a sign?

Maybe this blog post IS my sign.

Maybe I will just keep my fingers crossed and hope he becomes motivated to purge on his own time.

…or maybe I will just throw it all away because chances are he’ll never notice they’re gone.  Nah, that’s probably rude.

And it’s not just clothes, its knits too.  Just look at this stash collection I’ve created.  I have a problem.

I’ve seen worse, obviously, but this is me not buying yarn for MONTHS (except for that one instance last week), I feel like I still haven’t even put a dent in these bins.  I have no idea what this yarn is even for?  Why did I buy it? Why is it colorful?  What was wrong with me?  I either need to donate this, make something out of it, and THEN donate, or continue to store it for a rainy day.

Ugh, how do YOU become motivated to purge? I’m asking for a friend.

Royal Obsession

I’m a quirky character, if you haven’t already figured that out.

I crochet, for one thing, which seems normal when you follow like 500 like-minded Instagram accounts, but in real life, my partner in crime Bailey is one of the few people I know who knits/crochets on the reg. I do have a friend who does cross stitch, but if we’re going to be a fiber arts snob, that is not the same thing (seriously. It’s not.).

But anyway, there’s more about me that is a little eccentric. I don’t like most fruit. I also have a strong opinion that dessert should not have fruit in it, but if you want to get super technical, I do like Swedish fish and lemon-flavored starbursts (Yes, the lemon ones. You’re now wondering if I’m a sociopath, I get it.).

I don’t care for riding bikes, not one bit, as I believe I’m better off with both feet touching the ground.

I can’t stand being late, but we’ve already examined that psychological problem in detail.

And…

I’m obsessed with the Royal Family.

It likely stems from the fantasies of being a princess that many little girls grew up with. Or that because I grew up on a farm in the heart of the U.S. versus in a CASTLE, that I’m so fascinated by a life so different than my own.

Either way, obsessed.

Remember when Will and Kate tied the knot? I convinced my friend Monica it would be a good idea to get up at 3am and watch the wedding on the treadmills at the gym. I had the nuptials streaming with my headphones in at work. And then I proceeded to watch coverage of it from the time I got home that night until I went to bed. Literally 5-6 hours of replaying things that I had already watched. Obsessed.

When Harry and Meghan got married? Same thing, but I had a kid, so I tried to convince him the horses on their carriage were fun to watch so I could maximize my news coverage instead of changing to Saturday morning cartoons.

I actually looked up flights to England to get in on the pre-wedding hype. Seriously.

Flights were cheap, lodging was the bigger issue. If you were curious.

I binge watched The Crown, and watched every documentary on the family that Netflix has to offer. Queen Elizabeth is the epitome of boss bitch and I love her for it. Her elegance? Perfection. Her steadfast rule? Legendary. The perfected side eye of disapproval?

YASSSS QUEEN.

So, as you can imagine, waiting around for Harry’s royal spawn has started to get very exciting.

Girl or boy? Will it have red hair? Meghan’s smile? Harry’s care free personality? How many names will they get? SO MANY THINGS TO WONDER ABOUT.

Not a blanket for Harry and Meghan, but a baby blanket nonetheless. They’ve likely got a million already made for them in silk and cashmere, so I’ll just continue making mine for charity and call it a day. 😊

The moral of the story is if I seem distracted this month, this is one of the reasons why.

And for real, Netflix, when do we get a release date for The Crown’s third season?

-Amy