FRIENDS CAL Week #1: The One with the Couch

The time has finally come for our FRIENDS themed graphgan crochet-a-long (CAL) to begin! It seemed only fitting that our first week’s inspiration comes from the opening credits-the couch in Central Perk.

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That orangey couch is not only in the opening credits, but it’s seen in every episode that has a scene in Central Perk, which is practically every episode. That couch has seen a lot-from runaway brides (Rachel fleeing her wedding to Barry in the very first episode) to Phoebe’s boyfriend that didn’t wear enough clothing to some fabulous guest stars (Robin Williams and Billy Crystal).

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In homage to this piece of furniture that was an anchor for so many, I give you ‘The One with the Couch’:

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couch-50x25-full

The One With the Couch (and hook).jpg

Love my hook and want one of your own? Head on over to Angie at Harper Baby Shop.

For more information on the this CAL or to purchase your copy of this crochet-a-long, head on over to my Ravelry store.

Feel free to make and sell products using this, but because I put a lot of time and love into this big CAL project, I ask that you give me credit or if it’s online somewhere, you link back to me. If you’re not a part of our CAL Facebook group, come and join us. We have a special Facebook group reserved only for those that are doing the FRIENDS CAL with us (you can find information on how to join that particular group in your purchased pattern).

I can’t wait to see what you do with this! The official hastag for this CAL is:

#CHAOSANDCHOPSUEYFRIENDSCAL

“Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You’re gonna love it!” –Monica

<3, Angela

A Twin Birth Story

A fellow twin momma friend of mine, who among many things, happens to be a doula. April is Cesarean Awareness month and in honor of that, she asked for my birth story knowing that I gave birth to my twins via cesarean section almost four years ago.

I’ve never told my story in a public way, nor did I ever think it was of any importance to anyone. That was until I realized how empowering it is to read and hear about others’ experience with their own births. Not one is ever the same. Even with striking similarities, there will never be anyone that will understand it from your point of view.

My friend Jenn over at Asana Doula Services has been running a series on her Facebook page to celebrate Cesarean Awareness month with cesarean birth stories of all sorts, including her own. The purpose of this month is to raise awareness to help prevent unnecessary cesarean births and to advocate for VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean).

Here is my story:

 

pregnancy photo

My favorite pregnancy photo, taken by a friend’s mother.

My husband and I had been trying for just over five years to get pregnant. We knew right off the back we’d need help. So five years of off and on fertility treatments went by with one pregnancy that I miscarried just days after positive bloodwork.

 

The day of our last shot at getting pregnant was like any other time we tried. My husband and I would drive to the reproductive laboratory located away from the hospital, where he would leave me alone in a waiting room with a television and some hot apple cider to go and “do his thing.” I never saw another person in that waiting room the entire time we were there. We had to wait about an hour for the lab to do what they needed to do, after which, I would leave the lab with a tiny vial tucked between my boobs to transport it to the hospital where the fertility clinic was located. On this particular morning, my husband and I drove to the laboratory separately because he was not following me to the hospital. It was not a big deal to me at this point since we were already in the state of mind where we thought that this was never going to work. All I was doing at the hospital was laying on my back for 30 minutes after they turkey basted me with that vial I was holding between my boobs. We like to joke that my doctor got me pregnant while my husband was at work. This being our last shot at getting pregnant (hubby had already started the adoption research), we went all ‘balls to the wall’ in.

Raccoon Eyes

The ultrasound that confirmed that we were having twins. We nicknamed this ultrasound “Racoon Eyes.”

You have to wait an incredibly long time between the procedure and getting confirmation whether you were pregnant or not. At least it felt like an incredibly long time. Two weeks. Two weeks is a long time when you’re in this sort of situation. I wasn’t careful for those two weeks between treatment and bloodwork this last time–I did everything they tell you not to do when you’re pregnant or hope to be pregnant like I had listened to for the last five years. Low and behold, I received a call the same day as my bloodwork and I was pregnant! Yay! 24 hours later I had to go in and have my hormone levels checked again to make sure they were multiplying the way they should. I got a phone call before I even got home from the fertility clinic saying that my levels were terrific and a bit…er…high. I needed to schedule an ultrasound in two weeks so we could “figure out who all was in there and how many of them there were” (famous words from my fertility specialist). Levels are supposed to double every 72 hours, and mine had more than tripled, which is usually an indicator of more than one baby. For two weeks, my husband and I were shitting bricks and trying to figure out what we would do if we had quadruplets (it was a possibility). Anyway, we found out we were having twins.

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This was how we announced my pregnancy.

Even though I had an uncomplicated pregnancy, I still had OB visits every week until the end, when I was there at least twice a week. This was because of my past history and difficulties with getting pregnant. My husband left for a deployment when I was 17 weeks pregnant, just days before my anatomy (and gender) scan with a perinatologist. At 26 weeks, I was ordered to cut down my work days to half days (I was a preschool teacher and play therapist). twinsSomewhere around 30 weeks, my doctors and I started talking about labor and delivery. I don’t really recall receiving any clear options or information about birthing plans (which is something I didn’t really know about until it was too late). By now both of my babies were breech where they proceeded to sit for the remainder of my pregnancy. My doctors planned a Cesarean section for me at 38 weeks because they said they wouldn’t let me go beyond that for the health of myself and my babies, though my doctor said he doubted I’d ever make it that far along because of my height and how far out I was already carrying my babies. I can’t say my uneducated-self disagreed with him there.

33 Weeks

Me @ 33 weeks. This is my last photo of my pregnant belly.

At 31 (and again at 33) weeks, I was admitted to Labor and Delivery (L&D) after a check-up because my contractions were too frequent for my doc’s liking. Thankfully they were able to slow them down without meds and sent me home both times. Lucky for me, my husband was sent home from his deployment mid-tour at 32 weeks to attend a school located near us because it coincided with the babies’ birth. I was lucky to have him home because I don’t know how I would have survived with him gone those last few weeks. I didn’t know how much help I really needed until he came home. Somewhere around my 32 or 33 week appointments, my doctor saw me standing up (he usually only saw me on the table, so this was a bit different) and he jokingly teased me in his thick Southern accent saying, “My, you’re just about round as you are tall.” Standing at only five feet tall, it was entirely possible. I later went home and measured myself, and sure enough, I was more around that I was tall at that point. My last day of work was Monday, April 30 (34 weeks) but I had been miserable for about a week before that.

On Wednesday, May 2, my husband came home from school that day and jokingly said he wanted to take me to the gym and walk a couple miles on the treadmill because he really didn’t want to go on a long run that was scheduled the next day. Well, at midnight that night I had to call my OB because my contractions were less than 15 minutes apart. I went into L&D at midnight (so now it’s May 3). By the time we got there, my contractions were closer to five minutes apart. After four hours of trying to get the contractions to slow down, they only sped up to three minutes apart. I wasn’t dilated but a smidge either. At about 4:30am my anesthesiologist came in and gave me the run down on what was going to happen just in case we went in to deliver that morning. He said it would all happen quickly with quite a few people around and he wanted me to be prepared and to be able to answer any questions I had then. He was a sweet man, but that’s all I remember about him.

When my doc finally made the call that we were going to go forward and have me some babies that day, it all went by in a blur. I was given some meds to relax me because I was starting to panic and freak out a little bit. Man, that was some good stuff…I was completely awake, just relaxed. I should say here that I wanted to have my babies vaginally, but both babies were breech. I would have been able to deliver them vaginally if baby A had been head down, but such was not the case. I remember being wheeled into the Operating Room (OR) without my husband who was in the waiting room waiting for the nurse to come and get him when they were ready for him to be in the OR. I moved myself onto the table and gave my nurse a big hug while the anesthesiologist gave me my spinal block. I squeezed the crap out of her and she was so nice about it. I recall apologizing profusely for squeezing so hard. While I was laying down waiting while they prepped, I remember the doctor yelling “Get the husband! Get the husband!” He almost missed it and had to run with the nurse through the hallway while putting on his gown and hat. Between getting my spinal and delivering the babies, it all happened so fast and with the meds they had given me, the actual delivery is a blur.

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image via Wanelo

At 6:59am May 3, T and E were born at 34.5 weeks. T was 5 pounds 2 ounces, and E was 4 pounds 4.5 ounces. I couldn’t see what was going on because I had a screen blocking me from seeing my belly, but they brought T over to me and gave him to my husband. I got to smell his head and give him a nuzzle. E was whisked away to the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) after being shown to me briefly. My husband followed her down to make sure everything was okay. Other than being little, she was perfect. I remember not getting to touch either one of them because my hands were strapped down sticking out from my body like I was on a crucifix.

Once I was in the recovery room, my husband was able to come in with T. I was still shaky and numb from the anesthesia wearing off so I was afraid to hold him, so my husband held him for me so I could nuzzle him. Soon I was in my room with T bedside. As soon as I could feel my legs, I was able to shuffle myself into a wheelchair, and go down to the NICU to see E. She was the happiest little baby. She was tiny, but one of the bigger babies down there (she missed the regular nursery by just a few ounces). And she was so happy. She smiled as soon as I picked her up and spoke to her. The hardest part of the delivery was having my babies in two separate places. Neither could go see each other, and wouldn’t see each other until they were 10 days old when E was finally released from the NICU. On my very first Mother’s Day, E came home and I was able to hold both my babies together for the first time ever.

First Mothers Day

My first Mother’s Day: the day E came home and the first time the babies were together since their birth

My story is not very detailed and without feelings or emotions because that’s kinda how I see their birth. It was so sterile and without much emotion until it caught up with me a bit later. I kinda got swept away by the doctors and was lost. I didn’t know about doulas, and now that I do, I realize I really could have used one there with me. I didn’t know there were things I could do–to advocate for myself and my babies. I thought, ‘Well, the doctors know what’s best, so why would I question it?’ It’s a very naive way to think, but I had done so much research on how to get pregnant and stay pregnant, I thought I had 4 more weeks to prepare on how to approach the delivery. I feel robbed of the clarity that I seek from their birth now just like the feeling in the pit of my stomach I get when I think about how I couldn’t handle breastfeeding my twins alone (my husband had to go back to finish his deployment before the babies were a month old).

my body

I am strong because of this..not weak because my birth story is different.

For the longest time as a brand new mom, I felt judged for this and as though I never “fit” with the different types of moms. I wasn’t crunchy enough to friend the hardcore crunchy moms because I had a c-section and *GASP*…I formula fed, and because I had twins, many of the people I met didn’t understand what that meant. I felt alone in the beginning. Gradually things got better and I met some lovely moms that I talk to nearly every day. Now I realize that it doesn’t matter how my children were born, only that we were all safe and healthy, and that I played a role in making that happen. That makes me strong.

Check out this link to see my story where it was originally posted.

 

April Desktop Background

April Desktop Background

It’s April! Time to do a little Spring cleaning and change your desktop background! Click here to can grab your own copy! Or check out this post on how to customize your own!

April Desktop Background

Customize and organize your desktop with this background brought to you by Chaos&ChopSuey.

It’s LIVE on Ravelry!

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After a lot of work and help from my testers, my Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cone Slouchy Hat pattern is ready for purchase! You can check it out and purchase it here on Ravelry. Don’t forget to drop a heart while you’re there!

The first 100 people to purchase my pattern on Ravelry will receive a discount of $2.00 off using the coupon code: FIRSTPATTERNISUP

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Tag me on your creations with #chaosandchopsuey or #mintchocolatechipslouchy

Can’t wait to see what you create!

The Price of Pretty

I like glitter. Probably a little too much. My mom says I’ve always loved glitter…on everything. I also happen to like glue. I like scissors and tape and pretty paper. I love yarn and my sewing machine. I love beads and wire and buttons. Don’t forget about the buttons. And felt and fabric (but let’s skipping the ironing part of sewing, because really, who likes to iron?). These are the random things that make me happy and get the wheels turning in my head. I dream in crafty-vision.

b85f2c0632ad436d90684ed74deedfc6I grew up with an extremely crafty mother. I mean, seriously. I can remember my mom teaching me how to sew on her sewing machine with pieces of scrap fabric when I was little. Probably before I even started kindergarten. And then it was cross-stitch. And then it was following sewing patterns on my mother’s sewing machine. And then scrapbooking came into the picture. Then beading. It was a lot of fun having a mother that crafted. Sometimes we worked together, but sometimes it was nice to just go at it alone.

I know my love for creating things came from my mother. And I’m grateful that she shared that with me. Not only did I inherit her crafty her hands, but learned how to visualize and plan out a project from start to finish. She taught me how to have a vision and think outside the box to see it through. I learned perseverance. I gained confidence and self esteem with each project I finish and each obstacle I overcame.

df9b8b8d0a90f2199f73c2e492407890If you’re not a crafty person, you may not see these things in a finished piece of work, but a lot more goes into handmade items than just the basic materials. Sometimes it’s more than blood, sweat, and tears. Sometimes it’s a string of 4-letter words not meant for my toddlers’ ear and more tears. But there’s always love and passion put into handmade items. With your finished handmade item, you are receiving a bit of the artist behind it-the hours and hours it took perfecting their craft; the countless failed attempts at the final project (think: versions of technology that are released. There are ALWAYS prototypes.); and the time it took to create the item.

 

ee5f6ea56616da80a4e67888fca447ceBefore you hire an accountant, you make sure that they have the proper credentials. While the artist of a handmade item may not have earned a special degree to create the item, it doesn’t mean you should discount their experience any less. The next time you receive a handmade gift or gawk at the price tag on a handmade item, just remember that more goes into handmade items than materials.

Now that my mom and I live so far apart, we don’t have the opportunity to do crafty projects together often. But when she does come to visit, I ALWAYS have a project or two for us to work on. Same thing when I visit. Now that I am a mother myself, all three generations get to be crafty together! Hopefully I will pass on the same love and appreciation for handcrafted things to my children, if not the love for creating.

Happy crafting!

No-Bake Speckled Cupcakes

2015 was the year I declared I would learn a new skill–crochet. Likely if you are reading this, you’ve seen all the friggin adorable crocheted things on Pinterest (which is where my desire to learn this craft came from). Well, I did it. In July of 2015, I borrowed this book from the library (which I highly recommend if you’re a beginner or want to learn) and taught myself how to crochet.

dino and unicorn

Not wanting to make a million potholders and granny squares, I chose to make a unicorn by OneDogWoof for my little E. She loved it. Of course, T then wanted one for himself. So I tweaked the pattern a little bit and was able to come up with a dinosaur for him to love on. (They both picked out their colors.) Some say it was an ambitious first project, but I know if I didn’t have to think about HOW it works, I would have lost interest quickly.

These last few months have been a blast. I’ve been crocheting like crazy and making lots of fun things for everyone (more on those to come). I even joined a group on Facebook full of “hookers”(those who crochet because we use hooks!) for support, help, and ideas. The group belongs to Sarah Zimmerman, who is the brains behind Repeat Crafter Me.

I recently shared my latest creation in the group, and the positive response was overwhelming! I mean, I had to plug my phone in because it was dying from all the notifications. Seriously, I’ve never had 800 people “like” something of mine. I promised I would share my pattern with all of those lovely ladies, so here it is. I used some of the Divine Hat pattern and inspiration from Sarah’s Cupcake Hat, but tweaked them to make them my own. Please bear with me as this is my very first time writing a pattern. Let me know if you find any mistakes!

No-Bake Speckled Cupcakes

Cupcake hats

Materials required:

J hook (6.0 mm)

Worsted weight yarn (Size 4)

-Frosting top takes less than 200 yards

-Cupcake liner takes less than 200 yards

-Scrap piece for cherry

**amounts used depends on the height required for your hat

Yarn needle to sew in ends

Little bits of yarn scraps or stuffing to fill cherry

Here’s what I used for my two hats:

Notes:

-Hat is worked from the top down. This pattern is worked in rounds that join at the end. Instructions are given in pattern to hide the chain 2 at the beginning of each round.

-Chain 2 at the beginning of rounds are not counted in the stitch count.

-Stitches used: Magic ring, SC, DC, FPDC, HDC, FPHDC, BPHDC, sc2tog, FPSC

-Gauge: Circle in Round 4 should measure approximately 3″ across. For child hat, with J 6.0mm hook, Round 4 should measure approximately 2.5″ across.

-The height of the hat can easily be adjusted by adding or subtracting final rows in both the frosting and the cupcake liner. If you make the pattern as written, it measures approximately 8″ from the top of the hat to the bottom of the brim (not including the cherry) and 9.5″ across the brim. (I’ve made 3 of these and they’ve all come out the same exact size).

-They are big on my 3.5 year olds and easily cover their ears (their heads both measure 20.5″). It fits a bit more snug on my head and stretches to fit, but covers my ears as well (my head measures 23″). So, big on a child, but snug on an adult if you want to know the size as written. If you go down a hook size, it would probably fit a bit better on a small child/big toddler. The next time I make one for myself, I’ll probably go up a hook or two. I don’t care for my hats being so snug.Pink Cupcake Hat

Frosting:

Round 1: Magic ring, chain 2, 15 DC, slip stitch to top of first DC and pull circle closed (this pushes the chain 2 to the back.) [15 DC]Round 1

Round 2: Chain 2, FPDC on every DC from round 1 to end. Slip stitch to top of first FPDC, not chain 2 (this pushes the chain to the back.) [15 FPDC]

Round3: Chain 2, FPDC on every FPDC from previous round, DC in space between every FPDC. Slip stitch to the top of the first FPDC, not chain 2. [15 FPDC, 15 DC]

Round 4: Chain 2, 1 FPDC on the same FPDC you slip stitched to in the previous round (this pushes the chain 2 to the back), 1 DC in the space between the FPDC you just made and the next DC from the previous round, skip 1 stitch. *1 FPDC on the previous round’s FPDC, 1 DC in the space between the FPDC you just made and the next DC from the previous round.* Repeat from * to * until the end of the round. Slip stitch to the top of the first FPDC, not chain 2 (this pushed the chain to the back). [15 FPDC, 15 DC]Round 4

Round 5: Chain 2, 1 FPDC on the same FPDC you slip stitched to in the previous round (this pushes the chain 2 to the back), 2 DC in the space between the FPDC you just made and the next DC from the previous round, skip 1 stitch. *1 FPDC on the previous round’s FPDC, 2 DC in the space between the FPDC you just made and the next DC from the previous round, skip 1 stitch.* Repeat from * to * until the end of the round. Slip stitch to the top of the first FPDC, not chain 2 (this pushed the chain to the back). [15 FPDC, 30 DC]

Round 6: Chain 2, 1 FPDC on the same FPDC you slip stitched to in the previous round (this pushes the chain 2 to the back), 2 DC in the space between the FPDC you just made and the next DC from the previous round, skip 2 stitches. *1 FPDC on the previous round’s FPDC, 2 DC in the space between the FPDC you just made and the next DC from the previous round, skip 2 stitches.* Repeat from * to * until the end of the round. Slip stitch to the top of the first FPDC, not chain 2 (this pushed the chain to the back). [15 FPDC, 30 DC]

Round 7: Chain 2, 1 FPDC on the same FPDC you slip stitched to in the previous round (this pushes the chain 2 to the back), 3 DC in the space between the FPDC you just made and the next DC from the previous round, skip 2 stitches. *1 FPDC on the previous round’s FPDC, 3 DC in the space between the FPDC you just made and the next DC from the previous round, skip 2 stitches.* Repeat from * to * until the end of the round. Slip stitch to the top of the first FPDC, not chain 2 (this pushed the chain to the back). [15 FPDC, 45 DC] **NOTE: This is usually the round where the edges start to curl up. Not a big deal. You will get them to lay straight at the end.**

Round 8: Chain 2, 1 FPDC on the same FPDC you slip stitched to in the previous round (this pushes the chain 2 to the back), 3 DC in the space between the FPDC you just made and the next DC from the previous round, skip 3 stitches. *1 FPDC on the previous round’s FPDC, 3 DC in the space between the FPDC you just made and the next DC from the previous round, skip 3 stitches.* Repeat from * to * until the end of the round. Slip stitch to the top of the first FPDC, not chain 2 (this pushed the chain to the back). [15 FPDC, 45 DC]

Round 9: Repeat round 8.

Round 10: Chain 2, 1 FPDC on the same FPDC you slip stitched to in the previous round (this pushes the chain 2 to the back), 4 DC in the space between the FPDC you just made and the next DC from the previous round, skip 3 stitches. *1 FPDC on the previous round’s FPDC, 4 DC in the space between the FPDC you just made and the next DC from the previous round, skip 3 stitches.* Repeat from * to * until the end of the round. Slip stitch to the top of the first FPDC, not chain 2 (this pushed the chain to the back). [15 FPDC, 60 DC]

Round 11: Chain 2, 1 FPDC on the same FPDC you slip stitched to in the previous round (this pushes the chain 2 to the back), 4 DC in the space between the FPDC you just made and the next DC from the previous round, skip 4 stitches. *1 FPDC on the previous round’s FPDC, 4 DC in the space between the FPDC you just made and the next DC from the previous round, skip 4 stitches.* Repeat from * to * until the end of the round. Slip stitch to the top of the first FPDC, not chain 2 (this pushed the chain to the back). [15 FPDC, 60 DC]

Round 12-15: Repeat Round 11. Add more rounds for a more slouchy hat. To accommodate an adult, I would work up a few more rounds adding 5 DC to the space. This will change the stitch count going around the hat for the entire rest of the pattern since you are making it bigger and adding stitches. Don’t worry. It’s the same idea, just with more stitches. Easy adjustment.

Round 16: Chain 1, HDC in same stitch as chain. Continue working HDC around the hat. Slip stitch to first HDC. [75 HDC]

Round 17: Chain 1, FPSC in same stitch as chain1. FPSC around each HDC from the previous round. This pushes the bottom edge of the previous round to the inside of the hat which is where you will be attaching the cupcake liner. Slip stitch to the beginning FPSC. [75 FPSC]

Round 18: Scalloped edge is worked IN THE ROW CREATED WITH ROUND 17 (the v stitches that sit on the OUTSIDE of the hat.) Chain 1. SC in same stitch as chain 1. *Skip 2 stitches. Work 8 DC in the third stitch. Skip 2 stitches. SC in the third stitch.* Repeat *to* all the way around, ending with a slip stitch into the SC at the beginning of the round instead of the last SC of the series. [12 scallops]

***NOTE*** If you are making this hat smaller than written here and stopped the spiral rows earlier than the pattern, you will most likely need to make the scallops smaller to accommodate the size difference. I have not tested this theory, so you will have to be the judge on that. Let me know if you do and I’ll tack the modification on! Same goes for making the hat bigger.

Round 19: Chain 1. Work 1 SC in every stitch. Slip stitch to the first SC. Finish off and break yarn. Weave in ends.

Cupcake Liner:

Round 1: Using cupcake liner yarn, attach yarn anywhere on the edge UNDER the scallop flaps with a slip stitch. To find this spot, fold back the scallops so they are now sandwiched between you and the rest of the hat. Chain 1, HDC in same stitch as chain 1. HDC all the way around. Slip stitch to the first HDC of the round.

Round 2-8: Chain 2, FPHDC in stitch. BPHDC in next stitch. Repeat FP+BP HDC pattern all the way around. Slip stitch to first FPHDC. Add or subtract rows as necessary to achieve your desired outcome. Finish off and break yarn. Weave in ends.

Cherry:

Using red yarn for cherry…

**Rounds for cherry are worked in continuous rounds without joining.

Round 1: Magic circle, chain 1, 6 SC in Magic Circle. [6 SC]

Round 2: 2 SC in each SC from the previous round. Using your tapestry needle, move the leftover tail from your magic circle through the very center of the magic circle so that it now hangs on the right side of the cherry. This will be your stem. DO NOT CUT THIS YET! I like to tie a little slip knot on the wrong side of the cherry as this keeps the stem centered rather than being pulled into one of the SC s in the magic circle. [12 SC]

Round 3: *2 SC in next stitch, 1 SC in next stitch.* Repeat from *to* 6 times. [18 SC]

Round 4:*2 SC in next stitch, SC in next 2 stitches.* Repeat from *to* 5 times. [24 SC]

Round 5-7: 1 SC in each stitch. [24 SC]

Round 8: *SC in next 2 stitches, sc2tog in next.* Repeat from *to* 7 times. [16 SC, 8 sc2tog]

Round 9: *1 SC in next stitch, sc2tog in next.* Repeat from *to* 9 times. [9 SC, 9 sc2tog]

Round 10: Fill cherry with fiberfill or yarn scraps. *1 SC in next stitch, sc2tog in next.* Repeat from *to* 2-3 times. Fasten off and close cherry, leaving a long piece of yarn to attach cherry to top of hat.

Attach cherry to top of hat and weave in end. Tie a knot about 1-2 inches from the top of the cherry in the tail you pulled through the magic ring. Cut yarn after knot and you’ve made your cherry stem!

End Notes:

Use this pattern ’til your heart’s content. All I ask is that you do not use my own photos as your own, link back to me with your work, and don’t cut and paste the pattern as your own. Just link back to me. Please. Oh, and you can always follow me on Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram or Twitter or Tumblr.

I love to see your photos!! Tag me on Facebook (@Chaos & Chop Suey) with your finished masterpieces or share them on my Facebook wall!

 

 

 

To all the moms I ever abandoned…

This post goes out to all the moms I ever inadvertently left alone abandoned at a social gathering…

Image via Google

Image via Google

In my pre-motherhood days, my husband and I had our fair share of fabulous social gatherings. Ok, so maybe they weren’t so fabulous considering 99% of them likely took place in our backyard or another friend’s backyard, but to this mommy now, any kid-free night out with adult conversation that doesn’t revolve around potty training or what my kid pulled out of the rubbish (yes, I say rubbish) can that day is indeed, fabulous. We enjoyed entertaining and our house somehow became the place everyone gravitated to.

Now, most of our friends that we regularly partied kicked up our heels with were kid-less back then. (Pretty much everyone now has at least one kid in that group of friends.) Occasionally we would have couples with elementary school aged kids come out for the evening, but those kids were all big enough to find something to do and didn’t require a chaperone the entire time they were there. Very seldom would we be somewhere (or have someone over) with newborns or toddlers. It’s not that we avoided them, we just didn’t know too many people at stage in their lives.

Alone

Image via Google

Well, it never occurred to me that while the adults (and older kids) were outside hanging out, grilling, or sitting by the firepit, that there was probably a mom with that baby or toddler hanging out inside for various reasons (mostly to avoid some of the adult activities that were going on). Alone.

I know it never happens on purpose. No one ever says, “Hey guys, let’s all go outside/upstairs/in the garage and leave So-and-So alone inside.” No, it just kinda happens with all the excitement going on. In my days before being responsible for two other little human beings, I know I didn’t notice that mom that got left alone. And if I did, I’m pretty sure I thought she was probably inside because she wanted to be. On her own accord. Not left and abandoned from any adult interaction. I know I am guilty of hosting people over where a brand new mom is there and has been inadvertently abandoned by everyone. Now in my defense, before I was a mom, I was very anti-stay-away-from-all-the-babies-because-they-freak-me-out-and-don’t-let-me-touch-them-because-I’ll-likely-break-them, so I know for a fact that I wasn’t gushing over their baby or asking to hold it for them. Me and babies just didn’t get along (kinda funny when in return for that, I got pregnant with twins as a first time mom).

Well let me tell you that 98% of the time, that mom doesn’t want to be there by choice. I know. I’ve been that mom. You know, the one that gets left inside alone? With all the kids and the food? That mom has a list of a hundred different places she’d rather be than sitting there alone. More often than not, she probably just wants to be in bed sleeping, but on the rare occasion that she has an ounce of energy leftover to spend on someone other than her offspring, she might like to be with the adults having an actual conversation.

It never occurred to me that maybe she’s lonely, because duh, she has a baby, how could she be lonely? I didn’t know that being a mom is sometimes the loneliest job you’ll ever have.

It never occurred to me that maybe she’d rather be in bed sleeping, because her newborn has been keeping her up all night and literally sucking the life out of her and she’s only had 4 solid hours of sleep in the past 48 hours.

It never occurred to me that while she was hosting us and meddling in the kitchen while I was outside with the rest of the guests, that even though she said she didn’t need help, that she was desperately hoping for someone to sit with her while she finished up so she didn’t feel completely abandoned.

In my selfish (yes, selfish, but I didn’t realize it at the time) pre-babies life, I never really noticed that mom if she wasn’t engaged with the rest of the adults. I have manners and I know I asked  if there was anything they needed or wanted me to do to help, but I also know that was probably a formality.

Looking back, I know I had no idea what that mom might have been feeling at the tie. But I do now. I know how she feels. I’m that mom sometimes. Left inside alone while the rest of the adults don’t even realize what’s happening. Left alone because I’m cooking or cleaning up from the festivities and probably watching a few kids that are inside as well. I hate it. I so so hate it. And I’ll never call anyone out on it, but that’s a time when you never feel so used in your life. I know it’s stupid and not done on purpose, but that doesn’t make it suck any less. Maybe it’s the lonely momma thing combined with the desire to have an adult conversation with someone other than your spouse. Who knows. I’m no psychoanalyst. Nonetheless, it blows.

So to all those moms I abandoned once upon a time, I’m sorry. I really truly am. I never meant to do it on purpose or to make you feel shitty. I just…didn’t know.

100 Happy Days

100Happy Days2I started. Again. I think this is my 4 billionth attempt at this. What am I talking about? The #100happydays challenge. It’s a challenge you sign up for and pledge to find just ONE thing to be happy about every day for the next 100 days and take a photo of it to document it. (You can sign up here.)

The goal behind it is to find joy and happiness in the little and mundane things you do every day. As  a way of tracking your progress, when you sign up, you register a hashtag for posting your daily photos. You don’t HAVE to share your progress on social media (there is an option to email the photos if that’s your kind of thing), but since that’s how the whole thing got started anyway, it is highly encouraged.

be-so-happyThe last time I tried this, I got up to day 45 and stopped. Something always comes up and I slowly start to lose my momentum and time just slips away. The people over at 100HappyDays want you to make being happy a habit. By participating and forcing holding you accountable for finding just *ONE* thing to be happy about every day for 100 straight days, the hope is that by the end of the challenge, you will be a happier person and be able to appreciate and enjoy everything–the everyday, the mundane. Basically, life. Now, I’ve never made it to 100 days, but typically by the 3rd week, I notice that I am less grumpy, I laugh more (I don’t laugh nearly enough as I should), and I am just generally happier with myself and the life I live. I feel lighter inside, almost as if the dark little cloud that builds up after the monotony of day-to-day life is lifted. It is an attitude changer for me and I love it simply for that.

wpid-img_20140109_131548This time around, I have a group of girlfriends that signed up with me. With our love and support for one another, we’re pretty good at reminding each other when the end of the day is coming near and someone’s forgotten to post something. It’s always so nice to be surrounded by genuinely happier people, and even better when it’s your girlfriends :)

If you make it to the end of the challenge, head on over to their DONE page and put in your request to receive your 100HappyDays moments printed and sent to you–for FREE!! That’s right, FREE. Who doesn’t like free? When you put in your request for your photos, your name jumps in line and waits for someone to sponsor your prints. It’s not a scam. Totally legit. In keeping with the happy vibe, there is an option to pay-it-forward and give someone else in line a chance to receive their photos. You don’t even need to do the challenge to pay-it-forward. If you’re feeling generous and want to donate a little happiness to someone, click here.

So who’s with me? Anyone else up for the challenge? It’s never too late to start!

Sunning a Car Seat

Sunning Carseat

Suddenly, “sunning” looks more like a chore than relaxing on a blanket in the backyard wearing a bikini (without scaring away the neighbors) with a trashy book and margarita in hand.

Staring at that blank page

Nothing is more intimidating than a blank page staring right back at you. Just think about it. Getting started is the hardest part. At least for me it is. I started this blog 4 weeks ago. 4 weeks and I’ve yet to publish a “real” post (my testing post doesn’t count). I keep feeling like my first post needs to be this intelligent, well thought out piece, but my ideas keep failing me. I’ve sat down to write several times, but I was always distracted by something of more greater importance. So here I am. Ripping off the proverbial Band-Aid.

My words don’t need to be poignant and life-changing. Just like those little every day choices you make as a mom. The anxieties I have as a mom are sometimes often times ridiculous. Silly things that I worry fret about once in a while like: Yes, the children will be okay eating strawberries two meals in a row. At least they want to strawberries and not just chocolate chips (yes, my son BEGS for those sorta gross, last resort, eat them when you have a chocolate craving but have nothing in the house, semi sweet chocolate chips). Yes, the children will be okay because they’re playing with a toy for the fun of it and not because it has some magical developmental attribute associated with it. I’m sure you can relate to similar situations, since if you’re reading this, I’m probably already friends with you, family (“Hi Mom”), or one of my “mommy friends.”

I save all the good worrying for bigger things–what kind of school are my kids going to go to, how are we going to pay for the twins to go to college, will we be able to go on vacation this year, where and when will the Army be sending us next, and what should we have for dinner. Yes, I worry about what we’re having for dinner because, frankly, I loathe making dinner. I love to eat, but making dinner with 2 crabby toddlers trying to pull down my shorts or cold wet noses trying to go up my shorts, stepping on giant Legos (the big ones hurt just as much as the little ones do), tripping on a scrunched up rug (scrunched up because one of said toddlers was racing around the kitchen-living room-playroom track we conveniently had installed for them for this purpose when we bought this house on his little John Deere hand-me-down tractor that just so happens to scrunch up the kitchen rugs just enough to trip on them and not see it coming), and just waiting for daddy to come home from his long day at work. This is why I’m uber thankful for Pinterest because without all my meal planning ideas and thousands of recipes I have pinned, dinner would never get made.

I need to figure out how I can get a job working at Pinterest. In my dreams, I figure it’s a lot like working for Google, but with craft ideas and organization up the yin-yang (again, in my dream, I see the Google campus as depicted in the movie “The Internship” starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, but with decorations, paint samples, inspirational quotes, and crafts exploding out of all cracks in the sidewalks.) I wonder if my MBA (in progress) will help me find a job at Pinterest…

Anyway, as you will soon find out, sidetracking is my game and I play it well to win.