Monday, November 28, 2011

Anthropologie Lucia Loop Knockoff Tutorial



I wanted the Anthropologie Lucia Loop, but it's $78. Seven. Eight. Too much for a scarf, n'est-ce pas?
It's beautiful, but it's not worth $78.

Enter tutorial.

Step 1: Cut two 12"x 60" pieces of silky coordinating fabric (longer for a longer loop, shorter for a shorter loop)

Step 2: Stitch the long sides of the fabric together wrong side out.

Step 3: Flip right side out - you should have a silky tube.

Step 4: Fold the tube so that the short ends are together...you should have FOUR layers of fabric...two of one fabric (on the outside) and two of the other (on the inside):

Step 5: Make sure the existing seams are even and start sewing the TWO INSIDE layers together. Take care to keep the outside layers pushed out of the way so that you don't accidentally stitch over them.
(Notice my thumb and forefinger keeping the bottom layer out of the way of the presser foot). You will continue around the loop until you get to the two outside layers...keep sewing until you can't sew another stitch without making a mess...you'll know when that moment is...

Step 6: Eventually, there won't be any more space to sew, but you'll still have a hole. No prob. Flip your scarf so that the "invisible seams" you just sewed on the short sides are tucked in. You'll have a little hole left like this:

Step 7: Get out a needle and thread, and sew the remaining couple of inches shut.

Once you're done, you'll have your own knockoff Lucia Loop Scarf!



This was an $8 project and it took about 15 minutes to make. I'm DEFINITELY making more...with different patterns. Can't wait!

Enjoy!

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Wolfpack Cinderella Story

It is possible that you've never heard of NC State University. Just to enlighten you, my husband is their biggest fan. Football, Basketball, Women's Golf...you name it, he's a fan.

And my daughter -- who has never even BEEN to NC State's campus -- is probably their smallest fan. For the big game on Saturday, she pulled out a cozy for adult beverages from our "random kitchen utensils" drawer and put it on her Cinderella doll to show her support for the team...
...like so.

I don't even know how she remembered it was in there. It comes out about twice a year when she decides to dress a stuffed animal in it.

This time, though, it looked like a lucky charm. The wolfpack was down 41 to 14 against Maryland with 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter and they came back to win 56 to 41. "The second largest comeback in ACC history!!" according to my husband who was SHOUTING about the win. If you know Eric, you know he's not a shouter. Except when it comes to NCSU athletics.

A football Cinderella story in every sense of the words.

...and they all lived happily ever after.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Men Eating Pencils

Guys...this is ridiculous. I'm having far too good of a time finding stupid stock photos. I might have to start a weekly series or something.

For today, please enjoy "Men Eating Pencils." (Who knew this was such a big thing?)

Stock Photography - close-up of a  mature man biting  a pencil. fotosearch  - search stock  photos, pictures,  wall murals, images,  and photo clipart

Close-up of a man biting the end of a pencil - Royalty Free Stock Photo
Portrait of a young man biting a pencil with his teeth
Businessman Chewing on Pencil - Royalty Free Stock Photo
Stock Photo - 30s, aggression,  african ethnicity,  african american,  20s. fotosearch  - search stock  photos, pictures,  wall murals, images,  and photo clipart


"Wait, wait, guys...eating pencils is crazy. This is how you use a pencil."
African American man reading text book - Royalty Free Stock Photo

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Happy Women Jumping in Business Suits


Well...I was inspired to create my own montage of what-the-heck photos after seeing a stock photo of a woman jumping in a suit. I will leave you alone with your questions now:
Successful happy business woman jumping on an isolated white background Stock Photo - 6228863
stock photo : beautiful young business woman jumping over white background
stock photo : happy business woman jumping over a white background
stock photo : Portrait of a young business woman jumping against isolated background
Success businesswoman jumping happy ecstatic celebrating with arms in the air. Fresh beautiful young casual mixed race Asian Caucasian business woman isolated on white background in full length. Stock Photo - 9096390
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thank You...

Countless emails, messages, comments, and even one personal visit to my office today. I have so much to be thankful for.

I am working on compiling some pretty emotional emails. I have permission from the authors...I just need to change the names, but the stories are good. They need to be shared.

Prayers, happy thoughts, and encouragement have been felt and appreciated...my cup runneth over.


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Monday, November 21, 2011

Infertility

I have felt compelled to write about this for a while, but today I’ve decided it’s time. I apologize in advance for the things I’m about to say that will make some of you uncomfortable…I don’t mean to. This post is mostly going to be for my personal therapy, but if it helps you at all, I would consider that a happy side effect. If it hinders you or upsets you, then please know that wasn’t my intention.
My husband and I have secondary infertility. I have been pregnant twice (that I’m aware of). Our first pregnancy was ectopic…a devastating loss…I can’t describe it. If you’ve lost a baby in the womb, you know the grief I’m referring to. If you haven’t, then I hope you never understand what I just said. On the day that baby #1 was supposed to have been born, our precious Sadie was conceived. Proof that everything happens for a reason? Probably.
Conceiving Sadie was easy – we decided we wanted a baby, and BOOM! Nine months later: baby. “We are so fertile!,” we said naively. Of course we had been pregnant twice – once completely by accident, and once within a month of trying. Obviously we were going to make babies if we so much as looked at each other sideways, right?
When Sadie was two and a half years old, we decided it was time to try again. Three to three and a half years apart would be a *great* age difference, we thought. It seemed like perfect timing. In January of 2010, I went off birth control. In February 2010, we imagined that we’d be holding a baby by Christmas. Fast forward two years and we have a beautiful 4.5 year old daughter and…no baby.
We’ve been undergoing professional infertility treatment for just over a year. Our treatment story in a (really tiny) nutshell:
3 months (February-April 2010): Sort of trying {‘cause it’ll just happen!}
6 months (May 2010-October 2010): Timing + home ovulation tests {what the…? ok…time to get serious}
Sought professional treatment following the first 9 months of failure
3 months (November 2010-January 2011): Clomid normal dose + home ovulation tests {ok – us+meds is bound to work, right?}
Referred by my OB to a fertility specialist after 3 months of failure
1 month (February 2011): Why don’t we just relax before starting a new round of Clomid?
6 months (March 2011-August 2011): Clomid 2x normal dose + monitoring + timing {Whoa. We’re at a fertility clinic taking TWO TIMES the normal dose of fertility medication. Look out, world, here comes a baby (or three)}
2 months (September 2011-October 2011): Clomid 2x normal dose + monitoring + hCG injection + IUI {I’m sorry…did you say that the Clomid isn’t working for us?}
1 month (November 2011): Follistim injections + monitoring + hCG injection + IUI: 1 month – this treatment failed due to overstimulated ovaries…we’ll try again next cycle.
If you’re unfamiliar with any of the above:
Timing = planning intercourse around ovulation
Home Ovulation Tests = kits (similar to home pregnancy tests) that indicate the day of ovulation
Clomid = oral medication to induce ovulation and increase egg production
Monitoring = multiple transvaginal ultrasounds and blood draws in a cycle
Follistim = hormones injected directly into the stomach every day at home
hCG injection = ovulation induction…injected into the booty. By my husband. Fun stuff.
IUI = intrauterine insemination – the “turkey baster” method…just not that simple.
A friend of mine calls infertility a “silent epidemic.” Women (and men) who face infertility are reluctant to tell anyone their story for a lot of reasons, but when they keep it inside, they suffer alone. It happens all the time…infertility is a lonely place.
I am confronting infertility as a woman who already has a child (secondary infertility)…my perspective will be very different from an infertile woman who doesn’t yet have children…if I’m insensitive to your plight, it’s only because I’m ignorant to it. I’m sorry…I will do my best to be sensitive.
Why is infertility so hard? Here’s the rundown:
If you are undergoing infertility treatment, your heart aches for a baby. Aches. Your heart is in shreds every month when you find out that another month of your life has passed without your dream becoming a reality.
Your sex-life is an open book. Wide. Open. Your doctor asks you questions that are incredibly invasive and personal and you’re obligated to answer them because they just might help you get what you’re after.
Your body is invaded. You are poked, prodded, inspected…every month. Multiple times per month. Transvaginal ultrasounds are no one’s idea of a good time…I’ve had 5 so far this month.
You can become bitterly jealous, angry, and resentful. I have to check myself so often. It is no one’s fault that I’m not able to get pregnant. If I’m having a hard day, it will seem like every woman I pass on the street is 8 months pregnant. I want to ask people things like, “did you even have to try?” or, “do you know what it’s like to have your soul wrecked every single month?” On a *really* hard day, I just close the door, lay my head in my hands, and cry until I’m numb.
People don’t know what to say so they come across as insensitive. Everyone is sure that they have the magic cure that will help you have a baby, but no amount of vacationing in the tropics can heal this particular medical condition. If you are battling infertility, try to have a little grace for people you think are being insensitive…and I’m sure they’ll have a little grace for you when you have your bitter moments.
Everyone says “adopt”. Adoption isn’t a cure for infertility. And it certainly doesn’t cure the emotional damage that comes with not being able to have biological children. Adoption shouldn’t be your last resort...adoption should be done because you have a true heart for adoption…whether you’re fertile or infertile. Adoption is the right answer for some people, but it's not the right answer for others. Will Eric and I ever adopt? Maybe. But we won’t make that decision based on the fact that we aren’t able to have more biological children. We’ll adopt because we have a place in our heart for a child who otherwise wouldn’t have a home.
You battle with your conscience. Is it selfish to undergo infertility treatment? Of course it is…can any of us name one single thing that we have ever done in our lives that wasn’t motivated by selfishness at its root? Even when you do nice “selfless” things for others, some small piece of your motivation comes from wanting to feel good about doing the right thing. It is possible to be both selfish and selfless at the same time.
It seems so unfair. If you know that you’re a good mother (or that you would be a good mother). If your heart yearns for a big family that you can nurture and love. If you know that you will do your best to make your children productive, empathetic, respectful, lovely little beings. If you see people around you who don’t appreciate their children. Then you start to wonder how life can be so unfair to you. You’re a good person, right?
People don’t understand. Unless and until people go through it, they don’t get it. What a catch 22. You want people to understand, but you wouldn’t wish this torment on your worst enemy…so you suffer alone so that you won’t seem whiney or depressed.
It’s an emotional roller coaster. Every month, you fly through the stages of grief just in time to come out on the other side and be hopeful again…even optimistic. And every month, your hope is thrashed. You realize that you are – yet again – just as far from holding your new baby as you were last month…or last year.
It’s hard on your marriage. Eric and I have a solid marriage, and we have had moments of just-not-on-the-same-page because of infertility. It is not easy to hold each other up when you’re exhausted from holding yourself up.
You find yourself ignoring the “happy announcements” of other people. “We’re having our 5th baby! Yay for us! We’re super fertile!” or “We weren’t even trying! In fact, I'm not even sure we had sex!” or “I know we just had a baby three weeks ago, but we’re PREGNANT again!”

{sigh}

Some days are harder than others, but during this journey…this “process,” I have learned a few important things:
1. I understand empathy. Empathy in grief, isolation, depression, loss, and everything else that comes with infertility. I find myself drawn toward loving on people who are hurting.
2. Family isn't a number. No matter how many children I have, our family started the day we said, "I do." Two of us were a family. Now three of us are a family. No matter how many children we end up having, our family has been complete and completely solid since June 12, 2004.
3. I am not alone. Every time I open up to someone, I hear a story like mine. Why are we so quiet? I am fortunate enough to have support from two women who have been through/are going through the same thing. We email each other every day. The three of us could never have anticipated how close we would get because of our tough circumstances. We've known each other for years, but this process has made us "friends."
4. There is hope. When things can't get any darker, you're in a good place...they can only get brighter from there.
If you are facing infertility, I pray that you will have as many children as you want and that your days of waiting for a miracle are numbered. I pray the same thing for myself. I know what it feels like to cry every time someone updates their facebook status with “Guess what!?!,” and I know what it feels like to mourn the loss of someone who never was. I know that no one really understands what you’re going through…and that you hope they never do. I know the last things you want to hear are, “Don’t worry, this is all part of God’s plan,” and “if you stop thinking about it and/or adopt, you’ll get pregnant…I have an aunt/cousin/dog groomer who did it that way!” I know how to smile and nod when someone says, “don’t you think it’s time to give Sadie a little brother or sister?” Intense desire for something coupled with the inability to fulfill that desire is life’s most painful combination. I am so thankful for what I have. I don't deserve another good thing in my life, but "deserving" and "desiring" are two different things.
I have found that I don’t want pity. I don’t want clich├ęs, and I certainly don’t want people to completely ignore me or walk on eggshells around me because of what I’m going through. I’d much rather hear, “I’m sorry…this really sucks” than anything else anyone could possibly say.
I suppose if we didn’t have to go through bad things in life, we wouldn’t appreciate the good ones as much. No one wants to endure painful circumstances, but we all do it…that’s part of living in a broken world. And assuming we make it through, we all come out with tougher skin on the other side. In the moment, every piece of my infertility struggle has been a personal nightmare. After each moment has passed, though, I realize that part of who I am is now inseparable from this journey and that it's all going to be ok. Hellish as it is, it’s paying off with a growing intensity of love for my family…the two members of my family who are here with me, and the ones who may be to come. Infertility isn’t my story, but it’s part of my story...an important part of my story.
Thanks for listening...it feels good to tell someone.
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