28 March 2017

My new handbag

Triva for the day: What New Zealanders call a 'hand bag', Americans call a 'purse'.  And what New Zealanders call a 'purse', Americans call a 'wallet'.  And what New Zealanders call a 'wallet', Americans also call a 'wallet.  Ha!

Bag reveal!

I made a pretty bag.  It started as the most beautiful jelly roll of batiks I had ever seen.  Pictured with a skirt I was about to finish.  Nb skirt is not hemmed and is too big for me.  I'm sad.  But, look at the pretty fabric inside the pockets.  Yay!



Then I took a progress shot of my half-square triangles.  And for the life of me, I can't make this photo look right whichever way 'up' I put it!


Gooing and gaaaing over the prettiness.


As I began to big-stitch hand-quilt it, it just didn't look right.  The big stitches were getting lost or trying to take over the designs on the fabric, it was just too complicated and messy-looking for me.  There was too much going on so I un-picked and tried something else.


I began stitching in the ditch.  It stopped competing for attention, it looked tidy.  I knew I had made the right decision.  My tools of the trade are: Thread Heaven, it's a gell-like stuff that you drag your thread through to help it not tie up in knots while sewing, conditions the thread so it lasts longer, also helps with thread drag so it lessens fatigue when sewing.  No 12 Cotton.  Thicker than sewing machine thread, thinner than crochet cotton.  My bent needle.  I have no idea what kind of needle it is, but it's long, thin and has a reasonable size eye (not so small that it's hard to thread). EDIT:  It's a quilters basting needle. 


Another in-progress shot. My, isn't that a beautiful quilt in the background?  Tehehe.


Ohhh, so pretty.  The way batik fabric just is.  I think I have certainly found a favorite in these random designs and amazing colors.


I bought 6ft of 1/2 inch leather strapping for the handles.  It smelled SO GOOD inside that saddlery.  I wandered the full aisles and touched all the things.  Happiness is spending as long as you want in a saddlery.


And then, it was complete.


The sun was blaring that day, but she still looks beautiful.


I hope you have a lovely week.  Thanks for stopping by.

Holly
xx













02 March 2017

March 2017, already?!

The beach out at Birdlings Flat, New Zealand. Photography by me.


Hi, March!  I love the way you're here, but I don't love that only two days ago it was February.  Maybe it's you, February.  You're the one that ends abruptly.  It's March, already!  Oh, boy!

My last post was full of despair, but now I'm back and hopefully on a really good roll.  I did a little bit of 'arting' and changed the blog look a little.  I'm wondering if maybe I should try out a new domain and leave here... the only problem is that 'here' has a nice little archive of arty things I've done.


In brief:

Our whole family were suffering from sleep deprivation, which spirals quickly into negativity, hopelessness and sadness.  Right before Christmas we began "sleep training" our little nugget, lo and behold, a week later, he slept through the night.  Sort-of.

He has been a beaut ever since, regressing every so often.  At least now we have effective tools to combat his restlessness.  Namely, me not picking him up at every tiny cry.  I seriously need some discipline.  Actually, that was past-tense, but in reality, it's present-tense, for a life-time.  Am I right?

If you're not on Instagram or friends with me on Facebook, you may have missed out on a LOT of arty-creativenesses that I've been up to. That's not an official word, but I typed it, so it's now an official word.


Things to come in the near future:

Pics of a big finished quilt, a whole lot of art, a few other sneaky crafty makings, a pic or two of my cute kids and probably some more fun stuff.


I just need to figure out how to get images from Google Drive to my blog... any tips?  Sophie?  Amy?


Love you long time
Holly

xx









20 November 2016

Too much going on

I'm laying on the sofa, it's 4:21am. I've been awake since about 3am, awake around 1 or 2am, again earlier at about 10 or 11pm.

This fidgeting babe lies sleeping in my arms. "Sleep regression," I'm told. Every minute or two he jumps, his arms fling, he half-wakes, startled. I hold him closer, he relaxes and drifts back to dream land. That is not a typical result: usually he will cry, loud, piercing, irritating, roaring, awful distress. The only way to stop is by picking him up. Nothing else works. It never guarantees he will fall back to sleep again, but at least the horrid crying stops.

I really need to pee: having a coffee half an hour ago, out of rebellion and stubbornness, was, in fact, a really stupid idea.

I learned today, that when someone puts an official, studied, title to what you're experiencing, it can bring unbridled resentment. Fierce, bitter, resentment. Somehow that title, a simple word, makes you feel like your exhaustion is 'ok.' Normal. Nothing. Nill. Your lack of sleep for the last 6 weeks isn't anything to worry about. Naming your struggle makes the conversation end. It makes your cry for any help, for sympathy, get shut down. "Your suffering is not important because almost everyone goes through the same thing." Period.

I really have to pee, I have to risk waking him.

...

I laid him gently in his crib, tucked in, not too tight if that makes him wake, but maybe a little tight so he feels comforted so maybe it won't wake him, but maybe bring the covers not too far over his shoulders because he might get too hot and maybe wake because of that, and put a little cloth over his legs so he has a little more warmth there in case it's coldness that's waking him. Who knows what is waking him. Cover all your bases.

He is still asleep in his crib 10 minutes later. Maybe I can try for sleep now... He's going to wake as soon as I fall asleep.

Almost 5 am. Morning. I don't want to go to bed, I'm going to try sleep on the couch.

...

I couldn't sleep on the couch. I could feel every muscle in my upper body slowly tighten like elastic. I got back into bed. I don't know how long it took for our 7.5 month old to wake and sceam again. But he did. I am thankful that my husband picked him up this time. Thankful that it's a Sunday morning, not a weekday where he would already be at work, or left home for work.

I decided I didn't want to go to church. I was going to throw a tantrum if I needed to. I had it planned. "No. I'm not going to church today."

Eventually I woke up from my half-sleep doze, and found my husband and our Little right next to me. Little: wide awake. I sit up and feed him. Angry. How much sleep? Not even one straight hour?

I'm not going to church today. My decision still remains. I tell the household in my internal conversation. I'm festering inside. I have breakfast, listen as my husband gets himself and the boys ready for church. I get dressed too, eyebrows, mascara, bare minimum. I take a little longer brushing my hair. Defiant.

Exhausted. I know it's not just me, my husband is tired, too.

We went to church. I didn't throw my tantrum. It would have been a goodie (my imaginary tantrum), I would have won, it went down perfectly in my head.

It turns out I really needed to go to church today.

If you get the chance, do listen to this anointed message through Facebook.

Thank you, Lord! You are rest for the weary.

27 October 2016

Let's begin again


5 months later, to the day.  SO, I ask you guys how often would you like to see me blog?  You respond, then I don't show up for 5 months.  My bad.  I think maybe not one day goes by that I don't think about this place and have a 'want' to fill it.  I love writing here, it's just not always at the top of my list.

My list looks like this (in no particular order):

paint lettering
paint art
tidy desk
fold washing
feed baby
change baby
spend time with baby
exercise
get 5 year old to the bus on time
tidy my dresser
sew stuff
crochet stuff
draw
do a dot-to-dot
blog
take pretty photos
finish custom work
list new things on etsy
eat
drink coffee
drink water
drink more water
mail stuff
make that gift for so and so
mail that gift
have a shower
get dressed
put face on (brows and mascara)
clip toe nails
drink cold coffee
nap
write a novel
make a calendar for 2017

At this stage in my life, only about six things on the list get done every day.  Every day I think about everything on that list, and more.  Oh, to have more time, more sleep, more exercise.




I have been fighting lately, not always winning, at thinking positively.  But I know I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  He is the only One that can make me truly content, if I truly let Him.  He fills the voids that I create myself, the greed void, the envy void, the 'I want' void.


I made a baby sling a while back.  And although it's perfectly fine, I really want to have one made out of linen.  I want to buy some linen.  I don't need it.  I have a great ring sling, it works, it's comfortable.  I don't need another one.  I tell myself to stop wanting what I don't actually need.  It's hard!


My husband is really good at making coffee.  I am a lot less of a perfectionist when it comes to designs on the top, I try but it doesn't bother me when it's not super pretty.  I can make a heart, and something that resembles an onion, or a blob, or a hippopotamus if you squint.


Around the time baby was due, I bought a nice big bag to use as a diaper bag.  It only took a few months before the seams began to split.  I was not impressed.  Granted, it was from a massive store, bag made in another country en masse, not well-made.  But, really, if you buy a bag, do you expect it to fall apart in a few months?  If that's the quality of workmanship we have grown to expect (and still pay for), then it's a sad era we live in.  I patched it up with pretty sashiko style mending.  This bag is going to last.


For some (or most of us), when you have a baby, your body is a completely new shape afterwards.  Even if you get back to your original weight, things just don't fit the same.  Wider hips, thinner or larger thighs, wider fingers, narrower neck.  Seriously, pregnancy has changed my body forever.  It's not for the worse, or for the better.  It's just different.  These pants looked great post pregnancy, but a few months later they didn't stay up the right way and the length was weird.  I decided to cut them shorter.  Silly me, I did it right in front of my 5 year old... who then decided he wanted to cut some of his pants up... parent fail. I saved his pants.


Jumbo crochet.  So pretty, so soft.


I bought a plain bandana and carved a new fish stamp, to try my hand at fabric stamping.  It turned out so pretty.


I love painting wreaths.


Here I am, trying to take a 'cool' pic of my giant yarn and giant hook.


Leaf-painting inspiration, down at the bus stop.


It's halloween season, but all this made me think of was, "Oh my, there are BEAR HUNTING SPIDERS?"  Giant (fake) webs cause my imagination to wonder what the spiders are trying to catch.  At the Dutch Brothers coffee drive-through, of course.  New Zealand, drive-through coffee is the way to go.


A photo of my desk.  A great reminder to be content.  He provides me with everything I need, nothing more, nothing less.


Pretty wreaths.


I noticed that I usually draw the leaves all flowing clock-wise.  It's kind of funny, but in my eye it just looks right that way.


Testing out some coloring paper with my designs.  Pretty and fun.


Sometimes I think I'm finished with a piece of art, but it doesn't quite feel right.


Then I finished it.


After remodelling this mobile I made 5+ years ago, it bothers my perfectionism that the five sheep are all hanging at the same level (6 weeks ago).  I haven't changed it yet, and it still bothers me.

xx




27 May 2016

Comparison: not always the thief of Joy

Actually, Comparison was very-much-so my thief of Joy after I had my first baby, back in 2011.  But here's the difference, I'm human so Ima comparison the baby poop out of my pregnancies, deliveries and first stages of my baby's lives.  It's bringing me joy, not stealing it.  It's reminding me that 'last time' was (as I suspected) not normal, that it is totally ok, that there's hope and healing in new, yet familiar, beginnings.




The start of pregnancy

Ok, so I was convinced that this baby was going to be a girl because this time around I had morning sickness, nausea and general feeling sick for the first trimester.  I'll admit that I actually only threw up twice, but I FEEL you - every lady out there who went through terrible morning sickness and then went on to have more pregnancies.  You ladies deserve a gold medal.  First pregnancy: no morning sickness: nada.



Mid pregnancy

Last time I had the MOST achey hips ever.  I had an elastic belt that I wore around my pelvis to 'hold my pelvis together'.  It was awful, I'd get pinching nerves up my back and around my tailbone whenever I stood, or walked, or sat down, or slept.  Ugh.  But THIS time, I didn't have sore hips like that.  Sure, they ached a little, but nothing like the last time.  High blood pressure was also a symptom, but not enough of a problem to worry about.



Third Trimester

I was a giant beachball - both times (as I see in photos and the last post) but I felt like a total babe - as you should when you're pregnant!  My first pregnancy third trimester was tough though.  I was very achy, I had heart burn like nothing else I've ever had and my sore hips left me with very little sleep at the end.  My second pregnancy however, gave me water retention to the max.  "They" told me to avoid salt and to drink more water, to move around more and to elevate my feet above my heart.  All of which did absolutely nothing for my achy feet and cankles.  Thank you, but not really, Drs.  How is one supposed to get more exercise whilst elevating their feet, anyway?



Labour

First pregnancy: Labour was 36 hrs of only using the gas for pain-relief, exhausted, EXHAUSTED, four failed venthouse attempts, baby's heart-rate declining and an emergency cesarean section.  Baby didn't breathe on his own for about 20 minutes, so there was no cry after he came out. There was only silence... except for a busy theatre.  I don't remember the moment I first held him, the moment my baby was given to me to hold.  It might sound silly, but I was really upset by this fact for a very long time.  That is why this image below is SO special to me.  Second pregnancy: Roy and I walked into the hospital prepared and ready for a repeat cesarean section.  Not exhausted, a peaceful breathing baby, a first latch, an amazing many moments that I hope I will remember for a lifetime.





The first few days of baby on the outside

First time: Oh the agony.  My stomach turned inside out and a baby that couldn't figure out how to latch.  I was up and down, I remember being very active.  Maybe my pain-relief was too good and I didn't realise I had to take it easy... maybe.  I had post natal depression that went undiagnosed and lasted a couple of years as I slowly came 'right'.  Second time:  baby latched, he fed every 4 hours overnight.  I was getting plenty of rest, baby was hardly ever crying.  I made the mistake of letting him nurse and doze and nurse and doze for too long, the latch went south and I got cracked and bleeding nips.  OUCH. But, seriously, the first time my soreness lasted about 5 weeks (!) this time, only about 3ish.  Praise the LORD for wheatgerm oil.  Just sayin'.  So I count that as a plus.  Pain relief was kept at a manageable level, I was so frustrated by how little I could do without being in pain.    No post-natal depression.  I know this because I have been low before.  I didn't really have 3rd-day baby blues this time either, more like a few moments here and there of tears and emotions, but it wasn't a truckload that visited all too often like it was the last time.

This was a custom request I recently made.  India ink and micron markers.

And here I am, my youngest son is nearly 8 weeks old, he slept 6.5 hours last night!  He's usually feeding only once during the night now, long may this continue.  I have been going to a physiotherapist for about a week and already my abs are feeling better than they have since before I was pregnant the first time.  My body is getting better and stronger!  I feel hope and excitement that I'll be able to run and sleep and jump and swim without pain, with strong stomach muscles again.  Praise THE Lord.  For a long time I thought I had a few hernias in my stomach, but the professionals tell me I don't - so, I'm going with that and considering the results of four really painful enough to not want to go again good physio experiences over the last 8 days, I am confident that I am heading down a new track in my general fitness.

A beautiful custom request I made of baby birth details.


There you have it.




xx






09 May 2016

Mum

I know, I know, it has been a while (like 3 months - what!).  BUT, here I am!

I was ginormous...



I had a baby...



A very cute baby...






My Mum came to help us out (all the way from New Zealand) and we shared a foot-spa...



The washing pile suddenly grew after she left.  Mum was selfless and helpful, full of cuddles for my boys and her presence has been very missed since she went back home. Thank you so much, Mum!

While she was here, we went to Sedona...



And the Grand Canyon...



I am hopelessly in love with our new family-of-four dynamic...



These boys are so precious...



I have had ups and downs, mostly ups!  This time around things have been SO different.  I'll go deeper soon and fill you in on some gory details, but for  now, know that God is good.

xx








26 February 2016

February

You were emotional, or shall I say, "I was emotional?"

I was able to get some good work out the door... I helped with a logo design for Brandi Lopez Photography.




I was blessed with an awesome baby shower and awesome amounts of goodies in the mail (most of the edible stuff has disappeared).  Thank you, everyone!



Pregnant hormones are exactly what I'm blaming here.  Sheesh.  Anything and everything can bring a tear, or a down-pour.



It hasn't rained all month (I think).  It's the 26th and they tell me that it's not forecast to rain in the near future, either.  Sad face.



I have been busy, getting so tired that I wake up in the morning, have breakfast, do all the things that must be done, then crash on the couch and have a good little zzz.  It turns out that being nearly 8 months pregnant will do that to you.  Who knew?  Just because I have been "this" pregnant before does not mean, in any way, that I remember these simple things.



I have lovely swollen feet, which I am sure didn't happen last pregnancy, until after the pregnancy.  They can be fine, then half an hour later all blown up, again.  Yay.  When I'm sitting at the table, painting, that's when I can feel my feet beginning to blow up.  Gross.

I passed the glucose test!  It wasn't bad, I just felt sleepy and that was it.  Hallelujah.  And, thank you to everyone who sent a little prayer up for me!



Speaking of sugar, we recently had pancakes for dinner, with a mix of whipped cream, jam and maple syrup.  So good.  Why not?



Many of you seem to be loving this (above) piece that I did.  It is a custom order, but I will do my best to get more made and listed in the shop roomtoflourish.etsy.com .



So, summary of the last month... I'm well.  I'm busy.  I'm not busy at all.  I'm tired.  I'm still pregnant (until April).  I'm emo.  Haha.  Hopefully next month isn't too hard with this heavy belly to carry around.  We are getting very excited to meet our new little guy.  We're still working on a name...



Note to self:  get some slip-on shoes, tomorrow.


xx










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