Saturday, April 12, 2014

Super Oval Crochet Diagram

I tried pinning this diagram on the site I found it on, but it wouldn't work, so I'm going to upload it here for the sole purpose of sharing.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Second Doily Complete!

On Reddit /r/crochet, there is an April crochet contest named "Aloha" for Spring currently happening.  When I spotted this pastel ombre crochet thread at Joann's I knew I had to use it for the contest.  I found a wonderful pattern online for a doily that I wanted to try.  I don't read spanish, but the title for the doily seems to be Tapete "Resplandor."  I started it knowing I'd use at least 1 entire skein of the ombre, but it turned into almost three entire skeins.  The contest requires all material be under 200g, and three entire skeins would put me just under the limit, so I'm pretty happy.

Here are the Instagram pictures of my progress.  Again, I'm sorry for the crappy photos.

6 rows completed.

15 rows completed.

19 rows completed.

27 rows completed.

36 rows completed.

39 rows completed.

44 rows completed.

 21-inches wide!  All 48 rows finished.

Close up of the detail and color.

22.5-inches after blocking with an iron.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Adventures into Crocheting Doilies

I recently tried my hands at crocheting a doily.  About a year ago, I got about 10 rows into one before giving up.  It's tedious work, but it really pays off if you stick with it.  This time around, I stuck with one and after only four days, completed my very first crochet doily.  My camera right now is unavailable because the SD card is damaged, so here are the instagram phone pictures (I know, lame) for you to view.

Pattern is here. Item is listed here in my Etsy shop.


 After Blocking

After Framing in Double-Paned Glass

Now on the wall!

Detail of the doily.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

After becoming pregnant with our second child, I began researching VBAC statistics for the hospitals and providers in my area, and went with a recommendation from a good friend of mine.  A vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is important to me because cesareans are major surgery.  I don't want to have my body undergo something so drastic unless medically necessary.

A delivery is not considered a VBAC unless it is successful.  Otherwise, it is termed a "trial of labor after cesarean" (TOLAC) until that point.  For the purposes of this post, we will refer to it as a VBAC (the ultimate goal) like most women do.

>> Why is a VBAC important?

Many women choose to have a vaginal delivery after having had a cesarean for their previous delivery for several reasons.  There are several very significant reasons why VBAC should be attempted instead of a planned cesarean.
  • A cesarean is major surgery.  Because of this, it takes extra time to heal.  The first few days after a cesarean can be incredibly difficult, especially while also taking care of a newborn.  In addition to that, "bouncing back" from a cesarean takes much longer than a vaginal delivery.  
  • The number of cesareans a woman has significantly lowers the number of children she will have.  Many OBs are unwilling to perform more than 2-3 cesareans on a single woman because of the higher risks involved.  Each time a cesarean is performed, it leaves a wound that results in a scar.  This scar can lead to serious complications (the surgery itself can also lead to serious complications) later on down the road.  With each cesarean, the risk of having a uterine rupture goes up significantly.
  • Consequently, a vaginal delivery is much easier on the body.  Recovery usually only lasts a few days.
  • A woman vaginally delivering her child is the way the body was intended to do it.  Cesareans are necessary when certain medical complications arise, but shouldn't be defaulted to otherwise. 
  • And lastly, (if applicable where you live), a cesarean delivery is much more expensive.

>> What are the risks with a VBAC?

Many providers and hospitals do not perform VBACs because there are risks.  The biggest risk is the possibility of uterine rupture.  The scar from the previous cesarean could open during labor and cause the uterus to rupture.  In these cases, the hospital must be prepared to do an immediate cesarean in order to prevent maternal and fetal death.  However, uterine ruptures are so rare (less than 1%) that even though you should be informed and prepared, it is unlikely it will happen if labor happens naturally (not induced with medicine).

A uterine rupture most often results in a cesarean.  In certain cases, a hysterectomy is required because of the complications.  Although this risk is low, it is such a serious risk (so is maternal or fetal death) that a VBAC must be supported by all parties (patient, provider, and hospital) and should also be fully prepared in case of emergency.

>> Am I eligible for a VBAC?

Before considering a VBAC, it's important to understand why you had a cesarean the last time.  This will tell you whether you are a "good candidate" or not.  There are certain conditions or aspects that might hinder you from being able to attempt a VBAC:
  • If your previous cesarean was because your labor stalled.
  • You don't experience the same thing that resulted in a cesarean the last time.
Other factors include obesity, being over 35, your body not dilating well, and your labors not progressing well.  However, these factors exist also for women who've never had a cesarean.

>> Is my decision to have a VBAC supported by my provider or hospital?

The biggest factor that contributes to having a successful VBAC is whether or not your hospital allows it and whether your provider will support the decision.  The level of commitment to attempt a VBAC by your provider will determine how successful it will be, barring the fact that complications can arise that can not be avoided.

In order to have the birth you want, having the right support team is of utmost important, regardless if this is a VBAC or even your first birth.  Choosing a support team that is in line with how you want your birth to progress will give you a great chance of being successful.  Even if a provider allows for a VBAC, it is necessary to pick up on signs that they might not be fully invested in it.  Make sure you are aware of what contributes to a successful VBAC and check to make sure your provider and hospital accommodate and allow those things.

>> What can I do to prepare for a VBAC?

To prepare for a VBAC, you must first address why you had your cesarean.  If you can prepare to avoid running into the same complication you had before, then you will have the greatest chance of success.  If fetal positioning (breech, etc.) ended with a cesarean, for instance, you should take a class on optimal fetal positioning and visit Spinning Babies to learn how you can prepare your body to keep the baby in the right position.

>> What if my VBAC is unsuccessful?

Many women experience the labor and deliveries that they didn't want or plan.  And many of these women also experience traumatic births because of it.  Recovering from this type of experience can take a lot of time and sometimes counseling.  Understanding exactly why your VBAC didn't happen is important to recovery.  Many women will think, "Could I have done anything different to change the outcome?" And this thought process will ultimately haunt them.  During your attempt for a VBAC, make sure you are prepared that another cesarean might happen.  There are certain medical complications that necessitate a cesarean, and there's nothing you can do to change that; things just happen.  Being open to the fact that birth can be very unpredictable will significantly help your mental state recover if you get the birth you didn't want.

If your VBAC is unsuccessful, take the time to heal physically, but also mentally.  Many women don't think about recovering emotionally from birth because they are preoccupied with taking care of a newborn (and other children possibly) and they forget to take care of themselves.  Making sure you are physically healthy is important, but your mental well-being is as well.  This might mean speaking to someone about your birth, someone other than your partner or family, or it might mean journaling your experience just to get it out.  Discussing your birth with your provider after the fact can also have a healing affect because it can take away the burden of guilt you might feel as a result.

And lastly, but very importantly, please remember that you did not fail.  

Friday, February 28, 2014

Recipe: Chicken Salad

The only cravings I've had this pregnancy have been chicken salad, sweet tea, and a little bit for root beer.  When I was pregnant with Atticus, we lived in Michigan, and it was very difficult to find sweet tea up there, so I lived without it for over four years.  Since moving back to Georgia, my love for it has been reawakened, and I try to swing by McDonalds or Chick-fil-a every chance I get.  We also didn't have Chick-fil-a up North, so I had to live without that as well.  Now that I have one just down the street, I can get a chicken salad sandwich that I enjoy.  Chick-fil-a's chicken salad sandwich is very unique, not the best by any means, but I like it.  However, at their prices, it's not economical to fulfill my pregnancy cravings with CFA alone.  So, I looked up a few chicken salad recipes and made my own.


1 cooked rotisserie chicken
4 Tbsp Bread and Butter relish
10-20 green onions, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste


Pull all the chicken off the bone and shred.  Combine with all other ingredients.  Place in airtight container and chill in the refrigerator.

Yield: This makes enough for 3-4 generous sandwiches, or you can just eat it as it is for lunch during the week.

If you use this recipe, please leave a comment below telling me what you think!  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

New Item in the Shop

I've really missed being in the classroom.  I haven't taught since June 2012 and I miss it terribly.  The other night, while I was waiting for Atticus to fall asleep, I had an idea.  I have boxes full of lesson plans that I kept in the event that I return to teaching high school English.  The idea is that I compile novel packets using my own lesson plans and sell them online.  I really like the idea because it gives me the opportunity to do what I love without having to be back in the classroom.  Not many teachers enjoy writing lesson plans, but because I love working with Microsoft Word, and I love being organized, I do enjoy writing my own.

So for the past week, I worked many hours putting together my first packet.  This set is for the novel All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, one of my favorite novels.  I don't know if it's because I'm pregnant, but as I was reading the novel again, I cried so much when (SPOILER ALERT) Paul's best friend Katczinsky dies near the end of the novel.  It really hit me.  

"I am very miserable, it is impossible that Kat--Kat my friend, Kat with the drooping shoulders and the poor, thin moustache, Kat, whom I know as I know no other man, Kat with whom I have shared these years--it is impossible that perhaps I shall not see Kat again."

If you haven't read the book (sorry for the spoiler), you definitely should.  It's one of the books that I just grabbed off the shelf at Barnes and Noble and decided it looked good enough to read, and I'm glad that it was and still is.

You can take a look at the novel guide here on Etsy.


The next novel packet I'm working on is for Anthem by Ayn Rand, another one of my favorites.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

For Christmas this year, my family was able to get together on the 23rd down in Tifton.  Not everyone could make it, but most of us were there.  Steven, Atticus, and I thought this family holiday would be the perfect time to make our announcement:
In November, we decided to begin trying for baby #2 and we are super excited for our success after only trying during one cycle.  It's a delicate issue because we have family very close to us who have the opposite story.  However, this is a happy time for us and we hope you can celebrate this news with us.