Oh where to begin?

Starting is always the hardest part. So many ideas and directions to go in. Should I post about my day? Should I post about my latest crochet project? The first post really puts on some serious pressure! I think I’ll just broad brush this one as a bit of an extension of my about me page, the “type a” totally scatter brained new mom that I am!

What I would like to accomplish with my blog, Life and Yarn, is to have a place to begin to document my journey as a new mom, life in general, my many passions, and especially my love (read: obsession) of crochet. Sort of an online journal, but one that anyone can see!

Motherhood is amazing. I think I’m built to be a mom. I’m sure that sounds cliche, but really. I began to realize while I was pregnant and in the first few weeks of motherhood that all I really wanted was to be a mom. I spent 6-1/2 years in college to turn around and have my goal to be a stay at home mom, go figure. All of that time and energy to be something just to discover that what I really wanted was be what I was naturally, a mom, and it’s amazing. 

As for my crochet obsession, I want to be able to share what I’ve learned over time. I was taught to crochet by my grandma at a very young age. Years later I picked up a crochet hook again. I knew what to do with it in my head but I couldn’t get my hands to do what I wanted. So after tons of online videos and lots of trial and error I started to get the basics again. Now I love learning new stitches and I have more projects in progress then I do finished. I love finally finishing a project. 

Sorry for the haphazard post, I promise the next one will be more organized and specific, somewhat. Tangents are kind of my thing. Thanks for reading! 

Best, Brianna. 

I WON something!!!

I was tagged on Instagram for a contest. You know the, like, share and tag for an entry type thing? Every once in a blue I enter as well, but I feel like it pointless because who do you know that ever actually wins?

I WON! Seriously! Can you believe that!? Super exciting too because I've been wanting to order some items but I'm trying to be fiscally responsible, sigh…..

So anyways this was a contest run by Miki of @sfmgs on Instagram with Wool and the Gang @woolandthegang I won the COPACABANA ESPADRILLES KIT and I chose nautical navy.

Don't you just love that color!?

Anyhow, the package is sitting on my dresser and I wake up and fall asleep looking at it every day. I'm in the middle of that big move that you can read about here so I have not yet begun them….so sad. I can't wait to start, but I want to really be able to enjoy making them and not be picking them up and putting them down constantly.

I'll totally post an update when I get them going!

Have you made these? Have you made anything from WATGs other kits? What have you won that you were super excited about? I'd love to hear?!

Come and follow me on Instagram @life.and.yarn for more frequent updates!

Best,
Brianna.

Pattern Test Coming Soon!

EDIT: pattern testing is complete and this pattern is live on Etsy. Click the link for purchase!

There are more testing opportunities coming! Stay tuned!

EDIT: Testing in progress! If you are interested shoot me an email at lifeandyarn@gmail.com.

I am just about done *it is done* with my next pattern! YES! I have so many in the works but I keep distracting myself with other projects, totally scatter brained. 

BUT this one is almost done! 

I am totally loving this blanket and the texture is just amazing. I have the majority of the pattern written and just started adding the border. 

I just don't know what to call it!

Suggestions?

I'll be looking for pattern testers soon!

Come follow me on Instagram @life.and.yarn!

Best, Brianna 

The Big Move Progress!

Phewwwwwwww what a crazy almost TWO weeks! It feels like months!

If you aren’t sure what I mean about this Big Move you can read about it in my previous post here and here!

So I am definitely making progress, but it doesn’t look like much! But the progress is there! We are so close to being able to stay in the upstairs, it’s refreshing. Not to mention my mom gave us a deadline of Monday so that my dad can start to really dig in on finishing the kitchen. No pressure, really, haha. 

I’m excited to be upstairs full time so I can continue to organize and be out of the way for things to be finished downstairs! 

Going through everything and cleaning out is giving me so many idea for the spaces upstairs! I’ll be sure to share them! 

I’m also coming across a TON of old projects! One of which I’m just not sure what to do with…..

I started this blanket years ago, I intended for it to be HUGE. I was making it in colors at the time that I loved and was decorating with. Now my taste has totally changed. I like cooler colors, lots or grey and beachy tones. So this blanket is not really fitting in so great. Instead of continuing on with it I’m thinking I’ll just leave it at the size it’s at and add the border. What do you think? It’s seriously large already!

Oh but the torture, I want so much to sit and work on my projects but I must stay focused and keep going with the move!!!

How do you stay focused and organized? I just want to play with my yarn!

Come and follow me on Instagram @life.and.yarn

Best, Brianna. 

Light & Refreshing

So I used to have a sweet tooth. Over the years it has slowly been disappearing, except for chocolate. Chocolate is life. 

I find that just about everything I get to drink is a bit too sweet and I want to water it down. So a while back I started making my own drinks. Usually I am the only one who drinks them, but this time I made a hit! So I wanted to share!

Here’s what you need :

1 Lemon

1 Grapefruit 

3 Lemon Green Tea Bags

1/4 Cup of Sugar

1 Gallon Container

*optional* lemon squeezer*

Water

Let’s Make It!

1. Run some hot water and fill your container about a 1/4 of the way, max. 

2. Add your 1/4 cup of sugar and stir.

3. Add the 3 tea bags, make sure to cut off the paper tags, but don’t rip the bag! Then gently stir!

4. Cut your lemon in half, squeeze out the juice and add it to the one gallon container. 

5. Cut your grapefruit in half, squeeze out the juice and add it to the one gallon container. 

6. Fill the container the rest of the way with cool water. 

7. Place in the fridge to chill and try to keep everyone from drinking it right away!

So easy right?

I made one gallon the other day and it was gone by the next night! I couldn’t believe it. My husband, sister and my dad all loved it. Even more shocking was my little brother, he’s going to be 10 in a few weeks, loved it too! I feel like that says a lot since he loves his sweet sugary drinks! Makes me happy to see him enjoy something healthy! 

My one gallon container is a giant jug made to look like a mason jar with a spot. They are fantastic. Except when it got to the end some of the pulp had gone into the spout so it was slow to come out. I used a strainer over a cup and poured the rest in. The last glass was definitely the best glass. 

This was such a cheap and refreshing drink to make and with so many people in and out all the time it can get expensive having drinks on hand! I will definitely be making more and this is sure to be a summer staple in my house!

How good does that look!

Did you make it? I’d love to hear when you do! 
Come and follow me on Instagram @life.and.yarn 

Best, Brianna. 

Organizing Woes

So that “Big Move” I was talking about? I think it really is going to be a big move, haha. My grandparents left for Florida and I am in the process of bringing some items upstairs. I am trying to keep as much of their stuff upstairs with mine so there is less to work around downstairs. It’s amazing what gets collected in a house after 40+ years. 

*It is also amazing how many typos can be found in one short paragraph. Note to self, go reread published posts!*

I’m a bit frustrated and discouraged with the the almost non existent dent I’ve made in two days. But you know what?! TODAY is a new day and I AM going to be POSITIVE! I can do this, and it will get done!

Any organization/moving tips for me?

Also, I have founds so many knitting needles, that I’m becoming motivated to try and pick up the craft again!

Any knitting tips for a beginner?

Come and follow me on Instagram @life.and.yarn 

Best, Brianna

The “Big” Move

Generally when people move they pack up and have a start date and a whole new place to go. Me? Not so much. There are a lot of big and small changes happening for my immediate and extended family right now. 

Currently, ugh I hate saying this, my husband and I are living in my grandparents basement, but with good reason, I swear! We got married almost 3 years ago and we were in the process of looking for a house here in New York. We went through the whole pre-approval process, signed with an agent and started looking. But you know what? New York is expensive. Like sick sickeningly, frustratingly, discouragingly expensive. Plus we couldn’t seem to understand how we got approved for what we did and how the bank justified what we could afford. Maybe on paper we could afford it but I’m a bit on the frugal side with most things, yarn  not included, and honestly the numbers didn’t make sense. So that is what led us to explore so other options. 

My parents have been planning a move to the Carolinas  and we decided that we wanted to go too. So now the whole family, my parents, my husband and I with our son, my 3 siblings, significant others and my nephew are ALL going. Exciting right?!

So how did I end up in the basement? The basement apartment was supposed to be finished years ago for my grandparents to use and go back and forth from their condo in Florida. Clearly it never happened. So here I am, not wanting to buy, but not wanting to be stuck with a lease when I’m trying to move. So here was our best option to have as much moving freedom as possible. See, I told you it made sense!

There are two houses on my parents property so they are right next door (awesome). One big happy family. Now, we’re really mixing it up. My grandparents are finally getting to spend the time they want in Florida so they want their basement apartment. No stairs is a HUGE plus for my Oma. So we are switching. I’m going onto the main floor and they are coming down. 

Here’s where it gets even better! My sister, will move into the main part of the house with her fiancé and nephew when my grandparents and I switch!!! I’m SUPER excited about that!!! We have become really close since both having our little guys within a few months of each other. Plus I think two the little guys together will actually make it easier on us because they can entertain each other! 

What I am also really excited about is a TON of projects I have in mind to do upstairs! Guess what? I’ll be sharing ALL of them on my blog! YAY! *happy dance* Just to name a few off the top of my head : 

1. Redo the old ceiling fan. It’s yucky. 

2. Paint the hall bathroom cabinet. 

3. MAYBE attempt to change the hall bath counter top by REDOING it, NOT replacing. That should be interesting. 

4. Making the base molding look fancy. I’m super excited about this one!

Plus so many more! 

What were some of your favorite DIY home projects? I’m looking for ideas! I’ve been finding so much inspiration on Pinterest it’s AMAZING! Some days it’s really more of a distraction, haha. 

Come follow me on Instagram @life.and.yarn 

Best, Brianna. 

Vacation Prep! 

I love summer. I love the warm weather. I love the sun. I love being outside. I love the beach. I love going up to my ankles in the ocean, haha. I’m not one for really swim in it, but hey, to each their own right?

So anyways, last year we didn’t do much since we had just had Jack. This year I was a bit on the fence about planning anything because I wasn’t sure how well Jack would travel. BUT we ended up having a great opportunity!

My husband’s aunt and uncle (I adore them) go to LBI every summer. We went out with them a few years back for a few days and loved it. They have invited us to go  this year and of course we jumped on it! It really is perfect because we can go out, plan to stay a few days, but if Jack isn’t happy with the traveling and being in a different space we can leave. 

However, this is our first beach trip with the little guy so I need to start collecting things I need for him. Totally new to me! I’m definitely a less is more kind of mom. I’m not big on all the gadgets and things that babies supposedly need. I know I need sunblock, some sort of tent for him, probably some beach clothes, poor kid inherited my really white skin. A sun hat would be great if I could get him to keep it on, but what else? Some beach toys? How much will he really want to play with anything? I think he will just be soooo distracted and interested in everything going on around him. 

So what do you suggest? New mommy here looking for baby beach travel tips!

I’m so excited for this mini vacation in a few weeks and I’ll be sure to post our adventures!!!

Come and follow me on Instagram @life.and.yarn 

Best, Brianna. 

SAHM vs WAHM

Are you a stay at home mom or a work at home mom, OR are you like me and trying to do both? Either way it’s exhausting. 

After I finished college I got a great job with a big design-build firm. I was making pretty good money and really started running up the latter. BUT with the crazy hours and my and my husband’s schedules being totally different I began to loath something that I loved. I worked Tuesday to Saturday 10am-8pm (to accommodate clients) and my husband worked 5am to anywhere between 5pm and 7pm, off Tuesday’s and the weekend. So we had one day, Sunday, to have anytime for us.

Now I know some people thrive off of that type of craziness. Me? Not so much. When I was in college I had wacky schedules that changed every semester, and that was fine. The difference there was that had an end point. I knew when the semester was over. I knew how many (about) semesters it would take for me to complete my degree and then it was over. This, my job, my career, that really doesn’t have an end point. So after about, I think a year and a half, I knew I needed a change. 

I had the freedom that my husband didn’t to explore new options and it was up to me to make a move. My husband, fiancé at the time, was on board with whatever I wanted to do. He of course was thrilled to be able to have me cooking dinner again, men right? 

So what was the tipping point for this decision? We were planning a wedding, and talking about our future and of course kids! I love babies, I want a bazillion babies. The big reason for the career I chose was because I knew I could eventually work from home. I could be my own boss and do as much or as little necessary. It was time to make that happen.

My type of work only really requires a computer and my programs. I can essentially work from anywhere. Through college I worked with my grandfather’s engineering company, where I had made quite a few connections with some really fantastic architects. So I reached out to one that I knew was looking for some help and offered to work, FROM HOME, for him. He immediately said yes! I gave my two weeks the next day, and haven’t regretted it once. 

Flash forward, about 3 years, and I have happily been working from home. Now since having the little guy a year ago my work load has slowed down. There is really only so much I can do on my computer with a baby on my hip. Believe it or not it was easier to do more when he was smaller. A mobile baby and a laptop don’t mesh well, hahahah. So my work hours are really limited to nap time and when my husband is home. Funny how before I had a baby I thought this job would be perfect. HA, good one. 

Now, currently I am trying to grow a blogging base and also jump in the world of crochet as an income. Not the easiest thing to do!!! I’ll be honest, I haven’t been trying my absolute hardest. I am trying to take on as much real work as possible so the blog and my yarn obsession get put in the back seat quite often, damn bills. Oh, and of course there is also a baby to tend to!!! Can’t forget that. 

But you know what? The older he gets, the harder it is to try to work that “real job” I get some pretty serious deadlines, demanding clients, and forget about keeping up with codes and all that good stuff. I know with every job there are certain demands that need to be met. However those demands can be hard to meet when your heart just isn’t in it. You know what I mean?

There are some days that is just so beautiful out that I would much rather hang outside with the little guy, let him explore and work on some great ideas I have, but I have to get a job finished. Deadlines, deadlines. 

So that’s where I am at this very moment. Sleeping baby, computer that I just don’t want to keep clicking away on and a beautiful crochet project in my lap that I’m just itching to finish and share! I feel like it really is time for me to make another change in my life. Time to really go for something that I want so badly to succeed with. It’s time to jump in and really try to shine! Time to take my SAHM/WAHM status to a whole new level of mompreneur! 

TODAY IS THE DAY. Today I have decided to go for it and you can too! Jump in, take that risk and do it because I have realized life really is to short to not try to make your dreams happen. 

How do you find the right balance in you life? It’s not easy, but I’ll find a way! I’d love to heard how you did OR are trying to!

Come find me on Instagram @life.and.yarn

Best, Brianna. 

Making an Old Pillow New

I love pillows. Seriously, but for whatever reason I either don’t like what I find or, if I do in my mind I’m like, “pshhh, I can make that, so I’m not spending money on it”. Do I ever make them? No. Until now…….

So I have quite a few pillows that came with something, mostly bed sets. Currently, I am working on this adorable little grey cover for this plain white decorative pillow. It’s just started to look dingy so it’s the first pillow I’m attacking. Pulse it’s tiny, about 12″x12″. Clearly Clifford is interested, but probably not looking to be helpful. The joys of a cat and a yarn obsession. 

Since I’m just using some pillow I had laying around and I would like you to be able to do this too I’m going to try my best to be as detailed but generic as possible. 

So here’s what I did :

Materials:

2 strands of worsted weight acrylic yarn (Stitch Studio by Nicole, Pound of Stitches in Gentle Gray. I buy it from AC Moore)

K/10-1/2 6.50mm hook *I have added a link for a set of these hooks. I love them, these are what I use. I did just recently become an amazon affiliate (yay!) so if you do decide to purchase these hooks I do get a kickback!*

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Old Pillow (or new if you just feel like trying to cover one!)

Process: 

So what I did was chain around until I had enough to fit snug around the pillow. (For me it was 70 chains). 

Then I worked in the round. So, making sure that my chain didn’t twist, I picked up only one stitch from the first chain and Single Crocheted around on only one side of the chain. 

I did three rounds of Single Crochet. 

When I got back to around where the tail was where I began to alternate one Single Crochet then one Single Crochet in the BACK LOOP only. That’s what gives this pillow such amazing texture!

I really liked working the stitches like this because it let the piece be tight, but also gave it just the extra stretch it needed. 
It’s almost looks like the Moss Stitch, but its sturdier. 

When I got about 11″ worked up, about 31 rounds including the first three of Single Crochet, I switched back to Single Crochet in every stitch for the last three rounds. 

*make sure you test your pillow cover multiple times while working it up for proper sizing.*

At this point I put the cover over the pillow so that I could finish up the ends. 

I used the flat zipper stitch as my joining method. It’s super simple, I promise! What you do is pick up on loop on one side and then one loop on the other, yarn over, pull through both loops. Then you just keep picking up, left, right, yarn over pull through. 

This is where I leaned this joining method from. This is a great tutorial. http://pin.it/nJ7wzZ7

So you are going to join both sides of you pillow like this, and then weave in your ends. 

Before you close up the second side make sure the pillow is adjusted well in the cover. 

Then you’re done!

Do you love it?! I LOVE MINE!!!

I am working on another one using a slightly larger hook, still two strands, and a different variation on the Single Crochet. I’ll post an update as soon as it’s done!

I would love to see pillows you have given new life to!

Come follow me on Instagram @life.and.yarn and share your projects with me using #lifeandyarn 

Best, Brianna

Alphabet Blanket

So I’ve been thinking about making an alphabet blanket for my little guy. I have sooooo many projects going for him. My thought was to create crochet letter patches and then put them all together in the end. Mind you I’m still working on his temperature blanket of his first year. He just turned 1 and I’ve only made it through June, July and maybe 5 days of August. Hopefully the alphabet blanket is a bit more interesting and I can stay at a decent pace! 

So I’m going to do the obvious and start with “A”. I plan to document each letter and do a short explanation of each. Maybe this one will become a pattern, maybe not, I’m not sure what I’m getting myself into with this one!!!

I am going to try and only use scraps for this blanket since I would like it to be really colorful and as interesting as possible for my little guy. Since most of my scrap yarn is worsted weight I’ll try to stick to a 5mm hook. I am also really wanting to try some cross stitch, so that’s how I plan on making the letters. Right now I’m also being super ambitious and thinking that I’d like to make a little crochet appliqué picture for each letter as well. Seems like a bit much? We’ll see!!!

Have you made or seen anything similar? Any tips for what I’m trying to do? Comment below and tell me about it!

Best, Brianna

Come and follow me on Instagram @life.and.yarn and you can use the contact page or email me at LifeandYarn@gmail.com