Knitting & Crochet Blog Week ’11: Where are they now?

Since I learned to knit in 2006, I’ve made a few things here and there. Some rarely get used. Many were gifts. And then there’s the others like the pink fuzzy scarf I made Daughter which the kids have recently taken to using as a leash when they play “puppy”. But that one’s not super exciting to talk about or photograph because it was made with some cheap acrylic stuff and looks exactly like it did five years ago. But there’s one thing I knit that I actually forgot about not because it’s not used very often but because it’s become so ingrained in daily life, that I take it for granted I made it.

Meet Franklin.

Franklin on his birthday- January 25, 2007

Franklin is the first thing I made for Eldest. He’s four years old and has been a resident of Eldest’s bed, more or less, since the day Eldest got his hands on him. Franklin’s held every role with Eldest from being his absolute favorite most comforting object to being completely neglected and hiding out under the bed. Franklin’s been puked and peed on (not at the same time though). He’s been sat on, slept on, stepped on. He’s been washed countless times– at first worrying me greatly and now without even a second thought about it. Franklin has even been a multi-purpose toy and converted into a whip. I’m sure he would’ve been manipulated into some sort of leash too except for the fact he doesn’t tie up too tightly. I’m actually very proud of Franklin. He’s endured. He’s been beat up and he’s faded, but he’s still loved.

Franklin Love


Words of Gratitude

It’s Friday, and before I get to the usual Friday blog stuff I do, I want to say something very important—Thank You. When I first started this blog, it was because I felt single moms were very under-represented absolutely everywhere. Maybe it’s because we’re really busy or don’t usually have much money to burn or maybe we’re pretty intimidating as we manage entire households without the help of a man. Either way, we’re not a demographic that gets much attention yet when we do, it’s rarely of the positive variety.

Another reason I started writing was sheer loneliness. Not really knowing anyone personally that had been through what I experienced made me feel a strong urge to reach out and say, “Hello? Anyone out there?” Lo and behold, there are indeed signs of life—vibrant, intelligent, strong, creative, compassionate life forms at that.

Most of the time, when I sit to write, I don’t really have a goal, objective, or even a topic. Sometimes, I just write because I absolutely have to but I’m not even sure where I’m going to start, much less end up. I never expect a response either but, admittedly, often desire one.

So, that’s where you all and the thanks come in. Over the past few months, so many of you have felt inclined to respond to my words. E-mails and comments have come my way in so many shapes, sizes, and styles. You have shown me so much support and encouragement—more than I imagined and in ways I couldn’t have fathomed.

I am so very grateful. I know my blog’s a bit scattered breaking that supposed blogging golden rule to streamline and stick to one overall topic. I talk a lot about money but I wouldn’t dream of pegging myself a Personal Finance blog. Crochet? Ditto. Books? Ditto? Mommyness? Ditto. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, I have commitment issues and that invariably extends to the topics my blog touches upon. I do find it quite remarkable then, to have such a diverse group of readers who remain interested and involved.

Needless to say, what you bring to this blog is very much appreciated. I really love meeting each of you who venture from the reader shadowlands. Even those of you who stay silent observers mean so much to me simply because you come and read my equivalent of therapy sessions—and you return for more!

Giving me a moment of your time, a word of kindness, or even a little link love gives me a lot of strength and confidence. Every time you share a similarity, I’m pleased to know I’m really not alone. Those of you with advice open my eyes to another view. Any small praise builds me up a little bit more. And every vote of confidence you place in me is a reassuring pat on the back.

Life is not a smooth, straight path. It’s not the type of thing you really want to go at alone. And even though it’s quite small, I’m so grateful to all of you who make up this little community. So thank you, thank you, thank you. For those of you who come here to find someone who can possibly encourage you and help you through your personal challenge, know that I really hope I can give you even just a tiny bit of the support I’ve received here.

Even though I’ve done a lot of gushing, I’ve not forgotten what day it is—Friday. Nor have I forgotten that Fridays are for showing off. So today, I present to you my first little Panda bear made from Milky Robot’s pattern. He was great fun to make and I’m happily working on two more projects from her patterns that I will hopefully unveil next week. I think you will find her patterns very simple and clear and with lots of room to play with and make your creation your own. I’m working on finessing my sewing abilities but that’s a comment on my ability instead of the pattern’s. No matter how good her instructions are, it’s still up to me to piece the little guy properly. Enjoy the little guy and did anyone find my special hidden message?

Saturday: Sweeping, Mopping, Vacuuming and Quadrant Two

Break out the broom, vacuum, mop, and/or bucket. Today’s the day to do a quick sweep/vacuum and/or mopping of all accessible floor surfaces. If you have to crouch or move furniture, forget it. Just get all those areas little toes are always stomping around on. Make this quick. Excellent for the Stop Watch Log and you might be able to get your kids involved if they’re the right age. Vacuuming my room was part of my weekend chores as a child!

Today, we’re spending more time in Quadrant 2 (Kids bedrooms and bathrooms, Linen Closet, and Patio). I have a decent amount of de-cluttering to do in this area but if you’ve de-cluttered and are ready to get down and dirty, here are some projects to do:

  • Scrub down the bathroom
    • Toilet, tub, and sink
    • Mirror
    • Cabinets
  • Wash the shower curtain
    • If it’s plastic, throw it in the tub, fill it with hot water and pour bleach. Put on your gloves and smoosh the curtain into the water so it’s all covered. You can even do a quick rub of some of the dirtier areas. Let it soak while you clean the rest of the bathroom. Drain, and hang to dry.
  • Clean out the medicine cabinet and throw out expired or recalled medicines (ahem Children’s Tylenol and Motrin)
  • Wash bath toys in the top rack of the dishwasher. Toss the ones beyond saving

Decorating Tip: Pictures of your kids in the tub are really cute when they’re young and deliciously embarrassing when they’re older. Why hide them? Frame and hang in the bathroom for some cute art and potential revenge.

Friday: Purses, Cars, & Quadrant Two!

Happy Friday everyone! Empty out those purses, wallets, diaper bags, gym bags, book bags, etc. Also, rummage through your car with a plastic bag and throw out all the junk that’s accumulated. Take another bag with you to collect the stuff that doesn’t belong in the car and put it away as soon as you get inside. Don’t want to vacuum? Can’t vacuum? At least give the mats a quick shake. Some people keep wipes in their car and today’s the day to go ahead and wipedown your car with them.

Today we also start Quadrant Two (Kids Rooms, Kids Bathrooms, Linen Closet, Patio). I’m going to work on some de-cluttering in this area—especially the Kids Rooms and their Bathroom. But, if you’ve got this Quadrant de-cluttered, here are some projects:

  • Get under the beds. Kids love stashing stuff down there!
  • In-depth dusting
  • Wash windows inside and out
  • Wash window treatments
  • Flip the mattresses
  • Wash the comforters, mattress covers, and/or bedskirts

Decorating Tip: Kids love their own artwork. Next time they’re on sale, buy some basic inexpensive 8 x 10 photo frames. Every time you do this Quadrant, put in a new piece of artwork they’ve brought home from school.

Toy Story

I took out a bin, sat on the floor and sorted it as quickly and resolutely as I could. Donate pile here. Keep pile there. Trash bag here. Parts pile there. Keep only if all parts intact pile here. When it was empty, I got up, grabbed another one, and did it again. I did this for almost two hours and still didn’t finish the two storage towers I keep in the storage closet. I hadn’t even gone near the play room. I’m tired of toys. I’m tired of finding them all over floors. I’m tired of pieces everywhere but together where they belong. I’m tired of game boxes being opened seemingly only for the purpose of strewing the parts everywhere. I’m tired of toys being used more as projectiles than imagination encouragement tools. So. Bleeping. Tired. Of. The. Toys.

The really overwhelming thing is, I feel like I clean them out way more often than I hear other Moms mentioning. Seriously, just a few weeks ago I huddled the kids in the playroom. We counted 75 plush toys. They got to keep 30. I put 45 plush toys in a bag for Goodwill. And then, I found more– in their rooms, in my room, in the car, in the living room, even in the kitchen. It never ends.

The other overwhelming factor is that I actually went through a major effort to put some organization and control in place. Especially in the past year, motivated by major life changes, I have purged  and purged over and over again. I’ve rearranged furniture and donated even more toys. I’ve thrown away bags and bags and bags. But then Christmas came.

My biggest problem, my doozy if you will, is when I purge toys, I’m often bewildered. My kids are in three very distinct stages– the six year old boy likes video games and action figures, the three year old girl likes dolls and dressing up, and the baby just likes to throw stuff, or eat it, or even suck on it first and then throw it, and at times, throw it to then chase it down and proceed to eat it. And what about books? As much as I think reading is a really important thing and encouraging a love for books is super duper important, there are books all over the place! Do I really have to let some go?

But now, as I’m all fed up with the toys again, I’m back to purging and reorganizing for what feels like the billionth time in a twelve month period. My motivation is the same motivation I have every time I set myself to this arduous project– create a welcoming environment that encourages my kids to play happily and creatively. I always feel like I come close, but never really quite get there. If you have ideas or suggestions on the purging process or the organization process or the storage process or the stay-sane-when-you-step-on-that-bleeping-microscopic-but-surprisingly-painful-GI Joe-gun process, please do share.