30 September 2014

The Unintended Silence

I haven't written at all in September, not really. The posts for the BR Maker Faire were slap-dash necessities because I handed out more than 60 cards with my URL and I wanted relevant content at the top. Nothing has come of that, although I've been working on other crochet projects anyway.

The biggest reason for a lack of posting is a paying, part-time job I'm doing. It's for the local university -- actually one of the departments my husband works in -- writing and editing an annual magazine. I went into the process for an informational interview that turned into a job offer. I grossly underestimated the time it would take me, although the director wisely built in some overrun and I hope to at least keep it within that number of hours.

Basically I've been working 20-ish hours every week, which seems like nothing thinking back to my career-filled life, but when I'm balancing it with child care it has left me feeling as exhausted and strung out as I ever did while working (save for the morning sickness road trip of 2011). It has also involved a lot of working with others -- almost all strangers who don't want to bother with the magazine or me. And I've had a few tense gripe sessions with Shawn about him getting me into this!

Things are slowly coming together for the magazine though, and I'll find a new equilibrium once it goes to print. (I'll post a link to it on my Facebook and maybe my professional site -- keep reading.) There may be additional work with this department (their website needs serious attention), or maybe not. There's another possible website job with a different organization slated to start in January, although I won't know if I've actually been chosen to do it until sometime in late November at the earliest.

I purchased www.mariwalker.com when I saw it was available (there's an author with my name who used to own it). For now I'll use it to promote my freelance communications offerings -- although every job I've had so far has come to me without trying. Not sure if that will last.

Jane has started a two morning per week preschool program that has been the only way I've been able to work as much as I have. (I've also had to make her sit in her dad's office for an hour here and there -- which she adores because she gets to be with him ... and watch Daniel Tiger or Olivia!)

She loves school and has never looked back. She loves her teacher, her friends and all the fun stuff they do together. I lost it the night before her first day with ugly crying and straight up fear of leaving her, but after the nerves of day one I've felt really good about it too. (Perhaps in part because I've been frantically working/interviewing/writing during her school hours.)

Today was my first day without an interview, where I was at home without her (normally I have been going from drop off to the university until it's time to pick her up). It was great -- easier to fit in exercise, then a more leisurely Target run with no "get in the cart" negotiations.

I will write more in October, leading up to NaBloPoMo in November.

21 September 2014

Want to Order a Crochet Hat?

Thanks for your interest in silvermari crochet hats. Most of what I make are sized for infants and toddlers, although I can size up and down for custom orders (and based on the Maker Faire I'll be making more elementary-age girls sizes).

Please email me at silvermari@gmail.com to place an order. (I may consider setting up an Etsy shop in the future.)

I will need to know the style of hat you'd like (see photos in my silvermari crochet hats Flickr album), the colors (general or specific) and a couple head measurements. Most importantly I need the head circumference -- measure around the crown of the head. It's also helpful to have the brow height -- from the top of the head to just above the eyebrows (or wherever you want the edge of the hat to be).

Hats range from $10-$20, depending on size and complexity. I am located in Baton Rouge, LA, and I can meet in a public place within BR to deliver local orders. Shipping costs will be extra.

I expect about a week turnaround time for each order, although that depends on other factors (including number of orders I already have, if it's a hard-to-find yarn that I need to special order, etc.), so I'll let you know in our email conversations. If you have a rush deadline let me know, and I'll see what I can do.

If you have other crochet projects you'd like to commission, please contact me for a quote. See my silvermari crochet Flickr album for examples of other types of crochet projects I've completed.


19 September 2014

Baton Rouge Mini Maker Faire

This Saturday I'm going to be part of the Mini Maker Faire at the East Baton Rouge public library. I'll have my crochet hats for sale and will be demonstrating crochet and teaching anyone who wants to give it a try. I'm confused about the way it will work, but if nothing else it will give me some stories.

If you're visiting my site because you saw my booth at the faire, welcome! I don't write exclusively about crochet, although I do post about almost every project I make. I hope you'll stick around. See more about my crochet craft.

30 August 2014

A Decade of Owen

Last visit to Baton Rouge as a 9-year-old.
It's hard to believe that "Baby O" is ten (10!) years old today.

I can vividly remember the day ten years ago, when I was in Maryland starting graduate school and my sister was in labor. Owen was almost a week late. I had been home on Beth's actual due date.

I sat in an orientation class of some sort, and for the "ice breaker" fact I shared that my sister was having a baby and I'd rather be with her at that point. The dean of the school did his best to make me feel "other" and wrong about that. He just couldn't understand that desire and mocked me for it.

Beth and I texted for as long as she could manage.

I was in Ikea looking at hanging hooks with my roommate when I got the call from my dad that Owen had arrived.

I didn't get to meet him until nearly four months later -- December 17, 2004. And in the meantime I met Shawn.

Graduate school was the right thing for me, and led me to my life with Shawn. But I sure would have liked to have been there when Owen came into the world.

Now he's a silly, smart and fun boy. It's amazing to realize how quickly the time has gone.

Here's to many, many, many more years of Owen! AMLBO!!!

24 August 2014

Feelings About Others Feeding My Toddler

So I'm not really a mommy blogger, despite motherhood being the thing that defines this season of my life best. I start and stop writing about my daughter, even though there's so much to say I try to think about her privacy vs. sharing my parenting experiences.

(Total random aside: I read a lot of mommy blogs, and one version I can't stand -- but still hate read -- are the non-stop complainers. Yeah, I get it. Motherhood/parenthood is hard. But get over yourself/mix in a little bit of the wonder and joy now and again! /rant)

Anyway, this is something that's been bugging me and I want to write about it as a way to organize my thoughts and consider my next steps.

What Jane eats is important to me. I'm not a perfect hippie, but I aspire to some aspects of the lifestyle -- in particular whole foods free of chemicals, dyes and extra sugar.

So far I've been able to do an OK job for Jane. Being in charge of her meals means she is at least offered a variety of choices, all of which are good for her. She does not eat super sweet things -- including ice cream, candy, cookies, Kool-aid or even juice -- no matter how much I know she would love them.

That's not to say things don't slip in -- she eats her share of processed crackers, cheddar bunnies or rockets (Trader Joe's brand goldfish), pretzels, dip, pizza and salad dressing. She's tried cake (and talks about is a lot!) and gets whipped cream on her berries occasionally plus sneaks a few chips every now and again too. She can eat a grilled cheese the size of her head and loves quesadillas.

Let's just say that her diet isn't perfect but it could easily be derailed. Especially as she grows and is going into more situations where I'm not in charge of what she eats. A particular sore point for me is our church Sunday school. Jane was invited to join the preschool class this fall. I've decided to wait on letting her start -- partly because I want her to be fully potty trained -- but mostly because I don't want her being fed junk food every week.

I want our church to do better by our kids -- ALL our kids. I know I can't wipe out the mentality that "treats" for kids are a way to show love, which I think is a big part of the food selection at church. Truthfully I find myself wanting to do that often -- whether with food or toys -- so I fully realize this is a "pot-kettle-black" situation too. (In more ways than one, since my own diet leaves a lot to be desired ... Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper addiction are clear examples of that!) There's also the ease factor of most unhealthy foods -- packaged, keep forever and kids will actually eat them.

But I don't know if I've got the fight in me to even make the change for the littlest kids, and so I've put it off. I said I'll reevaluate sending her to the class when she's 3 in a couple months.

But every Sunday I feel a tug -- of what she's missing in the class in terms of spiritual education. The nursery where she is (and where I complained about the snacks there until they agreed to cheerios, pretzels and water) doesn't include any type of Bible story or praying, both of which Jane is ready for.

I shouldn't have to choose between her spiritual health and her physical health, and I know in both instances Shawn and I are the primary factor for now. I don't see a solution yet, except for getting into it/really pressing for better food choices at the preschool class level.

Or should I change? Am I being overly controlling about what goes into Jane's body? Is it inevitable that she consume junk, and therefore just go with the flow? It seems like the other parents at church take that approach. (And I'm not questioning anyone's dedication for their kids or their kids' health.) Can I hold it off a little longer?

How will I know?

08 August 2014

Crochet: Leaping Stripes & Blocks and Mary Jane Shoes

 I've used Mooglyblog patterns before and loved them, but I finally subscribed to the blog itself. It's amazing and full of great crochet ideas and patterns. Love.


Anyway I made the Leaping Stripes & Blocks pattern for a to-be-born baby using dark grey, white and honey bee yellow. I didn't like the color choices at first, but as I kept plugging away they grew on me. There are a lot of great yellow & grey crochet inspiration pins that I looked through to help myself believe that this combination was winning. I'm pretty much won over, although I think I would have liked it more had I made the stripes of color wider.

I added a soft ruffle edging, which I borrowed from a pattern in my Gumdrops and Rainbows pattern leaflet. It's basically *double crochet, chain 2 in first stitch, (dc ch2 dc ch2) in second stitch and repeat.

I had checked out a Crochet to Go ebook from my library and tried a pattern there too. It was for crochet baby Mary Jane shoes. I followed the pattern exactly and made the sock with my first attempt. They looked somewhat crazy, in part because I couldn't figure out what "curved part" meant when looking at an oval, and also because the sock is open in the back and very floppy.



For my second try I omitted the sock and used yellow for the sole and grey for the shoe itself. I made them in about 2 hours (watching TV, so not working the entire time). Very easy and adorable. I love the way the second pair turned out. They'll go with the blanket when it's closer to due date!

07 August 2014

TIBTIL: Starbucks Iced Coffee

This is a ridiculously expensive treat, if you look at it from the cost of brewing and chilling coffee yourself. If you look at it against the cost of buying individual iced coffees at Starbucks then it's a downright bargain! Either way it's a thing I bought that I love.

I grabbed it on a whim when I was looking for buttermilk (none to be found in my regular grocery store). I really like it -- although I'm not super particular about my coffee so results may vary! I put it over ice and add some milk or fat-free half and half. Sipping from a straw completes the experience for me.

This is not a sponsored post.