Monday, January 31, 2011

Just When You Think It's Safe

Over the last three years I've learned a lot about myself, and about what my body can and can not handle in the course of living with fibromyalgia.
Over the last 8 months or so I really think I've gotten into a place where I feel like I'm contributing and not just sitting on my butt.  I've made some amazing friends and have had some awesome opportunities.

However I still find that I'm struggling with some things, and tonight I'm having a particularly rough time.  Although it's the fibromyalgia that is causing my difficulty, I'm struggling more mentally than physically.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Featured Creation: Mohair Ruffle Scarf

Although I am proud of all my creations, sometimes I work on a project that especially excites me.  A few weeks ago, after my first large yarn shopping trip of the year (Yarn Heaven) I had a kind of yarn before me that I had never worked with before.  Most of my ideas come from feel and color. I am an incredibly tactile person, and when I enter a yarn store I feel my way through the store picking colors and textures that jump out at me.  The colors I had in mind that particular day were reds and pinks in preparation to create some Valentine themed items.

When my hands rested on this soft ball of mohair, I had to give it an extra squeeze.  I've been working mostly with wool, which can be soft but the mohair felt downright luxurious.  I settled on this red color with a tinge of purple along the strand of yarn.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Crochet 101

Have you been wanting to learn to crochet?  Would you like to know how to make warm and soft things?  Have you been wondering how you can be more like the Woobie?  Here's your chance!

There is still a lot of winter left here in central Ohio, and one of the best winter time hobbies is crocheting.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sore Crochet Muscles

I just Tweeted that I was thinking about what to post in my blog because my crochet muscles were too sore to get anything accomplished.  So here I am with a little tid bit about why my muscles are so sore.

There is a lot of stuff I can say about my daily struggle with Fibromyalgia, but often it is hard for me to do so.  There are hundreds of blog posts and articles out there that give a good picture of the chronic condition.  There is also a lot of crap about it out there too.  For the first two years I was ill I read almost everything I could get my hands on, and an equal number of stuff that I read was either irritating or enlightening.

If you are interested in learning the basics, there is some good background information here in my archives.

Dealing with the pain isn't such a struggle these days, I've learned to cope for the most part.  Not saying that I don't have pain, because there isn't a day that goes by that I am not in pain.  So yes, my crochet muscles are sore, and that slows me down a bit.  I  have to lay in bed, and either deal with the pain or take meds that make me nauseated and dopey.  I decided a while ago that RX painkillers were just not for me.  However this kind of makes me feel like a "faker" because I won't take the good stuff.  But honestly it's not all that good too me.  This pretty much speaks to the issues I've been having lately, not physical, but mental.

I feel like I should be doing more, I get down on myself when I have bad days, I am not the person I use to be, and am not yet comfortable with the person I'm becoming.

So that's where I'm at on this crappy rainy winter night.  In pain, not able to be too productive, and feeling like a horrible person because of it.

I'm not really looking for answers tonight, just writing this to raise awareness of what people (including me) can go through on a daily basis.  I'm just one among many trying to make a life for themselves despite the challenges.  I'll leave you with a pretty picture.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Personal Life Update

Hi all!  If you've been reading my blog for a long time, I apologize for all the confusion as of late.  In the beginning of 2011 I am switching things up a bit and taking on some really great projects.

Health wise I'm doing ok.  There are no major health issues looming, just the daily tedium of the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  I have to say that tedious is probably a really good word for all of it.  I don't feel sick, but every small task and chore takes everything I have to complete.  The day is just so much more difficult to get through than it use to be.  But I feel better than I have in a long time, so at least there is improvement.

If you haven't noticed by now, "Living in the MidWest" has transformed into "The Pink Woobie" and I'm even sporting my own domain name.  This change came with me finally being able to get my act together and open an Etsy store.
If you don't know, Etsy is a website that sells and promotes handmade items.  For so long people have been telling me how great my stuff is and I've been thrilling loved ones with gifts, so I'm taking the show on the road and selling some of my favorite creations.  You can see what I have to offer by clicking on the "My Etsy" tab above or visiting the shop at Etsy by clicking here.  Please share this with your friends.  I take custom orders, so would LOVE to make something for you.

This past week I also interviewed and was asked to teach some crochet classes at a local handmade consignment shop.  I have three classes scheduled with different projects and skill levels.  I will write an individual post about those so you know how to sign up if you live in Columbus and are interested.  I will also be taking some of my Octopus Beer Cozies over to be sold in the shop.

So that is what is going on here.  I hope you are all well.  Please feel free to leave comments to say hi!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Opening Day!!

My Etsy store is officially open and you can own your very own Woobie wares. :)

You can shop right from this website by clicking on the My Etsy tab up top. Or you can click here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mustachioed Coffee Sleeve

A few days ago I posted this as a secret Twitter preview.  Now here it is on my blog for the world to see.

Sometimes I just stop and think... I get to crochet mustaches, and hopefully people will pay me for it!!  Does life get any better?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Yarn Heaven

I went yarn shopping today to pick up some supplies.  Some good sales!! Notice Popeye's tail.  Yarn went directly into plastic bin to keep it away from furry paws!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Etsy store launches the 14th!

The time has finally come!!

My store will be launching on Etsy on January 14, 2011.

I have a seriously busy week ahead, but hope to stop by here and post short updates and sneak peeks at what to expect on Friday.

Here is a wool basket weave scarf with buttons.  I hate how hard it is to keep scarves in place sometime, so I decided to fix the problem.  It's 100% wool, which means hand wash only, but it's super warm and cuddly.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Why Crochet?

As some of you may or may not know I began to crochet almost out of necessity.  In the fall of 2007 I became incredibly ill and spent some time in the hospital.  About a year prior to that my mother-in-law Nancy had taught me the basics of crocheting and I had made a few really misshapen dish cloths.

I picked my hook up again in 2007 to help with some charity projects a friend from church was putting together.  I almost immediately got pneumonia and pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, spending a week in the hospital.  My stay in the hospital consisted of lots of coughing, lots of headaches, and lots of sleepless nights.  I couldn't read because of the headaches, and was by myself most of the time except for a few hours when Ryan was able to visit in the evenings.  So, being the dutiful husband he went to the craft store and bought me loads and loads of yarn.  During that week I crocheted about half a dozen hats and probably more afghan squares.  They weren't very attractive, and sometimes not completely symmetrical.  However, I pushed on.

It was estimated that it would take me about 6 months to recover fully from my illness and most of that was spent in bed not able to much else but crochet and watch TV.  By December I had crafted something for almost everyone in my family.  Hats and scarves were the gifts of Christmas 2007.

It quickly became apparent that it was going to take longer than 6 months to recovery from everything that ailed me.  Tests were run and doctors were visited and I got a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  These weren't necessarily new conditions, but in my weakened state after pneumonia, they were making me ill enough that my life could not go on business as usual.

So, I crocheted on.  And although I get healthier every year I still have not been able to return to school or work.  Birthdays, Christmas, and births of babies have been filled with wonderful hand made gifts since then.  I really find a lot of joy in it and I LOVE making something my own.

So why crochet?

  • For me it pretty much just fell into my lap (teehee) and I ran with it.  But if you are thinking about learning to take up a craft, and thought about crocheting, I can tell you the effort and frustration at the beginning is worth the end product.  
  • It's relatively inexpensive to begin, yarn starting for under three dollars and hooks not much more, although it can become extremely expensive when you like the feel of yarn as much as I do.
  • You can do it anywhere.  Grab a ball a yarn and a hook and you can crochet on a bus, at the doctor's office, in the coffee shop.  My favorite place is in front of the TV.  I can't just sit and watch anymore, my hands are constantly going.
  • You can make anything.  If you look at some of my recently posted pictures, you will see the variety of gifts I gave out this year.  No two a like. :) 
  • Pure enjoyment.  Who doesn't like to have a bit of fun every now and then.  And for me, it's totally fun.  
If you are one of those people thinking about learning to crochet, please take my poll that you can find to the right of this post and let me know why it sounds appealing to you.  I'm hoping to teach some classes in 2011 and it would greatly help me know what kind of audience I should present to.
With love,

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Coffee Sleeve

This is what's up for grabs in today's round of Know Your Woobie.

Follow me on Twitter for fun games and prizes. :) 

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Have You Seen My Nubbins?

In the first season of one of my favorite TV shows, Sanctuary, the audience is introduced to a creature called a Nubbin.  They are cute and cuddly, but ultimately end up slightly vicious and multiply rapidly.  On top of an over population problem, the "abnormals" as they are called, emit pheromones that make the staff of the Sanctuary slightly more aware of each other.  Here is one being adorable:

This weekend a friend and fan of the show suggested that I attempt to crochet a Nubbin.
Here is my version.  I have to say that I kind of freaked when I sewed the ears on and saw how absolutely adorable it was.

Fans of the show, please feel free to leave appropriate innuendos from the show in the comments section below.


I can honestly say I am totally looking forward to 2011!!  It's the most hopeful I have felt in a long time.  Last year I was getting ready to head back to school and was apprehensive about that decision.  It turned out to not be the right time, but I think I definitely learned a lot more about my limitations and determination.

This year I hope to develop this site more, and get my stuff out there on Etsy.  Also, there is a promising opportunity that I will tell you about when I know more.

Here is a photo of me ringing in the New Year with a great friend!

Have a great 2011 everyone!