A Wicked Witch for Halloween

I started asking Liana about her costume early this year, to make sure that I had enough time to prepare everything. It’s probably really silly, but I felt like I had something to prove to myself. I like making the costumes myself, because I very fondly remember my mom doing the same for me and my sister as we were growing. Sometimes only telling her a day or two before the event that we needed costumes, and what we wanted to go as.

The last few years, there were some definite high- and lowlights with the costumes. The first year, Liana was Supergirl (and there was probably never a chunkier version). All was self-made and self designed and I loved the outfit.

The next year, I started making a Rapunzel outfit, but my sewing machine broke in the middle of the process. As frustrating as it was, this meant we really had no other choice but to buy a princess dress for her. The fabric remains of the failed dress are still haunting my crafty area.

Last year, it was all about Doc McStuffins. It was a really enjoyable outfit to make, because it challenged a whole host of different crafts. I was sewing the doctor coat, knitting the stripy jumper and colouring existing shoes purple and adding glitter. It looked great, and was really recognizable, we had a few people sing the some of the Doc songs while we were waiting in line for our traditional visit to the local tourist attraction on the Halloween Bank holiday. At the same time though, I was acutely aware the entire time that the doctor coat was not sewn very well.

For this year, Liana requested to be the Wicked Witch, which gave me the chance to reuse the pattern that I purchased for the Rapunzel dress. I found a Simplicity pattern for the wicked witch online as well, but unfortunately my local sewing store wasn’t able to order it in. To be honest though, I am glad that I didn’t buy anything new, because, the dress really worked out pretty much the way I wanted it to. There were a lot of bits from the pattern that I left out (underskirt, fusible interfacing, the cords at the front etc.) to keep it simpler and to make it more witchy.

There were a lot of new skills that I learned while I was working on this and there are a few little things that are a bit fudged, but I can absolutely live with that. Liana is currently such a weird in-between size (height of an average 5 year old, but wears at least size 6-7 years in almost all clothes) I picked the biggest pattern size. Always easier to take away than to add, isn’t it? In the end, I needed to take a little away at the sleeves and take the skit up quite a bit.

W found that out the hard day the first day Liana wore the outfit, as I had only shortened the skirt with some provisional stitches, which she walked on and ripped right out. Those were fixed by the next outing and she was having some much fun. We still have the Trick or Treating to go on Saturday, but I can already say, the outfit has been a success. What do you think?

What a scary little witch

What a scary little witch

Mid-night musings

*updated some bits that I didn’t think of in the middle of the night*

This blog has been dormant for an eternity, but right now, lying in the middle between my two snoring daughters, I am feeling the urge to put my words to paper (or rather iPhone…)
My last post is about my C25K, which is really fitting. I finished that in March last year and the in October started training for a 10K in March, which I never ran. Life got in the way in the form of a wonderful surprise pregnancy in November, which zapped every little bit of running energy that I had built up. 

My daughter (Robyn) is now 9 1/2 weeks and I have been running again since the day I was cleared by my GP when she was 6 weeks old. I signed up for my very first 5K race on Halloween which is giving me the boot up the backside that I need to actually go out and train. So far I’m taking it really slow and it’s not too enjoyable yet, but I know that soon I will start to enjoy myself again, like I did last year. 

Because this post is so random, I’m going to commit to my current goals, both fitness and personal. The order is just how they popped into my head. 

  1. Run my first 5K on Halloween (I’m loosely aiming for under 45 mins, but my main goal is no walking)
  2. Complete the Run Clare event next year, which has a 5K in January, 5 Mile in February, 10K in March and 10 Mile in April. I’m signed up and have paid, so there is no backing out. I’ll put together more detailed goals for each around Christmas depending on Fitness level. 
  3. Get back to eating healthier. Breastfeeding is making me ravenous, I eat everything in sight. I’ll have to make a more conscious effort that the items in sight are healthy. 
  4. Blog! I want to write 1-2 posts a week, about workouts and other things. 
  5. Finish Liana’s Halloween outfit. She’ll be the wicked witch of the west and the costume is almost done. Talking about that might be the topic for one of my next posts. Now I just need to figure out something small and cute for Robyn for our traditional outing on the bank holiday. 
  6. And probably the biggest one: Figure out what exactly I want to do with life. I mean, I like my job, but I don’t want to be doing it forever. It’s a job that pays the bills, not one that I am passionate about. That’s what I really want, to find my passion and get paid for it. I wish staying at home with children paid better!!
  7. A big one: I’m all signed up for NaNoWriMo. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days. If I ever have a chance to complete this, it’ll be this year, being on maternity leave and all. 

That’s me for tonight, hopefully with this post off my chest, I can now join my daughters in their slumber. 

Slow Progress is still progress

I am making progress (albeit slow) with my 30 projects for this month. So today is a picture post for your enjoyment of the status of the projects that I am currently working on. If you click on the pictures, the link will take you to my the Ravelry project page for each item. (And while you’re there, how about you add me as a friend? My profile is here)

I have fallen victim to a knitting block! Everything I start, feels silly and gets frogged within a few rows. I just cannot decide, what to do for the rest of my 30 projects. Quite frustrating, especially because I usually have way too many projects in my head and in my queue.

 

Image

 

 

 

 

Image

 

 

IMG_20140416_103529

Challenge No. 5

As you may, or may not know, I am starting my fifth challenge of 2014 today. This one is going to be a big different than the other challenges I have done so far, because instead of starting something new, that I haven’t done before, this time I am picking something up that I love doing, but commit to actually finish it. I am talking about my bad case of knitting startitis. I have gone through all the UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) in my storage and have compiled a list of of all that I want to finish. There are one or two that I will not finish, because they are waiting to be frogged.

Even though I have the startitis quite bad, I am not able to make up 30 projects to finish, not even close. So to make it a round number, and to make it properly challenging, in addition to the 10 projects that need finishing up, I will have 20 that I will start new and finish during the next 30 days.

The best way to follow my progress, apart from what I post on here of course, is through Ravelry. All 30 pieces will have their own project page, once they are cast on, and they are all tagged with “30fos-30days”. I will of course post picture updates of everything I finish.

For the moment, I will focus on doing some more knitting, as I need to go out and buy a few buttons for most of the items that need finishing. I cast on my first ever sock during the last week and I am looking forward to finishing the pair as part of this challenge. It is my first time knitting with yarn that thin, so my hands definitely need to get used to it.

I will leave you for today with a glimpse of some of the items that will be finished in the next 30 days, you will see them again with better pictures:

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Today I’m pretending it’s Saturday

The last week has just raced past. My whole family caught a nasty stomach bug, Liana was the first to go down on Sunday and both Stephen and myself fell ill on Monday. Only today (Sunday, but my pretend Saturday) we are all feeling back to normal again. So far I have not figured out, who gave us this bug, but I promise, if I do, that person will not be happy. On the other hand, if they had the bug as well, they were probably punished enough.

I was so sick, that I didn’t even feel like doing any knitting, which is very unusual for me. So this week, I only managed to do a little bit, on Friday evening and Saturday during the day. And because I still did not feel great yesterday, I didn’t write a blog post. And that is the reason why right now, I am pretending it is still Saturday, so that I don’t have  to face the fact that I already missed out on the second week in my weekly post.

 

At the moment I am working up a load of these booties. These are still in an unfinished state and need sewing up, but I have a whole bunch of these at home. I am not quite sure yet, what exactly what I am going to do with them when I am finished, but for some reason I find it quite relaxing to knit these. It is instant gratification as well, because these bad boys knit up in just over 30 minutes.

Image

This is what they look like before sewing up:

Image

 

To go with the booties, I have been playing a bit with designing some mittens. It is hard to get the dimensions right, because I don’t have any babies around me at the moment. I have been thinking about maybe giving a set as a gift to a colleague, who recently had a baby, just to find out if they are the right size at all.

 

Image

 

These are some more booties, these are actually sown up as well, just missing a little button to make them complete:

Image

 

And of course I can’t leave you without a current update on my lovely shrug from last week. I have made a good bit of a dent into the work, but unfortunately I can’t work any further on it at the moment, because I completely and entirely got the yarn requirements wrong, and ran out halfway through. I now need to buy more, which I had kind of planned to avoid until I had used up a good bit more of my stash.

 

Image

 

Look at this great pattern though, I never knew I could fancy a stitch pattern as much as the brioche stitch. I will definitely have to knit something else soon using this stitch.

Image

 

Zero to Hero – Day 16

Today’s Zero to Hero Challenge is all about making a writing prompt our own. And the writing prompt is the following:

Do you have a reputation? What is it, and where did it come from? Is it accurate? What do you think about it?

I think, in every stage of my life I have had a different reputation. Once I started school and into my young teenage years, I was the know-it-all. Looking back, I think I must have been hard to get along with and I am amazed, that I had any friends at all. There is nothing wrong with knowing that you’re smart, but I drove the whole thing to the extreme. There was one particular day (in Geography class) that summed up quite nicely the way I behaved in school. The topic was rivers and lakes of our district in Germany, we had our maps out and everybody who knew the name of a river or lake was meant to go up to the blackboard and write it down. I’m not sure anymore if I actually went up and contributed (although I would nearly bet money that I did) but I was definitely scrutinizing what everybody else wrote. One of my classmates wrote down “Ahse” and I went up, and loudly explained to the teacher and the class, that that was incorrect spelling, that it should in fact be “Aasee”. Turns out, rather embarrassingly, not only was my classmate right (Ahse is a river) but my contribution didn’t even qualify, because is was too small to actually qualify as a lake under our conditions. It was humuliating for my 10(or so) year old self, but it still took me another few years until I actually learned my lesson (and boy did I!!).

 

Through my teenage years, my reputation was the weird one. I had lost most friends that I had growing up (anybody wanna guess why? 😉 ) but made new friends. The group I hung out with would probably have looked a bit goth, but I myself never dressed in that style. It was a time when I didn’t fit in with my class and dreaded going to school every day. The reputation that I had spread fast, even to people I didn’t know. When I walked through our school (which had around 1000 students), I frequently had people walk up to me and ask me if some weird thing they heard about me was true, or I could hear them talking about it under their breath. I heard a rumor at one stage that one of my classmates made a website about me, using a nickname that I hated, which was how everybody referred to me, at some stage even the teachers joined in. I never found the website, to this day I am not sure if it ever even existed. After years of this, my spirit was crushed, and only going away for 6 months gave me a chance to build myself up again. I gained confidence, changed school and managed to make new and true friends.

 

When moving to Ireland, for quite a few years, my reputation could probably be summed up as the German with a sense of humour. I managed a few times to meet somebody new, who had already heard stories of me. It frequently still surprises people that I am German and actually able to laugh at jokes. Looks like Germans have quite a bad reputation when it comes to that over here. I encounter the same surprise from people, when I pronounce the word squirrel without stumbling over it. Apparently it is something, that no German in the world has ever pronounced correctly… I liked this reputation, and probably tried too hard at times to live up to it. Trying to crack too many jokes and making sure that nobody would ever see a different side of me.

 

My focus on my reputation ended, when I met Stephen and had Liana. I mean, even today I don’t want to be known as something horrible and I make sure to be polite and efficient at work, but I don’t try to jump through any extra hoops anymore, just to make sure I have a good reputation. A good reputation is such a hard thing to keep up, it only takes one slip up, and something you worked on for years could be ruined very fast. I have made my peace with the fact, that there are always people that will not like me and that no good will come from trying too hard to change somebody’s opinion about me.

After years of trying to be popular I now live by the following (if you know who this quote is from, please let me know):

Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.

I can honestly say, that my life has never been easier and happier, now that I have stopped caring what people think of me. I would recommend this to anybody reading this.

Our Best Friends

Today it’s all about our awesome dogs. Two very unique characters and life would be way too boring for my taste without them. Now let me introduce you to them:

Fatpants

DSCF2162

This is Fatpants after one of his summer shaves. What a beautiful dog!

It’s not his actual name (we’re not that cruel), but it is most definitely his nickname. He has had that name for years, longer than I have known him. When I started going out with DF, I also met Fatpants, and I am sure if at any stage in that process he had shown a dislike for me, there is no way I’d be part of the family now. He used to sleep in the bed, in the space that I have now taken over, and means the world to DF. Luckily for me, Fatpants is just about the friendliest dog in the world and we had absolutely no jealousy issues at all. In the entire almost 4 years that I have known him, I have seen him bark/growl at maybe 3 people (one of which was climbing into our backgarden in the middle of the night, but that’s a whole other story) and possibly 4-5 dogs. He has the protector spirit of the Rottweiler, however he seems to have a very relaxed attitude to what actually constitutes a threat. He just gives you that feeling, were you ever in real danger by any person or animal, he’d be your first line of defense.

Speaking of Rottweiler, Fatpants is a mix of Rottie and Golden Retreiver. Imagine a dog with the colours and physical shape of a Rottweiler, but the long fur of a Golden Retreiver and you should get very close to what he looks like. Unfortunately Rottweilers as a breed have a habit to over-eat, and that trait has been passed on to Fatpants (name makes sense now, doesn’t it?)

Zelda

P1040897

This is Zelda as a puppy, just a few days after we got her

This time this is the actual name of our dog. DF and me were playing “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” just before we met her as a pup the first time, and decided that the name would fit into our family quite nicely. Zelda is 2 months younger than Liana, so they have never known life without each other. She is also the first puppy I have ever owned, so there is a special kind of bond with her. She is a Husky Cross, we however don’t know what she is crossed with. She looks a lot like her mother, just where she is brown, her mother is white.

With the Husky genes, she has plenty of energy, and loves long walks/runs. When she doesn’t get enough exercise, she starts to chew (another Husky trait). She seems to have a love for my shoes, especially left one of my work shoes. I bought 3 pairs of the same kind of shoe, and am now left with 3 right shoes. Our black leather couch also suffered, but so far it was purely cosmetic damage, so we are still holding off on buying a new one, until Zelda calms down a bit.

Her favorite playmates that we meet every now and then out on walks are two collies and 1 greyhound. She always seems a little bit surprised when we meet the greyhound, because he is so far the only dog that has been consistently faster than her.

This post was inspired by my comment on this post, over on hot pink sprinkles. This is part of Day 12 – From Comment to Blog Post of the Zero To Hero Blog challenge.

I am going to leave you now with a few more photos of our four-legged family members.

DSCF1701

I guess we should have known, she was eating shoes from the start

P1040912

The two of them cuddling – doesn’t quite happen as often anymore as it used to

DSCF1785

Out for a stroll

 

DSCF2448

Sticks are their favorite toy

Some blood, some sweat, no tears

Challenge 1 is officially finished!! 30 Days of Yoga is complete!

Last night, I went to my first official yoga class, so far I had been relying on my wonderful online Yoga Challenge from Yoga Journal (which I can highly recommend as well).

Before leaving, I was joking to Stephen that I better not be going to an Advanced Class, because I was not at that stage yet. One pose in particular had me nervous, the Crow pose. It is just one of those poses that looks entirely out of this world to me.

 

And probably just because I said it, guess what pose was on the cards for me… the crow pose!! And to my absolute surprise, I actually managed to get my body into a position, where my thighs were resting on my arms, without collapsing. It was really empowering to then even be able to lift one leg off the floor. Not quite there for the second leg yet, but I have plenty of time to get it. We had an awesome moment in the class, because on of the other participants managed to hold the pose for the first time.

After an hour, with every inch of my body feeling exhausted, but relaxed at the same time, I find out that it was actually a Power Yoga class. If I had known this, I I would more than likely not have stepped foot onto the mat. Just the name alone would have scared me off. I suppose, there’s nothing better than ignorance, to help you overcome your fears.

 

This post is also my post for day 6 of the Zero to Hero challenge – Publish a post that includes a new element. It’s not much of a new element, but it is after all the first time I have posted a picture. Yesterday’s challenge (which I ended up doing today) was great fun. I loved playing around with the themes. Still not 100% sure that I have found the one I am going to stick with, but I have time tomorrow to play with it some more, since I will be personalizing my theme.

What’s on my Mind – Zero To Hero Day 3

Today’s Challange is all about, what was on my mind when I decided to start my blog.

 

I am not sure, I still remember the specific idea I had in mind when I actually opened the blog nearly a year ago, but I remember that I wanted to write and I wanted somebody to read it. Already when I was in primary school, I can remember loving to write stories. But even then, I think my favorite part was getting to read the story out loud to the class.

 

When I decided to re-animate my blog after a year of downtime, the idea behind it was to change myself and to write about it in the process. I don’t think I am the kind of person that I could be, or that I even want to be. So this year I am taking babysteps into the right direction to become who I want to be.

Previously I have not had the chance, to truly transform myself, because only now I am in a situation, where I am truly and completely happy. I like my job (even with moments like today, which got my adrenaline racing for what felt like hours), I love my family and home.