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Playing Catch Up – The Liebster Award & Photography!

Okay. To start off after days of radio silence I would like to answer the The Liebster Award questions so kindly given to me by knitrun4sanity – Seriously, check out this blog. I have already been nominated for this award, so I won’t hassle all you lovely readers with more questions, but since I was nominated (and she worked so hard on the personal questions) I feel it only right to answer them

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award

1. What is your all time favourite craft? – The obvious answer would be knitting, but my favorite “craft” is actually writing music. I fell in love with it in High School and still to it to this day.

2. Where is the strangest place you have ever crafted? – The strangest place I have ever knitted it (gulp) the morgue. When I worked in the hospital I was working on a little tomato to give to my Mom as a pin cushion. I stuck it in my scrubs when we took the expired patient to the morgue, not realizing that we had forgotten to toe-tag him. My partner went upstairs and I (in accordance to Ohio State Law) remained with the body). So, naturally, I picked up my double-pointed needles, kept my yarn in my scrubs and proceeded to knit. It got quite a laugh.

3. What is your favourite craft time snack? – I am so anal about not getting anything on my knitting that I never eat around it. I do, however, take that time to indulge in ridiculously lavish cups of coffee. Creamer or syrup, whip cream, caramel, milk…mmm. Usually I drink it black so it’s like dessert!

4. Do you prefer the radio, tv, music or other when crafting? (If other then please inform!)- I definitely like listening to music when I knit. Recently though, I have been listening to quiet a few audiobooks and also podcasts. Variety is the spice of life!

5. What is your proudest achievement?- That I am able to write again after my hand injury.

6. What is your biggest crafting ‘dream’?- I guess like lots of knitters I would like to be published, but first I just want to write a pattern that I can call mine.

7. Who is your inspiration?- My husband, my niece and my cat keep me moving. Without them, sometimes I think I would just disappear creatively.

8. Is there a craft that you have yet to try that you would like to have a go at?- Crochet is a dirty little mistress, I want to have her, take her, OWN her. But I cannot, no matter how hard I try. I just keep coming back to it only to fail again. I feel I will conquer her one day though….hopefully.

9. How often do you craft (everyday, every weekend, twice a week etc) ?- Every. Single. Day. It is my version of meditation/yoga/therapy all rolled into one.

10. Are you a messy or neat crafter?- Messy! I have no idea how my husband keeps from going insane with the amount of stuff I have everywhere. It’s all so organized to start, but I always have so many things on the needles that it just…grows!

11. What or who got you started crafting?- My Great Grandmother was a knitter, and it was stumbling upon her old knitting journals and needles that made me decide to give it a go. What a great decision!

Surpirsed My Failed Hat Works!

Surprised My Failed Hat Works!

See that girl above with the goofy, shocked expression on her face? That’s me. The first picture I have put of myself on my blog and more than less likely the last. I hate having my picture taken – always have – but since my stripped stocking cap turned out better than it had any right to after some careful washing (I think snowboarders would like this, don’t you?) I just had to share.

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Okay, it has been a couple of days since I have posted, but things have been a bit crazy here in the Buckeye State. There are a couple of things I want to give you a preview of – my mind has been on my knitting and my blog even as I find myself cleaning the bathtub for the fourth time. Let’s see what you think!

  • My Life in Books – Here I plan to have a post each week covering one of my bookshelves shelfs. One shelf at a time I want to show you who I am a little better through explaining my choice in books, their history and how it has changed me.
  • Photography Friday! – I want to showcase more pictures throughout the week, but on Fridays have my blog mainly set on the pictures I am taking. This may seem a little pretentious (especially considering the talent here in the blogging world) but I am really enjoying it and I want to share.
  • Stitch Pattern a Week – Definitely have to keep that going!
  • Etsy Finds – One day a week I want to include an item on Etsy that I am gaga over. This is sort of a way to investigate what sells and what doesn’t in the Etsy world, since my stuff still isn’t.

So which are you more excited to see? Hey, my first ever poll! 

So much to get caught up with and so little time (and almost 1,000 words already written) I am going to call it a day. So, friends and neighbors, I am going to leave you with a couple of photos and I hope you like them. More knitting pictures tomorrow (loads going on there as well) and I hope all is well and good for each and every one of you. Your kindness knows no bounds.

The Lake

The Lake

More Purple Flowers

More Purple Flowers

Max in Hi-Def

Max in Hi-Def

The Wooden Woodpecker

The Wooden Woodpecker

Max and the Setting Sun

Max and the Setting Sun



Purple Flowers

Purple Flowers

I Have Been Nominate for the Liebster Award AND the Sunshine Award!

What a wonderful surprise to receive this in my inbox this dreary, rainy old in the Buckeye State! I want to thank A Poem A Day And Like, Apples, Or Something (great name by the way) for nominating me for the Liebster Award.

The Liebster Award.

The Liebster Award.

A second and equally stunned thank you goes to whatimuptotoday for nominating me for the Liebster Award and the Sunshine Award.

  •  The Liebster Award is given by bloggers, to bloggers, and it’s purpose is to highlight blogs  with under 200 followers that deserve a look.

This is so incredibly overwhelming, after such a lousy weekend this was almost too much to handle! But so many questions, so many posts to complete. So taking a page out whatimuptoday and I am about to cheat, in the name of efficiency. (No, NOT laziness!)

I’ll be combining the requisite post into one, and just nominate one list of blogs to be joint winners. That way, the winner can choose which (or both!) award they want to accept.

  • The Sunshine Award Rules

Answer the questions (below) and nominate 13 blogs which do the same for me.

  • The Liebster Award Rules

1. Post eleven facts about myself
2. Answer the questions given to me by the person who nominated me
3. Invent eleven questions to ask people whom I wish to nominate for the award
4. Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link to them in my post.
5. Go to their blog and tell them

The Sunshine Award Questions:
Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Animal: Cats for domestic animals – Sloths for their sheer awesomeness.
Favorite Number: 24
Non-Alcoholic Drink: Diet Coke!
Alcoholic Drink: Ruby Port.
Facebook or Twitter: Twitter. Since everyone started having babies it can be a bit overwhelming some days, Twitter is a bit safer!
Passions: Oh man- Rowing, Farmer’s Markets, Knitting (that was a given), training therapy dogs,  reading, writing (even though I am scared to show my writing to people), and gardening/canning.
Giving or Receiving: I’d rather give. Receiving is great but I still have no idea how to handle praise or presents, I get flustered! When you give something you are sharing a part of you withe someone you care about, it’s a bit magical.
Favorite City: I am the first to admit that I haven’t traveled the way I thought I would. My favorite city Portland, OR, there is this vibe there I haven’t felt anywhere else.
Favorite TV show: Hmm…probably America’s Test Kitchen, I have a thing PBS.

Liebster Award 11 Facts About Me:

  1. I met my husband on a blind date at 17. We were set up by a girl who was enamored with him and thought we would clash like oil and water, leaving him to come to realize she was the greatest girl in the world. We got engaged 8 months later 😉
  2. I planned my wedding in 20 days, bought the first dress I tried on, made all the food myself and it was magical.
  3. I have been a rower for since my freshman year in high school, there is just nothing more magical than being on the water. My hand has caused some problems, but I still get out there…just with an emergency radio if I have to be brought it.
  4. I wanted to teach English in a school for the deaf, so I am fluent (yup, fluent) in American Sign Language). My hand injury has made my signing incomprehensible. I can still translate, it’s just very one-sided.
  5. My grandfather delivered papers for The Saturday Evening Post and became quite good friends with Norman Rockwell. As a result he is my favorite painter, and we have a lots of signed prints/books/covers/letter of his work in our family.
  6. I am a chess playing freak, 200 more points and I will qualify for Grand Master status.
  7. When my OCD/anxiety was at its worst, I didn’t leave the basement of our home for four months.
  8. My eye color is so dark it is considered black. I cannot be dilated for eye appointments because there is no discerning my pupil from my eye color. It’s not as creepy as it sounds, just really, really dark brown.
  9. I love smoking. I know it is not PC to say so, but I do. I quit over a year ago and still miss it.
  10. I saw a man in a stalled car get hit by a train when I was 8. My mom is a nurse and stopped to see if she could help (or cover up the dead guy). My brother and I followed to the shell of a car and he was…fine. Bruised and mad his car got hit by a train, but fine!
  11. I was a twin, but she died in utero. I’ve never had any trouble with it but my parents never quite got over the fact that they didn’t get two babies. I was born 5 weeks early and she could never have anymore children after me.

11 Questions To Me Are:

1 in one sentence, why do you blog?-  I want to be a part of a community of talented people, it is the best way to improve yourself.
2 favorite childhood memory? – I remember my grandfather (who was an amazing tenor) setting me on the kitchen table and singing to me. It was like we were the only two people in the world.
3 who or what inspires you in your life? – My niece, Gloria, makes me want to be a better person every day. I see her becoming a woman and I want to be a good example for her, as well as a source of strength.
4 Chocolate or vanilla? –  Vanilla, it lends itself as a perfect base to add any other flavors you want to.
5 favorite season? – Most definitely fall, the colors are amazing!
6 coffee or tea? – Tea, with orange blossom honey.
7 best vacation spot ever? – A cabin in the woods at Hocking Hills here in Ohio. It is like the world disappears when you are there.
8 what do you want to be remembered for? – I just want to be remembered as a kind, dependable person. I don’t think there is a better compliment you can give someone than to say you trust them implicitly.
9 what made your best boss ever your best boss? – My best boss was at OSU Hospital in the Medical Intensive Care Unit. She was the best because she was hard, stubborn, difficult, strict and the most compassionate person I’ve ever met. That combination created the best boss ever!
10 preferred way to spend a Sunday afternoon? – Listening to music, knitting, baking, reading, cuddling with my husband and my cat. No TV, just being with one another without distractions.
11 If you won a million, what would you do differently? – I would go to the best hand specialist in the world to see if they could fix my hand. I would buy better yarn. I would help support therapy dog trainers and owners because they are invaluable. I would eat only fresh food, nothing frozen.

My Questions for the Nominees:

  1. What is your perfect meal?
  2. If you could meet your idol (who is it?) and only say one sentence, what would it be?
  3. If you could have a guest role on a television show, what show would it be?
  4. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  5. Would you rather go to the Oscars, Super Bowl, Olympics, or Tony’s?
  6. If you can go back in time and see any concert, what would it be?
  7. If you could switch bodies with someone for a day, who would it be and why?
  8. What Super Power do you wish you had and why?
  9. What is the one event in life that has made you who you are today?
  10. Would you rather be deaf or blind and why?
  11. Would you rather live to the age of 40 with perfect contentment or live to 200 with all life’s ups and downs?

Choosing blogs is the hardest part, because I read so many amazing blogs every day – many of which have already been nominated. I may have given these bloggers awards before but these are the highlights of my day. So, in no particular order here are my nominees (remember, you can accept one or both awards, you’re that amazing!):

  1. A Slip And A Stitch
  2. yarnandpointysticks
  3. feelgoodknitting
  4. Lottieknits
  5. A World Created
  6. Knitting Sarah
  7. Movies, Silently
  8. Through a Cracked Lens
  9. The War in My Brain
  10. biddywink
  11. Chris the Story Reading Ape’s Blog

*I hope that I did this correctly and that you haven’t received these awards already or you’re over 200 followers. I tried to check but I may have missed something. If so, please just take it as a compliment that I wanted to highlight and showcase the amazing work you are doing!

A Sad Day

I had planned on posting about my duo of OSU Buckeye hats today, but I am just not in the mood. We found out yesterday that my husband is going to lose his job….Monday. They sold his company and literally gave him, what, five days of notice?

The scariest part of having to live on just my salary is that our insurance was through his company, so come Tuesday yours truly will not be insured. That means no hand care, no medication coverage or either the panic monster or my stupid hand. I feel so horrible for my husband who has given this company 7 really faithful years.

So, to knit or not to knit? My panic monster is screaming that I should probably just sit in a padded room to avoid injury. Is this the American dream? Work your every loving ass off and have everything fall apart around you?

Okay, so I am feeling pretty bad for us right now. I just need to put my head down and push through. But man oh man, I am just terrified.

Lists are Calming – My Favorite Authors From A to Z

Dear Panic Monster,

You may have my attention after a particularly rough day, but I think I have you beat. It started with part of my oven falling on my hand that ended up with me in the Emergency Room – hyperventilating. My hand is all better, stuck full of drugs and relieved of it’s swelling it is the only thing that feel alright right now. OCD sucks, I know there are worse things but I will be damned if I can think of them right now. Thank God for Dragon Dictate. So, to calm my troubled mind here is a list of my favorite authors from A to Z.

Ah…sweet release. Just thinking about ole curmudgeonly Maugham makes me feel so much better! I never noticed that my authors are almost exclusively male and I find that rather odd, maybe it is time to give some female writers a bump on my “to read” list.

So friends and neighbors, do you have any favorite authors? The ones that make your toes curl, your heart race or quite your mind? If so, I am dying to know!

The Munchkin & Harry Potter (Hat) Love

I have been listening to my friends talk about the birth of their children for years now, I may only be 28 but it seems my generation is okey-dokey with popping them out early. There is no judgement here; they all seem so happy, so content with life. I may experience the pangs of not having a child of my own – by which I mean someone who I carried in my body and brought into the world. I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t feel a sharp stab from this fact, being a woman whose body cannot do the one function that can create new life is utterly soul-shattering. Or it would be, if not for my Munchkin.

My Munchkin as Harry Potter - Age 4.

My Munchkin as Harry Potter – Age 4.

This is my niece Gloria, but for the purposes of this blog I will always refer to her as the Munchkin; this is what I’ve always called her and until she begs me to stop I will continue to do so. I did not give birth to the Munchkin, but I live and breathe for her, I would die for her. Isn’t this what motherhood feels like? Like an infinite well of love that will never go dry? She is the primary reason I strive to be a better person and has been since the day she was born.

Oh nostalgia, I am getting away from my point here!

Okay. Tears dried, nose blown and ready to move onward!

It was because of the Munchkin that I have been inundated with Harry Potter for the past 10 years. She LOVED these movies, we watched them so many times that the DVD’s wore themselves out and had to be replaced. I could quote lines from Harry Potter like a devout Christian can recite scripture, and I never grew tired of it. Watching her face come to life in the midst of imaginary worlds filled with magic created its own sort of magic here on earth. As she grew older and started reading the books I was elated at the possibility of continuing that magic, and I was never disappointed.

So as I was pondering Tiny Owl Knits blog and saw a Harry Potter-esq hat…well…my credit card has never jumped out of my wallet so quickly! The Parseltongue Hat may be my favorite Tiny Owl Knits creation due solely to the fact that the whole time I was knitting it was like a lovely trip down memory lane. I have been watching the Munchkin grow up for almost 12 years now (oh God, I feel old) but Harry Potter still reminds me of the magic of childhood.

So I knit, and knit, and knit until I could barely feel my fingers with my brand-spanking new addi-clicks which are as amazing as everyone says. It was the first time I worked a pattern from the crown down which was like a little adventure all by itself, luckily one that didn’t end in a brim that was overly tight due to my overly tight gauge. Stephanie Dosen is a genius with creative, whimsical patterns and this hat was no different. As I saw the snakes and their tongues sliding off my needles, well, I was giddy.

I love this pattern, and I will make it again and again. For now though, I am keeping this hat to remind me that life is magical. I may never be called “mommy” by a tiny little person who kind of looks like me, but I have been called “Rachel” for the last 12 years by my Munchkin, and there is nothing more I hold dear.

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I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there! Mother’s Day may be hard for someone like me but hey, I have a Mom so I get it. Two baby showers this weekend and I won’t have another for a whole 6 weeks!

So friends and neighbors, any patterns/books/music/movies that make you feel like there is still magic in the world? If so, I am dying to hear about it!


I will try to keep this brief because I really should get back to my knitting, not to mention away from my computer for a bit. Well friends and neighbors I did it! I opened my Etsy store!

You can find me now – with my whopping two items on sale – at AllNightKnits on Etsy. 

Also, I made a Facebook Fan Page. It felt…odd. Blatant self-promotion makes me slightly uncomfortable but if this is what I have to do to make a my dream come true, so let it be! Not everything is done, there are still so many kinks still in dire need of being worked out, but it is a start.

I had a good plan in the works that wouldn’t have me diving into this for another two and a half months, but with a dear friend recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer I thought “What am I waiting for?”.  Life is short, and if you have a dream just…jump.

So there you have it friends and neighbors. If it isn’t too much of a bother,  like the Facebook Fan Page – I think I got the button on my sidebar up and running- or check out the store that is sure to have more than two things in it by the end of the week.

I hope there is goodness to come from this, as horrifically nervous as I am of falling flat on my face, I am still hopeful!

Please Don’t Tell Me What I Cannot Do

To Those Who Doubt Me,

Please, do not tell me what I cannot do. There are millions of things that are worse than an arthritic hand, a hand with only a thumb and pointer finger that are fully functional. Or the wee little panic monster living in my brain, you learn to live with OCD just like you would live with any chemical imbalance; one day at a time. Look around you; you never have to look very hard or very long to find something worse. I consider myself lucky in that respect.

If I want to mow my parents lawn as well as their next door neighbors – whose grandchild is dying in Children’s Hospital- please don’t tell me I cannot do this. I can tie a twisty tie around the power mower lever and push with my palms. I can rest for ten minutes here and there and elevated the swollen, screaming appendage then continue the task at hand (no pun intended, although it is a good one). Real pain is having a mother whose lungs will not allow her to do the yard work she has always loved, or losing a grandchild whose heart has given it up as a bad job.

If I want to clean my neighbor’s house to prepare for the impending arrival of their first child, please do not tell me I cannot do this. This is may seem like a double no-no for someone struggling with infertility, multiple miscarriages, and OCD that gets set off at the drop of a hat around baby items. It may seem a no-no situation to avoid the panic monster living in my brain, that little bastard and I have learned to live together, he won’t stop me from helping a friend when they need it. If I can survive the war in my brain knitting their baby blanket, so soft and sweet and utterly heartbreaking then my hand and brain can handle Windex and Pledge just fine.

If I want to for hours on end, please do not tell me I cannot do this. There are compression gloves – both those you can find in craft stores and the more sophisticated versions that specialist create for loads of money – that can pull the swelling from my abused joints. There is Advil, Tylenol, ice and heat to sooth the pain and malicious looking bruising. I don’t mind the dusky purple color my hand takes on, I choose to look at my hand and it’s odd coloring as a sign that another day has gone by and I have not let my life be dictated by something beyond my control.

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I am not mad. I know you worry because you care.

I am not depressed. I know your concerns about the overwhelming emotions brought on by being surrounded by baby items with no baby of our own are painful, but hiding from them would be far more detrimental.

I will not be deterred. If I decided to stop living my life and doing the things I love for fear of pain, that would not be living. Life can be painful, usually is to be honest. It is how we choose to go about our pain that makes us who we are. I am choosing to be someone who will not be defined by a hand injury, I am not making it any worse doing these things, just opting to live with what I’ve got to work with. I will not be defined by the fact that I cannot have the child that I so desperately want. My heart may feel like it is breaking on a daily basis but to ignore or neglect all those whose bodies will allow them to make a new life would be selfish, inconsiderate and destroy that happier parts of myself. Family is, after all, what you make of it.

So please, take heart that I know my limitations, that I know how to live my life to the fullest and embrace the things that make me the happiest even if I get a wee bit teary here and there. And please – Don’t Tell Me What I Cannot Do.