Uncategorized

Where in the World is CrayCrochetBae?

Ah, at home at last! Sorry for being quiet, folks, it’s been quite the eventful summer. For the last week, I’ve been on vacation with my boyfriend. We went halfway across the country to the incredibly sunny city of Denver (“the mile HIGH city”) and also visited my family stationed in Great Falls Montana. It was our first time out west, so we saw everything you could possibly see in those places!

While the eating and drinking were great, I have to admit, the hiking was miserable for me. Though both played parts in my whining and complaining, I couldn’t blame it all on the altitude of the area or my poor footwear. Honestly, this vacation opened my eyes to just how out of shape I currently am. Sure, I’ll do pilates and yoga here and there, but never consistent enough to build muscle or endurance. I’ll eat healthy for a three-day streak, and then eat everything within reach for the following weeks.

Over the last week, I walked more each day (an average of 15,000 steps) than I do in a regular work week. I split meals (or, at least whenever we agreed on a single item on the menu) with my boyfriend and never noticed I was hungry until my stomach was audibly growling! Plus, everyone living in Denver was F-I-T. I’m talking Olympic training, “I do burpees for fun” fit.  In the midst of all these athletic gods/goddesses, I didn’t feel judged or defeated. Instead, I was inspired to attain that level of physical fitness. The next time I go out to hike, I want to be able to walk three miles without feeling like death. With this new commitment to better my health and wellness, I hope to return to the mountains without fear but instead determination.

 

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Ulcerative Colitis

“Ya Gotta Put Your Behind in Your Past”

So, a status report on my UC. After meeting with my gastroenterologist, it was decided I would have to buck up and take the enemas. Since the wax suppositories don’t go as far as the flare is affecting my colon, it was either enema treatments or steroids. I gladly chose the former.

On the first night of my treatment, I prepared my battle station (i.e., a towel beside the toilet). If memory served me right, I would more than likely be on the ivory thrown in a couple of minutes after application (cringe). As fortune would have it, I didn’t have to rush to the bathroom after the treatment that night, nor on any night after that. Instead, I have been able to sleep through the night and wake up to a, dare I say, normal bathroom routine!

As a wise warthog once said to the king of Pride Rock, “Ya gotta put your behind in your past.” Quite literally in my case. By using this treatment for about a week, I’ve already seen and felt changes in my colitis. I don’t have to worry about making an unexpected pitstop on my way to work. I can exercise without taking frequent breaks. By taking the enemas as well as focusing on revamping my daily diet and exercise (a future post I’m sure), I’ve felt better than I have in a while. Since it’s a month long treatment, I’m excited to know that my body is already in the works to being back on track.

Crochet

My First Commission Order: Support Your Local Artists

Yesterday, I delivered my first commissioned crochet order! Back in May, a friend from high-school reached out to me on Instagram inquiring if I would be interested in making a selection of baby clothes. Because I pinned so many baby crochet patterns on Pinterest yet never had a reason to crochet any of them, I was ecstatic! As soon as she sent me the desired outfits and I was off to the craft store.

The first item I made was this adorable Winnie the Pooh inspired newborn hat and diaper cover. I used the pattern by  Hopeful Honey

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I had so much fun crocheting the baby hat and cocoon set based off of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I used two different crochet designs for this set. Oui Crochet has a wonderful pattern for turning this iconic bug into a comfy hat. For the cocoon, Ramsi Leigh Crochet’s pattern called for using two strands as you crochet making the cocoon very thick and sturdy.

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Next up in the crochet costumes was an adorable fox hat and diaper cover. I’m so grateful to Croby Patterns for providing such an easy to follow pattern! My favorite part to make was the little tail attached to the back of the diaper.

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Finally, the most challenging of the costumes. Let me start off by mentioning how much of I perfectionist I am. Also, I’m not the most confident when it comes to embroidery. However, I was not about to back down from making the coolest baby superhero outfit! After crocheting an applique to be the black oval, I embroidered the “R” as best as I could. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out! For the cape, I used a pattern by Calleigh’s Clips and Crochet Creations

I can’t wait to see my friend’s baby in these outfits in a few months! I’m still so over the moon that she entrusted me with making clothes for her baby. While she could have ordered them from anyone else on Etsy, she believed in my abilities. She told me she is also having clothes made from another crocheter who lives in our area. I am so happy she chose to support her local artist friends! If you don’t know an artist, you can find those in your area through Etsy, Facebook, and other apps.

 

Ulcerative Colitis

Fighting Flare-Ups: The Good, the Bad, and the Bloody Disgusting

Mentioned in a previous post, I’m in the midst of a U.C. flare-up. This means all the gory symptoms that were but a nightmarish memory are back in full swing! I’ve scheduled an appointment with my gastroenterologist, and am prepared for his likely reprimand for getting “too comfortable” with some trigger foods (here’s looking at you, wine and beer). But, what I’m most apprehensive about are the potential treatment options.

Here’s the deal with treating flares, it’s just as messy as dealing with the symptoms. Because a more aggressive form of treatment is usually required to get the digestive system back on track, doctors often prescribe enemas, immunosuppressants, and/or steroids like prednisone. Let’s get one thing perfectly clear, these options are beneficial for reducing my colitis and bringing my body back into remission. However, all three of these treatment options have their pitfalls.

Taking an immunosuppressant is a bit of a Catch-22 for people with an autoimmune disorder. While the drug stops the symptoms of the illness, it leaves the already weak immune system susceptible to catching every possible bug and infection. Basically, my body’s self-destruct button has stopped wreaking havoc on my gut, but can’t fight off any potential contagions I might come into contact. So, not a great way to fix the issue.

Prednisone, like immunosuppressants, reduce the immune system but with a twist. It causes a crazy amount of swelling, weight gain, fatigue, and a slew of other side effects. Back in 2012, I was put on prednisone for close to eight months. That’s three-quarters of the year feeling like crud, but, hey, at least I wasn’t sprinting to the bathroom every fifteen minutes, right? Again, not looking forward to having to take that steroid any time soon.

Finally, there’s my all-time favorite, enemas. You heard me right. I’d rather have that hilarious medication over the previous two. Why you ask? Well, for starters, I don’t have to worry about being sick and bloated for any length of time. Also, you can actually choose to either take liquid or wax enemas. I’m praying that I’m prescribed the wax because applying the liquid option is…awkward to say the very least. Plus, the liquid can be downright uncomfortable since it feels like a reversed bowl movement. Try not to think about that too much.

So, there are some of the options awaiting me at my doctor’s appointment. Whatever happens, I’ll have to find the humor in it anyway!

Crochet

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Ah-ah-ah-ah

 

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IT’S FRIDAY THE 13TH! STAY OUT OF THE WOODS, DON’T DO “IMMORAL THINGS,” AND MAKE SURE NO KIDS ARE IN THE LAKE! Or, you know, just watch everyone make those mistakes in Friday the Thirteenth. Honestly, I’ve never seen the horror classic since I’m not big into slashers. I love the supernatural element of Jason Voorhees, but not so much on the gore (if it’s not, let me know I’m a weenie xD).
Since I’m participating in Ravelry’s 2018 Ami-Along, I was so excited I got to crochet my very own mini Jason as part of the challenge! I used @julierachelliz pattern on Ravelry to make Mr. Voorhees and whipped up his jacket from @hookedonpatterns on Ravelry.

Do you like being scared? Are you superstitious? I’m definitely both! Growing up, my mom would always tell my siblings and me ghost stories. Since I’m a 90’s kid, I always loved watching Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? whenever they were on TV. Plus, Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday. I don’t buy into the Friday the 13th superstitions of black cats and walking under ladders, but I’m guilty of tossing salt over my shoulder if I spill any and knocking on wood to avoid a jinx.  Let me know some of your favorite spooky things or ridiculous superstitions!

Crochet

The Struggle is Real: Common Crochet Mistakes I Make and How to Prevent Them

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Photo by Markus Spiske freeforcommercialuse.net on Pexels.com

I’m not going to lie to you, I make mistakes. Shocking, I know. For as long as I’ve been crocheting, I should have my stitches together! But, I’m guilty of frogging an entire project after realizing I made a crucial mistake somewhere along the way.  So, here’s a general list of things known to trip me up when crocheting and ways to prevent you from following in the same path.

  1. Not reading the pattern BEFORE starting the project
    • Me (a common goober):  I’ll find a pattern, think to myself, “This’ll be a piece of cake”, grab some yarn, and go to town only to realize, “Wait, this yarn isn’t the right texture for this,” or, “Oh, I’m supposed to use a larger hook size?!” Let’s not forget the classic, “Wow, I completely glossed over that entire section and managed to miscount the stitches.” Also, runs to the store to buy more yarn because “Oops, I didn’t have enough of this color to actually make the thing!”
    • You (an intellectual): Read every part of the pattern before purchasing any of the materials (if necessary). Go through your yarn stash before starting the project to ensure you do in fact have enough yarn to complete it. Take note of any unfamiliar stitches and watch videos/look at tutorials on how to do them. Count the stitches in each row or round to make sure it adds up to the final stitch count.
  2. Losing track of stitches
    • Me (a goblin): “Uh, was this the end of the round or the beginning? Oh, well, guess I gotta REDO IT JUST TO BE SURE!”
    • You (a beautiful land mermaid): Use a safety pin, stitch marker, or a scrap of yarn to remember the beginning of each round or row.
  3. Miscounting stitches
    • Me (a mere mortal): “Wait, the pattern says this row ends with this many stitches, but mine doesn’t. How could this happen?!”
    • You (a majestic unicorn): Make sure to count each stitch you’ve crocheted before continuing to the next round or row. This prevents coming up short of stitches and frogging rows of hard work!

Those are the three things that can stump me while I’m working on a crochet project. If you crochet, feel free to comment on other common mistakes you run into while you work. Hope this is helpful!

Ulcerative Colitis

Everybody Poops: My U.C. Diagnosis

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Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

You may be wondering, “What the heck is U.C. and why does this lady reference it a bunch?” Well, let me tell ya, it’s a doozy. Ulcerative Colitis along with the better-known sister illness, Chron’s Disease, is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). These two illnesses wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal system by causing ulcers (hence “ulcerative”) and chronic inflammation. I don’t want to drive away readers by describing the gory symptoms, but let’s just say if I start sprinting somewhere it’s to the bathroom.

“But, hey,” you ask, “how’d this happen to you?”

“Back in my day,” I say as I sit crocheting in my rocking chair, “all I ate was highly processed foods and downed soda.”

No, seriously. From the ages of eight to fourteen, my diet consisted of anything that contained sugar, processed flour, or partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredients list. I ate this way because the food tasted so good! Well, that and I was a compulsive eater who sought comfort from food. If I had a bad day at school, at least my old reliable pals Cheez Itz, Lays, and Skittles were there to cheer me up. Oh, I wasn’t invited to so and so’s birthday party? Well, at least I have Chips Ahoy and Doritos instead! This prolonged way of eating was a recipe for gastric disaster.

In the fall of 2007, I felt what I could only describe as daggers jabbing into my gut every day, especially on the way to school. I had to take frequent bathroom breaks throughout the day. Car trips for me were the worst because the stabbing sensation would hit all of a sudden, meaning I had to go to the bathroom immediately. I started to know every single rest area’s bathroom a bit too well.

By February 2008,  I had my first colonoscopy. I had dropped from a 140 lbs to 110 lbs in a little over a month due to my symptoms. My pediatric gastroenterologist determined I had left-sided ulcerative colitis, meaning the left side of my colon had ulcers. I was put on heavy medication to reduce the ulcers and enemas to help with the inflammation (not embarrassing for a teenager to have to do at ALL). The doctor also mentioned that many of my colitis symptoms were triggered by stress. Being a person with generalized depression and anxiety, stress management wasn’t something I knew how to do effectively.

My entire diet was revamped. Instead of fried chicken and burgers, I ate salmon and grilled chicken. My access to bread and crackers was greatly limited. Fruits and vegetables were hit and miss because anything with too much fiber tore my stomach apart. So, there were some blessings in disguise with the diagnosis.

Over the years I’ve had colitis flare-ups. Generally, I know the triggers that cause the symptoms to rear their ugly heads are from my lapse in diet or increase in stressful events. In fact, I’m in a flare right now! Never fear, however, I know how this ol’ routine goes.

So, now you know a bit about U.C. and how it’s affected me. I’ve had it for ten years now, and it’s hard to remember a time I wasn’t racing to use the bathroom. But, I’m grateful to all the family and friends who have supported me through it all. If you have any questions about UC or have something to add, feel free to leave a comment! Thanks for reading yet another novel 😀

Crochet

Where Do I Start?

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Photo by Tim Savage on Pexels.com

So, you want to try your hand at crocheting. With so many types of yarn, hooks, and a zillion patterns available online it can be a tad daunting. Never fear, it’s a lot easier to find the perfect materials to start you on the path to crocheting your first project!

Personally, I recommend starting out with 4 ply yarn. Since it is sturdy and keeps from unraveling when you frog (i.e., redo stitches, rows, an entire project out of sheer frustration), this type of yarn is excellent for beginners. Brands like RedHeart or Lion Brand Yarn offer a wide range of colors in 4 ply and are sold at just about every Walmart, so it’s not too hard to find a skein in your favorite color!

While shopping for yarn, you’ll notice the various sizes and brands for crochet hooks. When you’re learning the basics, it’s important to have a medium size, H (5 mm) or I (5.5 mm). Since they create stitches that are easy to see and manipulate, you won’t have to worry about placing your hook in the wrong stitch or miscounting (though, I’m still guilty of incorrect stitch counts; I don’t know how I made it past kindergarten).

Once you have the supplies, it’s time to learn! Thanks to the internet, you can find basic stitch tutorials just about anywhere. If you’re a visual learner, Youtube has many crochet videos such as those by the lovely Simply Daisy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAxGTnVNJiE. For me, I do better with written instructions with pictures like those found on RedHeart Yarn website http://www.redheart.com/learn-to-crochet. Other sites like Pinterest offer a wealth of links to learn to crochet too. So, the internet is your oyster!

After you’ve learned the ropes, chances are you want to make something from your newfound crochet stitch knowledge. Well, remember those sources I referenced above? Yep, those are great for finding crochet patterns.  There are also crochet blogs run by designers who provide free patterns as well as PDF versions you can buy. Some of my personal favorites are http://www.mariasbluecrayon.comhttps://lemonyarn.wordpress.com, https://3amgracedesigns.com. Just remember to credit the designer and/or source if you post any pictures of your finished project.

And, there you have it! You’re on your way to making all kinds of fantastic crochet projects! I’d love to see any work you do, so if you post a finished project, use the hashtag #craycrochetbae. Thanks so much for reading, and if you have any questions or kind words, feel free to leave a comment!

 

Crochet, Ulcerative Colitis

To Boldly Go…

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Where every other creative person in the 21st century has gone before: BLOGGING! Yep, I broke down and decided to try my hand at it. For those of you who know me, I’m a girl who has A LOT to say. Here, I’ll be talking about the two things that dominate my life for good or ill: Crochet and Ulcerative Colitis. Both involve complicated knots and deal with yardage in a sense. Let me break it down.

So, in 2007 I was diagnosed with left-sided Ulcerative Colitis. In layman’s terms: the left side of my colon has ulcers. Gross? Yes. Uncomfortable? Absolutely. Manageable? When I decide to not indulge in alcohol and fried/processed foods. Oh, plus when I don’t eat leafy greens, nuts, dairy, and general healthy stuff. Catch-22 of the dietary world, I tell ya.

What caused this gastro-intestinal dilemma? Well, for starters, my diet was anything but ideal for a shorty who thinks they’re the size of a linebacker. I’d stuff myself way past full to bursting at the seams, which is always a recipe for disaster. Second, I’m easily stressed. No chill = inflamed gut, apparently. So, what could I do to combat the knots in my belly? What type of therapy could possibly alleviate my constant fretting and subsequent pain from UC? In a word, crochet.

Just over ten years ago, my mom gave me a couple of crochet books, a hook, and yarn to make a poncho (apparently I thought they were the coolest things in middle school). Within an afternoon, I quickly got the hang of it! So, I’d crochet off and on for the next several years making hats and scarves here and there while watching TV. In college, I started to crochet more and sell my creations to my service-fraternity brothers. Crochet was just an occasional hobby to make cheap gifts or a few bucks.

What really made me crochet consistently was last October when my nephew was a few months old. Since it was around Halloween, I wanted to make something for him as a costume. After finding an adorable pumpkin hat pattern, I quickly whipped up a hat he could wear for the rest of the fall. Since the pattern was more intricate than those I’d made in the past, I sought more complex designs including amigurumi (small plush toys). Ever since then, I’ve crocheted practically every day! I’ve gotten to connect with other crocheters from around the world, pattern test for incredible designers, and find a supportive community.

So, why make a blog? Well, a few friends have wondered if I would ever make my own designs, and I’d like to post them here. Also, I’ve been asked if I could teach people some basics so I may put up a few videos/picture tutorials to give others the opportunity to learn. I also would like to help spread awareness of UC, IBS, and other chronic illnesses that affect others. I’ll write about exercises that have helped, meals that are good for a relapse, and other UC survival tips. So, yeah, that’s about it. Thanks for reading this novel of a post!