Posted in Arts and Crafts

Crafty Sassy: Crocheting VS Knitting

Happy Tuesday! I have another Crafty Sassy coming to you! I am going to talk about the difference between Crocheting versus Knitting and how they are different from each other. Let’s jump right in!

So, the major difference between the two is that you don’t use the same tools. For crocheting, you use a hook and for knitting, you use long needles. The better thing about crocheting is that you can see more progress than you can knitting, depending on what you are knitting.

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Crochet

Now, I’m not an pro at crocheting, but I have managed to crochet a granny square and I am working on a granny square blanket for my fiance. To me, at first, crocheting looked very difficult. Even when I tried to practice a single crochet square, I always seemed to mess up, somehow.

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After trying for a while, I gave up. More so, I took a long break and headed to YouTube. I am one of those people that can’t just read the book and look at pictures to do something, I have to physically see them doing, what I am trying to learn.

I figured I would start simple and look for a video to make a granny square. I found the best tutorial by the Nervous Knitter. Link for the video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDdXrZB1FOE

Since crocheting can be very fast, she slowed it down every step and it was much easier to follow. I watched the entire thing, twice, just to make sure I did it right and know, I know it almost by heart.

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With crocheting, once you get the pattern down, it’s like riding a bike, you don’t forget it very easily. Crocheting, you can do so much, the best part is that you can see your progress, so working on a granny square blanket, I see the progress, which makes me excited to keep on going!

Once I am finished on my fiances blanket, I will post a picture on here and show you how to do a granny square tutorial, as well!

Knitting

Knitting was the first thing that I ever did, or tried out. I knitted my son’s first blanket. It was very simple to do and, at that time, I preferred to knit versus crochet. The only problem with knitting, it felt like my project was never going to be finished.

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Don’t get me wrong, knitting was very basic and was easier to start out, but once your project gets bigger, you don’t have very much, to me, encouragement to keep going. Plus, I also seemed to lose a stitch or two and my project would come out all uneven, and with me trying to make things perfect, I would restart multiple times.

But there is also another way to knit, without using the needles. You can loom knit as well. I just got a giant set of different looming sizes and shapes. (Next Tuesday, I will be going a tutorial on how to loom knit a scarf!)

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Knitting was something that I did for my latch hook pillows, the backings of them. I knitted them like I was making a blanket, but the needles can only hold on so much, unless you have the needles with the wires, which I don’t currently have.

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Although, knitting was a easier way to have my projects looking a little neater, not perfectly neat, but neat as a way, there was not unwanted holes, just a solid pattern. Knitting, to me, is more for making a really great scarf or, if you have the knitting needles with the wire, a hat or even a blanket.

Which one would be better for beginners?

I would trying out knitting first, just because the concept is more simple and easier to follow versus crocheting. Try something simple, such as knitting a scarf or a square, just to get some practice.

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Once you feel like you know the basics for knitting a simple scarf, try challenging yourself and try to crochet a granny square. If you are like me and need to physical see what is going on, I am going to try my best and make little tutorial videos to help you guys out.

If you get really frustrated with any of it, take a break. Taking a break from your work is okay to do! Especially, if you have children and they are making it difficult to work on anything. Your work will still be there when you want to go back to it.

Another tip that really helped me out, before jumping in on crocheting or knitting, or any project, take a step back and just watch videos of people doing those things. Watch how they do their work and whatever tips or things they do, that you feel or know that would help you out, use them!

Watching other people crochet and knit, I’ll pick up the little things that they do, so that I can used to my advantage or help better myself into crocheting or knitting different things.

Also, if you aren’t sure what kind of knitting needles or hooks you should get, try some out. I prefer metal ones, just because it’s easier, although, I haven’t tried out the wooden or ones with handles. I literally, just bought a set off of wish and have stuck with them ever since, although, because they don’t have a handle, my hands can get sweaty and it makes it harder to work the yarn.

I do recommend trying them out and seeing with ones you think, for yourself, make it easier to crochet or knit.

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One thing that I highly recommend, is to work with bigger yarn! I know a lot of people say not to because it will make it harder to work with the less thicker yarn, but it will let you be able to look, up closely, how it is done. So that if you feel you made a mistake, with the less thicker yarn, with the bigger yarn, you will be able to see clearly what you did to mess up.

So, next Tuesday, I will be doing a step-by-step on how to loom knit and simple figure 8 scarf.

Posted in Mom Talk

My Little Heart Warrior

**WARNING**

*This is a very true story. Tissues might be needed. It was difficult to write this, but it is something that helps me express what had happen with my son and his short journey. Please, just take caution when reading.*

There are a lot of ‘Mom Blogs’ out in the web. Some talk about how to take care of a child or their experiences with their child’s first achievements in life. But I haven’t seen very many that talk about the experience of having a child with a heart disease. Let’s just say that it’s very much an emotional rollar coaster.

Well, that’s what it was for me. My son was diagnosed with HLHS (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome) when I was 22 weeks pregnant with him. Basically, HLHS is when the left side of their heart is either underdeveloped or never formed. Once he was born, he would have to go into surgery within the first week of life.

Altogether, he would have to go through 3 major surgeries with in the first 3 years of his life. Now, I was 18 when I was pregnant with my son, Liam. Image being me at 18, and being told that there was a very big change that he wouldn’t make it. Liam’s everyday life would be either life or death.

The happy family that my fiance and I imaged had changed. We didn’t know if he would make it to his first birthday. We had so many unanswered questions. Would he be able to play sports when he gets older? Would he need a heart transplant in the future if his starts to fail? Or the big question that we wanted to know: Would he ever make it home from the hospital?

Because of how serious his disease was, we weren’t able to have him, in our state. We were recommended to go down to Boston Children’s Hospital. We were told that they deal with congenital heart defects everyday. It made me and our family feel a lot better about having Liam there.

Once Liam was born, he was the most beautiful baby boy that I ever laid eyes on. You couldn’t see that there was anything wrong with him, but on the inside, there was a struggling heart that we would of never noticed.

As soon as I hear him cry, I started to cry myself. They cleaned him up and gave him medicine, to keep the values from closing. We could only hold him for a minute before they took him up to where he needed to be.

I finally got to hold him longer, later that day. I wanted to keep holding him because I knew that once he had his surgery, it would be a very long time until we were able to hold him again. They planned for his first surgery to be on June 27th, 2016, 3 days after his birth.

My fiance and I spent the entire day with him, holding him, getting as much closeness as we could. Until, the morning of his surgery came. We walked down with him, until we got to the point we weren’t able to go past. We both kissed his and held his little fingers. Praying that god would watch over our little boy.

During that day, we got out of the hospital, trying to get our minds off of the fact that they were doing surgery on our son. I wanted to wait all day, but my fiance and I agreed it would be best to go out and get some fresh air. We got frequent updates, while Liam was in surgery. It made me feel better that someone cared enough to let us know that everything was going smoothly and that they would keep us posted until he was our of surgery.

Once they called to let us know that he was doing great, they told us that he was all set to see visitors. I was nervous and scared to see how he looked. Even when we got closer to his room, tears already started to pour down my face.

As a parent, you never want your children to go through surgery or be hooked up to anything. Seeing Liam for the first time out of surgery, was life changing. His chest wasn’t closed, they keep the chest open for a few days to make sure everything is working out fine before they close it. Every time I would go to see him, I asked that they covered his heart, just when I was in there. I don’t know why, but I felt uncomfortable.

As weeks went passed, they finally closed his chest and slowly started to take him off some medication and his breathing tube. We were finally able to hold our son again, after about 4 weeks from his surgery.

We thought that things were going great, he was able to leave the NICU and move over to what they called was ‘The Floor’, meaning that Liam still needed nurses, but not 24/7, like he did in the NICU. The doctors said that once he was able to start eating from a bottle or breast and a few other things, he would be able to go home.

Day 2, of being on ‘The Floor’, was the most horrible day of my life. The nurse had come in to give Liam his medicine and he was being fussy, so she suggested that I pick him up and rock him. All of a sudden, my worst nightmare had happen. He stopped breathing in my arms.

The nurse took him and pressed the code blue button, 7-8 other hospital staff rushed in to help, they took him back over the NICU. I followed them, shocked and frighted. My fiance rushed over to the hospital, they wouldn’t allow both parents to stay in the room together, so he had to stay at a place that was a mile away from the hospital.

My hands wouldn’t stop shaking. I didn’t know what to do, they had a nurse stay with me until my fiance got there. All I could say was, ‘he stopped breathing in my arms.’

They did CPR on him for 45 minutes until they were able to get on bypass. They didn’t know what happened. They figured it was a blood clot that blocked blood from reaching his heart. The told us that they were going to try and take him off bypass slowly and hope for the best, but if he was still on it after a week, there was a good chance that Liam wouldn’t make it.

During the time he was on bypass, Liam had brain damage, from getting CPR for too long, kidneys and liver were starting to fail. We ended up sitting down with a few doctors and his surgeon. We also got our immediate family to come up, for the support. They said that once we can get him off bypass, that they would be able to determined if he would still have brain activity, but by the looks of what they were trying to read, he had little to none brain activity.

My fiance and I looked at each other and prayed that god wouldn’t take Liam from us. He did. On July 23rd, 2016 at 4 in the morning, our son had passed away. When they took him off bypass, he was doing fine, but slowly started to decline. My fiance, his mother, my mother and I, were with him when he passed. I held him until his heart stopped beating.

Everyone I knew, their baby got to come home in their car seat,  but Liam never even left the hospital. He didn’t come home in a car seat. He came home in a box. Every mother’s worst night mare.

It was really hard to write this, but I think it’s time that everyone knows that not every baby born in this world is perfectly normal. I rather tell people my experience than let every mother or soon-to-be mother think that everyone’s child is born healthy.

Because my son wasn’t born healthy. His heart disease was something that not even doctors know how it was caused. I’ve googled it thousands of times, no one know’s why HLHS happens or any congenital birth defect.

This year will be two years that Liam has been gone. I’ll never get to see him on his first birthday or see him walk or talk for the first time. He was two days shy of being a month old.

But there is one thing that I want to let everyone know. Whether your child was on this world for a day, month, or years, you can’t just get over it. People think that because Liam wasn’t even a month old, that I can just get over it.

To this day, I still cry about him, not as much as I first did, but I do still cry about him. I always will. He is my little Simba and I miss and love him so much.

On a happier note, Liam gave us a surprise from up above. We were blessed with our daughter, Isabella on October 25th 2017, our rainbow baby. I believe that he knew we were ready to be parents, as cheesy as it may sound, and gave us our healthy daughter.

Every year on his birthday, we release balloons, in honor of him. In honor of our heart warrior, our little Simba. Now, our Simba is looking down and watching over his little sister from up above.

Liam Michael (June 25th, 2016 – July 23rd, 2016)

Liam Michael
Our little heart warrior

 

Posted in Arts and Crafts

Crafty Sassy – Intro to Latch Hook Projects

I mentioned that I have worked with a few latch hooks, but I never went in detail on what they really are. Latch Hooks are like rugs that are made up of yarn on a grid. There are many things you can with latch hooks. I personally, like making pillows, but they are a lot of hard work.

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The picture above is what a latch hook looks before you start or add on anything. Also, that is the tool you use to ‘tie on’ the yarn. Now, if you are intersected in making one of these and you are just a beginner, I recommend buying a latch hook kit. It will come with everything you need: the grid, the cut up yarn, and the hook tool.

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Not all kits are the same! The picture above shows what you would get in a kit, but be warned, not all kits have their colored yarn organized perfectly like this! Some grid might actually have the print of the picture already on the grid, to help guide you through the process.

Also, if you haven’t noticed, most of the latch hook grids have multiple blue squared on them, that helps with knowing where to start, it you aren’t lucky enough to have a kit with the picture printed on the grid. Most of the squares are 10×10, by counting them, but some grid might be different and be like a 10×9 or 9×10.

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The process is very simple. I didn’t think so, at first, but it is very easy to do. The picture above with show you a little better than how I explain it.

  1. Take a piece of yarn, whatever color you need and wrap it around your hook, your latch hook tool.
  2. Take the hook, while holding on to the yarn that is wrapped around it, and insert into the grid, just the hook and make sure that the hooks open, as shown above.
  3. Next, take your end pieces of your yarn, remember, you still have it wrapped around you hook, and pull it into your hook, making sure that your latch hook tool flap, we will call it, doesn’t close. You have to make sure that stays open for this step!
  4. Then, take your latch hook and pull it through that square, where you want to place the yarn. The hook tool flap will close to keep the yarn in it’s place when you pull through the square.
  5. Last, but not least, tighten the knot and make sure it is on tight!
  6. Once that is done, you keep repeating until the project is done!

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Sorry, if I didn’t explain it very well. This picture above does a better job, but I figured I would give it a shot and try.

When you finish your project, you will noticed that you have extra strands of yarn leftover. Some kits will add more than enough to finish, other’s might give you enough to just barely finish the project. If you are like me and keep everything, keep the extra strands, just in case you need them for another project, you never know.

If the kit didn’t give you enough yarn, there is another way to get some more. You can always go to a craft store, or look online, and find the color yarn and cut it yourself, but using the size of what the kit gave you. Or, some craft stores will have the yarn cut up already for you, so if you are making the latch hook for someone, they have it for you to grab and go.

Latch Hooks is great for all ages, plus, if you are just starting to get into crafts and such, this would be the way to start out. You can do so much with latch hooks, they don’t just have to be a rug. They can be pillows, stuff animals, wall hangings, etc. They even have blank grids that you can freestyle.

The only downfall with the latch hooks, is that it can take up a lot of your time, sometimes. It’s nothing that you can pick up and finish all in one sitting, maybe if you are quick and did it all in one night, or had a small one to work with. This type of project is a pick up and finish later type of project.

Anyway, I will had a few pictures below of the latch hooks that I have finished. So far, I have made two pillows and two pillow cases. None of which have been for me, but all the ones I have given away, have loved them. Not because I did a great job, but it was something that I made for them and those are the best kinds of gifts!

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If you are very intersected in wanting to make one of these, check out your local craft store. You won’t have much luck at a Walmart or Kmart, but Amazon does have a very wide selection!

Posted in Mom Talk

Mom Talk: Is It Wrong For Parents To Express Themselves?

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Everything in the world today is changing. Especially how we raise our children. What about the parents who have tattoos? Or piercing? Or colored their hair? A lot of the other generations judge these parents who express themselves. Why is it that we can’t express ourselves as parents?

It’s not typically to see a mother with bright pink hair and tattoos. A lot of the older generations would say that its very immature to have tattoos and brightly colored hair and be a mother. Or they might say that’s what’s wrong with this generations upbringing.

I believe that parents who get piercings, tattoos, or dye their hair, they are showing their children that its okay to express yourself. So what those parents have tattoos that show. Who cares? They are expressing themselves.

I have always wanted to dye my hair a dark maroon color, ever since high school, but I was afraid to because I didn’t want anyone to thing that I was copying them. To this day, I still haven’t dyed my hair that color.

Not only that, I have always wanted to get a tattoo of my son. See, a lot of people think that tattoos are a waste, but there is always a meaning to each one. My fiance has a beautiful tattoo that was for our son.

As parents, we have a right to show our children that expressing ourselves is not wrong to do. We, as parents, want our child to express themselves like when we were younger. Never tell your child that they can’t express themselves.

I wanted to have my nosed pierced and more of my ears or dye my hair, but I never really was able to. I was more afraid to ask and get shot done.

Now, as an adult, I can do these things. I don’t care if my fiance and I walk down the street covered in tattoos and have dyed our hair or got more piercings. As long as our children have everything they need and bills are paid, there is nothing wrong spending some money on ourselves.

After all, we only live once.

So next time you see parents that have dyed hair, tattoos, and piercing, don’t judge them. They are just showing that expressing ourselves is completely okay to do.

Posted in Mom Talk

Mom Talk: Dealing With Being Frustrated

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As all parents know, we are bound to get frustrated with our kids, lifestyle, work, etc. How to deal with it, can be very difficult. Especially, when you are a stay-at-home mom. It’s even worse when you suffer from depression.

I get frustrated. I can admit that. A lot of people can’t.

I get frustrated over little things, that I can do nothing about. I get frustrated over the bigger things that I can’t fix. Sometimes, there is nothing you can do, until the time is right to fix something. Or in my case, money always frustrates me.

Sometimes I get very frustrated with my daughter. I get frustrated when she cries and there is nothing I can do to help her. Do I take it out on her? No. I put her in her crib, play pen, or anywhere where I know she won’t hurt herself. I then take a deep breathe, count to ten and then go back to my daughter and try to take care of her the best I can.

Another reason why I get very frustrated is that I haven’t felt comfortable to leave my daughter with anyone, yet. I bet you are all thinking or saying that I need a break. I do, but with my past history, it’s very hard to do.

Losing my son, is making it difficult to leave her with anyone. I feel that if I do, I am going to freak out, if she were to spend the night somewhere, or I would get that call that something is wrong. The only people that really understand what I am going through, are mother who have lost a baby.

My daughter is 7 months old and I am starting to realize that she just wants me, which frustrates me because I want to get stuff done in the house. I know it’s my fault, but it’s hard to let go. It’s like when your child goes in for their first day of preschool, its hard to watch them go.

Anyway, being frustrated doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, it means you need to take a step back and try different ways to relax your frustration. I’ve counted to 10, that has helped. Closing your eyes, working out, doing a hobby, or if you are in a pickle, closing your eyes and relaxing them to a second.

Meditation is what I’m going to try and get into because of the fact that I still don’t feel 100% comfortable to leave my daughter with anyone, yet.

If you are like me and can’t leave your child, for whatever reason, start with an hour. Leave your child with your spouse and see how you do. Try it out with different family family members and then slowly leave them for more that an hour or two.

When you know that baby is comfortable and you finally feel comfortable, then leave them with family for a night. You just have to get to, not only your comfort zone, but your child’s as well.

Another way to deal with frustration, is to talk to someone, someone you know that wouldn’t mind listening to whatever is frustrating you. Airing it out is a lot better than keeping it in. I know how hard it is to talk to someone, but you don’t want it to keep it all in.

Before it’s too late and then you end up screaming at someone.