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Happy New Year!

*waves*  Hiya guys!

I’ve been gone a while, but this blog has never been far from my mind.  Every project I’ve made has a whole folder of step-by-step pics taken for eventual tutorials and posts I want to make.  Earlier this summer I told myself I’d restart on September 11.  It’s my birthday and this year (as on the year I was born) it coincides with the (Jewish) New Year, and I thought it was a very fitting time.  New year, new(ly 41) me, new projects, even new (to those who don’t follow me on Instagram) hair color!

Of course I didn’t think about how busy the day OF would be.  D’oh.  Yesterday was a holiday and I spent it with family, enjoying their company and staying mostly offline.  So now, a day late, but with a mind full of intent, I’m making this post.  I don’t have pics ready, and I don’t have anything in particular to share today.  It’s just something I didn’t want to put off any longer.  This is my blog, and I’ve got nearly 100 projects I’ve been wanting to share.  This year, I will.

Shana tova.  🙂

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dyeing my hair – going from brown to PINK!

For those of you who follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, this is old news already, but it occurred to me yesterday that I’d never posted about it here.  Back in November, I dyed my hair… PINK!  (Ok, technically magenta, but it looks pink in most light).

Anyone who’s followed me for a loooong time might remember that I used to have long blonde hair, and when Henri was little I’d added a blue streak under one ear.

Photo 2013-01-28 1 41 45 PM

(Very few pics actually show it, this was the best I could find)

I’ve always missed having colored hair, and gaze longingly at all the purple, blue and other brightly (or pastel-y) colored tresses I see online.  Finally I decided to take the plunge again- I decided to dye the underneath of my hair blue.  Not the ends, ombre-style, but the underneath half of my hair, figuring that it would be cute but subtle, so I’d still look ‘professional’ enough for work or being a mom or whatever kind of grown up I’m supposed to be.

Then I told Yannick my plan.  Found him pics online… and he was not impressed.  He didn’t like the idea at all, and suggested dyeing my entire head.  “But… I don’t want to dye my whole head blue,” I protested, “It will fade to green and I don’t think that would suit me.”  “Then don’t go blue,” he said, “go red or pink or something.”  I decided to call his bluff and Googled crazy hair colors, opening up a ton of tabs to show him the ones I thought were pretty.

Surprisingly, we both liked magenta.  So… before I could change my mind and chicken out, I called my hairdresser the next morning and booked the appointment.

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This was my last pic with brown hair before leaving for the appointment.  When I got there I looked through the color samples book.colorswatches

I’d brought in a picture of the color I had in mind, and it looked closest to the color “orchid” above, however once there we decided to mix a little “magenta” in to brighten up the color a bit.  Now that I was actually there I decided to forgo any attempt at subtlety (I’d thought the orchid color might pass as brown in dim light) and just GO FOR IT! 😀step 1 blonde collage

The first step to any of the ‘crazy’ colors is to lighten, so for the first time in at least 4 years I got to see how I’d look as a blonde again.  (Not a fan, tbh).  You can see the variation in my hair color, that’s because my hair has had brown dye in it for the last 4 years, as I’ve been dyeing it darker than my natural color… whatever that is.  (I’ve never dyed my eyebrows, so I’m guessing something like that).step 2 pink collage

In the top left image you can see the samples we played around with.  Kristin, my stylist extraordinaire, had taken an extension in a similar color to my now-blonde hair and dyed it with the orchid, the magenta, and a mix of the two.  The color we both liked best was the mix, and so that is what we did.  I got my first glimpses of how my hair would look as the color sat on my scalp.  No turning back now!step 3 pink collage

And here’s the final result, the first 3 pics taken at the salon, and the 4th in my front hall as soon as I’d gotten home.  Verdict?  I F’ING LOVE IT!!!step 4 pink shades

One thing that amazes me is how different it looks in different lighting.  These aren’t the best pics to show it, but contrary to what it would appear in this post I don’t run around taking selfies of myself all day hahahahaha.  Sometimes it appears pink, other times an almost neon purple, and in dim lighting it can go raspberry.Photo 2015-11-25, 9 28 27 AM

I’ve since gone back to have the color touched up, because sadly these kinds of colors fade pretty quickly.  I’ve managed to keep it vibrant by following the tricks I’ve read up about – washing with cold water, minimal shampooing, using a cuticle sealant, avoiding heat styling… but because the roots didn’t have brown dye they remained more vibrant a purple color, and the ends faded to a kind of red-wine shade, so I went back to have the opposite colors put on each section so they would match better.  Eventually as my hair grows out and I trim off the previously-brown ends it will be easier to have a more even color everywhere.

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This is the result of the last color- even color from root to end.  In my bedroom it takes on this reddish hue, almost veering towards The Little Mermaid.  At Hebrew school pick up last week I was told it was almost glowing purple in the lights.  😀 It’s like mood hair!

The most surprising thing to me has been the reaction.  I’d thought my family would berate me for it but the reaction was overwhelmingly positive.  My kids love it.  Strangers stop me on the street with compliments.  I’ve had senior citizens pull me aside to tell me they love it and little children tug my arm to ask if I was a princess.  And me?  I feel like a superhero.
final brown to pink collage

Before                              ~                              After


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challenge complete

I managed to finish my dining room desk overhaul and whoa what a difference it makes!  A main benefit is supposed to be when I work on my next project… having all my supplies organized and at-hand… but an important EXTRA benefit is that now the desk is clean… which means Yannick no longer tries to avoid looking in the dining room’s general direction.  😉

The before can be seen in my previous post…and here’s the after:

desk after

What a difference, no?  All that space… just waiting for me to pile stuff on it… hehehe


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self-imposed challenge, accepted

So many blog drafts, so little time.  😦 I have so much I want to share and yet keep finding my nights kept busy by more projects that require my hands… which means they can’t be on the keyboard, editing pics and writing up posts.  However, one project is trumping all the others today.

I recently tackled cleaning my office, and have been greatly enjoying the convenience of being able to walk in, immediately grab what I need from it’s appropriate, labeled container, and then leave, without having to trip over supplies or dig through stacks.  Craft stuff lives (mostly) downstairs, but cake stuff hangs out in assorted places in the kitchen and dining room.  When I first started, 7 years ago, a small tupperware sufficed.  Two years ago that tupperware grew into a toolbox, but now, sadly (?) I’ve outgrown that as well.

I always decorate cakes and cookies in my dining room, and quite a few times I’ve looked up at the hutch right in front of me and thought how great it would be to transform it into some kind of giant decorating center.  It’s a convenient space and Yannick and I each have our own ‘sides’, plus it’s where we keep drawing and craft materials for the kids, so converting my side into something useful would make sense.  Plus, until recently, my side was crammed full of books, old magazines and photo albums, none of which had been touched in at least 5 years.

The books were moved somewhere more appropriate and the magazines donated, and the craft supplies that should be moved down to my office were tucked into a Costco box with the intent to (eventually) bring them downstairs.  Since then, with each new food project, I’ve slowly moved assorted containers and supplies up into the now-empty shelves.

Not organized, of course.  THAT would have been to easy.

Well, that’s my plan for today.

messy desk dining room

Organize this space.

And drink coffee.  Lots of coffee.


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2010-11-16

So yesterday was a bust on the knitting front.  I knit one small 2″ circle (for what?  You’ll see!) after making breakfast, getting the laundry in, putting away Jakob’s clothes and whatever else I did.  Then Yannick got home, we had some lunch and headed outside to keep turning our front lawn into a giant litter box.  Ok- I kid, we’ve actually been spreading the giant pile of gravel into the hole Yannick and his dad dug to extend our driveway widthwise.  And moving the extra gravel by wheel barrow to our front walkway.  But in the end it kinda feels like we’ve got a giant litter box outside.  (And the illusion was helped by the friendly neighborhood animal who left us a gift in the center of the gravel).

There I was, standing bent over the gravel pit, using my hands to scoop out a trench to lay a drainage pipe, when my umbilical hernia popped out again.  (Did I mention that I now have an umbilical hernia?  It popped out the first time the day before leaving for Rhinebeck).  After that I wasn’t much good to help, so I raked up the last bit of the leaves then went inside to shower.

I got one more 2″ circle knit while Yannick went to pick up the boys from daycare, then it was the usual supper routine, followed by playtime and the struggle we’ve been having lately to get Henri to bed.  He’s got his 2 year molars coming in, plus he’s on a medication that could be making him hurt, and it has been making him very fussy and clingy at bedtime.  By the time he was in bed and Yannick was reading a story with Jakob, it was my time to get OUR supper ready.  We don’t eat dinner with the kids ‘cus Yannick isn’t home on time.  Anyways, by the time the veggies were ready, the meat barbecued, and the food eaten, it was 9:30.  I had NO desire to do anything at that point, I was just zonked.  We watched the Big Bang Theory/$#!% My Dad Says from last week and then I just crashed.  It felt really luxurious to get into bed at 10, with new sheets and a fully charged, game-loaded iphone- though it would have been more fun had I not fallen asleep 10 minutes later.

The boys got their daycare proofs last week and we’re giving in our orders tonight.  Jakob’s photos last year were really hot and cold- it was very easy to pick which of the two photos we would take.  This year’s choice wasn’t as obvious, but I think we picked the right one.

(Ignore the backgrounds, each image is shown in front of 9 different backdrops and we get to pick the one we want.  We’re going with a sports themed one this time).

First there is Jakob alone:

The close up isn’t bad, but we’re going with the Mr. GQ, I’m-all-cool-with-my-hands-in-my-pockets look on the right.

Henri alone:

Henri was having a rough morning!  He was fussy, and didn’t want me to leave so he was crying when they went to do the photos.  We’re going with the pose on the right as well, though with the sports background.  Henri’s hair does this crazy stand-up thing when we take off his hat, and his teacher must have tried to flatten it ‘cus the front doesn’t usually make such a Musnters-esque widow’s peak.

Finally, whenever they have siblings in the daycare together, they do a group photo:

We’re not taking either of these!  Maybe if Henri was smiling, or at least not looking quite so upset.  As it is I have better photos of the two of them together.  (Plus Jakob’s protective embrace reminds me of those old-fashioned couples portraits, with the standing, stern husband and the seated, unsmiling wife).

I still can’t show you knitting progress, but I hope to at least accomplish some tonight.

Oh, and since some of you have asked, I’ll explain about Jakob and the oxygen monitor.  Jakob snores.  A LOT.  When we hear him through the monitor we call him Lord Vader, that’s how loud/bad.  When I first mentioned it to his pediatrician a while ago, he sent us for xrays.  They showed that his adenoids were “moderately large”.  We tried a round of Flonase to shrink his adenoids, but he started snoring again as soon as we stopped it.  We tried another month-long round with the same results.  Finally we were referred to an ENT a few weeks ago.

The ENT started the appointment by asking if we’d done an oxygen saturation test.  We hadn’t.  The visit ended there, with a referral for us to go rent the equipment.  (Out of pocket- ouch!)  So basically the test was similar to the finger monitor they put on you to check the oxygen levels in your blood/body, but we put it on his toe.  I waited until he fell asleep then attached it to his toe, taped it in place and put a sock on him.  Then, to make sure it didn’t get kicked off or detached in the night, when I was ready for bed I slept in his room with him.

The next day I brought the machine back to the sleep clinic and it generated a report showing his oxygen levels and heart beats during the night, as well as showing markers every time his O2 levels dropped more than 3% for more than 5 seconds.  Next Wednesday we’ll meet again with the ENT to go over the results.  If the results are within the normal realms, then we’ll ignore the snoring for now and wait it out.  If they show that his O2 levels are dropping out of the norm, then most probably he will have to have his adenoids/tonsils removed.

I’m really not worried about him having the surgery, should it get to that point.  A) I just had it done- well, the tonsils anyways, and though it sucked worse than anything I can remember, I know the recovery is much worse in adults than kids.  B) my nephew had done the surgery at the same age as Jakob, and is now 13.  I asked him what he remembered and all he remembered was eating a lot of ice cream.  Either way, we’ll see what the doctor says next week.


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something for the weekend

I can’t post photos until the computer is reset up in the new office (!) but I can still post from work while I’m here.  (Yup, I work Tues-Sat, so I’m here today).

First off is a cute little test I found over on AliP’s blog.  I quite like my results!


You Should Be an Artist


You are incredibly creative, spontaneous, and unique.No one can guess what you’re going to do next, but it’s usually something amazing.

You can’t deal with routine, rules, or structure. You’re easily bored.

As long as you are able to innovate and break the rules, you are extremely successful.You do best when you:

– Can work by yourself

– Can express your personality in your work

You would also be a good journalist or actor.

 

Also, before the office is officially complete, I thought I’d show you a little plan of what we’ve done.  Excuse the non-professionalism of these “sketches”, as they are something quick I whipped up in Paint.  But it will give you an idea of the work we had ahead of us and what we’ve managed to accomplish so far.
originalbasement
This sketch (above) shows the original basement (not to scale!).  When we bought the house it was completely unfinished downstairs and we chose not to do any work down there right away because we wanted to go through a Winter/Spring and make sure there was no water infiltration/foundation issues or anything.  The ceiling is completely open, some walls have drywall and others don’t.  The floor is concrete.  And until recently, all but minimal walking space was full of the 100 boxes we hadn’t unpacked from our move.
After we got pregnant and knew we needed to create somewhere for my office, we started drawing floor plans.  We needed to fit an office downstairs, plus one day we’d like to add a bedroom (so we’d still have a spare one, or for Jakob when he’s older and wants to move downstairs).  We’d probably like to put a bathroom near the laundry area too.  You know, when we win the lottery.
At one point I was supposed to get the corner with the oil tank, and later I thought I’d get the upper right corner but only until the sump pump, which made for a natural division.  Luckily Yannick realized exactly how much crap craft/art supplies/books/yarn/etc I have, and knew that if I didn’t have enough room for it all, it would still end up all over the house.  So he decided to surprise me with almost a third of the basement all to myself!
builtbasement
This photo (above) shows the walls that Yannick and his dad put up.  They divided the area evenly between the two windows so I will have some natural light in the office.  They built a small closet to surround the sump pump and another one to block off the back area with the pipes and central vacuum.  Both closets have actual closet doors on them.  I will never need to go into the sump pump one (and really, it is exactly the same size as the floor opening, so it is only there to hide the pipes), but the one at the back has quite a few feet of storage space within for anything I don’t want/need out.  What is also cool is that the wall they built to the right of the stairs now allows us to put up a railing, as the original basement had the stairs open on both sides. (Really, nothing was finished down there).
futurebasement
Finally, this photo shows how I imagine the office to look by next week, after the furniture is moved in and I get a chance to organize a bit.  My computer desk will go under the window with my filing cabinet and printer next to it. 
Behind where I sit will be my tall bookshelf (currently hiding in the garage since the move) for all my small buckets of craft supplies and computer supplies (ink, paper, cds, etc), next to which will be my short bookshelf for knitting/crochet/craft books and magazines. 
The rest of that wall until the mini closet will be taken up by my Rubbermaid buckets of yarn, and I really hope I will have room for all of them!  Yannick’s parents had suggested I hide the yarn in the back storage area with the vacuum but they don’t realize exactly how often I go into those buckets!
The open space between the two closets is where Yannick is going to build me a craft desk with track lighting over head.  That desk will give me space to wrap gifts, craft, set up my knitting machines, etc.
The storage closet will actually be used to store the 6 or so huge boxes of paperback and hardcover books that we have nowhere to unpack yet.  We had wanted to build a library wall in our den, but we’re currently using that wall for my parents’ old wall unit and it is working out well to hold movies and toys and stuff, so for now we’re stumped on where to put our book collection.  Luckily they will at least be neatly packed and out of the way, and Yannick has promised to put the boxes on risers so if there were ever to be any water issues with those pipes in the corner, we shouldn’t end up with damage to the books.
So that’s probably more than you wanted to know about my basement and office.  I’m very excited and looking forwards to getting it all organized.  The best part about having it ready is that tomorrow or Monday I will be able to move Jakob into what used to be the spare bedroom and get his “big boy” room all set up, and then get the baby’s room ready too.  I don’t want to jinx anything, but so far we really seem to be on track!


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why do i bother?

I get excited over contests (see: Mary Maxim and Interweave’s Poetry Contest) and then don’t win.  Ok, no big deal.  It’s fun to enter and I like the anticipation of the results, so no harm done.  Other than a possible entry fee, there’s no loss to me.

I get excited over submissions (see: Knitty and Twist Collective) and then don’t make it into whatever issue I’ve submitted for.  Ok, no big deal.  I still like the anticipation of finding out if I made it, and the deadlines give me a kick in the pants to get the ideas out of my head and into tangible items.  No loss to me either, as I usually end up with a finished item and finished pattern, which I can then choose to self-publish or put out for free.  (See: Elphie, a free download I offer, that Knitty rejected last year).

I also get excited about other things.  Some of you will remember my bitter disappointment last year when we found out that Jakob was breech, and that I wouldn’t get a chance to have a natural delivery.  I was heartbroken and we even tried a bunch of measures to get him to turn.  Nothing worked.  In the end that was a good thing, as the umbilical cord was loosely around his neck and had he turned things could have gone badly.  Still…while the c-section went like a breeze and the recovery was great, I always felt cheated out of an experience that is a woman’s natural right.

When we got pregnant again I never really thought about the baby’s position.  The odds of having 2 breech babies is pretty slim (I told myself, don’t have any facts on that) and I was really only concerned with whether or not my doctor would allow me to try a VBAC.  Every visit it was discussed, and last time Yannick even came with to finalize our decision.

I had an ultrasound yesterday morning.  I walked in there thinking we’d find out how small the baby was (my doctor’s guess was small-to-normal) and if the baby was head-down, so now we just wait until I go into labor.  Instead I found out that the baby is already 4 lbs 15 oz- which contrary to my first, brain dead thought, is NOT just over 4 lbs.  It’s 1 oz less than 5 lbs.  Which puts the baby in the 91st percentile for size.  And, in what won’t be much of a shock to those able to pick up on the theme of this post…the baby is breech.  And due to the current size, while there is always a remote possibility, the odds of the baby turning in the next 8 weeks is infinitesmal.

So at my regular visit next Tuesday, instead of discussing what goes on during a VBAC birth, I will be choosing my child’s birth date and scheduling another c-section.  Any future children I have will have no option but to be c-sections, meaning I will never, ever be able to have a natural delivery, no matter how many kids we end up having.

I cannot really share how disappointed I am.  I know there are benefits.  I know we will be able to schedule someone to be with Jakob (assuming I don’t go into labor prior to the chosen date/time).  I know it will be safer for both me and the baby.  I know it will give me a few extra days at the hospital taking care of only one child before coming home to take care of two, a house, Yannick and Sam.  I know it’s not the end of the world.

But it’s the end of my dream, and while I am ecstatic to know that the baby is safe and healthy and fine, there is a little something inside me that ended yesterday.  No matter how optimistic I tend to be about every challenge I take on, this is one that no amount of wishing, hoping, praying or optimism will change, and at a certain point will even become a waste of effort.

Jakob is feeling better, still has a slight fever but is starting to get his energy back.  Yannick is doing well and keeping busy with work.  The baby, though upside-down, is otherwise great, kicking the crap out of me and only minimally affecting my ability to sleep and frequency of bathroom breaks.  Life, in other words, is going on as normal, but I am going to take a few days off from blogging and try to accept this latest development.