Archive for November, 2009

A cozy, warm mug

I only have a few minutes to post, but I thought you might like to see this awesome mug cozy I whipped up yesterday. It is called the Cabled Coffee and Hand Warmer, pattern by Ali S., though the pattern is now discontinued.  It took me about 2 hours to knit.  I love it because it dresses up my favourite mug which is just plain cream-coloured pottery.

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A few days ago, I walked into the bathroom to find, once again, our lovely handmade soap bar soggy and squished with bits of brown soap all over the sink and the counter.  UGH.  I have lectured our little girls several times about wasting soap and even considered switching to liquid soap.  However, I love handmade soap and I wouldn’t give up easily.

I remembered an idea I read years ago about using an old onion bag to act as a soap scrap collector. I thought this might also work to prevent our little ones from using our lovely soap as a sculpting medium.  Five minutes later…

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It worked great.  For those of you not into crafts, but having the same problem I was having might find this tip useful.  I used a double layer of onion bag stretched around our scraps and secured with a twist tie.  Highly functional, highly eco-friendly, but sadly ugly.

Since I am always on the lookout for how I can use knitting to solve my problems in life, it wasn’t hard to come up with a prettier solution. I present to you the “Itty-Bitty Soap Scrap Sack”, using leftover sock yarn.

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At first I made a larger version, about the size of a bar of soap, but found this unnecessary for our purposes. We have lots of scraps of gorgeous handmade soap since my sister is a soap-maker and we get all the leftover bits we want!  This bag is only 1 3/4″ x 3″ and is perfect for us.  It can be whipped up in less than an hour.  I particularly love projects like this because I am a ‘product knitter’ through and through and really enjoy the instant gratification of quick knits!  This is my first time sharing a design of my own, so  I would love to know if you make one and to see your photos, too.   Click below for the pattern:

Itty-Bitty Soap Scrap Sack

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In October, we lost a baby in miscarriage. It was our second miscarriage, though this one was very different than the first one.  It was much less emotionally difficult, but much harder physically.  You can read that story here if you are just joining us.

I found that I really slipped through the cracks, medically. The midwives didn’t seem to want to oversee things for me, referring me onto my doctor.  My family doctor, a wonderful sweet lady, has a very busy practice and was also in the middle of a family emergency.  At the best of times, it is extremely difficult getting in to see her and impossible to get information over the phone.  So, I decided to go it alone.  I formulated a plan in my head and went on my way.  My plan was to rest intensely for three days, to take an iron supplement at a higher rate for a week and then taper off to a normal amount for a month or so.

Within a week, I found this was not working. I was exhaused and I woke up with awful headaches every morning.  I realized I needed some help and I contacted my naturopath, whom I should have contacted as soon as I found out the baby had died.

She informed me that I was still severely anemic and needed a lot more rest than I had taken. She sweetly and respectfully chuckled at my 3 days.  Here was the plan we came up with for me:

  • Receive a vitamin b12 injection at the office, which often helps with energy levels.
  • Take the custom ‘After Miscarriage’ tincture made for me by Judy at Judy’s Organic Herbs, 1/2 t. three times a day until the bottle is finished.  The tincture contained the following:  Angelica (Don Quai) for strengthening and balancing uterus and hormone regulation, Hawthorn to dilate blood vessels and mend brokenheartedness, Yarrow to stop bleeding and cramping, Vitex (chasteberry) to regulate hormones and St. John’s Wort to help with stress and nerves.
  • Drink Comfrey (healing of damaged tissue) and Nettle (iron rich) tea several times a day.
  • Rest for another 10 days even if I feel up to doing more.  After that, listen to my body.
  • Drink at least 2 litres of water (or if I drink a litre of herbal tea in a day, drink 1 litre) .  She thought this would help a lot with my headaches as well as help return my blood pressure back up to a normal level.
  • Take the homeopathic ‘bellis perenis’ 200ch twice a day for two weeks to help end the bleeding.
  • Take 15ml of Floridix iron supplement and 1 capsule of Thorne’s Ferrasorb twice a day for two to three months.  This was big for me, as I would have stopped supplementing my iron at this level within days.
  • Take iron with a vitamin c source.
  • Be very mindful of including iron-rich foods every day:  beef, spirulina, dark beans, blackstrap molasses, dates, prunes, etc.
  • Let her know if my headaches and bleeding hadn’t completely stopped within 10 days.
  • Have my HgB levels and Ferritin levels rechecked at 2 weeks after the miscarriage.
  • Return for another visit in a month.
  • Avoid pregnancy for at least two cycles after the miscarriage.

With the last recommendation, I exclaimed what a terrible hassle that would be, to which Dr. Sarah laughed out loud for a good half minute:  Hahahaha…for you, it is more trouble NOT to get pregnant than to get pregnant!  Hahahaha!  I didn’t think it was that funny.  I was going to not take her advice and just try avoid pregnancy for one cycle, but then I realized that if I was to get pregnant this month, it would mean I was due right in the middle of canning season next year.  That wouldn’t be good, so she can have her second month.  I’ve hauled out the charts and dusted off my thermometer.  What a pain in the neck.

The other thing I would add for anyone who has had a D & C would be to take a good probiotic for awhile. I didn’t think much about this until I started to have symptoms of a yeast infection and remembered that the OB in the hospital said she had given me some IV antibiotics.

I am feeling so much better than I was a short while ago. I did find that my first period went on and on.  Not heavy, but just lingering for about 10 days or so.

For those of you who have had miscarriages, is there anything else you did to heal physically? I would love to hear from you.  I am hoping to be able to refer others to this post for help and your suggestions would be fantastic.

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In August, I was thrilled to find out I was pregnant with our 7th baby. I am always a huge blabbermouth when I get that second line on the test.  I have never understood how some of you moms can wait 3 months to start telling people!  With this baby, it was different.  I felt God’s leading just wait to tell everyone.  Within a couple of weeks of finding out, I started to have the sad realization that this might not be a baby I would ever hold.  I felt NO symptoms of pregnancy.  I was not the least bit sick and I was not showing at all.  I didn’t tell my family I was expecting, I hardly told any friends, and we didn’t even tell our children!  When I shared our news with the few people I did tell, I also said that I had a feeling that this baby might not make it.  I told one friend that I didn’t feel pregnant, just like I was waiting to lose a baby.

At 9 weeks, I couldn’t stand it anymore and asked for my midwife to send me for an ultrasound, which I never have in my healthy pregnancies. Sadly, it confirmed that our little babe had died in my womb at 7 weeks.  There were a few tears shed that day, but in all honesty, it was not out of surprise.  I was, in fact, relieved to know, though truly heartbroken.  I was also very grateful that the Lord gave me the gift of knowing right from the start, not having to have the horrible thrown-off-a-cliff feeling of finding out suddenly.  And, not having to un-tell a bunch of people was also a gift.

I was very at peace with waiting for the baby to miscarry naturally, even knowing it could be weeks, since truly this is what I had always been doing. At 11 weeks, I started to spot when Steve and I were out on our weekly date.  It continued this way all day.  The next morning, Sunday, we had plans to visit a very little church nearby to surprise our friends who went there.  I was really looking forward to it, so we went even though I was spotting.  I wore a huge post-partum pad, just in case.  I’ve had a miscarriage before and (sorry for the graphic nature) I know there is a LOT of blood.  I mean a LOT.

Just at the end of the service, I felt that fateful gushing start. My heart sunk as I knew I should be at home and not out in public.  Fretfully, I got cleaned up as much as I could and we rushed out.  As I came out of the bathroom, I found a trail of blood leading back into the hall!  How humiliating!

At home, I went into the bathroom and just sat there bleeding. What would be the point of getting up?  Steve came in and asked if I needed anything.  I asked him just to stay with me.  I realized I was losing my ability to focus on what he was saying, feeling nauseous and I had the strange urge to get away from my body.  The next thing I knew, I could hear him calling my name, but I couldn’t respond or move.  15yodd called 911.  I revived when they laid me on the couch and the ambulance came to take me to the hospital.  My mom came to look after the other kids.  Steve and my friend, Monique, were both with me in the ER.  Monique is not only one of my very dearest friends in the whole world, she is also a doula and while I think doulas are terrific for births, I now know they are essential for miscarriages.  I am so grateful she was there.

At the hospital, the bleeding just wouldn’t stop. The OB on call was comfortable waiting a couple of hours and trying some different things, though I eventually ended up having the dreaded D & C.  It was definitely necessary at this point, since I was unable to stop from fainting if my head was even just raised up a little from lying flat.  In the recovery room, my hemoglobin was tested and found to be at 75 leading to the recommendation of a blood transfusion.

I declined this since it would necessitate my staying overnight and away from baby guy (who is really toddler guy now). However, when I couldn’t stop from fainting sitting in the wheelchair on the way out of the hospital, there was no choice.  Once I was settled into my bed again, I happened to bump my right breast a little and recognized that familliar feeling all breastfeeding moms know when they have not nursed for too long.  UGH.  My nurse called to the Family Birthing Unit and got me a breast pump.  Relief.

Despite the blood transfusion, it was still a long recovery at home. I was very tired for several weeks, though I feel completely back to normal at this point thanks to the terrific care of my friends, my husband and my amazing naturopath.  I am also very grateful for the hospital staff.  They continue to chip away at my hard attitude toward modern medicine.  I couldn’t have asked for better caregivers there.

This miscarriage was so very different from my first one, which was much easier physically, but emotionally much more traumatizing. On Monday,  I will write about my plan for miscarriage recovery, which was terrific.  I did find that I really fell through the cracks between the midwife and my doctor.  No one ended up looking after me and it wasn’t until I sought out my own care from my naturopath that I had a good plan.  I imagine that women are often in this position,  so I hope to share what I have learned from my two miscarriages with you.

Have any of you experienced a miscarriage or more than one?  What were your experiences?

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Over the last few months, I have knit several pairs of socks. As you know, I am involved in a knitalong on  Ravelry where members are knitting through the patterns from Cookie A’s book, one per month.

This month’s pattern was Angee. It was a fabulous pattern, easy and fun.  I have had times where I am scrambling to finish my socks by the end of the month, but this month, I finished in a week!


Angee socks, pattern by Cookie A

I used a wonderful yarn, Zen Yarn Garden Smooshy, in the colourway ‘Robyn’s Gold’. I think the pattern works well with both variegated and solid colourways.  I also knit this pattern two-at-a-time, toe-up without inverting the pattern, so if you look closely at the finished socks of other knitters, you will see that mine differs (compared to others — upside-down).


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Image courtesy of jek in the box

Well, that was a pretty long break, wasn’t it?!  I have enjoyed a wonderful summer and the beginning of fall, too.  I will share what I’ve been up to over the next weeks.  For now, I need to go and start my household going, but I wanted to share something with you.

I have just started taking a course called, The Family Herbalist over at Naturally Healthy in an effort to better inform myself to help our family maintain health and restore health in times of illness.  I am very excited to learn more and to share that learning with you.

One of my first readings is from a book called, Mommy Diagnostics by Shonda Parker.  She said something in the Introduction that stood out to me:

Mom, you are an artist.  God endows us with the unique ability to house and nurture His new creations in our wombs.  Just as our healthy habits, spiritual and physical, provide the background colors onto our children’s divinely-designed body blueprints, our mothering attitude and actions paint the color in our children’s lives that will one day be a complete portrait of God’s creation.

I am an artist. I am not responsible for the raw materials I have to start with.  I am only responsible for learning to imitate the Master’s art with Him right beside me at all times to guide and encourage me.  Like a most wonderful teacher, He enjoys my uniqueness and creativity and certainly does not have one exact, right way I am to create my art.  He provides me with the tools, my attitude and my actions, and I can choose to use them any way I wish.  If I use them for beauty, my art will reflect this.  If I use them in anger and bitterness, my art reflects this as well.

Mercifully, though, my art is not all in my hands. Sometimes, when the Master sees that I am struggling, He takes my hand and places His hand over top to add His very own brush strokes to my art, giving me an understanding of what it feels like to do the work of a Master.

And best of all, sometimes when I am resting from my work, the Master will fix my mistakes without my being involved at all. For it is only in my own eyes that my art is really mine.  While the Master loves me to paint alongside Him, He will not allow me to ruin this work because, truly, the masterpiece is His.

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