I've been working on transferring and backdating all of my old blog posts from summersnook.wordpress.com over here. I want everything I've written in one, free, place. For a while I really got into the whole bloggy thing, had giveaway parties and participated in blog challenges. I bought my own domain name (summersnook.com), had someone else come up with an official looking design, did reviews, got lots of comments, etc, etc. Even set up a couple of other blogs devoted entirely to one subject, and sure it was fun, but after a couple of years my motivation to blog started fading. It may have been the addition of more children, life getting busier or just because I overdid it but gradually my writing petered out.

I'm not expecting to get a second wind and go crazy like I did the first time, but as I read through some old posts last night I decided it would be good to do more than say, 2 posts a year. I loved reading through things that happened with my children and I haven't written about my younger two like I did my older two. Maybe because my older two were more difficult when younger and I needed it for my sanity? In any case I'd like to try and make that happen so I can tell them funny stories about themselves when they were young to make them laugh. We'll see if I can stick it out. It's true that life seems to just get busier, and I'm not even one of those, schedule everything to the max and have a million extra curricular activities, kind of mom.

This morning as I was working on joining some crochet motifs together, I looked over at my littlest one, sitting on the couch watching TV and had an overwhelming desire to just snuggle with him. So I joined him on the couch and we interacted with Team Umizoomi together. He's been so sick this past week with a nasty cough and snotty nose but his temperament in spite of that has been as always, loving and smiling and so sweet.

I remember when my other kids were his size and can't believe how much they've grown. Each age brings new challenges and new joys. It all goes by too fast. I hope someday they will read the things I've written about them and have a better understanding of just how much I love them.
I started a project recently. One that is pretty ambitious, given that I've never made a crocheted piece of clothing for an adult.

Also, it may involve sewing a lining to go inside of it.

I've never sewed anything but a simple pillow.

Anyhow, when I saw this gorgeous bodice I knew I had to give it a try. Scroll down the page on that link and there is a chart pattern for the flower motif. Wait! Don't run away just because I said chart pattern! I learned how to read one about 10 days ago and never even knew they existed till then either. A universal language for crochet? How awesome is that?!

A great tutorial on how they work can be found here at Craftyminx. Or just look at the translation guide provided by the Craft Yarn Council
Oh, and I' tried blocking for the first time, as you can see below:
From Summer Owens | Photography, Crochet, Food, Crafts and More
Turns out, it's ridiculously easy. In my case, I pinned my flowers out the way I wanted them, straight onto a towel, then sprayed them till pretty damp with a water bottle, shaped them a little more as needed and left them overnight to dry.

Now it's time to join them all together, and I'm still trying to decide on the best method for doing that. Hopefully it will all work in my favor.

Alright, I posted this on facebook for my family and close friends but I suppose I ought to do it here too, in case someone is looking for a bit of inspiration. Over the last 6 months I've dropped 20 pounds. I probably could have done it much sooner but it took a while for me to realize what was impeding my progress. You see, I still feel like I'm 17. So then, I can still eat like I'm 17 right? Um, no!
I started working out in mid May. Decided that since it had been over a year since I'd had my 4th child, it was time for the baby weight to come off. I had lost most of the baby weight in the past but I was bored with the same old videos so I wanted to try something new. A friend of mine told me she had lost over 30 pounds doing Jillian Michaels 30 day shred. Great! It sounded like a good place to start, and it was. I love the mix of cardio and weight training. I lost 5 pounds over those thirty days which was encouraging so I decided to move up to some of Jillian's other workouts. I kept going for nearly 3 months, getting stronger but with little fat loss. One day, in one of the new workouts I was doing, Jillian said at the end, "Don't forget you have to be smart about what you eat. Don't erase all the work that we did here today by eating badly."
The light bulb went off in my head. I was sabotaging my own efforts at becoming more healthy. I was still eating like I had my 17 year old metabolism. Now, I've never "dieted". Never had any desire and still don't, but I decided that I did need to make some changes to my diet. I decided I needed to be eating far more fresh fruits and vegetables and that I didn't need to feel full all the time. I had no idea that such simple concepts could produce such results. Shortly after I began more mindful eating along with the workouts, the fat started to melt off. It's been great to drop 4 sizes and wear clothes I thought would never fit me again. But more importantly I feel stronger and healthier than I ever have in my life. I definitely have my bad day or days where I fill up on too much junk and not enough good stuff but my eating habits are so much better over all and I feel so much more energy and wellness because of it!

So in 17 years of crochet I've made pretty much nothing but blankets, baby dresses and scarves. Why? I just figured it was beyond my abilities. Making baby blankies and dresses was quick and easy. I could work them all up as one piece and needed to do very little shaping or use diagrams. I also felt that the crochet clothing I saw for older children and adults was pretty darn ugly, but maybe I just found patterns in all the wrong places. Anyhow, I recently picked up crocheting again after about a years break when I decided to participate in a collaborative family quilt project. And for some reason I felt for the first time that maybe assembling smaller parts and creating a larger whole wouldn't be as difficult as I had previously assumed. So after my quilt squares were complete I decided on a small project: a dress for my daughter. I figured that would be a good starting point, as I've made simple baby dresses before, but it would also be a more of a challenge as she is 5 and I haven't made clothing beyond infant wear. So I went scouring the internet for a pattern which I both liked and felt I could follow. How times have changed! I found a wealth of gorgeous crochet inspiration, via pinterest and google. It definitely took some time to search but in the end I never did find the perfect pattern. Instead I decided to take some inspiration and modify it a bit. I found a tutorial for this ripple dress on Pinterest and used the ripple instructions she linked to for the skirt part, modifying colors and pattern. Then after that I kind of winged it and it got a little tricky.
I crocheted the mid section with single crochet and did some decreases for shaping but I did them wrong. I realized this after I had already attached the granny square bodice and put it on my daughter. The mid section had some odd bulges in it. So the process of disassembling and re-doing began.

The bodice was originally made up of 4 smaller granny squares in just two colors, pink and gray, but they weren't my favorite so when I had to disassemble the dress that gave me the excuse to crochet some new ones in all three colors. I crocheted a 2 chain strip the same height as the grannies, placed one on each side of the center granny and whip stitched them together, then attached the other grannies. Then I crocheted the back of the bodice, stitched that to the dress and to the sides of the granny part of the bodice, (so the back of the bodice is just single crochet lines)

Then I crocheted single crochet straps and attached those to the dress. The dress is certainly not perfect. There is still a tiny bit of rumpling in the mid section. I unraveled the mid section 3 times to try to fix it but maybe it just can't be remedied because of the zig zag pattern or simply the height of the mid section? I don't know, but it's not bad enough I'm going to unravel the work again. I'm done! It was a great learning experience in shaping, assembly and weaving in all the ends. I know I still have a long way to go but I guess practice will help that out so I'm trying to decide on my next project now.