The Long and Winding Road

I started, last year sometime, telling you “my story”. So, I gave you a few installments but I couldn’t express how crochet and knitting saved my life. I told you about my childhood (briefly) and what I thought was important for you to know then. Things have changed so much for me, since then, I am able to look back and see what the Lord was doing. I don’t know how this is going to come out so please bear with me!

I have always expressed myself best in art. Written word, not so much. Spoken word, ad nauseum. Drawing and coloring what I have drawn; both realistic and abstract. The hospital I was in back in the late 1980’s had a wonderful art therapy department. Ceramics, silver smithing, general art, enamel powder on metal. The ceramics were actual clay, fire in a kiln, glaze, refire. Over the years it took a back seat to intellectual pursuits. School, self study, work, more school, work, more work. When my identity was challenged, (because due to mental health challenges, I could no longer work as a nurse), and my daughter moved to Kentucky and I didn’t know where she was. Not a mom and not a nurse. I started exploring myself (without that stuff) through art. Then coping through knitting and finally coping through crochet. The positive feedback I received catapulted me straight up into functionality, where I can be a nurse and a grandma, much healthier because I know who Tanya Joy really is.

I love summer! 

Warm weather and lots of sunshine is for me, the best antidepressant I could fathom! During the winter months where is is one gray day after another and when there is sunshine it is so cold you get a layer of ice on your eyeballs! The professionals say it’s SAD… I say, yup. Seasonal Affective Disorder used to be called cabin fever. Thank goodness I found crochet! (And knitting!) It was knitting that got me to a place where I could learn to crochet! I only could knit the “knit” stitch because I had learned to knit when I was 9 years old for a Girl Scout badge. So when I needed something to busy my hands I started knitting. An art therapist through a mental health recovery organization, taught me to “cast on” and “cast off”. At that time I could not purl. I kept making mistakes and dropping stitches to where I couldn’t fix them after I cast off because that is when I noticed them! I would watch YouTube videos on knitting and I was so lost. I watched some on crochet and tried some simple projects. A crochet addict was born!

I am telling you all of this because I now have succeeded in teaching myself to purl. With help from a few videos and a book on needlecrafts I can now purl. I have been practicing and I feel comfortable with it! I have an easy pattern I am going to try soon.

After I had mastered can cozies, flowered headbands, hats and Afghans, I discovered amigurumi! And then crochet jewelry in rapid succession. Here are the first 3 dolls I made: 

Actually there was one before these 3 but I made it for my daughter. You can see that I made some “eye beads” out of polymer clay for all 3. The two on the left were purchased from a “mental health and art” exhibition in Chicago last spring (2016). The one on the right always had one eye looking strange because the thread cut a channel into the eyeball. So, I removed the polyclay eye beads and attempted to embroider them on:

Not very good but they look better than before!

This is the last face I did:

A lot better! Thanks to @flausch_einhorn on Instagram and Beth of “By Hook, By Hand” blog! They both published a blog post picture tutorial on embroidered faces. Beth’s the lips and @flausch_einhorn the eyes! 

I have donated 2 of my creations for an auction online to benefit the Nunn family who lost their Dad/ husband. Organized by a fellow RN, I jumped on board. All proceeds go to the family. No one will be skimming off of the top. When you are a nurse, your co-workers, especially the nurses, are pretty special. PTSD from crazy shifts, crazy patients, crazy doctors to crazy spouses and crazy children, your fellow nurse hears all of your woes, you hear all of theirs. Stepping up for a fellow nurses family is natural. 

Here is the doll:

Here is the jewelry set:

If you would like to participate check out @auctionfornunnfamily on Instagram.

I am also going as much all natural as I can. More on that later.

May you have a delightful June here in the Northern Hemisphere, summer!! 

Lilyanna &  Real Life Stuff

I just want to let all of you know that my Lily remake is finished! It was nice to be able to crochet a bit since my back pain has lessened some.

Although, I tried to work on my order and got only 1 round done before my back started to spasm. My poor customer. I have kept her in the loop by email.

I used to live in the apartment above mine before I moved to Kentucky (briefly!) and shared it with my best friend. Sharing was not very healthy for either one of us because we would just trigger each other. We were never both depressed at the same time. But since I moved back, she has been more ill than well. She was doing great the last couple of months but her symptoms crept up on her again. So, I am missing my pal because she has had to go back into the hospital. We study the Bible pretty much every morning together. I do regardless, but she doesn’t sleep well at night and has to get some sleep sometime! We take turns reading out loud through “The One Year Bible”. Each day has a piece of the (so called) “Old Testament”, “New Testament”, “Psalms” and “Proverbs”. I love having the Bible broken down into daily readings. When I go through it I read through both of the “Testaments” once and “Psalms” and “Proverbs” twice. Reading it out loud helps to put it into you two ways: through the eyes and through the ears. We then discuss it. I am going it alone and it’s not as much fun.

I have been doing well for a while. The winter is the hardest for me. Shortened days, dark and cold. It can get pretty brutal here in Northern Illinois! But the humidity and heat in Western Kentucky in the summer was way too much for me. I mean, you can only take off so many clothes! If you are naked (in your own home!)😱 and still sweltering (with the air conditioner on!) then you have no where else to turn except into the shower or bath! But, if you are freezing , you can put on a lot of clothes and then get under blankets! Since I moved back, November 1, 2016, (with tons of my Dad’s help) I have been hospitalized only 1 for 3 days. Middle of winter; no sunshine for weeks; depression. I also get “somatic ” complaints. Basically you are physically sick and/or in pain not because you are making it up, but because the depression is coming out of your body. So, that’s when I need a little help and some rest.

Any way I hope you like Lilyanna Lamb the remade Lily! 

Blessings to you until our paths cross at this website again! ♥️

Poor Lily

My back injury is improving with the muscle relaxer and anti inflammatory medication! Yea! Less pain! That is always good!

My application for renewal of my nursing license is winging its way to Springfield as we speak (err? Write? Read?) I am rewriting my resume, which is always fun.(sarcasm meter is going off!)

I can work on only a little bit of crochet which is bad because it keeps me balanced! Who knew that you use muscles in your back to crochet?!? Unfortunately the side effects of the medicine for my back interferes with my concentration and I can only crochet something simple.

This is Lily Lamb. She is one of my first amigurumi. Poor Lily, she lost a leg. Since this is my first attempt at amigurumi, I thought it would be good to remake her with my improved skills.

This is Lily when she was first “born”.

I had to switch yarns a few times. Here is Lily remake so far:

Remake is on the top and poor Lily, who is continuing to fall apart, on the bottom. I guess I didn’t sew the pieces together very well back then but I now have skills! I think Rosie might have thought she was a toy…

Does she look guilty to you?

So my easy project is almost finished, hopefully I can return to completing my order! The customer is so understanding! She just tells me to take my time. 

Already crocheted items are at my Etsy shop!

Thank you for reading! Blessings to you until we meet again here in cyberspace!

On the Mend 

I went to get my back checked out. My doctor couldn’t see me until next week so I had to make a visit to my local emergency room. They took X-rays and gave me a shot of anti inflammatory medicine and a muscle relaxer. ahhh finally sweet relief!

Because I have been in a lot of pain, I haven’t been able to work on my order (who knew that you use muscles in your BACK to crochet!) I decided to remake my first amigurumi, Lily Lamb. 

This picture is right after I made her. (Free pattern on Ravelry called “Sheep Etu” by Kristi Randmaa of Apuuga’s Amigurumi) Now poor Lily has lost a leg because frankly, I didn’t know what I was doing when I made her! Original Lily is also stuffed with cloth strips! (Reuse!!) Since I had just started amigurumi crochet I didn’t purchase any poly-fil. I wasn’t sure I could accomplish it since I had only been crocheting for a few months. (And look at me now!) I am hooking “Lily Remake 1” out of a thin fluffy yarn I found at Sparrows Nest Thrift Store held together with an off white acrylic (also purchased at the thrift store) If you have been reading my posts on Instagram, the LionBrand DIY white yarn didn’t look right.

Body ✅ a see the two different yarns? After I finish “Lily Remake 1”, and if I still am having trouble following a challenging pattern (due to being drugged up on muscle relaxants and this pain in my crochet muscle!! Ha!) then I am going to make a “Lily Remake 2”. Here’s where you come in. I would like help in selecting the yarn. I have a choice of (below picture is of poor Lily and the yarn) 1) in a ball at the top of the picture is a yarn that originally came in a hank. Purchased from the thrift store with no label. I am almost sure it is tightly spun wool. 2) is the skein closest to Lily. 100% wool, purchased at the thrift store for $0.25 (yes, 25 cents). 3) is a lighter tan/cream next to 2. It is at the farthest right in the picture. This yarn is 100% Orlon (an acrylic) purchased at the same place for $0.50!! It is vintage Wintuk. (Back when they were super proud of plastics being made into yarn!). All of the yarns are (approximately worsted weight). 

(Don’t mind the arrow in the middle of the picture! Video gone bad!)

PLEASE! I need your help! Comment 1), 2), or 3). Or if you think I should use two of the choices held together (resulting in a larger Lily!

I did this on Instagram and Facebook but only got one ☝️ answer! Please play along. I am not up to making this choice due to all the aforementioned issues!

PS: I am really happy with my self care and balance. I accomplished all of my CEUs, while injured and rested when needed. Today all of that stuff is being sent to Springfield to renew my RN license! 🙌🏻🙏🏻More on that in later posts!

Top picture is Lily when I finished her in 2015. 

Bottom picture is of her now and the remake that was frogged! You can see whe real white stands out too much with the fuzzy yarn.

Thanks everyone for reading! May you be safe and blessed until we meet again! 🐑

My Sabbath 

I promise transparency so, frequent updates you will get! 

I celebrate Sabbath on Friday sundown to sundown on Saturday. This is the way it was designed. I will follow. I will not lead. ( Judges 17:6 KJVS [6] “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes” repetition in Hebrew is putting emphasis on it because they didn’t have punctuation or emojis! So here it is again: Judges 21:25 KJVS  [25] In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.) You see, when I do what is right in my own eyes I fall into perfectionism which is pride in disguise.

I have been in pain since Wednesday when I decided that I was going to lug a window air conditioner from the basement storage area up to my apartment on the second floor. [Someday I will tell you about my gorgeous apartment in this very old quirky building! (That will be an entire blog post of its own!)]   I did something to my back. Probably an understatement. I can’t stand upright for more than a few minutes. I have to stand bent over. Same with sitting. I have borrowed a heating pad from my neighbor/best friend and am laying on it. I can’t crochet while laying down!! I can’t really do anything except read and study stuff. It felt a little better earlier and super woman here moved bins and bags and boxes from the spare room. I am now paying for that. When I do what is right in my own eyes I get hurt.

Maybe I will remember that next time…

…meanwhile I would appreciate a heart felt prayer for my healing. 🙏🏻 Thank you!

This is the air conditioner and my reading materials. I did a close up of the book so you can see the title and author.

Please pray for my healing. 

Updates on my crochet and my struggles to come sooner rather than later!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

On the road again…

First is keeping my promise to you all that I am going to chronicle more of my feelings, anxieties and achievements including getting my nursing license renewed after an almost 5 year period where my nursing license was just not renewed. I found out yesterday with the help of a case worker with Thresholds  (a psycho-social rehabilitation agency: focusing on supporting clients in the community) That I needed 20 CEUs (continuing education units) and $250 completed and sent all before May 31. Nothing like a “little” pressure of a deadline (does it kill you because you had to rush? DEAD-line?) to kick in my perfectionistic coping techniques. I was able to pray and ask God to help me release the death grip I have on controlling everything by being “perfect”. I got straight “A’s” cumulative through prerequisites and nursing school while trying to parent 2 “high functioning ” autistic children ages 2 and 5 years old. What? Was I nuts?

That is another story all together.

I finished all 20 CEUs in the last say, 28 hours! And yes, I slept! Also a family member who would not like to be identified for privacy sake, is going to help me pay the fee!

I am going to be Tanya Merkel, RN again very soon (truthfully I never stopped). 


CabinCrochetCreationsHi everyone! I didn’t fall of the edge of the world 🌎 (ah I support your right to choose!) I need to ask your forgiveness. (Yes, I have repented).

I promised I would tell you my story of a Christian Bipolar Mind (I don’t think I used those words because I didn’t even tell you I was a Christian!) sigh I thought I should not associate the BRAND with the only perfect Passover Lamb! How PRIDEFUL! Don’t know if you have ever known anyone like that. 

I also promised you my crochet journey and I barely gave you the highlights. I am going to show you how I cope with  “mental blessings” both through crochet and my walk with Yeshua. (That would be Jesus my evangelical and Catholic friends). How this results in staying clean and sober. My road back into Nursing (which was in turn a pride issue. Perfect scores in college results in a perfect nurses don’t you know.

So, I hope I can give you more details.(The Holy Spirt is doing a work in me. Convincing me that He will remind me to write to you. Please pray that I can!( Only a perfectionist who becomes paralyzed and then does nothing!) . If you know anyone like that share the blog! Or follow me yourself!

My Birthday!

I just had my birthday last Thursday. I also happened to finish my latest creation on that day. And today, Saturday it was 86 degrees (F) here in Woodstock Illinois! A beautiful day! 

I turned 50 years old. I am ok with that because all of my life I have struggled with depression and anxiety. I have tried to commit suicide a number of times starting when I was 17 years old. Now, I have lived 33 years since the day I thought I could not live another day. In the last year I have really discovered who I am and what God created me to do and be. I am so glad that I made it to be here with you! Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday and I hope you all had a wonderful Passover!

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