Brie’s Lamb


I made this lamb for my bff, Brie! She is moving July 1. Brie and I have been best friends since 2013. We shared an apartment from October 2014 to July 1 2016. (If you want to know about that scroll back and you can read about that whole story in painful real time!) I now live just below her in an awesome 112 year old 7 unit apartment building ( with a quirky but kind landlord but that is an entirely different story!)

Brie and I both have mental health diagnosis. When we moved into this building together into unit 5 in the fall of 2014 we were moving out of housing provided by Thresholds of Mchenry county. Thresholds is a psycho-social rehabilitation agency for people who have a mental health diagnosis. I am not going to give you our diagnosis because it doesn’t matter. Those are only labels for a cluster of brain functioning disorders. That mainstream big money; big pharma; DSM-5, DSM-4, DSM-3; mental health industry and don’t get me started on the insurance situation!  Anyway, it is a big deal that Brie is moving. She tells me that I am her “safe space”. (Not in those words,  but for lack of a better term.) I am not a naturally confrontational person. I am an outgoing (manipulative) people pleaser. I had to learn how to be assertive and set/ keep boundaries. To express my feelings after I have analyzed them thoroughly. Crochet and knitting increased my self-esteem enough that I could protect myself! (That I thought I was worth defending!) Brie and I dug into the Word. I kept crocheting and listening to Bible scholars and sharing it with her. So, Brie met a man. At church. Who is “a male Tanya”. Tee hee hee 😜 She is moving to share an apartment with him. (Don’t judge. 2 bedrooms) 

Any big disruption in routine or big changes are a dangerous time for those of us who have a brain function disruption.

I highly recommend Aspen Morrow’s book Med Free Bipolar.

Brie’s Lamb

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.

The Long and Winding Road

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!! 

I love summer! 

Visiting My Daughter

My Dad and I went to Paducah, Kentucky to visit my daughter May 16 through May 19, 2016. She has just turned 21 at the end of March. Oh, I was so blessed to see her!  There is some family stuff that I am not at liberty to share at this point. When I continue my story this piece will be revealed at that time. Just suffice it to say that we hadn’t seen each other for over 5 years. She cried and I cried as she hugged on my neck. My Dad was so funny. Every time we started crying her always cracked a joke so that the emotional tension would be relieved.

We accomplished a lot while we were there but there is more that needs to be done. She doesn’t have a car so getting to other parts of the city are hard to get to because you have to use the expressway to get, for instance to the downtown area. I guess there is a bus system but my daughter doesn’t use it. Since she doesn’t have a car, we did errands for her. We took her to a laundromat to do her laundry. It is a challenge to get to a grocery store so we took her grocery shopping. My Dad even bought her a lovely set of curtains for her front window. My Dad is 79 years old and climbed up on a chair to put up the curtains! He is such a blessing.

There wasn’t any room for both of us to spend the night. Dad went to a local motel and I slept on the couch. Daughter and I had a wonderful time enjoying our evening that we had together. I even made her a little lamb amigurumi animal. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of it.

If you would like to contact me to create a custom doll or animal for you or a loved one, e-mail me at Tanya@cabincrochetcreations.com or call at 815-345-7852. This is the doll that I made for my daughter’s birthday. She also has on the “deer” hat I made her. The color of the dolls hair is exactly the color hers was before she colored her hair! May you be blessed!DSC02381

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Visiting My Daughter