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.
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.
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:
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:
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 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!
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!
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! 🐑