Hooker Shop Talk

Hooker Shop Talk is going to be my new heading for all things related to By Hook And By Hand, from what I’m currently working on, ideas for future items, newly released items, and anything else crochet related that strikes my fancy. 

13680871_1076108255808031_8434021617286095772_nThis morning we released cotton face scrubbies.  These are made from 100% cotton yarn that is left over from making wash cloths.  Often there isn’t enough for another cloth to be made but plenty to make a scrubbie or two. Not fans of wasting precious yarn, we decided to make scrubbies with the left overs.  These are so simple to make, I can usually hook 5-7 in a 1 hour television program, with breaks to eat popcorn and sip wine.  I know, this is the life!

Why use these cotton scrubbies?

We were purchasing makeup remover wipes to the tune of $5-8 a pack for 30 wipes. With 4 women in the Diva Den this means we spent a lot of money on something we were throwing away. We also bought those cute little cotton circles or squares for our eye makeup removing. I decided to give these a try and I’m hooked (no pun intended). I have a hook in the shower that I use for my cotton, crocheted wash cloth and I stick the scrubbie over it too. Machine washable, I simply toss it in the laundry after using it and grab a new one each day (I use each one twice a day, once in the morning and evening). Cotton breaks down in the landfills very fast because it is natural plant fiber, so that is a plus when it is time to toss these in the trash, though based on others sharing their stories these and the wash cloths last for years.

While making them it dawned on me these make terrific little hostess gifts at your direct sales spa, makeup, or skin care product parties. They also are perfect as stocking stuffers or teacher thank you gifts. If you haven’t made the switch to handmade, cotton wash cloths and scrubbies, why not do it now? Check out the shop for these and other items!

Hodge Podge Of My Brain

Work….

I’m so sore this morning.  More so than most days following a shift, from my toes to my neck. My hallway has gotten heavier, some residents declining to needing more care, the addition of a new one with different needs, and me just jumping in and busting my tail with refreshed gusto results in a morning after of wincing and moaning.  I’m going to be such a treat when I’m on the other side of this arrangement, body all broken down from caring for others and over doing it at 53yo.

As of this writing it is 33 days until class starts and I’m off of the floor for a month. I’m taking the med-tech certification classes so I can pass meds, which is a raise in pay, and likelihood of moving to night shift. But with the shift differential and raise just for being certified, it will be worth it.

Crochet/Shop Talk…

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Rough prototype of the face scrubbie coming to byhookandbyhand.com today!

I have discovered the joy of cotton face scrubbies!! Removing make-up or just washing your face is uniquely delightful with these little gems. I’ve seen them in shops and hunted down a pattern to give it a shot and I’m hooked. Yes I’ll be adding them to the shop. If you are of the go-green mindset, these are so up your alley. Wash and use again and again! Cotton, being a plant fiber, breaks down quickly in the landfills which makes it environmentally friendly. As these are 100% cotton, it is a win all around. Watch for a deal on an assortment package later today!

Pokemon Go…

Seriously addicting, do not do this to yourself!!! It is insanity and I love it. Nice distraction in a world full of crazy headlines and off the wall concerns. I’ve lost 3 pounds over the weekend just walking in the cemetery and other places to catch virtual beings on my cell phone. While it does have that advantage, I just don’t see myself sticking to this one for long. Life is too busy to be obsessed with anything that doesn’t come to me. Which, I have found some really interesting ones in my family room!  ;)

Avon…

c17Yes, I still sell, though have moved my business to mostly online ordering. This works much better for me as I just do not have the time to go out canvasing for customers.  I always welcome new ones to my family of Avon fans, so feel free to check out what is on sale now!

My Roller Coaster Week

What a week! And no I do not mean the sad events all over this country.  I do not post political or racially sensitive/divisive things to my blog, that is for others to do.  All I will say is that where you see a divide, kneel and pray.  Per 2 Chronicles 7:14.

No, this week was a roller coaster ride in my life and that of the other Divas.  We stumbled on a house we were interested in, but it wasn’t what we had hoped for at all. That same evening we knew of another, the agent was able to get us in to see it, and we all fell in love. Downsizing is the name of the game for us, and it was smaller, totally brand new inside from being flipped, and we were all over it.  An offer was made and for 48 hours we purged the Diva Den like we were moving to a tiny house so we could list it for sale.  We had our hopes up and prayed…and we didn’t get it.😦  Yes, we are all sad and bummed. That house is wanted badly by others too, and a bidding war got going and they accepted an offer for more than the asking price.  We know financing for that buyer could fail and we might still end up able to have it, but for now we are simply continuing to make our home ready for sale and  watching for new listings. The market here is very tight and a well priced home that is updated and nice…doesn’t last but a few days, sometimes even hours.

Meanwhile, things sat on hold for the shop, so the promised release of new wash/dish cloths will end up posting later today. I also will post a photo on my Instagram of the custom blanket I made from a shop order. But don’t want to ruin the surprise for the customer, they get to see it first. Connecting with her has been a fiasco from my side because of work, mom and other commitments.  The next projects are a really pretty Bavarian blanket, perfect for a wheel chair user, a baby blanket, and some chemo caps.  We feel the calling to have a health care category since we work in long term care and know what those needs can be.  I also have yarn and patterns for ponchos and pray shawls. We’re going to be very busy hooking around here!

Last night we celebrated my youngest grandson’s 1st birthday. The party was held at the ex-hubster’s, which others probably find incredibly weird but it is getting to be par for the course that we are in the same place at the same time.  Weird too to be back in the old homestead I suppose, but for me it was not at all like it had been when we were married and money was way too tight to make such renovations.  It is very beautiful, what they have done, and does not at all resemble the house I called home. It got me thinking a lot as I was falling asleep, how different my life is now too.  I don’t make nearly the money I did then, and while I very much enjoyed my job back then, I LOVE my job now.  It is a calling and ministry, or it is a paycheck, but there is little middle ground for a nurse aide.  Back bones, foundations of the the long term care industry, we are paid peanuts.  Yet I cannot imagine doing anything else.  I even applied for a 911 operator, but it ate at me inside to leave this line of work, so I dropped out of the process.

My sweet, confused residents, physically and mentally weak and broken, they are what I get up for and pull 12.5 hours shifts that physically kill me.  I used to be all about making the money in life, now I’m all about how can I help someone else, what can I do to make a difference. Yes, I do need an income, but I don’t work for more, just for enough.  Sure, Avon empowers women, as does Mary Kay, Pure Romance, Tupperware etc….but not like this.  You can make a good living doing that, but really you empower them to make money, you don’t really do much for their heart and soul.  I had a big team for a while in Avon, got nice leadership checks, and my full time job then paid very well, but it was empty money. Now, when I see my check, every dollar is a smile of appreciation for the little extra things I did, for the laughter I was able to bring to someone, a hand I held to steady them on their feet, or comfort someone in pain, or a goodbye because I knew they were leaving this world, a thank you and hug from a family member of someone I care for, and tears shed with coworkers when we watch one cross over to eternity.  I cannot bag groceries, sell makeup, enter data, etc., and ‘get’ that.  This job has changed me, made me appreciate little things like a very simple and limited wardrobe, a decent vehicle, and laughter and love of family and close friends.  The things that make life rich and memorable.

This week I’ve came to the realization that I have an abundantly better life now than the one I left behind 6 years ago, that I am a far better person than I was then.  I’m still under construction, God is far from done breaking me and removing the dross, but we’re closer now than ever before.

Coffee And Raisin Bran Musings

I know, sounds like the typical senior citizen breakfast, minus the prune juice.  I’ll have you know I have eaten raisin bran since I was a kid, it’s yummy.  Coffee is part of adulting in this household.  Coffee is the life blood of the Diva Den.  The really amazing part of this dark, brown liquid is I’ve managed to finish a cup while it was still very warm, something that simply never happens at work.  This is because I never sit still long enough, and with a handful of dementia residents who wander, nothing is safe left sitting, not to mention we are not permitted to have food/drinks on the floor.  By the time I get a minute to grab my cup in the nurses station the contents are cold.  Monster or Spark are the caffeine drinks when at work, they are meant to be cold so I can just stop by the fridge for a swig and keep going.

I feel a little lost today, as in no navigation tool on board.  My custom project is complete for a shop order, and my laundry is all caught up as of Sunday.  So now I’m not sure what I want to do.  I only have today, as I work the next 2 days before a 3 day weekend.  With nothing pressing to do, I’m not sure what I want to get accomplished today.  There are many By Hook & By Hand projects int he works, but no special orders, all are just things to be added to the store.  While that is my second ‘job’, today is a day off of everything unless I feel like picking up my hook and continuing to make things.  No doubt, I will get to it as that is also therapy for me.  Heck I might not even bother to get out of my jammies today!

(break from writing…..)

Okay I not only got out of the jammies, I showered.  And brought in the mail, had lunch, chatted on the phone with my daughter and a coworker, and now I’m back here in front of my laptop.  Pretty relaxed day so far.

If you like wash cloths, cotton ones that are hand made, we’ll be loading the shop later today with a bunch!!! New colors and sets that we’ve been working on while watching a marathon of Blue Bloods in the evening.  I’m also working on a really pretty lap blanket for those in wheel chairs who get chilly.

I also recently made the decision to sign up as a Jamberry nail wrap consultant. I LOVE the wraps and figured it was worth the discount so if you need wraps, please don’t hesitate to buy from me, I’ll love ya bunches!

Okay, off to hook some and do my nails.:)

My Etsy Shop Finds

I am a big fan of folks trying to make an extra buck by selling things they make, and when I find something I love I like to share!

The first shop is Jacqueline Jane Customs, she makes really great hats!  As a woman who sometimes is on the go before I can grab a shower, I like to have a hat handy to wear so I don’t look entirely like I crawled out from beneath a rock.  I stumbled on her via Instagram one day and found out she was getting ready to open an Etsy shop.  I waited less than patiently for it to open, then purchased my first hat for my mom.  With chemo making her hair fall out she needed a hat to protect against sunburn and to wear when she doesn’t feel like wearing her wig.  It had to be a FUN hat too, so this is what I bought for her:

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Mom loved it!  So once it arrived I decided I needed one too, that expressed my faith as well as keeping my messy hair covered when running those early morning, bad hair day errands. This is the one I purchased for me:

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I fell in love with the ‘distressed’ look and the cross has rhinestones so it glitters. Gotta have that bling!  Both are really great quality, adjustable hats.  Well worth the money!

My next fun find is my yarn bowl.  I hate when I’m pulling yarn and the skeen goes flying off the coffee table or couch.  I’ve been eyeing yarn bowls for a while, hoping it would solve the issue and at the same time look pretty when not in use so I could just put it on a shelf or my dresser.  It needed to be affordable, practical and attractive.  I found many that I liked, but then found this one at Birdland Paradise and it is too cute!

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Very pretty flowers, well made and has done the job at keeping my yarn on the table while I’m working on a project.

These are great gift ideas if you are in the market for something different, I recommend both of these great shops!

Marvelous Musings Over Coffee

Hot cup of fresh coffee on the wooden table and stack of books tI have had a lot on my “decisions to be made” plate of late.  With too many irons in the fire some things just need to be trimmed from my life and time in order for me to pursue other things where my passion resides.

Anyone who knows me is aware I LOVE direct sales.  At one point I was a consultant/representative for 7 or so companies.  That was narrowed down to 4, 3 of which I basically keep so I can purchase things at a nice discount for myself.  I share them at times, heck who doesn’t like a nice commission check when one has bills to pay, but they are primarily to get a good deal on things I use.  The only one I ever really worked to any degree is my Avon business.

Now that I’ve launched my Etsy shop, By Hook And By Handalong with my sister, I really don’t want to mess that much with the Avon.  It was good to me, had a team of 52 at one point before I let that all fall apart while racing around the country side on a motorcycle with a 1%er (hey, it was that crazy time after the divorce, we all make mistakes).  I love the products etc, but just don’t want to pour the amount of time into that it takes to build a solid income, time I would need to spend away from home.  I’m moving my customers all to online ordering and mailing out brochures and samples periodically.

My passion is my crochet shop.  Hooks and yarn are like therapy to me, even with custom orders and deadlines, I LOVE to crochet.  And with 5 sales already, while having limited inventory, I see the higher earning potential doing something I absolutely enjoy.  Higher potential being that I can do this truly from home.  Avon and other direct sales rock, but you have to go out and do parties, recruit, sell etc. All good and fine if you aren’t working a full time job that is kicking your tail physically, then want to go out and ‘work’ another job.  I put in my work week in 3, 12.5 hour days, pick up an over time shift a week, sometimes more, so the last thing I want to do is get out there and try to do parties etc.  I want to relax, and hooking things soothes me.  If I can make money on what I crochet, well it is a win/win to me. Hooking just doesn’t feel like work!

Being home means spending time with mom, and that time we have is growing shorter with each passing day. I can crochet my heart out while we talk, sit out on the deck, in front of the fire place (when it is cold), and if she needs to be at the infusion center or doctor, well my hooker bag goes along for the appointment and I keep right on crocheting there too.  It simply makes sense to pour myself into what I love and grow this business.  I’ve started a blog for the shop in case folks are interested in seeing what we are up too.  We’ll also share links to patterns we find so other hookers can enjoy making things, so feel free to follow those writings. And feel free to share it, we love that!

I cannot yet share what the other decision is, but will when it is time.  But prayers for the success of that would be much appreciated!

Well, off to work on the custom order, it is nearly finished and will be delivered next week.

Y’all have a fantastic day!

 

I’m Not Okay…

Mom is doing good, for now. All things point to her recovering from this really crap bad round of chemo that nearly took her from us.  But she is a fighter and my sister has a good instinct so despite the infection etc, mom is doing good.

But will she ever have the same strength she did prior?  Like she had a 6 weeks ago? That is a great question.  My guess is…maybe?  It took 2 full weeks for it all to knock her square on her butt, so maybe 6 weeks to recover?  And hey, it IS terminal cancer so we know it won’t ever be perfect again.  In the beginning of May the doc said she had one year, best case.  That means between it and worst case, she may fall in between some where.

She has more folks praying for her than one could imagine.  But the fact is we are in her last months, weeks and days.  Right now, months. We’ll face the weeks and days later.  I am not in denial, I accept it is coming, I just don’t want to cross that bridge until we arrive there.

My co-workers all know my mom, have worked with her as she visited our facility as a hospice case worker and nurse for like 15 or 18 years now.  They are all as devastated as the family, feeling like she IS their family.  I cannot explain how much this helps me, as they know I am wrestling with her mortality and my emotions and they are there with me in this and I love them all.

I go to work and care for my residents with the utmost love and concern.  I pray on the route in, every day, for God to give me His eyes, ears, hands, heart and love for them.  And what no one sees is what I carry in my heart, the knowledge that all too soon my mom will be one of those I care for, at home rather than in our facility.  Like them, I will watch her decline then slip from this world.  And it will crush me.

cropped-589343-1600x1200-angel-on-her-knees_zpsfc5c9b9dNo…I am NOT okay with this.  I never imagined being here.  Yes, God blessed me when I prayed to get out of the horrible, sinful lifestyle of swinging that my ex didn’t want to leave.  I had no clue He would pull me out of my marriage to a man I adored, cherished and loved beyond words.  That I’d never be able to love another man on that depth.  I had no way to know that when I was released from that sin, that I would be given the blessing in return to spend my mom’s final years in her company, under her roof, laughing, loving and living life side by side with her.  It is a gift only God could give and that I cherish, making 6+ years of memories I would not otherwise have had.  What someone else meant for evil, God has turned into much much MUCH good.  But make no mistake, while I am brave, strong, and trust God knows what He is doing…I am far from okay.  Inside I’m dying emotionally.  I am not ready to say good-bye, not ready to wrestle with decisions that will no longer have her input.  It is far from being okay, if freaking sucks.  But I know my Father in Heaven is beyond all comprehension and power, and will guide me along.  My coworkers who love her will wrap around me, as will my family and friends.  And while it will never be OKAY, I will prevail.  I am NOT a survivor, I am a fighter.  I am not passive, I fight my demons, emotions, trials etc, and I win.  Wounded and worn, I am going to make it.  Okay? No, I am not okay…but I will be…one day.

This Mind Inquires: Why Move???

I love to watch the snow fall but I hate to be cold.  Cold sucks when you age, especially when you have arthritis.  I’ve had that since my early 20s and just deal with it.  When married we had a hot tub and I loved what it did for my neck, back and hands but he got custody of that item in the divorce.  Last year the plan was to move to Sarasota because the then boyfriend wanted to live where it is warm, even hot, to avoid the cold and snow. I was so on board until I found out he was a total lying snake. Funny thing was he wanted to move to where it is hot, then run the central air to keep the indoors as cold as possible.  I know a lot of folks like this.

Winter around these parts can get really chilly, and bitter. All through those months folks whine about how dang cold it is and how much they long for summer.  Then when the warmer months show up, everyone stays inside with the A/C on at 68.  WHAT?!?!?!?

I like it warm out, even hot.  I was looking forward to Florida to avoid the cold, to have hot breezes on me, not seal up the house and run the A/C.  I love waking to the birds chirping just before sunrise.  If the air isn’t moving, a fan is plenty for me.  I enjoy windows OPEN.  Why the heck move to a warm climate only to turn on the air conditioning??  Just baffles me.

 

It’s Not The Cancer That Kills You..

..it is the chemo.  I’ve heard that before and beginning to think it is true.  Long before the cancer can kill you, putting poison in your body will do the trick, and not nicely.

I’ve been too busy of late to write much, but it is time to let you all know I am still around. When I’m not working or crocheting, I’ve been helping mom.  As you may recall, she has terminal cancer.  Her most recent type of chemo, which is only to buy some time, dang near took her from us.  Seems she lacked an enzyme necessary for her body to break it down.  You cannot just get that enzyme, it comes from your parents and seems no on had it to pass along.  Rather unfortunate.

Two weeks ago tomorrow, after 10 or 12 days of not eating, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration etc etc, and multiple trips to the infusion center for IVs of fluids, mom was confused and so pale that my sister drew a line in the sand:  hospice or 911, pick one.  Mom has very little recollection of what followed, but we thankfully got her into the hospital in time.  Docs said had we waited another 24 hours they don’t think they could have pulled her back.  She had a blood infection, next to no white count etc.  It is a bit alarming when suddenly, after taking blood for a check in the ER, they suddenly start handing out masks because her immune system is so compromised, even she had to wear one.  Once the infection was isolated she started antibiotics in the hospital, and for 16 days, once a day via IV at the infusion center.

While her appetite is slow to return, and her energy, it is progressing.  But for her own safety I should probably not be taking her for these meds.  Day before yesterday, when we went, she told them about her ankle and foot being swollen.  Turns out a side effect of this chemo (now nearly a month ago and still causing issues) is blood clots.  So after the infusion, I had to run her up north for a check and sure enough, she doesn’t have one, but rather two clots.  OH the joy.

Today, while going through the bazillion routine questions that are asked each visit, they grow concerned that she is a bit unstable, light headed at times.  So, after 3 hours of fluids, antibiotics and potassium, we got to run to another location for a CT scan, fearing a clot in her lungs.  Thankfully that was not the case.  Again, this weird crap only happens when I take her so I’m thinking someone else needs to cover my days before we get there and discover she has left her head behind on her pillow or something.

I was joking around with her today, because my mom has what we refer to as parking karma.  No matter where we go, a spot seems to just open up in every parking lot, right up front.  I told her that we’re going to take her ashes in the urn and she will go with us, EVERYWHERE, in the hopes we will continue this good fortune.  Even planning a trip to the ocean where we will take group photos with ‘mom’ in the urn.  Yes, we are just that warped.  Kidding aside, she is donating her body for medical science and education so we won’t be having a funeral.  When they finish in a year or so, they cremate the remains and give her back in ash form. It is cool that she will continue to touch lives even after she is gone from us, helping others learn.

Meanwhile, we simply aren’t crossing that emotional bridge until we arrive at it, since there is no point mourning what is not yet lost.

The nice part about taking her is we spend time together that we might not have otherwise.

Too Many Irons In The Fire

That title describes my life right now, just too many things going on!

Mom is still doing pretty good, but we can see the cancer/chemo slowly changing things. She is tired more often and that set in motion a series of discussions about what happens next.  This is a lot of house, 2500 square feet, and the payment is pretty high.  While still able, mom talked to us all about down sizing, so we started looking around.  Now we’ve decided to simply stay put.  It will be tight, but my sister and I want to keep this house so the goal is now to get things painted, etc.  At least that concern is off the table for now.

Then there is work.  I am pulling a lot of extra shifts, trying like crazy to get out of debt. That will make it much easier to manage staying where we are once mom is gone.  I’ve had folks ask me about that, how I’m doing with knowing she is not long for this world, but honestly I’m okay.  I refuse to cross that bridge of mourning until we are there, what is the point?  I’m prepared for it as much as one can be, but not dwelling on it all.

Facing mom’s mortality has caused me to re-evaluate my life and do things I might not otherwise have tried.  Like the Etsy shop, it was one of those things I had wanted to do for many years, selling my creations, but I always held back.  Now, I’m out there and slowly building up inventory and had a sale of a nice size which has motivated me to keep going. I read everything I can on the topic of selling on Etsy and I’m so glad I finally just did it.

I’m taking a plunge too, spending 4 intensive weeks in classes so I can be certified to pass meds at work.  I know that it pays more and means less wear and tear on me physically, but enables me to still be involved in the care of residents.  Nursing school is just too much for me to consider as I’m turning 53, but getting all I can as an aide is a better option. It will mean likely moving to night shift, but that is okay too. I will do what I have to do in order to make more money and still stay in this field. The class starts in mid-August, good way to end the summer.

Then of course there is the shop itself. We are now shipping international, which is a plus. I have so many projects in the works, and so many ideas for new ones that I have had to slow down and take a deep breath.  Focusing on any one is hard, as so many are really pretty and I want to get them all in there.  While I work on those I’m trying to read all of the ebooks on the topic, eat, sleep and work.  I need a clone in a really bad way!

Someone asked me the other day if I plan to ever settle down and get married again, and I had to laugh.  Not sure when I have time to even date, let alone work on a relationship.  Yes, life is painfully short and I’m running out of that a day at a time.  But right now, my focus is just on my mom, kids, grandkids, working, and my shop.  I don’t have time to add a man to the mix and won’t for some time. Of course that is when it tends to happen that a potential Prince Charming comes along.  *looks over shoulder*  So far, so good, he isn’t in sight.