Elro’s First Valentines!

Elro’s favorite non-handmade book is Llama Llama Valentine so I thought it would be cool to send out cards to our loved ones. I even had her fave llama doll at the ready but this picture is so sweet and as my friend said she looks like she’s puckering up for a kiss! That huge bow (in flamingo) is from Ellie & Coco Boutique. Use the code Rae10 for 10 percent discount!

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1. Used my cannon printer. I love it! 2. I tried to include Elro in everything that was safe to do. For example, going through big pieces of felt from Benzie Design was new to her and she loved it. 3. I cut a heart out of felt and made a tassel. 4. I hot glued the tassel on and added the felt heart right on top of it. I glued her picture on the paper and wrote a little note. Simple, inexpensive and full of love.

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Yay! Happy crafting and loving!

7 Ways To Prepare For Your Psychiatrist Appointment

I am in the midst of changing my meds. The seroquel I’ve been taking in part for insomnia stopped working! I’ve been taking it for 17 years so maybe that’s why! It’s scary to change your meds but I trust my psychiatrist and I’m hopeful that finding something that will allow me to sleep will make me a happier mother.

  1. Journal your moods. Rank your anxiety and pain on a 1-10 or 1-5 scale. Come prepared with a list of the pertinent things that have been bothering you. Rate your sleep.
  2. Write down every medication, the mg and when you take it. 
  3. A mood/food journal may be helpful. If it applies your menstruation dates would be helpful.
  4. Bring an advocate. I find it important to bring someone with me for a big appointment when I know we will be discussing changing my medication. I am so glad I brought my husband with me the last time I went. There were so many things to discuss and I was running on very little sleep that he ended up writing out the medication schedule for me. I’ve never needed that much help but I just couldn’t concentrate.
  5. Treat yourself super gently. It’s not always easy to talk about our issues. Have a mocktail with your nightly meds the night before. Get a treat after the appointment.
  6. Take notes or have your advocate take notes.
  7. Have the name and phone number of your pharmacy and your primary doctor.
  8. Try to remember that even though your meds might not be working for you now, this is the best time in history to have bipolar disorder because of how many meds are available! Keep trying to get that perfect combo of meds that works for you and your life.

 

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Board Book For Elro

Elro has finally started to like read! Yay! I’ve noticed her favorite books are board books at the moment. I bought blank board books — but you can easily repurpose an old one! — for Elro. Today I was outside with her and I showed her an empty snail shell to look at. She popped it into her mouth and bit in half. 😂

After I retrieved it I realized that those are the kind of memories I’d like to record —she just turned 9 months old. So, my first book is called Elro at 9 months old.

I printed out photos and used a glue stick to adhere them to the page. The writing is on the pictures. I used A Beautiful Mess’ original app.

Here are some examples:

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The last page has some handwritten notes that go into detail about what she’s into.

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And I couldn’t resist a little note on the back:

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I’m so excited to hand this to her after her nap and read it with her. 💕

 

 

One Use Of A Large Antique Frame

I’m trying to bring my photos into my home and into my life so I can enjoy them. My husband photographs nature so we plan on putting a lot of his work up, and I’m getting into book binding to make my own photo albums, so it made sense for our family to buy a canon craft printer.

I’m using this vintage frame to highlight some recent photos, but I’m going to mix it up and put life-before-Elro pics as well. I also added another vintage frame for some texture. The tape is washi tape so it’s not a commitment and we can switch the photos anytime we’d like! The flower is a flower from Matt that I pressed in a book when we were dating and I found it last night. So pretty and sweet!

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Faux Latchhook Picture Frame

This technique is alllll Kara Whitten’s from her awesome post on A Beautiful Mess.

I feel like my photos get stuck on my phone to die. I’d like to revive them and incorporate them into my life! They make me happy. I love this faux latchhook because it’s fast and I love making tassels and usually have plenty just sitting in piles waiting to be used. The blue/silver/blush tassels were made in the hospital 9 months ago when Elro had just been born and was in the NICU. This picture was taken when she was less than a month old. I was filled with so much love and happiness. The yarn gives me the feels, too, because I felt wrapped in something so sweet and soft and, well, holy.

1. I used the bottom of a wooden birdcage and glued the picture in the center. 2. I glued on tassels. I call the top of the tassel the head and the bottom of the tassels the skirt. I glued each head of the tassel 3. right next the other head of the tassel. 4. Then I flipped over the skirt over the head — making it look like a latchhook.d28dba06-2285-4f15-902b-e7b911dc6fe7

5- 7. I filled in the wood with tassel after tassel until 8. it felt full and soft and lovely to me.

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Then all I had to do was make sure Elro liked it. She’s super into yarn and pictures of herself, so it was a slam dunk.

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Top 5 Thoughts I Have During Insomnia

1. Why can’t MY body sleep the way everyone else is sleeping right now? Shouldn’t my body have learned to do this very basic thing?

2. Okay, it’s 2:30. Definitely can’t fall back asleep — more seroquel? Benadryl chaser? Will I fall back asleep or will I be drugged?

3. If I don’t fall back asleep, how will I take care of my daughter tomorrow?

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4. Cbd oil? Why isn’t there an easy way back to sleep? How do I never know what to do? I hate my body.

5. No matter how great my life is, insomnia makes me feel like I’m falling through it and am not on steady ground. It’s the feeling of slipping in the shower over and over again while hoping that your life stays intact.

How You Can Prepare For An Anxiety Attack!

When anxiety started to hit me hard recently and I realized I was actually starting to have an anxiety attack, I also realized the way I have been setting up my life REALLY helped me prepare for it. This makes me understand that I’m in a good place.

When I was in my 20s, for example, an anxiety attack meant falling down in a heap, being rescued by someone and the next day having my ribs hurt from all the heavy breathing. This time, at 35 years old, I had the following in place:

*The number of my go-to friend to call about mental illness. Yes, it’s the same number I’ve been calling for years, but I was able to talk to my friend and get quick, no nonsense advice.

*My husband made an appointment with my psychiatrist. That was a luxury. Usually it would be me calling and freaking out every time I heard a ring. He did it as a favor for me and knowing that he was doing that made me really relax.

*I had all the tools available to have a (slow) productive day.                                                      List Of Tools: I had a 32 ounce bottle of water to make sure I was drinking enough.organizingboho

All of Elro’s stuff was in its place so it was easy to change her, change her clothes, make her bottles. I had organized my clothes and fabric, so it was easy to get out a box of fabric for scarves I’m going to make and just look at them. Aromatherapy & fresh flowers!    flowersanxietyattack.JPG

Most importantly, I have medication! It’s all in a lock box and it’s all labeled (because it drove my husband crazy that I had empty bottles in it!) which made it really easy to approach, even in a crazy head space. I used the Instacart app to purchase food so I can make dinner tonight. This feels much healthier and much saner than when I was in my 20s. When I was pregnant I was terrified of having an anxiety attack when I had a baby to take care of — but she actually helps me stay present and calms me down. Wasn’t expecting that but I’m very grateful.

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Playing with Puppy helped, too!

This makes me realize that these things are important:    Keep your place organized! Keep your medications filled and labeled. Keep all of your baby supplies in stock — clothes, food, diapers. Depend on friends and family to do the stuff that feels way too difficult. Drink water! Don’t despair! Be proud of yourself for handling the anxiety, not mad at yourself for experiencing it to begin with. Love, Rae

Kid Art Spice Jar Vase

Elro is 9 months old so we paint with our hands every Sunday. Sunday is my official craft day — as in I definitely will be making something— and I like the idea of her creating things, too.

But what do you do with all the art? I’m going to go ahead and guess that my father’s favorite gift from me was Elro’s first painting. He framed it. It has grass in it because we paint outside but because he loves her, it meant something to him.

So making things with her artwork will be awesome for family members, but I also like reminders throughout the house of what is currently working in my life. This bitty vase reminds me of our Sunday in the garden.

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1. I cut the artwork into triangles with a variety of sizes. I cleaned a spice jar, but you could also use any glass bottle. 2. I used Mod Podge to adhere the triangles to the jar. 3. I filled up all the space. 4. I painted the jar with Mod Podge and let dry.

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I really dug the way it looked when it dried. You can see our finger prints!

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The only thing I didn’t like was the glass at the top (where the ridges are on a spice container) so I braided some twine and used a glue gun to add it to the very top of the jar. I dig it!

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What Should I Do When My Mood Shifts?

I recently met a person who is at the beginning of their journey. They were just diagnosed as bipolar. A (correct) diagnosis is Awesome because it means there is a reason you’ve felt the way you felt and now there are solutions.  This person expressed a desire to know what to do when having a mood shift. The truth is you figure it out as you go and when the drugs kick in it will be even easier.

I believe medication is the most important aspect of bipolar disorder. If I didn’t have the right medication, the rest of the things I’m about to mention wouldn’t matter. I’d be manic doing yoga — that’s not helpful.

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Here is what works and doesn’t work for me:

Meditation

I wish meditation worked for me but so far it has not. I’ve tried it so many times in so many different ways. I would love to put it in my routine but I’ve never had success with it.

A Routine

Ding ding ding! For a lot of people like me, having a routine is a key to happiness. (Seen Benny & Joon?) Doing stuff the same time every day might make me boring (and I’m sure my daughter is going to rebel because it’s probably annoying) but I love remembering to take my meds, eating well, drinking enough water and all that good stuff that I take for granted if I don’t work at it.

Yoga

Yoga has definitely helped in the past. Now that I’m taking care of a 9 month old, I think I’ll be adding yoga — for free on youtube — to my routine. Should I do it with baby when baby is up and include her, or should I do it during a nap? Hmmm.

Aromatherapy

This works for me SO much. It’s ridiculous how much this works for me. I feel like it shouldn’t. It should be one of those things I shrug off like acupuncture — acupuncture obviously does work for a ton of people — but aromatherapy is my jam. The minute I smell jasmine I calm the ef down. I use orange and fir during the day to brighten my spirits. I don’t know why the hell it works but It Works. For me. (As does having flowers and twinkly lights around!) f399132e-112f-44fb-8e5a-473c5ac953de

Treats

Treats work! Treats come in all forms and are usually free.  They could be a library book, felt from Benzie Designs, tea, lemonade, warmed pajamas from the dryer, new fluffy socks, making a scarf out of an old outfit that will never fit me again — these get me through the stuff I do not want to do. I don’t like taking my pills at night. I get a terrible reaction from one of them but the thing is, sanity is more important than how terrible the drug makes me feel. So, I make that time a time of luxury. Usually this is a time for brain storming for my next craft project and drinking some amazing mocktail while watching terrible TV. For some reason, this works for me.

Terrible TV

I’m talking Kardashians, 90 Day Fiancé, The Bachelor, any of the Real Housewives, any Dr. Phil in which someone is getting catfished. I don’t know, you guys. All I know is that in 2011, after my brain surgery, Keeping Up With The Kardashians was the only show I could understand. (It’s repetitive af and it’s not about annnnnything. It’s perfect for a traumatic brain injury.) And now when my brain is overloaded with things I’m anxious about, Terrible TV calms me down faster than any benzo I’ve ever taken. For real.

Making Things

If I am not making something — a memory, a blog post, a recipe, a wall hanging, a doll, a poem, a letter, an email, a story for my daughter — I am not happy. Not sure why that is my personality, but it is. I need to create something or be planning to create something or I can’t cope with basic, daily things. Making is a way to be open and not ruminate. Perhaps making things is the way I meditate.

Taking A Walk

Works! Works even better if I put on makeup first. Works even better if I take pictures of the things I see, my dog, my daughter, etc.

Exposure Therapy

I’m not sure if this works yet because I started it today. Here is a picture of me after my first exposure therapy: a0f9e18c-7565-4205-b810-71984db72e95and then a picture of WHY I’m doing it: d4a0a778-de62-4890-863b-4ccb1d725c2cThis is my point: I was diagnosed when I was 18. I’m 35 and I’m just NOW trying exposure therapy with my amazing therapist.

If you were just diagnosed — congrats on your diagnosis! You will now be getting the help you need and deserve. There are so many things to try, so many drugs to that could help, there is just so much to do about your particular illness. Try keeping a journal of what works and what doesn’t.

Missing My Tree: A Solution!

I didn’t expect to miss my tree so much. Maybe it’s because I made 90 percent of the ornaments or because Elro loved it — whatever it was, there was a tree shaped hole in my heart that I’ve started to fill!

I bought this canopy on amazon, decorated it with paper and felt —from Benzie Designs, as usual! They are the very best! — roses. This creature came in the mail — I still don’t know who it is from but he’s perfect! I added a mat, some lights and books to make a little reading nook.

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Now I’m researching what to make next! ❤️ Ohhhhh it’s going to be so fun!