Hot Air Balloon – Crochet Pixel Blanket

Up Up & Away… 🎈

6 months & i’ve lost count how many granny squares.. but my Hot Air Balloon is finally finished!!

Here is how i made it (**scroll down to the end of this post for links).

All the yarn used is Stylecraft Special DK – I will put a list of the colours i used at the bottom of this post πŸ˜‰. My first time using Stylecraft & i LOVED working with it. It’s very soft, & is lovely to work with. It’s acrylic yarn, & creates a nice shape to the granny square, a bit more of a solid structure perfect for this style. There are many yarn stores who stock Stylecraft, i purchased mine from Love Crochet.

Pattern is a cross stitch chart by Fuzzy Fox Designs. i love Fuzzy Fox Designs for crochet as they convert so easily. Rachel uses very little backstitching on her charts (the stitched black lines) & uses full squares. Not only that, but her patterns are so gorgeous, you’ll want to make them all!

Photo: Fuzzy Fox Designs – Rainbow Hot Air Balloon Cross Stitch Chart

When converting a cross stitch pattern to a crochet pattern, each square of the cross stitch chart is converted into a granny square, then joined together to form the picture. One square on the chart = one granny square.

I used the traditional granny square for my balloon. i joined the squares together using the JAYG (join as you go) method. So as i finished a square i attached it to the blanket. This does make it feel less overwhelming when you’re finished, creates less ends to sew in, & you can see your progress as you go 😊

This was my first time doing the JAYG method, & now i couldn’t use any other way. The tutorial i used is by Attic 24, you can find it here.
But you can easily sew them together later too if you prefer using a tapestry needle.

TIP – Sew in those ends as you go!! Unfortunately there will be a lot of ends, even with the JAYG, & i made the mistake of not doing it after each row.. it made for days of just sewing in ends. Ugh. Highly do not recommend this πŸ˜£πŸ˜‚

And that’s it! One very colourful Hot Air Balloon 🎈 now to plan my next pixel blanket.. think i will pick something a tad smaller this time.

**Scroll down for yarn colours & links to where i purchased my supplies.

Love Nat 😘 xx

Layla & Wolf love the Hot Air Balloon, its the perfect size for them.

Even Sweep approves πŸ‘

**Further info:

Pattern – Rachel at Fuzzy Fox Designs

Instagram @fuzzyfoxdesigns

Etsy Shop – www.etsy.com/shop/fuzzyfoxdesigns

Yarn – Stylecraft Special DK

Instagram @stylecraftyarns

Colours:

  • Citron (1263)
  • Fiesta (1257)
  • Matador (1010)
  • Mocha (1064)
  • Jaffa (1256)
  • Kelly Green (1826)
  • Lobella (1825)
  • Turquoise (1068)
  • Grey (1099)

Yarn purchased from Love Crochet (@lovecrochetcom) – www.lovecrochet.com

Autumn Jewel – c2c blanket

To purchase this blanket click here πŸ‘

It’s FINISHED!!!! *insert happy dance* πŸ’ƒ woooo! I started this blanket back in October, & even though i’ve loved every one of those squishy stitches, it was starting to feel like the never ending blanket.

This blanket isn’t made using a pattern, just the c2c (corner to corner) crochet stitch. It ended up being 132cm (51″) square. Perfect lap or throw size blanket!

The yarn is from Bendigo Woollen Mills, in their Bloom range, & the colour i used is Rust. I used approx 6 x 200g balls. So that’s 1.2kg of yarn. It’s 100% pure Australian wool, & its lovely to work with.

i love the colours & how they subtly blend into each other, no harsh sudden changes. It just beautifully transitions from one colour to the next.

i chose the name “Autumn Jewel” because of these gorgeous colours. Perfect, as it’s Autumn here in Australia! πŸ‚ 

Just a simple sc (single crochet) border all around twice. I was going to do a more detailed border, but it became too messy & confusing with the already busy colours & texture.

The sc border just gives it a nice finish & frame 😊

Linen floor cushion from The Dusty Poppy

And my two beautiful babies, Layla & Wolf spent many hours snuggled under each side of the blanket while i worked! It’s baby & snuggle approved πŸ‘Œβ€

And that’s it! I had a lot of fun making this blanket, i hope you love it as much as i do!

Love Nat xx

@littlecosythings

Autumn Jewel is available to purchase in the LCT Shop.

a little (cosy) mermaid…

Time to dust off the cobwebs off my long neglected blog, starting with an introduction to this little mermaid…

Well it’s THE little mermaid (inspired) Ariel ❀️

As you would know if you follow me on Instagram (@littlecosythings) we welcomed our beautiful twins – Layla & Wolf, into the world in September. Because they were born so tiny they needed to spend some time in the Special Care Nursery.

During their stay they were looked after by the most beautiful ladies i have ever met. And one of these amazing midwives asked me to make Ariel! Such a pleasure to be able to give something (albeit small in comparison) back to Clare who took such great care of my bubbas!

Apart from being a wonderful midwife, Clare is also Melbourne’s most talented photographer, especially baby photography (of course!). Her photos are just breath takinly gorgeous. I urge you to please go have a look at her profile & her website, even if you don’t live in Melbourne. i cannot wait to book in a session for Layla & Wolf!

So here we have her, my first mermaid, THE little mermaid – Ariel.


Now ideas of more mermaids dance in my head. As they always do. But atlas i have 2 litt munchkins keeping me away from my hook. For which i’m very grateful. So no mermaids will be available to purchase until sometime in 2017.

However, if you can’t wait, & you would love your own little mermaid, i can wholeheartedly recommend my friend Willow from Big T & Little L who makes gorgeous mermaids also. Willow is magical with her hook, & you won’t be disappointed!

Pattern is by Kelly from The Merino Mermaid, a wonderful pattern! Well written & very easy to follow. Only adjustment i made was adding a little “bra” to her outfit (details at the end).

Ariel is made using  yarn from Bendigo Woollen Mills & a 3mm hook:

  • Hair – Luxury Wool, 10ply in Sunrise
  • Body – Cotton yarn, 8 ply in Parchment
  • Bra – Cotton yarn, 8ply in Wild Lavender
  • Tail – Cotton yarn, 8ply in Light Teal

Love Nat xxx

Angel Wings…

30th November 2015 – another of my special little angels has their wings ❀️

SOMEBODY..

Somebody said it was all for the best, that something was probably wrong…

Somebody said it was meant to be. Different verse, same miserable song…

Somebody said “you can have another” as if that would make it right…

Somebody said “it was not a real child”. Somebody is not very bright…

Somebody thinks it wise to say when grieving should end…

Somebody shows their true colours, somebody is NOT my friend…

But somebody said, “I’m sorry” & sat quietly by my side…

And somebody always listened, even though I didn’t know my baby’s name…

And somebody understood…

… I’ll never be the same

– Author Unknown

  

Life isn’t fair sometimes & right now, life feels rather cruel. Saying goodbye to 3 of my angel babies in 2 months. No mother should have to give her blessings back…

I will write another blog post about this miscarriage soon, explaining this part of My Story. But right now my heart just hurts…
Love Nat xxx

  

Part Five of My Story – today I’m angry… I’m grieving…

PART FIVE of my story (Read Part One, TwoThree & Four of my story)

My mantra for today.. being female & not being able to have a baby can leave you feeling like you are useless, defect, without purpose. After all, if you go back to the bare basics – women are BUILT to be mothers.. to be able to make babies. And when you can’t or it’s not working, you feel broken. Less of a woman. Not adequate, have no worth.

And even though you might know deep down that’s it a little irrational.. it still hurts.

Today I’m bitter, & I’m angry. I’m angry at this body, for not working. Angry at my ovaries for letting me down. That they know how much I want to be a mum, & they aren’t working. I could actually scream at my ovaries if I could, if I thought they would listen. But I haven’t completely lost my marbles.. yet.

I’m bitter. So very bitter. And it’s not the person I want to be. And i feel so riddled with guilt at the same time. BUT I can’t help it. I’m not the person I was 3 and a half years ago. Infertility has changed me. What began as sadness and frustration has turned into anger and hopelessness. I’m at war with my own body. With society.
Infertility changes you. It creates a hole inside your heart. A gaping hole that starts to eat away at you from the inside. And as much as you try to stuff that hole with other things. Nothing fits. It’s like trying to jam the wrong piece into a jigsaw puzzle.

I find myself bitter (and even angry) at that pregnant woman.. at that mum… at that complete stranger, or even a friend. Does she have any idea just how lucky she is? I try not to stare. I want to tell her. Do you know you have a little miracle in your belly? Please please love that baby. Please.
I’m sorry, but I want to BE you. Its NOT FAIR. And it’s not your fault. It’s not your fault that my body is broken. It’s not your fault that I can’t have babies. It’s not your fault that you CAN have babies. It’s not your fault that I feel this way. But I do… because I’m trying SO hard. So very very hard. And it’s not working.

If I’m trying so hard.. doesn’t that mean I’m owed it too? No. Life isn’t fair like that.

But I’m happy for my friends, I’m happy for the lady in the supermarket, I’m happy for that mum. BUT I’m SO sad for me. You are a walking, talking, constant beacon of reminder. Screaming in my face that I’m broken. I’m not enough. I’m not a woman.. I’m not a mum.

Dear pregnant woman.. mums.. my friends… society (what infertility feels like):

I have to give myself a cocktail of medication every day, every month. You don’t. Morning sickness? I have it too. Every day, every month… without a baby, without being pregnant. I have to spend my days horribly sick from the side effects, in a society that doesn’t understand or acknowledge how much they knock you down, mess your head about. Send you on a hormonal rage. You don’t.

I have had to spend THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of dollars for a chance to just TRY for a baby. Month after month. You didn’t. I could have put a deposit on a house by now. I could have travelled the WORLD for 6 months by now. Instead it’s spent on trying to conceive. Trying. I never went on a honeymoon – we paid for IVF instead. We haven’t had a holiday in nearly 4 years – we paid for IVF instead. It should be FREE!! Conceiving a child should be free. But for me, it’s thousands upon thousands on dollars. I’m scared because ultimately I will have to stop trying… simply because of finances. Because I can’t afford it anymore. That it will reach a point in which I won’t have any money to support a child, because I spent it all on trying to make them.

I’m tired. So tired. Emotionally & physically drained. I haven’t slept more than 4 hours a night in years. The medication keeps me awake, the stress keeps me awake.

And you’re awake too, because you have a baby that doesn’t sleep. People empathize with how tired you are. You get to tell people how exhausting it is. I can’t. Society doesn’t accept I’m tired too. I’m not a mum. You look at me when I say I’m tired too, with one eyebrow cocked… how dare I say I’m tired… don’t I see your newborn?! Yes I do.

IF I do fall pregnant I know I won’t sleep again for years either. But did you get to sleep before you conceived? I didn’t, I don’t. By the time baby comes (IF ever) I have years of already not sleeping under my belt. Good practice? No.

Today I’m bitter. I’m angry. I’m not telling you off. It’s not your fault. I have a reason.. for today, I’m miscarrying. Again. Another set of twins. My angel babies are in heaven & in my heart. I now have 8 angel babies in heaven, instead of in my arms.

They matter. They make me a mum. I am allowed to be angry today. I’m grieving. And I needed to let it out. I need to say it. In all its rawness. As tears stream down my face. Because it’s all I can do to let it out. In a society where infertility and miscarriage are talked about in whispers. Why?! It’s ok to talk about it! We should talk about it. Maybe if we did, then we wouldn’t be so angry. So bitter.

Everyone keeps telling me I can just get pregnant again & have another baby…

but I wanted THAT pregnancy. I wanted that baby.

Please do not tell people it wasn’t meant to be – my baby was important, just like yours.

Don’t tell people it’s “Gods Will” that’s so very cruel. Think about it.

Please please give your friend a hug.  Bring coffee, bake a cake. Chocolate is always good πŸ™‚ If someone you know is struggling to have a baby, just be there. If someone lost a baby, let them grieve. Let them know they DO matter. They are still valuable. They have worth. With or without a baby, we are still women.

When women support each other, incredible things happen

Be kind to yourself if it’s you. Infertility hurts, it’s THE hardest thing I have ever done. I hope it’s the hardest thing I will ever have to do. And I do not wish it upon anyone.

And today I say goodbye to my babies, a silent whisper in a quiet room. I will always love you, I will always remember. My babies you will always be.

I have to try again. Tomorrow I have to find the strength, the courage to try this again. It’s all I can do. I want to be a mum. And even thought I’m angry and I’m bitter and I’m drowning in the darkness sometimes… I want to be like you. I want to be a mum. I aspire to be you.



October is Infant & Pregnancy loss awareness month. Break the silence, share your story. We are mums, our babies have wings.

Love Nat xxx

Part Four of My Story… it’s the fun part?

PART FOUR of my story (Read Part One, Two & Three of my story)

Infertility is not a bad word!! You don’t need to do this alone. You’re not alone. I share my story to help break the silence, to give insight to others of this horrible and heartbreaking journey. To give strength.

Please feel free to share your story too, your feelings, or just to vent. I’m happy to answer questions about any part of my journey too. Even if it’s not for you, but for a friend who might be struggling to conceive and you want to help xxx

It’s the end of a very long 2 weeks.. and i’m so tired, my tired is tired! But I can’t sleep because the cocktail of medication is causing insomnia 😦 argh!

My last 2 weeks looked something like this:

β€’ 2 hospital visits for 2 very painful (and humiliating) procedures

β€’ 26 injections in my tummy

β€’ 9 blood tests (all at once)

β€’ 10 new steroid tablets

β€’ and diagnosed with an autoimmune disease

I’m exhausted, and shattered inside. Yesterday I broke, for the first time since I started this journey 3 and a half years ago, I lost hope. I wanted to give up.

Yesterday I spent the day in hospital. A weekly occurrence these days.

Lying on a bed in theatre, surrounded by 3 nurses and 1 doctor. Wearing a horrible white hospital gown, naked from the waist down and my legs up  in strirrups.. waiting to be poked and prodded with this next procedure. I sobbed. A moment came where I felt like yelling, that’s it.. I can’t do it. I’m done. The universe won. i don’t want to be a mum, I can’t do it. I wanted to jump up, put my clothes back on, get in the car and just drive away.. but I didn’t. I lay there, quietly sobbing while a nurse rubbed my arm and told me to take deep breathes. She told me I was strong, I loved her for that. And I gave her a big hug after. I needed to hear that.

It hurt. Oh my, did it hurt. I was having a HSG tubal patency test. There were inserting a catheter into my uterus, inflating a balloon, and then injecting an iodine dye solution. The iodine would travel through my Fallopian tubes (just like an egg and sperm would travel) as an X-ray machine hovers above clicking away to watch for any blockages.

The pain is intense, so sharp and it comes on so abruptly and strong. I wasn’t prepared. I’m told that not everyone gets such intense pain, that it’s most likely because my period pain is bad. Just my luck, I thought.

I think it was the exhaustion that made it worse. I’m strong, I’ve never known how strong I was still I started this journey.. but I was exhausted. I didn’t want to be subjected to more pain again, I didn’t want more bad news.  I didn’t want to be on public display. And I just want this to be over so much.. I just want to hold my little one.

And that’s when I broke inside. Part of me just lost hope. I was still sore from only having to had a biopsy the week before, followed by 9 blood tests, diagnosis of a new disease and starting a fresh cycle of IVF. This new wave of pain, and humiliation, was almost more than I could bare. My brain kept asking why me? Why do other women not have to do this to have a baby? Haven’t i done enough? Proved my worth?

Like nearly every single women (and man) wishing for children that don’t come.. I wanted to be welcomed into the mothers groups, feel like I belong with ALL my friends who are now mums. I want to matter, I want to lift this fog and isolation. I want this pain and longing to go away. I want to make my husband a daddy!!! I want Christmas with presents under the tree and a little one too excited to sleep. But mostly I want that moment.. my baby in my arms, and the world a happy place. My life complete. My heart full.

But I did it, AND I’m happy to report my tubes are clear. There’s no blockages. And just as I was about to leap off the bed, to make my run for the door after the nurse removed the catheter and balloon.. the nurse halted me, she said instead I had to shuffle, with a sheet between my legs to the bathroom.. with my gown open.. tears streaking my face. What goes in must come out.. and the idodine solution was having gravity take over. Dignity? Nah I lost that the moment I started this journey.

Making a baby is the fun part…?? I think I don’t understand what fun is.

To all the women and men who are also on this journey, I’ll send a little prayer into the universe for you too. Don’t you dare give up. You are strong.

Now i get to “rest” (in between my cocktail of injections and medication) for a couple days till my next scan. I’m going to enjoy not being sprawled on a table, and I’m going to crochet. And I’m going to keep trying.. and keep breathing. I am strong. I will be a mummy, I just hope the universe is listening.

Love Nat xxx

Part Three of My Story… in my little cocoon & NK cells (Natural Killer Cells)

PART THREE of my story (Read Part One & Two of my story)

I’ve tried to write this blog post about 599 times, but I just can’t find the words and I’ve been enclosed in my cocoon. I’m exhausted, physically & emotionally. But I feel it’s important to share my infertility story.. not just an outlet for me to express how I feel, but also to give some comfort to others who are on the same journey.. and insight to those who so fortunate to not be.

My last blog post I wrote in a moment of grief after another miscarriage. A way of me mourning the little ones I had lost. Since then I have unfortunately suffered another miscarriage, and a few failed cycles.

PART ONE – I want to be a mum

PART TWO – it hurts because it mattered

This is PART THREE…

We have been trying to conceive now for almost 3.5 years.. with my wedding anniversary looming and a new year, and my birthday.. I start to feel bitter sweet. We celebrate our wedding anniversary but we also mourn the loss of our babies, and another year with empty arms.

I have retreated into my own little cocoon (as my hubby calls it). It’s safe here, the world feels so cruel at the moment, and I think I am trying to protect myself from more grief. Totally emerged in my own cocoon, where I crochet and visit my specialist and watch my cycle.

Since I continue to miscarry and have been trying to conceive for years now, my doctor and I decided to do a biopsy of my uterus last weekend. We tested for Natural Killer Cells (NK Cells).

The biopsy wasn’t much fun, it’s done at the IVF specialists offices, in the chair with your legs in stirrups. Much like a Pap smear, a straw like device is inserted into the uterus, they scrape away some tissue lining, and use a suction device to remove it. Although extremely intrusive, embarrassing and painful, it’s over quick. It feels like very strong, sharp period cramping. But I would do it ten times over, every single day if it helps my chances of conceiving.

My test results came back positive. Extremely high, for NK cells. And, as funny as it sounds, I’m so happy.

I’m so happy it’s another answer, another step forward, a chance at treatment. I’m sad that it wasn’t tested and detected earlier. Unfortunately it’s something they don’t test until you have either had multiple miscarriages or failed attempts at IVF. Only 10% of women have these NK cells, and I am within get the top 1% percentile.

What are NK cells?

Now let me first say, I am NOT a doctor. This is just my understanding of NK cells, and what has been happening with my body. From what I understand. Please always do your own research and speak to your specialist/obgyn.

Everyone has Natural Killer Cells, they are part of your immune system, and what attacks the germs and bugs. When you’re sick, these NK cells attack the germs and help you to get better quicker or stop you from getting sick.

Now normally, when you fall pregnant, your body first sees the embryo (or when you’re ovulating, the sperm) as foreign bodies. And your NK cells go to attack. BUT normally, your body then tells the NK cells that the sperm, or the embryo are ok, and to let them be. And your embryo grows into your beautiful baby.

MY NK cells are overactive, I have too many and they are very aggressive. So what is happening is when either the sperm goes to fertilize and egg, OR when an egg has been fertilized and implants as an embryo my NK cells keep attacking. They either don’t get the message to not attack, or are so over active that the message is lost. And so they attack the little embryo, destroying it, and I miscarry.

It’s quite a horrible and sad way to think about it, that my body is attacking this little life every time. And part of me felt like, the odds are now stacked against me. That even my own body doesn’t want me to have a baby, that maybe I shouldn’t be a mum. But I need to silence that little voice in my head, because I can’t believe my body is thinking like that. It’s just my immune system.

Normally an overactive immune system probably isn’t such a bad thing, and if I wasn’t trying to conceive it would never have been detected and most probably never impacted on my life. I rarely get sick, and when I do, I get better quickly. I thought I was just fortunate, but it’s these NK cells. And they are not helping me conceive.

So now what happens?

I need to break down my immune system. This is done by taking (yet another) injection everyday. A cocktail of hormones and steroids, designed to break down and slow down my immune system so it doesn’t attack the embryos.

If you would like more information, please google “the Bondi protocol” a still experimental treatment, in Australia for NK cells.

The downside of this treatment, there are some horrible side effects… including insomnia (bad insomnia, days on end of no sleep) but I get that from the IVF injections too. Weight gain, and fluid retention. Plus these injections are rather more painful.

Plus, the treatment will break down ALL my NK cells, which means my normal defense system will be down. I will be able to contract colds and bugs a lot more easier. I will have to be careful.

I start this treatment next week, for those who would like to know what it is like, you can contact me πŸ™‚

I will need to continue with this treatment not only until I fall pregnant, but the whole first trimester and possibly until I give birth. As we can’t let these NK cells come back and attack whilst I’m pregnant.

Like i said, I’m not a doctor, and this is only my limited understanding of how NK cells are effecting my infertility. My recommendation is that if you have had multiple miscarriages, or repeated failed attempts at IVF, please please speak to your specialist and ask (push) for a biopsy test. It’s not fun, but it’s worth it.

For me, this is a small victory, a little step forward. A little bit of renewed (almost completely lost) hope.. that maybe… this will make a difference. BUT I cannot let myself get too carried away.. I know it’s just another layer we have peeled away. I need to prepare myself just in case there are more. But I am hopeful. And I start again, more injections, more tests and scans.. more waiting… and a tiny little sparkle of more hope. I want to be a mum.

Love Nat xxx

There is no “at least” in child loss… None.

Ps. In my experience, it hurts to say to someone who had miscarried (especially several times) AT LEAST you got pregnant.. for me, it hurts because i continue to loose a baby. it’s not just a loss of a baby either.. it’s a loss of a 2 year old, a 10 year old.. a 16 year old. It’s a loss of a life. And it gave you hope. I would rather not get pregnant at all, then continue to loose my baby.