6.21.2011

One of these berries is not like the others

one of these is not like the others

"Alas, I am simply one more woman blogging about homemade bread and fresh picked berries", wrote Lady Cordelia at the beginning of a post last month. I've been chuckling to myself about it ever since.

I am, however, simply one more woman blogging, and here I go blogging about berries. Freshly crocheted strawberries. The summer issue of Rhythm of the Home includes my amigurumi crocheted strawberry pattern. It's a pattern I came up with a few years ago when I gave Bridgeman Pottery berry bowls to all my sisters-in-law. I've been hanging onto the pattern, scrawled in pencil on a piece of notebook paper, thinking it would be the perfect little addition to the craft book I dream of writing one day. But after some thought about the craft book of my daydreams, I decided that Rhythm of the Home was a much better place to share my handiwork.

Is the universe not complete without my contribution to the craft section of major bookstores? Does the world really need my version of the ever popular craft book? Because here's the deal: I can make up patterns, I can create handmade items, I can wear the things I design and use the things I make, but I can't seem to create the opportunity to get pictures of me wearing or using these things, or sit down and write directions on how I made them. If I made the time to take these pictures and write these directions, I would not have the time to do all the things I want to do while wearing and using the items I've designed. And really, the reason I've designed and made these items is to enhance my life, not complicate it.

There are people among us who possess the skills to create, photograph, share, and publish it all in a book, and I'm going to leave them to it. Their body of work is a harmonious choir, singing the praises of a handmade life. I don't need to be up there singing along. I can be right here, listening and nodding my head in agreement. Amen. Anyways, I can't carry a tune in a bucket. My kids always shush me when I start singing. I'll take my husband's advice and keep my day job.

Funny thing is, my thoughts on the craft book idea really came together after reading an interview with a craft book writer. Grace of Uncommon Grace recently interviewed Meg McElwee about her new book, Growing Up Sew Liberated. I was especially impressed by Meg's admission, "Motherhood is a humbling experience, and right now I can't do all of the things I wrote about in my own book!"

Yes, yes, and yes again! I often wonder how to make all the things I want to make and be the mother I want to be. The equation rarely adds up in my experience. My kids do not play peacefully alongside me while I knit. They never have. When Avery was about three years old, she took the skein of yarn from which I was knitting a poncho and ran a loop around the house three times before I even realized what she was doing. A few years later, Aidan took a pair of scissors and snipped the yarn between the skein and the sock I was knitting. I took these events as a sign to put down my needles and pick up my children. I returned to crochet when my children were young simply because it was easier to stop mid row and put down my crochet, something I found difficult to do with my knitting.

Lo and behold, I discovered that I could create my own crochet patterns. My mind understands crochet in a way it does not understand knitting. I can follow a knitting pattern, but creating one seems completely beyond me. And while I prefer the look of knitted items over crocheted items, crochet has it's place. Strawberries, garlands, acorn caps, wire leaves - they certainly have a place in my home.

In celebration of shelving my dream of writing a craft book, and the publication of my stawberry pattern in Rhythm of the Home, I'd like to give away a pair of crocheted strawberries. Unlike the loose strawberry pictured above, these strawberries are connected by a thin green crochet chain, about 18 inches long. You can hang them from a hook (I've had a pair hanging from my inspiration board for years), use them to wrap a package, or stuff them in your junk drawer and wonder what in the heck to do with them. I've got drawers and cabinets full of such wonderful items. Yet another reason not to write a craft book. What does one do with so many handmade items anyways??? But that's another post.

Leave a comment and I will select one winner at random, to be announced on Monday, June 27th.



In the meantime, happy bread making and berry picking from the woman who can't stop posting pictures of her chickens.

49 comments:

  1. Well, I'll tell you what; it looks like you do an awful lot. So it's good to hear you struggle to balance it all, too! Thanks for the chance to win your adorable strawberries. :-)

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  2. Barb WrightJune 21, 2011

    Please, keep posting pictures of your chickens. I love them as I don't have the pleasure of having my own...chickens that is... :) and I would be honored to own a pair of your strawberries.

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  3. Thanks for blogging about strawberries. It made me smile so you've made one person happy. I have to admit it made me feel good knowing that other people have trouble balancing family, kids and hobbies. I wonder how some seem to do it all ....

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  4. Haha! So funny! But your craft book would be amazing! I know what you mean about trying to do all this stuff. Sometimes, I get stressed out trying to make all this stuff. Then I know I need a little reality check.

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  5. Love, love, love this post... your words cut through the clutter and engaged thoughtfully with one of the challenges so many of us face. Especially as mama's trying to be present with our kids while simultaneously keeping the house, being a partner/wife, celebrating our friends, eating, bathing... And carving out a little space to fuel the parts of us that are all these things and crave a little more of a creative outlet too. I think my absolute favorite thing you wrote was your courage to recognize the time to put down the knitting and pick up your kids. Thank you for your honesty and reminder that we are not alone in this fine balancing act. I applaud you. And when the day comes you decide to publish a craft book... I look forward to being inspired by it!!! Enjoy the day!

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  6. I just made some wool felt strawberries last weekend. I was inordinately pleased with myself for managing something that vaguely resembles the real thing.

    I've been not posting to my blog. That balance? I'm having more trouble with it than I like to admit. Everything seems to be suffering as a result. Maybe the start of Summer will get my head on straight.

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  7. Oh! What a lovely post. And such lovely strawberries. . . all of them. Thank you for being willing to share the letting go. . . so many people blog the freshly scrubbed parts of their lives, it's nice to read a bit of what an amazing blogger like you lets go of.

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  8. So very true. It is hard to do all I want to do. I want to enjoy the life I have now and not miss a moment.

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  9. I love your post and please write the craft book. I am a teacher and see so many people think their dreams are impossible. They are not. Do it for your children! Please!

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  10. Oh oh what a LOVEYL offer! Pick me (grin)

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  11. My mini-desk in the family room is piled with projects-in-progress and books with projects to do. I've decided to clean off the desk, put away the books, and finish one project at a time. The two hours I spent outside working in my landscaping and listening to a one man baseball game in the yard means more to me this summer.

    I'd love to hang your strawberries on the open hook over my sink! :)

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  12. Gasp! Love those crocheted strawberries! My mind does not understand crochet the way it understands knitting (I did, however, manage to figure out enough to crochet your hearts in February) so some already finished ones would be lovely. ;)
    P.S. Love the pictures of your chickens - they're so beautiful.

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  13. At this point, I no longer remember when I started following your blog, but I do know I'm glad I do. I have also added to the pool of women that post about berries and bread, and honestly I like it that way. Feel free to come see pics of my chickens. It seems I have the same malady as you ;)

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  14. Here's a small story from Australia about chickens, a fox and crochet. A red fox broke into our chicken coop and stole 'Thunderstorm' for her midnight snack. She came back the next night to find that her digging had been covered over by bricks. But she set about digging again. So we chained our border collie to the coop for the night. At 2am in the morning, I got up and saw the fox. And I also saw our border collie, snoring in her basket under her granny blanket. I am thinking that strawberries might be the answer! No I am not - I am thinking that they are delightful :)

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  15. So well said Molly. Remember that healthy happy family journey we are on? This is such a huge part of it... balance & pritorities.... along with a wakeup call to help get those things into perspective. :)
    Love. Love your strawberries... always remind me of Cali!

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  16. Sigh. I also struggle to make what I want and be the mom I want to be. Thanks for reminding me of the fact that things change and that sometimes it's because I change it. Oh yeah, and cute berries. :D

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  17. Wow what an artist you are!!Hats off for you!!.That chicken is eating real or woolen strawberry???.Great work.Keep it up.

    Thanks
    _______
    Roger

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  18. Our chickens have been enjoying strawberry tops too. What a fun pattern.

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  19. thank you! i often read blogs and envision these wonderful things getting made while their children sit quietly beside drawing. it's nice to know that is not always the case and THOSE are the stories i LOVE to hear about. thank you. thank you. thank you.

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  20. AnonymousJune 22, 2011

    Since we never made it to the strawberry patch this year for sun-warmed strawberries, I would immensely enjoy some of your crocheted ones!!!
    I so agree with you about the knitting/crocheting...I can knit, but something about crochet just makes 'sense' to my (mommy) brain!
    Annette

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  21. There is so much in this post that is so relevant to the thoughts that flash through my head so frequently. Congrats on the pattern and your liberating decision to put aside the book idea. I always remind myself that there will come a day when my kids won't want to spend all of their time with me, and when that happens I will have way too much time to pursue my silly hobbies. And I will be bummed! xoxo Loved this post.

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  22. Oh Molly! This is my conundrum too..'I often wonder how to make all the things I want to make and be the mother I want to be.'

    I struggle with this daily! Sometimes I think it's a cruel trick because something about becoming a mother has left me more inspired than ever to create, create, create! I mean, I have an abundance of new ideas blooming in my mind every single day....and yet, since becoming a mother (and getting inspired) I have very little time to devote to all my ideas.

    I keep reminding myself that I will have all the time in the world when the kids go off to...college? :)

    I think you should definitely work on your craft book. Sure, there are alot of books out there, but not one from your unique point of view.

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  23. oh such a good post today! your thoughts have been echoing mine lately... i recently came to the conclusion (again, for it seems i have to remind myself periodically) that just because i CAN doesn't mean i SHOULD. yes, i can sew a bunch more items to sell at the garden shop, or put in my etsy shop. i can take lovely pictures to put on my blog so that everyone ohhs and ahhs like one of those mom/food/home/craft blogs out there. yes i can publish some of the patterns and things i've been working on. but i shouldn't. it would be a burden on how i'd prefer to spend my oh-so-limited time right now. Right now, i want to be present with my so very young kids. i want to make and check off my summer living list. i want to be able to see what other people work on and say good for them without feeling wistful or envious.

    the blogosphere is a crazy place for that too - that competitive (really, that's what it is, right? comparing ourselves?) voyeurism where we wish we could do more like that (whatever it is) even though it's only a glimpse into someone's life? a picture. meg mcelwee is great about making that brief glimpse as real as possible (as are you, actually) and it makes her blog and yours some of my favorites. it also makes them the most inspiring.

    i'll be the dissenting commenter: i'd love a book of your crafts, but don't do it. take the time and spend it elsewhere. take peace knowing that you CAN do it and are capable and write a lovely blog and still have time and a sense of humor and good ideas on how best to enjoy your family and days. then when you're looking for a spark as your kids move out - start a new craft book bandwagon. if you feel like it at the time ;)

    whew wordy! guess you hit a spot with me today :)

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  24. I echo a lot of what's already been said. Thoughtful, honest, creative, love.it. When my grown sons were small I managed a few patchwork quilts pieced during naps and bedtimes. Later when we were on the go, I became an avid counted cross stitcher. Always had one in my bag. When they got older, quilting came back big time and I made hundreds of quilts, large and small, they cover all our beds and then some. Now they're grown and on their own. But now I work outside the home and knitting comes with me for break time and lunch. I see the creative process through it all. I love reading about your family and creative pursuits. Love your blog!

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  25. Thank you for sharing the pattern -I made 5 strawberries last weekend for our first plane trip with my little. I crocheted them with different lengths and created some straight chains, some loops, some short ones to create different tactile and grasping interests. She loved them! Great pattern! :)

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  26. Yep, blogging bout making bread and fresh picked berries...that's what it's come down to! Love this post. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who can't knit, crochet or stitch whenever I want with litte ones underfoot. Like you find with crochet, I find stitching easier to put down when Oliver escapes out the front door...

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  27. My recent post is also about that endless to-do list; glad to see I'm in the company of those I admire. :)

    That strawberry is perfectly adorable. How cute to fill a vintage bowl with them as a centerpiece!

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  28. Crocheted strawberrys? Yes please! holly x

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  29. cute post... made me laugh and smile. Especially at the misadventures of your kids and crocheting ;)

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  30. And what a great thing to blog about! :) The fake & real berries look wonderful. I had to laugh about the blogging comment. A post on berries is certainly as good as my (upcoming) posts about pb&j!

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  31. so many good words and thoughts.
    off to read rotm.

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  32. Adorable. I can't crochet. Or write craft books. Would love your sweet strawberries, though : )

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  33. I think you could write a great craft book but I will be happy reading your words at this space too. And I love pictures of your chickens. Vicariously raising chickens through you, I am. (I just channeled Yoda. Can you tell I'm the mother of two boys?)

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  34. I love the strawberries. Love love love them. And hello... : )

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  35. You make me adore you :). I was just thinking today how I love to make things for kids...and won't actually have time to make them until I don't have babies anymore! To everything a season, eh?

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  36. Thanks for the link! I'm honored to be part of such a brilliant post. I love your blog (and I love that chicken photo.)

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  37. I think my daughter would love those strawberries..she's 3 and they're her favorite...if I win I might have a fight keeping them out of her mouth though :)

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  38. Oh I saw your photo and laughed ... because Snap!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/susefrompeasoup/2064512182/

    And a commenter even made the same comment as your blogpost title. Love your crocheted version.

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  39. I think I might have to make a patch of these for O and I to "pick." Such a sad year for berries over here! No PYO and already gone from the farmer's markets. *insert loud woe-is-me type sigh here*

    What a sweet pattern and, just as sweet, the balance of nurturing your creative gifts as well as your family.

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  40. Well it's nice to know that I'm not alone with the ability to make and document. As soon as I have finished a project, I tend not to think about what I've made anymore, I'm too excited dreaming up the next one, and so on........

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  41. AnonymousJune 26, 2011

    I'm with you on the chicken pictures. they are so photogenic don't you think? Maybe a book of chicken photography instead?

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  42. chicken photography... that is hilarious....
    love the strawberries. thanks for sharing the pattern. I picked up the crochet needle a year or so ago but these look so tiny and intricate... the kinda of scare me...

    I have talked for years about sewing quilts for my two ... for when they graduate.. made up of all the fabric from their yearly christmas pjs... we are down to two years left... I really need to get busy...

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  43. Nodding in agreement. It can be a decision left to each very moment. Picking up your children= the best decision on earth for sure! I'd love a strand of your insightful strawberries!

    :)Lisa

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  44. I love your strawberries! And the strawberry line up photo too!

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  45. There is definitely a season for everything.. I get my craftiness from my grandmother, who, once the cares of raising her own family were done, had the time to craft and enjoy my childhood. I have made things for my children, but I also have a carefully saved set of patterns and plans and ideas for someday, when my season of grandmothering will allow me to pull them out again.

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  46. Somehow, summer is here and I'm so busy somehow. I have sweater, a tiger and a purse all a third of the way knit in a basket while I rinse off beach toys, fold diapers and tuck in my littles. My two oldest ladies are obsessed with strawberries, and your lovely berry would be the perfect addition to our play kitchen.

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  47. Another nod of agreement from over here - the doing and being in the moment is so much more important and the other stuff is great if you can fit it all in....so many things that call on our time, so many voices telling us we CAN, sometimes we need to realise just how important it is to recognise what we CAN'T do.....Loved your post, I know I missed the giveaway but just wanted to add my bit while I can, now whether I should?..... ;D

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  48. The fruits of your labor are evident all around you. You share so much with us-- right now while you are in the midst of your busy period--that I often scratch my head in bewilderment! As for the book you are inventing in your head, life is long... I suspect you will find a phase where you find just enough time to put it to ink. Thank you for your generous soul

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  49. um, yeah. Your blog is one of these that I often go to and find myself saying "amen!" You have such a way with words, Molly. And if you scrapped your plans for a craft book (congrats!) then please, for the love of all tings good and holy, take up some plans to write a, well, in the words of Aidan, wordy book.
    (ps I laughed out loud about your kid sabotaging your knitting)

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