Living

Simple Lightweight #Pussyhat

Final Product

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ll be marching in the Houston Women’s March, Sister March to the Women’s March in DC this Saturday. Many of the women in both marches will be wearing ‘pussyhats,’ an idea crafted by the Pussyhat Project. As the Houston march will be in the mid to upper 70s, I’ve created a simple, lightweight pussyhat tutorial for any warm weather marches. For those who don’t sew, there is also my Super Easy Paper #Pussyhat.

SIMPLE, LIGHTWEIGHT #PUSSYHAT

Disclaimer: I am a sewing novice. If you see areas that could be improved or mistakes, please let me know! 🙂

What you’ll need: Lightweight rib knit fabric in pink, matching thread, scissors, sewing machine

1. Cut a rectangle 18 inches x 7 inches – if you’d like bigger ‘ears’ go to 19 or 20 inches. MAKE SURE the fabric ‘ribs’ are running parallel with the longest side. 

The ribs of the fabric are running vertically in this photo.

2. Fold the fabric in half, hamburger style, with the ‘right side’ of the fabric facing in and pin the sides together in preparation for sewing. 

3. Sew the sides of the hat up using a zigzag stitch. I used #4 on my machine.

4. Trim any excess from the sides. 

5. Turn the hat right side out and roll up the bottom two times. Pin it in place in preparation for sewing. 

6. Sew the roll of the hat all the way around the bottom using a zigzag stitch. Make sure not to sew the bottom shut! 😉

If you’d like, this can be your final product! I tried it on at this stage and it was a perfectly acceptable #pussyhat. 😉

 

7. Cut up some fabric scraps into ‘confetti’ – these will be the stuffing for our cat ears. 

8. Use your confetti stuffing to stuff your ‘cat ears’ and then pin them in place. Make sure to use enough stuffing so they ‘stand up.’

9. Switch to a straight stitch on your machine and sew your cat ears shut. 

10. For added texture and to help your ears stand up, use a straight stitch to sew a little ‘pinch’ into the backs of each ear. I did this by folding the cat ear in half and sewing there. Mine were about a centimeter in length. 

11. And that’s it – your final product should be pink, stretchy, and have realistic-ish cat ears!

Super Easy Paper #Pussyhat

Final Product

My husband, daughter and I will be marching in the Houston Women’s Sister March this Saturday to support the DC march and stand together to show that love trumps hate. Many of the women in the march on DC will be wearing pink ‘pussyhats’ (more info at the PussyHat Project) to give a strong visual statement and while I support their efforts to make a statement while simultaneously keeping people warm, I won’t be wearing a fleece, knitted or crocheted hat at the 78°F Houston Women’s March. 😉

Instead, I’ve created a SUPER EASY paper pussyhat (crown, really) that can be made in literally five minutes or less, and requires only 4 supplies. Perfect for any warm weather sister marches or last minute hat needs.

I’ll also be attempting to sew a hat out of thin, stretch knit in the next few days so stay tuned for that if you’d like something a little more permanent.

SUPER EASY PAPER #PUSSYHAT

BY: Angelle Conant

  1. Gather supplies: pink construction paper, marker and tape or glue.

 

  1. Fold construction paper in half lengthwise and draw a pattern for your cat ear crown. Place the ears approximately an inch and a half apart.

3. Cut your pattern out. You should now have 2 identical pieces.

 

  1. Take the band that will make up the back part of your hat and cut off the ears.

 

  1. You now have your two pieces and are ready to assemble. Overlap the band approximately half an inch and tape or glue together.

 

  1. Wrap the hat around your head and see how much you need to overlap the other two sides of the band to make it fit your head properly. Adhere with tape or glue.

 

  1. Grab your marker and draw a couple of upside down Vs to complete your cat ear look. And youre done!

My Complicated Relationship with Christmas

Christmas and I? We go way back.

I remember being in 1st grade and swearing up and down to my parents that I heard Santa and his reindeer jingle past my room around 2am on Christmas morning.

I also remember waking them up only a couple of hours later at 4am only to be told that I needed to go back to bed until at least 6am.

Clearly, I had caught Christmas fever.

These days, my relationship with Christmas is a little more complicated.

As I got older, and then got married and had a kid, things changed quite a bit. And for some unknown, baffling reason I put an immense amount of pressure on myself during the holiday season. The house had to be spotless. I had to bake – and it had to be delicious. We had to listen to Christmas music while viewing beautiful displays of Christmas lights. We had to drink hot cocoa while we cheerily wrapped presents and decorated our tree. Each giftee had to LOVE their present and I had to buy all of them in one frantic day as I hunched over my computer and searched the internet for hours.
And every single one of these things had to be done joyously and with Christmas cheer.

Well, I say, screw that.

When I was young, Christmas was my absolute favorite holiday, but a few years ago, it started to become my least favorite. It was nothing but a giant ball of stress and pressure followed very closely by New Year’s Eve – another holiday I was stressing over – and then my birthday in early January. I started to dread the entire month of December and a little bit of January.

That’s when I happened upon Cheryl Richardson‘s marvelous post about the holiday season. She said:

“Relax and surrender to the magic of the season.  Let good enough be good enough.  Put your precious energy into enjoying time by yourself and with the people who matter most to your heart….Plans change. People disappoint. Traditions expire. Release your expectations of the holidays and be open to surprise.”

You can read the full post here.

This little message changed my life and opened my eyes to the mountain of expectations I had poured onto myself to make the season ‘magical.’ It’s taken a few years of keeping these words posted in my room every holiday season, but I’m finally starting to heed it’s message and slow down. I even realized that I didn’t have to do all the Christmas shopping by myself and in one day this year!

And you know what? So far, it really has been a magical season.

Wishing you a happy and expectation-free holiday season! 😉

Bella has NO expectations for the holiday season. NONE.

Bella has NO expectations for the holiday season. NONE. And see how relaxed she is?

THE LOVE SERIES #5: Partner Love

The husband and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary so this 5th installment of the Love Series post is dedicated to partner love.

At our wedding reception. Photo Credit: Austin Miller Photography.

At our wedding reception. Photo Credit: Austin Miller Photography.

My wonderful husband and I had a date very early on where we visited the beautiful Mecom Fountain. It was lovely and romantic and less than a year later it was also the place he proposed.

Another year later, on the morning after our wedding, we had a lovely breakfast at our hotel’s restaurant and could see the cascading fountain from our table as we sipped coffee and orange juice.

To say that this fountain has played a part in our romance would be an understatement. So when the time came for me to procure a ‘wood’ gift for our 5th Anniversary I decided to paint our beloved fountain on a wooden canvas with the words “I will always say Yes” painted at the bottom. Here was the result:

I mixed glow in the dark paint with the white. Because I'm a grown up.

I mixed glow in the dark paint with the white. Because I’m a grown up. Acrylic on Wood. 

© 2016. Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved

The husband had no idea what I was getting him so what do you think he got me? A wooden jack knife easel that he burned our anniversary date and other sweet nothings into. We gave each other complementary anniversary gifts without even realizing it. And in case you’re wondering, yes, yes, we are this lovingly disgusting all the time. 😉

And for those of you looking for a partner to love (not that you need one to be happy or whole or anything in between) here’s some advice I got on my 21st birthday. Take what you like and leave the rest:

“It takes 3 things for a relationship to work:
1. The spicy taco might look nice but it’ll give you heartburn. Go for the baked potato.
2. The man has to love the woman more than the woman loves the man.
3. You have to be friends. Somedays you won’t like each other, but you’ll still have to get along.”

Not sure how #2 fits for same sex couples or if I agree with it at all but I especially like and agree with #3.

I Did Indoor Skydiving!

I interrupt your normal broadcasting for an important message: I did indoor skydiving! And it was freaking awesome!

You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming. *annoying TV noise*

My Toddler Helps Me To Be MORE Productive

A few weeks ago, I wrote about being afraid of ‘hard work.’ In my research for that post, I came across a lovely piece called “Learning to Work” by Virginia Valian (which can be read for free as a PDF here). In it she discusses trying to complete her thesis and overcoming her own mental obstacles. She decides to commit to a certain amount of ‘work time’ every day. The only amount of time that doesn’t overwhelm her is 15 minutes. And so she works on and eventually completes her thesis in small, manageable chunks.

This was unbelievably eye opening for me. Before my daughter was born, I could only work on my creative pursuits in large, uninterrupted chunks of time. I had to be in the right ‘mood’ and feeling ‘inspired.’ I also had to be feeling exceptionally well physically. As you can imagine, not a whole lot was completed or even worked on. Just as Ms Valian would procrastinate on her thesis by volunteering and sleeping, I would procrastinate by cleaning, running errands, organizing, etc. Whatever creative project I was trying to work on was just too overwhelming – not to mention the many mental obstacles I faced about worth and value.

After my daughter was born, it was pure survival mode for months. Then we moved. More survival mode. Then we slowly crawled our way out of survival mode and into the adjustment period of having a new, wonderful little person in our lives. It was here that I started to want to work on my creative projects again. And at first, I tried to go back to my old way of working – large, uninterrupted blocks of inspired time. Ha! My time was now such a hot commodity I knew that if I ever wanted to do some of ‘my things’ I would have to prioritize my time. One by one, ‘priorities’ and distractions fell off my list. Bye constantly clean house. Hello messy, fun times with my daughter. Bye folded laundry, hello haphazard pile of clean clothes. Bye 20 blogs that I follow, hello cherished few. Goodbye filler TV and movies, hello books I want to read. Now I at least had my priorities straight and some time to myself, but the ‘hours’ of creativity I still felt I needed to complete anything were elusive.

IMAG0274-1

As I contemplated how to get anything done, my urge to be creative grew and I was drawing or singing or writing in the small moments here and there that I could find. In my mind, these small stolen moments were satiating but not enough to ever complete anything. And then I read “Learning to Work” and it changed my little world. No longer were these 15 minutes of creativity just scraps to feed the hungry beast inside me. They became wholesome, fulfilling sustenance that not only filled me up but would allow me to create AND complete something. Ms Valian created her 15 minutes for herself with a timer and increased her productivity. My 15 minutes are created by my new life as mom to a toddler and I’ve been more productive than ever.

As prolific author Nora Roberts says “I can fix a bad page. I can’t fix a blank page.” I might only write a couple of paragraphs, or create just the melody to a song or paint a small corner of a canvas but it’s at least progress. And it’s progress without all the mental anguish and endless procrastination because if I’m ever going to get anything done, it has to be in the small moments and I kind of like it like that.  Afterall, all these little moments will eventually add up to something big. 😉

Why Am I So Afraid of ‘Hard?’

What do I have against hard? Ever since my daughter was born, all I’ve been looking for is easy – the path of least resistance. I’ve shunned hard hard. So what is it about hard that I’m so afraid of?

My dear husband makes my life harder in many ways. I’m a neat freak, he’s…not. I love veggies and tofu, he… doesn’t. I’m a saver, he’s…not. But sharing my life with him is so worth the ‘hard.’ There has been so much joy and healing and fun and unconditional love because of him. And it’s only the beginning.

My daughter makes my life harder too. But she is so unbelievably worth it as well. Owning a home makes my life harder but it’s worth it. Being a stay-at-home mom, in many ways, makes my life more difficult, but it’s also worth it. Breastfeeding. Cloth diapers. Co-sleeping. Trying to get my daughter to nap on her own. Cooking unprocessed, whole foods. Eating low sugar. Self-care. Exercising. Meditating. Creating memories. All of these things require substantial effort and make my life ‘harder.’ But they also, in many ways, make it much easier at the same time. And they’re all things that I have chosen consciously and created within my life. And they are all worth it. And somewhere along the lines of exhaustion and fatigue, I’ve forgotten that hard isn’t a bad thing. I’ve forgotten that just because the path is hard doesn’t mean it’s the wrong path for me. If I’m presented with a hard path and an easy path, the universe isn’t telling me to take the easy path just because it’s easier. Giving birth to my daughter was hard but so worth it. So worth it, in fact, it didn’t even register as hard. It registered as a challenge but one I was happy to meet. And somewhere along the line I have stopped being happy to meet these challenges. All I want is easy. All I want is effortless.

Sometimes I think about my life if I had never gotten married and had children, almost as a fantasy. And when I’m in a dark place, so weary,  tired and run-down, it seems like a wonderful fantasy. But thinking about it now when I’m only slightly weary and exhausted, it just seems sad and devoid of the chaos and mess of life. This life that I have, that I have chosen for myself and created consciously, it’s hard but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Mission San Jose

It is time for me to stop choosing the easy path simply because it is easy. Sometimes that will be all I can do and that’s okay and forgiving myself for that and being gentle with myself will be the hard part. Because even when I take the easy path there is always a hard part that goes with it. So no matter what I choose I’m taking the easy/hard path or the hard/easy path. Writing a book while being a stay-at-home mom to a rambunctious 1 year old who doesn’t seem to want to sleep without her mom next to her will be hard. But it will be so worth it. Unschooling my daughter for the next 17 years will be challenging but it will so be worth it. Making time for my self care is freaking hard but it’s worth it. And making time for dates with my husband is hard but worth it. Making time for friendships and family is hard but worth it. It is time I stopped running away from hard.  It’s not something to be afraid of – it is something I have chosen consciously, to create a life full of love, chaos, fun, mess and even challenge. Because an easy life, though seemingly wonderful at times, is boring for me and not the life I will choose for myself. This is the life I choose – time to go live it.

2016 Houston Art Car Parade: A Phoenix Rises

Please forgive the pretentious title, but I sure am proud of my costume for this year’s local Art Car Parade. My friend Sarah Gish has a beautiful art car called Phoenix Rising (which I’ve mentioned before) and she was kind enough to let me skate alongside. Here’s the Phoenix costume I created for the occasion:

The finished product - ready to roll!

The finished product – ready to roll!

I had a freaking blast! The best part definitely had to be the kids’ faces when they’d see me coming and the smiles and waves I got from them as I ‘flew’ by.

If you’re curious how I made my costume, it was heavily influenced by this very impressive Phoenix costume. I didn’t have the time or resources to be quite that elaborate, but I think my thrift store body suit, Amazon Isis wings and $30 Michael’s trip did it justice. Of course, I wasn’t without my share of hiccups:

No mannequin = paint in all sorts of places.

No mannequin = paint in all sorts of places.

No mannequin means I paint with the body suit on and that fabric paint does not wash off easily.

It's a good thing she's a David Bowie fan.

It’s a good thing she’s a David Bowie fan.

Also, my impatient, walking 10 month old didn’t wait for paint to dry before resting against Mom’s leg.

One last note: we were in a car accident a few weekends ago (a lady ran a red light – we’re all okay). That’s not the exciting part though – the exciting part was that we had to get a new car and we got a fully electric 2013 Nissan Leaf. And it’s WHITE.

Look at the beautiful blank canvas.

Look at the beautiful blank canvas.

Which means it’s just begging to be turned into an art car. Who knows where I’ll be at the next Art Car Parade. 😉

Open Letter to An American Teenager

One of my teenage relatives was recently having a rough time of things.

This is what I would say to her (and my high school self).

Dear Teen,

I’m going to tell you something you don’t want to hear and already know: life isn’t fair. And sometimes, I think, a teen’s life can have extra bits of unfair-ness. First, there is school. Don’t even get me started on school. You can read about why school sucks here, here, and here. Then there is the fact that you’re almost sort-of an adult but not really. You are given tastes of freedom and independence but none of the trust or respect to go with it. “Be an adult. Stop acting childish” but also “Listen to me. Do what I say. You live under my roof, you have no rights.” This is in addition to the pressure and expectations of everyone around you: friends, teachers, parents, relatives, your church, your culture, the media, etc. And as the cherry on top are all of the ‘normal’ things in life that suck: trauma, abuse*, hardship, death, etc. What I’m trying to say here is that, generally, a teen’s life can really suck. And when your life has a tendency to suck, you tend to have a few bad days (or weeks or months or…).

This is for those times. The bad days. First, I’m going to give you some advice my mom gave me (yes, parents do actually know something from time to time): you can’t change anyone but yourself. Another gem from the old lady: what other people think about you is none of your business. And lastly: don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides (this includes the crap people post on Facebook). These three statements have profoundly changed the way I look at myself and the world. 

IMG_20160229_111901

© 2016 Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved. 

Secondly, when I’m having a bad day, I know it’s time to get back to the basics:

  • FOOD :  Am I eating often enough? Am I eating good, healthy foods? How can I prevent ‘hangry‘ moments?
  • WATER : Am I drinking enough water? How can I always have water accessible to me?
  • SLEEP : Am I getting enough sleep? Is it good quality sleep? How can I improve the quality of my sleep?
  • MOVEMENT : Am I moving my body almost everyday? Is it enjoyable? If not, how would I enjoy moving and strengthening my body?
  • OUTDOORS : Am I getting enough time in the sun (and therefore, Vitamin D)? Am I getting enough time in nature? How can I get outside more?
  • MEDITATION : Am I spending enough time alone? Do I make time to deal with my big emotions? Do I make time to get in touch with myself and figure out who I am and what I want? Do I listen to my inner wise voice?
  • SELF-EXPRESSION : Am I making time to express myself in a way that feels true to my soul? Even if I’m not going to share it with another living person, it still needs to be expressed.

What I’ve just listed is essentially radical self care. And contrary to popular belief,  caring for yourself is not selfish. It’s like they say on an airplane: you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you can help anyone else put on theirs. And let me tell you – self care isn’t easy. Change takes time and you will fall off the wagon. Be kind and gentle with yourself and just get back on. And don’t be afraid to ask for help or get creative.

And if all else fails, get some perspective: read a book, make a list of what you’re grateful for, help someone else, give back, focus on what you do have. The world is so much bigger and more beautiful than high school and you are stronger, wiser, braver, and more resilient and powerful than you know. Hang in there – I promise you it will get better.

Oh, and one final thing:

YOU ARE VALUED.

YOU ARE NEEDED.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

YOU ARE LOVED.

All my love,

Angelle

*If you are currently in an abusive situation, I urge you to seek help. Please call one of the hotlines on this page. You will get through this. You will survive.

Positive Affirmations for Motherhood

A while back I wrote a post of positive affirmations for my first pregnancy. Recently, I’ve been struggling and overwhelmed with Motherhood in general and when the original paper I wrote my pregnancy affirmations on fell out of my journal, I knew what I needed to do. Some of the affirmations are the same but many are new. We mothers have the most amazing and, at times, overwhelming, job around. May these affirmations remind us to be kind and gentle with ourselves and, in so doing, teach our children to do the same.

  • I am enough. I am strong, wise, grounded, kind and patient.
  • I respect my need for alone time.
  • I ask for help easily and with an open heart.
  • I respect my limits and needs.
  • I love and accept myself just the way that I am.
  • I focus on the things that truly matter and let go of the rest.
  • I embrace an imperfect and messy but happy and love-filled life.
  • I am doing the best that I can and my best is good enough.
  • I am a great mother.
  • No matter what happens, everything is going to be alright.

Motherhood

 

%d bloggers like this: