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Happy Helmraths

Hey, did you know I had a baby?


Of course you did, because it’s all I’ve been writing about since August.

I wasn’t sure in exactly what ways the blog would change once Miss Natalie burst onto the scene. I posted here and there about my pregnancy, but still had other projects to break up all the baby talk.

But now?

Welcome to Crafty Sheep: All Baby All the Time!

I give major props to women who are able to have a baby and maintain a sense of continuity on their blog. Elise, Bonnie, and Amy all come to mind. They’ve incorporated their pregnancies and babies to varying degrees on their blogs with, I believe, a lovely balance of their regular content.

“Balanced” is not a word I’d use to describe my life at the moment, and I’m ok with that. I have far less time for craft projects, but find myself writing more and more about life as a new mom.

I’ve kept quite a bit of it off the blog for fear of, you know, boring you all to death with no crafts and all baby photos, but now I’ve reached a point where the torrent of words about Natalie and parenting in general has overflowed into an entirely new venture.

And so I present to you Happy Helmraths, my new personal blog where I am not worrying one whit about too many baby pictures.

I’m not sure what this means for Crafty Sheep, given the hugely compressed window of free time in which I used to use to make things. I think most of my new content will be at Happy Helmraths, but I might pop back in here every once in a while.

I am taking on a great big new craft project, but I’m giving myself a LOT of time to do it. If you’re interested in following along, please stop by Happy Helmraths. Here’s a photo hint:

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This is not goodbye; just ta-ta for now! I hope to see you at the new blog, but completely understand if that’s not your thing.

Big hugs all around and a heartfelt thank you for reading!

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October Goals

october-goalsI live and die by my daily to-do list, mostly because it’s the only way I can remember what I’m supposed to be doing. Otherwise Will gets home from work and asks how our day went, and I just stare at him blankly, trying really hard to recall what happened even a few hours ago. My memory is definitely not what it used to be.

(I blame the goober in the photo above. I am not even going to pretend I have a good reason to use that picture for this post; I just love it.)

To that end I’ve decided to start thinking slightly more longterm than “lunchtime” and write down the goals that I plan on accomplishing by the end of the month.

Here we go.

Make Natalie’s Halloween costume. This goal uses the word “make” very loosely (it’s more like “assemble from various articles of clothing that she already owns”) but there is a bit of knitting involved. I’ve already started and I don’t think it’ll take that much longer to complete. Says the girl who blithely cast on with nary a thought in the world for silly considerations like gauge or needle size so it might fit either me or one of the cats. TBD.

Finish the C25K training plan. I don’t have any races on the docket, but the Couch to 5k program app has been really great for easing me back into running. It gives me a lovely little interlude of me time and the exercise definitely helps me maintain an even keel. Natalie’s pediatrician has given me the go-ahead to take her out in the jogging stroller, so that’s nice on days when I know I won’t be able to get outside after Will comes home from work. In theory I only have two weeks to go in the training plan, but each week has been taking me about a week and a half to complete. After that’s done…Couch to 10k? Or Couch to Refrigerator?

Pack away maternity clothes/Return non-maternity fall and winter clothes to the closet. This has been on my list for weeks, but the tote of non-maternity clothes is still sitting in the corner of our room with a big pile of maternity clothes on top of it. I’m not letting go of all the maternity clothes, since several of the tunic-like tops are perfect for fall and still look fine even without the baby bump, but things like my support bands? Super stretchy pants with panels that practically come up to my armpits? I think it’s safe to pack those away.

Tummy time and vitamin D drops for Natalie every day. These shouldn’t have to be goals, but nearly every night after Natalie has already gone to bed I remember that we haven’t done either. I’ve set up a reminder in my phone to help me remember.

Fix Natalie’s social security card. Somewhere between the birth center and City Hall, Natalie’s name became “Nathalie” and her social security card was issued with that misspelling. I’m reasonably sure this can be fixed by bringing her correct birth certificate to the social security office (I hope, I hope, I hope), so it’s just a matter of picking a day and making it happen.

And that’s all she wrote. Happy Friday!


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Welcome home!

Whew, what a weekend! I realize it is Wednesday and not *technically* the weekend anymore, but pssshh, let’s not argue semantics.

We are now living in our house. OUR. HOUSE. That’s so cool to say!


As you can see, everything has already been unpacked and organized.

messyhouseThe McDonald’s cup in the kitchen really makes it feel like home.

Ok. So we have some work to do. The good news is that there’s nothing to renovate or paint, and right now our biggest projects are hanging art up and figuring out which box the kleenex was packed in.

We couldn’t have done it without the help of my family, so we thanked them with a steak dinner.

The grill master himself, cooking those steaks like a BOSS.


There’s a wee bit of a family resemblance between my mom, my sister, and me. Or so we’ve been told.

And yes. I am barefoot and pregnant. Living the dream, people. Living the dream.

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Fight Pregnancy Brain with a Home Idea Book

There’s so much to think about when you move, especially when going from a two-bedroom apartment to a much bigger single family house (YAY HOUSE).  I knew that with my major case of pregnancy brain, I didn’t stand a chance at remembering all the little details that I’d need to keep in mind when we’re out shopping – how many windows in the bedroom? How big is that closet? What color is the paint in the baby’s room?

I made this little home idea book to help me keep track of everything and it’s been working swimmingly so far.


I’d been looking at fancy binders and realized I had a plain mini binder (5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″) that I could spiffy up myself, and it would fit perfectly in my purse. I made the cover in Photoshop by using background paper from the Seafoam Project Life kit and a paint splatter from the free Story Teller kit, printed it on regular paper, and stuck it in the binder. Ta-da!


I also made a spine and a back cover, because it just wouldn’t work if the whole thing weren’t pretty. Naturally.

Fonts are…actually I’m not sure what the fonts are, but I know I got them for free from Amazing resource for cool fonts. I used the eye dropper tool to sample the color from the pink paint splatter and used that same color for the text. Design unity, yo.

I also happened to have a set of tab dividers for this binder. I’d like to have a few more tabs so that each bedroom could have its own section, but this is just fine for now. My handy-dandy label maker saves me from having illegible tabs. My handwriting is a problem.

home-idea-book-2So. What’s in the book?

Excellent question. The short answer is, everything! It’s my brain in book form, so anything that I think will be useful information to have is in there.

home-idea-book-3Room dimensions.

How many windows, what walls they’re on, and how big they are.

Paint colors, if I know what they are. The size of any rugs that the previous owners had, or big pieces of furniture.


The previous owners were awesome and left behind a stack of paint chips, so I hole-punched all the chips and put them in the appropriate section. Page protectors would be quicker and more convenient, but I don’t have any of those on hand right now. *shrug* I also hole-punched info sheets from Ikea for different pieces of furniture we’re considering and added those, too.



I’m nesting like a crazy person right now, so of course the size of the baby’s closet is of vital importance to me. Plus diagrams are fun and make me feel productive.

PS. Don’t be thrown off by the blue paint in Baby H’s room – we still don’t know if we’re having a boy or a girl; we just like this color and think it’s great for any baby!

PPS. Also, am lazy. Do not feel like painting.

Since we haven’t moved in yet (that’s happening this weekend YAYYYY!) this book has been so helpful for online shopping. We’ve had no doubts if a certain rug we’re considering will fit in that particular room, or if our washer and dryer will work in our teeny-tiny laundry room (that is not to sound ungrateful about the laundry room at all; for the first time in 6 years we won’t have to use coin-op facilities. ERHMAGERD LAUNDRY).

Do you keep track of stuff like this, or am I just OCD? Got any last minute moving tips for me?

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This vacation felt ill-timed.

Last week Boston was in turmoil following the marathon bombings on Monday and the lockdown of the entire city and many of its suburbs on Friday. Pregnancy insomnia woke me early, early, early on Friday morning and I sat in the dark in front of the flickering TV watching the news, one hand on my belly and the other on my phone, texting a close friend who lives within minutes of where the shootout and eventual capture of the suspect took place.

At noon on that same day, we closed on our house. A happy event, no doubt, but one overshadowed by unease and nerves frayed from lack of sleep. Our first day of homeownership was not exactly the way we had pictured it, but nothing last week was.

That evening we got a flat tire.


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We drifted through the weekend, taking trips to Target, cleaning our apartment and our new house, and preparing for our vacation. When we booked it, we hadn’t even seen this house and had no way of knowing that all these events would topple over one another, cascading one after another as we ran ourselves ragged trying to keep up.

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The cab arrived at 4am on Wednesday to take us to the airport. We locked ourselves out of our apartment building with our luggage still inside, tantalizingly close but completely out of reach.


It is surprisingly difficult to rouse your neighbors on the phone at 4am. One finally answered and we whooshed inside, a whirling dervish of apology and humble gratitude. Our good-natured cabbie simply smiled, not bothered by the wait, and delivered us to the airport on schedule.

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And now we are here. It has been three days of sun and seaside breeze and sand squishing between my toes. The tension I carried with me from the cold and windy northeast has uncoiled, softened, washed out to sea with the tides.

We are non-golfers staying a golf resort in the off-season, which means that it is quiet. The beach is peaceful in its solitude, we have our pick of tables at every restaurant, and there is no traffic.

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I’m getting big enough that intense activity and long afternoons of sight-seeing are tiring and make my back hurt. So we don’t do that. We walk on the beach, read by the pool, and knit baby sweaters in the shade (that’s more my thing than Will’s).

I am so very, very excited to meet this baby. I have entered the third trimester and my countdown is in the double digits (88 days, give or take). Even so I am enormously grateful that Will and I have the opportunity to take this last vacation together, just the two of us.

This is our not-so-ill-timed vacation.

It’s perfect.


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