Crochet Basketball Hoop Headband

Check out this step-by-step tutorial. Create this funbBasketball hoop crochet hat / crochet headband to wear to your next big game. All sizes. Great for beginners! I'll show you how to crochet a headband and how to crochet a net onto it. 

Materials needed:
Medium weight yarn in white and orange (or substitute your team colors!)
5.0mm crochet hook and 6.0mm crochet hook
Tapestry needle
Measuring tape

If you sell hats using this pattern please credit HanDIY Tutorials for the pattern and include a link to this video.

Finish your hat? Send me a picture of your finished product! https://www.facebook.com/handiytutori...

Approximate circumference of head by age:
12 months: 16.5 inches / 42 cm
18-24 months: 18 inches / 46cm
2 -5: 19 inches / 48 cm
Child: 20 inches / 50 cm
Youth: 21 inches / 53 cm
Women: 22 inches / 56 cm
Men: 23 inches / 59 cm

Crochet Basketball Hoop Headband Hat


Easy Soda Bottle Hair Tutorial: Crazy Hair Day

How to do soda pop bottle hair for crazy hair day!

This one looks harder than it is. It only takes a few minutes!

C-3PO Droid Crochet Hat Tutorial Inspired by Star Wars

Step by step C-3PO droid crochet hat tutorial inspired by Star Wars. Easy to follow and fun to make. Free pattern. 

If you sell hats using this pattern, please credit HanDIY Tutorials for the pattern and include a link to this video. Thank you!

Check out my BB-8 crochet hat tutorial here: https://youtu.be/yVZaA9NZiDo
R2D2: https://youtu.be/7MVCAojko_c

Finish your hat? Please share a picture of it on my Facebook Page! I love to see your work.http://facebook.com/handiytutorials

Subscribe to my channel to stay updated on my latest tutorials. 


Free BB-8 Amigurumi Crochet Pattern with Step-by-step Video Tutorial

After making my BB-8 crochet hat tutorial, a viewer requested a BB-8 amigurumi tutorial and I am so glad she did! He turned out so cute and my daughters just love having their very own BB-8 stuffed toys.

Attached below is my free YouTube tutorial explaining the step-by-step of how to make your own. It's very beginner friendly! It's been up a few days and I've already heard back from several people who are brand new crocheters (one just learned a couple weeks ago!) who have said they found it easy to follow. And they turned out so cute! So don't be intimidated! This is a great into to amigurumi and you may find a new passion for it! (I know I did!)

This pattern is for personal use only. I put a lot of time and energy into creating this, so please do not claim my pattern as your own. If you do choose to sell items made with this pattern, please credit HanDIY Tutorials for the pattern and include to a link to my video tutorial.

Enjoy! And please send me a photo of your final product on my Facebook page!

And check out my other star wars themed crochet tutorials:
BB-8 Crochet Hat
R2-D2 Crochet Hat

Free BB-8 Amigurumi Crochet Pattern with Step-by-step Video Tutorial bb8 amigurumi


R2-D2 Droid Crochet Hat Tutorial inspired by Star Wars

R2-D2 crochet hat tutorial free pattern star wars r2d2

Step by step R2D2 droid crochet hat tutorial inspired by Star Wars. Easy to follow and fun to make. Free pattern.

If you sell hats using this pattern, please credit HanDIY Tutorials for the pattern and include a link to this video. Thank you!

Check out my BB-8 crochet hat tutorial here: https://youtu.be/yVZaA9NZiDo

Finish your hat? Please share a picture of it on my Facebook Page! I love to see your work. http://facebook.com/handiytutorials

Written PDF pattern will be available soon.

Subscribe to my channel to stay updated on my latest tutorials.


BB-8 Droid Crochet Hat Tutorial inspired by Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Easy step by step BB-8 droid crochet hat tutorial inspired by Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Free Pattern! https://youtu.be/yVZaA9NZiDo
Star Wars: The Force Awakens inspired BB-8 Crochet Hat Tutorial. Free Pattern. Easy step by step tutorial.

Part 2: Adding embellishments. https://youtu.be/39ngnfu7M0o If you sell hats using this pattern, please credit HanDIY Tutorials for the pattern and include a link to this video. Thank you! Finish your hat? Please share a picture of it on my Facebook Page! I love to see your work. http://facebook.com/handiytutorials Written PDF pattern will be available soon. IMG_8622


Four Ways to Hand Wash Your Laundry: Build a Washer for $3

Homemade washing machine. Build a similar system for under $5! (Complete with spin cycle!)

This week I've been participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge by Dirty Diaper Laundry. For one week, I've put away my fancy cloth diaper supplies and adopted the use of simple flats (think your Grandma's cloth diapers) with covers. I took it a step further and decided to come up with a cloth diapering stash and washing system for under $20 that is perfect for people who have a tight budget or want an emergency preparedness option for diapering! Click here to find out more.

In addition to only using flats, all participants are forgoing the use of their washer and dryer and must come up with a handwashing routine.

Even if you aren't interested in cloth diapering, today's post is still for you if you are interested in coming up with a low budget (under $5) hand washing routine for emergency preparedness, homesteading, traveling, camping, etc. 

I tried four different washing routines so far this week to fill you in on the good, the bad, and the ugly of each. The good news is I found a winner!

Before I begin, I am assuming that before washing you have disposed of any solids from your diapers into your toilet before washing. If your child is not yet eating solids, you can toss your soiled diapers right into the wash. This is because it infant poop is water soluble.

Your routine, detergent, etc. may be different based on your water, allergies, etc. That being said most cloth diaper routines look something like this.

Basic Cloth Diaper Washing Routine:
  1. Rinse warm
  2. Hot wash w/ detergent (heavy duty)
  3. Rinse warm/cold
  4. Extra rinse until bubbles are out.
  5. Spin cycle to remove excess water. 
I tried my best to follow this same washing routine for all of my methods.

The four methods I tried were:
  1. Hand washing in a sink
  2. Washing in sink or bathtub with plunger
  3. Plunger and bucket system
  4. Plunger and two bucket system w/ spin cycle (WINNER!) 


Hand washing in Sink

On day one, I decided to try the most basic option of hand washing all my diapers in my small bathroom sink through the day as I went along.  I washed two diapers at a time and covers when they got soiled.

I wanted to try this because I know it may be someone's only option if you are traveling, road tripping, or your power goes out and you have no other option. This can be done in any sink, anywhere, as long as you have access to water.

  1. Rinse warm.
  2. Put in rubber stopper.
  3. Fill sink with hot water and detergent. (Only about half way or you'll splash water everywhere).
  4. Add your flats. (You can't fit very many)
  5. Agitate the water and diapers with hands. 
  6. Rub fabric together.
  7. Let the water out of the sink.
  8. Rinse, wring, and rinse until there are no more bubbles.
  9. Wring out and hang dry.

  • Realistic option if you only if you absolutely have to clean diapers this way.
  • Does the job and the diapers do get clean. 
  • Good for spot cleaning. 
  • My preferred method for cleaning covers.
  • I couldn't clean very many at one time.
  • Water spills around quite a bit everywhere.
  • You get very up close and personal with the diapers. 
  • It takes time.
  • If you have sensitive skin, your hands could get raw. 
  • You are constantly washing through the entire day to stay up on it.  
  • Hard to wring out all water by hand. 
Because it was hard to wring out water by hand I tried laying my flats on a towel and then rolling the towel.


Washing in Kitchen Sink/Tub with Plunger and Sprayer:

Everything was very similar to my routine with handwashing in a sink, but this time I used a plunger to aggitate the water and the sprayer was very helpful during my rinse. It even worked well on a couple prefolds I had in the laundry from  before I started the challenge.

  1. Rinse warm.
  2. Put in rubber stopper.
  3. Fill sink or tub with hot water and detergent. (Less than half way or you'll splash water everywhere).
  4. Add diapers. (You can add more in a larger sink and a bunch in a bathtub).
  5. Agitate the water and diapers with the plunger till flats are clean.
  6. Let the water out of the sink. 
  7. Rinse (using your attachment sprayer until there are no more bubbles... no need to wring). 
  8. Wring out and hang dry.

The good:
  • The plunger did a decent job of agitating the water.
  • I didn't have to use my hands.
  • I got more diapers clean in less time than just hand washing. 
  • It even worked well on some pre-folds I had that needed to be washed from before the challenge!
  • The sprayer was an AMAZING tool. Rinsing was much faster and easier and I didn't have to wring the fabric during the ring to get the soap out. 

The Bad:
  • I couldn't agitate it as heavily or quickly without water splashing everywhere. 
  • I wanted to sanitize everything in sight right after.
  • The plunger would get suctioned to the bottom of the sink/ tub or clothes, slowing down the process.


Plunger and Bucket System: Great System!

This is a very popular system by moms taking this challenge. You use a 5 gallon bucket, plunger, and a lid with a hole slightly bigger than the plunger handle. Drill holes into your plunger for a better system. (It agitates better!)

  1. Place clothes into bucket. 
  2. Rinse warm
  3. Pour out water
  4. Add hot water and detergent
  5. Put plunger into bucket and guide the plunger handle through the lid. 
  6. Secure lid.
  7. Agitate for 10+ minutes
  8. Pour out water
  9. Wring and Rinse
  10. Pour out water
  11. Wring and Rinse (Repeat rinse till all bubbles are gone.)
  12. Wring out
  13. Hang dry.

The Good:
  • Plunger with holes works much better than plunger without!
  • You don't have to use your hands.
  • Faster than the other methods.
  • You can agitate the water very heavily without water splashing around. 
  • Very similar to washing machine.  
  • Can be used anywhere (bathtub, backyard, camping, etc). 

The Bad:
  • Arms get tired. But it is a good workout. 
  • Because there is no drain in the bucket, you have to lift and pour to get the water out. 
  • Difficult to get all the water and soap out of the bucket just by pouring, so it requires more rinses.    
  • Wringing out fabric gets very tiring. 


Plunger and Two Bucket System With Spin Cycle: WINNER!

I found this system on a YouTube video when I was researching different washing options. It is very similar to the one bucket system, but has a few fantastic additions that make it the winner in my book. The secret is that one bucket has holes drilled into it, which makes it the most like a regular washing machine, reduces need to pour out water, and need for several rinses. My favorite part, is it has a spin cycle! No need to wring out by hand. We made it for just $3! (Edit: Looking back, I would invest in a nicer plunger. The generic dollar store ones aren't durable enough for heavy duty use like this. The rubber wore out and started breaking at towards the bottom after only three washes.)

To create this system you need:
  • Two 5 gallon buckets (we picked ours up from the local bakery for less than $1 each!)
  • One lid
  • A plunger
  • A drill
  • Strong piece of thin line/rope. (Optional: For the spin cycle.)

Instructions to create washer:
  1. Drill several holes into the sides and bottom of one of your 5 gallon bucket. 
  2. Space holes at least an inch apart to maintain integrity of the bucket.
  3. Cut/drill a hole into the lid that is slightly larger than your plunger handle.
  4. Drill several holes into the plunger.

 Washing Routine:
  1. Place clothes into bucket with holes. 
  2. Rinse warm
  3. Place bucket into other bucket. 
  4. Add hot water and detergent.
  5. Put plunger into bucket and guide the plunger handle through the lid. 
  6. Secure lid.
  7. Agitate for 10+ minutes.
  8. Lift top bucket out of bottom bucket. Dump out dirty water from bottom bucket.
  9. Rinse until all bubbles are gone. (Instead of wringing out by hand you can place bucket without holes into bucket with holes to help push the water out, etc).
  10. Attach piece of rope to the handle of the top bucket and hang over a tree, etc.
  11. Spin bucket in a circle for SPIN CYCLE!

The Good:
  • Plunger with holes works much better than plunger without!
  • You don't have to use your hands to wash/wring.
  • Faster than the other methods.
  • You can agitate the water very heavily without water splashing around. 
  • Can be used anywhere (bathtub, backyard, camping, etc).  
  • Two bucket system helps you drain and rinse easier than one bucket system.
  • No need for wringing out by hand.

The Bad:
  • Arms get tired. But it is a good work out.

I will be posting a complete video with instructions and the wash routine sometime in the next few days! For now here are some clips.


Spin Cycle:

A few others tips I learned along the way:

Instead of using a plunger, you can invest in a mobile washer (hand powered) from Emergency Essentials. It's a very well designed, durable, high quality device that looks like a fancy plunger. It is currently on sale for $15. I have heard great things about it. I plan to purchase one.


Roll wet flats in a towel and squeeze or walk on it to effectively wring the water out.

Try "sunning" stains out. The sun works wonders on stains. Here is a picture of before and after an hour in the sun!

Do you have a hand washing routine you swear by? Any other DIY laundry tips? Share it in the comments below.


How I Turned Old T-Shirts Into Flat Cloth Diapers

I'm doing the Flats Challenge this week. I decided to go very low budget to prove that you don't need to invest hundreds of dollars to diaper a child. This is also a great option for an emergency preparedness kit. Click Here for a more detailed description of my low budget stash (only $42) that I'm using for the challenge and learn how you can create a similar stash and hand powered washing machine for just $20!

How I Turned Old T-Shirts Into Cloth Diapers

Items Needed:
  • 7 T-Shirts (Size XL preferred, but smaller sizes work too)
  • Scissors 
*Each T-shirt will create two flats.  Use more T-shirts if you want more than 14 diapers. 

Cost:     FREE!

  1. Cut the sleeves off your T-shirt. 
  2. Set aside. (These sleeves will become boosters to add absorbancy to your diaper.) 
  3. Cut length ways from the arm pit down to the bottom of the shirt on both sides.
  4. Cut along the seem from shoulder to shoulder across the neckline to create two pieces of fabric.
  5. Voila! Your old t-shirt is now two flats and two boosters!

Two t-shirt flats in a pad fold and two sleeves for boosters

Fold your piece of fabric in various ways to fit the needs of your child. There are folds specifically for boys, girls, toddlers, newborns, etc. :) Click Here to learn how to do 8 simple folds.

You can use a pad fold to just lay into your diaper cover and then secure your cover to your child. You can do this with ANY cover, but the Flip diaper covers have flaps on the front and back that help hold the flat in place.

Another option is to fold it like a pad fold or tri fold and fan out the back sides. This is often called the angel wings fold. Then use a snappi to secure it onto your child. This is a great fold that keeps newborn poop from escaping out the sides onto your cover.

You don't have to use T-shirts for diapers. You can also re-purpose burp cloths, flour sack towels, and receiving blankets.

Use your T-shirt sleeves as boosters to add an extra layer of absorbancy. Just lay them into the diaper where you want the additional absorbancy before you secure it to your child using safety pins or a Snappi.

How Have The T-shirt Flats Held Up So Far?


I am amazed at how well a simple t-shirt has worked for diapering. I honestly haven't noticed a huge difference compared to prefolds, my fancy snap in inserts, and various boosters. It is definitely more work to fold the flat compared to a snap in insert, but I'm getting a good amount of protection. It doesn't absorb as much as my hemp and bamboo inserts and boosters, so I am changing diapers more frequently. But I still haven't had any leaks and my baby boy seems to not notice any difference at all. I recommend a re-purposed receiving blanket for overnight use as it is more absorbent. I have also heard you can layer two flats together for heavy wetters or overnight use, though I haven't tried it yet.

Click Here for a more detailed description of my low budget stash (only $42) that I'm using for the challenge and learn how you can create a similar stash and hand powered washing machine for just $20!


My Flats Challenge Stash - Great for Emergency Preparedness!

Flats Challenge Stash (Photo doesn't include plunger and 5 gallon buckets)

Here is my stash for the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. This is also a great cloth diaper stash and hand-washing system for anyone interested in a sustainable or emergency preparedness solution for diapering.

My goal was to keep it under $50. But I will tell you how to build a similar stash for under $20! (The price of one pack of disposable diapers!)

Here is the breakdown of all my supplies and the cost.

Build a Similar Stash for Under $20
Put together a similar stash for under $20 by switching out the Best Bottoms, Rumparooz, and Flip covers for Alva Diaper Covers ($3.99 each)!

Why a Plunger and Two 5 Gallon Buckets?
These will become a hand powered washing machine! Complete with a spin cycle! I'll go into more detail with the specifics of this system on Thursday. This is a fantastic option for laundry in general. Not just for washing cloth diapers.

Many already have some 5 gallon buckets around the home, so you may not have to invest in those. We have found that Lehi Bakery has the cheapest option at under $2 per bucket. I bought my plunger from Dollar Tree. 

Flats are a single layer piece of fabric that act as the absorbent layer for the diaper. The benefits of flats are that they clean easily, dry quickly, and they can be folded in numerous ways to fit the needs of your child from newborn to toddler.

You can use purchased cotton flats, hemp flats, bamboo flats, re-purposed T-shirts, receiving blankets, burp cloths, or even flour sack towels from your kitchen! Tomorrow I'll write about how I re-purposed 7 T-shirts to create my flats.

How many flats do you need for your stash? It depends on how often you change diapers and how often you want to do laundry! :) But I recommend a minimum of 12.

Boosters add an extra "boost" in absorbancy. They are great for overnight diapers or when you know you need to go a little longer between changes. You simply set a booster into your flat before you fold it onto your child. My personal favorite are hemp boosters, but to keep cost low I used the sleeves from my re-purposed T-Shirts.

Snappies are a great alternative to the typical safety pins that hold the flat onto the child. Snappies are a fantastic item to add to your emergency preparedness kit because they easily can turn any piece of fabric into a diaper. 

The diaper cover is the waterproof layer that goes over the flat. This is where most of your budget will go. There are may options for covers ranging from $2-$30. The white pull on plastic covers with elastic legs can certainly do the job. But I personally prefer my Rumparooz, Best Bottoms, and Flips diapers because they can be adjusted to fit any size and are leak free.

Why do you only need three covers? Covers can be used over and over again. Simply wipe it out between changes and you are good to go. If it becomes soiled, (meaning solid matter leaks onto the cover) it is best to switch it out for another cover. I like to hand wash it immediately, lay it out to dry, and then add it right back into my rotation. How many covers do you need? At least three.

The Rumparooz and Best Bottoms covers are very high quality and durable material. They have snaps that adjust to fit any child from newborn to toddler. They also include double gussets which gives you extra protection from leaks. I've never had a leak with either of these diapers. EVER. Seriously. They are amazing. Best Bottoms is a husband and wife company with their products made in the USA, so I love supporting them with my business. Plus they make a truly fantastic diaper. 

I included the Flip diaper cover in my stash to add variety because of their unique design. Fold your flat diaper into a "pad fold" and simply set it in. No Snappi required! They also have snaps that adjust to fit any child from newborn to toddler. Only a single gusset system, but still a great cover.

Other great covers to check out: Thirsties ($13), Buttons ($11), g-diaper ($15), Imagine ($9), and Alva ($4).

While I love Grovia, and have a few in my regular stash, I don't recommend their hybrid covers for use with flats. The mesh interior makes it more difficult to wipe and reuse for multiple diaper changes. They are best used with their snap in inserts with water resistant backing.

Cloth Baby Wipes

For a sustainable option for wipes, a receiving blanket cut into squares works fantastic. Just wet down a square before you use it and then toss it into your wet bag with your diaper. 

Wet Bag / Garbage Bag and Plastic Bag

A garbage bag or wet bag is needed to store your diapers when they are soiled and waiting to be washed.No need to be fancy, but the pail liner is more sustainable. The grocery bag is great for when you are on the go.

My usual stash I use a pail liner and a travel size wet/dry bag
Optional Items
If your child is not yet eating solids, you can toss your soiled diapers right into the bag without rinsing. This is because infant poop is completely water soluble. Once baby starts eating solids you need to shake, swoosh or spray solids from the diaper into the toilet before you wash. This is where fleece liners and diaper sprayers that attach to the toilet come in handy.

A diaper sprayer is like the spray attachment on a kitchen sink. Use it to spray the solids off rather than "dunking and swooshing" the diaper in the toilet.

Fleece liners (you can buy or make your own) are set into the diaper closest to baby's bum. They catch the solid matter on a fabric that you can easily shake into the toilet. The solids come right off and the fleece. It also acts as a "stay dry" layer to keep your baby's bum feeling dry.

My stash for this challenge is definitely more of a "roughing it" stash geared towards an emergency preparedness kit. While I have learned that I can certainly make do with my flats challenge stash, I do love my usual stash. Above is a photo of my complete cloth diaper stash. It is still a lower budget option at $210. Perhaps after the challenge I will do a post about my everyday stash.


Why I'm Taking the Flats and Handwashing Challenge

This week is the Flats and Handwashing Challenge and I'm participating!

What is the Flats and Handwashing Challenge?

It is a cloth diapering challenge in which participants go "old school" and only use flats (one single layered piece of flat fabric) and covers for one week. All covers and flats must then be washed by hand and line dried. Cloth diapers have come a long way and this challenge is an opportunity to go back to the basics. You can follow others doing the challenge by checking out the link above following #bringingflatsback #flatschallenge

Why am I doing this?

I'm already a cloth diapering mom, but I wanted to take this challenge for the following reasons below:

Emergency Preparedness/ Self Sufficiency

I live in a community where emergency preparedness and self sufficiency is very valued. Our family is no exception.

My main reason for becoming a cloth diapering mom was to have a self-sufficient diapering option and to not depend on expensive disposables that are just thrown away.

There are many families who aren't prepared to diaper their babies in the event of running out of disposables, a parent losing a job, a natural disaster, a zombie apocalypse, ;) etc. I want to spread awareness that by purchasing a few affordable basics and gathering supplies you likely have laying around the house, you can build a useful and sustainable diapering option in the event of an emergency. (I'll talk more about this on Wednesday!)

The one item you should add to your Emergency Prepareness kit today? A Snappi. (Pictured below.)

First T-Shirt Flat of the Challenge! (Before I put the cover on!)

Not Depend On Washer and Dryer

I also want to do this challenge so that I am prepared to handwash my diapers and other laundry in the event the power goes out, the washer goes out, or another emergency comes up. I will be using a plunger and a bucket and/or the bathtub. I look at this as a great "practice run" to iron out any kinks that may come up and make changes as needed. I'm going to try a few different options and let you know the good, the bad, and the ugly of each! I'll share what I learn so that you can learn from my mistakes!

Make Cloth Mainstream 
I hope that by participating and blogging about my experience some friends, family, acquaintances may perhaps consider cloth diapering as an option for emergency preparedness or daily use.

Viable and Low Budget Option

I also wanted to bring awareness to the fact that many people do not cloth diaper because they believe they cannot afford it. Many are under the impression it is MORE expensive than disposable diapering and requires a huge investment. While there are certainly some cloth diapering stashes out there that are worth well over $3,000, my current stash is worth $210. The photo below is every cloth diapering product I own (AIO, hybrid, covers, prefolds, inserts, boosters, snappies, wet bags, etc.)

While this is a picture of all of my items, (including a few indulgent "pretty" covers that make me happy) my go-to stash that I regularly use is actually closer to a $160 budget.

My current stash of all my cloth diapering supplies (not for the challenge) valued at $210.

When I am finished with these diapers, I could very realistically sell my stash for 50%-80% of what I paid for it. Some people think that cloth diapering is beyond their budget, but I want to show that it can be much more affordable than people even realize. And it is a viable option for people on a tight budget.

For this challenge, I'm keeping it very low budget (under $50) by using re-purposed materials from around my own home. Instead of using purchased flats, I'm using re-purposed T-shirts and receiving blankets. You can even use flour sack towels!

DIY flats out of old T-shirts

Instead of using baby wipes, I'm using T-shirt sleeves and a receiving blanket cut into small squares. 

The only items that do cost money are my covers, snappies, and plunger (my handmade washing machine!). 

I will give more details on my Flats Challenge stash that I am using this week on my blog post tomorrow. But here is a sneak peek!

* Not pictured, my plunger AKA handmade washing machine.


Flats and Handwashing Challenge

I'm taking the Flats and Handwashing Challenge to become better prepared for emergency preparedness. More details coming tomorrow!


Free Frozen Inspired Anna and Elsa Crochet Hat Tutorial

This video is made in memory of Brylee Olson who passed away after battling DIPG, a rare and fatal brain tumor. Please watch the intro. If you use this tutorial I ask that you make these Anna and Elsa hats in Brylee's memory and consider making a donation to one of the charities below.
Brylee's Charities:
or donate a hat to a child in need of a smile.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Adding the hair, heart, and crown coming next week. :)

Link to sizing chart by Anne Granger:
Great and accurate resource I highly recommend when making hats of all sizes.

See my other work on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Handmade-by-Haley/


Anna Elsa Crochet Hat Tutorial Frozen
Add caption
Anna Elsa Crochet Hat Tutorial Frozen Pattern


Frozen Inspired Crochet Hats

I made these hats for a very special girl named Brylee who was just put on hospice after fighting cancer (DIPG brain tumor) for over a year.

She loves princesses and especially Frozen, so I made her two Frozen inspired Elsa and Anna crochet hats as a gift. I'm very happy with the way they turned out. I hope they bring a smile to her face and that she can enjoy these with her younger sister.

Check out my other creations/order: Handmade by Haley

Update: September 8th, 2014

Imitation is the highest form of flattery! When I made my Elsa and Anna hats, they were (as far as I was aware) entirely unique and designed and made by me especially for Brylee in 5. I looked up other patterns and hats on Google image and Pinterest and I wasn't very happy with any of them. So I came up with my own pattern. Today I was looking back to see if my hats come up in the search. They do! But so do all of these which look EXACTLY like both of my hats. These hats and patterns are being sold by BIG companies on large websites as well as on Etsy by small business owners. I am happy to see so many people are enjoying hats that are inspired by my design! I am honestly flattered. But of course, I do ask that if you do want an Anna or Elsa hat, please order it from me.

Update #2: September 9th, 2014

I had an epiphany last night. Something was still bugging me about this whole hat thing and I couldn't put my finger on it. I truly am flattered that the pattern of my Elsa and Anna hats have been imitated by fellow crafters as well as large companies who are mass producing them. I don't feel bad about missed sales because there is no way I could keep up with any sort of high demand for these hats. This is why I choose not to have a shop on Etsy. I stay plenty busy making hats as a hobby, for gifts, and selling them to friends and family. But something was still bugging me!

Then it hit me in the middle of the night. I realized I has nothing to do with me, the copycat hats, or missed sales.

It has everything to do with Brylee.

I designed and made these Anna and Elsa hats as a gift for a sweet three year old girl named Brylee who was terminally ill with DIPG (an inoperable brain tumor). I want the popularity of these hats to benefit Brylee in some way. So, with Brylee's mother Lara Olson's permission, I am going to create a free step-by-step tutorial on Youtube on how to create these hats so that anyone can make them without purchasing a pattern. I will also tell followers about Brylee's life and ask those who use the tutorial to donate to Brylee in 5, DIPG research, or the Mascot Miracles Foundation in honor of Brylee.



Claire's Birth Story


When I found out I was pregnant with our second child, I felt a strong desire to heal from my first birthing experience. When I gave birth to my daughter Madeline, I had planned to have an out of hospital water birth at a birth center. After going two weeks overdue, six grueling days of labor, a transfer to the hospital, and 38 units of Pitocin, I ended up birthing by c-section. I was diagnosed as "failure to progress". Although I was fully effaced and baby was at the +2 station by the end, I still never dilated over a three. You can read Madeline's birth story here: Madeline's Birth Story.

While welcoming a child into the world is an incredible experience no matter how it happens, I still spent months coming to terms with the the emergency c-section and mourning the loss of my natural birth I had worked so hard for. Emergency c-sections take a while to process I was told. And it's true. A lot of the emotions didn't really hit me until six months after Madeline was born.  I had PTSD like symptoms at times. I had flashbacks to the negative and particularly traumatizing parts. I sometimes stayed up late at night crying or obsessing over what I could have done differently for a different outcome. In a way, my connections with the natural birth community made it more difficult for me to come to terms with what happened. There is a mentality within the birthing community that if you have a c-section it isn't because your body is broken, there has got to be a reason for it, and we birth junkies sadly like to tell women exactly what they did wrong to end up with that result. The facebook pages that are there to support women who went though what I did actually made me depressed because they made it seem like there was a simple answer to why women are getting c-sections. Oh it was because of the epidural. Oh it's because you didn't labor at home long enough. Your doctor didn't give you enough time. It was the morphine. It was breaking your water. You were too scared. You didn't trust your body. Your support people weren't supportive enough. You have trust issues with one of your support people. etc. etc. Finally, I realized that I knew that for me, the c-section was indeed necessary and it helped me bring my daughter into the world safely. But I didn't want to have the same experience the next time around and I knew that part of that would be changing my philosophy. 

As soon as I read the positive pregnancy test for baby #2, I decided that I would try for a natural vbac but only on the condition that I wouldn't put as much pressure on myself. Yes, I would trust my body just like last time. Yes, I would study up again on natural birth and plan on birthing naturally, but I would also keep in mind that a c-section was a real possibility and be prepared for it so that I could make it the best experience possible if it came down to it. I chose a fantastic care provider (the midwives at Central Utah Women's Clinic). They are among the top ranked in the state for having a low c-section rate, a high vbac success rate, and a high natural birth rate.

There are some difficulties in trying for a vbac. Mothers with past c-sections cannot be induced or use pitocin to augment labor as it increases the risk of uterine rupture. We are even more "on the clock" than mothers who have never had a c-section. We are watched and monitored closely and are expected to have a textbook dilation. I was very optimistic going into labor. I believed in my body and continued to remind myself that this labor could be completely different than last time while also keeping in mind that another c-section may be necessary.

I felt a lot of good braxton hicks contractions for the week leading up to going into labor. We had a little baby fake out about a week before she actually came. That day, I had some good solid contractions for about 10 hours that got down to six minutes apart, but they faded that night when I went to sleep.

Day 1: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I woke up a few times Monday night to some mild crampy contractions. When morning came they seemed fairly close together, but I decided not to time them or pay much attention to them. Glancing at the clock my mom estimated they were around 6-7 minutes apart. Around 9:30 my mom and I went to our fitness center to do our daily walk. While walking I started to note the time of each contraction. They were five minutes apart and by the end they got closer together and were harder to continue to walk through. I was supposed to teach at noon, so we spent most of our walk debating whether or not I should go into work. Knowing I had a long labor with Maddie, I thought I'd be perfectly safe. But I was also a bit hesitant because of my diagnosis of polyhydramnios (excessive fluid) that my water may break while teaching and that I may traumatize my students. (I read about a woman with the same diagnosis whose pants literally shot down to her knees from the pressure of the water coming out!)  When I got home from the walk, I went to the bathroom and lost my entire plug. I decided that was my cue to stay home.

I took a shower and relaxed with my little girl. I had my forty week check-up that afternoon which was a very convenient time to get checked and see how my body was progressing without having to go to the hospital. My midwife was running an hour behind schedule so I chased around my 19 month old daughter sat and waited impatiently while my contractions got closer and closer together. By the time she came in they were four minutes apart and I was starting to struggle to talk through them. These contractions were intense. I felt so much pressure in my pelvis and the pain radiated in my hips. I also felt them strongly right along my incision line which scared me a bit. My midwife reassured me that that pain was normal, that women who have never had c-sections feel pain there, and may be intensified by my own anxieties about uterine rupture. When she checked me I had indeed progressed since my last check up five days prior. At that appointment I was not dilated at all and baby's head was not engaged. I was now 80% effaced and dilated to a 1 1/2. Baby was also at a -1 station, so she was definitely engaged and ready to go. I was excited to be progressing and thrilled that my contractions were doing their job.

That evening they continued to get closer together and more intense. I went to IHOP with Brett, my mom, and little Madeline. It was so fun to get my mind off things, visit, and relax with my family. By the end of dinner I was wishing they would bring the check because it was getting harder to deal with contractions and I didn't want to start moaning in public. When we got home I took a hot shower, packed a few things just in case, and relaxed. I remember putting Madeline to bed thinking "this might be the last time it's just us". As the evening wore on I had to focus more and more through contractions. I rocked and used heat and massage to work through them. I took another hot shower all the while periodically timing contractions. Brett and I tried to go to bed, but they were far too intense while laying down. Around 1:00 am, with contractions 2 1/2 - 3 minutes apart and lasting 75+ seconds, we finally made our way to the hospital. At this point I was about 16 hours into labor.

We were shown to the triage room where they checked me. I had progressed since 4:00, although it wasn't much it was still progress. I was now 95% effaced, dilated to a 2+, and baby was still at a -1. They hooked me up to a monitor and told me they would time contractions for an hour and check me again to see if I had progressed.

Shortly after we heard a loud commotion in the hallway. "I have the head right here!" shouted a woman followed by a few screams and then the cries of a baby. A few minutes later our nurse came in to tell us a woman had just had her baby in the elevator on her way to labor and delivery. Just then a contraction came on and I said "I hate her." The nurse on staff said, "I would too."

Brett and I tried to rest while I relaxed through the contractions. I finally asked for a birthing ball. I set it up on the bed so I could rest my upper body and labor on my knees instead of flat on my back. That helped a bit and baby's heart rate improved as well. Finally the hour was up.

They checked me... and nothing had changed. I was given the option to go home with some pain meds so I could sleep, or I could stick around for another hour and see if there was any change. We decided to stay and walk the halls together.

The hour passed and I was checked again. I had effaced more but I still hadn't dilated enough to be considered in "active labor". They gave me the same option, walk the halls or go home with medication. It was now 3:00 am so we decided it would be best to get home so we could try to get some sleep. They gave me a pain pill and sent me on my way, with my contractions still 2-3 minutes apart.

I asked them when I should come back.

The nurse said, "When you feel a good pinch with the contractions."

Brett gave me a look that seemed to say, "So are you going to smack her or should I?"

Brett held my hand and supported me as we made our way to the car. On our way out I had another four contractions. They were right on top of one another.

As we passed the security guard on duty, he said, "Not tonight huh?" It took everything in my power to not curse at him.

Somewhere in the middle of the parking lot I nearly collapsed from the intensity of a contraction. Once it had passed I had tears streaming down my face.

Defeated I cried, "I don't know if I can do this Brett!"

He wrapped me up in his arms.

"How is this not active labor?" I asked him.

He held me and gave me the reassurance I needed.

When we got home I waited for the pain pill to take effect so I could sleep. I never did feel any relief. Which made sense later when we found out the medication they gave me was nothing more than Tylenol.  I finally sent Brett to bed so he could sleep and my mom rubbed my back as the contractions continued to come close together and get more intense. She helped me relax a bit, which helped with the pain.

I was surprised by how discouraged I was by being sent home from the hospital. I was even more surprised that things seemed to be on the same track as last time around.

I put on a few of my favorite movies as background noise and put a heat pack on my back. My mom stayed up with me for most of the night, sometimes briefly sleeping on and off and waking to help me through particularly "noisy" contractions.

Day Two: Wednesday, February 13th

The next morning Brett and I tried to rest. I was so exhausted from all the laboring that I was able to sleep briefly between contractions, though it was not a restful sleep. Finally around 11:00 am I drew a piping hot bath and slept in the tub for about an hour. When I came out the contractions had slowed down a bit and I was grateful for the rest.

My sister in law Katie came to the house to help and she brought her two adorable kids. It was so fun for Madeline to have some friends over and to get plenty of attention. Madeline was getting quite concerned seeing me in labor, so I was glad that she had a good distraction.

Brett and my mom kept asking when we should go back to the hospital. I did not want to get turned away again so I was not eager to go back in. By evening, Brett and my mom were growing concerned about me and the baby. The contractions were picking up again. I could overhear them talking in the kitchen while I tried to rest and work through contractions in the darkness of my bedroom. At this point I had been laboring for 34 hours or so.

I heard phrases like:
"This is a lot like last time."
"When does she want to go in again?"
"How do we know if the baby is okay?"

Finally, at the urging of Brett and my mom we made an appointment to see the on call midwife at the clinic to talk about our options and to have an NST on the baby.

When we got there we had a good chat with our midwife Claudia about my options. She talked with us well passed clinic hours and helped encourage me. She also gave Brett some reassurance and helped us work through the feelings we were both dealing with. It was a very good conversation. I never realized how difficult it must have been for Brett to see things going almost the same as last time around. I knew how the first birth affected me, but I didn't really think about how it must have affected him to see me go through all of that and how helpless that could feel.

She checked me again. I had made progress. Even though it was small it was indeed progress. I was dilated to a 3+ and fully effaced. Baby was now at a 0 station. Claudia recommended that I get some good sleep that night. After we did our NST for the baby to help give us peace of mind, she recommended that I get a shot of morphine to sleep.

At first both Brett and I were against it, but after talking about our options we agreed it would be best for me to get some good sleep. 

I got home, ate a quick dinner, and then Brett tucked me in to sleep. It was 7:00 pm and I had barely slept in the past 60 hours. I didn't wake till the next morning around 8:00 am. It was amazing.

Day Three: Thursday, February 14th

I woke up feeling incredibly well rested.  I stayed in bed as long as possible and then got into the shower. My contractions were still pretty close together. I sat on the ground and had the shower beating down on my chest and stomach. I got great relief from the contractions this way. I stayed there in relaxed meditation until we were out of hot water.

We decided to go into the clinic and have my membranes stripped to hopefully help strengthen contractions and get "active labor" going. (Whatever the heck that means).

Getting my membranes stripped didn't hurt one bit. The most nerve racking part about it was being anxious that my water would break. It didn't, and while on the drive home my contractions continued more consistently and intense.

A while after we got home Brett and I took a walk about my neighborhood. My contractions were consistently 3 minutes apart. By this point there was no way I could walk during a contraction. They literally stopped me in my tracks and Brett would stand close by and would either hold me, or turn so I could lean into him. The pressure I felt was so intense.  I can't think of how to describe it. We ran into several people from our ward. Everyone had heard I was in labor on Tuesday (some Beehives from the ward youth group had dropped by cookies at our house and Brett had mentioned I was in labor) so they were surprised to still see me pregnant.

That evening, before I went to lay down in bed my contractions were still very close together. When I went to bed the contractions slowed down but got much more intense. I couldn't lay down or sleep through them, but I still tried. Finally, around 1:00 am I woke up to a contraction that lasted well over three minutes. It was so intense that none of my coping techniques did a darn thing to help me. I finally gave in and let Brett take me to the hospital. If this wasn't "active labor" I didn't know what was.

When we got there they checked me. I was the exact same as I had been that morning. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. But I didn't want to get any more discouraged. After only being monitored for 10-15 minutes I asked to go back home. My midwife suggested that I get another shot of morphine to ensure I get a good night's sleep again. I didn't argue at all. I got home, ate another snack, tried to stay optimistic and once I felt the morphine taking its effect I went to bed and fell asleep immediately.

Day Four: Friday, February 15th

Brett had already taken two days off work, so I sent him off to work with the promise that if I needed him to come home I would call. I stayed in bed most of the morning and called a few friends for support.  I also prayed intently that I could get some rest from these contractions as I felt I had a difficult decision I needed to make. 

I called a close friend I met while taking my natural birthing class for Madeline. She is a natural birth junky and aspiring doula. We bonded well during our classes and have stayed in touch ever since. She knew my birth story well and we definitely share a very similar birth philosophy. As soon as she got on the phone she asked if the baby was here or on her way. I immediately started crying as I told her I was indeed in labor, but that it was going the same as last time. She gave me great advice and listened to me vent and cry. I confided in her that I was considering getting a c-section. She told me that I needed to take some time to pray, relax, and connect with baby to decide what was best for us. I didn't do this immediately. In a way I already knew the answer, but I think I was afraid of the answer. When I got off the phone, took another shower, and held my sweet Madeline.

If I was going to consider a c-section I wanted to consider who would perform the operation. Though we had OBs in the midwife group I didn't know them very well. I remembered that a close friend of mine named Robynn had seen the OBs at the same practice that I did and had a c-section with her last baby. I gave her a call. I had guessed the phone call would be a few minutes but it turned into around 20 minutes long.

After she told me about the OBs we had an incredible visit and talked about our different experiences of having unplanned c-sections. I was able to talk through my feelings and I knew that she understood because she went through something similar. When I had Madeline, I admit that part of my desire for a natural birth was for my own ego. I admit that I put far too much focus on the birthing part of becoming a parent rather than the what you do with the baby afterwards part. I had put natural birth on this pedestal and as I came to terms with my c-section I was able to realize that my worth as a mother had nothing to do with the way I brought my baby into this world. I was also able to admit to myself that a part of my decision to have a vbac had to do with "proving myself" and "making up" for last time around. By this point, my single wish was to have a vbac so that I could have as many babies as I want. I did not want a c-section to decide the number of babies I could have.

After I got off the phone with her I took some time alone in my bedroom to say a prayer. I prayed for guidance. I prayed for peace. I prayed for comfort.

I don't pray out loud by myself usually. But I decided to this time. "Heavenly Father, I have tried so hard for days to have this baby. I know that a c-section is the right choice for me now. Help me to feel at peace with this decision." As I said the words I felt at peace. I could feel the weight of this burden passing from me.  That was the confirmation that I needed.

I made the calls I needed to make to have everything set up.  When Brett got home I told him the confirmation I received. He said that he felt the exact same way. We said a prayer again together and felt at peace.

I took yet another shower. I did my hair and my make up. Then Brett and I put Madeline down for bed. We took our time and told her she'd meet her sister in the morning.

We drove to the hospital hand in hand. I felt strangely calm. We joked about how this was for sure the last time we'd be driving this route for a while. I was glad of that realization.

When I got there they started getting me ready for surgery. I went through my birth plan with the nurse and made sure they knew our preferences. I did my homework, and it was nice to be ready for a c-section for a change. The last time around we didn't even bring a camera because we were so exhausted and out of it.

I asked if it would be possible to have the drape lowered so I could watch the baby be born. She told me that in all the years she has been with Doctor Parker that she has never seen it done, but she would make sure that he held her above the drape as soon as she was out. I was sad that I wouldn't be able to have the drape lowered, but I knew it was a long shot anyway. It was still going to be a lot better than last time around, so I said thank you and felt very content with the plans we made.

They started to prep me for surgery and then it was time to go to the operating room. I hadn't received an epidural or spinal block at this point, so I walked to the operating room myself. Last time I went into an operating room I was flat on my back in tears while they wheeled me in. That entire experience was completely out of my control. This time, I was in control.

In the operating room I chatted with the anesthesiologist, nurses, midwife, and doctor. As we all waited for the spinal block to take effect, I asked if I could say a prayer. The nurses and doctors bowed their heads and I said a prayer of gratitude. I thanked my Heavenly Father for the peace that came with the decision and for the amazing group of people in room who would help welcome our baby into the world. I prayed that we would feel the comforting spirit and that the baby and I would be safe and my care providers would be able to do what they do so well. I don't remember everything I said, but I do remember the peaceful spirit and the smiling eyes of my careproviders when I finished. It was a great group of people and the feeling in the room was completely different than my last c-section.

When Brett came in he was excited and smiling. I was smiling too. There was no fear at all, only peace and an overwhelming feeling of the spirit. My doctor talked me through each step as he did it. I appreciated this so much. It helped me feel a part of the birth and not out of control. Brett and I held hands and smiled together.  After going through a c-section already, I knew what to expect and there was so much reassurance in that. But I couldn't expect what would come next.

"Let's lower that drape a bit."

What?! I couldn't believe this was happening.

"Lower than that. We want to make sure they can see this."

The drape was completely down on my chest.

"Now go ahead and take a look. Here comes her head."

He was giving me a gentle cesearean. The cesarean birth I so desperately wanted and that his nurse had said he did not do. I cried happy, happy tears. Was I dreaming? Brett and I couldn't believe it.

I looked down and saw her head and sweet face. She was beautiful.

He suctioned her mouth and on the next contraction he pulled the rest of her body out.

"She's not tiny!" He said as she came out.

I was laughing and crying. Brett squeezed my hand and kissed me.

I was smiling ear to ear. And I still felt no fear or anxiety. I was in awe of the incredible thing I had just experienced. It was magical. It was incredible.  I could see Claire getting cleaned off from the operating table. Brett went to hold her hand while they cleaned her off and weighed her. She was 9 lbs 1 ounce.

They cleaned her up quickly, wrapped her in a blanket, and Brett brought her over so I could give her a kiss.

Brett went with Claire to the nursery to keep her warm and take care of a few newborn things while they stitched me up. 

I relaxed on the table and marveled at what had just taken place. I had planned to have a healing experience from my last c-section. I had thought that the greatest way to heal would be by having a vbac. Though I did not have a vbac like I had planned, it was still an incredible healing experience. I was able to birth by cesearean and still feel completely connected and tied to my birthing experience. I felt empowered, not broken.

I saw her come out of me. I held her and kissed her immediately after she was born. She was brought to my recovery room almost immediately after I got there. I had a c-section on my terms. The decision was not made for me and given to me with grave faces. Instead, I listened to my body and to the promptings of the spirit to make my decision of what to do. I gave my body time to labor and when it came time to make the decision I was given clarity and confirmation through prayer. The last time I had gone into an operating room I was a broken woman. I was fatigued, hopeless, and powerless. This time I went in I was in control. I was ready. I was full of joy.

In the early hours of the morning we finally settled on a name; Claire Celeste. Originally we loved the name because of the way it sounded and we loved the idea of calling her Cece as a nickname. But as we visited together holding our baby girl in our arms, we thought about the meaning of the words. Claire means "light" or "clear". Celeste means "heavenly" or "celestial". So combined Claire Celeste means "clarity from heaven." It's fitting.