Friday Pin Ups and Link Love

Hi, everyone! Trying out something a little bit different with Pin Up Fridays- adding some links for interesting reads that I’ve come across that moved me, made me ponder, or wowed me in some way. Let me know what you think!

Trying is always worth it. If you only click only one thing in this post, choose this one.

If we’re friends on twitter, then you might thave seen this awesome article about how  they’ve trained African pouch rats to find landmines all over Mozambique and Tanzania, and alert their handlers. It’s all humane, no rats are hurt. And their retirement sounds pretty sweet!

I received an honourable mention in a poetry competition recently. If you are interested,  you can read the poem here.

And now for our regularly scheduled Pins!

Pin Ups: Garlic and Cheese Bread |

This easy-peasy garlic and cheese pull-apart bread is going to be your new go-to recipe for when you want to serve bread along with dinner. The best part? You don’t have to bake the bread from scratch- you can buy the loaf, and then customize with the butter, herbs, and cheese and pop it into the oven. Everyone will think you are a culinary genius! Pinterest link is here, the original  post is here.

Pin Ups: Chocolate Peanut bUtter Pudding Pie |

 This chocolate peanut butter pudding pie is a perfect summer dessert- a fabulous cool and pudding-y middle and a graham crust. This is the kind of dessert that people remember forever- so you could be that famous person in your family or friend group who makes the amazing chocolate peanut butter pudding pie! Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups: DIY Geometric Pencil Holder |

I love this DIY geometric clay pencil holder! I would love to make one to use on my desk, with pens. Simple, but striking- and shouldn’t all office supplies (or art supplies) be that way? Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups: How to Make New Outfits with the Clothes You Have |

I love these five tips on how to create new outfits from the clothes you already have- who doesn’t want a wardrobe makeover, but without spending the cash? This is a great solution, and will have you looking at your clothes in a whole new light. Pinterest link is here, the original post is here.

Pin Ups: Side Braid Tutorial |

I love this double side braid tutorial, and even if you have shoulder length hair, it will still work- just tuck the end of the braid underneath. And aren’t braids perfect for summer? Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Our plans involve trying to declutter our place a bit, and figure out how to get Lila’s room better organized, now that she’s moved into her big bed. Anyone else have decluttering on the agenda this weekend?

Life Lately- and a Knit in Progress

Let’s start with the knitting, shall we? I’m working on the Firefly July sweater, and I’m loving it- the overall texture of the mesh stitch is very ‘me’, and I love that the stitch repeat  (multiple of 4 stitches and four rounds, and every second round is a ‘resting’ round) is very easy to memorize, and I’m excited to block it out and really open up the stitch detail. It’s knitted bottom-up, and I asked the designer (Andrea Sanchez) about it, because it’s always interesting to hear more about why a designer chooses a certain construction, but she chalked it up to her personal preference for knitting bottom up sweaters – she likes how by the time you join the arms to the body, you’re almost done!  I am halfway through the yoke now (although the photos below were snapped just before the joining) and she’s right, it’s the home stretch! The sweater and the sleeves are both knit in the round, so the finishing will be very minimal.  I’m excited to finish it soon!

Knit in Progress: Firefly July Sweater |

firefly wip 4

I’m especially excited to be using up yarn that has been in my stash for I think about five years- this is Knitpicks Palette in Iris Heather, and I’m totally crazy for the muted heathering that is happening in this yarn. And I have the exact yardage I need! I’ve just started my last skein and I’m halfway through the yoke, so I’m confident this will use up the stash like I had hoped. It’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine when I have half a skein leftover from something, and then continues to sit in my stash for years.

And as for life lately, Guy took a trip south to Detroit to visit some friends and rollerblade all the time (Guy feels about rollerblading the way I feel about knitting, so a mutual support of each other’s madcap obsessions is a cornerstone of our marriage), which meant I was solo parenting this weekend. Here are some scenes from our life lately!

Forgive me for this first-time mom newbie moment, but I had no idea that if your three-year-old takes a dance class that they have a recital. I mean, talk about a crap shoot- maybe she will do the routine and maybe she won’t, but I guess it’s just the combined forces of cuteness of a bunch of three-year-olds in tutus stunned by the bright lights of a stage. You never know what will happen! This is a photo from when we went for the group photos, we still have the dress rehearsal ahead of us and then the actual recital. Here she is in her costume before they did the recital photos.  

Lila has dance class and soccer on the weekends. Fortunately, we live within a 30 min walk of all those activities, so even though Guy had the car this weekend (and we are city people, so we only have the one car), we got around just fine. A little post-soccer ice cream! She wanted ‘a big cone!’ It’s a regular sized, and I ate about half of it. Good thing we both like Strawberry!

Lil and I had a good weekend, and Guy got to spend some time doing what he loves- everybody wins!

Last night we moved Lila from her crib to her ‘big girl bed’, and she was thrilled. It was a lot of work reconfiguring her entire room  and we’re not entirely finished, but I’ll get some photos soon.

This photo was from the last days of playing as a family beside her crib:

She likes to play a game where we all pretend to go to sleep for 2 seconds and then she wakes us up. And why yes, we are using a giant stuffed sheep as a pillow.

Finished Knit: Mystery KAL Knitted Turtle

I so love knitting toys- they are just really satisfying to put together, and so perfect for destashing odds and ends!

Finished Knit: Rainy Day Turtle |

Pattern: Rainy Day Turtle 

Yarn: Rowan Handknit Cotton in ‘Pesto’ and ‘Celery’, and Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering in ‘Buttercup’

Needles: 4.5 mm (US 7)

Mods: None.

I had previously posted on participating in this mystery KAL here, and absolutely loved the whole process. The preliminary information stated that the designer used two shades of green and then an ‘accessory’ colour, and clues were revealed slowly, starting with the accessories (hat and rain boots). I knit the hat and boots in some leftover ‘Buttercup’ Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label I had kicking around. I deliberately went out and bought the Rowan handknit cotton for this project, because it’s one of my favourite yarns for knitting toys with- it machine washes well, and the smaller skeins work well for knitted toy sizes.

Finished Knit: Rainy Day Turtle |

Finished Knit: Rainy Day Turtle |

The shell was tricky for me, but it was my own fault- there were options to knit it either flat or in the round, but I accidentally skipped around and amalgamated the directions together into one, so there are some slight flaws in the decreases for my turtle’s shell, but it all worked out and is actually quite difficult to see. That’s what I get for trying to do knitting and decreases while also wrangling a toddler! It’s cleverly constructed, and I like the front panel- I added some yellow into my stripes for a little more flair, and I think it goes nicely with the star buttons that are on his shell straps.

Speaking of the toddler- Lila, like so many toddlers, really enjoys taking the hat, boots, and shell off the turtle right away, and then asks me to put them back on, so she can take them off again, and so on. We repeat that little performance for quite some time, although I’m trying to get her to learn about putting his shell back on herself.

Finished Knit: Rainy Day Turtle |  You can see the turtle’s tail more clearly once his shell is off!

I do think that’s a key detail that makes a knitted toy that much more awesome- accessories. Having great articles of clothing that can be taking on or off helps children interact with the toys in a much more meaningful way.  That’s something I think Barbara (the designer) does really well- she has lots of clothing bundles for her toys, and the patterns always come with an article of clothing or two.

If you haven’t knit a toy before, I recommend it- but be aware that they all have finishing tot hem, so if you would sooner die than seam anything, they might not be right for you. but if you love destashing and knitting for kids, then these are absolutely perfect.

Modification Monday: Snow on Wheat Mittens


Modification Monday: Snow on Wheat Mittens |

Original Pattern: Maid Agnes’ mittens/Pigan Agnes vantar

Knitter Extraordinaire: Gardenlily (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Used motifs from the original mitten pattern and added additional details inspired from afghan rugs, changed hte pattern to fingerless mitts and altered the ribbing. Project page can be found here.

What Makes this Awesome: It’s important to click over to the original to see how different it is- only a small portion of the original charts were used, and I love the improvised details that add texture of the ribbing and the palms (which you can see underneath the top mitt in both photos) which does exactly what Gardenlily set out to do- add details that evoke exotic afghan rugs. I’m particularly impressed with the interrupted corrugated ribbing- I don’t think I’ve seen that before! This is a great modern update on a very classicly designed mitten, and it completely works. Even the choice to use a variegated yarn with a semi-solid one gives depth and variation it the final product. After all, stranded knits are all about the details!

Modification Monday: Snow on Wheat Mittens |


Pin Ups: My Favourite Pins This Week

The winner of one copy of Holla Knits Summer Accessories Collection is…… Tamera! Tamera wants to knit the Fransisco Cowl, and now we’re totally going to make that happen. Congrats, Tamera!

Let’s check out this week’s offerings. I’m so trying to resist full-on summer recipes, I know it’s still May, but I’m just so freaking excited for the warmer weather.  Last weekend I did some baking and packed up all my winter clothes,  hauled out my summer ones, and planted flowers in pots on the patio. It was a wonderful, delicious weekend –  easy, relaxed, and full of sunshine.  And it included a couple of these below:

Pin Ups: Easy Bagel Plate |

This easy bagel plate would be a snap to put together for a casual family breakfast, and everyone could easily assemble a healthy bagel just to their taste. And you never know what you might find out about how your family likes their bagels- turns out my three-year-old loves smoked salmon! Although she pretty much just picked it off the bagel and ate it on it’s own.  The link contains three different breakfast ideas, but I think this colourful build-your-own-bagel idea is the best one, and you could have different types of cream cheese on offer, if you wanted.  Pinterest link is here, and the original site is here.

Pin Ups: Skinny banana chocolate muffins |

Last weekend, I had some bananas that were past their prime, so I made these fantastic (and very healthy) banana chocolate chip muffins. There is no sugar used (sweetened with  a little honey and bananas only), but I think the chocolate chips are crucial for ensuring these taste like a treat.  They were very popular around my house! Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups: DIY Wire Rings |

These super simple wire and bead rings are quick to make and so delicate.  All you need is a fine gauge wire and beads that will fit on it, and you could easily make one in under 15 minutes. Pinterest link is here, the original  site is here.

1 lemonade

Summer cocktails are always a special treat unto themselves, and this tequila blackberry lemonade is amazing! I don’t even usually like tequila, but it’s well camouflaged in this wonderfully bright and summery lemonade. It’s also super simple to put together, perfect for parties. Pinterest link is here, the original post is here.

1 rainbow stairs

I’m in love with these rainbow stairs. So bright, so pretty- and I love how each step is so bright and totally it’s own colour. There isn’t much to the original post except some additional photos, but they are lovely to look at! Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! I hope you have lovely weather and get to do your favourite things.