Modification Monday: My own Take on Sunshine

Original Pattern: Sunshine 

Knitter Extraordinaire: Melinda (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Changed out the lace placket at the neckline for a modified V-neck/shawl collar. Details can be found on Melinda’s project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: Melinda’s beautiful sweater is as much about process as a lovely finished result. She had seen a couple of modified versions of the pattern and set about to do something similar. But as she knit, she changed her plan. Her original goal was to modify the packet into a solid fabric, but as she knit realized that she didn’t like how it was looking, so she changed the neckline. What a wonderful spirit to approach a mod! I love that she didn’t just solider on, even though it wasn’t working out – she changed her plan and made something totally new. If you are making a modification and you don’t love how it is turning out, don’t be afraid to take it in a new direction, especially when it is a garment- if you don’t love it, you won’t wear it. And don’t you want to knit a sweater that you love? Just like Melinda’s beautiful sunshine sweater!

 

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

How to keep your brain young while you age.

This is a breathtaking reason to encourage seed and crop diversity. That is the most beautiful corn I’ve ever seen!

Tips on ditching regret, and getting over the past.

Yesterday was Poem in Your Pocket Day, a collaborative effort between two major  poetry organizations in the US and Canada. I have a poem in it! There is a free, downloadable pdf and all the poems are suitable for school-aged children, as well. If you are less jazzed about a free collection of poetry but interested in my poem, you can skip to it right here.

As a parent of young kids, I was very interested in reading this post on teaching kids about consent, and the comments were also illuminating on how we all have those struggles (do we insist the kids to hug family members?).

My Favourite Pins This Week

This utterly charming doughnut cake reminds me a bit of The Simpsons, but in the best possible way! Even if you are a bit challenge din the cake decorating department, I’m confident that this could be easily pulled off. I wonder if I could convince Lila that it would be suitable for Guy when his birthday rolls around in June? Hmm. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe/guide is here.

These skillet meatballs in marinara sauce are a side-salad away from being a complete meal! While I admire that the recipe instructs you to make the meatballs yourself –and the recipe for that looks really easy– I’m more of a buy-a-bag-of-frozen-meatballs sort of person. Either way, you too could have this super delicious meal on the table pretty quickly, and trust me on that salad idea. Pinterest link is here, and the full recipe is here. P.S- have I told you guys I’m addicted to fresh marjoram? I think it’s the most underrated herb ever. It’s in the photo above as a garnish, but I put it in everything.

I am utterly swooning over this gorgeous sweater! I love the simple shaping but the dramatic single cable across the body. So amazing! Plus it’s a bulky weight design, so it will knit up quickly. It’s originally made in a cotton merino blend yarn (so very suitable for those in cool climates over the summer- I’m looking at you, west coast and UK!), and I am dying to knit this! Must. Finish. Other. Sweaters. First. (the struggle is real). Pinterest link is here, and the pattern can be found here.

I love this modern crochet deer afghan! The graphic qualities and bright palette make this a surprisingly modern looking crochet blanket. Pinterest link is here, and the original (free!) pattern and tutorial are here.

I love this tray makeover, which is so easy you can totally pull it off even if you can’t paint a straight line! And if you don’t have any trays at home that could use a makeover, I bet there are plenty in a local thrift or goodwill shop. Pinterest link is here, and the full DIY tutorial is here.

Life Lately: Lila’s Birthday and Georgia O’Keeffe

April is a crazy month for me, and I suspect that’s true for many people. Doesn’t it seem like there are just so many birthdays, events, gatherings, conferences and everything else you can think of all crammed into April? Maybe that’s just my little corner of the world.

Lila turned 5 recently. Her birthday technically fell on Easter Sunday, and Guy’s parents came from England to visit and help celebrate. We had a little family gathering on Easter, and I made her a Peep cake (inspired by this previous post), which of course had to be chocolate:

And if you are interested in a very short clip, here is Lila blowing out her candles!

Of course, James got to have a bit of cake too (I was obviously feel very brave to wear white during all of this):

The following weekend was Lila’s birthday party with her little friends. My parents came to visit for the weekend which was a huge help; it was really great to have someone taking care of James during the party. We held it at Beach Blast– a huge indoor sand park that hosts indoor beach volleyball tournaments and practices, as well as some extremely awesome children’s birthday parties. The staff ran all sorts of games and activities for them, with lots of running and digging and playing the sand, and they all had so much fun. The sand was perfect, it was like the best indoor beach you can imagine (minus the actual water).

I don’t feel comfortable sharing photos of other people’s kids without their permission, so I’ve cropped and blurred their faces where appropriate. It looks weird, but you can see how happy Lila was! I regret not getting a photo of the cupcakes; I think my mom and I did a particularly good job decorating them, but I tend to not think of photos at all when I’m hosting anything.

In between Lila’s birthday parties, I have been working on a very special project, which will culminate in an event on May 4th. My book of poetry, Lady Crawford, has a suite of poems about Georgia O’Keeffe – and the Art Gallery of Ontario has just opened a retrospective of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work. On May 4th, the AGO has a special event called First Thursday, and I’m presenting a Georgia O’Keeffe-inspired poetry collage interactive and pop up talk at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s First Thursday event this month.

If you haven’t been to an AGO First Thursday before, it is a step up from a typical night out. They set up bars, food stations, and DJs throughout the gallery, along with one-night-only installations, performances, and interactive activities.

Tickets to First Thursday are $11 if you are an AGO member, $13 if not a member, and you can also purchase tickets to see the O’Keeffe exhibit. If you know anything about the AGO, their special exhibits are usually horrifically crowded on the weekends, yet surprisingly not busy at all on the First Thursdays. I think everyone is too busy hanging out near the pop-up bars and food stations.

If you are local to Toronto and enjoy art, you should come! I’ll be on the second floor, and in such a main location you will have no choice but to happen by my interactive craft tables and wall projections. Not only will you experience the AGO in a completely new way, you can also hang out for a bit and make your own poem collages (arts & crafts for grown ups, hooray!). You’ll be able to hear my pop up talk where I will astound, educate and amaze (10 mins max, I swear) about modernism/Georgia O’Keeffe/collage poetry until I’ve said the words ‘intersect’ and ‘recontextualize’ so many times their meaning will dissolve into the glass of wine or Perrier in your hand. I have a little Facebook event page here if you think you can make it and would enjoy a Facebook calendar reminder- be sure to say hello and introduce yourself if we’ve yet to meet.

Has your April been totally nuts too? What has been going on in your world that has you buzzing lately?

Modification Monday: A Very Special Rye Hack

Original Pattern: Rye

Knitter Extraordinaire: Heather (Ravelry ID, website)

Mods: Adjusted gauges from worsted weight to fingering weight, and chose to work a stranded fair isle design on the heel flap. Details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: Heather participated in a Tin Can Knit’s pattern hack KAL at the end of 2016, where people were encouraged to make modification on existing Tin Can Knits patterns and have the group support and encouragement of a KAL. One amazing result are these wonderful socks,  which were knitted at a smaller gauge for a fingering weight yarn. And of course, talk about taking a heel flap to the next level! I love Heather’s clever idea to work a pretty fair isle snowflake on the heel flap. These socks were made for her mom, who taught Heather to knit. What a truly wonderful gift.

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Anyone else feel like the weeks are cruising by at warp speed? Between work, writing, 3 rounds of family visits and two birthday parties for Lila (the family one last weekend and the ‘friends’ one this weekend), plus the long weekend I feel like I’m gulping for air most days. But hopefully after this weekend the big rush and crazy scheduling will be over, and I can breathe a little more easily.  I know I seem a ltitle distant lately, but I’ll be back very soon!

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

I loved this nostalgic ode to bad coffee.

It’s hard to feel like you can make a difference, but here’s steps you can take to make a real impact on climate change.

How to have a vacation that is actually relaxing.

10 ways to spend night in without Netflix.

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed like I am, here is a great article in The Guardian about how to feel less busy. I’m planning on committing this entire list to memory.

My Favourite Pins This Week

Garlic basil chicken in tomato butter sauce might be your new weeknight favourite. It is super easy and doesn’t take a lot of ingredients. As the warm weather goes on, those of you who grow your own basil and tomatoes might find this even better- who can beat the taste of fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes? Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

if you love cookies and oranges, then these are going to be your new fave. These clementine cookies are basically orange-scented sandwich cookies with a bit of marmalade. You can also go for the full finale gorgeousness of brushing them with grand marnier or triple sec and dusting them with sugar, but I think they are delicious without this final Pinterest-worthy step, they just aren’t as photogenic. Pinterest link is here, and the full recipe and instructions are here.

Keep with the accidental orange theme of this week’s round up, how adorable are these knitted fox slippers?! You can find the full free pattern here, and the Pinterest link is here.

This DIY felt letter board looks so amazing in rainbow felt, and is very easy to put together. And if rainbow aren’t your thing (what?!), you could customize the felt colours to match whatever decor or colour scheme you’ve got going on. Pinterest link is here, and the full tutorial is here.

Sometimes we all need a reminder of how to be a little less judgmental and a little more empathetic, especially these days. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple mid shift to see that others are probably trying their best. Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Have an amazing weekend, everyone!