Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

Fear is why we have too much stuff.

This essay captures how I often feel as a mom.

Britain has a….. ewe-nicorn?

We all stumble, and the challenge is to learn to be gracious about it– with ourselves and those around us. “A large part of my own growing up has been to learn that failure isn’t necessarily bad and success isn’t necessarily good. It took me years to believe this intellectually, and even longer for me to believe it in my core, as one of those bedrock virtues I act on without question, like brushing my teeth, or kissing my family goodnight.”

p.s.- if you like games, don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Knit Wit!

My Favourite Pins This Week

Pin Ups and Link Love: Lemon Broccoli Pasta | knittedbliss.com

This bright and flavourful lemon broccoli pasta just might be your new favourite weeknight dinner. The recipe is easy-peasy, and she has lots of great ideas for substitutions if you don’t have, say, broccoli. healthy and delicious! Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Oatmeal Chocolate Bars | knittedbliss.com

Guys, drop everything and make these chocolate stuffed oatmeal bars. There are only 5 ingredients and they are crazy delicious. I’m always in love with oatmeal anything, but even if you only like oatmeal a normal amount, you will adore these bars. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Breakfast Board | knittedbliss.com

Okay, the next time I have friends over for brunch at our place (which is so much more relaxed and low key than having people over for dinner- I way prefer having people over for brunch!), I’m going to do up a breakfast board. this looks so amazing, and then everyone just builds what they want to eat. No feeling obliged to eat your bodyweight in french toast (not that I feel obliged exactly, but I tend to eat a lot of french toast if it’s put in front of me). Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: How to knit at a different gauge | knittedbliss.com

The fabulous team at Tin Can Knits put together a great post on how to knit a garment in a different gauge than called for in the pattern. The step-by-step instructions are clear and easy to follow, and a great place to start if you are thinking of giving it a whirl. Pinterest link is here, and the original post/tutorial is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Charismatic Conversations | knittedbliss.com

I feel a lot of stress when it comes to making small talk or chatting with people in party situations, so I love reading little tips like this to give me a bit of help while I struggle to hold up my end of an adult conversation- especially difficult now that I’ve been on maternity leave for 4 months so far, and babies don’t really do much to improve your sparkling conversational skills. It’s a shame that conversations don’t hinge on how well you sing The Wheels on the Bus….. sigh. Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

This weekend is Lila’s birthday party! I so appreciated everyone’s suggestions, and I went with a craft party at Michael’s. It’s a superhero theme, and Lila has been practicing her “Super Lila” poses. I’ll be doing a post on the whole experience soon. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Knit Wit: Board Game Fun!

Knit Wit Board Game Review | knittedbliss.com

I adore games- it’s such a great way to get together with friends without having to go out. It’s always relaxing, fun, and usually hilarious (I particularly like Catchphrase and Settlers of Catan). The makers of Knit Wit asked me if I’d be interested in trying out a new game they developed, which features different categories being  “knitted” together to form all sorts of interesting combinations (if you love Scattergories, then this is right up your alley). It’s been a while since I tried a new game, so I was definitely willing to give it a try.  I assembled a small team of precise game scientists to play with me- otherwise known as my husband Guy, and my cousin and her husband, Chantal and Mike. We got together at their house one night to try it out.

Knit Wit Board Game Review | knittedbliss.com

Knit Wit does not disappoint.  You can see it in action in this 1 minute video, it’s very accurate to how it feels to play the game. It’s pretty quick to learn, and the rules are not so lengthy that you have to have the booklet by you the whole time to check everything. You can have 2-8 players, but the more people you have the more fun it is.  I like that it isn’t a board game in the exact sense, but involves colourful cords on spools that each player arranges differently, so that you ‘knit’ together overlapping colours. That’s about as much knitting reference as the game has. Each round is totally unique- a player draws a different word and then attaches it to their chosen colour of cord, and how the spools are arranged can have one or more words associated with it.  There is a huge array of words that can be chosen at random from the deck. Your job is to race against your opponents to think of creative (and often ridiculous) ideas for things that would fit those categories.

Each round goes very quickly- the sooner you finish, the better. Then you get to grab a button that, depending on the holes in the center of the button, gives you bonus points for finishing quickly. Once the final button has been grabbed, the game is over and everyone shares their answers. You then compare answers, crossing out any that are the same as someone else. Points are scored for the remaining answers; plus any bonus button points. Highest score wins!

Knit Wit Board Game Review | knittedbliss.com

So in the above configuration, Spool #1 is in all 4 of the coloured loops, so it needed to be something that was stinky, gray, yellow, and smooth. Guy came up with the best answer- ‘a deviled egg having a bad day’. If you challenge a player’s answer, the rest of the players get to vote on whether or not their answer should count for a point- thumbs up or thumbs down. I can’t remember exactly which answer Chantal gave that we didn’t think met the criteria, but the photo below shows we voted it down.

Knit Wit Board Game Review | knittedbliss.com

This is a game that is as silly or as serious as you want it to be- but I think the real fun is when you let the answers be a bit silly, like Guy’s answer. And I strongly suspect that the more alcohol that is involved, the sillier the answers get! The game also feels like you are really exercising your creativity in terms of combining different attributes to think of something that no one else will- if you like thinking creatively, you will absolutely love playing it.  Like most games, the more you play, the better you get at it. By the end of the night we were all doing really well and fairly evenly matched in scores. But unsurprisingly, Guy won.

Knit Wit Board Game Review | knittedbliss.com

The game itself is beautifully made- I particularly liked the chalkboard-style pad of score cards that it comes with, along with 8 little white pencils. The spools and the clothespins that attach the words are all real wood, giving them a nice weight in the hand. Nothing about it feels cheaply produced (I’m looking at you, Candyland).

Wouldn’t this something fun and a different to try one night? Fortunately Z-Man Games is sponsoring a giveaway! One lucky person will win a Knit Wit game for themselves (open only in Canada and the U.S. Sorry international friends!). Leave me a comment letting me know why you would love this game and who you would play it with.  Contest closes midnight on April 17th. A winner will be announced on Monday, April 18th!

Eye Candy: Meet the Sponsors!

I was just reading over March’s Meet the Sponsor’s post, where I was going on about how the warm spring weather was upon us… now it’s been cold and snowing. Sigh. Well, if the view outside my window is going to be dreary, let’s get to the wonderful treats that would love to follow you home… I know a few of them have followed me home already!

Meet the Sponsors: Madbird | knittedbliss.com

Name: Madbird 

What They are all about: Alecia and Rob Miller make wonderful project bags, project clutches, totes, spindle bags, needle and hook rolls (even for dpns and interchangeables), and zip pouches- with a wide variety of fabrics, you’re sure to find the right size you need in a print you love.  They are all sturdily built, with fleece interfacing and solid bottoms that ensure the bags stand up well on their own, once a project is inside. If you haven’t tried one of their bags, you are missing out- every detail is perfection! They are offering 10% off everything in the shop with the code KNITTEDBLISS.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: The needle wallet (I love the fox print!) is my ideal travel companion. It’s absolutely perfect if you are going away for the weekend and taking a couple different projects with you. The interior pockets hold a variety of needles (dpns and circulars, as well as crochet hooks) so whatver you need, you can easily keep it organized. Then there is this beautiful, reversible mermaid print project bag– I just got my new project bag (which is the same shape) and it’s fantastic. Then there is this chic grey and bee print interchangeable needle case, that even has a small zippered pouch attached that is perfect for notions. Click through to see interior photos!

Meet the Sponsors: Sweet Sheep | knittedbliss.com

Name: Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe

What She is All About: Alicia makes luxurious all-natural lotion bars and lip balms using skin-loving ingredients like lanolin, cocoa butter, almond oil, and vitamin E and mango butter. If you haven’t tried a lotion bar before you are missing out! Everything is non-greasy, and the lip balms are my favourite on the planet- moisturizing without being sticky or shiny.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: Vanilla Mint lip balm is sweet and fresh, and super moisturizing.  And if you love vanilla, then you will adore the Sandalwood Vanilla Lotion bar with it’s velvety scent and fabulous moisturizers. And if you haven’t got one of her sheep soaps before, you are missing out- these lather up so well, and Lila loves washing her hands with a sheep shaped soap. I love that the goat’s milk soap is non-drying and smells like heaven- this one is Lemon Cake. I haven’t met a fragrance from this shop that I didn’t love!

Meet the Sponsors: The Blue Brick | knittedbliss.com

Name: The Blue Brick 

What She is All About:  You can probably tell from the photos that Shireen is a professional photographer; and she takes her yarn inspiration straight from the images she captures. These yarns are all hand-dyed in small batches on a variety of bases and weights, based on her photographic inspiration (you can read more about the yarn here). Each skein is sent out with a copy of the photo that inspired it- a really beautiful detail that makes me marvel even more at how she can dye the yarn to so closely resemble the photos! Shireen also designs beautiful patterns, as well.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: There are some stunning gradients coming out of The Blue brick these days- Willow  (available in 3 bases) is a wonderful neutral that shifts from dark grey to a warm sand and a grassy pale gold.  Ocean Fortress (available in 3 bases) has the soothing colours of of surf breaking on a wet beach, and Carnelian (available in 3 bases) might be my favourite- I love the rich red, the russet, the flame orange!

Meet the Sponsors: Fuzzy Mitten | knittedbliss.com

Name: Fuzzy Mitten 

What She is All About: Barbara designs the most adorable knitted animal toys, and has patterns for all sorts of clothing for them, too! They are great value, as every pattern comes with instructions for more than just the animal– there’s always something for them to wear, or an accessory or two. Starting April 15th she is having another mystery knit along, and I am a big fan- she sends out a clue for a part of the toy each week, and it usually takes a few weeks before the group can guess what the critter is! The group is always really fun and shares great pics in progress, and I’m definitely joining in again!

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: The Siamese Kitty is super sweet, and if you are interested in experimenting, you could also knit it striped and turn it into a tabby! Pattern also comes with the lace dress she is wearing. Then there is this fantastic dragon, which any kid would love to play with- especially as the pattern comes with instructions for the little knight and princess, too.  And if you would like to knit a toy for a baby or a toddler, this little baby bunny would make a sweet gift!

Meet the Sponsors: Ancient Arts Yarn | knittedbliss.com

Name: Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts

What They Are All About: Ancient Arts yarns has a huge selection (and just added a whole bunch of beautiful new colourways!) of hand dyed tonal, variegated and speckled colourways. Each colourway is offered in a variety of bases (most from bulky to laceweight, plus a variety of fiber bases within each weight), so you can totally customize for whatever project you have in mind. There is also their very special Meow Collection and Woof Collection, which are inspired by cat and dog breeds and a portion of the sales are donated to Best Friends Animal Society to help animals in need. Knitting AND helping animals? Sign me up.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: Art Deco is a beautiful skein with shades of pink quartz, grey, and a washed blue that is begging to be knit up in a stunning shawl or gorgeous socks. Raindrops and Roses is a fun speckled colourway that would be amazing in just about anything ( vote sweater!). Calling all Star Trek fans– To Boldly Go is a rich, deep colourway that is totally out of this world (sorry, I couldn’t resist.) All those colourways are available in lots of different weights, too!

What do you think? Anything calling your name?

Modification Monday: Owl Floogie

 

Modification Monday: Owl Floogie | knittedbliss.com

Original Pattern: Flat Foot Floogie

Knitter Extraordinaire: Karen (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Karen customized the Flat Foot Floogie pattern (which comes with directions for a lamb or bunny version) to be an owl. She did a fair isle stomach, crocheted edging for feathered wings, and improvised the head.  She also added a bell to the head and a squeaker to the body. Details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: You can see how different the owl is from the lamb in the photo below- which is a good reminder that it is easier to modify a knitting pattern that you have knit once before, and know how it works. I love how inventive this owl is! The little picot hem feet, the stranded design that imitates the feather pattern on the body, and the very clever crochet trim for the feathers on the wings. Karen even went the extra mile and put a little felt, through which the safety eyes are attached. The original floogie design is a perfect baby toy for small babies (James loves chewing on all kinds of fabric!), and customizing for a beloved animal (your favourite, or maybe a parent’s favourite!) is a perfect choice for a special baby.

Modification Monday: Owl Floogie | knittedbliss.com

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

Oh my gosh, this buddy bench at a school in Saskatoon gives me all the feels. What a great idea!

Apparently we feel threatened when people are buying ethically and we are not.

Inside the mind of a master procrastinator. This is all of us, am I right?

Are you confusing your to-do list with a wish list?

Merino wool shoes– heck yeah!

My Favourite Pins This Week

Pin Ups and Link Love: Pickle Brine Chicken Fingers | knittedbliss.com

I’m dying to try this recipe, but haven’t been able to get to a grocery store this week to get some chicken to try it- pickle brine chicken fingers! The idea is that you cut up some chicken breast into ‘fingers’, brine them for 8 hours in the fridge in some pickle juice, then batter and bake. I love pickles, I love chicken fingers, so this seems like a damn fine idea. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Cupcake Roses Bouqet Tutorial | knittedbliss.com

I was blown away by this cupcake tutorial- what a beautiful idea for a birthday or mother’s day! I’m a bit lazy and I strongly suspect that if you are careful, you could maybe pull it off with store-bought mini cupcakes. But I haven’t attempted it…. yet. Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Blueberry Latte| knittedbliss.com

This decaf blueberry tea latte is made with frozen blue berries and rooibos tea, and looks so indulgent! If you are like me and already have a bag of mixed frozen berries in your freezer all the time for smoothies, then you can just pick out the frozen blueberries for this (and get some rooibos tea, if you don’t already have some). Tastes like dessert! Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here (scroll down for the English).

Pin Ups and Link Love: Knitted Triangle Throw Blanket | knittedbliss.com

I’m so very much in love with this super bulky triangle throw blanket. It’s been so cold here in Toronto lately, I’d love to snuggle up underneath this! One day, triangle throw blanket, you will be mine. Pinterest link is here, and the original post with the full free knitting pattern is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: How to Paint Watercolor Feathers| knittedbliss.com

Wouldn’t these pretty watercolour feathers look great framed and on your wall? And how cool would it be to get a compliment on that great new feather print and you get to say, ‘oh, I painted those myself.’ Heck yeah you did- even if you aren’t feeling artistic, this DIY can make your feathers look pretty darn brilliant. Pinterest link is here, and the full tutorial is here.