Pin Ups and Link Love; My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

We all know this, but if you need a science-backed reminder… how multitasking literally drains the energy reserves of your brain. 

here are 5 tips on how to unwind after a challenging day. None of them involve staring at your phone or the tv.

And if the day has been more than challenging and you are feeling low, here is a great post on creating a checklist of some things that help you (wonderful, unique you) feel better. None of them are food.

These satirical ‘Anxiety Magazine’ covers are absolutely hilarious. The last two are my faves.

My Favourite Pins This Week

Pin Ups and Link Love: Cake Mix Cookies |

Wait, you can make cookies from cake mix? Like, any cake mix? Consider my mind blown. I know that box mix is not always the best idea, but sometimes you just need to bake some cookies and get on with the day. This one has links for all kinds of different mix ins with different cake mixes for custom flavours. I can’t wait to try this with Lila. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Pesto Chicken Kebobs|

Summer is pretty much the perfect season for food on a stick, am I right? I love kebobs (or kebabs, depending on what part of the world you are in)! These chicken pesto kebobs are super easy, healthy, and ready for the barbecue. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Raspberry Sunrise Smoothie |

Have you ever tried a layered smoothie? It’s so much easier than you’d think, and is really the same amount of work you’d put in to make two smoothies (but I’m still using my trusty old magic bullet for smoothies, so…. it already is single portions in my smoothie world). This raspberry mango combo is amazing- raspberries and mangoes are in season, or you could always use frozen for both if you prefer. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: DIY Smartphone Proector|

Did you know that you can actually make a smartphone projector? Out of literally 5 things (one of them being the actual smartphone)! Such a fun idea, especially for having backyard videos or movies. Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY post is here.

  Pin Ups and Link Love: Fail Better | I love a good pinterest-ready quote, because we can all use a little fun-sized wisdom now and then. This was a good reminder for me lately. Pinterest link is here, and the original round up of quotes is here.

Have a lovely weekend, my friends! I hope the sun is shining and the air smells sweet, wherever you are. I’m going to be heading back to Toronto tomorrow, and looking forward to getting back home and giving the cats a cuddle and the kids back on their normal routines.

Modification Monday: Leaf Devil

Modification Monday: Leaf Devil Cowl |

Original Pattern: Spiral Cowl 

Knitted Extraordinaire: Alicia (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Alicia changed out the travelling stitch, and added in a custom charted stranded design of fall leaves. Details and amazing photos can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: Alicia really enjoyed the travelling slipped stitch element from the Starfighter hat she knitted previously, and used that as the travelling design through the cowl. I particularly like how the elongated stitches add just the right amount of texture and are an interesting counter balance to the colourwork leaves. Talk about a fun idea, to create your own charts and work them into a cowl! Keeping the cowl on the smaller side (meaning, not a long one that is worn doubled around the neck) makes experimenting even more accessible. I feel like this cowl would work well in a variety of colours, too- imagine the leaves worked in a autumn-hued variegated yarn!

Modification Monday: Leaf Devil Cowl |

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

I particularly enjoyed this post from Mollie Makes, on how slow crafts teach us patience.

And if you feel inspired to work on more crafts but feel too busy, here is a great article on nurturing your creativity through the busy seasons.

Have trouble sleeping? 5 tips to deal with insomnia.

While I think this definitely takes me than 5 minutes, if you are looking ahead to the future and know that you want things to be different than they are right now, you best make some plans. Here’s a great guide to get started.

The wage gap explained via a hilarious game show parody.

The Guardian has a regular feature of a Saturday poem, which is a great idea. this is a lovely one.

My Favourite Pins This Week

Pin Ups and Link Love: Rainbow Cookies |

Rainbow cookies! So much easier than they look, and if you are sort of weirded out about the food colouring, you could use less, or slightly different colour scheme. Who wouldn’t want to eat a rainbow, right? Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Broccoli Cheese Bites|

These broccoli cheese bites come together with just 5 ingredients and are tasty enough to turn even the most anti-broccoli individuals. A nice alternative to something fried,  these are baked in the oven. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: DIY watermelon Towels|

How amazing are these DIY Watermelon towels? And she did this craft with with kids. So it can’t be that hard, right? Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY post with full details can be found here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Flower Embroidery |

Here is a beautiful tutorial on embroidering flowers on cotton tea towel, complete with a pdf for the flower designs. Definitely a lovely, light summer craft if you enjoy embroidery, or just want to give it a try. This would be beginner-friendly, too! Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Mind Mapping |

Ever feel overwhelmed with a million things going on in your brain? Yeah, I think that’s all of us at some point of time or another. Here is a great way to help get a handle on that- mind mapping. I just started trying it, and it’s SO helpful for de-cluttering my head! Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

How is everyone enjoying July so far? I brought the kids up north to my parents place, and we are having a blast! I managed to pick up a summer cold, so I’ve been struggling a bit this week. Oh well, it’s still summer and the weather is still wonderful!

Meet the Sponsors: July Edition!

Ever have one of those weeks where you thought things were going to be super relaxing and low key, and then they totally weren’t? that’s this week for me. I brought the kids up north to visit my family (Lila and my mom are total BFFs), and Guy is back home working hard (and no doubt eating teak out every night for dinner). But while it’s been great that the kids are getting to spend time with their grandparents, I’m totally off my routine and everything feels just a little bit out of whack for me. I’m happy to be around my family, but back home I have habits built in so that little bits of work and knitting just seem to magically get done, but here I have no routine. But what’s that old saying, a change is as good as rest? It’s all good. Let’s check out the new goodies!

Meet the Sponsors: Madbird|

Name: Madbird 

Where You Can Follow Them: Facebook, Instagram

What They are all about: Alecia and Rob Miller make wonderful project bags, project clutches, totes, spindle bags, hook rolls and needle rolls (including ones 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 and you will have this bag forever. I recommend following them on Facebook to get the updates on new items as well as the flash sales they sometimes have! Also, they are offering 10% off everything with the code KNITTEDBLISS.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: This large project bag is almost a foot wide and about 9 inches tall, so it’s a nice size for corralling your yarn and WIP that need a bit more than a typical fingering weight project bag- and I love this lilac toned Hide and Seek Print. This bucket-style medium sized project bag is totally reversible (inside is a great pear print fabric), and includes a snap yarn guide. Plus the fruit fabric feels great for summer! And you know what goes great with a project bag? A mini organizer. this is perfect for stashing different sizes of needles for your project, a crochet hook for finishing or casting on techniques, even interchangeable cables or circulars. Perfect for when you are going away and you need to make sure you have everything for your project.

Meet the Sponsors: Artesano |

Name: Artesano

Where You Can Follow Them: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, RavelryPinterest

What They Are All About: Jennifer and Tom run Artesano, which specializes in alpaca, merino, and silk blends of varying weights, as well as a variety of needles, and links to free patterns. UK and European readers, I think you’ll be excited about this- Artesano is based in the UK! My fellow North Americans, don’t rule it out because it’s the UK- shipping is about $8.50 US for orders under $65. For my fellow Canadians, that’s often way better than shipping from the US! If you sign up for the emails, you get a coupon for 20% off, too.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: This beautiful DK Nebula  tweed is a blend of alpaca, wool, and donegal tweed and comes in a great range of colours- this one is Rhinestone. Who says tweeds have to only be in browns and greys? Artesano also has a lot (really, a lot) of free patterns for a variety of weights- I think this Mimas sweater  is very chic and a fun summer knit. Artesano also has a very affordable yarn club (ships internationally), which you can purchase month by month- definitely full of surprises!

Meet the Sponsors: Spirit Trail Fiber Works |

Name: Spirit Trail Fiber Works

Where You Can Follow Them: Ravelry, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, blog

What She is All About: Jennifer has a variety of her hand dyed yarns in a variety of weights and fibers, as well as beautiful (and some very rare breed!) roving and spinning fibers. She produces her colours in small batches with artisanal dye techniques, and really shines at tonals which have incredible depth.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: This is 100% Bluefaced Leicester fingering weight yarn in ‘Chalcedony‘, a beautiful mix of greys and blues. In the middle we have quite possibly the most perfect rendering of the colour ‘Daffodil’ I have ever seen- this is a laceweight blend of superwash merino, cashmere and silk. I’m pretty sure that yarn would be a perfect summer shawl! Then we have the semi-solid DK weight ‘Aquarius’. which is also a superwash merino, cashmere, and silk blend. I can personally say that her semi-solids are beautifully done.

The Blue Brick |

Name: The Blue Brick 

Where You Can Follow Them:  BlogFacebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Ravelry, Flickr, and Crawftgawker

What She is All About: 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 by Shireen and her husband Tito 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. The shop is closed online for July, but if you click over you can get an email when they reopen after vacation!

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: Winter Wheat, currently available in Worsted weight and DK, with warm greys and biscuit tones that seem like the embodiment of coziness. Night Heron, right blue green teals that are more lagoon than yarn, currently available in worsted, DK, and a single ply merino.  And a brand new, stunning gradient colourway- Rose, which is an ombre dream of gold and pink tones; currently available in worsted, DK, sock yarn, and a single ply merino.

Meet the Sponsors: Biscotte |

Name: Biscotte Yarns

Where You Can Follow Them: Blog, Facebook, Twitter, InstagramPinterestTumblr, Google +

What They Are All About: Biscotte Yarns specializes in self-striping yarns with lots of fun inspiration, but they have all sorts of goodies on offer- fabrics, project bags and kits, patterns, and tonal single ply yarns, as well as a mystery club! They also recently came out with an app that allows you create custom hat and sock patterns based on yarn weight, gauge, stitch preferences and size choices- web based, Android, or iphone. I’m excited to try it!

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right:  You really truly have to click over to get a closer look at this beautiful owl sock kit. The kit comes with everything you need- including the pattern and the beads for the owl eyes; truly a very special set of socks.  Then we have alovely hand dyed sock yarn in ‘Vanile’, which is so much more interesting that you usually think of when you think of vanilla. This one has shifting shades of warm sandy tones and pales creams, to add real depth that is anythin gbut vanilla (oh, I’m so fuAnd if you love Finding Nemo, then this clownfish self striping yarn is going to make the most perfect socks ever. If you are more of a Dory fan, there’s also one for her!

So what do you think? Anything you absolutely love? And how is your summer productivity?

Modification Monday: Milk Run Shawl

Modification Monday: Milk Run Shawl |

Original Pattern: Milk Run Shawl 

Knitter Extraordinaire: Tatyana (Ravelry ID)

Mods:  Using the shawl as a template, Tatyana added different botanical stitch motifs to the shawl to create something completely original. Details are on her project page,  which can be found here.

What Makes This Awesome: For those of you who love going through stitch dictionaries, this is another great modification idea for you! Tatyana loved the shape of this shawl, but wanted to add some different stitches, and she chose the highly textured travelling vines alternating leaves and berries. Talk about an original, beautiful result! For the shawl lovers out there, are there any stitches (especially cables or travelling designs) tat you would love to try out? Think how beautiful a customized design like this would be on a simple shawl. Bonus tip: chose a shawl pattern that you have knitted before and are familiar with, it’s a bit easier to begin incorporating new designs. And let Tatyana’s stunning shawl inspire you to make bold choices!

Modification Monday: Milk Run Shawl |