Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

You know the saying,’ it’s funny because it’s true’? I have been killing myself laughing over these spoof foodie magazine covers. See one here, and the other here.

I’m loving this list of 25 Habits that will make you smarter (thanks Loulou  for the recommendation!)

Rebecca Campbell’s Instant Guidance page is addictive. If you are feeling unsure or could use a bit of advice,  hit the button. It’s pretty wonderful.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Flourless Cookie Bars |

I’m pretty excited to make these flourless chocolate chip oat bars this weekend- they look so good! I might try reducing the sugar when I make them, though- that seems like a lot for something that still has you adding chocolate chips and reese’s pieces.  The Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Pizzadillas |

Pizzadillas! Half pizza, half quesadilla, all the ways easy and totally customizable. Weekday dinner coming together in a cheesy flash, right there. Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Easy Sew Shorts|

I don’t normally sew, but these super easy boxer shorts have even me contemplating whipping out my old sewing machine and giving them a go. In the summertime, I love sleeping in cotton short, and these look like they would be perfect. Pinterest link is here, and the original post with the free pattern and instructions is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: paper flower garland DIY|

This paper flower garland is so pretty, I wouldn’t even wait for  party to make it- I bet it would look lovely just about anywhere. Pinterest link is here, and the original post with the full instructions is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Watermelon Cocktail |

Do you guys love watermelon as much as I do? It’s one of my favourite flavours of summer! This is a recipe for a great frozen cocktail, but there’s not a heck of a lot of booze in it- it would be easy to omit the liqueur and still have a mighty tasty beverage.  Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

We have no plans this weekend, so I’m looking forward to relaxing, and getting some photos of new WIPs and new FOs- because I manage dto crank out a couple of FOs while on vacation recently. Anyone else have big plans for relaxing this weekend?

Life Lately: San Francisco, and a Very Low Parenting Moment

The day before we flew out, I had the 4th eye appointment for Lila to get her eyes tested. I keep trying to get her eyes tested because she needs glasses (she squints at things when they are a few feet away), but she would never cooperate with the testing- won’t look at the images or charts, won’t look through lenses, won’t look in the phoropter, would immediately begin having a tantrum if the optometrist came anywhere near her with tools.  But this new optometrist was amazing- even thought Lila had a fit and we had to go back out into the waiting room (and have a couple time outs in the hallway, as she was screaming down the place), the optometrist had us wait until the other patients were finished, then turned off the lights in the waiting room, then used her own cell phone to pull up a video of Bubble Guppies and gave us some small, separated lenses to try with her and see what worked, and we actually got somewhere- the optometrist figured that her prescription was  in the ballpark of +3.50 (for those of you who wear glasses, you will understand what I mean when I said that this kid really needed glasses). It may have taken a couple of hours, but by the end I was brandishing an actual prescription for Lila.

Not wanting to lose momentum, we went to Walmart optical (thinking this would be a cheap place to get kid glasses that were a ‘close-enough’ approximation of her prescription). Lila said she wanted purple glasses, so I figured this would not be anywhere near the hysterics we had at the optometrist. But I was so very, very wrong. She was happy enough to play with the various purple glasses, but the optician said that she needed to take an additional measurement, which would involve holding a ruler up to her eyes and measuring the distance between the outer corner of one eye and the inner corner of the other. I winced.

Me: “Are you sure you need the measurement? She’s really not cooperative when it comes to the eye testing stuff.”

Her: “We definitely need to have it, we can’t fill her prescription without it.”

But Lila would not let the optician anywhere near her face with the small plastic ruler. She shrieked “NOOO!” and started getting really worked up with yelling and crying, and we took her off to the side and talked to her about how we were going to get ice cream afterwards if she let the nice lady hold the ruler near her nose, and look at this super fun soccer ball we brought with us! Then she’d calm down enough so we could go back over to the optician, and then the whole thing would happen all over again. Then the optician gave us the ruler, thinking we would have an easier time, but by then Lila knew how badly we needed to hold the ruler near her face, which in toddler logic meant it was a life-or-death situation that she prevent us from getting this ruler anywhere near her. After much wailing and trying to corral her, Guy and I agreed that one of us would have to hold her down and the other would take the measurement.  Now I don’t normally think this is a great way to go about things, but Lila’s stubborn streak extends far beyond just a few hours or even one day, now that she knew we needed to do the ruler thing, she would never let it happen. Not today, and not tomorrow, and not a week from now.  I’ve been trying to get her eyes tested since she was 6 months old, I know how deep her resistance to eye tests runs.

So we held her down while she screamed like a banshee and I tried to hold her head still while she fought and struggled and we tried to get an accurate reading on that stupid ruler. Finally, we got it, and Guy went off with the ruler to talk to the optician, and Lila stopped crying 5 seconds later and went back to playing with a soccer ball as if nothing had happened. But I felt awful. There is no version of this story where I feel fine with using physical force to hold my child down, even if it was for her own good. Like maybe if I were a better parent, I’d magically know what to say to get her to cooperate. We  had spent weeks with a great pop-up book getting her used to the idea, and telling her over and over again how great glasses were…. but in the last three hours every moment had felt like a struggle trying to do the right thing. I could feel tears welling up and I thought to myself, ‘I can’t cry. I’m sitting on the floor of a Walmart optical center, I can’t cry here.’

And there it was- the final thing I could not bear. It was only noon and the day had already reduced me to sitting on the floor of a Walmart optical physically holding my screaming toddler down to hold a ruler in front of her face AND do it for the packed Saturday audience of all the Walmart checkout counters –seriously, are there any Walmarts where the optical center isn’t right by the checkouts?–AND apparently being pregnant means crazy hormones and stuff so I was possibly not starting from the greatest position of strength…. I cried. Big, shoulder-shaking sobs. Sitting right there on the floor of a Walmart. Hiding behind the optical counter, but still sitting on the floor of a Walmart, crying.

Oh, and I didn’t have any tissues in my purse. The closest thing I had was a pair of clean toddler socks. I, a grown woman, had to wipe my face with toddler socks. Because I was crying so hard. On the FLOOR OF A WALMART.

I probably don’t need to mention that when we left our darling daughter with my parents the next morning, I didn’t feel a drop of parental guilt  as we headed out to the airport to take a 4-day vacation. I had never needed a vacation so badly in my life.

San Francisco |

Guy and I had a wonderful time in San Francisco! It was our first time getting away just the two of us since Lila was born, and I was amazed at how easy it felt to be just the two of us for a little bit. There was a moment when we were sipping tea in the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park  (seriously one of the biggest and most amazing outdoor space I’ve ever been in) and someone else’s toddler was kicking off loudly while an exhausted-looking parent had to drag them back from the edge of a koi pond, and Guy and just smiled at each other. Someone’s toddler was screaming and it wasn’t ours!

San Francisco |

I also got to meet some fabulous knitters at Atelier Yarns, including Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting / Botanical Knits fame. I absolutely love meeting other knitters, so it was super fun to relax and chat in a cozy yarn shop and get that face to face (and yarn to yarn!) time in.

San Francisco |

Renee (Confessions of a Yarn Addict) knitted the forthcoming baby Bliss a wonderful little green hat, and Alana knitted some super sweet moccasins. I love how both can work for either a girl or a boy! I will take some modeled shots in December when the wee babe will be out in the world and ready to get cozy in some wooly goodness. Oh, and I did buy some yarn! More on that to follow soon.

Also, I spent a lot of time in some bakeries, notable Tartine and Mr. Holmes Bakehouse:

San Francisco | San Francisco |

We also got to do something that has been on my bucket list for a long time- we took a hot air balloon ride! Those of you who follow me on Instagram no doubt saw some of those photos. It was over Napa Valley, and it was absolutely breathtaking. Apparently a lot of people are scared of heights, but if you are not, then I highly recommend- it was so peaceful, so beautiful. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

San Francisco |

One of the things I most wanted see was a bit of a wash- the sea lions at pier 39. I love seeing animals in the wild (as opposed to zoos). Normally it’s supposed to look like the picture on the left (promotional photo) but when we went, it looked like the picture on the right (my photo).

San Francisco |

Apparently all the sea lions go somewhere else when it’s calving season, so since they were off having babies, there were just a few dude sea lions that would pop up now and then. Hardly the pier-ful of sea lions I was hoping for. Four days flew by in a blur,  there are a million more photos I could share, but I’m sure we’ve all got stuff to do today.  I’m just grateful for the time to reconnect with Guy and recharge our batteries.

San Francisco |

When we got back from San Francisco, there was a voicemail from Walmart optical, letting me know the glasses were ready for pick up and I should schedule an appointment with the optician so that we can have them properly fitted to Lila’s head. When I called back, I said I’d be picking up the glasses alone and we would do the fitting another day. She insisted that the fitting was crucial, to which I replied, “I don’t know if you were working last Saturday, but my daughter is really not cooperating on this whole glasses thing. I’d prefer to just pick them up.”

Silence. Then she said,”I was working last Saturday, I remember you. Absolutely, you can pick them up anytime.”

Outtakes: We Are Knitters Pacific Sweater

Here are the outtakes from my most recent finished knit, the Pacific Sweater! This came as a kit from We Are Knitters (you can read the whole finished knit post here, and the knit in progress  post here). The sweater is super comfy, but the day we were trying to take photos,  our toddler was not interested in sitting in her stroller.  Which normally wouldn’t be a problem, but cool street art tends to be…. on the street. Where toddlers shouldn’t be running amok.

Outtakes: We Are Knitters PAcific Sweater |

Oh yeah, I’m acting so cool in front of street art on a major street in Toronto! I apparently have no shame.  When not pulling silly stunts,  there are quite a few photos of me trying to keep an eye on Lila, who was not interested in the task at hand:

Outtakes: We Are Knitters PAcific Sweater |

She kept pulling down the top of her stroller so she could get a head start on being a sullen teenager, and when that didn’t work, she tried to wiggle out of her stroller. I think in the shot above I was telling her to stay in her chair. So we tried bribing her with a croissant:

Outtakes: We Are Knitters PAcific Sweater |

One of the few photos where you can tell that my headband, shoes, and tank top underneath are all echoing the black stripe theme. But you see how the top is staying on my shoulders perfectly when I’m crouched down? That i-cord is working it’s magic!

I will also sit nicely if someone gives me a croissant, so I’m glad that baked-goods bribery works for toddlers, too. Because I had the ever-so-important task of looking like this in photos:

Outtakes: We Are Knitters PAcific Sweater |

“hello? Is it me you’re looking for?”

Um, yeah. This would be a good time to remind you that there are lots of decent shots over on the finished knit post. Or you can check out the kits here, because that model is definitely working her Blue Steel magic. Or I can offer you a photo of Lila 3 seconds before she successfully wiggled out the bottom of her stroller:

Outtakes: We Are Knitters PAcific Sweater |

She also unsnapped the padding from the bar and started whipping it around.  Clearly the croissant counted for nothing!

* This is the final (part 3) of a short series of sponsored posts for We Are Knitters, a super stylish knitting kit company that are good sports to be affiliated with these silly photos and my unruly toddler. I chose the pattern kit and the colour, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

Modification Monday: Soho Dress

Modification Monday: Soho Dress |

Original Pattern: Notched Hem Tank Top 

Knitter Extraordinaire: Alina (Ravelry ID, blog)

Mods:  Changed the in-the-round tank top pattern to a seamed two-colour dress, added in waist shaping and a contrasting. Project page with excellent links back to her blog posts going through each step can be found here.

What Makes This Awesome: I don’t think anyone can dispute that this is a knockout dress- I love the clean lines and the way Alina integrated the contrast colour at both the neck and the side panels. Something very key in this mod is that she seamed the dress instead of just lengthening the tank top pattern, which was very smart! Seams help give knitted garments structure, and on a dress structure is very much needed. The seams will help prevent the dress from getting baggy or stretched out, and I love the detail of the contrasting side panels- so slimming! Not that this beautiful model needs it at all. I also loved Alina’s nod to the original pattern by keeping the side panels shorter than the front and back of the dress, it looks so chic. This is the kind of knit that could be worn any time, any decade, and look utterly amazing. A total knockout.

Modification Monday: Soho Dress |

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

I don’t have a creative space per se (my couch counts as a creative space, right?), but I love this list of 10 things you need in your creative space. 

If you feel like you have no idea where your time goes, here’s how to reclaim about 1,300 minutes from your week. This is an article version of a great book I read ( 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think ) , and I highly recommend the article as a starting point to tracking where your time leaks are in your life.

I know that we’ve all heard about how sitting for long periods of time is bad for you, but this is a great little video that shows exactly how and why. 

As someone who got back from vacation about 5 minutes ago, I’m biased about how necessary vacations are- and here’s one of the many great articles out there that explains exactly why you need a vacation. 

Pin Ups and Link Love: High Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies|

I am dying to try this recipe for high protein chocolate peanut butter cookies- the recipe only has 5 ingredients, and each cookie has about 8 grams of protein. That would a pretty awesome cookie! Pinterest pink is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: 3 Ingredient Tomato Sandwich |

Super simple 3-ingredient tomato sandwich is perfect for light lunches or snacks. I’m a big fan, especially when you can get pretty heirloom varieties like in the photos. Pinterest link is here, the original post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love:  Ideal Living Room |

I think this is my ideal living room, I love the double picture rail, and the calm palette. Pinterest link is here, and I think the original is somewhere on this site, but I haven’t been able to track down the original post.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Rock Magnets |

This looks like such a fun summer craft- bright, fun painted rocks that you turn into magnets. I love this grown-up take on it using geometric designs and a unifying black and white palette, with bright hits of colour.  Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: How to Have a Better Desk Lunch |

I love this post about how to have a better lunch at your desk because I am always eating my lunch at my work desk! I have a coworker who brought in a pretty antique plate and eats her lunch off of it, just because it makes lunch that much nicer. And hey, if you are going to eat while working, you might as well make that as a good an experience as you possibly can. Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.