"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."- Leonardo da Vinci

7.07.2014

Finningan's Market- Love where you live

In catching up with my blog reading recently, I was thrilled to see that Gabrielle, also known as Design Mom, is bringing back one of my favourite "columns", called "Love where you live". (Hop over for lots of fun blog posts!)

When I first read about this series of posts, I was really inspired to make an effort to explore fun and beautiful places close to home. We will be spending this summer in Montreal, so I am certainly determined to "love where I live" even more.

For a while now I have wanted to check out Finnegan's market. It is an outdoor antique market that takes place every Saturday in the summer. We thought it would be a fun outing with the kids, that we could finish off with a picnic. 

It seems that I completely forgot how chaotic it is to travel with babies in tow. Our day was not off to a great start. It took forever to get out of the house as it was impossible to get organized. In the end, my son left wearing the T-shirt he had slept in, and I had no time to make anything for our picnic. ( A big thanks to my sister here who rescued our lunch and made sandwiches for everyone! AND remembered to bring my dad!!!) But, we made it out of the house and believe me, that is something to be proud of these days! The 30 minute drive served to cool everyone's tempers, and by the time we got there we were all smiles and ready to explore.

The weather was perfect for a stroll through the stalls, for admiring, chatting and enjoying. I saw so many knick-knacks that I would have loved to bring home with me, here are a few glimpses.





Lovely garden accessories

                                                   
                                                 Happiness in a popsicle


                                                      Endless treasures to discover


                                             And of course something knitting related



                                                         Cousins


And last but not least, the reason I am not getting any sleep these days

Here, herehere  and here are my other "Love where you live posts". 

6.23.2014

Summer Vacation!

This is it, school is officially out. My (not so) little boy is about to experience his first summer vacation. How terribly exciting for him and at the same time terribly terrifying for me.

As much as I enjoy hanging out with my little man, I have not spent this much time with him since maternity leave! He is the kind of child that absolutely needs a routine, spur of the moment things do not go over very well.

I still remember that feeling of freedom on the last day of school, the idea of endless sunny days stretching in front of me. Every day a new adventure, full of possibilities. I was used to playing on my own, it never bothered me, but my son is different, he craves company, and needs help to get his imagination going.

So I have been thinking of how to fill our days. We have playdates and outings lined up, swimming and tennis lessons. But I also want fun activities to do at home. After all, we will be spending a lot of time around the house! Since Aidan is not great at playing on his own, I have to find creative ways to encourage him to be a more independent player.

I, of course, started a Pinterest board of ideas, and as often happens, this sparked my imagination. My son loves "Hunt and Seek" games, so I thought....why not create one myself?

I scoured the house for little toys and items to use, arranged them on a tray, and photographed it. This is accompanied by a list of items that he has to find in the photograph. 

This is what I have on the list:

a firetruck
the letter S
the letter A
an angel
scissors
a whistle
a bicycle
a medal
a  milk carton
a ball
a lollipop
a walnut
a rock
a dinosaur
a gift-tag
a basketball net
2 postcards
an antler
a brush
a ribbon
an elephant
a stamp
a slinky
a cellphone
a golfball
a flower
a key
an eraser
a house
a garbage can
a seashell
a harmonica
a cup

I mean the possibilities are endless, right?

If you are desperate for some time fillers with your kids, you can always download my pictures from my flickr account here, and the list here.












We're playing this afternoon....

6.13.2014

Strathcona, a summer scarf

Did I mention I have been willing myself to finish knit projects?

I cannot be the only one who finishes a knit and then lets it sit around for weeks, possibly months before weaving in the ends and blocking?

Well, I finally put the finishing touches on this one, and I am really glad I did. When Jane Richmond released Island, I immediately marked most of the patterns as favourites. Strathcona is such a fun, summery accessory. I enjoy wearing knits year-round, so this is a great light pattern. 

I started off thinking it was going to be a quick knit, but it was not, at least not for me. But it is very easy to memorize, so once you've gotten into the rhythm it'll go fast.




This is my first time using Knitpicks Curio, and it will not be my last. Some of my friends thought I was crazy (right Robyn?), as it is listed a "thread"weight on Ravelry, but I went ahead and found that with the yarn held double, it was pretty much a fingering weight, and I find it is quite a good match for this pattern.

The cotton has a wonderful sheen to it, and the colours are intense and saturated. Lots of possibilities in other words.

This is one I will be wearing quite a bit!



6.03.2014

TTTKAL & Mommy Brain

You know what they say about the best intentions....

Well, I intended to participate in Shannon's TTTKAL and make a cute summer top for myself, but I mobilized too late and by the time my yarn arrived, it was one day away from the finishing deadline.I blame mommy-brain. Indecision and procrastination have nothing to do with it!

Though this deadline was extended to yesterday, the 2nd June, I am nowhere near finishing.  But, it has given me the opportunity to follow along in the thread, chat with some other knitters, and that is always a blast. To anyone that is considering joining a KAL, Shannon's are always a lot of fun. It's a great group of ladies! I can only recommend it!

Nevertheless, let me introduce you to my project. I chose the Driftwood Tee by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark. It is very "me". Clean lines, with a little interesting detail. I debated for too long which yarn to choose. I did not have anything in my stash, and did not want to invest a lot, so I though I'd give Holst yarn a try. I have heard good things about it. The specification on their website are very similar to the yarn this pattern calls for, only a couple of stitches off from the pattern gauge. So far it is a lovely yarn, though it is a lot thinner then I expected. I personally would call it a lace-weight, but hey, I am no expert. The knitted fabric is very airy, which is nice for a summer top. 



We'll see what the finished project turns out to be....hopefully I will stick to it, and get to wear it this summer, as I do not have the encouragement of my fellow knitters to keep me going.

Updates to follow!

5.19.2014

Be careful what you wish for

Seven years ago, when I found out that I was pregnant with a boy, I felt a bit of panic. I grew up surrounded by girls, in a family where we had only a couple of boy cousins. I wondered, would I know what to do with a boy? How to play with him? How to relate to him and find common ground?

He is now six years old, and I have come a long way. Cars, trains, sports, hockey, I've learned about them all, alongside my son. True, I am still amazed at the level of energy, and I still have a hard time understanding how play-fighting is fun, but I can honestly say that I no longer have those worries about forming a bond. We are close, very close.

So you would think that I would have felt relief finding out that I was having a girl this time around, right? WRONG! Girls are complex and sensitive, and I started thinking of the importance of teaching them self-respect, and giving them confidence, showing them how to stand up for themselves. 

Of course these are all true for boys as well, but for whatever reason they never came to mind when I had Aidan.

And then I started worrying that I am already subjecting my children to a double-standard, when they are only this young. You can tell, I am sure that I have been driving myself mad!

In speaking to other moms though, I have come to realize that I am maybe over thinking the situation. The most important thing is to lead by example, pay attention, and also let their personality develop, as a lot depends on that as well.

So I have made the conscious decision to trust my motherly instincts and believe that I will know the right thing to do. The power of positive thinking, right? 

As if to reinforce this idea, a few weeks ago, I came across and advertisement for Dove, that to me, said it all. I decided to recreate it as a poster in Sienna's room.




It's quite a simple message, but I love it! If anyone else is interested in having it, click here for the JPEG version, and here for the PDF.


 

5.12.2014

Never enough baby knits

Hi, and I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's day celebration. We had a beautiful day, a full house, lots of laughter and squealing children. I was planning a quick little post, but time just got away from me.

So I am back today to show off another adorable baby knit. I started this pattern while recovering from giving birth in the hospital. A dear friend of mine sent me this yarn from Berlin, and I wanted to make something special with it for my little one. 

A very popular baby cardigan on Ravelry is Puerperium (how DO you pronounce it?). It is written for a very small size, so it was perfect for my tiny 2lbs, 10oz baby. 

Well perfectly small for her to grow into anyway, as it still is a little big on her now, and she is 3 times as big.

It is a very fast and straightforward pattern. I enjoyed making it, and really like the way it turned out, but my absolute favourite part of this cardigan......the buttons! Aren't they adorable? Ever since I saw them in my friend's yarn shop, I planned on knitting a cardigan to fit them. I mean owls! You can never have enough owls!



The beautiful weather has finally arrived here in Montreal and I am planning on spending as much time outdoors as I can. What about you??

5.01.2014

Loose ends - Colour Affection finished.

Maybe it's the spring, maybe it's nesting, but my focus lately has been to finish projects, to tie up loose ends as it may be. 

Looking back over my sparse blog posts of the last few months, I realized that I never posted photos of the finished Colour Affection shawl. So here it is.




This is a project that I started with my Stitch'n Bitch group, a knit that we all loved to hate. You may recall me agonizing over my colour choices, and the famous "to YO or not to YO" issue. The endless knit rows. 

I am happy I stuck it out however, because I have gotten quite a bit of wear out of it since I finished it, and it has also turned out to be quite a versatile piece of my wardrobe. I have paired it with a lot more outfits then I thought. And it has also been admired quite a bit. I love it when knits turn out like that, and let's be honest, that is not always the case. 

I would say that out of all of my knits, about three quarters I wear often, whereas the rest I have never worn more then a handful of times.

Which begs the question....what do YOU do with those knits? Do you frog them and re-use the yarn for better, more appropriate projects? Or is it too painful to undo all those hours of work? I am curious to know...