Friday, January 22, 2016

Year of Knitting: Moonstone Pullover

        When I read the description for this knitting pattern I knew this was just the pattern for us -"Named for the magical beach full of towering sea stack rocks and tide pools, this unisex child’s pullover can be worked in stripes or in a solid colour" . Hello a more perfect image has never been written! So it was with out hesitation that I dove into knitting my first Moonstone Pullover in some grey worsted wool from my Mom. When I say dove in I mean dove in- I didn't read the instructions properly and a sweater that was supposed to be for my size 10 boy has now landed on the size 8 frame of my girl! I misread the pattern- oops!

     That was just fine with her- she happily slipped this cozy little bit of knitting on right away and claimed it for her own- picking out the hand worked silver buttons which I think are just perfect! The Moonstone is a quick and easy knit- the first top down sweater I have attempted and with the exception of knitting the wrong size it was really so simple. From cast on to cast off I was done in two weeks. 

    It's so funny that a short time ago I didn't consider myself a knitter and now my hands get antsy if they aren't busy! I love how portable knitting is- I can have my basket with me wherever I go ready to continue with just a few rows if needed. I think what appeals to me most of all is the fact that I am making garments for my family- from my own hands- that might otherwise not be so ethically sourced. I am a part of the solution- it's easy with a gorgeous pattern such as the Moonstone.

       Friends it is Friday again! We are likely on the road headed over the hills to the Okanagan as you read this- my knitting basket at my feet- my kids squabbling in the back seat behind me. I am looking forward to a large glass of wine once we hit Peachland! Happy Friday Friends- much love and creativity!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Button Button

          A great part about living in Gastown is that this neighbourhood is a neighbourhood in transition where a few gems  can still be found. The Hipsters and Yuppies haven't ruined everything quite yet! There are still a few shops that specialize in a quirkiness that isn't curated or Kinfolk worthy- shops that are still interesting for their individuality.

         One such shop is Button Button on the corner of Homer and Cordova street- up a flight of stairs- through a wooden and glass door lies jewel box of buttons. Button Button has been a neighbourhood fixture for over twenty years. This is my go to place when I need to finish off a sewing or knitting project. Unique and different than what you would find attached to a card these buttons are truly tiny works of art.

    I think part of the magic of a big city is the constant change- but it is equally comforting in this world of constant change that such a shop still exists! I wonder how many buttons one has to sell to pay rent in Gastown these days? At any rate I am so happy that Button Button is just around the corner from me- just another quirky layer of our neighbourhood!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


        So here's a thing- I'm running again- I know insert eye roll and cue the whining! But in all seriousness I am actually running and finally beginning to like it! I know I have been down this path before- I've bought the runners, bought the great work out gear and then proceeded to sit on the couch. So what makes this time so very different than before?

     I think for me working a full time job has really put a priority on me finding some balance in my life. It's one thing to be spiritually balanced- have the work/ family thing down but somewhere in the middle something suffers. And quite frankly since moving into my new job that "something" happens to be my jean size.

    A big part of this has to do with my sister- she is my inspiration. My sister runs- a lot- she's so athletic and always has been. Now no offence to my sister but we both have the same genetic predisposition to laziness- we like to nap a lot. So I thought to myself if she can do it so can I- again no offence but it's true!

    It's so funny to me that two people can come from the exact same place- the same home- yet have two totally different life truths. My sister has always been "The Athletic One" and I have always been "The Creative One"- also known as "The Reader". These labels have been what has always stopped me short of carrying through with any sort of fitness goals. I have always been afraid that I would fail and prove everyone right- that in fact I am not "The Athletic One". The same goes for my sister- she doesn't like making things and she is "not a reader".

    So in my year of KINDNESS I am allowing myself the chance to try- I might fail again- but at least I am going to try. I literally have nothing to lose except for this large bottom. These days I have no time- like zero time- for labels and bullshit- these days all I am seeing is the pavement under my sneakers as I run past the bakery and the tacos. Running still sucks- but each day it sucks a little worse!


Monday, January 18, 2016

On Our Bookshelf: The Specific Ocean

               Every once in a while during the long wet, grey days of January we Vancouverites catch a break- a few much needed rays of sun and a pause in the rain! Obviously one must take full advantage of these gifts and head outside to do a bit of reading. One of our favourite books all about the Pacific Ocean is a book by the title of The Specific Ocean- a touching story of a family trip to the sea shore. Illustrations by Katty Maurey and words by Kye Maclear.

          As with all the books that make my list the illustrations in The Specific Ocean are beautiful- sensitively executed to accompany a rather esoteric moral. We relate to this story on so many levels- as Coastal People we love everything about the sea and often wish to possess it for our own- collecting small bots and pieces to bring into our home.

         I think for us this book is relatable on so many levels- the kids love the family portrayed as there is an older brother and a younger sister. They enjoy the light sarcasm and all the imaginative elements. As a parent I love that this is a story all about trying new things and respecting the environment- win win in my books!

P.S. if you get a chance check out Kye Maclear's blog- lots of inspiration as well as the story behind the story!

Friday, January 15, 2016

On Kindess

          Lately there has been lots of talk about setting intention for the year ahead- resolutions if you will. I am not overly a fan of resolutions as they always add to the laundry list of things I have to do. I do however like the idea of choosing a theme or setting the tone for the new year by choosing a word that fits my desires and wishes. This is a resolution I can get behind because it's more of a general guideline than a guilt inducing over lord!

       So in the spirit of love I have chosen the word KINDNESS to represent 2016. As a parent I go on and on about the importance of kindness to my children- kindness underlies every choice we make regarding our actions towards other people. What if I took my own advice and turned that kindness back on myself?

      Think about it- what if I chose to treat myself the same way I treat my children? What if I make myself be kind to not only the people around me but to myself? Set a bed time and enforced it. Feed myself healthy whole foods. Cut out sugar except for the occasional treat. Let myself out to play every once in a while.

     This idea of self love might be radicle but I really think it essential! In today's society there seems to be this insane expectation on the women in general- we are preconditioned to put everyone else's needs before our own. This needs to change- we need to start loving on ourselves because quite frankly no one else is going to.

     So to elabourate in 2016 I promise to do more of all the stuff I love- hang out under trees in the park with my family- collect sea shells on the beach- explore new places. I promise to let myself out to play as much as I possibly can- I don't know why I ever stopped! I will run- I will climb- I will stop sitting at my desk for lunch!

    In 2016 I promise to stop binge watching Net Flicks- no matter how funny Jerry Seinfeld it is not condusive to my overall health and mental well being to stay up way too late watching "just one more" show! I am going to be firm with myself and put myself to be at a reasonable time- just as I do my own kids. I love to sleep I don't know why I don't sleep more!

    This year I am going to look at food in a different light. If 2015 was the all day every day treat party then this year I will show some restraint and treat myself to health. I promise to visit the juice truck more than the bakery across the street!I will look at full fat lattes as the beautiful works of art that they are instead of chugging multipul low fat versions just to stay awake! I will still enjoy an almond croisant- dripping with butter and crisp with deliciousness- at the farmers market on Saturdays!

    I think obviously my looming birthday has something to do with this kindness fest- I have a very round birthday headed my way in exactly a month. And while I am perfectly content with what I have accomplished and where I have traveled I am beginning to notice my body is looking more and more like my Grandmothers every day.  While my brain thinks I'm still 18 my body knows the truth.

    Birthday's aside I think this mantra of KINDNESS is one we can all benefit from- a sliver of restraint- and a whole cupful of love. I have no shame in loving myself- I want my kids to see it- I want them to love themselves first! So 2016 I'm looking at you- prepare for all the kindness- love and unicorns!

   Friends it is Friday- January can be a real drag so find something you love to do and do it this weekend- be kind to yourselves! If you need me I will be hitting the trails with my main squeeze on a kid- free Sunday day date! Happiness and Sunshine always- Happy Friday Friends!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Small Sewing: Gardenia Dress

          This weekend was so beautiful and sunny that I could not help but be inspired to do a tiny bit of Spring sewing. Truth be told we are headed south soon- back to California- sqeee- and we all need a few new things to pack in our suitcases. So with the fates colliding- sunshine and imminent travel- I dipped into my fabric stash for this precious yard of Liberty print fabric from last summer's travel's to Portland.

       This is one of my favourite patterns for my girl right now- the Gardenia Dress from Cali Faye Collection. I have sewed two of these full length dresses for Miss Lo and while they are well loved I thought I would change the pattern up a little. With only a yard of fabric we ended up with this wee flowey top- perfect to pair with shorts or jeans or even another skirt in warmer weather. What I love about Cali Faye patterns is they are so simple while remaining interesting and beautifully designed- sophisticated and fun!

         With every little scrap of fabric I send through the machine both my girl and I come one step closer to a fully home made wardrobe- totally unique- totally her! Most days sewing with Miss Lo is really sewing for Miss Lo- we start by picking out fabric together, we often place and cut out the pattern together but at a certain point in the early stages of the garment coming together she usually loses interest and pulls out the pen and papers. This kid is growing at an astonishing rate and I think her new top is just perfect for a six and a half year old- slightly sassy- super creative- just like my girl!


Friday, January 8, 2016

Field Trip: West Coast Seeds

        To me the days immediately after New Years are Spring. I do realize of course that we, only weeks ago, turned the corner to actual winter but here on the West Coast signs of the earth warming are popping up all over. For example we went to the bank just the other day and low and behold the daffodils are poking through the dirt- headed for the sun! So to me it is automatically Spring- early days but Spring non the less!

       Feel free to call me delusional but what makes me happiest right now is pouring over the seed catalogue and making my list. My girl and I decided to put our plan into action and paid a visit to our most favourite seed store ever West Coast Seeds in Ladner. West Coast Seeds is one of the biggest- of not THE biggest supplier of untreated non GMO seeds in Canada- supplying gardening shops across the country. Lucky us we can visit the bricks and mortar shop!

      Not only is it delightful to see all the choices in person but West Coast Seeds offers a variety of kitchy gardening gear as well as knitted socks, hats and all other sorts of interesting gardening gear. Shopping here is like hanging out in my Mom's backyard- these gardeners know their stuff- while we were visiting the shop I eavesdropped on several conversations and learned a tonne about growing Micro Greens!

     So although I had declared that my gardening days are over I have been bitten by the bug once again- we are planning out our containers and getting everything set to start seeds inside. I have learned a few things over the past few years about the intricacies of container gardening and I think this year I have a pretty good handle on what will and won't work. If nothing else grows than at least we will have some pretty flowers to look at!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

On Our Bookshelf

          We were so lucky to get some amazing additions to our bookshelves over the Christmas Holidays- of course we thought it would be fun to share here with everyone! Currently the most popular is Over and Under the Snow- from the same folks who brought us Up In The Garden and Down In The Dirt. My Little ones love these books as they love to read anything about nature that they can get their grubby little hands on. 

         What we all love best about Over and Under the Snow are the sensitive illustrations from artist Christopher Silas Neal. We love the way multiple story lines intersect and weave together- the girl in the snow, the animals under the snow and the biggest character of all- the seasons. Just like in our favourite gardening book the story is wrapped up with a look at all the different animals we saw through out the book- details and facts are an eight year olds favourite thing- ever!

          I'm not going to lie- I loved this book so much we gave several as Christmas gifts ourselves. To me there is nothing so special as a good book. I would go out on a limb and say both Up In The Garden and Down In The Dirt and Over and Under The Snow will easily become heirloom books to be passed down to the next generation.

Monday, January 4, 2016


          I recently finished off this incredibly slouchy, soft beanie- wait for it- it's for myself! Squee! A little bit of knitting with the softest of cashmere blends in one of my favourite colours- my hat matches the landscape.The yarn colour is Wild Rice but lets call it driftwood- it is perfect for these first gentle days of the year.

        Almost a year ago a few friends and I want to a YOTH Yarns trunk show at our local yarn store- YOTH yarns are about as local as we get here in the Pacific Northwest. Created by a brother and sister duo in Washington state YOTH or Yarn On The House is some of the most luxurious wool I have had the pleasure of working with to date. So it goes without saying that I have been hoarding this skien for just the perfect project!

          These are toque days- as in the days when I like to sport a hat both outside and inside- all day long to cover up what is a questionable head of hair that is still mid grow out from a pixie cut! My slouchy, perfect YOTH hat is a very loose take on the free Purl Soho Boyfriend Hat- this is supposed to be a watchman style cap but I decided the slouchier the better and here is the end result!