my clover earflap hat

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I did it! A couple of weeks ago, on Instagram, I mentioned that I was attempting my most ambitious knitting project to date: the Clover Earflap Hat by Dover and Madden.

I was feeling confident after the sweater project and I figured why not? Sure I couldn't understand the pattern at all, I didn't have any of the tools or wool I needed and I had never even seen a knitting chart before… But I figured if I went slowly, one row at a time, and had my mother in law for troubleshooting, I could do it.

Pretty quickly I needed help (casting on stitches mid-row) but after that I was able to figure it out on my own. That's not to say that it was easy… After following the chart for just 3 rows, I realised that I had made a big mistake and had to unravel right back to the rows of garter stitching. The chart was confusing me, so I ended up writing out each row in a way that made sense to me (e.g. slip 1, P1 [YO, K4, SK2P, K4, YO, P1] x10).

I then noted all the repeats, which slowed me down, but kept me on track. That, combined with online knitting videos, got me through and I bound off and stitched the hat closed on Monday night, while watching the last episode of Death Comes to Pemberley.

I was absolutely thrilled and couldn't wait to put it on Clementine. Of course, the second I did (literally the second, I hadn't even tied the straps) she shouted "NO, NO, NO, NO!" and ripped it off. So yeah, she doesn't love it but I'm hoping that when we're in Canada she'll be so cold that she'll have no choice but to leave it on.

A few details: the pattern was wonderfully written and very easy to follow. I was very grateful for the step-by-step photos that accompany the instructions, and don't think I would have been able to follow a lace pattern if it hadn't been so well explained. I used Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino in the colour 340203. I made the 12-24 month size, which is a bit big but not so big that she can't wear it now.

p.s. you can find me on ravelry here


this, that and the other

Monday, November 3, 2014

This week I am:

  • getting very, very excited that our Vancouver trip is only 2 weeks away!
  • writing lists of all of the things we need to do before said trip, and all of the things we need to pack for 6 weeks of winter with an 18 month old, oh my...
  • glad that I was the first person on the waitlist at my local library to get The Rosie Effect; it was a wonderful sequel to The Rosie Project
  • eating this chunky chocolate buckwheat granola for breakfast every morning
  • using our air conditioner more than I should
  • putting the finishing touches on a little toque for Clementine; it'll be on the blog very soon
  • watching the Death Comes to Pemberley series, and loving it (I read the book while we were in Colombia last year)
  • wondering whether to buy an umbrella stroller
  • thinking that I need some alone time
  • squeezing in a few last minute family shoots before we go away
  • enjoying this Canadian blog
  • addicted to the latest seasons of Downton Abbey and Homeland
  • pleased to have some new expat friends in the neighbourhood who host hockey parties (ice hockey, obviously)
  • obsessed with the tiny desk series concerts, especially this one and this one
  • asking everyone I know for traveling-with-toddler-tips (long haul flights, jet lag etc…) - if any of you have any words of wisdom, please let me know!


minted for crafters

Friday, October 24, 2014

As you all know, I don't tend to do a lot of posts like these because I'm quite choosy about who I work with. But I couldn't turn down the opportunity to do a post with Minted, because I really do love what they do. In their own words,

Minted is the world's premier marketplace for independent design. Our mission is to find exceptional artists and designers all over the world and bring their work to consumers who appreciate great design.

Each time a product is sold, the artists receives a commission. How cool is that? 

Minted is well known for their stationary, and they seriously have a card for every occasion. I love their holiday photo cards, and will probably use this one for our own Christmas cards this year. But did you know that they also have fabric? And it is some of the most unique that I've ever come across. Inspired by their beautiful fabrics, I've put together this list of things I think would be perfect to give to the crafters in your life. Or to give to yourself, because who doesn't need want to make a dress with whales on it?!?

1. A sweet print to decorate your studio, or the corner where you sew.

2. If knitting is more your thing, an art print titled 'Knit One Purl Two.'

3. Bicycle fabric! Available in cotton or a linen-cotton blend. I'm imagining a sweet little dress for Clementine…

4. If you've been around here for a while, you'll know I have a thing for whales so I literally swooned when I came across this fabric. I love the design so much; I think it would look great stapled over a canvas and hung in our living room.

5. Now that I'm knitting more complicated patterns, I find myself needing to keep track of exactly what I'm doing, row by row. A dedicated notebook would be perfect, and would make such a nice Christmas present for your knitting friends, personalised with their name on the cover of course.

This post is in partnership with Minted. All thoughts are my own. 


my in three's baby cardigan

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

This little sweater has been a long time coming. A look at my email records tells me that I bought the pattern in July, and ordered the yarn a few weeks later. But the story starts even before then, because I had been saving knitting patterns and longing to make something more complicated than a scarf for many years. I was so intimidated though, by the patterns themselves with all of their k's and p's (and don't even get me started on knitting charts…) and by the beautiful things I saw other people create.

I'm not sure what changed, but this year I decided to just go for it. When I first had a good look at this pattern, and then saw my friend's toddler wearing the cardigan, I was hopelessly discouraged. And then I gave myself a pep talk that went something like this: For crying out loud Gaby, just do it. One. Row. At. A. Time.

So I started, and I repeated my mantra, 'one row at a time,' to myself many, many times. My mother in law helped me out with one little bit (the sleeves, I think) but mostly, I was able to follow the pattern without too much trouble. The funniest thing is that after holding on to the pattern and the yarn for over 3 months, from start to finish it only took me 10 days to knit this up and put it on my girl. I was so proud, and a bit surprised too, when it was done and it really was a cardigan. With buttons and sleeves and everything.

As happy as I am with the end product, I have to say that I absolutely loved knitting it too. I found so much comfort in picking up my needles each day, and paired with an episode of Downton Abbey, it was the perfect way to spend an hour.

A few details: the pattern is in three's: a baby cardigan. I used Bendigo's Luxury 10-ply yarn in the colour blue denim. I made the 18 month size, which is a bit big on Clementine so I'm planning to cast on soon for one size down. This knitting this, it really is addictive...

p.s. I'm on ravelry, and you can find me here.


when your toddler takes a 4 hour nap

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Every day, around 11am, Clementine goes down for her one nap of the day. She falls asleep quickly and easily (thankfully), but as to how long she'll sleep for… Well, that one's a mystery. Without rhyme or reason, she will sleep anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours. Until yesterday, that is, when she broke all nap records and snoozed for four. Hours. Straight. It was crazy! I debated waking her up, but thought better of it,  deciding that she obviously needed the sleep. She still went to bed at the same time as usual later that night, and didn't wake until the morning so I know that I made the right decision (not always the case).

So what is a mom to do when her toddler naps for 4 hours? There was some laundry and tidying, but that didn't last for long. The couch was calling and so I curled up with some knitting, my current book, a stack of Taproot magazines and quite a few cups of tea. I also managed to whip up a pair of pyjama pants for my girl, once I determined that my sewing machine wasn't loud enough to wake her up. I used this tutorial, and they were super fast and easy to whip up. They ended up on the small size, but luckily I have lots of that flannel left over so I'm going to try again.

In other news, there was a crazy storm in Sydney last night and when we woke up this morning, we found that our roof had leaked. Our new couch is drenched (in parts), as is a big patch of our carpet. So once again, our living room is in disarray. But we had to laugh because as annoyed and frustrated as we were, once the couch was without its cushions and things were hung up to dry all throughout the apartment, Clementine was in heaven. She's treating the couches like her own personal trampoline park, and having a ball. Leave it to a toddler to always, always, find the fun in any given situation.


pretty as a picture dress

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I have been wanting to make this dress for Clementine forever. Probably since the very first time I saw it in the book Handmade Beginnings, which was, in fact, before I even had a baby to sew for. But I knew that if I ever had a girl, she'd be in this dress sooner or later.

So I had the fabric (the exact fabric that's used for this dress in the book), I had the pattern, I had the baby girl but I didn't have the gumption to give it a shot. Enter my mother in law. Over three afternoons, she showed me everything from how to painstakingly transfer the right sized pattern onto paper to how to use a padded ham to press every seam perfectly. She even did some of the trickier bits herself to make sure the end result was flawless.

And it really is. When we finished it yesterday we both kept looking at it and sighing. It's just so beautiful. The buttery voile, the colours and prints, and the little one who really isn't into modelling these days.

p.s. on a completely unrelated note, the husband and I are off to see Alt-J tonight and I'm so excited it feels like Christmas!


LIFE: CAPTURED masterclass with Ronnie

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ever since I heard about their new venture, I've been so excited for Ronnie and Trish. These two women are seriously motivated and it's inspiring to see. After running several LIFE CAPTURED workshops they've just launched a beautiful website, LIFE: CAPTURED Inc. I love their mission and their tagline, 'The modern school of memory keeping.' On October 17th, I will be attending Ronnie's masterclass, Photo Organisation with Lightroom, and I cannot wait!

In her own words:

This masterclass is perfect for anybody who feels overwhelmed by all the photos and other media files that they have. Together, you will learn how to consolidate, re-name, organise, manage, and keyword every one of your photo files - from the past, present and the future. "No file left behind" will become your mantra. You will leave this masterclass feeling confident in your own ability to keep your photo library well-organised.
- Ronnie

I'm looking forward to learning from Ronnie; she is the most organised and efficient person I have ever met, and if even a little bit of that rubs off I will be grateful! As I take on professional photography work, I find that I'm documenting our lives less, and I'm not very happy about it. I'm hoping that establishing a really solid system will help me in my own memory keeping efforts. And I have to say that I'm also quite keen to catch up with Ronnie (it's been a while) and have a day on my own in the beautiful Northern Beaches…

If you're interested, they're offering a $75 discount for this first round of masterclass. You can sign up here or email ronnie@lifecapturedinc.com

I hope to meet some of you there!


one thing at a time

Friday, September 26, 2014

oh how I would love to drink my coffee and do nothing else! this is a shot from my session with Stella

I have this terrible habit of trying to do 10 things at once, and not succeeding at any of them. It's multi-tasking at its worst. Let me give you a concrete example from this week…

I struggle through the door and up the stairs with a baby on my hip and shopping bags on my arms. I dump everything outside the kitchen and think, "I really need to put a load of nappies on to wash." I get the washing machine started and then walk back to the kitchen to start putting away the shopping. I notice the mess on the counters and start trying to wash dishes as I put fresh food in the fridge. I'm hungry so I'm also shovelling bites of food into my mouth as I go. Then I notice that the floor is disgusting and I start sweeping up the remnants of lunch. It's at this point that I realise that I've forgotten about the washing machine, which is now halfway through its cycle with no nappies in it. Awesome. The kitchen is still a mess, the laundry pile is as high as ever and Clementine is whining for my attention. Utter fail.

I was recently re-reading Sara Avant Stover's book (as I tend to do at the beginning of each season) when this passage jumped out at me:

"Knowing the reality of these women's lives as wives and mothers, Dipa Ma offered the most practical advice she could: Practice mindfulness. Feel the cloth as you fold your laundry and hang it on the line. Notice the temperature of the water on your skin as you wash the dishes. Sense your baby's lips on your breast as she feeds. Turn away from your thoughts and become present to moment-to-moment sensations as you do your chores."
                    - Sara Avant Stover

It was just the advice I needed to hear. Instead of trying to do five things at once, do one, but do it mindfully. 'One thing at a time' has been the mantra I repeat to myself many times a day. I still find myself trying to multi-task but when I do, I pause, take a breath and commit myself to just one task. And when I do, I no longer feel like I'm running around like a headless chicken and I get more done.

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