a toque for me

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My mom knows me down to a tee. Familiar with my penchant for anything mustard-coloured, she had been saving this wool for me. As soon as I saw it, I knew that I wanted to make myself a toque. Just a simple, chunky toque with a big pom pom. I decided to wing it, sans pattern, and hope for the best. It's pretty close to what I had imagined, though not quite 100% perfect. But the beauty of this kind of knitting is that it's so quick that it wouldn't take me long to modify my pattern and make another one, which is exactly what I think I'll do...


mother daughter style: fabrik

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Style is something I've been thinking about a lot these days. Every day I open my closet and I'm faced with that age-old dilemma: closet full of clothes, nothing to wear. Before having a baby, I spent my days wearing workout wear (to teach yoga), and dresses (to hang out). I didn't give much thought to breastfeeding friendly clothing when I was pregnant, so it came as a bit of a shock when I discovered that I couldn't wear about 80% of my wardrobe after giving birth. I couldn't feed in any of my dresses, so I started wearing nursing tanks and skirts. My other standby was a nursing tank under a t-shirt, worn with baggy shorts. I remember when my mom visited us right after Clementine's birth, and then again in March, she made fun of me for how often I wore the same few things. 

After the first year, when Clementine stopped breastfeeding around the clock, more of my clothing became wearable again, but not as much as I had anticipated. The thing is, all of those pretty dresses? They're mostly too dressy for my everyday activities, which include grocery shopping, toddler wrangling and sitting in the park. And while I didn't mind sacrificing comfort for style before having a baby, now I cannot bear to wear anything tight, clingy or remotely uncomfortable. 

Inspired by some wonderful minimalist style blogs (I love this one, this one and this one), I'm thinking of trying out a capsule wardrobe. It's basically what I do already; I'm just not that organised about it. Now that I'm motivated though, it's a whole different story. I'm planning, writing lists, thinking about exactly the kinds of clothes that I like to wear. 

Fabrik recently sent me two pieces from their summer collection: the Shell T-shirt in black & white stripe and the bamboo column skirt. Both pass my personal comfort and versatility tests and will definitely be in my summer capsule. I've worn the skirt with the t-shirt tucked in, or knotted above the waist (as above), and even as a strapless dress with a cream lace top layered over it. And the t-shirt is just a really nice, comfy, practical top to have in my closet. Fabrik also kindly sent Clementine a couple of outfits, both of which are ridiculously cute. In the first two photos she's wearing the garden dress with the kitty shorts. In the other shots she's wearing the angel dress with bloomers similar to these. There's just something about a baby in bloomers! 

this post is not sponsored but the items we're wearing were gifted


home for the holidays

Friday, December 5, 2014

Two weeks ago, we left the sweltering Sydney summer for the icy cold winter that is Vancouver in December. I'm sure it'll come as no surprise if I tell you that the longhaul flight here with a toddler was rough, as was the ensuing jetlag. But now that we're more settled, we are just so happy to be here. We're soaking up all of the goodness that this city has to offer at this time of year. My husband keeps exclaiming, "I feel like I'm in a Christmas movie!" and I couldn't agree more. The 3rd night we were here, we ducked out for a quick drink at a local restaurant. There was a roaring fire, a Christmas tree in the corner, hockey playing on TV and a menu of festive cocktails (hello eggnog and rum!). You could not wipe the grin off my face.

Since then we've taken Clementine on the Christmas train at Stanley Park, gone to the Vinyl Cafe Christmas concert, and spent a few days at a ski resort. The best kind of winter fun.

Of course, the main reason we're here is to spend time with family and friends and that has been wonderful. Last time we were in Vancouver, Clementine was a newborn and it was difficult to do anything. We had this huge list of things we wanted to do here, and managed almost none of them. This trip has been completely different. We've been able to see family and friends, do festive/wintery things AND get to lots of yoga classes. It's been awesome.

p.s. home for the summer


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.

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