Knitting for my little bug


Well, it’s officially summer break. Well, it would be if I wasn’t already on maternity leave. That said, my home town just feels different come July, much more lively and active. The weather is gorgeous (and hot!), there are lots of festivals going on, and it’s the best time of year to hang out outside. So naturally it’s sweater knitting season, right?

As much as I’d love to have a sewing project to show off, I don’t. I’m sure I am not the only one, but at 8 months old, I’m finding that as the boy gets older he is harder to wrangle. He’s not enjoying the baby wearing as much as he used to (probably because it’s just too hot right now), so unless I can get some child care, sewing isn’t happening. I seem to be able to knit much easier these days, it’s just much easier to stop and start as needed than sewing is. I’ve been hard at work knitting a baby gift for my friends Gina and Neil, who are having a baby in October. No pictures yet though, I don’t want to totally ruin the surprise for them. I have managed to finish something I can show you today, my very first sweater!


This is going to be pure baby spam from here on out. You’ve been warned ;)

This is the Flax sweater from Tin Can Knits, and it is the most adorable, simple sweater anyone could ask for. It is perfect for beginners, as it walks you through every possible step, including an on line knit tutorial.


It is a simple top down raglan sweater in sizes 0-3 month to XXL adult man. You had better believe that the whole family is going to get one of these bad boys! I’ve already purchased the yarn for mine and Shane’s version!


The sweater took no time at all, and probably would have been done shortly after I had started it, but the arms stumped me a bit, so I decided to wait for my sister to show me how to pick up the stitches correctly. It was super easy, and I probably could have done it myself, but it was really good to see how it was done in person.


Pants are for suckers.

I knit a size 1-2 years for the bub, and I’m not convinced he will get that much wear out of it. The fit seems pretty good right now, but he’s just going to keep getting bigger. It’s waaaaaay to warm for him to wear right now (well, by Canadian standards it is), so I’m really hoping that we’ll get one or two wears out of it in the fall. I am also totally OK with knitting him a new one. I’m pretty sure it’ll go faster than the first one.


I am so proud of myself for finishing this project, and having it actually look good. I am a bit ashamed to say that I haven’t really made the boy anything except for a baby blanket, so I’m betting that this will be the first of many, many knitting projects to come.

Who knows, maybe next entry will actually contain some sewing? :)

My Nae Scarf


Yowza, my sew-jo is seriously lacking lately. I’d love to have a new outfit to show you guys, but I just can’t seem to get down to my sewing room. Worse, when I actually have the time I don’t really have the inclination. What I have had more time for lately is knitting, which is strange because it is NOT knitting weather. For whatever reason, knitting instructions are finally making sense, so I guess that’s something, right?

So here she is in all her glory, the Nae:


As I mentioned in a previous post, this was made with Madelinetosh tosh merino light, a lovely fingering weight single ply yarn in a greeny blue colour way called fjord. I bought this yarn a few years ago in New York and I was initially going to make my first pair of socks with it, but my sister (an amazing knitter), cautioned against that as it is made of superwash merino. Apparently it’s not the sturdiest yarn for socks. I’m totally cool with this, I’m still pretty intimidated by knitting and socks are still way out of my league.

IMG_0434 IMG_0452

I was really hoping to get a shawl out of it, but I didn’t have enough yarn. I ended up being able to finish the pattern with a few modifications, making it both shorter and narrower with inches of yarn to spare. It’s not the shawl that I was aiming for (I’ve been wanting a granny shawl for a while now), but I’ve got to say, I’m really happy with the final result! I think the colour is really beautiful and I think this will get lots of wear when the weather cools down again (I’m not wishing for cool weather though, honest!).

I’ve been knitting another small project, a cowl, but it’s not going as well as I’d hoped. I keep messing it up and having to rip it back, so I think I’m going to leave it for a bit and move on to a new project. The next thing I am going to knit is a sweater for baby boy. The pattern doesn’t look terribly complicated, so hopefully it’ll go smoothly and quickly.

Until next time!

Whole 30 – The Round Up


I did it.

I made it through the Whole 30 – 30 days of nothing but whole foods. I have been really racking my brain on how to write this entry. I have lots to say about it and yet, I’m sure much of it has been said by other people, and probably in a more elegant fashion. In this case, I will give you a Coles notes version, and then if you want to know more, read on.

In my case, the Whole 30 was successful. I feel better, I lost a bit of weight.

Is that enough information for you? If not, here’s the rest:

One of the biggest elements of the Whole 30 program is the idea of wellness. It is meant for people to learn what foods make them feel good and not so good. I’ve had tummy troubles for much longer than I care to remember, and for a while I genuinely though I was gluten intolerant. I’m not sure that is the case any more, but I do know that grains in general don’t agree with my stomach and can cause me endless grief with my IBS. So, celiac I ain’t, but that doesn’t mean that grains are good for me. Some people might wonder why I’d sign up for something as restrictive as the Whole 30 already knowing that grains don’t agree with me, and the answer to that is that I really wanted to find out what other foods might make me feel lousy too. I don’t really care about bread too much, but I must admit, I love pastries, and if I could have one every once in a while with no repercussions, I’d be really happy. I suppose the trade off is that I might find that my beloved cheese is no good for me, but I am of the mindset that it’s better to know than to go through my life feeling miserable.

Seeing as it’s day 31, I haven’t had the chance to reintroduce any foods yet to my diet. Honestly, I don’t think I’m ready to yet. I can see this being easily extended to a Whole 45 or Whole 60 right now. I think this is a step in the right direction, perhaps what those in the program would call a ‘Non Scale Victory’.

So what is a Non Scale Victory? These are the little things that have gone right (so to speak) while doing the Whole 30 that have nothing to do with the number on the scale at the end. I’ve had quite a few, such as:

1. Clearer skin. Breakouts? Forget about it!

2. IBS symptoms have virtually disappeared.

3. Clothing that hasn’t fit for years (and not due to pregnancy either) are fitting me again, and fitting well.

4. I am sleeping quite soundly, especially for someone with a baby.

5. I feel good in general.

There are so many things I really like about the Whole 30 as a concept, but I think the biggest one is that it is about overall health, not just weight loss. Also (and this is probably more important), it is for everyone. If you buy your own groceries, you can do this. There are no special ‘whole30’ pre packaged meals that you are expected to buy, there’s no gimmicks, nothing. There are some books you can buy if you feel so inclined, but you honestly don’t have to. The information is all available (for free!) on the Whole 30 website.

I had some before and after pictures to show the physical evidence of my transformation, but unfortunately my before pics got corrupted on my computer somehow and will not open. Boo urns! Instead, I’ll include the pictures I took at the start of my first Whole 30 in January 2015, and then my current after pictures. I’ll just point out that in my January pictures, I have lost all the baby weight and then some at this point. What can I say, it’s the best I can do. Is it editorializing? You bet! Guess who has two thumbs and doesn’t give a shit?

This gal right here:


On to the pics…


January 1-2


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The difference between the top and bottom pictures is about 15 lbs and numerous inches. So, you know, yay me!

If you want actual, exact stats, I’m afraid I’m going to disappoint you. This has been about my health, not my size and sharing those numbers seems pointless now. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to have shed that weight because it was making me feel lousy. But the whole idea behind this was to be a healthier individual, not necessarily a slimmer one. I mean, I look not only healthier, but happier. THAT is the whole point.

The absolute best part about being done is that I can finally get some sewing done! Hurray!!! :)

For the love of knitting


Friends, I miss sewing. I am on day 27 of the Whole 30, so in 3 long days, I will finally be able to take my measurements and get back to my first love (after Shane and the boy and the kitties, that is). I have been going a bit stir crazy at not hobbying for a while, so I decided that it was high time I knit myself something. Anything, I don’t care at this point!


You may remember a few years ago I took up knitting and made a few little scarflets like the one below.

Made in 2012

Made in 2012

This was gifted to my mother in law at Christmas 2012, and she seemed to really like it. I have found that I go in spurts where I will knit tonnes of stuff for a few weeks, and then all of a sudden go months without touching my knitting needles. I’ve never really done that with sewing except for in the last little bit because babies be stealing all my nerding time, yo! 

Over the past few years, I’ve basically knit scarves and hats. And two baby blankets. Here are a few of the things I’ve knit:


My first scarf for me, an easy Jane Richmond pattern.


Bittersweet cowl, made for my lovely friend Theresa.


The Honey Cowl, a Christmas gift for my mom.


The Rivoletto, one of my all time favourite cowls.


Baby boys blanket. Where he goes, it goes.


His and hers scarf and cowl for my brother in law and his fiancee. No pattern used, just based it on a broken rib stitch.

After this, of course, were the hats. Oh lord, I knit so many hats in the span of two months.


Above are what I call ‘The Aytenfisu Hats’. That is, the hats that I knit for my best friend, her husband, and four kids for Christmas. My original plan was to only knit for the kids, but once I finished their hats, it just didn’t seem right for me to leave my friend and husband out. So I made them some too.


I knit baby boy a hat. Unfortunately, he hated it.


I also knit Shane a hat for his birthday. Fortunately, he liked it.

These hats were done from roughly the beginning of November to December 23, when I finished the last Aytenfisu hat. I also managed to knit a hat for my friend Linda’s new baby in that time, but I didn’t manage to get a picture of it. All that knitting in such a short time span, along with taking care of a newborn, totally burned me out. My hands were sore and I’d had enough for a few months. Now, I’m ready to jump back into it with something simple, a shawl.I have been wanting to make a shawl for so long, but I’ve never found the instructions that intuitive, so I pledged to just blindly follow the instructions, come what may. Very miraculously, it’s going well! It’s actually starting to look like it’s supposed to!

The yarn is Madelinetosh tosh merino light that I bought in New York a few years ago. I had originally bought it to knit myself some socks, but after attempting to use a similar weighted single ply yarn with disastrous results, I figured that it was destined to become something that wouldn’t need to be quite as durable as socks are meant to be. I think I made a good decision, as the pattern I’m using is so simple that it really shows off how lovely the yarn is. There is a slight problem in that I may not have enough yarn to finish the project, but I am hoping to score some off of someone on Ravelry or somewhere on line. If you know of anyone who has a hank of Tosh Merino Light in the Fjord colour way, and is willing to sell it, please let me know!

So there you have it, a sizeable chunk of my knitting projects to date. I hope to do a better job of documenting these in the future, especially as I plan on knitting baby boy a sweater. And also a sweater for me, because why not? Nothing like knitting a winter sweater in the summer! ;)

Whole 30 – 21 days down!



Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope everyone is having a great Sunday! Now that the boy has gone down for a nap, I have a chance to update my blog. Today I have a bit more to write about, as it’s been a rather exciting week! The biggest news is that my province has a new government! If you can’t understand why this would be exciting (unless you are a nerd like me and enjoy politics, that is), it’s because this is the first change in our provincial government in 44 years!!!!! Can you believe that? The outgoing government had become so corrupt and out of touch that Albertans FINALLY decided that they’d had enough and voted for a much more progressive government. I am seriously over the moon about this. For the first time in my life I feel like my voice has been heard and my vote has counted. Friends, this is an amazing feeling!


We brought the baby to the NDP victory rally on election day, not knowing that the outcome was going to be as good as it was. I feel so privileged to have been apart of this special time in history. Even more amazing, my lovely friend Christy is the new NDP MLA for Edmonton Millwoods! She is an awesome lady, let me tell you, and she will be such a great representative in the Legislative Assembly. And throughout all this, I stayed Whole 30 compliant. For a moment, I thought I might have a celebratory glass of wine (this was a very historic and joyous moment after all), but I decided to hold out.

In other less historically significant but still exciting news, I got a haircut.


I am a hairdressers dream client, I’ll periodically walk into a salon and tell them to chop all my hair off. Hairdressers, in my experience, get absolutely giddy at the thought of giving someone a chic short haircut when the have long hair. It’s sort of hilarious.

I looooooooooove my new hair, so so much. It was just getting too long, and now that the baby has more control of his extremities, it was getting pulled all day, every day. It seems to have gone down quite well with other people, I’ve gotten many, many compliments. That said, does anyone really go up to people with freshly cut hair and say, ‘Dude, that looks like shit, wear a bag over your head from now on!’ Only a douche bag would do that, and my friends are lovely and not douche bags :)

I finally got a bag sewn up! It’s a pretty standard little tote bag made with some Ikea canvas (I am a big fan of their home decor fabric) and quilting cotton for the lining. It turned out a bit smaller than I wanted and it’s not entirely what I had envisioned, but it’s actually an ok little tote. When I come up with a bag pattern I am happy with, I will include more detailed pictures than the two I’m posting today.


And finally, my Whole 30 update. I’m in the final stretch now, and I’ve got to say, it’s going pretty well! There are a few differences between this one and the Whole 30 that I completed in January, but I think I will save my insights for my next post. My eating patterns have been 100% compliant, and I have been walking loads. I haven’t been exercising as much as I said I would be, so I’ll need to start picking up the slack in that respect ASAP.

Best Recipes:

1. Butter Chicken – Oh man, is this stuff ever delicious! Even the baby loves it.

2. Scotch Eggs – The PERFECT on the go food. Baby is not a fan though…. yet…

3. Sweet Potato Hash – I made this for Mother’s Day brunch today and I don’t think I’d ever received more compliments on a dish I’ve made ever before. Delicious!

All the Mama's at Brunch today.

All the Mama’s at Brunch today.

4. Maple Sausage Patties – This is from the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook (so is the recipe above) and it was stupid easy to make. I subbed apple for maple syrup and the end result was delicious. Nom Nom Paleo basically rocks my world. There hasn’t been a single thing I’ve made from her blog or cookbook that hasn’t been amazing.

Cooking fails:


Overall, I’m feeling better on the Whole 30 and I’m thinking of going beyond the 30 days at this point. I am starting to have a few ‘non scale victories’ like fitting into clothes that I haven’t fit into in ages, and more energy. You know, boring stuff like that. I’m curious as to what the numbers will be at the end 30 days, fortunately I won’t have to wait too much longer.

See you in 10 days!

Whole 30 – 10 days in


Howdy peeps! How’s it going?

I wish I had more to talk about today, but alas, there has been a considerable lack of sewing in my life over the past week or so. I did manage to start working on a little handbag, but it is not finished, nor is it going how I had originally envisioned, so it’s back to the drawing board with that one. I’m not feeling too sad about it, there have been positives with it (like the sweet zipper pocket), but if I’m being honest, I really screwed up the sizing. It looks like a lunch bag.

Instead, I’ll update my Whole 30 challenge so far. I haven’t died, so that’s something, right? I’m kidding, but only sort of. 10 days in and I am feeling far more of the physical side effects than I did with my first one. I am mainly just very tired. Like, utterly exhausted. It could be a few things, like the challenge, or the fact that we are trying to sleep train the baby (although, he is doing pretty well so far), or the fact that I am a bit stressed about the thought of going back to work…. I still technically have 6 months left of my leave, but I have been asked to go back early if I can and I’m having trouble making a decision. I’ll have to figure the answer to that one soon…

Anyhow, besides the fatigue, I think I am doing really well. Everything I’ve eaten has fit into the parameters of the program, and although I’m tired I haven’t had the urge to cheat yet.

Best recipes of the week:

1. Stewed Cod, a recipe from my sisters blog. It was simple, yet utterly delicious.

2. Mulligatawny Stew, something I discovered from my last Whole 30. Go make this stew, it’s soup nazi good!

Cooking fails:

Just one, thank goodness. My Whole 30 has coincided with the start of solid foods for the baby, and so I decided that he should eat what we eat most of the time. At the last minute, I decided to steam some broccoli instead of roasting it like I usually do. A culinary mistake, it was AWFUL! Bland, mushy, and really disgusting. Never again. Why steam when you can roast???

That’s it for now. Not my most verbose entry, but at least now you all know that I’m sticking to my plan!

My Whole 30


“So, I gained 7 lbs last week.” I said to my sister on the phone the other day.

“What?!?!?! How is that even possible?”

“Yep, 7 whole pounds. One for each day of hedonism in Mexico.” I am unashamed in my declaration.

Hysterical laughing is what followed my brutally honest statement.

Fortunately for me, it was water weight and seemed to go away after a few days. I think at least half of it came from my ankles and feet, my God, were they ever swollen! Despite this, I know that I overdid it in Mexico. I ate all the food. And drank all the gin. It was glorious.

Then, reality sets in and I remember that, although glorious, I also felt like shit. And, if I am being really honest, I have been feeling kind of shitty for the last 2 months. The time has come for me to do something about it. I’m going to do the Whole 30 challenge.

I have done this before, as a matter of fact, I did a Whole 30 in January of this year. I felt absolutely fantastic when it was done, I was free of IBS symptoms, sleeping well, had loads of energy throughout the day, and I lost 7 lbs and around 12 inches. As great as I felt, sugar and its sweet siren call lead me back gradually to eating a standard American diet (SAD), something that I have known for a while doesn’t agree with me.

For those of you who are unaware of the Whole 30 challenge, here is the gist: For 30 days, you eat unprocessed food like meat, eggs, nuts, vegetables and fruits, and unprocessed oils; forgoing things like grains, sugar of all kinds, dairy, beans and pulses. At first glance it seems incredibly restrictive, but I’ve got to say that I really, really loved it. There was no guess work, the rules are simple, and I love to cook, so I had more food options than I could count. It was very freeing NOT to be counting calories or measuring my food. Definitely a plan I can get behind. So why didn’t I stick with it then? Well, I like chocolate. And red wine. And cheese. Unfortunately for me, I’m realizing that these foods just do not agree with me at all, and so it’s time to say goodbye to them. I guess the last few months have sort of been like the long farewell. No time like the present to get started! My motivations are slightly different this time around, it’s not just about me any more, but my little boy too.

I sometimes forget that I started this blog with the intention of documenting my forays into health and wellness, it’s morphed into quite a different beast over the past few years. I don’t regret that in the slightest, but now seems like as good a time as any to revisit a subject that was once SUPER important to me, and well, still is. Circumstances surrounding my health and wellness are different now than they were, just by virtue of having a baby.

I know that sounds corny as hell, and it’s not really what you think, I promise. Before I was able to do almost any activity imaginable, as well as any diet. I was only limited by my imagination, and sometimes the arthritis in my knees and left ankle. Now, not only to I have the obvious time constraints of having a baby to take care of, I have the lingering effects of the pregnancy on my body.

Ahh, the lingering reminders that I carried a baby full term… They aren’t what you think, I guarantee it. I was lucky enough to not get a single stretch mark! What I got instead was much much worse – a fourth degree tear and diastasis. I won’t bother explaining the first one, other than to say that it is pretty horrible and I may as well have had a caesarean section. The second, diastasis, it pretty easy to explain. I’ve been left with a gap in my abdominal wall due to pregnancy. I’m not going to lie, I am pretty bummed that this happened. I really thought that I’d avoided anything like this due to my relatively high fitness level before and during pregnancy, and the fact that I just didn’t get that big (lucky me!) Because of the diastasis, I have a little bit of a mummy tummy that I’d like to get rid of. When eating well (like during my January Whole 30), it’s pretty much non existent. When eating like crap, I still look like I’m 4 months pregnant. My physiotherapist has let me know that this might not go away until I’m finished breast feeding, so I’m going to keep my fingers crossed. This means that my exercise is also limited to lighter weight lifting, special abdominal exercises, and absolutely no running or jumping for the time being. It’s something that I can’t really control right now, but I am in control of my diet, so I’ll do my best to fix things that way.

There is also my baby boy to think of. He is very close to starting to eat actual food, and I would like him to eat a healthy diet. I know I’m not alone in this as a new parent, but I feel like I need to model proper eating. I can’t expect him to eat avocado’s and sweet potato’s when he sees his Mom eat nothing but chocolate and cheese all the time.

Here are the parameters of the challenge I’m setting for myself:

-Whole 30 compliant foods only for the next 30 days.

-No weighing or measuring myself for the next 30 days (Which means no sewing new outfits for the next 30 days)

-Exercise 3 times per week. I used to be able to do way more, but I’ve got to start slowly. I’m playing the long game here exercise wise.

The sewing thing is a bit of a bummer, but I’ve actually been wanting to try my hand a sewing handbags and such, so you will see some new projects in the near future. Perhaps some as of yet unblogged garments as well. If I come up with a new recipe or tweak an existing one, I’ll be sure to share it if it’s blog worthy.

What you likely wont see are daily updates, food diaries, and (hopefully) generic platitudes about dieting. I assure you, this is not a woo type thing, a la Food Babe (a known charlatan). I just want to feel better, and it my previous experiments of one, this is what did it. I will share my before and after results, which I hope will be as dramatic as they were in my January Whole 30.

Wish me luck! Anyone want to join me?