Monday 25 February 2013


As one of life's great hermits I've always found big social occasions tricky. I like to meet people and enjoy company, when I'm in the mood for it. If not I can be awkward and either chat like crazy or seem off beat and distracted. I'm not the world's best group socialiser shall we say?

However, having a tiny baby makes you realise how vital adult company is. It's not that you don't like being curled into the intimate world of your little one, its more the boost your confidence gets from interacting with people. You find yourself doubting everything when left by yourself with a teeny baby and just 4 walls for moral support.

I think it's why I miss podcasting so much at the moment. There's a certain interaction that comes when you switch on a mic. It's quite amazing really. So this weekend I packed my mini mic and headed to Unravel, where I recorded last year.

However, having the previously mentioned teeny one strapped to my chest made me hyper aware how different this chaos was to the usual domestic quiet I tend to reside in. I loved seeing people but with each greeting I realised how far from 'back to myself' I was. I'm somewhat on hiatus while I pour everything into nurturing the Playful Baby. I'm evolving you might say.

So did I record? No. Not one bit.

I did however come back with goodies that I've piled next to some other things I've been wanting to chat about for a while. So for now let's just say I have lots to chat about. At some point.

Thursday 21 February 2013

Island by Jane Richmond Blog Tour

Almost a year ago, I asked Jane to be my Valentine and celebrated her fabulous eye for design and pattern writing. I have long admired Jane's disarmingly simple aesthetic that has lead to a powerhouse collection of stylish of patterns for women, me and children's garments and accessories. Her patterns are intuitively written and I've spent many a happy hour perusing her library of patterns as there's so many that look fun to knit. So I was over the moon when I heard there was a book in the works. 

Some of you may remember me waxing lyrical about the fab video she put out as a hint of things to come. I loved the photography, the music, the knitting..... I just wanted my hands on that book as soon as I saw it. I love knitting collections that go beyond the knitwear into a book that even non knitters will admire. Apparently, this is just what Jane had in mind: a coffee table book that rolled all things knitty and beautiful about her home island into one. 

Strathcona (c) Nicholas Kupiak
As a later entrant in the blog tour I thought about trying to present the book in a slightly different way and look at the more editorial design choices of the book. If you want to read the other fantastic blog posts, please follow the links here. There's the nuts and bolts of course: 5 unique patterns, available both digitally and in hard copy. However, it's not just this that makes my heart sing. It's the care that Jane takes in her pattern design, writing and presentation that really gets me going as a knitter. The book inspires me visually as well as creatively. Here's a few reasons why......

Grace (c) Nicholas Kupiak
This collection features handknits inspired by life on Vanouver Island and is lovingly presented with exquisite photographs that demonstrate just why the island is so inspiring. It's a moody collection that begs to be treated indulgently and when I got my copy I popped the kettle on, got some favourite chocolate and nestled down to read; it's that kind of book. There's a lot of pages for a 5 piece collection so you can turn to this book time and again to indulge. 

About those pages: no information is left out. At the back of the book you will find a clear sizing chart, directory, resources and the patterns are clear and expertly written without becoming cluttered and overwhelming. A nice touch is the sizing- in the patterns you have a blank that you can pencil in the size that you are knitting from the chart at the back rather than navigate 11 (yes 11) sizing options. A nice touch that shows Jane is thinking of the experience of working from her patterns.  

Arbutus (c) Nicholas Kupiak
Each design has multiple pictures so you have a good idea of how your finished product will look. No saggy bits hidden by arty photography. It's appealing but it's clear. Perfect for knitwear. 

Finally, I love the book itself. The binding is strong enough for it to feel like a real book and polished but its' size means that it is easy to prop open and keep open with something like, say, a coffee cup (or glass of gin and tonic). The paper feels high quality and nice to touch and the size of the book makes it perfect for knitting on the move.

Renfrew (c) Nicholas Kupiak
So if this review has made you curious about where you can get your hands on a copy, please visit Jane's website where you will find the following details and more about the book. 


Print copies of ISLAND are now available through, and Please don't forget to write a review once you've had a look at the book, it really helps to allow others to discover the book. 

Of course there's also the option to win a copy right here too! One lucky commenter will receive their own signed copy of the book if you can tell me your favourite pattern of Jane's in the comment of this blog post. Answer before 1st March 2012 and check back here on the 2nd for the announcement. Good luck!

Monday 18 February 2013

Growing So Fast

I had to do a dreaded chore the other day: store outgrown baby clothes. It's great that Playful Baby is growing but sad that time passes so quick and my teeny tiny cuddle buddy is growing up so fast. Where does time go?

So I pulled on the next hat I expected her to be able to wear and horrors! It's too small. What's worse is that this is a hand knit. It's not just one either....

This is one of the few hats I managed to make before PB arrived early. It's the Magic Coffee Baby Hat by Tracy Kay a free pattern available on Ravelry. It's a super quick knit and nicely written for 3 different sizes in DK. I used scraps of stash and thought it was more 3 month size once she was born.

Not so!

Which now means I need to find time to knit some more hats. I have a few to tide me over but things don't last too long is what I'm realising. So I'm about to go and pull some stash out and look at hats that are super quick to knit and easy to pull on.

I'll report back!

Saturday 9 February 2013

Three Root Bubble and Squeak

Bubble and squeak is one of those dishes I have to consciously plan for. Traditionally it's the leftovers of your Sunday Roast, formed into a patty and served with egg and bacon. If you're really lucky you have leftover roast ham too so you can smugly serve that instead of bacon.

I'm not a leftovers girl, especially when it comes to roast potatoes. Cold roast potatoes are a secret pleasure that I simply adore and have no self control about. So if I am making the potato and vegetable mash, I have to plan to cook enough and set it aside in mash/ boiled potato form. This means we rarely eat Bubble and Squeak as I'm pretty lazy (read: gluttonous about leftovers).

So faced with a mountain of potatoes and carrots thanks to our vegetable box I hatched a two dinner plan. We would make three root mash of swede, carrot and potato and make Bubble and Squeak later in the week. Brilliant.

The mash is simple: peel and dice equal volumes of carrot, swede and potato. boil till soften and mash with some garlicky butter, salt and pepper. You can adjust the ratios to preference- I like a little more potato if I'm honest. So here is my version of Bubble and Squeak. Note I omitted the patty part as the swede in the mix makes this a wet mash.

Three Root Bubble and Squeak:

1 shallot, diced
1 tblsp butter
A generous dollop of three root mash
Rashers of bacon (I'll leave the amount to you)
1-2 eggs (again, let's not be too greedy/ stingy)


1. Sauté shallot in large pan in melted butter till the pieces become quite translucent.
2. Add mash and keep moving over high heat
3. Pop sauté pan with mash under the grill while you prepare the rest. This will keep it warm but also crisp the top a little.
4. Griddle rashers of bacon
5. Fry or poach eggs to preference.
6. Arrange as a stack on a warm plate and slather with brown sauce for extra gluttony!

Wednesday 6 February 2013


'.... What's been going on?' Came the cry as I slipped back into familiar footing and started to blog again. (The response to my blog post was wonderful incidentally and enticed me back eagerly, thank you.)

Well, there's been very little time for cooking and knitting that's for sure. I read blogs a fair amount but find that I'm left feeling sorry for myself that everyone is cooking, making, baking, and having fun while I'm not.

That is of course, a complete lie. Being a mother to a tenacious little bean is a hoot and a hobby in itself. It's exhausting and nerve wracking and at times heart breaking but I'll take it. I am endlessly fascinated by the way in which babies learn. A theme of playful is crucial to my every day and wow, Little Miss is. We can spend hours exploring our hands together and watching each others facial expressions. Before I know it, the sun is going down and it's time to wind down another day.

I received lots of contact when I said we were having a less than playful time. thank you. If it weren't for this one blight, life would be such a fantastically upbeat and amazing thing for this little babe. She really is such a happy soul. We share books together, do yoga together & giggle in the bath.

Her favourite things are massage, anything shiny (she flirts mercilessly with the bath fittings) and lying down and just chatting it all out. I tried to show her my favourite thing but I'm not sure she got it.....


(Opens curtains)

(Dusts off everything)

(Looks around a large, empty space)




I started this blog as a playful sanctuary after what had been a very unplayful few years. It was a place to encourage a happy side of my personality and challenge myself to find playful moments in each day. I did, and along the way discovered the joy that is a crafting tech savvy community. It's been so fun.

I've always tried to maintain this playful personality for the blog as I never intended it to be 'real life'. I didn't want names and so much of me on here that you knew my day by day life. I wanted it to be like a slightly hyped up version of me whose soups always turn out delicious & jumps in every puddle.

With the birth of my daughter has come a realisation: I am more Miss Playful than I'd ever hoped imagine. From the time I started this blog till now, I've got better at being me. I only realised this recently when I received an email from a reader who'd enjoyed reading through the last few pages of posts. The words she used to describe the blog surprised me: it was exactly where I wanted to be at this stage in my life.

So returning after a hiatus I wonder why I would blog now as it feels like I'm no longer creating a personality that I need to remind myself to allow myself to be.

But I do love blogging and podcasting....

So I'm returning. A little quieter for a while but back nonetheless. I've just realised i can blog from my phone too which means I can blog whimsically and informally now whenever I feel like it (I rarely get the chance to sit on my laptop these days). There might be a difference in posts or things may stay exactly the same because apparently when I was looking for me I found I was here all along.

Funny how that works out isn't it?