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Knitting Lifestyle

5 Shawls I Can’t Wait to Cast On

August 10, 2017
5 Shawls I Cant Wait to Cast On

Hello everyone! What at week it’s been! I was caught by surprised with a little stomach bug this weekend, and before I could get my schedule back on track we welcomed a new niece into the world! Oh, and we started Whole 30 (mostly) again. It’s been a whirlwind. Despite all that, I was finally able to finish up my Gully shawl and block it, so pictures will be coming soon! 

I’m approaching the tail end of my summer knitting list and my strength is waning. I’ve got cast-on-itis. Give me all the bright colors. Or all the neutral colors. Or literally anything other than what I’m supposed to be knitting. right. now… (Not that my current project is bad. It’s totally not it’s fault. I’m just not feeling it this week.) 

So of course, my eye has been wandering a little bit. I’m anxiously waiting for Fall, so shawls are on my mind. I’m slowly putting together a small fade (5 colors), but I’m 3 colors in and I’m stuck. I’ve also got a nice skein of gray tonal sock yarn that could become a lovely wardrobe stable. Of course, there’s always the option of new yarn, but I’m trying to save my pennies.  With this in mind, here are some of the patterns that have caught my eye lately:

Aperture  by Ambah O’Brien

Aperture - 5 Shawls I'm Itching to Cast On

Aperture represents my favorite style of shawl; light, symmetrical and polished. It looks airy enough for early fall and the lace means that you can get the most out of one skein on yarn. I could see myself wearing a shawl like this, either in gray, or in my leftover Quince and Co. Finch in Honey from my Tegna Sweater. It can be knit in two sizes (small shown) but since I’m limited on yarn I would probably stick to the smaller version.

For You by Julia Swart

For You - 5 Shawls I'm Itching to Cast On

This is where you can start to see my fade angst creeping in. For You is a shawl designed for the use of leftover yarn or mini skeins. I’m tempted to just put together a bundle of mini skeins to satisfy my loud and bright (and speckled!) cravings. I don’t really have a lot of bright scraps from my projects. (If anyone wants to swap leftovers, hit me up!) I like For You because it’s a manageable shawl size; not shlanket sized like Find Your Fade. It’s a simple, easy to interpret pattern that lends itself to multiple adaptations. I don’t know how long I can hold off my craving for brights, but For You is calling me…

Soft Sunday by Suvi Simola

Soft Sunday - 5 Shawls I'm Itching to Cast On

Aaand we’re back to neutrals! Soft Sunday looks exactly how it sounds. Soft, squishy and comforting. I love the imagery that the name give. It incorporates garter stitch, which I happen to love, and some lace for interest. I love it just as it’s shown in the picture, in a creamy neutral. I could see this working in a gray, mustard or muted blue as well. Honestly, it would look good in pretty much any of YOTH’s colorways. Soft Sunday would make a great late fall, early winter shawl. We’ll see if it makes it onto my knit list.

Nelia by Ambah O’Brien

Nelia - 5 Shawls I'm Itching to Cast On

Nelia might look like the same thing as Aperture and it’s by the same designer, but don’t be fooled! It’s is actually more parallelogram in shape than triangular. This shawl does not come to a point in the middle, but stays straight. This is SUPER appealing to me, because I usually wear my shawls as scarves and I have having to check to make sure my point in centered. This takes care of the problem. I’m also a sucker for that toffee color… Out of all the shawls featured today, this might be my favorite.

Stormy Sky Shawl by Life is Cozy

Stormy Sky - 5 Shawls I'm Itching to Cast On

Are you noticing a color trend yet?? I want it to be Fall already… I was drawn to Stormy Sky because of it’s tassels. Aren’t they the cutest? It’s a very Harry Potter vibe if you ask me. I think they add just the right touch to create interest in this shawl. Without the tassels, I don’t know that this shawl would really stand out. With tassels, it looks like it’s waiting for a nice window seat with a favorite book and a cup of tea (preferably while it rains outside). The Stormy Sky shawl seems very on trend with non knitting fashion as well. I could totally see a non knitter wearing this too.

 

 

 

Food Lifestyle Travel

What (and where!) to Eat in Minneapolis, MN

August 3, 2017
What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis

Hello all! If you didn’t notice, I was away last week in Minneapolis, MN seeing sights and participating in the best wedding ever attended. Seriously, these people know how to get married!

Since we were already going to Minneapolis for a wedding, The Hubs and I decided to make a whole trip out of it. Minneapolis wasn’t on either of our short lists for cities to visit, but now that I’ve been there, I’d totally go back! We had so much fun checking out the beautiful landscape, the Mall of America, and stuffing our faces. They have some good food up there in Minneapolis! If you find yourself in the areas, here is my food guide:

The Ju(i)cy Lucy Debate

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Matt's

Californians have tacos, Texans have BBQ, and up in Minnesota they have the Jucy Lucy! While it goes by different names at just about every restaurant, the main concept is the same. It’s a hamburger patty stuffed with melted cheese. The most common cheese is american, but some restaurants allow customization like pepper jack and bleu cheese.

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - 5-8 Club

 

 

There is some debate about the origin of the Jucy Lucy, which two different bars claiming to have invented it. Matt’s Bar calls it the Jucy Lucy, while the 5-8 Club claims the Juicy Lucy. Because I love you, we tried both.

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Matt's

 

Matt’s Bar is about as dive bar as they come(in a good way). Their simple menu consists of the Jucy Lucy, fries and beer. (Okay, you can get a regular burger too, but why would you??) You seat yourself (if there’s not a line) and you pay with cash (they have an ATM in the bar). Personally, I preferred the Jucy Lucy at Matt’s Bar. It had a great flavor that was just a liiittle more nuanced than 5-8 Club. That being said, I also spilled molten cheese on my thumb and that was not fun. Definitely let this burger sit for a minute before you eat.

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - 5-8 Club

Where the 5-8 club stands out is with it’s options. You can customize your Lucy with different cheese and fixings. It’s still a bar, but has a little bit more of restaurant feel to it. My favorite part of the meal at The 5-8 Club was the sweet potato fries. Not only were they a lovely combo of crispy and soft, but they came with this amazing marshmallow bleu cheese dipping sauce. Amazing! Go just for the fries! Honestly, just go to both Matt’s and 5-8 Club. They’re both excellent greasy bar food.

If you’re not looking for American gastropub food, don’t worry! I have a slew of other suggestions.

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Holy Land 1

Holy Land

Holy Land is both a restaurant and a small ethnic grocery. (Side note: The grocery is a great Whole 30 option for meats!) They’ve been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, which is how we heard about them. They’re a Middle Eastern deli with a huge array of options. I got the gyro, and a side of hummus and pita, and The Hubs got a chicken and lamb gyro meat combo platter.

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Holy Land

First of all, let me say that the portion sizes are HUGE. Like massive. I felt bad because we didn’t even make a dent in our meals. I made 2 gyros out of the one they brought me and still had a ton  of meat left! Second, I will say that everything was delicious. Their gyro meat was already delicious, and the added cucumber sauce knocked it out of the park! The hummus was great and their desserts opened up a whole new realm of food options. The Hubs is obsessed with honey cakes now!

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Holy Land

If you’re in the area, I definitely recommend Holy Land. Bring a friend and an extra stomach!

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Kramarczuks

 

Kramarczuk’s Deli

Kramarczuk’s came highly recommended by some of The Hub’s coworkers who used to live in the area. They touted it as having the best sauerkraut anywhere. Now, I don’t really eat sauerkraut much(ever), but I have to agree. Kramarczuk’s knows what they’re doing! We got bratwurst, pastrami, perogis and of course, lots of sauerkraut. It’s also a deli, so you go down the line cafeteria style with a tray and find your own seating. We went for lunch and it wasn’t terribly crowded. You will probably have to pay to park near Kramarczuk’s, since it’s semi-downtown. We parked in a nearby underground lot and I think we paid about $3. It’s well worth the experience. 

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Kramarczuks

Everything was delicious. Then there was dessert. Their cannoli was excellent, and we got a cream puff for the road, which was still delicious after riding around in the car for an hour or two! I may have a soft spot for cream puffs though…

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Kramarczuks

We didn’t realized it before we went, but Kramarczuk’s has also been in Diners, Drive-ins and Dives! It’s good to know that we have good taste. I’d love to go back and try one of their GIANT meatballs or cabbage rolls, and of course, more of their desserts…

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Victor's 1959

Victor’s 1959 Cafe

Victor’s 1959 is a is a Cuban cafe with some serious brunch vibes. The Hubs is half Cuban, so we couldn’t turn down a chance to try this quirky Cuban cafe. People have signed and left notes on just about every square inch of Victor’s 1959 Cafe, which makes for some interesting reading material. And it’s good to have reading material because you’re going to be waiting for a while! We got there for lunch and the place was packed! 

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Victor's 1959

I ordered the ranchero cubano, which was a breakfast dish with eggs and black beans (delicious!) and The Hubs went straight for the Cuban sandwich. This is usually his litmus test for how accurate the Cuban food of a given restaurant is. Everything came out fresh and hot, but again, it took…a while. Still, the sandwich was authentic and I’d wait as long as it take to get my man some Cuban food if he wants it! 

What and Where to Eat in Minneapolis - Victor's 1959

If you’re like The Hubs and you need some Cuban fare in your life, Victor’s 1959 is a fun place to go. Bring a few friends and get ready to settle in, and look forward to that food! It’s going to be great!

I have to stop talking about food now, because I am getting hungry. Any favorite in the Minneapolis area that I missed? I’d love to hear about them, or listen if you want to weigh in on the ju(i)cy lucy debate!

Lifestyle Seasonal Tutorial

Pink Elephant Baby Shower: My Favorite Things

July 20, 2017
Pink Elephant Baby Shower

You will recall that I recently completed a pink version of the Elijah pattern for my upcoming niece. The pink elephant was by design, since I knew I was going to be throwing a baby shower. What better theme for a little girl than pink elephants? Somebody described elephants once and the reincarnated souls of some really decent people and I’d have to agree that I think that elephants are some of the most caring, intelligent animals out there. Those qualities are a great thing for a little girl to strive for, so I thought elephants made a great theme. 

I decided to make the theme a little bit more fun by incorporating the pink into the elephant idea. I normally don’t go for hardcore gender stereotypes for babies but:

1. I had just finished my pink Elijah.

2. I had pink tablecloths leftover from my wedding.

3. The mom likes pink. I like pink. Pink is cute.

Because I live in a teeny tiny apartment, my mother graciously allowed me to use her house to host. This meant that I had lots of room for fun decorations and activities. Here is some of what I did:

Baby Elephant Guest Book

Pink Elephant Baby Shower - Baby Elephant Guest Book

I owe most of this guestbook to AJ at Aspen Jay. She has made this adorable elephant print available online here. Perfect for my pink elephant theme! It’s a 11 x 14 print, which we were able to print at home. You can also have it printed a Office Depot for less than $2 (I checked.). You can customize it to be blue, pink or yellow and it can say the babies name or just “welcome little one”.  I picked “welcome little one,” because I don’t wanna cramp the momma’s style by tying her down to a name too soon. I cut out different shades of pink paper using a 1 inch Circle Punch Tool. Guests signed a circle and stuck it to the print using scrapbooking tabs. After the shower, I just moved the glass to the from of the frame and voila! Easy nursery decoration!

Pink Elephant Baby Shower - Photo Booth

Baby Shower Photo Booth

I used a pink tablecloth and some mylar balloons to create a quick and easy photobooth! The mylar ballooons were bought at Michaels are were totally easy to use. You just blow them up with a straw and they seal shut. The balloons I got even had pre-made little tabs to string them up with. (Otherwise, I’ve heard that you can tape a straw to the back and thread string through that.). To go with my DIY photo booth, I added a foam board Polaroid frame (I just eyeballed the dimensions and my dad cut it out with an exacto blade and a straight edge. Along with that, I cut out some shapes (found here) and glued them to little sticks that I found at the Dollar Store. I’m really happy with how it turned out!

Pink Elephant Baby Shower - Baby Headband Station

Baby Headband Station

I was afraid about how this was going to work, but it turned out to be a lot of fun! I bought several packages of fabric flowers from Hobby Lobby (on each day with a 40% off coupon.) and used these Elastic Baby Girl Headbands from Amazon. The rest is everyone’s creativity! We set up two hot glue guns (on plastic placemats, to protect the table and tablecloth) and a sign and everyone just went from there. The baby headband holder was made from an oatmeal container, painted white and then covered in fabric, hot glued to a candlestick! I’m really pleased with how it turned out!

Note: If your shower has little kids in attendance, you may not want to have the glue guns left unattended. Ours was adult only, and therefore I figured everyone could handle a glue gun.

These were my three major DIY efforts for the shower. I have so much  more that I didn’t get good pictures of. It went by so fast! Not picture are a LOT of pink chocolate drizzled rice krispie treats (so many…) and pink chocolate dipped nutter butters, both of which turned out really well. (Pro tip: apparently you can thin colored candy melts with shortening, which would have made my life so much easier.) There was also cake, and fruit, and I even made 7 layer dip and queso for the first time ever! We decorated the mantle and a special chair for the new mom and also made really cute favor bags for my circus animal cookie favors. Whew!

I feel so accomplished. 

I had a lot of fun to planning and throwing this baby shower. I’ve realized that I really like planning things like this and I can’t wait to do more in the future! I can’t wait until I have a home of my own to host in too. Have you thrown a party recently? What was your favorite part of it? Any recommendations for new things to try? Let me know in the comments!