Pam by the Sea

Musings on knitting, crafting, all things beautiful, and life. Life being the most beautiful of all!

Month: May, 2012

Glitter knittin’

I got a skein of beautiful CashSilk Lace yarn in Tourmaline by Sweet Georgia Yarns. I love this local Vancouver yarn company! I got it from Urban Yarns, my favourite Vancouver yarn store, just before I left Van for Brisbane.
I used most of the skein for a beautiful lace shawl (that I will show on the blog soon!), and had enough left over for a toque. I wanted to make a simple hat to show off the beautiful colour, and I wanted it to have my obsession, 2 by 2 rib. I don’t know why, I just love it.
Just before I left Vancouver, my in-laws visited, and my mother in law, Jenny, bought me a really cool spool of sequin cotton yarn/ thread from Maiwa at Granville Island. It matched the Sweet Georgia yarn so well, and it was so sparkly! There wasn’t enough to use for the shawl, but I decided to use it in my toque.
I started at the brim, as one usually does, and held the two yarns together. But I quickly realised that the sequins would be quite itchy and scratchy on my forehead. What to do? Here’s what to do.

I knit a band of ribbing the same height as the brim, but just using the soft Sweet Georgia yarn. Then I folded up the brim and knit the cast-on edge of the toque together with the stitches on the needle. I just picked up a stitch on the cast-on edge, and knit it together (k2tog) with the stitch on the needle.

When I finished knitting all of those together, I ended up with a double-layered brim that is glitter on one side:

and soft and sequin-free on the other:

I’m knitting the toque with the two yarns held together, so the whole thing will have sequins. The hidden comfort brim is just a nice little luxury!
I can’t wait to finish this up and wear it. I think it’s going to be beautiful!


Bye bye sleeve, hello perfect sweater?

One of my 30 things to do while I’m 30 is to make a sweater I would actually wear. I’ve made three sweaters so far since I learned to knit. The first was a Ysolda design for my wedding, the second was an owl sweater that was cute but just not me, and the third was a Kim Hargreaves sweater that is lovely, but not very flattering on me.

I want to make a sweater that I will want to wear forever. Something that is flattering, classic and cool. I looked around a lot, and fell in love with the Stasis Pullover by Leila Raabe for Brooklyntweed.

I ordered Brooklyntweed’s Loft in snowbound (a light gray) for the main colour, and old world (a navy) for the accent. I love the wool already; it has a lot of, well, loft, and really fills in gaps in the knit fabric. I think I’ll love the finished product!
I had one snafu already though on the first sleeve. I don’t knit a lot of colourwork, and my tension in that section was way too tight. Proof:

See how the colourwork section pulls in towards the middle? I thought maybe I could block it out, but I know to be really happy with the finished product, it has to be as close to perfect as possible. So, it’s time for me to suck it up, rip back, and redo the pattern. Good thing it’s fun!


I LOVE doing laundry here!

Weird, but true. First of all, Joe and I have our own washer (literally; we had to buy one), so no more coin laundry. Secondly, everyone here washes in cold, so now I always do too. They are big on saving energy here, I think because electricity is about 2 to 3 times the cost of in Canada. Third, most people don’t have a drier! I kind of always hated drying, it just seemed so frivolous. Well, now I don’t have to worry about it!

Our backyard has two big drying racks that are for the building. We also have our own rack that lives on the balcony.

It’s really normal here to see laundry drying on porches and in backyards. It feels a bit back to the land, which totally suits me. I’m a quick convert!


I have been thinking a lot lately about the idea of home, and whether I really feel home here. Sometimes I totally do. Joe and I have some nice routines going, like evening walks and going to the market on Saturdays. But other times I really don’t. I miss my Vancouver friends and my family, and it’s weird to never run into anyone I know around town. I’m still surprised to hear Australian accents sometimes!

Today I have a very homey feeling. Maybe because it’s cloudy and cool here. It’s crazy that rainy weather feels comforting; that’s what 12 years of being in Vancouver will do to you! I bet I’ll feel a lot more at home when I get a job. I’ll have more of a real routine.

The job hunt is going alright, but of course these things take time. I’m struggling a lot with the idea of pure intentions in a job. I would love to work for those, rather than an external force like money. Having money is a wonderful thing, and we all work to make it, but I really hope to have a job some day where I feel good about it to the core. 

Something else reinforcing that idea is that I’m volunteering! I’m working at the Australian Marine Conservation Society on their sustainable seafood campaign, and loving it. Everyone there is so nice, and they all work so hard. It makes me feel very happy!

So, what gives you a “home” feeling? Another one for me is the smell of a lake. It reminds me of summers at the cottage. Ahhhhh….

Happy birthday to the best father-in-law ever!

Wish that Joe and I could be doing this with you to celebrate:

Maybe next year in Brisbane?  I love you Tom, you’re the best!  

This photo is also the best:

My 30’s

I turned 30 in December.  It wasn’t traumatic or terribly exciting, although I did have a lovely birthday!  My friend Caitlin inspired me to write a list of 30 things to do while I’m 30.  She wrote one, and while she didn’t complete the whole thing (although she did impromptu needle felt a heart in the 10 minutes before she turned 31 and crossed that off her list!), she definitely felt it was a good exercise.  I don’t quite have 30 things on my list yet, but I will post it soon and show you what my goals are this year.  

This list reminded me of mine, and I thought I would go through and see how I’m doing.  Some of them I think are quite dumb as you’ll see, but some make sense!  

30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30:

By 30, you should have:

1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.

I think all of my friends agree I have lots of old boyfriends that remind me of how far I’ve come!  Haha, my poor, long-suffering friends and family.  I have dated some nice guys along the way too, but the only one I would want to go back to is Joey!

2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family. 

Well, this one isn’t true for me.  I do have a trunk I love that is Mexican and has skeletons on it.  Can I count that?  🙂

3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.
Yes, I do have this one.  I just got a nice blazer I can wear for lots of occasions, and a new top.  I now have two interview-appropriate outfits!  I thought it would be important in case a potential employer wants to interview me twice. 

4. A purse, a suitcase and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.
Joe and I just got great Heys luggage to come to Australia, totally worth it.  My umbrella is just fine, and I have some nice purses.  Done!

5. A youth you’re content to move beyond. 
I am totally okay with moving on from my 20s. They were wonderful, stressful, and prepared me well for my 30s!

6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
I’ll just go with a simple yes on this one.

7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age—and some money set aside to help fund it.
Erm… working on this one.

8. An e-mail address, a voice mailbox and a bank account—all of which nobody has access to but you.
Yes.  Joe and I mostly just use our shared bank account because that’s what works for us, but we also have separate accounts from before we got together.  

9. A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.
I’ve been hearing recently that people find my resume exciting, which is a nice compliment!  Volunteering and a supportive mom really helped make my resume something I’m proud of.

10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
So cheesy.
11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black lace bra.
I’ve always owned tools, and the bra thing is stupid. 

12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.
Umm, I would say (and Joe would agree!) that I have a few such indulgences!  My wedding shoes would probably be the top contender for this post.  I had just gotten a job, and had wanted them for months.  They were my present!

13. The belief that you deserve it.
Hmm, this one is also cheesy, but a good one to think about.  I’m not sure if they are referencing the above question, or just feeling like you deserve “it” in general.  Generally, I’m working on feeling like I deserve “it”.

14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.
Someone recently asked how old I was, and said it was so hard to tell with Canadians because of our skin.  I thought that was hilarious!  I guess the “stay out of the sun” manta really is best!

15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship and all those other facets of life that do get better.
The man I’ve got!  Career, I’m working on it right now!

By 30, you should know:

16. How to fall in love without losing yourself.
Cheesy, but yes, I am still me.  Just a better version because Joe is so great!

17. How to quit a job, break up with a man and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.
Hmm, I guess I have this down.  I generally have great, low-maintenance friends who do not require any confrontation thank goodness!

18. How you feel about having kids.
Def. want them!

19. When to try harder and when to walk away.
Ugh, these are getting cheesy again!

20. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.
This is a very woman’s magazine sentence.

21. The names of: the secretary of state, your great-grandmother and the best tailor in town.
Not sure if these three people should really be grouped together… Interestingly, I don’t know the name of any great-grandmother.  Something I should find out.  

22. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.
I LOVED living alone!  I love living with Joe more, but living alone is awesome!  You get to have your place exactly the way you want it.  Now I just have to resort to nagging to get that to happen (kidding!).

23. How to take control of your own birthday.
I mostly always plan my own birthday parties, no big deal.  I think it’s because my birthday is close to Christmas, people are party planned-out.

24. That you can’t change the length of your calves, the width of your hips or the nature of your parents.
I think you actually can change the first two things with surgery and exercise, amiright? 

25. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.
I had a great childhood, sometimes I wish it wasn’t over!  But yes, good point, sometimes people need to move on.  

26. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.
I am being challenged every day during my job hunt by what I will and won’t do for money.  The other day a recruiter told me about a position at an explosives company that I was qualified for.  I was pretty upset at the prospect of applying until I realized that I DIDN’T HAVE TO.  And then I felt much better!

27. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs or not flossing for very long.
People probably get away with not flossing for quite a while actually. 

28. Who you can trust, who you can’t and why you shouldn’t take it personally.
I take everything personally to be honest!  I’m working on it, but I’m pretty hardwired to want everyone to like me.  

29. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.
This is not possible for a Canadian.  We apologize for everything. We apologize if you bump into us on the street, no joke.  Australians find it quite odd when I say sorry for dumb stuff actually, they take it really seriously!

30. Why they say life begins at 30. 
Well, I definitely don’t believe that life begins at conception, but 30 is a bit late, don’t you think?

That’s the end of this list!  It was a bit silly, but fun!  I hope you enjoyed it (for anyone why actually made it to the end).

Scenes from around town

Sorry I didn’t blog yesterday! Things are fairy normal here. One good thing is that we finally got all of the stuff we sent from Canada. I’m sorting through it right now and will post pics soon!

Something Joe and I love doing is taking a walk through the neighborhood every day. There is so much to see! Here are some things I’ve seen around town recently:

1. Castle Shack

I love that these people wanted to live in a castle, and just made that happen. Champagne tastes on a beer budget.

2. Something is off.
This drink looks… delicious.

3. Totally rad bike

I feel like it was made for me!

Happy birthday Mom!

I have the absolute best mom in the entire world.

So much bad hair for all of us in this photo!

So pretty!

I love you much mom, thank you for everything!

Protein bar recipe!

I have gotten some requests from readers (read: my dad) to post the recipe I use to make protein bars.  This is a bit complicated by the fact that Joe and I still don’t have our stuff we sent from Canada (although it has arrived in Australia after it’s ocean voyage!), and so I don’t have my measuring spoons or cups.  But I think I figured out a way to show you the recipe without needing measuring tools.

The first thing about making these protein bars is that they are extremely resilient.  I change the amount of ingredients every time, and they still turn out fine.  The second thing is that you can switch out the ingredients for what you have, what’s cheap, or what you like.  I don’t digest seeds well, so I don’t use them.  But you can!  I use dried cherries because they’re not too expensive here- maybe dried cranberries would be cheaper if you’re in Canada.  

The basic mixture consists of protein powder, a crunchy carb, some sort of sticky nut butter, a sweetener, and flavour bites that aren’t necessary but make them quite palatable.  Here is my process:

1. Choose your protein powder.

Joe and I don’t like eating soy, so whey it is for us.  Try to find one that’s unflavoured, there’s no need to buy that fake vanilla or chocolate crap.

2. Measure out about 2 heaping handfuls of it and put it in a bowl.  I think this would be about 2 cups.

3. Add in the crunchy carb you want.

I added about 1-2 cups of rice puffs.  You could use oats or a crunchy (low sugar!) cereal as well.  These rice puffs are unsweetened and I got them at a bulk food store.  

4. Add in the dried fruit of your choice.


I added in about 1.5 cups of dried cherries.  I chopped them up a bit first.  These are sweetened a bit with apple juice, but they’re not extreme.

5. Add in some chocolate!

For some reason, the bulk store I go to doesn’t have chocolate chips (?), so I get squares and chop them up.  I use dark chocolate, it tastes much better to me!  Add in about 1 cup.

The dry ingredients are done!  

6. Now come the wet ingredients.  Add in 1-2 cups of nut butter.

I use crunchy, natural peanut butter.  You MUST use real nut butter!  No Kraft!  I think that the fake peanut butters are so disgusting, and they’re really unhealthy.  You could also use almond or macadamia nut butter, but peanut is just cheaper.  

7. Add in 2 heaping tablespoons of honey or maple syrup.

8. Add water.  You don’t need a lot of water!  Start with 1 cup, then mix and add more if needed.  The resulting mixture should be a paste that stays together but isn’t too wet.

Line the bottom of a baking tray with parchment paper.  Then create patties out of the dough and lay them on the tray.  Don’t mush them into the parchment or else the paper will stick!  Create a 1-inch layer of dough on the baking tray.   

Bake the dough at 350 for about 15 minutes.  It doesn’t need long, nor does it matter if they are “undercooked”.  Remove, slice up, wrap in foil and enjoy! I store them in the fridge and I have no idea how long they will last in there because ours are gone in under a week.  If you want, you could also freeze a whole batch.  


Help along the way

I am so touched by all of the wonderful people who have helped me on my job search. I don’t have a job yet, but things are moving along well!

I have had so many friends and acquaintances give great advice and contacts. Lots of Joe’s work friends have provided names, given suggestions and forwarded my resume on to others. They have stuck their neck out for me when they really didn’t have to. The few (wonderful!) friends I have in Australia have helped a ton. Even my hairdresser got in on the action!

I had the nicest interaction today with an older woman who worked at the market where I was buying fruit. As I was checking out, she asked me about what I’m doing here. I told her about Joe’s job, and how I was looking for one. She tried some brainstorming, and when a friend came in to visit her, she got him in on the action as well! At the end of the conversation, she told me to remain positive, as being stressed would chase the jobs away. She said just to keep my head up, stay positive, and good things will come. I try and do this, and hear it from Joe and my family a lot as well, but coming from this wonderful stranger, it meant so much. What a sweetheart!

While looking for a job can really be demoralizing sometimes, the help you get from friends and strangers is a wonderful silver lining in the whole process. A great reminder of the goodwill in all of us!

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