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My first knitting project and a little bit of baby-hat link-love

Categories: Crafts,Crafty Stuff,LinkLove
June 25, 2010

First knitting project, knit hat, Natural knits for babies and moms

Here is my first knitting project, a hat for my lovely new niece Quinn.  I knitted it up with Paton’s Baby Bamboo yarn in purple with a pattern from the book Natural Knits for Babies and Moms (that my dear mother in law so sneakily lent me.)

I added the pom-pom using Bella Dia’s pom-pom tutorial, and I was so happy with it!  It was so cute and soft!  Too bad the hat is way to small for Quinn.  Oh well, maybe one day one of her doll’s will enjoy it 😉

Newbie Knitter lesson 1: Always do a gauge test and always use the needles and yarn weight listed on the pattern.

Anyway, here are a couple of free baby hat patterns that I sourced online for your knitterly enjoyment.

1. From Magpie Patterns, this one is very similar to the one in Natural Knits, except she has added a pom-pom on top (and hers turned out so much nicer than mine.)

2. From SockPixie, this one must be hard because it’s toooo cute to be easy!

3. This one is pretty little thing is from Natural Nursery Knits (requires Adobe Acrobat reader)

4. And last but not least, how could you resist this free pumpkin hat pattern from Sonnentaler.  I think this would look similar to the number 2 pattern by Sockpixie, but would be more do-able for a beginner, although I’d have to confirm that with my knitting expert MIL Karen.

Link-Love Friday: More Eco-links

Categories: Earth-Love,LinkLove
May 28, 2010

One of my favorite commercials ever for Discovery Channel by design agency 72andSunny

I love the whole world.  Thankfully, so do these people:

  • Planet Green: Not only did Discovery Channel create that awesome commercial about loving the whole world, they also have a great site about preserving it.  Planet Green is a little ‘corporate sponsor-ish’ but it has tonnes of really good tips and information about living responsibly green.
  • SetPower: A free downloadable application that allows you to set up an enhanced power management schedule for your computer based on how you use it in everyday life.  Windows has power management settings, but SetPower gives you more control and flexibility, which means you are more likely to use it…which means you are more likely to save around $10 per month in energy costs.  Source: Jeff.  Thanks Jeff!
  • Easily Upgrade to a Dual Flush Toilet for only $20 (or so) with instructions courtesy of the cuties at Young House Love.
  • Green Depot: I will be doing a full post on this soon to list some of the products that I would like to buy if only they shipped to Canada, but they don’t yet, booo.  So this link is for my U.S based friends.  An online super-store of really, actually, not just ‘green-washing’ eco-friendly products for the home.  All at decent prices, and all with full disclosure on how they are made and what they are made of.  Awesome!    Source: Young House Love.
  • The Tesla Motors Model S is our five year dream car (ok, maybe 10).  Completely electric, you could conceivable charge it with Wind or Solar power.   The roadster is already out, the Model S sedan will be out in 2012.  Sweet!  Source: My husband.

LinkLove Friday: Refashioning Pillowcases

Categories: Crafts,LinkLove
May 14, 2010
Pillowcase Apron Betz White

The 10 minute pillowcase apron by Betz White (Click photo to go to tutorial)

Did you know that there are actually 4 R’s to helping the environment? Yes, there is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and…Refashion!

Refashion is just a combination of Reuse and Recycle…tweaking an unwanted/unused item to create a wanted/useful item = less feed for the landfill = happy conscience.

There are so many Refashion gurus on the internet, it’s hard to name just a few. But, here are some great tutorials, specifically on making things out of old pillowcases, that you might like if you are crafterly inclined :)

Your finished look will vary greatly depending on the style of old pillowcases you have lying around.  For one thing, I don’t have many brightly flowered pillow cases in my linen closet, most of my old pillowcases are grey-white with drool stains (yes, I drool in my sleep, TMI).   Maybe I should check out the local thrift store or get out the dye or fabric paint.

Earth-Love Friday: Links

Categories: LinkLove
April 9, 2010

Earth Week Link Post

Earth Week is coming soon…it begins next Friday to be exact.

Those who know me, know that I’m a big fan of the planet (who isn’t, after all?) so Earth Day and Earth Week have always been important to me.  It’s a time to think about climate change, the ozone layer, deforestation, endangered species, the polar ice caps.  A time to take action toward fixing the problem, adjust our thermostats, use less water, eat local…but also, most important even, it’s a time to get out and enjoy this great planet we live on, and realize why it is worth protecting.

Here are just a few links to get started.  More about Earth Week to come next week 😀

  • At Gaiam’s Green Guide for Earth Day there is a whole list of Earth Day articles.
  • 20 ways to enjoy springtime at could also be titled ’20 ways to enjoy Earth Week’.
  • Check out how you can get involved during Earth Week at Hey, I couldn’t find an Earth Week site for the US, what’s going on there?
  • Hehe, an article on how to make seed bombs. No, these aren’t Weapon’s of Mass Destruction. Guerrilla Gardeners drop them into the soil of vacant land in order to bring beauty to barren, forlorn spots.

Linklove Fridays: Tooon roundup to make you smile

Categories: Funny,LinkLove
March 26, 2010

Simon’s Cat

funny xkcd comic


We Blog Cartoons
cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

LinkLove Fridays: Tough inspiration

Categories: inspiration,LinkLove
March 19, 2010

Karate Kid

There are countless blogs on the internet aimed at inspiring readers, and for every type of reader there is a different way to reach them. Sometimes you can hear the same truth a thousand times, but it takes hearing it said in just-that-particular-way for it to really click.  Because of this, there are plenty of subsets to the “Inspiro-blog”, such as: the ‘Follow your heart’ folks, the ‘Gratitude and spirituality’ group, the ‘You can do it!’ variety…

…And then there are the tough guys (and girls, although this is less common).

The tough guys are…well..tough.  They are uncompromising senseis of inspiration.  They admonish you to “Throw out your TV”, “Wake up early”, “Follow through”, “Wax on, WAX OFF!”  They do not mince words, they do not bother with flowery metaphor.  Instead, they give you a fierce slap of reality, right to the face.  Sometimes, when you are hyperventilating about what to do with your life, a good ‘reality slap’ is the only way to snap out of it*.  These guys will do that for you.

The tough guys are usually unconventional types who have found personal and financial success by living off the beaten path, and they want to help you do that too.   They have your best interest at heart, they just don’t mess around about it.

There are sooo many to choose from, but I would be here all day if I listed them all.  So, below I’ve listed five (in the order that I discovered them) that I have found to be particularly helpful.

Steve Pavlina of The personal development blog for smart people.

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits

Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non-Conformity

Everett Brogue of Far Beyond the Stars

And last but not least Seth Godin of Seth Godin’s Blog.

Keep in mind, if this style of inspiration doesn’t work for you, move on.  Perhaps flowery metaphor is really your thing, or you’d rather stick with the classics (such as religious writings or Anthony Robbins (lol).)  We are barraged by advice all day, from all sides, so much so that it can be difficult to know who/what to listen to.  When this happens, the best bet is to pick a couple that resonate with you, and tune out all the rest.

*Don’t get any ideas.  Open Book does not promote the act of physically slapping anyone in the face.×5

LinkLove Fridays: Getting ready for the summer suit season

Categories: LinkLove
March 12, 2010

Ok, so I know that this blog is about the craft of writing and getting published, and ‘losing weight for summer’ articles belong on the rack beside the grocery store checkout.  But!

I have some amazing…amazingly free…resources on healthy weight loss and lifestyle that I had to share with you.

Such as:

  • SparkService: A completely free site providing meal plans, calorie tracker, fitness programs, and a support forum for weight loss.  Here’s the kicker, it’s owned and operated by a couple of former E-bay employees who made a lot of money, then decided to use that money to start a site that helps millions of people lead a healthier lifestyle. Wow!  *side note: you will need to sign up for this free service and birth date is a required field.  For identity theft reasons, I’m never a fan of giving my complete birth date online, so I might recommend faking this value.
  • whfoods: Again, it is a free site set up to help people lead healthier lives, except it is completely dedicated to food (mmmmm…).  It goes further in depth about healthful food choices than SparkService does, so is an excellent reference while you are following a SparkService program.  The major bonus here: an in-depth profile of 130 of the healthiest foods, complete with nutritional information and cooking guidelines, as well as a listing of common ailments and recommended diet for prevention.
  • and Tara Stiles of Happy Fitness offers calming and streeetchy yoga routines.

How to climb a mountain

Categories: LinkLove,Poetry
March 7, 2010

Tori Walker Open Book How to Climb a Mountain by Maya Stein

how to climb a mountain

Make no mistake. This will be an exercise in staying vertical.
Yes, there will be a view, later, a wide swath of open sky,
but in the meantime: tree and stone. If you’re lucky, a hawk will
coast overhead, scanning the forest floor. If you’re lucky,
a set of wildflowers will keep you cheerful. Mostly, though,
a steady sweat, your heart fluttering indelicately, a solid ache
perforating your calves. This is called work, what you will come to know,
eventually and simply, as movement, as all the evidence you need to make
your way. Forget where you were. That story is no longer true.
Level your gaze to the trail you’re on, and even the dark won’t stop you.

~Maya Stein

LinkLove Fridays: Photography Roundup

Categories: LinkLove
March 5, 2010

Tori Walker Open Book at the Beach

Scott and I both love being amateur photographers. We’re ‘that couple with the cameras’. It’s great for family events!

Actually, he has the Canon Digital Rebel and I have…ahem…one model up, the Rebel xT. We also have a Nikon CoolPix s54000 as our ‘point and shoot’.

Now, I hate to admit this, but the husband is better with aperture and shutter speed than I am, so his pictures end up looking more pro than mine do. No matter how much I fiddle with the knobs and dials, my images tend to look flat, whereas his have more depth and movement.

But, not for long! I have been trolling the internet for tutorials, and look at the wonders I’ve found!

  • Miz Booshay over at Pioneer Woman gives an excellent tutorial on photographing your subjects in the best available light.
  • Check out The Digital Photography School for a wealth of free tutorials on everything from shutter speed to composition.
  • Just some pretty photos from hey-zee.
  • Funny guy Photo Gavin gives video tutorials on photography and photoshop. I don’t know how he gets his daughter to model for him all the time. I’d be like “Ugghh, Dad!”

Words [I try] to live by…

Categories: About Me,Getting Started,Poetry
February 28, 2010

Tori Walker Open Book My Symphony Post Barn and Flower

To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable,
and wealthy, not rich;

to study hard, think quietly,
talk gently, act frankly;
to listen to stars and birds,
to babes and sages, with open heart;
to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely,
await occasions, hurry never.

In a word, to let the spiritual,
unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common.

This is to be my symphony.

~William H. Channing

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Hi, I'm Tori, and welcome to my open book. I'm a freelance writer and web designer. This site is my scratch pad for thoughts and ideas, experiences and inspiration. Go ahead, eavesdrop on my life a little bit, you know you want to...